Thursday, January 26, 2012
Remixing, guys...it's a learning experience.
I have such a love/hate relationship with shorts. Love, because when I find a cool pair that fits and doesn’t disappear when I sit down, I really enjoy wearing them. Hate, because those kinds of shorts are hard to find. Also, wearing shorts requires shaving my legs…and we all know how I feel about that.
It’s a beautiful day to wear shorts today. A tad windy, but beautiful!
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
I really don’t have much to say about this outfit, except…mouse ears are an important accessory at the Happiest Place on Earth!
We had a great night at Disneyland. The highlight was probably indulging in desserts at Disneyland’s new bakery, the Jolly Holiday bakery. We got coffees, flourless chocolate cake and a giant cinnamon roll, and shared them as we sat under the stars and fireworks. (Insert “aww” or eye roll, depending on your tolerance for mush.)
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
I don’t usually LOVE stuff when I buy it. I'm rarely swept off my feet by things when I'm shopping. I take forever in dressing rooms and often try stuff on more than once before buying it. I think about my purchases waaay too long and still return a very high percentage of things that I've bought.
But this necklace…it was love at first sight.
I saw it on a dress form at Anthropologie around Christmastime, but didn’t buy it because it was $60. After I looked for it online and saw that it was sold out, I immediately regretted not buying it when I had the chance.
So I went back the next week during a lunch break and ran into a friend whose sister works at an Anthropologie in Mississippi. She gets a 25% employee discount. So she stood in line with me and helped me get the necklace.
Turned out there was a special promotional discount for employees and I ended up getting the necklace for 40% off. So lucky!
Love…and a bargain? Yes, please.
Monday, January 16, 2012
Every year, I stress out about which cookies to make. Like, I have bad stress dreams about baking bad cookies. Oh, the pressure!
In recent years, my cookies have admittedly sucked. They've either broken too easily or just been forgettable. And let me tell you, you can’t get away with bringing crappy cookies to this exchange. Your reputation—not to mention your standing with the neighborhood gals—is on the line. One neighbor brought store-bought cookies one year, wrapped them up and claimed she made them, was found out, and has never been invited again. I’m serious.
What I’m saying is…it’s important that your cookies are awesome. So naturally, I sought redemption last month and wanted to bring my A-game.
The exchange was on a Sunday afternoon at 3pm, so on Saturday afternoon I made and chilled the dough for the cookies I was planning on making. Basically, they’re sugar cookies with an Andes mint in the center—stinkin delicious. Easy. Been making them for years.
While the dough was chilling in the fridge, looking promising, my family went out for my birthday dinner. Baking the cookies was on my mind while we were eating and I was excited to start baking them once we got home. I was ill-prepared for the tragedy that would await me.
I still don’t know what happened. The cookies, like, didn’t bake. Instead of setting, the dough just seemed to melt over the Andes, creating a giant mess on the cookie sheets, not to mention heartbreak…and then panic. What happened? Did I not double all the ingredients like I was supposed to? Was something expired? No, no. I don’t know! Saturday night, weird dough, no cookies, and I have no Plan B. Hashtag EPIC FAIL.
So anyway, the night’s epic saga continued onto Sunday, because I’m no quitter. My dad literally googled something like “best Christmas cookie” and found a recipe that was full of words we like—chocolate iced marshmallow cookies. It seemed like a pretty basic recipe. No weird ingredients. Totally doable. So Mom melted chocolate, Dad went to the store to get parchment paper, and I got started on the dough. Things were looking up.
Then came the real test—baking. And they turned out great, almost like chocolate cake. After they’re done baking, we put a half a marshmallow on top and put them back in the oven for the mallows to melt on the cookies. Then we drizzled them with chocolate icing (which tasted like chocolate donut icing). Six dozen cookies and one chocolate drizzled countertop later, our cookies were prettily packaged and labeled.
They looked amazing. They tasted amazing. I’m just going to say it…my cookies were the best at the exchange.
So, if you ever need a Plan B, or a Plan A, or want to make cookies at any time, for any reason, this is your recipe. Take them to your cookie exchange with your head held high…these won’t disappoint. I’m definitely making them for Valentine’s Day.
