Monday, January 31, 2011

30 for 30, before I'm 30?

My first attempt at fashion blog posing. Can't keep a straight face. Looks like someone needs some practice.

Over the weekend, inspired by some of my favorite fashion bloggers, I decided to participate in Kendi Everyday's 30 for 30 challenge. If you haven't heard of it yet, you choose 30 items from your closet (accessories not included) that are the only things you can wear for the next 30 days, and share pictures of your ensembles on your blog.

The remixing of clothes doesn't scare me so much, but I can tell you that I'm rather terrified to post pictures of myself for all to view. That may sound silly since I often post weekend or vacation pictures, but, I'm feeling terribly self-conscious about my ability to pose for the camera as cutely as girls like Emily and Sydney do.

So while my outfits may not be high fashion, and my poses rather unmodelesque, I do hope that the project will inspire me to get creative with my closet, and also provide you with some budget shopping tips and perhaps a good laugh at some awkward pictures of yours truly.

And since this blog is meant to be lifestyle focused, I won't detour from my regular recipe, project, and DIY postings. I also confess, that because I work from home, I sometimes spend the entire day in sweats, and I won't include those days in this project. With these two caveats in mind, you can expect one weekly fashion-related post that will include all my remixes from that week and a hope that I find enough days to get dressed up that I finish my 30 for 30 before I'm 30, six years from now.

So without further ado, here are my 30 for 30 picks, also known as, that which must be moved before Derek comes home and freaks out about my mess!

The whole crew:


Top row: Gap, Urban Outfitters, Kenar from Marshalls, Ralph Lauren at Marshalls, Elle for Kohls
Second row: Target, Banana Republic (thrifted), Vera Wang for Kohls, Lauren Conrad for Kohls

Third role: Marshalls, NY and Co., Ralph Lauren from Marshalls, Old Navy

Fourth role: (green dress) NY and Co., Tommy Hilfiger at Marshalls, Banana Republic, J. Crew, Old Navy, Gap

Fifth role: Lauren Conrad for Kohls, Old Navy, Polo at Marshalls, Calvin Klein at Marshalls, Marshalls,
French Connection at Marshalls
Shoes: Boots from, Old Navy Flats, Candies for Kohls heels, Red heels from Kohls, boat shoes thrifted.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Welcome back from the weekend friends! Derek and I had a fabulous time this weekend attending the PGA tour event at nearby Torrey Pines. I'm not much into golf myself, but Derek was like a kid waiting for Christmas ever since we got the tickets. Excited as I was initially not, I actually had a fabulous time! The competition, crowd, sun, and a few beers turned me into quite the golf fan. I even got a thumbs-up from this guy.

Unfortunately, cameras were not allowed at the event, and thus I have zero golf pictures to post. Instead, I thought I 'd share the above pictures taken a few months ago when Derek took me beach horseback riding for my birthday! Random, I know, but I was reminiscing in my Picasa albums today and thought why not?

What did you do this weekend? Are you a golf fan or more the mini-golfing type like I am? Happy Monday!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Foodie Friday

This week we found out our favorite corner frozen yogurt spot is going out of business in one month! Argh! So what did we do? We went there for dessert every night. Coupled with the delicous meals below, it looks like I'll be putting in some extra gym time this weekend!

Happy cooking (and eating)!

Rating Key:
Taste rated by Derek to eliminate cook's bias: 1 (wouldn't make again) to 5 (an eminent kitchen comeback)
Difficulty: 1 (could cook it while talking to a live-audience) to 5 (left the kitchen sweating)

Monday: Mushroom Marsala Pasta with Artichokes from Smitten Kitchen
Rating: 4
Difficulty: 2
Sides: salad
Tips: I couldn't find the recommended type of pasta so I used what I had on hand! It was still delicious

Tuesday: Chicken Prosciutto from Simply Recipes
Rating: another 6! Simply Recipes can't stay on Derek's scale
Difficulty: 2
Sides: Steamed green beans, salad, and homemade bread
Tips: Just a word of warning - the prosciutto really sticks together in the packaging!

Wednesday: Out for the night!

Thursday: Shaved Asparagus Pizza from Smitten Kitchen
Rating: 5
Difficulty: 1
Sides: salad
Tips: I swapped the Mozzarella cheese for Fontina since I had it on hand. I also added the leftover prosciutto from Tuesday's recipe and the addition took this recipe over the top!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I'm so flattered!

CasaSugar posted my felt rose wreath on their homepage today! Thanks Casa! You can check it out here.

