Over and Over

Sorry for the bad lighting, people. But car picture I promised, so that I must deliver. Although you can't see the whole thing, I'm sure you get the idea. It's an SUV, a 2002 Mitsubishi Montero Sport. Aaron says it's a "manly car". But I did drive it the other day and I still feel like a woman so I don't know.

Anyway, thank you for all your well-wishes yesterday; I appreciate it! My headache finally went away this morning, so that certainly put me in a better mood. As did the double dose of polka dots I'm wearing today. I hope this cheerful, dotty print doesn't go anywhere for a while, because I'm embracing it with full force. 

Cardigan: Old Navy, thrifted; blouse: Elle, thrifted from Clothes Mentor (local readers--it's on 135th Street and Quivira near the Price Chopper); jeans: Old Navy; shoes: Isaac Mizrahi for Target

Song: Personality by Lloyd Price

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I'm Looking for a Hard Headed Woman

I had planned on writing sooner, and I also planned on taking pictures in front of the new vehicle, but you know what they say about the road that's paved with good intentions. Unfortunately, this is all I have to offer you today. One slightly pained-looking smile and an outfit that I'm pretty sure I've worn before. All I have to give in the way of excuses is a jam-packed weekend and a headache that won't quit. Seriously, it's like the marathon of headaches--I've had it since yesterday (Sunday) afternoon. So I'm not really looking for a hard-headed woman, that was just the first song I thought of when I racked my brain for "songs about heads". And, I needed something, because I don't think "Aughhhhhhh!!!!" really sends the right message. 

T-shirt: Old Navy; vest: Old Navy; jeans: Loft; earrings: The Limited; scarf: Loft; shoes: BC Footwear, endless.com

Song: Hard Headed Woman by Cat Stevens

Baby You Can Drive My Car

For the past nine months, Aaron and I have been sharing a car. His Alero kicked the bucket in December, and since then, my Camry's done the work of two cars, poor thing. Now if we lived somewhere with a subway system and excellent public transportation, this wouldn't be such an issue. As it is, we have conversations like, "Do you mind if I take the car on Saturday?" and "Now if you drop me off at 9:30, will you be able to come pick me up later?" or "Maybe [insert friend's name here] can give me a ride since you'll have the car." Sorry friends, we realize you're not a taxi service. But starting tomorrow, as long as the bank agrees, we will no longer call our car "the car". We will have to be more specific, because there will be two vehicles! That's right, the Camry will get a buddy. Not a new buddy (actually it's older than the Camry) but "new to us" is alright with me. I'll have to take some outfit pics in front of it when we get it. I may be a little overexcited here, but if you've been trying to be a one-car family in the Kansas City suburbs you'd be excited too. 

Oh yeah clothes. That's what this blog is about, right? Sometimes I forget. I decided to do sort-of a masculine/feminine contrast today, with the ruffly silk blouse and the menswear vest. I think I like the combo. I'm thinking I may have to get these jeans hemmed though, I don't like how they're all bunchy at the ankles. 

(I notice that whenever I write a blog post after a meal that involves margaritas, it's always a bit long and rambly. Sorry. Please don't leave me.)

Blouse: Loft; vest: Old Navy; need-to-be-hemmed jeans: Loft; shoes: Gap

Song: Drive My Car by The Beatles

School Days

Hooray, I got a sub job today! So this is my "back to school" post, I suppose. Pink ruffles may not scream "authority figure!" but I've told you before how I feel about pink. It's my power color. Also, it makes me feel bright and cheerful, even when all I want is a nap. It's going to take me a while to get used to early mornings once again. 

So, in order to get everything on my to-do list done, and go to bed at a decent hour, I better step away from the computer and get on it. Oh yeah and try to squeeze in time for Project Runway. So I bid you all adieu. Auf Wiedersehen, if you will. 

Blouse: Express; skirt: Converse One Star, Target; necklace: Paris shop; belt: Target; shoes: Mossimo, Target (Oh Tarjey, what would I do without you?)

They Call Me Mellow Yellow

When I spotted (chuckle) this classic, polka-dotted blouse at my favorite thrift shop, I knew I had to have it, despite the fact that it wasn't in my size. In fact, it was the shirt's oversize appeal that piqued my interest. I've had to go to Aaron's closet for over-sized button ups until this point. But now I have one of my very own. And it's a girlie one, to boot. 

