Saturday, April 20, 2013

D.I.Y. Denim

This year, more than ever, the DIY-inspired, "festival" trend seems to have been kicked into high gear. And when I think of the festival-style must-haves, distressed denim shorts top the list.

So here is an easy and cheap way to create your own distressed denim shorts.

1. Buy "mom jeans."

I hate the term mom jeans, but basically all you are looking for is a classic pair of high-wasted, cotton (non-stretch) jeans. I bought these medium-wash 505 Levis for $4 at my local Goodwill. 

2. Hack off the legs.

I recommend cutting the jeans a tinsy bit longer than you normally would, as the distressing takes up a bit of length. 

3. Wash them.

(Does this require a picture?)

4. Cut horizontal slits where you want distressed patches.

These slits will become your distressed points. Cut two or three slits at each desired spot, with about a half of an inch between them. The slits themselves shouldn't be longer than 2 or 3 inches.

Note: Make sure you consider where the distressing will show up on your body. Obviously, some places are more appropriate than others.

Note 2: Another great way to add natural looking distress is to take your scissors and carefully run the blade back and forth over the edges of pockets, the fly area, belt loops, or where ever else you want it.

5. Wash again. 

This is where the distressing happens, as the slits and raw edges will unravel. On this wash, I added bleach to lighten the fabric a bit and to make the denim fibers a bit softer.

6. Pick at your jeans.

The distressed patches may not come out completely distressed. To aid in this process, take a safety pin or a sewing needle and pull the white (horizontal) strings apart from the blue (vertical) fibers.

 You will remove fibers that look like this:

7. Wear 'em!

With perfectly distressed (oxymoron?) jean shorts often running over $100 at trendy retailers, I completely recommend trying to make your own. It's fast, easy, and fun, and the best part is you are left with a true vintage classic for all of your summer BBQs, day-dates, and yes, festivals.

Til next time.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Delicious "Meats" Healthy

There are few meals that I find more satisfying or elegant than a steak salad. This love is a relatively new development as I use to be turned off to red meat. But I guess it's true what they say, with age comes wisdom, and I now know the delight that comes with an occasional piece of steak.

I am not a meat expert, so I won't pretend to know which cut of steak to point you toward, but I can say I have tried this with several cuts (rib eye, flank steak, hanger steak..others) and all have turned out pretty well.

One thing I can advise on is marinade. It seems pretty hard to mess this up, but I think this one is pretty full proof.
1 cup oil (olive, canola, vegetable)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
splash of soy sauce
splash of Worcestershire
squeeze of honey
2 cloves of garlic
several cranks of pepper
several cranks (or a big pinch) of salt

Other excellent add-ins are Dijon mustard, lime juice, lemon juice, brown sugar, shallots, spices and herbs. 

Once marinade ingredients are combined, pour over meat in a Ziploc bag. Try to extract as much air as possible and throw the bag in the fridge for anywhere from 20 minutes to a couple of hours. Keep in mind that if there is acid in the marinade (i.e. vinegar or citrus juice), it will break down the meat faster. No one wants mushy meat, so plan accordingly.

Ew! Gross! Raw meat!! 
Okay, so the rest is really easy. I buy pre-washed boxed salad greens (baby lettuce mix). Depending on my level of laziness, I will either toss the salad in a bowl with a bit of vinaigrette or put it on top at the end. It doesn't matter. 

On top of the salad, aside from the steak, I like julienned carrots, thinly sliced bell pepper, baby tomatoes, and cheese. Normally I would do blue cheese, but tonight I was feeling a little creative and I made these goat cheese medallions. This is a bit of treat, but with a low-carb high protein salad like this, I think you can get away with it.
Some of My Favorite Salad Veggies
Goat Cheese Medallion "Dredge"—AP Flour, an Egg White, and Panko Bread Crumbs

Goat Cheese Medallions Sizzling Away in a Little EVOO
In my mind, this is the perfect meal. Delicious. Easy. And yes, healthy. So long as you don't go crazy on the cheese, the calories should fall within the 300 to 400 range, and the fat will be between 15 and 18 grams. 

Happy Salad Making!

Til next time. 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Black Boot Mama

The best closets contain basic essentials that when paired with anything else bring the outfit together. What do I consider essential? Well of course you need your perfect pair of dark wash skinny jeans (my current favorite are these from Ralph Lauren Denim and Supply), the perfect drapey white blouse, a well cut denim jacket, millions of soft crew or v-neck T's, and finally, a great black boot. Note: Obviously my essentials list goes on much further than this, but I am trying to look minimalistic, okay?

