Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Never Ending Story: Defining My Personal Style.

some ridiculously cool ladies

My least favorite thing to do? Describe myself. I find it tedious, embarrassing and insanely difficult. It also makes me feel like I'm a walking contradiction, like I'm pulled in so many directions. I consider myself a loud person,, yet I'm drawn to simple clothes in muted colors. I love guilty nail polishes and cutesy aprons, yet I have my androgynous short hair and a meriad of menswear inspired shoes. So what the hell is my style?

more ladies who are way too cool for me
Since I'm moving, (in case you haven't heard, I am), I'm using this as an opportunity to put my art history skills to work and analyst my current wardrobe, isolate the soul-defining pieces and maybe even give my style it's own name.

Like preppy-boho-chic.
Or French-saucy-retro.
Or Ralph.

Maybe I'll call my style Ralph.

Either way, I want to pear down my wardrobe so it's only filled with pieces I truly love, pieces that speak to my deepest inner self. I also want to make sure that my wardrobe works as a cohesively as possible. What's the point of having clothes if you can't put them together? That's like having the makings for a sandwich and no bread. It's a sad delema that ends in no sandwich.
(i won't call my style ralph.) 

In order to make my clothes sandwich as delicious as possible, I'm going to need a game plan. Whenever I jump into things willy-nilly, it usually ends up with me staring at the beginnings of a project until I slowly push it off the side of the bed or table and sidle out of the room. Then I leave the pile for Future Katie to deal with. (side note: Future Katie never appreciates this). So here's how I've broken it down:

Step 1 is going through everything and identifying the must-haves, the cant-let-go-ofs, and the meh's.

Step 2 is analyzing the first two piles and figuring out what they have in common and how they talk to each other.

Step 3 is making outfits and combinations to find the holes.

Now that I have my game plan, let's do this!
ruh row...
Hopefully it will all become clear sooner than later...

Monday, July 30, 2012

Lookin' Good: Products!

I love products.
I just... love them.
Sephora is my happy place.
Seriously, I get really quiet and calm among the creamy pots and tubes, the soft bristles, the wafts of scents. You know that scene in Amelie when she sticks her hand in the barrel of grains? Sephora is my barrel of grains. It's like yoga without any sweating.
Anywho, over the past decade, I have tested and futzed and perfected my skincare routine. So here are my favorites:

The Tools
My Clerisonic: Love it. It's an investment, for sure, but it's been 100% worth it. I'm an exfoliating enthusiast, so having a brush that lets me feel scrubbed and buffed every day is heavenly. And it makes me feel fancy, which is always a plus.

My Eyelash Curler: I used to have one of those fancy-pants Shu Uemura eyelash curers, but it always pinched my eyes. So I grabbed this one at some Walgreens or Target or something for $4 and it works GREAT. I do pine for one of the Chanel ones- I'm such a sucker for those C's.

The Lotions
I don't have skin that looks dry, but it is. It's that horrible itchy dry that plagues you in the middle of a meeting or when you're wearing tight jeans. I'v invested in the $40 tiny, super fancy bottles of lotion with very little success. But I found three me-priced ones that I LOVE:

Vitamin E Cream: I get the huge tubs at the drugstore. After I shower I slather it on and let it soak in. My skin sucks it up like halloween candy.

That Nivea Q10 Stuff: the firming lotions don't actually firm much up. All they really do is moisturize your skin so it plumps up and LOOKS firmer. So I guess it does work. I love this one because it smells great, soaks in nicely and laaaaasts.

Lush Sympathy for the Skin: It smells amazing. It lasts all day. It comes in a pretty tub. SOLD.

The Face Routine
My skin is... temperamental. It doesn't like moisturizers or most face washes. But it does love the proactive stuff, so I go with it and use that three piece kit thingy. In addition, I've found my favorite little bits:

Soap & Glory the Fab Pore: obSESSED with this stuff. you only need a little bit. You rub it in, then do the dishes or sort the laundry and scrub it off. The result is glory happy clean clean clean skin.

