Friday, October 26, 2012

Two New Videos!

Since my camera is mostly dead, I've been on a vlogging kick lately! It's kind of addictive!

The first video is a mix of my quick hiking adventure this week and a bit of running around town that happened afterwards. It answers the question "If a Crystal falls in the woods and no one is around to hear, does she still scream like a girl?" It also includes a lot of frozen yogurt and a mini Bath and Body Works haul!

This is the tower I mention in the video:

Second, I did a video response to the Spooktacular Tag! This has 15 Halloween-related questions, and was fun to do! Let me know if you do it, too, so I can watch yours!


Does This Church Make Me Look Fat? Book Review & Giveaway!

Book description from the publisher: 
What does it mean to give church a try when you haven't really tried since you were twelve? At the end of her bestselling memoir Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, Rhoda Janzen had reconnected with her family and her roots, though her future felt uncertain. But when she starts dating a churchgoer, this skeptic begins a surprising journey to faith and love.
Rhoda doesn't slide back into the dignified simplicity of the Mennonite church. Instead she finds herself hanging with the Pentecostals, who really know how to get down with sparkler pom-poms. Amid the hand waving and hallelujahs Rhoda finds a faith richly practical for life--just in time for some impressive lady problems, an unexpected romance, and a quirky new family.
Does This Church Make Me Look Fat? is for people who have a problem with organized religion, but can't quite dismiss the notion of God, and for those who secretly sing hymns in their cars, but prefer a nice mimosa brunch to church. This is the story of what it means to find joy in love, comfort in prayer, and--incredibly, surprisingly--faith in a big-hearted God.

I wasn't totally sure if I'd like this book based on the description, since I'm more spiritual than religious, but I did end up enjoying it quite a bit. The focus is pretty evenly divided between the crazyness of the author's new relationship and health issues and the religious journey. There's only one chapter that feels kind of "preachy"- the rest of it is more of a "How did I end up here?" view on her new church that most readers will probably relate more to. She has a fun, humorous writing style that makes this a breezy read, and the book is well-written and edited overall. I enjoyed the first half a lot more than the second, but I'm not entirely sure why. I guess the tone of the latter half is just a little more serious, while parts of the first half are laugh out loud funny. If you absolutely can't stand reading about religion you should skip this one, but as long as you're open minded about hearing someone's religious experiences mixed in with the story of their life, it's definitely worth a read! (The tone is definitely more "this is what I think" than "you should believe this, too!")

I do now want to read the author's first book,Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home, since I do enjoy her writing style and it sounds like a fun read. It's about moving back to her Mennonite family after her husband leaves her for another man. Good times!

Does This Church Make Me Look Fat?: A Mennonite Finds Faith, Meets Mr. Right, and Solves Her Lady Problems is currently available on Amazon in both hardcover and Kindle editions. There's also a pretty good sample in the "Click to look inside!" preview, which will come in super handy if you'd like to get an idea of if you'll like the book.

I get to give away a copy of Does This Church Make Me Look Fat to one of you guys! This is going to be a fairly quick giveaway, so get your entries in soon!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Top Model!

I haven't blogged about Top Model in a while, so I thought I'd share my thoughts about tonight's episode! (Stay away if you haven't watched yet and want to stay spoiler-free!)

It's go-see week, so the girls go out to several different designers to try to book a job. I was impressed that there were well-known designers this season, it's usually brands that few people have heard of.

The photo shoot this week was at a prison for "fashion mug shots". I have to say, I don't love the photos. There have been so many amazing photo shoots on this show, this just feels so plain in comparison.

Victoria started out so strong, but her last few photos hve been sucky. I still can't figure out if she's really as crazy as they portray her, or of she's just acting to get more screen time. Either way, this photo isn't great. I feel like she needs to be doing community theatre instead of modeling. I think that part of the problem is that she tends to come up with a character to portray for the shoot, but it doesn't always match the vibe the photographer wants.

Nastasia is still among my favorites, just not at the very top of the favorites pack. The angle here makes her legs look super uneven, like one is twice the size of the other. Not loving this shot, either.

