Thursday, January 31, 2013

35 for 35 : Outfits!

Wahoo! I've decided on my outfits for the 35 for 35 Remix! I'm so excited about this challenge. I do have a love for shopping & style and sadly, I'm guilty for looking into a FULL closet and thinking "I have nothing to wear!" OR knowing about an upcoming event and setting out to find something new for the occasion because I got tired of some things I already have. Ugh, that can be the worst feeling because guilt is a huge side effect! My efforts are to complete this over the next 35 - 40 days (reason being, some days I only leave the house to make a grocery run, in which case I wear my gym clothes-which will not count in the challenge).

My goals/reasons (in no particular order) :
1. No shopping for clothing for 40 days (excluding Santa Fe. Money's been saved. It's a trip. I'm hoping to find turquoise jewelry or something Santa Fe-ish. Enough said!). I don't think I've ever seen Steven's eyes light up so much when I told him I was doing this. He's holdin' me to it.

2. Save money (from not shopping!) for our bedroom/bathroom makeover!

3. Gain a new appreciation for my clothes. I realize that sometimes what I have, people actually need. I realize that I'm blessed beyond measure and I'm lucky to have so much more than most. I want to really feel that. Some people simply cannot shop for things just because there is a SALE. I know this. I've been in debt before. I've been a broke college student/young professional. But even so, I still think I take things for granted sometimes. Having only 35 articles of my clothing to chose from will be very interesting for me, and I'm hoping when I can add everything else into the mix, I'll really appreciate what I was missing.

4. Slim the closet down after this is done! I'm going to do a great overhaul to donate items that I rarely wear or what I didn't miss wearing. I'm also already excited to reattempt this in warmer temps with even less items. I think the fact that it's wintertime is a challenge in itself!

5. New perspective! Style isn't simply putting on a cute top and skinny jeans. Style is created. Accessorized. Mixed up and unexpected. (Hence the reason that J.Crew is SO amazing when they pair a gingham shirt with a polkadot bottom or a peach top with a purple skirt and a neon belt and they make it look good) Style takes thought! I'm hoping this gives me a little confidence boost in taking a new look at what's hanging in my closet so I can take some fashion risks! Dare to flare. I'm welcoming a little whimsy in my day to day.

6. Disconnect a bit from material "stuff." I don't think it consumes me, but I battle constantly with my bank account and looking stylish because I LOVE dressing up and I LOVE accessorizing and having fun with clothes. I also, naturally have expensive taste. It never fails. It's part of who I am.  However, I'm not THAT bad--I mean, it's not as if I go out and get new things from J.Crew or ShopBop. I've never just bought a brand new designer dress or Tory Burch flats. Don't I wish!? But, reading many blogs and being in tune with what other girls who are my age seem to wear makes me kind of feel like Oh, gosh, she looks really adorable! I wish I could be that cute. And guess what? They have on a brand new J.Crew top and J Brand Jeans and fancy shoes with all the links for me to follow along and guess what? None of it's on sale! And good for you, if that's what you're able to do. It's not my business and I don't mean to offend, whatsoever! I just wonder if people judge me when I wear something more than like 3 times in a month, so I suppose we're about to find out! I know. I'm wierd and silly. I digress.

For the last few days, I've been thumbing though my closet and mixing and matching different items and making sure pieces are going to coordinate and layer. 

No repeats
No shopping
Wear only what's listed here (with the exception of under camis, tights, jewelry, and scarves, coats) for work/church/dinner dates/outtings.

So here's my mix: 

2 dresses, 2 skirts:

From Left to Right:
Black Dress: Francesca's. Leopard Dress: F21. Yellow Pencil Skirt: CAbi. Brown Pencil Skirt: Celine Paris, thrifted (amazing, I know! similar & similar!)

 1 vest, 1 blazer, 5 sweaters:

Fur Vest: Steinmart. Velvet Blazer: Gap (from highschool!), Magenta & Black Turtlenecks: F21. Fox Sweater: Old Navy (goodluck! Sold out quickly!). Teal Cowlneck: TJ Maxx. Mint Sparkle Sweater: Semblance.

3 Sweater Cardigans:

White Duster Sweater: Old Navy. Pink Cardi: Asos. Aztec Shrug: Local shop in NC (also seen here).

4 tops:

Gingham Button Down: F21. Navy Blouse: Talbots. Red Blouse: Semblance. Polkadot Blouse: Target.

1 Tank:

3 pairs of "fun" leggings:

Cord Leggings: Sam's Club (SERIOUSLY! They are Hue knock offs!), Eggplant leggings: Nine West for TJ Maxx, Liquid "Coated" Leggings: F21 $12.50 & I LURVE them.

