friday link love

Oh my God you guys, Domino magazine is coming back!

11 words that are untranslatable.

I heard Marc Jacobs' new nail polish is fantastic, and I LOVE this color.

Made me laugh.

My mom got me this iPhone case for my birthday yesterday, and I LOVE it.  Kate Spade has really stepped up the quality of their cases.

I have a family BBQ to go to this weekend, and I think I'm going to make THIS to make use of the last of this summer's amazing tomatoes.

Hope you all have an amazing Labor Day weekend, and really soak up these last few summer days!


adventures in entertaining/the cheese plate

This past Friday, me and Darrell had a very exciting date night that consisted of a trip to the grocery store, and a movie watched on our couch.    

I know - you notice the word "exciting" in the sentence above, and you think it's misplaced.  Sometimes, though, you just want to have a dinner and a movie date that doesn't cost $100 and doesn't require putting anything but yoga pants on!  

(Seriously.  Two Friday night movie tickets are $25 + popcorn & soda $25 + dinner $50 = $100!!)  

We decided on a Woody Allen movie, so we had to get a little pretension going with our snack choices.  Popcorn wasn't going to cut it.  

Wine & a cheese plate it is!  

Luckily, I had this all planned out, and our grocery trip included some fancy cheese plate supplies, and a genuinely wonderful $8 bottle of red wine they were sampling at Trader Joe's.  

So here are my instructions to assembling the perfect cheese plate, which I may actually prefer to popcorn now as the perfect movie snack.  

1.  Head to the store - I recommend Trader Joe's, because they'll let you try pretty much anything.  Whole Foods or your nearest wine & cheese store are also great,  if you're feeling spendy.  Whole Foods will also pretty much let you sample anything.  You gotta try them first....there are some WEIRD cheeses out there.  I generally love a mix of a somewhat mild blue, an extra creamy brie, a tangy goat cheese, and a little hard parmesan.  

2.  If you're at Trader Joe's, head to the snack aisle and grab a box of Raisin & Rosemary crackers, and a french baguette.  If not, just grab the baguette.  And some wine.  You should feel pretty adorable by now, walking out of a store with wine, cheese, and a baguette.  I mean, you may as well grab some flowers at this point too.  

3.  When you get home, put those flowers in a vase.  Then retrieve the cheeseboard someone bought you as a wedding gift.  Seriously, you know you got one.  Dig around, a little further back in the cabinet........yup, there it is.  Maybe give it a rinse first.  

4.  Throw 1/3 of the baguette in the oven to toast it, at about 350 degrees.  While it's warming up, slice off a 3oz or so wedge of each cheese.  Lay out the crackers, and make a little pile of walnuts, pecans, or whatever nuts you have in the house.  A few blueberries or figs are great, as well.  Put out a little bowl of with a pretty spoon.  Take out the bread and slice it into little rounds.  

5.  Serve it up with your wine!  Nibble throughout the movie, making sophisticated commentary about the wine's body and floral notes, and the flavor profiles of the cheeses.  Or don't, and just really enjoy eating a bunch of cheese and crackers for dinner.  


a personal challenge

I've been feeling sort of insanely busy lately, so as a personal experiment, I wrote down what I did all day on a little timeline to see how I could improve my use of my time.  

This is how it went: 

6:45 - Wake up, throw on workout clothes (which I laid out the night before).  Have a cup of coffee, read emails, take out dogs.  

7 am - Run for 30 minutes to an hour, or take a yoga class.  

7:45 am - Shower, feed dogs & give them medicine, water plants, make breakfast.  

8:30 or 8:45 - Start work while eating breakfast.  Sit down at my table or on my porch and comb through emails, check in with designers, compile finished work, work on blog posts for Williamson, Evernote check ins, etc.  

12 pm - I used my lunch break to run errands and pick something up to eat.  

1 pm - Back to work!  

