Wednesday, September 28, 2011

let's catch up.

glitter toms. yes. i'm a walking disco ball. 
so i've been m.i.a. for a while. last week was in.sane. kyle and i worked really hard to plan a pretty awesome party for my birthday/fall's arrival/a reason to watch a movie outside. it turned out pretty awesome. just check out the invite.

kyle j. dyer design :)

we originally got the idea for the party from here on design*sponge. so awesome and fun. so after a few months of talking about planning it and a few weeks of actually planning, it turned into my birthday party. yippee!

of course, i ended up taking on a lot/too much stuff, and maybeeee felt a little stressed on the day of the party. but with the help of my family, kyle, and friends, it happened and it was beautiful.

stuff kyle and i did ourselves:
felt leaf garlands for the tent
an outdoor movie screen
fresh popcorn
popcorn spices with shakers and labels
food labels
invitation design
my cake
cake topper
chili - regular and vegetarian
bourbon mint ice cream
cherry apple whiskey sour popsicles
spiced apple cider

so yeah -- pretty awesome/busy. i made the felt garland in one tuesday night before (i'll post more details later if anyone is interested), during and after glee and the new girl. as i sat cutting out leaf shaped felt, this happened...

random mustache time
casey+mustache and my felt garland

i'm almost embarrassed at how long we looked for appropriate tape in order to attach these to our faces for instagram. yeah. funsies. i originally made the leaf garland one big string, but then decided to make shorter, uneven strips hanging down around the tent. as i was hanging it up, kyle and my dad did this.

kyle & dad building the movie screen 

there was actually a moment i thought "this isn't really going to happen and these people who think they are coming to an outdoor movie party are sadly mistaken and the party will be semi-ruined." but one minute i was cutting extra leaves for the tent, and the next kyle is telling me to go listen to see if the sound is loud enough for the movie. it actually happened. and it was amazing. people driving up to the house to see a huge movie screen outside were impressed, i think, and i kinda hope people driving by could see and thought "man, i want to go to that party!" 

outdoor movie playing "big" and birthday smooches under the tent
lovely tent with lights and leaves. this is where most of us sat to eat

my cake turned out pretty great, too. at one point, the recipe went seriously awry, probably because i randomly found it online and it may or may not have been legit, but i was able to turn it around. it had to do with the middle layer of blackberry frosting, which i'll explain later, but i worked it out. thank god. and the sparkly gold K i made for the topper looked lovely with my 23 candles and only cost about 2 bucks to make.

hello :) that's my cake and my topper i made myself. glitterrrr

the popcorn idea also came from the design*sponge post. i designed and printed the labels for the shakers i found for 97 cents for a 2 pack. we made the same spice combinations as the people in the post, but since there were no measurements for each, i just taste tested along the way.

spicy — cayenne + paprika + salt
salty — salt + pepper
savory — rosemary + salt
sweet — cinnamon + sugar + salt

all of the spices were great, and since there was a lot leftover, i'll be using them a lot with some fresh popcorn for a nighttime snack for a while.

trying out the popcorn and spices before the party. oh, and four bottles of wine from friends.
labels and spices i made for the popcorn

kyle wanted to try out my new kitchenaid ice cream maker attachment with this bourbon mint ice cream from gq. i tried out a vanilla recipe with fresh raspberries and chocolate chips first a few weeks ago (i'll post some details later), and it worked pretty well, so we knew we could move on to bigger and better things. this recipe has a lot of mint -- all the leaves from my mint plant plus some store bought -- and 1/4 cup of bourbon. and it tastes like gum. i love it, but if you don't want your ice cream tasting on the same level as toothpaste, maybe don't go for this one.

beginning and end of the bourbon mint ice cream.
chocolate and blackberry cake + ice cream.

my friends and family really came through with the gifts this year! i loved all my gifts. i got everything from sparkly shoes to pumpkin butter straight from amish country. everything was perfect for me and everyone really got me things they knew i would love and use -- specifically my milk bottle measuring cups from my sister. she found them at anthropologie and they are gorgeous and stack together to make a milk bottle. genius, people. genius.

my favorite gift. thanks, sister. :)

the day after my party, kyle and i drove to knoxville for a job interview. worked out pretty perfectly for my birthday -- potential job plus birthday getaway!

