Twenty Eight

January 28, 2014

I turn 28 today – I suppose it’s my golden birthday (thanks for the reminder, Liz).  My life has changed a lot in the last few months, but I honestly can say I haven’t felt as comfortable in my own skin for as long as I can remember, if at all, as I do today.  I have really embraced life over the past two months, made lots of plans, done things I don’t normally do, and enjoyed just being me and doing what I have wanted to do.

Some days I get worked up because I am in my late twenties and am not currently going down the path of marriage, babies, etc.  But the truth is that I think I needed to come into my own before I venture down that path, and I am doing it right now.  I am more sure of myself, what I want out of life, and what makes me happy.  I am not compromising my happiness for the happiness of others.  I am just being me and enjoying it.

As always, thank you for reading.  This blog is important to me and makes up a part of who I am, and I am thankful to have a whole virtual group of friends with whom I can share all of my inspiration.

I think 28 is going to be a really good year.

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Birthday Wishlist

January 24, 2014

My 28th birthday is next Tuesday (28 on the 28th!) and I thought it would be fun to put together a little wishlist and share what I would love to have for my birthday if I got some money to spend recklessly.  These things aren’t over the top at all, just not items making it on top of the priority list right now, because I’ve curtailed my spending a bit to bounce back from the money I put into decorating my place!

For the Kitchen:

Immersion blender – luckily my friend Steph lets me borrow hers, but I would love to have one to make delicious soups this Winter (especially with these disgustingly cold temperatures we’ve been having).  I borrowed hers last week and made this soup (but without corn added sausage to make it paleo and because I can’t feel full on a totally veggie based soup) – it was so delicious.  My friend Chelsea also made me a curried acorn squash soup last week and we topped it with crème fraiche and pumpkin seeds and it was so great.  I’d make them both again!

Marble slab – I love the way food looks on a marble slab and I think it would be a pretty addition to my kitchen – would just leave it sitting out on the counter and stare at it :)

Colorful nesting bowls – These are bright, fun, and would allow me not to have to wash my two mixing bowls immediately after every use when I am doing a big cook!

Fitness:

New sneakers – I’ve had my inov-8’s for a couple of years now, and while I still love them, they’re starting to look a little dingy and they’re pretty cold for the Winter.  I am really into Nike’s patterned offerings and would love to add a pair to my workout routine.

Fun workout tights – Tights are my go-to for Fall and Winter and (surprise) Nike has been making some really cool pairs.  Do you follow the Nike Women insta account?  It’s a beautiful feast for the eyes for anyone who enjoys exercising.  Cool colors, patterns, and interesting photos.

Rumbleroller foam roller – to really work out the kinks but not as harsh as using a lacrosse ball for rolling my muscles out.

Shoes:

Striped Pointy-Toed Flats – I definitely am in the camp of “pointy toe flats are better” – I think they look more refined, less opportunity for frump.  These are affordable and so cute – and they come in polka dot too!  Would easily jazz up an outfit made of mostly solids.

Leopard Heels – I have two pairs of leopard flats but no leopard heels (can you believe it?).  These are only $50 and a nicely scaled pattern!

Accessories:

Loren Hope Necklace – Okay so given that this IS a wishlist, this is way more than I’d ever spend on a costume jewelry piece, but I think Loren’s jewelry is absolutely stunning.  I always enter her giveaways on Instagram and hope I win some day.

Forever 21 Earrings – only SEVEN dollars.  These look way more expensive and they’re fun!

Rayban White Rimmed Aviators – A fresh updated Rayban that would look so amazing with a little summer tan.

Scalloped Bag – This is out of stock so if I had a wish I would bring it back, because it’s beautiful and classic, but a little “different” with the scalloped edges.

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I always super-de-duper love Erin Gates’ posts where she takes a room and translates it into an outfit.  While I don’t plan on totally stealing her idea here, I thought it would be kind of fun to give you a glimpse into how I am decorating the different rooms in my apartment by showing you outfits, rather than showing you half-done photos of my place!  Today I wanted to share my translation of my bathroom and kitchen!

