So, I’m a little nervous about posting this. Maybe more nervous than I’ve ever been about posting something, but I think it’s important and I want to say it, so here goes…
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A couple of months ago I wrote about my summer beauty must-haves. If you recall, I was love/hating Benefit’s They’re Real mascara. Well, it finally came time to retire that stuff (according to Good Housekeeping, opened mascara has about a three-month shelf life) and I knew I wasn’t going to buy it again. Rather than just going back to my usual Lancôme Hypnose though, I decided to throw it way back and buy my high school favorite, Diorshow. I first used it when I was seventeen and ladies and gents, I think I just fell back in love. I may never return to my Hypnose again. Diorshow has won countless awards from beauty mags with good reason. Its buildable formula and gigantic brush make for lush, dramatic lashes that perfectly complete any eye makeup look. Weird bonus: it’s lightly perfumed, so it smells nice when you open it and put it on! Hooray!
Last Thursday I had my wisdom teeth removed. It was not a super pleasant experience and I can be a little bit of a whiner, so as a thank-you to my lovely parents and brother, who have been incredibly kind and shockingly patient with me for the past week, I decided to make a little surprise feast for dinner the other night. Feeling inspired by the new (and evidently fleeting?) fall weather, I wanted to serve up comforting and autumnal flavors for their enjoyment. We had a[n absurdly huge] meal consisting of baked brie with fig jam and apples, spaghetti squash “mac and cheese”, pork chops with peaches and bourbon sauce, a sautéed kale concoction, and pumpkin spice cake for dessert. Hungry yet?
So, if you know me in real life, you know that my mom and I own a couple of stores together. One of them is a kitchen and gourmet shop called The Fig Tree, which has been opened for just over two months (!) and the other is a women’s boutique called Vignettes, which we opened in November of 2007. We recently moved to a bigger, much nicer location down the street from our old store, and we’ve been having a fantastic time decorating our new space and making it feel like home. One of the elements we get compliments on ALL THE TIME is our earring display:
We have two of them hanging in the store and they were a simple DIY project that we completed in one afternoon. (Full disclosure: we had a little help from our contractor when we made them, but the process is really simple and easy to re-create.) Read on for the step-by-step instructions! Continue reading
“Food is my favorite part of the day.”
I don’t think anyone has ever more accurately captured my feelings about food as Jennifer Lawrence did in those eight words. Maybe it was growing up in the restaurant business, maybe it was all that time spent leafing through my mother’s impressive cookbook collection, maybe it’s just that food is excellent. I love to cook and try new things in the kitchen, but sometimes I just want a quick and easy snack that is also delicious. Enter: trail mix. No fancy tools required, just a bowl and whatever munchies you have on hand. Although I’ve never really met a trail mix I didn’t love, I do have a go-to recipe and it is this:
I don’t know about you, but I love sangria. I don’t think there is a more perfect summer drink. It’s light and fruity and just what I want to drink with a nice big salad or grilled seasonal veggies and it’s great to take along to a BBQ or dinner party instead of the standard bottle of wine or six-pack of beer. My go-to recipe uses pinot noir and it’s pretty simple, but the best thing about sangria is that you can easily change up one or two elements and have a completely different drink every time. Tonight I thought I’d whip up a pitcher of white sangria as a little treat. I stuck with the lemon/lime/orange combo that’s pretty standard for most sangrias, but swapped out my pinot noir for some pinot grigio and threw in some different fruit. It’s pretty darn good if I do say so myself, and it was super easy to make- including chilling time, it was about 25 minutes from slicing to sipping. I usually use strawberries in my red sangria, but the crisp pinot grigio pairs really well with some tart Granny Smith apples and sweet peaches.
Read on for the super simple recipe. Continue reading
Oh, summer… That magical time of hot, hot weather and undeniable laziness. I don’t know about you, but as soon as the mercury starts to rise, I start to lose interest in fussy, dramatic makeup. Instead, I shoot for an easy, natural look that doesn’t take an hour to apply (bonus points if I don’t have to use a brush!). Of course I have a few old standbys that get me through every summer, but I’ve also recently tried a few new things that I think will become mainstays in my cosmetics routine. Here’s the quick and dirty rundown on the war paint I’m loving (or mostly loving) right now:
So the other day, I was cruising around the Quad Cities (read: driving home to my parents’ house) and drove past a little plaza I’ve passed many times. This time, however, I noticed a big sign for a new business called Barre563. As it turns out, it’s a BarreAmped studio. Now, I am no stranger to exercise. Although historically we’ve had our issues, and our relationship is far from perfect now, exercise and I get along just fine. In the past I’ve practiced hot yoga, lifted weights, and taken any number of fitness classes, and lately I’ve been (slowly) getting into running. If you are a Runner, capital R, you might enjoy getting up early to lace up your sneakers, or maybe relaxing runs through a cool evening breeze are more your speed. Spoiler alert: I am not a Runner, capital R. I’m clumsy. I’m slow. I get bored. I view running as something I should do, something I will be glad I’ve done once I’ve finished, and something I don’t necessarily look forward to doing regularly. As you’ve probably guessed, I don’t run every day. I don’t even run every other day. In the interest of health, however, I think it’s a good idea to exercise for a while on purpose five or six times every week. In light of this good idea, I’m always on the lookout for fun new workouts to try. Anyway, a while ago, I heard about barre workouts, a type of fusion workout that uses a ballet barre and incorporates Pilates, ballet, body weight/strength exercises, and stretching into one class. I thought this sounded interesting, quickly learned that there were no barre workout studios near me in Iowa, and forgot all about it. Until I passed Barre563.
Remember yesterday when I said I was going to do some alterations on a couple of dresses? Well, as it turns out, my fourth grade sewing lessons did not adequately prepare me to take in dresses, so the ones I was thinking about will have to wait to go to a proper tailor. Luckily though, I’m mighty good at hemming things! I had a couple of dresses that were cute in theory, but were dowdy lengths and/or had questionable details (think “superlong sash that could only be tied into a precious bow”). Luckily, these were easy enough fixes. Of course I forgot to take “befores” but, here’s the after of a denim dress that has been sitting in my closet unworn for three years (no joke.)
Ta-da! Anyway, if you happen to have a dress or two that need hemming, I have a couple of tips for you: