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MAKE IT // Button Barrettes

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


No really, the name of this blog should be "The Button Lady" or something, because I seriously love them... in a weird way. I have a huge stash of buttons (collected from one-too-many thrift stores) and whenever I pull them out, we find buttons everywhere for weeks afterward (they're like confetti that way.)

This week, I was in the mood to get crafty - but I didn't want to spend a lot of money. So, I pulled out my handy-dandy collection, found my jewelry glue and some old barrettes, turned on 30 Rock (anyone dressing up like Leap Year Williams today?), and got to work.

Seriously, this craft is so easy, it's stupid. Just pick out some buttons you like - and start gluing them to the barrettes. I usually pick out a base color then rifle through the buttons until I find colors that fit my theme.

Be careful with your fingers. I'm clumsy, so I always get the glue on my hands... and it  doesn't easily come off. Plus, if you touch the buttons with your sticky fingers, it will leave a white residue on the surface. Yuck.

And now you're done!  But, don't tell your friends how easy this was... just let them be jealous of your super-craftiness.

Now, get out and celebrate this Leap Day!

WEAR IT // I Hate All My Clothes {February's Go-To Outfit}

Monday, February 27, 2012

Zach thinks girls are weird (or maybe that just I'm weird) because whenever I get new clothes, I wear them NONSTOP for a month straight. After about a month, I get tired of said piece of clothing and start complaining about how my wardrobe sucks again. Am i the only one who does this? Please, someone tell me that you do this too.

Anyway, I'm recently got a new sweater, and I'm still in the blissful honeymoon stage where I basically wear it ALLTHETIME (yea, that's one word.) I wear it to work, to the grocery store, while cleaning the dishes, you name it - I love this sweater.

To make matters worse, I've rediscovered a beautiful belt (pictured above) that I got on sale at Anthropologie years ago. It looks fantastic with my perfect sweater... So, hello fashion rut.

Whatever. I look and feel great in my new, go-to outfit below (for this month, at least.)

I think I love this outfit so much because it fits. That may seem too simple, but I'm sometimes guilty of buying clothes (on sale or something) that don't quite fit me right. And then I feel uncomfortable when I put it on and go out. Lately, my mantra has been to buy more expensive clothes that are a better quality. I have less clothes (because I threw away tons of cheap stuff) but now I feel better in the stuff I do have.

What's your current go-to outfit? Why do you love it so much?

[sweater = anthropologie, belt = anthropologie, jeans = seven for all mankind, shoes = steve madden girl]


Friday, February 24, 2012

Yesterday, for the first time in a while, I went stocking-less to work. That's right folks, it was warm enough to head outside with uncovered legs and open-toed shoes. (You know you're jealous.)

I'm hoping this nice weather stays through the weekend. Sunny Saturdays always make me happy. :)

Here are three other things that made me happy this week (I hope you're impressed by that transition):

How huge are these lemons?? (I added a regular sized lemon up front for effect.) I was all over these freebies as soon as a coworker brought in a big box after their backyard fruit tree went a little crazy. Looks like we'll probably be having a few lemon cupcakes/pies/bars in the house soon. (Oh, or lemonade! I love lemonade... Plus, it's super easy to make with our juicer...)

I'm so proud of my still-alive succulent. We got this little guy at a flea market back in September. And, I haven't killed him yet! (A huge feat for me, the most notorious plant-murderer.) Please ignore the fact that we bought three other plants that day... none of which were "available" for the photoshoot yesterday (*cough.*)

I've literally returned 4 pairs of brown boots this winter. FOUR. None of them seemed to be quite right - some were too lose in the calves; others were too slouchy in the front. All my misery paid off though, when I found these on sale. Finally, the perfect pair (just in time for, you know, our big trip to NY?)

I hope your weekend is as sunny as mine - and that you find some time to explore! (Oh, and make sure you tune in for the Oscars on Sunday night - I'm voting for "The Descendants" as best picture.)

Much love...

