Tuesday, July 31

Top Three Tuesday: Prints

I love prints. I love mixing prints. In fact, at times I have a fear of walking out of the house in all solids.  It's an irrational fear, but a valid fear nonetheless.

In honor of it being Tuesday and no longer Monday, and the fact that I'm wearing some of these prints as I type, I'll talk about prints. (Prints is the new buzz word everyone!!)

3) Gingham.  It's no longer just for menswear, even though I had to stock my wardrobe with menswear until I found this baby in navy.
The history of gingham originated from the English (naturally) via the Dutch, and was first used to describe a woven striped fabric.  Now more commonly it is this checkered pattern

2) Polka dots. They are the most playful, cheery pattern out there.  (and my dress sported this pattern yesterday!)  Wiki says the pattern is mostly in children's clothing, rarely in serious fashion, and generally more playful occasions.  The pattern is named after a dance of the same name.  I spy a subtle polka dot blouse at JCrew!!
1) Stripes.  I just can't get over my affinity and obsession for stripes. I don't think it's curable and sorry I'm not sorry.  Apparently its origination was quite the scandal, with responses such as "one shall not made a garment made of two" and those who wore stripes were not to be trusted...i.e. village idiots, prostitutes, jugglers, and clowns.  Well thankfully that opinion is mostly over, and we can all be free to wear stripes. I love this combo of stripes+stripes!
Monday, July 30

Musical Manic Monday.

Today is definitely manic.   There are construction workers at our office re-building out new floors for us, which really just sounds like someone banging a hammer against a pipe.  There is construction going on at my place to work on a couple repairs.  It's everywhere!!! Time to put in my headphones and tune out the world and get some work done.

Someone told me about "Portugal. The Man". Really-that's the band name.  I had to get him to repeat it no fewer than five times, which probably led him to believe that I have a hearing problem (WHAT??!).

Well I checked it out, and good news-I love it.  It successfully got me through any car time on Sunday, and I am now head bobbing to it in my cubicle.  Yay for headphones and new tunes!

Here are my favs:

Got it All


Turns out these guys are from Portland, which gives me yet another reason to visit there.  Love finding new music and people who have good taste.
Thursday, July 26


is Thursday. And today I don't have a cocktail or a thrift to share with you, because I would rather talk about my vacation. 

 I'm here to tell you, it's really hard to do a headstand when the shore is completely sloped.  I managed to do one in South Africa a few years ago, but it was much flatter.

 Just your average Friday afternoon with some of my favorite people.
 Necessary to put your hair in a top knot on the beach. No beauty contest here.
These guys greeted us every morning.

I don't really sleep in, ever. I'm just not a good sleeper at all, really. But I managed to sleep till 9 every single day of my vacation.   My roommate even said "It can't be 9, Ann's still asleep". 

Usually when you go on a vacation, you come home and need another vacation to recover.  For some strange reason, I felt ready to get back to work and completely refreshed.  I finished my great book, and I highly recommend it.  I touched a sting ray, but then completely freaked out, so I can't say I conquered any fears there.  Most of all, I just enjoyed being with friends and not thinking about deadlines or really anything else for that matter.  It really is important to take a break every once in a while, and it doesn't happen often enough for me.

This weekend we'll be celebrating Corinne's upcoming wedding once again, with a wedding shower.  After that, it's rest and relaxation, and maybe some Olympics watching for me.
Tuesday, July 17

Top Three Tuesday: Swimwear

Being that I'm in Island mode, since I leave this week for Grand Cayman, I'm in the throws of unpacking and re-packing, and trying to make very important decisions like which bathing suits to pack and which to save for another day.

My mom and I had a very lengthy conversation regarding tan lines and swim tops, while my dad stood by rolling his eyes.  Anyways...we decided it's highly important to get as few tan lines as possible.  When we're playing with my nephews or doing anything besides laying flat on a towel, we like to have some sort of strap to make sure we don't flash anyone.

These are my favorite swimwear for the tan line conscious folk:

3) The String top. I know when you hear the word "string" you freak out, but it's actually been known to be the most flattering type of bikini, because it doesn't cut into your skin and create any "bulging".  I like this simple one from Madewell.
2) The Scrunch tie top. I found this in the Athleta catalog, and love the look. It seems very stable, but doesn't have too much going on to create severe tan lines. I love this pattern, too. Comes in turquoise as well, or even a solid.
1) The bandeau.  This year JCrew came out with a twist front bandeau, and I am obsessed! I ordered one on sale and it's become my favorite swim top! It has a detachable strap as well.
For bottoms this year, I'm obsessed with the tulle retro hipster brief. Look how cute this polka dot one is!
And I usually mix & match my patterns and solids...makes it more fun and unique!

