Saturday, January 29

How to Survive the January Doldrums When It's Not 65...

Wow, where did this sunny, completely tolerable weather come from? It was 55 yesterday, and today it is going to be 65! I worked from home yesterday afternoon, and I opened the windows for about two hours. What a treat.
I had originally planned this post for a cold, snowy day, but I'm in such an inspired mood that I don't want to wait. Plus, I'm sure most of the country is not experiencing spring-like conditions right now. Well, except for California where it's in the high 70s. Again.
Must be nice.
Here are the ways I'm surviving the winter:
1.) Eating healthy home-cooked meals. Nothing will make you feel better than a diet rich in veggies, fruits and whole grains. We had salads for lunch this week, and man, I felt great! My favorite salad includes spinach, sweet red peppers, avocados, black beans, tomatoes, brown rice, corn and mango salsa. It's not only delicious and healthy, but it looks really pretty on my plate! I usually cut up the veggies and cook the rice and beans on Sunday so they're ready for the entire week. We both had work lunches yesterday, so we threw together a yummy Friday night meal with the lunch leftovers. We sauteed some onion, green onions and tomatoes in a pan, and then we mixed in the leftover rice and beans (the corn and avocados were long gone). I had three extra peppers, so we washed and cut them open, place them in a baking dish, stuffed them with the yummy rice/onion mixture and topped them with a little cheese. We baked everything on 350 for 20 minutes, and then enjoyed an easy and somewhat healthy Friday night meal with a side of my favorite Las Delicias tortilla chips and pico de gallo. So much better (and cheaper) than pizza!
2.) Get dressed up. It's easy to throw on old jeans and sweatshirts when it's cold, but lately I've found I feel so much better when I grab something pretty out of my closet. These pieces have been in heavy rotation in my wardrobe, whether I'm going to work or to the grocery store. I've also been wearing heels A LOT this season. Something about that added height makes me stand up straighter (like I need that -- I'm 5'11!), and I just feel better.
I bought this top last February when we were in Chicago, and I have worn it all year long. It's sleeveless, and it looks great under all of my cardigan sweaters. That dusty pink color is also a huge trend this spring, which is pretty awesome. :)
One of the few tops I bought from Banana Republic this year. I loved it so much that I got it in tan as well. The detailing is so pretty, and it is a great layering piece.
My favorite Anthropologie shoes, which I scored for $50 at the Newport Beach Fashion Island Anthro store. They were originally $150! I left the tag in the shoe to remind myself of my good fortune. :)
One of my Christmas presents, which you are currently find on sale at Anthropologie...
My most recent Anthropologie sale find. I am an English girl at heart, so ruffles and lace are right up my alley.
3.) Surround yourself with pretty things. When the weather is gross, the grass is more mud like than green and you're working five days a week without a vacation in sight, it's easy to get depressed. Take a few minutes and walk around your house. When I do this, I see these things, and I get inspired to sew, draw, paint and write...
Shells and a toy car from our most recent California beach trip.
My ballet shoes from eighth grade.
One of my favorite corners of our living room where we keep old books, shells and vintage postcards from Windsor Castle in Windsor, England (where I was born).
Roses from my wedding bouquet.
4.) Take up a new hobby. Yoga, sewing, blogging, jewelry making, cooking -- these are all the things I've been working on when I'm not at work or the gym. It's fun to try new things and to give yourself fun little projects to fill your winter nights and weekends. It'll only be a few more months, and then we'll be back at work on our disasterous yard, so I should really be enjoying this quiet time, right?
My mother's childhood jewelry box, which I am using to house my sewing notions.
5.) Exercise. The gyms are packed right now, thanks to those dreaded new years resolutions, but it's important to use these cold months to establish a strong workout regime. If you get started now, then you'll be in tip-top shape by the time it's warm enough to bare your arms. I've been to the gym four days a week for two weeks in a row, and I already feel so much better. Yoga class on Saturdays? A workout DVD in your living room? Those are great exercise options as well. Or you could brave the cold and go for a run or a bike ride. I'm considering one of those tomorrow! Today is yoga day, and the fifth workout day for us. We also cleaned our house on Thursday, and I personally think that should count as a workout because it's exhausting to sweep dog hair! Let's make that six workouts. YEAH! :)

If you're going to do yoga, give yourself a pedicure first. I'm favoring pale pink Essie polishes right now.

