Friday, October 25, 2013

Links + Love + Libations // Internet Drama Edition

Whoop whoop it's Friiiidaaay y'all!!! It's been yet another crazy adventure around these parts and man, the internet has been on FIYAAH this week!
So many good articles and posts that I have to share and comment on so I may have to do a follow up next week because the web is ablaze with controversy!
On the blog:
This week I talked about amping up my boring basics and bringing new life to them. Who knew a bold lip and a statement necklace could have such a drastic effect? Oh everyone but me. Whatever. Someone could've told me.

I also talked about the art of the selfie. Oh yes, there is an art people. And I'm pretty much a pro. Also, the selfie is here to stay. Get into it.

Pinterest is my late night addiction of choice as y'all may know and this week I've been on a home pinning spree. We may not yet own our dream home but as soon as we do I'll be ready. I've got IDEAS man!
Mint, Coral & Navy - Love the color combo! 5 Of The Prettiest DIY Projects - IKEA hacks via @Glitter Guide 

And special shout out to my BLM girls group for helping me to get to 200 likes on the C2C FB page!! I feel like I can see the promised land now y'all!

Around the web:

* For The Love Of wrote a perspective on the Maria Kang photo that's got people's panties all in a wad and I think she did an excellent job. What's really funny is how people jumped on her afterwards for voicing her opinion. Umm it's her blog people! She's allowed!
That also got my wheels turning about a few other things female related so be prepared for some heavily opinionated posts next week!

* Black girl blonde.  Having recently lightened my hair as well I loved what she said and how she said it. One commentor said something about a 'mental slavery' which I thought was a bit harsh and was kind offended by (now MY issues are showing) but then I wonder did she actually read the actual article?

* When does 'unique' actually become 'uniform ? IFB nailed it with this one about "dressing like a blogger" I've often thought the same thing when looking at photos of blogging/social media conferences - you can visibly tell what type of blogger they are by their outfit choices.

* Barneys New York and the NYPD are being sued by a young college student and it's all because of a belt. A $350 belt but a belt nonetheless.

* The TLC movie debuted this week and apparently "Black Twitter" was on a roll with all the behind the scenes drama the fans never really knew about. I didn't even know there was a "Black Twitter" so there's that. But I did read a few of the more hilarious tweets on Awesomely Luvvie's site and I almost peed on myself. Enjoy.

And then this Vine happened and I died. The #suburbanthuglife struggle is real. Dig it.

Libation:

No libation this week as I just couldn't find one I was so excited about I wanted to share so instead I'm going to share my favorite quote of the week from the always fabulous Clinton Kelly of "What Not To Wear" and "The Chew" (you can follow me on Pinterest or Insta for more of these pithy posts! bwahahaha)

Writing this one down on a sticky note and putting it up in my studio.



What's been going on in your neck of the woods?

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Currently Crushing // A Pinspired Home

we all know i'm Pinterest obsessed. Have been ever since I joined and it's seriously like my late night drug habit.
I do it at all times of day at any location. And I'm dying to know what everyone else is Pinning too.
But  have you ever gone back and looked at what you've pinned throughout the day? The week? or even the month? I like to clean up my boards every so often and go back through to see what if any recipes I've missed, outfits I'd like to try and re-create, or home projects that inspired me and see what I've got that will be equivalent. And I love Pinterest not just for the wicked awesome recipes and clothing ideas but for all the home decor stuff as well. But since we don't currently home it's all just a pipe dream right now. I think we all have a Home board of some kind and I've gone even further and broken it down into different parts of our home (Living/Dining/Bedroom/Kitchen etc.) which helps me really visual what will work together in my imaginary dream house. It also provides visuals for my more linear minded husband to get a better idea of what I mean when I say "oh we can totally make that at home" or "what about these pillows with this couch". He needs that visual aspect to help drive an idea home and I like being able to provide him with one.

A few months back we sold our old dining table (yaay!) and scored the one that had been in my childhood home. It's solid construction and classic lines that you can't really find anymore AND it was free! winning. So I wanted to paint it a high gloss black but am super scared to take that on myself. Add to that the fact that I couldn't commit to a chair fabric and I was stuck and then I stumbled across some great DIY hacks via the Glitter Guide and it all sort of rabbit holed from there.