And if you're a Casa-cronie coming over for the first time, welcome! Here are some posts I think you may like:

I love my jute twine lotion holder. The chicest way to moisturize!

This DIY plate decor was also featured on Casa. Serving it up again.

Looking for other wreath ideas? I've got you covered.

Join me in my closet challenge!

Want to learn some more about me? Check out our holiday break or this trip to Keystone!

Confession: collections

When I was about 8-years-old, I wanted a dog, bad. My parents wouldn't let us get one, so I found ways to substitute - I read books about dogs, made homemade treats for my friends' dogs, and finally, I collected dog figurines - about five shelves full to be exact. I may have been on my way to becoming a candidate for this show.

When I was 11, I finally got a real dog.  And as most kids do with their collections, I grew bored of my dog statue menagerie and it soon moved from a prominent spot in my bedroom to a box in my parents' attic.

Since then, the only thing I've collected are vintage aprons, of which I have about 10, most of which were sent to me by friends and family who know I love these frilly things.

I'm confessing my collection because I want to know, what do you collect? Did you have any strange collections when you were a youngster? Traumatized by any porcelain doll collections of your grandmothers'?

I also wanted to share my thoughts on five things that are FREE and perfectly non-hoarderish to collect:

1. Restaurant matchbooks - free, fabulous little souvenirs to remind you of the great places you've eaten. Plus, when placed in a bowl they provide a classy air freshener for your bathroom. We keep ours in this seashell on our bathroom counter.

2. Seashells - bringing a little ocean into your house always brightens things up and seashells can also be used in so many cute ways! Like as a hurricane filler here, also in our bathroom.

3. Memories - I took a class in college called Life Histories/Narratives for which I had to write a biography about my mom. Though I'd already heard plenty of stories about her, it was really special to chat about her life uninterrupted. Take time to sit down with grandparents and other older family members and record their stories from small to big, down on paper or with a video camera. Years from now, the collection of those memories will be something generations of your family can enjoy.

How cute is my mom?

4. Compliments - I can't say enough about how a compliment can brighten someone's day. Be liberal in your giving of compliments and hang on to your favorites! You can write down compliments that really impact you in a journal or, like me, save a email folder for "Yays!" I have one in my work and one in my personal account. I stash nice emails there to remind myself how good things can be when I'm having a bad day.

Image from here.

5. Coupons - OK, I don't mean you should go to the extreme of this other show, but clipping those totally free coupons and collecting them someplace non-crazy like this cute antique coupon box that I use can save you big bucks. You know, so you can collect all those things that aren't totally free.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ghost writer

I've had so little time to read lately, I'm wondering if I should opt for one of these nifty alternatives to my real book case!

Bookcase wallpaper on Design*Sponge

Bookcase chalkboard wall by Inspired by Charm.

Aren't they awesome!?

Have you read anything great lately? Would love our recommendations for when I finally get around to my real shelves!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Smell the roses

I've had a spare grapevine wreath hanging out in my storage closet for a couple of months with no inspiration of what to do with it. So you can imagine my excitement when I saw this DIY wreath on Linley's lovely blog Dwelling & Telling.

Linley's version required 25 sheets of felt, but my local Michael's only had five sheets in the color I wanted to use, so I improvised! To create my roses I used the same method as on this project. I then clustered them off-center and added a pretty green ribbon.

I love the outcome! The perfect mix of wintery branches and light blooms for this time of year.

Monday, January 24, 2011


After being out of town for a few weekends in a row, Derek and I were excited to have a relaxing weekend at home - just the two of us.

Friday night we took it easy with a yummy sushi dinner out and some Netflix back at home. On Saturday, we headed to nearby Del Mar for an antiques fair! It was a lovely day outside, perfect for a Jeep drive.

To get in the thrifty-antique spirit I donned this floaty Target dress ($5) and my vintage Frye cowboy boots - thrifted for $8! Steal of the century.

Antiques fairs are the perfect place to accessorize! Check out these baubles! And that dress! To die for - but $500!

These folks got into their outfits as well. Meet Captain F-Bomb and some of his friends. They dress in "Steam Boat Punk" - imagine the Victorian age and a sci-fi movie combined.

I love the unique people and the unique finds at antique fairs. I could imagine this "gum parker" being cute in a bubble gum loving tween's room and this Jolly Roger boat would be a lovely surprise for a little guy. And the nut machine? Well that's just fun for everyone.

I think Derek was a little overwhelmed by it all, but he had a good time checking out some of the antique watches and listening in on a discussion about fishing lures. Maybe some of this antique shaving cream would've done him well. Could this stuff still be good?

