Dear beloved readers,

I have to apologize for my lack of post today and to apologize in advance for my lack of post tomorrow.  I'm in the last week of my last class for my Masters program.  Needless to say, it is kicking my butt.  I still have to write 26 pages in the next week.  I literally feel like my brain cannot work at the moment, so I'm taking a quick hiatus from the blog.  I need to finish this class and still be alive and healthy. 

Expect me back in full swing next week!  And with Easter coming up, I'm hoping to bake some delicious Easter cupcakes.  Also, I'm planning on taking full advantage of April to get a lot of wedding stuff done!  So stay tuned!


Body Image

I know a lot of wonderful and beautiful women.  I have a great support system of friends, most of who I have known my whole life.  Yet we all struggle with body issues.

The picture above was featured in O Magazine and it really struck a cord with me.  This woman in the photograph is gorgeous, and yet the lines on her body is what you would need to cut out for her to be proportionate to Barbie.  It's disgusting. 

I have to remind myself that although I'm trying to lose weight for my wedding, I just want to live a healthy life.  My body type isn't naturally skinny.  Could I lose a few pounds?  Sure.  I did gain the lovely freshman-30 while in college.  But it's important to not stress or obsess about body issues.  I know I said this already in my Audrey Hepburn post, but it really is important to love yourself and who you are now, not just who you want to be. 

So I dedicate this post to all my beautiful friends who I know read this blog.  And people I may not know who happen upon this blog as well.  You all truly inspire me.

This picture was taken from O Magazine's website, and it accompanies a really great article I think everyone should read. 

Groomsmen Style

Over the weekend I realized our wedding is only 4 months away.  Yikes.

Needless to say I had a minor heart attack.  I have my dress.  I pretty much know what I want to do with my  hair and makeup.  I have all my accessories and my shoes.  The bridesmaid are all good to go.  Basically the girls are doing just dandy.

Now let's talk about the boys.  This whole time I figured we would just go to Men's Wearhouse and rent tuxes.  But then I thought about it and realized tuxedos don't exactly fit the whole "backyard garden wedding" that we're doing.  Plus rented tuxedos never fit well and they always look so baggy.

So I hit the internet to see what else I could find.  I found a bunch of photos and had Matt look at them to decide what look he liked the best.  (I've found this tactic to be most useful in trying to get him to decide stuff for our wedding).

Turns out he really likes the look of black pants, black vests, and skinny ties. 

(Top: Source Bottom: Source)
I was impressed with this decision!  These groomsmen just look so hip and stylish to me.  Plus the boys will be a lot cooler for our July wedding.

Oh and of course he wants to add sneakers like the first photo.  Originally we were thinking about doing the whole converse thing that is grown to be quite popular.  But we realized that Matt is more of a skater-shoe type of guy.  He and his friends grew up skating with each other.  In fact, he wants to have some photographs of him skating with his buddies in their wedding-attire before the wedding.
Therefore we decided Vans would be a more fitting option.  We're going to customize his on the Vans website to match our wedding colors and we're going to buy black and white vans for the groomsmen as their present from a Vans Outlet store.

I'm excited about the groomsmen now.  I was putting all my efforts into the girls this whole time.  It's important to think about the boys since they will be in just as many pictures as the girls!  The best think about the vest look is that it's way cheaper then renting a tuxedo.  Right now at Men's Wearhouse they're having a buy 1 get 1 sale.  That makes the vests $30 each!  Plus some cheap black slacks, a simple black tie...I'm guessing the entire outfit will be under $100.  Most tuxedo rentals these days are around $150.  Score!

What looks are you loving these days for the boys? 

I'm also loving this mix n match look I've been seeing:

Colored Pants Bandwagon

Well I did it.  I jumped on the colored pants bandwagon.  And I don't regret it for a second!

My friend and I have been on a hunt for colored pants for a while now.  We searched Target, Old Navy, Gap...all the place that have been known for colored pants to reside.  My friend lucked out at Old Navy and caught a beautiful pair of brightly colored pink skinny jeans.  I was not so fortunate.  I struck gold (or should I say blue?) at the Gap.  And they were on sale.  Double gold (er..blue)!

I'm calling them my Spring pants.  They make me feel so Springy....literally, I have an extra bounce in my step (see my expression of absolute glee below).

Sweater: Target (similar)
Pants: Gap
Necklace: Old Navy (very similar)
Purse: Target..from 4 years ago (similar)
Shoes: Coach via DSW (similar)

Happy Hunger Games!