First, on the left, is a glimpse into my bathroom.  I also gave a peek last night on Instagram, because I finallllly got around to hanging my art work.  The bathroom is 100% girly and I love it.  It’s really the only truly girly space in the whole apartment, and I had fun putting it together.  It’s serene with the use of pinks, whites, and greys.  This outfit also feels serene and feminine, but the awesome ($60!) coat adds some texture and visual interest to the outfit, as does the scarf because it’s not just your regular old black scarf.

Blouse / Tweed Coat / Pink Denim / Grey Suede Flats / Cutout Infinity Scarf / Crocodile Bag

On the right is a glimpse into the kitchen.  I have a brand spankin’ new stainless steel range, black and white tile, and I’ve accented with some bright pops of color – specifically some yellow.  I know it’s not earth-shattering, but it’s fun and looks classic.  I thought a yellow high-waisted bikini and a fun black and white polka dot towel, with some shiny silver sandals would be a really great way to translate this room into an outfit!  If you’re not super into showing off your stomach, a high waisted bikini might be perfect for you!

Bikini Top / Bikini Bottom / Beach Towel / Straw Tote / Silver Sandals / Straw Hat / The BEST Aloe!

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Latest Uniform: Baseball Tee

January 21, 2014

Lately I have been running around like crazy trying to get my apartment all settled, so comfort has been key on the weekends.  Maybe I am a little late to the party, but I am really liking baseball tees lately.  They’re cuter than plain long-sleeved or 3/4 tees, and look really good with jeans and boots.  Plus, they’re so affordable!  I found an awesome navy camo baseball tee on Friday at Gap for only $8!  Then I proceeded to buy another at Forever 21 (the grey striped one below).

In case you’re in need of a new casual running-errands type outfit, this should be your new go-to!

Solid Baseball Tee ($13) / Striped Baseball Tee ($10)

Favorite Jeans / Boots that would look amazing with jeans and baseball tees

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After a much, much needed 3 week blogging break, I am back.  I sincerely appreciate all of your nice comments on my last post about my new apartment.  I am happy to report it is shaping up nicely, despite my amex card being overheated from so many swipes.  But it’s really important to have a cozy and beautiful home, especially in a time when your heart is hurting, so I am 100% okay with my home expenses and have instead decided to scale back on clothes and other luxuries lately.

So since I left you, we’ve turned over a new leaf and we’re into a brand spankin’ new year.  How does it feel?  Any different?  I am super excited for a fresh start! Even if nothing feels super different yet, the symbolic “New Year” injects a lot of hope into my thoughts about the days, weeks, and months to come.

From a wardrobe perspective, I like to start the year off with an audit on my closet so that I can re-group and really give some thought to where the current state of my wardrobe is and where I want to take it in the next year.  To be honest, right now I am at this awkward spot between cutesy/feminine and classic/grown woman.  I already look young enough, I don’t need to make myself look any younger with pieces that are too young or “cute” for my age.  So I am trying to gear more towards structured and refined pieces.  But on the other hand, I also really dig a little more of a roughed up look lately!  Like my black leather ankle boots with tees and broken in jeans…. lots of black lately.  I am all over the place, really.  I NEED TO FOCUS! Luckily I did clear some stuff out that I just know isn’t “me” anymore, and took it to Snooty Fox (for those of you in Cincinnati – the convenience of it is worth the fact that they take half the profits, at least for me).

So, where is your wardrobe right now?  What do you need to do to take it to the next level?  I encourage you to share your thoughts/anxieties/dreams about and for your wardrobe!  Maybe I can offer some tips or shed some light on where to go from here!

Below are a few photos that are giving me a little push and serving as inspiration for 2014 – and yeah, they’re a little all over the place – but I guess that’s what makes me enjoy fashion so much.  You can take on a totally different persona from one day to the next, just by changing your top or your shoes.  It’s really exciting and fun to have an opportunity to reinvent yourself every single day!

images via here and here

images via here and here

images via here and here

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New Apartment: Before Tour

December 17, 2013

Today I wanted to share a sort of “before” photo tour of my new apartment!  I have only lived here for a week and none of my furniture has been delivered really, nor is my decor up, so I thought it would be a good time to show you the layout and a few before photos so we can enjoy the progress a few months from now!  I really lucked out in finding this place, as I was reaching the end of my rope, had very limited time to find a place, and really didn’t want to live in a dump after living in a beautiful only 10 year old house for the past 3 years.  So, as you can probably guess, my standards were a bit high.  I had scoured craigslist and my friend Steph looked at a bunch of places with me, but nothing felt right.

