probably the easiest decision you'll make all day

Earlier today when I was reading Sea of Shoes post featuring her new sandals here, I decided I had had enough shoe envy this summer, and it was time to find myself some similar sandals to the Isabel Marant lovelies pictured above and on just about every person here.  
As with pretty much everything Isabel Marant, they happen to go with most of my closet already.  However, I cannot (dare I say would not) ever spend that much on shoes.  

Aldo, sometimes you are just the best.  I don't have these in my hands yet, but when I do I'll be sure to report back.  The chunky heel and sturdy ankle strap make them look like they'll actually be pretty comfortable, and I love the chalky white color.  Relaxed and washed out, at $34.98 (marked down from $120!) they are pretty much the perfect summer heel.    


poached mahi mahi with ginger and cilantro

Sometimes, after a long weekend (like when your brother-in-law's girlfriend turns 21 and you totally tried & failed to keep up with the celebrating) you need some realllllly healthy food.  Some really healthy food that is crazy fast, easy, and also somewhat cheap, because you don't know what you spent all that money on, but it is definitely gone from your bank account and you aren't getting it back.  

Okay, I digress, but when those sort of things happen, I make this.  

Poached Mahi Mahi with Ginger and Cilantro

1 1/2 cup dry white wine or vegetable broth
1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
4 green onions, halved long ways
dash of soy sauce
2 tbsp lime juice
2 mahi mahi filets - any white fish is great, but particularly mahi and halibut
salt and pepper, to taste
12 cilantro sprigs
1 lime, sliced into wedges
1/2 avocado, sliced

Put wine or broth, ginger, green onions, soy, and lime juice into a deep skillet and simmer over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.  Season mahi with salt and pepper on both sides, then arrange in skillet.  Toss the cilantro all over the top, cover the dish tightly, and then simmer until the fish is cooked through, about 10 minutes.  

Put a filet on each plate, then squeeze lime slices over each piece and layer avocado on top.  Top each with a spoonful of poaching liquid.  I love to serve this with green beans, lightly steamed and sauteed in sesame oil and a squeeze of sriracha.  


oh, to look this cool in a hat.

I have got some real envy for girls who can look this natural in a hat.  Sure, I pull one out when I'm laying out by the pool, and always at music festivals, but to just wear one as an accessory all the time?  I'm never all that successful.  However, that somehow hasn't stopped me from stocking up on pretty much every shape and style.  I have a stack of once, maybe twice worn hats hanging out in my closet shelf, just taking up space!  And this coming weekend, with our primary planned activity being thrifting and garage sale-ing (seriously, is that not the BEST weekend activity?!) I'm probably going to add to that pile.  Because how can you resist a vintage felt hat?  There's only one answer to that.  You can't.  


how i quit wearing makeup: aka the depressing truth about expensive skincare

One thing I certainly didn't think would happen as I'm about to turn 25, was that I would quit wearing makeup.  I'm serious.  I don't wear makeup anymore.  I'm not talking about eyeshadow, lipstick, or blush.  Of course I still like to throw on a little extra when I go out at night, or on a date with my husband.  I'm talking about skin makeup, like foundation and powder.  All thrown out the door.  

This was totally on accident.  

A few months ago, I developed skin so severely dry that my face actually hurt and my husband (on more than one occasion) picked a flake of dead skin off my nose.  Super pleasant, I know.  I thought having a zit or two was bad in high school, but this was so much worse.  Apparently it's genetic, my mom's skin went the same way in her early 20s.  There was seemingly no amount of moisturizer that could fix me; I was literally rubbing straight argan oil on my face several times a day at one point.  

One day I broke down and figured I'd have to finally go to the dermatologist.  In case you didn't know, they're kind of expensive.  My appointment alone was going to be about $150, in addition to whatever I'd get prescribed.  Apparently dry skin doesn't count as an insurable medical condition.  So one day before my appointment I'm walking through Nordstrom with my mom, and I spot the La Mer counter, and remember their crazy product story about some chemist developing the formula to cure his awful burns from a lab accident.  I grabbed some samples and took them home.  

You know where I'm going - this stuff is a miracle.  Not only did my dry skin completely disappear, my skin looks better than it ever has in my entire life.  I'm serious, at 24 I may now have better skin than I did as a 2 year old.  It is actually kind of annoying how well it works, because it is not cheap.  Why can't the drugstore stuff work like this?   

*Side note: maybe La Mer costs so much because they HAD to spend money on making this video about how they harvest the sea kelp that's in the cream.  (No, I'm serious, you can watch it here.  Ridiculous.)    

The good news is, I bought the absolute smallest size jar they sell and I have maybe only dug into a 1/4 of it, and I've been using it since March, approximately every other day.  Not because I only WANT to use it every other day, I just forget to put it on about that often.  

