Monday, September 23, 2013

Awesome giveaway from Ellie!

Just found out about an awesome giveaway from Ellie that I wanted to share with you guys! The winner gets an Ellie a top and bottom of their choice, PLUS a 12 DVD yoga program!

Click here to enter! It's quick and easy! Good luck!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Blogtember - Comfort

Espresso | Starbucks Coffee Company

Friday, September 20: React to this term: comfort. 

Is it weird that when I think of comfort, the first thing that comes to mind is a big delicious cup of coffee? Or, this time of year, a whipped cream topped pumpkin spice latte? I think that I reach for coffee in the same way that Brits tend to decide it's time for a cup of tea. I've hit such a superhuman level of caffeine tolerance that it doesn't give me energy, it calms me.

I've never really been a comfort food person, other than that one time with the brownies when I first moved to Orlando. I'm definitely more into my comfort books and movies.

Does it get better than the Lord of the Rings trilogy when it comes to comfort movies? Doubtful. Once, when I had to get a root canal, my dentist had these amazing glasses that you could wear to watch a movie during the procedure. I picked Fellowship of the Ring (I mean, obviously), and let me tell you... there is nothing better than that movie while totally doped up on the laughing gas. I was SO INTO IT. I was totally pissed that she finished with my tooth before we even got to the Council of Rivendell. I was all "Do more teeth! I'm busy here!"

My other comfort movie? Ever After. Less orcs, more cheese. Total comfort movie awesomeness.

When it comes to books, I have many, but the Harry Potter series tops the list. I spent most of last night in bed with Order of the Phoneix, trying to recover from an especially crappy week.

And finally, these pants from Clean Spirited. I have them in charcoal, and they are THE BEST.

Alternative Women's Yoga Pants - Grey Clean Spirited Eco Friendly Women's Apparel

And now I'm off to check out what some other Blogtember participants think when they think about comfort! There are SO many blogs participating that I've only had time to check out a few each day, but I wish I could read them all!

London Fashion Week! Part 1

Okay, yes, we're finished with New York. I came across this too late and had to include it anyway!

NYFW is over, so we're off to London! If you don't already know, I'm kind of obsessed with London. I'd love to live there temporarily someday. However, London Fashion Week usually doesn't have as many designers that I love, when compared to New York, Milan, and Paris. That said, here's what caught my eye so far!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

#Blogtember - Just Pictures

Today's Blogtember topic is "Just pictures", so I opened up some folders to prepare to dig out something amusing. I decided that this one is enough. It was one of those lazy Epcot days where Katie and I were just wandering around taking photos. At some point while we were in Italy, something struck me as absurdly funny, and I collapsed into laughter on this not so comfy bench outside a shop named after me.

I really wish I could remember what was so funny. Or why I appear to be grabbing my own boob.

New York Fashion Week Part... I have no idea. 5?

New York Fashion Week has finally come to an end! Time for me to catch up on commenting on the shows!

Marc McNairy has just made me realize that there isn't enough rubber duckier print camouflage in the world. Loved the playfulness of this show.

In a sharp contrast to that last look, I love this sort of lingerie meets ice fairy princess look from Marchesa. The whole collection had a beautiful softness and was visually fascinating.

My other favorite from Marchesa. There's a hint of 1920's going on, but not in the overdone Flapper way. Love how it becomes a little more messy in construction as you move down the body. Also, I love the dainty bows on the shoes.

This Michael Kors look reminded me of that dress Bjork wore with the swan around the neck. I'm not generally a fan of his, but I think that I almost would have liked this collection if he'd gone with a different color palette. All of the brown and grey was too depressing, especially for spring.

Naeem Khan frustrates me with the almost perfection of this collection. Every look was *almost* great, but needed some little tweak to hit that next level.

And now, I am amazingly totally finished with NYFW shows! (Other than the Anna Sui one that I want to do a whole big post about, but I need time to put that together!) Time for London Fashion Week!

Want more Fashion Week love? Check out the posts over at katerini mou! She and I have very similar taste in designers!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

#RockYourBlog September - Day 17!


 I know doing two different linkups at once is a little much, but I couldn't resist today's Rock Your Blog topic!

September 17th- Do you upcycle clothing or other items?

Umm, hello! Do I? 

I thought I'd link to a few of the dress refashion posts I've done this year so that anyone who is clicking over from the linkup can check them out! (Or for those of you who have been here for a while but missed some!)

