Sunday, August 31, 2014

My nail polish collection AND....added something to my capsule wardrobe.

I have a small collection of nail polish colors that serve me well both in my professional life and my mom/casual/whatever life. I used to wear colors like aqua, neon green, chrome, etc., but have realized that's not cute on me.....just no.

So here is my collection of nail polish! Please keep in mind that my nails (particularly my finger nails) suck, and I can't grow them out, but I like to wear nail polish any way.
Because I love nail polish color names:
  1. White...."A-Ha! Moment" by Sephora OPI. I use this for DIY french tips.
  2. Nude...."Topless and Barefoot" by Essie. This is amazing, super opaque/light colored, and perfect for a clean, professional look. If you go for an interview, definitely wear this. I wear this color in particular because it tends to lengthen the look of my fingers since my nails are short.
  3. Light pink...."Mod About You" by OPI. This is my absolute favorite color of all time. It goes with everything, and looks very nice against the skin. Also adds some interest when you tend to wear black like me.
  4. Red....."Hey Sailor" by China Glaze. Everyone has to have red nail polish, though honestly, I rarely wear the red. Perhaps red is not as necessary as they all say?
  5. Black/super dark berry....."Lincoln Park After Dark" by OPI. I love black nail polish, but it's not super appropriate for me to wear at work. I will definitely put this on for a long weekend, or a vacation.
  6. Periwinkle...."Bikini So Teeny" by Essie. I wrote about this color in an earlier post. I love this color, as it's quite eccentric, but also tasteful looking.

And for part 2....I recently bit the bullet and sold/consigned a couple of handbags I've had sitting in my closet that I haven't used in years. With my earnings, I was able to go out and buy a small cross body bag that I've been admiring for quite a long time. I have to say, cross body bags are the way to go when you schlep around two little toddlers and need both hands on deck, so I'm glad that I've got a cross body bag now, but wishing I would have been using one for the past three years. I foresee this being perfect for traveling as well (business or vacation), because it's very lightweight.

Here it is...a quilted leather cross body bag by Kate Spade.

Friday, August 29, 2014

What have I been filling my mind with latey?

I have recently cut myself off from several different news/social venues that I used to participate in, due to a mind shift that I've had recently toward simplification and value-add in my life. Instead of listening to the same boring, mindless radio stations (pop music and very surface-level pop culture) on my commute that I'd previously listed to for the past couple years, and instead of opening my facebook app up to read about the same people doing the same things day in and day out, it's given me the capacity to think about and explore other things outside of my "box". Doing this has allowed me to think less about myself and more about others' points of view, which I think is a positive thing.

Want to read my mind? Here are some topics I've been learning more about and pondering (for better or worse)....

  1. Religious journeying, especially video blogs of self-reflection by others (to and from Islam, Atheism, Christianity, etc.)
  2. Water fasting, and near-death experiences with it as well as why people choose to participate.
  3. Tours of homes and apartments around the world (my favorites have been Japanese apartments, French apartments, and Saudi homes).
  4. Listening to the relationship stories (both abusive and good) told by an English teacher living in Tokyo.
  5. Lessons learned from the French (parenting, gift-giving, eating, fashion, and overall living....even a little business focus as well).
  6. Human trafficking. Horrific subject that I somehow feel drawn to. I can't not listen to, watch, and read anything and everything about it.
  7. In vitro fertilization, breast augmentation, and lymphedema.
  8. This is work-related, but career pathing for equities analysts, what equities analysts do, and what "x factor" you need to have in order to be successful at analyzing them stocks.....
  9. Oh....and I probably shouldn't write this one here, but BDSM. Thanks, 50 Shades, which I haven't even read, nor do I really desire to.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Your master bath....when you have small kids.

Our bath as we know it.
I like a lot of things about our apartment, but my most favorite thing is our delectable, massive soaking tub in the master bathroom. I take a bath every other day or so....I normally just lay there and read on my phone for the first bit, and then go about washing up. Being submerged in water supposedly has a healing effect on the skin, and I find it mentally relaxing as well. I also like the shower curtain I picked out when we first moved in...I usually struggle with picking "grown up" looking decor items, and I feel like I actually did a good job with this shower curtain.

