Fall Fabrics

Ah, it is my favorite time of year – the sweltering heat of the summer has been replaced by the crisper air of Fall – or at least what passes for Fall here in California. Time for fresh new notebooks on my desk, apple or pumpkin flavored everything in the kitchen and Lincoln Park After Dark on my nails.

Fall also means we can wear luxurious leather and fuzzy fabrics. While cozy, these materials and fabrics are also delicate and require a little extra TLC.  I know I can’t afford to dry clean my coat every time I spill coffee…which is basically every time I drink coffee…which is all the time.

As we bust out our cashmere sweaters and cozy coats, here are some secret weapons and tips for removing stains between dry cleanings and keeping them looking better longer.

My first tip is to invest in the best thing ever – aka a sweater pill shaver! They have them at Walgreens, Target, you name it and it has made sweaters and coats last SO much longer and look brand new! Best $7 I ever spent!

Other tools of the trade are also super easy to find and cheap as well!

  1. White vinegar #multi-tasker
  2. Cornmeal or baking soda #householdsuperstars
  3. Mild detergent (like Woolite)
  4. Bristle brushes

The most important thing is each fabric is different. Here’s some tips for dealing with the biggest divas in our closets.

WOOL
You can try using a bristle brush – it’s not going to remove red wine but it can help it look so fresh and so clean clean.
For stains, BLOT BLOT BLOT.

CASHMERE
Soo sensitive. Keep it COLD, cold water, cold air whenever you do anything. Lay it CAREFULLY to dry. Be prepared to pay for dry cleaning 🙂

Read More: How to Keep Your Winter Coat Looking Great

LEATHER
Protect it! I know you want to wear it right after you buy it but you’ll save yourself lots of heartache!
There’re lots of options out there as far as which is best – I’m in the market myself and will report back, but something is better than nothing! And remember to do it outside!
You need a soft cloth, and to mix any cleaner with warm water, and either one part mild soap or white vinegar.

SUEDE
A suede brush – meaning bristles, definitely not metal! – is your friend.
Spilled water or wine or water that turned into wine? Throw some cornmeal on the spill and let sit overnight. Then brush off in the morning! You can try a similar method with leather and baking soda.
For dry stains, brush first, then pat and blot with white vinegar using a clean cloth. It might be tempting but please, NO WATER!

Read more: http://stylecaster.com/how-to-clean-suede/#ixzz4JWJAUWdk

Generally for other fabrics
Try to limit washing!
Avoid the dryer! I bought a nice wood and plastic drying rack on Amazon – metal ones rust eventually! Remember that for delicate fabrics like cashmere sweater you must lay them flat. I keep old towels that aren’t nice enough to hang in my bathroom but work great for cleaning.
I’m telling you, that pill shaver! It’s amazing.

If you’ve come across anything wonderful, do tell! There’s nothing better than keeping a piece you love well-kept for longer.

Pack Rat

Lady waiting at the railway station.

I always imagine myself before a trip looking just like Jennifer Anniston in US Weekly, breezing through the airport, looking comfortable yet stunning. In reality I look like the worst fugitive ever. 

People are kindly stopping me to tell me my shoe is untied and my purse is open. I won’t have a toothbrush but I’ll have stilettos in my carry on. So here are some reminders for myself, lessons i’ve learned the hard way – including forgetting a dress for my boyfriend’s sister’s wedding – that I wanted to share with you.

YOU’RE NEVER FULLY PACKED WITHOUT A…
Underwear for every morning + 3 more pairs
1 dress (you can never go wrong with a little black dress!)
1 pair of jeans/pants
1 skirt
1 swimsuit
1 sweater
1 FULL workout outfit – I’m talking the works, socks, bra, jacket. Bring for all kinds of weather so you have no excuses!
A swimsuit! And a cover-up, you never know when a pool may strike

PACK IN OUTFITS
The best clothes to bring are mix-and-matchable.
Don’t be afraid to stock up on accessories! They’re small and don’t take up too much room but keep your outfits interesting.

THE WEATHER OUTSIDE IS WEATHER
Unless it’s the dead of winter or hot hot heat of summer, have a pair of close-toed shoes AND a pair of open-toed shoes
In colder destinations and months, an interesting scarf and some tights make you so much more versatile!

I’ve accepted that I will forever be considered a diva because I always check a bag, no matter how many people have to wait for me at baggage claim. But that doesn’t mean I don’t try to bring everything I can in my carry on. To help your sprints through the airport easier, here’s what I’ve found I miss if I don’t have with me.