When I saw how Jen of A Little Bird Told Me styled up her recent thrift find, I immediately wanted to recreate the look with my new (to me) top. I love how the leather belt roughs up the feminine blouse a little. And since my top has subtle yellow polka dots, I wanted to bring the color out with my much-worn yellow flats. 

(By the way, I did not find a sub job for today. Hopefully, I'll have better luck tomorrow! And also, I will not be boring you any laundry talk. Okay, over and out.)

Blouse: J.Crew, thrifted from Clothes Mentor; tank: Gap; jeans: Old Navy; belt: Loft; flats: Merona, Target

Song: Mellow Yellow by Donovan

Twistin the Night Away

Well, instead of "twistin" it's "clickin" for me. Now that school's back in session, I'm going to start substitute teaching again. Where I live, there are many, many more subs than there are jobs to fill, so getting a job for the next day can be a challenge. Because the easiest way to get jobs is using the online system, it's basically a matter of who can be the most diligent clicker. Since I spend quite a bit of time at the computer anyway, I'm pretty friggin diligent. In fact, I'm clicking away as I write this (well, not at the very moment, but between thoughts). So cross your fingers for me that the clicking pays off. I know the details of my life as a sub are pretty enthralling. Maybe if you stay tuned, tomorrow I'll talk about something equally exciting, like my laundry schedule.  

Blouse: Liberty of London for Target; pants: Loft; earrings: Target; belt: Loft; shoes: Steve Madden, Marshall's 

Well I Thought About the Army

When I bought these army-green pants last Spring, I had no idea how much I'd wear them. I just needed a casual pair of pants that would be nice enough to wear to work. They do serve their purpose, but I've had the most fun dressing these pants up. I love the casual fit and style paired with heels and feminine blouses, and I'm surprised to find that the color seems to pair nicely with just about anything. I love a good bargain, but what I love even more is when I really get my money's worth (whether it's $5 or $50) out of an item. 

Shopping on a budget can be difficult, but I find that it makes me more aware of what I own, and therefore more careful about what I buy. Usually, I make a list of what I want each month, and then, based on my budget, narrow that list down (sometimes way down). I don't always stick to my list, but I like having some sort of guideline, otherwise I'll make too many impulse buys that either I don't need or don't fit in to my wardrobe. 

Do you have a shopping strategy? How do you update your closet without breaking your budget? 

Tank: Mossimo, Target; pants: Gap; earrings: Charlotte Russe; necklace: H&M; belt: Gap; shoes: Attention, K-Mart

Song: Army by Ben Folds Five

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Lunch Time: Taco Pasta Salad

While I enjoy turkey sandwiches and a good ol' PB (I skip the J), after a few days my palette gets bored. That's why I love finding salad recipes that I can make a big batch of, then eat for lunch all week. This pasta salad was one such recipe. Despite its less-than-photogenic appearance, rest assured that the flavor is spectacular.

The recipe is from Cooking Light magazine via MyRecipes.com, and it's called "Tex Mex Pasta Salad". It has several ingredients, but as soon as everything is prepped, all you do is mix. First you cook up some pasta (I used rotini, but any short cut would work), and while the pasta is cooking brown up some ground turkey and garlic. Once the turkey is browned, add a little water and taco seasoning. Let the liquid cook out, and take off the heat to cool. When the pasta is finished, run it under cold water to stop the cooking process. In a bowl, combined the pasta, the turkey, black beans, shredded Mexican cheese (a blend of cheeses), chopped green onions, sliced olives, tomatoes, and cilantro. To make the dressing, combine lime juice, cumin, and sour cream. Toss salad with dressing so it's evenly coated. (For more detailed instructions, go to the MyRecipes website of course!) I imagine this would also be good with some avocado in there, and I'm kind of wishing I would have tried that! Also, you can substitute ground beef for the turkey, or leave out the meat entirely. 

I will be enjoying this flavorful pasta salad all week! What are your favorite things to eat for lunch?

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Dinner Tonight: Almond Pesto Pasta with Bacon

Since "Dinner Several Nights Ago" is too long for a title, I had to fudge a bit. I may be behind on the food posting, but I did not want to neglect this yummy pasta dish. While I've made a number of pesto pasta dishes before, this one is my new favorite. The pesto itself is packed with flavor, and the addition of the salty bacon and the sweet grape tomatoes make this pasta supper complete. 