The Hunger Games comes out today!  I've been looking forward to this movie ever since I read all three books within the span of a few days.  I could not put them down.  Although the book is a teen novel, I think people of all ages can relate to it.  It really makes you think about reality TV and government propaganda.
In honor of the movie I thought it would be fun to put together a modern-day outfit inspired by Katniss Everdeen.  I'm not going to lie, I'm a big nerd at heart and I've dressed up for my fair share of movie releases back in the day (*cough* Harry Potter *cough*).  However, I thought a more contemporary look would be fun for the Hunger Games, so it's not so obvious.
Target Leather Jacket: $50
H&M Bird Shirt: $13
Gap Khakis: $50
Etsy Hunger Games inspired Necklace: $17
Fossil Cross-Body bag: $148
The Beauty Department BoHo Braid tutorial

Are you guys excited for the movie?  Did anyone go to the midnight release last night?  I'm definitely planning on sneaking in some candy and watching it this weekend with my girlfriends. Happy weekend everyone!  And may the odds be ever in your favor.

Update: Just found this!  Recipes from Panem.
Update #2: Hunger Games inspired Wedding Photoshoot!

Travel Thursday: The London Eye

When I was doing research for our Europe trip a few years ago, a lot of travel books said you should skip the London Eye.  They called it "a tourist trap".  I couldn't disagree more.  Sure, it's a bit expensive at almost 30USD a ticket, but it is so worth it.

Where else can you see amazing views of London and ride a GIGANTIC ferris wheel?!?

No where.  That's what I thought.

  • Occasionally, the London Eye has different events.  For example, they're having a bunch of Easter activities in April.  Always make sure you check the website before you visit just to see if there is something you might be interested in. 
  • Go at sunset or right before the sun sets like we did.  You cannot beat how beautiful the sky is at that time.
  • You can get ticket packages that include champagne...perfect for a gentleman trying to impress his lady.
  • If you take one of the double decker tour buses the first day you're in London, many of them stop right by the London Eye.  It really rounds out your day of basic sightseeing!

Sluttier Brownies

True to their name, slutty brownies have been making their rounds on Pinterest and different blogs.  I must say, all the pictures are quite seductive.  Slutty little things.

I'm having dinner at a friend's house tonight and offered to bring dessert.  The problem is, however, that I have a few huge essays I have due for my class.  So I needed something quick and easy.  And what do you know??  Slutty Brownies, again true to their name, are quick and easy.  (Can you tell I'm having a ball writing this post making "slut" references.  I'm cracking up over here!) 

I decided since I was bringing these over to my friend's, it would be easier to bake these in a muffin tin!  Easier to transport, easier to eat...does that make them even sluttier!?

I'm normally a bake-from-scratch kinda girl, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

Favorite brownie mix
Favorite refrigerated cookie dough (the jumbo version)
Double-Stuffed Oreos (do not dare use regular or any sort of imitation Oreos)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line a muffin pan with cupcake paper liners.
3. Soften the refrigerated dough to room temperature by zapping it in the microwave for a few seconds.  Press one square of the cookie dough into each paper liner, making sure it covers the bottom.
4. Place one Oreo on top of each now-squashed cookie dough square.
5. Prepare brownie mix according to box instructions.
5. Put a spoonful of brownie batter on top.
6. Bake for 20 minutes.

Seriously, so easy, so slutty.

Recipe adapted from The Londoner.

Cardigans & Wedding Dresses

(The Wedding Chicks)
Although our wedding is in the middle of summer and in San Diego, I still have this fear the temperature might cool down in the evening and I will freeze to death.  One thing I've always loved about San Diego is the warm summer nights, which is one of the reasons we're having a summer evening wedding.  But we have had a few summers where it's scorching hot during the day, and much cooler at night.  For this very reason, a light cardigan would come in very handy!

(Left: Cameron Ingalls Right: Party Perfect)
(Left: Jeff Loves Jessica Photography via Style Me Pretty Right: Polish and Pout)
The cardigans look so sweet don't they?  I think it's perfect for a more casual wedding, and perfect for my backyard/garden wedding!  And as luck would have it, the other day I was at Macy's with my maid of honor and I happened to see a neutral cropped cardigan with silver beading on the clearance rack.  It was originally $80, and I snagged it for $20.  I guess it was just meant to be!

Has anyone else thought about what they would wear over a wedding dress or have seen any cool photos out there?  I would love to hear what other people's ideas are.  I can't be the only one who doesn't want to freeze on my wedding day!

Cupcake ATM

I didn't think Sprinkles Cupcakes could get any better...but it just did.

On March 6, the Sprinkles in Bevery Hills launched the first ever cupcake ATM.  Now you can get a Sprinkles cupcake whenever your heart desires one, 24/7. 

Photos taken from the Cupcake ATM's facebook page
See this amazing ATM in action in this video:

I seriously think this is the most genius idea ever.  What do you guys think?  Would you love to have a cupcake ATM located by you?

