Monday, September 30, 2013

Tangled Up In Blue

shirt: Target (old), jeans: Fossil, shoes: Gap, bag: Fossil, headband: Francesca's

Whoops, I went another week without blogging. This time though, it wasn't my fault! The internet at home has been shoddy, at best, so I've barely been able to use the computer for the past week. Plus last week was all sorts of busy! In all the craziness, Sarah and I managed to get together for an outfit shoot last Wednesday and we were both really happy about it. We caught the last of the sun on a particularly beautiful day. 

This outfit reads a little unimaginative at first but can we all just take a moment to recognize how awesome denim on denim is? I work at a small office so there isn't usually much reason to get too dressed up and this outfit was perfect for a chill Wednesday. And I just think no one should go too long without rocking a Canadian tuxedo (denim on denim for those who don't know). Also, not sure if I've mentioned it but my favorite color is blue and I think this outfit is a perfect representation of that.

Monday, September 23, 2013

And She's Back

Week long break? Me? No way! Oh wait...yeah that happened. I guess an explanation is in order, but it's pretty simple. Basically, I was sick as a dog last Monday and Tuesday and I kind of took the rest of the week to recover. I really enjoyed getting home from work each night and either reading or crocheting then hitting the hay early. Sometimes a girl just needs a brain break!

This weekend brought more relaxation and some quality time with my mom. My mom got really into knitting a few years ago and re-taught me the bare basics. I didn't really stick with it until a couple of years ago and since then I've knitted and crocheted on and off and it's been a fun way to bond with my mom. Since I'm still hoping to open an etsy shop full of pretty knitted and crocheted items, my mom and I stopped by a local yarn store on Saturday. I got some fall colors for a cowl I've got in mind and planned future purchases for shop products. On Sunday my mom sat down with me and taught me a new-to-me knit stitch that I, luckily, picked up pretty quickly! I'm looking forward to making the cowl, now that I've got the basics down.

While at the yarn store, we browsed through a book full of adorable sweater patterns, and I've now decided that I must stick with knitting so I can make one of those sweaters for myself! That will obviously be a little way down the road, but I think it would be cool to make something so complicated that I could actually wear. I mean, who doesn't love a nice, cozy sweater? Exactly, and I think I'd love one even more if I made it with my own two hands!

Sunday I met up with Heather for lunch in The Heights at a cool little restaurant with a huge porch area. After the torrential downpour that happened from Thursday until Saturday morning, the gorgeous sunny weather we received on the first day of fall was welcomed with excitement! We don't get much of a fall in Texas but we were blessed with a nice cool morning and mild afternoon, which was amazing. I'm so over 90+ degree weather. Needless to say, Heather and I enjoyed the outdoor seating (although an umbrella for shade was still necessary) while her five-year-old nephew enjoyed playing in the creek that runs alongside the restaurant. It was a good thing neither of us were in a hurry since our food took around an hour. That being said, we enjoyed catching up while watching the Texans game...despite the outcome.

Sunday evening Sarah and I got together for an outfit shoot, so be on the lookout for that! I hadn't seen her in a couple of weeks (how does that happen?) so, while we kept our visit short, I was glad for the time we got. Luckily we've already got a lot planned together over the next week :)

Well now that I'm a little more caught up, I promise not to take a week off again without a solid reason. Although I'm not sure who really cares, but I can pretend right? Random thought: have any of y'all read Julie &  Julia? I'm currently reading it and when Julie was writing her blog she called her blog readers "bleaders." Sooo if you're reading this, I suppose you can count yourself amongst my loyal bleaders. You go, Glen Coco.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Weekend Update & A Book Review

Ah Monday, we meet again. No complaints though since I had yet another relaxing weekend. I think I got so used to going traveling that I had forgotten what a normal weekend was like. Safe to say, this weekend reminded me that those two days off per week are meant for relaxing!

I didn't do much other than dinner with a friend on Friday night and some shopping with my mom. I actually had plans on Saturday evening but while at the mall I started to feel really under the weather. Achey back, total exhaustion and a cough were making me worried I might be getting the flu (thanks for passing down the hypochondria, mom). I canceled my plans and went home to lay down and take it easy. A good night's rest and a pumpkin spice latte did the trick but I still refrained from doing much on Sunday.

