hooray for all things Spring….Sun, flowers, rain, birds, allergies. I’ll take it all if it means I can stand outside for more than a minute without getting frostbite. I’ve been waiting for a day that was nice enough to wear my Free People Parker Dress. Although there aren’t enough photoshopping or fliters that help my legs look less blindingly white and pasty.
I’ve rounded up some of my favorite floral spring dresses I found online:
i don’t know if technically I could call these boyfriend jeans since my boyfriend wouldn’t be caught dead in these and also because he’s smaller than me. But I’m okay with that because that means I get them all to myself. And the last time I bought a pair of Diesel jeans was in college over 10 years ago because I wanted to be cool like my friend David Mata. I have been searching for the perfect pair of boyfriend jeans for me because I don’t have a skinny frame (tree trunk legs) and any pair of boyfriend jeans I tried on always ended up looking like a bad pair bootleg skinny leg jeans on me. I remember when I tried on “mom jeans” at H&M, ha! I love the fit of these jeans because they are super baggy, especially in the crotch (yeah, I already psychoanalyzed myself about this). Also, I love the wash and the color and I’m sold.
Working on learning from my friend Shana at the MomEdit and trying to simplify and minimills my outfits which is really really hard for me. But if I can control my urge to through on something bright orange, I do like the way the minimalist casual style looks.
I highly recommend my jeans if you like this type of style, although they are pretty pricey- I don’t think I could find a pair I love more. They are Women’s Diesel FAYZA Boyfriend Denim
She is an architect and urban designer with a passion for vibrant colors and a sense of style that is one of a kind. I first discovered her via Instagram @monlinglee fell instantly in love with every single one of her photos. She combines her unique and brilliantly colored personal style in perfectly coordinated urban environments.
By following her instagram account, I found out that she was teaming up with J. Crew to “Test-drive” Their new spring accessories on their blog: hello.jcrew.com. And was inspired to try to create my own color blocked outfit with my skirt I bought for a penny at Nordstroms Rack. JCrew and Monling Lee are having an instagram contest on how where you wear (and pair, and pile on) your J.Crew accessories with the hashtags #ACCESSORYFIX and #JCREWCONTEST for a chance to win one of three $1,500 shopping sprees. And although I don’t have a new spring accessory to actually join in…here are my outfits:
I really, really love the midi dress look and I emphasis the word look because the way a midi dress looks on a model (stunning) is not how a midi LOOKS on me. The models’ curves (or lack of them) are perfectly highlighted in the form fitting style of a midi and the length accentuates their slim legs. I don’t know if I really thought that I would look the same as the 100 pound 5ft 9 model did in the same midi.
Here is the midi dress I purchased:
but…SURPRISE! I didn’t look anything like the model. It accentuated my curves alright, every friggin nook and cranny was on display. It probably didn’t help that the midi I bought was thin jersey fabric, which is probably one of the least forgiving fabrics there is. So I buried the dress in the back of my closet and tried to forget I ever thought I could pull the look off.
The thing is…I’ve never liked my body, but I also think most women in America have struggled with loving and accepting their bodies at some point. I’ve been working up to writing about the journey I am on to loving myself and it’s been a long, bloody battle for me but….(and I swear all this has to it has to do with the midi dress!)
But since I turning 30 this year, it really hit me how much of life I have wasted and how many experiences I missed out on because I’ve been to busy disliking myself and caring to much what people think.Doing these self-absorbed, materialistic Personal Style posts was a coconscious decision of mine to do what makes me happy and to (try) not to worry about whether or not people like it. Also, it’s nice to actually start caring about myself again 🙂
So, when cleaning up my closet, I stumbling on the crumpled up midi dress of disappointment and gave it another go (outfitted in my spanx body armor) and decided to give it another try and I came up with a few different ways to wear a form fitting midi with more confidence.
Wearing a big, drapey cardigan helps me feel like I have a layer of protection and it keeps all my lumpy areas that I am self-conscious about covered. But the open front still shows off the cute length and style of the midi.
#2 Wearing shoes with heels (booties are my favorite for winter) add much needed length to your frame.
Here are a few pair of booties that give me the warm fuzzies and that I think would look good with a a casual style midi dress:
Most midis cut off at around calf-level (depending on height) which I love but also has the tendency to make legs look shorter and bulkier.
#3 Layer it up to create different looks.
A midi is fun to play around with different looks and is a versatile dress that can be simple and classic or fun and trendy. Adding colorful layers, like my favorite crazy plaid pants, creates lines, and helps to “distract” the eye from those worry areas.
A split sided basic top is perfect to throw over a midi because it covers my least favorite areas (my tummy and the booty) and I like the look it creates.
#4: Spanx is also your friend.
