Tuesday, October 29, 2013

These Lovely Fall Days

I know everyone says this, but where has the time gone? I feel like just yesterday I was complaining about the winter in New York.  Since then I have moved across the country, roamed around Europe for a month, had my heart broken, traveled to attend two bachelorette parties, and two weddings (one of which I was a bridesmaid for the first time). And now here I am getting ready for the holidays. All the while being a fairweather blogger. And that's what I realized I am.  I can't seem to blog through all moods. Sometimes I just can't find the right energy to type away over sharing just the right amount on the Internet, because isn't that what blogging is anyway? It's been a rather rough year, but also one full of learning and growing. 

Now I'm just trying to figure out the perfect way to wrap it up.  So far I'm just stomping on some leaves and going on add many walks as possible.  Gotta enjoy good weather while it lasts!

// What are you up to this fall? What would be your ideal year wrap up?

Monday, September 30, 2013

Manicure Monday - Barry M with dot details

Happy Manicure Monday, friends!

I don't actually know, but apparently it's a thing on Instagram? Well, I'm going to be a rebel and not do it on Instagram. And I can because it's my birthday. Also because the wifi at the beach house I'm currently staying at in Portugal is refusing to work on my phone and I actually can't Instagram. I know. It's hard. Like a true addict, I'm going through severe withdrawl symptoms.

These are all the Barry M gel nail polishes that I picked up when I was in England. I'm glad I was able to get my hands on them, but I'm still not completely sold. They're great for the price, but the color selection is quite limited and you really need to thickly coat them to get a smooth finish. You can also fudge this using a top coat, but I can't always carry a top coat around with me when I travel ;)

// What's on your nails this week?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

6 Things You Should Know About Me

Casey from True Colours tagged me in this get to know you tag where you pick 6 out of 9 questions (at the bottom) to answer about yourself. 

1. What do you find inspiring?

i find a lot of inspiration in landscapes and other people. This is probably one reason that I am so addicted to traveling. Seeing new landscapes and meeting people from different backgrounds and cultures helps to give me perspective and inspires new ideas. 

2.  What is your favorite season of the year and why?

Autumn. It's so gorgeous with all of the changing colors, has amazing seasonal fruits and veggies, is the perfect time to get out your favorite sweaters and is my birthmonth. What's not to love?

3.  Of the places you've lived, where has been your favorite and why?

I haven't moved around too much- I move often, but often to the same place, or am actually on the move so I'm not living anywhere in particular. A suburb of Seattle, WA in the US, Chofu city in Tokyo Prefecture in Japan, New York City, NY in the US are the three cities that I've called home. I love them for all different reasons so I honestly can't choose just one, but I think that I'm subconsciously put them in the order that I love them when I listed them. 

4.  What has blogging changed about your life?

Blogging has introduced me to world and friends that I had no idea existed before. It also gave me a great creative outlet for my writing and photography and taught me the importance of having a schedule and keeping to it. I'm still not the best at this, but I'm working on it!

5.  What song is at the top of your playlist currently?

I also have Emi Meyer's On the Road on my playlist when I'm ... erm... on the road ;)

6.  What do you think is your best quality?

I'm usually quite down to earth, which is funny because I was always high strung growing up. I guess that's what travel and being an expat does to you- or at least did to me!

// Instead of tagging specific people, I'm going to leave this open ended. If you'd like to participate, please consider yourself tagged. Be sure to leave a comment down below so I can add a link to your post in this one. And if you'd like to just choose one or two and answer those in the comments below, I'd love to hear from you that way, too!

1. What do you find inspiring?
2.  What is your favorite season of the year and why?
3.  If you could jump on a plane right now, where would you go?
4.  If you met someone who wanted to know about your blog, how would you describe it?
5.  What is one goal you'd like to accomplish before your next birthday?
6.  Of the places you've lived, where has been your favorite and why?
7.  What has blogging changed about your life?
8.  What song is at the top of your playlist currently?
9.  What do you think is your best quality?

{{ Happy Tuesday, Everyone!! }}

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Hilarious Yelp Review

Do you use yelp?

I generally use it as a way to sift through all of the restaurants here in NYC. Sure not all of the reviews are helpful, but sometimes they tell you what the must-get item is. There are dishes I probably would have never tried, had it not been for yelp reviews. 

However, there are times when you find one that is so unhelpful it's hilarious. 

