Friday, January 25, 2013

Work Holiday Party

So, it turns out I was definitely not cut out for dressing myself in Winter. First of all, I love floral prints. If you did an analysis of the prints in my closet, it would probably be split almost 50/50 florals and leopard print. I don't know about you, but roses don't exactly say "I wear this in -10 degree weather." to me. Does that stop me? Hell nah.

Outfit Details
Earrings: Betsey Johnson
Necklace: Vintage
Cardigan: Forever 21
Dress: Express
Shoes: Aldo

Second, I tried doing the whole bare-leg thing before I took a single step out of the door, clattered "holyshitineedtights" before promptly running back inside to put on a pair of black tights that in all honestly didn't look awful but it certainly threw off the funk of the ensemble.

I wore this for my first work holiday party! I recently started a new job at a video rental place mid-December after four years at a video game store. It's an interesting change of pace, and for the first time I work with all women but I'm really enjoying it so far. We went to see a show at the Comedy Corner in Neenah, which was awesome. I've never actually gone to see a stand up comedy show before.

The new semester starts for me on Monday! I got stuck with an 8AM class, which is literally the worst thing imaginable to a college student. At the end of this semester I'll be done with my Theatre minor, and I'll only have one more class to go for my Japanese one. Communication major is going to take a little bit longer. Secretly, I've always wanted to be a marine biologist and seeing this video of a giant squid geeked me out and I cannot express how much regret I have that I didn't suck up my hatred of math and go into biology.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Dinner Date

Outfit Details
Necklace: Vintage
Shirt: Pac Sun
Belt: Forever 21
Shoes: Aldo

In my previous post, I mentioned that I had started Keto, which is basically a very low carb and high fat diet. I put on maybe 6-7 pounds from the Holidays and I was beginning to enter panic mode since that was almost as much as I had worked so hard to lose over the Summer. Since counting calories had stopped working for me, I decided to go a new route. I've already lost those extra pounds I put on, but I'm not exactly overjoyed just yet because it's most likely water weight.

Anyway, the first few days I was cooking something for myself every meal and was getting sick of it, so my lovely boyfriend took me out for dinner. It was pretty last minute, I actually got my makeup on and outfit ready in about 10 minutes total, so this is encroaching into "slapped together" territory.

I wanted to try to rotate some shirts that haven't seen much use lately into the mix. This one obviously has been avoided due to being white, very thin material and a floral print -- all things which tend to not mesh well with Winter weather.

Speaking of which, cold weather is so restrictive. I can't wait for Spring for all the pastels and light layering. Anyone else?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Teavana Perfect Tea Maker Guide & Review

When I introduced Tea Tuesday, I mentioned that I now have a cast iron tea pot. It's really my favorite way to make tea, but it isn't necessarily the cheapest method either. Before I had my cast iron, I made my tea in the Teavana Perfect Tea Maker, which is a much cheaper alternative way to steep loose leaf tea. And trust me, once you try loose leaf you'll never go back to bags.

The Perfect Tea Maker is pictured on the right, along with my favorite chai blend that I'll be using to do a quick demonstration on how the Tea Maker works. I have the smaller version, which costs $19.95. 

If you have a tin of tea from Teavana, there should be a label on the outside detailing how much tea per 8oz of water to use, the temperature of the water and how long you should let the leaves steep. 

If you're using another brand -- don't worry, it's not a closely guarded secret or anything. You can easily find guides for various kinds of tea all over the internet, like this pretty and compact one from The Tea Spot. You could even print it and put it on your fridge for easy access. 

After that, preparation is pretty easy. Ideally you would heat your water in a kettle, but the last time I used mine the water came out too fast and I scalded my hand so no, the kettle cannot come out to play right now, it's grounded. I cheated and popped a mug of water in the microwave. 

Put your teaspoons full of tea in the Tea Maker. Just dump them right in there. If you're using any sweetener, you can put that in there too. I've been using real sugar until recently, but I just started a keto diet so I'm using Sweet 'n Low. Because I'd rather load my body up with chemicals than get fat. 

 I've measured my mug and it holds 12oz of water, which means I need one and a half scoops of tea leaves. I like my tea stronger, so I used two. The rules here aren't set in stone, feel free to experiment with all of the guidelines, though some types of tea will get bitter if made in water that is too hot or left for too long, so be careful. 

When your water is ready and at the correct temperature, dump it in there too. It's kind of cool to watch the color of the water change for the first couple of seconds. Now leave it alone for the prescribed amount of time.

When it's ready, proceed to lift up the mug and ooh and ahh at how none of the tea comes out. Pretend you are doing a magic trick (illusion, Michael.)

Place it on your mug and it all drains out!

Now some of you may be wondering, "How do I clean it?" Well, I'm glad you asked that because that brings me to the review portion of today's program. 