More good news: the free samples they give you at Nordstrom are huge, and will last you about 2 weeks.  And hey, if you don't want to actually buy any, if you have a Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Saks, and maybe a Barney's or Bendel's in your city then you can make it a clear month or two on just procuring samples before you actually spend any money!  


saltwater sandals

Funnily enough, the plain little sandals in the picture up there have apparently become the "it shoe" for summer among bloggers this year.  

It's with good reason, they are extremely comfortable, come in colors to match everything, and they stay on your feet through pretty much any activity.  I only say it's funny because they are super plain and not the type of shoe I normally associate with being trendy, but maybe what's plain IS what's trendy nowadays.  I have really felt a shift in my closet, personally, towards things that will stand the test of time.  

I personally think Saltwaters are totally adorable even though my husband thinks they look like shoes for toddlers.  Actually, they are a whole lot easier to find in toddler sizes.  

I've had a lot of people ask me where I found the adult sizes in all the colors, so I thought I'd do a little post about it.  My Saltwater Sandals is about the only place on the web with a big selection!  Even Zappos mostly just has children's sizing.  The good news is, even though it doesn't look like much of a website their pricing is great and they ship FAST.  

Now, should I get a gold or silver pair to round out my collection, or are we veering to close to grandma territory there?  Or how about YELLOW!  


roasted radishes

When we were at home in Mt. Vernon, IL this weekend we were greeted with summer full force, including pretty much all the vegetables we could ever want.  My husband comes from a family of farmers, and although they don't operate large scale farms in the way they used to, they still have overflowing gardens.  

But, I asked myself, what does one do with 2 pounds of radishes?  I can't eat salad that fast!  

So I did a little research, and made up this yummy recipe.  It was so good my husband ate it faster than the fish I served it with (recipe HERE), so I had to share.  

Lemon Butter Roasted Radishes

1 lb radishes, cleaned, trimmed, and cut in half for the bigger ones
2 tbsp olive oil
sea salt
fresh cracked pepper
juice of half a lemon
zest of the same lemon
1 tbsp butter

1.  Preheat oven to 400 F.  

2.  Toss all the ingredients except zest and butter together in a bowl.  

3.  Spread radishes on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes.  They should be fork tender when finished.  

4.  Adjust seasonings as needed, and toss with lemon zest and butter to coat.  Serve!  


making excuses

“Our job is to love people. When it hurts. When it’s awkward. When it’s uncool and embarrassing. Our job is to stand together, to carry the burdens of one another and to meet each other in our questions.”

—   Jamie Tworkowski (founder of To Write Love On Her Arms)

If there is one thing I have learned in the beginning of my 20s, it is the importance of being kind to people.  I am not always successful at this.  There are days where I am mentally throwing cuss words at the slow person in line in front of me at the bank.  There are times where I am annoyed at the woman whose children have totally taken over the aisle I need to get down at the grocery store.  But, there are a lot less times than there used to be, and it has made me undeniably happier than being mean did.  

Hating other people for wronging you, no matter how big or small the deed, will never make you happier.  Similarly, being defensive and mean rather than kind and open will never make your life better.  Giving someone you pass a big smile isn't always a guarantee they'll return it, but it really doesn't hurt you to smile regardless.  Sometimes it's difficult to get over these habits, but a friend gave me a great tip that really helps with strangers.  

Let's say, for example, someone cuts you off in traffic.  You could scream and honk.  It would likely freak them out a bit and stress you both out even more.  Those probably weren't your goals when you honked, you more than likely thought it would make you feel better to "get back at them."  It won't.  

Alternatively, you could make up an excuse for their behavior.  Maybe it's a father-to-be speeding to meet his pregnant wife at the hospital.  Perhaps it's a mother whose teenager just called to say they got in a fender bender, and she wants to get to her scared kid.  Maybe it's a waitress late for her 4 o clock shift, and she really needs that job.  

Maybe it's none of those things and that person just doesn't drive very well or is kind of a jerk.  

The good news is, if you make an excuse for them, you get to be the person who helped them get on their way rather than the angry driver who laid on the horn.  

The more you practice it, in traffic and everywhere else, the sooner you'll realize there's hardly anything to be upset about at all.  


wear it/easy

Summer has finally come to the midwest.  This time of year, I mostly reach for a simple dress and flats, but I am really loving these easy combinations just as much right now.  I recently got my hands on the most perfect pair of cutoffs, and now all I want to do is wear them paired with flowing white tops and clogs.  


monday tips

It's going to be a crazy day around here - so much to do, so little time.  Mondays are actually my favorite,  I work from home in St Louis and I like to get a running start on my week.  Of course, it's possible not everything will get done, and I'll fall a bit short, but these tips make it a little more likely that I'll make it all happen.  

