Monday, February 27, 2012

It's done

My first post on this blog was about getting a tattoo.  It's been something I've thought about forever.  At that time I was decided on a design but it never felt quite right.  I've thought about it off and on for probably a year.  I'm not one who thinks every tattoo has to have some deep meaning, but I did want something beautiful.

I settled on an octopus.  I am just so charmed by the way they look, move, their extremely high intelligence.  They're just fascinating creatures.  I also thought the shape (or lack thereof) would be perfect for where I wanted my tattoo, on my foot.

So Thursday night I had an appointment with Amanda at Art Addiction, at 7.  Now I am not going to lie.  This thing hurt like hell.  I had just gone to get a bikini wax and at first (while she was outlining) I thought, eh, not so bad.  not as bad as a wax!  But when she started shading and going over the same areas more than once, I thought I would die.

But it was definitely worth it.

She's shading here, and I'm trying to distract myself
My biggest mistake was not eating dinner before hand.  I thought I would have time to grab a bite, but I didn't.  And I totally underestimated the amount of time it would take.  We were done just after 10, and I was ready to go home and get in the bed.

Unfortunately, I had to wait a couple of hours to take off the bandage, wash it, and put ointment on it.  By then, I was having chills with shivering and chattering teeth.  And within another hour I was throwing up.  Apparently this isn't unheard of, but I think eating before and a little better timing could have avoided it.  I ended up falling asleep after 4 am, then waking up again when Brett's alarm went off.  I slept a little and was sick all day Friday.  Brett finally made me go to sleep at 7:30 that night.  I slept like 16 hours and came up feeling like a champ.

So I just needed rest and probably food.  But now I feel 100% better.

Still, I'm not sure I will ever do my other foot.  It hurt like a bitch.  Still hurts, but not very badly at all.

Looking at this picture (I can't figure out how to rotate it!), it's amazing how much the swelling has gone down in just a couple of days.  My foot was HUGE, and the swelling went into my toes and into the bottom of my foot.  I've been sleeping with my wisdom tooth ice pack on it and that's helping a ton.

Here's a picture in context, and my OOTD for today.

Sweater (which is actually hot pink), tank, jeans are Gap, shoes are J. Crew.

I love the way the tentacles kind of poke out from under my jeans and shoes.

If you have eagle eyes you may have spotted that I got another tattoo as an add on.

Another one I can't rotate.  Yes, I shamelessly copied Grace Bonney from Design Sponge.  I also wear the Stone and Honey ring she mentioned almost every day.  And this one actually has a little meaning for me (stylized symbol for change), but most of all I just love how simple it is.

So, I'm tattooed.  I'm a fan.  I'm sure I'll be getting more, eventually.

But first, my husband has to get his, which we're planning out right now!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Buy this: Sally Hansen Salon Effects

I really love nail art and having a great, clean manicure.  But I am just physically incapable of doing my own nails.  First, they are super short.  That's my own fault for chewing on them, but it makes things difficult.  Second, I'm just kind of spazzy about it.  It probably comes from the fact that I haven't really practiced, never did my nails as a teenager.  The result is that I'm shelling out $15 every time I want my nails done.

No more.  I'm taking a day off to relax today, and I picked up some Sally Hansen Salon Effects strips at Target last night, in case I felt like trying them today.  Well I just spent about 20 minutes applying them, and I am smitten.

Look how cool I am with my miniature globe
I picked Lustrous, which is a shiny black base with silver and gold glitter.  I think this is a style that might be too much for everyday with longer nails.  But with my stubs I think it works.

My Target sold the strips for $8.50, and they didn't have all of them available.  Personally I can't wait to try Tweed-le-dee, Check It Out, and Stripe-Tease.  They also have solids, and Debu-Taunt looks like a really great color.

I think they're worth it at close to half the price of a manicure.  We'll see how they look over time, but I've already framed and hung a picture, which can be rough on nails.  And they still look perfect.

I did my left hand first, and learned that erring on the size of too large for the strips was better.  I have more complete coverage on my other hand.

Each kit comes with 16 strips of various sizes so you can find that perfect fit.  It comes with all the tools (nail stick and a special file) that you need for application.  And it was definitely fool proof.  I ruined one strip and just started with another one.  I am definitely a believer, and am going to be using these pretty often.

Maybe it will keep me from biting my nails!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Bright shower for a dreary day

This past weekend was filled with love. laughing, and hard work.  I'm still tired from the whirlwind, and the day of the shower I ended up going to sleep at 8 pm.  Still, it was totally worth it to see how happy it made my cousin.

Here I am with the bride, Emily.  She had actually gotten married the day before, so she was still beaming.  I was lucky enough to be one of the 8 people who got to see her get married, and it was lovely.  I was so happy that I was able to give her this shower.

But now to the party.  The original plan was that they were getting married in September, and I was planning a shower for early summer.  Which meant I was still in idea gathering mode when they called and told me they'd moved the wedding up to February.  This was like a month ago.  So I had to get going stat.

I already had an idea board made up, which helped with planning.

We didn't end up using a lot of these ideas (scrapped the purple entirely), but it served as a great starting point for the feeling we were going for.

In the end, I used a ton of Pinterest ideas, sourcing from online shops, and cruising the valentine's day section for most of our supplies.  I think it turned out just perfect.

The table was set with a bunch of serveware we already had that fit the color scheme, fabric from Premier Prints (one of only three physical locations is in the town my grandma lives in, and they are super sweet), and small clusters of flowers in different types of glassware.  We went with carnations, mums, and daisies to get te most color and impact for our dollar.  The pinwheels and paper fans on the windows were purchased on clearance from BHLDN.  I also got a huge spool of baker's twine that we used all over the place.

The menu was tea sandwiches (chicken salad and cucumber dill), greek salad, olive dip, cheeseball, fruit salad, and vanilla cake with buttercream icing.  We served the greek salad and the fruit salad in little candy cups with wooden cocktail forks.

We used bakeware and fabric to create height on the table.

I loved the flowers.  Carnations are one of my favorites, and I love small, tight arrangements of just one flower.  The mismatched containers were so charming!

You got a sneak peek above, but here's a better picture.  We served fresh squeezed pink lemonade and tea in mason jars, with cute paper straws from Shop Sweet Lulu.  We also got the cups for the salads and some polka dotted balloons for the front porch from this site.

The bride's mom had purchased glass plates and some forks from a restaurant supply close out sale.  They really came in handy.  I arranged the forks in my enameled colander, and arranged polka dot napkins that came from Wal-Mart (pink) and World Market (red and orange).

We had a great time and were really thankful for all of our family who came out in the terrible rain.  I loved seeing so much of my family that I only get to see once a year or so.  And it was great meeting the groom's family and spending time with them.  I think Emily had a great time, and she definitely got lots of great presents (me and Brett went in with my parents to get her a red Kitchenaid Stand mixer.  She can't wait to use it!).

It was such a fun party to put together, even if it was so much work.  I think that's really illustrated in the cake.  Which took about 5 hours to put together, maybe more.  But when we cute into it and revealed what was inside, it was definitely worth it.  I may do a mix next time, though!

So cute, right?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

I know, as an old married lady I'm supposed to be cynical about Valentine's Day.  I am to a certain extent.  We don't do a big dinner out (we had Mexican at a place down the street on Saturday night to celebrate) and don't do major gifts.  I got Brett some nice skin care stuff, he got me the Lego garbage truck set (yes, we're children, and we're cool with it).  But no grand gestures needed on this day.

Still, it's a day to celebrate love, and I have plenty of reasons to smile today.  I have a wonderful, funny, devoted husband.  I have an incredible family.  My sweet little cousin is getting married on Friday and I can't wait to celebrate with her this weekend.  Another cousin is getting married in a month or so and we're excited to plan our trip to Austin, to toast a super fun couple (they biked from the top of Alaska to South America together before deciding to get married.  Super fun people!).