Just now I was looking for a restaurant to satisfy a pho craving and ran across this:

I star review of a Vietnamese restaurant called Cong Ly from Dave in El Paso, TX:
"Cold entrees, cold appetizers, horrible service.  Took my wife here for our 5th wedding anniversary, this place ruined our night.  She's now filing for divorce. Thanks, Cong Ly-ing about how good your food is."

uh... pretty sure this restaurants didn't single-handedly ruin your marriage, Dave. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Socially Responsible Brands: Raven + Lily

I have been drooling over the pieces above for quite some time now. The beads used in the pieces above are  not only beautiful and very intricately, they are actually made from old bullet casings!

Raven + Lily is a really cool, socially responsible company based out of Texas that works with women artisans all over the world. They achieve this through collaborations with various organizations around the world. To learn more about them and their products, check out this article that I wrote about them for the Culture-ist! It was a lot of fun to research & write; promise it's worth a peek :)

To make things even better (for everyone except my wallet), they just added a collaboration with Maasai artisans in Kenya, with whom they will be creating these beaded bangles.

Unique and gorgeous pieces that employ women with talent and dreams for a better life for themselves and their families? What's not to love?! Check out their full campaign here and the video from their page below:

// What are some of your favorite socially responsible & sustainability-minded brands?
*I have not been asked or compensated to write this in any way. I just like spreading the word about cool and sustainability-minded organizations :)

New Series, Need Title

They say that as a consumer, you should vote with your wallet. I'd like to start a series where I introduce some awesome companies and what they are doing to create socially responsible products as well as those that promote socially responsible ideas. I don't know what to call it, though... "Sociably Responsible Sunday"? That seems like too much of a mouthful. Any ideas?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Instagram Addiction

As you can probably tell from the squareness of posts, I finally caved and got instagram. I also just discovered this as a draft in my Blogger dashboard. Oops. Better late than never?

I have a serious Instagram problem. It's so much fun take even the smallest bits of life and to describe them as an artsy little square. My blogging, particularly my travel blogging isn't quite real time (partially for security reasons), but my Instagramming is. 

I find that I tend to rely on the same filters. I'm not sure if that reflects my personal style, or my inability to branch out artistically. Hmmmm.. what do you think? 

Leave me a link to your favorite instagram photo that you've taken!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Product Review: Nivea Lip Butter

I was a bit skeptical of this at first, since I'd tried other nivea lip products before and never found to be very moisturizing. I actually remember the disappointment. I was in France on a short-term study abroad program while I was in high school. I got 2 Nivea chap sticks- one with shinner, one without- because I had this impression that Nivea was a special brand and I was on a trip (and therefore able to get things I normally wouldn't). They smelled so good, but remember being really disappointed that they didn't really work. Regardless, I used them with pride at my luxurious products. Many years later when I was living in Japan, and found myself with chapped lips and no chap stick. I wasn't quite sure what chap stick to buy, so I went with a familiar brand. I remembered the disappointment so many years ago, but also hoped that they'd changed the formula during those years. It had not. I was sad.

However, after hearing some Youtubers rave about them, I decided to give the brand another try. Plus, these lip butters were relatively new, so perhaps they were the formula change that I'd been hoping for all those years!

Thankfully, the lip butter is amazing. It smells really, really sweet in the tin, but is actually fairly faint once it's on your lips. I think it's just the perfect amount of scent for a lip product. Even better than that, it keeps my lips moisturized for quite a long time.

It's in a small tin, which is cute and thin so it fits into clutches without bulking them up, but it also requires you to apply it with your finger. Recently, I've started to just touch one of my lips to it, so it kind of looks like i'm taking a bite out of it. Not the classiest, but I figure that it's better than smearing public transportation germs all over my lip butter!

As a softer product, I was worried that it would melt and run everywhere, since I'm sure we've all had that happen once of twice with chapstick. Though we're in a heat wave now, and I've left it in a relatively hot car before, it has yet to go runny on me. That being said, I wouldn't really risk it, because that would be one sticky mess to clean up. It seems to work for what I need it to do. One huge downside to this, however, is the lack of SPF. This girl doesn't want sun burnt lips!

Once I've finished it all up, I'm not sure that I'd repurchase it immediately (especially because it lacks SPF), but I will eventually, just to have on hand at home.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Fashionable Friday: Subway Cuffs

Unfortuately, I don't own one and can't pull a picture off the website to show you, but you need to see these cuffs for the travel-chic girl. Ok, they're a little ridiculous, but actually pretty wearable at the same time.