3pm - Make a snack, and throw on some makeup and fix my hair so I don't look like I've been working in a ponytail and yoga pants all day.  Which is what I've been doing. 

3:30 - 5:30 Work some more!   

5:30 pm - Get started on dinner.  

7 pm - Eat dinner with Darrell, then clean up the house and read, do my nails, and watch Netflix with Darrell.  

9:30 pm - Go to bed!  

I kind of abhor the idea of losing that 2 hours I get to hang out with my husband and read magazines or do my nails every night.  I also really like my 15 minutes of peace and quiet when I read the news in the morning with my coffee, but I also feel the most rushed in the morning. It's a little embarrassing - this looks like a pretty luxurious schedule!!

So I realized that what I really need to do (and this is some painful truth) is wake up an hour earlier.  I sleep like 9 hours a night, which isn't really necessary - it's just a habit!  I don't HAVE to wake up as early as Darrell (which is at 5:30 am), but I don't like staying awake after he goes to bed, so it just sort of happened.  

Here's the plan - this week, I'm going to make my wake up goal time 6 am.  After this week, I'll move it back to 5:45, and then 5:30.  I'm sure I'll fail a lot and skip my workout and end up in bed until 7.  But it's a personal challenge I'd like to take, and not one I have any reason to avoid!  I generally feel pretty good when I start my day earlier anyways - just the initial exit from the bed is hard....

Any takers for joining me?  Anybody else tweaking their schedule so they feel like they have more hours in the day?  

Also, something funny I've seen around the web that put this in perspective: 


the new year

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It's 96 degrees outside today, so it very much feels like summer, but when I see the school buses picking up the kids in my neighborhood I feel so nostalgic!

I might not miss going to class - quite the contrary - but I do love the new-ness that comes with each school year.  Somehow September has always felt more like a "New Year" than January has.

Here are a few of my favorite things to give you that "first day of class" feeling, even from your cubicle desk.  


friday link love

I'm compiling quite the little collection of (very affordable!) items I'd like to pick up for Fall, if you'd like to check them out HERE.  

I am making these pancakes on Sunday morning!  They sound ridiculously decadent, but next Thursday is my birthday, so that makes this the Sunday of my birthday right?

I'm thinking my obsession with "You've Got Mail" means I should watch THIS movie sometime soon.

I got a haircut yesterday, and I'm pretty darn happy with it.

Ain't it the truth.  

We have nada going on this weekend, and we are looking forward to it in a ridiculous way.  Not that we'll stay in ALL weekend, but isn't it nice to have the OPTION of spontaneity?


the clothes i'll never wear

If it's dragging the floor on the model, it'll make an actual pool of fabric on your 5'4 stature.  
Striped tights are for twiggy types (same goes for overalls).  
Varsity jackets are for high schoolers.  

You know when you buy clothes for the life you don't have?  The patterned kimono from House of Harlow that you never wore because, OH, you forgot!  You aren't a direct descendant of Stevie Nicks.  Then there's the sequined cocktail dress that you THOUGHT you might wear on New Year's Eve - except that nowadays your idea of the perfect New Year's celebration is watching the ball drop with your husband on the couch (of course, still with champagne in hand!)  

I own many of these clothes.  I have LOTS of fur coats - real ones I shamefully owned pre-vegetarianism - and although the leopard pea coats of the world are surprisingly wearable, shaggy faux red fox is not.  

That's why this week - and the coming weeks, as I take stock - I'm going to be giving myself a pretty big closet overhaul.  I am lucky enough to have a "seasonal storage" closet at my parent's home, and I'll be purging it of anything and everything I think might suit someone with a different life.  Here's to using that cash towards more practical matters - like black skinny pants and a solid leather tote bag.  

You can check out the beginnings of this at my eBay store HERE.  I wish you luck, those of you who have such exciting lives, and wear a medium, women's 6, or size 9 shoe.  

