Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Surprising Clearance Dresses

I must be in a shopping mood today, given my earlier post on colorful coats and now this one.

But I saw these two dresses while flipping through the interwebs and just had to share, as both are from places I don't normally look for inexpensive dresses.
via urbanoutfitters.com
I love all the cute, hip clothes at Urban Outfitters but I feel like a lot of their dresses are a wee bit overpriced. At $25 (on clearance), though, this pretty Kimchi Blue Graphica dress is a steal. They show it with tights, but I'd wear it with flat sandals on warm spring/summer days.
via Alloy.com
And while I know Alloy has great clearances, I have always thought that they were a little bit teeny bopper for my taste. Then one of my friends suggested I take a second look, and I found this cute metallic stripe jumper. It has a sexy/girly feel that wouldn't look totally out of place on someone outside of Jr. High- and it's on clearance for less than $20.

Lesson learned: keep your options open. You never know where you'll find things you love.

In-Between Jacket

I don't really have an in-between seasons jacket, so pretty much every morning in March/April consists of me trying to decide if I want to wear a coat and be hot or wear a sweater and be cold. This cute hooded jacket might just solve that problem. Plus, how cute are the green and yellow colors? They make me think of spring!

(via Buckle)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Spending Hiatus Update: Week Ten

Money poster by Howard Sokol via allposters.com

Not to sound repetitive and all, but I really cannot believe how quickly this three months of no-spending is going.

Today is my first day of classes for spring quarter, so I will make this update brief.

My spring break was full of relaxation and catching up with people and fun, so there was (surprisingly) little temptation to shop. I had been worried that boredom would lead to shopping, but it turns out that I can usually find something else to do, even if it's just picking up a good book or magazine. This week, instead of shopping, I...
  • Visited Grandma
  • Cleaned and organized (am I the only person who actually likes this?) so now my place looks fab
  • Laid around with my old copies of Glamour and Real Simple (my two fave magazines of the moment)
  • Celebrated my friend Hilary's birthday (woo!)
  • Went to the zoo with Nathan (pictures to come, of course)
I had a great week, to say the least, and am just a tidbit sad to go back to classes and responsible adulthood.

I have also started thinking about the end of the spending hiatus. I only have two weeks left (!!!), and I'm not sure how I am going to make sure I don't go back to my old mindless spending ways. The hiatus has made me more aware of how things that seem essential aren't generally that important, and I know that will help me a lot with future shopping. I am also more aware of my habit of emotional spending (under stress or loneliness) and the fact that it really only makes me feel guilty later. I want to make sure that my new awareness lasts, though, so now I am asking you all for your sage advice...

Dear Readers: How do you think I should "phase out" of the spending hiatus? How do you manage your (unessential) spending?

And, of course, you can read all of the spending hiatus posts here.

Friday, March 27, 2009

It's Compliment a Blogger Day!

I originally started One Happy Panda because I wanted a place to share the things that made me happy. Well, one of the things that makes me most happy is giving and receiving compliments (something discussed in this blog post over at Operation NICE). When I was in the 4th grade, my dad suggested that I try and give three compliments out every day to help me make more friends- I'm not sure if it made me much more popular in the end, but it has made me realize I love giving random compliments!

So I thought we should try a Compliment Day here on One Happy Panda. Pick a blogger (or two, or three...) and give them one heartfelt compliment- it can be about their blog, their hair, their writing, whatever you like about them. Drop the compliment in their comments/email/whatever, and if you want (though it's totally optional) direct them back here so they can read what this is all about and pay the compliment forward. And maybe we'll start a chain reaction leading to happy bloggers everywhere. :)

My three compliments for the day:

1) Amber (from Amber Alert): You are an inspirational writer and person, and you make me realize that I need to kick my butt in gear! I think you will be a wonderful journalist in the future.

2) Joanna (from Smitten and A Cup of Jo): You are probably one of the nicest, most upbeat bloggers out there. Reading your blogs always makes me feel more cheerful, even when I am having a really bad day. Plus, you find the BEST things on the web (and I'm not sure how you do it either).

3) Melissa (from Operation NICE): I love that your blog is devoted to niceness, and I think it was incredibly nice of you to think of it. Operation NICE is my go-to destination when I want to read something both inspirational and happy.

Alright, now get out there and start blogger complimenting! (And psst, if you're feeling like a real overachiever, you could even compliment some real-life people as well).