These stainless steel cuffs are engraved with the subway maps of a city of your choice including London, Paris, Milan, NYC, etc.

I'm going on a trip to Europe soon... perhaps I should get one for every city. Then I could put them all on at once and look like a robot! *does a poor imitation of the robot dance*

Check out the cuffs here!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

DIY: Book Safe/Clutch

Ever since I saw this DIY by Erica from Caught on a Whim, I have been wanting to make it. I also saw something similar at Top Hat*, a boutique with cool knick knacks from around the world, in the Lower East Side for $70, so I'd say that it's definitely worth at least attempting to DIY.

While I wanted to make Erica's Nerdy Chic Book Clutch, I was definitely a big ol' sloth and went with the Book Safe, which i figure you could use as a clutch if I wanted.

Here's what I used:

  • Hardcover book from a thrift store
  • 1 sponge brush
  • Regular modge podge
  • 1 thick plastic bag or waxed paper
  • Utility Knife
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Folder
I was lucky and found a hardcover book in very good condition for $2. I meant to read it before I started cutting it up, but well...

Step 1: Measure!
Measure the outer edges out. I went for 1" on each side (1-1/4" on one side on accident, but I just went with it), mark out where you want to hollow out the book.

Step 2: Cut!
Use the utility knife to cut along the lines.

Step 3: Trace, Cut, Repeat
Trace the inside of the cut you just made so you know where the make the cut for the next several layers. Alternatively, I created a template to place down to cut along. I actually found that a combination of the two techniques worked best for me.

Step 4: Glue!
Once you have reached the desired depth, modge podge the bottom few pages down, using a very thin layer. Modge podge is water based and will warp your pages if you are not too careful. It also dries quite quickly so you'll want to work swiftly.

Step 5: Place Waxed Paper
Place a piece of thick plastic or waxed paper (I suggest wax paper or a non-colored bag. some color transferred onto my top sheet. oops) in between the last page full page and the first page with a cut-out.

Step 6: Glue Some More!
Close the book and paint a thin layer of glue along the edges of the book from the waxed paper down. (You can totally glue the top part as well, I just decided to leave those loose.) Repeat 3-4 times until it seems nice and sturdy. Don't forget to glue the edges of the hollowed out part of the book, too! Erica suggested sanding it before gluing. I may or may not do this, depending on how lazy I feel.

What do you think?

With a business card holder I use as a wallet & a bit of chocolate :)
And that leaves just enough space for a pen and my phone!

End Note:
So I ended up with a bunch of paper from when I hollowed out my book and it seems to be a waste to just recycle them. Does anyone have any ideas of what I can make this these guys? I love the old school look of the paper and would love to do something with them!


*Online boutique here: http://sweetbellausa.com/

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Had a Bad Day?

If you had a tough day, feel free to laugh at mine. 

45 minutes before I was supposed to meet a friend for happy hour, I get sent out on a shoot for an upcoming news program. I had already had to cancel going to a yoga class for work, so I was not very pleased with this request.

It was cooler than the day before, but by that I mean you didn't immediately sweat upon going outdoors. More like, 5. Carrying a tripod to move locations, I heard "plop, plop." I've heard this sound before. More than the average person, I'm sure. I look up and my fears are confirmed.Crowded on some street lights were not one, but two rows of pigeons. The suckers had hit my beloved Longchamp and dress in one plop.  

Our shoot took longer than expected, but we have finally gotten the shots we want. Just as we started looking for a cab to take back to work, we got a call saying that the material had to be sent in 40 minutes to go on air. We kept trying to catch a cab to no avail. Finally, we decided to start moving toward the office while keeping a look out for any open cabs. 10 blocks of fast walking while awkwardly carrying a tripod and I was sweaty. I could feel the sweat dripping down my back, and I started debating how large pit stains had to be to no longer be considered pit stains. 

Finally, finally, a beacon of light and we jumped in a cab. Though I was thankful that it was much cooler and I no longer had to lift weights while jogging (soft j*), I had one major problem. And that was that I have a tendency to sweat in the most inconvenient of places. That's right. When I stood back up after climbing out of the cab, I had a solid butt sweat mark. 

The cameraman handed me the disc, took my tripod, and I sprinted to our office, bird poop on the side of my dress, a sweat stain on my butt. A correspondent hung up the phone to say "I was just calling you. And, uh... looks like you got a workout afterall."

