Navy Stipes & Irritation

As you can see from my facial expressions, I was extremely irritated when taking these pictures.  Let me paint the scene... I was hot, the sun was uber bright, I left my remote shutter on and the batteries died, the neighbor's dogs wouldn't stop barking, I was already late for a family event...I was exhausted and cranky.

Then it got worse...

Already late for a party, I pop my camera card into my computer after taking 20-30 pictures, and I see that I didn't adjust my white balance to sunny after using it inside to photograph my nails. SERIOUSLY?!!? And of course they were GREAT shots. It was too bright outside in the sun to be able to tell when the photo popped up onscreen. I almost cried.

Instead, I put my big girl panties on, and went out for a second round of photos. And my patience was nearly gone. But seriously, what a difference...

The colors just pop now in my scarf and t-shirt.  This outfit was nothing special, I just wanted to dress up a bit on the weekend to see family and celebrate my father in law's birthday. What better way than to watch Les Mis on a 10 foot screen surrounded by loved ones? I could have easily worn another pair of sweatpants, but I decided to dress up my favorite Target sweatshirt with a tank top and a scarf that pops.

This sweatshirt is extremely comfortable and I love the thumb holes on the sleeve- makes me feel young!

I am both excited and fearful at the fete in front of me of learning to use my dslr. I literally have to start at the absolute beginning- so much of the terminology is confusing and scary. The exciting part will be having the ability to capture so many memories, and to share much more here on my blog.

Outfit Details: Shoes: Target // Bag: TJMaxx // Jeans: Calvin Klein // Tank: Kohls (old) // Sweatshirt: Target // Scarf: Target // Sunglasses: D&G

Pink Sparkle

This manicure literally brightened my day last week. I was having a stressful day at work, and to top it off, I was having stomach issues from either nerves or something I ate. I was just down. I looked over at my shelves in my office and saw Essie 'Madison Ave-hue' and Zoya 'Aurora' still sitting untried. When holding them both in my hand trying to determine which one to try, I realized they coordinated together perfectly. Voila!

My camera cannot even begin to capture to holo-gorgeousness of Aurora- MAJOR sparkle! It's blingingly beautiful- it is definitely a MUST-buy polish. I will say this is in my top 5 polishes- it is that beautiful.

Picture overload, but seriously, it's worth it... Just as gorg inside...

Happy Monday!

Happy Spring!

Are you as happy as I am that today is officially the first day of Spring? So what that we had snow and freezing rain on Monday...there is hope in sight! I am so ready for warm weather, aren't you? I absolutely love tulips, so until I see some available for my desk, I will enjoy these beautiful photos.

How beautiful are these dark purple tulips my mother in law picked out for me for Valentines Day? The bulbs are in a clear vase under water, and are so unique. Well, were.  They're since dead, but they were beautiful in February!

I will be bundled up on this cold 46 degree first day of Spring, but looking forward to 60-70 degree days!

Photos Source.

Peace & Love

So before Christmas I saw this sweatshirt at Target and made the joke to my friend Marcy that on me this sweatshirt would say rolls & more rolls, and passed on to other clothes. Fast forward a month and a $6 price tag, I fell in love with it. 

It's not exactly figure flattering, rather box-y in shape, but between the color, the neckline and the embellished "&" on the front, it's quickly become my favorite sweatshirt. 

Let me tell you what I was thinking in this picture: 'oh come on, take the picture, there's a car coming...what's taking so long?" Then I realized there are 2 options on my remote, immediate and delayed, and you can guess what mine was on. Well, I can say that is the photography self-taught lesson for this week!

When I decided to start doing OOTD pictures for my blog, I immediately was filled with fear- mainly that I would be too boring. I don't receive free clothes from vendors and brands, and I don't have money to show you a different outfit everyday. And seriously, this is me in sweats on a GOOD day. I have reassured myself that I do have the style and ingenuity to create with what I have already, only adding pieces here and there.

