Monday, October 6, 2014

chalk it up to kindness

This month I'm going to be participating in Random Acts' Endure 4 Kindness. It's kind of like a marathon run, except that you get to marathon whatever activity you want. Some people are baking for 24 hours straight, some people are doing gymnastics, etc. I love this idea because it opens up the world of fundraising pledges to people (cough cough) who wouldn't last ten minutes in a normal marathon. All of the money raised from the event is going to support Random Acts, a charity that promotes and helps fund random acts of kindness around the world.

For my marathon, I'll be chalking up the driveway with kindness-related messages from dawn to dusk on October 19th. I have enlisted my brother's help and we'll be filming a time-lapse of the whole thing and then posting it on my youtube channel when we're finished.

Of course, the whole point of the event is to raise money so if you'd like to pledge to support my fundraiser that would be SO amazingly awesome! My mom and grandmom chipped in $15 to start me off and so far that's all I've raised, way short of my $500 goal, so I would appreciate anything you can manage. And as an incentive, I'm giving away some gifts to pledges that reach a certain amount!

- If you donate $25 or more (and you're a US resident) I'll send you a complimentary kindness brooch from my new store, The Kindness Shop. (They're also available to purchase there if you didn't want to pledge, but pledging means that 100% of your money goes directly to Random Acts!)

-  If you donate $100 or more (and you live on planet Earth) I'll make a custom brooch with whatever design your heart desires. Literally anything, the possibilities are endless.

I am so excited about this! If you want to help me reach my goal, you can pledge RIGHT HERE.

10/19 Update:

We just finished our marathon and the time-lapse video is available to view here. Thank you so much to those of you who donated, I really appreciate it more than you can imagine ♥

Saturday, October 4, 2014

saturday night movie: sullivan's travels

I’ve always had a soft spot reserved in my heart for depression-era message yarns. You know the movies- the ones with bread lines, chain gangs and a not-so subtle message about the fragile state of the nation in 1930’s America. I have, and always will, consider them to be admirable pictures that depicted a stark, realistic picture of an America on the brink.

When I first sat down to watch “Sullivan’s Travels” I thought it would be one of those pictures. The movie begins in Hollywood, where director John L. Sullivan, famous for his light comedies and annual musical extravaganzas, decides to embark on a more important movie about human anguish. “Oh, Brother Where Art Thou” will be his ultimate masterpiece. He hatches a plan to go undercover as a vagabond to learn firsthand what it’s like to suffer. This decision sets him on a journey where he ultimately learns that sometimes all a person has is a light comedy or a musical extravaganza, or Mickey Mouse.

There are so many, many things about this movie that touched me, and changed my perception of movies and their importance in American life. Director Preston Sturges was known for his comedies, and this picture was advertised as such. But behind the comedic facade, this film also teaches us about oppression and poverty. Throughout the film, Sullivan encounters homeless families, desperation, starvation and hopelessness. Towards the end of the movie, after an unfortunate series of events, Sullivan finds himself in a southern prison camp, holed up most of the week in a sweat box. His only comfort is the one night when the prisoners are led to an African American church, where the prisoners join the congregation in watching cartoons and comedies. Sturges’ brilliant, subtle juxtaposition of the long-oppressed African Americans welcoming fellow oppressed peoples into their place of worship is one of the most powerful moments in the movie.

I’ve always enjoyed comedies, but until seeing this movie I never realized their importance. Ever since the first moving picture made its way onto the big screen, different audiences have sought different things from the movie-watching experience. Yes, many people wanted to see a realistic depiction of life, in all its gloom and sorrow. But perhaps most importantly, many people have sought refuge from normal life by going to the movies. During the depression, audiences flocked to see frivolous movies, cartoons and adventure pictures. That these films held the power to cheer up a disheartened and depressed public is reason enough to consider them some of the most important films ever made.

For years I’ve said that if I had to narrow down my thousands-long list of favorite movies to only four or five, Sullivan’s Travels would always make the cut. It isn’t just that it’s a great film, it is an important film. In this one motion picture, a moviegoer will learn about poverty, the brutal southern prison system in the early 20th century, the oppression of African Americans, and the importance of comedy.