Yay, finally a shot I like! Quirky face, but Laura still looks good. She looked great while they were shooting, I'd guess there were several great photos.

Kristin looks pretty, but she's still just relying on being pretty instead of really working it. She totally looks like Jaime King here, though!

When I was pulling up photos for this post before the ep came on, I couldn't remember whether Kiara was still in or not. BAD sign! This photo kinda blows. She did pretty well at the go-sees, though.

I can't believe she got eliminated. I still love Britany, I'd love to see her come back win this thing! Except then she couldn't go do the Disney College Program like she has planned, and that would be sad for everyone. I felt so bad for her not booking any of the go-sees. The judges didn't like this photo much at all, but I do!

Next week they're bringing back one of the eliminated girls and heading to Jamaica. All this time I've been wanting Leila to come back, but Britany getting eliminated kinda threw a wrench into that!

They just announced that next season will have both male and female contestants. I have to admit I'm curious to see how that goes!

Do you watch ANTM? Who do you want to come back?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Walk in the Woods Part 2: The Vlog!

I posted a few days ago about my little hike in the woods, and I now have the vlog to go along with that post! It's only a couple of minutes long, so you don't even need a super long attention span.

I'm one of those people who is pretty terrified of vlogging- being on camera is still pretty awkward for me! So be kind! I'd like to change things up a bit and start doing more vlogs, though, so I hope you like this one!

I also have a few photos from the shorter trail; I took these on my regular camera before it died and I turned back to go to the longer trail.

Would you like to see another vlog the next time I hit the hiking trails?

1,000 Facebook Fan Celebration GIVEAWAY!

It's here! At last! A giveaway celebrating my blog's Facebook fan page reaching 1,000 fans! It's actually at 1,145 fans as I type up this post, but hey, close enough, right? For the giveaway, I've put together a fun little assortment of odds and ends- nothing super fancy, just a fun little gift box for the winner!  Here's a peek at what will be inside...

Want a better view of the prizes, and more info about each one? Rather than take a bunch of individual photos and spend tons of time typing, I decided to make a video to show you each prize!

Ready to enter? Just use the Rafflecopter form below! (If the widget doesn't show up, try refreshing the page.) To make my Canadian friends happy, this giveaway is open to both US *and* Canada! Woot woot!

I usually don't have any mandatory entries for my giveaway, but since this is to honor a FB milestone, I am requiring that you be a fan of my blog on Facebook to enter! Everything else is optional. Good luck!

Clothing Explosion!

Thanks to so many awesome thrift store sales and yard sales over the past few months, my pile of clothes to alter has gotten HUGE. Actually, it isn't even a pile so much as a bunch of small piles of clothes ALL over the house! There's a big pile of new things in the kitchen that are still in the phase where I hang them out in the sun for several hours each day to get rid of the detergent smell (I'm super allergic to fragrance!), there's a pile that's been aired out but now needs washed, there's a big box of dresses I've started but not finished, and a whole dresser drawer of dresses I haven't even started! Then there are the piles/boxes/blobs of shirts and skirts I've bought to use as parts of future creations, but haven't yet needed.

Basically, things are getting a little crazy up in here.

What it's starting to feel like. 

So here's the deal! The thrift store's bag sale is on the first Tuesday of each month, which means I currently have exactly 20 days until the next one. I've decided that I have to finish 5 dresses before then, or I can not go. Given that this monthly treasure hunt through clothing racks is currently one of the highlights of my "crap, I'm stuck living in a small town right now" life, this is pretty hardcore motivation! And 5 dresses in 20 days is totally do-able! I've just gotten so bad about starting sewing projects and not finishing them, I need this motivation to really get some done! If I'm doing especially well, I'll blog about all 5 before then, too.

Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Walk In The Woods

I just woke up from an accidental 2 hour nap, because I am a big whimp. Why am I tired?