My life is full of love and I think it's a great day to stop and recognize that.  There are so many things to love in the world.  Even if the list seems a little ridiculous, here are some of the things I love today.

  • my cats
  • my clutch wallet
  • J. Crew t-shirts
  • my mom
  • ballet flats
  • Florence and the Machine
  • Pinterest
  • my happy pills
  • afternoon naps
  • tacos
  • pretty lingerie
  • piles of bracelets

Obviously in no particular order, and not exhaustive.

Someone pointed out that my outfit today is kind of festive.  I actually forgot it was V-day until my husband told me after I was already dressed.  So I guess this is my subconscious coming out.

Aww, you can see the huge ass pimple on my face.  How nice.  I'm approaching Kelly Kapowski territory here.  I should have painted my whole face red and pretended it was festive.

Don't worry I don't actually have jaundice!

I hope everyone is having a great V-day!  I'll leave you with this, the card I gave my hubs, who has been there for me every step of the way.  Even when it wasn't easy.

It will be framed above my desk pretty soon.  A good reminder of all the love I get to experience every day.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Yay for mail!

I usually don't get anything good in the mailbox, with the possibility of Netflix.  And that's been a part of my life for so long now, it's not a big deal at all anymore.  Isn't that sad?  Someone is delivering movies to my house in one day.  And it's just meh.

I mean, we get tons of packages.  Our FedEx and UPS guys probably think we have a problem or are running a business or something.  It's so easy to click "buy" online, right?  But I rarely get fun stuff in the mailbox.

But today, I had not one, not two, but three great surprises waiting in my mailbox.

First, we got the paperwork and materials to send in our old iPod Nano.  Seriously, I got this thing in college and I can't believe Apple is replacing it with a new one.  But I'm super psyched.  I know I'll have to wait a while to receive it, but I'm excited to get it started.

I got two things that will help ease my shopping freeze pain.  Apparently the purchase of our desk put us over the edge and we got $25 in credit at West Elm.  I'm super tempted to get the dipped side table.  It's on sale for $60, which is a kickass deal.  They have it in both colors, but I think I'd go for the white.

I should use it on gallery frames, but most of the white ones are on backorder.  And since we'll likely be driving through Houston to my cousin's wedding, I'm going to try to convince Brett to stop at Ikea for Ribba frames.  I'm fine with them since we have so many photos we want to frame.  I'll probably end up getting a couple of the biscuit tins, but they're no longer available in orange.  We'll see, but having the ability to even window shop is fun.

Now, my favorite thing in the mailbox, the J. Crew gift card!  I knew this was coming.  My office has a program where if you make extra effort, you get rewarded with gift cards.  It can be anything from teaching classes to cleaning up a bunch of old files.  I got this for leading the effort to write a big new document.  I didn't think it was that big a deal, but I'll take it!

So now I have a hundo to spend at my (probably) favorite store.  It's a tie with Anthro, but I'm excited for a little bit of reprieve in my shopping freeze.  I knew from the beginning that this might come up, and other people's money doesn't count!

I've already decided what I'm getting - two items that were on my must list from the spring collection.  first this enamel locket for $50.  It also comes in a bright yellow, but it looks like it's a slightly different shape, and I just love this one.  This mint color is very pretty too.

Second, the chambray tunic.  I really wanted the navy, but it's already sold out.  In like a week!  But I was thinking the lighter blue would be more versatile.  I figured I could rock the Canadian tuxedo with it, but the navy would probably be closer to the color of most of my jeans.  I think either of them will look great with black jeans.  This picture doesn't look great, to be honest, but the fit looks great.

I'm really excited to get these and wear them.  I love this program at work, because it really makes you feel like you're rewarding yourself (I paid for the bulk of my Frye boots saving these up).

Today is a good day!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Sale alert: J. Crew knits

J. Crew knits and tees are all on sale for 20% off right now.  No code required, just head on over and shop.

That means some of my favorite wardrobe basics are on sale.  And honestly, these are the things that are worth paying full price for at J. Crew.  They're great everyday pieces that stand up to abuse.