Those chairs are so cute and what an EASY idea!  5 Of The Pretties Ikea Hacks via @Glitter Guide

Little Green Notebook: More Sharpie Les Touches


I love that this woman took her plain white slip covered chairs from IKEA and free handed this design based on the popular Brunscwig and Fils snow leopard pattern 'Les Touches' What a simple way to spice up the dining room and add flair! My dining set is similar to the one below and I was swooning over these images all morning.

I'm so doing this to my dining room chairs!! LOVE via -Little Green Notebook: DIY Les Touches


If I didn't have a tiny tornado in my house who is consistently trying to make my heart jump out of my body - I would totally have a table like this.


5 Of The Prettiest DIY Projects - IKEA hacks via @Glitter Guide

Yet another IKEA hack this is brilliant. And the leopard pillow totally sold me at first glance. I just love the overall look and if I ever am able to have nice things again you can bet your yoga pants I will be re-creating this.

Speaking of leopard how cool is this rug on the stairs? I mean. Gallery wall. Check. Grand staircase. Check. Leopard ON the stairs. Hot damn. Sidebar - this photo was called 'stairway to heaven'. BA-NANAS.

photo 1-12 Leopard stairs + gallery wall

I don't think my husband would ever really go for this but someone I know must. I mean, it's just too good.
The perfect TV stand!

And this TV stand is just perfection. It's everything I've been wanting. Something big enough to hold & hide the DVD's and all the rest of the electronic equipment (wii, surround sound speakers etc.) and it's mirrored. Glam but not in a pretentious way. Totally my style. Also, pretty sure I could re-create this with some IKEA pieces, a few well placed overlays and some mirrors. Whoomp there it is. Anyone want to come help make my dreams a reality?

I've also been kind of obsessed with the whole deer/animal head thing as well as a finding a gold morrocan pouf and large statement mirror. In the end I'll probably just end up spray painting the old black mirror we have but aren't these dreamy?

Sweet styling. Mint, Coral & Navy - Love the color combo!

Of course none of this could be impelemented in our current home since we lack the space required for some of my delusions of grandeur ideas but mark my words at some point in this life I will have a space that is totally reflective of our personalities and lifestyle.


Are you on Pinterest? (let's follow each other!)  Do you have a Home board of some kind? What Pinspires you?


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* all images can be sourced via my Living room + Dining Room Pinterest boards

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Vanity Vanity + The Art of the Selfie

I take a ridiculous amount of pictures of myself and have pretty much perfected the art of the selfie. Actually, I've been doing it for years, before social media gave it a name you could find me turning the camera on myself (or me + my girls) , arm angled just so with the right amount of head tilt. But you had to be careful, too much angle on the arm and you're all up your nose. Not enough head tilt and your face gets cut off. Bummer.
No, I'm a HUGE proponent of the selfie. I tend to think it's more empowering than anything. I know they get a bad rap. I've received several looks and rolled eyes over the years whenever I busted out my camera and turned the lens back to me but you know what? Haters gonna hate.
I started taking them really as a way to document how I looked and felt in those moments. Some were on birthdays and special occasions others were just simply because I liked my makeup and wanted to document it for posterity. And let's be honest, sometimes those old photos come in handy for #throwbackthursday .
In all seriousness, the 'selfie' has become a new "thing" to mock or ridicule simply because some see it as vanity or think they are better than anyone else somehow. Can't a girl just want a photo cuz she likes her dress?  I mean, what better way to document your personal style evolution and to really see what works and what doesn't? (note to self: red hair looks damn good on you)  I've found it's a great way to document where I'm at in life and what my style is as well as how clothes really look on. Whenever I try on clothes I always take a photo so I can see how it really looks and also how it would photograph. I love looking back on old photos and seeing how far I've come, what ridiculous trends I rocked, and how young my girlfriends and I looked at the time.

