happy birthday to me!

it's my birthday and i'll blog if i want to. 
(i'll also eat the exact number of cake slices/cupcakes equal to my age if i want to.) 
i will accept presents, parties and birthday wishes in any form. 

image via kate spade



there are few things as wonderful as eating a cupcake for breakfast. except for maybe eating two cupcakes for breakfast. which i may have done this morning.

image via weheartit


summer makes me crabby

hey! remember that time where i didn't blog for like two weeks? yeah, about that. it's really, really, really hot.
summer is horrible. in fact, i had a little temper tantrum on saturday which included hugging my ac unit like another person and laying my head on top of it for longer than i'm proud of, sticking my head in the freezer, refusing to style my hair or wear make-up (or, let's be honest, clothes while i was at home), and yelling at my mom about how much i hate summer. as if she has anything to do with it.
hopefully, i'll have some bloggy inspiration soon. in the meantime, go eat a popsicle. or, join them in the freezer if you're in to that. it's refreshing.

image via sweet southern charm


is it fall yet?

happy friday, everyone!
today's cloudy, breezy, humidity-free 70-degree temperature is making me one happy girl. in fact, it is such a nice little fall preview i turned off my air conditioning and wore a blazer all day without sweating. bliss!
i absolutely cannot wait for my september magazine issues to show up in the mail, for target's fall shoe preview, for back to school supplies, and all that comes with the end of summer.

have a wonderful weekend enjoying these cooler temps!

image via shuttersisters


brotherly love

this is my brother, aaron (in the bowtie). he's pretty awesome. he is one semester away from being an architect and is on a full scholarship for grad school at rice university. he already has a super job secured when he graduates in december. he is a really great cyclist and rode his bike across the country (literally) a few years ago with an awesome organization called bike and build. he taught himself to play quite a few instruments in high school, including the guitar. he manages to tell funny, but not that funny stories in such a humorous way that i can't stop laughing. he's run two marathons. he delivered two completely memorable and non-cliche speeches at both his high school and undergraduate commencement ceremonies and graduated college with the highest gpa in his architecture school. he's been to all but a handful of states in the us. he has really good taste in clothes, and like me, buys most of them at thrift stores. (it's a family affair.) he has a really awesome girlfriend named gracie who has a great blog. and, finally, he's an artist through and through. the kid can draw/paint/sculpt/design/sing/play/write with the best of them. he also takes incredible photographs, and i thought it would be fun to share a few here. thanks to his extensive travels, he's had the opportunity to capture a lot of great subject matter, but the way he captures it is always memorable. i have two of his photos from chicago and monticello (shown below) framed and hanging on my wall in my bedroom.

concord, north carolina

frank lloyd wright's ennis house: los angeles, california 

times square: new york, new york (p.s. i was in this taxi, too!)

hermosa beach, california

the high museum of art: atlanta, georgia 

disney concert hall: los angeles, california 

pittman-dowel residence: los angeles, california 

the north carolina dance theatre: charlotte, north carolina

santa monica, california 

lindon, colorado

neil denari's hl23 building, west chelsea: new york, new york 

venice beach, california 

seaside, florida 

american indian museum: washington, district of columbia

alta ski area: alta, utah

the new museum: new york, new york

lake lure, north carolina 

charlotte, north carolina

and, finally, the two i have on my wall...

chicago, illinois

monticello: charlottesville, virginia

i've notcied after looking through this collection of photos that i chose (believe me, it was tough) that most of them have a lonely quality to them. i'm not an art critic and won't pretend to be, but i think that a lot of the photos he takes (especially the ones that i like) inflict this mood. loneliness is probably one of my greatest fears, so it's interesting that i find these photographs so gripping and beautiful. which one is your favorite?

aaron is available for hire for all types of photography. okay, not really, but he will draw you some pretty incredible renderings if you'd like them. also, i feel it is important to note that all of these were taken with a cannon point-and-shoot camera. someone get this kid an slr, already!

thanks for letting me show off your work, aaron, and thanks for being such a cool brother. sometimes it's hard to live in your shadow of awesome but i love you anyway! besides, i'm prettier than you.

all photographs copyright aaron cote


vive le tour

you can currently find me (until july 24th) glued to my television (or the television at the gym or my parents' house, as i don't get the channel) watching le tour de france. it's probably my favorite sporting event next to the march madness and the olympics. it's exhilarating, interesting and seriously awesome. and, it's an excellent workout motivator. if you're not watching it, you should be. despite recent doping scandals, i still think that the riders are some of the strongest athletes in the world. and a number of them are pretty cute, too. let's discuss christian vande velde, tyler ferrar, and mark cavendish. cute? cute. okay, then.

