Friday, April 30, 2010
But this show is REALLY good. It made me fascinated in the history of our country, and the formerly (in my opinion) boring "players" turned out to be immensely interesting. Peppered with commentary from famous Americans (Donald Trump, Colin Powell, Tom Brokaw, etc), the show really bring everything to life. The first episode covers the pilgrims coming to the New World and building the colony, the first Thanksgiving, the role tobacco and lumber played in America's beginnings and the Revolutionary War. And it looks like this Sunday, we'll see our ancestors head West.
The show comes on The History Channel Sundays at 8 p.m. CST and lasts two hours. And if you want to get caught up, the first episode is available on iTunes. Give it a try - turning off Family Guy and turning on America: The Story of Us upped my intelligence substantially on a Sunday.
So I switched back to my usual liquid eyeliner, also by Almay:
Bottom line: pass on the Almay crayon eyeliner, unless you're into that whole went-to-bed-with-heavy-makeup-on look, and give the liquid a try.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
If you have any ideas of what to cook with some of these ingredients once they're harvested (ha - harvested. I'm such a farmer!), leave a comment and let me know!
Monday, April 26, 2010
- Reward yourself. Yeah, OK - I'll treat myself like a dog and try this. I've been wanting to head to Forever 21 lately, so maybe I'll only go after 5 good workouts.
- Mix it up. Maybe I need to head out for a hike or a bike ride on a REAL bike, and not just a stationary bike. But something other than the treadmill and Muscle Works class at the gym sounds like it might get me going. I think I'll also try walking Molly in the morning before work, if I can muster up the will power to get out of bed that early.
- Write down your goals and achievements. I used to do this on my bathroom mirror with a dry erase marker. Time to find that marker and set some goals I can see every morning.
- Take a different route. I tend to walk or jog the same route when I go out. I think I need to find a new place to run that's still close to home, but that will give me some new sites to see. Maybe I'll head to one of the big nice neighborhoods and pretend I live there.
- Read a sports magazine. This was a tip I hadn't heard before, but it might actually be a good one. I think I'm going to go pick up a copy of Runner's World and see if that motivates me to hit the pavement.
- Picture Jillian Michaels screaming at you. OK seriously, this is enough to make me get out of my chair right now and go to the gym. I can just picture Jillian calling me a fat cow, and it terrifies me.
- Feel your butt shake while you brush your teeth. Well, this just happened to me this morning. So either I am brushing MUCH too vigorously, or it's time for some squats.
Friday, April 23, 2010
Audrey Niffenegger's innovative debut, The Time Traveler's Wife, is the story of Clare, a beautiful art student, and Henry, an adventuresome librarian, who have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-three and Henry thirty-one. Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: periodically his genetic clock resets and he finds himself misplaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity in his life, past and future. His disappearances are spontaneous, his experiences unpredictable, alternately harrowing and amusing.
The Time Traveler's Wife depicts the effects of time travel on Henry and Clare's marriage and their passionate love for each other as the story unfolds from both points of view. Clare and Henry attempt to live normal lives, pursuing familiar goals—steady jobs, good friends, children of their own. All of this is threatened by something they can neither prevent nor control, making their story intensely moving and entirely unforgettable.
I don't like to oversell things on this blog too much, but this is the BEST. BOOK. EVER. It's probably my favorite. While it can be challenging to read at times since you have to figure out where Henry is in his life when he's speaking and how that relates to where Clare is in her life (which requires that you flip back a few pages from time to time), the story is so interesting that it completely captivates you. From the first page, the characters are developed and you just fall in love with them. I literally couldn't put this book down, and at the end was left dangerously dehydrated from emotion.
When the movie came out, I actually saw it in the theater (which is rare for me), and was of course disappointed. I mean, we all know that movies never live up to their books, so if you saw the movie and were sort of "eh" about it, give the book a try.
Bottom line: stop whatever you're doing right now and go read this book. It's a must.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
So, I'm needing you to do a blog post on the latest skirt fashions. I'm in a quandary.
Although this statement is almost too Devil Wears Prada to deal with ("Andrea, get me some skirts..."), I will oblige for my bestie. Seems like this year I'm seeing a lot of elastic waist skirts, which is good for those of us who have been neglecting the gym lately. And pencil skirts are always classic. And even though I tend to be a dress girl more than a skirt girl, skirts are just as easy to wear and ALWAYS replace shorts in my book. So, Sarah, here are some cute skirts, all under $50.
