Thursday, February 28, 2013

Week in Fitness, Ke$ha & Skincare Tips

Hey guys! Happy Thursday. Even though yesterday felt like a “tomorrow is Friday” kind of day, I feel like this week is going by quickly. This is a good thing because I have lots of fun events on the agenda starting with Zac Brown Band tonight at the rodeo. Yee. Haw. This post is going to be quick and kinda all over the place because there are a few random things I want to discuss.

First, let’s recap last week in fitness. Since it is almost next week at this point.

Monday – Define, 40 minute HIIT cycling
Tuesday – Ran 6 miles at an 8:53 pace
Wednesday – Define Body
Thursday – 30 minute HIIT elliptical
Friday – Define Body
Saturday – ConocoPhillips Rodeo Run 10K at an 8:03 pace (way faster than I am used to these days)
Sunday – Rest day

Speaking of working out, I am loving Warrior, Ke$ha’s most recent album. Excellent exercise accompaniment acoustics. I know her music is nothing groundbreaking, but I love it and I’m not ashamed. I like almost every song on this album, and that’s not easy to do. Ironically the only one I don’t really like is the one the album is named after. Oops. She even has a couple slow songs on there. I am especially digging this one at the moment.

I also like this one

And this one

Top notch workout motivation.

On another note, I got a facial yesterday. It was awesome and way overdue since my last one was probably about two years ago. As facials usually go, I learned some interesting skincare tidbits I figured I should share. First, the esthetician (that word looks really weird) asked me if I wore powder. Answer: yes. She said she could tell because there was lots of powder clogging my pores and mentioned that powder is one of the hardest types of makeup to remove. She suggested Guerlain foundation as a more skin-friendly alternative. I can't find the exact one she recommended (I think they have changed the name), but this seems to be the one she was suggesting. Of course I went to the Galleria yesterday and ran out of time before I could get color matched, but I definitely plan to check it out in the future. She also suggested using Vitamin C to keep my skin looking fresh and youthful. I picked up a tube of this at CVS this morning after reading rave reviews on Amazon. I’ll let you guys know how it works!

Last but not least, while I forgot to get foundation yesterday I didn't leave the Galleria empty handed! Nope. I picked up these beauties from Zara...

...and these super fun floral Ann Taylor pantalones.

Welp, that's all I have for you today. Hope you’re having a good week and have something fun planned for this weekend.

Got any secret skincare weapons I should know about? Any fun recent purchases?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Two Awesome Custom Art Sources

It's going to be a back-to-back design post kind of week up in here because I have two art resources I cannot keep to myself for even one second longer. The week in fitness will just have to wait because no one cares this is way more important. I have been thinking a lot lately about what design elements I want to add to my bedroom, and yesterday I came up with the following concept: oversized painting in rich, moody colors hung over the bed or over the dresser facing the bed with three solid velvet pillows on the bed in a corresponding color. Picture a painting with colors like this one and pillows like these (see below). I'm not in love with the subject of this painting (birds about to be eaten by a potentially rabid dog), but the colors are goooood. Keep on reading and you'll see what I mean.

Etsy Moss Green Pillows

So, once I came up with my design "concept" if you can even call it that, it was time to commence the infamous internet search. Since finding solid velvet pillows is a cinch (bo-ring), I decided to focus first on the art. Unfortunately it's not easy to google "art in rich colors that will appeal to my tastes" and find something worthwhile. It's even harder to find art that is oversized (most art is not) and that does not break the budget (most art does). Lucky for me, I found not one but two sources that pretty much have exactly what I'm looking for. I don't remember how I stumbled upon either of these sites (sorry, not helpful), but I'm so glad I did. Except now I want to redo my LIFE. Is it appropriate to hang art in my car? I thought so.

The first site I found was 1st Art Gallery. 1st Art Gallery is a site that makes museum quality oil-on-canvas reproductions of historic works of art. The site has so much to offer that it's a little overwhelming. Enter: categories and search terms. Since the painting that sparked my interest contained animals, I decided to start my search there. I had to narrow down the bajillion paintings somehow; and, when in doubt, the answer is usually animals. Not surprisingly, I found a lot of good stuff in the animal category. Check it out.

I think if I had to pick a favorite right now it would be the fancy monkeys. Which is ironic because monkeys seriously freak. me. out. Planet of The Apes is pretty much my worst nightmare. But hey, one more monkey in my apartment is one less monkey out there roaming the streets. You're welcome.