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tank Dresses: Yay or Nay?

Right now I am loving the idea of comfy, sexy tank dresses for the summer. But there's a little voice inside of me that thinks they might make me look a little frumpy or plain. What do you think?

This one by Alexander Wang would look cute with my new sandals and long, beachy waves. Too bad I don't have $226 or wavy hair.

Sleep Makeover Update: Week Four

via Domino
Well it's sleep makeover makeup time. To recap, last week (during finals) was the first week I saw real progress, getting very close to my goal of 7 hours on average. Aaaaand this week...

I did it! I got 7.07 hours of sleep on average.

Of course, I am on spring break, which makes it a lot easier to get sleep. And the bad news is that while I slept more, I still struggled with going to bed any earlier than 1am. But still, this is progress, right?

Next week will be a bit of a test because not only do I work early part of the week, but I have morning classes too. No late mornings here! But I don't think it will be too bad- if anything, it will force me to go to bed and get up more consistently, which should help.

I also have some more incentive now: sleep makes me feel great!
  • I get lots more done during the day, so I feel more accomplished.
  • I have more energy to work out and I'm not downing sugar to stay awake, so I feel healthier.
  • I know that sleeping puts me in a much better mood now :)
  • AND- remember when I brought up the acne/insomnia link a couple weeks ago? Well, my skin has looked a lot better lately! That's not necessarily what I started this sleep makeover for, but it's such a huge bonus since my skin has been stubbornly bad lately. I'm so excited by it!
We'll see how next week goes when I'm back to being a responsible adult and getting up in the mornings.

You can see the rest of my sleep makeover posts here.

PS: I know you all like canopies, but what about more alternative headboards? I think the yellow canvas on the one above is super cool.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I took a Blogger Break.

Sorry I've been MIA for a couple days everyone. I decided to visit my grandma and give the computer a rest, since it IS my Spring Break and all. Together we were lazy, watched tv, shopped, and ate way too much candy. Which is totally my idea of a good time.

Plus I picked up these cuties from Kohls, and since they were a gift from grandma they technically don't count against the spending hiatus. I know, I'm such a cheater. :)

It's back to your regularly scheduled blogging from here on out though.

What do you do when you visit family?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Spending Hiatus Update: Week Nine

Money Poster by Howard Sokol via allposters.com

I can't believe I'm on the tenth week of my spending hiatus right now! Who knew three months would go so quickly?
Week nine comes in three parts: the confession, the distraction, and the temptation.

The Confession:
I bought nail polish. AND lipgloss. Clearly there was a sale at the drugstore. Want to know the really ironic thing? The nail polish chips easily and the lipgloss is way too light and frosty.
Lesson learned. Things always seem way more necessary/appealing in the store.
Also, I'm potentially making another purchase soon. I've been looking for non-ugly lamps for awhile now, and I found two that I love on Craigslist for a total of $5. Not only is this an incredibly good deal, but it may not be around for long. I'm sure that's cheating big-time, but considering I've been looking for these types of lamps for awhile, I think I might go for it. Thoughts?

The Distraction:
Last week was plenty busy with exams and lots of studying. I also...
  • Saw the OSU/Siena basketball game in Dayton. Lets just say I was not happy with the guys in black and white stripes and leave it at that, shall we?
  • Got Jeni's Ice Cream with Nathan and walked around North Market looking at all the goodies. So much fun, and now I've decided I should go there more often to pick up fresh produce and homemade foods from local people.
  • Went errand-running with Hilary in what I'll call the Great Navy Blue Shirt Expedition. Hilary started a new job this weekend (congrats hon!) and who knew v-neck navy blue shirts were so freaking hard to find?
And finally, The Temptation:
I have to admit I'm already starting a little post-hiatus shopping list. Some of the items are just for fun, others are ones I'm seriously considering. A few of my picks:
Cute colorful sandals from American Eagle (which I wrote about back here).
Clinique's Up-Lighting Liquid Illuminator to de-dullify my skin. (via TDO)
Room Sprays to make my apartment smell pretty (and not like Febreeze). (via RiverCitySoaps' Etsy shop)

You can read the rest of my spending hiatus posts here.

Dear Readers: what are your confessions/distractions/temptations?
PS: Check out my centennial post celebration below :)

100th Blog Post!

One Happy Panda has officially reached 100 blog posts! I thought it called for a little celebration, and some nostalgia...

