Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What I Wore Wednesday

Aloha and happy Wednesday! My outfits aren't much to brag about this week, although I did splurge on a new necklace that I'm excited to show off. I've been wanting a seashell necklace for a while now -- I figured it'd be a memento of our time in Hawaii that I'd wear forever. And on Saturday, I found just the one!

In other fashion news, I have decided to add a scarf to my wardrobe. I fear it'll be a lot like my boots -- completely impractical for Hawaii -- but I just can't resist this trend any longer. Now, matchy-matchy me, I just have to figure out which color will complement the most items in my wardrobe!

Last week I finally got "Downton Abbey" on DVD from Netflix and, while I adore the show in general, I'm especially taken with the clothes the three Grantham daughters wear, especially the dresses in the first couple episodes. Fashion is ever-evolving, but it amazes me how much more casual we are today. I haven't decided yet if I think that's a good or bad thing. Sidenote -- I have a major crush on Matthew Crawley!

As always, I'm linking up with The Pleated Poppy.

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I wish we had an H&M store in Hawaii! This is my one and only H&M item, which I bought several years ago when visiting a friend lucky enough to be living in a city with an H&M store!


03-27-12 WIWW
Top: Old Navy
Lace-edged sweater: Target
Jeans: 7 For All Mankind
Belt and flip-flops: Target
Hand-stamped necklace: The Vintage Pearl

It seems the great fashion debate these days is: belt or no belt? I ultimately went with a belt because I thought it made the cardigan look more modern and less old-ladyish. But I'm still not 100% sure I like the way the outfit looks as a whole. What do you think?

pleated poppy

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip

03-25-12 Chinatown

Well, I've finally done it -- I made my first Pinterest recipe this weekend. I whipped up this chocolate chip cookie dough dip for a bunco night with some of the spouses in my husband's squadron. (If you don't know -- which I definitely didn't! -- bunco is a dice game that requires absolutely no skill whatsover, so it's perfect for playing while chatting and drinking too much wine. And a prize is given not only to the overall winner, but also to the player who racked up the most losses. Incidentally, that was me. Not sure if I should be proud or ashamed...)

I served this quick and easy dip with fresh strawberries and vanilla wafer cookies. I really wanted chocolate graham crackers, as suggested in the recipe, but I couldn't find them anywhere. (Well, not at the two grocery stores I checked after remembering a couple hours before the event that we were supposed to bring something.) Luckily, someone else brought chocolate graham crackers (I admit to being slightly overcome with envy when I first spotted those evil chocolate grahams next to a competing cream cheese-based dip!), and they were just as delectable with the chocolate chip cookie dough dip as the original blog post made them sound.

This dip has it all -- fat, calories, guilt and drool-inducement. At least the fruit lightens it up a bit, right? Er... right? If you're like me and inhale half the cookie dough each time you bake cookies, you'll enjoy this. It's basically cookie dough without the eggs and with the addition of cream cheese. Yum! Check out the recipe at addapinch.com. Happy eating!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Book Review: "A Crimson Warning"

"A Crimson Warning" by Tasha Alexander
First published in 2011
My rating: 4.5 out of 5

There are a few book series of which I am a devoted fan, anxiously awaiting the newest release and then happily devouring it. There's just something about a favorite series -- reading the newest addition is like coming home to familiar environs, reuniting with a cast of characters you've grown to know and love. Tasha Alexander's Lady Emily Victorian mystery series is like that for me.

"A Crimson Warning" is the sixth installment in the Lady Emily books, which take place in the late 1800s, mostly in London (although Emily's adventures take her to Paris, Vienna and Constantinople). Lady Emily has developed throughout the series into progressive woman who drinks port, smokes an occasional cigar, supports women's suffrage, studies Greek, sometimes rolls her eyes at the inane, vapid and double-standard-filled high society of which she is a part, and solves murder mysteries. But, even with her intelligence, cleverness and confidence to push the boundaries set forth for women in Victorian society, Emily is still feminine, romantic and can perfectly play the part of genteel society lady when needed -- a wonderful combination.

In "A Crimson Warning," Emily and her husband, who deals with criminal matters on behalf of the Crown (their romance takes place in the earlier novels) become embroiled in a mystery at the same time an anonymous crusader has taken to splashing the houses of prominent high society families with red paint, then leaking their darkest secrets. Of course, chaos ensues. The novel will keep you guessing at the identities of the murderer and the painter until the end -- or are they the same person?

