Errands in the Summertime Outfit

Errands in the SummertimeErrands in the SummertimeErrands in the SummertimeErrands in the SummertimeErrands in the SummertimeErrands in the SummertimeErrands in the Summertime

I spent most of last Saturday helping Reg go shopping and pack for Burning Man. I made a deal with him that I would help if he took these outfit photos for me, which really was a much better deal for him since this photoshoot took all of 10 minutes. He’s getting to be a pretty good fashion photographer, wouldn’t you say?

It’s always a little strange to have him gone for so long. And not just gone from the house, but completely off the grid, which means no cell phone calls or texts either. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. Having him away for a while does make me appreciate him more when he gets back. Plus, I’m good at taking care of and entertaining myself. Sure, I made a point to fill this week with cocktail plans, workout buddies, and a doggy play date with my mom and her pup, but I’m also enjoying spending time alone. Reading my fantasy novels, binge watching Netflix, ordering Thai delivery, working on my blog – I love the comforting solitude of doing these things alone in our bedroom, a luxury I don’t really have when Reg is home.

Sometimes during Burning Man, since so many of my friends are gone and on an adventure, I get a little bit of FOMO. It’s a weird feeling for me, since I’m usually more-or-less happy being left out of wild partying. I have been to Burning Man, but it’s been seven years. The costumes, art, and openness are out of this world. I understand what people mean when they say that going to Burning Man is like coming home. But I could do without the insane weather conditions and massive expense of tickets, gas, and general gear. I’ve basically concluded I would rather go to a more forested, less exhausting festival like High Sierra.

Here I’m rocking another JCrew top and some patterned jeans I picked up at an Anthropologie sale for half off. I’m not really sure why I don’t wear them often, because they are kind of ridiculously cute. I actually picked up this striped bag from Target while Reg and I were there shopping for Burning Man. It’ll be perfect for the beach or weekend getaways. I also finally got my bangs trimmed, so they’ve stopped doing that annoying swooping thing you’ve seen in my last outfit photos like this one and this one.

What about you? How’s your week going?

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8 Movie Trailers That Look Awesome

So I watch a lot of TV. I mean, I read and listen to a lot of audiobooks too, but at the end of the day, there’s nothing like streaming 10 episodes of Say Yes to the Dress while I update my blog or binge watching a favorite series like The Killing (so sad it’s over!). It’s not really something I’m proud of, especially since I live in a super hippie place where TV-watching is heavily stigmatized and everyone believes it “rots your brain, maaaaaan.” While reality TV is not really the peak of culture, I’d like to think I actually have decent taste in actual smarty-pants, artistically exciting movies.

There was a couple of years there where I was seriously mourning the future of film. It seemed like every one hitting the box office didn’t have much artistic worth and instead was just being pumped out of the Hollywood machine in order to make as much money as possible. I don’t know what happened, but I feel like that’s changed. Can you believe how many good movies have been coming out for the last, I dunno, 24 months? There are actually award-worthy films out there! Recently Reg and I caught Snowpiercer at the New Parkway, one of my favorite “secret” spots in the East Bay. It’s a non-traditional, community run movie theater that puts out “second wave” movies once they leave the main theaters. They have couches and beer/wine and a full kitchen, and it’s definitely one of our favorite date night spots. Snowpiercer was so thought-provoking and, even though it was a little heavy handed and the acting was nothing to write home about, we have continued to analyze and talk about it for weeks after watching it.

Honestly, though, sometimes just watching a trailer is satisfying enough, and I don’t even need to see the film (especially when the trailer is 5 minutes long and summarizes the entire plot, haha). Lying in bed and binge watching new movie trailers is one of my favorite weekend morning activities. Here are some of the good ones I’ve seen that I’m getting excited about:

1. The One I Love – Starring Elizabeth Moss and Mark Duplass

2. Horns – Starring Daniel Radcliff and Juno Temple

3. The Theory of Everything – Starring Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones

4. Dear White People – Starring Tyler James Williams and Tessa Thompson

5. Camp X-Ray – Starring Kristen Stewart and Tara Holt

6. The Imitation Game – Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightly

7. Into the Woods – Starring Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, Anna Kendrick, Emily Blunt, and Chris Pine

8. Love is Strange - Starring John Lithgow and Alfred Molina

Which of these trailers do you think looks good? What’s a movie that you’re excited to see?

