Friday, July 29, 2011

[Crafty Lady] The Pinterest Challenge - Summer Edition

I, like I'm sure many of you, am a huge YoungHouseLove fan.  YHL was one of the first home improvement blogs I started following almost 2 years ago and I've been inspired to DIY more times than I can count. 

This week Sherri challenged her readers (along with the readers of BowerPower, Style by Emily Henderson -yes, that HGTV Emily Henderson, and Making a House a Home) to a Pinterest Challenge.

Anywho, the gang is challenging anyone and everyone to stop pinning and start doing.  All us Pin-whores have enough inspiration to keep us busy with projects for the rest of the year, so it's high time we start knocking some of them out.

Unfortunately, the deadline to complete a Pinspired project is Tuesday, August 2nd.  Which is the day I'll be getting back from being out of town (yep, I've been out of town all along... hence my lack of response to your comments, so sworry!)...  So I thought, I'd re-share a project I did earlier this summer that was inspired by my Pinterest loving.

However,  I also thought I'd share some inspiration of projects I have in the works...

You may remember this was previously on my Summer To-Do List...  and I'm literally mid-project, but like I said, I won't be able to complete it before the deadline - boo!  See, I have proof!

I also recently grabbed all the supplies to make my own version of something like this.....

August is already shaping up to be a creative little month, I do have quit the few things to check out my To-Do List after all!

Are you partaking in the Pinterest Challenge??

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fruits of my Labor

My tomatoes are thriving!

And so are the actual plants... they are now taking over the left side of the deck!

These pics are actually from July 15!  We've had plenty more since then, including some good ol' yellow cherry tomatoes (so cute)... I figured since I'm not going to snap photos after every time I pick off some veggie goodness I'll just show my first haul.... 

Anyone else enjoying homegrown veggies??

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

[Recipe Share] Way Over Due... Holiday Rice Krispie Treats

Wow, it must have been a while since I uploaded pictures from my camera to my computer because I just found some 4th of July Rice Krispie Treats I made for a friend's 4th BBQ at the beginning of the month.  I thought about just skipping the post all together, but I guess better late than never since these treats can be customized for any holiday..... black and orange sprinkles for Halloween, orange and brown for Thanksgiving, green and red for Christmas, white and blue for Hanukkah... you get the idea!

As usual, I was inspired by these treats on pinterest.

Of course making them was a bit trial and error, not the rice krispies treats themselves, but when to add to the sprinkles.  This is the recipe I used for the treats, the usual, but with a secret ingredient (vanilla extract)...mmmmm!

1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
10-11 oz mini marshmallows (1 bag)
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 cups Rice Krispies cereal

Spray 9"x13" pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Melt butter and marshmallows in a large pan over low heat. Stir frequently.
Remove from heat.
Stir in vanilla
Add Rice Krispies. Mix well.

So I first added the sprinkles after I removed the mixture from heat and added vanilla.  Unfortunately (or fortunately), this melted the sprinkles and led to splashes of red and blue in the inside of the treats.  After I packed the treats into a glass pan I sprinkled more on top, which led to a nice festive look like the picture above.

Next time I think I'll use a cookie cutter to make them in shapes too, stars for the 4th, bats for Halloween, mittens and snowman for the Holidays... endless ways to be creative!

Monday, July 25, 2011

[Window Shopping] Unexpected Finds

Last Friday I was working from home, so I got to watch all of the Today Show (I know, it's the perks in life).  Anyway, there was a segment with Stacy London about the best jeans for Fall and how to work all the different styles (trouser, skinny, colored, etc).   The first outfit was a 'work' look with a trouser jean, silk top, and chanel-esque tweed jacket.  Of course, each of the items were under $100, including the adorable handbag.  Which was from Aldo of all places.

(third from lef, of course you can't see the bag!)

The bag looked luxe and definitely designer inspired, so I ran to the website to check it out... and I was pleasantly surprised by all the great bags they have.  I'm usually a 'one bag' girl meaning I buy a handbag and use the shit out of it it for months on end until I find a new replacement.  Since I use the same bag day in and day out, I'm not opposed to spending a few hundred dollars or so on them...  however, I'd more than willing to drop $50 (or less) on one of these options!

