Window Shopping at West Elm

November 26, 2013

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True story: when I was in high school, I used to go to Staples when I felt stressed out. The aisles were always so neat and tidy, and just the thought of organization made me calm down. Yes, I’m aware that this makes me sound absolutely insane. Perhaps I was. Oh well!

Now a days, I guess I’ve moved on to  bigger and better stores (sorry Staples). The other weekend I was feeling… less than peachy, so I decided to get some fresh air and walk through the park. I wound up on the west side of town, and hit up my favorite stores, with zero intention to buy anything.  I went to HomeGoods, and Papersource, and Jonathan Adler, and West Elm. Of course I went to West Elm.

West Elm is the type of store that literally (physically) makes me feel happy. I mean, when the West Elm catalog arrives in the mail, I do a little happy dance and then flip through the entire thing front to back. It’s probably the only catalog I don’t immediately throw in the trash.

So here are a few shots I snapped while walking the floors. I just furnished our entire bedroom from West Elm so I was really interested in how they were styling nightstands, but I couldn’t keep myself to just the bedroom displays. I mean, how cute are those bowls?

What do you think? What’s your favorite West Elm look lately?

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Categories: Home

Quote: Magic is something you make

November 25, 2013

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Categories: Quotes

On My Nails: hors d’oeuvres by essie

November 24, 2013

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If you follow me on Instagram this will be old news, but I’ve fallen completely head over heels with the new essie encrusted treasures collection. It is full of sparkly choices, but more importantly – these bottles are bringing the texture. Texture, people! Apparently nail art is out, and texture is in. So I suggest you track down one of these colors and hop on the texture train.

The color I’m wearing is essie encrusted treasures in hors d’oeuvres. I mean, it’s platinum gold with iridescent silver glitter, what else do you need during the holiday seasons?

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Categories: Fashion & Beauty

Trying Fair Isle

November 23, 2013

fairisleleggingsAll I want to be able to do is rock a pair of fair isle leggings and somehow make them look chic. Is this too much to ask? A galpal at work nailed the look, and Chrissy and Kaitlin included a pair in their Lust List – so you should probably accept the fact that this look is in fact fashionable.

Above are a few different options, available at a price range for everyone. What do you think?

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Categories: Fashion & Beauty

Books For The Better

November 3, 2013

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I’ve been on a major reading kick lately. Recently when the boyfriend was traveling for a few weeks straight, I spent countless days (and nights) curled up on the couch with my face buried in book after book. I sped through a few easy (yet awesome) reads, and then picked up something a bit heavier. I got stuck.

Surprise, surprise. If it’s written by Nicholas Sparks, or has a plot about a serial killer, I can speed through chapters in hours. When it’s a book about the characteristics and techniques of highly effective managers in the workplace… I seem to slow down.

But I’m convinced these two books will be different.  When Molly from Smart Pretty and Awkward mentioned 168 Hours: You have more time than you think, I literally had it in my Amazon cart within minutes. I’ve actually been thinking about time management a lot the past couple of days (thanks in part to the Beyonce image that’s been flying around the interwebs) so it felt a little bit like book club fate.

Then, the wonders of Amazon suggested  The Power of Habit. I was fixating on the cover when my boyfriend chimed in that he’d also read this. Again with the book club fate! So now, thanks to Amazon Prime, both books should be here within days, and I can try, once again, to dive into a book that might actually be for the better.

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Categories: Small Talk

Bold Color Coats

October 23, 2013

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Cobalt blue has certainly taken the fashion scene by storm this fall, and now the trend is catching my eye in the form of winter coats. This cobalt blue wool coat from Banana Republic ($225) has been on display in the window of a store located directly below my apartment, so it is quite literally calling my name every morning, and every night. Those buttons. That shoulder detail. I want. So badly.

In addition to the blue beauty from Banana, a few other bold colored coats are my winter wishlist. Like this regal blue Stadium-cloth cocoon coat from J. Crew ($350). Clearly I have my eye on blue, but Zara also has a few options for less. These red and yellow options are available for under $200 each. And the red coat has the most adorable detail along the shoulders (much like my beloved Banana wool coat!