Sullivan's Travels is available to rent on Amazon, here.

This post was originally published on my movie blog, Silents & Talkies.

Friday, October 3, 2014

these boots are made for walking

One more way that I like to transition my pastel dresses into fall is to pair them with boots, especially brown ones (for some reason black and pastel isn't one of my favorite combinations.)

These particular boots are a dream come true for me. I originally purchased them in black from modcloth (here) and then found them in brown on amazon (here.) I have wide-ish calves and short legs so that combination usually makes boot shopping an absolute nightmare for me. There are some options with oversized shafts but they always end up making my ankles look huge. Since these lace-up (and the laces are adjustable, hallelujah! Whoever thought of decorative laced boots should get a knuckle-sandwich, geez!) I can widen them around my calves but tie them tight around my ankles so you can still tell that my ankles do in fact exist.

dress- asos (old) | boots - amazon | hat - forever 21

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

october giveaway: black cat purse

This year I'm doing one giveaway every month (in addition to my blog anniversary giveaway) There's one catch -- to enter, you have to perform a random act of kindness today. If you're stumped on what to do, the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation has a list of ideas right here!

What you'll win: One person will win this black cat purse from asos

How to enter: Perform a random act of kindness today and use the rafflecopter widget to enter. You can also earn extra entries in the widget by tweeting about your RAK or making a donation to your favorite charity. You must be a follower to enter (and, please, none of this follow-and-leave as soon as the giveaway is over jazz.. that's super rude!) This giveaway is open to everyone on planet earth.

a Rafflecopter giveaway Giveaway ends November 1st at 12:01AM EST.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

don't sweat(shirt) it

Actually, do. Do sweatshirt it. I don't end up wearing them nearly enough in outfit posts, but when I'm running out to do errands in the fall I almost always throw on a sweatshirt before I leave the house. It's not the fanciest of outerwear and it's definitely less pretty than a matching cardigan or tailored trench coat but it's warm, cozy, and it has the added bonus of autumn-izing my springy wardrobe. And probably the best part is that they're super cheap. I got this one at Boscovs for like $8 during their labor day sale.

I think the key to incorporating a sweatshirt into an otherwise dressy outfit is to size down. You don't want a giant slouchy sweatshirt, it should be fitted enough that it still looks half decent. And it really should be worn with an outfit that's put-together. My goal is to dress-down a pastel, frilly ensemble with a sweatshirt, not to be sloppy, if that makes sense.

dress - asos | shoes - bait footwear | sweatshirt - boscovs | socks - no clue!

Monday, September 29, 2014

the devil wears pastels

[Read the following in a very snobby fashion magazine editor voice] This is perhaps the simplest way to start transitioning your pastel pieces into fall, by pairing them with neutral separates like this stunning tan cardigan. In April I'd probably be reaching for a lilac sweater or adding a light pink belt for an extra punch of pastel, but this time of year I tone down the dial. Seafoam green can still look season-appropriate when partnered with a pop of beige. [end snobby fashion magazine voice]

I feel like it's impossible to talk about stuff like this without sounding ridiculous. I was telling my parents about my whole "wearing pastels in the fall" outfit post series and when I explained it to them [in the snobby fashion magazine editor voice] I also felt the need to include robotic gestures, stiffly waving my hand across my torso to illustrate where exactly a belt with a punch of pastel color would be located.

dress- modcloth | shoes - c/o bait footwear

Saturday, September 27, 2014

lazy saturday

It feels so weird posting an outfit on a Saturday. I have no idea why I arbitrarily decided that weekends were off-limits for outfits, but for some reason I've hardly ever posted them since I started blogging almost 5 years ago. I still get dressed on Saturday and Sunday and sometimes those outfits deserve to be shared, darn it!

Totally completely unrelated to anything, but I just thought I'd share this since I'm kind of obsessed -- I recently got this little elliptical machine that sits under your desk, so you can exercise while you're working and it is probably the best purchase I've made all year. I'm one of those people who always buys new exercise equipment and then never uses it. I have a stationery bike, a stepper, a treadmill and an ab roller all collecting dust in the basement. But for the first time I'm actually using my new gadget daily! To me it feels sort of like a stationery bike, except that your seat is an actual chair instead of an uncomfortable hard plastic triangle. I've been doing it for about three weeks now and I'm already feeling better. My dad and I go for walks every night and I'm not getting winded like I used to, and my dad keeps telling me to slow down. Basically I'm just like "FINALLY! Exercise I can do while I sit at my computer watching Netflix, packing orders and drinking iced tea. SCORE."

dress- h&m | cardigan - forever 21 | tights - we love colors

Thursday, September 25, 2014

please don't eat the daisies

I just got this new-to-me vintage dress in the mail and I am so ridiculously smitten! I love wearing pastel clothing all year long, regardless of the season, but I know a lot of people (myself included, actually) like to start incorporating darker, more earthy colors when fall rolls around. Next week I'm going to do a series of outfits that gives some ideas on how to wear pastels in the fall without looking like you're confusing autumn for spring.

Obviously this outfit is not one of those examples, haha! I definitely look like I could be on my way to Easter dinner. I even wore this cardigan on Easter this year! lol

vintage dress-  pretty little fawn | cardigan - old navy | shoes - bait footwear

Monday, September 22, 2014

I don't feel like coming up with a title

This was such a frustrating outfit post. I loved my outfit but NONE of the pictures came out good. I took like 50 pictures and didn't like a single one of them (I'm posting some of my "I give up, I'm just going to start making weird faces at my camera" outtakes on instagram) Also it's that time of year when it starts getting darker earlier but I haven't adjusted yet so I'm taking pictures at my normal time but it's much, much darker in my room. I obviously wasn't in the mood to think of a title, either. Blergh!

Meanwhile, Arrietty is sitting there thinking "oh my gosh, you stupid human."

Friday, September 19, 2014

important lessons

Sometimes I learn really valuable lessons from looking at my own outfit posts. In this case, blow-drying my hair straight without any extra styling results in 90's local news anchor hair.

Also, I need to start wearing the neutrals in my wardrobe more often. I love color (hello, obvious statement of the year) but I really do love tan, grey and black too. This particular dress was obtained in my neverending quest to find the perfect LBD (I'm pretty sure everyone, even those among us who gravitate towards pastels, are constantly in search of this treasure) It's probably the closest I've come so far. It's thick, it'll be good for layering under sweaters or over shirts, and on its own when I want to look ~fancy~ but I think the skirt might be ever so slightly too flared, accentuating my hips a bit more than I'd like. It will do for now, but the search for my LBD soul mate goes on.

dress- c/o modcloth | shoes - bait footwear | cardigan - trashy diva

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

come on get happy

I woke up in a really good mood this morning so I thought it would be fun to make a little list of things that are making me happy today!

+ I have a chronically stuffy nose but this morning I woke up gloriously clear and able to breathe. SHEER BLISS.
+ I finished two new collar clip designs that I'm super excited about
+ Cold iced tea
+ Funny tweets from friends
+ Binge watching Supernatural while I work
+ Remembering that I met Misha Collins this month (WHAT?!)
+ This recipe for lunch
+  Getting ready for Dapper Day next week
+ Arrietty laying upside down right next to me
+ Getting a new book in the mail

It's always nice to remind yourself of the good things in your life. I keep a happy jar where I write down all of the really good things that happen throughout the year and then read them on New Year's Eve. It's such a great concept, it's really worth trying to do something similar on a daily basis. Maybe getting a new book in the mail wouldn't go in my 2014 jar, but it's a nice thing that happened today and it made me happy so it's going in my imaginary September 17th 2014 jar instead ;)

dress- h&m | blouse - Sammi's shop my closet store | shoes - c/o bait footwear

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

my comprehensive pink hair guide

I've been dyeing my hair pink on and off since 2011, so I thought I'd finally assemble everything I've learned in that time period and write a post about it! I am not a professional, so if you're unaccustomed to fooling around with your own hair I'd definitely recommend going to a hair salon if you want to dye your hair pink.

