Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunday Morning Poetry

The Man in the Moon

He used to frighten me in the nights 
of childhood,
the wide adult face, enormous, stern, aloft
I could not imagine such loneliness, such coldness
But tonight as I drive home over 
these hilly roads 
I see him sinking behind stands of winter trees
And rising again to show his familiar face 
And when he comes into full view 
over open fields
he looks like a young man who has fallen in love
with the dark earth
a pale bachelor, well-groomed and 
full of melancholy
his round mouth open
as if he had just broken into song.

Billy Collins

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Blogger Swap Bonus Day: Red Dress, Pt. 2

dress: Kinsey's, tee: Kohls; necklace: gift; belt: kohls; sandals: target

Okay, okay, I know-- I said I wasn't going to be back until Monday to finish off my swap with Kinsey, but I couldn't help it! I will be posting one final outfit with one, gorgeous, yet-unworn piece for you all early next week. BUT. I'm kind of in love with this dress and I couldn't resist giving it one more wear before I have to send it back to Kinsey.

Maybe it's because until recently, I haven't been brave enough to rock a strapless dress, or maybe it's just its cute little bubble hem and gorgeous candy apple red-- but I adore it! I've seen other fabulous bloggers rock the tee-under-a-dress look before (Chelsea comes to mind, but I know there are others!) and I knew right away I wanted to try it here. 

Verdict = WIN. I am totally on the hunt for a similar style that can live permanently in my closet after this one is gone-- fingers crossed that I'll get lucky in the end-of-summer sales! Until then, I've totally got tee-under-dress fever and can't wait to try it out with some dresses of my own :)

Check out the ways Kinsey has styled some of my pieces this past week!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Blogger Swap: Kinsey's Skinny Cargos!

It's Day Four of my closet swap with Kinsey, and I swear, each thing she sent me is cuter & more fabulous than the last. Which is saying something, considering I am completely and totally 100% enamored with her red bubble dress. But I digress. 

I was a little concerned at first about the awesome skinny cargos since the humidity levels have been nothing short of Amazonian lately, but they're so lightweight and comfy, the extra fabric barely made a difference. 

One of the hardest things about doing a swap is feeling the pressure to style each piece perfectly as they only get one shot to be styled with my closet. For example-- these pants would have been gorgeous with some of my highest heels and a structured blazer, but alas-- my day job is as a nanny, and I have to dress for the occasion. Even at that, though, it's been so fun to take some pieces and make them work for days at the zoo and trips to the library with my nannying kids. 

Make sure to come back on Monday to see my final swap day with Kinsey, and check out how she's been styling my pieces on her blog!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Blogger Swap: Kinsey's Leopard Flats!

Confession: I have been a bit neglectful of my lovely shoe collection this summer. I get tied up in wearing the same pair of strappy flat black sandals all the ding dong summer, and then fall rolls around and I finally reacquaint myself with my giant shoe collection in the one month I have before the snow falls. Oops.

dress: Kohls, Summer 11; leggings: Target, spring 11; flats: Kinsey's

So that's why I was kind of beyond excited when I found out that Kinsey & I shared the same shoe size-- because I have kind of large feet for a relatively short girl. But that's beside the point. The point is: I desperately needed a wake-up call from my over-worked sandals. 

Do you guys see how cute these flats are? Do you see it? Because I mean, seriously.

And the best part? Is that in my book, animal print is a neutral. Which means I get to wear it with whatever I want! Wahoo!

Also, before I forget: this dress. It's my new favorite thing. I have a feeling it's going into the closet VIP ranks alongside my chambray skirt & my magic cardigan. Red. Stripes. Pockets. Buttons. For the win.

Check out how Kinsey's styling some of my pieces on her blog!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Blogger Swap: Kinsey's Yellow Top

I have to admit: I was a bit stumped on this one. The second I saw this highlighter yellow top in my box o' swap clothes from Kinsey, I knew I wanted to wear it. It's a gorgeous color and has awesome scallop detailing on the sleeves, but I don't have a single. yellow. thing. in my closet. And thus, I get a little gun-shy when trying to style something in a color or style that doesn't usually find itself in my wardrobe. 