Happy sunning! :)
Monday, July 16

Manic Monday

I'm back from family vacation, and missing my family so much! After days spent on the lazy river, my roommate picked me up at the airport last night and said "you look rested!" Imagine looking rested after playing non stop with 7 nephews!

In other news, this poster completely applies to my family. We are high strung, Italian women.
Does anyone watch SYTYCD? I caught up on the show last night, and my favorite dance was a tie between the Titanic tribute and the contemporary routine featuring "Turning Page" by Sleeping at Last.  See videos below:

Thursday, July 12

Today is my Friday.

So I want to post about hair accessories....roll with it!  I saw that Anthropologie did a feature on spicing up your summer hair....and I have to say I'm intrigued.  I want to try two stat.  I actually bought a cool head wrap on etsy a couple weeks back...from this gals shop.

Anthropologie's cute ideas:

Funky turban + twisty top knot:

The one I bought recently:

Anthropologie's sparkle/color hair ties:
I may have to get my hands on those hair ties! 5 for $12 is a good price.

Any other recommendations? Send them over!
Wednesday, July 11

Work Wear Wednesday: Look for Less

Did you receive the Anthropologie July catalog? Were you totally struck by the cover like I was? Then I got to the price of this look and thought...no way.  Then I saw it in the store and felt like it wasn't worth the price....shoot.  I know I can figure out a way to pull this off without breaking my budget.

The Look:
The cost:
Dress $188, Collar $198, Shoes $168
Total: $554

Look for less:

Option One: Dress, Collar, Shoes=$122.98
Option Two: Dress, Collar, Shoes=$95.98
Tuesday, July 10

Top Three Tuesday: Reasons to get outta town

It's Summer. The time of year where, when growing up, you were out of school and potentially at summer camp/taking a family vacation.  Enter adult world: i.e. life in a cubicle.  No more summer vacation.  WHAT?!?!?

I know, it's crushing really.  Gone are those blissful days but at least you now have a paycheck and can use your vacation days as you like. I shall stop complaining.

This weekend I'm heading out of town with my family (yes...all fourteen of us...that's mom, dad, both sisters and both their husbands, all 7 nephews, and myself) to the hill country.  The last time we took a family trip, there were three existing nephews, so this should be fun :)

My top reasons to get outta town:

3) The need for a change of scenery.  It's good to get away from work every now and then.  Get outside, get some fresh air, sleep in a little, ignore your daily routine, and focus on important things like carbs and wine.  There are several benefits to getting fresh air daily.  To include a few: it's good for your digestion, improves heart rate and blood pressure, makes you happier (hey! that's great!), and sharpens your mind. 

2) The need for sun.  First of all, my skin is too pale for my taste, and for a little longer, I'm going to focus on my tan.  Increase your vitamin D intake and catch some rays, but be sure to wear sunglasses (like that's a problem for me...I love buying them!).  There are several benefits here, too! One includes reduces risk of up to 20 types of cancer-heyyyyyy! Other include boosting your immunity, improving your metabolism, and sleeping better.

1) The need for sleep. I get way too caught up in my daily routine of work out-shower-get ready for work-rush rush rush-get to work-work-errands-more work-potential social engagement-sigh of relief-go to bed that I need to literally leave the premises in order to relax.  I won't be getting up for my work out and instead I'll focus on getting caught up on sleep. 

There are several benefits to sleep (obviously). Did you know that sleep deprivation increases risk of a car accident? Yikes.  More sleep helps clear your mental clutter, and improve your memory.   It also reduces displaced aggression, and makes you want to eat healthier (maybe that's why, when I'm tired, I want to eat bad food!) and I also believe it improves your skin and appearance.  When my parents go on their vacations, they come back looking like they've had a face lift!
I can't wait to start working on all three! :)
Monday, July 9

Manic Monday: Music to get you started

Why is this such a hard Monday? I'm not quite ready to be at work... so I listened to this non stop in my car this morning.

The girl in the video looks like a total bad ass in her cropped leather jacket!!
Friday, July 6

Finally Friday: Dreams are Strange

I had the strangest dream last night.  I dreamt I had taken out my contacts, maybe to swim or something.  When I went to put them back in, I put the left one in with no problem.   However, the right one grew to the size of my whole hand...and as I struggled to put it in my eye, I folded it up and it was now the size of a dinner plate!