On that note....I think most of the time when you are a grown woman, or even a married couple, your master bathroom is supposed to be like a "sanctuary" that is your own space, not that of your kids', if you have more than one bathroom (we have two). But, all that goes out the window sometimes when you have little toddlers....because guess what, folks? They like the big bathtub too, so guess who takes baths every day in that tub as well?

When you have small children, chances are instead of candles and decorative seashells sitting on the "shelf area" of your soaking tub, you'll have bath toys. A mermaid barbie. Some pouring pitchers. Some cups. Possibly a bowl. Oh, and a ladle....

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Start somewhere...detox breakfast is were I'm starting.

Do you have those times where the wheels fall off the wagon? For me, that was this past week of eating too many trader joes chocolate caramels and failing to wash my face at night. Just pure laziness.

Sometimes getting back on track is hard for me, because I tend to be an "all or nothing" person. However, lately I've really started to learn the value of iterations....think big, start small. Especially when you have been a dirty-faced chocolate binger.

While this is no huge initiative to implement across multiple constituents, I will say that my detox breakfast of grapefruit and teavana tea makes me feel like I'm getting back on track...


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Let's talk makeup....

"Wow...you actually took the time to take photos and number everything?" - my husband

I actually enjoy makeup, and it's taken me many years to find my favorite ways to wear it. I'm still learning best practices in application and new products to use, but I've really been trying to minimize my makeup collection to the essential items that I love....so here they are. Now that I know myself well enough to know what looks good on me, what products I'll actually wear, and which products to buy high-end and which to go cheap on, I am getting better at refining my collection (instead of having it go kaboodle-insane like a 90's preteen).

So here they are! My 10 makeup items that I wear on a typical work day, or any other day that I feel so inclined to make myself look my best. On weekends I usually wear minimal makeup (maybe just the CC cream and some lip gloss).

I've numbered them to disclose colors and commentary on each down below, but also to show the order I put these on in....takes me about 5 minutes start to finish, so I've gotten it down to a very quick process from doing the same application each day.

Face/lips - details below....

Eyes - details below....
  1. Physician's Formula CC Cream (Organic/Natural Origin) spf 20 - Light. I've tried LOTS of BB and CC creams, and this is the best so far. Not greasy. Not orange-oxidizing. Just enough coverage without being super thick. I like that it's free of synthetic ingredients, since it's going directly on my skin first.
  2. Translucent powder to "set" the CC cream...right now I'm using Almay smart color powder, which has obviously a bit more color to it. I like it, but I may try a different powder once this runs out...may go for a high-end translucent powder from bare minerals or something of that nature....
  3. Under-eye illuminator...this stuff is great, and it's easily accessible at a grocery store! Maybelline instant age rewinder eraser dark circles illuminator (has a pink tint, which works well for hiding under eye tiredness)
  4. Bronzer....this is some $5 MAC party stuff I got ("petticoat" mineralize skin finish). I like it pretty well, but I think I'll go for something else when I've run out of this. Problem is, when will I ever run out of this?? It's not even showing signs of use, even though I use it almost every day....
  5. Blush - Bobbi Brown "Peony". I think if you must buy high-end makeup of any kind, it NEEDS to be blush. I like this color a ton, but I may go back to what I had before once this runs out (NARS "Orgasm" - the best blush ever).
  6. Burts Bees Lipgloss. Color is "Ocean Sunrise". I like wearing pale pink on my lips.
  7. My favorite eyeshadow of all time! "Sin" by Urban Decay. Google it for swatches....it's amazing. Great for wearing on its own, or with other colors.
  8. Highlight for just under brow, inner eyelids, and a little on the cheekbone...I've had this for over 3 years, and it's still going strong: "Crystal Avalanche" MAC verluxe-pearl eye shadow
  9. Palettes are annoying, because you find one color you like, and you're stuck with all the others. Or, the color you like runs out, so you have to randomly buy another separate color to keep the palette functioning in harmony. Anyway, this is Urban Decay Naked Basic palette, and it's nice, but the only color I really use every day is the black called "Crave" to line my eyes with the eyeliner brush. I get the brush wet, then drag it through the eyeshadow and put onto my eye, and it stays all day long.
  10. I think high-end mascara is a waste of money, so I always buy cheap because it's just as good. I'm trying out this kind right now, but I think the best mascara is the maybelline stuff.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Pondering urban living.

