Wednesday, December 31, 2014

10 Things on Tuesday (on Wednesday) - Volume 27

1. A somewhat late Merry Christmas to all of you, and slightly early Happy New Year! I'm not up to anything special for the holidays this year. I was super sick on Christmas - I even missed watching the Disney parade, which is practically against my religion as a former Cast Member and Disney nerd. Spent most of the post-Christmas weekend reading and watching 6/8 Harry Potter movies. (I'll probably hit up Harry Potter and the Really Long Camping Trip tomorrow night.) Speaking of which, y'all need to confiscate my HP dvds because watching the movies just makes me mad, since they leave out 90% of the depth and detail that makes the story amazing. Grr.

2. On that note, I totally want to throw a Yule Ball next year. I've been Pinteresting up all kinds of Potter geekery for ideas, and a good chunk of my brain has been busy trying to figure out how to make floating candles happen. (I've already tracked down a chocolate frog mold on Amazon!)

2. There are currently 73 posts in my drafts folder.Times like this when you see that I haven't posted anything since my 10 Things from two weeks ago? I've still been writing posts, I just suck at finishing them up! Think I can get that draft folder number down to like 50 by the end of January? Seems like a solid goal!

3. My second Stitch Fix shipment will be here today, and I am super excited! I totally did the cheating thing where you go look at your checkout page to find the names of the items, and then Google image search that shiz up. I'm actually a little worried that I will love everything, because if I buy it all it will leave approximately $0 in my bank account.

4. I finally got a new laptop! It's definitely nothing fancy (we're talking under $250) but oh man is it an upgrade. I spilled milk on my old one like two weeks after getting it and somehow never got around to replacing the keyboard (which fried during the milk bath), so I've been using a keyboard that plugs in via usb for like 3 years. Then last spring the whole thing started literally coming apart and the screen wouldn't fold down anymore. I finally realized that I was spending SO MUCH time sitting around waiting for it to think about things (that poor computer was having an existential crisis any time I wanted to open iTunes) that I gave in and ordered a new one. I really kind of hate Windows 8, but otherwise, New Lappytop and I are getting along really well!

5. This picture of a llama has absolutely nothing to do with anything, but this post needed more pictures and everyone likes llamas. Enjoy.

6. This is the last day of the year, and I am not kidding you when I say that I am basically every single New Year's cliche right now. I want to declutter and eat healthier and read all the books and basically fix my whole entire life at once. That always goes well, right? I'm so deep into the whole "new year, fresh start" mindset that I am even making a vision board. Send help.

7. Kind of on that same "fix ALL the things!" topic, I've got some major blog redesigning happening soon! I've had this same layout for about a decade (No, seriously, I switched to this url in like 2004 and not much has changed) and it needs a major update. I hate the term "rebranding" when it comes to blogs because I am not a brand, I am a human person, but that's basically what's going to go down. I have some awesome blog things planned for this year, so I want to get a better design in place to get ready for all of that awesomeness, as well to hopefully inspire me to post more often, get out of the weird rut I've fallen into, and generally step up my game.

8. I've done an end of the year post of some sort almost every year since 1999 (omg so old) but I don't think I will this year. Other than the really rough couple of months this fall when my mom was super sick, it's been a strangely uneventful year, and other than my trips to New Orleans and Eureka Springs, I really can't think of much of anything worth talking about. How sad is THAT? Maybe I needed a fairly boring year to prepare for the awesomeness that will come in 2015? Good enough theory for me.

9. I totally meant to post this on Tuesday since omg, how hard is it to get my one post that goes up on a specific day of the week right? But then  my internet died for like two hours and then I fell asleep reading, and next thing I knew I was waking up at 2 am. Oops. I doubt you guys mind all that much, though.

10. Not many things make me literally LOL, but this gif did:

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Putting It In Writing

I'm moving back to Orlando in 2015.

There seems to be a special power that comes from putting things in words, making it public, so there ya go.

My biggest fear when I had to quit my job at Disney and move back to Missouri was that I'd get stuck here, and that's exactly what happened. A lot of good things have happened as a result of my being here longer than expected, but it's not where I belong. Right now I'm aiming for moving this summer, but I'm leaving the exact timing open.