There's Mongolian lamb fur and pony hair leopard print a-plenty, and expect more sequins to be listed - LOTS more sequins.  


socks for fall from free people

How cute are they?  

I am totally into this tall sock trend for fall.  I'm actually planning to order a couple pairs sometime soon - such an inexpensive way to really lift an outfit!  They're so cozy, and actually really flattering to the legs with pair of boots or booties.  Free People has my favorite styles by far.  

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images from free people bldg 25 blog and free people.com


an end of summer dinner party

Before everyone arrived - our table was made of a pallet wrapped in white cloth, and two unused french doors I found in the basement of my apartment building.  I don't have seating for 12 anywhere in my apartment, so this was a really convenient way to get everyone together!  

Also, it just looked so pretty.  I used a mixture of china I have collected from the Goodwill over time, and some of my everyday dinnerware mixed in.  I scattered some flowers underneath the windows in the doors.  

I made homemade citronella candles with greenery, lemon slices, water + citronella essential oil, and mason jars with a votive dropped in.  The little flower vases are actually vintage crystal wine glasses from the thrift store, and the roses I cut from the bushes in our backyard.  

Turns out little metal votives don't float very well.  This would be me trying not to burn my fingers off while I set the candles in the greenery.  

All in all, it was a beautiful night.  Everyone brought wonderful food, drinks (even some home-brewed beer!) and the weather couldn't have been more perfect.  


friday link love

How gorgeous are these photographs of ballet dancers in random life positions?

Yum-o to this mushroom ragu!  A perfect Sunday night dinner.

I've been collecting ideas for Fall Clothes, to tide me over until it's actually time to start wearing them.  It's been my favorite pinning activity lately.

Easy braid explanations from Refinery 29 - I'm loving the technique of folding the braid in for the "around the head" braid.

The 100 most beautiful words in English.

These cookies sound like another fantastic Sunday project.


the haircut

I cannot for the life of me understand why every time this hair trend comes back, we have to come up with some silly new name for it.  Listen, I love it, but the "lob," "clavicut," whatever you want to call it - it's a LONG BOB.  Either way, I'm totally nuts over it, and I'm planning to officially take the plunge next week.  These are a few of my inspirations - although honestly Rose Byrne and Olivia Palermo are more than just hair trend inspiration.  I pretty much want to BE a combination of the two of them at all times.  


mid summer's night tablescapes

Taking some inspiration from my mother, who is a fabulous hostess, I decided to start up a little supper club in my current city, St. Louis.  I love the idea of making sure our friends get together for no real purpose other than good food, good wine, and a little music and conversation.  Being only 24, I don't have a very large collection of entertaining goods - I don't even have a real dinner table for larger than 4 people!  Even still, I volunteered to host our first month, and with a little creativity and some help from Pinterest, I've cooked up plans to make it a night worth remembering.  These are some of the photos I've taken inspiration from - I'm kind of getting that it's all about the lighting, flowers, and drinks!  

I love the idea of constructing a low table in the grass from found objects and transforming it with a little fabric and some flowers.  I'm fortunate that we're supposed to have perfect weather this weekend, so I'm planning on this method to get everyone seated together.  Just like expensive flowers, sme simple greenery also makes a table beautiful - and everyone looks better in candlelight.  Citronella is essential, but the versions you find in stores are kind of ugly (and expensive!) so I'm making homemade bug repellant with floating candles, citronella oil, and mason jars.  And to make it all feel twinkly and perfect, I'm planning to string some lights over the table.  


i want to be wearing....

I can't deal with all the "September Issue" nonsense this time of year - it is August, and it is going to be summer for another month or so now, so I can't very well start dreaming about pretty sweaters.  Actually, in St. Louis colder weather didn't really show up until November last year, and it hit 60 on Christmas day, so we'll see about getting an"autumn" this year.   