All of Tasha Alexander's Lady Emily books are delightful reads that paint a fascinating picture of Victorian society through the eyes of an increasingly modern woman, and any fan of historial fiction or mysteries should enjoy them. Happy reading!

(Image Source)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What I Wore Wednesday

Aloha and happy Wednesday! I'm excited to have something new in my wardrobe to share with you this week. Last Wednesday I splurged on a new pair of designer skinny jeans. I love the ones I have (who knew I'd ever say those words?!) and I'd been pining for some in a darker wash. I have such a hard time finding pants that fit right and I was thrilled to find the exact same brand and cut of the jeans I already had in a darker shade. Success!

I also got my hair cut and highlighted Tuesday. I just love the light, fresh feeling that comes with a ahircut. Sadly, my stylist is about to PCS (military term for "move." In case you don't know, everything in the military has an acronym!) and I'm going to miss her desperately. I have an even harder time finding stylists who know what to do with my curly hair than I do finding jeans that fit!

As always, I'm linking up with The Pleated Poppy to share my outfits and garner inspiration from all the other Wednesday fashionistas.

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03-20-12 WIWW
I wore this -- my only truly green shirt -- to a movie matinee on St. Patrick's Day and promptly dripped red Icee down the front of both shirts. (Guess I'm still stuck at Christmas, trying to mix some red in with the green?)

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So that night I chose the next greenest thing in my closet. Teal is half green, at least! And I didn't want to get pinched.

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And apparently on Sunday I was still in a blue-green mood! I wore this to see "One for the Money," which was playing at the base theater. I absolutely love Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books, but I didn't have particularly high hopes for the movie. It wasn't as horrible as the previews made it seem, but I'm glad I didn't get my expectations up!

03-20-12 WIWW3
This is my favorite outfit from the week. Normally I'm very tentative about mixing bold colors. So I was proud of myself for going with the bright orange shirt and turquoise necklace.

pleated poppy

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Orange Julius Recipe

03-14-12 Quilt, Orange Julius

The sun is out! This wouldn't typically be news here in Hawaii, but it's been dreary and gloomy and rainy for the past several days. We don't have seasons in Hawaii, but it suddenly feels kind of like the beginning of spring does in a regular place -- the pleasure of the warm sunshine on your face, admiring the flowers for sale at Lowes or Home Depot, wearing shorts for the first time after months in pants. I was in such a springtime mood -- so much so that "Here Comes the Sun" by the Beatles is playing on repeat in my head -- that I just had to whip up a cool drink for myself this afternoon.

I absolutely love homemade Orange Juliuses, and after I learned the easy recipe I've never really gone back to buying them at the mall. The best thing about making these refreshing half-smoothie, half-drink beverages at home is that they're fully customizable. You control the consistency, the sweetness, the orange component, and you can add in whatever else you want -- a banana, some frozen mango pieces, whatever strikes your fancy.

P.S. I just want to let you know that we were drinking out of Mason jars long before Pinterest made it fashionable! After we moved in together, my husband's mom gave us a bunch of amazingly delicious canned green beans and dill pickles. Jarrod -- who is very Southern indeed --insisted we use the empty Mason jars as glasses and I loved the idea -- so quaint, and FREE! Now, though, I see Mason jars everywhere. Guess the secret is out!

Homemade Orange Julius
Serves 2

3-4 ounces frozen orange juice concentrate (just eyeball it)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4ish cup sugar (to taste)
8 to 12 ice cubes (depending on desired thickness)

Put everything in a blender and give it a whirl. You're now the proud owner of two better-than-mall-quality Orange Juliuses!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What I Wore Wednesday

Aloha, Wednesday friends! I'm sad to say this was a rather underwhelming wardrobe week for me -- basically just glorifed t-shirts and jeans. For the past 10 days the weather here has been very strange -- rainy and gloomy and rather crazy. Mother Nature bestowed us with buckets and buckets of rain and several rather severe (i.e. frightening for us unaccustomed folks) thunderstorms, which are incredibly rare in Hawaii. Parts of the island got tennis ball-sized hail (hail is unheard of here!) and the strangest occurence was a water spout coming on shore and forming a tornado. Yes, a tornado. In Hawaii! FINALLY the weather seems to be clearing up. I gripe and whine about missing seasons and snow and sweater weather, but there's nothing like several straight days of dreariness to make me appreciate waking up to sunshine and 80-degree weather everyday!