Thanks, guys. 
If you don't think the news is very exciting these days, try working in it. 

*Please refer to Anchorman for the correct pronunciation.
Note: My friend was patiently waiting at happy hour, where I was able to relax over a glass of wine, chilled tapas and a very fun exchange of upcoming travel plans, so it didn't end all too bad. I just made sure to shower the moment I stepped through my front door. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Nail Polish: OPI vs American Apparel

I may not always be the most fashionable when it comes to clothes- I usually stick to black or denim trousers with a neutral top- but when it comes to nails, more often than not, they will be painted. 

OPI was really popular in college so most of my collection is OPI, though Dior is now my favorite. However, neither of these brands are particularly cheap. I wanted to try out a mint nail polish, but didn't really want to spend more than $10. There's an American Apparel between my office and the subway so I popped in to see if they had nail polish- they do! They're under $10, don't have DBP, toluene or formaldahyde in them AND it dries really quickly.

Since I like to do an accent nail or two, I used both the colors in the photo above. 
Pink = OPI, Mint = American Apparel
and look what happened to just the pink nails! Both of my accent nails were ruined. 

I can't get over how fast the American Apparel nail polish dries, and the color is just like you see it in the bottle. The only downside being that they have mostly trendy colors and their range is not great, but next time I need a trendy color, I know where to go!

I ended up redoing just the accent nails (and painting one with a purple/gray color from Lancome instead) and then having some fun decorating them. I ended up loving the mint and light pink combination so much that I used the same two colors when repainting them the next time. 

Check out the designs below!

//  Do you have any great nail polish/makeup finds?

Friday, June 7, 2013

On the Road... To Las Vegas!

The bachelorette party I was so fervently planning is finally here! I left work a tad early and took a bus, subway and airtrain to finally get to JFK. It's raining here in NYC so I'm extra excited to be in Vegas.
The Delta Airline's wing smells like fast food, but makes up for it with a bunch of charging stations. They're a bit squished together, but totally get the job done, and are plenty of space if your legs are corgi-esque like mine are. The stations come with a little desk so I'm just sitting with my bottle of water and ipod to get some work done... on paper. At a charging station but working old school :)
The first picture is my travel outfit... more like uniform since I wear it all the time. The shoes change, but today I'm wearing my Ked's with Uniqlo's leggings pants (aka my comfy travel secret), a loose button up shirt from Banana Republic (i also switch up shirts depending on weather), and Coach crossbody. It's just so nice to have at least one hand free by using a crossbody. Plus, this camel color matches just about anything.
Time to find some dinner and get some work done!
Happy Traveling!
x, Erica

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Solo Lunch

I work in a small office, so it's very common for all of us to eat together, or at least groups of whoever has a good stopping point at that time. If we're busy, we'll eat at our desks. Today I stepped out to grab some food to go since it's so gorgeous out, but as I was heading into the restaurant, I thought I'd just stay and eat in. Table for one.

It felt SO GOOD. I often travel solo, or at least some parts of the trip are solo so it's just something I enjoy now. If I learned something today, it's that I need my alone time. And not necessarily a night in, but a nice or a fun meal. Like scheduling events with friends, I might start setting a lunch or dinner aside that I enjoy on my own.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

In Recent News... Tornadoes hit the Midwest

By now you've probably heard of the tornadoes that have occured in the Midwest of the US. For those who are looking to stay informed via the internet, here are some media outlets that are providing live updates. 
Please note that you should always question the information that any media outlet provides to make sure that you have accurate information. The death tolls are often different depending on network and in fact, the Medical Examiner's office even revised their death toll number today from 91 to 24

I've also found this twitter handle of the National Weather Service in Norman, OK very useful in getting up to date weather information for that area from a reliable source. 
Things that you can do
  • Keep those affected in your hearts
  • Research & Donate to a reliable charity or fund
  • Stay informed! 
This last one is particularly important. You never know what's going to happen so even if you don't plan on being in an area with tornado risk, you should know what to do if a tornado siren goes off. I had no clue until yesterday, but now I know!
  • Get in a basement. If not possible...
  • Get in a bathtub (with a mattress on top). If not possible...
  • Move away from all windows

My thoughts are with those affected. 
*Please note that I am not endorsing any of the media outlets listed or linked above.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Alumni Event at 7 WTC

Last night, I had the opportunity to attend an alumni event at 7 WTC, the only one of the planned world trade center buildings that surround the 9/11 memorials. One of our fellow alumni is on the architectural team and talked to us about the innovations that have gone into the blueprints of these buildings. I found it especially timely that the NYTimes had printed an article today about the security that is being put into place and how that might take away from not only the aesthetics, but also the experience of the area.

