A Summer Dress for a Sunny Day

Blue DressBlue DressBlue DressReg and I dove a couple of hours north this weekend to his hometown for his father’s wedding reception. The ceremony had been a couple of months before and was a small, personal affair, but the reception was full of friends and family. It was held at the old one-room-school-house turned community center (it’s really is a small town) and was so much fun other than my dog running away. Reg’s dad, Big Reg, and his new wife Rebekah are so sweet and have the biggest hearts, and it’s so wonderful to see them so happy together. (Side note: They met when Big Reg hired Rebekah as his fiddle teacher. How romantic and adorable is that?)

Since the reception was extremely casual as well as hot, I decided it was okay if I rocked a summer dress and my cowgirl boots. I had just found this dress a few days before for half off at Francesca’s and decided it would be perfect for the occasion. Even though I paired it with a thick belt here, it’s synched at the waist and doesn’t require one, which I love for work days when I’m sitting anyways. I found these cowgirl boots at specialized Western/South-West second hand shop in Oakland. They’re gorgeous and comfortable, made with real, thick leather that means they’ll probably last longer than anything else in my closet.

Getting these photos was truly frustrating. Reg was a good sport about taking them even though it was a busy day, but I didn’t realize the camera settings had gotten changed and very few turned out focused. We actually did three or four rounds of photoshoots before I figured out why all the photos were blurry, and I’m still kicking myself over it. Fortunately I was able to scrape together enough for this post, and with any luck, the next shoot will go a little more smoothly!

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Rumi the Escape Artist

Rumi CollectionYesterday my dog Ru took herself on a little walk around my boyfriend’s hometown alone. And by that I mean she somehow managed to escape out of a backyard where I left her during Reg’s dad’s wedding reception. I have no idea how she managed to achieve this since it was fully dog proofed, and although I felt absolute panic during the 30 minutes between realizing she was gone and finding her, I am relieved to say she is now passed out on the couch next to me, exhausted from her adventure.

Sometimes I wish Ru looked less like a weirdo mutt and more fluffy and cute like an Australian Shepherd or Border Collie. I get tired of people crossing the street to get out of our way or associating her with all the bad things people hold against pit bulls. I strongly believe in rescuing dogs and I strongly believe that pit bulls can be sweet, sensitive, family pets. But being an advocate can be exhausting, and I admit I can be superficial. Sometimes I wish I had a stunning pure bred pup to take to dog competitions or that I could hashtag #aussie in my Instagram.

But in those thirty minutes Ru disappeared as I was filled with the most incomparable horror and fear, I couldn’t imagine just replacing her with a new puppy. She is the most gentle, devoted, eager-to-please mutt and I love her not just because she would follow me to hell and back (only further solidified by her escape act to find me today), but because she has a pure, honest heart. I never imagined I could love another being like I love my dog.

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5 Beauty “Essentials” I Can’t Afford to Worry About

Makeup StationI don’t know how some beauty bloggers afford it. I mean, I can barely shell out enough to keep myself supplied with a few hair, skincare, and makeup basics, let alone splurge on new products or wild hauls. For me, beauty products come down to picking and choosing my battles. Would I love to have manicures every weekend and a wide variety of Mac make-up brushes to choose from? Of course. But despite my quite well-paying, full-time social media marketing job, that’s just not something I can fit in the budget if I want to eat more than rice and beans.

Here are the things I accept I can’t afford to worry about:

1. Eye Brows

I can afford to de-prioritize this one because my eye brows are light and naturally quite bushy. In an ideal world, I’d love to get them professionally waxed on a monthly basis, but that $25 adds up. Instead I do a quick tweeze job in my very poorly lit bedroom and straighten them out with Benefit’s Instant Brow Pencil. Sure, I might have a couple of barely-there hairs still poking out outside the lines, but it’s a minimal issue.

2. Pores

A couple of years ago, a friend commented how she was self-conscious some of her pores were so large and obvious. Until then, I had never in my life noticed her pores, my pores, or anyone else’s. Now, I can’t help but notice I have some very visible dots directly in the center of my forehead in between my brows. Would I prefer they just disappear? Of course. Am I actually trying to track down a product that can do that? Nope. I’ll just keep ignoring them like apparently I had for years.

3. Blush

My skin is so red, it doesn’t need any extra help. Instead of coughing up dough to do something my skin naturally does in excess, I just leave off putting liquid foundation across my cheekbones, so the redness still shines through. The foundation keeps my entire face from looking like tomato and my natural skin acts as the blush.

4. Hairspray

Maybe I’m just not doing something right, but I have never found that hairspray particularly helps my hairdo situation. Whether I’m leaving it down, loose, and curly or pulling it up into a top knot, I just put it together and continue on my day hoping it stays that way – hairspray just seems to make it stiff and untouchable. Maybe if I was doing Hollywood style curls or a wild up-do it’d be necessary, but just not on a daily basis.

5. Toner

I am a big believer in skincare. I’ve mentioned it over and over on this blog, but I’ve dealt with acne my whole life and know how the right products can turn a bad skin week around. Cleansers, moisturizers, night creams, serums, face masks, spot treatments – I truly believe in the power of these things. I have yet to find a toner that feels like it’s more effective than just spritzing water on my face.