With the advent of Instagram selfie's are definitely on the rise and even though 'others' still give side eye about them I love it. Nothing better than a woman who is feeling so good about how she looks right then and there that she is compelled to snap a photo. But ,the whole #filterforwhat #nofilterneeded hashtags are killing all the fun of it. Can we stop shaming each other ladies? I totally use filters on my selfie's and you know why? Sometimes the lighting is shitty or the colors aren't popping in the photo the way they do in real life so why not bump them up a notch? It's Instagram for cryin in the corn! Using filters is the point!
But I digress - since I am the queen of the selfie's in our group I thought I'd share some tips on taking them and how to get the best results.
Selfie 101:

1) Give face: No duck faces. Unless you're a teenager or college student there is no reason to make this face. It's part of the reason selfie's have such a bad rap. Just smile or smirk. No need for crazy face. Unless that is who you are. Then by all means : go crazy


2) Angles:  You can easily lose an arm or a leg if you're standing in an awkward position when you take your photo. But you don't necessarily want to stand dead on either. Years of watching ANTM has taught me that your body should be 'broken' to create interesting lines and content. So get out there and bend it like Beckham. Victoria that is.


3) Filter Away: Part of the fun of Insta is the use of the many different filters and editing options. I say use as many as you like but  don't get crazy and if you choose to go au naturale don't hashtag #nofilterneeded - that's like shaming the rest of who do. And besides - that is a matter of opinion. Obviously don't filter away your entire self but hey a little Earlybird never hurt anybody right?


clearly I filtered the hell out of this as her hair is not that opaque
4) Location : Please ladies, for the love of all things selfie, stop taking photos in your bathroom at night! The lighting is harsh the angles are bad and unless you just remodeled no one is that interested in that room. Lucky for me the whole back wall of my dining room/kitchen is mirrored which is great as I've learned the lighting in our bedroom sucks.

 


However, I'm not above the bathroom shot (particularly in restaurants- see above) and I'm totally guilty of breaking my own rules (see examples below) but let's just try to have all our clothes on shall we? I'm also fond of a HomeGoods mirror aisle as well as my local Target. But be ware the photo bomber.

 

5) Who's zooming who: That crop feauture can be great when you need to get a tight shot or edit some photo bomber but let's use it wisely hmm? The selfie is a delicate photo and it can be quite shocking to scroll your feed and just stumble upon someone's grill all up in the camera. If I can see your pores - it's too close.


Most importantly have fun with it. It's a self portrait of you in a moment in time. Enjoy the moment!
Follow me on Instagram for more selfie fun!! 



How do you feel about the selfie? Do you think it's vain or empowering?


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Monday, October 21, 2013

Daily Style // Beyond the Basics





It's no secret that I'm a jeans and tee type of chick. It's been my go to outfit of choice for years when going out because of it's simplicity and ease with which it can be transformed. As soon as I discovered the Mossimo pocket tee I bought 3 each of white, black and grey because I knew they would become fast staples in my somewhat un-inspired wardrobe. Being somewhat of a shoe lover I was always more fixated on what was happening south of my ankles rather than the rest of my ensemble. In fact, that's how I generally plan my outfits. Particularly if I'm going somewheregoing somewhere versus a Target run or the afternoon pick up.

We've been celebrating D's birthday all week long and now that Sweet Pea is back from camp we kept it up Saturday with a trip to The Cheesecake Factory for an early bird special. That just means we went before it got cray cray after 5pm. I knew I wanted to wear something simple but low key glammed up. I wanted to get beyond the basics of just jeans and a tee which I've pretty much worn everyday this week. Sigh. Sometimes being in a rut just sucks.



Inspired by my upcoming Breast Cancer inspired Stell & Dot Brunch Baubles & Boobies party, I broke out one of my favorite necklaces I never wear. The necklace is spur of the moment purchase from H&M and I'm ever so happy I did. I posted on the FB page a few weeks ago about mixing metals and this necklace was the sole reason I've so easily slipped into it.


I loved the way it jazzed up my plain white pocket tee and took something so simple and familiar and gave it new life. All thanks to a necklace. As I said, before I'm learning about working more accessories into my daily ensembles and this is proof positive that they really are everything.
See? Reading Rachel Zoe really is educational research!


The elements of the outfit are super basic but the addition of the necklace and the red lips give it a little certain something. I'm a little late on the bold lip train but now that I've tried it I've kind of fallen in love. If you had asked me two years ago how I felt about it, I would've told you while I love it on others I'm just not sure it's me. Fast forward to the last month and I'm OWNING it. I'm still working on ways to work it into my everyday life which is a bit hard with the Baby Ninja being so kissable and all but it's definitely happening. Hence the red lips for a Saturday lunch! 

