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Life Lately

Friday, June 29, 2012

Happy Friday! I don't have much time to write today, but I hope my Instagram pics give a little glimpse into our life this week. If you don't follow me yet, make sure you do! (@hellolately)

My weekly link lovin:

Summer pictures that EVERYONE posts to Instagram. 

LA Stumptown lovers, get excited!

Mr. Rogers' sweaters were made by his mom?

This most beautiful wedding website ever. 

Long haired ladies: how to do a perfect hair knot

A must read for my blogger friendys. 

The song I can't stop listening to.

Would you wear these pants

Have a great weekend!

EAT IT // Mini Apple Pies

Thursday, June 28, 2012

For the past few years around the 4th of July, I've done the exact same thing... attempt to make mini apple pies. They're America's favorite dessert - but cuter!

And each time, about halfway through the process, I realize why I only do this once a year. These little guys are a ... "witch" to make. (Hey, my grandparents read this blog. I gotta keep it PG.) But still, I hope you're grasping my sentiment.

Let this blog post serve as a reminder to me next year, when I will have blocked this memory out of my head: "Alison. PUT DOWN THAT CUPCAKE TIN AND STOP TRYING TO KILL YOURSELF. IT'S NOT WORTH IT. Mini pies seem all cute and fun, but they're not. You learned this yesterday after 2.5 hours of rolling out pie dough. Just do yourself a favor and make a big pie, OK? There's a good girl."

 I guess they're not all bad. They are stinkin cute... And people are usually impressed by my mad kitchen skillz when I bring them to a party. (And for the record, they should be. Did I mention I rolled dough for over 2 hours??)

Also, they're super handy for snacking on the go: "Hey honey, here! Catch this little dessert I whipped up for you! You can eat it in the car on the way!" (This whole fictional scene would not be possible with a 9-in pie pan. Just sayin.)

Well, if you decide to make them, I included my recipe below. But before you do, consider this: If you, out of anger, hurt yourself or someone else while making these, IT'S NOT MY FAULT. You were warned.

(They do taste REALLY good though.)

Mini Apple Pies
Makes 6 Pies
For the crust (from Joy the Baker):

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat flour) 
1 teaspoon granulated sugar 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes 
1 large egg yolk 
1/4 cup buttermilk (I used coconut milk)

For the filling (from
1 tbsp. butter
1/2 c. sugar
3 tart apples for cooking (sliced & peeled)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Get muffin pan out. No need to grease it.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt.  Add cold, cubed butter and, using your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture.  Quickly break the butter down into the flour mixture, some butter pieces will be the size of oat flakes, some will be the size of peas. In a small bowl, stir together the egg yolk and buttermilk. Create a well in the butter and flour mixture and pour in the liquid mixture.  Use a fork to bring to dough together.  Try to moisten all of the flour bits.  On a lightly floured work surface, dump out the dough mixture.  It will be moist and shaggy.  Sprinkle generously with flour.  Shape dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap.  Allow dough to rest in the fridge while you assemble the filling.  Dough is easiest to roll out when it’s cold and rested. 
Mix cinnamon and sugar together. Add apples and mix well.
When you’re ready to roll out the crust, on a well-floured work surface, gently roll out the pie crust into about big circle.  Press together any spots that might tear.  Cut 6, 4-inch circles with a cup or bowl. (You will need to roll the dough out twice, or three times, or in my case: 5 times.)
Press each circle into the muffin tins until they cover up each side. They should look like little bowls inside the muffin tins.  
Spoon the apple filling into your muffin tins. Cut up the remaining butter into 6 pieces and place one on top of each mini pie.  
Roll out the remaining pie crust and use a smaller cup or bowl to cut out 2-inch circles that will cover the top of the pie. Poke holes in the cover. 
Bake for at 425 for 16-18 minutes. (Until crust is light brown and the apples are bubbling.)

MAKE IT // Painted Bead & Leather Necklace

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Things I'm trying to get better at:
1) Making my bed every morning. (Today = fail.)
2) Calling my grandparents at least once a month. (This month = success!)
3) Wearing jewelry.

I've never been a big jewelry person. It's not that I don't like it, I usually just forget to put it on before I'm scrambling out the door for my next appointment. Lately though, my goal has been to buy more of it, make more of it, and wear more of it. Jewelry is the extra spice an outfit needs to go from good to great.

