Monday, April 19, 2010
My style is a little funky and I find it difficult to purchase items that are appropriate for work, fit my child-like stature, and are also a reflection of my personal style.
Enter Forever 21...
I remember when the store first came to Minnesota and for some reason I was very unimpressed, so much to the point that I would rarely step foot inside. Not even the store's lure of fashionable items at affordable prices would entice me. I remember thinking the store was too trendy and somewhat of a cliche. Today, however, I have found it to be one of my favorite stores for corporate wear. Who would have thunk it? Forever 21 gives me options. Because the clothing is all in Juniors sizes it fits, but it also quite fashionable and funky. Problem solved! I buy nearly all of my corporate wear at Forever 21 now.
Check it out.
Below is a dress I purchased at Forever 21 just last week on sale for $10.99. I wore it to work today with the jacket, but her it is without the jacket too. Both options are paired with a wide elastic red and white polka dot belt that I purchased in Florida about 5 years ago (love that belt!).
Option 1: Modern Day Riding Habit
Option 2: Puffed Sleeves
You can't tell from the picture, but my jacket is actually a tuxedo-style jacket with a tail in the back.
Which do you prefer?
Dress: Forever 21 - $10.99
Tuxedo Jacket: H&M, Thrifted via Value Thrift Store - $6
Slouch Fabric Boots: Christmas Gift from Mom-in-law
Polka Dot Belt: Store in Florida - $5
Black & White Lion Beaded Necklace: Value Thrift Store - $5
Black & White Leather Buckle Bracelet: Gift from Australia
Handbag: Mine (yes, I made it)
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Many of you have likely seen the movie Confessions of a Shopaholic that came out last year, but did you know this movie was based on a five book series? I thought not. I had no idea until a friend of mine mentioned that she had started reading the Shopaholic series. Shocked, a bit disturbed and a little curious I plunked myself down at my laptop, logged on to half.com and purchased the first book of the series, Confessions of a Shopaholic for $0.75 ($3.75 with shipping and handling).
Before beginning the first book I couldn't even fathom how there could be a whole series on shopping! A little embarrassed about my book of choice, I began to discretely, yet faithfully read the series. I was soon pleasantly surprised.
The book took me through a few emotions as I experienced the absurdness that is Becky Bloomwood. I couldn't help but become frustrated with Becky's incredulous ideas and spending habits. But then I began to relate and see the series for all the humor that it is. I mean, is Becky really all that different from me, or really any girl for that matter?
Sophia Kinsella does an amazing job of taking something so seemingly uninteresting as an English girl who shops too much, and turn her into a vibrant character that any girl could relate to and want to befriend. I was amazed at how drawn I was to the series. I would often try to understand my interest in the series, and it wasn't until the fourth book that I realized it was Becky Bloomwood's relatability that drew me to the series.
I can't even count the times I have let my imagination wander to such a childish place that I would be incredibly embarrassed if anyone found out. Well, Becky Bloomwood befriends you in this very secret place. She is hilarious at the conclusions she jumps to as she blows nearly every situation out of proportion through feeding her imagination with the most exceptional and unlikely ideas. Sophia Kinsella has created a character that I can relate to on this level through very exaggerated and entertaining events that make my childish fantasies seem, well...a little ridiculous, but also more common than I'd imagined. Suddenly, I find more humor in my fantasies than before.
Then there is the shopping...the excuses and justifications that Becky makes for each purchase is highly entertaining simply because every girl has made a similar silent excuse or justification at some point in her life for some extravagant, or not-so-extravagant, purchase. In fact, I chuckled at myself the other day when I found myself mimicking a phrase that Becky Bloomwood uses so frequently in the series while wearing a purple patent leather pair of shoes I purchased over a year ago "I knew they'd be a good investment."
I recommend the book series for any girl who has ever had childish fantasies or justified a purchase to herself. Though it will never be considered a classic, it is a well-written, highly entertaining series.
There are five books to the series and the last is better than the first. The books in order are:
Confessions of a Shopaholic
Shopaholic Takes Manhattan
Shopaholic Ties the Knot
Shopaholic and Sister
Shopaholic and Baby
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
This is how Riku looks now.