6.) Get Organized. This time of year is the perfect time to clean out closets, sell stuff on Ebay and just get rid of stuff you don't need. I love it when I open one of my drawers, and everything is neatly organized. We recently emptied our bathroom cabinet of old stuff/stuff we're never going to use/etc, and I feel a lot less stressed when I'm trying to get ready now. You'll find that if you do one cabinet or room, you'll want to do them all. I want to clean out the kitchen cabinets next!

It may not look that organized, but it's organized to me!

Thursday, January 27

Anthro Wishlist - January 2010

When doesn't Anthropologie have something I love? How do they produce my dream clothes each and every month? It's very frustrating...

Unfortunately the homeowner's insurance and city taxes are due next month, so there won't be any shopping trips for me in the immediate future. In the meantime, I'm going to sit back, enjoy the cold weather and drool over these pretty things....

Look for my list winter survival list tomorrow or Saturday. Don't we all need one of those this time of year?
This cold weather isn't so bad when you surround yourself with pretty things...

Tuesday, January 25

Five Reasons to Try Yoga

I was the kid who couldn't perform a cartwheel. The splits? Never did them either. Flexibility wasn't my strong point, so I avoided all activities that required the "f" word.

Yoga was among those activities. I always wanted to try it, but I was too scared that I would be laughed out of the class for not being able to touch my shins. Toes were completely out of the question.

Last Saturday, Jonathan and I took our first yoga class. It was a beginner's class, but I was still a bit apprehensive.

When we walked into Better Bodies Yoga, we were directed to the props room, where we removed our shoes and picked up blocks, straps and blankets. Immediately I was wondering how these things would come into play in our class. My nervousness grew.

As it turned out, we knelt on our blankets (which help get your body into alignment) and we used the blocks if we weren't able to reach the ground in front of us (these were for me, obviously).

We didn't use the strap. Maybe next time.

Regardless of age or level of flexibility, I would highly recommend that everyone try yoga.

Here's why:

1.) It's relaxing. Soft music, lots of time for meditation, shoes off....Not only does yoga force you to relax, but it teaches you how to breathe. It's amazing how many of us don't know how to breathe. Breathing deeper puts you at ease. Air is like a drug to your overloaded brain, and we could all use more of it in our lives.

2.) It helps with flexibility and posture. News flash: we don't get more flexible or less slumped with age. However, if we take care of ourselves and stretch every day, we might take on some of the magical powers of 60-somethings like Sting and Trudie Styler. Yes, please!

3.) It aids digestion and massages all of the organs of the body. Enough said.

4.) It brings out your inner hippie. Want to be more in touch with yourself? In yoga, you are forced to listen to your body. Want to master those poses? Your body knows what it can and can't do, and it will respond accordingly. Eco-friendly bottle and hemp bag are optional.

5.) It really is a workout! Even some of the easiest yoga poses will make you sweat. Some of the harder ones will help build lean muscle a la Jennifer Aniston. Yes, please!

If you're still a bit unsure of whether or not you're cut out for yoga, think of me and my inflexible self trying unsuccessfully to reach my ankles. I didn't even get close, but I know I will someday, if I keep trying.

Jonathan and I will be in class again on Saturday, ready to touch our toes.

Or ankles.

Or knees.

It doesn't matter, I swear. Nobody is watching you. They're too busy trying to reach their own feet.

