Month: December 2014

2014 In Review

Often a year passes and I fall into the trap of comparing myself to others on Social Media. I’m behind most people my age who have begun to have children, are getting married, buying houses, or in serious relationships. I can barely remember where I set my phone down last and let my laundry pile up for three weeks at a time, let alone finding a husband or even a steady boyfriend. While it is extremely important to remember that it is all about perspective and that these people only show what they want people to see (notice no one shares photos of themselves looking anything but perfect), it is also important to remember that your accomplishments matter too.

Despite all of my complaining, I really do have so much to be thankful for and there is probably some random person from high school that I didn’t think even knew I existed who is jealous of some aspect of my life. That being said, while I think 2014 has been an extremely tough year, I’m sure my social media followers are none the wiser since I am guilty of it too. However, it is the tough times that teach us the most so I have learned a lot about being an adult and staying true to myself these past 12 months. Here’s to a great 2014, and here’s hoping for an even better 2015!

January:
childhood portrait
I expanded my painting portfolio by doing my first ever portrait. It was meant to be a Christmas present for my mom, but I didn’t finish on time…better late than never!

February:
things moving cross-country has taught me
I packed up my little Honda accord (named Darryl, after The Office character, duh) and moved cross country to Denver. In case you were wondering, here’s what I learned.

March:
river north denver
antique fireplace
Explored my new city and found a new apartment. I was unemployed during this time which was a fabulous and stressful experience all at the same time.

April:
radisson blu
I took a business trip to this dreamy hotel and posted about it here.

May:
franklin, tn wedding
Got to see this beauty get married, it (and she) was stunning!

June:
world cup
World Cup fever. (I still love you, Sergio)

July:
25th birthday gift ideas
Me and the blog both got a year older. (This was my birthday wish list, sorry I did not take any photos of myself to document the day)

August:
Mesa Verde
I went to visit Mesa Verde with some friends, I can’t recommend this place enough!

September:
estes park, co
My parents came out for a visit 🙂

October:
chautauqua park danny welbeck
Taking one of my last hikes of the season and soaking in the view. Also, we had to carve a Danny Welbeck pumpkin because that’s normal.

November:
kelly seven sixteen
Kelly, my sister, joined me on seven | sixteen!

December:
biltmore house
Kelly came home for Christmas (for the first time in three years!) with her boyfriend, Alyn. The two of them treated us to a day at the Biltmore, more to come on that soon.

So, I hope you enjoyed this year as much as I did and if your year was as shitty (but still awesome) as mine, know you are not alone. Cheers to 2015!

x B

NYE Dresses

Ah, another year has passed and one of my least favorite days of the year is upon us. Regardless of how much I dislike the holiday, I always force myself to do some sort of social activity in case the old wives tale that what you do on New Year’s Eve will determine the rest of your year is actually true. No matter how you are ringing in the new year, here are some outfit ideas to help you spend less time worrying about what you’re going to wear (all are from trusty H&M) and that are sure to make you feel fabulous! Disclaimer: I promise I do have variation in my fashion choices, but given that NYE is right after the season of endless sweets and eating in general I stick to darker colors to disguise the 15 pounds I may or may not have gained in a week…oh, just me? Ok.

New Year's Eve outfit ideas

jersey dress // jumpsuit (also available in red and ivory if you’re feeling sassy) // plunge strapless dress // sequined dress // lace dress // bag (to coordinate with all!)

x B

 

Serial

serial podcast
If you are a red blooded human and haven’t been living under a rock, you’ve heard of Serial, the viral podcast. I’ve told everyone I know (unsolicited, of course) to start listening because I’m so obsessed. This American Life reporter, Sarah Koenig, has been investigating a murder trial from 15 years ago to see if the convicted murderer was actually wrongfully charged. The show aired 12 episodes in it’s first season and has announced a second season in the near future. I don’t want to give away any spoilers for those of you who haven’t listened (this should be no one reading!), but after 12 weeks of listening, I still don’t know what to think. You can find all twelve episodes here and after listening tell me, is Adnan Syed innocent?

