Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Lessons from yoga

I am a huge advocate of yoga. Not only does it help tone your body, it also helps relieve stress and tension. I've been to two yoga classes in the last week with the same fabulous instructor, and I've left both classes feeling great. Sometimes if the instructor is too lax, it's hard to feel like you're actually getting a workout in from the class. This is not the case, however, with Karen from Gold's Gym. She has kicked my butt during both classes, and while I may silently groan when she demands what seems like the hundredth crocodile pose, I'm thankful for it the next day when I can feel the resulting strength in my arms.

I think one of the best lessons you can take from yoga comes during final relaxation, which is like a period of meditation at the end of the class. During this time, you're supposed to retreat to your "happy place," if you can excuse my inner hippie shining through. All jokes aside, this place is supposed to be somewhere you can go, or something you can tap into, any time you need. When you're feeling stressed or upset, you just need to envision this place within yourself where you are calm and at peace. When you're feeling weak or overwhelmed, remember the strength you found within your body during the yoga class and channel that into the situation you're in. I always find this so comforting.

Another important lesson from yoga comes in terms of being aware of your breathing. I think it's so helpful when the instructor reminds you to inhale and exhale during certain poses — a deep inhale or exhale can do wonders for your body. Last class, Karen reminded us of this important lesson in breathing when we're confronted with stresses, annoyances or any other problems: Inhale, acknowledge the problem, exhale, let it go. I've read similar advice in magazines — when you find yourself worrying about something, identify the emotion and label it (anxiety, guilt, jealously, etc.), then seal it up in an imaginary box and put it out of your mind.

If you're even remotely interested in yoga, I strongly suggest you try a class or two (try to find a great instructor) and see how you feel when you're done. I think there are even yoga videos on YouTube that you can watch and do from home.


(Also — a very happy birthday to my favorite leap year baby and the best mom in the entire world! Love and miss you lots Mom! xoxo)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Oscars 2012: Red Carpet Hits and Misses

I hope everyone isn't too tired of hearing about the Oscars by now. (I'm sure not.) I was watching a recap this morning and everyone seemed to think the celebs played it safe on the red carpet this year. In my opinion, though, there were plenty of beautiful gowns (and a fair share of not-so-beautiful gowns). Here are my hits and misses.


I though Milla Jovovich looked so beautiful and elegant in her one-shouldered gown by Elie Saab. With her dark hair and red lip, I think she looks like the epitome of classy.

Penelope Cruz stunned in this off-the-shoulder Armani Privé lavender gown. The color of this gown complements Penelope's skin and hair color so well, and it almost reminds me of Mila Kunis' beautiful Elie Saab gown from last year's Academy Awards.

Next, I think we can all agree that Michelle Williams looked beautiful in this red strapless tulle gown by Louis Vuitton. I think part of the reason why I like Michelle so much has to do with what she told Elle magazine about her hair: "I cut it for the one straight man who has ever liked short hair and I wear it in memorial of somebody who really loved it." How sweet is that?

I loved The Help and I'm so glad Octavia Spencer won for best supporting actress. She looks wonderful in this sunburst embroidered dress by Tadashi Shoji. Love, love her.

And finally, what is there not to like about Natalie Portman? I think she is fantastic in every sense of the word, and she looks perfect in this fitted polka-dotted Dior dress. 


Girlfriend, what were you thinking? Rooney Mara's white Givenchy Couture gown, which was custom made by Ricardo Tisci, is just too much for me. She's too pale for a gown this light, and the severe bangs aren't doing it for me. 

Meryl Streep missed the mark with this gold gown by Lanvin. The fabric looks like it would be scratchy and uncomfortable, not to mention I just hate the color.

It seemed like everyone loved Jennifer Lopez's silver gown by Zuhair Murad, but I don't understand why. I think the pattern draws attention to her hips, and don't get me started on her weird, slitted long sleeves. You can do better, J.Lo.

on the fence

I think Glenn Close's green jacket/dress combination by Zac Posen works because, come on, it's Glenn Close we're talking about. But I'm not so sure this number would work for anyone else. I don't hate it, but still don't know if I love it. 