Some things you may or may not have seen already:
The spending hiatus.
The classic Chewbacca hair moment
and then I chop my hair off
and smear honey all over my face
and make scrubs with other food type things.
I take pictures of gorillas
and then force myself to sleep (zzz).

Here's toward making it 1,000! :)

PS: I'm playing with the template and colors of the blog, and feedback is much appreciated, especially if anything is difficult to read or see.

Balloon image via Pink Sherbet Photography (flickr)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Irrational Guilt

There are certain things that make me feel super guilty. One of the biggest is passing homeless/begging people on the street and not giving them anything. The thing is, I couldn't possibly afford to give change to every homeless person I see walking down High Street everyday. I'm way too poor for that, I'd go broke. I do try to help with the homeless problem when I can- I volunteer at a homeless shelter and give money to a program designed to get people off the streets. But still, I feel terribly guilty every time I pass up someone asking for change and don't give them any. Like I've shirked my duty toward my fellow man.

What makes you feel irrationally guilty?

Prisoner image via Wikipedia.

Pretty Smelly Things

Floral perfumes always make me think of beautiful, elegant women. Unfortunately, my skin seems to turn florals into rotten, angry creatures. All the same, I'm thinking of trying out Banana Republic's Rosewood eau de parfum. According to the website it's a mix of "rare florals" and "rich amber," and I think the amber will tame the angry floral. Plus, a mini bottle is only $10- not a huge waste if it doesn't work out.

And how pretty is the packaging? The pink bottle is so simple and pretty that I can just see it on some beautiful, elegant woman's vanity (does anyone use vanities anymore?). Or, you know, my plain wood dresser.

Alright- tell me what fragrances you wear. Florals? Woodsy scents? Plain old soap (don't be ashamed, I am so a soap-smelling person!)? And is anyone as much of a sucker for packaging as me?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sleep Makeover Update: Week Three

I'm very excited this week because I can actually report progress with the sleep makeover. :)

You'll remember it wasn't going too well last week when I got an average of only 5.4 hrs of sleep a night with a 2am bedtime. Well the good news is that the stats have gone up, way up: 6.7 hours of sleep a night on average! I got at least 7 hours on every night but two- Tuesday I just could NOT fall asleep and last night I had an exam to study for. The time I went to bed didn't improve a ton to be honest, and I still went to sleep around 1:30am on average. But it's a half-hour improvement and I was very close to the 7 hours a night I wanted, so I won't complain.

I can already tell that there is a huge difference between my well-rested self and my sleep-deprived self. I'm a lot more grouchy when I'm sleep deprived (like today) and I eat a lot more junk food, too (I'm eating a PB&J right now). My well-rested self is so much happier, that alone is worth it, not to mention that I had more energy to do healthy things this week like cook actual meals (vs. mac 'n cheese) and work out. So while I still have lots of progress to make (especially in the time of night I go to bed), I can see how this would benefit me a lot if it became a consistent thing. So that's my motivation for the week ahead.

Next week is spring break for me so I get to relax with NO classes. Though I know I'll probably stay out late a few nights with friends, my goal for the week ahead is to go to bed earlier overall. Especially since in a week and some days I will start in with morning classes almost every day of the week *duh duh duh*, so I want to be prepared for those. And since it's spring break, I don't really have an excuse for being sleep deprived, right?

Also, I haven't seen any improvement in my skin due to getting more sleep. If anything, I'm breaking out now more than ever. Guess I have to be patient, huh?

PS: For all you canopy (or faux-canopy) lovers out there, I found this picture on the Domino website. I love how big and bright the room looks thanks to the gigantic mirror and light fabric. Also, loving how the canopy looks like clouds. What says you?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Stress: How do you deal?

It's finals week at OSU so naturally there's all kinds of stress going on around here. Occasional stress is normal, but I really try to control it since it's potentially linked to all sorts of nasty things like lowered immunity, acne, cancer (okay, everything is linked to cancer it seems), even to some extent Alzheimer's.

