3.30.2011

motel

I am the ultimate "dress girl." My friends know this all too well and are always surprised if I'm out in a pair of skinny jeans. I just like the girly feeling I get when I slip one on, and they are comfortable. Who wants to wear a stiff pair of jeans all night?

Lately I've run out of places to shop for dresses. I have my go-to stores, but I've been in dire need of a new designer. Luckily, yesterday when I was relentlessly searching the web for a birthday dress, as shared in my bday dress post, I stumbled upon my new favorite designer, Motel. The line has oodles of amazing dresses. I actually have one sitting in my closet that I bought from Urban Outfitters. I fell in love with it when I found it, but lately haven't seen much from the line in their stores. Now I don't have to scour the racks, I can simply (and dangerously) order online.

Motel is out of the UK, but they do ship here, for free. Yay! Known for figure-fitting dresses, and amazing cut-outs, British songbirds like Lily Allen and Peaches are fans. You are sure to have the most noticeable dress in the room. I have to say I'm so glad Britain is invading our country.

Here is some eye candy for other "dress girls" out there...






what i'm lovin' wednesday

1. Robyn
How could I forget about this uber talented lady? I feel bad for letting her get dusty in my iTunes library. Now Body Talk is getting the attention it deserves.
    

2. Garden veggie shmear
My mama and I went to Einstein Bros. Bagels for lunch and ate the tastiest bagel thin sandwiches. Their veggie cream cheese was so tasty that I had to buy a tub of it. It has now replaced all sandwich condiments. Yum.
3. Puppy play dates
Charlie has made a new friend with a little pup named Chloe. She's my friend, Stephanie's Malti-Poo, and she looks just like a lamb. The pups play tug-of-war, eat snacks, and roam around the apartment together. Dogs have the life.

3.29.2011

ring my kettlebell

photo source
I started using kettlebells a couple months ago, and I actually really enjoy the workout. It works out the majority of muscles in my body and burns loads of calories. What's bad about that? 

Sometimes it gets a little tedious doing the same motions over and over again, which is why I am always glad to stumble upon a new workout to try. This month's issue of SHAPE magazine had exactly what I wanted. Vanessa Hudgens looks amazing on the cover. Will you look at those abs?! Thankfully she shares her secret in the mag...a kettlebell routine.

The Plan: Three times a week, do 1 set of each move in order without resting. Repeat once or twice. You will need 12- to 24-pound kettlebells or dumbbells (they should feel very heavy).



The Farmer and High-Low Carry

A Stand holding a kettlebell in each hand at your sides, palms facing thighs. Walk forward at a moderate pace for 2 minutes.
B Next, keep left arm extended at side and raise right arm straight overhead, palm facing in front of you. Walk forward at a moderate pace for 1 minute, then switch arms and repeat.

 

Goblet Squat



A Hold the sides of a kettlebell handle with both hands in front of chest, elbows bent and palms facing each other. Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulders, toes pointing out and knees slightly bent.
B
Squat until thighs are parallel to the ground and elbows touch legs (only go as low as you're comfortable with), rise up and repeat. Do 15 to 20 reps.


Push-Press

A Hold a kettlebell in right hand in front of right shoulder, palm facing body, and stand with feet shoulder-width apart, left arm at side.
B Bend knees, then quickly straighten legs and press weight overhead, rotating palm forward. Return to starting position; repeat. Do 15 to 20 reps; switch sides to complete set.


bday dress

My birthday is right around the corner, but I haven't secured any plans just yet! I feel a bit lazy about making plans, but I'm sure dinner with my girlfriends and a night out will be in store. Although I have seen my friends secretively whispering, and my ears pick up on the word "birthday." Who knows what those crazy cats are planning.

While I haven't been planning, I have been pondering what dress I will wear. I think every girl deserves to feel pretty on her birthday, which is why every year I go on a hunt for the perfect party wear. I don't have anything in mind, but I have been scouring the stores and peeking around on the internet for some ideas. It's strange how much effort I put into it when I have no idea what my 23rd birthday has in store for me. All I know is that I will be surrounded by my best friends and that's really all I can ask for.

Motel
I love the back on this dress, but it's the print that makes me nostalgic. It reminds me of a party dress my mom picked out of me for my 4th birthday. It was a Beauty and the Beast themed party, and I loved every second of it.

Free People
This dress screams birthday girl. It's got a little sparkle and I love the one flowing sleeve. No wonder it's called the "Brighten Your Day" dress.

Rare Opulence
A dress fit for a birthday ballerina. I don't know if I would ever be able to pull this number off, but my birthday would be a prime time to do it. I love the color combination and the tutu, very Carrie Bradshaw.

Pleasure Doing Business
I am absolutely smitten with this designer. I was lucky enough to pick her brain for an interview a little while back. She's brilliant, and her skirts and dresses are so flattering. I've never come across anything like it. You literally lose five pounds when you slip one of her pieces on. This silver dress is stunning!