x B

Hot Toddy

I’ve come down with the annual cold. Naturally, it happens during the Christmas party season and just a few days before I have to get on a plane. But life goes on… One thing my cold has taught me this year is the importance of hot water with lemon and honey to soothe a sore throat.  Given my adult tastebuds and the desperate need for a good night’s sleep, I’ve starting adding whisky to my drinks. Low and behold, you have a Hot Toddy.  It’s about the easiest cocktail to make and it’s perfectly acceptable to drink it while you’re moping on the couch with piles of tissues and wiling the time away with Netflix.  It also soothes the throat and the cough. (None of these are prerequisites to make a Hot Toddy though.) Win win win, I say.

Ingredients:
Hot water
Honey
Lemon Juice
Whisky or bourbon (whatever brand you prefer)

Recipe:
Boil enough water to fill a mug.  Put 1 tsp of honey in the mug.  Pour water into the mug and stir well.  Add 1 tbsp of lemon juice.  Top off with 1-2 tbsp of whisky or bourbon.  Enjoy!  Lots of receipes say to add the whisky before the water, I however prefer it the other way around.  To me it makes a difference, I don’t really know why.

Probably best not to drink this all day, but I won’t judge! Also, you probably shouldn’t drink this and take medicine, but it’s your call.

x K

End of Year Movies

Any movie buff will tell you that this is the best time of the year for movies. Sundance films have been slowly trickling their way into theaters and studios are releasing their big guns for  Oscar season (the good, the bad, and the ugly). Here’s my list of must see movies for the end of the year!

1- The Hobbit

Sorry, I love LOTR, namely Legolas.

2- Wild

A girl who doesn’t know what she’s doing and is willing to go to extremes to figure it out? I’m in.

3- The Theory of Everything

This looks pretty emotional even though I don’t know much about Stephen Hawking, but I’m intrigued.

4-Inherent Vice

I still don’t think I can even begin to explain this plot to anyone, but it looks like it may be this year’s American Hustle. And as crazy as he may seem, Joaquin Phoenix can act.

5- A Most Violent Year

As someone who typically plays the heroine, I’m looking forward to watching Jessica Chastain in a more villainous and feisty role.

x B

First Aid Kit Concert

A few months back, I attended my first concert at the infamous Royal Albert Hall to see the Swedish folk band, First Aid Kit. The show followed the release of their second album, Stay Gold.  This album is amazing and possibly better than their debut album.

Royal Albert Hall is a stunning venue.  It is absolutely huge and First Aid Kit was sold out.  We were in the nosebleed section.  Apart from it being a little hard to see the band, it was great.  We could roam the entire section and they seriously limited the number of people up there so it meant we didn’t have to fight our way for a good place.

The show was incredible.  It was a good balance between their first and second albums, as well as a few covers thrown in.  In addition to their band, First Aid Kit was accompanied by a string quartet.  The girls also did a song sans microphones and even we could here them.  All in all it was a fantastic concert in a legendary venue.  My only teeny, tiny complaint what that with the exception of a few songs, the set list was exactly the same as the first time I saw them in London in July 2013.  But First Aid Kit was amazing then as well so I can’t complain too much.