Yellow Dress Makeover

Dragonfly Tank Top Makeover

Red Bandanna Dress Makeover

Blue Floral Dress Makeover

Blue Tropical Dress Makeover

There are more in the archives, but this at least gives you a place to start!

Do you ever find new uses for old clothes?

Blogtember - Memories

Two days of Blogtember in a row? I'm rockin' this thing!

Today's topic is: "A memory you would like to relive".

I thought about this one for a while before I made up my mind about what to write. Most of my favorite memories are quick, somewhat abstract moments that are more about the feeling that accompanies them than the actual events, people or place.

I decided that right now, if I could pick a day to relive it would be two summers ago when a dozen or so friends and I descended upon Toronto for U2. We'd just done two shows in a row in Montreal, then taken a 6 hour trail trip between the two cities. Although those two shows in Montreal were great, they were also totally crazy. The stadium was crammed with around 80,000 people, the crush of the crowd to get in the first night was crazy to the point of being dangerous, and we got POURED on at the end of the first night's show, which meant that we basically swam the mile back to the hotel instead of walking. It was awesome, but it was exhausting.

Not kidding about that 80,000 people thing. There are a good 5-10k that didn't fit in this photo. And I'm so sorry that I don't remember the original source of this photo!  I saved it years ago to use as a visual aid f explaining our location for the first show.

Toronto started off much better. When my awesome roommates and I arrived, we found that we'd been upgraded to a suite. Score! After living in a hotel room that smelled just plain gross for the past two days (apparently tossing aside our wet clothes after making it back from that first show was an awful idea!), this beautiful, bright new room felt like heaven. Plus, it had a Keurig coffee machine. I politely asked the others to step outside so I could make out with it.

Amusing fact: Our room was like a little UN of U2 - each of the four of us was from a different country. (UK, US, Canada and Netherlands.)

On the morning of the concert, my beloved bedmate Ingrid woke me up at around 3 a.m. saying it was time to go get in line. I pondered this for about two minutes before I decided screw it, I'm staying in bed. I was number 130 or something on the line list, but I'd have to sit in line for 14-ish hours to hold that spot. I decided that instead, I'd sleep in, explore Toronto a little, and then go get in line around 3. I might not get a great spot, but I was ok with that.

Best. Decision. Ever.

After several more hours of sleep, I got up and set off to walk around Toronto for a while. Our hotel was right near the big ol' CN tower thing, so getting lost was fairly impossible since I'd always have that visual reference to aim for. Besides random wandering and exploring (which I'd also done the night before), the main thing I wanted to check out was the Toronto Music Garden. The garden was designed by musician Yo Yo Ma to match Bach's Suite #1 in G Major for unaccompanied cello. As you walk through, each area is meant to reflect part of the music. Pretty rad.

This little garden turned out to be exactly what I needed after the crazy past few days (not to mention the two weeks right before the trip where I worked 20+ hours a day to be able to afford to go!). An hour spent wandering the quiet paths, surrounded by trees and rocks and flowers and occasional sights of the harbor - it was perfect.

Ready for a TOTAL nerd moment? I made the shirt that I wore to this show. Well, not the shirt itself, I got that for like $8 at Target. But I altered the fit and decorated it to match the 7 shirt that Edge wore most shows of the Elevation tour!

I think I did a pretty decent job! Although mine only has one row of sequins around the 7, because those things are little mofos to glue on.

The Edge is totally my boyfriend, btw. All I need in life is a Welshman with a hat and a guitar. Although judging by my life, I'll apparently take variations on that theme, too.

Both Bono and Edge saw and approved of my shirt, though, so totally NOT a waste of time!

Here's what made Toronto so awesome: Instead of 80+ thousand people, there were less than 20k for general admission. (I think it may have only been around 12,000 actually!) We were actually able to peek at the stadium from the bar on the night we arrived, and I was beyond thrilled to see how TINY it looked compared to the one in Montreal!


My fellow "Lazy Club" members (as we liked to call ourselves) and I got in line around 2 or 3, and were let in somewhere around 5. Instead of the absolute stampede we'd survived in Montreal, everyone just sort of sauntered in. My friends and I all went our separate ways since we all had different favorite spots to watch from, but I ended up in the inner circle (inside that circle-y track you can see in the photo above), about 4 people back from the stage, right in front of Edge. My friends that had been in line for 12+ hours ended up on the rail against the stage, but I was pretty content with my spot.