One thing I can't ever really resist, however, is boots.  They're popping up in stores now, and I figure they're one little thing I can start incorporating, even if I can't wear them with scarves and jackets quite yet.  These are a few of my favorites - Target is kind of killing it this year!  

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friday link love

An article I found really interesting on why a lot of people my age are leaving their churches.  I'm sticking around, but I do agree with a lot of these points.

I'm a Pellegrino addict, so I feel like purchasing this would be totally justified.

I'm planning on writing my 10 year vision Saturday, and lululemon has a pretty fun guide for doing it.

I'm totally addicted to the Divergent series, and plan on making my way through the second book this weekend.

How fun does this super simple DIY project look?

I think this soup looks so yummy.  Might have to make some this weekend while the corn is still so bountiful.

Has anybody else been totally obsessed with "Orange Is the New Black?"  We are so into it!  Looking forward to some couch time Saturday and finishing it up.  Now if only the second season of House of Cards would come out!

neverending summer playlist

I hate to admit it, but summer will end here in a couple weeks.  Summer is, without a doubt, my favorite season.  Isn't it everyone's?  I'm a little sad about it coming to a close, so I put together a little playlist of my favorite songs from the past few months to remind me to make the most of these last weeks.  

I hope you enjoy it this weekend!  

photo via pinterest


no guilt pancakes

So I know that around the internet right now, there are about 1000 versions of this recipe.  In experimenting with a lot of them, I've figured out that many of the recipes have flaws, and don't really tell you the tricks to getting them to turn out well.  They're sort of easy to screw up, because they AREN'T just like real pancakes.  What they are though, is totally delicious, and call me crazy but I actually prefer them to the real thing!  

So below, my foolproof recipe.  

Protein Pancakes

1 scoop protein powder, roughly 3 tbsp (I use Perfect Fit by Tone It Up, but I've also had GREAT results with Trader Joe's chocolate whey protein, and you need 2 scoops of that brand)

1/4 cup egg whites

1/2 mashed up banana (don't sub applesauce)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp ground flax seeds

2 tbsp milk of your choice

2 tbsp oats

1.  Heat up a pan greased with a little canola spray or Pam to medium heat.  No higher, you don't want to rush the cooking with these!  

2.  Thoroughly mash the banana, then combine all the ingredients, adding the banana last.  

3.  I find that making one big pancake works the very best.  If you're dead set on making a few little ones, use a VERY wide pan.  These are a bit harder to flip than the real thing.  Once you've poured out the batter, drizzle in your mix-ins, whether it's a few blueberries, some pecans, or chocolate chips.  Flip the pancake once it seems pretty firm on one side - as in, almost cooked completely through.  It will take a bit, about 5 minutes, but if these cook too fast on the outside they'll be raw on the inside, and the texture won't be any good.  

4.  Flip it over and cook for another 1-2 minutes, and then serve.  I like to top with 1/4 cup real maple syrup or some vanilla greek yogurt!  


apartment tour

I'm a firm believer that an apartment is always a work in progress, but since ours is in the best place I've had it in a while (newly painted trim and a homemade ottoman have upgraded it a bit) I thought I'd post some pictures!  

It's only a 1 bedroom apartment, so some of these rooms are a little multipurpose.  This is our front room/dining room/music room

Our living room, including the new ottoman I made out of a pallet.  It was so easy!  I found the tutorial for it right here.  And yes, my couch always looks this rumpled, except for the 5 minutes after I fluff it up!  My dogs like to have the run of it.  

The living room also doubles as my office, which is why making a giant ottoman myself was way more economical.  I like a big work surface.  I looked at similar furniture online and I had trouble finding nice options for lower than $700!  

Our porch is one of my favorite things about our apartment.  It isn't all that large, but I've hung lots of plants and have an herb garden out there, and the little mason jar light is my favorite.  

 A few little details.  One of my favorite prints, and I like to keep my prettier kitchen things out on the window sill.  

