Monday, December 31, 2018

what are you doing new year's eve?

My family is particularly excited about the New Year this time around because "19" is my parents' number. They met on December 19th and they've been wishing each other a happy anniversary on the 19th of every single month (not just Decembers) for almost 50 years now. I think we have to do something to celebrate the Year of Nineteen in some way, but we haven't decided how yet.

And personally, I am just SO ready to say goodbye to 2018. Aside from my health issues, this year was a struggle in so many ways, and without a doubt the worst year of my life. I haven't written much about a lot of things because they felt too raw and personal at the time but we had a lot of family health crises, and our family cat passed away suddenly and unexpectedly earlier this year, just a month after we had celebrated 15 years with her. Her absence has been felt very heavily all year, and made each successive heartache that much harder to deal with.

I decided to do one second a day this year, and there were so many times where I felt like "why did I choose THIS year of all years to record video of every single day?" but I played the whole video back today and despite all of the crushing stress and grief there were so many beautiful moments and happy days peppered in there. It was actually a joy to watch, and it reminded me that even in my very worst year I have a wonderful life. I will 100% be doing one second a day again in 2019 and I highly recommend it. When I started recording I would lament that most days I didn't record anything other than my cats, but once we lost Chloe I realized how important those videos really are. Every second matters, and every second is worth remembering.

I hope you have a wonderful 2019, guys! Thanks for reading along here. I appreciate you so much <3

dress - old | shoes - aldo

Saturday, December 29, 2018

my top five favorite: purchases in 2018

I decided to temporarily put "un deux trois" on hold because I just don't have the time to take that many outfit pictures right now, but I thought in the mean time I would resurrect another old blog series to take its place on Saturdays for a while.

For my first (well, not first ever, but first for now, lol!) post I thought I'd round up my top five favorite things that I purchased in 2018. As much as I love my dresses and fun accessories, all of my favorites in this post are totally random items that have nothing to do with clothes.

First up is the mannequin that I bought when my local Sears closed. I've always liked mannequins ever since I was a kid (probably a combination of that movie A Mom for Christmas - where a mannequin turns into Olivia Newton John - and the fact that my parents owned a t-shirt business and let me keep two of their old mannequins!) When I saw that Sears had all of their displays on sale I HAD TO HAVE ONE. This one reminded me of the Venus de Milo and I named her Marie.

I got this book stand a few months ago and it makes me so happy every time I look at it! I've been collecting movie tie-in paperbacks for ages but I never had a way to display them in a way where you'd be able to actually see their cool covers. This stand is technically for postcards but it fits two mass market paperbacks per pocket!

In January I got these drawer units for my work area and my life improved about, um, 400000% Everything is neatly organized and blissfully hidden from view. I use the bottom drawers for things that I don't need as often, and then the top drawers contain everything I need to pack orders or make buttons on a daily basis. Not only did this improve the aesthetics of my workspace but it made for a perfect backdrop for my outfit photos AND it streamlined my workflow. So happy I got these!

I had been thinking about getting an elliptical for years. Whenever I go to department stores I try them out because I think they're so fun, but they're usually large, bulky, and black, and I just didn't want that in my room. When I found this one, I was sold. I was casually looking at exercise equipment on the amazon app while I was in the McDonalds drive-thru with my dad, and there was literally a five minute gap between me saying "omg they have a pink elliptical!" and "I just bought a pink elliptical!" haha! I use this every single day for 10-20 minutes and it's held up very well. Sometimes I have to tighten the screws a little, but otherwise it's very sturdy. Of course I couldn't leave well enough alone and I made it even MORE pink than it came by spray painting the black foot peddles and covering the black arms in pink duct tape ;)

Last but not least, my plants! I am so glad that I became a plant lady this year. Some of them cause me a little stress (why are the leaves falling off?? I just watered you!!") but overall they bring me so much joy and I enjoy seeing them grow and flourish so much! I don't have room for any more of them right now, but when I eventually have a bigger place I am definitely going to have plants EVERYWHERE. I can't wait.