As if the 905 (not an exaggeration) pages of animal artwork on that site weren't enough, I then remembered a site I found a while back called Surface View that had a wall hanging I liked in a similar color scheme. I didn't remember the site having a ton of stuff I liked, but decided to visit it on a hunch nonetheless. Well, I was either not understanding how to use my eyes navigate the site the first time or they have added about a million things since I last visited because this time I wanted everything. Below is a mere fraction of the items I'm currently coveting.

Not all of these would work for the dark & rich bedroom "concept" I described above, but that doesn't mean I'm less in love with any of them. Just scrolling through these images makes me giddy. Bonus: they have Slim Aarons prints for a fraction of what you normally find them for.

And last but not least, I have to mention Photographer's Gallery. These pieces are a little more expensive, but they aren't completely outrageous and there is some really awesome stuff. I especially love everything by Slim Aarons and The Cheetah Who Shops (see below).

The thing I love most about all of these sites is that you can customize the size of all of the pieces. Finding oversized artwork can be difficult, and the size customization option makes it so much easier. Surface View also allows you to crop out parts of the picture and print on a variety of surfaces. I think all of these images, especially the ones in rich colors, would look amazing framed with thick white mats and simple gold frames (something like this). Maybe on a charcoal painted wall? Yes please.

So, which one of these pieces is your favorite? I seriously want them ALL. Looking through this post is like sensory overload. The ones I have wanted for the longest time however are The Cheetah Who Shops and the second to last Surface View picture (Slim Aarons Eden Roc Pool). Need. More. Walls.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Bliss Home & Design

While I’m not really in the market for furniture at themoment, it’s always fun to see what’s out there. Currently, my decoratingbudget is limited to accessories and Craig’s List, but I like to occasionallyindulge myself by looking at more high-end sources. This is also an excellentway to get inspiration. For example, you may realize after looking at a fewhigh-end design sources that you just lovethe look of a hide rug under a lucite coffee table. Unfortunately the rug youlove is this one and it’s under this coffee table. Not to worry. You can find acheaper reproduction of just about anything you see from the more expensivestores. For example, this coffee table from CB2 over this cowhide rug fromIkea. The more difficult part is determining what you like. Finding somethingthat fits your preset criteria is much less overwhelming. This is more or less how Iended up with my Craig’s List faux bamboo dining set and upholstered leopard stools (which should be coming back from the upholsterer soon!). I saw moreexpensive versions of these items, fell in love with them, and made it mymission to find a more affordable alternative.

The purpose of this rambling introduction is to share with you all a new favorite high-end design source. Introducing Bliss Home & Design. Maybe I am the only one who has not heard of this place? Maybe not. Either way, I am in love with their furniture. I have seen some of these pieces before, but there are a handful that are new to me as well. I'm not surprised I found so much I like, considering the store's sources (Hickory Chair, Arteriors, Global Views, etc.). And there are also some items from the store's own collection.

Here are some of my favorites:

Circe Bench

Arteriors Worcester Bookshelf

Bliss Studio Monarch Pillow

Hickory Chair Alexandra Side Chair

Global Views Klismos Leather Bench

Grace & Blake Bella Bench

Hickory Chair Tuxedo Entertainment Center

Hickory Chair Tuxedo Chest

Metallique Stool

Reclaimed 3-Drawer Dresser - Style 1

Noir Burlap Covered Shelf

Reclaimed 3-Drawer Dresser - Style 2

And here is an example of a cheaper version of one of the more high-end items, the brass etagere bookshelf. The Arteriors version is over $4,000, while the Craig's List version is only $600. I know $600 is not exactly cheap, but it's a lot cheap-ER, and you may be able to negotiate it down even further. There is also an Ikea hack DIY option if you're willing to get down and dirty. The end result is pretty incredible!


Moral of the story: just because something is super expensive or high-end, don't assume it can't eventually be yours. And I don't mean eventually as in after-you-win-the-lottery eventually. I mean eventually as in after-you-look-other-places-hard-enough eventually. Trust me, I'm a doctor high-end design lover on a low-end budget.

What is your favorite of the pieces above? I am obsessed with the Hickory Chair Tuxedo pieces. I've had that entertainment center pinned to my "Dream Home" board for years. What high-end pieces are you coveting these days? Tell me and I'll help you find a cheaper alternative! See y'all tomorrow with last week in fitness.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Happy Weekend!

Apologies but this post is going to be super short - I only have a few minutes to blog today (P.S. at first I wrote "blob" instead of "blog" - I only wish I was blobbing today).

