Monday, April 30, 2012

Green and Gingham

Happy Monday, everyone, and I hope you had a great weekend!  This Monday is particularly happy for me, because my semester ends on Wednesday!!!  I'll still have quite a bit of work outstanding, but not having to be on campus will be so nice. I have so many plans for the free time I'll have.  Like sleeping and catching up on two months of laundry and making meals that entail more than "add water"  and maybe even hitting the gym!  ( I played a video game Saturday night that required holding a plastic Nintendo shotgun that couldn't have weighed more than three pounds, and I kid you not that my shoulders are still store.)

A couple weeks ago I snatched up this J. Crew No. 2 double-serge cotton pencil skirt in petite/warm jade for almost half off, and I finally had the chance to wear it.  You can't go wrong with these skirts ... they are light enough for summer but the material is substantial enough that they're wearable into the fall and winter.   





Top: H&M (recent) 
Cardigan: The Limited (sold out online)
Necklace: J.Crew via ebay
Shoes: Jessica Simpson Calie Nude pump
Bag: The Limited faux ostrich satchel (sold out - similar here)

Have a lovely week, beautiful readers!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Foral challenge, organization challenged

Hi friends! I feel like I need to start off with an apology for slacking so much this week in the posts department.  The truth is, I'm pretty stressed and overwhelmed by my workload right now.  I actually work well under *some* stress ... I see time constraints as a challenge and they help me work better and smarter.  But too much stress can be debilitating, and I totally shut down.  It's not pretty.  I sit in front of the computer for hours without typing a word.  I google and read extensively about things like the lifecycle of the fruit fly.  Piles of paper and half-empty coffee cups accumulate on every flat surface possible. I forget things. I found my keys in the butter compartment of the fridge, and "lost" my car once when I drove it to campus, forgot I had done so, took the bus home, and spent 15 panicked minutes convinced it had been stolen.

And that's kind of the state I've been in all week.  I'm sorry for the whininess and am not fishing for sympathy, but I wanted to explain the blog neglect.

So here is an outfit I put together for Marion's floral challenge over at Marionberry Style!  I forgot to smile and have a boulder coming out of my ass, but it's the best I could do this morning. 

What do you think of the floral trend that has been so popular this spring? 

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, dear readers!  Give me about 10 days and things will be a lot better.

~MM





Dress: (worn as skirt) - Modcloth (old) 
Polka dot shirt: thrifted
Cardigan: SteinMart
Shoes: Nine West via Ross
Bag: The Loft (thrifted)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

J.Crew Linen Dot Popover

Happy Wednesday, everyone!  Today marks the first day of the last week of graduate courses that I'll hopefully ever have to take IN MY LIFE and I could not be more excited about that.

I also couldn't possibly love this J.Crew linen dot popover more.  I rarely splurge on full-price items and generally wait for sales and clearance prices, but this top is so adorable I couldn't wait.  That of course pretty much guaranteed that it would go on sale the day it arrived at my house, which it in fact did, for almost half price.  It looks like it might not be available online anymore, but is on sale in the stores. 



It is a really sheer top, and you'll need a cami or shirt underneath

Top: J.Crew linen dot popover
Necklace: J.Crew via ebay
Skinnies: Gap 1969 legging jeans
Shoes: Jessica Simpson Calie nude pump
Bag: The Limited faux ostrich satchel (sold out - love this option here)

In hindsight, I think this ensemble could really use some color.  Maybe wearing it with white skinnies and a matching bright yellow belt and shoes?

Do you tend to buy items full price to ensure you get your favorites in your size, or wait for the sales? Also - how would you add a little color to this top? 

Thank you all for reading!  My followers have made a jump in the last week and I'm so appreciative of your support of my little blog!

~MM

Monday, April 23, 2012

Peach and polka dots!