Deciding to go PINK!

If you're considering pink hair and haven't dyed it or bleached it before, I'd definitely recommend trying a wig first, or at least photoshoping a photo of yourself to see how you like it. In the first photo above I was wearing a pink wig that I bought on ebay. I just wanted to make sure that I'd like the color before I went and dyed my whole head. At the time I went pink, I was already bleaching my hair and then dyeing it red with a box dye. Switching to semi-permanent pink dye was actually healthier for my hair than the red I was using! Even though most people need to bleach their hair before applying fun colors, the actual fun colored dye is usually completely harmless (depends on the brand, but most are free of harmful chemicals) and when mixed with conditioner it's actually like a deep conditioning mask that also dyes your hair at the same time!

The Bleaching

I usually touch up my roots once every five weeks, and touch up my pink hair dye two times in between. If you aren't comfortable bleaching your own hair, you should definitely go to a hair stylist for this part. After years of doing my own hair I feel like I know what it can handle and how to treat it. I have really thick, dry, medium brown hair. I usually use one of the bleach kits that they sell at Sally's (like Beyond the Zone or Manic Panic) that comes with bleach powder and developer. The instructions say to leave it on for up to like 90 minutes, which seems insanely long to me. I usually rinse it off about 10 minutes after I'm done applying the bleach to my whole head. For pink hair, you really don't need it to get super light. Mine is usually a light/medium yellow after bleaching and the pink shows up perfectly vibrant and true to color. Some colors (like when I was dyeing my hair purple earlier this year) require more of a whiter base to start with, but pink is really forgiving.

The dyeing

I usually apply the pink dye right after bleaching, since I mix it with a ton of conditioner. It's ridiculous how soft and healthy my hair feels after I had just bleached it the same day! I usually go for a medium pink, not super light but not neon either. Pour a tiny bit of your dye into a plastic container and then add white conditioner until you get the shade that you're going for. Always start out with a little dye and then add more as needed -- I can't even count how many times I put in too much dye and ended up using a whole bottle of conditioner to try to dilute it down to the right shade of pink!

Keep in mind, dyes are a lot like paint -- you can mix them to get a shade that's perfect for you! Sometimes I've bought pink dyes that were kind of magenta when I really wanted more of a coral, so I'd mix in a little bit of semi-permanent red dye to get the color I wanted. I'm not a big fan of Manic Panic (it usually fades fast) but I keep a bottle of their Wildfire Red dye on hand for whenever I want to coral-ize a pink dye.

The products

My all-time favorite pink hair dye is nowhere to be found anymore (at least right now it isn't) Special Effects in Cupcake Pink was A DREAM. One bottle would last forever, the color would last for like 3 weeks, it was a perfect candy shade of pink -- not too blue, not too red. Perfection. Unfortunately, my last bottle ran out earlier this year and I set on the path of finding a substitute -- 

1. Manic Panic cotton candy pink -- Sally's usually has this, so I'll get it if I need pink hair dye IMMEDIATELY and can't wait for something to come in the mail. It's a pretty color but it fades really, really fast. This is great if you're trying pink for the first time, though, because if you don't like it it'll wash out in like 2-3 shampoos.

2 - Creative Image Adore pink rose - This is my current favorite. The consistency is more of a liquid than any of the other dyes I've tried, but it's the closest I've found to Special Effects cupcake pink in terms of color, longevity and how much you get out of each bottle. The color is really saturated, so to achieve the color I prefer I usually add just a few drops to a big heaping wad of conditioner. I bought one bottle in April and I'm still using it!

3 - Ion Color Brilliance rose - I feel like this one was kind of deceiving. I bought it at Sally's earlier this year. It's one of Ion's pastel shades -- they just look SO pretty on the shelf, all sweet and dainty with perfect pastel packaging. Well, the hair dye was like intense neon pink, even when I diluted it with conditioner. And it faded almost completely after one shower. I would not recommend this one at all.

