Saturday, July 30, 2011

Playing Dress Up

When I got home from work the other day, I had a bad headache so I was couch-bound.  I decided to play on Polyvore  to create some outfits based on some of the new fall clothes I love from Anthro (many are coming out in August).  Here's what I quickly came up with:

If I had a million dollars, I would buy all of these things.  What are your favorite fall styles?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tell Me What You Eat, I'll Tell You Who You Are

To celebrate my friend Jen's birthday, we had a private cooking class at Lebanese Taverna Market.  It was great fun!  We had a private party of 10 people and we have a fabulous chef to guide our cooking adventure. Some of you were asking about the details... they have cooking classes regularly, but if you have 10 people, you can schedule a private class.  The cost is $65/person, which is totally worth it for all the food and wine they serve, as well as the joy of cooking with your friends!

The set up of the class was great!  We each had a stool on which we could perch, a cutting board, SHARP knife, apron, dish towel and recipes.  When we arrived, we had appetizers and wine before the cooking began.
We all had opportunities to jump into the cooking process (mostly by chopping veggies) and create our dinner.  There were 10 of us, but we made enough food to feed a small nation.  Here's what we made:
Fatteh Bel Djaje... the MOST delicious dish ever!!!  We sprinkled pomegranate seeds on top.  YUM!

Fattoush!  We made about 10 pounds of this.  I'll be having it for lunch for days!

Grape leaves, hand rolled by us!
We also made Basmati Rice with Vermicelli which I don't have a picture of.  After we cooked, we were able to sit down to a great feast!  Most of the recipes were easy to create, however, I doubt I will make any of them again because most of the recipes have ingredients I have never heard of (nor would I know where to buy them!) such as ghee and pomegranate molasses.
Our cooking crew enjoying a well-deserved meal

Posing with the birthday girl!
Dress: Secret Treasure from Anthropologie, Summer 2010
Belt: Anthropologie, winter 2009
Necklace: Anthropologie, winter 2009

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Guess What I Did Monday Night?

If you need some help, here's a picture to clue you in:

Yes, we are wand-battling with imaginary wands in the Smithsonian Museum.  Weirdos, I know.

Stay tuned to find out about my adventure from last night (Tuesday).   Will post later in the week.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

'Tis the Season!

Nope, not the holiday season.  Not wedding season, either.  Mid-summer means that we are on the brink of Birthday Season! Beginning the last week of August and running through September, the majority of my friends and some family members have birthdays. myself included! My friend, Jen, has an entire week where there is a friend or roommate with a birthday each day.  Birthday season means lots of food, drinks, and parties. 

Birthday season also begins the madness of the card making season for me.  In the summer, I try to stock up on birthday cards (for all of those September birthdays!), begin to design thank you cards (for my own birthday loot), and then before I know it it is time to make Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas cards.  Whew.

The other night I decided to hunker down and start to make some birthday cards.  I love  3X3 cards. I think they are super cute and petite.  Unfortunately, they aren't the easiest to mail since they are so small!  They work well for birthday cards when I know I will be going to a party or dinner and can hand the card to the birthday celebrator.

In the spring, Stampin' Up! introduced the Create a Cupcake stamp set with a coordinating builder punch.  I bought them both right away, and was happy to see that they carried over into the new 2011-2012 Idea Book and Catalog.  I've been so busy lately, I just opened them now even though I've had them for months!

The first card I designed is this 3X3 note.  It was inspired by the catalog design on page 68.  To make it, I cut the paper 6X3, folded it in half, and ran it through the Big Shot with the Perfect Polka Dots textured impressions embossing folder to get raised dots on 1/2 of the card.  I used the scallop trim border punch to give even more texture and girliness to this card!  Finally, after punching out the cupcake icing, I lined the edge with a thin layer of glue and applied Dazzling Diamonds glitter to give it a little sparkle.