Still cute (well I think so anyway) right?
I wanted to write a little post about my dog Riku, not because he's my baby and certainly NOT because I think he's the most incredible dog ever; trust me I have no blind love when it comes to Riku. I have a sort of love/hate relationship with him. I love him and consider him part of the family, but most of the time I would very much like to strangle him!
We got Riku as a puppy four years ago, and he has been a tripp ever since. He was one of the last two puppies left and was the tallest. He was a skinny little thing with giant paws and was hilarious to watch run, it was a bit like watching a colt learn to walk, all legs that were disproportionate to his body. I remember going to visit him a few times before taking him home- he was the most vocal, and certainly the most interesting, of the entire litter. He captured our hearts immediately. He had such personality and was so clever! We soon discovered, however, that he had a lot more personality than we bargained for. I guess you could say he's our Marley (though not as destructive).
Riku is a hunting dog, so he's bread for water and the outdoors, which is ironic when I tell you what I'm about to tell you. One day, we discovered, while walking our 10 week-old puppy, his aversion to water. Yes, that's right...water! Walking him along the sidewalk shortly after it rained, you know when it leaves patches of dry and wet cement that run together, Riku stopped every time, REFUSING to budge whenever he got to a spot of wet cement. Seriously! He would not move an inch, even with all the tugging and pulling on him...all 10 pounds of him! This made my husband a bit concerned, as it was the intention that Riku would some day retrieve birds from the water. It took Riku TWO years to learn to enjoy swimming, but he still, even today, REFUSES to walk on wet pavement. After it has rained and I go to let him out the back door, as soon as he sees the wet step he halts. I actually have to push him out the door.
But wait! There's more...
There are the many times when he rolls on his back submitting to, not only all people he meets, but dogs as well, even the five pounders. Now mind you, Riku is over 70 pounds and is considered tall for his breed. Then there are the times when you go to pet him and he's not exactly sure what to do so begins to spin and then nibble you until you say "NO" and then begins to nibble himself. Or how 'bout when he jumps our baby gate (that we keep him in until his feet are dry when he comes in from outside) every time toast pops up out of the toaster. And then there are always the moments when he greets you at the door running circles on your feet before he plops over (on your feet) onto his back as if he is doing some break dance move writhing about until you scratch his belly. Also, it might be worth mentioning, that he only likes the bite-size toys. I got him a baby toy once (which he still has) that is a tiny plush animal that plays twinkle little star. He carries it everywhere! And then when the toy begins to play twinkle little star, he sings along. He howls every time a siren goes by or a tornado drill goes off. And although he is an immaculate hunter, he's still not sure what to think about having birds in his mouth, he sort of turns them over as if he's disgusted of all things! I mean...he is a bird dog. He barks at tree stumps and squats to pee. He knows when we're leaving before we even get our coats on or grab our keys and actually puts himself in the basement. He plays with centipedes in the bath tub, and after the legs are scattered all over the bathtub, he picks it up in his mouth and savors it. Seriously!
These are just a few of Riku's many oddities. The most recent, however, which has actually provoked this post, is that I have discovered Riku is an escape artist! It all began when he started jumping the baby gate we put up at the back door to keep him kenneled while we were gone. We then discovered we could keep him gated if we put another gate over the top...well...at least until he discovered how to knock it down. We then decided we would start putting the dogs (yes, we have two) down in the basement while we were at work. Every once in awhile we would come home and he would greet us at the front door. We discovered that if we did NOT make sure the door was latched he could push his way out. We were very conscientious of this here on out. Then...two weeks ago we went on vacation and my cousin Keely stayed with the dogs. When we got home they were both at the door to greet us. We just assumed Keely forgot to make sure the basement door was latched...well you know what they say about assuming (ass-u-me). We shortly discovered that Riku had learned to actually TURN the door knob at let himself out. I know right! So on Sunday we decided we were going to nip this in the bud. We bought a baby door knob to prevent him from turning the knob and a chain lock. Nick installed both and when I got home from work the next day there was no baby knob, and although Riku was still in the basement, the door was open as far as the chain would allow it. There were scratch marks all over the door frame with paw prints going up it about four feet high. Paint chips scattered the floor. Now, I was a bit angry, but more so in awe. He likes the basement! He goes down there on his own. His blankets and toys are down there. WHY THEN DOES HE KEEP ESCAPING? Because he can. That's why.