4 - Pravana chromasilk pastel too cute coral - I've heard a lot of good things about Pravana so I decided to give it a try last month. The color is really pretty, kind of peachy pink and perfectly pastel. It faded kind of fast though, and one tube didn't seem like enough to totally cover my hair (and my hair is not that long.) I'd consider trying it again, but I'm so happy with the Creative Image one I don't think I'll be testing anything else in the near future.

5 - Kevin Murphy color bug hair chalk - This isn't a dye, but it's a lifesaver if you're maintaining pink hair. I like this particular color and how it's packaged, but basically any pink hair chalk should do. If you miss a big chunk of hair when you're dyeing it, or if one section is fading fast (the top back part of my head always fades quickest because that's where the shower head is pounding the most water onto my hair) one swipe of hair chalk and a quick brush-through will help disguise the blonde peeking through.

6 - Pink temporary hair mascara - Again, not dye but another lifesaver. When your roots are coming in and you're not ready to touch them up yet, this stuff is a little miracle worker. I had bright blue hair mascara when I was a tween and thought it was the coolest thing ever. Earlier this year I did a search on amazon to see if it was still available and voila! Pink hair mascara. This only really works if you're still touching up your pink in between bleaching, otherwise your hair will be practically blonde by the time the roots are coming in. I touch up my pink often enough that it's always relatively vibrant, and the hair mascara still matches the color. Bleaching isn't the healthiest thing for your hair (duh!) so anything that helps stretch out the time between touch-ups is worth trying.

Some things to keep in mind

In addition to making sure that you're going to like the color, you really need to consider the time and energy that goes into maintaining pink hair. I don't pamper myself with things like spas, massages, pedicures, etc. so I consider pink hair maintenance my one little beauty indulgence. It takes me a few hours pretty much every other week to work on the dye. I'll camp out in the bathroom watching Netflix on my laptop while the dye is taking. It's actually enjoyable me-time! But if you don't have that kind of time to spend on your hair, definitely consider that beforehand. Also make sure that you either cover your bathroom with towels or own a bathroom that can get dye EVERYWHERE. My  bathroom was basically an art project for me all through high school, with so many layers of paint on the walls it's probably impossible to find the original color. So I don't really care if dye is flinging onto the walls while I work. But I'm guessing most people don't want pink spots on their white tile, so keep that in mind lol.

Also, especially if your hair is vibrantly pink, people will talk to you about it. I'm really shy so it's not my favorite part of having pink hair, to say the least. A lot of people will joke "is that your natural color?" (to which I always just reply "yes.") A few people might want to touch it. That's always super weird. But no matter which colors I try, pink always feels the most "me-ish" so I keep coming back to it. I guess I'm not really lying when I say it's my natural color -- it feels the most natural to me, it just doesn't grow that way out of my scalp (unfortunately!)

Right now I have a more muted pink. I did this in September 2012 and absolutely loved it, so I decided to go back to it again. I use the same pink, diluted with conditioner, except instead of bleaching I started with Clairol Light Red-Neutral Blonde (8RN) mixed with 20 volume developer. It gives me a strawberry/honey blonde base instead of a bright yellow one, which results in a more muted pink. I love that it's more subtle, but still pink! And the 20 volume developer is healthier on my hair than the 40 volume developer that comes in the bleach kits (plus, no bleach!)

One last thing that I love about pink hair -- whenever I've decided that it's time to switch to another color, be it red, brown or even purple, pink has always gone away nicely. I'll apply conditioning masks, rinse it with hot water, and after 2-3 showers it's practically blonde again and ready for whatever color I want to throw on next. Purple was NOT that forgiving. It would not rinse out no matter how much I tried. When I attempted to bleach over it, my hair turned green! Basically my only option seemed to be dyeing it green or teal to make it look intentional. Then I did some research and read on a hair forum (don't remember which one, sorry!) that there was a color you could dye over green-stained hair that would still look amazing. Guess what color? Go ahead, guess!

Yup, it was pink. My beloved pink to the rescue!! Seriously, it's just the best color ever.

Monday, September 15, 2014

modcloth sale alert!

