Thursday, September 30, 2010


My favorite bride-to-be, Amy, shared this video with me and I simply must pass it along.

Prepare to be swept away by the most perfect, romantic fairy tale wedding.

Coco + James // Teaser from Americana Cinema on Vimeo.

the road less traveled

It's no surprise that I love to travel, as evidenced here, here and here. So when I discovered Backroads Travel, I got so excited. I'm not really a fan of organized travel or anything where I'm on someone elses' schedule (I prefer to make my own), but this company receives good reviews, even if they are a little pricey.

Backroads specializes in off-the-beaten-path tours of some amazing countries that offer the opportunity to be active and explore destinations in new ways.

Ever wanted to hike the Amalfi Coast?

~image courtesy of trip atlas~

How about bike your way through Bhutan?

~image courtesy of adventure collection~

You may, like me, have a Cambodian adventure on your list of things to do before you die. Check it out and check it off.

~image courtesy of siem reap driver~

Backroads also has exploration packages that take you out and about in the U.S. and Canada.

This company is definitely on my list of things to try out.

Where does your active adventure take you?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

smitten kitten | pestañas perfectas

I've been obsessed with making my lashes fuller and longer since I can remember.

When I was in college (go, Devils!),  I spent a summer studying in Spain. At the end of an amazing experience full of food, friends and fantastic places, my instructor passed out handmade cards with a label that identified us. Mine was pestañas perfectas - perfect eyelashes. It was fitting since I wouldn't leave my room to go on a run without first applying mascara.

In an effort to be sure my eyelashes always look bold and beautiful, I've tested a lot of eyelash curlers and even more mascaras and came up with the perfect combination.

Eyelash curler
Shu Uemura has the quintessential curler. It gives the best curl with the least amount of effort. Be sure to always curl first before you apply mascara. If you apply your mascara first then curl, you run the risk of pulling out or otherwise damaging your eyelashes.

My favorite mascara isn't one of those pricey department store brands. I thought about it, and I've spent a pretty penny on some (those suckers can cost upwards of 35 bucks!), but I always came back to the less expensive drug store brand. My choice : Maybelline's Volume Express line.

My absolute fave is their newest incarnation called The Falsies (waterproof, please).

A few coats of this and my eyes have that wide-open look framed by thick, glossy, long, luscious lashes. Sure, they're not the look of actual false lashes, but they're pretty dang close.  And while it is a waterproof formula, it's easily removed with my favorite eye-makeup remover.

I'm also considering taking a deeper look at some of those growth serums on the market. Specifically, the ones that are available at a department store or the mecca of makeup, Sephora, and don't come with warnings about permanent iris discoloration or blindness.

I may be obsessed, but I'm not crazy.

Stay tuned for reviews!

Update : Well, lookie here! Sephora just sent me an email with this link. Someone's been reading my mind...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

hockey {future} hubby

My fiance loves hockey (it's required, being that he's Canadian) and he's a good player, too. He even scored the fastest natural hat trick (scroll's under "Variations" under the Hockey header). Pretty impressive, non?

He's also been appropriately involved in wedding planning thus far and suggested this wedding cake topper.

Thank goodness for cupcakes.

ruffled feathers

Do you ever get those little sparks just before you doze off at night? You know, those intrusive thoughts that take you from just nearly asleep to fully awake in a blink?

That happens to me pretty frequently, mostly about work-related things. But the other night, I was jolted awake by the thought of this

I've seen this clutch making its way around the web and I have to admit I really liked it...until I woke up thinking : I love it! I must have that clutch!

And so, in a few short days it will be mine, straight from the UK.

It also comes in grey and black

a little something extra : free shipping to the U.S. and Canada! It's a promotional offer and I didn't notice an expiration date, so if there's something you want from asos (and they've got some awesome stuff), get it now!

UPDATED : looks like they are also covering the cost of import duties on shipping to the U.S. Hooray!

Monday, September 27, 2010

a blossoming locavore

We are a culture who likes labels - and one more I'm adding to my list is locavore. For those of you who are new to the term, a locavore is someone who prefers to eat locally grown or produced foods. I came across this great article which outlines 10 ways to become a locavore.

One easy way to start to become more locally conscious is to visit a farmers market. Most of the time, you get to chat with the farmer who's food you're purchasing.

A few years ago, I drove with my friend across three states when she moved to Portland. Beforehand, we took a few days to explore the city a few months before her move. One of my favorite things about the city was their farmers market. It was the most amazing one I've even been to. And the proof is in the pictures.

Another great way is to find restaurants who support local farmers. Some of my favorites around town include

Hillside Spot

True Food Kitchen - part of the family of FOX Restaurant Concepts restaurants.

The Farm at South Mountain

Pizzeria Bianco and Pane Bianco

Confession: I despised tomatoes until a couple of years ago. Thanks to Chris Bianco and his amazing caprese salad and mozzarella and tomato sandwich, I am now a lover of tomatoes - more specifically, I love the locally grown tomatoes from One Windmill Farm or McClendon Farms.