Saturday, January 22

A Week of Blog Discoveries

Another week, more snow. We received another 1.5 inches from the snow gods on Thursday afternoon. As usual, my awesome boss let us go home early in order to avoid the icy roads. You have to love a boss who actually cares about the safety of his employees. I know I don't want to be sharing the road with these crazy Memphis drivers in any weather, especially snowy, icy weather! They don't know the meaning of the words, "Ice on bridges. Slow DOWN."
Anyway, in addition to a snow-covered short work week, I also made two lovely blog discoveries!
One came by way of our research for Habitat's new ReStore, which will open around mid-year. My supervisor and I both stumbled across it while doing trolling other affiliates' ReStore pages. The blog is called Retro Renovation. The name alone was enough to peak my interest, but then when I actually looked at it, I literally spent two hours snooping around. Wow. The blog's creator, Pam, is a lover of mid-century homes, and she's doing her best to ensure they are preserved and treasured by their owners. She's clearly a woman after my own heart -- she even has a microsite called Save the Pink Bathrooms, and she wrote this incredible Mid-Century Manifesto that made me so proud to be an owner of a Mid-Century home.
The second, not surprisingly, has to do with Anthropologie. I had no idea about the number of blogs devoted to my favorite clothing store, but some of them are truly incredible. These bloggers not only share their outfits, but they share size guides (very helpful for those who have to shop online), give reviews of clothes and keep readers up-to-date on sales. My current favorites are Anthroholic, Effortless Anthropologie and You, Me and Anthropologie.
Check them out. You're sure to love them. :)

Wednesday, January 19

Style Inspiration: Reese Witherspoon

Reese is often photographed in dresses. I love this blue color, and I actually own those sandals!
Slim jeans, a black t-shirt and ballet flats always look stylish. Thank you, Audrey, for starting that trend!
Newly single, Reese was radiant in this Nina Ricci dress at the 2007 Oscars.
Classic in gray and white.
I love this outfit!
Reese said she found her 2006 Oscar dress (vintage Christian Dior) at a store in Paris.
It is so pretty.
Reese is often photographed in hats and long necklaces.
In recent years, she has migrated to much more fitted dresses. Umm, I would too....
I remember when I first saw this look in a magazine. I love the white dress with gold accessories. It's so summery.
Again, fresh and on-point. The girl has flawless style.

Because I'm a huge procrastinator and haven't finished my 2011 goals, I decided to fill blog time with a style inspiration post. Today I'm inspired by the fashion sense of Reese Witherspoon, newly engaged mom of two and all around stylish Southern lady. I remember reading that Reese has a total type A personality, and personally I think that comes across in her wardrobe. The girl doesn't make a fashion misstep, and she's always chic but fresh.

She's equally fashionable in her movies. Movie fashion-wise, I really love Reese's clothes in Walk the Line, because I love the vintage fashions. She also wears great clothes in Sweet Home Alabama and Just Like Heaven. Her characters usually share her sense of style as well as her haircut. See, type A personality!

Who is your current fashion inspiration?

All images found via Google.

Wednesday, January 12

Reflections and A Fresh Start

Wow, it's crazy to think we're already halfway through January. I'm not sure where the time has gone.

It's been a while since I did a goal update. After rereading these, I'm pleased and a little surprised to see how many I accomplished in 2010.

Here goes:

1. Eat more home-cooked meals. Jonathan and I did a great job of this in 2010. We tried some new recipes, and we ate lots of our favorites. 2010 marked our exploration of all things vegan, as well as our discovery of several farmers' markets. At the end of it all, I decided to stick to a vegetarian diet with a very limited intake of eggs and cow's milk. Cheese is still my dairy weakness and the main reason I can't be a full-time vegan. I do love veggie burgers, veggie sausage, rice milk and egg substitute. I really like them better than their "normal" counterparts. Go figure. But when I'm in a restaurant, I don't worry about whether or not I've eaten eggs or cow's milk. I just don't have the heart to micromanage that area of my life, but I have made some changes at home, and I'm really happy with them.

2. Visit the local farmer's market. We did great on this one! From April until October 31st, we went to at least one farmers' market every week. We bought so many great veggies and fruits, and we discovered a great way to spend our Saturday mornings. We're looking forward to going back again in April. The grocery store just doesn't cut it.