CHOCOLATE ICED MARSHMALLOW COOKIES
½ cup butter
2 (1 oz.) squares unsweetened chocolate
1 large egg
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup milk
1 (16-oz) package large marshmallows
6 tablespoons unsweetened baking cocoa
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 cups powdered sugar
4 to 6 tablespoons hot water
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
2. Melt butter and chocolate in small heavy saucepan over low heat; stir to blend. Remove from heat; cool.
3. Beat egg, brown sugar, vanilla and baking soda in large bowl until light and fluffy.
4. Blend in chocolate mixture & flour until smooth.
5. Slowly beat in milk to make light cake batter-like dough.
6. Drop dough by spoonfuls 2 inches apart onto prepared cookie sheets.
7. Bake 10-12 minutes or until firm in the center.
8. Cut marshmallows in half. Place halved marshmallows, cut side down, onto each cookie.
9. Return cookies to oven just until the marshmallows stick to the cookie. Gently smoosh them down to flatten on top of cookies.
10. Transfer to wire racks to cool. Drizzle with icing when cool.
11. For chocolate icing: Combine all ingredients in bowl and beat by hand until smooth.
Makes 5 dozen
Thursday, January 12, 2012
For those of us who daily frequent coffee establishments, rush hour does not refer to the traffic on the roads, but to the line at Starbucks. This morning, during rush hour, I accidentally toppled an iced drink over in front of the bar where everyone picks up their drinks. Gasps were cried in unison. Ice cubes were flying. Chaos ensued. I instantly ruined everyone’s morning. It was terrible.
Okay, it really wasn’t that bad. It’s actually been a great day, but one entirely fueled by caffeine. I’m actually hitting a lull right now and am in desperate need of another iced latte, which I’ll get as soon as I’m done typing this post.
So, today’s outfit. It’s pretty basic and pretty typical of my style—a layered shirt (cuffed), jeans, and pearls. I love sprucing up basic outfits with accessories, and there’s no better place for cheap, cute stuff than Forever 21. Don’t let the horrible dance music or masses of middle school girls fool you—there’s actually legitimately stylish stuff in Forever 21. If you’re looking to update your look on a budget, accessories are the way to do it…bags, scarves, jewelry, even hats, if you can pull them off…
And there you go. Time for Starbucks! I’ll be extra careful this time around not to throw my drink on the ground.
I think I’ll layer this sweater with the pink tunic for a future remix…? We’ll see. You’ll definitely spot it again soon though. Spot…get it? See what I did there?
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
I feel like I’m wearing pajamas today. This outfit is so comfortable, it’s stupid. Chambray…can I gush about it for a second?
Chambray is the new basic white tee. You heard it here first, folks. I’m not huge with calling certain pieces staples, because everyone labels anything that they love as a staple, but this is a STAPLE. Pair it with anything and you can’t go wrong. Layer the heck out of it and you’re good to go. I could probably mix this shirt with everything in my remix and feel good about it. I’m actually looking for a champagne-colored sequined tank to layer this with along with a blazer (something along the lines of this look), or a sequined skirt to pair it with…I know, right?
This shirt is from J. Crew. I also have one that’s not part of the remix from Madewell. Seriously, if you don’t own a chambray shirt…you’re missing out. You could feel like you’re wearing pajamas to work. Dream. Come. True.
Monday, January 9, 2012
So much of my childhood allowance went to Lisa Frank pencil boxes and folders (and sticker club! That's right!). But it looks like my attraction to bright colors is here to stay...
Sunday, January 8, 2012
I was so excited all week to go to Disneyland with Nathan on Friday night, but when we arrived, there was no parking. Yep, that's right...there was no parking at Disneyland. Instead of being herded into the Anaheim Convention Center parking lot, we decided to just go another time. Luckily, the night led us to Corona for a very special visit. We met up with Kylie's cousin Kaylin and her 11-month old baby bulldog, named Jabba. He is the most precious little meatball of joy I have ever seen.
Jabba likes to eat and sleep a lot. (We have so much in common!) I was so happy we could meet our new little friend. Mickey Mouse has nothing on this little guy...