tennessee. :) and enjoying my new ring, polish and book in the car.
eating at tomato head pizza in knoxville on my birthday.
muffin + latte for breakfast. delish fried green tomatoes for lunch.
lavendar cheesecake for dessert. lemon + sugar crepe for a snack.
pumpkin stew starter for pork roast and a little owl vase from knoxville.
awesome prints from yee haw + some fun jcrew and m.a.c. purchases.
we had a lot of fun driving and just getting away for a couple days, plus the interview went well, so we'll see. could knoxville be our new place of residence?!

i have several other photos from my party and such on my actual camera, but alas, i can't find the cord to upload them. when that little things turns up, i'll update with more/better pics. 

in the next few days, i hope to update on my cooking adventures, more details about my baking, my extreme love for grace bonney's new design*sponge book, how i'm obsessed with "brothers & sisters" even though it's already cancelled and other nonsense in my day to day.

i know i don't have many followers, but what do you guys like to read about most??? nails, cooking, fashion, something else? any thoughts? just wondering.


ps. brooke just gave me my gift but it's not pictured -- sephora shadows and nail polish! love! thanks, lady. :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

i love marilyn

during a random trip to target the other day, this cover of vogue stopped me in my tracks.

michelle williams, one of my faves, is playing marilyn monroe in a film called "my week with marilyn."  i haven't had a chance to finish the article yet, but what i have read is lovely and interesting. the photos are by annie leibvoitz, naturally. stunning.


this photo is my favorite from the 14 page spread. the original version of this photo with the real marilyn is one of my favorites of her, as well. i have the book "fragments" with actual photographs and scans of marilyn's diaries, and the cover of the book is this photo of marilyn on a checked couch with a red diary in her hand. i love everything about it — the colors of the couch and her clothing, the relaxed pose of such a beautiful women, the concentrated look in her eyes — it all makes the picture so interesting and captivating. plus, in this one, michelle looks so much like marilyn it's scary.

michelle definitely knows how to channel a person, and she is amazing as marilyn. of course, marilyn isn't the easiest to imitate. she was one of a kind. i always wondered who could ever play her in a movie, and was never able to come up with anyone i deemed "good enough." however, after seeing these photographs, i have no doubts that michelle will be perfect.

i love everything that marilyn was, even the bad parts of her. i love her beauty, her story and even her tragic and mysterious death intrigues me. i have read several books about marilyn, researched the scandals and controversies between her and various public figures and tried to understand her tortured mind. she fascinates me. to me, it's not just about liking an icon from an earlier era, but about appreciating what a talented woman so desperately wanted to show the world. she wanted to be loved. she wanted to be successful. she wanted to be somebody. you were somebody, marilyn. you were somebody wonderful and talented. you were intriguing and amazing.
you were beautiful. 


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

nail trends

"afterall, nails are the new lipstick, the new statement shoe, the new...everything."

in a small beauty article in october's vogue, sarah brown writes about a new nail polish by nails inc. that will launch at sephora stores sometime soon. what's so special about it? it's magnetic

"it's unlikely, too, that you will have to pry yourself off the surface of your fridge. you may, however, immediately start making a lot of people, including yourself, smile."

the polish contains metallic iron particles, and the brush's cap has a magnet on it, which activates the particles when waved over the wet polish. you can move the magnet in a design or straight across, and as this magic liquid dries, it creates a pattern. a beautiful, shimmery pattern.

as i sat in starbucks reading this article, i gasped a semi-loud "ohmyygawddd." kyle's frightened response quickly subsided when i told him i was reading about nail polish. but seriously, this is too awesome.

brown says in the article that she wasn't immediately sure about the polish until she went about her day and had people literally stopping in their tracks to grab her hands and even touch her nails. this is enough for me to try it. 

the polish will be released in three shades at first — silver, plum, and gold — and i will definitely need to try them out. yes, they cost $16 a bottle, but it's a little splurge i'll have to do.

in other nail news, i can't decide how i feel about this crackle polish. i don't know if any of you remember, but crackle polish isn't exactly a new thing. i had some in middle school, i think, and wore it every once in a while. but i guess now that katy perry is the face of OPI's crackle line, it's a new thing? which, i mean, katy is pretty amazing, so i'd get something that was named after her songs. anyway, my mom picked this gray shade up at sally's. it's china glaze, not OPI, but still does the trick/crack. i just can't decide about it. maybe it's the light pink shade i chose for underneath it? i don't know. i'm going to experiment with it. what do you think?

however, i am totally sure that i love this. gold. shimmery. yes. please. forever.