Agra - Aldo $29.98
(reminds me of my Minkoff MAM)

Crim - Aldo $50

Lejenne - Aldo $45

Vorwaller - Aldo $50

Kreisher - Aldo $45

Mudd - Aldo $60

All of them are hitting the current trends of lady-like structured styles, classic colors, color blocking details, and hardware accessories like buckles, turn locks, and zippers.   I would love to see the quality in person, but for a affordable option, call me a fan.

What kind of 'bag girl' are you?  Hoard lots of expensive designer bags? Change up affordable and trendy options like underwear?  Use the same bag for years?  Make your husband carry all your schtuff?  Spill it!

Friday, July 22, 2011

[Shopaholic] 'Watching' for Deals

On Wednesday, I mentioned I've been hunting for a new watch.  I posted a few Nixon watches I've been loving, and a handful of you all commented on your love for the tortoise shell 'Time Teller' watch.  Funny enough, this was the Husband's favorite too (he doesn't like rose gold or regular gold). 

Nixon Time Teller Watch - Tilly's $149.99

I was trying to reason that $149.99 for a watch (with Free Shipping - Tilly's ships for free on purchases over $99) was a great deal and I should just treat myself, because it's been a tough month. But since I've already treated myself to white AG Stevies, a splendid top, replaced our broken coffee maker, and ordered a yogitoes mat... I didn't think I should.

I decided to check Ebates for any coupon codes worth my while and lo and behold, 20% Off one item with code Summer11.  This was awesome.  Now the watch was only $119.99, and I found some boardshorts for Husband for $30 (I added them to my cart second to make sure the 20% Off would reflect on the watch)... I basically was able to get his shorts free (and they were a must buy since his old pairs no longer fit - woohoo on the shrinking waistline Hubs!), since my new total was a penny under the original price of the watch $149.98.

Also, since I shopped through Ebates, I got 4.5% cash back on my order.

I'll post a review when the watch arrives, but if you were looking for a reason deal to get one for yourself here it is!  Or if tortoise isn't your style, but white acetate is, check out this version for the same price....

Nixon Time Teller Watch - Tilly's $149.99
(I LURVE this watch, but I'm sorta over the ubiquitous white ceramic watch trend)
Happy Shopping!

-- Don't have Ebates?  Sign up here to stay up to get cash back from shopping online at your favorite stores as well as get in the loop on all the retailers current promotions and coupon codes!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

[Wishlist Wednesday] The BIG List

Usually on Wishlist Wednesday I post my favorite picks from Anthro, J.Crew, and Piperlime and stick to apparel and accessories... today I'm going to share my big time wishlist.  The things I'm saving for and really really want to get..... Most of these are random and some I'm not even sure the exact item I want, but these are my 'bigger' needs that need to be filled (ha. ha.).....

Canon Digital Rebel XSi 12.2 MP Digital SLR Camera  - no explanation necessary.
Canon Digital Rebel XSi 12.2 MP Digital SLR Camera (with lense) - Amazon $729 

A Nixon Watch - I've been obsessed with Nixon watches for yearrrsssss.  Maybe its the surfer girl in me (I grew up in a beach town), but I've always wanted one... and price wise they aren't too damaging either.
Nixon 'The Monopoly' Watch - Revolve $200

Nixon 'The Time Teller' Watch - Tilly's $149.99

Nixon 'The Small Player' - Swell $225

Wallet - I'm in MAJOR need of a zip around wallet.  I need more card slots and my current check book Coach wallet is just getting on my nerves.  It's held up great the past 4 years or so, but I'm way over the signature print and looking for something new and sleeker (and not so bulky)...

ChloƩ 'Marcie - Long' Zip Around Wallet - Nordstrom $495
MARC JACOBS 'Quilting - Large' Zip Around Wallet - Nordstrom $425

Marc by Marc Jacobs Totally Turnlock Large Zip-Around Wallet - Endless $228
Tory Burch Leather Continental Zip Wallet - Bergdorf Goodman $195
Julia Leather Accordion Zip - Coach $208

Bedding - This one is difficult because I love our current duvet (even though it's totally plain), but by allowing the little Peanut to sleep on the bed we need to stick to a color that won't easily show her fur (she's a shedder).  I'm still looking for the perfect set to use as back up.  Stinks because my favorite sets are usually white.  (check out our master bedroom makeover here)