After the antique fair we made our way home and had steak with this amazing topping. Then we headed to the drive-in theater to see The Green Hornet. The movie was just OK by itself but curling up in the back of the Jeep in our sweats with wine and candy made it a real winner.

Sunday morning I set off the fire alarm (oops!) while making beignets from mix Derek's mom sent us straight from The Big Easy! Beignets are delicious, especially paired with French coffee from New Orleans as well. Thanks Chris!

The rest of the day we relaxed, watched football, and got ready to get back to the grind!

How was your weekend? Can't wait to hear!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Foodie Friday

I found some delicious recipes to cook this week and with three guests on Thursday, I spent a lot of time in the kitchen. Here's the dish!

Rating Key:
Taste rated by Derek to eliminate cook's bias: 1 (wouldn't make again) to 5 (an eminent kitchen comeback)
Difficulty: 1 (could cook it while talking to a live-audience) to 5 (left the kitchen sweating)

Tuesday: Chicken Marsala with Pancetta and Cream from Simply Recipes
Rating: 5 - The pancetta took this marsala recipes to another level!
Difficulty: 2
Sides: Steamed green beans, salad and this homemade rosemary bread
Tips: Pancetta is a bit pricey so plan additional meals to use it up!

Wednesday: Easy Grilled Salmon (teriyaki marinade) from Simply Recipes
Rating: 6! Broke the charts!
Difficulty: 1 - couldn't be easier -- especially when your boyfriend does the cooking
Sides: This roasted cauliflower, salad, and homemade bread
Tips: Derek thought this was beyond perfection, but I found it a bit salty. I might go for low-sodium soy sauce next time.

Thursday: Ginger, Coriander, and Orange Glazed Chicken from Steamy Kitchen
Rating: 3 - I thought the flavor of this dish didn't quite match the time/effort put in
Difficulty:  2
Sides: Brown rice and this asparagus recipe
Tips: I used chicken breasts instead of thighs since we were having guests and not everyone loves bone-in. Perhaps the thighs with skin would have held the flavor better.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I'm sew happy

Before I moved to San Diego I was on a Craigslist hunting spree. One day, I stumbled upon an item I wasn't even looking for ... an antique, working sewing machine in a wood cabinet. I was in love! Not only could it be used as a functional table, but I could learn how to sew.

It was perfect but at $100, a little out of the range I was looking to spend on something I didn't technically need. The posting said the owner was moving that day so I took a chance and offered less to take it off her hands in time for her move. We chatted for awhile and I soon discovered she was the nicest Craigslist seller ever! She gave me the table for $50, not because she was moving, but because she'd had it since the eighth grade and wanted to make sure it got a good home!

Well I haven't learned to sew yet but I have given it a good place to live! It was a little worn down so Derek and I gave it a fresh coat of pretty orange paint and sprayed the handle white.

As usual, please ignore ugly wall color - we can't paint this apartment! Ugh!



The seller tossed in a pretty wooden box of sewing accessories which sits on the top along with a piece of wood printed with "New York" that my parents found at a flea market and an Empire State Building thermometer my Dad got in NYC when he was just 17!

We added a globe we found at a thrift store for just $12 to round off the top. For some inexpensive but meaningful art, I framed a photograph of Derek and some of his buddies in the Air Force. I also found this intro page to an article in a 1940's issue of Cosmopolitan I picked up at an antique fair. It's entitled "The Veteran Goes To College" perfect for my studious man of service!

What do you think? Any sewing tips for a beginner?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


My weekend recap is coming a day late this week since my weekend didn't even technically end until bedtime on Monday! I had such a wonderful time, however, that I'm excited to share some clips!

Sunday we drove up to Pasadena to visit our friends Matt and Krista and Monday we continued our journey on to Santa Monica to meet up with my cousins Sarah, Tyler, Will, and Tyler's girlfriend, Melissa. We did lots of talking, shopping, strolling, and general frolicking in the sunny and 80 degree January weather.

Here are a few of the highlights.

Take note - hairdos do not last long when your boyfriend drives a Jeep. Double note - boyfriend's Jeep needs a wash.

I wish I knew where to find some good fishing 'round here! 

Until the sun comes up on the Santa Monica Boulevard.

From pine trees in Keystone last week to palm trees on the pier. 

Purple-pink houses are suitable only at the beach 

Derek and I channeling Top Gun.

California cousins! Sarah and I. 

Tyler and Melissa got stopped to pose for some pictures about fashion trends. Rightfully so!

