January 31, 2013

(very late) Thoughts on Les Mis and anticipation for Mr Gatsby

I finally saw Les Mis on Tuesday evening, and then went back and saw it again last night. I know I'm SUPER late (you're probably all thinking this is OLD NEWS, Jenni), but I just have to express myself here. I honestly think that was the best movie I have EVER seen. I mean, you have to like musicals. And you have to be OK with sitting through a three hour musical that will most assuredly leave you emotionally depleted by the end.  But WOW. Hugh Jackman?! He blew me away. Anne Hathaway's "I dreamed a dream" scene? Goosebumps just thinking about it. Eddie Redmayne (Marius)? Hot damn.

I don't know that this movie is for everyone, but the emotion conveyed is absolutely palpable, and I'm sort of a glutton for punishment when it comes to these things. I was borderline ugly-crying by the last scene both times, but I think that has a lot to do with my own personal loss of a father-figure this last year and my ability to relate to some extent. Gosh. Just breathtaking. I guess that's all I really need to say. If you haven't see it yet, hurry up and go before it's out of theaters!

ALSO. Have you guys seen the trailer for The Great Gatsby? Leo hasn't looked this good since Titanic. I AM SO EXCITED. I think this is going to be a really interesting adaptation. The movie is by the same director as Romeo and Juliet, which happens to be one of my favorite movies of all time, so I'm preeeetty sure I'm going to love this.

The last third of this trailer gives me full body chills every time.


Did you see Les Mis? Did you like it? And what do you think of the Gatsby trailer?

January 30, 2013

Just another routine catastrophe in my kitchen


This is kind of embarrassing as it's the second time this week I've talked about doughnuts, but this story is too astounding not to tell.

Over the weekend, I woke up one morning super grumpy and hormonal feeling, and I had this idea in my head that only doughnuts could make me feel better. Only doughnuts. Matthew said that you can actually make doughnuts with Bisquick, and do we have any Bisquick? So I pitter-pattered into the pantry where I found a box of Bisquick and proceeded to happily Google "Bisquick doughnut recipes."  (how many times can you say Bisquick in one paragraph? I bet I just maxed it out).

I found a recipe that seemed to suffice, so I pulled out the deep fryer that we got for a wedding gift and never used, and then poured an entire unopened bottle of vegetable oil in it, only to find that wasn't even barely enough to cover the bottom of the little fryer basket in there, and thus wouldn't be deep enough to fry the doughnuts in. So I was like, "Matthew, what do I do in this situation?" and he, being the very intelligent man that he is, transferred some of the oil into a frying pan, where it was plenty deep enough to fry some doughnuts in. He turned on the burner for me and then returned to the couch and his iPad, while I busied myself with dough preparation.

Well, I am rather slow when it comes to reading and following new recipes, so while I was meticulously measuring ingredients and shaping dough into little circles with holes in the middle, Matthew was noticing a lot of smoke and odor coming from the kitchen, so he came back in to check it out.

"Oh my gosh, babe, did you not notice that the oil is burning and smoking?" He cried, as he switched off the burner and began to run around the house, frantically throwing open windows.

"Uhhh..." I said. "Well, you see, my glasses are really scratched up, and it's hard for me to see clearly, so I didn't notice the smoke."

*Matthew rolls eyes.*  But honestly, that was the truth! (just got new glasses in the mail... hopefully this crisis will be averted in the future)

So anyway, we cooled off the oil, and I started to fry up our doughnuts. The deep fryer not working out and the nearly setting off the smoke alarm were only minor setbacks, and I was confident the doughnuts themselves would make up for the process starting out a little rocky.

It would all be downhill from here, however. The next thing to go wrong was the fact that the doughnuts simply would not stay together. Every time I flipped one it would break into smaller and smaller pieces. Only one of the six I made managed to stay in tact. This was especially frustrating to me because I'm pretty big on the aesthetics of food. So perhaps in my hastiness and increasing frustration I became a bit careless, and at one point I was flipping a doughnut when I accidentally dropped it into the crackling oil, which then splattered out of the pan and onto Matthew's nearby leg. At this point he began bellowing curses and staggered over to the sink to grab paper towels with which to wipe off the hot grease, and I was feeling a mixture of horror and the strange urge to laugh hysterically because why am I being punished so severely for deciding to make these doughnuts?