Black boots are classic in many senses and for me conjure up images of bikers, cowboys, gothic-Victorian ladies, and edgy fashionistas. And lets face it, we all want to look like a Victorian-biker-cowboy who is seriously fashion forward.

So here are my three favorite pairs of black boots at the moment.

These rough and tumble little ladies are my Jeffrey Campbell Rum Moto boots. As the name implies, they are inspired by the traditional motorcycle boot, except these have a sturdy high heel to lend some feminine flair to your biker-look. While not the worlds most comfortable shoe, I feel prepared for anything in these boots. Sidewalk cracks don't scare me when I am donning these babies!

These combat boots are a recent re-discovery for me. I'll admit that the resurgence of the combat boot sparked my interest in the trend, and just when I was this close to purchasing the Steve Madden "Troopa" boots that everyone and their mother has, I remembered purchasing these Nine West American Vintage boots for practically nothing during a massive Macy's shoe sale in the dead of summer. These boots are pretty straightforward, with the exception of the brass rivet at the top of the boot—which I love!

The newest addition to my black boot collection are these Report Ackley boots. I am attracted to all the features of these boots: gold hardware, comfortable cowboy-esque heel, side cutouts for air circulation, and matte-ish leather (looks better with wear!). I think these will be great in the spring and summer just as they have been this winter. I can see them with a pair of shorts or a sweet sun dress now...

My parting words on this subject is to remember that black boots are as versatile as your favorite jeans. Spring through winter, day or night, black boots fit the bill. So put them on and start living like the biker-cowboy you are!

Til next time.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Love Day


To me, Valentine's Day means a handful of things. Of course it means spending time with that special someone (why do we need a designated day for this to happen?) but for me, it also means makeup, flowers, and other pretty things. If you can't be girly on Valentine's Day, when can you be?

For the occasion, I will be wearing this look.

Soft brown eyeshadow, classic black winged-liner, punchy pink cheeks, and bright fuchsia lips. It's soft enough to be natural, but colorful enough to be fun.

I created this look with the products pictured above. Bobbi Brown's "Pale Pink" blush, NYX's Soft Matte Lip Cream in "Addis Ababa," The Balm's Mary-Lou Manizer, Maybelline's The Falsies mascara, and MAC's fluidline liner in "Blacktrack."

Top-bottom: Mary-Lou Manizer, Addis Ababa Lip Cream, and Pale Pink Blush

Of course no makeup look is complete without a few little extras like the perfect romantic scent—I like Flowerbomb by Victor & Rolf—and fun nails. And throw in a little glamour with some bejeweled earrings. I mean, why not?

I'd love to hear what everyone is doing with their Valentine's Day, or better yet, with their Valentine's look! I hope everyone enjoys all the sweetness the day has to offer.

Til next time. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

drugstore makeup: a love story

(Did it come through that I tried to make a heart-shape out of some of my favorite drugstore products...No?... Oh well.) 

I would consider myself an equal opportunity makeup user. I love Chanel. I adore Laura Mercier. I gotta lotta MAC. But I also love drugstore makeup. In fact, there are certain drugstore favorites of mine in which I have yet to find a comparable department store dupe. And why would I want to?

Here are some of my favorite drugstore products that I have in my collection right now.


I use to think foundation and concealer haaad to be department store brand. And while I do have many favorite high-end foundations, concealers, and powders, I also have some cheap ones that I find just as reliable. 

1. L'Oreal True Match Lumi Healthy Luminous Makeup *great for combination/dry skin *dewey finish *very blendable *medium coverage
2. Neutrogena Mineral Sheers Concealer Kit *dupe for the Laura Mercier "Undercover Pot" *creamy and blend-able *2-in-1 concealer and setting powder
3. L'Oreal Magic Lumi Concealer *dupe for YSL's "Touche Eclat" concealer/highlighter *brightening *lifting *doesn't settle into fine lines
4. Rimmel Stay Matte Powder *keeps shine away all day *smooth/not chalky 
5. Revlon ColorStay Foundation *full coverage *range of colors *sets quickly and stays all day


I like some of these eyeliners more than their expensive counterparts!

1. Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner *dupe for MAC Fluidline *will absolutely not smudge *sets quickly *comes with liner brush
2. NYX Noir Collection Liquid Liner *thin applicator brush for precise lines *stays all day *very black
3. L'Oreal Lineur Intense *dupe for the Lancome Artliner *precise felt-tip applicator *lasts all day *very black
4. Milani Color Brilliance Eye Liner Pencil  *dupe for some of the MAC pearl color pencils *glides on, doesn't pull *stays in the waterline *highly pigmented

Left-Right: Milani, L'Oreal, NYX, & Maybelline

With few exception, I don't believe in high end mascara. Right now, these are my favorites.

1. Maybelline Volume Express The Falsies *buildable volume *does not flake or transfer *removes easily with makeup remover *deep black
2. CoverGirl Lash Blast Volume *volumizing *no clumps...ever! *does not flake or transfer *deep black


One of my favorite products to buy and try from any brand, high-end or low-end, is lip products. While many of these lip products were after thoughts while picking up toothpaste or deodorant, they have become fast favorites!

Because I have soooo many favorites in the lips category, I won't detail each one. But I will say that they are all great and below you will find color swatches of some of my top picks.

NYX Mega Shine Lip Gloss. L-R: Beige, French Kiss, & Sweet Heart

Revlon Kissable Balm Stain. L-R: Cherish, Honey, & Rendezvous

Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter: L-R: Red Velvet, Sugar Plum, & Berry Smoothie

NYX Slim Lip Pencil. Top-Bottom: Burgundy & Pale Pink

If you have tried any excellent drug store products that you think I should know about, let me know! I'm always interested in trying something new. I would really like to try some nice drugstore blushes...I've heard good things about Rimmel. Another post?

Glad to be back on the posting wagon. Expect new posts from me this coming week!

Til next time. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

So many excuses

A Pointless Picture of the Beautiful Wine Country

So, sorry about the lack of posts lately. Not sure that it really threw anybody else's schedule off, but my lack of posting really messed with mine. I do have some valid excuses though—are excuses ever really valid?—so I will list those below.

  1. I finished my B.A. I'm done with college. Omg. Oh, and I got all A's.
  2. Christmas and New Years came and went. Wonderful while they were here, sad now that they are gone.
  3. I got the obligatory winter's cold. I'm doing better. Thanks for asking.
  4. Friends took up all of my time. Thanks a lot, friends! But seriously, thanks, it was wonderful catching up :)
I think my list fairly justifies my absence. But now the excuses are no more. I will be back on a regular posting schedule with lots of thoughts to share with y'all. Those thoughts will eventually be coupled with better pictures as I was given a beautiful new camera for Christmas. I think my new baby deserves a post all her own.

I cannot wait to blog-up-a-storm in 2013. I have a feeling about this year. It's going to be a good one...

Til next time.

Friends and Dan on a Beautiful Day

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Holiday House

Before I write this post, I would like to acknowledge the tragedy that has recently taken place in Connecticut. Lives have been ruthlessly taken, and I cannot begin to imagine the grief that the families and friends of those who were killed must be feeling. My heart goes out to all of you. There is nothing that can be said to ease this kind of pain, but nonetheless, I am sorry. Sorry that there is evil in this world beyond compare. And sorry that life is so unfair and so unkind sometimes. Those children and faculty are in a much better place. I hope everyone can find some kind of peace in the wake of this sadness. 

I love the holidays. The house is warm, the smell of fir trees and cookies waft through the air, and the decorations are wonderfully tacky in all their lit up brilliance. 

This year, Dan and I decided to buy a fake tree. Just so you know, I would never buy a regular fake tree that tries to resemble a Noble or a Douglas fir, but I would and have most certainly bought a fake tree that is pink. It's fabulous and anyone who disagrees is crazy. 

These photos do not do the color justice, but the tree is the perfect shade of light pink. We got our pink-beauty from —I cannot say enough good things about this site! On the tree we have added an assortment of sea-colored and clear bulbs. The complimentary colors play well off of each other. 

I love bird motifs, so when my mom brought over some little feathery-birds to nestle among the branches, I knew I had to find a bird tree topper. This is Gloria. She gracefully perches a-top our tree, adding whimsy to our living room. 

Our tree is really the only thing that is unique about our decor this year, so the rest of this post will be pictures of the rest of the house. Enjoy!

Til next time.