7.31.2013

A treatise on being comfortable and not looking like a bum...




Top: random New Orleans store
Shorts: Bike, thrifted
Belt: pilfered from an old Anthro skirt
Shoes: Birkenstock







I have a proclivity to finding clothes in strange places, I've even blogged about it in one of my earliest posts, this top comes from a strange store in the heart of New Orleans French Quarter that sold incense and cheesy souvenirs along side these awesome crop tops imported from India.    Of course, it was 2010 and no one wanted printed crop tops at that time so they were on super sale and I bought two, score for me!

Has anyone else noticed the amount of highly fashionable and stylish looking shoes that are have been coming out over the past few years?  Be it Birkenstock and Doc Martens engaging with a new audience and becomings "heritage" brands to the youngins these days or the crazy Birk-ish feeling fur covered Céline shoes that that babe over at Stop It Right Now wears so well (they suit her style, but not mine), the whole spectrum makes me happy.  When I say happy, I mean like legit happy, like little girl squealing over puppies happy, not just some passing trend appreciation way.  What's that you say? Why would anyone get so squealy over that?  Here's the truth...going against all that I know from my high school and college years in the south (AKA flip flop capital) I despise flip flops. (note: flip flops equal rubber soles with plastic straps, I am not talking about thong shoes that would have a real sole, last, etc)

I am a recovering flip flop addict.  At one point in college, I had flip flops in a rainbow of colors, I could probably have gone a month without repeating a flop (*rimshot* get it... flip flop, fashion flop?) With $2 Old Navy flip flops and "fashion" flip flops from Victoria's Secret, I was ready for anything. Fortunately, I had enough dignity to never go down the rubber high heel/wedge or jeweled road, but I definitely did do the flatform flip flop and the spicegirl wedge style that Delia*s brought to the masses. At some point in mid college my tastes changed and I started paring down my collection and sometime shortly after college I vowed to never wear them again, mostly because ANYTHING you put on is dragged down to near PJ status when you put on flip flops or elevated to stylish when you wear real shoes. Picture midday wearing denim shorts, a graphic tee, bedraggled hair and flip flops... that says "I only interrupted my Netflix marathon of Orange is the New Black got off my couch to go to the bodega for ice cream".  Now picture the same outfit with cowboy boots (or any real shoe)...that says "I am on my way home from some activity in the world stopping at this bodega for ice cream to serve at my amazing dinner party later tonight".  Maybe there is an activity and an amazing dinner party, maybe there isn't, but either way you look more stylish and I will always choose to push myself towards more stylish.

My Top 7 Reasons for Eleminating Flip Flops

  1. they were dragging my style down
  2. thong calluses between big toe and the middle (?) toe suck
  3. feet slide around in them and end up touching the ground, ew
  4. TOMS-more comfortable and helps people
  5. there is a whole world of comfortable & stylish shoes
  6. I wanted to look like I had a life even when I'm being a bum
  7. that annoying flop noise!

Don't get me wrong I still wear bummy shoes, my last pair of Converse had a hole worn in the sole and I will always love my sky high heels; I guess my point is fashion doesn't preclude comfort and your style shouldn't either.

This treatise on footwear has been brought to you by 3am insomnia. 

xo

7.29.2013

Health is Wealth: Get Creative

Health is Wealth is a wellness series focusing on the baby steps I took in order to better care for myself physically when I was feeling unstable mentally.  Click here for an intro to the series or read on... :)



Keeping busy is important to me, I want to fit the most things into every day possible and between sleep, work, chores, couple time, friend time, and me time it's not hard.  As I spun around and around the anxiety spiral, my me time wasn't productive, I didn't feel recharged and refreshed because I sat around feeling sorry for my self.  While I have no qualms with a good ol' fashioned pity party, it was beyond that; I was pouting or allowing my negative voice to talk circles, or worrying about things our of my control or even worse inventing things to fret over.  At some point, I decided to start using my time more wisely by being creative.    
  1. cre·a·tive  /krēˈātiv/
    Adjective
    Relating to or involving the imagination or original ideas, esp. in the production of an artistic work: "creative writing".
    Noun
    A person who is creative, esp. in a professional context.
    Synonyms
    originative - original - constructive - productive

People often think of artists as creatives, which they are, but as the definition states, creativity involves imagination and original ideas, artists don't own the adjective. Imagination and original ideas keep your mind busy, which can be a welcome respite when in a negative place.   I happened to use my creativity by reworking old pants, diving into creating a better blog, trying out or creating new recipes, and taking classes to learn or further refine my skills.  Creativity doesn't have to be "art", it's just diving into something you love and pushing the boundaries of what you know.  Math and science is creative, solve some problems for fun.  Love taking selfies? Challenge yourself to take a completely different selfie every day for a month.  If you don't already have a passion, take some classes to figure it out!  This year I have taken a photography class, participated in a blog workshop and have an Excel class as well as a photoshop class scheduled in August.  