EAT IT // Meatballs

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I have to brag: my mom makes the BEST meatballs. They're crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and full of salty goodness. And on days like today, when I'm missing my family, they just taste like home.

Growing up, we always ate meatballs with a "special" spaghetti sauce. My family is very German, so our take on Italian food is... well, sweeter (we like sugar.) Initially, the taste was shocking to Zach, who's used to typical Italian food. But, I think the sweetness of the sauce nicely contrasts with the saltiness of the meatballs - a pleasure for your palate (but I may be biased.)

Mom's meatballs are super easy. You just need to mix up the following ingredients with some ground beef (Zach and I use ground turkey):

Roll the mixture into little balls, and cook 'em in a frying pan (no extra oil required.)

Mix these little guys with some special sauce - and you can impress all your friends with your multicultural {Italian + German} cooking skills.

My Mom's {German} Spaghetti & Meatballs
Serves 4-6 People

1 pound hamburger (Zach and I use ground turkey)
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup milk
2 tbsp finely chopped onion
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Worchestershire sauce
1 egg
Fresh garlic & Italian seasoning

Mix ingredients; shape into 1/2 inch balls.
Cook in large frying pan over medium heat, turning occasionally, until brown, about 20 minutes.
Set aside. 

3 tbsp oil
2 tbsp flour
3 cans tomato sauce (8 oz.)
Salt (to taste)
6 tbsp sugar

Heat oil slightly in large pot, then stir in flour.
When it bubbles, keep stirring for about 30 seconds. Then add 1 can tomato sauce and stir. When fairly smooth, add another can tomato sauce and stir.
Repeat with 3rd can (add a little at a time - you might not use it all.) The sauce should be fairly thick at this point.
Bring to a boil and stir with a wire whisk until smooth.
Add salt to taste.
Add sugar and stir.
Add the cooked meatballs that you previously set aside.

WEAR IT // Dressing Your Man {Casual Ties}

Monday, February 20, 2012

Zach and I had some extra time yesterday... so we headed to Manhattan Beach before sunset to take pictures with my new lens. Can I just say that my husband is such a good sport? He waited so patiently for me to figure out what I was doing with the camera, lighting, focus, etc. (although, when I got home, I realized he was straight-up yawning in about 50 shots.)

To make sure you don't yawn through this post too, I thought I'd make it less about my cutie of a husband and more about what he's wearing... sort of a spin off the "I HATE ALL MY CLOTHES" series, but for ladies who dress their men.

To be fair, Zach tends to be a pretty good dress-er. But, I buy all his clothes and often help him put outfits together. So, ladies, if you need new ideas for your guy's closet, hopefully you can find some inspiration here.

Lately I've been really into ties (to be honest, it's only a matter of time before I start wearing them too - hello, 1991!) I love it when Zach pairs them with casual outfits. It's a fun, unexpected detail.

Here, I love that the tie follows the monochromatic tone of the sweater and shirt. It's subtle enough to not detract from the overall feel of the ensemble.

Since marrying (and starting to dress) Zach, I've learned how important it is for men to have a good pair of jeans that are tailored (yes, I'm serious) to fit perfectly. It may cost a little bit more up front - but it makes all the difference in how put-together they look. I'm a firm believer in the European approach to clothes - a few, quality (and maybe more expensive) pieces that are tailor-fit to your body.

Swoon. :)

And, here's a quick fashion update on my end:

Yesterday I jumped out of my comfort zone and put a soft, flowey shirt with a high collar under a structured wool sweater. I loved it and will definitely be re-wearing the outfit soon. Plus, if you didn't notice - I chopped off all my hair! It got a little crazy in the ocean breeze, but you still get the gist. It's short... really short.

Happy Presidents Day!

{zach: sunglasses = banana republic, shirt = j.crew, tie = j.crew, sweater = j.crew, jeans = joes, shoes = robert wayne.}
{me: sunglasses = toms, earrings = anthropologie, shirt = h&m, sweater = j.crew.}


Saturday, February 18, 2012

I know, I know... I'm supposed to write my {One.Two.Three} posts on Fridays. And yes, today is Saturday. But in my defense, I've been playing catch-up all week.  It's amazing that a short weekend away can throw off your routine so much...

