Thursday, May 31, 2012


Let me make myself clear: I've always had a fairly firm stance on the issue of underwear. It should be kept under clothes... pretty simple. I've never been one to let it all hang out, and I truly shudder at the thought of a panty slip or an errant bra strap. That was until I saw this picture of Olivia Palermo on Pretty Stuff last week and I must admit it got my wheels turning...
In my opinion, Olivia's classic, ladylike style is marked by her attention to detail and chic femininity. She always looks perfectly put together, in an easy, effortless sort of way. So how do we feel about this exposed bra? To be perfectly honest, I'm kind of in love with it. I've decided there are a few simple rules to making it work though. 
1. Keep the rest of the look conservative. Too much skin + exposed unmentionables and you might get picked up off the street corner. 
2. No cleavage. The look should be subtle, but sultry. Demure, not pornographic.
3.  Be intentional in selecting color. For something neutral, go with black (nude would just be weird.) If you want something bold, choose something complimentary to the rest of the outfit. Just throwing in a random red bra is a surefire way to look tawdry. But if it matches the floral pattern in the dress perfectly? Now we are talking. 

So what do you think? If you're interested in trying the look, American Eagle (?!?) has a few cute options on the cheap...
Browse more here

p.s. As for exposed underwear... just... no. Never. Not ok.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

the dark side

I've been on a bit of a dark chocolate almond kick lately (as seen here.) It all started with Dove's Roasted Almonds Covered in Silky Smooth Dark Chocolate. I picked up a bag at the grocery store and kept it stowed away in my purse. They have the perfect amount of chocolate to take the edge off my after-dinner sweet tooth, but enough protein to provide a nice post-workout boost. And (on occasion) they served as dinner (but only when I worked late and I was out of microwave popcorn.)

But my sweet mom, being the Penelope* she is, upped the ante with these bad boys from Trader Joe’s…

“Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Almonds with Sea Salt and Turbinado Sugar start as California-grown dry roasted almonds. We drench them in luxurious dark chocolate, and then gild the lily – just a bit – by dusting the chocolate with turbinado sugar (often called “raw” sugar, turbinado crystals are larger and darker than white sugar) and coarse sea salt produced from the natural evaporation of San Francisco Bay seawater. The almonds are crunchy; the chocolate is creamy; and the sugar and the salt add tantalizing coarseness that tickles the tongue. Each almond is bite-sized, and each bite is an explosion of flavor and texture in your mouth.” [via Trader Joe's]

I’m a texture junkie, so they score obvious points for that one. But what I really cannot get enough of is the perfect balance of contrasting flavors. Think salty-sweet (like a chocolate covered pretzel) but with the added depth of delicate, nutty flavor. Heaven.

*Penelope, if you're unfamiliar. Isn't Kristen Wiig the funniest?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

on my mind...

monday, tuesday, thursday, wednesday...
does anybody really know what time it is//
so many tabs. saved for later. abandoned. new ones being opened as we speak.
in my mind and on my desktop.
clutter and chaos. fan humming, television babbling, but quiet in the midst of things.
the bottom of another coffee mug. 
timelines and deadlines. tan lines and fine lines. 
the sun fighting with the clouds and then it's June by the end of the week.
where are the days going, where does the time slip to?
swimming upstream or treading water.
just keep swimming.
like the sound of the sea when you get pulled under. the waves swirl in angry torrents overhead and for a moment: nothing. profound silence and... blank. 
so what to do when you think something is right 
but it just feels wrong. 
and when you think something is wrong 
but it feels right.
head or heart, brain or gut. 
what wins out in the end?
like a flower, growing toward the light. water and sunshine, roots deeply clenching the earth. 
"the grass withers and the flowers fade..."

your turn. 

[image via]

Monday, May 21, 2012

girly cupcakes

I can't say exactly why, but I never really bought into the whole cupcake fad. I must admit, I can be pretty picky when it comes to frosting. And truth be told, I don't like things that look too perfect, so a piped-on pile of confectionery goo just doesn't do it for me. And of course, as soon as anything becomes too mainstream I immediately develop a distaste for it (I guess it's just the hipster in me.) This weekend though, on a whim, my sister and I decided to whip up a batch. But not just any cupcakes: we were determined to make the most girly cupcakes possible. How do you do that, you ask?