Friday, December 28, 2018

recipe: chocolate chip cookies

When me and my brother were younger, my parents would always do their Christmas shopping in one day and I'd watch my brother while they were out. I always tried to make it a fun festive day, where we'd surprise our parents with new decorations or fresh cookies. We haven't done anything like that since he grew up but when they went out shopping last week I asked if he'd be up for getting Chinese take-out and making cookies! Since it was very spur-of-the-moment we didn't have a lot of baking supplies and had to make a couple substitutions but, magically, they were the best batch of chocolate chip cookies we've ever made. So those substitutions are now part of our permanent recipe, presented below :)

2 1/3 c. flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. melted unsalted butter
1/2 c. melted coconut oil
3/4 c. granulated sugar
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375'

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, combine butter, oil, vanilla, and eggs. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet mixture until it's combined. Then add chocolate chips and scoop out tablespoon-fuls onto a greased cookie sheet.

Bake for 8-10 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes before moving to wire racks. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 27, 2018

a belated joyeux noël

I got this sweater from ASOS in my normal size, an 8, and it was ENORMOUS. Not in a "Ooh! I'm losing weight and need to size down" way, but in a "did they accidentally send me the wrong size??" way. I traded it in for a 4 and it's STILL too big. If it wasn't out of stock now I would - bewilderingly - trade this in for a 2. I even tried putting it in the drier and it's still huge. But I love the design and (as I've already said a few times recently) I just love saying Joyeux Noël, so this is a must-keep for me!

I feel like the cut-off for wearing Christmas stuff is 11:59PM on Christmas Day but I can't help myself - I need to stretch it all the way until the new year! I wonder if people who get mad about holidays starting too early also get mad about people ending them too late? Hmm.

boots - amazon | hat - forever 21 (old)

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Christmas Style Idol - Elizabeth Taylor

Merry Christmas, everyone! xo Kate

Monday, December 24, 2018

bells and whistles

This outfit was inspired by this brooch, which just screams "kitschy vintage charm" to me! My friend Jessica posted an outfit photo on twitter last week and said an old family friend used to say "I think it's okay to be tacky around Christmas, don't you?" One could argue that I dress tacky all year long, but I just love that everyone gets on the kitschy bandwagon this time of year. At work everyone is wearing silly Christmas hats and reindeer ears, and people come into the store wearing fun sweaters and festive brooches. The shared enthusiasm for all things chintzy, cute, and kitsch just warms my heart completely.

skirt - lazy oaf | shirt - vintage
shoes - bait footwear | cardigan - forever 21

Saturday, December 22, 2018

DIY salt dough cat ornaments

If you're looking for a last minute Christmas gift that you can whip up at home, look no further! Salt dough ornaments are so easy to make and you probably have all the ingredients in your kitchen right now, so you don't even have to leave the house! I decided to make custom cat ornaments for all of my family members based on their own cats (and then a hot air balloon for my cat-less grandmother!) They came out SO cute and I even made a little Arrietty one for myself!

Materials needed:

2 c. flour
1c. salt
1c. cold water
acrylic paint
mod podge (optional)
template (download here)

Mix the flour and salt together, and then add the water until the dough is smooth. Knead the dough for ten minutes (mine didn't actually get very smooth until I had already been kneading it for a few minutes, so make sure to be patient with the dough!) and then let it rest for 20 minutes.

You can definitely try to use cookie cutters for your dough, but I prefer the more homemade look of hand-molding them myself. I placed some plastic wrap over my template so that it wouldn't stick, and then I rolled up little balls of dough and used the template to shape them into a cat head. Then I used a large plastic needle to poke a hole at the top for ribbon and placed the cats onto a greased cookie sheet that I lined with aluminum foil.

Bake at 250' for 2 hours and then let cool completely before you paint them.