Irish Soda Bread

Sorry about the late post today everyone!  I didn't get around to baking this delicious bread yesterday like I had originally planned, so I got up early today to bake it.  It was better this way anyways, because this bread with some jam made for an excellent breakfast. 

I was first introduced to Irish Soda Bread in college by one of my housemates.  She would dye her bread green, which we all loved because it just looked hilarious.  However I like the way it looks naturally.  It's an extremely dense and rustic bread, perfect for dipping into your favorite stew.  Or like I said, spreading some jam on it.  Either way, this bread is seriously so easy to make!

4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Stir in butter.  If you don't have a stand mixer (I would kill for one), don't try to use a hand mixer...it goes everywhere!  Just use a whisk, or even better, clean hands.
3. Stir in 1 cup of buttermilk and the egg.
4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead softly. 
5. Form dough into a round and place on prepared baking sheet.
6. In a small bowl, combine melted butter with 1/4 cup buttermilk.  Brush the loaf with this mixture.
7. Using a knife, carve an "X" into the top of the loaf. 
8. Bake in preheated oven and continue brushing the loaf with the butter mixture ever 10-15 minutes.
9. Bake for about 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. 

  • The outside of the loaf might look done but the inside could still be dough-y, so definitely insert that toothpick!
  • For a more traditional Irish Soda Bread, you can also add raisins to the dough.
I hope you enjoy this recipe!  It's always a big hit at our St. Patrick's Day parties.  What are your plans for St. Patrick's Day this year?  I hope you all have a fun and safe weekend!
Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com

Travel Thursday: Ireland's Leprechuan Hunt

In honor of St. Patrick's Day this Saturday, I thought it would be appropriate to dedicate this week's Travel Thursday to Ireland!  Particularly, the Carlingford's National Leprechaun Hunt.
Yes, you did just read that correctly.  Every year, the leprechaun hunt takes place at Ireland's last known leprechaun habitat: the Slieve Foy Mountain.  You can win cash prizes if you find special leprechauns that are hidden around the mountain.  It costs just 5 euros to get a prospecting license.  The best part?  All proceeds go to charity.

I have a particular fondness of leprechauns.  When I was in Dublin a few years ago, we traveled to the Irish countryside to visit Newgrange (which is an entire blog post of it's own).  While we were waiting to see the tomb, I went on my own leprechaun hunt.
I obviously wasn't aware that they can only be found at the Slieve Foy Mountain.  But if you happen to catch a leprechaun, you better let it go because they are actually protected under European law as of last year.  Again, you did just read that correctly.  Read the funny and interesting article here.
Stay tuned for another St. Patrick's Day inspired post tomorrow!

Icon: Audrey Hepburn

I'm pretty sure every girl idolizes Audrey Hepburn.  Not only was she absolutely beautiful and an ultimate fashion icon, she had an amazing heart and soul.  And it's true what they say, beauty comes from within.

One of my favorite pictures ever of Audrey has always been this one:
She looks so fun and chic with the amazing eye makeup, almost nude pinky lip, and a black, feminine, lace blouse.  She also looks perfectly content in her own skin.  And that's what it's really all about, isn't it?  Loving yourself for who you are, right now, at this very moment.
"Nothing is impossible, the word itself says 'I'm possible'!" -Audrey Hepburn

DIY: Save the Date

I thought it would be fun to do a post about our Save the Dates.  As many of you know, we don't have a large wedding budget.  Save the Dates really aren't even necessary since most of our guests are in town.  But I love them!  I just think they are so adorable.

I threw around a bunch of different ideas for the Save the Dates.  One thing I was certain about: I knew I wanted it to be a postcard.  Simply because you can order 100 postcards from Staples for less than $50, and of course, postcards are cheaper to mail. 

Since we are incorporating a bunch of chalkboard elements into our wedding, I googled "chalkboard save the dates".  That is when I found this beautiful image:
(Daniel Photography)
Not only is it adorable, it would be super easy!  I bought a wood board from Michael's, chalkboard spray paint from Jo-Ann's, and chalk from Target.  I just sprayed the board following the directions on the spray can bottle.  My matron of honor, Brittany, wrote on the sign for me since her handwriting is much better than mine.  And I added the cute little heart in the zero.
Next, we all went on a hike on some trails in San Diego in the late afternoon to get the best light.  Climbing through brush, onto rocks, and hiking up hills is quite...interesting when you're wearing heels.
We tried a few adventurous shots (see me running across the street below to avoid being hit by a car) and some cute, natural ones.  We ended up with hundreds of photos, but most of them Matt and I are making goofy faces.  We're not very photogenic people to begin with, and we make each other laugh too easily.  But it made for quite an entertaining afternoon.
We ended up with about 8 really good shots that we had to narrow down.  I emailed out our top picks to our bridal party and our parents, and the decision was pretty unanimous on which picture we had to use.  Then I designed the back of the post card on Microsoft Word using free fonts from dafont.com, saved it as a PDF, and submitted it to the Staples website.  And Voila!  You have an adorable Save the Dates ready to be mailed out.  I told you it was easy!