Added Bonus: Super Simple DiY project

Supplies:
clothes that you want to spruce up (I used old jeggings)
2" tape
paper grocery bags 
fabric spray paint 
  

1) Choose a pattern to tape, angular shapes are obviously the easiest with tape, but if you want to get super fancy, use an exacto knife to cut a design into cardstock and tape that down.

2) Cover nearby area to prevent over spray

3) Spray away, coating twice, allowing to dry in between.

4) Wash inside out.

5) Wear with pride!


I ran out of silver paint on the left leg, so I rolled with the punches and did a second coat of turquoise.  Also, my diamonds are off kilter, but I happen to find that charming, much to my Dad's chagrin, I subscribe to the rule of "eyeball it and hold your breath", while he is a "measure twice, cut once" type of guy; if you're the later, get out your tape measure.  :)

xo

7.24.2013

'Tropic-all' over me


Jumper: Thirfted
Belt: J. Crew sale
Shoes: Anthro sale
Scarf: sample






I gave myself a tripod and shutter remote for my birthday, this was the first time playing with it.  I got lot's of photos like this one:



This jumper might possibly be the most amazing summer jumper in the world if it weren't for the fact that it is made of rayon which makes me sweat bullets anytime the temp is above 80 and there is even a waft of humidity in the air.  Sadly, I haven't worn it much since I got it in Austin back in 2009, but it was the first thing I went for when the heat wave broke!

I'm off to Vegas for work, so much for avoiding the heat!

xo

7.22.2013

Health is Wealth: The Five Stages of Smoothie Addiction

Health is Wealth is a wellness series focusing on the baby steps I took in order to better care for myself physically when I was feeling unstable, mentally.  Click here for an intro to the series or read on...


Confession time...I am a big time green smoothie addict, they are my breakfast six or seven times out of the week, when I go away on business or vacation I crave them, last time I visited my parents I even got my Mom to try a few!  Obviously they are good for you, its a glass jam packed with fresh vegetables and fruit, but more importantly they taste good, there is limitless variety and are a great way to use up last little bits of produce.  

I feel pretty good about this addiction, it's a craving for the vitality and energy that I feel from treating myself well.  Green smoothies are essentially like having a salad for breakfast, which now that I type it probably doesn't sound that appealing, the quantity of fiber, nutrients and good fat keep me satiated till lunch, no problem.  Plus blending the greens makes it easier for our bodies to absorb the good stuff.  It's easy to blend up the night before, store in large Ball Jars and keep in the fridge for an on-the-go breakfast.  The quantity that I blend makes enough for two large smoothies, I love to "cook" once and eat twice.  

The Five Stages of Smoothie Addiction

Stage 1)  Simple Green Smoothie Their recipes are 60% fruit/40% greens so it is a great way to get your taste buds (and eyeballs) acclimated to green smoothies.  Additionally, there is a Facebook community, blog, Instagram and weekly emails that will help with any questions, moral support and recipes.  

Stage 2) Start stepping up the greens slowly, getting creative with the Simple Green Smoothie recipes and ease into a 5-7 day a week habit, repeat for many weeks.

Stage 3)  Next, switch to Kimberly Snyder's Glowing Green Smoothie (40% fruit/60% greens) and follow religiously, repeat for one week before getting bored.

Stage 4) Realize you can switch up your fruit in the GGS and start combining the SGS with the GGS for variety, add superfoods for even more benefits and tasty combinations.

Stage 5) After months of following others recipes and feeling a slump come on, avoid going crazy by getting crazy creative...melon mint, cherry cacao, sweet potato and ginger, pina colada, etc and smile.


What you see above are the ingredients for my Monday/Tuesday breakfast:

4 large overflowing handfuls of greens
2-3 cups of pineapple and cantaloupe 
1 banana
4 tsp of spirulina 
1 cup watermelon aqua fresca (basically blended watermelon)
virgin coconut oil

After 7 months of making these on the regular, I'm pretty comfortable with lots and lots of greens, minimum fruit and the general ratio of greens:fruits:fats, but it came from following others recipes first and learning what flavor combos tickled my taste buds. 

Pro Tip 1:  The secret to super smoothies is to blend your greens and liquid first, then add fruit, taste testing as you go to make sure you hit the "sweet spot" of being tasty but not too sweet.

