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WEAR IT // Dressing Your Man {Happy Birthday, Zach!}

Monday, April 30, 2012

[J.Crew shirt, J.Crew shorts, TOMS shoes]

Today, my handsome husband is turning 26. Birthdays are a big deal in our house: so he's getting a fabulous breakfast (pancakes, eggs, bacon, carrot juice), enchiladas for dinner (by request), a pineapple upside-down cake (his favorite), and lots of presents.  Plus, on Saturday we're celebrating with all our friends with a Cinco de Mayo fiesta.

He deserves it all.

My marriage with Zach is the biggest blessing I've every received. And, I'm so thankful for another year of life to share with him.

Since it's his birthday and all, Zach has kindly agreed to let me write another "Dressing Your Man" post (because many of you seemed to like the last one.) It was also a nice excuse to get outside and practice photographing with my new lens filters (which I failed miserably at.. but hey, it was my first time!)

The weather in Los Angeles was sweltering this weekend... especially in our apartment (yea, we don't really have an air conditioner.) Since summer seems to be here already, over the next month I thought I'd share what Zach and I wear when it gets hot hot hot.

This outfit is one that Zach lives in during the summer. It's casual enough for picnics in the park or walks on the beach, but it can easily transition into casual dining attire in the evening (well, at least here in LA.) The striped shirt is a nice layer that can be removed/added if the weather gets too cold or hot. Plus, I just love stripes on stripes... especially on men.

The above photo is my favorite. Its the only one where the filter I chose actually worked (somewhat.)

And then, here's what I've been wearing this weekend: 

During the summer, I like to wear simple (boring) cotton pieces. But, then I add color and interest through accessories. That way, I still look fun - but I don't have a lot of extra clothes weighing me down.

What about you? How do you stay fashionable when the weather gets crazy hot?

MAKE IT // Photo Booth Props

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Zach's big Cinco de Mayo birthday party is 10 days away, so I'm up to my eyes in party prep. So far, I've purchased the papel picado, planned the menu, strategized the decorations, built the cake hat, and (as of today) have finished the photo booth props.

I know that photo booths are kind of "over" these days, but we're still having one... and it's going to be awesome. I didn't want to spend money from our budget on props (sombreros, margarita glasses, and maracas), so I decided to make them myself out of, yes, paper and skewers (my go-to craft supplies.)

They were really easy. And the next time you throw a Cinco de Mayo birthday party with a photo booth (because those happen all the time, right?) - you should make them too!

You'll need a few items to get yourself started:

Next, you'll need to cut out the basic shapes of the props you want. 

I eyeballed the shapes below, but if you want a little more help you can search in Google images for stencils. When you find one you like: print it off, cut it out and trace it onto the construction paper.

Then comes the fun part: decorating! Here you can get as crazy as you want. I kept mine on the simple side (by just cutting out some construction paper shapes) but imagine what you could do with glitter, or ribbon, or felt!

Finally, tape a skewer to the back. I put the pointy side on top, so no one accidentally pokes themselves.

Ta da! Look at how creative you are... All you need now is some chips, salsa, a mariachi band, and a margarita - and you've got yourself a fiesta!

WEAR IT // Nautical Blouse

Monday, April 23, 2012

[Target earrings, Anthropologie blouse, 7 for All Mankind jeans, Vince Camuto shoes, Essie "Navigate Her" nail polish]

Straight up confession: I am the worst shopper of all time. To start, I hate shopping in general. But when I actually go, here's how my experience normally goes down:

1) I find something I like in the sale section of Anthropologie.
2) I spend 20 minutes deciding whether I actually need it.
3) After going back and forth, I buy it.
4) On the drive home, I decide it was a stupid purchase.
5) I leave the bag by the front door with the intention of returning it "the next time I'm out shopping" (which is never.)
6) I forget it's there.
7) Three months later, I realize I still haven't returned it. So, I check the receipt (which I already know says "return within 14 days") to see if I can still return it.
8) I realized I've missed the deadline.
9) The item is now mine, whether I like it or not.

I'm not gonna lie, half of the items in my closet came to me through this twisted ritual. While I was cleaning this weekend, in fact, I found the above nautical blouse (receipt and all) stashed behind my bedroom door (oops.)

Welp, now that it's mine, I'm going to wear the **** out of it.

When I initially found this blouse at Anthropologie, I was immediately attracted to its details: the swirly pattern, the beautiful buttons, the unique cut. It's different, so it stands out in a crowd (which I love.)