Forever 21
I hardly ever wear red, but I think I would make an exception with this dress. It's simple, which is good because the color makes it stand out enough as it is, but the one shoulder and cut-out make it unique. Now if I could only look as good as her wearing it.

Well, there are tons of lovely Spring dresses to choose from. Now it's time to narrow it down to one...or two. Who says you can't celebrate more than one day?

3.27.2011

sunday spark

photo source

"The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and let it come in."
-Morrie Schwartz

3.24.2011

tribute to miss taylor

We lost a legend yesterday. May she rest in peace. Elizabeth Taylor will forever be a timeless beauty in everyone's hearts.



I won't ever forget her mesmerizing performance in Cleopatra, her hilarious performance in Taming of the Shrew, or her bratty performance in Little Women. I thank my mom for showing my sister and me such classic movies as little girls.

just can't get enough

Ever since Adele's 21 came out in January, I can not stop playing the album over and over again. From "Rolling in the Deep" to "Someone Like You," it is filled with the prettiest lyrics and piano playing, which to me is the greatest marriage in song. I saw her a few years ago with my mom and some friends when her album, 19 came out. The Script opened for her when they weren't yet blasted on every radio station. I am happy they are finally getting the recognition they deserve, and would be thrilled if they toured with Adele again. It was the perfect collaboration.

When I received my InStyle magazine in the mail, I was thrilled to see Adele hidden in its pages. Showing off the season's pretty purple hue, she dawns lilac eye shadows and mauve lips. Nobody could be more perfect to model makeup, with her doe-like eyes and pouty lips. She screams Britain beaut.



I definitely read the article, while humming along to "Turning Tables." It seems like the ballad to my life right now. Now I need to snag some pretty purples for my eyelids. I hear they make brown eyes pop!

3.23.2011

what i'm lovin' wednesday

1. Cat eye sunglasses
Meowww. I love the retro look of these glasses. Not only are they fashionable, but they also protect those pretty eyes of ours. I think I've got to snag a pair.

2. Chinese food
I am so ready for a tasty dinner with my friends tonight. We are going to chow down on some grub at P.F. Changs. Looks like I will have to kick it up a bit at the gym this afternoon...

3. Horoscopes
I read them on the daily, but lately they've been so spot on and it's kind of freaky. From what they say, I've been making the right decisions lately and hopefully I do have some exciting things in store for me. I'm sticking with being an Aries, astrologists. Nice try on your earth rotation theory.

3.22.2011

abstract artist

I have found a new artist to pull inspiration from. I sometimes find it difficult to paint up something that doesn't contain words or quotes that hold special meaning to me. I have tried vying away from this, and finding meaning in images other than words, but I find it difficult. Luckily, I stumbled upon Lisa Solberg and scrolling through her work is giving me the necessary push out my box.

Her work is abstract, using different artistic elements to create colorful pieces. She doesn't over think when she paints, which is a feat I can't seem to grasp. While she pulls inspiration from all over, travels, sketches, magazine clippings, fashion, she doesn't plan her paintings out. I find this so intriguing, especially since her work is so amazing. Each piece is so unique.

Watching this video made me want to hole up in a studio, soak up her energy and rawness, and paint away.


Here are some pieces of hers that I love...






3.21.2011

savory salmon

I admit that I am a carnivore. I love steak, chicken fingers, burgers, salami. You get the idea, but there is one type of meat I always overlook...fish. I know I shouldn't, seeing as it's incredibly healthy for me. I have salmon sitting patiently in the back of my freezer waiting to be grabbed, thawed, cooked, and eaten. However, my hands always grab their neighbors instead. 

The fish won't be left out for long thanks to the new issue of Self magazine. It provides recipes for salmon that I have to try, due to how delicious they look. These are three that I will be whipping up this week...

Creamy Farfalle with Salmon and Peas

Ingredients:

  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 1 lb salmon fillet, skin removed
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 6 oz farfalle pasta
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas
  • 1 1/2 cups 1 percent milk, divided
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 oz Neufchâtel
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, divided
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Directions:
Heat broiler to low. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Season salmon with 1/2 tsp salt and 1⁄8 tsp pepper. Broil until cooked through, 5 minutes per side. Let cool; cut salmon into bite-size pieces. Cook pasta as directed on package; add peas 3 minutes before end of cooking time; drain. Whisk 1/4 cup milk and flour in a small saucepan until smooth; whisk in remaining 1 1/4 cups milk, remaining 1/4 tsp salt and remaining 1/8 tsp pepper. Cook over medium heat, whisking, until as thick as heavy cream, 10 minutes. Remove from heat; add Neufchâtel and 1 tbsp dill; whisk until cheese melts. Toss pasta and peas with sauce and salmon; drizzle with juice. Garnish with zest and remaining 1 tbsp dill. (Serves 4)


Calories?
559 calories per serving, 22 g fat (7 g saturated), 50 g carbs, 5 g fiber, 37 g protein

 

Salmon Cakes with Greens

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup fat-free mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp chopped shallots
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, divided
  • 1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 lb salmon fillet, skin removed, finely chopped
  • 2 egg whites
  • 5 tablespoons drained capers
  • 1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 8 cups mixed greens

