Tuesday, March 26, 2013

daily outfit: luck o' the (not actually) irish

A quick story for you all: I am not actually Irish, contrary to popular belief. My (full) name is Mary Kathleen, my sisters are Shannon & Erin. Every year on March 17th, my mom cooks corned beef and cabbage, and every year of my childhood living with my parents, I gagged on the stench of crock pot cabbage that filled the house for a solid 24 hours (Sorry, mom. I like cabbage now!) 

tee: swapped; green jeans: goodwill; boots: gift
I've always wanted to be a little Irish, though, but it's clear I'm not. Three years ago when I was living in London, a hop skip and a jump from Ireland, my sister & brother-in-law came to visit over St. Paddy's day. Instead of making our way to celebrate the day like the Irish do, we went to Paris instead. Whoops. 

Regardless, there must be a leprechaun out there who likes me, because lo and behold, the day before St. Paddy's, I stumbled upon a little pot 'o gold at the new goodwill out in the 'burbs. Along with some other goodies, I found these incredible, brand-new-with-tags green jeans. I was convinced they were too good to be true-- because ladies, I have hips and a bootay, and let's face it-- sometimes, it's hard to find bright green pants that don't make me look like a shamrock shake.

But these-- ohhh, these. They are perfect. I rocked them immediately the day after I bought them (to avoid a St. Paddy's day pinching, of course), but I can foresee these babies getting good use all year long. 

Moral of this story: luck o' the Irish? Not actually exclusive to the Irish! Sweeeeet. :)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

five quick ways to survive the last winter days

So, this winter thing. (grumble, grumble). 

Seriously. It is still frigid winter here in the not-so-great snowy north, and y'all, I am WEARY of it. I just do not have it in me to trudge through one more mountain of snow, to wear one more itchy sweater, to biff it on one more patch of ice. I am done-zo. 

However, Mother Nature doesn't seem to agree with me, and as I tell my nannying kiddos: you get what you get, and you don't get upset. 

(grumble, grumble)

In the interest of making the most of this last (hopefully!) little winter kick-in-the-pants, I've compiled a few ways to enjoy the endings of winter before spring heads our way. 

1. Wear all of the fun, wintry layers you can before it's suddenly one thousand degrees.
Technically, layers don't feel fun anymore. What I wouldn't give to show, like, an ankle's worth of skin without getting frostbite, but there are some styles I know I'll miss once it warms up. Scarves: check. Cute winter hats: check. Tights: check. Slightly weirdo knee socks over boots (my fave): check and check! 

2. Turn on your twinkle lights & cuddle up under a blanketSeriously, this is a biggie. I love nothing more than being cozy, and in during summers in my A/C-less apartment, I will not tolerate anything even remotely heat-giving within five miles of me once we hit those 90-degree days. Milk it now, friends. 

3. Make hearty food. Again: once it's warm enough to go bare-legged, I rarely find myself reaching for my recipes for soup, chili, stew, etc. Which is a shame, because let's face it: not only are recipes like these almost stupid-simple, they are tasty like whoa. Might I suggest my favorite potato leek soup, or the world's best-best-best chili ever? 

4. Shop the sale racks. Now is the perfect time to see what's made it to the ultimate clearance section at the department store or peruse the sweater section of your favorite secondhand shop. So many people eschew the winter-clothes-sales once they've begun to get cabin fever, and I get it. But now is the time to snap up some cute, deeply discounted winter wear for next year, or hey, even this year if your area is having a few more cold snaps like mine is. Push past all of the swimsuits at Tar-jay, baby, and dig in the goldmine that is the 75%-off rack!

5. Revel in excitement for all the goodness spring brings. We can all likely agree that 90% of the time, anticipation is even more fun than the actual experience itself, right? And I've always said that my favorite part of the seasons are right at the beginning of the change-- from summer to fall, fall to winter, winter to spring, etc. Looking ahead to all of the lovely things that are yet to come is a wonderful way to get excited! Window shop some cute new styles, fantasize about the day your bare legs will see the sunshine again, eagerly eye your rainboots, knowing that soon your winter boots will have to make their way into storage again.

The moral of this story: I had to give myself a literal peptalk the other day as I trudged through the snow, hell-bent on whining about this lingering below-freezing weather. I had to remind myself that of course it will get warmer. Change is one of those things we can rely on, right? In the meantime, dwelling in the wants of the future is guaranteed to make me miserable, and enjoying the right now is a much, much better use of my time. I plan on milking these five steps until the very last of the snow has melted right off the ground and the first bloom pops up. While we're in it, we might as well have fun, right? :)

all images found here. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

daily outfit: I do love a good boat neck

Once upon a time, there lived a young girl (spoiler alert: it's me). At the ripe old age of oh, nine, maybe ten? this girl was optimistic, a teensy bit idealistic, and naturally, loved a good romantic comedy (spoiler alert: not much has changed). Every weekend, this girl's family took a trip to the movie store & every single week, this girl chose one of two options: Father of the Bride, part II (I know, I was weird.) or You've Got Mail

dress: c/o eshakti; shoes: macy's 
To this day, I can still quote every single line from You've Got Mail (and do a pretty mean Franck impersonation, but that's for another day). Anyways! This story has a point, and here it is: there was a scene in the movie right before Meg Ryan is supposed to meet Mr. NY152 where Kathleen is wearing this boat neck dress that I swear to you, ten-year-old Mary thought was the prettiest thing on the planet