Which one is your favorite?

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Categories: Fashion & Beauty

Quote: Change is the new black

October 21, 2013

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Categories: Quotes

Weekend Recap: Staycation

October 20, 2013

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Today marks my 9th (and second to last) day of being unemployed. After several months of debating a career change… I finally gave my notice at work a month ago. I spent three weeks transitioning out of my role, which left me a little over one week before my new job’s start date.

Everyone kept asking me what I was going to do during my time off, where I was going to go? I quickly tired of the question, because my answer seemed to disappoint everyone.

No, I’m not going away. I’m going to do very little actually, and I plan to enjoy every leisurely second of it. I’m going to spend my days sleeping in, lounging on the couch, taking long walks and overindulging in selfish things like spa days and shopping sprees. Aside from a two-part mini-vacation to the wine country and Toronto, I chose to stay in the city and soak up the goodness that is stress-free, guilt-free, obligation-free, distraction-free, time off. The kind of break comparable only to childhood summers.

Because I suspected (and was correct) that temporary unemployment offers a peaceful feeling entirely unique from your usual vacation day. My work email was removed from my phone, iPad and laptop promptly at 5:01 on Friday afternoon, so for the past week, I’ve been free of emails and meeting reminders. Day by day I’ve been training my mind to free itself from previous responsibilities, to no longer think through upcoming projects, or stress about lingering deadlines. And night by night it seems my work related dreams have been on the decline. So something about this separation week was working…

It was a relaxing week, a slow week, a selfish week. But it was also a much needed week, as it served a truly important purpose. It helped me separate myself from all the things that have consumed my mind, body and soul (literally) for the past two years. It freed my mind, cleared my to do list, and re-energized my attitude.

Hello, new job. I think I’m finally ready for you.

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Categories: Working World

Leather Trimmed Dress

October 18, 2013

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One thing I must say I’m quite good at, is finding great pieces (for cheap) at stores like Target and Old Navy. (For the record, places like Marshall’s and TJ Maxx stress me the eff out.)  So when our favorite sisters shared an absolutely gorgeous, Mason by Michelle Mason’s mini dress with leather accents, available on Net-a-Porter for $450, I gave myself a high five and a pat on the back. Yes, the dress on the right is beautiful, the leather is real, and the quality is probably through the roof.

But for under $50, I’m more than pleased with my faux leather dress from Target that I snatched two weeks ago. The pictures don’t give the dress’s shape justice – it actually comes in tight around the waist, and has quite a flare – giving it the same feminine silhouette as the expensive version.

What do you think? Would you splurge on this style or steal a cheap version?

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Categories: Fashion & Beauty

Pumpkin Bread

October 17, 2013

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If baking pumpkin bread doesn’t scream “hey look at me it’s Fall and I’m succumbing to the most stereotypical seasonal activity I can find on Pinterest”… well I don’t know what does. Yes, Fall calls for many things. But mostly I think of it as a time to eat and drink yourself silly with all things pumpkin: pumpkin bread, loaf, pie, pumpkin muffins, cookies, lattes… The world is plastered with signs for pumpkin flavored everything right now.

So despite the fact that I am absolutely not a baker, I dusted off a classic cookbook and found an absolutely fool proof pumpkin bread recipe. I say fool proof because: I didn’t entirely use the right measurements, I don’t own a mixer, and I couldn’t find half of the spices listed below. And it still turned out delicious.

Here’s the recipe, courtesy of Joy of Cooking.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated or ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/3 cup water or milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, softened, or 1/3 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar or 1 cup sugar plus 1/ 3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup cooked or canned pumpkin puree

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Whisk together: all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, grated or ground nutmeg, & ground cloves.
  2. Combine in a small bowl: milk, vanilla. Then beat in a large bowl until fluffy: butter, sugar & brown sugar. Then beat in eggs one at a time. Add pumpkin and beat on low speed just until blended.
  3. Add the flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the milk mixture, beating on low speed or stirring with a rubber spatula until smooth and scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  4. Pour into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 5 to 10 minutes before unmolding to cool completely on the rack.

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Categories: Food & Drinks