Monday, September 19, 2011

"dirty pop..."

kyle has many wonderful characteristics. like how he makes an average of four faces for a picture before he settles on a smile. or how he carries around three different drinks all the time. or how he likes to hide behind the filing cabinet and wait for you to round the corner and jump out and scare the bajeezus out of you.

or how he randomly sings pieces of about 10 different songs on any given day.

the playlist in kyle's head
1. "Pop" by NSYNC
2. "You Are So Beautiful (to me)" by Joe Cocker
3. "You Can't Always Get What You Want" by The Rolling Stones
4. "Old Man River" from "Show Boat"
5. "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" by Billy Joel
6. "Portland Oregon" by Loretta Lynn and Jack White
7. "Man in the Mirror" by Michael Jackson
8. "Firework" by Katy Perry
9. "Imma Be" by The Black Eyed Peas
10. "All I Wanna Do" by Sheryl Crow

but really, he sings just about everything. those are just some that he sings more often than others. so if you've written a catchy number and want the world to hear it, or at least the better part of huntington, west virginia, just let kyle hear it and get it stuck in his head. people will know it then. he's pretty great.


Friday, September 16, 2011

fashion for fall: nails

this might be what i'm most excited about for fall. manicures. there are several trends and styles i'm dying to try for this season, and some that i've already tried. i tend to change my nails every three or four days, either because i start to chip them off, or i just get bored. of course, most people leave their manicure alone for at least a week, but there are enough styles going around that you don't have to.

let's start off with some shades i'm loving for this season. 

this color is so great. i bought a bottle of revlon in this shade and fell in love. it will be the perfect punch with some of my fall outfits. this could also go with the royal blues i talked about in the clothing post.

vintage red
i'm a sucker for red, as it is, but for fall, i especially love a vintage shade of red. when i say vintage, i just mean it has sort of an orange undertone that screams 60's to me. it sort of gives me the feeling that i'm joan in mad men, and i'm walking around bossing people around. oh wait...

different shades of grey were really popular last year, and this year there are even more to choose from. you might think that grey is grey and that's that. but no. there are so many different ones to choose from. some have brown undertones, some have black undertones, some even have a purple tint. call me drab, but this might be my favorite shade ever.

also, notice the mani in the picture with the grey shades. this ombre-type of manicure is something i really want to try with different shades. you could do this with any color, just keep it in the same family to keep from looking like a rainbow.

silver + army green
i also mentioned army green in the post about your wardrobe for fall, and this carries over to your mani. i picked up this green color by sinful colors at rite aid for $1.99, and i love it. i paired it with a silver color by revlon that i had, and it looked pretty awesome. army green polish would look great with gold, too. which brings me to my next favorite fall trend...

gold + glitter

i think i could wear gold glittery nails every day forever. they are glitzy and fun, and go with pretty much everything. i use martha stewart craft glitter for all of my shimmery manicures. the two top photos are my own manicures. the one on the left with all the gold nails got so many compliments, even from strangers. this is something i know i will keep doing all season. i'm also wanting to try the black polish + gold glitter manicure below. all of the nails are different, but go together nicely.

i learned to do this from this great tutorial from cutepolish on youtube. her technique is super easy and looks legit.

this design is great for fall, and could be mixed with whatever colors you fancy. i also created a look using the leopard print in just the moons of my nails. it turned out pretty good for the first try. 

moons + interest nail
speaking of moons, i love a reverse manicure that highlights that little white semi-circle at the base of your nail. i tried out a naked moon manicure using a pretty red shade on the rest of the nail. i tried this after i watched "atonement" with kyle last week. i have seen it several times, but for the first time i noticed the mother's manicure as she comforts her lying daughter, briony.

another trend i love, is the interest nail, which is just painting one nail a different color or design. i usually use my ring finger.

matte vs. glossy
i am in love with matte nail polishes, but i have only been able to find a couple from drug stores. but essie makes a matte topcoat that turns any shade into a matte finish. must. buy. that. mixing matte and glossy polishes together also creates a great look for fall.

nail art
i realize not everyone has the time or patience for nail art, especially intricate designs. however, i love doing it. these tribal-inspired nails could be awesome for fall, and a manicure with coordinating shades but different designs on each nail are really adorable. the possibilities are endless, really, and you can surely find something you love for fall.

sally hansen also makes those strips for your nails that make it super easy to get a design, a bright color or a gold sparkly manicure. although i haven't tried them myself, i hear they last for weeks.