Lately I've been craving some quiet time in the woods, so today (yesterday by the time I finish typing this, I'm sure!) I went to the Ruth and Paul Henning Conservation Area just outside of Branson to hit some of the trails. I went there all the time when I was younger (I grew up in Branson), but I haven't been in AGES. Today was finally the perfect weather (mid-70s), so off I went!

There are a few of these little kiosks around the parking area that tell you about the flora and fauna you might see. It's a shame they're super faded by decades of sun!

There are 2 different trails. If you head right from the parking area, there's a short, paved .3 mile loop that goes out to an overlook tower. If you go to the left, there are a series of longer trails. I originally planned to just do the short trail today, but apparently I wasn't the only one who thought today was perfect weather, because there were a TON of people over there! I'm used to not seeing anyone! So after only venturing a short ways down the trail, I turned back and headed for the other side.

Map of the shorter trail. I love all the info it gives! I also love the abundance of benches on this trail.

This little overlook area also serves as the entrance to the longer trail. Once you're inside, there's a short staircase to the left that leads down to the trail.

This map shows all of the trails to the left. I would LOVE to do the full thing, but my goal today was just the little red Glade Trail loop, which is 1.1 miles.  I know that doesn't sound like a lot, but keep in mind that there's a lot of up and down hills!

In addition to the great weather, this was a great time to go because all of the trees are just starting to change!  Throughout most of the trail, there's woods to one side, and this clear view for miles and miles to the other side.

While the shorter trail is paved, this one alternates between rocky and just plain dirt. It's not super rough, but you do have to watch your feet to avoid tripping over roots or rocks!

Just a few minutes down the trail, I actually stumbled upon a geocache! I have never gone geocaching, but I got really excited to randomly find one! It was basically a moment of "Um... is that a box under that rock? Hey, it IS!"

I HAD to check it out! I dug the box out and found the little notebook where the previous people who found it have signed, as well as the little collection of trinkets. The idea is that you can take something and leave something.

I didn't have anything to leave, but I totally took that purple octopus ring in the corner. I'll leave something cool the next time I go to make up for it, though, I promise!

I made it out to the cool overlook point about halfway down the trail:

This was probably about 4/10 of a mile, and it was the first bench! It made me miss the benches of the other trail a little.

The good ol' "Look at these trees behind me!" shot.

I love exposed tree roots!

I was worried that the trail would be super muddy since it rained a lot over the weekend, but the soggy spots were actually pretty rare, thankfully!

Wildflowers offered the occasional pop of color.

I have no idea what the little red square means. Maybe that this is the red trail on the map? I am so not a trail expert!

All together, I walked about a mile, and I don't think I would have lasted much longer. I felt like SUCH a lightweight, because I just finished reading Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed where she was walking like 20 miles a day carrying a huge backpack. I made it ONE mile, y'all. I am SO out of shape for this kind of thing! I'd love to reach a level of badassery where I could go do the whole series of trails (which I think add up to a little over 5 miles), but I don't see that happening any time soon!

I actually did something really rare for me- I made a vlog while I was walking! I haven't had a chance to edit the videos together yet, so I'll save it for another post (along with a few other photos), but it was fun to do!

Are you outdoorsy?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Boyfriends Do Makeup - Kinda Amazing

I've been seeing the "My Boyfriend Does My Makeup" tag videos on Youtube, but only today did I finally watch any of them. Oh, guys, this is amazing. Here are a few favorites:

I think my favorite moments are when the dudes get super-serious about the application process.

This dude is hilarious! "What color is the foundation in?" "I only know like 7 colors."

If I had a boyfriend at the moment, I would totally make one of these! I let a male friend do my makeup about a decade ago, and as you can imagine, it turned out amazing. 

Here are a few more I loved, but I didn't want to kill your possibly crappy computer with like 87 youtubes in one blog post.

Miss Glamorazzi

There are like a billion others out there, just search!

After watching all of these, I'm pretty sure that men are convinced we are sorcerers.

Win a $100 Target Gift Card! Woot!

The holidays are fast approaching and it would be great to get a jump start on your Christmas Shopping! Well Tailor Made Momma is ready to help you out! We are giving away a $100 Target Gift Card to one lucky reader!


