Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Little Pink Boxes = Happiness!

Have you heard of this amazing thing that is Birchbox?!  I heard of it via Nothing But Bonfires, who posted about it a while back, and I am in love.  Basically, when you sign up for the Birchbox "monthly subscription", you pay ten bucks a month to receive an adorable little pink box in the mail every four weeks that contains five or six (sample-sized) beauty/hair/body/lifestyle products, the likes of which you would find in a store like Sephora.  As a gal who used to write down literally every beauty tip and product mentioned in a magazine, this seemed...phenomenal. 

And yeah, I get it, I get that it's silly to spend a hundred bucks a year for sample sizes of beauty products, but you can cancel your subscription whenever you like; there's really no drawback to it.  Except.  Well, you know how you get the big fat September issue of InStyle or something and it's amazing in all its glossy glory and packed full of great tips and ideas for outfits?  And then all is good and well until maybe February rolls around, and you run to Target for the new issue, and it's approximately the thickness of the newest you dog-ear a couple pages or so, but really, you're kind of feeling like you wasted your money on this thing that should have been awesome?  Well, Birchbox CAN be like that.  It definitely varies month to month.  For example, one month, I received a full-size Stila eyeliner, a sample of Juicy Couture perfume, and this amazing fancy facial moisturizer that I am trying to use as sparingly as possible.  However, the next month, I got, like, fake eyelashes and a sample of a granola bar (among other things, yes, and, okay, I'm sure it's the brand of granola bar that, like, Kate Hudson eats, but still).  So you see how it is.  Sometimes you hit the jackpot and sometimes you don't. 

Regardless, I get so excited to see that hot pink box at the post office each month!  It's like Christmas comes 12 times a year instead of 1.  They also send a little postcard with each box that describes each product and how it can be used...and the box is decorated with fancy tissue paper (which is a different color each month)!  It is just fun.  Here's a list of the things I've received and loved since I signed up in November:

*Zoya nail polish in a kind of denim color
*Alex and Isabelle hair tie that doubles as a bracelet in a very festive red
*Thymes body lotion that smells SO GOOD and isn't greasy at all, which I love
*kate spade new york Twirl perfume - the packaging is adorable and it smells amazing
*Jouer moisturizing lip gloss in a hot pink color that is surprisingly sheer and flattering
*Clark's Botanicals Smoothing Marine Cream - at first sniff, I was a little nervous to put this on my face, but it's actually THE BEST facial moisturizer I've ever come across!  Sadly, though, I got on the website to try and buy some...and the smallest size costs $115.  Yeesh!
*colorescience pro Mineral Bronzer Face Color - This was a cute little puff that came all prepackaged with the bronzer inside.  The bronzer was very natural and subtle.
What do you think?  Is this something you would try?


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I See a Red Door and I Want it Painted Black...

Actually, if I'm being honest, the title of this post should be "I See a White Door and I Want it Painted...Turquoise."  I am lately finding myself obsessing over brightly painted front doors, and I dream of having one of my own someday.  (That is, truthfully, one of the reasons I want to own a house rather than rent one - hee!)  It seems like brightly colored doors used to be more often found in other countries - I remember seeing a few pink ones in Mexico! - , but lately the trend has traveled north and spread like wildfire across the US.  As for the color choices, there's really no limit!  I've seen pictures of basically every color door under the sun - so beautiful and inspiring.  To me, a stand-out door feels more welcoming and happy; it says "Come on in - there's some damn fun people behind this door!"  It is unexpected and bold, and I couldn't love it more!

For the slightly less audacious:  Apartment Therapy describes a bright front door as a "design dare," and many people in the comments section reported that they attempted to paint their front door differently and had complaints from others in the neighborhood.  To that I say:  Pish posh!  BUT there are those who just don't embrace the trends, I guess!  So for people who want to try this without causing controversy or ya go!
This periwinkle blue actually seems pretty darn mellow against the silvery-grey tone of the house.  This would be a great start for people wanting to embrace the door-painting trend but who are a little wary of bright colors.  I love this color blue and this look in general!
(Photo from here)

Over at Apartment Therapy, they suggest a door-painting option for the seriously timid.  If you want a tiny slice of color, but don't want to commit to an outer or interior door that's covered in brightness, paint just the door's edge to give it a little pop every time you open it!  I think this is a cute and original idea, especially for a kid's room!