I have zero idea how this is going to happen, to be honest. I'm nowhere close to being able to afford it and my health still isn't where I'd like it to be before I take on something so major. But I can't keep putting it off, hoping that it will happen next year. And maybe, somehow, if I write it down here, put it out there, everything will somehow fall into place?

when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. So follow your dreams (:

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

10.Things On Tuesday - Volume 26

1. I've kinda fallen into a bad reality TV on demand marathon while I work lately. I'm actually really enjoying "The Sisterhood" from Lifetime about four young women becoming nuns. I think there's a new episode tonight, so pretty excited for that! I'll also admit that I've kinda watched the whole first season of "Botched" from E! about fixing bad plastic surgery. I partly like the medical aspect because I've always found surgery super interesting, but the absolute rediculousness of the show is pretty great, too. (One of my favorite moments was the woman in tears because she felt guilty that "some people can't even afford ONE rhinoplasty!") The moments when they show patients totally loopy on pain meds are pretty rad, too. I've only got a couple of episodes left, so I might hit House of DVF next, since we all know I'm a fashion nerd.

2. Trust me, y'all, you need these pj's. I hit the point where I was pretty much living in my beloved fleece owl-print pants, so I finally gave in and got these (for $9!) at Walmart this week, and it's been hard to get me to take them off. I have totally started to wonder if I can get away with wearing the pieces separately in public and passing them off as real clothes. Might have to get a second set to survive winter with. (The brand is Climate Right, if you want to hunt them down!)

3. I finally ordered a new laptop! I'm supposed to get it Thursday, and I'm super excited. Mine is SO SLOW, the hard drive crashed a few years ago, and it is *literally* falling apart. Plus, I spilled milk on the keyboard like two weeks after I got it, so I've been using a plugged in usb keyboard ever since. It's a mess! I finally realized that the amount of time I waste rolling my eyes while things take way longer to open/run than they should really justified putting off other important purchases in favor of getting the new laptop NOWWWWW. Can't wait!

4. I finally got my Christmas tree up! Ten is super interested in it, but there hasn't been any destruction yet. Keep your fingers crossed!

5. If you haven't already, don't miss out on entering my awesome giveaway! I totally need one of these for my next apartment!

6. I just came across this Snow Doge image while searching for a sad Doge to tweet...

So here is a lovely photo of me to go with it. Tis the season.

7. I kinda forgot to mention on here that my birthday was last week! I've been way too busy to do much of anything yet, but I am totally getting my free birthday Starbucks and Orange Leaf when I'm in Branson tomorrow.

8. If you follow me on Pinterest, sorry if I've been flooding your feed with tons of travel pins! 2015 needs a whole lotta travel in it. I'm planning a week in New Orleans, as well as probably some Memphis, Nashville, Chicago, and who knows what else!

9. I need your razor recommendations, ladies! I've been using Venus razors for ages, but I used Schick Hydro for most of last year because I got a bunch of them free, but I'm not really thrilled with how expensive either of those are. Any suggestions for really great but less expensive shaving?

10. A good quote for this week, since I think a lot of us are starting to think about plans for the new year:
Marc Jacobs quote

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Turn Your Favorite Photo Into A Work Of Art! Platinum Pixs Giveaway {Winter Wonderland Giveaway Hop Event] ends 12/20

December 10th - 20th, 2014

It's giveaway hop time! I'm joining a bunch of awesome bloggers for the Winter Wonderland Hop Event. Each participating blog has a giveaway with a prize worth $25 or more, and you can enter to win as many as you'd like!

I have a seriously cool prize for you guys!

10 Things on Tuesday - Volume 26

1. First things first, my mom got to move hoooooome from the nursing home on Thanksgiving Thursday! She went into the hospital back in the 2nd week of September, was there for about a week, and has been at the nursing home ever since. I've been checking in on her pretty frequently, and am SO HAPPY that I no longer have that 90 minute round trip drive every time I want to see her!

2. I'm in the middle of SO MANY draft posts! I have a whole post coming up of awesome things I bought during Black Friday/Cyber Monday/other random awesome sales lately. (I'm so broke now.) There's another in the works about what I want from 2015, and another that will show you awesome ways to alter a t-shirt without spending any dollars. Um, and about 70 more. I need to finish some!

3. Am I the only one who doesn't have my tree up yet? I think I'm going to put it up this weekend, but judging by blogs, y'all are weeks ahead of me!

4. You know, I can't believe I haven't learned my lesson about this kind of thing yet, but several weeks ago sent me a free bag of Zuke's Natural Cat Treats. Right after opening the envelope they came in, I snapped a couple of pics so I could tell you guys about them...

...and then I tossed the bag on the kitchen table to get back to later. Got distracted for about 20 minutes doing something else (laundry, I think?), and when I came back, the bag looked like this:

Yup. Another bag shredded by my determined little furry weirdos. I need some kind of cat treat vault! The cats loved these (obviously), even after they got a little dried out because it didn't occur to me to transfer them to a non-holy bag. Love that they're made in the USA with USA sourced meats, and don't have any artificial colors or flavors. My cats clearly find them irresistible, and wish they came in an easier to break into bag!

5. Do any of y'all have suggestions for red lipsticks for people who have lips that magically seem to turn every red lipstick pink? I was wearing a red and black sweater today and seriously wanted a good red lip to go with it today, but as always, everything goes pink once it touches my lips. I'm like King Midas, but not.

6. I'm already counting down to when I get my next Stitch Fix in January. I'm *really* hoping this one is better! (My November Stitch Fix review is here, if you missed it.) If you're a subscriber, do you have any tips for getting items that better match my style? I thought I did everything right last time, but maybe I missed something?

7. My birthday is Thursday! Woohoo! I don't think I'm doing anything special to celebrate this year - things have been too crazy lately. Maybe I'll have a delayed celebration next month? Feel free to send me lots of coffee.

8. Y'all know that I don't post affiliate links very often, but this one is way too freaking cool not to share. There's a healthy food and products site called Abe's Market, and they have a "Try It" section where they post new products each day that you can try for $2, including free shipping! It's mostly food, but I've also seen eco-friendly laundry detergent, several beauty products, and so on. New products are posted at 11 a.m. EST each day, and I've been kind of obsessed with seeing what's new!

9. Seriously awesome giveaway coming up tomorrow, and at least two more within the next few weeks! WOOHOO! I love sharing awesome things with you guys!

10. Favorite quote this week:

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Spring 2015 Fashion Week - Part 1

Oops! I just found this post of New York Fashion Week favs from the Spring 2015 runway collections sitting in my drafts folder - I guess that I started it back in September and never finished! Of course now the shows for Pre-Fall 2015 are happening, so I'm just going to go ahead and post this one so I can move on to diving into those! So much fashion week, so little time?

(New York, Paris, Milan, London, etc are all mixed up in here, I didn't divide them up as I normally do.)

This A Detacher collection was kind of brilliant, based on the idea of childhood boredom. It's like a whole runway show of doodles and dress-up in your older sister's clothes.

LOVE these Alice + Olivia looks! Love the black and cream combo. Love everything.

Altuzarra Spring 2015 RTW dress back detail

Everything about the back of this Altuzarra dress is perfect. Not gonna lie, totally stealing this idea for one of my next sewing projects.

Also loved the eyelashes for Altuzarra! Not sure I could pull off middle only falsies, but it looks cool.

I wasn't a big fan of most of this Carolina Herrera collection, but the last two dresses used this sort of mosaic treatment that is awesome and should have been used way more. I dig it.

I love what David Koma did with diagonal lines and cutouts here! The sheer cutout thing has been totally overdone lately, but this still feels like a fresh take.

Everything about this Andrew Gn collection is genius.

Antonio Marras isn't usually on my designer radar, but I really loved this whole collection! (Except for most of the shoes.)

Oh man, there's a lot that I love about this Aquilano Rimondi collection. For one, I love dragonflies and they're a running theme throughout. I totally want a top made of that smaller print dragonfly fabric in the top outfit! Just love the second one that I posted in general - the colors and sort of vintage nightgowny feel work for me.