Being me, I totally made friends with the people around me in the crowd, since we had a solid two or three hours until Interpol (the opening act that I was beyond sick of by now) came on. One stranger offered me her beer, someone else offered me chicken fingers. I liked these people. Even better? The stadium had air conditioning! After two previous shows of standing in the July heat, crammed against thousands of other bodies for hours and hours, AC now seemed like the best invention in the history of all time!

The show was pretty great. We had a better collection of rare songs back in Montreal, but I was just happy to be right below Edge all night! After "With or Without You" he spotted my totally ghetto notebook paper on which I'd written "HI EDGE!" in big black Sharpie letters, and waved. That means we're totally engaged now, right? ...Right?

Pretty decent view.

After the show, I met up with my silly band of friends to discuss our experiences, and then a few of us set off for a local Toronto bar to see a U2 cover band play. Yep, after 3 U2 shows in 4 days, we needed a cover band, too. There were drinks and dancing and a song dedicated to me, so I was a very happy camper. The slow walk from the bar back to the hotel with my much-loved friends felt like a farewell to the city and the tour. It was a nice way to say goodbye.

Overall, a pretty great day. I always meant to blog about it, but I was so exhausted after my Canadian adventure that I didn't do much of anything for a few weeks, and writing about this show just never happened! But I think it fits today's topic well.

What memory would you like to relive?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Blogtember - A Letter

I've been wanting to take part in Blogtember, but haven't had the chance to jump in yet. Last night, I pulled up the list of topics to see what was coming up this week, and the first thing I saw was:

Monday, September 16: Write a public love letter to someone in your life. (It doesn't necessarily need to be romantic.)

This made me smile, because I'm a huge fan of love letters. Not just the romantic kind, but the everyday sort of note where you tell someone that they made you smile, or that you're thinking of them, or that you're proud of that thing they just did. I try to make a point of paying compliments and reminding people that they're loved as often as possible. Life is tough - everyone could use a few kind words.

The following isn't really a "love letter" in the traditional sense by any means. Maybe "letter of encouragement" or something would be a better term. And while it is technically for someone in my life, it's also for you. Hopefully there's something in here that you've been needing to hear.

Dear you,

You are amazing. And you're doing fine. Trust me.

The world throws rough things at all of us from time to time. It's okay if you don't always handle it perfectly, if you have moments of weakness, if you feel overwhelmed. These are not the things that define you.

I sometimes worry that you're too hard on yourself, too critical of the things you see as flaws. Perfection is boring. It's those quirks and unusual things about you that make you special. Fake, carbon copy "beauty" is everywhere these days. Instead, give me your silly faces, your expressive eyes, everything that is distinctly you. Those are the things that make me smile.

I know that you always want to improve, to learn, to grow, and I know that you will. But I also know that you are absolutely perfect and wonderful exactly as you are right in this moment

Push yourself, but take time to really celebrate the victories, too. Even if they seem small.

I wish that I could show you, even for a moment, who you are through my eyes. 

You are amazing.

Trust me.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

"Down To Earth" for September!

The September collection of awesome workout gear from Ellie came out a few days ago, so I thought I'd give you guys a peek at a few of my favorite pieces! The theme is "Down to Earth", and I'm loving the fall feel and great colors!

Ellie's long sleeved tops like this are always SO comfy! But this one has an especially awesome back!


Hoodie time! Love the charcoal/purple combo! And I love the mixed shades of grey on the leggings!

AND there is a tiny hidden pocket! Score!

I'm an Ellie ambassador, so if you sign up via the link below, you can save 20% off your first month, which means that instead of $49.99 for two items, you only pay about $40! (And I get to make a small commission, so it's a win-win for both of us!)


Hill's Science Diet Grain-Free Cat Food - with Giveaway!

If you guys know me at all, you can probably guess that I spend a lot of time in the cat food aisle. There are certain foods that I know my cats like, but I'm also always on the lookout for what's new. Picking out healthy cat food can be a little confusing, especially since there seem to be so many different kinds available! I was contacted by Hill's Science Diet to check out their grain-free cat food, share some info, and give some away to you guys! (Score!)

I started paying more attention to cat food last year when the vet said my kitty Tallulah needed a high protein, low carb diet. I spent a ton of time digging through info online and asking my vet for help, and eventually figured out what worked for her. In the process, I learned a lot about cat nutrition! If you're interested in tips on what to feed your cat, Hill's has a great article about choosing a natural cat food.