Cardstock: Pink Pirouette, Pear Pizazz, Whisper White Ink: Pink Pirouette, Pear Pizazz, Chocolate Chip
Tools: Create a Cupcake builder punch, Perfect Polka Dots Textured Impressions Embossing Folder, Big Shot, Scallop Trim Border Punch
Accessories: Dazzling Diamonds Glitter

The second card didn't turn out as well as I had hoped.  I like the idea of it, but not the execution!  The first card was so girly, I decided to use more subdued colors on the second. I also wanted to try out the new Wild Wasabi embossing powder as well as a popular ribbon technique.  I chose Marina Mist, Early Espresso, Wild Wasabi and Whisper White as my color pallet.  The issue I had with the card was lining up the bottom of the cupcake after embossing the "icing" as well as keeping the folds of the ribbon even.  Many of them are crooked (both cupcakes and ribbons!).  If you receive this card from me for your birthday- don't despair!  While it's not my favorite, I love the color scheme and I still took the time to make a set of them to use.

Cardstock: Marina Mist, Early Espresso, Whisper White Ink: Wild Wasabi, Early Espresso, Versamark
Tools: Heat tool, Embossing Buddy
Accessories: Wild Wasabi embossing powder, Marina Mist satin ribbon

Need it, want it, can't live without it?  CLICK HERE to shop Stampin' Up products via my Demonstrator Business Website.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Kings and Pawns, Emperors and Fools

The greater D.C. area has been experiencing one of hottest weeks on record.  There doesn't seem to be much relief from the heat anywhere you go!  Friday, the girls and I decided to venture out in the sweltering heat to try a new restaurant for happy hour and dinner.  We went to a variety of places for drinks, but had to hurry inside to get away from the stifling heat and into the cool air conditioning.

We had cocktails and dinner at Cava, which opened July 7 in Clarendon.
All of the cocktails, snacks, and entrees we had were fabulous, I would highly recommend!

This deliciousness is the lollipop chicken.  It is fried chicken in yogurt, honey, and walnuts.  Mouth-watering goodness!!

 After dinner, we worked our way through the outside-sauna to hit up some of the local hotspots.

Outfit of the day:
Dress: J. Crew, summer 2010
Scarf: no idea. It was a gift.  If you gave it to me, THANKS!!!
Hair clip: Anthropologie, summer 2011
Earrings and watch: Premier Designs
Ring: purchased in Cabo, spring 2011

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Pretty In Pink

A few months ago I spotted this sweet strapless dress at BR Petites and decided to give it a-go. I paired it with a coordinating pink cardigan, making it an intensely pink outfit!  The dress is sold out in pink, but can still be purchased (on sale) here in a muted tan color.

My niece likes my necklace, too!

 I took the best of my beach jewelry with me to the shore.  This is one of my favorite necklace-ring combos, purchased last spring from White House Black Market.

 What kind of jewelry do you prefer in the summertime?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

"Always. Until the End."

Many of you know for the past 10 years I've felt that after Harry Potter 7, I wouldn't have anything to live for.  Well, thankfully, the Hunger Games came along and now I have THAT to live for (whew, it was touch and go there for awhile!)

Over the past few months, the excitement over the final Harry Potter film has been growing.  The movie debuted at midnight on July 15th.  While I was on vacation at the time, I was able to view the film with my family at the beach. Then, upon returning, I was able to catch it in 3D IMAX with my friend, Sara.  I'm sure I'll see it at least 1 or 2 more times before it leaves the theaters.  While it's not my favorite of the films (they left out too many of my favorite lines/parts!!) and it doesn't even compare to the novel, it is a fun closure to the movie saga.

What does a HP fan wear to the film?  That's simple.  A horcrux necklace, of course! Remember when I wrote about my nautical obsession HERE and I told you to remember 1luckysoul?  Well, now is the time to recall that memory!  I was able to snap up this awesome charm necklace to wear to the HP film.

The necklace features each of the horcruxes Harry must destroy before he can rid himself of Voldemort. the charms are the diary, ring, locket, snake, cup, diadem, and finally, a lightening bolt to symbolize Harry's scar.