Pro Tip 2: Before I got a fancy schmancy blender my Dad saw me struggling to get my greens to blend up, being an engineer he made the astute observation to slowly add my greens, one small hand full at a time, to the liquid which was a HUGE help.

Pro Tip 3: Look for spinach and kale that you steam in the bag, it is cheaper.  The kale and spinach will be larger, not small and tender, but your pulverizing the shit out of them so tenderness doesn't matter.  Also, I have mistakenly bought baby kale, that stuff is tart, like ruin your smoothie tart.  As the greens grow the flavor is spread across more mass, making the kale less potent tasting once it reaches full size harvest, at least that is my unprofessional theory on why that happens.

Pro Tip 4: Your freezer is your friend.  Brown spotted bananas? Peel, slice and freeze each banana in a separate container so you can add them directly into your blender.  Apples about to go bad? Slice into quarters, core and freeze.  Less than fresh greens?  Grab a ziplock and freeze!  Never let your produce go bad again, blend it!  

Taking it back to why I started this in the first place, my mental wellness.  When I switched from greek yogurt to green smoothies I had more energy, made better food choices throughout the day, and again I feel like these directly help my skin be bright and happy while being more confident and calm.  Will I probably live longer and with less disease, yes, and I will do it with amazing skin and long lean limbs.  Here's to vanity helping me make better choices!

xo 






7.20.2013

Random thoughts from a overheated mind! (and some cute clothes)


top: BCBG Girls, probably 10 y/o
shorts: thrifted
belt: hand me down from my Mom
shoes: Steve Madden
most awesome embroidered necklace: Central America souvenir gift






Random thoughts post...

-Isn't this necklace the most amazing thing ever?  Thank you Jessica for being a bas ass and biking across Central America, then being kind enough to share in your souvenirs!

-I need more clothes that cover less!  After years of corporate dressing (I tended to "bend" the rules), I need more fun summer clothes in natural materials and barely there cuts!

-Do you ever go thrifting and see clothes that you wonder if the thing you have in your hand is the exact item you once owned?  For example, I'm 99% sure I owned these exact shorts in Jr High, and probably in the same size (I was a little chunky in those days).  I would have purchased them from The Merry Go Round in Baybrook Mall, which was the store the coolr older kids shopped at so I was always psyched when my Mom would let me buy things from there.

-This heat wave is tough, even for this Texan who is used to 100 degrees and high humidity.  What I am not used to is walking 30 minutes to & from work and living in a non-AC'd abode.  In TX you have central AC, walk 10 feet to your car, blast the AC on high, walk 20 feet to your freezing office and repeat.  I'm quickly learning to adjust my cooking to nonexistent (more salads!) adding 10 minutes to my morning routine so I can intermittently stand directly in front of the one window unit we have to prevent sweating, eating lots of frozen grapes and drinking lots of watermelon aqua fresca, and working "OMG it is so hot" into almost every conversation, so I'm rolling with the punches.  

Happy Weekend!  You can find me at the beach or vegetating in our basement drinking homemade aqua fresca!  I hope your weekend is filled with fun, frozen drinks and fun pools or beaches!

xo

7.17.2013

Breaking it Down: How to Print Mix



Hat: Thrifted//Tank & Skirt: H&M//Shoes: Doc Martens


Print mixing isn't rocket science or fine French baking, no one is going to die and souffle won't suffer from not getting it just perfect, but of course you don't want to walk out of the house looking like a blind person dressed you.  There are no "rules" but the basic guidelines are simple, like Venn Diagram simple:







So let's break it down...

COLOR-Keep it in the family.  I'm wearing red and pink, which is actually the same color only at different intensity, another option would be a 2-3 colors but all pastels.  Consider looking to nature for color combinations (she kinda knows what she's doing) sky blue/grass green or flowers/leaves.  If you feel uncomfortable with your color skill set keep it to one color and remember white, black and beige are not colors, they are neutrals and can be used freely when print mixing.

PATTERN-Until you feel comfortable listening to your internal style sense and showing your print mixing freak flag, stick to patterns that are similar in theme and/or similar in size. Referencing what I am wearing, I have all graphic, angular prints of a similar size, it is very safe.  If you were to wear all stripes, it would be interesting if the stripes were positive/negative to each other or of varying sizes.  When mixing theme, consider florals & graphics, animal print & roses, or stripes & plaid.

MATERIAL-This one is easy, keep it all play or all work, with so much else going on mixing in super structured things with flowing chiffon, for example, is possible but not easy.   Again referencing today's photos, all pieces are casual and cotton.