Skirts for Work
Laltramoda salmon pencil skirt, $45
Style & Co. black belted pencil skirt, $29.98
Anthropologie pleated taupe skirt, $49.95
Arden B. white exposed zipper skirt, $29.99
The Limited striped border skirt, $34.99
Anthropologie abstract greenery skirt, $49.95
Merona orange Meg Dobby skirt, $24.99
Jones New York tweed midnight herringbone skirt, $42.99
Skirts for Play
I.N. San Francisco colorblock skirt, $34
Takara printed pocket skirt, $29
Takara elastic waist skirt, $29
Arden B. tye dye elastic waist skirt, $44
Sonoma cargo skirt, $34
Forever 21 tiered skirt, $29
Necessary Objects yellow elastic skirt, $39.99
O'Neill Native skirt, $45.50
Forever 21 leaf stencil skirt, $11.50
Athleta rogue sunburst skirt, $34.99
Alloy polka dot skirt, $32.90
Top Shop pleat hem linen skirt, $44
Forever 21 organza ruffle skirt, $26
So, will these skirts suffice? Are these the skirts you were looking for? I have no idea if I've accomplished my goal today.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Something had to be done.
So in a mad woman state, I cleaned. I purged. I emptied, dumped and piled. And I had...
But I did. Basically, after a month of off-and-on cleaning and seriously looking at my things and saying OUT LOUD to myself, "Katy. Dahling (I call myself Dahling most of the time). This? This you can do without," I had accummulated quite a collection of just, well - junk. So, if you think you're up to the challenge, if you think you can part with many of your possessions for literally pennies on the dollar, here are my 11 Yard Sale Tips:
1. You don't need it.
No seriously - unless it's your insulin or cell phone, you probably don't need it. When in doubt, throw it out.
2. Don't bother organizing anything.
Within 10 minutes of your yard sale's first visitors arriving, everything will be moved around anyway, so don't bother having a "bed and bath" section and a "small kitchen appliances" section. You have one section, and that section is "Junk I no longer need."
3. Do not, under any circumstance, bring yard sale items BACK into your house.
You got rid of it for a reason. Resist the urge to say, "OH! I definitely shouldn't have included THIS in the yard sale! This is too cute/useful/new!" This one is hard. I struggled with this. But ultimately, the only things from the yard sale that came back into my house were a red hat (and I swear to you I will wear it in Ireland and post pictures for you to see) and a porch swing that I'm still debating putting on Craigslist. This rule also applies after your yard sale is over and you're left with items that even yard salers didn't want. Keep it out. of. your. house.
4. Get some change.
I almost forgot about this until the day before. Even though most people who go to yard sales carry cash, get some singles at the bank so you can make change.
5. No buy now, pay later.
"I really want this chair/painting/dehumidifyer, but I need to go to the bank. Will you hold it for me?" No, you will not. If someone else comes along with cash in hand to buy that item, you sell it. After all, this is a yard sale, not the lawnmower section at Sears - there is no layaway.
6. No bathrooms.
"Can I use your bathroom?" No.
7. Don't hate.
People will buy anything. ANYTHING. One woman actually bought a stack of old plastic Taco Bell cups from me. So, even if you look at something and think, "No one will ever buy this," you might be wrong. Put it out there and see what happens.
8. Merchandise a little.
Even though you don't want to organize your items into sections, it helps to merchandise the big items a little to draw more traffic. If you've got a nice set of porch furniture or a good desk chair for sale, put them out front, and when they sell, rotate in other "good" stuff.
I ran a free garage sale posting in Craigslist, spent $5 on an ad in al.com and put garage sale signs in three places close to my street. And my rough estimate is that more than 200 people came to my house. It was packed, and I can't help thinking that it's because of those ads.
10. Bargain, but not too much.
11. Have it hauled away.
After your yard sale, hopefully you've sold everything you had. But you probably didn't. So for what's left, call your local Goodwill/Salvation Army/King's Ranch and make a tax-deductable donation. It will make you feel good and get rid of the last yard sale stragglers. And remember Rule No. 3 - don't bring that stuff back in your house.