One thing to keep in mind: Grain-free cat food does not necessarily mean it's carb-free. Some grain free foods can actually have equal or even more carbs than regular cat food! However, some cats have sensitivities to grains that can cause skin irritations or upset stomachs, so a grain-free food can make things much easier on them. Whether grains are a concern for your cat or not, the thing to look for is a cat food that's nutritionally balanced with high quality ingredients that will be easy for your cat's body to absorb. The grain-free cat food offered by Hill's Science Diet is balanced to support a healthy immune system, contains prebiotics for digestive health, and is free of artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. Plus, it's made in the US with ingredients that have to meet strict guidelines.

The fine folks at Hill's sent me a big box of grain free cat food (both wet and dry!), plus some treats to try out, so we'll be reviewing those soon! (Cat party! Woohoo!) We're not the only ones who get to enjoy some free cat food, though! FOUR winners will each receive 10 lbs of Hill's Science Diet cat food! Some of you are about to have some seriously happy cats! This giveaway is open to US and Canada, and all entries must be submitted via the Rafflecopter app below. If you have questions or need help entering, just leave a comment or e-mail me! You can enter until 11:59 PM Eastern on Sept 29!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Even More Spring/Summer 2014 Fashion Week!

I've regretted not including this Otswald Helgason sweater ever since I hit publish on the last post. I thought that maybe that post already had enough balloon animals, but... no. It did not. (Side note- I'm sad that thus far, this balloon animal motif is the silliest thing I've seen this season. Where's all the weirdness??)

Anyway! Happy Almost End of Fashion Week, people!

I need this DVF dress in my life! I'm in love with the shape and the colors and the pattern and the little hint of lace peeking out the hem. I do question the length a little bit. It seems like raising or lowering the skirt hem a couple of inches would have had created more balance with the almost full length sleeves.  (Speaking of which, are those supposed to be that length? I can't tell if they've just gathered a bit at the elbows, or if it's an intentional 5/6 length thing going on.)

Monday, September 09, 2013

Mindfulness Workbook for Dummies

A long, long time ago (like... four years?) I blogged about the practice of mindfulness and how I was trying to work it into my daily life. I was doing pretty well with it for a while, but as tends to happen I got distracted and haven't thought much about it in a while. Awesomely enough, I was recently sent the Mindfulness Workbook for Dummies to review, so I've been back at it! (If you click the link above, you can check out the book's table of contents and first chapter!)

What is mindfulness? The short answer is that it is being entirely in the present moment. Rather than letting your thoughts get tied up in the past or future, you focus on what is happening here and now: the feeling of breath moving through your body, the sensation of your feet hitting the ground as you walk, the actual taste and texture of the food going into your mouth. It can take some practice to get the hang of but when you do, those moments of being fully in the moment are refreshing. Even incorporating a little bit of this practice into your day can have positive effects.

Onto the book! This is a workbook, so it is handy to have some knowledge of what mindfulness is before you dive in. However, it's also a "For Dummies" book, so you can still figure things out pretty well with no prior info.

Random note - The book I received is a British edition, so there are a few spellings and words that made me smile every time they popped up. (Such as "practising" instead of "practicing".) Brits just do it better. 

One thing that I love about the For Dummies format is they they break everything down and organize the information. Each chapter has clear objectives, and little symbols to draw your attention to important points.

The "Part of Tens" chapters of lists is always my favorite part of For Dummies books!

There is a LOT of info covered in this book. It includes a basic explanation of mindfulness, tips on mindset for your practice, information about the benefits, and a full 8 week mindfulness course. No wonder I didn't get around to finishing it yet! Yep, unfortunately with all of the craziness around here with my upcoming move and family visiting and lots of illness, I still haven't had the chance to finish reading! (And this review is late. Oops!) I forgot that the fact that it's a workbook filled with exercises means it takes a lot longer to make my way through than if I was just reading a regular book! Lesson learned!

As with any book of this type, there's a big difference between reading it and actually DOING it. The included questions and charts not only help you track your progress, but they offer an easy way to spot patterns and make connections between what you do and the results you get.

As a bonus, the book also includes info on how to download accompanying audio meditations. Especially handy if you're new to meditating and would like to be walked through some exercises!

Have you ever tried mindfulness or any other form of meditation? I'd love to hear about it!

Disclosure: I was provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was received. 

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Fashion Week! Part 3!

I hope you guys aren't tired of Fashion Week yet (HA! Is that even possible?) because we're just getting started!

