Monday, February 28, 2011
I also created a new Facebook page just for the blog! You can "like" me on Facebook and get all kinds of updates on everything you like reading here. You can follow me on Twitter too and get tweets about what I'm working on.
I'm liking the changes, but I want to hear what you think! So drop me a line and let me know. Also, it would be great if you'd pass me along to some of your friends! So please share articles you like, suggest they like me on Facebook, or buy a billboard with my web link in your town - whatever tickles your fancy.
Friday, February 25, 2011
But one area where I absolutely don’t scrimp is on handbags. Don’t get me wrong – I used to have a closet full of purses in every size, shape, color and material. But you know what? The cheap ones would break or tear. We carry a lot of stuff in there (remember this?), so a bag has to hold up. And that’s why good quality bags cost so much more – they hold up. So I’ve gotten rid of all the crap, and now have a small but mighty group of classic bags I’ll have for years to come:
From left: I don't wear brown very often, but this Michael Kors bag is more "neutral" than "brown," so I can wear it with black too. The black Longchamp bag is great because it's nylon, so it weighs nothing, but still has great stitching and is really sturdy. Kate Spade made my use-85%-of-the-time bag - it's black pebbled leather in a timeless shape, and the hardware is somewhere between silver and gold, so it goes with everything. Plus, the inside has tons of pockets and is Kelly green. The patent Dooney was a Christmas gift from my mother-in-law, and can be dressed up or down while still being timeless.
Now, I’m NOT advocating spending $4,000 on a Birkin. In fact, if you stalk your local TJ Maxx, you can find great deals on some really nice bags (the Michael Kors bag above used to live at TJ Maxx before I brought it home with me for $150). Here’s a sampling of some timeless bags to invest in, whether you go for the gold and plunk down $500 at Saks or find something a little less expensive but still well-made and not trendy:
Top, from left:
This Tory Burch quilted leather bag (whose link refuses to work with the HTML on my site, so you're going to have to just go to the Saks site and find it) is a great neutral shade that would work with brown or black.
This Marc by Marc Jacobs bag is a great shap, and has a nice belted detail.
Tory Burch makes a quilted nylon bag that's classic and light.
Bottom, from left:
Even though this DKNY bag has lots going on, it's still a classic look with a little more flair.
The stitching on this Donatella Lucci bag is beautiful, but won't go out of style.
The, in my opinion, perfect pebbled leather, use-it-every-day, black tote from DKNY.
Are you convinced? So before you but on your shopping shoes (or pull up your favorite shopping sites), here are a few things to look for in a stylish bag you'll have forever:
- Try to resist the urge to buy a bag with the designer's name all over it. You don't need it to say "Coach! Coach! Coach!" or to have "MICHAEL KORS" in 76 point type. Think understated.
- Even though green's your favorite color, stay neutral. Ten years from now, you'll be happy you did.
- Invest in leather for your main bag. It won't snag like cloth will. A secondary bag in nylon is also good to have for travel, since it's light.
- Minimal is better. Try to stay away from lots of zippers, grommets, tassles or, God forbid, rhinestones. If you don't want such a plain purse, tie a scarf around the handle to give it some personality (see above). You can change it as often as you change your outfit.
- Look at your wardrobe. If you wear black more often than brown, black should be your go-to bag.
- BONUS CLOSET TIP: Stuff handbags that you're not using with tissue paper or bubble wrap and keep them on a shelf in your closet so they'll keep their shape.
Next week, I'll tackle the rest of your closet - I'm starting a wardrobe from scratch for my friend Krislyn, balancing the nice things you should spend good money on (i.e. - her fancy lawyer suits) with the trends to make you look non-boring. All on a budget! Happy weekend everybody. Tune in next week, and send me to your friends too!
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Ingredients for half a pitcher (double if you have lots of friends or are really thirsty):
2 cups white rum
4 cups club soda
½ cup sugar
A bunch of mint
14 strawberries with the stems cut off
4 limes, halved
OK – mojito recipes tell you to muddle the mint, lime pieces and strawberries together in a glass or pitcher. But I’m here to tell you that A) that’s hard to do, B) if you’re using a glass pitcher, you’re going to break it if you do it too hard, and C) requires a bar tool that I didn’t have. And no, a wooden spoon isn’t the same, and Trusty Husband would have been mad if I’d used the handle of his hammer like I considered doing.