Origins Modern Friction: The best exfoliator, period. And I have actually tried them all. I got this one from my cousin two or three years ago and I've never looked back. You only need a teeny bit, and you can make it more gentle with a touch of water. I like to scuba it on and then go to town with my Clerisonic. Afterwards, my skin is so soft and glows like a happy baby.

Biore Nose Strips: Love these things. Is there anything more satisfying than pulling these things off and being grossed out by them? I say no.

Eye Cream: I get a little tub of the Eucerin cream once a year and use it under my eyes at night. Then in the morning I use Cinique All About Eyes Rich. Between the two, my makeup slides on nicely and my skin feels happy.

Five Things I've Learned From Living With Dogs

little harriet
In case you don't know, I love dogs. Correction, I LOVE dogs. I'm the person who stops on the street to get kisses form the fat bulldog on the corner. For ten minutes.

Besides my gorilla do-lovin, I've also been privileged enough to live with some truly amazing, opinionated, attitude-full dogs in my lifetime. And they have taught me some valuable lessons. I thought I'd take a moment to thank them and point out the things that these love nuggets have taught me between belly rubs and treats.

harriet napping
hobbes and matzah looking dapper
It's not always about you. Being in charge of another living creature means you have to make sure they fit into your day. You can't just not come home on time if theres a dog waiting to be let out or fed. It makes you take a step back and look at your priorities. What is more important: going out till 2am, or taking care of your pal? 
lydia and harriet

Look out for your pack. Check in with everyone to make sure they're ok. My dogs have always done this. Throughout the day, they interrupt their naps to make the rounds, as it were, and say hi to everyone. Even in the middle of the night, our family dog Lydia always gets up to poke her head into every room. If someone in your pack is upset, or hurt, or just plain having a bad day, pause and make sure you try to help them out. Whether thats stopping to hold a hand or just sending a text. And there's nothing snuggles can't make a little better.
    Keep your room cleanThis one is learned when you come home and find the dog galloping and dancing in a flurry of your underwear. Then you come in to find them chewing happily on you computer cords, or eating your chapsticks. Once these things happen, you start putting things away. 

    Brush your teeth. Anyone who has had a dog yawn in their face will be reminded to do this small, annoying step. 

    ready for her first walk
    Walks and naps really do help. Even on the worst, most tiring, most emotionally draining day, take a little walk. even if its just up and down the street or around the corner to pick up your laundry. It clears your head, gives you more energy, and makes you feel just better. Its a pain in the butt to get ourself up, but once you are, you're never sorry. And naps are always a calming and reviving thing to do. Why do you think dogs are always so perky? It's because they nap most of the day. 

    Friday, July 27, 2012

    Weekend Pin Ups

    Here are my favorites of the week. Happy Saturday! 

    Happy Belly: Italian Soup.

    I love soup.

    This is one of my favorite soups and is super easy and SO yummy

    All you need is:

    1 white onion
    1 box chicken broth (or vegetable broth, if that's what you're into)
    2 cans chopped tomatoes
    2 cant white beans (or kidney- it's all yummy)
    a handful of pasta, maybe two

    olive oil
    fresh rosemary

    Ok. Now you have than menagerie collected, lets do this:

    Chop up the onion and garlic. toss it in the bottom of a soup pot with a little olive oil and sauté it till the onions are soft and slightly transparent. Then, add the chicken broth and the tomatoes. Note- don't drain the tomatoes; the juice is yuuuuummy. Let that simmer for a couple minutes while you drain your beans. Toss those in. Let it all come up to around a boil (this is a super precise recipe, in case you haunt noticed,). Toss in some pasta. Now, I like to ere on the side of caution here. Pasta tends to soak up the broth, so i like to put just a bit of pasta so I still get the broth goodness.

    Back to the cooking.

    Let the whole thing bubble till the pasta is cooked how you like it.
    while that's happening, take a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a mug or cup or microwavable container. throw some rosemary in there and microwave it for 10-30 seconds. The goal here is just to warm the oil so it soaks up the rosemary flavor.

    ok- its soup time!
    Grab a bowl, ladle up some soup, drizzle some rosemary oil and add cheese to your hearts content.

    Then snuggle down on the couch and EAT UP!!!

    Happy Belly: Poached Eggs

    I'm pretty sure eggs are the best food in the world.

    And I'm pretty sure poached eggs are the best eggs in the world.

    Think about it: poached eggs are creamy but cooked, gooey but manageable, soft yoked but not fried so they're good for you. It really is the best of all eggs.

    I will put poached eggs on... Well, anything I suppose. I put them on soup, salad, sandwiches, most meats, any carbs... Just about anything. The trouble is that they can be very tricky to do right-  so easily can one find a whisky, stringy mess staring back at you from the pot of lightly bubbling water. Is there anything more sad and disappointing when all you want is an egg?

    Well, the Mama Cravens has found the solution: poach pods.

    I know, I'm just as skeptical of anything with "pod" in the title. But these are magical.
    They've simplified the process of poaching an egg to boiling the water, spraying the pods with pam, cracking eggs into them, and putting them in the boiling water. A few minutes later, you come back to beautiful, happy, shiny little eggs glinting back at you cheerily.

    So what does one do with that time? If you're me, (which I am,) then you put one of those laughing cow cheese wedges on toast, put the eggs on, crush some salt, pepper and flax seed on, and go to town.

    Now if you'll excuse me, I have some eggs to eat.
    Or twelve.

    Thursday, July 26, 2012

    Dress is More: Red Skirt

    This skirt used to be a dress. A really short dress. My solution: to cut off the bodice an make it into a skirt. Now, its my new favorite skirt. I wore it with my gray tissue thin tshirt, my Jcrew layered necklace and the gold bangle my godmother gave me for graduation. I love these pieces- the skirt is all floaty and pretty, the tshirt is so SO soft, and a little bit of sparkle does a lot of good. I especially love my bangle- It has these beautiful images of hunting and fishing in a byzantine-esque style. It's the kind of piece that speaks for itself. And, It's an heirloom which always makes things extra special- dontcha think?

    tshirt, express; skirt/dress, kimchi blue; necklace, jcrew; bangle, heirloom

    Wednesday, July 25, 2012

    Wish List: Kitchen Bits

    I think my favorite part of the kitchen (besides the food and eating part), is accessorizing it with the cooking utensils and tools. That wall of single-purpose toolset Williams Sonoma is heaven. So I went on a ModCloth an Anthropologie rampage to find the sweetest little kitchen tools possible.
    kitchen brush, oven mitt, bottle opener, s&p shakers

    yellow apron, measuring spoons, teapot, geometric apron

    dish towel, spice jars, measuring spoons, ceramic farmers market basket, utensils set 

    How ADORABLE would this kitchen be?

    Tuesday, July 24, 2012

    Lookin' Good: Pedicure Colors

    Pedicures are very important to me.
    In my mind, they are one of the most satisfying spa treatment anyone can have done. And the results are soft feet and pretty toes. Theres just no down side to that.

    As you know from my post about my nails, The pedi is where I let my little toe-shaped freak flags fly. I love getting new com ors and painting my little piggies till they sparkle! Since I'm in the process of moving, I can't really allow myself to indulge in buying a whole bunch of new colors the way I'd like to. But a girl can dream, can't she? Here are some of my favorites:

    Saturday, July 21, 2012

    Inspiration: Dream Closet

    I had a dream about a closet once. It was one of those floaty, fantastic dreams where you wake up feeling refreshed and glowing, like you slept on an animated cloud. You drift out of your dreams as lovingly as you would poke a soufle- only to realize that you can't for the life of you remember the details.