3 Pairs of Jeans: 

Jegging: c/o my friend Cassy!, Green Jeans: Francesca's, Blue Jeans: Gap (May be switched out for my pair of A-Pocket 7's. Undecided!) 

5 Pairs of Shoes:

 Cream& Black Flats: Tahari at TJ Maxx. Brown Boots: Macy's. Leopard Peep Toes: Michael Kors at Belk. Orange Flats: Tory Burch. Black Booties: JC Penny clearance. (True story: I got them yesterday because while itemizing, I realized I needed some causal black heels!)

So...that was 30 items! At the last minute, Finley pulled a few other things out and told me to go for 35 and a few more days. Truth: I almost made a rule that I would sometimes include my Uggs. Now, they will really be a part of the mix!

Grey slouch sweater: BCBG. Paisley Top: Michael Kors. Puffer Vest: Target. (All c/o Cassy! She handed off a few things to me last night because she was purging!) Basic Leggings: Bevello. Uggs: Neimans.

1. I have 3 pairs of basic black leggings and 3 black turtle necks. I also have a dog who sheds. For the sake of not doing laundry every other day, I'm utilizing my leggings and black turtlenecks. That's OK, right??
2. I have a cocktail dress that I currently own and plan to wear to a cocktail party. I didn't include it here because it's sparkly and too fancy for the mix! 
3. WINTER ADVISORYIf it snows again, I'm allowing myself to break out my Hunter boots. They'll probably come along with me to Santa Fe if it's snowy in town. They're not really practical for every day, but we never know when we may get a mini blizzard.

So, here we go. Stay tuned as I recap here my outfits every few days. Link up and comment if you're going to do the challenge, too!


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

January recap/update!

So....January's highlight: Getting my hands on the Mary McDonald Collection for Schumacher!!! Holy stunning, batman. It was even more beautiful in person and I WISH I had unlimited funds to deck out my entire house. It was gorg! 


As January comes to a close, I've decided to take an honest look at my goals and see where I stand!  I've done pretty good! Here they are, just as a reminder:

January Goals:

1. Whole30 Challenge - We started. We reevaluated. We're now on week 4 of paleo 5-6 days/week! Two weekends ago was out of control - full of cheating (pizza, burger, a couple of french fries, and beer were consumed! yikes! (no, not all at once)), but this past weekend was MUCH better! And I baked gfree cupcakes for company. If we cheat, we're attempting to incorporate gfree versions of what we are wanting (ie. pizza, cupcakes, pasta). Already, I'm feeling better and I can tell the effects of not eating whole when it happens. Interesting how sensitive our stomachs are when we eat crap! That in itself is a great motivator. By no means have we been perfect, but I know when I'm on track, I feel so much smaller! Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels. (Well, exept pizza!) Amen. has a Paleo plan worth following. The recipes are EASY, quick, and require no thinking or planning way ahead. They offer 7 meals, so we usually pick 5-6 of them and eat leftovers or salad for lunch! All you have to do is print the grocery list and it organizes your grocery trip into categories. Most ingredients coordinate. Breakfast is hit or miss, but we've been doing Ok with throwing on some bacon&eggs. This week I bought smoothie ingredients so I'm hoping we stop skipping the most important meal of the day! 
2. Walk 30 minutes 5 days/week - We've done this a few times, but definitely not 5 days/week. So cold & windy here! We try to take advantage of the nice days!

3. Start weekdays off by 7:30 with devotional & prayer - I love the YouVersion App for my phone. This has happened most mornings, but more like 8am, not 7:30!

4. Scope out a couple gyms - I haven't physically set foot in a gym yet, but I've asked around enough to know which gym might be the best fit! Heading there this evening with my friend, Katie!

5. Read Blog Inc. by Joy Cho - Halfway through.

6. Date Night: West Side Story - Had more fun with Steven at dinner and just being out of the house! I had forgotten how the play sort of ends on a negative note. wompwomp. Then we came home to the scene below. Not shown: dog crap. What a pissed off puppy. He seriously looked at Steven in the eyes and proceeded to pee on our rug. Next time, he'll be going to his Aunt Cassy's! Always keeping life interesting, Finn!

7. Initiate game night with friends-we got the new Catch Phrase for Christmas! - So, I've tried. Hard to get two couples to come over in one night with everyone's schedules. 

8. Get computer fixed - ugh. Needs to get done!

9. Register Finley - realized we need to wait for the microchip! I think that happens when he gets neutered, in a month or so. Other than that, the paperwork is ready to be mailed.