1.  Wake up to music!  I used to go by an alarm clock with this obnoxious beeping sound, but I recently discovered the feature of waking up to your current favorite song with your iPhone alarm.  I really like THIS song first thing in the morning.  

2.  Get in a workout before anything else.  I'll be the first to admit, this does not always happen.  I like sleep as much as the next person, but even I have to admit that when I kick my day off with a good run or morning yoga class, the whole day seems to go more smoothly.  If you want to fit it in without leaving your house, I love Bethenny Frankel's yoga videos.  I know it's a little funny that a reality star has a yoga DVD, but they're filmed with her instructors, and I like that she isn't too serious. 

3.  Dress up.  Your whole day can be improved with the confidence of knowing you look cute.  In the summer, I fall back on a cute dress (no putting an outfit together!) and flat shoes, for running errands with ease.  Totally coveting this and these right now.  

4.  Make time for a decent lunch.  I'm spoiled by working at home, because I can use my whole kitchen, but on the days I'm in the office I pack a good salad.  I made this one yesterday and it was SO good.   

5.  After dinner walks.  We just got a membership do a dog park, which our labradoodle loves, and if we don't head there sometimes we'll just roam around the park.  It's the most perfect way to end the day.  Reading My Tea Leaves even has a lovely little #afterdinnerwalk project going on Instagram.  

i want to be wearing....

It wasn't like I'd never heard of Soludos espadrilles before, but when Cup of Jo posted about them last week I was reminded of how they may just be the perfect summer shoe.  

My husband could not be picker when it comes to footwear.  He demands that if we're going somewhere together my selection is comfortable, because he doesn't want to hear me complain, but he also detests the look of wedges, so heels are pretty much out.  I can get by with a variety of boots in the fall & winter, but in the summer I have to create a pretty good wardrobe of flat, comfortable, and still attractive-to-my-man shoes.  

Keds are winners, Saltwaters are considered "passable" though not his favorite, and Toms also make the cut. I think he'd approve of these casual cool options as well, especially the ankle wrap sandal, which makes a nice alternative to wearing heels.  


friday love list

Notions and plans.....

braids and sunglasses (no makeup) = the best summer beauty plan.  also sunscreen.

are swedish hasbeens the ultimate cool girl shoe?  i suppose that depends on your definition of cool, but for me its a yes.

missing bonnaroo....but gladly exchanging the weekend for a fun one at home with my family.

summertime cocktails.

best denim shorts i've found yet.

might have to make this for lunch saturday.

happy weekend!

summer salad series/watermelon basil feta

If you're lucky enough to have good watermelon this early in the season, then it's pretty much required that you make this salad.  

I'm from southern Illinois, and we have a very distinct way of eating watermelon around here.  We salt it.  I know, it sounds crazy, but if you like chocolate dipped pretzels and candied peanuts, you might get where I'm coming from.  Salted watermelon is the ultimate in salty-sweet, and so is this salad.  

Watermelon & Feta Salad

serves 2

1.5 cups watermelon, cubed
3 cups arugula
handful fresh basil leaves, shredded
2 oz feta cheese
olive oil and balsamic, whisked together
plenty of salt and pepper

Basically, you toss everything but the dressing together, then mix in the dressing and season to your liking.  Pretty simple, really delicious.  


my favorite things

I would just like to send a giant thank you into the universe for creating this perfect product.  I am a little hippie-ish when it comes to my product use, but let's be honest.  Sometimes these natural products just don't WORK and this is probably the most true with deodorant.  A few of them work on smell but not sweat, some work on sweat but not smell, and most just don't work at all.  Sadly, I had pretty much resigned myself to just using Dove, which is great IF you can put it out of your mind that it works by clogging up your pores with cancer-causing aluminum.  

When reading my tea leaves posted about this deodorant cream, I was a little skeptical.  Would it be gloppy?  Smell weird? Just plain not work?  I ordered it anyways, seeing as it was the cheaper of two options I had recently heard good things about (the other being THIS).  It arrived in literally two days, I've worn it in 85 degree weather walking my dog, and here is the verdict: this stuff wins the world.  

You can get it HERE.  


i want to be wearing...

Anybody been to Forever 21 lately?  I have a lot of friends who have quit shopping there (probably because, um, we're no longer 21.)  I can't really stand going into the physical store, their customer service is terrible and they only let you take 6 things into the dressing room at a time, but I love to keep tabs on their site as my favorite place to find inexpensive dresses.  I nabbed this one a couple days ago and I think it's basically the perfect incarnation of this summer's cutout trend - playful without being at all trampy or too revealing.  I can't wait to wear it to my next picnic outing.  Now if only it would show up on my doorstep, like, NOW!  THIS gif perfectly captures my feelings about online shopping....

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