Food processor to the rescue.
I threw the rum, sugar, mint and strawberries into the food processor, squeezed the limes in there and put 4 of the halves in, and pulsed it about five times just to break everything up and get the flavors into the rum. It’s totally fine to have the lime peel in there – the bitters give the mojito part of its signature taste. I poured that mixture into the pitcher THEN added the club soda so I didn’t have a huge bubbly mess on my hands. Add ice, and drink up!
VARIATION: If you’re watching your calories while still imbibing (which we all know is easy to do and always turns out well), you can substitute Diet Sprite or Diet 7-Up for the club soda and sugar. I’d take out a lime too, so it won’t be so limey.
VARIATION 2: You can substitute Bacardi Dragon Fruit rum for the regular white rum – it gives it a different little fruity kick.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Big enough for a load of clothes, and has handles!
Collapses into this little toot when you're not using it!
Stacks neatly in a cabinet and comes in many colors!
You can buy these at Walmart for about $3 each. And seriously - they're great. I don't know if everyone else knows about these, but I love them and wanted to share.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
I've also read that avocado is good for your hair because of all the "good" fat in it. So, how 'bout a mixture?
Get some olive oil and a too-ripe-to-eat avocado (it'll be super smooshy) at the grocery store.*
Scoop out all the avocado and put it in a microwave-safe bowl with approximately 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Smash it with a fork until it's pastey. Resist the urge to locate the nearest bag of tortilla chips and dig in.
Microwave the mixture for about 20 seconds. Work the mixture into your hair, starting at the roots. Do this in the kitchen over the sink, or you'll have a real bathroom mess on your hands.
Tell your husband/boyfriend/significant other to TRY to resist you while you look like this.
Cover your hair with a shower cap, or, if you're like me and put the mixture on before you realize you don't have a shower cap, fashion one out of a grocery bag and a headband:
I can't believe I put this on the Internet.
Let the mixture stay on there for at least an hour. I left mine on for two, until I got hot ironing and guacamole started running into my eyes. Wash your hair (I had to shampoo twice). Mine felt NOTICEABLY softer and silkier!
*Sidenote: When I was making my way to the avocados at my local Publix, I actually saw a woman put two of them in her pockets and head for the door. I found this odd because A) avocados are like a dollar, B) if you're in a situation where you can't afford food and have to resort to stealing, are avocados really going to be your go-to booty? C) From what I could tell, she didn't even squeeze them to see how firm they were. For all she knew, she could be stealing inedible avocados, and no one wants that.
Monday, February 21, 2011
The living room presented a bit of a challenge at first, because it's long and narrow. It's completley open to the dining room and kitchen, which is what I wanted. When they say "people congregate in the kitchen," they mean it.
These rooms are a mix of new items, antiques, Ikea stuff, TJ Maxx stuff, random finds, family hand-me-downs and so forth. I like it, because it feels collected - which it is. I hate it when rooms feel like you walked into a Rooms To Go and shouted, "I'll take it all!"
So here she is. I'm standing against the wall while I'm taking this pictures, so you can tell how narrow it is. Trusty Husband and I got new furniture for this room, since the furniture we both had before wouldn't fit. Since the space is so narrow, I had to go with a glass coffee table (from Overstock) so it wouldn't visually take up much space. The Oriental rug was my mom's, and I love the teals and rusty oranges in it. Throw pillows are from World Market, Pier 1, TJ Maxx - I love combining colors and patterns - that Ikat pillow is my fave. Our couch came from Haverty's, and the leather chairs are World Market. My mom gave me the framed palm prints a few years ago, and they're one of my favorite things I own.
This shot is looking from the front of the house into the dining room and kitchen. I love the open floor plan. The mirror to the left was something I searched EVERYWHERE for. I wanted a sunburst mirror, and believe it or not, it's hard to find a big one that's not a skillion dollars. Luckily, Macy's had one left, and the wedding present store credit I had made it a steal. The two little rattan cubes under it serve as extra seating and provide a little storage. And I found them at Walmart for only $29 each! Our silver chest sits next to them. It was a wedding gift, and I found that little table at Stein Mart randomly one day - the chest fits perfectly on top.