You can pair a bright door with neutral siding...
 Oh my gosh.  Everything about this door is perfection.  The door inspires thoughts of my current fave pattern (chevron!), and the glass surrounding the frame balances the opposing colors out nicely.  I adore this shade of robin's egg blue.  Sigh.  Can this be mine?  (from here)

PINK!  THIS IS A HOT PINK DOOR!  (Of course, when I ask Jared if I can paint my door this color, I will be referring to it by it's official name.  Which is raspberry.)  BUT IT'S PINK!  (from here)

We all know how I'm feeling about yellow and grey as of late, so there's really no need to tell you why this door appeals to me so much. This would make guests feel all sunshiney and happy! I think yellow is the top contender so far for my own future door...either yellow or red.  Thoughts?  (found here)

Citrusy, summery, and gorgeous.  What's not to love?  (from here)

This feels simultaneously homey/country and elegant somehow.  This bright red front door would look perfect during the holidays; I would love to come in from the cold snow through this door!  (via Country Living)

This door/garden combo seems almost magical!  That color blue is gorgeous, and I've always thought that ivy climbing over a porch looked so charming and unique.  I would love to live here!  (from here)

OR with bright siding!
This lemon shade is what most would consider pastel, and not many people would think to pair such a color with vibrant cobalt!  But the result is (I think) pretty bold and statement-making.  I'm a fan!  (from here)

And some little extras that would look adorable with bright doors:

Left picture:  Peel and stick (!!!) numbers from here

Right picture:  Classic zinc numbers from here

Left picture:  Brass fox door knocker from here

Right picture:  Cast iron skeleton key door knocker from here

I LOVE this industrial-feeling lamp to hang in an entryway.  So modern!

And just for fun, this is the doormat Jared bought me for Christmas to put in our interior entryway one day.  I know you can't read it, but inside the heart it says "please don't leave."  Exactly what I will be feeling every morning when he leaves for work! 

Both from Urban Outfitters.

Hope you enjoyed this roundup of my favorite colorful doors!  What about you?  Do you want to paint your door a bright color?


What 50 Bucks (Give or Take) Got us at an Antique Shop!

Okay.  Okay.  It might have been 80 bucks.  Yeesh. :/

I sweet-talked Jared into going on a little road trip last week (during a winter weather advisory, no less!) to eat the best cupcakes in the world and hunt for pretty antiques.  I'm good with the sweet talk; it's one of my greatest talents.  :)  Even though he insists he is a purely modern kinda guy, Jared sure does seem to enjoy the antique comic books and Ford Mustang paraphernelia.  It's one of my dreams that one day, he'll agree that yes, that old rusty ceiling tile would look pretty amazing on our charcoal living room wall, and we probably do need that adorable 40 dollar container for lollipops after all!   (Sigh.  What is he thinking marrying me?  I get all impulsive and weak in the knees as soon as I see anything involving the word "antique.")  Regardless of the fact that he had started dragging me and my drooling mouth away from rustic wooden furniture and the like by the end of the trip, it was still such a good day date with my fiance...topped off with an AMAZING "Wedding Day" cupcake!

Here's the loot.  And what we plan on doing with it:

(Right picture from ruffled)
This cute little bottle is obviously not an antique...they sold gifts there as well.  I am a sucker for skeleton keys, and since we have collected quite a few bottles to hold flowers for our reception centerpieces, I figured it wouldn't hurt to add another!  So pretty!

(Right photo from Country Living)
I thought this rustic metal heart (which is hollow, meant for holding flowers while hung on a wall, I assume?) was so cute, and not just around Valentine's Day, when I would fill it with roses, of course!  It would look adorable in the springtime full of daisies, hung up on a bright yellow wall like this one.

The color is a little bit off here; this is actually a pretty marigold color in an imperfect black wooden frame.  I love the crafty and homespun feel of this, and it would really look good on any wall...but I like yellow and grey together!  :)
Jared and I are set on a black and white kitchen with splashes of red, and Jared knew that he definitely wanted some chalkboard in there somewhere.  So we both loved this antique red tray that was upcycled with chalkboard paint to become a cute little place to write a menu or weekly shopping list!
(left photo from here, right photo from here)
I saved my favorite for last!  I am very excited about this gorgeous white birdcage, and I already have several ideas of what I'd like to do with it in my own home.  However, we haven't quite decided what we're going to use it for in the wedding:  a fun card holder OR stuffed full of flowers as a unique centerpiece?  What do you think?  Either way, I love it, and it was definitely my favorite find of the day!