What the towers are going to look like when they are all built. 
You'll notice that 1WTC is the tallest and they spiral down in height. 

The WTC buildings are all to have floor to ceiling glass, allowing for amazing views of the area and for the sky to be reflected by the buildings. 

9/11 memorial

This was my very first alumni event, and I had such a great time! I'm definitely going to have to go to more. It's so nice to be around people who understand the difference between Pacific and Atlantic salmon. ;)

// Have you ever been to an alumni event? Tell me about it below!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Weekend Brunch

My brunching habits are getting out of control. 
Seriously out of control. 

The recent trend has been to have family brunch on Saturdays, and then brunch with my friend and fellow brunch-lover, Kristen on Sundays. This photo here is from brunch at Boulud Sud, one of Daniel Boulud's restaurants. This one is Mediterranean inspired. 

Of my prix-fixe meal of house smoked salmon & Spanish omlette and ice cream (blood orange, anice, cinnamon), I have to say that the ice cream was the best. I wish I could get pints of it, though I'm sure that one pint alone would be my weekly dining out budget. 

However, they did have an interesting couscous yogurt parfait in the stater options, which would be amazing to be able to recreate at home. It was honey greek yogurt, large couscous, crasins, pomegranate and pine nuts. Seriously, try this at home. (and then let me know if you come up with a good recipe ;) )

// Do you have any weekend rituals? //

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

In Recent News... 04/02/2013

How often do you read the news?

I have to admit that before I started working in broadcasting, I read the newspaper very little, and watched the news even less, mostly because I was so busy reading blogs. After starting my new job, I am always knee deep in newspapers and the news is like white noise to me. I thought I'd start doing a little run down of interesting news bits that have been going on so you don't have to skim the papers yourself.

Please note that this isn't intended to spark any debates and I am not saying that any opinions that I express are the ones that you should have. I just want to curate the news so it's more palatable to you. BUT I make mistakes. If you see an error, please kindly let me know in the comments!

North Korea
why you should care: The US has never been on good terms with the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea), but things are starting to get seriously heated as shown by this headline: "North Korea Eclipses Iran as Nuclear-Arms Threat." Even the new Pope, Pope Francis I addressed this issue in his Easter speech.

ATT (Arms Trade Treaty)
why you should care: Because constant global conflict continues to drive people out of their homes, to kill the innocent, and bring corruption to many parts of the world. It also applies to the US and the ability for US citizens to purchase assault weapons (the NRA is not happy about this)

Oil Spills
why you should care: We all consume a historically high amount of oil. Even the most eco-conscious person out there. It's so ingrained into our systems that we can't avoid it- yet. Putting aside the fact that we are depleting non-renewable energy sources at an alarming rate, oil spills are detrimental to the environment. Think it's a localized problem? Think again. The ocean gets around. Remember all that garbage that's washing up on the west coast from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan? Oil is much lighter than that.

Violence Against Women
why you should care: Gender equality still does not exist. That means that half of the world's population is being discriminated against. For something they can't control. 
why you should care: Because smiling is also a part of life. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Bridesmaid Adventures | Bachelorette Party

So I'd mentioned previously that I'm in the middle of planning a bachelorette party to....

photo by Allen McGregor

I've never been there and my knowledge of it is quite limited. So far I have...

  • It's in the middle of a desert
  • That's where the NomadGrad is from
  • Necessities: Swimsuit, sunblock, dress for clubbing
  • Also I hear there are shows? 
Thankfully, Vegas appears to be pretty jam packed with things to do so we're going to wing most of it. And really, it's going to be all about celebrate my friend getting married with the girls from my sorority for the weekend. 

Some ideas that have been suggested so far include:
  • Taking a pole dancing class
  • Going to watch the Thunder from Down Under- In fact, one of the girls just went to this on a girl's night out and said it was a really good time. 
  • Renting a cabana near the pool
  • Shopping at the outlets
  • Wandering through all the hotels
Have you been to Vegas before? What did you enjoy doing?
Any suggestions??

Monday, March 25, 2013

Bridesmaid Adventures: Pinterest

I'm far from getting married, so it's really fun to be able to be a part of my friend's wedding. Unfortunately, being on opposite coasts of the US, it's hard to be actively involved. Luckily we have Pinterest to help us shrink those miles.