Good ole trusty spanx, instilling confidence into the self-conscious since the dawning of time.
I can’t help that my natural artistic impulses are the same as every 2 year old who has just been given their first ever box of crayons (to take all the colors, smash them together, color all the paper, mess all over the floor and then take a nap curled up in the eye of the hurricane). I swear I have every intention of trying to become a decent artist when I get out my graphite pencils and little eraser to practice sketching. Somehow though, I always end up on the floor surrounded by paint in every color and shade available. But Im at my happiest and most inspired making my kaleidoscopic messes…
I happened to spot the inspiration for this DIY art project in an advertisement in House Beautiful magazine for minted.com. I ripped it right out (don’t worry, it was my copy!) , taped it to my wall and started to go to work on my own version. Later, I was able to investigate further and discovered (thank you pinterest) that the Artist’s is Yao Cheng, she specials in beautiful watercolor paintings and her online store on Minted’s website is FULL of stunning watercolor prints. The above piece and the object of inspiration is “Hexagon Cluster,” and you can purchase her Limited Edition of Hexagon Cluster print on Minted (or click through the links) for anywhere from $20 to $200 depending on size and finish.
Here is everything you will need to make it:
1) watercolor paints (the Kids Crayola watercolors work just fine) and paper (brushes and cups of water as well)
I suggest the following liquid watercolors for bright, vibrant colors:
Sargent Art 8-Ounce Watercolor Magic Set (10 different watercolors for $49.95)
or Dr. Phil’s Concentrated Watercolors (my personal favorites) They average about $5.00 a bottle or a set of 14 is around $69.99.
2) Watercolor Paper Pad
For the best price and quality, I suggest Strathmore 360900 Cold Press 140-Pound 12-Sheets Strathmore Watercolor Paper Pad, 9-Inch by 12-Inch, which is only around $7.00, also available on Amazon:
3) Thick, heavyweight white paper Mixed Media paper works well, just something to hold the weight of mixed media and glue without tapering.
4) Scissors and a gluestick!
The How To:
The steps to making this DIY project are super simple. But since I’m not sure of how the original artist created her stunning piece so I’ll tell you how I made my version.
1) Get out your watercolors and watercolor paper and go crazy (this is one of my favorite things in the world to do). You don’t need any fancy paper or expensive watercolors. In fact, I mostly used plain old, reliable Crayola Washable Watercolors (available in probably every single pharmacy and grocery store in America). because I had just moved to Grand Rapids from Chicago when I got this project itch, I had none of my supplies and couldn’t wait a few days till I went home again.
* Try experimenting with colors…I love playing with colors and mixing and matching up colors I wouldn’t usually put together while doing this…I tend to lean towards bright, bold, colors but what I love about Cheng’s is that she uses subtle, subdued colors with a pop of bold color that makes the piece stand out. Her use of subtle tones and light/grey hues accentuates the rich blues and the subtle use of warm orange colors all come together to create a vibrant, yet refreshingly simple and peaceful piece of art that would compliment many differently styled rooms.
2) Using a ruler or something to help you draw straight lines, trace out 20-30 hexagons (6 sided shapes). Make sure to make all different sized hexagons..the sides don’t necessarily have to be symmetrical or have all equal lengths..this will help to add to the abstract and organic feeling of the piece.
3) Arrange them in a way you like on your heavyweight art board..the only rule I used for myself was that each shape has to be touching another shape by at least one point..I think this helps adds continuity and fluidity of the artwork and helps guide the viewer’s eye from each unique hexagon to the next.
I also tried another technique and did one piece where all the sides of the shapes had to be touching sides perfectly..this one took a little more time and a lot of cutting down shapes to fit better…
4) admire, frame and hang!
Here are a few that I did, as you can see, I have a hard time using natural and subtle colors- which I think makes my finished pieces a little to “in your face.” But to each their own!
Last week, I visited the absolutely amazing Downtown Market in Grand Rapids, Michigan with some friends for the first time to attend a workshop called How to Build A Terrarium. If you are ever in Grand Rapids, you have to visit the Downtown Market. They have the indoor Market Hall, a “culinary collective” of artisan products including a Bakery, Juice Bar, Coffee Bar, Wine Bar, Meat Market, Bake Shoppe, AND gourmet restaurants including: Fish Lads, Rak Thai, Sushi Maki, Tacos El Cunado AND even a Creperie.
In the summer, they have an Outdoor Market three times a week and in the Fall, every Saturday from 9am to 2pm.