One good thing about a lazy weekend? I finished one of the two books I purchased Friday night, Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple.

Admittedly, I've seen the book at Target before and picked it up a couple of times without ever buying it. I'm not sure why but it just wasn't speaking to me at the time. For whatever reason, it recently occurred to me that I just had to read this book and I impulse-purchased it at Barnes & Noble Friday night. Well I finished the book in two days so my gut was a total genius making me finally read it!

I won't go into to much detail because you should really read it for yourself, but Where'd You Go, Bernadette is about a family of three living in Seattle: a mom, dad and daughter. The family is clearly quirky and you find out pretty early that the mother, Bernadette, had something happen in her past that has shaped her into an agoraphobic recluse. Despite this, she has an excellent relationship with her daughter yet has grown apart from her husband. The family is planning a trip to Antarctica and Bernadette's behavior becomes stranger and stranger until she seemingly loses the plot and disappears. Bernadette's daughter, Bee, digs through emails, invoices and school memos to discover exactly what happened and where her mother has gone.

I really fell in love with Bernadette and Bee and could have read 300 more pages on their relationship. They were fun in a "Gilmore Girls" sort of way. The book has a real-life vibe. The husband works at Microsoft and there were many mentions of famous Seattle landmarks. I love when a book is like that, especially when I've been to the place before, makes it so much more relatable for me. Overall, Where'd You Go, Bernadette was an excellent read, and I highly suggest picking it up if you're on the lookout for a good book. If you've read it let me know your thoughts!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Five on Friday

Happy Friday the 13th, y'all! Here we go again with another FOF link up :)

Another lazy weekend ahead! Aside from dinner plans tonight and tomorrow I don't have much going on. Seems like the perfect time to challenge myself to go out of my comfort zone and do something different. Hopefully I'll have something to report back on Monday!

I just switched to using Disqus for comments so let me know what you think of it. I love that Disqus sends an email when someone replies to a comment; that was the main reason for the switch. Should be a seamless transition but let me know if you have any issues.

I recently discovered Victoria's blog and I love this post in particular. She felt that she had become boring after the same routine day in and day out and I think that's how I've been feeling lately. Now she has started taking more time to pursue some of her dreams and do more for herself. Her biggest effort towards doing things for herself was signing up for a French class. I think that sounds like so much fun and gives me some ideas!

I was already kind of obsessed with Karlie Kloss and seeing all her backstage Instas and tweets at NYFW only solidified my girl crush. It seemed like she was in every major show, and for good reason! Check her out in this DKNY dress:

I have yet to get a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks, or anywhere else for that matter. I'm thinking that ought to be remedied soon! Although with temps still in the 90's I guess it will need to be iced...ugh, not the same. I love pumpkin anything this time of year so I could always try this pumpkin milkshake recipe from A Beautiful Mess. The pumpkin cream cheese sounds pretty good too. Hmmm maybe I have breakfast plans for this weekend now? 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

On Being Social

I feel like I should start this post by mentioning that I'm jumping right into my Fall Bucket List items. I've had a bit of writer's block this week and decided yesterday that instead of stressing over a post, I would take advantage of the "me time" I've been craving. After work I got in a good work out, had Rosie's epic fish tacos (so delicious and easy to make) then just relaxed and hit the hay early. I feel totally refreshed today. Sorry for my absence, but it was worth it!

I'm back at it with Blogtember and today's topic is to discuss ways that blogging or social media has changed me.

Hmmm social media...well I certainly never thought I'd earn a living through something like Facebook, but that's exactly what I do! I guess social media kind of shaped my future, thus far anyway. I started out on AIM in middle school and progressed to MySpace and LiveJournal in the early high school days. Facebook came along my senior year of high school and it was out with the old, in with the new. College then brought me Twitter and my favorite of all, Instagram. At times social media can just be a form of stress. I feel like I need to be connected all the time and constantly know what's going on (I know, a little ridiculous, but it's my job!). Outside of that though, I've grown and learned the "right" way to use the various social media platforms, and they've become a great way to keep up with friends and a constant form of entertainment.