I love the vintage cotton tees.  My favorite is the bohemian red stripe, now down to $27.

The tissue tees are also a great layering piece, on sale as well.

And my workhorse wardrobe basic, the mixed tape cardigan, is under $40.  I have the navy, the heritage green, and henna, and I'm wearing one probably 50% of the time.  If I were shopping, I'd pick up the warm poppy and the basic black.

The striped jacket I talked about in my catalog review is also on sale!  It's down to just at $100.  I love it, but would probably wait until final sale.

Just an additional note, Kate Spade is having a surprise sale right now.  If you're looking for a handbag or wallet, they have some nice basics at a deep discount right now.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Dressing Room Reviews: Jason Wu for Target

Today being my husband's birthday, I thought I should definitely drag him to Target with me to check out the Jason Wu collection.  Definitely high up on his list of desired activities.

After viewing the lookbook for this collection, I was definitely excited to see it.  I knew, though, that it's pretty easy to make cheap clothes look good with lighting and good photography.  So I was curious to see what they looked like in real life.

I'm happy to say that I was pretty impressed with the collection as a whole.  The standouts were definitely the dresses and skirts, but there were some great tops as well.  I was really wanting to check out the yellow peplum top, and while they didn't have it in my size, I loved the one I saw.  The texture is really great - something you can't see in the pictures online.  It's kind of nubbly?

Anyway, here are some of the items I DID get to try on.  I'll list prices if I can find them, but the in-store only items don't list prices online.

The first thing I picked up was this blue floral dress.  I'm so glad I did because it was so adorable on.  Very flattering (only if it's belted, without it was really shapeless).  It comes with that cute golden yellow belt, which really gave it some oomph.  This one was hard to let go of.

Jason Wu for Target Navy Floral dress - $39.99
Next I tried on one of the long sleeve sheer blouses.  My store didn't have the white one with the black tie at the neck, so I tried on the blush color with tiny dots.  I thought this one had some fit issues.  It gapped at the bust for me, and my boobs aren't that big so I can imagine it would be a real problem for a lot of women.  I loved the sleeve and the ruffle at the chest, so it had some really great qualities, but not a favorite.

Jason Wu long sleeve sheer blouse

The next item I tried on was a short sleeved blouse with a tie at the neck.  I loved the color and the tie, as well as the fit.  But the closures were snaps, and cheaper snaps that seemed to come undone pretty easily (like when pulling it over my head).  A pass, but only because I wish it was a little sturdier.  This would be adorable with a black skirt.

Jason Wu short sleeve dotted blush blouse - $34.99
I also tried on the red and navy stripe tunic.  I loved everything about this.  The fit, the sheer layer around the neck, the stripes.  It was definitely something I could see myself wearing a LOT.  I think it was $22.99 but the price isn't listed online.

Jason Wu short sleeve striped tee
I tried on another tee as well - it was cream with a tie around the neck in the wheel print.  Very cute, but the tie came undone when I was putting it on and I couldn't get it tied in a cute way.  I liked it but didn't love it.

Jason Wu short sleeve tee with tie - $22.99
And the last item for my first jaunt to the dressing room was a navy floral tank top with a sheer yoke.  This was one of my favorite items.  Super flattering, loved the boxy cut, and the sheer swiss dot was really fun.  I would be annoyed about the bra strap situation though.

Jason Wu sleeveless top with sheer panel
When I came out of the dressing room, the lady told me to put the stuff I didn't want on a specific cart - that happened to be filled with items that people had discarded!  So lucky me, I got to try on three of the items that I was really looking forward to.

The navy floral pleated skirt was one of my favorites.  These skirts are super flattering, and I was really impressed by the quality.  I could definitely see this one falling right into my wardrobe.  Overall, I think the navy floral items were my favorite.

Jason Wu navy floral pleated skirt
The dress I wanted to see most was the striped sit dress with the black tie at the waist.  It didn't disappoint.  I loved the citron colored stripes on the neutral blush base, and the slim cut was really cute.  I also really loved the little accent stripes in lace.  The detailing in the collection is really what shines.