So, here's what my yard sale looked like at 6:30 in the morning when I'd finally gotten everything in the driveway:
And here's what it looked like after about five hours of bargaining:
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
A great tray does double duty as a serving piece and decor when it's this cute. This fretwork tray from Target is so chic and would be a great hostess gift paired with some cute cocktail napkins.
Everyone loves coffee. Pick up some fancy whole beans and a cute travel mug like this one from Lilly Pulitzer for your hostess, and watch the caffeine take effect.
Jonathan Adler is making some really great stationery items right now. I love this note cube and stylish pen, and your hostess will too!
A board game might seem like it's for kids, but your hostess will love the fact that you're giving him or her fun in a box. Cranium is a good choice. So is Catch Phrase or Taboo.
A pretty vase and fresh flowers never fails. You can find reasonably priced vases all over the place, and grocery stores have flowers that are just as good as your local pricey florist.
Just because your friend is playing hostess for the night or weekend doesn't mean that she isn't still a Hot Mess. Show her you still see her true colors with this Hot Mess flask and very random (but cool) wild animal candles.
In my opinion, you can never have too many pretty cloth napkins. Pair a set with a mug donning your hostess' initial, and you're sure to be the most popular guest at the soiree.
If your host is into crafts (like Yours Truly), she would LOVE the cheeky "Big Ass Book of Crafts." And who knows - she might send you home with one of her creations!
Although they're a little more pricey and require some forethought, personalized self-inking stamps are such a great way to say "Thank you for inviting me to your 15-room beach mansion."
Kitchen hand towels or pot holders are a fun way for your hostess to remember you when she's pulling something out of the oven and not burning herself.
Pull together a pretty woven basket with great-smelling soaps and wash cloths for your hostess. This can be a really inexpensive gift that makes a big impression.
Monday, April 19, 2010
Welp folks, your ol' pal Katy is going to Ireland in T-minus 26 days. My mom and I, and our friends Dicky and Connally, are heading to the land of potatoes, green pastures, Guiness and leprachauns. (I hope to come back with a less stereotypical view of the country.) Has anyone been there? Have any tips or must-sees?
Friday, April 16, 2010
I'm not a fitness guru or a nutritionist, but I do spend L-O-T-S of time reading about health, diet and fitness (for my "real" job and in my spare time), and have definitely tried every diet, exercise, and, well - food - out there. And while some of these Commandments are old hat, many of them I haven't heard before. So, Commandments below, my comments in italics.
Your clothing is an early-warning system for weight gain. When it’s getting hard to snap your jeans, you know it’s time to be vigilant. Wearing stretchy clothes allows you to live in ignorance of how your body is growing, making it easier to pack on pounds without knowing it.
I agree with this, mostly because it falls into my "Leggings are not pants" mantra. This Commandment falls flat though when you're talking about many spring dresses. And since I'm a dress/skirt girl this time of year, I put on the SAME pair of pants every week to make sure there's not more of me to love.
2. Thou Shalt Not Keep Bad Clothes in Your Closet
When you keep the clothes you wore at an unhealthy weight, it gives you a back-up plan if the pounds don’t come off. Instead, force yourself to stay on track by 86ing your “fat pants.”
Oooh this one is hard. I'll admit that I'm one of those girls who has pants in about three different sizes in my closet, because, well, you just never know. If you have the self-control to throw out your "fat pants," then God speed.
3. Thou Shalt Not Eat Meat That Walks on Four Legs More Than Once a Week
Meat that comes from an animal with 4 legs is higher in saturated fat (the unhealthy kind) than that which comes from 2-legged animals such as chickens, or animals with no legs, like fish. Plus: women who eat large amounts of red meat more than once a week have a 50% higher chance of dying from heart disease and have higher cancer rates.
I do this not because I'm trying to lose weight, but because I just don't eat red meat that often. However, I love a good steak, and red meat is important to keep your iron levels up.
4. Thou Shalt Not Graze
Plan your meal before you open the refrigerator, get what you need, and close the door. Opening it throughout the day leads to impulsive choices and overeating.
Oh Lord. Yep - my grazing hour occurs around 4:30-5:00 when I get home from work. It's not dinner time yet, but damn - I'm hungry. And before I know it, I've grazed through 1,000 calories. This is a tip I'm going to keep - planning what I'm getting out of the fridge before the door is opened.