10. Update licence & registration to Texas - In progress. Did you know it costs nearly $200 to be a dern Texan!? 

11. Finalize ski trip plans for February - Hotel: Booked, Ski clothes: purchased (hello, academy, for selling cheap ski gear & thank you, Athleta for having a major sale on base layer stuff that can be worn as workout clothing!) Spa: BOOKED! So pumped!

12. Begin blog gameplan - I will probably work on this more this week/weekend!

Not bad, for 12 goals, right!? I've also been reaching out and making connections- some with other bloggers in Amarillo! I've put myself out there with an interior designer, magazine editor, and event designer. I did turn down the Jr. League, for now, because the first year is a HUGE time committment and I already knew a few Thursdays I'd have to miss! I think I am going to join a Tennis team, though! I also picked up some paint supplies and I'm hoping to start painting again. 

One major issue I had this past month was shopping! Occasionally the shopping bug gets into me in a BIG way and I go slightly overboard. SALES were everywhere! Though, I stayed in my budget, (per se) I blew through a little bit of my Santa Fe savings. (This is where the envelope system would do be good). To catch back up, I cannot spend anything for the next few weeks! I also bought NOTHING for the house, other than a couple of plants :) Which, I guess, is fine. I'm actually in no rush on that one, but I do need to save up for a few things on our house project list. So, yes, while my closet is happy, I am challenging myself in Feb. to do the 30 for 30 challenge. What?! This post explains it all. I'm potentially doing 35 for 35. I will allow myself to enjoy SF, as planned and saved for (we're only there for 2.5 days, so I don't even know if there will be time to shop!) and I will wear 1 already owned cocktail dress (that won't be included in my "outfits") for a dinner party we'll be attending for Valentines! Other than that, I'm gettin serious. Stay tuned.

How's your January looking? Are you sticking to your new year goals?


Monday, January 28, 2013

You're Invited...A Gift Guide!

If you're like me, your closest girlfriends are tying the knot left and right! Amongst the actual bridal shower & wedding, you may be invited to a stock the bar party in honor of the couple! And, again, if you're like me, you think about that concept and you realize you're supposed to bring them a bottle of liquor? Or wine glasses? That's nothing special, right? So I've come up with an adorable gift guide for the Mr. & Mrs. that will show your thoughtfullness, but won't break the bank for this fun occasion! Obviously, you wouldn't have to include all of this in your gift if you didn't feel it appropriate, but this was for a very best friend of mine and I couldn't make it to two other showers. I went all out, but I think just picking a couple of these things would still be a great idea!

Note: the artwork was not part of the gift. I painted it at wine&design for my own house, however, for the purpose of this guide, consider painting or purchasing a small print for the bride and groom to include over thier bar or maybe for their kitchen!
See herehereherehere, and here for more artwork ideas!

To make it really meaningful--find out if there's a special date night spot they love and frame the menu. If they got engaged somewhere, get artwork that would remind them of that place. Super bonus: if they got engaged while/after/before dining at a particular spot, see if the restaurant can print the menu with their names & engagement date!

This gift included a few goodies from my favorite shop in Raleigh, Furbish! The Highball glasses, the tray, and the cocktail napkins were all found there! (honestly, I feel like the online prices are a tad higher than in store. Don't quote me on that, but I'm kind of stunned right now as I'm looking!) All make for perfect bar accessories, nonetheless!

These were one of MY own favorite shower gifts, so I had to pay it foward! Thanks, Dash!

I LOVED this wine stopper, found at Target! I thought it was the perfect touch of fun.

 For the booze, I found out the groom's favorite liquor and I got him a small pint! For the bride, well, I picked a bottle of wine that was just spot on for her. Hippy. Cool. Middle sister. Perf!

 A few other favorite gift ideas include: 

Have you heard of these candles!? Rewined is a company out of Charleston, SC and Steven & I had the pleasure of meeting the makers behind these recycled wine bottle candles several years ago at a festival. We stocked up because we LOVED the scents. I recently sumbled across them here in Amarillo and got so excited! Locals: they can be found at Pete's!

A set of stemless wine glasses--monogrammed! 

Tortiose Shell highball glasses & an ice bucket (Both Etsy finds!)

Chic accessories from Society Social :

And another favorite-A monogrammed wine cooler, stocked with celebratory wine/champagne for the wedding night, 1 year anniversary, and 5 year anniversary! Bonus: get wines from the couple's favorite winery/vineyard! Extra Bonus: customize the wine label!

