Sunday, September 30, 2012


Dizzy. I'm so dizzy, my head is spin-nin'.
Like a whirlpool it never ends.
And it's you girl makin' it spin.
You're making me dizzy.

Lyrics sung by Tommy Roe, a hit in 1969.

I'm not experiencing any dizziness! (...and I wish a guy was makin' me dizzy!) It's just my latest bottle of antibiotics (I'm taking for a minor bacterial infection) has a warning label for a side effect of dizziness and I sing these lyrics in my mind every time I take one. Apparently, I was prescribed the wrong antibiotic the first time around, so I've been taking antibiotics for nearly 20 days and am ready to finish.

I'm dizzy busy. I signed up to work Sundays at my part-time job, but since two employees quit when I arrived (I don't think it was me!), I've been working three nights plus all day Sunday lately. 62 hours and 7 days a week takes some getting used to. I'm trying not to complain! I still don't have just enough clothes for all this, so I do a quick load or two of laundry at my parents' place twice a week.

I'm handling it pretty well though. Living well is important to me. My social schedule has suffered though. I hate answering the question "How have you been lately?" with "Busy." I work to live! Not live to work. I would much rather describe something I've done recently that was fun.

One of my favorite bloggers, Ginna of My Pretty Pennies, recently posted an entry about being busy at the same time I started drafting this post in my head. This blogger says she is proud to be so productive in this entry. And, sure, I do feel that way too. I still take care of myself, like I applied both a facial and hair mask once this week. Shopped at Target at 8 AM Saturday before one of my double shift days. Thank goodness it is only a block away! I also still take care of my home. Not expecting to, I actually showed my apartment on Saturday. It was ready for show. (If you didn't know, I am a Leasing Consultant.) Even working 62 hours this week! It wasn't spotless and perfect by any means, but they thought it was fabulous and encouraged me to show it to all my prospective residents. (I hardly ever show my home. Only when I know it would be very beneficial, and in this particular case, it was.)

I have another long week ahead too. Six days at my full-time job (one of which not even at my own property!) plus (only) two nights and Sunday at my part-time one. Hopefully it'll pay off in the end. $$$

I've read over 300 pages of Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child by Bob Spitz. I have a bit more than 200 pages to go and, unfortunately, it's due back at the library on the 2nd. I am unable to renew it since it is such high demand and has holds. Maybe I'll buy it so that I can finish it... I am still really enjoying it.

Style Sunday: 10 Fabulous Finds Under $15

I believe one can have great style on any budget. I thought I would share ten fabulous finds in beauty, clothing, accessories, style books, and home decorations all under the pretty low price point of $15. Usually the price point for a feature like this in magazines is $50! I truly believe in investing in quality pieces, which tend to cost more; however, sometimes one cannot afford everything one wants plus inexpensive items are fabulous too. A mix is good. Here's a list of items anyone can afford (and budget for!). Some of these are my staples.

1. OPI Nail Lacquer is the only nail polish I wear because I find that it lasts awhile and I love the color names. I always have my toenails painted. I usually find it available for $8.50. My current favorite shade is a shimmery deep pink called "California Raspberry."

OPI Nail Lacquer in California Raspberry,, $8,

2. Study abroad changes lives! This account is entertaining ...and helpful in living a chic life. I often have her words in my head. I adore her self-published version of this book and can't wait to own this soon-to-be released one! I highly recommend it! Its author is also the blogger behind the Daily Connoisseur.
"Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris" by Jennifer L. Scott, $13.13,

3. I plan to purchase this and then paint it with chalkboard paint, so I can use it as a labeled cheese platter for entertaining.
Cooks White Treat Tray, JCPenney, $10,

4. I love this three-quarter length sleeve top! With its v-neck and empire seam, I find it flattering. I own it in "Ruby Hill" and "Fresh White." It features two layers of fabric at the chest, which make it seem like it should be more expensive! I wear a camisole underneath for coverage.
Merona Womens Double Layer Cross Over Top in Ruby Hill, Target, $14,

5. I have this little vase of white "pearl" dots on top of a stack of coffee table books at the moment. I love it.
Kiki Vase, Crate & Barrel, $12.95,

6. This mask makes my hair really soft. I use it once a week. They seem to slightly alter its look each time I purchase it, so look for this cube form on the store shelf.
Pantene 2-Minute Deep Conditioner: Intensive Restoration Treatment, $5.99,