We finally finished frying up the doughnuts (or shall I say, the ONE doughnut and many doughnut fragments) and then we sprinkled them with powdered sugar and iced them with some vanilla glaze I'd made. I took the one intact doughnut and arranged it nicely on a plate beside my coffee and snapped a picture of it on Instagram, planning to later pick a filter and post it as proof that the experience was not a complete loss. Then we started to eat our doughnuts, but unfortunately it turned out they wound up tasting "like they'd been fried in the same grease as a hamburger," as Matthew so aptly put it. They were disgusting.

To add insult to injury, after we decided not to eat them due to the nastiness, I went to Instagram my picture, and Instagram ate it. The screen just went white, and the photo never saved to my phone. At this point, I wasn't even surprised, because clearly this entire experience had been jinxed from the start. Now I didn't even have proof that one doughnut turned out nicely, so I had to Instagram what was, essentially, a pile of deformed dough balls (see photo above - and believe me, they tasted much worse than they looked).

So, what is the moral of the story here? Well, there really isn't much of one, except maybe to leave things like doughnut-making to Krispy Kreme or, better yet, Gourdough's, next time the hankering strikes. Some things are just better left to the professionals, no?

January 29, 2013

My sweater has elbow patches, does yours?


Fashion is such a funny thing. So subjective, don't you think? Just like anything else, I suppose... food, photography, taste in novels and blogs, the way we like our homes decorated, the way we need the dishwasher to be loaded, so-help-me-God.... all very subjective. We like what we like. And personally, I like stripes, and I like elbow patches, and when you put them together, MY MIND IS BLOWN.

In other news, I got a haircut yesterday (right after these pictures were taken). Yes, this is blog-worthy, as it's been over a year since my last one, and since I've been starting to get mean comments saying things along the lines of "cut-your-hair-you-disgusting-good-for-nothing-human-being-with-sickeningly-long-hair." OK, not exactly that. But close.

So I went to a new salon and got this little old Asian lady hair stylist (is it OK to say that she was Asian? I'm never sure about these things. I think it's important because her accent was cute and it adds to the story), and I'm pretty sure she was horrified by me when I arrived. I told her I needed a shampoo, trim, and blow dry, and her look of horror melted into actual fear at the prospect of having to do all of those things. "Are you sure you don't want just trim? Save you money that way. It thirty-five dollar extra for style. You can dry at home." And I was like, "ummm... OK. Sure. Let's do that." And she was making all these little "tsk-tsk" noises while she combed out my hair which, in her defense, truly WAS a rat's nest due to the fact that I hadn't straightened it, it had been in a braid for a while, and the humidity outside was 100%. I kept apologizing to her for the state of things, but anyway, it went well. She did a good job.

Here's the rest of the photos of today's outfit, and be sure and enter for your chance to win a Tailor and Stylist (where my shirt is from) shop credit below!

not sure what was happening here. this picture is so awkward, I had to include it.


{ Sweater: c/o Tailor & Stylist (10% off your purchase with the code storyofmylife10), Pants: J.Crew, Boots: Franco Sarto (similar), Bag: Theit, Hat: Banana Republic (past season) }


January 28, 2013

Gourdough's


So, it's a really providential thing that I acquired a new bicycle around the same time that Matthew and I discovered Gourdough's doughnuts here in town, because without this new, fun form of exercise and with the edition of our obsession with said doughnuts, I would probably be well on my way to morbid obesity.

YOU GUYS. THESE DOUGHNUTS. It was just an innocent dinner out at Elizabeth Street, when I said to Matthew, "hey, let's try Gourdough's food truck in the parking lot across the way... I hear they're really awesome." Matthew wasn't feeling too well at the time, but he grumblingly went along with me, though he decided not to partake in his own doughnut. I bought the Son of a Peach one and took it to-go. On the way home I dived in, and holy mother effing sinfully deliciousness, y'all. I literally started yelling out strange combinations of obscenities when I took my first bite (which makes very little sense, given my mouth was having the time of its life), and I even nearly teared up at one point (PMS). Matthew was like, "what is wrong with you?" and I was like "here, try this," and I handed him over a forkful and then he, too, began cursing in a strange and senseless manner and proceeded to eat half of the rest of my doughnut.