First, make them mini. Anything little is automatically more feminine. Use adorable paper liners that could easily be mistaken for the finest of stationary.  As for the recipe? Funfetti... obviously. But be sure to use Rainbow Chip frosting. You can't beat Rainbow Chip frosting... unless you add pink food coloring (of course.) 

While the cupcakes are in the oven, do facials and manicures. After the cupcakes have cooled, and your nails have dried, blast Taylor Swift songs and sing along as you give each one a haphazard swirl of frosting on top. The smudgier the better. Finish with bright, sparkly sprinkles and edible glitter. 
Note: a sister isn't required, but she makes everything more fun. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


I'm going to be really honest here: it's not always sunshine and rainbows in the land of funemployment. Now granted, I'm not technically unemployed, seeing as I still have my job at the restaurant. And it's really not a bad gig: great money, 30ish hours a week, flexible schedule, mornings at the gym, afternoons at the beach, and drinks with friends when we get off in the evenings. I don't mean to sound ungrateful, because I know my existence is idyllic. And most days I wake up happy as a clam.

And then there are mornings, like this one, when I wake up feeling completely burnt out, uninspired, just dreadful. Coffee helps. And breakfast usually turns things around. But accomplishing something? Total game changer.

Have you ever poached an egg? Me either. Until this morning. In fact, my limited knowledge of poaching came from this scene from Julie & Julia, which was enough to scare me out of even attempting such a task.

But this morning I needed to poach an egg. I found this microwave method and it was simple and straightforward (which is exactly the kind of instructions you need when you're fully convinced your life is in shambles.) 
Paired with wilted spinach and creamy, comforting brie it made a delicious sandwich. A poached egg has all the glorious, runny-yolk goodness of a fried egg, over-easy, but the white is even more delicate (which was the perfect complement to my fragile frame of mind.)

Monday, May 14, 2012

The straw that broke this camel's back/neck

I had a nice long run today and then worked my abs and my tush out pretty hard (butts and guts, baby.) I'm not saying this to brag, but I feel like I need to share a little background info to properly explain the situation. I left the gym feeling strong and proud of myself. I ate a healthy lunch and was ready to take on the world (after a shower... and maybe a power-nap.. and a latte.) I was ready to plunge into the steamy sauna when I felt the sharp pain shoot up my neck. Did I just pull a muscle while taking off my sports bra? Yes. I would say this is an all-time-low, but those have been occurring all too frequently as of late, so I'd prefer we just move on.  

The extent of my relationship with yoga is my deep-seated love for yoga pants... and that's about it. When you start getting into the meditation and the om and breathing... I'd rather take a nap. But I'm starting to reevaluate my stance on the subject. If the simple act of stripping down results in me needing a neck brace... Maybe I could benefit from some increased flexibility. So, my plan...
Sun Salutations. I mean how hard can they be? There are countless YouTube videos that can talk me through it. And even if they don't increase my flexibility, I'll feel very 90s chic, no? Ok, I'm being a little glib and sarcastic about this whole thing, but really... it can only help, right? Maybe (just maybe) between the kickboxing and running and boot camp I can be a little high-strung, so starting my day* with this sequence might be good for my psyche. 

So tell me yogis, what do you think? 

*Disclaimer: I'm talking about yoga for stretching. Dad, I know you're going to read this and think I've retired my Jesus Calling devotional and have started worshiping Surya the Hindu solar deity... but that couldn't be further from the truth. :)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Carolina On My Mind

I've told you before, but Rob is an exceptional gift giver. He always comes up with thoughtful, creative ideas that are a pleasure to receive, so whenever his birthday rolls around each year, I really try to come up with something just right. 