We have one general wedding inspiration board: K & B | Sept 2013, which is full of teal/orange and similarly cool/warm tone mixture pins.

Aside from this, we also used it when she was dress shopping. She created a board for each boutique she was going to, and we all pinned dresses that we liked. It was so much fun to be able to peruse through dresses together, well, at least virtually together. It's times like this that you thank the internet for its communication abilities.

In addition to this, I thought that I would add something a little more "me" so since I'm a travel photoblogger, I started creating a basic wedding shot list. A shot list is a list of photographs that you definitely want a photographer to take during your session. They can be as simple as "headshot" as mine was for the picture I'm currently using on my sidebar to the right. With all the planning and lists that most brides have on their plate, I thought I would try to help out by curating photographs that I think are both basic & creative for a wedding. Enjoy!

How do you use Pinterest? | Do you have any fun group board ideas?
Do you pin? Leave me the link below and I'll follow you!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Win a Trip via NY Travel Fest

Photo by ZeWaren

Who doesn't love a free trip? 

The New York Travel Festival is holding a story contest where the grand prize is a trip for 2 to... Prague!!

You'll need:
1- Your story about how travel inspires you within 800 words
2- Why you want to go to the Czech Republic within 100 words.
3- Your cell phone number
Send the above to czechcontest@nytravfest.com 

Deadline: April 1, 2013

You can find more info here.

Please note that this is not a sponsored post.
I just like traveling, especially when some of the expenses are covered and equally enjoy telling other people of such opportunities!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

NYC transportation

Transportation in NYC is just as famous as the city itself with both the yellow cab and the subway map used as common symbols of the city. The buses in NYC are a complete underdog of transportation, yet I find myself taking them over the others, if possible.

I used to be a huge believer in the subway system, preferring to take public transportation over paying at least triple the price for a trip to sit in behind a bulletproof glass mounted to the back of the front seat(s). That was, until one day when I hopped on my regular train, only to have it not move. The announcements over the intercom kept promising to move momentarily. The entire time I was debating the pros and cons of sticking it out and popping back above ground. 

Minute 25 of waiting was when I decided to just go for it and dashed out of the station and hopped on the first bus that came by. The lady sitting next to me asked me what happened since there were so many more people on the bus than usual. I explained that the train wasn't moving and then asked her where the bus was going. She kindly explained where it went, and what bus she thought I could take afterward.

I got off at the last stop of that route, which got me less than half way to work, started briskly walking to cross the park when I found another bus that would take me even closer. Hopped on that one as well, and asked the gal next to me where exactly the bus went. She doubled checked on her phone for me, and advised me on how best to get to work. 

Whoever said that New Yorkers are not nice have never tried talking to one. 
Another thing that I realized that was beside the fact that I had quite a bit of anxiety while waiting for the train to start moving, besides the sea of people that were swarming the buses, besides the fact that I was 15 minutes late to work, I felt a lot more calm, and actually quite happy. WHAT? Happy first thing in the morning in a stressful situation?

Then it dawned on me. 

Maybe it was because I was under the sun, instead of holed up in a dingy labyrinth that is the NYC subway system. I'm a complete bus convert and take the bus now, even though it takes a touch longer and just enjoy the city go by on my way to and from work everyday. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Bridesmaid Adventures: Bridesmaid Info Packet

Sometimes I think the bride knows me too well. Either that or it's because she's so organized that we work well enough together to not only remain such good friends (despite the distance) and to even travel extensively together. In the last episode of bridesmaid adventures, I mentioned the irrational anxiety that comes with being in the wedding. The photo below is what made it all go away. 

Behold, information amazingly organized (and in her wedding colors) packet! (and an adorable handmade "Will you be my bridesmaid" card)

Included is:
  • How she knows each member of the bridal party
  • Her request for what we wear to the wedding
  • Wedding colors and her aesthetic vision for it, as well as requests as to what she would like from the bridal party. 

Since I carry around a paper planner, I tucked the "Attire" page from this packet in it so I can always keep an eye out for the perfect dress:

Seriously, cutest idea ever. All the information all in one place, to reference when needed.

Also included in this bridesmaid packet was a bikini-bag that she made as well as some adorable flower hair clips that I love using when I put my hair up. I don't know how she finds the time to plan a wedding while working a lot at an amazing job, and then handmaking all this stuff. I really need to learn time management from this girl.