I know that Alexander Wang has a rabid band of followers and I have tried to work up some affection for him, but his aesthetic and mine are just worlds apart. That said, this look totally got pinned to my "sewing inspiration" Pinterest board, because there's something really interesting going on with the layering here!

(I'm doing a "read more!" thing because at the rate I've been posting images, my blog is going to take a year to load!)

Top 10 e.l.f. Products

My lovely friend Mia sent me a message this morning asking about some of the e.l.f. makeup I've reviewed in the past, and asking for some recommendations. If you've read my review posts, you know that I've had very hit and miss experiences, so I thought I'd put together a handy list of products from that brand that I think are totally worth buying. I originally planned to also include 10 to avoid wasting your hard earned dollar on, but this post got long quite quickly, so I'll save that list for another day!

(I'm not affiliated with e.l.f. in any way, sadly. Just doing this list out of love!)

10 Products Totally Worth Buying:

e.l.f. Essential Waterproof Eyeliner Pen in black- $2

This is basically my holy grail of cheap makeup products. It's so good that I'll even forgive the fact that they recently doubled the price.
I've tried the teal, and it just wasn't as good. I've also attempted to try the purple, but both of the ones I've ordered have arrived dried out and had to be refunded!

e.l.f. Studio Pigment Eyeshadow in Innocent Ivory - $3

First, a disclaimer: Elf's pigment eyeshadows are NOTHING like MAC pigments. Don't get all excited. This will not replace your beloved vanilla pigment by any stretch of the imagination. Sorry.

That said, I have gotten SO much use out of this little pot of white powder. (That... sounds wrong.) Yes, it's great as a highlight color, but my favorite use for it is mixing it with other shadows to either lighten them or town down their shimmer. I've been meaning to do a blog post or video or something about how great this is for that purpose, but life has been crazy! Mixing this with some of the otherwise too shimmery e.l.f. mineral eye shadows works magic, though!

e.l.f. Essential Natural Lash Kit - $1
It's false lashes for a buck. Enough said. Just use your own glue, since the tube that comes with these sucks.

e.l.f. Essential Eyelid Primer in Sheer - $1
A one dollar primer that actually works. I've gone through several tubes of this stuff. Just don't buy any of the other colors they've recently come out with, they're not as good.

Eye Shadow Brush
e.l.f. Essential Eye Shadow Brush - $1
Is this the greatest eye brush you'll ever buy? No. Does it do a pretty frickin' good job for a dollar? Yes. I have many of these.

e.l.f. Essential Jumbo Lip Gloss Stick in Sangria Starters - $2

This little guy lives in my purse and gets a lot of use. In my experience, it's totally on par with the similarly designed Pixi lipsticks that sell for about $20. It has just the right level of pigmentation, so you get a good amount of color on your lips without being too bold. I also have this in the color "Movie Star", but that shade isn't as universally flattering as I think this one is (it looks awful on me). I'd love to see e.l.f. expand the number of colors available!

e.l.f. Essential Lipstick - $1
There's nothing truly spectacular about these lipsticks, but they are good. The main reason that I like them is that finding a flattering lip color can be really tough, so it's frustrating to spend $10 on a new one only to discover it just doesn't look right on you. At least with these, if you pick a bad color you're only out $1. They stay on fairly well, and the formula applies smoothly and feels nice on the lips. My favorite shade is "Fantasy" (shown above).

e.l.f. Essential Soothing Lip Balm in Blackberry Creme - $1
This is the smoothest, creamiest, most awesome stuff you can put on your lips. I'm glad that they appear to have eliminated the disgusting orange variety. Trust me - the blackberry is where it's at! Don't worry, it goes on clear.

e.l.f. Studio Conditioning Lip Balm in Mellow Melon - $3

This stuff magically appeared in one of my last orders even though I didn't buy it, and it became my favorite lip product of the summer. It feels amazing on the lips, has a great color, and even smells good. I bought another jar in the color "Nice and Natural", but it's just not as much fun.

e.l.f. Essential Shimmer Eyeliner Pencil in Twinkle Teal or Grassy Green - $1

Colorful liners are a lot of fun to play with now and then, but I really doubt most of get enough use out of them to warrant spending $20+ for a high end one. These go on smoothly, come in fun colors, and even have a handy built-in sharpener. Skip the black or white version of this - they're not so great. I've heard that the bronze is good, but have yet to actually try it.

That wraps up my top 10! I'll try to get around to the Products to Skip list soon!

Do you have any favorite e.l.f. items not on the list that I need to check out? Or another inexpensive brand that you love? Let me know in the comments!