As with all Fashion Week posts, this is pretty photo heavy, so I'm going to break here and post more favorites tomorrow! 

All images via

Friday, December 05, 2014

An Afternoon of Girl Time and Glamour with InStyler Hair Tools

Disclosure: InStyler and VocalPoint hooked me up with some awesome product samples to try out! I also receive an affiliate commission on any products purchased through the link in this post. As always, all opinions are honest, 'cause that's how I roll. 

As much fun as the holiday season is, it can get a little stressful, too. When I got a box full of awesome InStyler hair tools in the mail from Vocal Point, I was instantly excited about the prospect of having some fun trying them out with friends - nothing like an afternoon of beauty to de-stress! I immediately thought of my friend Jessica, who has a toddler daughter (and great hair!) and seemed like she could use a few hours of pampering. We met up to spend a few hours trying out these fun hair styling tools and sipping giant mugs of gingerbread latte!

Let the holiday hairstyles begin!

Jessica's amazing photographer husband Brad snapped some "before" photos of our hair before we dug into the big box of InStyler tools!

Um, yeah, I'm totally jealous of Jessica's long, thick, gorgeous hair, too!

My "before" hair, on the other hand? Eep! Thin, fine, and a bit frizzy. This is why I'm usually rocking the messy blogger topknot of shame!

I hardly ever use any kind of hair styling tool. My curling iron comes out once every few months (either for special occasions or because I'm in major need of something to break up the hair monotony!), but that's about it for me. These three hair tools are totally different from anything I've used in the past, so I was excited to experiment!

InStyler Tulip Auto Curler

This thing is simultaneously fascinating and kinda terrifying, but it ended up being my favorite tool of the three to get glamorous hair for the holidays. I have never seen a curling iron anything like this! It makes getting perfect curls super easy. All you have to do is section off a small piece of hair...

...slip root end of the hair section up next to the Tulip's barrel, making sure to keep it all between the grey guide dots, and then press and quickly release the button. The Tulip does it's thing and sort of sucks your hair up, twists it around the barrel, and beeps to let you know when it's done! 

Once you hear the series of three quick beeps, you just pull the Tulip straight out, and...

Voila! Perfect curls every time!

My favorite thing is how much you can customize the settings! You can choose low, medium, or high heat (handy for different types of hair), how many seconds it heats the curl (longer time equals tighter curls) and whether it rotates left or right, so you have hair that curls towards or away from your face. There are so many "outtake" photos of me making the face of terror as the Tulip whirred and spun my hair up, but it worked perfectly every time! Have no fear!

You never notice that you missed curling a chunk of hair until you're looking at the "after" photos the next day. Oops!

InStyler Max 2-Way Rotating Iron

You can use this nifty rotating tool to straighten your hair, add volume, or create waves or soft curls. Jessica instantly fell in love with this one, and it's a good thing I was planning to give it to her anyway because I don't think I would have been able to pry it away by the time we were finished!

Jessica's hair after using the InStyler Max to add some soft curls.

As soon as you close the InStyler Max around your hair, the barrel begins to rotate automatically, which is pretty freaking cool. You can either move it down your hair very slowly to create a straight, sleek style, or rotate as you go for waves. Changing the direction of rotation is as easy as clicking it closed twice in rapid succession. So cool!

A small warning about this one: When you turn it on, it defaults to the highest heat setting. Also, there's nothing around the barrel part of the curling iron, so watch your fingers! These two things together = I'm really glad that I don't need my thumb to type, because I had a bit of a "don't touch hot things, dummy!" learning experience while I was practicing with this. Oops.

InStyler Ionic Styler Pro

After going all curly with the Tulip, I couldn't wait to see if the InStyler Ionic Styler Pro was up to the job of straightening everything back out again! This is a pretty sweet 2-in-one tool. You can use it as a straightening iron, or flip a little switch to lock the barrel closed, which makes it a hot brush. And this one is perfect for my accident prone self, because the brush bristles stay cool as the barrel heats! It didn't take long to smooth out the curls I had just created, and soon I was back to straight hair!