And let's not forget about the nude pumps. I was on the hunt earlier this year for just the right pair. They needed to be pointy-toed and patent but not super dark or super light. I also didn't want them to be wicked high. I know - the higher the heels the closer to God - but I think they actually work better at a more realistic height. This was also my first time wearing them sadly and while originally I was looking to rock my silver metallics these just seemed to work better. At least according to Sweet Pea. So there you have it. Fashion advice from an 11 year old.

I was really happy with how the whole look came together and how simple it really is. I mean, really I'm wearing jeans and a t-shirt. Adding the extra elements (necklace + lips) just made it an ensemble.


So how do you get beyond your basics?


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Friday, October 18, 2013

Happy Hour // Links + Love + Libations : Covert Ops Edition

Whew! What a crazy week it's been!
We spent the weekend having a massive pre-bday movie marathon with D in which we watched no less than 8 movies. The only thing I can tell you is I'm now dreaming of having some type of Gatsby themed party. Don't know when, where or how but I know I have to make it happen.

I shared a little bit about how Sweet Pea and I were able to watch Chef Wolfgang Puck cook live in front of us and were treated to a little tasting of his latest cookbook. It pretty much rocked my world.

Wednesday we celebrated the Hubs 37th birthday  and I was a little sneaky in gathering the friends for a surprise dinner and somehow managed to pull it off! Thus inspiring a lot of camo in this week's wardrobe.

 

The children stayed up way too late for a hump day but it was totally worth it to do something fun for my guy. Needless to say I could get nothing done the next day and inadvertently took a nap.

Sweet Pea went off to 6th grade Science Camp for four days. I didn't know how to feel about that. She is just growing up way too fast for me these days.


Baby Ninja tried out his first My Gym class. He loved it. He also took several tumbles and got right back up. It's like the place was made for a tiny tornado like him!


I'm looking forward to a weekend with no real plans. I have some prep work to do for my Brunch, Baubles and Boobies party on the 27th but other than that, our schedule is pretty open and for that I am grateful.  I have visions of hitting up the L.B. Flea Market and possibly their local farmers market as well but we'll see how that goes.

Around the web:


Stay at home + work from home + work outside the home.....the struggle is REAL y'all and it doesn't matter how you word it it's still a JOB. It's funny how women discuss this all the time but once a man brings it up - suddenly he's amazing.

* There's seven stages of marriage - how are YOU surviving? Not sure I agree with the whole wording on this but I get the concept.

* My wedding photographer wrote this for all the Type A mamas who feel like they're not getting anything done. Give yourself a break.

* I've written about black women and their hair before. I love this woman's story about what the big chop taught her about beauty.

* Buzzfeed does it again with 50 Things You Will Never Be Able To Forget. (#9, #17, #18, #33, #39 #44)


Libations:
I'm still waiting for the weather to catch up with the month but until it does I'm enjoying the view from IG as all my cross country friends post about the fall their experiencing. It has me dreaming of toasty fires and game nights with friends and this delightful treat.

Fall Apple Sangria

Fall Apple Sangria 4.jpg
image + recipe via 

                                                                                   Ingredients:

1 1/2 C sugar
3 C water
4 cloves
3 cinnamon sticks
1/4 t anise seed
5 thin slices fresh ginger
2 apples, cored and cut into rings
1 bottle red wine of your choice
1/2 C triple sec
1 lemon, sliced
1 lime, sliced


Instructions:



1) In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and water. Add in cloves, cinnamon sticks, anise seed, and ginger and bring to a boil.
2) Once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes.
3) Remove mixture to container with lid and add in apple slices. Refrigerate until chilled.
4) Fill a pitcher with ice. Pour in bottle of wine, 1/2 C triple sec, and 1 C simple syrup. Put sliced lemons and limes and apple rings in pitcher as well. For best results, let the sangria sit in the fridge for a while so all the flavors can meld together.