And finally, a picture of my niece.  Just because she's cute.
It was a long morning for this poor thing.  This was the day we went to get my sister-in-law's bridesmaid dress, and Audrey was just pooped.  I said to her, "Don't you wanna go see your mama try on pretty dresses?"  And she replied, "No.  Eat!!"  Well...I guess you can tell we're related.


Monday, February 27, 2012

Look. At. These.

I'm dying. 

Buy me these, and I'll love you forever!  Pretty please?!  :)

(gorgeous colorful chevron bangles found here)


I Want to Thank the Academy...

Did you catch the Oscars last night?  I caught the first half or so, as well as the pre-show red carpet arrivals.  I've never actually sat down and watched an awards show before - it was fun!  Like a meet and greet for Hollywood's most attractive, talented people!  I wanted to keep track of the things that stood out to me (specifically the fashion hits and misses, of course) so I could write about them later, so I decided to take some notes down in my phone.  What I ended up with was this, a crazy mishmash of celebrity nonsense:

*Tina Fey's peplum/bun combo!
*Jean Dujardin's accent <3
*Jury is out on Michelle Williams
*Penelope Cruz dress ugh!
*Jason Segel was so cute!!
*Shave your mustache, Bradley Cooper...and please don't make a 3rd Hangover
*Lucky wench Stacy Keibler and her pretty metallic dress
*Brad Pitt, cut your hair.  Also, you look like you might have BO. And your woman is ridiculous.
*Rooney Mara - not wearing black?!?!
*Jessica Castain and Emma Stone:  meh
*Rose Byrne's sequins!
*Me gusta Natalie Portman's red dress
*Why interview someone who is most well-known for being the voice of a cartoon donkey?
*I hope Morgan Freeman never dies
*Viola Davis in emerald green:  amazing!
* I sure do love me some Meryl Streep

So there's my Oscars review!  :)  But now, for some specifics:
The Hits:

1.  Kristen Wiig in J. Mendel - Lots of people describe the Bridesmaids star's gown as being "meh", insisting that Kristen should not have gone with the color beige.  But I thought she looked beautiful!  Her hair and skin tone went perfectly with the shade, and the floaty skirt was ethereal and gorgeous.

2.   Natalie Portman in vintage Dior - Classy and SO beautiful!  Everything about Natalie's ensemble screamed grace and elegance, from her finger waves to the simple black clutch to the gorgeous sparkler at her neck - perfect!

3.  Viola Davis in Vera Wang - Many disliked Davis' vibrant green dress, and I can understand why:  the bustier-like top was kind of extreme, and the dress had all sorts of competing elements, like the ruffles, pleats, cutout, etc.  But I thought she made the right choice - the emerald green stands out against her skin, and I give her props for going with her natural hair.  Bold!

4.  Tina Fey in Carolina Herrera - At first glance, I really did not care for the funny girl's look whatsoever.  But after looking at it a few more times, I became a fan!  The peplum is huge this season, and I thought Tina pulled it off nicely.  And the high bun is definitely unexpected, but it worked!  (Jared, on the other hand, took one look and said, "Ugh.  Ugliest.  Dress.  Ever."  But we all know that the peplum isn't really designed to appeal to a man's eyes, right?!)

5.  Kate Mara in Jack Guisso Couture - Love the color, the hair, and the floral accents!  But Kate...both you and your sister (Dragon Tattoo star Rooney Mara) need to learn to SMILE on the red carpet!!

6.  Rose Byrne in Vivienne Westwood - I don't know that I would want to be friends with Rose Byrne...she always looks as though she smells something bad when I see her in pictures.  But this black sequined gown is to die for, and I will never get sick of that flawless bob with bangs!
7.  Meryl Streep in Lanvin - Meryl Streep is just timeless, no doubt about it.  She can do no wrong.  This metallic number is no exception. 
8.  Stacy Kiebler in Marchesa - This was a controversial fashion choice, but I think Stacy looks fabulous as always.  The origami-style flower at her hip was very bold, and she pulled it off nicely.  Her gorgeous blond hair looks perfect with the dress!