Since the blouse is so beautiful, I kept the rest of the outfit simple (classic bootcut jeans, nude patent pumps, gold earrings.) I did go a little crazy with my nail polish though. I've been seeing people wear such awesome colors this spring - and I wanted in on the action. So, I painted my finger/toe nails green (which is a huge stretch for someone who only ever wears shades of pink and red.)

I love that the minty green of the nail polish is a subtle compliment to the red pattern in the shirt.

Well, new shirt, welcome to the family. You'll like it here... I promise.

EAT IT // Artichoke Tapenade

Friday, April 20, 2012

I know the recipes I put up on this blog aren't always the healthiest. But believe it or not, Zach and I actually maintain a fairly healthy diet. We rarely eat red meat, if we eat carbs - they're whole wheat, and we have fresh fruits or veggies with every meal.

That being said, I don't like to deprive myself of indulgences (whether sweet or savory) every once in a while. Life is meant for living... and there are some things (like ice cream) that just make life a little better. (RIGHT?)

On days when I want to indulge with salt, I make artichoke tapenade. The recipe, which only has seven ingredients, is super easy - especially if you have a food processor. But even if you don't (like me,) it just requires a little chopping action. And really, who can't chop?

To start, you'll need:

Then, just chop everything!! (Well, except the lemon... that should be zested and squeezed. And, olive oil can't really be chopped. But seriously, you shouldn't be so literal.)

Mix your chopped (and zested) stuff with the olive oil and lemon juice.

And that's it. You're DUN. This swirl of salty, garlicky goodness is ready for devouring. :)

What's your favorite (indulgent) salty snack??

Artichoke Tapenade
Adapted from The Pampered Chef

1/2 tsp. lemon zest
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 can (14 oz.) artichoke hearts in water, drained and chopped
1/4 cup packed, fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup pitted green olives, chopped
1 tbsp. drained capers, chopped
5 tbsp. olive oil

Mix all ingredients together. Serve with pretzels, crackers, or toasted bread. 

MAKE IT // My Office

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

One of the things that attracted Zach and I to our little apartment was the office nook sandwiched between the living room and bedroom. After moving in though, it quickly became a "catch-all" for documents that needed to be filed, craft projects, and miscellaneous books. (Confession: it was MESS-Y. And the "before" pictures below are super embarrassing.)

When I decided to start working from home almost 2 months ago, I knew our office needed a makeover. But, it's taken me a while to finally get things organized. In fact, I just finished this week. Since I'm pretty excited about the new look (especially in comparison to before,) I thought I'd include you in the process.

My crafting supplies had gotten a little out of hand. So, I had to go through every drawer and basket and throw out stuff I no longer use. Then, instead of keeping piles of pictures and items that inspire me, I made an "inspiration string" (or two) to hang above my computer screen.

I liked the idea of including a huge chalkboard in the office to remind me of tasks. Since I was running out of clean wall space though, I instead painted a big chalkboard square on our bedroom door. Now, at all times, I know what I should be working on.

Ah, it feels so much better now! I find that I'm much more relaxed when I'm working in a clean space.

What about you? What does your workspace look like? Do you work better when it's clean, or are you inspired by a mess?

WEAR IT // Meet {Megan}

Monday, April 16, 2012

[World Market earrings, Loft cardigan, Marshall's shirt, thrifted shorts, Cosette ring, Banana Republic Outlet sunnies, vintage briefcase, Steve Madden boots]

In the last few weeks, I've really been thinking about friendship. The older I get (26 in August, ah!) the more I realize that truly great friends are such rare gems... few and far between. Truthfully, I can probably count the great friendships of my life on one hand. And, if the statistics are true, that's similar to most of the people in the US.

Where am I getting with this? Well, to Miss Megan Klingensmith. My friendship with Megan is one of the "greats." I met Megan at first job after college. We started on the same day, in the same department, in the same position (fate?) and instantly connected. She's one of those unique people who genuinely cares about you - and sincerely wishes for your success (without any jealousy or competition or insecurity.) It's a breath of fresh air, and I'm consistently challenged to love others the way she does.

But, enough with the sappy love letter. Megan is also a babe with fantastic fashion sense (I really miss living with her and raiding her closet every morning.)  So, when she drove out to visit me this weekend (for a little thrift store shopping,) I coerced her into letting me photograph her outfit. She even took the time to write out a few comments on the pieces she's wearing. So, without further ado, here's Megan: 

[I've always LOVED Megan's feather ring. Her friend Kimberly got it from this Etsy shop. Since they no longer sell these rings though, you can also buy them here.]