Good morning, all!  I hope you had a fantastic weekend.  Mine was full of lots of end-of-the-semester work, and the realization that the only thing I may be worse at than time management is repairing drywall.  The bathroom remodel is coming along slowly, and while that drywall might look like $#@!, the granite countertop should be installed this week!  

Between work and remodeling we snuck the documentary "Journey of Man - A Genetic Odyssey", which tracks the earliest human migration across the globe, and pieces together a fascinating genetic human tree which links us all back to an isolated African tribe that still exists today.  It is absolutely fascinating and even if you're not a documentary watcher, I would highly recommend it.  And then we watched some South Park to balance everything out. ;)

And I should also admit that amidst all the hard work and documentary watching, I snuck in a quick trip to H&M where I found the following polka dot cardigan and necklace.  





Cardigan: H&M (recent) 
Skirt: F21 Textured eyelet skirt
Necklace: H&M (recent)
Shoes: Ross (old)
Bag: Loft (thrifted)
Bracelets: Charming Charlies

I also decided to try out the stacked accessory trend that has been so popular.  I generally keep accessories to a minimum, because I don't own many and quite frankly, I just forget to put them on! 

Do you coordinate accessories daily, or only for special occasions?

Have a great one and thank for reading, friends!

~MM

Friday, April 20, 2012

In my makeup bag this week

Happy Friday, everyone!  This Frivolous Friday I thought I'd share what's in my makeup bag this week.  I am pretty lazy when it comes to doing my face, and unless I'm going out, I try to keep things as simple as possible.  This is also why I'm wearing sunglasses in most of my outfit posts.  It's scary under there sometimes. Scary. So here are the staples I've been using on a daily basis for everyone else's benefit.  

In my makeup bag this week


(Clockwise beginning with the mascara)

1. Lancome Defincils Mascara.  This stuff is spendy, but is one of the few high-end items I buy consistently, because Lancome really does make the best mascaras you will find.  The curved brush is great, and I get perfect lash coverage and separation with this one. 

2. Urban Decay 24/7 Glide on eye pencil in Bourbon.  This eyeliner is one of the easiest to apply and longest lasting that I've tried.  The formula is very soft and really does glide on without tugging, and it stays put all day.  Even on the waterline.  This particular color does have a fine glitter in it and it can irritate my contacts when I apply it to the waterline, but have no problems when I wear it outside the lashline.  It's blendable when first applied, but doesn't budge once it sets. 

3. CoverGirl Nature Luxe foundation (in 320 - Aspen). I'm a NW20 in MAC, and this shade blends seamlessly.  It does contain silicone, which makes it glide across my skin and keeps it from settling into fine lines and pores.  The coverage is medium and it's buildable, and the finish is pretty and dewey.  This reminds me quite a bit of MUFE Face and Body, and I actually like it a lot more.  And it's a fraction of the price!

4. MAC Hot Tahiti.  This lipstick/glaze is a beautiful neutral berry shade that would flatter most skintones.  It is very moisturizing and glides on a lot lighter than it looks in the tube, but the color is buildable with a couple coats and a lipliner. 

5. MAC eyeshadow in Woodwinked.  I cannot say enough great things about this shadow.  It's a lovely, warm gold that looks gorgeous on ladies with blue and green eyes.  If you have very cool undertones, it can pull a little orange, but otherwise leaves such a pretty golden shimmer.  This is buildable as well, and after applying to my lid, I'll use a flat brush and apply a little more in my crease, which actually gives the effect of wearing two different shades, but with half the work. 

6. MAC Warm Soul Mineralize blush.  This is a lovely peachy/golden blush that works well as a blush on my light skin, and would be a great highlighter for ladies with darker-toned skin.  I love my Tarte cheek stain, but when I'm a hurry and don't want to deal with blending, I swipe this on instead. 

And there you have it, ladies! 

What makeup products are you currently loving? 

Have a wonderful weekend and I'll see you soon!