7. I love a scarf as an accessory. My "go to" one is a deep red one with a subtle dot pattern from Target. This one from the same store is similar...
Merona Red NEW Solid Pashmina, Target, $14.99,

8. Diamond stud earrings are such a classic. I wear an inexpensive pair often. You can easily find them in stores.
Rachel Cubic Zirconia Stud Earrings, Nordstrom, $10,

9. My favorite makeup item is mascara. I love how it accentuates my long lashes and wear it everyday. I prefer the waterproof formula now because it stays off the area under my eyes longer. You can usually pick it up for under five bucks.
Maybelline Great Lash Waterproof Mascara in Very Black,, $5.19,

10. I thought these were cute for work, to add a bit of charm to my black pants and ballet flats for the fall. I recently purchased two pairs since they were buy one, get one 50% off at the time.

Sheer Dot Knee Highs, Ann Taylor, $8,

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Style Sunday: Hair Cut + Consignment Clothing

On Thursday evening, I had the length of my hair cut an inch. I love the new length! It's just below my shoulders now. It looks neat, chic. Now that it's fall, I no longer need so much length to weigh down my hair that grows frizzy and simply big in the high humidity of summer. Unfortunately, I had my long layers cut too short five weeks ago and now they have finally grown to an acceptable length! It's nice to know that I take such good care of my hair that I didn't need those trimmed. No split ends, despite daily heat styling as I straighten my wavy hair every morning. The products I use daily are Redken Smooth Down Heat Glide, a smoother that protects against heat, and HealthySexyHair Soy Renewal which is a nourishing styling treatment. Additionally, I use the moisturizing treatment from Pantene once a week. Changing up shampoo and conditioner every once in a long while is also ideal. Above all, I highly recommend regular hair cuts.

I also watched a segment on the weekend edition of the Today Show promoting clothing shopping at consignment stores. I may venture into a new one that recently opened near my home and check it out. Maybe I'll find something fabulous for a cheap price... It would be nice to wear new (to me) clothes. Besides clothes for my new part-time job--last paycheck paid for a new white shirt and the one before that bought a pair of black pants. Normally, I don't shop these stores. I did pick up my black pencil skirt from a nice one in Philadelphia though. Stay tuned to find out if my luck continues!

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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Style Sunday: Style Icon

Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, recently toured Southeast Asia. ...and I loved everything she wore! She always looked amazing, and appropriate. Check it out for yourself at one of my favorite websites, So many pictures, like these...

Friday, September 14, 2012

A Vacation, Dearie.

I am enjoying my time off.

I got my laundry out of the way Monday night. I continued to take care of business Tuesday morning, sending off my passport renewal application via mail. Then, it was time for some fun. ...only interrupted by a six month cleaning at the dentist on Thursday afternoon.

I picked up the book Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child by Bob Spitz from my local library and have been immersed it since. Only about 200 pages into this huge tome and currently following her experience while enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu, I'm really enjoying it! I adore her even more now. I've always admired that she loved not only cooking and food, but life and joy. I've also known her enthusiasm for well-made food and the way she truly enjoyed the eating experience, which is beautifully captured in the book. But, I didn't know how thoroughly positive and adventurous Julia was. Or how much of a trouble-maker! Before reading it, I was also familiar with the fact that she didn't find her passion for cooking until age 37! I like the idea that one could have many different stages of life and that it's okay not to know what to do or get what one wants early, one can still have a full and influential life, still blossom later. One probably appreciates it more that way! I am endlessly fascinated by a strong, independent woman like her. I am happy that I still have more than half of the biography to go!

On Tuesday afternoon, I accompanied my mom on an errand of her's and after that she actually purchased me a pair of shoes for work that I really did need to replace, insisting nothing she liked in the store fit her and has had a gift card for awhile. I am so grateful. Next, my mom and I checked out my grandmother's old car which she is giving me! It's in better shape than my own, which is so falling apart. It is being currently being inspected ...and keep your fingers crossed for me that its A/C will be (or can be very cheaply) repaired! I am very grateful again. After that, the two of us enjoyed a late lunch at the local diner. Grateful, three times. As an insomniac, I am happy to report that I have been sleeping the last few nights. I feel refreshed each morning, just like one is supposed to!

