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Monday, February 28

Michelle Williams' Vintage-Inspired Style

Michelle Williams' Vintage-Inspired Style
Michelle Williams' Vintage-Inspired Style by crystelhardin on Polyvore.com
When it comes to style, I am always drawn to people who are able to balance vintage and modern day style while keeping everything very age-appropriate and fresh looking. Michelle Williams is one of the few celebrities who does this well. I love her pixie cut, smart pops of color, sky-high heels and her feminine, 1960s-inspired mini dresses. She clearly has a thing for bows, lace and ruffles, and you know how much I love bows, lace and ruffles.
She also appears to be a kick-butt single mommy who has handled a very sad situation with the upmost grace, while continuing to pursue a successful acting career.
You go, girl.

Wednesday, February 23

The (Almost) Vegan

My lunch. It's all in the presentation, people.
Hello there friends!

This makes two blogging nights in a row. Jonathan is studying for the last part of the CIA (Certified Internal Auditor) exam, and I have been filled with bloggy thoughts.

Tonight we were eating a dinner of salad and Amy's burritos, and I thought it would be fun to share some of the foods we've been eating lately.

First up, I am not 100 percent vegan anymore. Although I enjoyed the effects of veganism, it was really hard for me to be vegan all the time. This change was really more about convenience than anything. I grew tired of worrying about whether I was eating food that was made with eggs. I don't like the idea of eggs, but I honestly don't care if I eat a cake made with them.

To save myself this headache, I decided to try to be vegan most of time. There are two "meat" products that I do eat occasionally (well besides accidentally eating eggs) -- cheese and fish.

I love cheese with a passion. It's not a healthy passion. At that same time, I couldn't bring myself to divorce real cheese for life. It is just too good, and vegan cheese is too darn bad. To make me happy and more healthy, I decided to have the real thing occasionally. I eat pizzas with real cheese, I have burritos with cheese and sometimes we'll have cheese for an appetizer or snack. It's not a daily thing, but I will eat it a few times a week. This helps with my calcium and vitamin D intake (which I was deficient in long before veganism), and it gives me a lot of joy. Joy and vitamin D are both very important!

Although a lot of people have an aversion to fish, I have never been one of those people. While beef, chicken, pork and turkey always made me feel a little icky, fish never did. It's weird, but true. Like my relationship with cheese, I eat fish in moderation. We cook scallops, make tuna burgers and eat tilapia, salmon and shrimp. I enjoy it for its health benefits, as well as for its meaty taste.

Anyway, enough about cheese and fish. Here are some of the store-bought vegetarian-friendly foods we've really enjoyed lately:

Dr. Praeger's California Veggie Burgers: We first discovered these at Costco more than a year ago, and they continue to rank as my favorite veggie burgers. This weekend, we lit our grill, and I had a veggie burger, half a vegan sausage and homemade fries. I put real cheese on the burger, and I dressed it with lettuce, Roma tomatoes, grilled onions and horseradish mustard. I did not miss the meat at all. FYI, if you are looking for these, you probably won't find them at Costco anymore (for some reason they have stopped carrying them), but you can find them at Kroger and Whole Foods.

Field Roast Grain Meat Company: I am crazy about these vegan sausages, which also happen to be soy-free. The flavors are Italian, Mexican Chipotle and my favorite, Smoked Apple Sage. Again, the salt is a little high, but they are a treat and a much better choice than a mystery meat hot dog! You can find them at Whole Foods. They are a little pricey at $6 for a package of four, but they are well worth it! Another cool fact: FR has recipes and a blog on their website. Check it out!

Amy's Burritos: I love Amy's burritos when we need a meal in a hurry. Although they're better when you cook them in the oven for an hour, you can cook them in the microwave in 3 minutes. Like most of Amy's foods, they are a little high in sodium. Sadly, I have yet to find the low-sodium versions at Whole Foods, Target or Kroger.

Besides the store-bought stuff, we try to buy lots of fruits, veggies, whole grains and nuts. We do tend to get in a rut, but shopping at Whole Foods has helped with that a little bit. We look for the sale items....