I used to really hate my bathroom - it's blue and mint green, and that was a bit hard to work with.  I considered painting the tile white, but with a few tweaks I got it to a place I'm really liking.  

Our bedroom has finally become a really great spot to relax, with the addition of a new rug and a little seating area.  I found the peacock chair on Craigslist for just $10, and I got the fiddle leaf fern at an end of summer garden sale for only $12.  It's been a lot easier to take care of it than I thought it would be, and I can't wait until it gets really big!  

Well that's it (I told you our apartment isn't very big!)  Have any of you done any home upgrades lately?  Tried any fun DIYs?  I have to say, I never thought I'd be the kind of person who was actually doing things like painting trim or building furniture, but ever since we decided to stay a couple more years in this apartment, I've gotten really into making it exactly the space I want.  


yoga studios in st. louis

I've lived in a St Louis for a couple years now, and I'm kind of a yoga nut (per yesterday's post, this is kind of turning into a yoga themed week!)  I've wanted to do a post on my favorite studios in St. Louis for a while, because I hate when a newbie has a bad experience on their first time out.  Whether you're new to yoga or just visiting and wanting to try a new class, here are some great studios, and their best teachers.  (In my humble opinion of course!)  

Urban Breath is the first yoga studio I tried in St. Louis, probably because I found it on so many "best of" lists.  They have an amazing first month deal, $30 for 30 days, and that's pretty hard to beat.  Any of the classes taught by Stacy Broussard are probably my very favorite in the city.  She teaches a lot of lunchtime classes, as well as some great beginner's classes in the evening, and prenatal yoga.  

Kim Winn also teaches here, and she's a St. Louis favorite.  Her lunchtime class on Fridays is an awesome way to start off your weekend.  Also, she will pretty much kick your butt!  

Laurie Brockhaus' classes are fantastic as well, and Mallory Nezam & Nathan Wolff teach wonderful vinyasa classes.  

If you want to zen out, Jee Moon's classes will leave you completely relaxed.  

I'd have to say that overall, Urban Breath has the best mix of teaching styles in St Louis.

Next up, for the adventurous yogis, my favorite hot studio:

This is the actual classroom in Yoga Six's St Louis studio.  Yes, it is that gorgeous, and probably holds the title of most beautiful yoga studio in the city.  When you first go to Yoga Six, you get 6 classes to try for free, and then your first month is 30% off.  

They offer heated yoga (not Bikram, just hatha in a heated space), which is my personal favorite, and most of the classes are done in series.  What I mean by that is, if you attend a specific class you'll always be doing the same series of poses.  Of course, there are lots of different teachers, and they each put their own spin on the classes.  They also offer Barre classes, and considering that they're included with a general membership, this makes Yoga Six a really great value.  Some Barre studios in St Louis charge upwards of $150/month for a membership, and with Yoga Six you get hot yoga, room temp yoga, and Barre classes for $110/month.  

Mel Bauer, Elle Potter, Rebekka Mars, Nathan Wolff, Carrie Martens, and Ashley Mastandrea are some of my favorite instructors at Yoga Six.  I should note, a lot of St. Louis area instructors teach at multiple studios.  For example, Carrie Martens and Nathan Wolff also teach at Urban Breath.  

Southtown Yoga has recently moved into a gorgeous new space in Lafayette Square, a charming old neighborhood.  Southtown Yoga is the only studio in St. Louis to teach Yogahour classes, which are, from my understanding traditional Hatha classes for only $7 that focus on a core grouping of poses.  I'll be taking my teacher training classes at Southtown starting in September because they offer a really flexible schedule for teacher training, and I think their instructors are all great.  My two favorites would have to be Brigette Finley and Candace Glass.  

Last, but not least on my list is probably Practicing Yoga.  I haven't been to this studio in person yet, because it's brand new, but I have attended classes in St. Louis taught by its founder.  I can't wait to go in person.  Roxanne Krummenacher has got to be one of the best instructors I've ever practiced under (she just led the 1500 person practice held at Busch Stadium with lululemon!) and I'm so glad she opened her own studio.  Also, how adorable is the the branding and logo?  