I tried it with a few different combinations, but nothing seemed very me. How do I remedy that? By pairing it with a few of my favorite things, of course!

-Chambray skirt (that I quite possibly wear more than anything else in my closet?) Check.
- Sky-high brown platform sandals? Check.
-Awesome new scarf I scored from the thrift shop for $0.49? Check and check.

Voila! It was like magic. Suddenly this gorgeous top that completely baffled me had fit seamlessly into an outfit that I would wear any day of the week. This swap with Kinsey is my first participation in a clothing swap, and it's really gotten me thinking. Even the pieces that I will usually pass by in the store for fear they won't 'mesh' with my current wardrobe have great potential in my daily wear.

I certainly didn't expect to get all sartorially philosophical (putting my GRE words to good use, apparently.) as a result of this swap, but it's given me new eyes towards how I shop and how I should be shopping in the future. Perhaps one of the reasons I've been so bored with my closet lately is because I've put so many rules and parameters on what I wear vs. what I do not wear that some of the fun has gone out of getting dressed. I'm already starting to feel more excited about the possibilities that the basics in my own closet have for wear in the future. And quite frankly, I'm ready to go thrifting and see what great pieces I can find that I would have passed by with my old mindset!

My awesome new scarf-- patterned with old coins!

Do you ever get stuck in the definition you've set for your style? I'm realizing more and more lately how much I've let those rules confine me!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Blogger Swap: Kinsey's Red Dress

It's been no surprise that lately, I've been a bit bummed with my closet. So I was absolutely ecstatic when the fabulous Kinsey of In Kinsey's Closet announced that she was looking for bloggers to swap with for a week! She'll be styling a few of my favorite pieces and in return, she's sent me some absolutely gorgeous pieces of hers to style with my clothes this week! 

I literally squealed with excitement when I opened the box. Kinsey has incredible taste, and I can tell this is going to be one excellent swap. First up: Kinsey's red bubble hem dress! 

Let me tell you a little something-- I never, ever wear strapless dresses. Ever. I have it stuck in my mind that I absolutely cannot because I'm a bit-- ahem, blessed-- in the chest department. Getting to try on Kinsey's dress was the absolute perfect way for me to realize that I've been dressing based on a silly made-up rule for far too long. 

Maybe it was Kinsey's recent blue dress + yellow belt combo floating around in the back of my head, but I immediately grabbed my yellow belt + yellow flats and was super pleased with the way it all worked together. 

Kinsey sent me plenty of other goodies to wear this week, but I have so many ideas for styling this dress that it may have to make a repeat appearance at least once more during our swap week. Stay posted, there's much more to come!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Want another way to follow my blog?

A case of the floopies.

I'm sick. Blerggggg.

Tee: F21, Summer 10; Skirt: NY&Co, old; Flats: Target, Winter 11

Isn't that the worst, getting sick in the summertime? It could be way worse, but the last thing I want while I'm trying to pack in as much warm-weather-good-times as possible is a drippy nose and watery eyes. 
Usually, when I get sick, I go one of two ways: dead inside, or floopy. Guess which one was the mood du jour?

...yeaah. Floopy. 

I danced around my house all day like a happy hazy wreck, only 50% aware of what I was saying, thinking, and doing. I may or may not have picked up an entire two liter bottle of Sprite and watched helplessly as it slipped out of my fingers, cap flying helter-skelkter into the wind, and bounced around on my kitchen floor, making everything in foamy-spraying-distance smell vaguely of lemon-lime.

And then I slipped and slid gleefully around in my socks as I tried to mop up one very, very sticky mess. Whoops. It was pretty funny, though. 

And then, zicam in hand, I may or may not (emphasis on the may) have crashed in one be-sock-ed, sprite-y pile on my bed while I slipped in and out of conciousness in front of old episodes of Scrubs streaming on Netflix. 