Angelina, Angelina, Angelina. I'm trying not to be biased here (I'm team Jen all the way), so let's see if I can be fair in my critique. I think her black velvet Atelier Versace gown is lovely and perfectly understated enough. I also think her makeup and hair look good for once, too. So why is she on my "On the fence" list? I guess I can't be unbiased after all. Brad, what the hell were you thinking? Jennifer Aniston is, and will always be, both prettier and classier than Angelina. #sorrynotsorry

It pains me to do this, Sandra. You know you're my favorite, but I'm not sure if I'm loving this two-tone Marchesa on you. I'm giving you an "A" for effort because I love you and all, but next time, let's do better. And let's try smiling a little more, too.

What do you think? Who are your picks for best and worst dressed?

(All images are from 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Bucket list and songs of the week

I've finally created a bucket list (see above)! I'm really excited about this, and with help from Aimee, I have a lot of fun things to check off and look forward to! Some will be easier to accomplish than others, but that's the fun of it. What's on your bucket list?

On a different note, I've been obsessed with these two songs this week. They're kind of opposites of each other, but each is still worth listening to depending on what kind of mood you're in.

The first song I'm loving is Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger."

The next is Lee Brice's "Woman Like You."

What songs have you downloaded this week? I always get so behind on new music and listen to the same old playlists. I need to break that habit! 

I'm off to get my favorite sushi and have a glass of wine. Happy Friday to me!

Have a great weekend everyone!! 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thursday randoms

Here are some random Thursday thoughts and things to make up for my lack of posting this week!

First, how cute is the new background on my phone? I'm sharing it with all of you, so steal away if you love it too!

Next, I've been drinking water like crazy lately thanks to this new trick I've picked up from Marilyn. If you carry your Caemelbak with you 24/7 like we do, you're probably already drinking more water than other people anyway. But try adding a little bit of lemon juice to your water, and I bet you'll drink twice as much as you are now.

I should say that using fresh lemon juice is better (and has more health benefits) than using lemon juice from concentrate, but the already-bottled juice is just so much easier. I just add a tiny bit to a glass of water or to my Camelbak, and it just tastes so much better than plain old regular water. Not only do I drink more water daily, I also crave Diet Coke less. I haven't had any diet soda in over a week, which is huge for me. One word of caution, though — articles online have warned about the acidity of lemon juice and your teeth, so try drinking it through a straw. If you try this, let me know what you think! 

Once again, I'm late on posting this batch of Feb. photos. Story of my life, right? 

16. My watch and Pandora bracelet are both still new, but the newest addition is the pearl charm Michael gave me for Valentine's Day. 
17. I snuck out of work 20 minutes early that day! Shhh...don't tell! 
18. My Camelbak goes everywhere with me. It may even be time for a new one. 
19. I had a hard time thinking of something I hate to do, but some morning I just hate the process of getting ready. Maybe I need a personal makeup artist. That would make life easier!
20. My grocery list!

Whew, T.G.I.A.F! (Thank God it's almost Friday!)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Weekly gratitude

I'm linking up with Katie at Let's Be Preppy for this short but sweet post for today.

1. I'm thankful for a lazy Sunday. Michael and I watched movies and relaxed all day, and I felt so rested this morning when I woke up. (We saw Safe House and I was surprised how much I liked it!)

2. I'm thankful for the little bit of snow that we had, and although I wish we had gotten more, it was pretty while it lasted.

3. I'm thankful for Marilyn, my dedicated workout partner for the last week, who is helping kick my butt into shape at the gym. Thanks for sticking with me through my whining and complaining!

4. I'm thankful for an easier (at least so far) and more interesting semester. I'm enjoying all of my classes, which I'm pleasantly surprised about.

5. I'm thankful for my health and happiness, and for the health and happiness of those dearest to me. It's so easy to take every day and every little thing for granted—sometimes I just need to remember to stop and count my blessings.

6. I'm thankful it's almost spring break, and I'm even more thankful for Elizabeth and Rachel's hospitality for our spring break trip. The NYC countdown has begun!