We went back for breakfast the very next morning, and again this weekend. I've tried the Son of a Peach, Granny's Pie, and Cherry Bombs, and Matthew had a make-your-own flavor and the Black Out. So far, Granny's Pie was my favorite, with Son of a Peach in close second.

So, consider this a public service announcement to those of you in Austin who haven't tried Gourdough's yet, or to those of you who plan to ever visit Austin and want to give your taste buds a reeeeal fun ride.

I don't know about the Mother Clucker, Flying Pig, and Porkey's. But I'd be willing to give 'em a try.

this is what happens when you eat Gourdough's. Big, gleeful smiles from normally stoic men like Matthew. Also, see all that gray in his beard? Law school did that, not me. (I don't care what he says)


Happy Monday, my friends. :)

January 26, 2013

Hi, I'm an ENFP... what are you?

I know this personality test has been linked to on a few blogs lately, but I felt it was worth sharing here too. SO fascinating! I took the test a couple weeks ago (it only takes a few minutes to answer all the questions!), and I was truly astounded by the results. It pegged me perfectly, and what was even more awesome was the results of Matthew's test. I honestly found myself shaking my head and laughing the entire time I read both his assessment and mine.

I am an ENFP, and he is an INTJ. In other words, we almost couldn't be more different! My favorite part of the ENFP assessment says:

ENFPs have what some call a "silly switch." They can be intellectual, serious, all business for a while, but whenever they get the chance, they flip that switch and become CAPTAIN WILDCHILD, the scourge of the swimming pool, ticklers par excellence. Sometimes they may even appear intoxicated when the "switch" is flipped.

If you only knew how true this is. I literally have a "silly switch" that is involuntarily flipped almost every evening around 9 or 10 o'clock. It drives Matthew insane. It also tends to come into effect around kids or dogs... ha!

So.... what personality type are you? 


January 25, 2013

My new ride


Yeeeeeeah buddy, I got me a bicycle! Actually, my mom got me a bicycle, presumably because she was concerned by my inactivity and also because she got a bicycle and wanted someone to ride around with.

It should be noted that this particular bicycle is neon yellow, has a basket and a bell, and has been dubbed "Daphne." For some reason I feel the need to name inanimate objects and, admittedly, pretend like they're my friends. Perhaps that has something to do with being homeschooled most of my childhood...? 

Daphne and I will have good times together. Good times, indeed.


shout out to Bicycle Sport Shop on South Lamar! thanks for taking excellent care of us!


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And now for today's featured sponsors! First up is Bouffe e Bambini, a life and style blog by Hanna. Hanna is a mama, nurse, runner, amazing cook, and lover of fashion. Yep, this woman wears a lot of hats!  You can expect raw and honest posts from her (like this one), a great archive of recipes, as well as inspiring stories about obstacles she's overcome and paths she's walked down (like her incredible weight loss story here). Hanna is currently pregnant with bambini #3, due SOON, so, YAY for babies! Go say hello to Hanna!


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Next is a super awesome blog by one of the funniest ladies I've "met" - Taylor of the Daily Tay. Have you been? I tried to find some extra funny posts to link you to, but then I realized that would be ALL OF THEM.  Do you suffer from WUD disorder like Taylor does? (I know I do!) Or perhaps you should stop by here and read about blogger faux pas, from Taylor's point of view. Good stuff, folks, good stuff. Get to know Taylor more here, and get ready to immediately add her to your reader and also  quite possibly develop a massive girl-crush. Go!


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Next up is Caley and her sweet blog Ellie Love.  Caley documents the growth of her gorgeous daughter and family life over in Durban, South Africa... waaaay across the pond, for us here in the U.S.! Head on over here to read a little about Caley and her cute husband (how gorgeous are their wedding photos?!) or learn a wee bit more about her here or here. You can just sense Caley's sweet personality right through the screen! Go say hello!