I don't care how much money I have as the years go on...you will never see me buy a luxury car. Some people who have to drive a long distance to work buy fancy cars and use the commute to justify it...go for it, if that adds value to your life. For me, if I had an endless supply of funds, I'd buy a small piece of residential real estate downtown so that I don't have to commute. But doing that is more than just the cost of your slice of the city...it's the cost of private school for the kids (or even just the astronomical daycare costs as compared to the already astronomical costs we pay further out of the city). It's the cost of a security system and monitoring. It's the high cost of HOA fees. These are the hidden monetary costs of urban living that make it more unattainable than you'd think, even when you subtract out gas, tolls, and vehicle wear and tear.

Nevertheless, my goal is to live where we don't have to commute. To me, time is more important than space (obviously, I'm a "minimalist", lol). The thing I find difficult to balance is, what would my kids think of growing up in a different world than I did? I imagine raising kids in the city can be difficult, because on one side you have deep poverty, and right next to it you have filthy rich families (think "old money" y'all). All in the same community, but not really. Where does a middle class family fit in, in the city? I personally do not pay much attention to socioeconomic status when it comes to who I build relationships with or relate to, but I am trying to look at it from my kids' perspective. Would it be good for them? Or bad for them? I'm probably over thinking this....what is right for my family may not be right for yours, so why would I feel compelled to conform to the values of others?

My husband and I are trying to look at what we've got going on in our current lifestyle -- thinking about what isn't working, what to change, what to keep, what we love, or is the entire thing effed up? This is kind of fun...it's like a strategy game. If I think of it that way, it's not as stressful. Most of the thoughts are around urban living, hence my writing about it this evening.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Closet Confidential - Stories behind my minimalist wardrobe.

No, this is not 7 minutes in heaven. But since I've recently posted about my minimalist wardrobe, I wanted to go through a few questions I've seen others answer:


Closet Confidential

Oldest item in your wardrobe?
  • Black suit jacket - This is a piece from my first business suit ever, when I was a Freshman in college. I remember many awkward internship interviews taking place in this jacket. Now I kill interviews. In my sleep. And I'm still wearing the same jacket.
Newest item in your wardrobe?
  • Neutral printed blouse - I actually bought this blouse a week or so ago in preparation for fall/winter. I felt like it would be essential in my pared down wardrobe, especially for work. I've already worn it at least twice in the past week. I felt like it was a great steal as well, because usually Anthropologie clothes are quite pricey, but I got this one on like, 80% off. I did not buy it just because it was on sale, but that was definitely an added bonus!
What is the most expensive item?
  • Jewelry - I think this is a given for most people...of course my wedding ring and engagement ring are the most expensive items I wear, followed by my watch (but it was a 25 year anniversary gift given to my dad from his company, so it has special meaning also). My diamond earrings I bought in St. Martin were a bit pricey as well, but they were duty free! The Caribbean = diamond purchasing capital of the world, so I've heard.
Cheapest/most affordable item?
  • $2 camisole from forever 21, and $4 black long sleeve shirt - I don't usually like to buy clothes from forever 21, because they are essentially disposable and fit poorly most of the time, but these items fit well enough, and they work for now. My skinny jeans from Old Navy were pretty cheap also.
What was your biggest bargain?
  • My trench coat from London Fog is probably the best "bargain" I've come across. It originally retailed for $225, but got it for $89. That's a pretty sweet discount. And of course, my neutral printed blouse from Anthropologie I mentioned above was a great deal at 80% off. I will only buy something on sale if it's something I already wanted...but it's always nice to know that you got some money off the full price that you would've been willing to pay anyway.
Biggest waste of money?
  • Anything purchased from Zara! I know that everyone else loves Zara, but in my not limited experience with attempting to wear things from there, my opinion is that Zara sucks. They have no quality control...I've had to return everything I've ever ordered online from Zara due to defects, and the shoes I bought from there have fallen apart way too soon. I bought a machine washable jacket from there a couple years ago, and it disintegrated after one wash. I was able to exchange that for something else, which I never wore because the fit was slightly off (that was my fault, since I did have the opportunity to try it on). Overall, I won't waste any more time/money on looking for wardrobe items from Zara.
Show us your three favorite items right now
  1. Short Boots - I wear these suckers all the time. I'm so over tall boots and trying to stuff my pants into them. Short boots are the new tall boots, in my opinion. I can even wear them in the summer, which I'm sorry, if you live in my climate you can't do the same with tall boots.
  2. Black dress - This is a lululemon dress that is so comfortable and fits me really well. Can be athletic, casual, or dressy.
  3. Stella & Dot layering necklace - This necklace is so versatile and can be styled in so many different ways. It has a bit of a Moroccan feeling with the trellis pattern in the small medallions, so I really dig it.