Some things I usually try:
  • Yoga: while I really don't do yoga on a regular basis (I should), it really does help me focus and get rid of the "brain fuzz" that stress inevitably creates.
  • Running: something about the rhythm of feet on pavement is a great release. Plus it makes me sleep like a baby that night- no stress insomnia here!
  • Sleeping: on that note, I do try to sleep more when I am stressed. I haven't had much luck with that lately, but I try.
  • Really Long Warm Showers: my stressball self is not very eco-friendly, I know. But very few things make me feel more relaxed than a long shower. With the bonus smelling good, no less.
  • "Thinking Time": I've been told that I'm weird for it, but every now and then I just have to stop, sit down, and zone out for a few. I think of it as a time for my brain to get its act together.
  • Reading: Whether it's something serious, uplifting, or just plain fluffy, 10 minutes with a book or magazine helps me unwind (lately I've been paging through my old copies of Real Simple and my favorite parts of the New Testament). Then I can start back into whatever I'm supposed to be doing.
Your Turn: How do you deal with stress? And out of curiosity, how often do you find yourself stressed out? Sometimes? Rarely? All the time?

Stresscat picture via my computer files. I honestly forget where I got it from- if you know, email me and I'll tag it appropriately. :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

What I'm Not Buying (Yet): Affordable Bathroom Upgrades

Maybe it's because the weather has warmed up (for now) and put me into spring cleaning mode, but I'm feeling the need to upgrade my bathroom a little. I like my bathroom to be my retreat, my own personal spa since I'm way too poor to be going to a real one. Of course, right now I'm still off spending for another month BUT that doesn't mean I can't have a little fun looking right? Consider this my post-spending hiatus shopping list (items pictured above, from top):
  • Thomas O'Brien white towels. These are probably the softest, fluffiest, thirstiest towels I've ever seen for under $10. ($9.99, from Target)
  • Isaac Mizrahi ceramic soap (or lotion) pump from Target. Probably looks chicer than the plastic Softsoap pump I currently have on my counter. Plus, I'm a sucker for anything with polka dots, and the white color won't make my counter look cluttered. ($14.99, from Target)
  • Method Shower Daily Cleaner in Ylang Ylang from drugstore.com. I actually own this right now, so listing it here might be cheating a little. But I'm in love with it enough that I will probably run out and need to buy again soon. It's naturally derived, works really well to keep my shower looking fresh, and (best of all) smells AMAZING. Like a spa, in fact, which is what I'm going for, right? All for less than $6. ($5.99, from drugstore.com. I got mine at Target for about $5, though it wasn't on the website)
And one not-so-cheap, in-my-dreams item I would love to have in my bathroom (or anywhere):
Jo Malone's Sweet Lime and Cedar Home Candle. Any spicy, woodsy smell always gets to me and this one just sounds amazing. Stacey over at TDO agrees. Unfortunately, at $65, this is one purchase that won't be happening anytime soon.

Images: towels and soap dispenser from Target.com, Method Shower Spray from drugstore.com, candle from jomalone.com

Sale Alert!

via Threadless

If you're in the market for funny, artistic, or just plain cute tees head over to Threadless.com for their Spring Cleaning Sale. Tee shirts usually $15-$20 are now starting at just $5. I've written before about how much I love Threadless Tees, and right now I'm coveting the cute little milk and cookies tee above (they're in love!).

As a side note: don't you hate it when you buy something and it goes massively on sale just a few weeks later? That always happens to me, maybe that's why I rarely buy things at full price...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Spending Hiatus Update: Week Eight!

Money poster by Howard Sokol via allposters.com
Well, readers, it's finally happened.

I don't have anything new to write about the spending hiatus.

To be honest, I am a complete creature of habit. Eight weeks ago, my habit was to shop whenever I was bored, or stressed, or just plain lonely. I also shopped when I was with friends, or when I was "celebrating" something (anything), or whenever I happened to have a few dollars to spare. After eight weeks of not buying things (with, ahem, one teeny cheat) my new habit seems to be not shopping, and I just don't feel the compulsion to buy anymore. Sure there were a couple of times this week when I daydreamed about buying skirts and dresses and sandals and... after all, spring is on the way. But while I would really like to buy a whole new spring wardrobe (like, really) I know that it can wait. And that's really why I think I don't feel the need to buy things lately: I am more aware of what I really need (bread, milk, cat litter...) and what can wait (lipgloss, spring clothes, that candle that smells really freaking good...).