January 24, 2013

Best Birchbox beauty products (according to me)



Hello my friends! Today I thought I'd share with you some of my favorite Birchbox products I've used over the last year of my subscription.  I've heard varying reviews of Birchbox, from people like myself who are super happy with it, and from others who were continuously disappointed by their samples. Personally, I think the trick is to have realistic expectations. You won't LOVE every single sample you get. For example, over the last 12 months and probably around 10 perfume samples, I LOVED two of them (this one and this one). But taste in perfume and most other beauty products is very subjective, and I have just been so thankful to have such a fun way to try out products I would have never discovered if it weren't for my Birchboxes arriving in the mail each month!  For me, the $10/month fee is well worth it, and I love that I can go on the website and review each product to earn points towards free stuff, too. Score!

Also, let it be known that I am something of a beauty product hoarder. In all honesty, I haven't even used many of my samples of the last year, but I keep them, ALL OF THEM, because I love the look of product packaging and design... just makes me happy. Especially the fancy French stuff. I know, I'm weird.

But I'll stop rambling now and tell you about my favorite favorite Birchbox products of the last year. These have all made it into my regular beauty routine, and some I have bought the full sized product of already. Hope maybe this helps any of you who may be in the market for some new stuff!



I have very weird skin. It can't decide if it wants to be disgustingly oily or dry and peeling. This weirdness is exacerbated in the winter and by acne treatments, to where my skin just becomes one giant clusterf***, which makes me sad. I feel like I can't use anti-aging treatments on my face because they're too oily, and products I use for acne dry me out like crazy. When I try to put on foundation, sometimes I feel like it makes my skin look worse, as it draws attention to the dry spots. What to do, what to DO? This Dr Jart "beauty balm" came as a sample in one of my Birchboxes, and I fell in love with it immediately. It's a four-in-one primer, moisturizer, sunscreen, and treatment serum, which I use as foundation. It goes on smooth like buttah, and moisturizes instead of drawing attention to my dry spots. It also has excellent coverage for such a lightweight "primer." Between this and the concealer I mention in #6, I don't feel the need for any other base makeup (except a little power, because the Dr Jart will make you look shiny.)



This is what I use each and every time I blow-dry and straighten my hair. I love the smell and feel like I'm helping to protect my hair from all the heat. It also seems to make my hair extra silky and shiny, which is muy buen. It claims to repair split ends, which I think must be true! I just checked, and I have almost no split ends - miraculous, since I haven't had a hair cut in a year. Not sure what else to say about this one... except that I wish it was cheaper?



As a human with extremely unruly, frizzy, and wavy-wannabe-curly-hair, I am always searching for the perfect product to tame the mane, so to speak. I'd say Miss Jessie's products are the closest thing I've found to something that actually works for me. It smells fun, and really does seem to help actually shape my waves into something almost curl-like and less frazzled. I also like the Pillow Soft Curls product probably just as much, and the smell a little more. Not sure exactly what the difference is, though I think the Quick Curls makes for tighter waves or curls.



This stuff does just what a dry shampoo is supposed to do: soaks up your grease and helps you go longer between washes - or at least look less dirty between washes. Smells great, works great, no residue. Need I say more?



Ok, hair "powder" is a little trickier than the aerosol type like the Oscar Blandi above, BUT I'd say this particular one is worth the potential mess.  IT SMELLS DIVINE. Like, I want to dump it all over my carpets and vacuum that ish up for a little room refresher, WHILE i'm rubbing it into my hair to soak up oil. No but really, it smells incredible. And it truly does work, though you will see more residue (especially in dark brunettes such as myself) until the powder fully absorbs the oil. Just follow the directions, though, and you'll be fine. This stuff is fabulous!



I am in love with this concealer. I have super dark circles under my eyes (it's genetic - no amount of sleep will cure them), and for years I searched for the perfect under-eye concealer... one that truly conceales. This concealer makes great claims to treat as well as cover up (diminishes fine lines, hydrates, reduces puffiness, etc), and while I don't have too many lines around my eyes yet, nor do I suffer with puffiness, I am super happy with the level of concealment and assume this is also helping me to fight aging around my eyes. And one last thing: IT LASTS FOREVER. You need such a tiny bit for each eye as it is very concentrated, and I have been using it for probably six months now and feel like it's only about half gone. Well worth the price.