Honestly, if I'm going to be sick anyways? Floopy is more fun :)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday Morning Poetry

Variations on the Word Love

This is a word we use to plug
holes with. It's the right size for those warm
blanks in speech, for those red heart-
shaped vacancies on the page that look nothing
like real hearts. Add lace
and you can sell
it. We insert it also in the one empty
space on the printed form
that comes with no instructions. There are whole
magazines with not much in them
but the word love, you can
rub it all over your body and you
can cook with it too. How do we know
it isn't what goes on at the cool
debaucheries of slugs under damp
pieces of cardboard? As for the weed-
seedlings nosing their tough snouts up
among the lettuces, they shout it.
LoveLove! sing the soldiers, raising
their glittering knives in salute.
Then there's the two
of us. This word
is far too short for us, it has only
four letters, too sparse
to fill those deep bare
vacuums between the stars
that press on us with their deafness.
It's not love we don't wish
to fall into, but that fear.
this word is not enough but it will
have to do. It's a single
vowel in this metallic
silence, a mouth that says
O again and again in wonder
and pain, a breath, a finger
grip on a cliffside. You can
hold on or let go.

Margaret Atwood

Thursday, July 21, 2011

2/23: homemade ravioli!

I'm happy to report that I'm barely one month into my 23 things before I turn 23 list and I've already checked a few things off of my list! I had the kitchen to myself the other night, and I've been dying to learn how to make homemade pasta, so I did a little googling & found a pretty simple, yummy recipe for homemade ravioli. It was pretty simple + super tasty, and I can now proudly say that I can make pasta from scratch! (Not that it's going to be a common occurrence. But still.)

Homemade garlic goat cheese ravioli (aka delicious.) 

1. Grab your ingredients-- 3/4 c. flour, pinch of salt (I used kosher), and 1 egg. See? Easy already. 

2. Dump your flour on your counter or cutting board (I used a thin plastic cutting board.) Make a nice little volcano in the top, deep enough to touch the bottom of the mat/board.

3. Crack your egg into said volcano. Do not-- I repeat, DO NOT-- make your volcano too small. Then your egg will spill over and make a colossal mess and then you have to start all over. Not that I'm speaking from experience, or anything...

4. This part is not photographed because it got a bit, err, messy. Basically, start pulling bits of flour into your egg-cano from the sides and begin to mix using your thumb + forefinger. It will kind of look scrambled-eggy, just keep going until it's well mixed, and knead it a few times to get it all evened out.

5. Pop it in a bowl covered with a wet paper towel for about 45 mins-1 hr so the dough/gluten can relax a bit. 

6. Meanwhile, back at the ranch: make your filling! You can put in whatever you darn well please, but I made a mix of: ricotta cheese, goat cheese, oregano, garlic, salt + peppa, and a splash of olive oil.

Mix. Try to make it look more photogenic. Fail at said task. Don't let it bother you, because even if it's ugly, it's going to be delish. 

7. Next, roll out your dough. If you're a classy, upstanding citizen, you'll have a rolling pin. If you're a grad student on a budget and can't be bothered with such ridiculous household tools, just use a bottle of vino. 

8. When your dough is rolled suuuuper thin (I'm talking wafer-like here, friends), cut into two identical rectangles, dollop three bits of filling onto one dough slice, and cover with the other. Seal around the edges super tight, cut into three large ravioli, and set aside. 

9. Boil water. Cook ravioli. Voila! (but in case you need more detail-- they're about done when they've turned golden-y yellow. Basically, use your best judgement and you'll be okay :)) 

10. Top with olive oil + parmesan cheese, and gobble up as fast as you can. Mmmm. delish :)

Have you made homemade pasta before? Any recipes to share? I'd love to venture beyond ravioli and give something else a try! Also, stay tuned for more 23 things coming up soon!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

it's too. darn. hot.

As much as I don't want to be that girl who complains about the weather... 

I can't help it. It's hot. Reeeeally hot. I think I've finally accepted how un-style-blogger-y I get in the summer and made my peace with it. 