Monday, August 18, 2014

What's in my fridge?

Meet our fridge. It's actually new, as it was installed along with our apartment renovation. (Pardon the streaks....just attempted to clean the stainless steel, and I don't believe it went in my favor.)

This is what a full "I just did an HEB haul" looks like. Feeding two small children requires a constant need for milk, cheese, and greek yogurt. Apparently we are extremely heavy consumers of dairy, but so far no issues. We have been trying to go with less dairy products, but the kids did not fall for "special milk" aka almond milk. I ended up just using it in my coffee. Also, you can see that we like to keep a variety of beverages on hand. Neither my husband nor I drink soda, but we have water, orange juice, pomegranate juice, coconut water, protein shakes, and my favorite....blue moon!
I love having three drawers in our fridge to keep things separated. One for meat and cheese, one for fruit (most of our fruit is in a fruit bowl on our counter), and veggies. I get "fridge anxiety" whenever I feel like there is too much food in our fridge, which increases the possibility of having rotten food in the depths....so the separation and easy-access real estate for the meat/fruit/veggies is calming for me.
.....and our freezer. The most important thing we keep in our freezer is not pictured: a Belle princess ice pack. I feel like we use that at least 3 times a week for an ouchie or a bump. The rest of this is yucky food that we use in a pinch. For quite a long time, I was taking a lean cuisine frozen meal to work every day for lunch, but I have become so sick of any and all frozen food....it'll probably be years before I'll be able to eat another. My husband does still like to take them for lunch.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

An attempt at simple flower arranging....and (all is okay now) ER trip last night.

I like to keep fresh flowers in my home (almost always the HEB $4 flowers). However, I normally don't take time to arrange them thoughtfully. I typically slice off the ends on a diagonal, throw them in a vase with some water, and done! No trimming leaves, no layering lengths, nothing. To be honest, it never occurred to me to think about these things....until I saw this video on What's Up Moms on easy ways to arrange roses.

Here was my first attempt to make my store bought, self-arranged flowers look legit...
On an unrelated note....last night, my husband took my daughter to urgent care, and shortly thereafter were told to go to the ER downtown (one with an ophthalmologist on call), when she had a very small "foreign object" embedded in her eye. I noticed something in/on her eye before I was putting her to bed...so it went from there. They arrived at the ER at 9 pm, and were waiting there until 5 am to finally see a doctor. They were home at 6:30 am, completely exhausted. Long story short, my daughters eye is okay....foreign object is no longer in it after flushing it out and getting it cleaned out and tested. However, she does have a corneal abrasion as a result, so is following up with some antibiotic eye drops to let it heal up.
Foreign object embed resulting in corneal abrasion: barely visible after a 9-hour wait and doctor visit in the ER through the middle of the night. I was so worried that it would be more serious...thank God.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Fall/winter project 333 capsule wardrobe - for a business casual mom!

I have been utilizing a pared-down capsule wardrobe, inspired by project 333, for a few weeks now...but I have already planned my fall/winter capsule wardrobe (which will work for September through March).

Here are some things of note about me that influence my choice of clothing...
  1. I live in a humid/hot climate, that does get moderate seasons and evening showers from time to time.
  2. I work full time for a large corporation, so the attire at my office is business casual. I do work from home one day a week, and I also get to wear jeans on Fridays.
  3. I am a mom of a toddler and a preschooler...my clothes have to be durable and withstand lots of stains and washing....and I have to be able to lift and run in my clothes if needed.