To highlight the green stones on the locket, I paired the necklace with the sugar snap skimmers I wrote about here as well as a white dress so the necklace would pop.  (Sorry about the fuzzy image- it was a hectic day and was the best I could get under the circumstances!)
Anthropologie Beda Dress, Summer 2010
Anthropologie Looping Lanes Belt, Summer 2010
Anthropologie Sugar Snap Skimmers, summer 2011
Horcrux necklace from 1luckysoul
Now I can start thinking about what to wear to the Hunger Games debut in March!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Things I Love About the Beach!

I've been back from vacation for 3 days now but I am still pining away for the ocean!  Here are some of the things I love about the beach (any beach, really!)...

1. A salty sea breezes that causes wild, wind-blown hair
2. Strong rip tides that push you towards the shore and shove you out to sea
3. It's perfectly acceptable to drink out of a glass shaped like Jaws (wish I had a picture of this to show you!)
4. Outside showers!!!!  I would really like to have one of these put in at my house
5. Naps in the sand.  This is not me napping (it's my family) but I joined in the relaxation every day as well!

6. Strolls along the seashore
7. Kite flying in the evening

This is my dad flying is kite on our second night at the beach
 8. Sand sculptures
9. Lazy days (I think I finished 5 books last week!)
Check out my wild, wind-blown hair! :)

10. And finally, getting a deep, bronze tan (that will hopefully last into the fall!)

What's that?  You say you want to see another beach-inspired card?  Well, wait no longer!  Here is a quick card I put together again using the Open Sea Stampin' Up! set.  I embossed the ship using white embossing powder onto watercolor paper. Then, I water colored the ship and spritzed it with brown using the color spritzer tool.

Paper: Not Quite Navy, Sahara sand cardstock.  Watercolor paper
Ink: Whisper white (craft), sahara sand, not quite navy
Embellishments: white embossing powder, neutrals brads, 1-1/4 inch striped grosgrain ribbon
Tools: color spritzer tool, heat tool, embossing buddy, handheld punch, aqua painter

What do you love about summer vacations?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Just Another Manic Monday

Good Morning! I just returned from a 10 day vacation with my family and I am very unhappy to be back to reality.  I start back to work tomorrow and I am dreading it after having 2 weeks off! 

To begin our vacation, we spent 2 days in Colonial Williamsburg, touring the historic site, shopping, and having a lot of laughs.

Here, my sisters and I regroup in the Governor's Palace Gardens.  I was so glad I decided to wear this dress last-minute... it is casual and fairly thin cotton which made it ideal for spending 10 hours walking around in the heat!  Also, it was a bargain at the Banana outlet- I spent a mere $19.99 on this dress, so I wasn't worried about getting it dirty, sweaty, etc.

Dress: Banana Republic Outlet, summer 2011
Hair Clip: J. Crew outlet, summer 2011
Flip Flops: J. Crew, summer 2009
Necklace: Lou Lou Boutiques, summer 2010
Purse: Coach, summer 2009

What did I do?   Waiting to be tarred and feathered
 After our Colonial visit, we headed to the beach where my sister, brother-in-law, and niece joined us for a week of relaxing in the sun!  I'll write more about the vacation throughout the week, but here are a few photos until then...
Details on this dress and jewelry to come later this week...

Dress: Anthropologie, summer 2010
Cardigan: J. Crew, summer 2009
Necklace: Premier Designs
Ring: purchased at a jewelry store in Los Cabos
Notice how our tans deepen as the vacation goes on...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Juggling Act (or a Class Act...)

Over the holiday weekend, my sister, Molly said "watch me juggle!"  What she did then was definitely not juggling... in fact, it looked rubbish.
Determined to learn, Molly watched this video on You Tube.  It is long, but pretty funny as well as helpful.
Molly is currently working on "Step 12: Amaze your friends!"  She is working on a tight daily practice schedule of no more than 12 hours and no less than 6.
Here are some pictures of her practicing in the front yard... (They're a little dark, as it was dusk)

She definitely has the dexterity and patience.  Before you know it, she'll be ready to join a circus.  Oh, and did I mention she is a runner and has a super cute running blog?  CLICK HERE to check it out, if running is your thing, too!