You've gotta have a TV. Usually I hate those TV holes that every builder seems hell-bent on putting in new houses, but there's not space for a TV armoire in here, so it works. You see the surveyor's lamp I searched high and low for on the left, and my collection of small globes on the mantle. I found the candle sconces at Hobby Lobby when they were half off, and they look built it. Of course, getting up there to light the candles is practically impossible.
Trusty Husband put these Ikea bookcases together. We decided to get two wide ones and one narrow one so they would look a little more built in. The lights along the top give them a museum-y vibe, highlighting the Doss "library."
Here you can see the dining room table I found several years ago at the Salvation Army and refinished. I recovered the seats here, and I like how the pattern looks with the pattern in the rug. Fake lemons give the table a little color, but don't block off the rest of the room with much height. Our little bar is to the left, with Trusty Husband's Game Day Juice.
Here's the dining room. I had always wanted a dining room table with two upholstered chairs on the ends, and stumbled upon these babies at TJ Maxx one day. My stepmom found the china cabinet at an antique mall in Montgomery, and Trusty Husband used a day off work to go get it. It fits perfectly in the space between the windows.
There's not much to show in the kitchen, but I like that I have plenty of counter space to make all kinds of messes. The cabinets have an antique finish on them that looks really nice.
Yes, we hung a Sonic Youth framed poster in our living room over the bar, because if you can't have a sense of humor at home, where can you?
Here's a close up of the mirror. I love the little flowers on the antique parts.
The globes. Pretty to look at, not meant for geography.
This is a real piece of coral my mom gave me, and I really love it. The birds came from a great store in Birmingham called Yucatan, where they import all kinds of cool things from Mexico.
So, there you have it. Trusty Husband and I were so fortunate to be able to sell both of our houses as quickly as we did, so we could get settled here. We managed to stick to a pretty tight budget and still have a house we love coming home to. What do you think?
The house was built by Tim Yates in Auburn, who is a fantastic guy and pays a lot of attention to detail. And I must give a shout-out to my good friend and our Realtor Blake Cleveland, who sold it to us.
As soon as I put the finishing touches everywhere else, I'll share those too. Thanks for walking through my living room with me!
Friday, February 18, 2011
I like natural and red, both $44:
These Rocket Dog's from DSW are a little different, and the price is right at $29:
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
All you have to do is frame a pretty piece of paper or fabric. Easy peasy.
Find a picture frame you like that's big enough for notes (I used an 8 x 10). Then go here:
Just cut the paper the size you need. I got a couple of pieces and put all of them in the frame, so they're there when I want to change things up.
Voila! Pretty, huh? Now grab your dry erase marker and get to work. Trusty Husband suggested I illustrate the message board with the "Businessman's Special" from the Andy Griffith show:
One last tip: if you're making your grocery list on here, just take a picture of it with your camera phone before you leave the house, and you'll have your list right there with you at the store!
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
You'd think this would be an easy task. You'd be wrong.
I searched at tons of places - World Market, Ashley, Target, Z Gallerie, Macy's, TJ Maxx, Pier 1, Anthropologie - but no one had anything that would work. Everything was either too close to the floor, too narrow or far too expensive. But in a last effort at my second HomeGoods, I found these:
Two tables wide and tall enough for the vents, with a cool shape, for only $39.99 each. But oh - one was black and one was white, and no ma'am, everything we have is on the floor and going in the back to look for another table just like one of these won't do any good. Hmph. Hello, paint.
Monday, February 14, 2011
Sydney to Go by Sydney Love, and it was on sale from $30 to $6.99! I was so excited to bring it home and organize all my war paint and then tell my readers about it.
HOWEVER, it apparently exists only at the PGA store (random) at the Tulsa International Airport, because I can't find this damn thing anywhere online. But it's so good, that I wanted to give you something comparable:
This cosmetics case from Luggege Showroom seems to be the same size and have similar pockets inside. It's more, at $47, but still a pretty good bargain.
I use my makeup bag everyday - I keep it loaded with all my makeup, as well as toiletries, so I never have to pack my bathroom stuff for an overnight trip. I just grab it and go. It saves a ton of time and embarrassment when you don't accidentally forget your deodorant.
Who's got a great makeup bag they want to tell me about?