Whole Foods shopping: My hairdresser calls it "Whole Paycheck." Yes, WF can be pricey, but only if you fall for lots of specialty items, such as FR sausages. If you stick to bulk items like beans, oats, rice and nuts, you can actually save some money. We try to buy the fruits and veggies that are on sale, but we always get our staples: apples, a big box of spring mix lettuces, baby carrots, bell peppers, tomatoes, avocados, corn (sometimes fresh, sometimes frozen), onions and bananas. I try to buy organic if the prices aren't too outrageous. In the middle of winter, some veggies (in particular tomatoes, peppers and avocados) are really pricey. I always get the store brand lettuce and carrots, both of which are organic and really cheap. In addition to these goodies, we try to find one or two special fruits and veggies such as strawberries, blueberries, pears, oranges, kale, bok choy, squash, etc. I strive to fill our cart with a variety of colors. In addition to bulk oats and beans, we buy rice milk (store brand), cranberry juice (store brand), pita bread, whole wheat pasta, cereal, the aforementioned sausages, burritos, veggie burgers, beans and oats. Sometimes we'll pick up wild caught fish, freshly baked farm bread or some artisan cheese for a special treat. We supplement our WF trips with monthly visits to Costco.

Costco: Another good place for bulk brown rice and unsalted nuts? Costco! This store has a ton of bulk items, many of which are organic and natural! Always read the packaging, but I buy brown or wild rice, quinoa, low-fat granola, hummus, salsa, Greek yogurt (for Jonathan), almonds, walnuts, oranges, apples, sweet peppers and other various fruits and veggies from Costco. We get fish from Costco but only if it's wild caught. We also buy sparkling water here. Random fact: I really like sparkling water with a splash of cranberry juice. It feels special.

For me, eating healthy is a no-brainer. My mother is a total health nut, and I have been eating this way my entire life. That being said, Jonathan and I do have a weakness for Mexican food (particularly guacamole, salsa and chips), Italian food (pizza, pasta and bruschetta) and BBQ. We restrict our bad eating to the weekends, and even then we try to make our meals as healthy as possible by using lots of veggies. Since becoming vegan, we rarely eat out. Personally, I think that's because the veggie options in most restaurants aren't so great. A few good ones: the black bean burger at Houston's, the portobello mushroom sandwich at Central BBQ, the margarita pizza from High Point Pizza, sushi from Sekisui, the veggie nachos at Cafe Ole', the veggie wrap at Trolley Stop Market and the Gandhi wrap from Republic Coffee. Each is delicious and comes highly recommended!

Not surprisingly, we're working to recreate most of these yummy treats in the comfort of our own home....

On a side note, I can't wait to go to the farmer's market!

Tuesday, February 22

Polyvore Post: Betty Draper Style

Betty Draper Style

Mad Men has influenced the fashion world since it first hit our televisions in 2007, and a common question might be, "Are you a Betty, Joan or Peggy?" Most of us are probably a little bit like all three characters. I know I am. I chose Betty for my first Mad Men post because I'm a fan of her dainty, feminine style. She seems to prefer floral prints, and her color palette is usually cool pinks, camels, ice blues, pale yellows and whites. Her hair is always reminiscent of Grace Kelly, who was clearly costume designer Janie Bryant's inspiration when creating Betty's look. Speaking of Bryant, she wrote a book called The Fashion File that is a pretty good read, especially if you like Man Men and vintage fashions. In closing, I apologize that most of the fashions I picked for this post are high fashion and downright expensive, but I wanted to post items that looked authentic. I hope it inspires you to seek out your own cheaper versions, especially of the vintage variety!

Sun Shades Dress $158 - anthropologie.com Party dresses »

Coat $1,045 - thecorner.com Military coat »

Black Camoscio Kitten Heel 369 EUR - veryeickhoff.com Black kitten heels »

ChloĆ© Louise calfskin satchel 1,250 GBP - net-a-porter.com Flap satchel »

dot to dot studs $45 - katespade.com Post earrings »

Saturday, February 19

An Early Spring and Other Stories...

Sorry for the lack of posts this week. I've had a raging sinus infection since Sunday, thanks to the weather. Not that I'm complaining. I really enjoyed our blizzard last week, and I am currently enjoying the 70 degree weather this week. My head, unfortunately, is not. Despite the pain in my head, it was a nice treat to shed the woolly tights and run around bare-legged. I used to be shy about my white legs, but I've since decided that as long as they're in good shape that I don't care if they're white or not. Who wants skin cancer, anyway? My spirits were also lifted by these babies:
My valentine from my valentine. They were on sale, so he treated me. Here are some more photos of our Valentine's Day, courtesy of my iPhone:
We made the cookies on Sunday night. Dinner (giant scallops, bok choy, bread and cheese) came from Whole Foods, and wine and flowers came from Costco. We like to mix it up to keep things in our budget. Our table is the same way -- our vintage table cloth was less than $20, but our Kate Spade Larabee Dot wine glasses were $40 each (they were a wedding present). Our china is from Target and Crate and Barrel. The napkins are from Macy's. We use them everyday, so they're pretty faded. I think it's time for some new ones!