Thursday, January 5, 2012
I wrote 398 thank-you notes, went to the NAMM Show, got a spray tan—twice!, cried like a teeny little girl when I saw Taylor Swift in concert, became obsessed with macarons, had a real date on Valentine’s Day, met Tina Fey, was a bridesmaid—twice!, discovered an affinity for books about disgusting diseases (the plague, scurvy, Ebola), became an official contributor to collegeministry.com, finally saw the David in Florence, started regularly using coupons, discovered my not-so-inner prepster, stayed up all night watching the Royal Wedding, opened a present nearly every day of the month of December, and chopped off my hair on a whim. Good stuff!!
2) Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I'm not really into making resolutions. Generally speaking, I strive to live a life that reflects the character of Jesus to people, contribute to the lives of others in a positive and meaningful way, be a productive person and constant learner, always have a grateful heart, and continually cultivate my interests.
3) Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes! Brad and Carrie welcomed Eli Benjamin!
4) Did anyone close to you die?
Not this year.
5) What countries did you visit?
Italy!! And Germany, just for layovers. Does that count? I bought Haribo gummy bears.
6) What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
REINDEER ANTLERS FOR THE COROLLA. I couldn’t find them anywhere! But really…just more wisdom, patience, and understanding. Nothing huge. Ha.
7) What date(s) from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
December 1st—Nathan surprised me with 25 days of Christmas presents. June 13th marked our 1-year. And December 13th because it was my last birthday that started with a 2 (I turned 29…yikes).
8) What was your biggest achievement of the year?
This year, I took on some extra responsibilities and God definitely stretched me through them. It’s not an achievement, but by his grace and the grace of others, that I was able to learn a lot and have fun through some challenges that I was not anticipating.
9) Did you suffer illness or injury?
Aside from some back pain and an infection here and there…I was relatively healthy this year!
10) What was the best thing you bought?
I really liked the Christmas presents I bought for my parents—a travel book and a sparkly armadillo ornament for my dad (his name is Enrique—the armadillo, not my dad), and a mani/pedi for my mom (her first ever—we had fun!). I also bought a really pretty cameo ring and a linen scarf in Italy and feel pretty good about it.
11) Whose behavior merited celebration?
Anyone who sacrificed something of themselves for the benefit of someone else and without asking for reward or recognition merits celebration in my book. (Specifically, I'd like to celebrate pastors wives this year, and all the sacrifices that they make to support their husbands’ ministries.)
12) Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Ignorance mixed with pride and zeal is hard for me to tolerate.
13) Where did most of your money go?
I think I left it in Italy…along with my heart.
14) What did you get really, really, really excited about?
I am really great at anticipating things…so I got really excited about a lot of stuff this year. Whether it’s ice cream or a great trip, I’m excited about it!
15) What song will always remind you of 2011?
Rolling in the Deep by Adele. Oh, girl…
16) Compared to this time last year, are you:
Wiser? Yes. Healthier? Yes. Richer? In many ways.
17) What do you wish you'd done more of?
I really wish I had read more books. That’s definitely something I will do more of in 2012.
18) What do you wish you'd done less of?
Worried and over-analyzed, per usual.
19) How did you spend Christmas?
Church and Claim Jumper for dinner and gifts with my family and Nate on Christmas Eve. Christmas lunch at Nate’s house on Christmas Day. Sherlock Holmes on Christmas night.
20) Did you fall in love in 2011?
I fell in love in 2010…and am still falling…
21) What was your favorite TV program?
Toddlers & Tiaras, Extreme Couponing, and Hoarding: Buried Alive. I love TLC…people are so weird and fascinating, aren’t they?!
22) Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
I don't hate anyone.
23) What was the best book you read?
I loved The Help and read some super funny books by Sloane Crosley.
24) What was your greatest musical discovery?
I pretty much listened to the same stuff I did last year...no noteworthy discoveries.
25) What did you want and get?
Clear skin again…phew!
26) What did you want and not get?
I am more than content!
27) What was your favorite film of this year?
The best film this year was FOOTLOOSE. Okay, so it wasn’t a good movie, but I LOVED it! The best real movie I saw was definitely Midnight in Paris.
