Monday, August 29

Fall 2011 Style: Yellow, Gray and Blue

Yellow, Blue and Gray: Fall 2011

Banana Republic long day dress $150 -

Marc by Marc Jacobs silk sleeveless blouse £220 -

Bow blouse $118 -

Ruffle shirt $58 -

J Crew sheer t shirt $35 -

Banana Republic long sleeve tee $35 -

Ruffle pea coat $148 -

J Crew long skirt $120 -

Polka dot tight $18 -

Leather high heels $138 -

Leather shoes $98 -

Marc by marc jacobs handbag $400 -

J Crew leather handbag $325 -

J Crew antique bracelet $58 -

J Crew crystal bracelet $45 -

Chunky ring £37 -

Miss Selfridge locket necklace £10 -

Banana Republic polka dot scarve $40 -

I've always been fascinated by the people who can stick to a clothing shopping list every season. If I were that type of person, this is what I'd buy for fall. Unfortunately, I'm much more of an impulse buyer, so to counteract that, I have been staying far, far away from my favorite stores. My wallet thanks me.

What are you wishing for this fall? Do you make a shopping list, or are you an impulse buyer?

P.S. It actually felt a little bit like fall tonight. Yippee!

Yellow, Blue and Gray: Fall 2011

Yellow, Blue and Gray: Fall 2011

Banana Republic long day dress
$150 -

Bow blouse
$118 -

Ruffle shirt
$58 -

J Crew sheer t shirt
$35 -

Banana Republic long sleeve tee
$35 -

Ruffle pea coat
$148 -

J Crew long skirt
$120 -

Polka dot tight
$18 -

Leather high heels
$138 -

Leather shoes
$98 -

Marc by marc jacobs handbag
$400 -

J Crew leather handbag
$325 -

Chunky ring
£37 -

Miss Selfridge locket necklace
£10 -

Banana Republic polka dot scarve
$40 -

Monday, August 22

Channeling Summer: The Style of Rachel Bilson

Rachel Bilson: Channeling Summer

Rachel Bilson: Channeling Summer by crystelhardin on I think I've mentioned the love affair I had with The O.C. during my college years. Recently Jonathan added the first season of the show to our Netflix Queue, so we've been falling in love with the characters and their antics all over again. Although there wasn't much to Summer Roberts during season one of the show, Rachel Bilson was a real life style icon as soon as The O.C. hit the airwaves. I remember seeing her in issue after issue of Teen Vogue, which was my absolute favorite magazine throughout that period. This month, she's on the cover of the fashion makeover issue of In Style, my other favorite fashion magazine. I think you'll agree she's a fashion inspiration. She knows how to blend vintage classics and modern trends, and she's not afraid to pair neutrals and brights to create effortless, timeless looks.

Want to steal her look? Here are a few of her closet staples...

Inspired by Rachel

Wednesday, August 17

Talking Food

I'm halfway through The China Study. After reading the first few pages, I realized I was ready to go back to my vegan lifestyle. If you haven't read this book, please do. It is such an eye opener. Author T. Colin Campbell's years of studying animal protein spotlight the protein's link to cancer, heart disease and a host of auto immune diseases. It is a truly devastating read for anyone who has lost a loved one to any of these illnesses. We always hear that the food we eat impacts us, and this book truly takes that mentality to the next level. Buy it. Check it out from the library. Borrow it from me. Just read it for you and the ones you love! While I'm on the topic of food, Jonathan and I have discovered some new yummy treats: Edward & Sons Rice Snax: These little crackers are the bomb. Seriously. Being an English girl at heart, I love salt and vinegar crisps (chips), but I don't like the grease and fat. I think these taste almost as good as Walker's, and with only 2.5 servings per box, I don't have to feel guilty when Jonathan and I eat the whole thing before dinner. Plus they are $1.79 at Whole Foods. Can't beat that price! Tabbouleh: Jonathan and I tried the store-made tabbouleh from Whole Foods last week, and this week we attempted to make some ourselves. Our version consisted of bulgur wheat, French couscous, cooked onion, tomatoes and avocado. It was a little bland, so next time we'll add some herbs and lemon juice. Overall, I'm a big fan -- it's light but filling and can be served hot or cold -- a perfect summer meal! Galaxy Foods Vegan Chive and Onion Cream Cheese: This stuff is sinful. At 9 grams of fat per serving, it is a treat and a darn good one! We like it on pitas, wraps or crisp bread. Rice Dream Ice Cream: I'm not sure how this post became treats-focused, but this is another good vegan treat. I like strawberry, but I haven't tried any of the others. The good news about Rice Dream is that they use brown rice syrup as their sweetener, so it doesn't make your blood sugar levels go crazy. Quick Banana-Raspberry Oatmeal: This is our very own recipe, and we love it! Put a kettle on to boil. Place 1/2 cup of organic rolled oats in your bowl (we buy ours in bulk from Whole Foods), and add organic raspberries (frozen or fresh). When the kettle is ready, pour water over the oats, but don't go crazy -- you only need enough to cover the oats. Place a lid/plate over the oats for a few minutes. Once the oats have soaked up the water, add the banana. Enjoy! Note: the oats keep their flat form, but we like that -- neither of us is a fan of mushy oats. You could also prepare this recipe by using the microwave or the stove. It's all about personal preference and how much time you have. Amande Yogurt: Made of almonds, this yogurt is a soy-free vegan alternative, and it's pretty tasty. Whole Foods carries the blueberry and cherry flavors.