This post got a little longer than I hoped, but I wanted to give you a little insight about my very strange dog. Our other dog has no weird nuances, and is of the same breed. What gives?
If you have any interesting stories about your dog - do share.
Monday, March 1, 2010
I'm already half-way through the second season and its only been three days since I started. The BBC series Robin Hood is highly addictive. I spent half of my day Saturday and all of my day Sunday watching episode after episode of ruggedly handsome English men, who could be bad but choose to be good, fight at least one other ruggedly handsome man, who could be good but chooses to be bad. There's action, adventure, love, betrayal, friendship, war, and comedy. This show has a little bit of everything...and is family friendly!
Granted the fight scenes are a bit corny and the picture is sometimes a little rough, but I highly recommend this show. There's comic relief where you least expect and the wardrobes are mid-century with a bit of modern flare. Check out the show's website here and check out some of the seriously handsome men below.
Robin Hood is played by British actor Jonas Armstrong and couldn't be cuter. Seriously!
Sir Guy of Gisborne, the Sheriff's evil side-kick, is played by sexy British actor Richard Armitage whom I first fell in love with on the BBC short series North and South.
Two of Robin Hood's Men are also worth taking a glance at.
Joe Armstrong plays Alan A Dale (no relation to Jonas Armstrong; I already checked).
And...Harry Lloyd plays Will Stutley (or should we say Studly).
Of course we can't forget about the leading lady who is as equally easy on the eyes as the men. Lucy Griffiths plays Lady Marian. She captures the hearts of both good and evil. Watch and see.
I highly suggest you check this show out. There is unfortunately only three seasons. I was able to access the first two seasons on my Netflix watch instant and am hoping I will be able to watch the third season either on the show's Web site or on hulu. Be careful visiting the site, however, I was dismayed to discover a few spoilers.
For you men out there who may think that the only substance to this show is the handsome men, I can assure you that you too will fall in love with this show's cast. I was actually introduced to this series by one of my best friend's (spoils of wear) husband.
Please check it out and let me know what you think!
Monday, February 22, 2010
I think, however, I would like to change the direction of this blog ever so slightly. Although I may still write off topic I am most interested in writing reviews about the places I've been, the books I've read, the movies I've seen, and the foods I've eaten, most particularly about locally owned businesses, my own designs included.
...Don't get me wrong, its not that I've been anywhere particularly interesting, but every once in awhile I find the quaintest locally owned restaurant that I feel everyone should know about and because I am always looking for new places to go, interesting things to do, and good books to read I thought I would recommend a few options myself. So perhaps this blog could be one of the arts. A place to share with you my experiences and my passion for design. A place to support local businesses and artists. A place to grow as an artist.
Now, with a little direction I hope to be a bit more loyal to this blog and tap into a childhood passion of writing. Be kind to me as I may be a little rusty, and not as creative as I'd like (I'd like to blame it on the many years of business and college writing I've had to do, nine in all).
I hope to post my first review tomorrow. I know you will be holding your breath till then, but I have to give you something to come back for :)
Sweet Dreams All!
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Favorite Movie of 2009: Avatar
I saw quite a few movies this year, but my favorite would probably have to be Avatar. I had the privilege of seeing it in 3D, which was very exciting, I even occasionally caught my hand coming up to swat virtual bugs that I thought were swarming my face. Avatar was beautiful to watch and has a little something for everyone.
Least Favorite Movie of 2009: Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
Although I like both Jennifer Gardner and Matthew McConaughey I felt this was a terrible plot, and just not very entertaining at all.
Favorite Restaurant of the Year: Saigon in St. Paul
A personal favorite of mine for the last 9 years, Saigon is a little hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese restaurant that has the best Pho (beef broth and rice noodle soup) that I've ever had. They have reasonable prices and fresh entrees. One of my favorites is the chicken spring rolls.