It's also become pretty obvious that having other things to do keeps me from shopping. Some of the things that have replaced shopping lately:
  • Time with friends. I wasn't even tempted to shop on Friday, because I had plans with friends. Nothing like bubble tea and a some Footloose to keep a girl out of the stores. (PS: young Kevin Bacon and cheesy dancing make me incredibly happy)
  • Homework. Lame, I know, but last week was all preparation for exam week. I can't shop and study my Bio at the same time. Well, I could try, but that book weighs approximately 3 gazillion pounds, give or take.
  • Going through what I already have. Instead of buying new spring clothes, I drag the ones I already have out of storage and go through them, looking for items that will change up what I've been wearing all winter. The thing is, often when I want to go shopping it's not more stuff that I want, but change of some sort. And change can be free. Plus, going through my stuff often makes me realize that the last thing I need is more stuff.
These are all things I've either discussed or hinted at before, and I hate to repeat myself. But that is really about all I have to report right now. On the plus side, I think the fact that I don't have any "temptation stories" to share shows more progress than anything.

Although as a side note, after exams I have spring break and since I will be spending most of it at my apartment potentially being bored, next week might prove more of a challenge. But I think I'm up to it.

You can read the rest of my spending hiatus posts here.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Virtual Zoo Tour: The Gorillas

Gorillas are probably one of the coolest animals to visit when you're at the zoo. I love going to the Columbus zoo indoor gorilla exhibit- the way it's set up, you walk into the middle of the gorilla house and the exhibit is all around the walls, so it's like you're there in the middle of them, separated only by some (very thick) glass. If you watch gorillas long enough, you start to realize that they look and act a lot like us.

The top gorilla photo is of a little guy I like to call Bubbles. He'll hang off the side of the gorilla exhibit and make faces at the people outside. If you pull a goofy face at him he'll even blow you some spit bubbles. Charming, right?

The other three photos are ones I took at the indoor exhibit because I thought it was cool how their facial expressions were so similar to ours. From the top: wistful, grumpy, and goofy. And these are only a few of the gorilla photos I've gotten over the past year.

Anybody else see the "humanness" in the photos? Got a favorite zoo animal to visit?

All gorilla images are mine.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sleep Makeover Update: Week Two

So I might as well come right out and say it: the sleep makeover is going terribly. This is the week before final exams for me and I have had so much to do. That coupled with stress means that this week I got even LESS sleep than last week.

My stats: 5.4 hours of sleep a night (0.4 hrs/night less than last week) and an average bedtime of, wait for it, 2am (a half-hour later than last week). The earliest I've gone to sleep this week has been 12:30am and that was when I had to get up at 6am. Crud.

At this point in time it seems I might just have to schedule things better. I have a lot to do: full-time classes, two jobs (though one is only a few hours a week), usually a couple hours of volunteering, and this blog. Plus time to make meals, do chores, and actually relax, which is a priority for me. And I know, I know, sleep should be a priority too. So this next week my only goal is managing time better so I'm NOT working until 2 o'clock in the morning every night. Next week is final exams so we'll see what happens.

I feel like a Debbie Downer now, but I really do think this sleep makeover will work out in the end. I just didn't know it would be so much more difficult than the spending hiatus- you'd think staying away from shopping would be harder than sleeping. Who knew? Any advice from you awesome sleepers out there? Or, you know, any fellow insomniacs are totally invited to commiserate.

In related news: Petra over at Glamour wrote this blog post about how lack of sleep may contribute to acne. The link is apparently cortisol, the stress hormone, which surges when you don't get enough sleep and which can exacerbate acne. Well crud. Maybe that's why I'm breaking out constantly right now, despite washing my face every day.

PS: I've figured while I'm obsessing over sleep, I might as well include some pictures of bedrooms I love. This one (above) is in my "white bedrooms I love but can't have thanks to my black cat and talent for spilling things" file. How cool is the striped "canopy" above the bed?

You can check out the other two sleep makeover posts here.

Image via the Domino website.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A potential summer skirt (and the American Apparel debate).

When we were checking out the Gallery Hop last Saturday we also popped into American Apparel because my friend commented that she always wanted to go there, and had never been. Now, I have a love/hate relationship with American Apparel. While some of their clothes are totally cute and hip and they are said to have very progressive labor practices, I feel like some of their advertising is a bit skeevy and I'm a bit put-off by the fact that the founder Dov Charney has been sued for sexual harassment so many times (not cool, man). That said, I can never stay completely away from the store and I am currently loving the shape and feel of this jersey cotton tulip skirt with pockets. It's so soft and comfy looking, and I could see myself wearing it with tanks and cute sandals all summer long. Just not pulled all the way up to my nipples like the models have it. I prefer my skirts to cover my legs a little, not so much my bellybutton.