But I digress.

Here's what I loved this week:

MY BED. I couldn't keep my eyes open! For example, on Thursday night I came home from work, made dinner, sat down on the bed while talking to Zach... and woke up at 12:30a. Exhausted much?

MY NEW TUNIC. One of my favorite things about going home is the chance to go shopping with my mom. I generally HATE shopping (unlike my mama), but I appreciate that she understands this and can work within my handicap. We both know that we can only go to one store at a time (usually The Rack) and stay for about an hour. She has great style though - and usually helps me find the raddest things (that I normally wouldn't pick out for myself.) Example: tunic above, which I wore on Valentines Day.  

MY VANILLA CUPCAKE CANDLE. I'm kinda a candle junkie... I like them to be lit whenever we're home. The nice thing about this one (on sale for $3.99 at Michaels - what a steal!) is that it makes your whole house smell like a freshly baked batch of sugary cupcakes (without any extra calories, of course.)

Despite my exhaustion and busy-ness, this week has been super exciting. I'll be sharing some big news in the next few days... but for now, just know that I'm stoked for what the future has in store.

Be blessed on this {long} weekend!

Photography Advice {From an Expert}

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

So, I'm kind of a newbie when it comes to the whole photography thing. But, I know a good photographer when I see one. (And, they're fairly hard to come by.)

Lately, I've been feeling inspired by my cousin Jared's work. He's a street photographer based in Toronto, Canada, and his work is, well, excellent. (All the photos in this post are his - check out more on his website and Flickr.) I really look up to him - and I hope that in the future I can be as poignant a storyteller as he is through images.

Jared recently posted the things he's learned about photography since he started two years ago. I thought his commentary was right on - and that it needed to be shared with anyone interested in pursuing a similar passion. So, without further ado, Jared's What I've Learned About Photography:

I love taking pictures. I've been taking pictures on a regular basis for two and a half years now. "A regular basis" means I go out shooting at least once a week. Lately its been more like four or five times a week. I've taken over 25'000 photos which, if spread out evenly, averages to about 25 photos a day for the last 1000 days.

Anyway, I'm definitely not saying that I'm a great photographer or even a good photographer. What I am saying is that I'm passionate about photography. I've spent the last 2.5 years of my life breathing photography. I've learned a few things, to say the least. I wanted to get some of the things I've learned down on paper, at the very least for myself, but perhaps some of these tips might help some of you who are starting out or simply interested in learning more about taking good photos.

1) Shoot quantity over quality show people quality over quantity. Shoot all the time, take photos of everything. The more photos you take the better you'll get. When in doubt, snap the photo. Don't hold out for that amazing shot because you don't know what will turn out. Some of my best photos have been random shots I thought I would discard. However, regardless of how many photos you are taking, only show your best shots. No one cares about the 200 photos you took last night. You're as good as your best and as bad as your worst. You are your own publicist.

2) Go places, find things. Before brilliant photos can be made they must be found. When I started shooting, I thought it would be a great medium to document the adventures I was already having, before long photography turned into the source of most of my adventures. When I go out shooting, I'm going out searching, exploring, looking for shots. Try to photograph things people don't usually see. Or things that they do see in a way that they haven't seen them before.

3) Shoot in multiples. No matter what you're shooting or how you envision it looking, always take multiple shots. I'm a street photographer, on the streets everything is continuously in motion, I can't see it all. Often something will happen that I didn't expect or didn't see that ruins the photo. A weird look or movement an awkward juxtaposition or simply an unappealing expression. I shoot multiple times to give myself some breathing room when I go through my shots later.