I started off Wednesday right, sipping a cappuccino and eating a chocolate pastry while reading my book at Panera. In fact, I got up early each morning, taking full advantage of my days, pretty beautiful days weather-wise, 75 to 82 degrees and mostly sunny. Anyway, usually starting with a couple little cups of espresso and a muffin while watching a bit of the Today Show. Later each day, I indulged in just alittle retail therapy. I hope that I didn't offset my budget too much... I bought a fluted clear glass vase from HomeGoods and (over)filled it with (faux) sunflowers. I have them sitting on my coffee table, warming up the place. I also purchased something pretty for myself, something I've been looking for for awhile, at least it was inexpensive. Throw a cheap pair of red teardrop earrings in there too. On Wednesday, I gave myself a pedicure. Additionally, I've had some time over my vacation to contact a couple of friends. I cooked my specialty, penne with sauteed red pepper and zucchini in tomato sauce on Wednesday night, enjoying it with French bread and olive oil made for dipping, plus a glass of Chianti that night and the next. Tonight, I am looking forward to a feast at my parents' house. The celebration is a welcome for my aunt who visits for about a week or so each fall.

Tuscan sunflowers for my coffee table

my arrangement, close-up

with my good book, within arm's reach of the sofa

I return to work at my part-time job tomorrow evening. I get my myself into working every day, a few days with double shifts, mostly because, starting this upcoming week, we now have only three employees instead of four at my second workplace. it's nice to relax now. ...and it's not over yet! I still have more reading, relaxing, eating and shopping, okay, not anymore shopping, and who knows what, to do!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Style Sunday: Looking Forward to Fall

I can't wait for fall I can wear a jacket and scarf over a tee or three-quarters length sleeve top with jeans and ballet flats or heeled boots. Accessorized with a pair of earrings and a handbag ...or something similar to this autumn uniform.

Image Credits: one two three four five six seven eight

Monday, September 3, 2012

Style Sunday: Wine Cork Candle Holder

I've been working on my Wine Cork Candle Holder all summer. ...working hard drinking red wine, as you can imagine! ;)

I would love to add another cork or two before I call it finished, but wanted to share my small summer project at the end of the season. 

I could use it on my coffee table or my wine cabinet or as a dining table centerpiece at a party.

I was inspired by this post with its fantastic tutorial. Learn how I put mine together here.

Things To Do: Summer 2012 Edition: Final Update

Cheers to a Fabulous Summer!

In this Memorial Day weekend post, I posted a list entitled "Things To Do: Summer Edition" and now that it is Labor Day and the unofficial end of summer, here's my list with the ones I have completed crossed off:

1. savor red red tomatoes selected at a farmer's market
2. sip margaritas on my balcony with my girlfriends visiting during the middle of July
3. have a perfect beach or pool day
4. go out of town (even if just for the day or an evening, even if just to Annapolis or Baltimore)
5. go for a snowball with friends

6. have a professional pedicure and then show it off in strappy sandals
7. become a bookworm--read a book a week
8. attend as many cookouts as possible--thoroughly enjoy summer food while dining alfresco
9. create a pasta salad to be a signature of mine
10. throw a fun and fabulous party
11. get just a bit of a tan
12. totally rock big Italian-style sunglasses

13. make a cork candle holder-- collect the corks needed by Labor Day and the end of summer 

I'm sad that I didn't attend that many cookouts! This summer was a very hot one though and maybe I will dine alfresco when it's cooler outside during the fall. I was also unable to afford to host a party, but that's okay, maybe later on that one too...

I pretty much perfected my cork candle holder, so I will share about that in (yet another) belated Style Sunday post. Sorry. I haven't gotten used to working a (long) shift at my part-time job every Sunday yet.

The highlight of my summer was hosting my two college friends for a few days during the middle of July. From blood orange margaritas on my balcony to Italian desserts in Baltimore's Little Italy, we really had a good time!

Unbelievably poor lately, I liked having this list, so that I could make the most of my summer, budgeting for and enjoying those quintessentially summer activities. I didn't want to miss out just because I lacked the funds for a big trip away and for every Saturday night out.

I am happy to be off today. Instead of the usual burgers and hot dogs on the grill, my family plans on serving lasagna on this Labor Day. ...which is fine with me! :)