5. Thou Shalt Not Eat After 7:30pm
When you eat late at night you are more likely to be eating in front of the TV (when you won’t pay attention to how much you’re putting in your mouth) and you’re more likely to pick high-calorie snacks.
This is an oldie but goodie. It's hard to do if you're a night owl, but if you're in bed by 10 every night and get heartburn like I do, it's easier.
6. Thou Shalt Not Pile Food More than 1 Inch High or Within 2 Inches of the Plate Edge
Larger portions equal more calories. ‘Nuff said.
I love this. I've always heard to use a salad plate instead of a dinner plate, but something about that makes me feel like it's not a meal. And not letting your food get higher than one inch could really limit the amount on your plate. I'm adopting this Commandment tonight.
7. Thou Shalt Not Chew Food Less than 20 Times Per Bite
Chewing allows your body to realize that you are eating food, prompting it to create a sensation of fullness at the appropriate time. When you don’t chew enough, you get ahead of that process, eating well past when you are actually satisfied.
Guilty, guilty, guilty. I think I chew my food like twice, because, like my dad, I'm a fast eater. A REALLY fast eater. Adopting this tonight too.
8. Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor’s Plate
Spend your day nibbling bites on someone else’s sandwich or afternoon snack, and you will add on 1,000 calories easy.
True, and I'd like to add that I think this also means that if you're out to eat with friends and you had planned on ordering the grilled fish, but your buds are eating burgers, stay the course. I am SUPER guilty of this.
9. Thou Shalt Not Carry Small Bills
Nothing loves a small bill better than a vending machine. When you have them at the ready, you are one step closer to an impulsive, calorie-loaded afternoon slip up.
I'm not a vending machine gal now, but I used to be. Big time. And you know, when I didn't have change or a dollar bill, I would still go troll around the office for a kind soul who would give me 65 cents. So I don't know how valid this one is. The better tip is to keep healthy snacks in your desk - almonds, fruit, peanut butter - for when the hungries hit.
10. Thou Shalt Not Eat While Standing Up
Eating sitting down enables you to be aware of what you’re eating and eat it slowly so that your body can tell you your full before it’s too late.
I've never really noticed it, but this is true too. Go to a party and nibble on snacks for an hour standing up, and you don't feel like you've had dinner. But if you actually fill your plate and sit down, your brain thinks, "OK - here's my meal. I'll be finished after this."
So there they are, girls (you're all girls, right? Do guys read this blog? Doubt it). What do you think of these? And, do you like reading these kinds of posts, or would you rather I stick with the home decor/fashion/DIY/recipe thing? Your comments are appreciated (as always)!!
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Don't take that to mean that I won't drop a LITTLE cash on random trendy things. I most certainly will, within reason. I just try to be judicious about them. Here's what I'd put on my Outfit Makeover list for spring to replace the ones that, in my opinion, InStyle missed:
1. Something peach
3. A colorful cocktail ring
4. Tie Dye
5. One-shoulder tops and dresses
6. Strappy platform wedges
Here are some more options from each category to get you going:
Thoughts? What are you going to incorporate into your spring wardrobe? Leave a comment and let me know!
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
"I've shared this blog with several peeps! I like what you have going on here- I just wish I could hire you to organize my life!"
I used random.org to generate a winner based on the order of comments (and the second and third comments by Melissa counted as one, since there was only one entry per person), so Claire, send me your address (to katy.c.harper of the gmail variety) and I'll get your snazzy apron to you!
You may remember several weeks back when I told you I was Gonna Get my Sew On at The Smocking Bird. Well, it's four weeks later, class is complete, and I wound up making a really cute little seer sucker romper for my friend Sarah's son Will. It took patience, which many of you know I lack, but it's so rewarding to see something go from a bunch of fabric to a wearable piece.
I was aprehensive about handling my sewing machine, since I literally knew NOTHING about how to use it. But Kay, our teacher, taught me everything I needed to know, including how to thread the darn thing. We learned to read a pattern, and I even mastered making a buttonhole. Eventually.
For your consideration:
If you live in the Birmingham area and have even a moderate desire to learn to sew, call The Smocking Bird. The Beginning Sewing class was only $60 (plus supplies) for four sessions, and I learned a LOT. And if you're not in the Birmingham area, consider finding a sewing shop and taking some lessons.