~MM

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Liebster Award and Little Black Dress

The beautiful Sarah of Simply Sarah recently awarded me the Liebster Blog award! The German word "Liebster" translates to English as "beloved" or "favorite", and this award is given to new, up and coming bloggers with less than 200 followers. Thank you, Sarah!


 But before I describe what the award entails, let me try to describe how amazing Sarah is.  First of all, she posts a new, chic outfit every single workday that's she's somehow able to put together for around $40 or less.  Second of all, she's the greatest pen pal ever, and since meeting via the blogosphere, there has been a flurry of emails between us like kids who met at summer camp.  Finally, I'm pretty sure we are twins from a previous lifetime.  Our lives have had the most amazing parallels.  We have the same dog.  We both bake/decorate cakes.  We recently picked out the same freaking PANEL CURTAINS for crying out loud.  But I digress.  Sarah is awesome. check out her blog. Back to the award. 

In order to accept the award:
1. Link back to the person who gave it to you.
2. Post the award to your blog.
3. Give the award to 5 bloggers with less than 200 followers.
4. Leave a comment on the 5 blogs to let them know that they have been offered this award.

So I'm passing on the love to five fabulous style bloggers that I've discovered recently.  I've met so many wonderful women through blogging and wish I could give out a dozens of these.  These ladies are unique, stylish, thrifty, and sprinkle fun tidbits about their lives into their blogs.

Amanda Raborn – It’s An Easy Life
Emily - Creamy
Tara - Penniless Socialite
Shelby - Perfection Possibilities
Britt - Secondhand Magpie

And seriously lastly, I leave you with a few images of a little black dress that I picked up at H&M a couple months ago and absolutely love.  It's fully lined, the seams are superbly sewn, and the paneling through the waist area gives it a little extra structure.  And all that for around $30!


Not superb = my gardening skills




Dress: H&M (from January)
Belt: WHBM (sold out online, may be available in stores)
Necklace: J.Crew via ebay
Shoes: Target (snagged in-store on clearance!)
Bag: Gap (old - let's daydream for a few minutes, shall we?)

Do you have a LBD that's a staple in your closet? If so, where did you find it? 


~MM

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Being Peg Bundy: A Tutorial

I have this bad habit of attempting to channel divine will in situations where none is present.  Like when I walked into Target a few weeks ago, and there was a single pair of leopard-print skinnies IN MY SIZE on the sale rack.  This was clearly a mandate from God and had nothing to do with the fact that they may have been on clearance for other reasons.





Skinnies: Target
Cami: Wet Seal Scallop Crochet Tank
Blazer: Promod (old)
Clutch: H&M (thrifted)
Shoes: Mossimo (old - fun option here in lots of colors) 

Except, it seems that red hair and leopard print evoke this visceral reaction in people. I wore this to dinner last night and I swear I heard voices whispering "Peg Bundy!" "Peg Bundy!".  One of those voices definitely belonged to the Mr., who could not keep a straight face the entire evening. 


So what say you, friends?  Leopard print pants: Trendy or Bundy? 


Monday, April 16, 2012

Polka dots and lace

Good morning, all!  I have just a few hours left with wonderful friends who head back to the Northeast today, so I'm keeping this short this morning. Here is something I threw together over the weekend for cocktails on a patio.  (Inspired by J's Everyday Fashion here.) Have a fantastic week!  Today marks the first day of the last three weeks of the last graduate courses I'll ever have to take (hopefully), so despite being Monday, it's a happy one. 

See you soon!

~MM





Lace top: Target (old - similar here)
Necklace: J. Crew via ebay
Belt: WHBM (sold out) 
Skirt: F21 (thrifted - similar here)
Bag: Gap (old - cute Steve Madden option here and on sale!)
Shoes: Target Petra Patent heeled sandal

Friday, April 13, 2012

Tarte Cheek Stain in Tipsy

Since there are few things more frivolous than a $30 blush, this Frivolous Friday I bring you a quick review (my opinion solely) of Tarte Natural Cheek Stain in Tipsy. 

via

While the price may seem excessive, this stuff is worth every penny.  The description on the Sephora website states that this cheek stain is "a water-based gel cheek tint that gives you a natural flush-exactly like someone just pinched your cheeks!" (!!!), and that it is free of parabens, sulfates and synthetic fragrances, which is a huge plus.