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Weeknight Dinners: Sautéed Green Beans with Almonds

Sauteed Green BeansSauteed Green BeansI’m going to get real honest, and admit I really don’t like vegetables. I know that’s not, like, a “hip” thing to say, and I should be constantly Instagraming my raw, gluten-free, vegan salad to show how much skinner and healthier I am than you are, but that’s really just not me. I like my carbs and my bacon and my cake and, okay, an occasional piece of fruit. The closest I usually come to a salad is a green smoothie in my blender.

That being said, green beans are one of my favorite veggies. They have a nice and crunchy texture, they’re easy to make, and if you cover them in butter, they’re actually pretty tasty. Usually I steam them, since that’s the cooking method where they retain most of their nutritional value, and I figure I should get as many vitamins as I can out of my once-a-day green, but I love the texture and flavor of sautéed green beans with sliced almonds. Plus, cooked in a cast iron, they get a nice brown color you just can’t beat (shameless plug: look for my “How to Care for Cast Iron” post coming later this week!).

Usually I whip these up as a side dish to something massively unhealthy like sausages or gourmet mac and cheese, but if you’re feeling good, you can just eat these as your main course.

Sautéed Green Beans with Sliced Almonds

  • A big handful of green beans
  • 1 tablespoons of sliced almonds
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • Red pepper flakes

Start by washing the green beans thoroughly and then chopping off the stem on each green bean. Put the green beans in a pot of boiling water for about five minutes, or until mostly cooked through. You can test the done-ness of green beans by removing one from the pot and sticking a fork in it – if it goes in smoothly, the bean is cooked. Then, drain the beans of water.

Put a cast iron skillet (or a regular skillet if you don’t have cast iron) on the stove under medium-high heat. Add one tablespoon of butter and, once melted, place the cooked and drained green beans inside. Cook the green beans for approximately two minutes. Add the tablespoon of almonds and a few shakes of red pepper flakes (depending on how much heat you like), and finish cooking the green beans for approximately one minute or until they have a nice, lightly brown coloring. Remove from heat and you’re ready to serve!

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5 Tricks to Tame Frizz

5 Tricks to Tame Frizz

As a lady with very long, naturally wavy hair, I know about frizz. It was one of the first beauty issues I became a pro at solving, mostly through trial and error. When I was younger neither my mom nor my stepmom were experts in the hair/makeup department and there were no blogs or YouTube videos you could watch for tips, so I mostly experimented to get the results I was looking for. From dying my hair many shades of purple and blue to trimming it to my shoulders and growing it back out again, I have tried a lot of different things over the years. Now it’s been as long as my lower back for over eight years, and I’ve got some awesome techniques to make sure those loose hairs are kept in check.

1. Brush with a wide tooth in the shower

A bristled brush on dry hair is your worst enemy when it comes to frizz. Sure, sometimes it’s necessary, but if you can manage it, stick with just untangling when you’re in the shower with a wide toothed combs. Regular brushes destroy your hair’s natural texture, while a wide tooth comb on wet hair will allow strands to fall together and naturally when you climb out of the shower.

2. Scrunch hair with a t-shirt fabric to dry

Tussling hair with a regular bath towel is a surefire recipe for frizz when your hair dries. Instead, use a soft t-shirt or t-shirt fabric like jersey and scrunch from the bottom up. Squeeze strands as you hold them up to your head from the bottom in order to remove water, and don’t scrub the towel against your hair at all. The less you fuss with it overall, the better.

3. Deep condition once a week

Frizz is often a result of undernourished hair that’s dehydrated, which is why women that blow dry every day fry their strands. Air drying can help, but so can a deep conditioner or mask at least once a week. These intensive products are like hair therapy, making your hair so moisturized, soft, and silky. My best hair days are always the ones where I’ve deep conditioned in the morning, because my curls come together perfectly and I have no frizz at all. Plus, you can pick one that works for your specific needs – I love the Bumble and Bumble Creme de Coco Masque.