This tote is great for picnics, of course, too! 

I found these on pinterst, but the link was not working :( I love how they roll and can be used in many situations!

If all else fails, y'all :


Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday Frills: Bryant Park Designs

I stumbled across the image above (and also from my last post) and had to scope out the source. Enter: Bryant Park Designs! I thought I may share a few other of my favorites. Deb & Becky seem like a great team and their style is right up my ally. If I could cover my house in Chiang Mai Dragon wallpaper and Imperial Trellis fabric, I totally would. Still not over it, yet. Just check out Deb's kitchen/bath makeover. These photos from there portfolio completely inspire me and they just show how much fun you can have with classic elements and pops of color!

What I love about these spaces are the styled accessories and furniture. I love the mixing old & new, whimsy & antique, and comfort & style. I think the key thing about their design is how livable it all seems. Nothing is too stuffy or too serious. 

Happy Friday! Any big plans this weekend? I think we're taking it easy and possibly gathering with friends. We'll most likely be cleaning out our spare bedroom and organizing the bookcases!


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Color Craze

My day has not gone so well. Let's just say, hitting parked cars is now on the list of DUMBEST things I've ever done. Ughghgh. It just came outta nowhere, guys. Really! 
I need a bright pick me up!

(officially obsessed with Bryant Park Designs. More to come later this week)

 Outfits earlier this week: 
Your thoughts needed: Should I start posting styled outfits on the blog?
Ignore the suitcase/pictures needing to be hung!)
 Staying bright, despite the wintery blues. 

 Our cute Roman shade was installed and I styled my ginger jars to add some color to our kitchen! Not a shabby spot to do the dishes :)
 Here's to hoping it's only up from here the rest of the day!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Whole30, Whole Opinion: Week 1

 I'm a week into my whole30 challenge. Day 7. Steven and I tried to start last Friday, and for the most part, we were successful throughout the day, but dinnertime was a different story. We invited friends over and realized at 4pm the whole30 stew recipe I had found required a cooking time of 6 hours. Ooops! On hand, however, we had risotto so we did a yummy recipe that we had perfected. FULL of PARMESEAN CHEESE. YUM. So we restarted on Saturday and have been going alright since. So I'll do a little recap:

The Good- Eating right and bonding in the kitchen together. We've been super duper healthy and trying new things (kale chips- eck, spaghetti squash-eck, and butternut squash-yum!). I've also had breakfast almost every morning (for the most part- eggs, bacon, orange, coffee) and then I've been trying to drink lots of water. I don't feel bloated or full. I'm wearing my super skinny jeans today, so I think that's a good sign! Energy levels are great through the day, once I've had coffee. Turns out, I don't HATE black coffee, especially if it's a blend like vanilla or hazelnut. I haven't really had cravings. The food hasn't really been the issue here, although, a piece of chocolate would be amaze. I do miss bread or rice with dinner because I'm still hungry after my meal, but I'm really alright without it! ALSO- new friend has been made, Natalie, who has been my email/text buddy and we're encouraging each other! AND my friend Katie here in Amarillo has gone paleo (so not as strict) and we've compared recipes and efforts to cheer each other onward. I'm also going to the gym with her once she returns from vacation! I was bummed, however, when she wanted to bring over paleo muffins and I couldn't have any. Yay, for bacon?!
My first OMLET! (with spinach and tomatoes)

The Bad- Kale chips, spaghetti squash, and homemade sweet potato chips. All failing attempts to incorporate some sort of familiar snack or italian meal. At least we tried. And everytime I go to make a salad dressing or 'whipped coconut milk' or this or that, I realize I need >insert super random ingredient< and time for it to 'marry' the oil or refigerate overnight or become room temperature. So, I should have planned ahead better? FAIL. Don't get me started. Also bad- feeling hungry after eating a plate of food. There's just no sensation of being satisfied. And that's fine because I'm sure my body is well. Another bad thing- We've practically been living in the kitchen when we're home and it's nonstop prep, cook, clean, grocery run, meal plan, clean again, etc. This has been VERY consuming. Also, we don't have a Trader Joe's, so if we want something different than organic beef/chicken (luckily sold at our normal grocery store), say- spare ribs/bison/lamb that are organic and 'all that complies', well it's going to cost $15.00+ at the natural grocery store, along with all other odd things like ghee and oils, etc. Eeesh. I justify the fact that we're not eating out or getting take out or buying bottles of wine or even packaged foods. Steven has said many times this week in sarcastic form : Know what would be reallll good? What, Steven? Umm Chic Fi Lay orrrr....PIZZA. Yeah, no kidding, Steven. Ugh. HONESTY here, friends. Don't judge.
Spetti Squash. The sauce was AWESOME. That's all I can say.