Anyway, the upshot of all that is that I spent a lot of time inside knitting, watching movies and reading. And it goes without saying that the ideal attire for such rainy-day activities is PJs! So, without further ado, the thing I wore when I actually bothered to don real clothes:

08-30-11 Blue Booties4

03-10-12 Jarrod B-day

03-13-12 Cake in Jars
*You may notice that I've been wearing those black sandals a lot lately. Too much, I guess, because the left sandal fell apart today, conveniently while I was in the middle of running errands. Time for some Gorilla Glue!

pleated poppy

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What I Wore Wednesday

Aloha, Wednesday friends! The past two weeks have been all over the place for me -- Jarrod was home for five wonderful days before heading off for his deployment on Friday. Apparently Mother Nature took a cue from the tears I shed at the airport on Friday night because -- totally uncharacteristically for Hawaii -- we've had four straight days of pouring rain and even a very rare thunderstorm! And as much as I whine about missing seasons and cold weather and thunderstorms, I have to admit that experiencing house-rattling thunder claps after nearly three years without a good severe storm was a wee bit frightening! Let's just say that after the first huge rumble I had to check that nobody -- dog, cat or me -- had wet themself!

Today while it was gullywashing outside, I snuggled under a blanket with some hot tea and watched a really great movie, "Midnight in Paris" with Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams. I absolutely loved it and I think it's because reading the novel "The Paris Wife" -- the main character of which is Ernest Hemingway's first wife Hadley and which takes place in 1920s Paris -- really put me in the right mood for it. I recommend both the movie and the book, which I reviewed here.

I was too busy to do a WIWW post last week but I still wanted to show you the pictures. I don't even remember which day I wore what, though, so we've got numbers instead of days this week! As always, I'm linking up with The Pleated Poppy to share my outfits and get fashion inspiration from all the other fabulous WIWWers!

02-29-12 Whale Watching 2012

02-29-12 Whale Watching 20121

02-29-12 Whale Watching 20122

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I hauled the tripod out front and we did a little pre-deployment photo shoot on Thursday.

I adore this picture! It's headed straight for a nice 8x10 frame!

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I wore this last night to the first session of a Hawaiian quilting class I'm taking this month. It was still rainy and yucky out, but I was happy for an excuse to wear this gorgeous new ruffly sweater that I couldn't resist rescuing from the clearance rack at Target.

pleated poppy

Book Review: "Then Came You"

"Then Came You" by Jennifer Weiner
First published in 2011
My rating: 4 out of 5

I tried to read one of Jennifer Weiner's books when I was in late high school, or maybe early college. And I did something I seldom do -- I put it down because I just couldn't get into it. Now I'm 26 and, after reading a couple more of Jennifer's books in the last few years, I understand perfectly what the problem was. These novels are about women, for women, and dealing -- with an enviable finesse -- with all the myriad issues women face today, right now in 2012. The keyword here is women. I was a girl when I attempted my first Jennifer Weiner novel, and the themes and plot just didn't apply to me.

"Then Came You" deals with the delicate issue of babies -- particularly, egg donation and surragacy -- and we become intimately acquainted with the four women invovled in the making of one baby. There's Jules, the Princeton senior who donated her eggs so she could use the money to send her addict father to rehab. Annie, the surrogate who will be carrying and delivering the baby, is a young housewife and mother who feels her life lacks both purpose and financial stability. India is a PR executive with a mysterious past who marries a super-wealthy older man, Marcus Croft. After several failed in vitro attempts, the couple decides to go the egg donor/surragacy route. And Bettina is Marcus's 20-something daughter. She's convinced India is a gold digger with her eyes on Marcus's fortune and sets out to uncover the secrets of India's past.

Each of the four women in the novel is completely different from the others. They have totally different lives, backgrounds and socio-economic classes. But they're all connected to the baby, and they all have issues that they're dealing with, mental roadblocks that they're trying to overcome. Together, they make a masterful portrait of America's women.

Happy reading!

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