Jason Wu sleeveless pleated dress - $39.99
Bodice detail

Last, I snagged one of the cycle print dresses to try on.  I didn't really expect to like this, as I thought the pearl neckline was a little over the top.  But as soon as I had it on, I loved it.  It was a little twee, with the wheel print, the high neckline, and the pearls.  But I could definitely see it for work, and I loved the sleeves and the colors.

Jason Wu short sleeve printed cycle dress
Overall, I would say all three dresses, the skirt, and the red and navy top were my favorites.  I would have bought all 4 if not for the spending freeze.

As it was, Brett offered to buy me one of them as a V-day gift.  i almost took him up on it, with the belted navy floral dress - even got in the checkout!  But I ultimately decided to stick with the freeze and leave them all for someone else.

This is probably my favorite Target designer collection so far, considering only clothes.  Yep, even better than Missoni - which was really hit or miss for women's clothes.  The accessories in this collection (I saw two of the woven bags, the blue floral bag, and a blue floral scarf) were cute, but the clothes were definitely the stars!

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Kind of a weird title, but it's one of my favorite lines in a great movie (with great art direction!), The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.
Someone asks Steve what the purpose of killing an animal, most likely nearly extinct, would be.  Of course, it's revenge.

But this post isn't about jaguar sharks or avenging the death of our friends.  It's about shoes.

There are lots of great things about this movie, but what stands out for me is the styles and the colors.  Starting with the poster, they set a theme of shades of blue with shots of yellow.

Even better than this poster (love that single fish in front!), is the Criterion collection art.

I just love these colors, and they fit the mood of the movie perfectly.

Now, Wes Anderson movies have no shortage of visual inspiration.  Design Sponge did a "Living In" feature on the Royal Tenenbaums that was so great (and includes a few of the actual products used on the movie - love that zebra wallpaper).  This movie has a totally different feel, but just as much inspiration.  It might be my favorite Wes Anderson movie.

But shoes, right?  I can take a lot of inspiration from this move, but my favorite is the colors.  Those fresh blues with the bright yellow, plus the nearly white sky.  Gorgeous.  Team Zissou knew this, and they got themselves some awesome tennis shoes to show it.

Now, I actually kind of need a pair of tennis shoes.  All I've got is some Tretorns.  They have kind of a slippery bottom, and they're canvas so I don't want to take them out in the rain.

And I just love these shoes.  It would crack me up every time I put them on.  I am totally iffy on a mostly white shoe though.  Not sure if I'm a fan.

You've long been able to have these shoes custom made via etsy or ebay.  But $145 seems a lot to pay for tennis shoes, even though they're custom.

Enter MiAdidas!

Custom sneakers are getting to be a big trend.  You can now customize Nike, New Balance, and Adidas.  Adidas seems to be the most reasonable, at $90 for their simple, iconic shoe (the Samba, very close to the shoes worn in the movie).  For comparison, the New Balance 574s are $115, and the Nike Cortex is $115 as well.

With each of the brands, you can customize the color of every piece, down to the eyes for the laces.  The Adidas Samba can get you everything but the yellow laces (which you can get separately) and the shape of the sole.  You can even have "Zissou" printed in gold along the stripe.

This is a really fun idea, and I think it's great for the shoe companies to realize this market is out there.  I've always wanted a pair of Tigers for the fun color combos.  but now that I can make my own, I think I'll stick with an old favorite.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

It's J. Crew Catalog Day!

Actually, it was yesterday.  But now I've had time to go through it and let me just say, it's a good thing I'm on a shopping freeze.  Because it's really great.

But even on the freeze, one of the great things about the J. Crew catalogs are the styling.  This one showed some great ideas for layering and makeup that I'm excited about.  So how about we break this down into categories.

First, here are the items I will surely be buying.  Possibly willing to pay full price for some of these.