PS: You can check out other spring/summer clothes I'm craving here.

One NICE Website You Should Visit.

If you are having a long, annoying day like I am you should definitely go check out the blog Operation NICE, like, right now. Operation NICE is devoted to encouraging people to be "proactively nice" to others. It is one of my favorite "daily" blogs and I go there every day for a little niceness inspiration in the form of stories and suggestions for nice things I can do in my life. I love having a website to visit that is always upbeat and full of good news about nice people doing awesome things, and I love the daily reminder to be nice to others. Definitely check it out if you get the chance.

What's one nice thing that you have done for someone lately? It can be big or small, just spill!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Your new to-do list.

I think this notepad from Pretty Bitter would be perfect for lazy Sundays when a normal to-do list would just be too much. Today, however, I would need about twenty of them.

Via the awesome folks over at Stuff Under Twenty.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Quote of the Day

I haven't done one of these in awhile, but this post on Cup of Jo got me thinking about the words I try to live by. Then I found a card with this printed on the front, which is now clipped to my fridge for daily inspiration.

"If you're going to be passionate about something, be passionate about learning. If you're going to fight something, fight for those in need. If you're going to question something, question authority. If you're going to lose something, lose your inhibitions. If you're going to gain something, gain respect and confidence. And if you're going to hate something, hate the false idea that you are not capable of your dreams."
~Daniel Golston

If I had to pick a motto to live by, this would be my second choice after "love your neighbor as yourself". I think it's just about perfect.

What is your motto to live by?

Spending Hiatus Update: Week Seven

Money poster by Howard Sokol via allposters.com

I might as well come right out with my confession.

I bought a shirt last week. A completely unnecessary shirt. It was at Take 2 Apparel, a really awesome "upscale" (i.e. no grandma sweatpants) secondhand store where they sell not used but "experienced" clothing (because experienced sounds so much more positive). I fell in love with this dark purple satin blouse- it fits perfectly and looks fab with both dark blue jeans and my slacks and skirts for work. I have been lusting after a jewel-tone satin shirt for awhile and this one was only $10, being secondhand and all. Plus, there was no guarantee that it would be around in April when this spending hiatus gets over with. And so...I bought it. I felt a little guilty afterward but to be honest shh, I don't feel all that bad. The shirt is perfect, at any rate, and I can't return it- the one downside of buying second hand.

So now that I've confessed, my good news is that I haven't felt the need to buy anything else lately. I know, I know, I keep saying that every week, but it really is true. Once I got out of the habit of shopping all the time, I haven't felt the compulsion to buy things. The one exception lately may be shampoo, because I decided to try out a new brand and it makes my hair frizzy and not at all shiny, le sigh. So I AM tempted to pick up a new bottle, I'll admit. But that would be cheating wouldn't it? I've resisted the siren call of better shampoo so far, telling myself that I will wait until the current bottle runs out (which it can't do fast enough).

Last week was, again, a pretty busy one. This quarter's classes are nearing their end and I've got research projects and exams looming, so I had to work on those during the week. The weekend was great, though, since I decided to take some time off and relax. At any rate, here are some of the things I did instead of shopping.
  • On Friday I grabbed sushi with one of my coworkers and her friend. I forget the name of the restaurant we went to, but it was located in the most charming Victorian house right off the main drag and had excellent avocado sushi rolls. I even got adventurous and tried the eel sushi that my friend got, which tasted more like mush than anything.
  • Also on Friday, we plopped down on my couch and watched Mamma Mia! with Pierce Brosnan and Meryl Streep. My feelings on the movie are mixed. It was cheese to the extreme, but also hilarious. I am seriously lusting after some long wavy hair now.
  • On Saturday we (same group as sushi the night before) hit up the gallery hop in the Short North, which is when all the art galleries open their doors the first Saturday of the month and you can walk around checking out awesome art exhibits and street performers and generally have a great time free of charge. This is also when the Shirt Buying Incident occurred, and I blame peer pressure (ahem, Sarah A., ahem). We also stopped by Jeni's, my favorite ice cream place in the entire world, which I wrote about back in January. It was the first warm day of the year, so the place was packed but the wait was worth it for a cup of Riesling Poached Pear sorbet and Honey Vanilla Bean ice cream (mmm).
Gallery Hop Night: image via the Short North website (see link above)
  • Sunday I worked on this damned biology paper that would have been easy had the instructions not been vague and contradictory. That, church, and a nap consisted of pretty much my entire day.
At any rate, I had what I consider an amazing weekend and I didn't feel too guilty about slipping up on the spending hiatus. I have another 5 weeks to get back on track, after all.

