Just Friends

stationery

Valentine’s Day was so much simpler in kindergarten. You gave everyone in your class a small card featuring Snoopy or a box of Conversation Hearts then spent recess working off your sugar high. There was no drama involving dinner reservations or disappointment over your beloved’s inability to read a calendar. When you were a kid, Valentine’s Day meant chocolate and sharing small gifts with friends. What’s not to love about that?

This Valentine’s Day share the love with friends and family by sending them some adorable snail mail!

What’s your favorite Valentine’s Day memory?

Three Valentine’s Day Looks Under $100

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, now seems like a good time to talk about what to wear on February 14th. Even though it’s the perfect excuse to deck yourself out in red and pink and hearts galore, you don’t have to become a walking Valentine. Grey, black, and navy are good colors to keep your outfit from becoming too sugary sweet.

While it’s very tempting to splurge on a Valentine’s Day outfit, I thought it would be an interesting challenge to put together outfits under $100. It was not as easy as I thought it would be, but thanks to Old Navy and Target, I found cute and affordable pieces that will take you from a day spent with friends to a night on the  town.

Valentine’s Day Group Get Together – $94

An adorable tee and cardigan completes this sweet look that’s just right for hanging out with friends.

Valentine’s Day Movie – $98

Whimsical heart prints keep this winter-y look festive and perfect for a night at the movies.

Valentine’s Day Dinner – $97

A simple black dress paired with red and pink accessories is a wonderful option for a Valetine’s Day date.

What are you doing on Valentine’s Day?

How to Vote for the SAG Awards

Awards season is upon us, and mixed in with the glitz and glamour is this thing called voting. Since the SAG Awards air Sunday night, I thought it would be fun to explain how the voting works.

SAG actor

Step 1: You join SAG-AFTRA

SAG-AFTRA is the union for actors, announcers, dancers, etc. who work in film, television, radio, etc. Much like finding an island that can only be found by those who already know where it is, you can only join SAG-AFTRA after being hired for a SAG-AFTRA job and most likely you won’t be hired unless you are already SAG-AFTRA.

But, by some miracle, you join SAG-AFTRA, and awards season rolls around, and you move on to step two.

how to wear a blanket scarf

Step 2: You watch the screeners

Because you are a starving artist living in the middle of nowhere, you are not part of the first stage of voting which decides the nominations – that’s the job of the members of the Motion Picture and Television Nominating Committees. However, sometime in December magical little DVDs start showing up in your mailbox. This is because all active US members of SAG-AFTRA get to vote for the outstanding performances of the year.

Some of the screeners will be for movies just coming to theaters, and you will squeal like a little girl because now you get to watch it for free. You will try not to be distracted from the film as text continually pops up throughout the movie reminding you not to turn pirate or else you will forfeit your soul, your cash, and worse, your SAG card.

Sadly, not every nominated performance sends a screener and the television categories expect you to already be watching their show or at least have the decency to check them out on Hulu. Nevertheless, there will be some performances you don’t see, and this can make step three a little tricky.

sparkly jeans

Step 3: You vote

The deadline for voting is tomorrow, so you nervously log in to cast your all important vote. You scroll through the list of nominations blissfully clicking the names of those you found most worthy of receiving the naked man statue known as The Actor. Suddenly, you stop. Somehow you missed seeing any of the performances in a category. For shame! You are a terrible person and an unworthy holder of the SAG card. But, eventually, you realize that no one has to know that you don’t know what you’re doing. So, you vote based on who you would most like to see give an awards speech or possibly, who you wish was your best friend coworker. If you’re absolutely clueless about a category, you do like you do in political elections and vote for the person with the coolest name. Sadly, Benedict Cumberbatch is not nominated in every category.

And, you’re done! With the final click of the mouse, you hope and pray that next year your name will be on that list.

actor blog

Hat: Liz Claiborne

Scarf: Forever 21

Shirt: Gap

Jeans: Miss Me

Boots: Sorel (c/o Shopbop)

Gloves: Fratelli Orsini

Get the Look!

Do you like watching award shows?

That’s Entertainment

Newsies

Icy roads make it difficult to get out and do things during the winter, but last weekend was sunny and snow free, so I went with a group of friends to see Newsies. Despite sitting in the nosebleed section of the theatre, the show was amazing and totally worth the long ride in the car. In fact, if I lived closer, I would have gone to see the show again. I grew up watching the movie, and while the musical is a little different, it stills stays true to the heart of the story. And, the dancing is phenomenal! My calves hurt just watching all the leaping and pirouetting happening on stage.

Watch the video to see the souvenir I bought from the show as well as hear my thoughts on the books I’m reading and my latest beauty haul.

What’s your favorite musical?