Directions:
Combine mayonnaise, 1 tbsp shallots, 1 tsp mustard, buttermilk and juice in a bowl; set aside. Combine salmon, egg whites, remaining 1/4 cup shallots, capers, breadcrumbs, remaining 1 tsp mustard, salt and pepper in another bowl; mix well; shape into eight 3-inch-round patties. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook salmon cakes until bottom is golden, about 6 minutes; flip and cook until golden, 5 minutes more. Toss greens with half the buttermilk mixture; divide salad among 4 plates; top each with 2 salmon cakes. Serve with remaining dressing on the side. (Serves 4)

 

Calories?
369 calories per 2 patties and 2 cups salad, 19 g fat (4 g saturated), 19 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 30 g

 

Jamaican Jerk Salmon and Mango-Pineapple Salsa

Ingredients:

  • 2 mangoes, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 pineapple, cored and diced
  • 1 cup rinsed and drained canned black beans
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 salmon fillets (5 oz each), skin on
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

Directions:
Combine mangoes, pineapple, black beans, onion, cilantro and 1/4 tsp salt in a bowl. Combine remaining 1/2 tsp salt, allspice, cumin, thyme, cayenne and cinnamon in another bowl; rub over both sides of each fillet. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; cook salmon until cooked through, 5 minutes per side. Serve with salsa. (Serves 4)

show off those toesies

While I am sad to see my boots pushed to the back of my closet, I am excited to strap on a pair of sandals for this perfect Spring weather. This calls for a pedicure and a tan, since my little feetsies haven't seen the sun in quite some time.

I'm not typically a fan of wearing plain, rubber flip flops, although there are those times I throw on a pair of Havaianas to make a quick trip to the store. I tend to stick to dressier versions of the comfort shoes. Plain ol' rubber just won't cut it anymore, especially with all the amazing designs out there.

My favorite designers, Sam Edelman, Jeffrey Campbell, and Dolce Vita, have come out with the perfect shoes to add to my Spring wardrobe. Bless their hearts. Luckily, these designs are exclusively for my store, Free People (as if I don't mention the brand enough). These collaborations are nothing to complain about.

Dolce Vita
Dolce Vita
Sam Edelman
Sam Edelman
Jeffrey Campbell
Jeffrey Campbell

3.20.2011

sunday spark

Courtesy of Tumblr
 "I do not try to dance better than anyone else. I only try to dance better than myself."
-Mikhail Baryshnivok

3.19.2011

just keep swimming

I am so thrilled the weather has heated up because that means it's time to break out the swimsuits and tanning oil. I have been taking full advantage of getting rid of my pasty skin, so what's better to accompany a fresh tan than a new swimsuit?

Luckily, my favorite lines have come out with the perfect two-pieces. I've had my eyes on a few...

Betsey Johnson
Free People
Victoria's Secret
Juicy Couture
V i X

farewell, spring break

Although I graduated last May, I wasn't ready to fully let go of Spring Break this year. So, I participated with my girlfriends. We didn't need to go on a trip, although Vegas was a thought we threw around quite a bit. Instead, we stayed close to home and pretended we were on a fabulous vacay.

We laid our towels out by the edge of the pool, dipped our toes in the cold water, and worked on our tans. We barbecued. Well, my dear friend, Stephanie did. She's the only one who knew how to work the grill. Those were some tasty hot dogs and burgers. We celebrated St. Patty's Day in our green get-ups. We played card games. We tried out new restaurants. We lounged on the couch and watched a Sex and the City marathon.

It was truly the perfect week with friends, and a nice break from our typical routine. It will be sad to see Spring Break go, but it will also be nice to get back on track with writing, work, and going to the gym.

3.17.2011

don't pinch me

Happy Saint Patty's Day, readers. I hope you all have a fun evening planned. I will be accompanied by my best friends, so I know it will be a good time.

This year I will not be pinched! Green is not a color that is common in my closet, so I always find my arms pink and in pain every year. Thankfully, this time I am prepared. I already have my green dress picked out. I spotted it at Divaz Boutique about a month ago, and I figure this holiday would make a perfect debut for it.
Dress by 3 + 1 Audrey, Belt by Free People
 Driving today, I saw a little old man in green pants, a green shirt, and green sunglasses. I give him props for being brave enough to sport the Leprechaun look, but there are more subtle ways to celebrate.

Put on something cute and green...

Olive Mesh Applique Dress by Topshop
6-Band Bandage Skirt in Gold/Green by Pleasure Doing Business
Cotton Spandex Jersey Double U-Neck Dress by American Apparel
Paint your nails a shade of green...
Pretty Edgy by Essie
Go On Green! by OPI

Jade by Chanel

Wear green accessories...

Velvet bow hair clip by American Apparel

Robinson Shoulder Bag by Tory Burch
Plaid Gauze Scarf by Free People

If you can't seem to find anything green or don't have the time for some last minute shopping, then just carry around a pint of green beer and you should be just fine! Have a safe and fun holiday.
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