I hope everyone had a great start to their week!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday, Friday

Today I'm linking up with Lauren for High Five for Friday!


As usual, Starbucks was a saving grace this week. Multiple mornings this week I woke up feeling like I hadn't slept at all, which is where this bad boy came in handy. Plus, how cute is the cup?


I got this beautiful red peacoat from New York & Company as a Christmas gift from my parents, and I'm still loving it. It's warm but not too heavy, and the collar keeps my neck nice and toasty without needing to wear a scarf. I've gotten so many compliments on this coat. It's now 70% off (what a great deal!) and you could probably wear it until the end of March. I got an extra small and it fits perfectly.

three and four

In the spirit of my red peacoat, I'm also loving other red things this week. I had my nails painted red for Valentine's Day, and there's something about red nails that's so fierce. Same goes for red lipstick. I was reading this post on Enjoying the Small Things, and I thought of this line as inspiration for incorporating more red into my life.

"Rule #1: Wear red shoes. Or red lipstick. Or red underwear. Red is ordinary's kryptonite."

What a good motto. And speaking of good things, everyone should check out Kelle's blog (the above link). It's beautiful and inspirational, and she's a fantastic writer. If it's the first time you're reading her blog, click on the "start here if you're new" link to begin. I bet you'll love it as much as I do. She's such a strong, talented woman.


I love this quote from Steve Jobs.

"You can't connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something: your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path."

Happy Friday! I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

NYC, here we come!

It's official! Last night, Aimee and I booked our train tickets for our spring break trip to the big apple! I haven't been in five years, which is way too long if you ask me. I'm so excited to see my dear friends Elizabeth and Rachel, who are kind enough to let us stay with them. You two are the best! :) I'm also excited to travel with Aimee, who's a pro adventurer. Over Christmas break, she took a train ride across the country, spent the day in LA, then flew back to the East Coast! How exciting, right? Aimee and I have a trip to LA planned for the summer, which I'm also super excited about.

Aimee has a few NYC adventures on her bucket list that we need to check off (seeing a Broadway play and visiting Ground Zero). Since I don't have a bucket list (yet), what are some other things we should do while we're there? I'm also already stressing about what to wear. (I am awful at packing for trips.) Any ideas or advice will be much appreciated!

Fun fact: The last time I was in New York, I was on TRL the day Ashton Kutcher was there. Remember that show? Anyway, I'd love to spot a different celeb this time. Also, if you're reading this Elizabeth, let's go to that brunch place you were telling me about! I miss sharing carafes of bloody marys and mimosas with you on Sundays.

I'm so excited! It's hard to believe this trip is only two weeks away!

Happy Thursday everyone!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Photo a day updates

I'm really behind on posting this second batch of photos from the February challenge, but better late than never, right?

6. Dinner from my favorite sushi place. Yum!
7. A button from one of my favorite Express coats.
8. The sun in the late afternoon sky.
9. An old decoration on the door to my room.
10. A self portrait.

And here is the most recent batch...

11. Hope makes me so happy! She is my absolute favorite. How cute is she??
12. The inside of my OCD color-coordinated closet.
13. The sky was really this blue. No filter needed.
14. A pretty little pink heart on my red nails for Valentine's Day. 
15. My adorable phone case from Etsy that was a birthday gift from my friends.

How are your Feb photos coming along?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy day of love!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! (And happy birthday to my Grandma Flo!) Today, whether you're currently dating someone or you're still waiting for that perfect person, I think it's important to be grateful for all the wonderful, loving people in your life. To those people in my life,

I love you!

I also loved this post by Rebecca at Sunshine Girl, so I thought I'd share it with all of you too! We share the same love of the e.e. cummings poem "i carry your heart with me," which I think is perfect for Valentine's Day.

i carry your heart with me 

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
                                      i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

via the HoneyBboo Etsy shop

For those of you who need a laugh today, here is the Huffington Post's Awkward Family Photos: Valentines 2012 Edition. Enjoy!!

