October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!! & Haute & Haunted II

Another successful Haute & Haunted Halloween is in the books...
or photos, at least. We had a fun Friday night getting our party on with friends and lots of 
Spooky Carnival-esque treats (a couple recipes below!).
As usual, we didn't have our costumes planned until the day before, so with 8 pieces of felt, 7 hot glue sticks, a gold embroidery hoop, and a red top hat left over from a previous Tour de Fat...
we went as a Giraffe and a Ring Leader! Success! 
I realized after the fact that I hardly took any photos that night~ too busy making boozy root beer floats I suppose! But thank you to all our friends that made it a blast.
Happy Halloween!!

Some fun treats to make tonight... or any time of year!

Salted Whiskey Caramel Popcorn

3 bags popped microwaveable popcorn (more or less, depending on how many you're feeding)
2oz Irish whiskey (or any kind, I'm just biased)
1 stick butter
1tsp vanilla
1tsp baking soda
1 1/2c brown sugar
1/2c light corn syrup
sea salt for sprinkling

1. Melt butter in a pot over medium heat, frothing with a whisk
2. Add whiskey, vanilla, brown sugar, corn syrup and bring to a light boil.
3. Boil for 1 minute, stirring quickly with a whisk. Remove from heat.
4. Spread 1 bag popcorn evenly across a non-stick baking pan, use a whisk to drizzle on the caramel. 
Sprinkle with sea salt.
5. Bake for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 to avoid sticking together.
6. Scoop caramel corn into a big bowl, repeat with rest of popcorn.

Boozy Root Beer Floats
1oz. Vanilla Vodka
8 oz. Root Beer
2 scoops vanilla ice cream


October 24, 2012

Reading List Review: Love Life & Elephants (an African Love Story)

Overall: *****

Summary: The autobiography of Dame Daphne Sheldrick who was born in Kenya to European parents who immigrated with their family as part of a government relocation program during the 19th century. She was raised in the Kenyan wilderness,where she learned to live off the land and form an unbreakable bond with the area's wildlife. The book details her remarkable story of navigating her young marriage and subsequent divorce, motherhood, finding her soul mate, and devoting her entire life to rescuing and rehabilitating orphaned animals who were victims of the rampant poaching industry. She is the first person to have successfully hand-reared orphaned elephants and rhinos and still manages the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in honor of the love(s) of her life. 

What I loved: The whole thing. Her account of Africa ( a place I love deep in my soul ), the wild animals who became her family members, the love story, and yes-the photos that she included midway and at the end of the book. Fantastic!  Also amazing that it is the true story of a woman who is still alive today. 

Not so much: As an autobiography, there are definitely moments when chapters are fact-heavy (dates, names, locations, etc.) as the context is crucial. It is also on the long side at 352 pages but I was enamored the entire time. 

I dare you to just read the prologue and not fall in love. 

October 23, 2012

baby boy nursery ideas

This past Saturday we got together with some friends who are expecting their first baby (a  boy!) this coming February! They bought a house over the summer and are still getting settled but they didn't know where to begin planning for and setting up the nursery for baby's arrival. When they said they would love my help decorating their new place they may as well have told me I was queen of all the universe! I couldn't wait to come up with some fun designs for their room.

After visiting their house and taking a quick inventory of their taste and style, (and awesome Star Wars memorabilia collection), I came up with four different ideas to use as inspiration. I wanted to create a space that the parents will enjoy spending time in as much as baby boy- something that felt both sweet and sophisticated without being bland.

I'm so excited to see what they choose but while they are deciding, I thought it'd be fun to see what room designs you all liked the best! Other than the crib and dresser, their space is a blank canvas so please share if you have other fun things to include!

 *Baby Boy Nursery Ideas*

star wars nursery- Baby Lane ideas

rustic baby nursery- Baby Lane

Rustic Retreat Nursery

Thanks for tuning in!

October 20, 2012

inspiration: nine

"Everything we learn about ourselves inside our creative biz journeys really does cross over into our everyday lives. That's why it's so crucial to be true to your authentic voice, to align your choices with your whispers and your passion, to unearth the very best parts of yourself waiting to be born."

- Kelly Rae Roberts

October 19, 2012

Dailey Wears: amish paradise

>>>>> <<<<<

top: banana republic
belt: forever twenty one
shoes: adrienne vitadini, DSW

>>>>> <<<<<

This was my outfit yesterday. I decided at once that this was the perfect attire for either churning butter or riding in a covered wagon- two things that are not part of my daily routine at present. Instead, I wore it while working and running errands out and about.  However, this outfit was inspired by two very specific modern-day dilemmas: One, there was no way I was going to wear anything that zipped or buttoned around my lower mid-section that day, and Two, I needed to hide a 2nd-degree burn on my neck from my curling iron that has begun to resemble a nasty hickie... if hickies formed scabs over time.
Seriously, so gross.