How about you- how was your week/weekend? For those of you doing the spending hiatus, how has it been going?

You can check out the rest of my spending hiatus posts here.

PS: If anyone wants to suggest an afforable shampoo that doesn't turn my hair into frizzy straw, that would awesome! :)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sunday Surprise Post

Phyllis my amaryllis has finally bloomed! I got Phyllis for Christmas as a baby plant and I had just about given up on getting any blooms from her. But this morning I woke up and found this:

Isn't it pretty? It made a happy pop of color on a rainy, dreary Sunday morning. I think when spring comes I will have to look into getting a few more house plants. It is so nice to have something colorful and living to look at don't you think?

PS: Yes, I named my plant. I name everything. It's more fun that way :)

Image is mine.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Spring (Pretend) Shopping

It's actually warm-ish today- which simultaneously makes me happy and even more antsy for spring. Can we all agree that the warm weather needs to hurry up?

At any rate, here are some of the things I'd like to wear all spring long (and into summer) if I could:
Colorful flat sandals from American Eagle ($30)
A sweet yellow dress from Mimi's Boutique ($20- marked down from $82! Damn you spending hiatus!)
A pretty shirt from Heavenly Couture via the awesome ladies over at Stuff Under Twenty ($18)
I've always liked the leg warmer trend, and these ones from Etsy are especially sweet ($85, eeps). I'm not entirely sure I could pull them off, though.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Sleep Makeover Update: Week One

Intense wallpaper and a four poster bed. So cool.

Last week I admitted that I was sleeping terribly and something needed to be done. So I proposed a Sleep Makeover, with the goal of getting 7 hours of sleep a night, every night. And how'd it go?

Well, about that.

It turns out it's not as easy as I thought. Going to bed at 11pm, for example, does not guarantee that I will fall asleep at 11pm. I might still, in fact, fall asleep at 2am regardless of when I go to bed. Frustrating, right?

The stats behind my week (because I love me some stats): I slept a total of 40.75 hours the whole week for an average of 5.8 hours a night. Ouch. More than an hour of sleep less than I wanted per night.

I feel like my main issue is that my body doesn't want to go to sleep earlier. Despite the earlier bedtime, the approximate time at which I actually fell asleep was 1:30am. An improvement over 2-3am which is what I was doing before, but still. So this week my goals are a little bit different: I'm less concerned with my hours of sleep and more focused on gradually making my bedtime earlier and more consistent. And we'll see how it goes!

Image from the Domino website, because I'm obsessed with beds.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Mustache Mania Continues.

Can we agree that this mustache key holder is pretty nifty? Also, I've decided to bring back the word nifty.

It would go well with mustache pencils. I apparently have a thing for the 'stache.

PS: Check out my post on tall girls down below. For some reason blogger posted it below this one, probably because I started it earlier and finished it just now.

The Ups and Downs of Being Tall.

I stumbled across the essay Life as a Tall Girl the other day while researching something completely unrelated (don't you love when that happens?). The author, Rebecca Thomas, writes about living as a 6'4" female and dealing with awkward comments, buying clothes, and the "boys are shorter than me" issue. I can so relate.

I'm nowhere near as tall as Rebecca- I haven't measured myself in awhile, but I stand about 5 ft. 9 inches in flat shoes, while slumping. Most of the time I feel relatively normal in my height, especially if I happen to be with male friends. And when I do "notice" my height difference, I don't always mind it. Overall, I like being tall. I can reach the top shelf in stores. I have a big stride, so I can walk really quickly. I can easily command attention. But there are definitely times that the whole tall thing can be super awkward. Like when I'm meeting someone for the first time, and I am a giant looking down on them. Or when I'm trying to buy pants. Or when someone mentions that my boyfriend are about the same height and it's like "yes, I know".