The Ugly- Y'all. Hangry does NOT look good on me. Or anyone, really. Despite my desperate effort to have a positive attitude about all this, hanger got the best of me. A few times. In fact, you can probably sense a little of it in my tone here :-) Last night, looking back, was kind of funny, but at the time we wanted to kill each other. Our kitchen sink faucet has been clogged since we moved into our house. At this point, I've begged and pleaded and asked nicely and now NAGGED and barked :( at Steven to just fix the damn thing because earlier this week, I had attempted, yet again, to do the dishes as a freezing cold drip comes out of the faucet. I flip out because that just doesn't get the job done and I was so hungry I could have eaten my arm. New rule for everyone's sanity- I'm not doing the dishes until said issue is fixed. I'm happy to cook. So last night, lots of little disasters ensued while I'm trying to cook new things like spaghetti squash and Steven was under the sink trying to fix it (unsuccessfully) and then dishwasher overflowed and beeped nonstop because it was sort of broken and we had to fix that and then I burnt the spaghetti sauce and meanwhile, Finley has pooped on my rug, found tissues from God knows where and chewed it up all over the floor, and laundry has been piled a mile high...on top of that, dinner turned out to be CRAP and we were real fed up with each other. Oh, to be a fly on the wall :-) We went to bed agreeing that the hassle wasn't worth the mess. Yet, it's only been a week? So have we given it a good 'go'? That makes me feel like a failure. Thank goodness for a funny puppy who melts us and brings us back to a laughing state so we can just talk normally after our tempers were out of control. SOOOOO....

Where does that leave us going into the weekend and reflecting on this whole thing? Well, I've learned that Whole30 is EXTREMELY strict. I've never even been on a diet before. Sure, I've tried to "watch what I eat" and I've tried to maintain balance and then we slip into being bad and then that spirals out of control because it's just REALLY convenient to be bad most of the time and I was really lenient with all of that to try to be pleasing to Steven. That was dumb looking back, because we were truly doing ourselves a huge disfavor. I get that, but, this Whole30 thing is absurd. I stressed this week over the fact that IF we were to go out to dinner, I'd feel guilty over a steak that MAY have been cooked in butter because of the dairy. REALLY? And, honestly, so many other things have been neglected. Phone calls, laundry, and my morning goal of waking up early and focusing on scripture. I feel hungover every morning. Like a ton of bricks has hit me and only an IV of coffee will help. So I snooze a little longer. And Finn. Poor thing. He's destroying everything he can get his little paws on just to try to get our attention because we get home from work or the grocery/errands and we immediately start cleaning/prepping/cooking (because we're so freaking hungry) instead of taking a little time to play and walk with him. However, I've learned quite a bit about GOOD food this week and I don't hate it at all. Our veggie beef chili was real good and then a few other things we've tried turned out to be delicious, though they don't make us full. We've been going to bed earlier to avoid being awake and hungry. I guess that's not terrible? And at least we're not only allowed a cruton a day like Anne Hatthaway while filming Les Mis. NOW, that would be rough.
Spicy Veggie Beef Chili
So, I'm not really sure where we stand, yet. We agree that we need to take the reigns a bit better on eating right--especially during the week and part of the week end. Like I said, I can deal with cooking healthy and so forth each week, but now that it's the weekend and I still actually have to work tomorrow, I'm over cooking. I want a break. Steven's cravings are also out of control, I think. So, we've definitely concluded that we need to streamline our meals Sun-Fri. Maybe more crock pots, maybe doubling recipes so it's easier come lunch time, maybe not even deal with the kitchen until Finley has been given the attention he needs?

But here we are on the weekend and we have our dinners planned out for tonight and tomorrow (or Sunday?), but our friends want to get together. I don't want to feel like OH MY GOSH we still have to abide by the rules and all we want to do is relax and see this band with our friends AND maybe have a glass of wine (or a beer for Steven) so we can't go because we'll obviously be tempted to snack later because we'll get hangry around 9pm and that'll make it friend Natalie had a good point that made me realize- just because you step back from Whole30, doesn't mean you've quit your goal to be healthier. Maybe Whole30 isn't the best thing for us, but maybe paleo will be, since you have a little room to breath. I don't think it's going to kill us if we eat right and whole during the week and then give ourselves a little leeway on a weekend night. I'm not sure. I'd like your input!

Are we nuts? And kudos to you if you actually read through all that. What an entry.