28) What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 29 and took the day off work to sleep in, get Starbucks, and walk around Tiffany’s and South Coast Plaza by myself—it was wonderful and relaxing. Then Nate took me out to dinner and coffees. It was perfect.
29) Which celebrity/public figure did you like the most?
I was very happy to see the Muppets make a comeback. They’re my favorite celebrities.
30) How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
I love and live in jeans, blazers, and fake pearls.
31) What kept you sane?
Family, friends, Nate, co-workers, and God.
32) Who did you miss?
I miss my faraway friends.
33) Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.
When lacking inspiration, log on to Pinterest.
34) What did you gain this year?
Confidence in Christ.
35) What did you lose this year?
A little more insecurity.
36) Who was the best new person you met?
Definitely Crave’s newest intern, Cody. He’s the best!!
37) Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
Just listen to the song...
Happy New Year!
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Unless they’re on sale. Or better yet, clearance sale.
I bought this chambray shirt last June on sale. I don’t remember how much it was, but it was cheap. This skirt is brand-new and this is my first time wearing it. It was originally $98, but I got it on clearance for $23. Bam. Definitely worth being elbowed and pushed around by the post-Christmas shoppers on December 26th.
In fact, everything I’m wearing today I got on sale. The bag was bought on sale at an outlet on a Black Friday a couple of years ago. The belt was in a random clearance pile at Target. The shoes were bought on Black Friday last year at an outlet for 30% off.
What can I say? I love a bargain. And loving bargains...and fashion...and J. Crew...do not have to be mutually exclusive.
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Jeggings: Old Navy, secretary blouse: GAP, blush blazer: Forever 21, black flats: GAP, necklace: Old Navy, black and white bracelet: Old Navy, silver bracelet: Tiffany & Co., cameo ring: souvenir from Italy, ombre shades: The Limited, bag: Coach.
A few things:
I hate the word jeggings. Hate. It. But, I mean, that's what they are, so, what am I going to do?
This blouse...let's talk about it. It's very grandma-esque unless it's mixed the right way, which I didn't know how to do until about six months after I bought it (on clearance, fyi).
I love soft, dusty pink colors, especially paired with grays, beiges, and camel colors. The structure of a blazer permits it from being too girly a color, but paired with a flowy top, it's just romantic enough.
My hands are back to their normal, corpse-like pallor. The tan is clearly starting to fade.
Asking someone to take pictures of me daily is probably going to be the most uncomfortable part of this remix challenge.
But I'm up for it if they are...
Monday, January 2, 2012
I might just stop the challenge here...this is one of my favorite outfits I've ever worn. I received a big fat Forever 21 gift card for Christmas and bought this military jacket with it, and I know I will have to restrain myself to not remix it every single day. Love. It.
I was iffy with the flower pin. Nathan asked me if it squirted water. Also, it is not seatbelt-friendly. But my suppressed hesitation paid off because I was complimented on it all day. I liked taking basic, sort of boyish pieces (a boxy blouse, denim shorts, the jacket) and adding some feminine details like the jewelry and pin to soften the look up.
Oh, and that golden glow you see is not that of a real California girl. It's totes fakesies...I got a spray tan for New Year's Eve because I had major farmer's tan action happening, and that's a no-no when you wear a strapless dress. (I'm still figuring out how I got a farmer's tan...I'm not even tan enough for a farmer's tan!!)
Day 1 down, 29 more to go. This'll be an easy challenge, right? Right?!
A handful of my friends do Dressember every year, which, as its name suggests, is a challenge to wear dresses for the entire month. My friends' photos always look adorable and make me regret not participating in Dressember, too. Then a half second later I remember that I don't like dresses and confine wearing them to weddings and holidays. Anyway, my point is...I appreciated their commitment to challenging themselves to get creative with their personal style through limitations. And that's the reason the 30 for 30 Challenge really appeals to me; I like the idea of getting creative with remixing the contents of my closet in new ways, and also just appreciating what I have instead of lamenting that “I have nothing to wear!!”
I've included shoes in the challenge, but not accessories. (They're like chips and salsa...those calories don't count as part of the meal...am I right?!) My remix will include the following:
5 pairs of shoes
3 pairs pants
1 pair shorts
Happy New Year!