Finally, they also offer a full schedule of classes, programs and workshops which include everything from: yoga, cheese making, Introduction to Aromatherapy & Essential Oils, Cooking Classes, Mommy and Me Activities, to Greenhouse workshops. Click Here to see their schedule of upcoming classes. This is where I went with two of my friends to do the How to Build a Terrarium Workshop. I put together a cheat sheet of the ingredients you will need based on what I learned at the workshop to share with you:
1. First, start by putting about 1 inch layer of gravel at the bottom of your container, to fill up space in the jar and to keep the soil from being to damp.
2. On top of the gravel, put approximately .5in to 1.5in layer of activated charcoal, also to help soak up extra water.
3. Add your cactus/succulent potting soil. The amount of soil you want to use really depends on the size and shape of your container. You want a nice, thick layer so that the soil comes up about to the bottom of your opening.
4. Plant your succulents in the soil. Give them space to breathe.
5. Add your decorative items on the top of the soil after you planted your succulents. This will help weigh the soil down.
* Most succulents need about 6 hours a day of indirect sunlight. Make sure your terrarium is in a cool, well ventilated area.
* It helps to place your terrarium near a south or east facing windows in the winter in order to get maximum sunlight exposure.
* Observe your succulents when they are by windows, as sunlight may be magnified in the glass and can scorch leaves. Adjust accordingly.
* In the winter, you may water just once every 2-3 weeks.
* In the summer, it is closer to once a week. Water in the morning.
* If you are unsure, poke your finger in the soil and if it is completely dry then it’s probably a good idea to water it.
And voila! You have a start on a green thumb with a lovely & easy and organic terrarium, all your own. Does anyone have any other tips for making terrariums? If you have one, or make one, I would love to see pictures of them!! succulent
Yes! My first ever recipe! Yay for me! If you know me, you probably know that I am not the greatest cook. It isn’t that I don’t like cooking, I just get overwhelmed at the organization process that comes along with cooking and the clean up afterwards. Also, it gets expensive buying ingredients when you are only cooking for one…but someone once told me the only way to get better is to keep trying (and clean as you go). I was inspired by the picture on the cover of a recent Bon Appetit magazine of a delicious and fresh looking pesto pasta:
oOoOoooooh…my mouth was watering just glancing at the cover. I figured pesto pasta could be a good one for me to try because pasta reheats well, I’m a pasta girl and it’s relatively healthy (hence the green color!). What I really liked was that Bon Appetit’s pesto recipe used cilantro (which I LOVE) instead of basil or spinach (which is a little on the bland side for my taste buds) and almonds instead of pine nuts. So, needless to say, I was sold. I ended up tweaking the recipe quite a bit and served it to a group of 15 friends who loved it. One of my pesto pasta tasters, Shana Draugelis, who runs the AMAZING and inspiring blog Ain’t No Mom Jeans, suggested I put the recipe on my blog as a place to share it with friends. So here it is…if you try it let me know what you think, if you changed it or tweaked it or send me pics @ email@example.com!
-1 lb spaghetti or linguini noodles
-1 lb chicken (chopped into cubes)
-2 cups chopped fresh cilantro
-2 cups chopped fresh flat leaved parsley leaves
-3/4 cup chopped fresh chives
– 3/4 cup unsalted, roasted almonds
– 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
-1/2 cup finely grated parmesan
– 1 lemon
– kosher salt
– freshly ground pepper
– 2 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes (if you like a bit of extra spice!)
– 4 or 5 large garlic cloves (or less if you don’t care for as much garlic)
– optional and for the daring…sriracha hot sauce goes amazingly on top of the finished product.
Directions: (This is the way I have gone about doing it that works best for me and is the fastest)
1. Heat a large pot of water until boiling and in a large skillet heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 or 2 chopped garlic cloves on med to high heat.
2. Once the skillet is heated, add the chopped chicken cubes. While the chicken is cooking, squeeze 1/2 of the lemon over the chicken and add salt and pepper. (I also added 1 tablespoon of crushed red pepper).
3. The water should be boiling by now, so add the pasta and boil on med heat for appx. 6-8 minutes. Once cooked, drain the pasta and set to the side.
4. In a food processor or blender (food processor works much better at blending!) add the cilantro, parsley, chives, almonds, olive oil, 3-4 garlic cloves, the juice from the other half of the lemon and salt and pepper and blend until the pesto consistency somewhat smooth and paste-like.
5. In a large bowl serving bowl mix the cooked pasta, the chicken and the pesto together. Top with fresh parmesan cheese and a little sriracha for a kick!
You will most likely have left over pesto sauce which freezes well and goes great on top of toast,with sliced avacado and fried egg (another idea I stole from Shana!) or throw some on a chicken or turkey sandwich.
Pesto for days and days! I hope you enjoy, let me know what you think if you tried it and any suggestions for improvement! Hope everyone is having a splendid summer!