I can't put my finger on where I first heard this song - and it's pretty much driving me insane - but I heard it again on XM radio yesterday and am now officially obsessed.

If I was on Idol this season and didn't sound like a goat I would totally rock this out.

Speaking of goats, this is the funniest video on the internet. Fainting goats! I need one.

Last but not least, I tried this ice cream on Wednesday and it is maybe my favorite flavor ever. Mmmmm.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Blush Bridesmaid Dress Hunting

This coming April I am a bridesmaid in the wedding of one of my BFFE&E's who is letting all the bridesmaids choose their own dresses (awesome!). The only requirement is that they be short and in the nude/blush/champagne color family. Easy enough, right? Well yes, unless you are an indecisive overanalyzer like me who needs to lay out all the options before making a final decision. Ergo, I have spent the last few days scouring the interwebs (and even one store in person - yay for three dimensional life) for a dress.

Here is what I have come up with so far, along with my commentary that you didn't ask for:

LOVE this one, but it's the most expensive (of course), and I'm not sure the color would work on me. Keeping it in the back of my mind though.

Sue Wong Embroidered Dress

Love it but it's too bronze.

Carmen Marc Valvo Metallic Bow-Waist Dress

Also not sure about the color here. I might look naked.

BCBG Willa Lace Cocktail Dress

They didn't have this in my size so it's out, but I think it's really soft and pretty.

Badgley Mischka One-Shoulder Chiffon

Too long for a shorty like me. But the color is perfect!

BHLDN Marchioness Dress

Love but there's the washing-out factor again with this light of a fabric.

DVF Zarita Dress in Nude

Went and saw this in person and sadly it's too ivory because I love it!

BHLDN Agata Swing Dress

Can't tell from the pictures whetheer I would like the neckline. Would have to see it in person, which is unfortunately impossible - ha.

Blaque Label Halter Top Dress

Love but not available in my size. Rude.

Tadashi Shoji Sequined Lace Dress

Really debated getting this one (and still might) but not my #1 in the end.

Opening Ceremony Larson Striped Dress

Really like this one (love all the embroidery detail) but not sure if the color is right. This one is also an alternative

Sue Wong Ribbon Embroidered Dress

Almost got this one but wasn't sure how the breezy shift would look on me. Sometimes it works; other times it just looks baggy or hugs all the wrong places. I did get as far as putting it in my shopping cart though so that counts for something.

Erin Fetherston Pink Chiffon Shift Dress

I think this is rull cute, but (once again) not my favorite in the end. Another alternate.

ASOS Love Swing Dress

I also really like this one, but the waistband area is missing a little something. Belt? Ribbon? I dunno. Also hard to order from across the pond. But super cute nonetheless.

Topshop Delicate Organza Prom Dress

Ruled out due to the thin straps - sometimes these are not the most flattering.

Halston Heritage Tiered Dress

Can't upstage the bride! Side note: is that Shannon Doherty?

ASOS Wedding Pajamas

Now that you have seen all the dresses I didn't get, I will show you one I did. Behold, Golden Richards (if you get that reference, you are my new best friend). I am a lil worried it's gonna be too much gold and not enough nude/champagne but I'm crossing my fingers for it to look right in person.

Aidan Mattox Beaded Dress

I used my internet wizardry to obtain free shipping and 10% off, and this baby should arrive on my my parents' doorstep within days. I really hope it works (and is the right size), but if not I can fall back on one of my many lovely alternatives.

I also tried on these three dresses from BHLDN and ended up liking the apricot wrap dress best since the rose cava dress washed me out and the middle one (which I can't find online but happened to snap a picture of at the store) was a little saggy around the waistband. I was sad because I really wanted to like them both! I think the first would look awesomee on a taller, tanner ser humano, and the middle one reminds me of something you would see on Mad Men. The beading is incredible, and I LOVE the bands at the arms and neckline. It's like crown molding but for a dress.

Sooo, sorry for the long-winded dress discovery story, but hopefully you at least enjoyed the pretty pictures. I will say it's been a fun challenge for me to shop for a lighter colored dress. My default dress color is always black, and my closet desperately needs some variety. Also, I need a spray tan.

What is your favorite dress of the above? My favorite is obviously the one I got, with the sleeveless Sue Wong and Opening Ceremony tying for second. Honorable mention goes to the Tadashi Shoji. Also, what is your go to store or website for cocktail dresses? I love discovering new sources, but my defaults are definitely Nordstrom/Saks/Neiman's. Preferably on a weeknight or via my computer screen. Saturday's at the Galleria are not for the faint of heart.