New Restaurant of the Year: Ngon in St. Paul
For my birthday dinner Nick took me to Ngon in St. Paul. It is primarily Vietnamese cuisine with a fusion of, I believe, French. Located on University Avenue I was quite surprised when I walked in to find a restaurant very typical of an uptown Minneapolis ambience. It was very trendy. Though the food was good, I much prefer Saigon, which has better food and cheaper prices. I am excited, however, to go back and try their brunch.
The Guthrie: A Christmas Carol
After dinner at Ngon Nick took me to see "A Christmas Carol" at the Guthrie, which was quite good. The Guthrie architecture and design elements reminded a lot of the Walker Museum in Minneapolis. Clean lines, minimalistic, and great design elements. My only negative is that once in the Guthrie Nick and I had the hardest time actually finding the auditorium. We went up the longest escalator ever (after asking how to get to the 5th floor) and once off had to ask several employees how to get to the auditorium (others were even asking us how to get to the auditorium). More signage would definitely be helpful.
For my birthday spent with my girlfriends I really wanted to try out Vertical Endeavors in St. Paul, an indoor climbing facility. At $20 for the whole day you had access to multiple climbing walls and could come and go as you please. Unfortunately, unless you have past experience belaying you are very limited to the climbing space as a majority of the ropes are designated for belaying, leaving only 5-7 automatic ropes in the whole facility. Therefore, for part of the day we spent our time crowding around the limited available ropes waiting in line, until, fortunate for us, we met another group of climbers who offered to belay us. One other slight negative about the facility is that the walls are shorter than those found at Dicks Sporting Goods and REI (or at least they appear to be). Would I go again? Definitely, but I am excited to try other indoor climbing facilities.
Though I did a lot in 2009 I hope to accomplish even more in 2010. I love to try new things and would really like to tap more into my adventurous side. So I salute you 2009 and welcome 2010 with open arms.
Outfit of the Day: I actually wore this in Indiana over Thanksgiving break.
Matching hat and scarf: Target
Hooded tie-dyed shirt: Clothing Swap-Free
Jeans: Rerock-Thrifted at $9.99
Off-white Angel Sleeved Cardigan: Target-$6...
Brown Suede Boots: Jessica Simpson from Macys-birthday gift from mom and dad
iPhone: Christmas gift from mom and dad
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
I'm not sure if you remember, but in my "Virtual Christmas Shopping" post I mentioned this Website where I purchased Rosetta Stone Spanish for my husband for an awe shocking low price of $139! For those of you who do not know, Rosetta Stone usually retails for $539, that is a $400 savings! I had never heard of the Website before but because it had a phone number posted, offered online chat for customer support, sent an email confirmation with a contact person once signing up at the site, and used Paypal for its transaction I thought for sure this site is legit, right? Wrong! Though I did receive my Rosetta Stone 3 weeks later (it was being shipped from China), and the box was shrink-wrapped and looked nearly identical to those I'd seen at Borders, I grew increasingly concerned when I realized after viewing the Spanish version at a Borders store my box was missing the black inked word "espanol" on the front and instead had a white label on the side typed "Spanish (LA). I then decided, after no longer being able to access the website, that I had an illegal copy, but continued to hope. I did give my husband Rosetta Stone for Christmas, of which he was elated to receive, but warned that I bought it from a wholesaler in China so was a bit concerned about its authenticity. Unconcerned, since the differences were indecipherable to the untrained eye, he brought it home, opened it up and was ready to begin learning Spanish, but whoa was he when he discovered that the program did NOT come with an activation code. Now, $139 down the toilet and a disappointed husband I warn you of online scams. I have not been able to access the Website for the last month and no one has responded to my inquiries from the website.
Though I have not yet discovered how to truly decipher a legitimate site from a scam, here are a few easy rules of thumb to follow for your future shopping.
1. Do NOT shop on a site that you have not either been referred to or heard of before.
2. If you cannot find reviews on the Web for the site, it may not be legitimate.
3. If its too good to be true, than it probably is TOO good to be true (that one I learned from my husband).
I sincerely hope that no one was scammed this Christmas, but if you have any advice or have been scammed in the past I would love to hear of your experience or any other rules-of-thumb for online shopping.
Best Regards and Happy New Year!