anyway, before i start boring you with talk of pelotons and sprinters and climbs, let's just get down to the important things. besides being an awesome workout, bikes are cute and trendy. they look cute and trendy on things. we look cute and trendy riding them. just visit pinterest and search "bike" and you'll see what i mean. in honor of le tour, let's celebrate and "put a bike on it"...

i have added these paper source glasses to my birthday list. who doesn't want to sip out of these?

a great play on the famous keep calm poster. blair and josh, i think you guys need this in your bonus room.

all the cool babies are wearing them.

it's like the cool girl's version of the cyclist's musette bag. and it comes in three colors.

i like this print very much. get an old book. stencil a bike on a page. put that page in a frame. i think i could accomplish this craft project for less than $5. you could also find a few different bike stencils and do a little collection of prints. cute in a boy's room, a powder room or, heck, your living room.

the modcloth spoke so sweet dress, which if you can't tell, is covered in tiny black bicycles. be still my heart.

if i had a boyfriend, he would have these cufflinks. love them.

i could go on and on and on, but i'll stop there for now. i'll leave you to go ride your bike. or watch le tour. or buy cute things with bikes on them. also, if you're really in to cycling, you need some of the cool vintage team/riders/ad merchandise from velo-retro. i stumbled across it recently and it is very, very cool. 

goal for the near future: find and buy a cool bike stamp/stencil and craft up some bike goodies.
goal for the not-as-near-but-hopefully-still-somewhat-near future: get a road bike and actually ride on the road, and not in a spin class. it gets a little old. although, if they were to stream tour coverage, i could maybe be a little more excited about it.

vive le tour et allez andy schleck!

images: 1.google 2.paper source 3-6.etsy 7-8.modcloth 9.etsy
*each individual item linked in text beneath photo*



today was not a great day. i spent a vast majority of it in a foul mood, with a headache, stressed about the future, confronted with self doubt and wallowing in self pity for no particular reason except that i didn't have much going on to distract me. why is it that we always focus on the negative when we know we should be focusing on the positive? why is it so hard for me to trust that god has things under control? i hate it when things seem so logical, yet actually believing them is so difficult. thankfully, god isn't giving up on me and tomorrow is another day to keep trying.

image via weheartit


cropped is cool again

today after an early morning appointment with my very cute (and very married) doctor, i took a little trip to sbucks for some iced coffee and a little paper-reading. i like thursdays because the new york times' style section is awesome, albeit a bit pretentious. after reading about karl lagerfeld and men's newfound love for watches of all kinds (apparently they weren't cool for a minute), an article about cropped tops caught my eye. i've been noticing them popping up lately in places like urban and nordstrom's junior department and i have to say, i'm kind of a fan of the trend. especially since "crop top" no longer means the 80's-era belly shirt or the 90's-era cher horowitz look. the more modern crop tops are boxy and only cropped to the naval or so, but apparently anywhere up to the bra is fair game (no thank you). also, apparently men can wear them, too (super double no thank you. let's stick to watches, guys.).

unfortunately, i think this look is decidedly less flattering than more recently stylish long tops, but thankfully the boxy cuts are still pretty friendly, especially since there are quite a few ways to wear them, even if you're not in to baring your midriff...

i think when worn with modest, tailored pieces, a little midriff isn't a bad thing. although i still wouldn't be wearing this to the office, i'd wear it just about anywhere else.  

i looove this outfit. it still looks completely modern and mature even though a tiny bit of flesh is showing. again, not appropriate in some arenas, but very, very cool in others. my favorite outfit of the post. 

i've actually already tried this look recently. lindsey inspires me with her tied up button-downs and so i made it work with a crazy skirt and some platform espadrilles. a bit edgier than i usually go, but i think i really liked it. i've been trying to push my comfort zone lately. with higher-waisted things especially, i think this look can be super cool and super flattering. 

as far as cropped tops and the office goes, i love the idea of wearing a slouchy, more modern shirt with a high-waisted pencil skirt and some sophisticated jewelry/shoes. i hesitated to post this photo as the model is about as anorexic as they come and the skirt is shorter than i'd ever wear to work, but i couldn't find another example of the look that i liked. please disregard the scary frame of a girl and the somewhat office inappropriate elements of this particular outfit. the figure-enhancing tucked-in look is sort of achieved without all the bulk and headache of actually tucking something in. 