this is the last post of the fall fashion mini-series, but i hope you've enjoyed it and maybe even learned a few things. :) let me know if you have any ideas or suggestions from your fall wardrobe. it's a new season, people.
let's look lovely.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

fashion for fall: clothing

now it's time for wardrobe talk. here are some pieces, styles and combinations i'm excited to try this season. fall is coming, people. prepare your closets accordingly.

denim + lace
1. american eagle. 2. pinterest. 3. banana republic.
of course, denim is a must-have for all seasons. a medium to dark wash looks best on everyone, and really light washes should be reserved for summer. i really love the contrast of the strong, toughness of denim, and the light, frilliness of lace. it's sort of a "leather & lace" idea that's a bit more feminine, i think.  i don't necessarily love the skirt pictured above, but the combination of the pieces for the look make it go together. a good pair of jeans and a lace top like the one above, paired with a cardigan and scarf, could be adorable for fall.


1. madewell. 2. anthropologie. 3. madewell.

i am pretty obsessed with high-waisted things, and this season i'm hoping to get a pair of pants that are high-waisted. paired with a slimmer, tucked-in top, these pants are amazing. these can either be fun and 70's-ish, or sophisticated and tailored. either way, i love it.

shorts + tights

1, 2, 3. anthropologie. 4. pinterest.
i recently bought a pair of paperbag shorts from urban outfitters (high-waisted, of course) and am dying for the right time to wear them with some printed tights and boots. as i mentioned before, i have a little bit of a tights problem, too, so i'm sure that the navy color of the shorts can go with several pairs of tights i have. i'm thinking floral, mustard yellow or burgundy.

i wanted to show a few colors i'm excited about this season. fall isn't just about the colors of the changing leaves. it can be about a bright pop of color that's unexpected but perfect. here are some swoon-worthy shades.

orange & royal blue

1, 2. anthropologie. 3. jcrew. 4. anthropologie. 
not necessarily meant to be worn together (unless you're from tolsia. hey-oh!), these two shades are really catching my eye this year. yes, they definitely are complimentary on the color wheel, but usually i like to keep to one bright color per outfit. i'm in love with all of these pieces above, and although they are all out of my financial reach, i'm hoping to find some dupes of them. and by all means, wear them together if you wish. meanwhile, i'll be dreaming of what i'd look like in that orange number.

army green & emerald

1. pinterest. 2. anthropologie. 3. madewell.
army green has been around for several season, but this year, i feel like i've seen it everywhere. i think this season, it's not just limited to jackets and outerwear, but branched out to tops and dresses, too. also, a brighter shade of green, emerald, is popping up more. the other day, i was looking for something to wear and thought "i'm in the perfect mood to wear an emerald-colored dress." but alas, i do not own such a dress. so i'll start searching now and see what i can find. i'm also loving this green silk t-shirt by madewell. it comes in several awesome colors, as well, but i think that green would be perfect with my brown tweed blazer and a long gold necklace.

how to wear brown & black

1, 2, 3. pinterest.
a little more about colors, now, i wanted to show you how i think black and brown should be worn. i've found this to be what fits my fashion mood most of the time during fall (which might mean, i'm boring, but whatev), and it's easy to create. basically, you just need a black dress dress and brown boots. a belt or scarf isn't always necessary, but definitely adds to the look. my favorite of the three above is the middle one, because the boots that i have are very similar, and i think the more orange-toned brown stands out more against the black. how you shouldn't wear brown and black? a dark brown sweater with jeans and black flats. to me, this seems wrong, like in the 90's when you're mother told you that your shoes didn't match. today, i don't think you necessarily have to match, it just has to go, and the looks above definitely don't match, but they certainly go. see what i mean?

sequins + texture

1, 2, 3. pinterest.
this is possibly my favorite look of the season. i mean, i pretty much love sequins, so this is perfect for me. like the denim with lace look, the mixture of textures is so eye-catching and lovely, but totally appropriate for the cooler days & nights of fall.


i hope i'm giving you some good ideas for your fall wardrobe. i know i'm definitely enjoying writing about what i'm going to wear in the next few months — i'm getting so many ideas! tomorrow will be the last post for this little series, and i'm super excited about it.

enjoy these last few days of official summer. poor kyle is holding on for dear life.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

fashion for fall: accessories

accessories can make or break an outfit. the wrong pair of shoes can ruin the entire effort, and a missing piece of jewelry could mean a boring outfit when it could have been a little more interesting. there are several accessories on my radar for this fall, some of which are carrying over from last year. hopefully, this season, i can get my fix.