Looking back now, I can see that dress is pretty plain, but I just adored that boatneck. I needed that boatneck. Nevermind I wouldn't be able to fill out that boatneck for another, oh, three years or so, but whatever. I was a girl obsessed. 

 coat: old navy
Ever since that movie, I've just had a thing for this particular collar style. There's something about it that's so timeless, so classic, flattering, so demure-but-sexy. So when eShakti offered to send me a dress (!) of my choosing & encouraged me to try out their custom styling, I immediately picked this one (hello, beautiful) and snatched up the chance to switch out the regular crew neck for my beloved botaneck. 

(hello, pretty details! also, it's got pockets-- zoinks!) 
Let me tell you-- I am in love. Also because I tend to fall on the shorter (ahem) end of the spectrum, I had the dress shortened to just above my knees as well, and truly, I couldn't be happier. The dress is the perfect sweet, summer dress, super flattering, crazy comfortable, and fits my #1 requirement: I can see myself wearing it equally to a wedding or something fancy as I could just wear it on a warm summer day hangin' around town. 

So thank you, eShakti, for the pretty pretty pretttty dress that I shall spend all of my days flouncing around in once the weather finally hits above 40 degrees (can you see the look of frozen terror in my eyes? I couldn't feel any limbs by the end of this shoot, stupid winter). Thank you, Meg Ryan, for teaching me from early on that boatnecks >> plunging necklines every time, and thank you, balance, for not failing me as I hovered on the edge of this very precarious stone wall in teeter-y heels. Forever and ever amen. 

three seconds later I tried to let go of this pipe and almost fell 2.5 feet to my death. <- I'm a drama queen. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Redhead Saga: or, why I stopped makin' my own shampoo

In case you didn't know, I have always wanted to be a redhead. 

It's not that I didn't love my brown hair-- quite the opposite, actually. I loved how it was more golden-y than anything, how it got natural highlights in the summer, how it eventually found its way back to auburn as the leaves began to change. But there's something about being a redhead that I just wanted to try, ya know?

So last week, I took the plunge. 

BAM! This was after step one, two, three, four, a thousand.

So I enlisted one of my BFFs and off we went to CVS to buy our weight in red-ish hair dye. (Only partly kidding. My hair is thick, y'all.) We listed to terrible radio pop and I sat in a chair that only made me tall enough to the see the top of my head in the mirror and she went to town puttin' dye all over my hairs. We sat. We watched tv. We waited for our Chinese food. Eventually, I washed it out, dried it, straightened it, the whole shebang.

And wouldn't you know: the crown of my head looked lovely. It was the beautiful dark brown-y auburn red that I've always wanted. 

The rest of my hair, though... was still brown. Um, what?!

I've never really dyed my hair before, so I while I wasn't sure what the exact protocol was, I was fairly certain the dye was supposed to go all over your head. 

The next day, I had the chance to see someone at a salon, and I snapped it up. Some sort of piƱa-colada-y scented detox shampoo (what?!) and two point five hours later, my whole head was, well-- red. It was almost exactly the same color the crown of my head had been the day before, just shinier and more complete.

While she was working on my hair, my stylist asked what kind of shampoo I was using. I told her  that I make my own shampoo (this recipe) & conditioner (apple cider vinegar). And she told me it was probably my that same beloved shampoo that did wonders for my hair that had prevented the color holding.

I was bummed, you guys. I initially made the switch because of a fear that I had been reacting to some chemicals, and ever since I did, my hair has never been happier. It was super clean, shiny, bouncy, I could skip a day wash if I wanted to (something I could never do before), I didn't need curling products anymore because it just found its natural curl without product weighing it down. But clearly, it wasn't the wonder solution I'd always thought it was when I started, so I went back to a store bought shampoo, sans parabens/sulfates/pthalates. 

And guess what? The world didn't end. I'm still not wild about the few chemicals in it (searching for a better replacement for next time), but honestly, it's the perfect example of what I always try to practice/preach: do the best you can, with what you have, where you are. I try to make as many of my beauty products as I can, but I still buy some natural products and --gasp!-- use conventional makeup. Perfect isn't attainable, but 'the best I can' is-- and that's where I try to stay. 

And the best part? I'm beginning to see that redheads are actually the ones that have more fun :)

Do you have any hair-dying stories? I wanna hear 'em! 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Obligatory blog reader post :)

Like many, many, many of you, I've been moving all of the gajillions of blogs that I'm apparently subscribed to (seriously... it's a little outta control.) from my google reader account to bloglovin' ASAP.  Feel free to follow my blog with bloglovin' if you'd like :)