4) Seek genuine unbiased feedback. Chances are your photos aren't as good as your friends say they are. Find someone who is willing to give you honest constructive feedback, someone who will rip your photos apart. Ideally this would be a photographer better than yourself. It's hard to see where you need to improve if you're stuck in the whirlwind of well meaning comments from friends and family.

5) Equipment doesn't matter. When it comes to building skill and learning how to take good pictures, equipment doesn't matter. Equipment matters when you are shooting for a specific reason and need a specific type of shot. Every time you pick up a new camera or lens you are essentially starting from scratch with that piece of equipment. When you are learning, the thing that matters most is how well you know your camera. Pick a camera and a lens you like and shoot with that setup (and only that setup) for a year and see what happens.

6) Pick your style. Find an area of photography you like and stick with it. You would never go to university and major in every subject. The same applies to photography. To really get better you can't do everything. I've never seen a famous photographer that shoots everything. They pick an area and do it. Street Photography, landscape, documentary, portrait etc. Find something you like and get good at it.

7) LOOK AT OTHER PEOPLES PHOTOS. I can't stress this enough. Buy photo books. Browse Flickr. Subscribe to national geographic. Seeing great photos is the best tool to teach you to take great photos. How do people who really know what they are doing shoot? What do they see? How do they frame things?

I hope this will be helpful to some of you, but as I said it was more for me than anyone else.

WEAR IT // I Hate All My Clothes {Valentines Day}

Monday, February 13, 2012

This weekend, while shopping with my mom, I realized my style of clothing is changing (again.)

The more I follow Bri Emery (whom I dreamt about last night... creepy?), the more I find myself gravitating towards bright colors, interesting patterns, and eccentric accessories - like the above heart broach, which I purchased in honor of Valentines Day.

Today, I'm continuing the tradition of recent posts (found here & here), in which I attempt to revitalize my wardrobe using clothes I already have. This time, however, I expanded the outfit options to include both day and evening apparel. Because, let's face it - dressing for a "love" holiday can be tricky... especially when you're accessorizing with a broach the size of your hand.

First up - work attire. Since Valentines Day is on a Tuesday this year, most of us will still have to go to work (bummer.) But a festive broach can make subtle celebrating easy.

When I'm wearing an eye-catching accessory (a friend told me the heart looks like a cartoon,) I try to make sure the rest of my clothes aren't competing. I like that the blue stripes in the shirt contrast the red sparkle of the broach - without being overwhelming.

Next - date night clothes. Zach and I tend to be a little more casual on our date nights (including Valentines Day). So, the heart was a perfectly fun addition to my go-to outfit (which, by the way, Zach picked out for my birthday last year. I like to brag.)

Again, the outfit isn't competing with the main event - the accessory! Keep everything else simple.

We're staying in for V-Day this year (because we're old people who don't like to face the crowds and traffic on holidays.) But, we're still planning on dressing up for our home-made celebration.

What are you doing and/or wearing this Valentines Day?

{work outfit: shirt = target, pants = loft, shoes = urban outfitters}
{date outfit: jacket = anthropologie, dress = anthropologie, shoes = urban outfitters}


Friday, February 10, 2012

I'm writing this post between excursions. I just got back from a week-long conference in Manhattan Beach and now I'm re-packing my bags for a quick gaunt up the West Coast (to Portland, y'all!)

I guess Zach and I are still in that "newlywed" stage because I missed him like crizazy this past week. I'm super stoked he's coming with me on this next leg of the journey.

Since I've been a terrible post-er this past week, I'm hoping to have a little time this weekend to catch up. But, in the mean time, here's what I l.o.v.e.d. this week:

I went hunting in Target for a unique Valentines Day candy (other than Sweethearts - yuck!), and this is what I stumbled upon: Dove Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Swirls. They're the perfect blend of yumminess and festivity (pink wrappers = Valentines Day candy.)

I borrowed this book (Major Pettigrew's Last Stand) from my sister-in-law after taking her picture last week, and I'm already engrossed in its sweet storyline. It centers around an elderly English widower's budding relationship with a local, Pakistani shopkeeper... and their struggle to maintain a friendship despite their town's prejudices.