[She also has the cutest journals... which she carries with her wherever she goes. This one's by Jill Bliss. Her favorite quote in the journal?: "Give today all the love and intensity and courage you can, and keep traveling honestly along life's path. - Shauna Niequist]

Isn't she a doll? Thanks Megan. You inspire me in so many ways. :)

EAT IT // Thai Cucumber Salad

Friday, April 13, 2012

The weather in Los Angeles has been quite bipolar this week. On Monday and Tuesday I was wearing shorts, and now it's cold, gloomy and overcast.

I know this will sound ridiculous, but this crazy weather really throws off my cooking schedule. I only like to go to the grocery store ONCE a week - so I schedule all my meals on Sunday. If it's hot on Sunday, that week we'll eat a lot of light and fresh food. If it's cold on Sunday, then we're eating soups and stews all week.

In general, it works out. But on crazy weeks like this, we could get caught with a pot of chili on a 90 degree day, and a cucumber salad when it's rainy... and that annoys me. (Yea, yea. First world problems.)

Hence this week's "EAT IT" post. I was excited to start sharing some warm-weather meals (since the world finally seems to be thawing out.) But, I'll guess you'll have to stash this one away for future...

This salad pairs really well with anything Thai... So, we've eaten it with Thai chicken pizza, various curries, and a peanutty-chicken-crockpot dish I make. When dinner's over, and Zach's in charge of cleaning up, the leftovers seem to magically disappear (which is probably because he stands over the bowl and inhales the rest.)

Oh - and although this recipe calls for jalapenos, you'll cut out the seeds (so it's not hot.)

What's the weather like where you are today? Is it ruining your weekend plans - or just enhancing them?

Happy Friday!

Thai Cucumber Salad
From All Recipes

3 large cucumbers, peeled, halved lengthwise seeded and cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup chopped peanuts

Toss the cucumbers with the salt in a colander, and leave in the sink to drain for 30 minutes. Rinse with cold water, then drain and pat dry with paper towels. 
Whisk together the sugar and vinegar in a mixing bowl until the sugar has dissolved. Add the cucumbers jalapeno peppers and cilantro; toss to combine. Sprinkle chopped peanuts on top before serving.

MAKE IT // Felt Flowers

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

One of my favorite things about being married is that I gained a whole new family along with Zach. And, lucky for me - I adore them.

I acquired two new sisters in the deal, one of whom is currently planning her own wedding. I couldn't be more excited for Kara and Tim - and I'm SUPER excited about their big day. Can I just say, it's going to be incredible? Evening wedding on a hilltop winery in Paso Robles... Um. Yes, please.

Kara and Tim asked me to make a garland for the bride & groom chairs at the reception. So for the past few days, I've been up to my ears in felt. I'll wait to show you the full garland until after the wedding, but today I thought it'd be fun to give a short tutorial on how I'm making some of the flowers.

To start, you'll need four simple supplies:

Then, just do this:


And, felt flowers can be used in numerous craft projects: wreaths, hats, barrettes, broaches... the possibilities are kinda endless.

I'll show you my completed garland next month. But, in the mean time, have you ever made felt flowers? What did you put them on?

WEAR IT // I Hate All My Clothes {Sequined Vest}

Monday, April 9, 2012

I've had this sequined vest for a few years now. I think I've only ever worn it once (and when I did, someone told me I looked like Aladdin.) But, every time I clean out my closet I can't seem to let it go. I still love it - even if I don't know what to wear it with.

So, this week, I decided to give the vest one last-ditch effort and create an outfit around it. And, in my opinion, it turned out pretty good.

[Anthropologie shirt, H&M vest, Express skirt, Aldo shoes]

Lately, I've been all about balance in my outfits. If I'm wearing looser fitting clothing on top, I'll try to wear fitted items on bottom (and vice versa.) Since there's so much pattern and color happening on the top half of this ensemble, I tried to keep the lower half simple. By balancing like this, it's easier to break the rules (like doubling up on pattern.)

Congratulations, vest. You survived the Goodwill pile!

Snapshots of Easter

So, I love Easter.

Besides the significance it has in my personal life, I also feel like it's a celebration of springtime. After 3 cold and dark months, color is finally starting to creep back into the world. And that, my friends, requires a party.

This year, we kept our party pretty simple. Kara, Zach's sister, came over for the perfect little brunch. I made quiche for the first time (amazing recipe here) which required that I wake up early to roll out the dough.

Our menu consisted of mini pancake stacks (as appetizers,) mimosas, fruit salad, coffee cake and quiche, of course.

Then we spent the afternoon catching up, eating second helpings of coffee cake (well done Kara,) and snuggling with Enzo the puppy (he's Kara's... although I wish he was ours.)

It was the perfect day... although I found myself missing my parents and brother a lot. Holidays away from them are always hard.

How was your Easter Sunday? Did you celebrate? What did you do?
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