As far as blogging goes, I'm not sure I can count the ways it has changed me. All for the better, of course! I've enjoyed this new creative outlet for myself, and I feel like it's pushed me to do things I may not have otherwise. I stay more active because, what do I have to write about if I never do anything? And I've begun to really enjoy photography, thanks to my blog. It's something I've always wanted to pursue but I felt like there was no real purpose. That may sound silly to some, but I'm not really a scrapbooker, so why run out and take a bunch of photos just to have them sit on my computer? And again, now that I'm forcing myself to get out and do more, I'm also forcing myself to bring my DSLR along as well.

Blogging has shown me what I truly enjoy in life, and that may be its biggest personal benefit. I have yet to feel any form of stress over my blog. I've loved every aspect of creating it and keeping up with it. I love brainstorming blog ideas with my IRL blogger besties and I love making new blogger friends too! This little bit of real estate on the world wide web gives me the chance to relive fun experiences of all kinds and open myself up a little more. Overall, I think creating my blog is one of the best things I've ever done, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it will progress and grow with me.

If you're a blogger, what is your favorite aspect of blogging?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Restaurant Review: Niko Niko's

Last week I guest posted this restaurant review on Kassie's blog and I've since decided that this eatery is too good not to go on my own blog as well! Read on to find out why Niko Niko's is one of my favorite Houston haunts.  

Niko Niko's is a Greek restaurant located in the Montrose area and has been there for years. I remember going as a child when the building could barely hold 20 people. It's grown now but the food is still just as good! My personal favorite dish is the spanikopita platter and I order it every single time.

Most of the meals come with a Greek salad that's pretty darn delicious. This night I opted for the regular salad and my mom went for the farmer's salad.

After the salads came the main entrees and we generally end up with an array of excellent options. I always order the spanikopita but after taking a good look at my dad's gyro (pronounced your-oh) the other night, I think I might actually try that next time. My brother prefers the stuffed grape leaves, which he swears are the best.

I didn't manage to get a great picture of my dad's gyro (I have a thing against flash) but basically a gyro is a pita bread stuffed with lamb, chicken or gyro meat and some veggies and topped with tzaziki sauce. It's a little bit of amazingness all wrapped up and I highly recommend it!

Sometimes when we go to Niko Niko's we end our meal with either some loukoumades or baklava (or usually both). This particular night we didn't, although I did sneak a longer-than-necessary peek at all the bakery goodness.

Doesn't that look delicious? It is, so if you're in the Houston area you should give Niko Niko's a try ;)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Fall Bucket List

Big Tex @ the state fair

It's fall, y'all! Well not really if you're judging by the weather here in Texas so I'm just gonna go by the calendar instead. I decided to put together another bucket list (like I did for summer) this season but this time I'm going to hold myself way more accountable! Without further ado:

1. Go to the Texas State Fair
2. Continue working out regularly
3. Have more "me" time
4. Eat healthier
5. Read at least four books
6. Go hiking
7. Carve a pumpkin
8. Complete a 5k
9. Continue to use my DSLR more
10. Go to a flea market
11. Play tennis regularly
12. Bake a pie (open to suggestions!)
13. Spend more time with friends
14. Build a functional fall wardrobe
15. Go to the Greek Festival in Houston
16. Find the perfect pair of fall/winter boots
17. Go somewhere new
18. Try something new (always)
19. Send more mail
20. Become a runner
21. Spend more time creating
22. Volunteer somewhere
23. Change my hair color
24. Be more adventurous
25. Be more optimistic

Some of these things I already know I'll be doing for sure but I hope to complete everything by the end of November! I'll post pictures as I go, so be sure to keep up :) What are some things you're looking forward to doing this fall? Leave a link if you have a fall bucket list as well!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Five on Friday

Friday already? Hooray for short weeks! I'm taking a break from Blogtember to participate in my new weekly fave: Five on Friday. Without further ado, here are my five things.

Since my other two FOF posts (1 & 2) have started out with me looking forward to heading out of town for the weekend, I thought I'd continue that trend. This week however, I'm looking forward to NOT going anywhere and just relaxing at home. I super enjoyed all the trips I took last month but after so much travel, a weekend that doesn't include a 3+ hour drive is a nice change.

