pajama day

i want to wear this robe every day forever. isn't it gorgeous? it's even prettier in person. i just saw it at the store and fell in loooove. sadly, the price and wearing pj's every day are both not really acceptable.

and i'm restraining myself from posting more about what i loved during my recent anthro trip because essentially, i'd be posting the entire store.

image via anthropologie



"have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. don't search for the answers because you would not be able to live them. and the point is to live everything! perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even knowing it, live your way to the answer." 
- german poet rainer maria rike
image via goodmorningandgoodnight 


let's go to asia...

lately, i've found myself with an inexplicable affinity for all things asian. and when i say all things, i mostly mean food, boys and decor...

1. food

first of all, i cannot stop eating this salad:
greens + coleslaw mix (cabbage, carrots) + mandarin oranges + snow peas + chow mein noodles + kraft reduced fat toasted asian sesame dressing + chicken (if i feel like it)
i also, as of late, dip pretty much everything in toasted asian sesame dressing. pretzels, broccoli, celery, more chow mein noodles, my finger, etc. try it, you won't be sorry. 

other mentions i'm currently obsessed with:
a. who doesn't like rice? i've been on a huge kick lately. especially stir-fried and with veggies and kikoman low sodium stir-fry sauce. if i'm not eating the salad mentioned above, i'm probably eating this.
b. you can interest me any day, any time in a little japanese. i'm on a first name basis with our local toyko express staff.
c. spring rolls. oh my gosh delicious. 
d. i recently had hot and sour soup for the first time. the flavor kind of scared me at first, but i've decided i really like it. 
e. pf changs. lettuce wraps! mandarin chicken! beef and broccoli! lo mein!

f. sushi. yes, please.  
g. wasabi. deserves its own category. can i put it on everything?

2. boys. 
secondly, i am tall and most asian men are short, but that doesn't change the fact that i suddenly find them very attractive. here are a few of my current asian celeb crushes...

a. ballet dancer/actor chi cao. yum. he dances for the queen with the birmingham royal ballet, but also nabbed the part playing dancer li cunxin in the 2009 movie mao's last dancer, which i already have on pre-reservation for its upcoming redbox release. 

b. actor terry chen, who looks extremely attractive in scrubs and camo on abc's new show combat hospital. i'm also strangely a fan of all the tats.

c. and, or course, one-half of glee's asian fusion couple, harry shum, jr. we've all seen his abs and we all know he can dance. okay, then.

3. decor
asian decor can be scary. i'm sure you've seen examples of over-inspired spaces that end up looking too opulent and tacky. but, chinoiserie (a french term, meaning chinese-like) pieces mixed in to a space can be really unique and beautiful.

i'm not sure i could handle so much shiny in my house, but i still really love this look.

i've had this domino magazine image saved in my files forever. chinese-inspired wallpaper is exceptionally cool in small spaces or on select walls.

see all the little asian details? they're perfect because they don't overwhelm the overall feel of the room. i love it. well done, ivanka. 

chinese blue and white porcelain is my favorite. especially large ginger-jar inspired pieces, like these lamps.

holy mirror. if i found you at the goodwill, you would be mine. 

such a cozy, chic bedroom. 

and, of course, elephants are very in right now. i loved this little guy at homegoods a few weeks ago. 

as far as asian inspiration in my house goes, blair gave me this incredible chinese-inspired bird chair last year because baby elliot and all her baby things take up a lot of room. i don't know if it's possible for me to express to you my feelings about the chair via my blog. it is one of my favorite, favorite things ever. blair had a baby and fell in love with her. i got a chair and fell in love with it. sometimes i just sit on my bed and look at it like a proud mama. in fact, i'm very surprised this hasn't made the blog sooner.

i've also recently purchased this large, bamboo-inspired art frame ($3 at a yard sale - should i paint it?), a blue and white chinese porcelain pedestal dish ($3 at goodwill) and a small green flowered asian vase ($3.50 at tj maxx).

loving these looks? head over to chinoiserie chic for a lot more gorgeous asian inspiration. and check out thrift stores. i hit value village with my brother yesterday and saw several affordable asian pieces in the housewares section.