And then this happened:

Lesson of the day: Aim a fan at my hair and I instantly think I'm Beyonce. 

And one more "after" photo.

If you're interested in picking up one of these awesome styling tools to get gorgeous hair for the holidays or to put under your friend's tree, you can save 30% by visiting their site and using the code SAVE30 from now until 1/31/15!

A HUGE thank you to Model Citizens Photography for taking the photos in this post!! It was super nice to have a pro photographer doing all the work, and let's face it, if he hadn't been there, this would have been a post full of photos that looked more like this:

My #selfie skills are pretty on point, though. 

Have you tried any snazzy InStyler tools yet? I'd love to hear about your experiences with them!

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

What I'm Listening To: Mary J Blige - The London Sessions

Mary J Blige has been up to pretty cool. She spent a month in London collaborating with other artists to put together a pretty awesome album, The London Sessions. Check out the "Behind the Scenes"!

The London Sessions Track Listing
1. Therapy
2. Doubt
3. Not Loving You
4. When You're Gone
5. Right Now
6. My Loving
7.Long Hard Look
8. Whole Damn Year
9 .Nobody But You
10. Pick Me Up
11. Follow
12. Worth My Time

I've only had time to listen to the album a few times so far, so I'm still getting a feel for it. The influence of the UK musical artists that she worked with gives each song a different vibe, and I love that she took that step out of her comfort zone to shake things up a bit. Some of these songs are upbeat, some are soulful and haunting. Haven't picked a favorite yet, but "Therapy" definitely fits my mood lately!


The London Sessions album is available as of yesterday, and you can find it on iTunes and Amazon! Have you checked it out yet?

I participated in the Mary J Blige The London Sessions album review program as a member of One2One Network. I was provided a free album to review but all opinions are my own.  

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Does This Count As Cooking? I Make Mexican Hot Chocolate Chex Party Mix

Disclosure: Plateful Co-Op sent me a big box-o-ingredients and promotional items to make this recipe, but no other compensation was received and all opinions are honest. I like when people send me big boxes of food, especially when it includes chocolate.

So, you want to make something tasty for a holiday shindig (or a hot night of Netflixing in your own print pajamas?) but you're not big on that whole "time in the kitchen" thing? Try this delicious Mexican Hot Chocolate Chex Party Mix! Trust me, it's easy - If I can make it, anyone can!

Here's what you need:
2 cups each of Vanilla, Cinnamon, and Chocolate Chex. 
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, plus a few extras to nibble while you "cook"
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp cinnamon 
1 cup flaked coconut
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows

Handy tip: If you love Publix like I love Publix, you can score a coupon here for $1 off 2 boxes of Chex, It's good through the end of Jan 2015.

Want the recipe in handy printable form? Here ya go! (You can click to open it in a larger format.)

Chex Mexican Hot Chocolate Party Mix Recipe

Mexican Hot Chocolate Chex Party Mix

The first time I made this, (there have been a few times!) I decided to cut the recipe in half, since it called for two cups of each of the three flavors of Chex, and six cups of cereal sounded like a lot for just me! This was dumb. Just make the full recipe, y'all. You'll eat it. No worries.

Photos like this are why I could never be food blogger. How do you guys make food look so pretty?

I also made a few other recipe alterations: For one, I skip the coconut, because I just don't dig it. I also toss the marshmallows in in before the last round of microwaving (instead of after) because let's be honest, watching them poof up in the microwave is fun, and they just taste better all melty. I don't add the full 1 1/2 cups of marshmallows, either, I just toss in a small handful. I also never actually microwave the cereal. I know that's totally against how you're supposed to make this, but I've never been able to do so without it turning out all funky, so I just microwave the other ingredients and pour it on top of the "raw" cereal. (Learned my lesson about this when I made that tropical Chex party mix last year!)

At this point, I've basically stopped measuring ingredients - I just throw approximately the right amount into a big mug, microwave, add cereal, stir. IT IS SO GOOD, YOU GUYS. The cinnamon keeps it from being super sweet, and it's cereal, so it's totally healthy, right? ...Right?

You can find more Chex Party Mix recipes here! Have you ever tried making a mix like this?