How adorable are these wedding invitations? I'm almost as excited for Kara and Tim's wedding as I was for my own.

And now, I think I have enough time to sneak in a nap before heading to the airport.

Happy weekending!

Four Eyes

Monday, February 6, 2012

I'm getting old. 

I went to the eye doctor last week, and he prescribed computer glasses - so my eyes don't strain when I look at the screen all day. Computer glasses? Seriously? 

At least he gave me a deal on cute frames...

What do you think?

WEAR IT // Meet {Kara}

Sunday, February 5, 2012

This week, I'm taking a break from hating all my clothes to highlight the wardrobe of my sister-in-law Kara.

Kara (aka The Offbeat Aesthete) is one of those people that I could literally stare at ALL day - in a totally non-creepy way, of course. She's insanely beautiful AND she's got a great sense of style... which I intend to exploit for the purposes of this blog.

Kara  wears things that are classic  and tailored - but she always throws in a few accessories that are vintage or whimsical (in perfect moderation.)

The outfit she chose for our shoot was so her. I love that it was simple (military jacket, skinny jeans, soft leather boots,) yet all the little details (gold buttons, stripped shirt, textured bag, playful necklace) made it interesting.


Isn't she cute? 

Here are some practical tips that I'm taking away from Kara's look:  

1) Build your wardrobe on classics: like a well-fitted pair of jeans, nice leather (in boot and shoe form,) and neutral colors that can be easily mixed and matched. Then, you can add fun accessories and details that emphasize your personality. 

2) Keep your skin tone and hair color in mind when you pick outfits. Kara's hair, eyes and skin are all warm. So, the warm colors she's wearing just accentuate her natural beauty.     

3) Balance is important. Since the cut of Kara's jacket is looser, it looks better paired with skinny jeans - which help to define her figure. (This rule can also be applied vice versa. If you're wearing loose pants, wear a more tight fitting top.)

4) Natural beauty is always the prettiest. Kara embraces her curly hair, fair skin, freckles and big smile - and she always looks like a friggin rock star.

PS - Whoever gave Kara that necklace (*cough) is probably pretty awesome. Just sayin. :)

{photos by me. jacket = anthropologie; shirt = j.crew outlet; jeans = anthropologie; earrings = target; necklace = anthropologie; rings = vintage; bag = campomaggi}


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Tonight was my second "girls night" in two days. It was a particularly fun date (peppered with laughter, good wine, lemon cake and karate.) But when I got home, I crawled into bed next to my husband... and promptly fell asleep.

It's been that kind of week.

It's a good thing Zach's my biggest cheerleader, otherwise I'd drooling into my pillow right now. He woke me up 30 minutes later with a kiss and "No sleeping until you finish blogging."


Here's the three things I dragged myself out of bed to tell you about (and yes, the Valentines theme was unintentional):

I got to flip my Anthropologie calendar from January to February. It's pretty much the cutest calendar I've ever had, and each month has a really fun design. So, yes... I was excited. (Either my life's super boring, or I get really weirdly happy about the little things.)

Ok, I admit. I stole the idea for number 2 from Emily over at Cupcakes and Cashmere. But, I really like the idea of a single, different-colored nail - flocked with some serious sparkle. And, since Valentines day is on the way, I was feeling festive. For a girl who never paints her nails - this was a fun treat that still felt cutting edge.

If you follow my Twitter or Instagram accounts, you know I've posting about this puppy all week (sorry) - but I don't care. I love my new heart. I mean seriously, I can't get enough. It's great because you can pin it to your clothes - but it also includes a clip for hair (hello, dual purposes!) I'll be the best-dressed gal at every Valentines party I attend.

But, right about now, we're at the point where I want to rip my contacts off my eyeballs. So, yea. Its probably time to call it quits for the night.

I'm really excited about next week though - I'm out of town for part of the week (work conference) but there will still be some awesome things to read about on the blog. So, keep checking back!
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