Do you remember those Staples commercials that used to play in August/September with parents doing back to school shopping to the tune of "It's the most wonderful time of the year"? My mom always hated those because she said that she missed us too much when we had to go back to school (I have the best mom ever) and of course we hated the commercials too because, well, school!

Anyway, now that I no longer associate September with homework and bullies, it really is "the most wonderful time of the year." That's right, it's time for one of Modcloth's huge 70% off sales. Now that's something worth singing about, right?! :D

If I had the money I'd probably be adding one of each of these dresses to my closet but for now I'm sticking with this one. It reminds me of a vintage dress, with the bow and lace. I used to stock up on the really cheap dresses during these sales, the ones that were marked down to like $15, but now I tend to get one or two that were marked down from a much higher price point, something that I could NEVER afford to buy full price. I think I'm more likely to keep and wear them, rather than just buy them because they're cheap. And this dress was originally $147 so catching it for $43 is pretty exciting!

You can shop the sale here!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

saturday night movie: middle of the night

If you're a fan of Marty (and really, who isn't?) you'll love this film. It has the same director (Delbert Mann) the same screenwriter (Paddy Chayefsky) and the same feel. Fredric March plays a 56 year old widower, surrounded by men who seem to always be talking of death and sickness or sex and young floozies. He's lonely, depressed, and tired of always spending his nights visiting his daughter or hanging out with his spinster sister.

Desperate, he reaches out to a woman in her 40's who turned down his marriage proposal a few months earlier. The scene is set up in his empty bedroom. He sits on the side of the bed, and calls her on the phone. He looks hesitant, yet eager. "How about we go out for dinner, maybe see a show?" -- then he realizes that she doesn't seem very friendly. He asks why. She's married now. The hurt on his face is heart wrenching.

Later that night, he goes to pick up some papers from his secretary, played by Kim Novak, at the apartment that she shares with her mother. Her husband just divorced her, and she's a complete wreck. Fredric March stays for a while, listens to her problems and cheers her up. The next time he sees her at work, he realizes he's developed a bit of a crush on her -- but he's torn between asking her out or leaving her alone because he is more than twice her age, and she's younger than his own daughter!

This movie just would not have worked if the boss had been played by someone like Cary Grant -- Fredric March was not a dashing older man. He has wrinkles, a belly, a receding hairline, and a strange habit of gnashing his teeth that really made him seem more like 70, not 56. It's not a fairy tale May-December romance. March plays an older man, warts and all.

So when March finally gets up the nerve (pacing back and forth beforehand, you can practically SEE the butterflies in his stomach) to ask Kim out on a date, you can understand why she doesn't look especially thrilled. As they go out on more dates, March turns into an exuberant little boy. He is genuinely giddy every time he's with Kim Novak.

In the end, the movie is about the definition of love. What is love? Is it two people falling head over heels for each other? Yes -- but it can also be an older man finding happiness and a second youth with a disconsolate love-starved woman. It can be two people feeling comfortable together, and helping each other get through the quiet loneliness in the middle of the night.

Middle of the Night is available to watch on youtube here and is included in this Kim Novak DVD set.

This post was originally published on my movie blog, Silents and Talkies.

Friday, September 12, 2014

recipe: rice and red peppers

Like I've said on basically every "recipe" post here -- I'm REALLY lazy about cooking, so my recipes are almost always as easy as throwing a few things in a frying pan and heating it up. This has been one of my go-to dishes lately. I got a really fantastic tomato basil dressing at a roadside farm stand nearby that makes this perfect, but store-bought would be good too (or your own local dressing, or just whatever is currently in your fridge, going with the whole lazy theme here.)

1 bag of frozen brown rice, heated up
2 roasted red peppers, diced
1 can of chick peas, rinsed
a drizzle of dressing
a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
chopped garlic

I just heat up the olive oil in a frying pan and then add the garlic until it's sizzling a bit. Then I add the rice, chick peas, red peppers and dressing and keep on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the rice and chick peas have gotten a bit crunchy. And that's it! It seriously takes like 10 minutes tops but you feel like you're eating an actual meal instead of a quick snack! Serves 2-3, or 1 if you're really really hungry.