 Entering this giveaway is simple. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below to be entered to win! This giveaway is open worldwide but note that the Gift Card is limited by Target rules and shipping!

 Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. The prize is being provided by Tailor Made Momma with additional funds coming from participating bloggers.

Bag sales, talkative strangers, and pumpkin pie vodka

It's been forever since I've written a regular "Here's what's up lately" type of blog post! I really need to catch up a bit!

I'm one of those weird people that loves Mondays. I'm coming off of a weekend that felt about three years long, though! I was super excited for Saturday because there were huge yard sales at both a nearby church and my town's senior center. I knew the church was doing a bag sale, and you guys know those are like crack to me! I got up at like 7:45 so I could be there when they opened at 8. That meant I was running on about 3 hours of sleep, but I'm certainly used to that!

I ended up with one SUPER overstuffed paper bag of clothes and books. I thought about going for 2, but my arms were so tired from carrying it all around that they were shaking, so I decided to give in at one. I got a few GREAT clothing articles that I can't wait to work with!

There was one hilarious moment when I was browsing through a rack of dresses when I overheard the two older ladies next to me talking, and one went off on a rant about how there should be a law against women wearing "those dumpy long denim skirts" to church, because it was so unfeminine and just plain horrible. Given that I was standing next to them in jeans, a grey sweatshirt and totally looking like I got the 3 hours of sleep that I got, I couldn't help but smile a little.

Something funny always seems to happen at this kind of sale- women try to dress me. It happens a lot at the thrift store bag sale I go to the beginning of each month.  They'll hold up something random and remark about how great it would be for me. I usually say something like "Oh, yeah, that is really nice!" and then just keep doing what I was doing. This sale totally stepped it up a notch when the lady a few feet away looked over at me and asked "Hey, what size are you?" She was totally bummed when I told her I was a 10, because she was holding a pantsuit that was a 16 that would have been just perfect for me. (insert eye roll here).  I don't know why I find it so hilarious when total strangers start picking out clothes for me, but it cracks me up! And I think there's something especially charming (I don't even mean that sarcastically, it actually does amuse me) about a total stranger asking what size I am. People are odd.

After plopping my now tearing apart bag in the trunk of my car with shaking arms, I cursed my decision not to bring my morning coffee with me as I drove to the second sale of the day. Could someone please start reminding me that these sales are exhausting, especially since I'm usually running on little sleep, and remind me to take a drink? I thought about running home to coffee up (I live less than 5 min away from where the sales were), but I figured I'd survive, so it was off to the senior center.

I hit the clothing room there first thing, as you can expect. There were a few interesting things, but I wasn't sure if I would end up buying anything. As I walked in a man had informed me that everything was now half off, but as I was perusing the racks I heard the two ladies working in that room mention that they were going to give up on individual prices and switch to a bag sale in about an hour. That obviously caught my interest, so I asked them if they knew how much the bags would be. They didn't, so one of them went to ask. She came back and reported that it was $1 a bag, and that as long as I kept it quiet, I could go ahead and stuff a bag now. WOOT! Don't mind if I do! All of the clothes I'd been iffy on a few minutes before now started getting stuffed into my little grocery bag! I couldn't help but laugh when a couple of minutes later one of the men in charge came over the loudspeaker and announced they were now starting the bag sale. I'm such a trend setter!

After stuffing a bag with clothes, I went to check out the main room, and ended up with a whole bag of books. Holy cow did I score there, you guys!! Among other things, I found a hardback of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which made me SUPER happy because I loaned a friend my copy the day after it was released, and I still haven't gotten it back, so my bookshelf has felt wrong with it missing all these years! I also found several of the Series of Unfortunate Events books, which I love, plus a few random other books.

While I was picking through the books, I heard a voice ask "Are you still shopping for books??" I glanced up and saw a man that I remembered from the first sale. (It's hard to forget a guy with a curly handlebar moustache.) I'm not sure what's so odd about book shopping that it called for comment, but at least he didn't ask what my dress size is, I guess?