4. Use an anti-frizz serum or argan oil

Specialized products are a god send when it comes to frizz, but it can be hard to sift through all the options and you have to use them intelligently. Too many products weigh your hair down and make hair look overly processed. Argan oil is a great, simple product that works wonders, especially if the bottom of your hairs are looking a bit dried out or are in need of a trim (I particularly love it on my bangs after using a flat iron). Another one of my long time favorites (and I mean 10+ years) is the Jon Freida Secret Weapon Creme. After my hair dries, I pull some of this out of my purse or work desk and gently apply a quarter-sized amount throughout my hair, bottom to top, making sure to smooth down any fly-aways that have started to form around my crown. Again, don’t over-fuss because the most important rule is…

5. No touching!

This is so simple, but surprisingly hard to follow. The more you mess with your hair, the more fly-aways break off and start to stand out. Don’t toss it, don’t twirl it, don’t blow dry it, don’t fuss by pulling it back into an up-do and then taking it out again. The more you mess, the worst it gets, so resist the urge and know it less work can often mean it’s more beautiful!

What’s your hair routine?

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Ru’s First BarkBox

First BarkBoxFirst BarkBox

I cannot tell you how happy I am this day has come! Yes, I know it’s a little silly and absurd, and yes, I know I’m kind of a crazy dog lady, but I have been wanting to get Ru a BarkBox subscription since I first heard about the company six months ago. BarkBox is a monthly subscription service like BirchBox or Ipsy, but instead of beauty samples they send dog goodies! The subscription is a little expensive at $18-$29 a month depending on how long you subscribe, but they send a variety of really high-quality products designed with the size of your pup in mind. Plus, they donate $3 of every BarkBox sold to a rescue or shelter!

After months of drooling like a dog over BarkBox’s newsletters, blog, and Facebook Page but unable to justify the cost, I saw a very special deal – subscribe for a BarkBox and get one free! If I just ordered one for $29, I’d get another one, making it a grand total of $15 each. Now that I could afford! I’ll decide after the first two boxes if I want to continue subscribing, but for now I’m just excited to see what they have inside!

The theme of this month’s BarkBox is a celebration of healthy eating and the outdoors with “a particular eye for organic, GMO-free ingredients.” My initial reaction was slight disappointment that we didn’t get a stuffed animal, but hopefully one will come in box #2! Here’s what we did get:

First BarkBox

1. Bionic Rubber

Now, Ru’s not a huge chewer and she can be a little particular about her toys, so I wasn’t sure if she’d have much interest in this. But we did play fetch in the house with it for a bit, which she seemed to enjoy. It’s hardy enough that it could come with us to the beach and because it doesn’t have a squeeker, we can bring it into the office as well. Plus, the BarkBox pamphlet recommends stuffing it with peanut butter, which will make Ru interested for sure!

First BarkBoxFirst BarkBox

2. Max & Ruffy’s Natural Organic Treats for Dogs – 24 Carob Gold: Strawberry & Carob Flavor

Oh my goodness, this packaging is SO cute. I’d love it for that reason alone. But with organic, human grade, non-GMO ingredients, this is a perfect example of my dog eating as well as I do! Ru definitely enjoyed these (not that she’s met a cookie she didn’t like) and happily wolfed down two. Sometimes she has trouble chewing treats, but these she had no problem munching on.

First BarkBoxFirst BarkBox

3. Nootie’s BBQ Chicken Jerky

See that crazed look in her eyes? This was hands down Ru’s favorite goodie in the box! As soon as I broke the seal, she was all over this bag. They are stinky, but in the best possible way! I could probably get her to do backflips for these, but since they take more chewing, they’ll probably make a better reward for good office behavior than an actual training treat. I think these are a big hit.

First BarkBox

4. Etta Says Crunchy Duck Chews

Haha, Ru had pretty much gotten the idea by the time I pulled this out. She was ready to eat it, plastic and all! We decided to save this one for a work treat, so I’ll have to report back later on her opinion, but BarkBox says they’re one of the more premium, high quality chews they’ve seen.

First BarkBox

4. Gulpy Pet Water Dispenser

This was probably my favorite BarkBox goodie! I’ve been wanting to get Ru a special doggy water bottle for months, since we go hiking often and I usually end up squirting water into my hand for her to lap up. I filled it up, opened the dispenser, and squirted water in, then held it out to Ru. At first she was terrified of it (weirdo), but then when she saw the water, she quickly started lapping it up. I’m confident this will work perfectly on future hikes and trips to the dog beach.

First BarkBoxAll-in-all, I think our first BarkBox was a fantastic success! I don’t really shower Ru in treats, so I’ll be interested to see how quickly we go through all these yummies. It will help determine if a monthly subscription is really something that makes sense for us. It’s also possible that our next box will be slightly less food-oriented. I look forward to finding out!

You can learn more about BarkBox by visiting their website, and don’t forget to look around online for a coupon or deal before subscribing!

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