"Tipsy" is a warm, natural peachy-pink that has a hint of translucent shimmer.  I've heard it compared to Nars Orgasm, although the shimmer in this stain is much more subtle and doesn't leave a golden cast like the Nars does.  This would be flattering on most skin tones, except perhaps on those with very cool undertones, and it leaves a nice, dewey finish.  It has a fruity, citrusy scent that I smell throughout the day, although it is really pleasant and doesn't bother me.

The advantage of cheek stains over blushes is that they, and this one in particular, melt into your skin instead of sitting on top of it, and really give the impression that your flush is lit from within.  Instead of applying this directly from the tube onto my face, I control the color a little more by rubbing my fingers across the top of the product, then applying it to my cheekbones.  The formulation is very blendable and buildable, and it is easy to go overboard.

The one complaint I've heard about this formula is that it leaves a sticky finish.  Right after applying, your skin does feel a bit like you've applied a rich moisturizer or balm, although if you wait about 30 seconds it will "set" and most of the stickiness disappears.  I apply this before my setting powder, which completely takes care of the sticky texture.

The greatest thing about this stain is that it lasts forever - both in number of hours, and lifespan of the product.  Once set, this stays put until I use cleanser to remove it at night, even in the hot temps here in the desert. I alternate blushes and haven't used this one exclusively, although I'd guess that with daily use, one tube would probably last you a year or more.

And here you have it!  Cheek stain, pores, rogue hairs and all.  And those who have been asking about the bathroom progress ... see the ripped out drywall behind me? Yeah.



Swatch - Tarte Tipsy Cheek Stain

When it comes to cheek color, what do you prefer? Stains & gels, or powder blush?

Have a fantastic weekend, everyone!  I'll be back on Monday with more clothes, and hopefully having accomplished enough to keep myself out of trouble for another week.

~MM

Thursday, April 12, 2012

DIY plantable seeded paper flowers

Hi all!  Things have been a little crazy the past couple days - out-of-state friends are in town for a conference and I've worn nothing worth photographing, so I thought I'd do a quick tutorial on/recap of the plantable seeded paper flowers that I made last week and sent home with people after our Easter shindig.  



I followed this tutorial although there were a few things I did differently, or would do differently next time, that I wanted to share to make these a little easier to work with.  I started with recycled, homemade paper and used a glass to roughly sketch circles on the paper.  After cutting out the circles, I cut a spiral pattern into each one starting from the outside. 


The next step was to paint the paper spirals with a water/flour paste mixture. (I added water to the flour until it was roughly the consistency of a thick pancake batter).  The key is to spread it evenly and thick enough so that the seeds you'll sprinkle on the spirals will stick, but not so thick that the mixture cracks and crumbles when it's dry.  Sprinkle on flower seeds (I used desert wildflower) and let the spirals dry overnight. 




Once the spirals are dry, separate them if they have stuck together while drying, and begin rolling from the center of the spiral.  In hindsight, I would have used different paper - something stronger and thinner like brown paper bags.  The recycled/homemade paper I used was too delicate, and I had to roll very carefully so it wouldn't crack and tear.  Once you've rolled the entire spiral, secure the loose end with a tiny dot of hot glue.  

I wasn't sure how to attach the wire stems, but found the easiest way was to push wire through the center of the paper flower, wrapping it around the outside, and fastening the end back under the flower to the wire stem.  This also helps the flower hold it's shape.  


Lastly, tie in little bunches with ribbon.  You might also want to include a card with planting instructions.  To plant, simply remove the wire, unwrap the coil, lay flat and cover with the depth of planting soil/water as indicated by the planting instructions for the seeds you've used. 