Check out this pretty little accent table I picked up at Target today. It ended up being a total steal, the table was supposed to be $60 but someone had majorly screwed up when pricing because it was on the shelf for $17.98...holy crap, right?! It definitely took some work but once I showed the employees the price on the shelf they had to give in and give me the table on the cheap. I love the gold but I can already picture this table all sorts of pretty colors. For now, though, I'll keep it as is :)

This weekend I'm going to participate in a yarn bomb, orchestrated by Meredith of One Sheepish Girl. The theme is a "bloom drop" so to participate you just have to knit, crochet or otherwise craft a flower and leave it somewhere for someone to find! I've crocheted up a few flowers so far and just need to make a few more, then I'll drop them around while Sarah and I are downtown tomorrow.

Guess who got off her butt and started working out again? Yep, me! I was supposed to play tennis with my brother last night but he flaked so I picked up Jillian Michaels' 6 Week Six-Pack  video and gave it a spin. WHOA, that workout is no joke! I was literally dripping sweat and wanted to reach through screen and punch Jillian in the face. At the end though, I felt great and Jillian was all motivational and sweet, telling me to be proud of myself. What a nice lady. I'm not actually expecting to have a six-pack after six weeks but I'm sure hoping to see a difference.

Hopefully I'll have time to go through my closet this weekend and do some fall cleaning. I need to ditch some things I haven't worn in a while and make a list of some fall basics to add into the mix. I have a few things in mind already but feel free to share your fall closet necessities!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Word of Advice...

Blogtember Day Two: Pass on some useful advice or information you learned and always remembered.

Now, I'm not entirely sure that I'm one to advise anyone on their life but I got this little number from my mom, and I'd say she's more qualified than me. I can sometimes be a hot head and I love to get in the last word. Not necessarily with everyone, but it happens often with my family. I come by it honestly since we all seem to be that way. Growing up my mom was constantly telling all four of us kids "least said, soonest mended," and I think it's a useful adage to keep in mind at any walk of life.

I probably heard that phrase the most during high school, otherwise known as my "angsty" teen days. Whether I was getting into it with one of my siblings or parents (I was kind of a diva) or involved in some silly girl drama, my mom was always reminding me "least said, soonest mended." I can't say I always listened to her when I was younger, but guess what? As I've gotten older I've tried things my mom's way and whaddya know, it works! It hasn't been easy, but I've learned that it's not always important to get the last word in. I've also given the advice to friends when they've come to me to vent about one thing or another, and it's helped them as well. It seems obvious but I know I still have the tendency to get wrapped up in silly things sometimes and can be a total loud mouth in the heat of the moment.

Some of my other favorite pieces of life advice can be found on my Words to Live By Pinterest board. I love browsing Pinterest for friendly little quotes, I usually find the most applicable quotes in the moments I need them most. And they're pretty. Here are a few of my current favorites:

What piece of advice have you been given that has stuck with and helped you? Do you have a quote that you look at often to keep you motivated or feeling good?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A 3 Month Fantasy

Today is day two of Blogtember and the prompt is "if you could take three months off from your current life and do anything in the world, what would you do?"

If you've been reading my blog for any amount of time then I'm sure you'll guess my answer before I say it, but of course I would travel! I would absolutely love three months of pure, unadulterated travel spent finding my happy place. I love Houston because it's where I grew up but I've never imagined myself living here forever, the only trouble is that I'm not sure where the right place to settle down would be. I've been plenty of places I love but there's so many other places that I haven't been, I don't feel like I could choose a place to call home in good faith at this point.

While I'd love to travel the world, I'd probably focus my hypothetical three months in Europe, as I'd love to live abroad (yes, even permanently). I enjoy traveling like a local so a week or so in each location would be perfect. I could get the touristy stuff out of the way then, ideally, spend the rest of my time exploring the hidden treasures wherever I am.

Ahhh I'm going into full on wanderlust mode just thinking about this...Chances are I'd end up staying longer in some places than others. If it was my dream three month vacation then I wouldn't be on a budget and I'd just travel around as I pleased. For the purpose of kind of, sort of, narrowing it down, here is a list (in no particular order) of 12 countries I would visit and happily explore the heck out of.

1. England

2. France

3. Greece

4. Italy

5. Switzerland

6. Sweden

7. Croatia

8. Ireland

9. Germany

10. Belgium

11. Spain

12. The Netherlands

All images via Google

Would that not be the best three months ever? Hmmm too bad it's just a dream! For now I'll stick with hitting up one or two countries at a time on much shorter trips. I'd love to hear about what you would do for three months too so leave me a comment!