Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Strappy Days

Lately I've been on a mission. A mission to find the perfect pair of summery sandals, the kind that have the magical ability to look equally great with a party dress and a tailored pair of cropped work pants. They're almost painfully simple in design: a thin strap across the toes, and another around the ankle. Nothing connects them- I find that separate straps are more flattering than t-strap shoes. The heel should be at least three inches, but they should be comfortable and easy to walk in.

I'm still on that quest to find my holy grail pair, so I've been scouring the Internet to find some contenders. These are all under $100, so that's kinda cool. They are just. so. chic.

1. Steve Madden, $80
2. ASOS, $68
3. Zara, $80
4. Ann Taylor, $90
5. Zara, $80
6. ASOS, $77
7. Zara, $50
8. Zara, $90*

*this one isn't truly a strappy sandal but I love it nonetheless

Proof that this style is crazy flattering and stylish: Emily from Cupcakes and Cashmere

Which pair is your favorite?


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Summer Reading List

One of the beautiful things about summer is how conducive it is to reading for pleasure. During the school year it's so easy to neglect books (besides the boring textbooks of course), but they always welcome me back with open spines? Anyway... here are six books I'd like to bury my nose into, preferably under a warm sun while sipping lemonade out of my portable mason jar tumbler. ;)

From top left:
1. Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple- she wrote some episodes of Arrested Development, so it's bound to be hilarious.

2. Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan- Atonement and On Chesil Beach are exquisitely beautiful, so I have high expectations for this one by the same author.

3. My Life in France by Julia Child- this woman's life and her sunny disposition fascinate me.

4. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert- I'm actually reading this right now. I know some people loved it and some people thought Gilbert was the most self-absorbed person to walk the Earth, but so far I'm really enjoying it.

5. Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham- yes, Lorelai Gilmore. Need I say more?

6. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn- I've heard so many good things about this one.

{click on the number to go to the Amazon page for each}

I am always open to more book recommendations if anybody has one! 


Monday, May 20, 2013

Kale yeah.

Ignore the cheesy title, I'm still new at this!

One of the refreshing things about summer is how much easier it is to eat ice cream and grilled burgers and s'mores light, nutritious foods. Kale became the newest health craze last summer, and I quickly hopped on the bandwagon. It wasn't an immediate love though- by itself, kale has a very strong and rather bitter taste. Luckily there's a trick to making it taste delicious: baking it!

Now before I jump into divulging the recipe, I'm going to do some edumacatin'. I knew kale was good- no, kinda fantastic- for you, but I didn't know why. So in case you don't either, here's what I found from some good old-fashioned googling:

-It's low-cal. A cup of these greens contains a mere 36 calories!

-But it's chock full of the good stuff. Kale packs in 5 grams of fiber, 15% of your daily calcium and B6 needs, 40% of magnesium, 180% of Vitamin A, 200% of Vitamin C, and 1020-freakin-percent of Vitamin K. And the list goes on with minerals I didn't even know were good for you. 

-More about that Vitamin K... Research shows that eating a diet with lots of that special K can reduce the overall risk of getting cancer.  It's vital for basic body stuff like bone health and blood clotting.

Pretty convincing stuff.

Okay, now that we're through with the health lesson of the day, here's how to make it taste as good as it is for you.

Courtney's Kale Chips
Prep time: 5 minutes
Bake time: 20 minutes

Step one: preheat your oven to 300 degrees; grab lots of baby kales and rinse them off with cool water.

Step two: pat them dry (or at least so they're not still sopping wet).

Step three: put kale in a bowl and drizzle a little olive oil over them; mix with your hands; optional: really feel yourself connected to nature as you do so.

Step four: line a baking sheet with foil for easy clean-up; spread out the kale.

Step five: add your seasonings! I like sea salt, nutritional yeast (which tastes a bit like cheese), and this cajun seasoning to spice things up a little.

Step six (optional): take a few artsy photos while waiting for the oven to be ready. Once ready, pop it in and set timer for 20 minutes.

Step seven: when they're ready, pull them out and place them in a bowl. They're ready to be eaten immediately!

I had to stop myself from eating them all before I took the picture.

My mom and I couldn't get enough of the crispy, savorysalty taste, and my dad (who is a pretty conservative carnivorous type) didn't think they were awful! Progress, people.