Jennifer+Aniston+wearing+baggy+jeans+blue+ddw8RFWKyfjl

Jen & Justin


PACK THIS & CARRY ON
Lip balm
Touch-up makeup
Hand sanitizer
Hand lotion
Sunglasses & a case for them
Charger for phone
Headphones
Nail file/nail cleaner

For longer trips and flights
Ear plugs & a sleep mask
Tweezers
The lighting on planes is great for tweezing!
Scarf
Cozy sweater
Face wash and face lotion
Notebook
Pens or pencils with hooks

The reality is that every trip is different.

When I’m staying with girlfriends, I don’t stress so much about face wash or a straightener. But if you’re traveling with a boy, you can basically only count on him for running water, toothpaste and MAYBE floss. Maybe. Actually, you should probably bring your own. So here are some things you might want to think about.
Your own pillow case, especially if you like to ball on a budget like me 😉
Beach towel or bath towel

Most importantly SAFE TRAVELS & HAPPY TRAILS!

thanks, giving!

staying in my home this thanksgiving, i’m ever more appreciative of the little things. this is a list of some simple things that make me happy, and things that I want everyone to have access to and the freedom to enjoy

warmth in the winter
staying cool in the summer
soft towels
clean water
fresh fruit
shakespeare
music
friends and the ability to contact them
family and the ability to contact them
knowledge and the ability to access it
the ability to record my own thoughts
the ability to have my thoughts heard, even if by only a few
socks
cozy sweaters & sweatshirts
shoes
laughter
love

showers

all for now, happy thanksgiving to you and yours. xoxo

Why I Workout

To

Be a better friend, daughter, girlfriend, employee, citizen and person
Build confidence
Build self-esteem
Do something good for us with my friends
Enjoy getting ready and getting dressed
Exercise discipline and commitment
Feel at home in my body
Feel good about my appearance
Feel more rational and in control
Feel proud of my accomplishments
Feel strong, powerful and capable
Have more energy
Inspire others to be healthy
Live longer
Keep the Darkness away
Make room in my life for the good stuff!
Make time for investing in myself
Practice what I preach
Prevent feeling restless
Reduce stress
Reduce time wasted being distracted by what I don’t like about my body Regain perspective
Sleep better
Take care of myself
Take care of the body that God blessed me with

Back to Basics: Flattery 101

I love clothes, I do. But I wouldn’t call myself a fashionista for two reasons:

The obvious one, which is that I’d sound like a tool

I’m less of a “Did you see this Phillip Lim’s new fall line?” type-of-girl and more of a “You can’t even tell these are from Old Navy” kind-of-girl

But there are some rules of fashion and getting dressed that transcend all levels of the fashion illiterate to the fashion designer. In the spirit of Fall, which makes me want to go back-to-school shopping, here’s a quick reminder of the key fashion basics.

Don’t let clothes make you feel fat or misshapen – they are the wrong shape, not you.

Only buy things that truly fit, you can move and live in, you’re comfortable in and you feel good in.

I’m super guilty of buying things without trying them on – BAD HABIT that I must break.

Start with a well-fitting bra and underwear.

Flattery is all about creating the lines, balance and proportions you want – like a clean line from hip to heel in pants, or a baggy top with skinny jeans.

Monochrome colors, black, dark colors and dark denim are slimming – period. Dark colors can be the color of the whole piece or strategically placed side panels or particular areas but they always do the trick.

Don’t go too baggy or hide in bulk. I know it’s tempting.
Crisp, structured fabrics like woven cotton or non-stretchy wool help hide, while

clingy material like jersey flaunts.

Heels, especially if you’re short like me, make you look taller and thinner. Best way to go is having your heels match the color of your bottoms.
Exposed legs? Nude heels.

V-necks!

Accentuate your waist. Belt, belt, belt. How about a dark belt? Bonus!

Don’t get too pissed if your body changes on you or you feel like you have to check every box in a magazine when it describes your body type.

I’m petite, busty, with athletic legs but also hips? No one size fits all

Know yourself and your body, and stay true to you! This is one of those things gets easier as your style matures and you get older.

Find what works for you and own it!

What’s Cookin’ Good Lookin’: Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Bowls

This week, it’s Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Bowl inspired by Protein Bar

photo cred @theproteinbar denver

photo cred @theproteinbar denver

There are a few things that are just always better when someone makes them for you. A big sandwich with lots of toppings. A hearty and tasty salad. SUSHI.