    This is exactly what happened. I dreamed my perfect closet, and I cannot remember the details to save my life. Since then, I've had a fascination with closets; to find that perfect closet has become my mission. So I sifted through my pins and found the closest things I could. Hopefully they'll help me in my quest!



    Weekend Pin-Ups

    not THAT kind of pin-up...

    I'm a super visual person, so I took to Pinterest like a bee to honey. Or a fish to water. Or a squirrel to... trees? Nuts?

    (I'll work on it)

    So, since I love to pin, I thought I'd start sharing my favorite Pins in a round-up of sorts.
    Here are some of my favorite pins from the week. Happy Weekend!

    Thursday, July 19, 2012

    Lookin' Good: Mascara

    I have big eyes, which is great. I love playing them up, which is even greater. My favorite way is to go dramatic with the lashes. I always have something on my lashes, even if I skip the rest of my makeup. It's amazing
    My go-to is mascara, but there's a lot to be said for a set of false lashes. Here are my favorites and some tips:

    Covergirl Lash Blast Fusion: My everyday mascara. I love this one because it coats your lashes but isn't too heavy so it doesn't ruin your curl. It adds tons of volume- my favorite- and comes in a nice inky black. It's also hard to beat the price, so replacing it every three months (which you should definitely be doing,) isn't a problem.

    Benefit Bad Gal Lash: This one is defiantly gives me my favorite look. The downside of having such intensity and drama is that, at the end of the day, it's stubborn as hell. It's pretty much impossible not to wake up with some raccoon action. The price also makes this one more of a reach, but if you can swing it and are better about washing your face when you get home than I am, it's a winner. 

    • Blast your eyelash curler with your blow dryer for a couple seconds, then use it to curl your lashes while it's still warm. 
    • When applying mascara, be sure to start as close to your eye as possible. 
    • As you move the wand up the lashes, wiggle it back and forth to coat all sides of the lashes. 
    • Flip the wand so it's perpendicular to your lashes to get the outer corners.
    • Don't let your mascara dry all the way between coats- that leads to clumps!
    • Instead of an eyelash comb, wipe off your mascara wand on a tissue and use that to separate your lashes and get rid of any clumps 
    Then, you just bat those lashes to your hearts content. Happy fluttering!

    Bye, New York!

    It's been quite a ride. 

    I'll catch you on the flip side...

    Wednesday, July 18, 2012

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    Coney Island is Great. And Fishes Too!!!

    I went on an adventure this past weekend to the magical land of Coney Island. It was filled with fried food, otters, and random people. You'll see what I mean in a minute.
    I went with my Big from college (we were in the same sorority) and we had way too much fun.
    Our first stop was Nathan's for some deep fried goodness

    I have an obsession with french fries. We have a long and loving history and my love for them never wavers; it's an extension of my devotion to the humble potato. But more about that later.

    After filling ourselves with fries, corn dogs, root beer and orange soda (that's right,) we took a stroll on the boardwalk to see what we could find. The best thing was the tiny dancing man, wearing a straw boater, black jazz pants, a black beaded bolero jacker and big white fluffy gloves. You now; as you do.

    We also made the excellent life choice of stopping by the New York Aquarium. It reminded me that there are few things I enjoy more than a romp with the fishes. I just love aquariums. here are some of the fishes and animals I got to see!

    All in all, it was a great way to spend my last sunday in New York for a while; fishes, friends, and fried food.

    And this guy.

    Tuesday, July 17, 2012

    Wish List: Airplane Essentials

    You know how celebrities always have that magical product they love that makes all those long flights better? Well here's my wish list for if I was much fancier when I fly...

    origins no puffery; rosebud salve; l'occitane cuticle cream; masque*ology brightening mask; mural oil-control mattifier; hello kitty bag

    jcrew cashmere hoodie; jcrew minnie twill pants; hermes scarf; kate spade bon shopper; ipad

    I would also like it if Stephen Fry would follow me around in his Jeeves costume and bring me martinis. And be my best friend.

    very good, miss... 

    Just the best friend part would work too.

    (hint hint).