Mission accomplished. 
Though I'm pretty sure this outfit makes me positively hickie-proof.
Only one way to find out! C'mere hubbyyyy!!!


October 18, 2012

a literary confession & a review (or two!)

This review is a few weeks behind... but isn't that true about everything?
Yes...what if the present is just a reflection of events that actually took place several weeks ago?
Hmm? My philosophical ramblings aren't fooling you into buying my excuse for simply writing a late book review? It was worth a shot. 

Well I since my spontaneous library outing, I have actually finished 3.5 of the 5 books I checked out, travelled 1,000 miles in a jetplane with two of them, and have only accrued $4.50 in late fees to date!
To that I say to myself, "Self, I am impressed!". 

You observant-types may notice only four books are actually featured... the fifth I may or may not have omitted out of embarrassment.

It's probably not what you're thinking... involving fifty shades of something or other...
No, it was a small paperback titled, Keeping a Journal You Love, by Sheila Bender.  

Yep. I do confess that after keeping journals for over two decades I often struggle with wanting to rip out every page and throw them away. While creative writing has been second nature to me since I learned to spell, I have always lacked confidence in the one place that my skill level shouldn't matter- writing my own story. When I stumbled across this book at the library I figured I couldn't be the only one who felt this way, if there was an entire publication dedicated to the topic. Still, I was immediately embarrassed to be reading something so cheesy and self-helpy, especially when I keep an online journal of sorts that perfect strangers are able to read. I can't really explain why I didn't want anyone to know I was reading it except out of fear of what people would think. 
Oh silly self. 

Reading Keeping a Journal You Love put so many of the things I've felt over the years into perspective and addresses each moment of hesitation and self-criticism with equal doses of practicality and grace. The author uses examples from other writer's personal journals to present a variety of styles and techniques readers can use, no matter how big or small their audiences may be. If you have ever felt insecure about journaling or writing about your personal life- even if you know no one else will ever read it- I suggest flipping through this book. It's short, easy to follow, and gives great insight into taking your reflections to the next level. 

Thanks for letting me spring that one on you. I feel lighter already.

Now onto the reason I started this post... a review on Chasing Cezanne by Peter Mayle.

Overral: ***

What I loved:  quirky characters, romantic NYC and European settings, hints of French culture, art history trivia, a quick and easy read, and interesting enough.

Not so much: Predictable and somewhat flat. In the book's defense I read this immediately after finishing The Hunger Games series so the thrill-factor was a bit overshadowed. The story takes place in the nineties which isn't a particularly romantic time period, the male author used a lot of awkward words that female author's typically don't (broad, bosom, etc.), and it ended somewhat abruptly like the author ran out of time.  

As lots of other reviewers have said, I would recommend it as an airplane read but it won't keep you on the edge of your seat with anticipation. I do however think it would make an entertaining movie! 

. . . 

Happy reading!


October 16, 2012

Happy Birthday to My Rad Dad!

circa before I was born. 

I have never been able to tell which of my parents I resemble more.
 I think I have a pretty even mix of both of them. But I know for sure that my dad passed onto me his sense of humor and ability to cook meals without glancing at a recipe. I would also like to think I inherited his spirit for adventure and business savvy personality... though I wouldn't attempt half the things I've heard he did in his youth and I often let little things keep me from pursuing some bigger ones. 

Regardless, he has always been one of my biggest fans. The proud dad-behind-the-video-camera at soccer games, birthday parties, and graduations. He would stay up late with me handcrafting dioramas for school assignments that could have earned a place in the Smithsonian. He is the reason I love old school rock and roll, making mix-tapes, and driving with the windows down. 

My dad is one of the coolest people I know. He has a way of doing things that is all his own, with an air of "who's going to stop me". In fact, we even call doing something in the way he would "pulling a 'Steve Lowe'"... like going straight for the front of a parking lot or making "long stories short". 

Thanks for being rad, dad. 
I hope you have a very Happy Birthday!

 I wish we were there to celebrate with you. 
Maybe we'd even walk down to Baskin Robbins.
 I'd still get bubblegum ice cream.


October 15, 2012

Maximizing A Minimal Wardrobe: Part V, The Closet Diet

I like the way you work it (no diggity)
I got to bag it, bag it up. 

. . .