Cleaning it is a massive pain in the ass. You can try dumping the leaves out into the garbage, but there are a lot of nooks and crannies in there and it won't all come out. You can try rinsing it and pouring it down your sink, which is great if you like clogged sinks. I don't have a garbage disposal, so I'm not sure how well that would work. The website says that the strainer can be removed to wash separately  but I've done quite a bit of tugging and pulling on the contraption and have yet to be able to remove it before feeling like I'm going to snap it in half. 

Cheap way to make loose leaf tea
♥ Allows for making more than one cup at a time, as opposed to a strainer 

X Difficult to clean
X The plastic stains after repeated use
X Tea seems to get cold very quickly 

A good choice for those who just want to dip their toe into the warm, cozy world of tea without much commitment. However, the design could certainly be improved upon and may prove to be difficult to clean for many people. If you're already tea lover, you'll probably find yourself preferring to spring for a tea pot right away instead. Most of the time I find I'd rather use my tea pot because the strainer is so much easier to dump out and rinse. The Perfect Tea Maker is somehow more work than a tea pot. 

Do you have any questions or topics you'd like me to touch on for Tea Tuesday? Tell me in the comments!

Note: I am not affiliated with Teavana in any way. This review is completely unsponsored. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Outfits Inspired by Betsey Johnson Earrings

If you caught my Link Love post yesterday, you'd have seen an article about the ever-fabulous Betsey Johnson getting back into the game after filing for bankruptcy. Even though her accessory line has remained in-tact, this is really exciting news for those of us that love her quirky, over-the-top designs. 

If you were to skim through my outfit posts, you may notice that virtually every. single. one. of my outfits utilizes at least one Betsey Johnson accessory. It's safe to say I'm obsessed.

My favorites are always the earrings. I have several from her brand, but I tend to stick to safer choices like basic heart-shaped studs. As much as the more outlandish pieces make me swoon, I all too often find myself asking "What in the world am I going to wear that with?" 

So I decided to challenge myself to style two pairs of earrings! Here are some ideas for how to inject some of Betsey's eccentric style into two wearable outfits. 

Cute black polka dot bows with gummy bears and conversation hearts dangling from them... an oddly specific choice of accessory, for sure. But by anchoring the outfit with a basic black polka dot dress, you can incorporate a host of the various pastel, candy-coated colors from the earrings into a sweet but sophisticated ensemble. 

I love how Betsey Johnson jewelry can take a simple design like a star and turn it into something unique. The vibe I get from these earrings is somewhere between sorceress and fortune teller. You can balance the gold color of the earrings with a matching pair of pumps, and add some detail with metallic gold nail polish as well. The nebula necklace adds a pop of color to the murky blue dress while tying into the mysterious space inspired aesthetic.

How would you style some of Betsey Johnson's earrings? Tell me in the comments!

This post was created as a submission to IFB Project #79: Your Best Earring Bling

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Link love 01.13.13

♥ "The Only Real Women are Natural Women" -- it isn't what it sounds like!
♥ It's not too terribly late to get started on Apartment Therapy's January Cure. I've been meaning to do a major overhaul of my apartment this month. It's too tiny and I have too much stuff!
H&M will be releasing a new set of stores called "& Other Stories." It doesn't look like they'll be in North America initially, but I'm still excited to see what they offer.
Betsey Johnson has been busily working to rebuild her brand after filing for bankruptcy. I'm so excited, I'm a huge B.J fan!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Introducing Tea Tuesday

Hey everyone! I hope your Holidays went well. It's taken me a bit to get back into the swing of things, but today I'd like to introduce a new feature -- Tea Tuesday!

Yes, I'm aware that today is Wednesday. I actually started the post yesterday, but something came up and I wasn't able to finish it. It felt silly to wait another week to get started just because of my weird obsession with alliteration, so just roll with me here.

I got a cast iron teapot for Christmas this year, and let me tell you I am in love. There's something so satisfying about the ritual of making a pot of tea rather than popping a glass in the microwave, and I can definitely tell the difference when it comes to taste.

My sister has a tradition of giving me tea paraphernalia every year. I have another teacup and a ceramic teapot from her, and this year she gave me this gorgeous peacock tea mug. I've been drinking at least a glass a day from it. 

And my favorite tea at the moment is this blend from Teavana of their Maharaja Chai Oolong and Samurai Chai Mate. I'm a huge fan of chai teas. I also have their Rooibos chai because it's low in caffeine and I like to drink tea at night, but I love how spicy this blend is.

I also sampled Teavana's Youthberry tea, which I hear a lot of people raving about. I can't say I'm a fan, even though I've tried making it both hot and cold. I guess I just don't like fruity teas very much. 

I'm looking forward to making Tea Tuesday a regular feature. I'll be reviewing various tea blends and products, and providing any advice or tips that I stumble across. 

I'm also on the lookout for new brands to try. Teavana is definitely one of the most visible tea brands out there, but that doesn't necessarily make them the best.

  If any of my fellow tea enthusiasts have some recommendations for me, please leave them in the comments! 

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