As you start to feel more comfortable with these basics, start ignoring them!  The guidelines are your swim safety floaties, you wear them while learning and then once you're comfortable you want to dive right into the deep end!

Feeling like you're ready to do this?  Play around with your clothes, try 'em on, toss 'em off, make a mess, but clean it up after.  Look around your life for inspiration, favorite fashion spreads, your throw pillows, the internet and my PRINT MIXING label.  Most importantly, have fun and be confident in yourself, if you think you look good so will the rest of the world!

xo

ps.  I will be SO happy when mercury comes out of retrograde on the 20th, I've managed to accumulate 7 giganto bruises (like the one in the bottom of the photo below) during this retrograde, klutz!


 
Update:  Thanks to my AWESOME friend Erin Rodgers for sharing this perfect video...

 




7.15.2013

Health is Wealth: Supreme Salads

Health is Wealth is a wellness series focusing on the baby steps I took in order to better care for myself physically when I was feeling unstable mentally.  Click here for an intro to the series or read on... :)



My Mom raised me to love fruits and vegetables, as a toddler I was asking for and feeding myself slimy boiled okra, which I still love!  I'm so thankful that I do not have to train my taste buds to like nutritious food, thanks Mom!  Any time I feel sluggish or generally bleh, I immediately do a mental check list... have I had enough water?  Am I hungry?  Was the last thing I ate nutritious or junky?  Generally, when I'm well hydrated and full of healthy stuff I find it easier to put a positive spin on things, so I try to make it a priority by planning ahead to feed my self nutritious things.  

Essentially every Sunday I take over the kitchen an make MAD SALADS that I store in mason jars (how Brooklyn of me) and each morning grab one from the fridge to take to the office.  Not only do I free my evenings up by pre-prepping mine and NPR's lunches, I ensure I don't get caught up in the rigamarole of life and lose track of fueling myself properly.

My layered jars are essentially a gigantic vitamin, they look pretty and people at work are ALWAYS jealous of my lunch.  :)  I have a few tricks up my sleeve when it comes to these beauties...

Pro tip 1-Variety is the spice of life.  Every week my salads and dressing are different, but each week I have a rainbow of veg plus a mix of crunch, smooth, spicy, sweet and savory.
   
Pro tip 2-Layer wet stuff at the bottom.  These jars of goodness get dumped out on to a plate come lunch time, allowing me to mix everything around.  In order to preserve the contents better layer "wet" things at the bottom; that means cucumbers, bell peppers, beets, etc should be your first layers.

Pro tip 3-Cram that lettuce in.  Don't mush it too a pulp, but don't be afraid to pack it in.  Generally, my quart jars are 1/2 mix ins & 1/2 greens.

Pro tip 4-Save the nuts for last.  I feel like there is a dirty joke in there somewhere, but seriously, some good crunch is important for salad variety, save your crunchies for the very top.  

Pro tip 5-Avoid dishpan hands.  I use about 8-10 dishes when making these lovlies, and here's a dirty little secret.... I hardly wash ANY of them.  For the most part my salads are vegan, as long as my dishes don't touch any animal product, raw or cooked, I don't wash them.  I'll give them a good hot rinse ensuring all the debris is gone but there aren't many bad germs on raw veggies and PS. dirt is good for you.  


Supreme Salad mix ins:

Sweet ad ins: rasins, apples, pomegranate seeds, beets

Crunchy ad ins: roasted beans (edemame or chick peas), roasted or raw seeds (pumpkin/pepeitos or sunflower seeds) or nuts (almonds or walnuts)

Smooth ad ins: avocado is my main source of silky smooth yumminess.  I'm minimizing my dairy intake, but I have been known to make homemade ricotta and that shit goes great with a salad.

Spicy: generally my spice comes from a small amount of jalapeno chopped in the salad or from sriracha in the dressing 

Savory: when flavoring my protein (legumes or beans) I use many spices to keep things interesting

I'll layer in one mix in from each of the above categories along with a bounty of veggies and lettuce (romain, kale, spinach, "spring mix", arugala, whatever looks good at the store) and call it a day.  

Dressing:

Oil: olive oil or if I have a Asian or fruity salad I use a mix of olive oil and coconut oil

Acid: citrus, ACV, or any "fancy" vinegar.  Lemon or ACV goes well with everything, orange is nice for a sweet touch.