The reason this is a bikini-bag and not just a bag with a zipper on it is because it's lined with plastic so you can put your wet swimsuit in it. Such a good idea and fitting, as it's a beach wedding. I'm also really excited to use it at our bachelorette party destination because we're going to...._____!!!!!

Next time, on Bridesmaid Adventures... Bach Party Planning ;)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Happy Friday!

I started taking the bus, even if it takes a little longer than the subway because it's just so nice to see the city go by as well as, gasp, the sun. It's such a great way to start and end the workday.

On the way home from work, I stopped by a couple places to pick up some treats. This is the first week that I was all on my own at my new job so I figured I could use a treat ... Or 4, after which I hopped across the street and finally got erase paste concealer from benefit.

Little things, I know, but they made me happy :)

Clockwise from top left: olive bread from Eric Kayser; eclaire and pain au chocolat also from Eric Kayser; eggplant tapenade from Kashkaval

What snacks do you get to treat yourself?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

So, I'm a Bridesmaid.. anxiety ensues

Ever since graduating college, my mailbox has had a steady stream of wedding invitations and all the pre-wedding event invitations that go with them. I think that I could cover a mid-sized fridge with all of the magnetic save the dates I currently have in my possession. However, it wasn't until this year that I was asked to be in one.

I am completely ecstatic to be a part of this friend's wedding. We met in the sorority and shared some crazy girls' night outs including a fantastic weekend in Whistler. Those were of course fun, but then there was after graduating from college, when she came to Japan to visit me, when I third wheeled her and her (now fiancee) boyfriend's trip to Oceania, when I went down to California for our now yearly meetup and now I'm going back to CA to stand by her as she says "I do" to the guy I met for the first time at the airport so we could start our journey (that I was third wheeling).

Now since I like a good panic, as happy as I was for them, there were just as many things that I was a bit anxious about (even though this is not my wedding).

  1. What do bridesmaids do? As far as I was concerned until now, they showed up in matching outfits and smiled all day, which kind of reminded me of sorority recruitment. 
  2. There is no maid of honor. So who's doing all the planning? Wait. What do MoHs plan?
  3. What do I wear? I would not like to ruin the first wedding I'm in because I showed up in fancy dress instead of a fancy dress. 
Do I have more anxiety about this wedding than the bride? 


*I should add that this is not real, should be worried about anxiety. I cannot possibly be more excited for my friends to be tying the knot or more honored to be a part of it. It just made me realize that I know nothing about weddings other than how to show up*

Monday, February 18, 2013

My New Cake Substitute

I just discovered the best thing ever. 

Vanilla Almond Granola Cereal + Greek Yogurt = Vanilla Cake 

I have a serious sweet tooth and would eat cake all the time.
I'm also boring and LOVE vanilla. It's definitely one of my favorite flavors. 
Given the choice, I'll get the vanilla ice cream every time. 
(Unless I feel guilty about not getting a "fun" flavor, which is more often than I'd like to admit.)

Luckily, this does not spoil as quickly as real cake.
And the rich creaminess of the Greek yogurt makes it seem less like a healthy substitution.
(I have to trick myself into any attempts at being healthy.)

Given that granola has a high fat content and this cereal has a bit of sugar in it, this isn't the healthiest if you, say, eat the entire box in one sitting. I usually go for about half a serving of the cereal with just enough yogurt to coat all the granola and feel satiated enough. 

Do you have any health(ier) substitutes for dessert?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Patterned Walls

I have never been brave enough to paint a wall, er, rather... I've never had a wall that I could paint. One can still dream, though. One day, when I find a place to stay for more than 10 months (woes of a wanderer), I will paint a wall. Since I'm pretty sure that I'll still have an irrational fear of painting a wall fire engine red or mustard yellow, I'll probably go with something similar to one of these toned down, but equally amazing walls. The most amazing part? There are both DIYs!

- AND -

They definitely took a good bit of effort,


But  the results are AMAZING and completely worth it, don't you think?

The most inspiring part is that these women are both really busy; Andrea is a busy young professional in Washington D.C., and Laura is a brand new mother. If these two can take on such big projects for their abodes, I can probably do something far more simple- like clean my room <insert look of shame here>.

You can read more about their inspirations for these walls and how they went about completing their projects here: Stripes by Andrea and Stars by Laura.

Note: The photos in this post have been taken by the respective authors of the original posts and have been used with their permission.