If you haven’t checked out their new album, you should do it now:

x K

Gift Guide: Men

Males can be tough to buy for because mostly when asked they either want some video game I have never heard of or respond with nothing. So, I have tried to crack their code and compile a list of ten items for any man on your list this year.

gift guide for men

1. A great read/reference guide for the whiskey lover.
2. Some awesome beer glasses.
3. A beautiful and practical gift for the culinary enthusiast.
4. A masculine way to display your favorite photographs.
5. Easy streaming and entertainment at your fingertips, duh.
6. To improve your music listening experience.
7. A classic read.
8. A leather case to protect your technology.
9. For the meat/grilling enthusiast.
10. A streamlined biking guide for major cities.

x B

Travel Guide: Sicily

A few months back my boyfriend and I were planning a belated summer holiday before winter set in. My only requirements were somewhere warm and within walking distance of a sandy beach.  After some flight searching, Sicily seemed like the perfect choice.  It met my requirements and flights were reasonable.  We flew into Catania on the southeastern part of the island.  From there we made our way via bus to the little town of Avola where we spent four blissful days. After a long (and hot) walk from the center of town we finally made it to our B&B, La Terrazza sul Mare. We had cute little room with a balcony that looked out onto the sea.  The beach was a 2 minute walk from our room and we had a lovely and quiet sandy beach practically to ourselves.  There wasn’t much around the B&B since it was located on the edge of the town, but there was a great kiosk to stop and refresh with a Moretti or Magnum and two nice restaurants in walking distance. The pictures below are a view from our balcony, the path to the beach and our spot of choice on the beach. IMG_1562 IMG_1568 IMG_1630 The main purpose of our trip was to relax so we didn’t plan on doing much.  Going later in the season meant Avola was less busy and we got a more authentic and local experience.  However, it also meant we missed the best weather.  When the sun was out, we were able to enjoy the beach and the water was still warm enough to swim.  We were rather unlucky and it rained just about everyday.  For the most part it wasn’t a hindrance though; the rainy afternoons meant we could enjoy a leisurely lunch on our balcony and have a soothing nap.  Our last full day there was a terrible thunderstorm, which was unlucky. One day we ventured to Siracusa, which was a 30 minute drive from Avola.  The lovely owners of the B&B drove us there since we had missed the morning buses which was very sweet. (For those of you who have never been to Italy, or Sicily in particular, the Italians don’t necessary operate according to logical time tables.)  Siracusa has a beautiful old town called Ortiga that is a UNESCO World Heritage site. We wandered around the beautiful city streets, into the cathedrals and the market. The city was lovely and we had an amazing lunch in the piazza overlooking the cathedral (pictured below). Naturally the meal was rounded off with gelato…pistachio and dark chocolate for me…yum!IMG_1583 IMG_1600 The food and wine was incredible.  I don’t think we had a bad meal the whole time…lots of good pizza, seafood pasta, mussels and fish.  Our local restaurant had an amazing dessert called Aria d’Avola.  It was so good we had to go back a second time.  All the people we came across were extremely friendly and there were no signs of the mafia.  Also, Etna did not erupt so that was good. I thoroughly enjoyed Sicily and would highly recommend it to anyone.  I can’t wait to go back and explore more of the island. My recommendation is go in late September and rent a car so you can easily get around and venture to some of the fantastic towns and destinations!

x K

DIY: Thread Wrapped Branches

mantel piece diy branch diy

I thought I was hit by a stroke of genius when I decided to make branches into a geometric piece of art. After a quick google search it was pretty clear that I am a little late to the party. Alas, it was still a fun art project to take on and even my roommate and her boyfriend helped contribute! (We did attract some weird stares carrying a bundle of sticks from the park to our apartment)

The process was simple, first we gathered fallen branches (this can be done in your yard or a local park). We gave them a quick coat of white paint we had from previous furniture projects. We stopped after one coat because we liked the look of the raw, exposed wood peaking through, but you can do as many as you would like. Next we wrapped the sticks in embroidery thread varying the color, width, and spacing of the bands securing them with super glue. After each stick was wrapped we arranged them in a large glass vase adding an element of height, texture, and color to complete our mantel.thread wrapped branch detail
thread wrapped branch detail

I spread this out over the course of a few days due to time constraints, but this could easily be completed in an afternoon. This could easily be translated into a centerpiece, a wall hanging, or even done at a smaller scale — the possibilities are endless. Happy crafting!

x B