I bought fresh mint this week, so hopefully I'll be back soon with a recipe for mint lemonade, which might be the perfect late summer drink!

Friday, August 12


It has been eight years since the last time I saw my grandma. In some ways, it feels like it has been a lot longer than that. So much about me has changed. I moved out of my parent's house and into a condo. I started my first year at Ole Miss. I became friends with my very cute but not available next door neighbor (Jonathan). I began taking journalism classes. I made the kind of friends I'll have for a lifetime. I fell in love. I turned 20, 21 and 22. I took Jonathan to California for the first time. I graduated from college. I moved to Memphis (Collierville) with Jonathan. I started my first real job on this day, five years ago. I got engaged. I was laid off from my first real job. I got married. I started working for Habitat. I (we) bought a house. I (we) adopted Porter. I (we) traveled to England and Italy and rediscovered my roots.... And I (we) went home to California. Again. And again. And again. I am not the same person I was at 19. At that time, my life was filled with unknowns -- would I end up alone, would I like Ole Miss, would I like journalism, would I make any friends? High school and community college hadn't been so kind to me. I was unsure of myself, and I didn't feel that I belonged anywhere. Those somewhat petty questions burned in my mind. I know the answers to all those questions now, eight years later. I am older and perhaps a little wiser. I realize my 19-year-old worries were silly. But I still miss her every day, and I still wish with all my heart that I could talk to her again. It doesn't seem possible that I won't get to in this lifetime. I have so much to share with her. Last week, one of my coworkers passed away very suddenly. He was only a few years younger than my grandma, and he was just as full of life as she was. Not surprisingly, his loss brought back all the memories I've stored away for the past few years. I realized that I can still remember every detail about that summer. It was such a major turning point in my life. If I've learned anything from these experiences, it is that life goes by so incredibly quickly. Every day is a gift, and it should not be wasted. We should enjoy each moment -- hug family and friends, play with our pets, eat good food, enjoy the outdoors, see the world, try lots of new things -- truly discover ourselves. We only have one life. I want mine to be a beautiful life that was filled with meaning and purpose. I want to be remembered like my friend was. He had done so much and touched so many people. Just like my grandma. When I was a little girl and we still lived in England, she would come and stay with us for weeks at a time. Before she would leave, I would hug her for a long time because I wanted to remember her smell. She loved Dove soap and O de Lancome, and I would breathe that in and hold onto it. Perhaps that's what we do when someone we love dies. We take a deep breath, and we try to absorb every memory we can. We're so afraid that we'll forget that person we love so desperately. Eight years later, I'm still treasuring the memories of that last moment with her. It wasn't a very good one, as she passed away one day later, and it was very early in the morning. But somehow my 19-year-old mind (suffering from incredible denial) knew that was goodbye. To this day, I continue to hold that in. It has become a part of me. Perhaps it was the piece that made me who I am today. Maybe it gave me the courage to take chances. I believe it made me stronger and more sure of myself. I know it allowed me to find true love and accomplish my dreams. If only I could share them with her. I wish she could have known who I've become.

Thursday, August 11

It's fall and we're famous

It's fall and we're famous
It's fall and we're famous by crystelhardin featuring a wool blend coat

I'm not usually one to want to rush fall as it's our busiest time of year at work, but the heat is starting to get to me. For a month, we've had day after day of 95 degree heat....or higher.

When the heat index gets to 120, you know you're in trouble.

To combat the dog days of summer, I decided it was time to imagine I was Jackie O. (or at least had her clothing budget), and it was October in New York, Paris, Rome or some other romantic yet cosmopolitan city. If I were to pick my favorite fashion designers, Chloe and Chanel would top the list. As I'm still digging a vintage vibe, Chloe's fall line was right up my alley. It has a 1970s Parisian vibe, making it feel very Jackie O.

The neutral palette allows for lots of mixing and matching, which is great for anyone on a budget or who just wants to maximize their wardrobe. To keep a little bit of a late summer feel, I threw in some yellow, and I had to include the orange coat. I still really want an orange coat, although it's completely impractical. I have tons of coats, and they are all perfectly wearable. I think I have a coat addiction, which is not so helpful when it's 100 outside. May there be cooler days ahead!