Two things: 
1. Blackstreet is now stuck in your head. You're welcome, 1996.
2. Those bags/baskets/topless tupperware bins are filled with the things I purged from my closet!
(3... those bags have been sitting in our guest room/office for three weeks. Yes, I've moved all 10 of them back and forth to opposite sides of the room multiple times. They need to go. I know.
 I promise there's some order to the madness: they are actually separated by things that could to go to consignment, to a clothing swap, and those that need to be donated. Also- I already took two bags of consignment to a shop, so I'm making progress. I promise they'll be gone... soon. Or I'll be on the corner selling items out of a truck bed. Unfortunately, I don't own a truck.)
Having a freshly pared-down wardrobe has given me motivation to keep my closet neat and tidy and to be more mindful when I shop. I've passed up several recent finds, even after carrying them around the store for over 45 minutes cradled to my bosom (it's a coping mechanism) because I decided they really weren't the best fit for my current closet or the style I am aiming for, and I walked out empty handed.
That's a seriously satisfying feeling, friends.
You may think I'm nuts. My husband totally thinks I'm nuts.
I know I'm nuts. But it works! It's like a diet for your closet.

But like a healthy diet, you have to allow yourself to enjoy your favorite things in moderation.
Also, practicing this perspective helps to eliminate yucky feelings like guilt or insecurity when you do decide to make a purchase because you know you're not simply caving to temptation, but have put time and thought into it.  If only I could get my husband to understand this. 
So while I was in California, I found a few new things that were in line with my list of Everyday Essential items and that I could easily integrate into my existing closet. I have already worn each of these things a few times and love the versatility they provide when mixing with other items.
Here's what I bought:
1. lightweight slubby crochet sweater 

Absolutely,  Nordstrom Rack

2. brushed cotton button down

Sway Chic boutique, Pasadena CA.     

3. the perfect pair of tall structured riding boots, from mom xoxo

Matisse, DSW

4. navy jersey maxi skirt

Sway Chic boutique   

I am loving having these simple additions to my wardrobe, especially my new beautiful boots! It has literally taken my years to find the right pair at a price I could handle. I knew the second I saw them they were the right ones but I didn't have my DSW coupons with me while traveling (don't laugh) so I decided to wait on them. Literally as I had them on in the store, two women came by and grabbed a pair saying "I love how they look on you so I'm getting them for myself!". I was cracking up, that has never happened to me before. So after I put them back my mom surprised me by buying them for me, since she "never gets to shop with her daughter anymore". Oh mom, I love you.
. . .

Have you started Maximizing your own Minimal Wardrobe yet? What are you waiting for!?
Have you made any progress on your shopping lists? Tell me what you found!
Play on, playette!

October 12, 2012

lazy... like a cat

Today I stayed home to clean, do laundry from our last trip, and relax after a few busy days back at work. It's chilly and grey outside, my idea of the perfect afternoon. I am simmering vanilla, limes, and thyme on the stove to freshen the air (yum!) and have some mellow music on. The dogs and cat are all curled up (or spread eagle, *ahem* Logan) asleep around the house. It's a wild party around here! Dan and I made amazing pumpkin-curry empanadas last night, thanks to a friend's recommendation, and now I'm totally inspired to put some creativity back in the kitchen. After pinning some yummy new meal ideas, I made a little grocery list for things to make over the weekend- we don't have any major plans so I'm hoping for lots of low-key time at home- and thunderstorms are predicted tonight and tomorrow! Swoon.
Our trip threw off my routine a bit but I will be back next week with more on our Maximizing a Minimal Wardrobe series and a sneak peak at a few things I picked up in California!
Thank you for reading!!
I hope you have a relaxing weekend wherever you may be!

October 08, 2012


The worst part about coming home from a great trip is realizing how few photos we actually took. Of course, most of the time I was too busy having fun to worry about it but I wish I had at least taken some with friends and family. I cannot believe how many great memories we have from this trip: beautiful walks along the beach, delicious dinners, relaxing afternoons, late night conversations, impromptu reunions, spending time with family, and a mini getaway to Santa Barbara for wine tasting, pool lounging, star gazing, and driving along "the 1" to the perfect soundtrack. As hard as it was to leave, I am happy to be back to our furry boys and busy with work, but we can't wait to visit again soon!

arrival: LAX

Hermosa Beach

patio garden (those are real orchids!)

corner of my heart

favorite view

walking with mom

Redondo Beach pier



dan & dad on the deck

Bird Pick cafe, Old Town Pasadena <3 go there.

Old Town stairway

Swan kiss, Mandalay Beach resort, Oxnard, CA

sunset & jean capris

Gainey Vineyard, Santa Barbara



casual wine tasting day

casual wine tasting pose

we were here.