4. honorable mentions.
there are a few more asian things that deserve a little shout-out:

a. my friend elizabeth's daughter anna, who is the cutest little chinese girl i've maybe ever seen, and the daughter of the thai family that owns my shoe repair place. asian babies are very, very cute.

b. disney's mulan. my brother's favorite (his girlfriend actually bought him a mulan figurine) and in my opinion, one of the best disney movies in history.

c. fortune cookies. this could go in the food category, but i get much more excited about the fortunes than the cookie itself. we americans need to start putting surprises inside of more foods than just cereal boxes. remember this fortune? best ever.

d. takeout boxes. they're so cute and versatile.

so...who wants to take a trip to asia with me!?

1.etsy 2.me 3.thephotoargus 4.-5.imdb 6.google 7.chinoiserie chic 8.domino 9.ivanka trump via chinoiserie chic 10.-12.chinoiserie chic 13.me 14.gwenllana 15.save-on-crafts



"consider it pure joy my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. if any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you." 
- james 1:2-5 (niv)

i shouldn't be surprised that this verse has shown up in my life multiple times over the past month or so. in a sermon at church, in a daily devotional reading, underlined next to another suggested reading in james 2 for an entirely different devotion. it's one of those verses we hear a lot as Christians that is supposed to make us feel better when life is hard. but i'd be lying if i said it always did.

i recognize that by comparison, being unemployed isn't really a "trial" like other things. people have it much, much worse than me. i think, however, that the trial for me over the past few months (year-and-a-half, really) is not being jobless, but being so unsure about where my life is moving and how God wants to use me. i feel like things have been unsettled, up in the air, on hold for quite a while now and as i prefer to have a plan, and lots of mini-plans to execute the big plan, along with lists outlining the mini-plans, i am extremely frustrated to say the least. i feel like i'm waiting for my life to start, to feel permanent, to feel like i'm working toward a goal. instead i feel like i'm treading water, and i'm getting tired. 

last night while discovering this passage again entirely unintentionally, verse five jumped out at me instead of the others. if we lack wisdom, to ask and it will be given to us. such a simple verse and such a simple task. and one i very much need to take on. it's not that i haven't been praying frequently about my next step, it's just that i'm so overwhelmed with what's next that i'm completely lost on how to pray, what to pray for, what i want, and what God wants.  let's get some perspective - i'm the girl who spends two hours in the goodwill because i can't decide which $4 blazer i want (which, incidentally, the longer you spend there, the more you find that you need), the one who has had near breakdowns in stores when making big purchases because i just can't decide exactly which is perfect (buying my beloved subaru practically required a valium prescription), the one who has no idea how to choose a paint color,  the one who went to eight stores (yes, eight) yesterday because i couldn't decide which type of pinwheel i wanted for my flower boxes. (yes, i'm very aware of how ridiculous/sad/pathetic this is.) can you imagine if it were up to me to decide huge things like whether to move to dc, charlotte, or raleigh? whether i should to work on capitol hill, for a non-profit or in corporate america? i would be paralyzed with fear and would likely have a freak-out reminiscent of any one of charlie sheen's strange breakdowns. which is why i'm so glad Someone else knows what is best for me. Someone who, although silent lately won't be silent forever. and, thankfully, Someone who sees the whole picture and is happy to provide me a little wisdom toward my next step.

i may not be overly joyful when facing trials and uncertainty. in fact, as much as i don't like to admit it, i may be downright difficult and whiny. (my mom can probably confirm this.) but i can bet on the fact that as long as i'm seeking wisdom and guidance, the One who "gives generously to all without finding fault", won't hold out on me.

image via altodomeucastelo


hello, monday!

good morning!
or, geez, it's practically already afternoon! i can't tell you why especially, but i'm extremely excited about this week. i don't really have anything earth-shattering on the calendar aside from some fun dates with friends, i'm just feeling extra excited about it. sometimes (most times) i feel like a loser without a job, but sometimes unemployment is very fun. like today. over the past week, i've blogged very little, so here's an update. i...