I would love to thrift, and show you how I incorporate thrifted pieces into my wardrobe, but I am a weird size and that makes thrifting difficult.  You see, I am literally right in between women's sizes and plus sizes.  Yes, I guess that gives me 2 different worlds to shop from, but it makes thrifting even more difficult. Seriously, if I could find a good tailor, I'd be set. This sweatshirt is actually an XXL from the (misses) department at Target, and the yoga pants are an XL from Target activewear. I believe they actually call these pants juniors, but they don't fit like them.

And by the way, the peace part of "love & peace" would be these pants, where the word peace is across the fold down waist band on the back. And every time I wear these pants, my husband informs me they spelled peace wrong...bahahaha...

I will brag on myself a little here and tell you how much I am loving my hair here.  I promise a tutorial soon-- believe me, it's EASY. And QUICK.

The love part would be my favorite piece of jewelry, my 'love' bracelet from lia sophia which never leaves my wrist.

I wanted to share this outfit with you as my everyday outfit, but I should call it my every other or every-2 days outfit. Even though I'm in sweats, this is after a shower and doing my hair. The days in between are pretty rough, but then again, that's real life. I'm not playing dress up!

Nail Treatments

Today in place of a manicure I want to share a few of my favorite nail treatments with you, my tried and trues. I am actually in the process of a treatment now, so I will start with that one.

As you can see from the picture, this is OPI Nail Envy Original. I purchased OPI Nail Envy for Peeling and Breaking about a year ago, but never saw any results when using it.  After receiving multiple recommendations from nail bloggers, I decided to give the Original a try.

I picked it up on eBay for under $10 which is a great price considering it's $17-18 at Ulta and Target. I heard it was on sale for $7 and change this week on Amazon, but I couldn't find it, I'm sorry!

Within one application I noticed a difference. I have been using acetone nail polish remover frequently, and it is destroying  my nails. I end up with my tips peeling, thus causing weak nails which break more often.  Nail Envy has strengthened them considerably, and I will report back to you within a week as to official results! The first application is 2 coats, followed by a coat every other day.

Another nail treatment I am a fan of is Essie Grow Stronger. This is an instagram photo, so I apologize for the quality. This is my number one choice for a basecoat.

I have used Grow Stronger on its own, but I prefer it as a basecoat. When worn alone as in the photo, it doesn't dry to shiny, smooth finish. It dries to a rubberized finish, which irritated me in a way. Right around Thanksgiving my nails were longer than they've ever been (&since!) and I know it was thanks to Essie Grow Stonger.

As soon as my peelies are healed, I will return to using this as my basecoat for all my manicures.
The third treatment I would like to share with you is Julep Oxygen Treatment.  I will be completely honest with you, I use this treatment only for the pale pink tint color.  I'm sure by now you know I am a big fan of Julep, but I don't want to mislead you with this product. I didn't notice any difference or improvement in my nails after using multiple times. Those of you that are Mavens, did you notice any improvement? I know there was a lot of complaints as to the consistency of it- some Mavens in colder temperatures believed that to be the reason.  It's a beautiful pale pink and lasts longer than a polish, so I use this as my go-to neutral.
I have easily 10+ other paint-on nail treatments, but I believe these to be the best. Do you use any nail treatments? Do you recommend any?

Remote Shutter

For Christmas last year my husband bought me a new DSLR camera, and I just purchased a remote for it last week.  In an effort to take more outfit pictures and to rely less on bothering my husband, I purchased this remote last week off amazon.  So in order to try it out, I put on an outfit you'd probably see me in every weekend if you were around.

I'll work on getting more creative with my outfits, but for now you're getting the real me. Wearing what I am comfortable in-jeans, cotton, and flat sneakers. Seriously, what's the high-heel/wedge sneaker coming back?

So, as you can see from this picture, I'm really excited the remote works, and the pictures I'm going to take with it! My blogging friend Jess is about to start a photography for beginners class, and I can't wait to start shooting in Manual mode!