So when I say I lucked out, I mean that I randomly found this place on google, with no pictures of the actual apartment and just a blurb on the site that said contact Judy for availability.  Given that the building was in the exact neighborgood that I wanted, you bet your sweet butt I contacted Judy right away to set up a showing.  Unfortunately, there was someone else who was viewing the place for a second time and if she decided to apply for the apartment, I wouldn’t get to see it.  Well, she decided not to apply, so Judy and I took a look together and as soon as I walked in, I knew it was the right place for me.  Just felt like fate!

So here are a few “before” photos of the apartment!  Hope you enjoy!  Layout first – not really to scale but I tried my hardest.  The living room/dining room is HUGE!  So is the bedroom, really.

Hallway from the Living Room

LOVE the moulding – it is notched and beautiful in person

Living room from end by bedroom

Living room from fireplace end

Bedroom  (right photo is from the far corner of my room by closet, looking out the bedroom door)

Kitchen from Hallway

See that door with the polka dot apron hanging on it?  In there is my own washer and dryer! Yippee!!!

Kitchen from end by Window / Back Door

Kitchen Nook / Bar area (from kitchen on left and from living room on right)

Bathroom

So there you have it!  Pretty much a blank slate at this point.  Next time I will share some of my preliminary design ideas with you!

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How to Dress for Christmas

December 16, 2013

Over the weekend, I drove home to Pittsburgh for a night and to attend a Corso ladies brunch at the William Penn Hotel in downtown Pittsburgh (although me and Gram are the only Corso ladies left!!!!!! everyone else has a different last name!)  My 94 year old grandma requested that all of her daughters and grand-daughters join her for a pre-Christmas brunch, and we took lots of photos in front of their gorgeous 25 ft+ tree.  It was nice preparation for Christmas dressing and got me in the spirit of Christmas a bit.

Below is a photo of me and my cousins with my grandma (can you guess which one is my sister?).  I chose to wear an Old Navy dress that one of my lovely readers recommended (Thank you Nagehan!!) , with a tartan scarf, polka dot tights, and a black cardigan.  Super simple but Christmas-y and fun for the get together.

So today, in the spirit of all things red and green, I wanted to share with you two easy ways to dress for Christmas – whether it be for church, a special family dinner, or a night with friends:

Black Clutch  // Black Faux Fur Scarf (40% off!) // Burgundy Pants // Bow Heels (50% off) // Polka Dot Top (50% off!) // Bijou Gem Strand

Red Dress (comes in so many colors – only $19, or $15 with current promotion) // Striped Blazer (50% off!) // Black Heels // Gold Clutch (similar) // Green Earrings

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Last Minute Christmas Ideas

December 12, 2013

In case you’re having a hard time coming up with ideas for yourself for Christmas (I know parents and relatives often ask for a list!), here are some easy ideas that vary a lot in price, for both the big spenders and those people who are on a bit of a budget.  You could also use these ideas for a friend or a sister, in case you’re stumped when trying to buy for someone else!

Jewelry is always a fun thing to receive – especially now that there are so many fun costume pieces out there.  Bauble Bar is my favorite for fancy and unique necklaces.  I love the tortoise and gold necklace, and the color combination in the other necklace is really different too, which draws me to it.  It would also be nice to add a simple scalloped ring or bow earrings to your everyday repertoire.

If jewelry isn’t your thing, perhaps you’re more of a bag girl.  I am happy to say this scalloped (leather!) bag is back in stock and $136 – a fantastic price for a leather bag.  I also am still coveting the Clare Vivier animal print clutch — probably won’t get over that one for a while, and a fun studded shoulder bag would be nice to have on stand-by f or nights out.

If you prefer more casual things, perhaps this cable knit sweater (IT HAS POCKETS!) and tartan wool scarf combination is a better idea for you.  I can’t tell you how often I wear the tartan scarf that I have from Target – the one above is EXACTLY like it, and it goes with so much.