I realize this is strange... and believe me it had me very concerned. What I love is that, upon arriving to work, I googled "dreams about contact lenses" and what I have found is somewhat close to a focus group related to these dreams.

What was interesting is, after finally giving up, I noticed there was already a contact lens in my eye!  The large contact lens (probably a beach ball by then) had several scratches and tears as well.

Some of the comments are fantastic!

Now that you think I'm insane....have fun judging me and/or researching your crazy dreams! :)
Tuesday, July 3

Top Three Tuesday: Independence Day Clothing

Whether you're cooking out, going to the parade, or hitting the pool, here's what I want to celebrate!

3) A patriotic bikini. Now, this would only be purchased/worn when the day comes that I have too much money.  As we are not there yet, I would have to go search the sale rack at Old Navy for a similar suit.  All in all, you have to admit it's cute!
2) Blue gingham shorts. I actually have these on today, but honestly if you sport anything gingham (like either of my two men's shirts from yesterday's post), you're golden.  Lightweight cotton, eye catching pattern, and appropriate colors for the occasion.
1) Striped tank dress.  This I bought on promotion, and with my discount, and have worn it obsessively since. Wear with a chambray, scarf, t shirt, or cardigan...you can't go wrong!
Don't forget to grab your hat, and get outdoors!
Monday, July 2

Manic Monday

So I am NOT ready to be back to work today.  Would love a Monday off, so that it doesn't actually feel manic.

Anyways...I was in the mall on Saturday, killing time before seeing a movie (not Magic Mike...Snow White and the Huntsman...but don't get me wrong, I still want to see MM asap). I went into JCrew to exercise my discount (from working at Madewell) and was really disappointed with the women's button down shirts.  Just because we're girls doesn't mean we only want pink, especially since I rarely want pink at all.  I've been on the hunt for a great black/white or navy/white gingham button down but just couldn't settle for this one:

and this one wasn't in stock:

so I wandered over to the men's section and got this guy:
and as a splurge, this guy:
and I have to say, I'm ten times more pleased with the men's quality and selection than the women's.  I got an xs in both shirts, and may shrink them a tiny bit, but a little sleeve rolling and waist tying and we're good to go. I'm wearing a black long "mullet" skirt with the colorful gingham button down today.   Perhaps I should sport it again on Wednesday...Stay tuned for some Fourth of July looks that aren't obnoxious... :)
Friday, June 29

Finally Friday

Somehow I felt like this week flew by, even though each day was filled with its own craziness.  

I was so thankful to see my new, sweet nephew on Sunday.  My cousin was able to snap a couple of pictures with #4 & #5 getting along swimmingly-what a relief!  Teddy is 2, and Tony is 0. I think these pictures prove they're destined to be best buds :)

I've been reading an absolutely fantastic book this week.  It's called Wilderness Skills for Women by Marian Jordan.  I highly recommend.  The book is written from her perspective of each woman's personal wilderness period, and it truly is like she is speaking to you personally! 

Whether it be a break up, a loss of a friend, or a riff with a family member, a wilderness period is inevitable throughout our lives.  What is interesting is that Marian talks about how this period should be a sign to hope, not to despair.  What?! HOPE?! How much easier is it to have a melt down and doubt your entire future? Much easier.  But to have hope brings such a greater sense of peace.  I can't tell you how much good this book has done for me, just in one week!  I can't wait to read her other books!
Thursday, June 28

Thirsty Thursday: July 4th Cocktails

July 4th is coming up, and I'm sorry to say it's on a Wednesday this year. WHICH, I shouldn't complain about having a day off, but I will go ahead and do so because I wish the holiday fell on a non-Wednesday like normal* so I would get a long weekend.  w/e.

This year, we're taking my gramma (lovingly nicknamed the "old bag"**) out for her birthday Tuesday night, to get this day off started right.  Wednesday we'll probs frequent the local parade, and jump in the pool.

My mom, Josie, is great with cocktail time. She is always ready and waiting for me to say "is it time?" and she is ON it.  I should mention I won't be featuring any blue drinks below.  I'm not really a fan of having my mouth turn blue like I'm a four year old... Sorry I'm not sorry.  These are my three favorite ideas for a killer fourth cocktail:

1. Wine Spritzer.  Whether you use white wine or red, or even a rose, get ON it.  It's super easy, so you have no excuse. Just mix the wine with a club soda or even a fresca, and you can even throw in a melon ball of your choosing.  My gramma (the old bag) has a little melon scooper that she uses for watermelon and canetelope.  Cutesie!