Chambray Duvet Cover - Urban Outfitter $99
(this looks similar to our current west elm duvet, not sure the color in real life though)
Bar III Bedding, Garment Wash Grey Full/Queen Duvet Cover - Macy's $170
(again, similar to our current, but not as slate)

Zigzag Duvet Cover – Urban Outfitters $79
(LOVE this one, but would be a nightmare with Penny) 
Woodland Organic Duvet Cover & Sham - Pottery Barn $79
(busy and bright, but would be a nice change to the current monochromatic thing we go going on)
Paisley Suite Navy Duvet - Ralph Lauren $172.99
(Husband isn't crazy about paisley, but its a step up from girly floral)

Yogitoes Mat -  A yoga must that I've put off buying wayyyy too long.  I hate that they cost approximately $50+ for a towel I'll be sweating all over, but I know its a must have.  Skid resistant and super absorbent.

Yogitoes Skidless Mat - Amazon $45-64

What random items are you currently saving up for??

Monday, July 18, 2011

Summer Reading List

I've come up for air! 

Back in May, I got the Husband a Kindle for his birthday present.  He's an avid reader and I thought it'd be a nice toy that we both could use (gotta love presents that go both ways!).  He fought the idea of an e-reader for a while because he likes to collect books, but since receiving it, he's obsessed.

Based on all the different features and pro's/con's between e-readers, the Kindle just fit our lifestyle and preferences best.  Lucky for me, the Husband was still mid-paperback when I gave him his gift, so I asked if he minded if I broke it in... After a year or so of not picking up much than a magazine, Lauren Conrad's L.A. Candy while on vaca in Jan, and some old classics (The Great Gatsby and Catcher in the Rye) this past spring, it's pretty safe to say the reading bug has hit me full force again.

I first purchased Something Borrowed.

The movie was just released at the time and I've heard great things about the Emily Giffin books from friends for years.  I'm a little wishy washy when it comes to "chick lit".  I love some books, others drive me up the wall with the same cookie cutter story lines and obsessive label dropping.  I thought the book was cute, it definitely was a page turner and kept me hooked through the end.  However, I hated the ending!  So much so, I'm not really itching to read the follow up of Something Blue.  Maybe eventually, but it's been knocked down my list of Must Reads.

After Something Borrowed, I moved on to a "teen lit" series I heard was awesome and rivaled Harry Potter and Twilight in terms of being just not for teens. 

I was OBSESSED with the Hunger Games series.  I read Hunger Games in one day and finished the rest of the series in another week.  I can't wait for the movie to be released next March and I definitely think the story is closer to Harry Potter than Twilight in terms of actual story quality.  Not so focused on a love story, though there is one, and not quite as predictable.  Great imagery and just a fun action filled adventure.

Then I decided to pick up another best seller than is being made into a movie. 

I was recommended The Help by my aunt probably a year ago now.  It was such a great story.  Another page turner that was funny, smart, heartbreaking, and a period piece (being set during the civil rights movement of the 1960s in the south).  The movie stars Emma Stone (love her) and will be released in August, try to read the book before you see it!

After that, it was time for me to hand back the Kindle to its rightful owner.  I decided I would finally finish re-reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (5th book). 

You see, I read the 1st 4 books while on spring break my freshman year of college (2002) and when the 5th was release the next year, I read that one immediately.  In 2005, when Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince was released, I decided I would re-read book 5 to refresh my memory and then dive into book 6 that my brother so kindly gave me for Christmas.  So I started book 5 over winter break, and then classes resumed and I put it down.  A few years later I picked it back up, and again, put it down.   Finally, I picked up at the beginning of June and while it took me a little longer than usual to get through the first 400 pages (that I've probably read 4x now) I flew through the end and ended two Sundays ago.  I decided later that night to dig into the Half Blood Prince and I finished that Thursday.  After driving to 4 different stores to find book 7, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, in hardback form (to complete my collection).... 

I finally finished the series, 9+ years after starting. I'm ready to watch a marathon of Harry Potter movies (netflix is all queued up) and get to the IMAX to see the final installment.

Now, I'm ready to pick out what's next.  I have a cross country trip coming up at the end of the month so I'll definitely need too get a few physical books to keep me occupied on the flights (since the Husband is now taking his turn reading the Hunger Games series on the Kindle).... Here are some of the books I've flagged to read... (mainly all books that have been hovering on the bestseller list for longer than I can remember!)