So, when I stumbled across this DIY necklace idea on A Beautiful Mess, I knew right away that I wanted to make one too. I made a few edits to their original idea (I added glitter, weee!) but in essence, the instructions are the same. 

So, here are the supplies I used (it can all be found at your local craft store):

First, I painted all the beads with metallic gold paint.

Then I took half, sprayed them with adhesive, and rolled them in glitter. When they were dry, I shook off the excess.

 I placed the beads onto the leather cord, in an alternating pattern (glitter, gold, glitter, gold...) To push the leather cord through the holes on the bead, I had to wrap tape around one end of the cord. I don't know why that helped... but it did.

To keep the beads in place, I tied little knots on either end of my alternating pattern. I then tied a bow for the clasp. And... done. The whole process took me 30 minutes. Easiest DIY ever!

If you try it, let me know how it goes! I'm thinking I'll make some as summer birthday gifts for my friends. :)

Kitchen Dreamin

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Kitchen 1 | Kitchen 2 | Kitchen 3 | Kitchen 4

A Reminder About Femininity

Isn't Michelle Williams stunning?

She serves as a reminder to me (and the annoying Trader Joe's employee who questioned my gender yesterday,) that the length of someone's hair doesn't determine their femininity. People with short hair can be just as sexy as people with long hair (if not more.)

And that's my soap box for the day.

photo by Alexei Hay

WEAR IT // Weekend Staples for Under $30

Monday, June 25, 2012

Let's be frank: Zach and I are on a pretty strict budget. Although we're nearly finished paying off my school debt (hallelujah!,) we'd now like to start saving for some other financial ventures (i.e. the eventual purchase of a house or two.)

I've never been much of a shopper (can I tell you again how much I HATE dressing room lighting?,) but now more than ever we've been trying to cut back on nonessential expenses like trips to J.Crew and Anthropologie.

That being said, sometimes I just want something new. Well, new to me at least. So, I've started facing my fear of thrift stores. And surprisingly, I've found lots of little goodies.

These finds, along with some other treasures found on various sale racks, have inspired me to start creating outfits for the least amount of money possible (while still making sure I'm wearing quality stuff. If one more shirt from H&M falls apart in my hands...)

Throughout July, I'll be highlighting some new thrift store finds here on the blog. Since most of us can't afford to wear designer labels all the time, I hope you enjoy my attempt to stay fashionable and cheap. And, if you're a bargain shopper, I'd love to hear your tricks and tips too! (Like I mentioned, I'm still not the best at this.)

I'm really looking forward to this new adventure, and I'd love to have you come along for the ride. :) Happy Monday!

(Have you entered the Natura Metallum giveaway yet? Today's the very last day!)

Happy Friday + Some Link Lovin'

Friday, June 22, 2012

This week, Zach and I finally saw our first Wes Anderson film (it's slightly embarrassing that it took us so long.) We, and a group of friends (who deemed our lack of Wes Anderson knowledge 'unacceptable,') gathered for a little popcorn, White Russian, and Royal Tennenbaum action on Wednesday night.

As a newbie, I found the film quirky and artistic... and a little creepy (but not in bad way.) I liked it. And I thought Gwenyth Paltrow in the role of Margot was hilarious. (Yea, yea, you already know.)

Ultimately, our little party was the cherry on the top of an already lovely week. But, I'm looking forward to the weekend even more! I might finally get to accomplish the only serious goal I've had all summer: go to the beach.

I hope your weekend is equally wonderful and that you take a break to relax (even if it's just the time required to check out my favorite links from this week):

My weekend project.

A hotel where you can hang out with giraffes?

The recipe I'm making for dinner tonight.

What I want my new living room to look like.

A super-interesting discussion about waiting to kiss until you're married.

A pretty awesome giveaway (have you entered yet?)

These shoes. (I'm in LOVE.)

The new Rue is out! Yay!

Seeing this tomorrow.

Happy Friday! XOXO

photo source


Thursday, June 21, 2012

 I find these photos by Anna Palma to be completely dreamy and femine. Don't you?

EAT IT // Carrot, Celery, Apple, & Beet Juice

It finally happened: I fear that Zach and I may have crossed the boundary into Crazyville. We've become those "weird" (and let's be honest, annoying) people who juice their vegetables, and try to only eat whole foods, and who've cut out anything processed.