-1/2+ part wine
-1/2- part soda
-fruit to add some flavor/garnish

2. Vodka Soda.  Listen, don't judge it! It goes down easy, and it won't treat you badly the next day, AND it's low cal.  I told you that I wasn't going to have some snooty blue drink featured.  Spruce your soda up with some fruit: watermelon (see old bag reference w/ melon scooper), lime, lemon, orange...or all!  I also enjoy this with Hendricks Gin since it has a nice cucumber tone to it.
-1/4 part gin/vodka
-3/4 part soda (they also make light tonic)
-fruit to garnish/flavor
3. Moscow Mule.  Now I believe I've mentioned my love for ginger beer, and above my love for vodka, so why not marry the two together?  This drink is utterly refreshing, and has been around since the 40s.  I actually found this video how to which is great, mostly because he has a british accent.  I will tell you I've made it the easy way, starting with already made ginger beer, and I've also made it from scratch. Go ahead and take the easy road.  Now if I can just get my hands on the signature glass...
-1 3/4 oz vodka
-1/2 oz lime juice
-ginger beer
-lime wedge and fresh mint for garnish


*granted, in my 5 years of employment (so not that long), it's been the norm for the holiday to fall on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday.  In the case that it falls on Tuesday or Thursday, my job has given us Monday/Friday off.  Hel-lo four day weekend!  Makes for a perfect time to take a trip! Alas, this year, I'll be staying local, but making the most of it.

**look, she came up with the nickname herself. Don't judge me for going along with it!
Wednesday, June 27

Work Wear Wednesday: Look for Less Part V

We're going to venture over to Neiman Marcus.  Ahh, lovely Neimans. You can just smell how expensive everything is when you walk in, but the quality is nearly unbeatable. When you dress for less, sometimes you have to sacrifice a little quality, which usually doesn't bother me. I buy cheaper pieces especially when they are trendy, and buy a little nicer when it's a staple, like black pants.

Moving on. Here's the look:

Pants, $375 (on sale!). Top, $510 (on sale, too!). Pumps (similar), $575.
Total cost: $1,460

Look for less:

Top Option 1, $69. Top Option 2, $59. Pants, $49.95. Suede pumps, $59.99.
Total cost: $178.90-$168.90

Tuesday, June 26

Top Three Tuesday: Cleaning Utensils

Does that even make sense: cleaning utensils? Did you see where I was going with that, or are you still confused?  Bear with me here, and let's get straight to the point.

Do you like to clean (like I do)? Honestly I find it to be like a mini work out, a major stress reliever, and a series of task with maximum satisfaction.

While I'm irreversibly obsessed with this counter spray and this kitchen hand soap, there are a few "utensils" for cleaning I cannot live without.

3. Microfiber cloths. I use these with the counter spray to clean the granite counter top about 327 times a day. I also use them when I'm washing the mirrors and sinks.  I may go buy these microfiber sponges next!
2. Dust Buster. Look,  I don't even really like my current dust buster at all, but that is not the point.  The point is, a dust buster can get the crumbs under the cabinets, in drawers, on the shelves, and even around/in the microwave before you apply elbow grease with a sponge or mop.
I'm going to go ahead and add a 2b here.
2b. A small broom and dust pan.  This is also extremely useful in the kitty litter cleaning department, and with small spills.  Get one at BBB.

3. A good lint roller. We use this on the couch, pillows, and chairs to remove cat hair and our hair.  One time we splurged for the pet specific one, and it was worth it. It's just a thicker tube and a sturdier tape, so don't worry if you bought the cheap one.

Some other good things I use on occasion are rubber gloves, a mop, and a microfiber dusting mitt.  The gloves I put on when the job is particularly gritty and I don't want to ruin my manicure. Duh.

The mop I should use more frequently, but don't.  I think instead of a once/twice a week routine I'm more like a bi-monthly user.  And, this dusting mitt has stayed with me for years. I just throw it in the washing machine when it gets particularly dirty and carry on.  I use it for dusting tables, furniture, book shelves, and light fixtures (that are turned off!).

 I keep everything in a bucket under my half bathroom sink (the sink cabinet in the kitchen contains cleaning products and trash bags...).