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson - (figured this would be good to read first so the series could hold me over while traveling)
The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, Stieg Larsson
The Girl who Played with Fire, Stieg Larsson
Bossypants, Tina Fey
Room, Emma Donoghue
Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen
Then Came You, Jennifer Weiner (one of the few 'chick lit' authors I love)

I love biographies and would love to read about Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (but with so many books out there, I'm not sure which to pick up), any of the Chelsea Handler's books, or any other unexpectedly good celebrity bios.  I've also been meaning to pick up another Jodi Picoult book.  I read My Sister's Keeper (on my honeymoon, sheesh!), but have also heard that I have to read The Pact among others.

Any that I've missed?  Any that I should definitely start with first?  What was your favorite book this year?  Can I ask more questions??

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

[Shopaholic] Recent Purchases and Returns

I did a bit of online shopping recently (mainly tied to my hunt for this), so I thought I'd update how my purchases have turned out.

I first ordered these Sanctuary Peace Pants from Zappos on the 4th of July.  Thanks to free overnight delivery they arrived the next day (love that!).  I had read reviews on Zappos and Piperlime (where they were sold out in my size), and most were very good.  Quite a few had said they run a little big, so since I usually hover between two sizes (24 and 25) I picked the smaller one.  Naturally they fit too long, but while they fit great through my thighs, they were a little tight through the hips causing that unflattering pulling around the crotch.... I'm afraid if I size up they'll be too loose in the thighs (especially after hours of wear), so back they good with no exchange.

I then ordered the AG Stevies in white from Anthro.  Since they are $168 and I already qualified for free shipping (orders over $150), I decided to throw in the online exclusive cami


My order arrived last night and I'm definitely pleased!  I ordered the Stevies in a 25 and the fit is great, no pulling but still slim to my legs.  A reason I love skinny and straight leg pants is that I can tuck under the extra length and not have to worry about getting them hemmed - and therefore doomed to a life to be worn with only flats or only heels - instead I get to keep my options.   I still haven't taken the tags off, but I'm 98% sure they will be keepers! 

I also the cami, something I was in desperate need of since all but one of mine have decided to kick the bucket and spiral into a death of torn seams, overstretched lycra, and too loose straps. This one is perfect.  I love that the pearl color is in between a soft pink and ivory and it's so soft.  It hits right below my hip bone which is the ideal length, since recently most of the ones I've been finding have been too short (BR Outlet) or too long (Gap Body).

Lastly, when I went to make my Anthro purchase I had another item in my cart waiting to go, but when I finally went back to pull the trigger, it was sold out in my size!

The next day, I swung by my local Anthro and luckily grabbed the last one in my size.

I LOVE this top.  I had tried it on when I made these purchases during the Tag Sale, but put it back since it was still full price.  It's comfy, causal, and I can't wait to wear it with the white Stevies.  So happy, I was able to snag one.

But now I have a dilemma.... Refinery29 is now offering $150 of Splendid Goods for $75 as part of their Reserve29 group couponing site.  Should I return the shirt to Anthro, spend $7 more and reorder it through Splendid's site along with something else?? (Seems like a simple answer, but I'm trying to save considering I just bought full price denim and have an out fo state wedding to attend at the end of the month... hmmm)  WWYD Readers???

Thursday, July 7, 2011

[Currently Obsessed] with Shoshanna Print Dresses

Just thought I'd share one of my latest obsessions, Shoshanna bright and fun print dresses.  Love them all!

Shoshanna Strapless Floral-Print Cocktail Dress - Lord & Taylor $350

Shoshanna Ruffled Floral-Print Dress - Neiman Marcus $330
Shoshanna Balinese Ikat Print Dress - Piperlime $237.99
Shoshanna Murano Dress - Piperlime $262.99

Shoshanna Monet Faux Wrap Dress - Piperlime $262.99
Shoshanna blue silk 'antigua' sweetheart strapless dress - Bluefly $218

Shoshanna One Shoulder Silk Dress - Saks Fifth Avenue $340
Shoshanna Strapless Corset Seam Dress - Saks Fifth Avenue $360

With a daytime wedding on a boat at the end of the month, I just don't know if I can resist!