Chambray Bayou Tunic, $59.50
I want this tunic (shown with the Nolita Jacket, $98, Summerlight Terry shorts, $42, and the Tillary tote, $328) so bad, I am going to have it even if I have to pay full price.  I want it in the color shown, Navy, but it also comes in white and a lighter blue.  I can see wearing this with my black skinny pants.  Definite buy for me!  The price is actually really good in my opinion, rarely the case for full price at J. Crew.

Vintage cotton tees $29.50-34.50

These vintage tees are hands down my favorite basic tee.  I usually catch them on sale, but they are worth the price.  The white especially, it's not super heavy and not too sheer.  I'll get one of the stripes, most likely the navy or red (the stripes are an extra $5).  I also love the red and henna (which is kind of cut off at the top), and I really need a gray one if I can get my hands on it.

All of these.  I'm going to get all of them.

Okay, not really.  I already have the classic leather and the Cece suede (in a bright lemon yellow).  I wouldn't mind getting another pair of the classic leather But one pair here really caught my eye.

Mila flats, $138

I may not have looked twice at these if not for the gorgeous color (they're calling it neon peach).  But I love the colorblocking on the toe cap and the neutral banding around the foot.  These will be a gift to myself sometime this spring/summer.

Broken in Boyfriend Chino short $49.50
Though I'm not the biggest fan of boyfriend jeans, I love a good boyfriend short.  Add in the great color selection (the Vintage Amber, on her, is my favorite) and I'm in.

I also love this navy and white striped jacket.  It's the Merriweather Jacket, for $128.  My favorite detail is the epaulets, which don't show up great in this picture.  And I love the fact that it's cotton, so I would actually be able to wear it occasionally.  This will be a pass for me though, unless it gets marked down drastically.

This picture though, is so great.  I love her coral lipstick, which was repeated throughout the catalog and looked great on all the ladies.  I also LOVE the color combo going on her, especially the amber with that dusky purple.

Natasha blouse in watercolor floral, $98
I have the Natasha top in a dusty lavender, and although I only paid about $30 for it, I think they're worth the original price ($88 for solid, $98 for prints).  The texture of the silk is really wonderful, and it's fully lined.  I love this print so much, I would consider it at full price.  I just don't know if I want two of a blouse that has a kind of distinctive cut.

That's it for what I see myself actually considering buying.  But there are some great items that I just don't need or can't justify the price of.  These might make their way to me during final sale.

Toni Oxford Loafers $268
I just can't swallow this price for something that's not a neutral, classic piece.  But I absolutely love these, the color and the style.  I really, really want a pair of oxfords, but I think I can find some I like just as much at a much lower price.  Sidenote - this model's legs are actually normal.  I think it must be the angle I took the picture that's making her look like a little girl with very large feet.

Cashmere Isabel Sweatshirt, $248

I love, love, love this sweatshirt.  The fit looks great, and I love this persimmon color.  But I can't stomach normal cashmere prices in my climate, much less $250.  I bet it's cozy though.

Lillian Dress in Watercolor, $198
I actually don't think this price is too high for a lined, wool/silk dress.  I bet that cut is super flattering, and the print is gorgeous.  If I needed a dress right now, I'd grab it.  But I just don't.  Boo.

Now the last category - images I found really beautiful but just don't see for me, or something like that.

Love this layered look, especially the red with the chambray
Not jazzed about the head to toe look, but the printed peplum top is great!
Love these new Indian Cotton shirts from the men's section, could see me or Brett wearing them
Boy's shoes, I would love a pair of the black and white Sambas.  I also love the colors on this page!
I love the shirt and skirt in the same print, and the length of the skirt is great.  Also, this model is gorgeous!

These colors!  And I'm still not sure I can pull it off, but these look like a great way to ease into printed pants.

Overall I really enjoyed this catalog.  I'm going to have to get some light coral lipstick after seeing the paler models pull it off!  Does anybody else geek out about catalogs like me?  Or am I alone?  It's really only J. Crew and West Elm that do this to me.  And because I can look at their stuff online like any other retailer, I think it's all about the styling.  They both have great styling that makes me want to look not only at the products, but the bigger picture.