I adapted the recipe from Rachael Ray's "Bowties with Smoked Almond Sauce, Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomatoes" (From the August 2010 issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray).

1 lb bowtie pasta
1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil (extra virgin)
12 slices of bacon, chopped
1 1/2 to 2 cups fresh basil
2/3 to 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup smoked almonds (or regular roasted almonds would work too)
1 clove garlic, minced, pressed, or grated
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
Salt and Pepper

Boil a large pot of water, then salt the water and add the pasta. Cook to al dente (a tiny bit undercooked--the pasta should have a bite to it). Before draining, reserve about a cup of the pasta water. 

In a large skillet, cook the bacon until crispy, and remove the cooked bacon onto a paper-towel lined plate. 

In a food processor, combine the basil, parmesan (save some for finishing), almonds and garlic. Pour in about 1/3 cup of olive oil, and puree into a thick pesto. Put the pesto into a large bowl, and add the tomatoes. Season the pesto and tomatoes (keep in mind that parmesan has a lot of salt so go easy on the salt). To thin out the sauce, add some of the pasta cooking water (there isn't an exact amount here, just make the sauce so it's thin enough to cover the pasta). Add the pasta and the bacon to the sauce, then toss to combine. Serve, and top with the reserved parmesan. 

These are a Few of My Favorite Things

I would say I'm pretty easy to please. I may complain from time to time, but would I be human if I didn't? As long as I can access some sort of ice cream or frozen custard in a matter of a few minutes, I'm happy. If I have the time to cook dinner a few nights a week, I'm satisfied. If I can wake up to a creamy, sugary cup of coffee, my day is off to a good start. On the other hand, if I can curl up with a good book before I go to sleep, I'm glad to end my day. If I can spend the weekend with my husband, my dog, my friends, and my family, I consider it a weekend well spent (extra well spent if there's pizza or Ponak's involved). And if I can open my closet door and see some stripes and polka dots in there, I can't legitimately complain of having nothing to wear. I just feel happier when I don those prints. So this weekend, I hope you can enjoy the little things, eat some ice cream, and wear some dots and stripes!

(After reading this, I realize that food takes up a disproportionate amount of the paragraph. I'm neither proud, nor ashamed of this. Just making an observation.)

Saturday stripes:

T-shirt: Gap; shorts: Loft; belt: Target; shoes: Converse Chuck Taylors (another thing that makes me very happy)

Friday night spots: 

Cardigan: Old Navy, thrifted; tank: Forever 21; jeans: Old Navy; earrings: The Limited; necklace: France; socks: Target; shoes: Mossimo, Target

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Bag Lady

Recently, Kenzie of Fossil Frame did a "What's in My Bag?" Post. She tagged me to share with the world what I carry around in my (bottomless pit of a) bag. First of all, the purse I use the most is the one pictured below, from Urban Outfitters. It's nice and roomy, plus it's messenger-style, so I love that my hands are free. For fall, I have my eye on more structured, slightly smaller purses, but for now, this is my go-to bag.

Okay, now to the contents. I apologize in advance--they're not very exciting. Sunglasses thrifted from the Clothes Mentor, my current favorite pair; my wallet, given to me by my BFF Abby; Jergens lotion; a mirror compact, no idea where I got it; nail file/case; Shea Butter lip balm (I love shea butter, need you ask why?); Natural Ice chapstick (it's the only kind I use, I'm an addict); kleenex; New Testament; pens; Luxe Link purse hook,another gift from the bestie; gum; keys; lipgloss (Sonia Kashuk in Precious); mini notebook; phone (will hopefully be replaced with a cooler one soon). Well, folks, there you go--that's what I lug around on a daily basis. What's that I hear? Are you snoring? I should have thrown a few "crazy" items in there to keep things interesting, like a kazoo or a can of tomatoes. Hey, you never know when you're going to need a kazoo, right?

Oh, and I forgot--I also always carry a book around with me, it just wasn't in my bag because, well, I was reading it. Current book: Elephant Song by Wilbur Smith.

Anyone else feel like sharing the contents of your bag? If you do, let me know!