- started running (and by running i mean jogging very slowly) again. so sore i can barely walk, but this song makes me want to run like phoebe anyway.
- visited the yogurt lab for the first time. i definitely prefer yoforia and pinkberry, but i do like the "add your own toppings" bar. it's so exciting.
- had a play day in cornelius/davidson with mom. we took an extra long goodwill visit (where mom scored the cutest jcrew blazer ever - so jealous), the soda shop and art sanctuary in downtown davidson, and our favorites, the oak street mill and the bradford store.
- was terrorized (slight exaggeration) by giant cockroaches in my house. sick. thankgoodness for the bug man. i think i might love him. 
- took a quick but fabulous 24-hour trip to southern pines to hang with lacey, sarah and company. took zero pictures but we shopped, drank coffee, margaritas and mcd's frozen strawberry lemonades, ate at mellow mushroom and c cups, played a little family corn hole, checked out a late night movie, and spent a lot of quality time in our pj's.
- bought and planted flowers, basil, and cilantro at my house. i have about 900 mosquito bites, but it was worth it. pictures to come! i'm very excited for my zinnias to grow.
- wore my fedora 85% of the time.
- baked gracie's flourless peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. so delish.
- took a very successful trip to mighty dollar where i stocked up on super cute bangle bracelets, sweet gund baby gifts, ipod/phone accessories (name brand wall charger and earbuds. for $1. seriously?), a garlic press and more crafting supplies
- was asked to teach in zumba class while our regular teacher is on vacay in a few weeks. i'm teaching a hip-hop dance to this song and i'm so superduper excited. white girl alert.
- made homemade tomato bruschetta with aforementioned garlic press and fresh, local tomatoes and basil. yum.

here's to a great week ahead! see you soon!

image via favim


paris, je t'aime

doesn't paris in the fall sound très magnifique? want to go? oh, good! moi aussi! oh happy day (a bright, amazing and, hence the name, happy) blog that i love is giving away an amazing trip. and i would very much like to win please. you can enter, too, or you can just send out good thoughts on my behalf. i will accept either, but i prefer the latter as my chances of winning are therefore increased. but, then again, if you enter and win you can take me, right? we can go shopping, wear berets, skip down the champs-elysées, eat nutella crepes, drink wine and talk to stylish french people with names like pascale and martine. it would be magical. yes, i would like that very much.

bien sur. merci, mes amis! 

images: 1.paris2london 2.weheartit


if you can't stand the heat...go to wal-mart

i've decided that i honestly wouldn't hate summer temperatures as much as i do if it weren't for the fact that i start to sweat the moment i step outdoors. i really wish i were one of those girls who just gets all tan and dewey in the heat, but alas, i'm the annoyed white flushed girl with the matted hair and sweat marks on my clothes. this explains why i a)am angry about 75% of the time may-september b)really wish i could summer in canada and c)prefer to stay indoors when at all possible. i saw an ironic quote on pinterest today that made me laugh - "summer is a wild gift of heat". bahaha. yeah, right. how about summer makes me want to do nothing but lie down in front of an air conditioner and complain? fact.

that said, i have made two purchases so far this summer that have made ninety-plus degrees halfway bearable:

first and foremost, the wal-mart fedora. best $8 i've spent in a long, long time period. i can't stop wearing it. seriously. it covers up the nasty and makes me look somewhat cute and pulled together in the process. i've especially enjoyed it on the lake, for post-pool errands and afternoon unemployed shopping and fro-yo trips (my life is so hard right now).

and secondly, also from wal-mart and priced at less than $3, johnson's calming lavender and chamomile baby powder. it doesn't really stop the sweat, but makes me feel fresher and less disgusting in spite of it. i've found using post-shower lotion in the summer just makes me feel worse, so this softens my skin without all the unnecessary moisture. and lavender is one of my favorite scents maybe ever. i've also found it very handy for work-out sessions. i suddenly stink less than the fat old guy on the treadmill next to me. awesome.

what are your summer must-haves? help me get through these months of torture!

images: 1.josh olins for june 2011 vogue uk via dustjacketattic 2./3.wal-mart


big tuna

not only does tuna make me think of cutie jim halpert from the office, but it's packed with protein and totally delicious. if it weren't for the mercury content, i would eat this little salad alllll the time. i created this recipe based on a somewhat similar chicken salad my mom used to make when i was little, but this one is a bit quicker. i love it because it requires no cooking and is super fresh, healthy and delicious.