If you read my first post about my project 333 wardrobe, you'll notice there are a few things missing, and also a few things added. Here are some things that I've learned in dressing with less, which have led to these removals and additions:
  • When you buy crappy stuff and wear it all the time, it wears out quickly! For example, the finish on my previous cheap sunglasses started flaking off slowly, so I bough another cheap pair (I can't buy expensive sunglasses because my kids like to reach for them way too much). Hopefully this pair will last me through the winter.
  • If a piece of clothing doesn't fit correctly, I won't end up wearing it. I had to ditch my blue dress because the shoulders were too baggy and it was slightly too short for my liking. I hadn't worn it in months, and figured I wouldn't any time soon.
  • A pair of black pumps may seem essential to a working wardrobe, but they aren't as essential as I thought they were. My pair of black pumps started to fall apart way too soon, and those were quite expensive shoes I bought from Nordstrom recently, so I returned them. I've been doing fine without them, so no need to replace for now.
  • I need to admit to myself that costume jewelry makes me feel gaudy. After wearing my bold jewelry nonstop, I've become so sick of it...so I'll put it back in my jewelry storage. I've gone back to my really nice, high quality pieces that are dainty...some diamond stud earrings that I got in St. Martin, and my birthstone necklace that I've had for years instead of my huge kendra scott stuff.
  • I was lacking a few things that I'm glad to have been able to find to last me through fall, winter, and some year round!
    • Winter coat - I got this from London Fog. They have such high quality items, and I needed a coat that was pretty warm, but also water resistant. AND, I did not want it to look like a ski jacket. I lucked out on this one. I will get a lot of use of it this year, and then again next summer when I travel to Alaska.
    • Neutral printed blouse - Third row in the middle. This is something I wished I had like, every other day when I've been getting dressed for work with my pared down wardrobe. And I have to say, I will probably wear this one at least twice a week for the foreseeable future.
    • Dark grey sweater/cardigan - With a black suit jacket and mustard yellow cardigan, I felt like I truly could use another "topper" like this...especially since I have a sleeveless dress and blouse that I wear frequently to the office.
And there you have it! This is stuff you'll see me in for the next 6 months. I have to say it's been so much easier doing laundry and just getting ready each morning when I have a limited but perfect to my taste collection of clothing to choose from. Paring down my wardrobe has definitely made a huge impact on simplifying my life.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Behold! What your coffee table looks like when you have young kids.

I realize that when you are a grown up, you are supposed to have fancy, mature things on your coffee table, such as a small vase of flowers, beautiful books, and perhaps a bowl of glass decorative balls or fake fruit. Also, when you are a grown up, your coffee table is technically not supposed to be from IKEA (apparently no longer online, but here is a similar one to ours).

None of the above listed qualifications take place in our home. Many of the surfaces in our home are clear of clutter (as is the way I like them), but for some reason, our coffee table gets a lot of practical use for storing things....small child things, in particular.

Surface-level: 
  •  We'll have a larger toy sit on top, so that the kiddos can easily play with it as they stand. Both kids love playing with this klip klop stable with self-moving "horsies" carrying various disney princesses.
  •  The coffee table has become our go-to place to store the kids shoes. It makes it so easy in the morning to grab them and go, and also just as easy to place them there once we take them off after climbing the stairs inside our entryway.

Underneath:
  • The kids love to color and draw, so we keep large pads of plain paper and sketch books here for them to pull out and use as they wish.

Maybe someday when I can have nice things in my home again, I'll actually get to set my coffee on my coffee table without fear of it getting thrown or knocked over...

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Incompetence! at you guessed it, the post office.

My Longchamp bag has the corners worn a bit, so they've agreed to repair it for me if I ship it over to them. Great! I will use US Postal Service, as they are half the price of UPS and still provide tracking info.