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Summer Breeze Makes You Feel Fine

Except when it blows your dress (which is already a tad short) up and you wind up unintentionally flashing people. Whoops! 

So this is my first attempt at using the Picasa collage-maker, thanks to inspiration from Kimberellie. (Isn't this gorgeous? I had to give it a try.) I wanted to show a close-up of my jewelry, because I recently won a giveaway from Keira of A Pretty Penny and she sent me this gorgeous ring along with the bracelet I won. Thanks, Keira, I love my new ring! My dress was a giveaway win too, remember? It's from Dirty Betty Vintage courtesy of Jolie from Senorita Fashionista! I'm a lucky gal! One of these days I'll have to do a giveaway of my very own. But first I suppose I need to find something cool to give away. Hmmm, I'll think on that. 

Dress: courtesy of Dirty Betty Vintage; earrings: Charlotte Russe; belt: Loft; rose ring: courtesy of A Pretty Penny; shoes: BC Footwear

Song: Summer Breeze by Seals & Croft
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Vanilla Scones: Coffee's BFF

While doing my daily blog-reading ritual the other day, I came across a recipe for scones at The Ungourmet that made me drool. I never realized how much I liked scones until I tried one at my local mall's Nordstrom CafĂ© several years ago. I love their slightly sweet flavor and light, biscuit-like texture. Heavenly. While mine didn't turn out quite as pretty as The Ungourmet's, the taste is outstanding. And since I didn't have any vanilla sugar lying around, I just used regular granulated sugar and bumped up the vanilla by a half teaspoon or so. If you're a non-breakfast-eater (shame on you! it's the most important meal of the day!) just make these and you will skip your AM meal no more. 

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Nobody can Hold Us Down

Today was an "I need a confidence boost/energizing outfit" type of day. You know what I'm talking about? One of those days where all I felt like doing was lounging around the house in sweats and watching the Food Network all day. Well, I only wore sweats (okay, pjs) for part of the day, and only caught a couple of my favorite foodie shows. While I was tempted to stay on that couch just a little bit longer, I got up, went to Jazzercize, and was even motivated to clean out my closet. To keep up my energy, I put on my fiercest skirt and now I'm ready to go to work. Take that, crappy mood!

What do you reach for when you want to feel like Billy Bad Ass? Skinny jeans? A killer pair of platforms? Overalls? Hey, I'm not judging.

Jean jacket: Gap; tank: Mossimo, Target; skirt: Loft; earrings: The Limited; belt: Forever 21; shoes: Se Boutique, DSW; "I don't give a damn" look on my face, you can't get that at a store, people

Song: Christina Aguilera "Can't Hold Us Down" (I've been using song lyrics for titles for a while now, and I'm starting to think that if I don't cite the artist/song I may be infringing on some sort of copyright laws.)
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She Said "See You Later Boy"

With the new hair, the plaid shirt, and the chucks, I feel slightly like a 13 year old boy in this outfit. But a pretty snazzy 13 year old boy, one who likes to accessorize with metallic belts. I went to the library today, and I almost brought my skateboard and loitered there for a while, to complete the look. But then I realized that I don't have a skateboard and that loitering is against the rules. So I just went in, got my book, and left, like a regular person. What book, you ask? Or maybe you don't. You may not have the same obsession with books as I do. But if you do, I'll indulge you: Elephant Song by Wilbur Smith. It's an adventure book set in Africa about poaching, politics, and corruption. Probably way too R-Rated for a 13 year old boy. I better change before I dive into this one. 

Shirt: Gap; tank: Old Navy; shorts: Old Navy; earrings: Target; belt: Loft; shoes: Converse Chuck Taylors, Nordstrom

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Woke Up, Fell Out of Bed, Dragged a Comb Across My Head

Monday morning post-vacation. This requires a no-think look. I realized later today that both of these pieces are from my 30 for 30. Whenever I'm too tired to put a lot of thought into my outfit, I choose basics, then jazz it up with accessories. My only self-imposed requirement today was to wear my new shoes (from endless.com, my new favorite online shoe store! free shipping!). Otherwise, I kept things fairly simple. Hmmm, I seem to have run out of words. Goodbye 'til tomorrow then, when my brain should be functioning once again. Fingers crossed.