Friday, July 15, 2011

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

There is always something I am currently crushing.  I will say, lately I have been doing a lot less shopping which is a good thing for my wallet as well as my get-out-of-debt plan!  However, there are a few items I've had my eye on.

My first love, is Anthropologie's bookbinder heels.
These super cute heels are already sold out in my size, despite the fact that they just debuted in the July catalog.  They are a little over priced for my budget, so I guess that's a good thing. I love how the heel of the shoe looks, well, like book binding!

The next shoes I am loving are Anthro's Chiseled Wedges.

I love the unique heel and texture of this shoe.  Surprisingly, this shoe is also available in my size.  At $168, it is a bit too costly, however I will keep my eye on it and may snag it during sale time.  I could see the neutral color pairing with many outfits.

A few months ago I tried on the Sky Stories Dress at Anthropologie.

I adore the soft colors of this dress and it is a fun summer frock.  I have been waiting for it to go on sale as it is extremely impractical for work and it is definitely too casual for a wedding or fancy event.  Because it ties in the back, it is difficult to wear a cardigan over it and it is a strapless dress.  It would be fabulous, though, for nights out with friends or strolling along the beach.

Switching gears to some stamping supplies, I love Stampin' Up's 2011-2012 catalog which went live July 1.
One of the things I cannot wait to get my hands on are the 2011 In Color Designer Brads.

I could see these brads adding texture, dimension, and polka-dotty fun to card projects.

Another wonderful new In Color product is the 3/8 inch Ruffled Ribbon.

Currently, this ribbon is only available in the 5 newest In Colors.  I hope in the future it becomes available in a wider array of color choices as it will add a fun, feminine, flirty detail to projects.

Like any of the Stampin' Up! products you see?  You can order them online HERE, just click on the "shop now" button!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My Girl

While I was home visiting my family over 4th of July weekend, I had the opportunity to catch up with some of my friends.  My friend, Chad, and I decided to go out for a drink or two to catch up.  My sister came out with us as well.  We went to a new (well, new to me at least!) bar called Local that had a cute roof top area where we could sit outside and enjoy the summer breeze along with our cocktails.
Shirt: Anthropologie, spring/summer 2010
Earrings: Premier Designs (my friend, Jamie, is a consultant)
Bracelet: handmade, purchased in Los Cabos

I was very excited to wear this new bracelet. I've worn it a few times and I always receive tons of compliments on it every time I wear it!  It is hand-beaded with coppery gold beads.  The beads are strung together with elastic, however, it isn't very stretchy and has a pretty tight fit.
The best part of this bracelet is the clasp.  It is made of wood, and hooks together.  It is easy to clasp, yet the closure is tight so it cannot come apart on it's own like a toggle clasp.  The wood also makes this bracelet a casual piece, so I love to wear it with a "boring" outfit to add a bit of pizazz. I purchased this bracelet while on vacation with one of my best friends in Cabo.  We spent many afternoons shopping at the Marina and I was able to snag this piece fairly inexpensively. 

What's your favorite costume bling for the summer months?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Nautical Notion

The beach is one of my favorite places to be.  I am as happy as a clam on a warm summer day, basking in the glorious sunshine while laying in the sand.  I own a variety of nautical themed pieces of jewelry.  I recently ordered this necklace from 1luckysoul on Etsy. Check out this jewelry shop... lots of interesting pieces (including Hunger Games and Harry Potter on the lookout for more to show in future posts).
 steampunk pirate nautical pocket watch compass charm necklace (how's that for a name?!?)
Photo from 1luckysoul

Photo from 1luckysoul

I wore this necklace with a white tee and Anthro's Lido Light Skirt (now on sale!)
Stampin' Up! has a quarterly mini-catalog that offers seasonal products.  This summer's mini featured a fabulous nautical set called The Open Sea.
I can see myself using this set to make masculine cards, vintage cards, and of course summery cards for years to come.  Here are a few cards I've already made with this set.  Both of the cards below were designed by my upline, Mary Walker.

Love it? Need it?  Want it?  No need to wait!  Click here to shop Stampin' Up! products.