A perfectly sunny day for shadow puppets. 

What did you do with your long weekend? I'm so excited this next weekend is only three days away!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Coming out of the closet

I have a confession to make: I am a clothes-a-holic.

Although you wouldn't know it from home office uniform of sweats, I have a closet brimming with clothes. Not expensive clothes mind you, because in addition with my love of clothes, I have a love of bargain hunting (thanks Mom). Put me to work in a sale room or at a Marshall's or T.J. Maxx and I'll come out with more cute tops, pants, and dresses than you can shake your first at. But because bargain hunting means I can get more bang for my buck, I often end up with more clothes than I need, and even some items that attracted my eye initially, but end up sadly abandoned in my closet as my favorites get to tool around town.

Since we're off to a new year, I decided to put this bad habit to an end ... at least while I'm working from home and cute work outfits are rendered entirely unnecessary. To get going on this goal, I developed a plan that I began to carry out this weekend. Here it is:

First, I cleaned out my closet of anything I haven't worn in over a year and anything that's unrepairable (I have a habit of keeping my favorite things even when they're holey and I don't wear them).

Then, I took all the empty hangers and tucked them away, out of view. My rule now is, that I can't put any more hangers up - meaning if something new is coming in, something old has to go out. This way, each time I'm tempted to buy something, I have to weigh it against the other items in my closet -- Is it really something I need? Do I like it enough to get rid of something else? If the answer is yes, I must donate to Goodwill one piece of clothing to open up a hanger for the new item (same rule goes for folded items though it's more fun with the hangers - like musical chairs).

I'm so excited and already got started by getting rid of a preteen-looking cropped black blazer that's been in my closet for years, and replacing it with a grown-up lacy (yet also cropped) black Lauren Conrad (yes I love it) jacket I found on sale at Kohl's for a very bargain-licous $14.

What do you think of my plan? Do you have your open tips for keeping your closet in check?

P.S. Who has a closet neat enough to perform as a headboard? I mean who!? Jealous. Image from here.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Foodie Friday

Happy Friday!

Every week I scour my favorite food blogs for new dinner recipes to try. I love to cook and look forward to tasting the finished product and getting a rating from Derek. So that you may learn from my successes and my mistakes, each Friday, I thought I'd start sharing the links to the recipes I made during the week along with a review and tips!

I hope you enjoy this new segment and please share links to your favorites in the comments below!

Rating Key:
Taste rated by Derek to eliminate cook's bias: 1 (wouldn't make again) to 5 (an eminent kitchen comeback)
Difficulty: 1 (could cook it while talking to a live-audience) to 5 (left the kitchen sweating)

Tuesday: Pan Roasted Salmon with Ginger Soy Glaze from The Kitchen Sink Recipes
Rating: 5 - "Perfectly cooked and a wonderful glaze."
Difficulty: 1 - super easy and quick!
Sides: Rice-a-Roni Fried Rice and steamed broccoli
Tips: Freeze your leftover ginger root to keep it good for future recipes!

Wednesday: Marsala Chicken with Sage and Cremini Mushrooms from Martha Stewart
Rating: 5 - "" 
Difficulty: 2 - a little more time-consuming
Sides: steamed green beans, salad, and bread
Tips: None
Thursday: Spaghetti with Braised Kale from The Kitchen Sink Recipes
Rating: 4 - "Light, healthy, and savory"
Difficulty: 2
Sides: Homemade bread and salad
Tips: My pasta stuck together quite a bit - I'd run cold water over the drained pasta, add a tiny bit of butter, and toss well to prevent this in the future.

Friday: Grilled Apple-and-Cheese Sandwich with Homemade Sage Pesto from The Kitchen Sink Recipes
Rating: 5
Difficulty: 2 - only because I hate cleaning my food processor
Side: Salad
Tips: I used homemade bread from this recipe on Smitten Kitchen

Curtain up!

I love the warmth and practicality that curtains bring to a room, but I never can a set I love for a reasonable price! So you can imagine my delight when I came across a no-sew tutorial for curtains on Young House Love. I had to try it!

A local high-end fabric stores was going out of business so I was able to find five yards of gorgeous fabric for just about $30.

First, I measured the height of the windows and added about two inches to account for seems.

Then, I cut the fabric into two panels according to that length.

With some cheap hem tape (I used two rolls) I hemmed each side just using an iron.

While I was doing that, Derek put up our new curtain rod, then attached clip-on curtain rings to the newly "hemmed" panels.

Finally, curtain up! Applause!