Tee: Target // Vest: NY&Co // Scarf: Target // Jeans: Calvin Klein // Wallet: Stella & Dot // Glasses: amazon
So, I'm seriously in love with these sunglasses which cost me a whopping $7 on amazon! I know fake is never in fashion, but if I could afford the real Prada ones, would I be showcasing an outfit primarily from Target? Nope. I have 2 pairs of genuine designer glasses, but considering I like changing out my sunglasses daily, I figure $7 is a worthwhile investment. 
Want to know a secret? I'm not wearing makeup, I'm embracing my bumpy pony-tail, and I decided to not carry my prop purse- I went with my Stella & Dot tech wallet that I carry everywhere. Anything else you want me to spill?

Coconut Oil #Fail

I bought this Coconut Oil a few months ago for the sole purpose of making homemade-makeup remover wipes using a recipe I found on Pinterest. And it has since sat in my pantry, unused.

A post on instagram by a friend inspired me to try it on my hair after she raved about the results on her daughter. Well, I'm thinking I applied it wrong? I did not notice a difference at all. Just messiness.

I should start off by saying I am very blessed with thick, healthy hair in the first place, so maybe it did do good and I didn't notice? Ugh, that sounds so self-absorbed, I'm sorry! Believe me, there are down sides to this hair- the grass is always greener, remember that. I can't wear a ponytail unless it's at the base of my neck because I get headaches, it takes over an hour to curl my hair, it takes 2-3 hours to air dry, and it falls out everywhere.

That being said, I know I don't condition my hair enough. I rotate 2 shampoos and 1 shampoo/conditioner in my hair washing routine, and wash my hair every 2-4 days. So, it ends up being about once every 2 weeks that I condition my hair. 

Oh, and sidenote- just be happy I'm hiding behind the lens...this is a typical weekday ensemble for me- sweats, husband's t-shirt, and a sweatshirt. No makeup, hair a hot mess.

So, I am seeing that some people put the coconut oil on in the shower after washing, and then rinse it? Is that how you're supposed to do it? Because here's what I did:

I let it sit in a pot of hot water for about 10 minutes to melt, then rubbed a bunch in my hair, concentrating on my roots. Then I showered and washed it out. Like I said, I'm thinking that's where I went wrong?

Ew. Serious greaze...I am channeling my inner 13 year old boy here in these photographs, grease central. Oh, and talking about that, I give major props to middle school teachers like my sister-in-law Kim-man, I don't think I could do it. Hormones, major B.O., grease...ew.

Anyway, like I implied with the whole #fail post title, I did not notice a difference. Have any of you tried this? Advice?

St. Patty's Manicure

I decided to add on 'Lucky' to my Julep March box at the last minute, and now I regret opening it.  I don't love it, and I should have saved the Jules. I can still probably swap it out, but I don't like swapping for used polish, so I feel hypocritical swapping one.

I guess I should tell you that Lucky is the color on my thumb and ring finger as you can see above.  It's too much of a peridot-green, and not really my cup of tea.

Enough about Lucky! I'm pretty much in love with the other colors: Butter London 'West End Wonderland' (index finger,) Zoya 'Shawn' with Revlon 'Sequins' (middle finger,) and Zoya 'Yara' with Essie 'As Gold As It Gets' stamped on my pinkie. Oh, and then a coat of Seche Vite top coat.

This manicure is going on 4 days with no chips, I don't know what I did differently- maybe it's the thickness of the glitter?

Happy (Early) St. Patty's Day!

Pink Plaid: Is there any other Kind?

Now that I work from home, I don't get out of my pajamas or yoga pants very much, so I have been trying to not purchase too many clothes.  I know I've talked about it before, but I've been working pretty much full time since I was 19, so I have always had a dress wardrobe- suits, pants, skirts, sweaters, camis, etc. and then my polar opposite- a plethora of yoga pants and sweatshirts.