Have a great day everyone! Also, don't forget to go look at the Google doodle today! 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Throwback Thursday

Today I'm linking up with Lauren at Flip Flops on Fifth for Throwback Thursday!

Let's talk about our 90s faves! I grew up in the 90s, and man, did I have some cute (and by cute I mean awful and huge) glasses. Look at those things! And those bangs — yikes! 

The viking ghost next to my is my brother. (We liked dressing up throughout the year, not just for Halloween.) My brother and I also loved watching Nickelodeon together. All the time. How many of theses shows did you love? 

What was your favorite snack back then? You better believe mine was DunkAroos! And don't forget the Gushers, Fruit Rollups, and Capri Sun.

Other things I loved in the 90s: 
  • Playing Oregon Trail and "Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?"
  • Reading "Goosebumps" books
  • My bright pink Skip-It
  • Watching the original Power Rangers (embarrassing, I know)
  • Pogs, Beanie Babies, and actually being afraid of "Are You Afraid of the Dark?"
  • Caller ID being brand new and totally awesome 
  • Playing kick the can, kickball, and flashlight tag with the kids on my street
  • Fighting with my brother over who got to sit in the front seat of the car
  • My chunky-heeled purple Sketchers tennis shoes (waaaaay more embarrassing than liking Power Rangers)
  • Slinkies, Pokeman cards, trolls, and my Walkman
  • Hanson, N*SYNC, BSB, Britney, and Christina 

Whew, that was fun! What do you remember and love from the 90s?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Oh, How Pinteresting!

Today, I'm linking up with Michelle at The Vintage Apple for Oh, How Pinteresting Wednesday!

In the spirit of everyone's favorite love-it-or-hate-it holiday, here are my Valentine's Day Pinterest picks! Also, check out Julie's blog over at The Girl in the Red Shoes for her Pinerest faves! So cute!

First, I'm loving this free Tory Burch background on my iPhone right now. I have a really handy tip for you iPhone users, too. If you're viewing an image on your phone and want to save it to use as a background, just hold your finger on the picture for a few seconds and "save this image" should pop up. Voila! Instant phone background.


Next, yummy red velvet cake pops are a must! I need to learn how to make these asap.

For my teacher friends, wouldn't this be such a cute craft for your kids? 

From the RedRobynLane Etsy store
How cute for your front door! Sadly, our HOA is pretty picky about our townhouse decorations and we can't keep holiday wreaths up for long.

Who else is going to see this? Rachel McAdams is one of my favorites and I don't think we even need to get started on Channing Tatum...

What a pretty date night dress!

From the ExLibrisJournals Etsy store
For that special someone...

And me? I'm happy with a big bouquet of beautiful red roses! Hint, hint :)

Happy Wednesday everyone!!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Just call me Betty Crocker

Well, not really ... but I try!

On Friday my friends and I made appetizers at our house instead of having dinner at a restaurant somewhere. Sometimes it's more fun to make things together, and it also saves on cost!

In addition to the bruschetta that I made, Cindy made fruit dip, Leah made pigs in a blanket, Julia made a loaded baked potato dip and Marilyn made a Velveeta, Rotel and sausage dip. Everything was delicious and everyone was happy. See?

Julia, Eden, Leah, me, Marilyn and Cindy

In case you need to bring an appetizer to a party in the near future, I'm sharing this bruschetta recipe with you! It requires a little bit of prep work, but the end result is totally worth it. I promise everyone will love it!

At the grocery store you'll need: a skinny loaf of French bread, a block of mozzarella cheese, two large tomatoes, garlic, balsamic vinegar, and basil. (You can usually find little containers of herbs like as basil near the lettuce at the grocery store.)

First, cut the loaf of bread into bite-size pieces. Be sure not to cut them too thick or too thin. The bread needs to be a stable base for the tomatoes. Line the pieces up on an ungreased baking sheet.

Next, chop both of your tomatoes. Add them to a small bowl and combine however much garlic and balsamic vinegar you'd like. This is just to give the tomatoes a little bit of extra flavor.