As an ode to this early hint of spring, I was inspired to share a few spring items from my favorite store in the world. As I have little money and no need for spring wear in February (despite the spring-like conditions), this will have to do for now:

Sunday Shopping Skirt. This would look really pretty with a white lacy top and some stacked sandals in a whiskey brown color...
Lavender Fields Peasant Shirt (back)
Lavender Fields Peasant Shirt (front): The details of this shirt are truly fabulous. The price, however, isn't. It's really lovely to look at though!
Wraparound Blouse: This reminds me of Europe. It would be so cute with jeans or a white skirt. The whiskey-colored accessories would go well with it as well!
Swiss Miss Corset Dress: I've never been able to pull off strapless dresses, but I LOVE the dress. I have a wedding to attend in April (yay, Anna!), and I think this would be perfect for it. I already own a cardigan that would make it church or work-ready. LOVE!
Blooming Goldenrod Dress: Yellow is such a happy color, but it's hard to wear. The gray neutralizes it a bit, and I love the waist-defining bow.
Sunny Soiree Dress: This is another wedding-worthy dress, but it could also double for work, at least in my office! Again, I love the bow at the waist.
Tepore Cardigan: My love affair with cream and lace continues. I'm going to be looking for this one. It goes with everything I own!
Maryam Tank: I love this tank as well. What a pretty layering piece.
Layers of Grace Necklace: I'm not sure how this would look on an actual neck, but I love the concept. It looks pretty simple to make as well. I might have to give this a try.
Memory Keeper Drops: I'm crazy about lockets and roses, so these were a natural pick for my wish list. :) Polka Bud Bikini: Is it weird that I put panties on this list? I couldn't help it -- they are so cute and perfect for spring!
Vernon Towels: I've been eyeing these towels for ages, but they never go on sale. They match the green in our bathroom perfectly, and they look like they're straight out of 1950. One of these days...
Delicate Things Necklace: I've always loved turquoise, and when it's coupled with tiny flowers and gold, it becomes wish list-worthy.
Florist Measuring Cups: All of our measuring cups are plastic and from Target and Wal Mart. These are so cute that they belong on our windowsill, right next to my mason jar filled with roses. :)
On a final note, I just read that Nashville is going to be getting an Anthro accessories store. It's going to be the second store in the country behind Chevy Chase, MD. Yay, Tennessee for getting a store before NYC and L.A.! I can't wait to check it out.
Have a great weekend, everyone!
All items were found on Anthropologie.com.

Wednesday, February 16

Ooohing over BHLDN

The folks behind my favorite brands -- Anthropologie, Free People and Urban Outfitters -- have done it again. This time, their creative genius is in the form of BHLDN, a shop of wedding fabulousness. I'm happily married to the most wonderful man in the world, and for a moment, I was wondering whether he would care if I ran around in wedding attire. Fortunately for me, there are dresses, shoes and accessories for brides and guests alike. Relief!
See the entire shop here.
I'm still oohing and aahing over the sheer loveliness of it all.

Thursday, February 10

Growing Up Different and The Glee Effect

St. Mary's School, 1991 - That's me on the back row, right in the middle. When you're the tallest person in your class, you are always back and center. That was my spot every single year.

Last Sunday night, Jonathan and I watched Glee after the Super Bowl. We haven't watched Glee lately due to our "less is more" attitude towards the television set, but we were sucked in this time. After the show was over, Jonathan made a comment about how he was glad shows like Glee exist nowadays because they are not only showing "nerds" in a positive light, but they are also bringing attention to the bullying that takes place in high schools across the country.

When we were in high school, television shows and movies about high school usually had the focus on the beautiful people, and if they did feature a "nerd," then the "nerd" was only there because he or she was trying to become a beautiful person. Movies like Clueless, She's All That and Never Been Kissed all come to mind. For those of us who weren't "beautiful people," our middle school and high school years were pretty terrible, and pop culture only made things worse. I'm sure some parts of high school will always be the same, but I'm still very glad to see shows where the kids who are different are the ones who are succeeding and doing positive things. Over the last 20 years, way too many kids who have killed themselves because of peer pressure and bullying, and we need to continue to promote the idea that different is okay. Heck, different is cool! And let's be honest here....how many of us want to sing and dance to "Thriller," just like the kids of Glee?

I know I do.