Disagree with any of my assessments? I welcome your feedback (especially on the hairspray and toner, because I acknowledge I could be wrong). What are beauty elements you’ve de-prioritized for the sake of budget?

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5 Foods to Buy at Trader Joe’s

IMG_1755_Editedv1 Trader Joes – a mecca of frozen, affordable foods, unique twists on classics, and ridiculously cheap cheese. If you live near a Trader Joe’s, chances are you do at least part of your shopping there. It’s not great for everything, especially produce, which seems to never get perfectly ripe and wilts twice as fast as farmer’s market greens. I pick up basic essentials and ingredients elsewhere, but I love TJs for those weird items you just can’t buy anywhere else. They have a particularly good array of premade, frozen options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert which are awesome to just have on hand for those times you don’t have anything else or can’t be bothered to cook.

My list of Trader Joe’s favorites could probably go on a lot longer than five, but I figure we’ll start there and maybe do a follow-up later. Here are the items that I go out of my way to pick up from TJs:

1. Tarte d’Alsace – A French-Style Flat Bread with Ham, Caramelized Onions, & Gruyere Cheese

Not quite pizza, this frozen tart is my go-to spoil-myself-rotten treat. It’s about enough for one person, since the crust is quite thin, although I suppose you could theoretically slice it up and serve it as an appetizer. It’s not so heavy that it makes me feel ill, but it’s definitely over the top decadent and those toppings are an incredible combination.

2. Garlic and Herb Pizza Dough

Yes yes, I know pizza dough is quite easy to make, but like pie crust, sometimes it’s just not worth the time and effort. If I’m whipping up a fast meal or making a couple of pizzas with friends, I find this dough is the best way to go. It doesn’t need to rise at all, and the garlic and herbs in the crust are a mouth-watering addition.

3. Szechuan Style Beef and Broccoli

This is probably the #1 item that my boyfriend and I most consume from TJs. It’s our default dinner when there’s nothing fresh in the house or we don’t feel like cooking, plus it’s a lot cheaper than ordering Chinese. The entire thing comes together really quickly, the sauce is the perfect amount of spicy, the crunchy beef pairs perfectly with the broccoli, and because there’s plenty of veggie, we feel like we had a complete after eating it. We serve it on top of rice, and it’s the perfect amount of food for two.

4. Milk Chocolate Covered Toffee Popcorn

I would be failing miserably if I didn’t include one dessert on this list, because TJ’s has no shortage of options. That being said, I’m kind of a dessert snob and prefer more high-quality, expensive ice cream, chocolate, and so forth. However this chocolate popcorn is the perfect marriage of sweet and salty, and I have yet to find an item elsewhere that compares. A year ago I binged on the stuff, and now I’m only up for it a couple of times a year – you have been warned.

5. Cornbread Mix

Closer to cake than bread, there is no doubt this is the best cornbread mix I’ve ever had. I know it’s a little less unique than the other items on the list, but it is truly that good. It’s incredibly fast like most mixes, and there are these little kernels of corn inside that give it added flavor and texture. Pro tip: finely dice a jalapeno or two and stir it into the batter to give your bread some heat.

Do you have a Trader Joe’s nearby? What are your favorite foods there?

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Cake for Breakfast Outfit

IMG_1634_Editedv1IMG_1620_Editedv1IMG_1712_Editedv1IMG_1638_Editedv1IMG_1630_Editedv1 IMG_1623_Editedv1IMG_1688_Editedv1 IMG_1682_Editedv1IMG_1704_Editedv1IMG_1629_Editedv1This weekend was the first completely free one I had in a while. After months of working overtime on Sundays and last weekend’s festival adventure, I was ready to just have some time to relax. Friday after work my coworkers and I went out for drinks at the industrial-style bar down the street. They have the most delicious, fancy cocktails and Ru and other dogs are welcome on the patio. In the evening friends came over and I made pizza with sausage, gorgonzola, and caramelized balsamic onions (I’m obsessed with those right now). Saturday the boy and I spent the afternoon running errands, and he was kind enough to stop at the cafe down the street to take these pictures for me. Isn’t he getting better at taking my outfit photos? Then while he cleaned the bathroom (a long time coming), I made BBQ ribs in the oven with cornbread and sautéed green beans with sliced almonds. Sunday I just took it easy. We had picked up Diablo III for PS3 the day before, so I spent the morning lounging in bed playing video games, which I haven’t done in years. In the afternoon I did things around the house, created posts for Oddly Lovely, caught up with people on the phone, and finally took care of the laundry in the evening.

I really wanted to show this Kate Spade bag off to you guys, because I know you’d appreciate it. I’m not typically much of a “designer clothing” kind of girl, but I recognize that more pricy items are often more durable. I fell in love with this purse and there were a number on sale for half price on eBay. After a month of resisting, I finally gave in and now it’s my go-to bag. I really love the sentiment of “Eat Cake for Breakfast,” not just because I have a big sweet-tooth, but because I feel it embodies the motto of throwing “properness” out the window in favor of just enjoying life. If you want to eat cake for breakfast, I think you should go for it.

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