After you finish with the tomatoes, thinly slice the mozzarella into pieces roughly the size of the bread. Again, make sure they're not too thick or else it will take longer for it to melt, and it may make a little bit of a mess on your baking sheet. Chop the basil leaves into small enough pieces in order to make sure you have enough for each piece of bruschetta.

Using a fork (a spoon carries too much liquid and makes the bread soggy), spread a little tomato mixture over each piece of bread. When you're done with that, stick a little piece of basil leaf on top of the tomatoes. The last layer is a slice of mozzarella. (This is so the basil doesn't burn.)

Finally, bake at 350 degrees for 7-8 minutes or until the cheese melts. Enjoy!

Have a great day everyone! Also, be sure to check out Holly's great giveaway to Target and Starbucks — two of my absolute favorite paces!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Oh, Monday...

Mondays get me every time! After sleeping in during the weekend, I literally dread my alarm clock on Monday mornings. (I might even hate it a little.) But enough complaining ...

My weekend flew by, but it was a ton of fun. My friends and I made appetizers on Friday night before going out (I'll post about my bruschetta recipe tomorrow), I spent Saturday with Michael, and Sunday was all about the Super Bowl. I didn't really care who won, but the game kept my attention and I thought the commercials were decent, so I was happy. My seven-layer dip was a hit, which also made me happy considering the amount of food we had. Pulled pork, baked beans, fried green beans, homemade mashed potatoes, potato skins — you name it, we had it. (I should probably eat a salad today.)

On a different note, I committed to the February photo challenge, and I'm really having fun with it! The challenge is hosted by fat mum slim, but the below idea for displaying my first few Feb. photos comes from {av} at {long distance loving}. If you haven't checked her blog out yet, I suggest you do — it's absolutely wonderful!

1. The view from my office window
2. A frame from Etsy that's hanging in my bathroom
3. Essie's Chinchilly nail color (I definitely couldn't have a career as a hand model.)
4. I know this is stretching it, but I didn't know this guy (Seriously, though, I was too chicken to take a picture of a real stranger.)
5. A little after 10 a.m. on Sunday morning

Happy Monday everyone! Here's to daydreaming that Saturday gets here super fast so I can sleep in again...

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Crazy about Toms!

Speaking of spring, who's excited for the new line of ballet flats from Toms? This girl is!

There are so many adorable patterns — I'm already planning outfits based on my favorite pairs! On the downside, they are a little bit pricey for a flat, but I do love supporting their "One for One" philosophy.

I own two pairs of original Toms, and they are seriously the most comfortable shoe. I like them paired with either skinny jeans or shorts, though. I have a bright yellow pair that I love, but unfortunately the last time I wore them they got really dirty (oops!). Does anyone know if you can put them in the washer? My gray pair, however, takes all the wear and tear unnoticed. I've definitely had better luck with the darker color, so keep that in mind if you're going to buy a pair!

I think the Alessandra Burlap flat (below) is my favorite, although I do love a leopard print. Decisions, decisions! Which is your favorite?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What I'm Loving Wednesday

Now that we have my URL problem figured out (thanks for all of the help!), I have another question for everyone. I've noticed some people "link up" for these types of posts. What does that mean? I'm still a rookie at this, so I appreciate all the help I can get! 

Now, on to what I'm loving today. First, I'm loving this video that I saw on Today earlier this week. I'm a sucker for surprise homecoming stories, and this one is no exception. If you can, take the time to watch. I bet you'll get as choked up as I did! 

Next, I'm loving this beautiful weather we've been having. It's almost 70 degrees here today, and I'm seriously craving spring. And speaking of spring, I've been dying over the thought of spring clothes — come to me lightweight fabrics and pastel colors!

I'm loving my new followers! I'm still new to this whole blogging world, and making new friends on here is just so exciting! Thank you to everyone who follows me — you give me the courage to keep going with this.

On that note, I'm loving this post and this post. This kind of honesty is so refreshing, especially for a new blogger like me. Here's to being genuine, real and relatable, and to continue blogging for your most important audience: You.

And finally, I'm loving the idea of this February photo challenge. Is anyone else planning to do this? Considering how obsessed I am with Instagram, this should be a ton of fun!