If you've ever have tried any of these studios or have other favorites let me know, I'd love to hear about them!  

*I also wanted to note - this is not a ranking of studios in St. Louis.  There are actually a few dozen places to practice yoga in St. Louis.  I've actually tried most of them, including a few of the gyms that just have yoga classes included in membership, but these are my absolute favorites!  


lululemon seventh inning stretch

On Thursday last week, I was lucky enough to take part in a yoga event at St Louis' Busch stadium.  As any Cardinal fan knows, this is sort of sacred ground.  My husband has never been so excited to accompany me to yoga class.  There was a lot of obsessing over how soft the grass is (okay, yeah, it was pretty soft.)  For me though, the excitement was getting to practice yoga with such a large group.  It was a pretty powerful experience.  If you've ever used Om as a mantra in a class, you know what power it holds, but imagine it with 1500 people!  

I think the best part had to have been when, mid class, the instructors stopped, the music turned up, and there was a 1500 person dance party on the field.  Silly to the max, we all started jumping around. 

 When class was over, the sun was just setting and it was a pretty perfect end to class, with a very loud Namaste.  So much good energy in St. Louis that night!  I hope they do something like this event every year, I would never miss it!  


weekend link love

Happy Friday!  Got any fun plans this weekend?  This weekend is our annual float trip, where about 30 of our nearest and dearest gather to camp by the river, a couple hours outside the city, and on Saturday we float down the river in rafts and tubes.  It is SO FUN, a little wild, and a totally perfect way to cap off the summer.  We're just praying it doesn't rain!  

A few fun links for your Friday...

This video is hilarious.  Blurred lines with preschool instruments?  

I'm always stealing everyone's stapler at work, so it's time I pick one up for my desk.  But why go boring when you can go grasshopper?

These and these are going to be my contribution to our food this weekend.  I kind of have a sweet tooth.    

The ultimate dinner - a floating pallet on a river.   How amazing!  

This week, I made my own ottoman following these instructions.  It was cheap, easy, and fun, and if you're looking for a weekend project I highly recommend it!  

I don't think I'll ever tire of cafe lights.  These are on sale for $23 and I'm seriously considering it.  Or, if you have a whole yard to yourself, this is a hell of a deal.  Think of the outdoor cocktail parties!  


style/beat the midwest heat

I know the September issues are officially out, but I am not giving up on our current season quite yet.  In the midwest, we usually keep it in the 80s until October, so flowy blouses and cutoffs are what I'm sticking with for now.  Swedish Hasbeens & Lotta clogs have been my favorite shoes this summer, but in the pic I'm wearing a pair I stole from my mom.  Speaking of which, I snapped this in my parents beautiful apartment, isn't it dreamy?  That chandelier...I just die.  

my outfit: nordstrom top/ae shorts/ralph lauren wedges

wishlist - urban gardening

I've been doing an increasing amount of gardening around my little apartment, and next up on my list is really expanding my herbs.  I need a cilantro plant, stat, because I go through a ridiculous amount of those little bundles from the grocery store.  Cilantro is the BEST.  I'm so glad I wasn't born with that gene that makes it taste like soap - although I suppose that if I had been, I wouldn't really care, because then cilantro would be the height of ick.  

That rope handled planter is where I'd like all my herbs to congregate, and those pretty scissors would keep me from crushing them when I cook.  I have a plain old spray bottle for a fern mister right now, but sometimes pretty things are worth quite a lot in life, and this brass version is so adorable and SHINY.  

And of course, so that I actually learn how to keep all these plants ALIVE, I'm continuing my education in horticulture.  Next up, this little apartment gardening guide I've heard so many good things about.  

I know it's inevitable that summer will end, but I'm going to keep it going indoors as long as I can.
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