There was a big coffee machine with accessories set up, which nearly killed me because I was dying for coffee at this point! There was no way I could carry coffee in addition to my two bags, though, so I just kept gazing at it lovingly. The weird thing was that in a bowl of ice containing several flavored coffee creamers, there were also two bottles of Bolthouse mocha flavored protein smoothies. I love those things, but I can't imagine putting it in my coffee! Did whoever put them there think it was some kind of creamer? Or were they for sale separately? It's a mystery.

Speaking of weird things to put in drinks, I recently discovered this at my grocery store:

This exists, you guys. It exists. The world is a freakin' magical place.

I want to try this SO MUCH, but I'm hesitant to spend like $12 on a bottle of something I'm not sure I'll like (and lets face it, will probably only amuse me for about a month before I get sick of it). Still, I think the world is a little brighter just because it exists. I really wish grocery stores carried little shot-sized bottles of all the Pinnacle flavors, because there are at least a dozen I'm dying to try (cookie dough vodka, y'all!) but am way too cheap to actually buy a bottle of.

So, as I was searching for the above vodka photo, I found THIS:

Fo' real, Pringles? I am excited! I hate mint, so the peppermint ones don't do it for me, but the cinnamon sugar actually sound pretty rad. The pumpkin spice will either be amazing or incredibly gross. Either way, I can't wait to try them! I really wish I was the kind of person who went to holiday parties, so I could show up, drop a can of Pringles on the kitchen table and be like "I brought pie, bitches!" Tis the season.

And since we're on this weird seasonal food topic, I have been talking about these on Twitter, but I haven't blogged about them yet:

I've checked 3 grocery stores so far, and I can't find them yet! I'm going nuts! You know these have to be amazing!  There are also limited edition gingerbread, sugar cookie, and marshmallow hot chocolate flavors. I need these in my life!  I mean, seriously. Think about how good brown sugar cinnamon Pop Tarts are. Pumpkin Pie has to be at least that awesome, right?

Oh, but back to the story I started with... Between the 2 sales I ended up with 27 articles of clothing and 23 books! Since I spent a total of $4, it works out to 8 cents per item!  SCORE. I haven't been doing haul posts from my trips since they never got many comments, but I'll post about the dresses as I alter them!

What's new with you guys?

Friday, October 12, 2012


I'll probably be buying a pumpkin to carve this week (OMG, how is October already almost half over??), so I've been poking around Pinterest for pumpkin inspiration, or as I'm calling it, Pumpkinspiration!

My favorite ideas so far:

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Using cookie cutters to carve!  This is kinda genius.  But I don't think I know anyone who actually owns a big mallet like that!  (source)

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I love this owl pumpkin! (source)

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How cute are these gourd jack-o-lanterns? Who says pumpkins get to have all the fun? (source)

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Plastic vampire teeth = genius! This made me wonder if fake eyelashes could come in handy, too, but I bet they're pretty flammable. (source)

Are you carving a pumpkin this year?  Any ideas yet?

Thursday, October 11, 2012


AUGGH, I think I'm finally biting the bullet and ordering some new fall/winter boots today!! SO EXCITE!  Right now through Nov 1, Delias has Free Shipping On Orders Over $25 with code DDRAFF. Crazy shipping prices are what usually keep me from ordering shoes online, so now I'm trying to decide if I'm actually FINALLY going to buy new boots!

I think these are my favorites right now- I love that you can fold them down! They're $34.50, though,. and I'm not sure if I want to spend that much. (I know, I'm cheap!)

Drooling over these, too! I like the higher heel.

This is the other pair I'm considering (the brown ones.)  They're only $37.50!  I'm worried that they would look kind of cheap in person, though- it's so tricky with that color!

Which ones do you guys like? Any? All? None? Any other suggestions of where to find cheap fall boots?


New Dress A Day - The Book!

You guys know that I love the site New Dress A Day, so when I got the opportunity to review the book that sprung from the website, I was super excited! The book isn't out yet (coming in a few days, though!), so I got an advance reviewer's copy. Due to that, mine might be a little different from the final product, but I can still give you a good idea of what to expect!