Nominations for Best Hair:
(all found here)

NOT on my Best-Dressed List!:
(here and here)
Really, Angelina Jolie?  Really?  I saw enough of your muscular friggin' thigh last night to last me a lifetime!  You were posing so hard, jutting that leg out SO FAR...that I'm a little concerned you may have hurt yourself.  I mean, it's not like we haven't seen it before, Angie.  As you can see from the photo above, the dress with a slit isn't exactly a rare item in your wardrobe.  Enough with the leg.  Just...enough.

(found here)
Sorry, Penelope Cruz.  I sure do like you, but I wasn't diggin' it last night.  I thought she resembled a bridesmaid from the 50s or something. unflattering look on a gorgeous woman.

(found here)
I give Rooney Mara some serious props for choosing a color OTHER than black on the red carpet.  While I would have gone with some actual color rather than white, it's a change for her, which is good.  However, there was some detailing on the bust that was just...weird.  And her bangs.  Just...awkward for me.  No.

(found here)
Lots of people were huge fans of Gwyneth's white cape/gown combo.  Other than her stunning sparkly accessories, I was definitely not a fan.  I don't understand the cape.  She's not Superman, she's Gwyneth Paltrow, for God's sake.  And her ponytail looks halfhearted and sad.  That is all.

Final Thoughts:  Yes, Michelle Williams' pixie cut is adorable, and her coral peplum gown with the little sparkly brooch was cute and quirky and fun.  BUT nothing will beat the marigold dress of 2006, and that is that.  Also, I will never see the appeal of Emma Stone and her manly, lisping voice.  Also, her ridiculously large neck bow was a total ripoff of Nicole Kidman circa '07.  Take that.

Overall, though, I thought there were many more fashion hits than misses in this year's Oscars!  Cheers!


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Battle of the Sexes: Jared's Defense

As seen in the previous post, my fiance and I have been discussing on how we'll be decorating our (as of yet unpurchased) house, and we've been trying to incorporate both aspects we like into an antique/modern look. Today, I'll be showing you the modern living rooms that I'd enjoy living in. As Chelsea would like to put it.. "A cold museum living room" :) Since I live in Iowa, most people enjoy country/antique homes, and there is nothing wrong with that, but I am a person who likes an uncluttered place, and I cringe at the sight of a whole room with antiques. I LOVE antiques, but there's a limit to how much I can handle. 

Modern Design - Clean, sleek, and artsy. The modern style is characterized by a neutral color palette, strong geometric shapes and asymmetry. The most common features that a modern style room/house has are white walls and neutral tone-on-tone color schemes.

Fireplace!! Yes, I'd love to have a house with a fireplace, and this is kind of the ideal look I'd love for it to have. It also has room for the wood underneath it, talk about convenient. Also, I don't find the blue oval on the wall attractive, but my artsy style enjoys the black broken fragments on the wall. Also, I enjoy the uncluttered feeling, isn't it nice?

 So, I actually posted this one for Chelsea as a compromise for a entertainment center/wall. Those shelves would be excellent for DVDs/Books. The entertainment center is the main focus, and with all the unique shelving, it definitely has some artistic attributes. PLUS.. I'm digging the black and white picture on the wall :) 

Minus the whole DJ setup (Really? Who puts a DJ/Recording booth in a living room?), I love everything about that. The lighting is what did me in on this, I enjoyed how they used lighting behind the guitars on the wall, it puts a lot more focus on them and brightens them up.

 Well, the main reason that I love this living room is that amazing setup for TV and speakers. The white chairs in the left, the light fixture, and the shelves on the right are just the icing on the cake for this room. I take that back... icing on the cake would have an apple computer on the table :)

Brick walls.. They're a weakness, I don't know why I get all giddy at brick walls in a house, but I just love the look of them, and it provides a great backdrop to the entertainment center. Also it kind of reminds me of a studio apartment in New York or Los Angeles. 

Okay, so those are a few of the idealistic designs that I would like (and I'm sure Chelsea would LOVE) to have. :)

Here are a couple of pictures of what I would LOVE to have if I was SUPER RICH and just felt like wasting money on.

I know they're silly, but man.. wouldn't either of these rooms be cool to have if you were rich?