These made the perfect little appetizer for our Sunday evening dinner of tilapia and rice. My body probably has me on goddess status the way I've been nourishing it.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Update on the 101 in 1001 List

Recently I posted here about the 101 things I'd like to accomplish in 1001 days.  Happily I can report back that I've already knocked a few of them off my list!

25. Find a new hobby - A couple weeks ago I played racquetball for the first time, and I think I'm hooked! It's great exercise and such an effective stress reliever to whack that little ball as hard as possible.

35. Speak in public without feeling nervous - I had a class presentation on May 6th and, okay, so there were only twelve people in the class, the important thing was that I was almost totally comfortable standing up in front of everyone.

68. Purchase something Kate Spade - Last week Kate Spade had a humongous sale on their website, with up to 75% of some items. I couldn't pass up this opportunity, and I'd been needing a new wallet (my trusty leather Fossil one was showing its age), so I ordered the Cobble Hill Stacy! Here's a picture, innit a beaut?

They're small things, yes, but I'm still proud of my three accomplishments! I've also made progress on a few of the amount-based ones- I donated $5 to the Children's Miracle Network when I was at the store, I used my typewriter to write one kind letter, and I've already seen 22 out of the 50 classic Matchbook girl movies! I kind of cheated on that one because I'd already seen them before making the list... but we can overlook that;)


P.S.- It looks like it'll just be you and me for a while since Katie's off to Italy to study abroad for a month! Let's just hope she doesn't fall in love with a hunky Italian vespa-riding pop star who turns out to be a lip-synching jerk. If you didn't get that then please stop reading this and go watch the Lizzie McGuire Movie, stat. K bye!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Weekend Wants

Happy Saturday ya'll!

There are oh so many cute items out there this season. I feel like I should hide my wallet whenever my laptop is open! Here are a few things I'm coveting:

In clockwise order from top:
1) Spade bangle in turquoise from Design Darling; turquoise and gold make for an amazing combo.
2) Slip neck tee from Kate Spade Saturday; a not-so-ordinary top that I would probably manage to wear, ohhh, all the time?
3) Nude pumps from Vince Camuto; classic shape + genuine leather + unbeatable price = most likely my next purchase.
4) Polka-dot swimsuit from J. Crew; I'm a total sucker for high-waisted retro suits.
5) Sunglasses from Loft; I love the combination of tortoiseshell on the front and paisley on the sides.
6) Lobster iPhone cases by Tory Burch; such a fun idea!

This was way too fun for me to curate, so I'll definitely be making this a weekly thing-- after I hide my debit card.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Playing dress-up begins at age five..

...and never truly ends. 
-Kate Spade

We played a little dress-up on Friday for a banquet we attended.  Getting ready is always one of the highlights of an evening!

On Courtney- dress: jcpenney {for $4, whaaat?!}; earrings: Francesca's {borrowed from Katie}; rings: PacSun + family 'heirloom'; necklace: Forever XXI

On Katie- dress: heels: earrings: 

Courtney & Katie

Monday, May 13, 2013

It's Finals Week...

If we don't post as much in the next few days, just know that this is why:)

Courtney and Katie

Friday, May 10, 2013

Instagram Roundup II

Happy Friday!  Here are a few snaps I've managed to take with Instagram over the past week.

McDonald's iced coffee with half sugar-free vanilla and half caramel syrup= bliss

Providing moral support {and photographic evidence} of my good friend Marissa's nose-piercing adventure
Jamming out to my middle school soundtrack in the car

Little notes are much more fun to make on a typewriter

A treat for finishing endurance cycling class! Note to self: Fiji sadly does not have any magical taste like I was expecting it to.

Rose gold + light blue gingham

And lastly, wise words from my dear friend Megan

Hope everyone has a wonderful Mother's Day weekend!  Any fun plans?  Tonight I'm going to a banquet/party (more on that next week!), then the rest of my weekend will consist of working, studying like a mad woman, showin' mumsy some love, and squeezing in a trip to the theaters to see Gatsby somewhere in all that craziness.


Thursday, May 9, 2013

I'm Blue {da ba dee da ba die}

Did the title of this post get that 90s gem of a song stuck in your head? Don't hate me!

It seemed fitting though for the blue palette of yesterday's outfit.  Also I was feeling a bit under the weather and losing my voice, and not to sound whiny or anything but having a cold in warm weather is double sucky because it's too hot to curl up in blankets with a steaming bowl of chicken noodle soup. Wah.