*Note: this is not a sponsored post, though I do get points to be used towards products if you sign up for Birchbox through this link! Hooray!

January 22, 2013

Aztec


Today's outfit is perfectly in keeping with last week's "I-would-like-to-experiment-with-my-wardrobe-more-this-year" pronouncement. So, so far so good, and it's not even February yet!  I have eyed the "Aztec" trend from afar for quite some time now, and finally, when I saw this sweater, I jumped on board. Those Aztecs, man... they sure knew how to do it. 

Also, lucky you! Chance to win a $25 Sprightly So shop credit below. :)


{ Sweater: Sprightly So, Boots: c/o Tailor & Stylist, Leggings: Loft (similar), Clutch: Urban Outfitters (similar), Necklace: Petitor }

Enter for your chance to win a $25 Sprightly So shop credit in the Rafflecopter below. Here's a few items you might choose if you won, or if you'd like to shop now, use the code SOML10 for 10% off your order. :)


January 21, 2013

Eastside Cafe


Hey Austinites, have you been to Eastside Cafe? I had brunch there for the first time the other day, and YUM.  Really delicious eggs benedict... and I'm pretty picky! Can't wait to try more items on the menu. I also thought it was way cool that the cafe has its own garden out back. Talk about fresh ingredients, right?

This one's a winner!



January 18, 2013

Geometric


I am drawn to bold, bright colors and modern or geometric patterns when it comes to clothing and graphic design, though I often go with the safer option when given the choice between something timeless and something bold and trendy. When I saw this sweater at Urban Outfitters, however, somehow I was drawn to it a like a moth to a flame. The design inside my home is super organic and peaceful and calming and, let's face it, it is so because I had to work around all the damned animal heads, which only leaves so many options for cohesive decorating. So in my wardrobe, starting this year, I've decided to experiment more--with patterns, textures, colors. I'm actually pretty horrible at coming up with cool outfits (simple is my go-to merely because, when I try to complicate things, my brain literally starts melting inside my skull), but I am determined to stay true to fuss-less fashion while incorporating more outside the box pieces that just make me happy, gosh darn it. 

 
 

Pants: Banana Republic, Sweater: Urban Outfitters, Shoes: Steve Madden (similar), Purse: Target (past season), Necklace: J.Crew (past season), Earrings: Acute Designs

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And now for today's featured sponsors! These ladies are completely lovely, and I am happy to share them with you. :)

First up to bat is Adventures as Mrs. Janney, a blog by Oregonian girl Natalie.  She claims not to fully live up to the hippy hype of your typical Oregon resident, though her new pregnancy (!!) seems to have her leaning more in that direction every day.  Natalie was recently diagnosed with thyroid cancer (read past posts on that here), though I am happy to say she had that sucker removed (the thyroid) and is doing well now. This pretty lady is an engineer who loves to sew and cook, a wife and soon-to-be mama who loves to blog, and a cancer survivor extraordinaire. A winning recipe, if you ask me. 

Blog 

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Next up is one of the sweetest bloggers in all the land, Amanda of Marshall's Abroad. If you haven't been by there yet, you A) might be living under a boulder and B) must go there RIGHT NOW. Amanda and her handsome military guy live over in Japan and just ooze love and joy and gorgeous pictures and fantastic recipes and, honestly, what I want to know is HOW does she get her husband to take so many awesome pictures with her? It's literally like giving a root canal to get Matthew to take a picture with me. NO FAIR. Learn a bit more about her here, and proceed to fall in love. Go.


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Last but certainly not least is the lovely Renee of This Won't Hurt A Bit, a blog about the life and times of a Mississippi-raised southern girl and traveling nurse (I didn't even know that was a thing!). If you'd like a nice little overview of Renee's blog, then her year in review post would be a fantastic place to start. You can also mosey on over to her about page where there's some facts laid out quite nicely for you, and also, who says "mosey on over?" I do, that's who. I do. 


Happy Friday!!

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