The only packaging I have on hand (read = no additional cost to me) is a UPS bubble mailer....pause to think for a second, "Is it okay if I put this in a bag labeled UPS if I'm planning to send it via US Postal Service?" I was worried for a second, but then realized that US Postal Service ships packages in all shapes, sizes, colors, decorations, etc., so what would it matter if my bubble mailer just happened to have a UPS logo on it? Only a fool would let this confuse them, and surely no one would be idiotic enough to suggest that the UPS logo may prevent me from shipping via US Postal.....

WRONG!

I go to the post office with my package nicely put together in a UPS bubble mailer, addressed and ready to go. I already knew what I wanted..."Please ship this first class, with tracking."

Lady at the counter: "Do you want to purchase packaging for this?"
Me: "No. It's already packed....?"
Lady at the counter: "We will see this UPS logo and get confused and think this package is in the wrong place."
Me: "I'm certain that this packaging will work just fine. Thanks anyway."
Lady at the counter: "Well.....if your package doesn't get there, then that would be why." *slaps an adhesive first class shipping label on my package*
Me: "I think you'll be able to figure it out..." (trying not to roll my eyes too hard)

Thoughts going through my head:
  1. What business is it of the postal service's regarding type of colors/letters/decor that are on my package? All they should concern themselves with is the legality of the contents, and any shipping charges or forms that I owe. My package could be hot pink with glitter all over it, and damn right they'd have to ship that to wherever I pay them to.
  2. On that note, I'm paying you to ship my package. If three letters in the corner of my package confuse you enough to not carry through with the service I've paid you for, then you should probably be terminated.
  3. Maybe I should have paid an extra $5 to ship through UPS and not have to suffer morons.
  4. This lady must be uneducated and having a hard life, so I won't rip her a new one.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Framing my watercolor paintings...

My daughter and I painted this one together. The colorful/abstract part is her input.
I have been drawing and painting my entire life, but only just recently discovered water colors. These are now my favorite medium, and give me the exact look I imagine. For so many years I've been using acrylic on canvas, but I love ink/watercolor paint on watercolor paper so much more. Not only is the end result one that I hoped for in my mind before even starting the piece, but the process is easier, less messy, and overall more therapeutic. An added bonus is that it's easier to frame my water color paintings. I found some frames that are super cheap and look relatively luxurious and "grown up" from Ikea. Find them here. $9.99 for a huge frame like this! I could have removed the optional matting inside to reveal the entire painting, but liked the way this chick looked just peaking through the matting, so I left it.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

My lululemon collection!

Lululemon has been my favorite brand for many years. What's so great about them? Three things: 1. Their designs are exceptionally feminine and flattering 2. Their technical materials are out of this world amazing, as far as durability and feel/function 3. The resale market for lululemon is insane, so if you want to switch up your wardrobe - you can pretty easily get most of your money back (if not some extra on top of initial investment) from a resale

Please keep in mind that I've owned (and sold) many lululemon items over the past several years, and I've slowly learned what items work for me, and what my favorite colors/fabrics are. This is my current lululemon collection, which I've accumulated over half a decade...let me explain below, for those who want to dive into the details.