Nonetheless, I still managed to get out of my pajamas and into something presentable for class and work.  Thanks to my wonderful sister Kristen for lending a photographic hand and braving the bees that seemed to like the scent of my sunscreen!

blouse: H&M; pants: Gap; flats: Vince Camuto; bangles: Forever XXI


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Will Travel For Ice Cream

Finals are quickly approaching, so we've been spending as much time together as possible so we can maybe get sick of each other to cram in everything on our joint to-do list before Katie leaves.  (Again, lists are a recurring thing with us.)

One of our to-do's was to visit Central Dairy, a state-famous ice cream shop in the heart of Missouri's capital. This afternoon, a rarity of not having class or work, was the perfect day to fulfill this. We piled in my trusty Honda and set off on the half-hour drive to Jeff City, while Amos Lee and Sara Bareilles provided the perfect soundtrack.

Walking downtown felt a little bit like Stars Hollow with its historic building fronts and local cafes.  On the way to Central Dairy we walked by a charming little flower shop where pictures were mandatory. 

On Courtney- top: jcp; skirt: Goodwill via Talbots; flats: Tory Burch; sunglasses + headband: Target; necklace: Forever XXI

On Katie: dress:  Macy's  jacket: Old Navy flats: Payless; sunglasses: Nordstrom

 We are apparently both fascinated by something on the ground.

The shop owner saw us doin' our thing and sweetly acted as photographer for the next two shots:

All that posing worked up a big appetite! Central Dairy was a hopping place, especially for a Tuesday afternoon. It was so tough to choose two flavors, but luckily we were able to sample a couple.

We finally picked our poisons (Katie got Caramel Caribou and Tiger Tracks and I got Caramel Caribou and Muddy River)

Afterwards we took a stroll up the hill to the capitol building. It wasn't all smooth sailing though: I stupidly wore my new flats without breaking them in first, which resulted in very painful cuts on my heels (Tory B if you're reading this I'm not very happy with you girl) and making a trip into the post office to ask for band-aids. The things we do for fashion.

A group of elementary school kids on a field trip were taking a picture on the steps, which we both had the privilege of experiencing in our younger days:)

Not bad for a Tuesday afternoon! We both highly recommend Central Dairy for anyone visiting the Jeff City area, but a word of advice- go on a weekday when it won't be crawling with people. Unless you are a fan of crowds, then by all means go on Saturday! It'll still taste delicious.

Courtney & Katie

Courtney's 101 in 1001

Katie and I love lists. Especially Katie. She has inspired me to write daily to-do lists on sticky notes and put them in my agenda, serving as a means of planning ahead for the day and holding me accountable for how I use my time.

That's why we both let out a little squeal when we saw this post by Mackenzie of Design Darling.  Here's how she prefaces it:

For me, 1001 days (2.75 years) is a happy medium between writing a to do list and keeping a bucket list. It's a way to dream big and make regular progress toward meeting those longer term goals. 

I immediately created a new note on my MacBook for the occasion and went to work on my own list, occasionally drawing inspiration from other bloggers. And let me tell you, writing this list has given me the best feeling- hope and excitement about the future and what it holds. 1001 days from now is in 2016, when - if all goes as planned - I'll be in my final year of the master's accountancy program at Mizzou. Crazy!

Here's my list, and I hope I can inspire at least one reader to start her own:

101 in 1001
End date: January 31, 2016

1. Move into *my* first house {July 2013!}
2. Travel to the Eastern seaboard
3. Donate $100 to charities {$6/$100}
4. Attend the Kentucky Derby (or at least a theme party) or a polo match
5. Run a 5K
6. Take an impromptu road trip {August 2013}
7. Use my typewriter to write 10 kind letters {2/10}
8. Go skinny dipping {July 2013}
9. Get a credit card and start building up my credit {May 2013}
10. Go to a drybar
11. Buy a bouquet of flowers for no good reason
12. Go to a blogger meet-up/convention
13. Don't complain for an entire day
14. Go sailing
15. Be recognized for outstanding work at my job (June 2013!)
16. Be finished with orthodontics (sooooon)
17. Read and complete 50 novels {4/50}
18. Make a meal completely from scratch
19. Ride a Vespa/moped {July 2013}
20. Watch all 50 classic Matchbook girl movies {22/50}
21. Buy something with a Lilly Pulitzer print
22. Kiss in the rain (cheesy but whatev)
23. Go to the movie theater solo
24. Have a garage sale {June 2013}
25. Find a new hobby {5/5/13!}
26. Take a ballroom dancing lesson
27. Backpack across Europe
28. Go on a float trip or camping
29. Pay for a stranger's coffee
30. Reach $6000 in my travel money market account {$2500/$1000}
31. Make or join a book club
32. Compliment a stranger 50 times {3/50}
33. Go to a drive-in movie {June 2013}
34. Golf at a country club
35. Speak in public without feeling nervous {class presentation- 5/6/13!}
36. Attend a music festival
37. Host a backyard barbeque in the summer
38. Bake treats for my coworkers
39. Feel completely confident in a swimsuit
40. Ride in a horse-drawn carriage
41. Learn how to grill food on a barbecue
42. Complete Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred
43. See a band I love in concert
44. Go to a Cardinal's game with Katie
45. Master a Brigitte Bardot-inspired bouffant hairstyle
56. Learn how to change a tire
56. Give blood
57. Buy a portable hammock and use it in warm weather
58. Find a tea flavor that I actually like
59. Make 10 mix CDs for people I care about {2/10}
60. Improve my awful flexibility- be able to bend down and touch toes
61. Cut out artificial sweeteners for a week
62. Go geocaching
63. Vote in local elections
64. Go on a wine tasting trip (when I'm legal...)
65. Ask a boy out on a date
66. Dress up and go to either a ballet or symphony
67. Hold a plank for 3 minutes
68. Purchase something Kate Spade {5/13/13!}
69. Go to a masquerade ball
70. Try meditating every morning for a week
71. Join a small group/Bible study {June 2013}
72. Run outside in a sports bra and shorts
73. Learn how to use chopsticks and not be that clueless white girl
74. Leave a 100% tip
75. Get 50 blog followers on Bloglovin' {6/50}
76. Open a separate savings account specifically for travel funds {May 2013!}
77. Meet a friend through blogging
78. Host a dinner party
79. See a play at the Fox
80. Learn how to tie a tie
81. Weight train 3 times a week for a month
82. Get a basket for my bike
83. Become a pen pal with someone overseas
84. Have a picnic in a park
85. Visit the Downton Abbey castle
86. Hustle Up the Hancock race
87. Go horseback riding
88. Take piano lessons
89. Treat my mom to a day of pampering/not having to do anything
90. Go a week without getting externally annoyed with sister (and hopefully longer)
91. Go to the county fair
92. Volunteer at a soup kitchen/food bank
93. Have something different for lunch every day for a week
94. Create a Facebook page for the Hunter-Gatherers
95. Plant flowers
96. Start a little vegetable garden in the backyard
97. Go antiquing
98. Get a 4.0 for an academic year
99. Be in the audience of the Today Show
100. Attend 3 weddings
101. Come up with 101 things {phew, that took a while- 5/7/13!}

I have a lot of work to do!


Monday, May 6, 2013

Florida Flashbacks

Ahh, Naples.

Lazy poolside breakfasts with the newspaper crossword.
Morning walks amongst friendly retired exercisers.
Driving with the windows down on Tamiami, country music blaring.
Outdoor Jimmy Buffett tribute concerts.
Fruity drinks every. single. day.
Window shopping at the Lilly Pulitzer boutique.
Soaking up the sun in Tommy Bahama beach chairs.
Unashamedly acting more like our grandparents' age than our own.
Long, long walks along the shoreline, sharing thoughts on life and excitement about the future.
Sneaking into the Ritz Carlton, pretending to be guests...
...and helping ourselves to the most refreshing lemon-lime water we'll ever drink.
The not unpleasant surprise at seeing guys around our age.
The huge aromatic flowers and palm trees as far as the eye could see.
The coconut scent of Hawaiian Tropic sunscreen/tanning oil (guess who used which).
The amazing feeling of showering and dressing up for the evening after a long day in the sun.
Sunkissed skin, freckled arms, rejuvenated spirits.

The best, sunniest week of 2013 thus far.  My grandparents graciously hosted Katie and me over our winter break, and pretty much ever since our flight touched down in St. Louis we've been wanting to go back.  

For now we'll have to reminisce with pictures.



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