The finished product! Wouldn't these be a pretty touch attached to the front of a homemade Mothers' Day card? 

See you soon!

~MM

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

J Crew bubble necklace and Jardin skirt

Temperatures were up in the '90s this past weekend, and an outdoor birthday party called for something light and comfy, and the J. Crew Jardin skirt fit the bill.  This time I paired it with a contrasting plum top, and the J. Crew bubble necklace (kind of) that has been all the rage.  More on the "kind of" below. 



Dumbest. Expression. Ever. 
Confession.  I did not spend $150 on this necklace at J. Crew.  I spent $14 on ebay here.  That makes me either totally brilliant or a total fraud, but I'm telling you the only difference between this necklace and the actual J. Crew item is having to pull out a pair of needle nose pliers to adjust a couple of loose  links before wearing it. And now I've got an "extra" $136 in my pocket. See how those fashion economics work? ;)



So what is your opinion of replica items? Great deal? Ethically questionable? J. Crew probably buys them from the exact same source and marks them up 1,000% so we're just one step ahead? 

Have a great day and enjoy the downhill cruise towards Friday!

Top: SteinMart 
Necklace: J Crew via ebay 
Shoes: Jessica Simpson Calie pump
Clutch: The Limited Cutout clutch 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter Cake and Cocktails recap

The Mr. and I did a little entertaining Sunday evening, and I wanted to share a few pictures, and more importantly, a couple recipes that were a great hit!  So without further ado ... 

Dyed/hardboiled eggs that eventually served as part of a floral centerpiece.  We were more enthusiastic about dyeing these than any 6-year-old around.


The floral centerpiece.  I got the original idea here, and this was my attempt to re-create it.  In hindsight, the one fatal error I made was waiting until 3:00 p.m. on Easter Sunday afternoon to buy the flowers.  Color schemes were limited to say the least, and the light pink gerber daisies I had envisioned were nowhere to be found at the neighborhood grocery store. Pinterest FAIL.


Preparing the martini glasses for "Peeptinis"!


First round of Peeptinis.  We used this recipe for frozen ginger lemon drop martinis, and they were delicious.  My only complaint was that they were really sweet; I'll definitely make them again, although will cut the simple syrup with a little citrus-flavored seltzer water. Or more vodka. Because nothing says "Happy Easter" like more vodka.  


The cake!  We used this recipe from the SoNo Baking Company Cookbook.  I use the pronoun "we" loosely - gotta brag about the Mr. a little and admit that I actually fell asleep mid-cheesecake-baking, and he was up until 3:00 a.m. making sure this thing came out just right while I dozed on the couch.  It was absolutely delicious, and he let me take all the credit.  A few eggs in the batter keep it light enough that it's not too filling, and scraping the inside of a vanilla bean gives it a delicate vanilla flavor.  The pistachio/graham cracker crust is a perfect sweet and savory combo, and the apricot glaze and raspberry topping give it a fresh, summery touch.  

The one thing I'd change is the pan - the instructions claim that you can make this in a regular 9" cake pan, and after the cake has cooled, if you heat the bottom it will "release easily" and slide out of the pan.  Well, that's just a big fat lie, and it was only with much prayer and a huge knife that I finally got this thing out of the pan the next afternoon and onto a plate.  Just use a springform pan.


Lastly, I wanted to send a small gift home with everyone, and followed this tutorial to make plantable seeded paper flowers.  Basically, I coated recyclable paper that I had cut into spirals in a flour/water mixture, and sprinkled them with wildflower seeds.  Once they were dry I rolled them up and fastened them with wire & ribbon, and gave everyone instructions to unwrap them so the paper lays flat, cover in an inch of potting soil and add water.  And in a couple weeks - flowers! 


What about you - have you run across any recipes lately that will become staples in your kitchen? 

~MM

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