tuna salad:
1 can solid white albacore tuna in water (i like bumblebee)
1 stalk of celery, chopped
1/2 apple (i prefer gala), chopped
1/4 cup raisins
wishbone red wine vinaigrette dressing

drain tuna, combine all ingredients and add dressing to taste.
soooo yum!
i highly recommend this dressing. it totally makes the salad.


raleigh farmer's market

last week i had the opportunity to spend a little time in raleigh at the north carolina home builders' association's annual legislative conference. i've been involved with the professional women in building arm of the organization through my work with habitat, but i like the ladies so much i've remained engaged even without habitat as my employer. next to our hotel in downtown on wednesday where the conference took place, the raleigh farmer's market set up shop. despite the fact that i sweat like a man in my wool crepe suit, it was fun browsing the booths and taking advantage of free samples. i bought a gorgeous bouquet for my hostess with the mostest for only $5 (see photo below) and took a few other fun shots as well. i love the irony of farmers markets in a city - it combines urban and rural in such a lovely, functional way!  



"heart transplants my friend handed me:
four of her own peony bushes
in their fall disguise, the arteries
of truncated, dead wood protruding
from clumps of soil fine-veined with worms.

'better get them in before the frost.'
and so i did, forgetting them
until their june explosion when
it seemed at once they'd fallen in love,
had grown two dozen pink hearts each.

extravagance, exaggeration,
each one a girl on her first date,
excess perfume, her dress too ruffled,
the words he spoke to her too sweet -
but he was young; he meant it all.

and when they could not bear the pretty
weight of so much heart, i snipped
their dew-sopped blooms, stuffed them in vases
in every room like tissue-boxes
already teary with self-pity."

- mary jo salter

image via emequalsme


summer lovin'

while it's no secret that me and about 17 million other girls love anthro with all our pretty little hearts, and while most of you reading have likely already seen it, i just can't get over the newest summer catalog (issue 6). while i always appreciate the catalogs' vibes (and have every single one from the past six or so years on my bookshelf because they're really great for framing, crafting and because they're too pretty to throw away) they aren't always the most practical fashion inspiration. i love anthro's merchandise, but it's often that their pages are styled a bit too crazy to translate in to an outfit that wouldn't make me look like a fool at wal-mart or any of the other mundane places that make-up my everyday suburban life.

that's why this particular catalog is so fantastic. it's still great inspiration but features looks that i would actually love to wear. since yesterday, i think i have looked at it approximately five times. and i haven't even been home that much. take, for example, a few of my favorite things...

filtered light tunic. i have found it difficult to find the perfect breezy tunic/caftan. this one might just be it. too bad it costs more than i am willing to pay. sale? probably not unless it's approximately 80% off.

gathering breeze dress. (also pictured above.) i don't usually go for strapless a) because my shoulders are broader than i'd like and b) because they're annoying to wear, but this one is so dreamy. i also think it would make an exceptionally great bridesmaid dress. love.

million pleats midi. my favorite thing in the catalog, hands down. in fact, i would very much like to wear this entire outfit. i'll be scouring the goodwill for a similar vintage piece. there has to be a formerly frumpy grandma skirt out there that i can salvage, right?

in a pod necklace. this is just so different and statement-y. now i will be looking for a similar knockoff at f21 and charlotte russe. (where there are excellent baubles that do not cost $268.) also,  lacey's sweet mom laurie just bought me a poncho/sweater that looks a lot like this at the goodwill. thanks, laurie - i love it!

backswept dress. here's the thing. i feel like i should now share with you that never have i actually bought any item of clothing at anthro. ever. i have a belt from there and quite a few housewares, but no clothes. i attempt to recreate the same looks, but i just cannot justify spending this much money on clothes, no matter how lovely. and this dress is a prime example. i (kind of) know how to sew. my mom really knows how to sew. and this dress recreation is a summer project about which i am very excited. i'll keep you posted.

so...don't you want to go shopping? that's what i did all day today, actually. but at the goodwill. and boy, did i score some sweet deals. stay tuned!

all images via anthropologie