3. Spend more time exercising my mind, body and spirit. We did well on the exercise part (except from Christmas until today), but we still have a way to go on the other two. I could give many excuses, but it's just been hard to establish a true weekend routine the last few years. This will top my 2011 list for sure.

4. Learn Italian. I did really well on this one in the months leading up to our Italian trip, but I have let my Italian lessons slide since September. This is also on my 2011 list.

5. Visit England, Italy and California. Again, yay us! We went to Italy in August and California in December. England was a no-go, but we went to Chicago in February instead. Two out of three aint bad!

6. Nurture my rose garden every day. Well, not every day, but many days. This one is on the list for next weekend (once the four inches of snow are out of the way), because January is pruning season. I can't believe my pretty roses will be coming alive in only a few more months....I have lots of work to do!

7. Learn to knit and embroider. One of my coworkers tried to get a bunch of us to take some knitting classes in December, but my schedule was too hectic. I did do a lot of sewing in 2010, and I got a sewing machine for Christmas! Looks like the craftiness will continue in 2011!

8. Blog at least twice a week and work on my photography skills. I'm proud of my blogging efforts in 2010, but I really want to improve the blog in 2011. Photography is a huge part of that. I love my camera, but I really need to learn more about it. I know I haven't even touched the tip of the iceberg when it comes to that thing.

9. Buy bicycles and ride them! Soooo, we did this, and then the weather turned cold. Right now my pretty beach cruiser is dreaming of California beaches and wondering why it was shipped to Memphis. Poor, poor thing. Will do better in 2011.

10. Write, create, dream, do and celebrate the little things every day. In 2010, I did some writing (mostly blog-related), did some creating (which was posted on the blog), did some dreaming (some of which was shared here) and lots of doing....The doing trumps the celebrating most days, so I still need to work on that, but I feel like I started moving in the right direction in 2010.

Okay, so that was my 10 in 2010. I'm going to think about this a bit, and then I'll be back with my 2011 goals. There may or may not be 11 of them. :)

Monday, January 10

Listen, and you will hear the sound of angels...

For me, Los Angeles is truly the City of Angels. I feel a connection there that I have never felt anywhere else. I have felt that way my entire life, and the feeling has only increased as time has gone by. Perhaps it comes from the water. The water connection comes from both sides of my family, and I definitely felt right at home during our trip to Capri last summer.
Still, there is nothing quite like being near the Pacific Ocean. I dream about it constantly, and when I finally arrive, I am home.
It's like seeing an old friend after a long time.

Hello, friend.

At Christmas time, there is a special magic at the beach. It's not cold, but the feeling of the season is still in the air.
I had to stick my feet in the ocean, and we searched for shells. Jonathan and I have never collected so many beautiful shells from Hermosa Beach. My shell bag was filled to the brim.
The colors were so vivid. Here are some palm trees in Echo Park.
Sleeping Beauty's Castle at Disneyland.
Jonathan and me at the Rose Parade.
Not surprisingly, a Hummingbird was there to say hello...
So were the Shire horses, representing England.
The colors were incredible.
This was my favorite float for many reasons. I loved the cat and kittens, the gingerbread house and the music was "What a Wonderful World." The sponsor is Kaiser Permanente, California's healthcare provider. The theme was Thrive.
Kaiser Permanente provided the care for my grandma throughout her illness.
The meaning of this float was not lost on me.
I also loved the Pacman band and float.
Pacman was a family tradition at our house -
my mom, sister, grandma and I all played it back in the day.
Oranges in my grandma's backyard.
A rose in my grandma's backyard.
Lots of oranges!
Her palm tree.
One of the last links to my childhood. I have been coming here since I was three months old.
Every visit, I take my grandma, my grandpa and my step grandpa roses from her garden.
Not bad for late December, huh?
La Venta Inn, which overlooks my great-grandmother's old house in Palos Verdes, California.
The view is incredible, and it hasn't changed over the years.
Rat Beach.
I'm sure Rat Beach didn't get its name from rats, but there were cats out that day...
A Palos Verdes sunset.
So, so beautiful.