But I’ve been on a mission as of late to make easy, cheap and just-as-if-not-more healthy versions of my favorite take-out foods. Especially since many of my favorites can be over $10 a pop, but I’ll eat them more than once a week. Additionally, I’m always looking for healthier ways to satisfy my cravings, one of which are hot wings.

Man, do I love buffalo wings! And I used to eat them almost once a week after playing some part serious, part Guiness-fueled volleyball games. And I was almost able to justify this with the protein! But then I really learned how they make wings and I knew something had to change.

This little recipe totally hits the buffalo wing craving spot, is pretty easy and is JUST as delicious as the original from The Protein Bar. (I wish this amazing spot would expand but so far as I know, you can only get their delicious eats in Chicago, DC and Denver, but they include yummy breakfast bowls, chili, bar-ritos including breakfast ones, and salads.)

What I bought:

Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Sauce (no need to only go with Frank, but he’s a close personal friend of mine)
Celery
Carrots
Cucumbers
Free-range chicken breast
Organic quinoa
Yogurt based Blue Cheese Dressing or Greek Yogurt

I went for dressing since I’m going out of town and it lasts longer instead of just pure blue cheese. I held up a regular blue cheese dressing to the yogurt based one and holy moly, NO CONTEST. And it was still delicious! Otherwise you an top with blue cheese crumbles, or mix up your own blue cheese and yogurt mixture. Since you have the Frank’s in there too, I’ve found when I wing it and just mix yogurt, blue cheese and some spices, like onion powder and/or garlic powder, it still does the trick.

Other optional ingredients:
Onion powder
Garlic Powder
Green onions

What I did:

I marinated the chicken in the buffalo sauce, onion and garlic powders, and baked it in a glass baking dish at 400 degrees, flipping a few times, until it was cooked through. Now, while this works fine, it definitely makes for drier chicken, so if you have a slow-cooker, I would HIGHLY recommend going slow-cooker style on this! Makes for very moist (are my friend Hilary and I the only people that HATES that word? ), pullable chicken. 

Then just combine ingredients, ratios as you like ’em! (I just go on look ;)), and VOILA. Tastes decadent, fills my buffalo sauce craving, but really isn’t at all! Protein and fiber central.

I am all about efficiency, so I like to try to use the ingredients in other ways as well. Maybe some dip with those veggies, or I often use the extra quinoa and just store-bought Amy’s Organics Chili to make a quinoa chili bowl (topped with cheddar cheese and greek yogurt for another Protein Bar inspired meal).

Since Pinterest is full of geniuses there are a lot of variations on the web, so definitely suggest if you have a variation you prefer it! And of course, Happy Friday, and have great weekends. XO

What to pack: Your gym bag

My gym bag is always simultaneously overflowing yet lacking some key essentials. I always feel really organized and together on Mondays and Tuesdays, but by Hump Day, the wheels start to come off. So let’s talk gym bags.

fitness equipment

Basics:

1. Deodorant

2. Face & Body Wipes (for when you deck-change instead of showering! Don’t call me gross I know it happens to the best of us sometimes!), Oil-free or soothing for Sensitive Skin are best

3. Perfume

4. Baby Powder (or a fancier powder but I’m a simple gal! One great fancier option is Gold Bond No Mess Powder Spray)

5. Headphones (I have to keep a dedicated set in my gym bag so I never forget, I need my tunes)

6. Small plastic bags for your very sweaty clothes – this way they don’t stink up your bag!

7. Dry Shampoo #bestinventionever

8. Hair ties, bobby pins and headband

9. Brush or comb

10. Hair styling stuff for after (spray or serum)

11. Moisturizer for body (I’m obsessed with Amlactin!)

12. Tinted moisturizer for face

13. Clean clothes to slip on after (if you’re going after work or on the weekends!)

14. Towels (I like a big one for showering and small one)

15. Face wash and body wash (ideally something that doubles!)

For me, those are the things I need. Obviously that’s in addition to the basics like socks, shoes, sporty b (sports bra), a shirt and..OH YEAH, pants! But of course there are other fancy “nice to haves” to think about, such as:

1. Athletic Spray Powder (for anti-chafing)

2. Bandaids for blisters

3. A phone case or water bottle that can hold your key and/or card!

4. Some bronzer and other make-up to sweep on (you never know who you’re going to run into!)

Thing is, I’m sure I’ll have to add to this because inevitably I’ll be standing in my towel with one flip-flop on thinking, DARN! I shoulda packed X, so more to come! Hopefully I’ll gain some helpful wisdom in my life as a packrat before I get a new apartment. I’m thinking I’ll have a #getittogether post each week – Lord knows I have a lot to get together 🙂