Homemade Decadence

baking dessert

Joy the Baker Homemade Decadence: Irresistibly Sweet, Salty, Gooey, Sticky, Fluffy, Creamy, Crunchy Treats by Joy Wilson is the kind of cookbook every baker wants in their collection. The book is full of yummy pictures and recipes with fantastic flavor combinations like the Hawaiian Sweet Pineapple Breakfast Rolls. I almost feel bad posting about dessert when last week I wrote about Passionate Nutrition. Almost. But, let’s face it. Dessert is going to happen. And, it might as well be delicious.

If you don’t know, Joy Wilson is the woman behind Joy The Baker, a fantastic blog full of scrumptiousness. Her blog is the type of blog that makes me wish computer screens were scratch and sniff. Naturally, I jumped at the chance to review her new cookbook.

The recipes are divided into five sections: Brunch; Cookies, Brownies & Bars; Pies, Crumbles & Cobblers; Layer Cakes, Cupcakes & Skillet Cakes; and Ice Cream Social. I started with the Melt-y Chocolate-Truffle Cookies, which were incredible. Since I made these around Christmas, I used a gingerbread chocolate bar instead of a plain dark chocolate bar, and it was just the thing to add a little holiday kick to these cookies. While the cookies do take a little time to prepare, the recipe is easy, and the cookies look like a lot more work than they actually are. My only complaint is that this recipe makes 18 cookies and that is not nearly enough. They are so good!

homemade decadence

Next, were the Sour Cream Scones. These are not fancy like the scones at Starbucks or Panera and are more like biscuits, but they are excellent with jelly and a cup of tea. This is, also, a good recipe for experimenting with flavors. I divided the dough and baked half the scones plain while I added dried fruit, nuts, and cheese to the other half of the batch.

After Christmas, I wanted to use up the rest of my holiday sprinkles, so I made the Vanilla Bean Confetti Cookies. This was my first time using vanilla beans, and I had fun scraping the beans out of their pod. I was surprised by how much flavor the the vanilla bean added to the cookies. Plus, these cookies are so pretty!

I’m giving Homemade Decadence two chocolate covered thumbs up.

cookie recipe book

This book was provided by Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review.

January Wish List: Winter Gear

winter clothes

Single digit temperatures and below zero wind chills are becoming an alarmingly common occurrence where I live. Sadly, I did not follow through on the promise I made last winter and did not move south. One of the only good things about winter is the excuse to buy winter gear.

For instance, fleece lined tights might possibly one of the greatest winter fashion creations. I have two pairs, and I really wish I owned more because they make wearing dresses in winter possible.

Ugg mittens are still on my wish list because they look so warm, but I’m having a hard time justifying the price. However, Lord & Taylor does currently have them on sale, and I, also, have my eye on this pair at ASOS.

When there is snow on the ground, winter boots are obviously a must. Ugg boots are great for running errands around town, but when there is a lot of walking to do, I like to reach for my Sorel Joan of Arctic boots. Yet, I can’t help wishing for another pair of winter boots such as the Sorel Conquest Carly Tall Boots, which made an appearance in Catching Fire.

I don’t think anyone likes the way winter coats make you feel like a giant marshmallow. Puffy coats are warm but don’t necessarily look good when you wear them. However, I recently discovered Canada Goose and long to add some of their pieces to my wardrobe. The Huron Down Bomber Jacket is so much cuter than my long, gray, puffy coat, but it’s the Hybridge Lite Down Skirt that has stolen my heart. Paired with fleece lined tights, this insulated skirt is sure to keep you warm and looking cute this winter.

Shop the post!

What’s on your wish list?

Passionate Nutrition

books on healthy living

At the start of a new year, everyone makes goals about living a healthier lifestyle, but where to start? Passionate Nutrition: A Guide to Using Food as Medicine from a Nutritionist Who Healed Herself from the Inside Out by Jennifer Adler is a good place.

Adler is a Certified Nutritionist as well as founder and owner of Passionate Nutrition. In her new book, Adler discusses The Food As Medicine Movement™ and how she was able to rebuild her life after a childhood of neglect and poor nutrition.

The memoir/guide book/cookbook is easy to understand and emphasizes eating healthy food to treat problems such as anxiety, depression, weight issues, and digestive stress. While I haven’t tried the recipes yet, I have started following Adler’s suggestions to cut back on sugar, eat more protein, and add fermented foods to my diet, and I’ve noticed that I feel better when I do that.

What I found most eye opening about the book was learning that fat isn’t the bad guy it has been made out to be over the last several decades. In fact, high sugar consumption is now considered to be the cause of many health issues. The World Health Organization recommends limiting sugar to 25 grams per day. Good luck with that. It’s not just about cutting back dessert but, also, reading labels on everything from milk to meat. It’s frightening how much sugar is added to American food.