Aromatic: garlic or shallot

Fun stuff: sriracha, various spices, really the sky is the limit

Classic dressing recipes call for 3 parts oil, 1 part vinegar, I use 1:1 and mix in everything else to taste in a small jar that I take with me to work on Monday and use for the week.


viola!

xo

7.12.2013

...and you will know me by the trail of glitter




dress: forever 21//earrings: H & M//shoes: Anniel




This title has been shamelessly lifted from the band "...And you will know us by the trail of dead" who I would occasionally see back in Houston, long ago.  

xo


7.10.2013

Ketchup & Mustard


top: American Apparel//shorts: J. Crew//shoes: Betsey Johnson//necklace: Sparklebeast






If there were ever a musical about McDonald's, THIS would be the chorus girls outfit...  I can just imagine it:  jazz hands, shuffle ball changes all while whisper singing "ketchup and mustard, ketchup and mustard"  in the background of the Hamburgler's big solo.  Ha!  Now you have a look into the wacky way my mind works.

How many 1/2 pairs of earrings do you have in your jewelry box?  I ALWAYS seem to be losing mine and I recently lost one of my favorite earrings, black pave lightning bolts.  My solution was to mix and match them with another linear black earring that was similar and I rather like the effect.  

xo

7.08.2013

Health is Wealth: Beauty Elixer


 




A few weeks ago I mentioned how I've been dealing with severe anxiety for several months and for the last month or so have been seeing a profesional to help me deal with that.  What I did not divulge is that I recently started taking low dosage anti-depressants to help break the anxiety cycle, my first dosage was right around the time of that post.  After the first three weeks of meds, I can say that this was definitely the right choice for me, but it was not an easy road for me to get there.

I'm a do-er, a problem solver and somewhat doctor adverse.  Being as I rarely get sick combined with my DiY mentality, I rarely need to see a doctor and always felt that my stuffy nose or slightly sore throat will just get better and for most of my adult life it always has (but I love going to the dentist, go figure).  That being said, I wholeheartedly went to see a therapist but in our first session told her that I was staunchly against any medication.  Until one day I felt the need to crawl under my desk and cry uncontrollably or run around outside shaking my arms to get rid of the crawling skin sensation, then I knew things were bad.

This story is kinda going in reverse... Before I ever went to see a doctor, around December of last year, I was starting to feel the winter blahs (or so I thought at the time) so I knew it was time to take better care of my self.  This long drawn out story is to introduce another new series, Health is Wealth.  In this weekly series I will discuss, in order of appearance in my life, the steps I took to start taking better care of myself.  This is by no means a medical treatise, I'm a goddamn retail buyer, not a trained scientist.  These are the ways I improved my confidence, physical health, energy, sleep, regularity (yes, that kind) and shushed my inner Negative Nelly a few notches.  Obviously, medical help was what I needed, but a doctor can't help me if I'm not willing to help my self.  Even if you're not crazy like me, who doesn't want to feel more vitality and confidence?

My first step was a baby step, warm lemon water first thing in the morning.  In High School my Mom told me she did this religiously in her early 20's and at the time it sounded like a fad to me.  Last Fall I started seeing FB friends post about warm lemon water in the morning and thought, "what the hell if my yogi friends are doing it, it can't hurt".  After a week of having the elixer every morning, I noticed my skin WAS brighter, I was certainly regular and my Mom was happy to get a phone call from me telling her I thought she was right!  

Nowadays, my morning beauty elixer has been warm water, juice of 1/2 a fresh lemon, 1 Tbls ACV and a teanNINY (like 1/4 tsp) of local, raw, organic honey to cut the acidity (it's still really acidic, so don't be surprised).  There are a ton of articles out there touting more benefits and the science behind those benefits, but I can attest the following awesome benefits to this elixer:

* clearer, brighter, glowy skin
* less breakouts, even around my period
* increased confidence because I like my skin
* reduced craving for coffee and greasy foods
* it detoxifies, so um, I poop well

 
So, that's how a 1/2 a lemon helped me get better, it was a first baby step but if you don't start you'll never finish.  

xo

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7.05.2013

Sunshine & Apple Pie



sun hat: Anthropologie//bra top: Only Hearts//shorts & belt: vintage//shoes: Madewell




Happy (day after) 4th!  I tried to stay cool while chillaxing at a BBQ and then watched the famous Boston Pops Orchestra and fireworks show.  I'm forever in love with fireworks!  When I die I want my body parts to go to science while the rest is to be cremated and stuffed into a super sparkly, colorful firework to be shot off in celebration of something wonderful.  Dying wishes must be granted, right?

Today we are off to Walden Pond for relief from this heat, to picnic in the shade and take a dip in the water; tomorrow we are off to visit NPR's parents and pick up a much needed AC unit (woohoo!).  What are your plans for the long weekend?

xo