T-shirt: Loft; pants: Gap; earrings: Charlotte Russe; necklace: Dean Harris for Target; scarf (as belt): Target; sandals: BC Footwear, endless.com

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We'll Be Makin' Waves in a No Wake Zone

Well, kids, I'm exhausted. It's always a sign of a weekend well-spent when I start my Sunday post with "I'm exhausted." As you can see, I got my much-anticipated haircut, courtesy of Jen at Last Tangle Salon. I absolutely LOVE it! It's one of the lowest-maintenance cuts I think I've ever had, and that's important for a daughter who did not inherit her mother's hair styling skills.

So the haircut was a good start to a wonderful, memorable weekend. Aaron and I went to a friend's house at a nearby lake, where we spent the weekend swimming, sunning, skiing, and hanging out with friends. And speaking of friends, my best friend Abby also got engaged this weekend! I am so excited for her, and I can't wait to be a maid of honor! Anyway, I hope you had a fantastic weekend; I must spend the rest of mine trying to stay awake until a reasonable hour.

Top: Gap; Camisole: Isaac Mizrahi for Target; shorts: Loft; scarf (as headband): thrifted; sandals: Gap

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Hot Hot Hot

The title of this post will be the only complaint about the sweltering, muggy weather, I swear. Soon enough it will be cold outside, and I'll be eating my words. Hopefully, this will be the last picture you see of me with this hair. I've been needing a cut for, oh, about the last two months. But I am procrastinating no more; tomorrow I say goodbye to my roots, my split ends, and hair that's almost long enough for a ponytail.  No tears will be shed. Unless they are tears of joy. Hopefully that won't freak my hair stylist out. 

I may not be able to post again until Monday. If that's the case, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! I will be soaking up the sun, and actually spending time near some water (for once this summer!). So if my next pictures include me resembling a fully cooked lobster, you'll know why. (Don't worry, I'm a sunscreen nazi, so I'll be slathering on the SPF 50. It's the remembering to re-apply part that kills me.)

Tank: (new today!) Mossimo, Target; black tank underneath: Mossimo, Target (old); skirt: Converse One Star, Target; necklace: from Paris boutique; bow belt: from an old dress; shoes: Se Boutique, DSW

Don't You Step On My Blue Suede Shoes

No, really don't. Because I've already done enough damage to this dress. I made the mistake of wearing it to Chipotle today, where I wasted no time in spilling the contents of my (delicious Carnitas) burrito down the front. Not cute. I'm not sure how to get burrito stains out of silk, but I'm bound and determined to figure it out. However, if I don't, I'm only out five bucks. Yes, that's right, this dress was only $5. A lady returned it yesterday, and it was marked down and in my size. I figure that was God's way of telling me I needed this dress. And of course, I listened. He's probably not too happy that my clumsy-ass spilled Chipotle on it, but hey I can't have all the luck can I? 

I was inspired once again by the fun that the girls over at Academichic are having with color. I tried an analogous color combination today, with blue and turquoise. It's one of my favorite color combinations already, and I like this interpretation of it too. So, I was sad when I had to change before work due to my inability to properly eat a burrito. Any tips on treating silk?

Dress: Loft ($5!!); jacket: Gap (for indoor use only); earrings: Old Navy; belt: Target; shoes: Merona, Target (another bargain buy at $14)

Dinner Last Night: Citrus Spice Salmon

So I've pretty much given up on posting my dinner on the night I actually make it. You would think it wouldn't be too hard to remember, but I'm lucky if I actually think to take the pictures. So this dinner was a combined effort: me doing the marinating and the orzo cooking (read: the easiest part of the meal) and Aaron doing the grilling. 

For the salmon, I got the recipe (off of cookstr.com) from Kathleen Sloan-McIntosh's book 100 Best Grilling Recipes. Her Salmon with Brazilian Spices calls for marinating the salmon for 30 minutes (no longer) in a combination of garlic, lemon juice, orange juice, orange zest, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, bay leaves, salt, and pepper. As I mentioned, this is the easiest part: throw ingredients in plastic bag, throw salmon in bag, wait 30 minutes.  Then, I sweet talked my husband into using his mad grilling skills to cook the fish. Meanwhile, I cooked up some orzo (my favorite side dish, as you well know) and added just butter and lemon zest. I wanted to keep it simple since the fish would be so full of flavor. Just a squeeze of lemon over the fish, and dinner is served.