If you've yet to follow any of my eleventy billion links to Marisa's site, the basic idea is this: A few years ago, Marisa Lynch lost her job suddenly and was a little stuck about where to turn next. Inspired by the movie Julie & Julia, she decided to create a blog based around something she loved doing. Since cooking totally isn't her thing (Mine, either!), instead of making a recipe a day like Julie did, she decided to use her sewing and thrifting skills to turn one ugly thrift store find into a cute new outfit each day. Just to add to the challenge, she also set a budget of $1 per day! 

Marisa's one year project has now lasted over three years, and she's still going! It's so much fun to check out her site each day to see the transformations and get inspiration for my own sewing projects! She also features reader-submitted clothing makeovers done on the cheap! Apparently I'm not the only one who loves NDAD, since the site gets over 30,000 hits a day, and Marisa has been on E! and The Early Show, and appeared in Bust and the Los Angeles Times!

The book has a lot in common with the website. It features before and after photos of each garment, along with step by step instructions of how she transformed it, accompanied by work in progress pictures. The instructions are simple enough for people who don't sew much, and she often offers no-sew options you can do if you don't have a sewing machine or just don't want to sew!

Just like the site, I feel like the clothes she transforms aren't necessarily intended to be copied step by step, but more to serve as inspiration for what you can do with the items you find in your own shopping treasure hunts. The most important thing you pick up is how to see the potential in an article of clothing and beginning to imagine what you could do with it, rather than just thinking "Oh, that's too long/the wrong color/has ugly sleeves."

One feature of the book that the website doesn't really have is a handy Sewing 101 type of preface. The beginning section of the book goes over basic items you need in your sewing kit (as well as a few others to pick up if you're feeling fancy) followed by the basic skills you'll need to start refashioning clothes yourself. She explains different stitches you can use for hand sewing, as well as basic sewing machine use. These few pages are obviously not an in-depth sewing education, but it's definitely enough to get you started! Later in the book, there's info on dying fabric.

In addition to the popular "make an ugly dress cute!" type of transformations that dominate the site, the book also features things like Halloween costumes, ideas for what to do with leftover fabric, how to turn pants into shorts, and a few designer look-a-like creations.

I love having this book to flip through for inspiration, and it's a great companion for fans of the site! There are a few topics I'd like to see a little more info on, like how to choose items that will be the easiest to refashion, or how to deodorize thrift store finds (my constant struggle, since I'm allergic to scented detergent and almost everything I buy seems to have been previously owned by a April Fresh fanatic!). Still, I would rate this a solid 4 out of 5 stars. I love that the projects are all easy to do, and the text is full of humor and pop culture references that make it fun to read. This would make a great gift for crafty or budget-savvy friends!

The book will be released on October 16, but it's available for preorder now! (At the time I'm writing this, the preorder price is just $13.60, instead of the list price of $20! Score!)

I was provided with a complimentary copy of the book to review, but no other compensation was recieved and all opinions are my own!

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Free Event for Bloggers!

Free Blogger opp - you can click HERE to sign up! Get more info HERE.

This is a free event with the only requirement being that you post about this event and include the button code in your post!  This gets you TWO free links (facebook, twitter or pinterest only).  A third link can be purchased for $2.  If you chose to NOT post about the event link cost is $3 or 2 links for $5.
If you're not interested in participating as a blogger, be sure to come back here Oct 15th to enter!

Friday, October 05, 2012

Paris Fashion Week, Volume 2!

One last post to cover a few final Paris Fashion Week moments!

A few things you should know: a) Alexander McQueen was my favorite designer. b) I've hated everything Sarah Burton has done with the line since he died. c) Despite all of the positive buzz (ha!), I still hated this bee-themed collection. d) I secretly think this model might be Voldemort:

I can't 100% tell if this Jean-Charles de Castelbajac dress is supposed to look like a shark, but it does. Add it to our "Dress like a fish this Spring!" collection!

I'm just going to post this image from the Moncler Gamme Rouge show without comment. You're welcome.