(serves about 6)






       Cheers to another lovely weekend! What do you have planned? Anything fall and outdoorsy?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Cheers to 10 Years // Macy's Culinary Council

One of the many perks of this freelance writing thing is that I get to attend all kinds of fun events and I can usually bring my family and that makes it all the more interesting as we get to experience new things together.
Just in time for real 'fall like weather' Macy's is celebrating 10 years of their Culinary Council and we were invited to attend while Chef Wolfgang Puck performed a demonstration of a few dishes out of his new cookbook.
 




Being a psuedo foodie + huge fan of his since his earlier TV show to his role as a guest judge on Top Chef, I was beyond jazzed about going. I was even more excited to take Sweet Pea with me and open her up to a whole new world of tastes. I let her know that she had to at least try a few bites of whatever was being served as a condition of her getting to go and she agreed so off we went.




The Macy's Home store at South Coast Plaza is nothing short of fabulous. It features a full kitchen for demo purposes and all the designer appliances, dishes and furniture of your dreams. The demo area was already filling up even though we arrived a bit early. I was happy to find that we had seats in the front row and found myself giddy with excitement over the fact that Chef Puck was going to be less than five feet from me! I've enjoyed cooking shows for a long time and grown to love it myself so seeing him live was a real a treat.


Chef Puck began by introducing himself and his sous chef and then told us briefly about the three dishes he was going to make. He was incredibly personable and amiable with the crowd talking to another young kid further down the way and asking if anyone had questions while he went about his work.
It was pretty cool to watch his knife work and see how deftly he handled the tools of his trade. To watch a master at their craft is art personified and a beautiful thing indeed.
While he prepped each course he told us stories behind the dishes and how he prepares them with his kids or adapts them for the season.

His first dish was a Crispy Potato Galette with Dill Cream, Smoked Salmon and Sturgeon and Osetra Caviar. I was for sure intimidated as was Sweet Pea. We don't really do fish and I'm sure I've never had smoked salmon nor caviar so that was a first. I took a full bite of everything, decided the caviar and fish weren't for me and finished off the galette. Sweet Pea was for sure sketched out but she put on a brave face and tried the galette. She ended up liking it with the dill cream sauce once I pushed off the fish for her.


The second dish was a seasonally inspired Risotto with Sauteed Apples. Unfortunately my dish wasn't all that warm but it was pretty delicious nonetheless. I thought the apples were an interesting twist. Sweet Pea was not a fan. Oh well, at least she tried it. He gave some tips on making risotto, which I've only done from scratch once and that was in a cooking class. I usually use a box mix. It's terrible I know. But now, that I know a few tricks for getting it just right I am eager to try my hand at it.



The final dish was a Roasted Winter Squash Soup with Red Bell Pepper Swirl. Even though it was still quite warm out, the soup hit the spot. I could definitely see sitting down with this on a cold winter's evening. Served with warm crusty bread, a glass of wine and perhaps using Chef Puck's own trick of using a previously roasted squash to serve it all in.
Makes my mouth happy just thinking about it.




One of my favorite things was how he made the soup. After roasting the squash he used a pressure cooker and then followed up with an emulsion blender which meant he never turned on the stove and in under 60 minutes he had a kick ass soup. Sweet. Obviously the oven would have to be on to roast the squash but then that's it. I can get down with a dish that doesn't require me to stand over the stove.
He advised against over salting a dish to early on in the cooking stages and advised to simply wait until the end and season to taste, which I have for sure found to be true when making sauces and soups.




Afterward we were able to get some even closer pictures (front row perk) and even got in some one on one time with the chef! I mean! We actually had a lovely chat and I told him how I fell in love with crème brûlée thanks to trying it at his restaurant once a upon a time ago and then he asked  Sweet Pea if she enjoyed cooking and she bantered right back and I just about died.



To make things even more exciting as we were leaving his sous chef stopped us and asked if the girl wanted a pumpkin from the set decor. She couldn't have been happier. As we were leaving she said, "Mom, how many people do you think can say they met Wolfgang Puck and got a pumpkin in the same day?"
Not many kid, not many.


And then this happened....and I died again. My street cred with the foodies was just kicked into high gear. Now I'm going to have to step my culinary game up.




"I am a member of the Everywhere Society and Everywhere compensated me for this post however, all thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own"


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