Okay, phew. Whining = out of my system. 

tee: ON, spring 11; skirt: gap, summer 10; sandals: target, summer 10

On a completely unrelated note: I am kind of bored with my closet. I know, I know, cry me a river. But still. I'm been itching for a good sale-rack-hunting/thrifting trip lately, and it's kind of getting to the point where it's not even an option anymore-- I have to do something before I go crazy with a box of rit dye and turn all my clothes bright pink (at least it would be something new?) As far as my shopping habits go, I have it down to a slightly strange science. I tend to go once or twice a season and stock up on a few essentials and a trendy piece or two, and then the rest of the year piece-shop as needed or make a thrifting trip. I've been feeling more than ever lately that it's time to do a good closet clean out and in return bring some new, inspiring pieces back into my wardrobe.

I'm super curious: what do you do when you get bored of your closet? Shop, remix, etc? What's your secret?

Monday, July 18, 2011

DIY Rope Bracelet: pay it forward!

Early in the year, I signed up to participate in the blogger Pay it Forward project, where you craft for other bloggers, and in turn, they must craft for five other bloggers, etc, etc. It took me forever to finally get around for finishing my projects for my lovely craftees, but I finally got them finished + sent a few weeks ago, and now that they've all received their gifts, I can finally share with you all what I made for them!

I saw these rope bracelets on Honestly WTF a few months ago, and I knew right away that they would be the perfect thing to make for my lovely craftees. I made them in three colors with some accessory cord found at my local climbing supply store, and voila! They were super easy (and slightly addicting) to make, and I was so happy about how they turned out! Also, I may or may not be wearing them practically every day. Methinks I need to get more colors than just orange, green, and ble?

Anyways! Check out Bailey, Fi, and Tabitha's photos of their rope bracelets on their blogs, and Kimberly and Ariana, if you have photos of how you've worn your bracelets, let me know! 

How would you wear a rope bracelet? Keep your eyes peeled in the next few weeks-- these may or may not be part of a super-cool giveaway :)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sunday Morning Poetry

Can You Imagine?

For example, what the trees do
not only in lightning storms
or the watery dark of a summer's night
or under the white nets of winter
but now, and now, and now - whenever
we're not looking. Surely you can't imagine
they don't dance, from the root up, wishing
to travel a little, not cramped so much as wanting
a better view, or more sun, or just as avidly
more shade - surely you can't imagine they just
stand there loving every
minute of it, the birds or the emptiness, the dark rings
of the years slowly and without a sound
thickening, and nothing different unless the wind,
and then only in its own mood, comes
to visit, surely you can't imagine
patience, and happiness, like that.

Mary Oliver

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friendship bracelet swap!

Chasing Davies

I'm participating in the friendship bracelet swap at Chasing Davies! Are you?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Guest post at PB + Jenny!

A few months ago (during my Undergrad Fab days, of course) I had written a guest post about my magic cardigan (you know the one ;)) for one of my favorite non-style bloggers, Jenny of PB + Jenny. And then I went and promptly forgot about it for oh, three months? So imagine my surprise today when I saw it posted on her lovely blog this evening!

Go check it out if you'd like to see all the ways I'm slightly obsessed with my fave cardigan (plus some never featured on le blog!) and take a peek around her fabulous blog.

If you're a new reader who found me via Jenny, welcome! I just moved to this blog this week, so things are still in transition, but welcome to my little corner of the internet and I hope you'll stick around :) 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

the summer doldrums.

Okay, so. Confession time. I've been wearing the same basic combos of tee + skirt/ tee + shorts/ dress + sandals for this entire summer. And I've been able to make it seem like I haven't been because, well, I haven't posted an outfit photo in approximately eleventy three years. Oops.

I feel so blah about summer dressing sometimes. Is anyone with me? I get that way in winter as well, of course. When I'm too restricted by weathery parameters, I get a little boring in the clothing department. So with that said, I'm trying to make a conscious effort to be less of a bummer when it comes to facing my closet. 

Step one: stop whining about it. Okay, done. :)
Step two: remember you're trying to save money, so you talk yourself out of going shopping. Blerg, done.
Step three: accessorize with fabulous jewelry. Done and done. 