My guess is that it probably occurred after I watched all those documentaries about the American diet. As of now, I'm pretty much convinced that the health and food industries are really run by pharmaceutical companies bent on keeping people unhealthy so they can continue selling drugs (not actually helping people.) It's a conspiracy, people! (In my fantasy world, I'm a foodie version of Nicolas Cage, circa National Treasure: hell bent on bringing down the lies.)

All joking aside though, my favorite part about this new kick is the juice I get to drink every morning. I've become a vegetable juice aficionado - and I swear it's already helping my health. I've been sleeping better, and my skin has been clearer, and my digestive tract has been working well (if you catch my drift.) It could just be the placebo affect, but whatever the reason... I'm feeling good.

Our favorite recipe includes: apples, beets, carrots and celery. It's thick and earthy (from the beets and carrots) yet fresh and sweet (from the celery and apples.) Although the taste was hard to adjust to initially (organic beets just don't taste like cranberry juice cocktail,) my tastebuds now love this new flavor. I even find myself craving carrots in the morning.

So there you go. I'm a believer. (And no, dad. We don't drink our juice in Mason jars every morning. But, I thought it would make us look more whimsical if I photographed it as such.)

If you're interested in the documentaries I've been gorging on, check out: Food Matters, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, Food, Inc., and Forks Over Knives.

And if you don't care, sorry. I suggest you come back tomorrow when I won't be talking about health food or juicing. Promise.

PS - Have you entered this week's Natura Metallum giveaway yet? You should! And win an awesome pair of brass drop earrings. :)

Superhero Summer

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

This picture makes me giggle. Hey, superheros need vacations too. Happy Summer Solstice, everyone!

PS - Think Superman's wearing a toupee?

Photo source

Yes or No?

Zach's sister Kara and her husband Tim are moving from Pasadena to Santa Monica next month. And since we've been talking about their move a lot, I've found myself wanting to move somewhere new too.

But, I'm one of those weird people who likes to move (I've moved 6 times in the last 6 years.) There's something so fresh about starting over in a new place. After the actual moving process (ok, that part's a drag,) I love opening up boxes and reorganizing my stuff in a new space.

So, last night Zach and I were talking about how we'd decorate differently in a new place. I feel like our style has changed in the last year, and I'd want a new place to reflect that. However, when we started pointing around the living room and deciding which objects we'd want to keep ("Yes") and which objects we'd want to get rid of ("No,") we found out that we still like most of our stuff (which is probably a good thing.)

Maybe our style hasn't changed as much as I thought... and maybe it's ok to say in our current place for a little while longer. I guess a little stability never hurt anyone. :)

WIN IT // Natura Metallum Giveaway - CLOSED

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Today is a GREAT Tuesday, friends! Why? Because we're have a giveaway from one of my awesome sponsors: Natura Metallum

I stumbled across Natura Metallum's work on Etsy. Right away, I knew I wanted to collaborate with the awesome artist who makes this excellent jewelery. I love that each piece blends the earthy with the industrial. Each necklace, broach, ring, or earring is incredibly unique - yet simple enough to go with everything in your wardrobe.

What's not to love?

Lucky for you, this week you have the chance to add a pair of Natura Metallum brass dangle earrings (photo at top) to your accessory collection. To enter the contest, just use the application below (it's really easy, I promise!) A winner will be announced next Tuesday.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

WEAR IT // My New BAN.DO Pom Pom Flower, Three Ways

Monday, June 18, 2012

[Target earrings, pom pom, Target shirt, Express skirt, Kate Spade bangle, Urban Outfitters shoes]

When I'm sick and tired of my wardrobe (which is pretty much everyday,) sometimes I just need a new accessory to liven things up and get me excited about my clothing prospects again. is always the first place I go when looking for new accessories. (Zach now recognizes the little boxes when they arrive on my doorstep: "Wait, What did you get this time?") All of their stuff is just so fun... and colorful! And, since I'm on a new kick to remove all neutral tones from my wardrobe, is right up my alley. 

A few weeks ago, during one of their sales, I ordered a new purple pom pom for my collection. And since then, I've been having fun trying to incorporate it into my wardrobe. Accessories like this can sometimes be intimidating, so I thought I'd share three ways that I've been wearing mine. Why? Because ultimately, I want you to start wearing them too! (The world would be so much more fun if everyone wore pom poms.)

Way #1: At Your Collar 

Boring business outfits become more fun when you add a few splashes of color. Wear a pom on your collar you'll give your coworkers something interesting to look at (and be envious of) during that freakishly long healthcare seminar.

Way #2: As a Broach

[Tiffany earrings, J.Crew shirt, pom pom, heart, Anthropologie skirt, J.Crew shoes]

Can green, red, purple, yellow, and leopard print coexist in the same outfit? I say YES! Here, I paired my new pom with another classic (remember when I wore it for Valentines Day?) You might get some stares - but it's just because everyone else is jealous of you. Trust me.

Way #3: In Your Hair

[American Eagle sunnies, pom pom, Anthropologie earrings, Anthropologie shirt, Kate Spade bangle, Express pants]

This look is all about channeling your inner Senorita. You can wear the pom just above your ear (like I did) - or if you have long hair (like I don't,) you could also pin it into a pretty updo. Voila! Instant glam.

Also, I just noticed that all of these outfits have stripes in them. Apparently I can't hide my current obsessions.

That's all for today... Make sure you check back tomorrow for an awesome giveaway!


Friday, June 15, 2012

I can't believe it's Friday already! Although the week started off slow, these past few days have FLOWN by.

What's been keeping us so busy? Well, we've been spending our time:
1) In pubs, watching Deutschland dominate in the UEFA tournament. (We gotta represent the homeland!)
2) Taking more trips to the new Sprinkles Ice Cream shop in Beverly Hills.
3) Sharing a car. (Mine's currently undriveable, thanks to an insurance war I'm having with the California DMV.)
4) Listening to French music (Carla Bruni's my recent drug of choice.) If I can't live in Paris, then I can at least pretend that I'm there.
5) Accidentally matching. (We both have red pants now. This could get ugly.)
6) Attending fun, summer events like the Urbanic Paper Boutique Summer Social. My friend Jana and I got to drink spiked lemonade, eat snow cones, and hob nob with a bunch of my online blogger friends.

So, this weekend I'm hoping to relax a little (although, I'm sure there's more soccer matches in my future.) Then, Zach's dad is driving in from Arizona for Father's Day. I think we're picnicking to celebrate.

What are your weekend plans?

A Simple Day

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Yesterday, I spent some time figuring out how to create gifs (using this tutorial.)

My day was pretty simple (lots of emailing,) but these two moments made me smile.

When I told Zach I was learning how to do this, he made me promise that I won't go overboard with the animation (so you won't get these too often.) But, it's a fun skill to have. 

Happy Thursday!

HOW TO // {Angi's} Easy Updo

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Now that my hair is short short, I'm limited in what I can do with it. I mean, I love my little haircut, but sometimes I really miss creating fun updos.

So every time I see my friend Angi, I find myself admiring her pretty hairstyles (and secretly daydreaming of recreating her artistry on my own head.)

But alas, my hair is too short. For all of you who still have long hair though, I asked Angi to show us how she does it. That way, you can try it yourself at home (and I can live vicariously through you.)

Angi starts the process by adding body to her hair with a curling iron. She wraps long strands around the outside of the barrel so it creates more of a spiral wave.

Next, she decides if she wants to keep her bangs, or if she wants to pin them back. Either way, she teases her roots. (But if she's pinning her bangs back, she spends more time teasing those as well.)

If she doesn't want bangs, now's the time when she'll pin them back. Since they've been teased, she's able to create a nice poof up front. She pulls them straight back, then slides them forward and pins. Since her hair's long and heavy, she also likes to add some volume in the back. She places bobby pins upwards so it creates some lift.

Next, she makes a ponytail in the middle of her head.

She twists that ponytail into a spiral, then twists that spiral around the base of the ponytail. At this point, it looks like a messy cinnamon roll (made out of hair.) She places bobby pins around the base of her cinnamon roll - so it's anchored to her scalp. She keeps inserting bobby pins until the bun sits firmly on her head.

Finally she uses her fingers to "fluff" her roots. To do this, she pulls up on the roots so that the updo doesn't look so tight. This adds some body and texture.

And, voila! Finished.

So, what do you think? If you try it out, let me know how it goes.

And, thanks Angi for being such a great sport (and a great model.) :)
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