These are just a few of my favorite ways to be locally conscious; there are so many ways to be a locavore. 

If you decide you want to be more aware of where your food products come from, don't let that change - or any other change you want to make in your life - be daunting or overwhelming. Small changes are sustainable changes.

Friday, September 24, 2010

working it

It's the end of the workweek and the weekend is almost here! Whether your week felt long or short, have you stopped to think about how much time you spend at work? Wait, don't calculate it - it is Friday, after all. But it's pretty safe to say that we all spend the majority of our time at work. So why not make your space as welcoming and fun as possible?

And if you love to be organized like me, it helps to have things that are more colorful than plain ol' manila.

Perfect Planner
From Bob's Your Uncle, this planner is bright, fun and broken down hourly. Not only do you get Monday through Sunday, but you also get Someday, which is essential for all those home projects you keep putting off.

a little something extra : it now comes in mini!

Writer's Block
I take lots of notes. I jot down story ideas, reminders, to-do lists, contact information. I love this big pad from Target. It's not available online, so you have to go to the store. Dangerous, I know - it's like Costco or Ikea, you always come out with something you didn't know you couldn't live without. 

It has four different layers, each one is a different color and design.

Pretty Pens
Sure, most of us use computers day-in and day-out, but that doesn't mean you can't have some old school writing utensils. And these are so fun.

Fashionable Filing
Jazz up your filing system with fancy file folders. These make me smile.

Happy weekend, lovelies!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

spotted : a guilty pleasure

I am a fan of "Gossip Girl." True, last season was a little lackluster, but this season starts off in Paris - and how can that be bad?

I love the fantasy (or reality, depending on the size of your trust fund); I love the fashion; I love Chuck Bass (and all the clever things they can do with his name : Basstard, Motherchucker, Bassets). And I'm not the only one who counts the show as a guilty pleasure - my future husband, Mark, watches it with me, too - just as long as it's DVR'd so it doesn't conflict with Monday Night Football.

So far, this season's fashion doesn't disappoint. From flirty dresses, Carrie-esque styling, classic pieces and daytime sparkle, I'm in love and want to fly straight to New York or Paris for shopping spree.

Spoiler alert! If "Gossip Girl" is waiting for you on your DVR, come back to this post after you've watched it. Although, I think the fashion is just too delicious not to preview!

And we can't forget the guys of "Gossip Girl" - a quick homage to my favorite...

photos courtesy of here, here, here and here.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

smitten kitten | tea towels

I blame this innate obsession on my mother - there is a drawer in my mom's kitchen that is stuffed with tea towels. Among all the things my mom passed along to me, she blessed me with a love of tea towels.

What's the history of a tea towel, you ask? (And by the way, doesn't tea towel sound lovely? So much better than dish towel.) In 18th century England, a tea towel was a special linen cloth that was used solely by the mistress of a household to dry her delicate and expensive tea china.

So be the mistress of your household and pick up some adorable tea towels for your own kitchen.

~union jack tea towel~

~mr. darcy tea towel~
~danica studio aviary tea towel~
~my favorite british WWII slogan~

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

a marathon and a reward

Have you ever seen the movie 300? You know, the one where the men are ripped (ooh, la la...Gerard Butler!)? Do you want to know how they got that way? They trained at a one-time-CrossFit-affiliated gym. What is CrossFit? It's an insane, intense gym that promises to "forge elite athletes."

They have gyms across the country, so there's most likely one near you.

a little something extra : live in the Phoenix area and want to check out what CrossFit is all about without a full-fledged commitment? Check out Lululemon at the Biltmore on Tuesday nights. They offer a free CrossFit class every week.

This weekend, some of my teammates and I headed down to Tucson to compete in an erg marathon (that's 42,195 meters) - against a bunch of CrossFit athletes. And guess what? My teammates came in first! Hooray! (My team also competed respectably and didn't come in last.)

~full marathoners. that means 42,195 meters to complete all on their own~

~matt during the first leg of the relay for his team : no hugs, just fist bumps~

~katy's checking out our final time~

~the girls of no fist bumps, just hugs~

~happy to have finished. the team (minus stacey and rachel)~

The best part about the whole trip - besides the team bonding, of course - was the treat at the end. Every time I go to Tucson, I have to stop by Beyond Bread.

It's an amazing bakery that has the most scrumptious sandwiches. My favorite is Bart's Bag - turkey, brie, to-die-for honey mustard. And the sandwiches are as big as your head.

My friends Emily and Jenny got Betty's Brie, featuring roast beef and brie.

The only beef (get it?) I have with Beyond Bread is that they haven't expanded north. So until then, I will happily swing by whenever I head south.

Monday, September 20, 2010

cookie monster

Desserts are my favorite and I love to bake for others. I find so much satisfaction in making something that makes the people I love and care about smile.

My teammates requested cookies as a post-practice treat, so I took a Sunday afternoon and whipped up a batch of Ghirardelli chocolate chip cookies.


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