more appropriate work looks. these shorts are so ugly i want to cry, but you get the idea. a high-waisted pair of pants and you're good to go. i also really like the way the crop on this blouse is tapered. you still get some butt coverage while mastering the look. 

and if you're looking for a more modest cropped look...

layer with slim-fitting pieces. a super awesome look for fall/winter. i feel like a small frame looks less like she's been swallowed whole by slouchy layers when a lighter colored crop is layered over everything. suddenly she has a shape again. i want this exact outfit. 

layer a crop top with a slim fitting dress or high-waisted maxi skirt (pictured at beginning of post). i saw a similar look at nordstrom on a mannequin and i was hooked. also, if you have something that's a little lower rise, just layer a longer shirt under the cropped top. voila. in my book, layers will always be cool.

and, finally, if you want something a little less trendy and a little more classic, go for a french gamine look. always pretty and always in style.

so while i'm getting busy chopping the bottoms off my lesser-worn long shirts, what are your thoughts? is cropped cool again?

images: 1.sterlingstyle 2.damstyle 3.tumblr via pinterest 4.refinery29 5.johnnytheclown 6.urbanoutfitters 7.jeanasohn 8.freepeople 9.mystylepill


easy double lemon burst sandwich cookies

during the summer (and really any time), lemon flavored desserts and foods are some of my favorites. i love lemon cake, lemon sorbet and mostly lemon curd. i found the initial part of this recipe from tidy mom, and i can't believe how easy it is...

1 box lemon cake mix
1 tub of cool whip
1 egg

mix ingredients. dough will be very sticky. in fact, my mixer made horrible sounds and started smoking it was so sticky. i finished it with a wooden spoon. scoop dough and drop in to a bowl of powdered sugar. don't try to  touch the dough until it's coated with sugar, then roll in to a ball and drop on to an un-greased, parchment lined cookie sheet. bake 10 - 12 minutes at 350 degrees, or until cookies are just slightly browned. cool for approximately 10 minutes on the sheet and then remove to cooling rack.

after making just the cookies once, i decided that while the texture was excellent, they needed a bit more flavor. so i modified the recipe. i bought trader joe's delicious lemon curd, spread a little on one cool cookie, and sandwiched them together. ah, perfect! i could eat these forever.


yankee doodle dandy

this long weekend was pretty fantastic. i love weekends. i love holidays. i love my friends and i love america. here's a quick recap:

1. had a fun sleepover in south carolina with bestie sarah. we shopped, ate lots of junk food, drank starbucks, played with the puppies and watched not one, but two cheesy chick flicks including monte carlo starring selena gomez, which was very entertaining.

2. picked out this pattern for an upcoming sewing project with my mom. i plan to make it with stripes to emulate this outfit. i'm so excited.

3. drank more starbucks. i'm currently on an iced-coffee-with-a-splash-of-soymilk-and-one-splenda kick. cheaper than an iced soy latte (by more than $2) and possibly more delicious.

4. crafted up a new banner for my bookshelf. it's not quite complete, but photos to come soon.

5. sent my parents off on their 30th anniversary trip to switzerland. to say i am jealous is an understatement.

6. watched the justin bieber movie with my friend mary. i may have been a skeptic, but it was pretty excellent. and he's pretty precious.

7. spent the day at little badin lake with friends. i played on the boat, ate two hot dogs, went tubing, tried to water ski, snuggled with baby elliot and enjoyed my role as the ninth wheel in a sea of married and engaged couples.

8. nearly wrecked my car on the way to the lake when i saw a three-hundred pound (easy) black man riding a motorbike completely and totally naked in broad daylight. this happened.

9. ate a loooot of watermelon and rice krispie treats.

10. took two naps on monday.

11. watched and enjoyed a capitol fourth on pbs while it rained outside and dreamed about a future move to dc and my future husband, josh groban, who performed three songs on the show. if you didn't already know, i. love. him. i may have joined twitter for the most part so that i could follow him.

12. enjoyed the fourth of july 30% off discount at the goodwill. cheap becomes cheaper. holler.

1.bibbtybobbityboo 2.google 3.atlantic-pacific 4.weheartit 5.oursurprisingworld 6.weheartit 7.pinterest 8.pinkpreppylillylover  9.pinterest