Seafoam Green

It seems that this beautiful shade of bluish green has been popping up everywhere lately.  I was originally describing it as "mint green" but it seems most people in the fashion world are calling it "sea foam" green.  Sounds way more whimsical doesn't it?

Top Left: Mother's Daughter Top Right: Tim Walker Photography
Center: Elie Saab Spring 2012 Collection
Bottom Left: BHLDN Bottom Right: Eliza Magazine
Having a few seafoam green pieces in your wardrobe will instantly get you ready for spring!  Here are a few budget friendly clothes and accessories I found to help get you started:
1. H&M Blouse: $12.95
2. Target Floral Scarf: $14.99
3. Charlotte Russe Sunglasses: $5.50
4. Modcloth Dress: $54.99
5. Forever 21 Mixed Print Skirt: $13.86
6. Forever 21 Skinny Jeans: $29.80
7. Forever 21 Striped Dress: $13.80

What do you guys think?  Have you already incorporated this color into your wardrobe?

Salted Caramel Butter Bars

I really need to stop baking so much.  I just love it  and now that I’m unemployed I have plenty of free time.  But my wedding is coming up in 5 months!  I need to lose weight and get in shape.  So what do I do?  Bake probably the most fattening thing I could bake.  Seriously, this recipe calls for a pound of salted butter.  But…oh my…they are SO good.  They’re like a little piece of sugary, carmely, buttery heaven in your mouth. 
 For the recipe, please visit the lovely blog Cookies and Cups. 
  • Make sure you give yourself enough time to make these bars as it does take a while. 
  • The recipe says the sea salt sprinkled over the caramel is optional…it’s not.  I did half of my bars with the sea salt, and half without to compare. Trust me, the sea salt definitely adds more flavor and takes these bars to the next level.
  • The bars are best kept in an air tight container.  I'm not sure how long they're good for as ours were gone within a few days!  I'm guessing more or less a week though.
I hope you all can make these over the weekend.  They are probably one of the best things I've made in a while.  Enjoy and have a fantastic weekend!

Hot Men

The title of this post makes me giggle.  Hopefully no one will be dissapointed since this post is not about attractive males. The other night I was freezing too death, cuddled under layers and layers of blankets.  Matt walks into the room and complains: "Why is it so freaking hot in here?"  I just stared at him.  So I did what probably any woman would do: I told him he was crazy and to deal with the heater being on full blast.  And then I googled why men are so much warmer than women.

Turns out, women conserve more heat around their core organs, causing less heat circulation to the rest of our body.  I guess having to wear socks to bed every single night is simply because my body is keeping my baby making machine nice and toasty. 
We can now blame biology for our need to snuggle.  Yessss.

Plaid & Cardigans

Shirt: Target
Cardigan: JC Penney
Jeans: Old Navy
Shoes: Target
Necklace: Borrowed (aka stole) from one of my bridesmaids (sort of similar)
Purse: Coach Factory

The beginning of last week was surprisingly cold and rainy for San Diego.  So cold, in fact, it snowed in the mountains just 40 minutes from where I live.  Therefore, I had to wear a long sleeve plaid shirt and a sweater.  Shocking right? 

Ironically, as I write this post, it is now 80 degrees out with no cloud in the sky and I'm wearing a tank top.  At least I got to wear some of my winter wardrobe a few more times before Spring hits us in full force.

Toms Paris Ballet Flats

I'm in love with the new Spring 2012 line of ballet flats from Toms!  I've always liked the premise behind Toms, but I was never crazy enough about the look of the shoes to spend that money on a pair.  But these new Paris flats are to die for.  I've been looking for a new pair of neatural ballet flats since I'm getting tired of always wearing my black ones.  I'm crazy about the "Alessandra" style and I might just have to splurge and order a pair:

What do you guys think?  Love them or leave them?  Which color do you prefer?

Happy Weekend!

First weekend of March!  This year is really flying by isn't it? 
Archtectural Salvage of San Diego
This weekend, my friend and I are going to the Architectural Salvage of San Diego.  I'm really excited to check this place out.  They have old doors, windows, hardware...anything and everything.   I want to find an old mailbox for our wedding to hold cards!  Hopefully everyone else has fun plans and can enjoy this beautiful weather we've been having.