I mentioned this book in my last post, and reading it has inspired me to pay more attention to what I am putting in my body. I believe that the best place to start for a healthy life is not the medicine cabinet but the kitchen. I highly recommend reading Passionate Nutrition and learning about the kind of food your body needs to be its best. And, don’t worry about being shamed for occasionally cheating. Adler emphasizes listening to your body and eating healthy most of the time but not punishing yourself for occasionally indulging in something unhealthy, which is good since my next book review is about dessert.

 This book was sent to me by BookSparks in exchange for an honest review.

Intention

in·ten·tion
inˈten(t)SH(ə)n/
noun
1. a thing intended; an aim or plan.
2. the healing process of a wound.

winter fashion

The year 2014 will not go down as the greatest year of my life, and that’s okay. I like to think that each new year has the potential to be the best. The last few years I started the new year by picking a word. The word for 2014 was DREAM, and I dreamed many dreams and even followed through on some of them. But, I want this year to be different. I don’t just want to dream; I want to do.

dressing in layers

This year my word is INTENTION. I like this word a lot. It’s about planning and acting with a purpose, and even better, it’s, also, about healing. From physical injuries to emotional traumas, I have plenty of old wounds that need to heal. Since I am turning thirty, this year seems like a good time to let some things go and make room in my life for the good stuff.

TARDIS MittensTwo books I highly recommend reading are The Power of Habit by Charles Duhig and Passionate Nutrition by Jennifer Adler. I want to make major changes in my life, and it’s so tempting to do something drastic, but the most effective way to change is one step at a time. So, I’m starting with simple things: making my bed in the morning, sitting down when I eat, cutting back on sugar. Even if I only do these three things this year, I will have accomplished a lot. Following through on a little intention will eventually grow into following through on the bigger intentions.

“Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day; while failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day. It is the accumulative weight of our disciplines and our judgments that leads us to either fortune or failure.” — Jim Rohn

fashion blogger

Life is about the simple things, and I’m trying to notice them more. Lately, I’ve been using the Happyfeed app, and it’s a great way to capture the good moments that happen throughout my day. It’s, also, nice because I can scroll through my happy moments whenever I need a mood booster.

While it’s only January, 2015 has already started throwing me curve-balls. There was an unplanned visit to the minor med for a Tetanus shot and a completely unrelated incident that left my car totaled. So, I’m a little nervous about this year, but mostly, I’m excited. I know that I have a support system to help me when things go bad. I, also, know that I am not the master of the universe, and I can only do so much. This year my mission is to live with intention.

dancing in the snow

Headphone earmuffs: American Eagle

Puffer vest: GAP

Sweater: Golden Tote

Dress: Target

TARDIS Gloves: Christmas gift

Fleece Tights: Unknown brand

Boots: Sorel (c/o Shopbop)

Lipstick: Bite Beauty VIB Rouge Créme Lipstick

Nail polish: Sally Hansen Mauve Over

Links à la Mode: The IFB Weekly Roundup

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In With The New

by Jennine Jacob

How’s your first week of 2015 going? The first week back to work, still bulging from the holidays? Hitting the January Sales like there’s no tomorrow? Cleaning out your closet? Planning your life for the next year? Even though it’s just another day like any other, the turn of a new year brings up so many things for everyone. What are you discarding? What do you want to bring in?

Links à la Mode: January 8th

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12 Classic Novels You Should Read in 2015

The new year is a wonderful time to embark on a new reading journey, and reading classic novels is a great literary resolution. If you’re not sure where to start, I have twelve suggestions that will see you through the year. Delve into these classics and explore science fiction, romance, mystery, and adventure.

reading list for a year

January

Middlemarch by George Eliot

A study of provincial life and the choices people make.

February

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Bad first impressions eventually lead to true love.

March

Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray

A novel without a hero satirizing British society in the early 19th century.

April

Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne

An eccentric man makes an unusual wager and embarks on the adventure of a lifetime.

May

A Room with a View by E.M. Forster

Romance follows a young woman home from Italy.

June

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

A tale of shipwreck, survival, and adventure.

books and reading

July

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Wrongful imprisonment, hidden treasure, and methodical revenge lead to an unexpected outcome.

August

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Love and betrayal in 19th century Russia.

September

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

An orphan becomes a governess to the ward of a wealthy man.

October

A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

Sherlock Holmes meets Dr. Watson and investigates a murder.

November

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Four sisters grow up and learn about life and love.

December

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

A mean, old man who hates Christmas learns to love the holiday and the people around him.

What’s your favorite classic novel?