Lastly, if you feel like curling up and hibernating for the rest of winter, I would suggest The Wire (best show EVER) or Sex & The City DVD sets – can’t go wrong with either, although they’re pretty much as far at the end of the spectrum from each other as you can get 😉  You can also usually find these on Ebay for cheaper!

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I’ve set my sights on 2014 being awesome.  Given my current situation, lots of people have been telling me that 2014 is going to take my life on the upswing, and I can’t help but believe them and think towards a really awesome start to a new year.  So today, I wanted to look forward a bit and give you two ways to kick some serious ass in 2014.

1) Commit to getting healthy – even if you just change a few simple habits!  I love to work out, but really haven’t done enough of it lately.  You know what helps me get excited about going to the gym?  True to form, it’s having cute workout clothes.  These striped workout pants are only $35 and really fun.  The pink top looks so much like Lulu’s swiftly tees, but a lot less expensive.  The leopard print Nikes are just plain awesome (here or here).  How could you need feel amped to workout in those shoes?  Major confidence booster.  I also think drinking a lot of water is necessary, so get yourself a good water bottle and carry it with you everywhere.   I also have been on a super major tea kick lately.  I drink so much of it.  Herbal, mostly, because I kicked my caffeine addiction a while ago and don’t want to get it  back.  I love Yogi Teas, especially the Immune Support Echinacea tea.  I also love the decaf Candy Cane green tea from Trader Joe’s, and Stash brand’s Strawberry Pomegranate tea. Lastly, I have to recommend my favorite health-focused book, Practical Paleo, if you want to learn a bit about nutrition and find some yummy and easy recipes.

2) Commit to dressing better!  I put a simple, easy, stunning outfit that every single lady I know could wear if they wanted to.  A classic cable knit black turtleneck, some high quality splurge jeans (on sale for $138!), and a sassy CONFIDENCE boosting pair of leopard heels.  I also highly recommend picking up Nina Garcia’s “The One Hundred” book – it has 100 staple items that everyone should own, and it is SO spot on and good!!!  Also, a pretty black, classic purse, and some beautiful red nail polish can’t hurt!

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Around here

December 9, 2013

You may have noticed I haven’t posted as much lately, or the content hasn’t been robust as you’ve seen in the past, and for that I am sorry.  It’s not because the blog isn’t important to me, as it is incredibly important to me, but life has been much more important lately.

I don’t feel super comfortable sharing my personal life on the blog, but I also think blogs make life look a little too perfect and I know we all have our slew of problems, so just thought I’d share a snippet into my life.

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed I moved.  I won’t be going into detail here on the blog, but I moved out of my house and into my own little place on Saturday.  Life has been a roller coaster lately, but I am incredibly grateful for my beautiful friends and family and I feel so lucky to be a woman who has supportive female friends.

For example, one friend came to my apartment on Saturday and brought literally every single supply necessary to make (spiked) hot cocoa.  She even brought HOMEMADE peppermint and bourbon (not a combo, two separate) marshmallows. H – maybe you can share the recipes you used with the crowd! She brought the mugs, the pot, the whisk, the cocoa, the coconut milk, etc.  If that’s not a true friend then I don’t know what is.  Another friend has consistently cooked for me and made me get out of the house.  Those same two friends, plus another, unpacked all of my boxes for me this weekend and I didn’t even have to ask.

Then another friend brought me champagne, an orchid, and some chocolate as a house-warming gift, and my best friends from home sent me beautiful Christmas flowers which are now sitting pretty on my mantle in my (empty) living room.  Friends and family from afar have sent care packages, sweet notes, texts, etc.  I don’t know what I did to deserve such people in my life, but boy did I hit the jackpot.  And for them, I have so much love in my heart.  I am so thankful to God for this silver lining.

So…. now that that’s all out of the way, maybe over the next month or so, in addition to fashion posts, I will share with you some posts about decorating my new place.  What do you think?  Something you might be interested in?  I am an interior design novice, but I do enjoy trying my hand at it, so I think it would be fun to share with you guys.  To give you a sneak peek of where I am going with the design, I bought this in the 40″ x 40″ size for my living room!

Thank you for reading and visiting – big hugs to everyone!!!!!

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