I painted my cat heads to look like all of the cats in my family, but very loosely. I just wanted them to look simple, not like photographs. When they're all finished, give them a coat of Mod Podge (or honestly clear nail polish would work too!) and then add a ribbon in the hole. And voila! A very thoughtful homemade present :)

Friday, December 21, 2018

DIY Joyeux Noël tree topper

I've been looking for a cute tree topper for a few years now and still haven't found anything that really felt *perfect* to me. Then I saw these metallic pipe cleaners at AC Moore last week and a lightbulb lit up over my head! I am so incredibly thrilled with how this came out, and I think it'll be at the top of my tree for many years to come :)

You'll need:

This Joyeux Noel printable template
Pipe cleaners (I used these from AC Moore)

Begin by tracing the letters with the pipe cleaners. I only used the rose gold color, but I think this would also be so pretty alternating each letter with a different metallic color!

Every time that you come to a joint (like where the two loops of the J meet) wrap the wire around itself so that it holds the shape. Each time that you need a new pipe cleaner, just twist the ends together with about 1" overlapping to make sure it's very secure. I did Joyeux separate from Noel and then combined them in the next step--

To attach Joyeux to Noel, just take a little piece of pipe cleaner (about 2") and wrap it around the two pieces to secure them together. I attached the J to the N, the X to the L, and (not pictured) the Y to the O.

Finally take one more piece of pipe cleaner (I used silver since it's the color of my tree!) and fold it in half, then slide it over the O in Noel. Twist the pipe cleaner pieces together, and then just wrap it around the top of your tree! You could definitely do this with other phrases, the Francophile in me just loves saying Joyeux Noël :)

Thursday, December 20, 2018

meowy and bright

Tomorrow will be one year since I was hospitalized, and it feels so weird knowing that a year has passed. One of those "only a year???" and "it feels like yesterday!" things combined. This year was really tough health-wise (and life-wise and work-wise, honestly) but I'm still just so thankful that I recovered and I won't be spending Christmas bed-ridden this year. (Knock on wood!) I just felt like I couldn't let it go unmentioned because it's become such a huge part of my life now. I'm all about health, classic movies, and cats. haha.

Our cats have always been able to tell that Christmas is a special day -- they all hang out in the living room and play with wrapping paper and boxes while we open presents. My brother's cat, Xena, likes to hide behind piles of presents and pounce on an unsuspecting Arrietty. My parents' new cat, George, has decided to be an "upstairs cat" so I highly doubt she'll be joining us on Christmas morning downstairs, but who knows... maybe she'll give us a holiday surprise! :)

dress - c/o retrolicious | shirt - urban outfitters (old)

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Monday, December 17, 2018

christmas lights

How cute is this sweater?! I wore this when I went over my grandmom's to decorate her tree. She doesn't really like to do it herself, so several years ago she started "bribing" me and my brother with a dinner out in exchange for doing the tree. She constantly refers to it as a bribe even though me and Kyle look forward to this new tradition every year now, and would happily do it even if food wasn't involved, lol. My mom and dad aren't allowed to see her tree until Christmas Day, not even photos! We always try to do something a little bit different each year so that it's a fun surprise when they finally see it on Christmas. I don't think my parents read my blog (if you are -- stop reading right now!!) so I think it's okay if I tell you that this year we put the garland on in diagonal instead of horizontal rows and it looks so pretty! We did tinsel garland first and then put rows of red beaded garland in between and it's just gorgeous! :)

ps. My shop is closing for the holidays tomorrow night, so now is your last chance to buy something before I close up until January :)

Saturday, December 15, 2018

2018 Christmas playlist

Here's my 2018 Christmas playlist! I mostly listen to this in itunes instead of Spotify, since Spotify has a glaring lack of The Killers seasonal tunes and that's just unacceptable. But unfortunately you can't embed an itunes playlist, lol, so if you want a true taste of what I'm listening to this winter -- play this playlist and then go on youtube and listen to Joel the Lump of Coal, Cowboy's Christmas Ball, and Dirt Sledding. Oh, and my favorite version of Blue Christmas, by Danielle Dax! :)

My favorite new-to-me finds for this Christmas are I'm Gonna Be Warm This Winter by Connie Francis and Looks Like A Cold, Cold Winter by Ingrid Michaelson. My mom is obsessed with that one and we've been playing it on repeat since before Thanksgiving!