I won this fantastic magpie necklace in my internet twin Bailey's giveaway a few weeks ago, and I've pretty much been wearing it with my boring ole' clothes since the day it arrived in my mailbox. Aand I'm a giant slacker and haven't told you about it until now. Bailey's been one of my favorite bloggers for a long time (and we just happen to be remarkably similar in every way, hence: internet twins.) and she recently opened up a gorgey Etsy shop filled with fabulous goodies like this necklace + tons of super cute other handmade jewelry. If you're in a boring summer clothing rut like moi, I highly recommend you check it out :)

Honestly, I think what it comes down to is that I always forget that effortless summer dressing does not come without effort, after all. Just because it's hot outside doesn't mean that I can stop planning and coordinating my outfits and expect them to come together in the blink of an eye. And just because I want to wear the same long flowy sundress all summer and hire a personal fan-waver to follow me everywhere I go doesn't mean I can.

A girl can dream, though, right? 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

10-minute DIY fabric headbands!

Last night around 10:30, I got the insatiable urge to craft. These headbands, in particular. I saw them on pinterest a few weeks ago, and couldn't get them out of my head. I'm, uh, kind of obsessed with headbands. I have more than I could ever wear in my entire life, and yet I continue to buy them, and make them, and grow them on a tree in my backyard. (kidding. mostly.) 

Anyways, I digress. Although I thought it was a bit late for crafting, I grabbed my trusty hot glue gun, some fabric scraps, and a few boring, ugly headbands. In literally TEN minutes (not kidding, because I was definitely snuggled up in my bed in my PJs twenty minutes later. Just call me grandma.) I had one fabulously easy, super-cute fabric-wrapped headband.

The website linked above gives a pretty great tutorial, but basically what I did was this: cut a long, thin fabric strip (mine was cotton, but I think any fabric would work) about 4x the length of the headband, and alternate putting a few inches of glue on the headband & wrapping, glue & wrap, and so on and so forth. Once that was finished, I braided a fabric strip about 1in. longer than my headband, and knotted the ends as flatly as I could. Glued it on, and voila! 

In action:

Seriously, I wouldn't be surprised if all of my boring, basic headbands got the braided fabric treatment this week. SO easy and so cute-- good thing I have enough headbands to DIY for an army :)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Welcome! (1/23)

image credit
Hello lovelies! I am SO excited to welcome you to my brand-spankin'-new little corner of the internet, babble + bloom. Over the past few months, you've heard me chat about the changes that I had planned to make in terms of my blog, Undergrad Fab. I have absolutely adored writing my blog for the past two & a half years, but when I graduated from college, I knew both my blog and myself had outgrown it, and it was time for me to make a change.

I knew from the very moment I started Undergrad Fab that someday it wouldn't be relevant for me anymore (note to future bloggers: do not title your blog with a time-sensitive name ;)) It took me months upon months to decide what to do. Ultimately, I realized this: I love to blog. I love what this blog has meant for my personal growth. I love (love, love, LOVE) the people I've met during my years of blogging, and I wasn't ready to give it all up. Thus, babble + bloom was born, as a permanent home for my writing and myself. A bloggy home that will fit me in whichever way I continue to grow (and bloom :)) in the future.

So here, I plan to do just what I've been doing for the past few years at Undergrad Fab. I'll still be posting outfits (you can take the style blog out of the girl, but you can't take the girl out of the style blog!), Sunday Morning Poetry, recipes, book + music reviews, just like I did before, with even more fun stuff than before. This isn't a 'brand-new-start-all-over' kind of change for me, but rather, it's a chance to grow. To let my blog be bigger, sweeter, happier, more colorful, more me :) 

So I hope you'll join me here, and we can start this new chapter together. 
I can tell already I'm in for one sweeeet ride :)

Of course, things here are still in progress. Right now, I'm working on my FAQ page, and I need your help! Ask me a question (about the blog, personal, silly, whatever!) below and I'll answer it here