  1. Forme jacket - I think a lululemon must-have is a zip up jacket. Perfect for winter running.
  2. Scuba hoodie - A scuba hoodie is a lululemon signature item, and it's very warm.
  3. Swiftly tech long sleeve - Another item in their core lineup.This particular fabric is antibacterial/stink resistant, so you can seriously wear this shirt like 5x before you wash it. Sounds gross, but whatevs.
  4. Tuck and flow long sleeve - this is super soft and warm, and I wear this as part of my casual/work wardrobe, and rarely work out in this one
  5. Lululemon Lab arial linen shirt - My parents went to Vancouver and got this for me from the Lab. The lululemon lab is on my bucket list of places to see, and I will get to see it next summer when I travel to Vancouver!
  6. Elevate tank - I believe the best lululemon tank tops are the ones that are fitted up top, but flowy on the bottom....very pretty design, and very signature look from them. Breathable and amazing for running in 100 degree heat.
  7. No limits tank - There is a built-in bra with an outer mesh/lightweight fabric that is also great for sweaty yoga or running in hot weather. This tank is in their core lineup, and is offered year-round.
  8. Seamlessly plunge bra - If you are wondering where to invest money in active wear, it's a good sports bra. And lululemon takes the freaking cake on sports bras...other brands cannot even touch lululemon sports bras.
  9. Flow y bra - Another core item that lululemon carries year round. This is my favorite, but I need to sell this one and buy another 2 sizes smaller because I originally got this one when I was pregnant/breastfeeding.
  10. Lululemon Lab tour shorts - Another item my parents picked up for me from the lululemon lab in Vancouver! I love these because I work out in them, but they also look normal when worn as street clothes.
  11. Wunder under pants - Leggings that are very thick, opaque, and with amazing fit. If you are going to invest money in activewear, pants, and especially leggings, are where paying for quality really makes a huge difference. Wunder unders are lululemon signature items, and can be worn for whatever work out you want to do. Also can be leggings under a dress for casual wear, if you're one of those folks on the "leggings are not pants" side of the fence.
  12. Wunder under crops - Again. love.
  13. Lululemon Lab commuter tight - Another my parents got for me from the lululemon lab. I wear these as lounge wear around the house...super comfortable, and the pattern is amazing.
  14. Still pants - These are wide-leg pants that I wear around the house, for light yoga, and during stuff that's extremely casual. They are very beachy.
  15. Relaxed fit pants - These can actually be worn to run/work out in, so I wear them as workout pants in the winter, and lounge pants in the summer.
  16. Refresher racer dress - This photo is actually a similar dress, but the one I have looks very much like this one. This is my favorite thing ever...it's comfortable and well-fitted as per the lululemon course, but I also put a suit jacket over it and wear it to work.
  17. Vinyasa scarf - YOU MUST GET THIS if you want to purchase a fun lululemon item. This is another one of their "signature" items, and you can look up tons of youtube videos on all the multiple ways to wear this thing. Very innovative, and the fabric is delicious.
  18. Backpack - We have used this for a diaper bag for years when we had 2 kids under 2 years old, and/or both in diapers. Now, I use this for weekend traveling and it'll most likely be my carry on to pack everything in for any trips I go on by myself (business trips, girls trips, etc.)
  19. Mat strap - I use this to tote around my yoga mat. They sell lots of different types of mat straps throughout the year (as well as other yoga accessories).
  20. The mat - My husband got this for me for Christmas a couple years ago, and I love it. It's my favorite lululemon color: Tender Violet. Their yoga mats are quite hefty. I feel like you could ride a tractor over this and it wouldn't make a scratch.
  21. Forgot to include another lululemon lab tank I have....it's a black sleeveless collared blouse that buttons up the back. I do work out in it, but I mainly wear it to work because it looks very professional with a suit jacket.
Want to drink lululemon kool aid with me? Check out the links below to get you up to speed, in addition to googling on your own:
Lululemon investor relations site: http://investor.lululemon.com/ 
My favorite lululemon product blogs: http://www.luluaddict.com/ and http://lulumum.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

My guilty pleasure food favorite lately...

Are you poor? Do you suck at cooking? Do you like your food to be so spicy it makes you cry? Do you like to sneak a bit of protein in to all those carbs without eating meat?

If you answered yes to the above, then you will most likely enjoy this easy, mindless meal option as much as I have been lately.

Sriracha chia seed ramen! Why didn't I have this in college?

Three ingredients. Prep ramen, then drizzle in some sriracha to taste and add a tablespoon or more of chia seeds.

Cheap, easy, and spicy. Three of my favorite adjectives for food.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Project 333 capsule combos...a typical week for me.



I thought I'd document a few of the outfits I've been wearing from my project 333 collection of clothes. Four business casual outfits up top, and three casual below (every Friday is jeans day at work - yay). Of course the combination opportunities are endless, but here are some I've worn recently. I added pics of my clutch wallet, belt, sunglasses, and birkenstocks so that I could get those in the mix as well.

I am sad to report that my black pumps had to be returned, as the sole started coming undone. Those weren't cheap shoes either, and relatively new, so I'm glad Nordstrom has an excellent return policy. Also, my blue dress is something I don't really find myself reaching for since the shoulders always fall off of me and it's above the knee which makes me uncomfortable...so I haven't worn that one at all in the past month.

Lotus Cross


Oh look, I painted a lotus cross.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Where I'm at with social media.

I really like social media. It's been around since I was in high school. My relationship with social media has had its ups and downs, and it has evolved over time. Right now, I have mixed feelings on the role it has been playing in my life and where I see it serving my life, so I've been more selective about what channels I participate in, which I am passive on, or which I am out of completely.

I really love blogging, and reading blogs (text, photo, video, you name it). I like to express myself in blog form, and likewise enjoy seeing that in other people, news outlets, etc. I also like Pinterest, because I can find inspiration there and also express myself there. I like to see others' photos on Instagram, but I have ceased all activities there myself due to feeling like I was putting a lot out there without receiving much in return as far as expressive creativity or relationship building. I have a LinkedIn account (I kind of have to, being in HR), but I really just like scoping jobs and the market out there...not much actual person-to-person interaction aside from the occasional recruiter message. I don't like the interface or functionality of Twitter, so I no longer have an account there.

I recently dropped my face off of Facebook, because most of the people I saw updates from there are not currently in my life, nor currently seek a relationship with me (and neither do I with them), so why continue there? I've had to "hide" most of the people who were flooding my feed with political bullshit or constant "I started my own business selling shit" posts. After lessening my posts there more and more, I've opted out altogether. For the people I care about interacting with, I already communicate with them via text or email. That doesn't mean I don't appreciate friends that used to be in my life...but Facebook was not the venue for that, as I found myself more annoyed with it than appreciative of the meaningful interaction.

My Trader Joes Haul!

I went to Trader Joe's this evening and got some amazing things. I think many people who have never been or seldom have the chance to go to TJ's are always wanting to know the best items to buy when the finally do go there. I am by no means a conisseur of Trader Joe's, but here are the things that caught my eye this evening. (FYI - The reason I went was that I was on a mission to get the cold brew coffee concentrate.)

All are Trader Joe's brand items.
We'll start with the coconut water and go clockwise...

1. Coconut water, not from concentrate. I like natural coconut water on ice, as it's extra hydrating. I'm not into the stuff that they market as sports drink (that stuff tastes hideous).
2. Cold brew coffee concentrate. This is supposed to make 12 cups of coffee when you mix with milk or water, and it's cold brewed, which makes it taste nice and fresh. I have heard great things about this stuff, and it was the reason I went to TJ's this evening.
3. Thai lime & chili almonds. I love thai food that uses kefir lime leaves, so this was right up my alley.
4. Sesame honey cashews. Oh my god, I'm eating them as I type.
5. Roasted coconut chips. Despite the fact that I'm mildy allergic to coconut, I still can't resist it.
6. Mushroom & herb risotto. Just ran out of cous cous box mixes at home, so thought this would be an interesting item to try along the same vein.
7. Organic peppermints. I keep mints in my purse to eat after drinking coffee.
8. Dark chocolate covered caramels. How could you not buy these. No question mark.
9. Chia seeds. Apparently you are supposed to sneak these into any and all food you consume or cook to get in extra dietary fiber and protein. They taste like nothing, so sure, why not?
10. Macarona almonds with rosemary. These were labeled as a customer favorite, so I got them. They are excellent...very buttery soft and I love rosemary on pretty much anything.
11. Colombian instant coffee. I have no time to brew coffee when I want it, so instant coffee is my friend. Plus, it's essential when you need to make a Greek frappe, which is my holy grail favorite drink of all time.

Adventures with food: Pho, green tea Kit Kat, and dirt pudding

After many years of loving Asian food,  I am both excited and embarrassed to admit that yesterday was my first time to try pho. I was with my coworkers, one of whom is Vietnamese, so she gave me the inside scoop on the best way to eat pho. I wasn't expecting to love it as much as I did...I think it may be my new favorite food.
Also, I tried some green tea kit kat from a Japanese market in San Francisco that a coworker brought from vacation. Green tea anything is good.

And finally, I helped the kids make dirt pudding yesterday evening. My daughter did a great job of stirring the pudding pre-oreo, and my sons main objective was to eat half the gummy worms he was supposed to be putting in the finishing touches...