scarves + tights
i love to wear scarves in the fall because, well i like scarves. in the summer, it's just too freaking hot for them, even if they are made of light materials. these styles have definitely struck my fancy. i love the scarves with little pom poms or fringe on the edges. the new style of an infinity scarf is adorable and easy. it just wraps around your neck without you having to figure out how to position it. and the flowy, sheer fabrics that are out right now, are perfect for layering onto an outfit.
1. american eagle. 2. modcloth. 3. american eagle.
1. anthropologie. 2. modcloth. 3. mine, anthropologie.
i am a complete sucker for tights. i probably have too many pairs, but i like to have options. there are so many different colors available, and this season, i'm looking forward to wearing my floral pair from last year, and hopefully getting a few more fun prints. i love these subtle polka dot ones, and these vintage style seamed ones are super cute.

i also probably have too many pairs of sunglasses, and right now i'm obsessed with cateye ones. i think they look cute on everyone and give you a little vintage jazz, which i love. i have one pair by betsey johnson that i love, but i really love these from anthropologie for fall.
all from anthropologie. all awesome.
mine, betsey johnson

lately, i've been wearing just a few pieces of jewelry a lot more than my others. this fall, i love adding cute bracelets to an outfit. i think a couple of little sparkly ones will add a little bit of fun to my textured fall outfits. glittery wrists with a tweed jacket? sounds good to me. i have a couple from jcrew that are fun to wear with just about anything, but maybe i can score one of these others this season. 

also, i have really been wanting a nicer version of my charlotte russe envelope necklace that kyle put a little love letter in. that cheap thing broke within a month, and i don't know if it's worth trying to find a chain for. so i would love this bhldn version, or some other nice version.
1. bhldn. 2. anthropologie. 3. bhldn.
bracelets, mine, jcrew
my elephant necklace was also a cheap find, but gets so many compliments you would think it cost more than $10. if you like animal print things, this might interest you. it's quite large and definitely adds interest to any outfit. i know i'll wear this one through the rest of the year.

elephant necklace, mine, charming charlie's

i don't switch up my bags a lot, so i like to find one that i will carry for a while before getting bored with it. i love these little bags with crossbody straps and gold clasps. and i'm on the market for new tote for my computer and things, and this army green one seems perfect. i've also seen several oversized clutches that interest me, even though kyle says they are just really big wallets. hopefully i can find one (or all) of these in the upcoming months. 
1. anthropologie. 2. urban outfitters. 3. madewell. 4. found on pinterest.

i would love a new pair of flats for fall, preferably in a nice fun color. i think these blue ones would look great with a lot of my fall outfits. i'm also dying for a pair of leopard print flats, because i think i'm the last person i know to get a pair. and these gold toms...well, i know they aren't for everyone, but i really think i could rock them this season. i've wanted them for a long time, and with the right outfit, i think they could be adorable.

1. anthropologie. 2. toms. 3. jcrew.
as for boots, (another obsession) i'm freaking in love with these herringbone ones from anthropologie. they definitely cost a pretty penny, but i'm going to watch them like a hawk to see if they go on sale. also, i wanted a pair of dark red leather riding boots all year last year but never found them. this year, i will get a pair. frye makes this beautiful pair, but they, too, are quite expensive. we'll see. 

1. anthropologie. 2. frye. 3. anthropologie.

moccasins are also everywhere, it seems, and kyle made a lot of fun of me for buying this pair last year at urban outfitters. yes, they are different and probably not for everyone, either. but they are comfortable and cute with a red cardigan and jeans. i'll be rocking these again this year, for sure.

mine, urban outfitters

oxfords are also coming back. at the start of last season, they were popping up everywhere, and the trend continues into this year. i love the heeled ones from anthropologie (pictured above), and i definitely would like a brown pair. i love my grey ones that kyle bought me last year for christmas, and i'm excited to start wearing them again with my fall dresses and maybe some tights.

mine, village collection

i know i have several expensive items and name brands on here, but don't think for a second i can afford all of this swag. i usually just find something i like and either find a cheaper version of it, or watch it until it goes on sale. a great example of watching something you like is kyle's mother, ruby. just last week she showed me a necklace she bought at the village collection that she had watched for an entire year. a year. she got it for around $30 i think, when it was originally over $100. success. so if you know there's something you want to try this fall, but it seems too expensive. look around or wait. things go on sale all the time, and things like shoes and bags tend to be extra expensive, but, in my opinion, make all the difference to your wardrobe.