A theme always helps. It gives some structure to the entire operation. This year I decided to make a basket stuffed with gifts exclusively from our great state of North Carolina, which was a fun challenge. He's a Carolina boy through and through, so I was certain he would be pretty pleased. It worked for his birthday, but it would also make a nice housewarming gift for someone new to the state (hey, they don't call it southern hospitality for nothing) or a "NC misses you" to someone who has moved away. 
This bar towel sparked the entire idea. It has the perfect dose of southern prep and the detailing is exquisite. Uncommon Goods also has a throw pillow with a similar design that I'm certainly pine-ing over (get it... pine... North Carolina...)

My next stop was the liquor store (around the corner... Mambo No. 5, anyone?) where the cashier kindly directed me toward Cardinal Gin, which is distilled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina by Southern Artisan Spirits. The bottle even features a local artist's depiction of the NC state bird.
Do you know the number one cash crop in North Carolina? Tobacco. But there was no way this girl was tryna buy cigs, so I went with peanuts (another major agricultural resource.) Not just any peanuts though: enter Carolina Barbecue Peanuts

Southern Season, based in Durham, makes loads of different gifts and such, so I threw in some "Cheese Lovers Pub Mix" for good measure. To be honest, the name "Pub Lovers Cheese Mix" might have been better suited for Rob, but I just went with it.
And since Rob is so sweet, I finished it off with a bar of Escazu artisan chocolate made in Raleigh. (I opted for the Beaufort bar which has sea salt in it!)

If you're thinking of crafting a basket of your own, there are loads of other great NC things you could toss in... Our State magazine, beer from Mother Earth Brewing, Ashe County Cheese, local produce...

Keep it fun, make it personal, choose local. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Shameless Saturday

Good morning and how are you? This week has been crazy. Not insanely busy or entirely productive, just... weird. Sometimes I find myself feeling like life is in fast-forward and slow-motion simultaneously. Anyways, I'm looking forward to lunching this afternoon with a sweet girl and sipping some mint juleps. And as for tonight... it's all margaritas and mariachi. What are you getting into on this fine day? I hope it's achingly beautiful wherever you find yourself this weekend. Celebrate something! X's and O's until next time...

Hey! It's ok...

... to have a tab in your browser with a recipe for pistachio crusted shortbread right beside the tab titled "Brazilian butt workout." Multitasking, bipolar... call it what you want.

... if the chances of making the pistachio crusted shortbread are significantly greater than the chances of completing the Brazilian butt workout. (Hey, I'll just do squats and lunges while they're in the oven)

... to immediately regret your polish selection and ask the nail technician to switch it... three toes later. (Just tip generously for the inconvenience)

... to throw a total temper tantrum over dark vs. milk chocolate. Confession: I'm just trying to make myself feel better about this one. This week at work we sent one of the girls to the store for candy. My only requests: dark chocolate and almonds. When she returned with milk chocolate nuggets I might have gotten a little huffy. (I mean the only "nuggets" this girl eats are from Cook Out.) Fortunately, a fellow diva understood my plight and trekked back to the store to exchange it for me. I could make excuses: antioxidants, vitamins, minerals... but it's just easier to own it. 

I went from this...
to this.

Talk about an upgrade. To make up for my hissy fit, I shared.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


The latest Anthropologie catalog came in this morning's mail and I can't imagine a better way of spending the first day of May than lounging in the hammock, flipping through the endlessly inspiring pages of this fine magazine catalog. I have a confession: spring fashion isn't my favorite. I much prefer summer's bold hues to spring's stereotypical pastels, and the temperamental weather always poses a threat. The May 2012 catalog was just the boost I needed to re-energize my passion for spring fashion. I'm gravitating toward bold lips, straw bags, easy hair, and loose, feminine fabrics (hmm.. that sounds like what I love most about summer! No matter...) Here are some of my favorite looks:
 [This is my favorite image from the entire catalog, in fact, I plan on posting it on my mirror as soon as we finish up here. The lips, sunnies, low ponytail, basket, bike, etc. I love the skinny white jeans paired with a billowy tunic in a soft floral pattern. #iwanttobeher]
 [hoping to experiment with head scarves without channeling my inner Sunni. sorry, that was totally not p.c.]
 [bright, playful colors, up-swept hair] 
 [gauzy sweater, layered necklaces]

What are you wearing this month? 


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