In the past year or so I have been building up a casual wardrobe, one that I can wear out rather than just sweats and a tee.  I am a BIG fan of What Not to Wear, and I know Stacy and Clinton would be so disappointed with me if they saw that I wear out in public sometimes. There's a very common misconception that bloggers are fabulous 100% of the time- yeah, it's staged, believe me.

I'm learning that I totally over think outfits at times, maybe that's a blogging thing? Am I just a typical girl? I am absolutely in love with this outfit, I've worn in like 3 times in less than 2 weeks, and considering I don't leave the house much, that's saying something.  It's so simple- jeans, a blouse, and a white tank top. It's comfortable, flattering, and something I can wear into spring.

blouse: target // jeans: calvin klein // shoes: target // bag: tjmaxx // jewelry: lia sophia
I am officially out of outfit posts photographed by Jess, now I need to put my rear in gear and start taking my own pictures.  That being said, anyone know of a remote for the Canon T3 Rebel? I keep seeing this one, but I'm afraid it won't work for the T3. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks again to Jess for taking these amazing pics and meeting me for a cappuccino!

Jumbo Bran Muffins

Jumbo Bran Muffins
Makes 6 Servings

2 tablespoons + ¼ c all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter, cut in small pieces
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
1 ½ cups unprocessed bran
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 large egg
2 egg whites
⅓ cup sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
1 cup fat free buttermilk
⅔ cup golden raisins


1.)    Preheat the oven to 375°F, Spray a jumbo 6-cup nonstick muffin pan with non-stick spray (or line with foil or paper liners.)
2.)    To make the crumb topping, in a medium bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the all-purpose flour and the brown sugar.  With a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly.  Stir in the walnuts.
3.)    In a large bowl, combine the bran, whole-wheat flour, the remaining ¼ cup all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the egg, egg whites, sugar, and molasses until blended. Gradually beat in the buttermilk. Gradually add the bran mixture, mixing on low speed until just blended. Stir in the raisins.
4.)    Spoon the batter into the cups, filling each about half full. Sprinkle with the crumb topping. Bake until a toothpick inserted in a muffin comes out clean, about 25 minutes.  Cool in the pan on a rack 5 minutes; remove from the pan and cool completely on the rack.

PER SERVING (1 Jumbo Muffin): 329 Cal, 6g Fat, 2g Sat Fat, 0g Trans Fat, 42mg Chol, 481mg Sod, 64g Carb, 8g Fib, 10g Protein, 111mg Calc. Points Value: 6p.

These muffins are from before points became points+ on Weight Watchers, so forgive me for not having the current values.  I did provide the other nutrition information so you are able to calculate the points for yourself.
I am not on Weight Watchers, but I do make WW recipes frequently. This recipe is out of the 2006 Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook, my absolute favorite source for WW recipes. I have not come across a bad recipe in here yet.
I personally LOVE bran muffins, so these were outstanding in my opinion.  They are delicious, but don't think they'll make you like bran muffins if you don't like them to start with! They are a dense muffin because of the bran, making one muffin a sufficient breakfast with fruit. I did put about a teaspoon of butter on my muffin and added some organic mixed berry jelly.
I don't know if I am alone on this, but I eat muffins and cupcakes the same way- I separate the muffin top from the bottom and save it for is the best part, you know. I then butter and jelly the bottom part, leaving the streusel-topped muffin top for last. Yumm.
My husband doesn't enjoy baked goods like I do, so out of the 6 muffins, I ate one the first day, one two days later, gave 2 to my in-laws, and froze the remaining two for quick breakfasts in the future.
*Note- I used pecans in place of walnuts, as that is what I had available. Plus I'm kinda in love with pecans. P-cons. That's how I say it...
 I will say, although these muffins were absolutely delicious, they did remind me of the scene in Charlie's Angels when I believe Drew Barrymore throws one and it almost breaks through a door. Ha! I did have a chuckle at my bran muffins' expense!
Do you like bran muffins?