I'm curious: what are your views on height? Wish you were taller/shorter? Perfectly fine with how you are? Don't think height makes a bit of difference? And what do you think about tall girl/shorter guy relationships? Feel free to share in the comments :)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Possibly the nerdiest shirt ever.

via Xenotees

Maybe it's because I'm a huge dork, but I think this XX chromosome tee is kind of cool. It's great for biology nerds and proud women everywhere.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Kitchen Beauty: Super Simple DIY Scrubs

Honey poster from Paul Blundell via allposters

Remember back in February when I admitted being on a total DIY kick? Well, I'm still obsessed.

I blame the spending hiatus.

At any rate, over the weekend I tried two super simple scrub recipes that I got off of this article.

The honey lip scrub is just 1 tsp each of olive oil and honey, 2 tsp of granulated sugar, and a dash of lemon juice. I got my lemon juice from a lemon I had lying around, but I'm sure bottled juice would work fine (as long as it has citric acid). I mixed everything together in a teeny bowl and rubbed over my lips with a finger. My lips came away flake free and SO soft, and I didn't even feel like I needed to put balm on them, which is a miracle in the winter. Plus, the scrub is actually kind of yummy if you get some in your mouth, unlike some store bought kinds I've tried, and it's very gentle. If you have sensitive skin, maybe omit the lemon juice at first, though.

The hand and foot sugar scrub is something my mom told me about ages ago, except that I (of course) never listened to her. It's the simplest thing in the world: equal parts granulated sugar and olive oil. That's it! The website above says a tablespoon of each to scrub hands and feet with. I actually mixed up a quarter cup of each, threw in a little extra sugar for more scrubbing power, and took it into the shower with me (in an empty container I had lying around). The scrub was wonderful not only for my hands and feet, but my parched and flaky legs and lower back. The sugar gets rid of flakes, and the olive oil moisturizes. Unlike some of the store-bought scrubs I have tried, this didn't sting my skin or disappear on contact. It was super gentle but effective, and the sugar dissolved right away in water when I was done. It did smell a bit like a french fry, but you could throw in some essential oils for scent if that bothers you. The smell did not linger after the shower, though the softness did.

Word of warning: olive oil will make the bottom of your shower VERY slippery, so be careful not to wipe out like I almost did. It will also be slippery the next day too if you don't wipe it up. You have been warned.

So there you have it- two more easy homemade beauty products to try out, and you probably already have the ingredients in your cupboard.

Anybody else tried a kitchen beauty recipe? Did it work? Spill your secrets!

Spending Hiatus Update: Week Six

Money poster by Howard Sokol via AllPosters.com

This week marked the halfway point in my three month spending hiatus! Woohoo!

The week was surprisingly easy- I just didn't feel the need to shop, and there was nothing unnecessary I really wanted to buy.

I did make one purchase I wasn't entirely sure about: Avalon Organics Vitamin C Vitality Facial Serum. I've been paring down my facial skin care routine lately (not easy with my skin), but I've been wanting something with antioxidants in it, and this seemed like a good choice. Not only does it contain tons of antioxidants, but it also targets cellular repair and renewal, which will hopefully translate into some of my acne scars vanishing (acne + pale skin= ugh). At any rate, after much internal debate, I put this under the "essential" category since I had nothing comparable to it in my routine.
Is that cheating? I'm not sure. But I have been good so far, so I allowed myself one little potential cheat. And, of course, I'll let you all know if I see any skin differences.

Other than buying facial serum, here's a rundown of what I did instead of shopping this weekend:
  • Saw a showing of the play Machinal with Nathan. I was super excited because I liked reading the play, and seeing a play is usually better than reading it, but the show was a teeny bit of a let-down. Don't you hate that?
  • Did my own pedicure. I never used to do anything with my feet until my sister Becky staged an intervention this December- now I actually like doing my own pedicures. It's relaxing, and my feet look so much cuter now. I used Lover from Victoria's Secret as my polish, it's a cute rosey pink with a tiny bit of shimmer (and, I'm pretty sure, discontinued).
  • Chilled out and read. I'm discovering that I really like the Gospel of Luke, and also the magazine Real Simple. Now that I don't shop much, I have more time for just sitting back and reading.
  • Got rid of stuff. I think being on the spending hiatus has made me more aware of the amount of stuff I have laying around this place. Typically I edit my things pretty frequently, but it still manages accumulate. So this weekend I went through my collections of jeans, lippies, and shoes and got rid of anything that was old or just didn't work for me anymore. Next weekend is sweaters and jackets. Then I'll bag everything up and haul it off to goodwill.
What I learned: not only am I not buying things I don't need, but now I'm more aware of the things I already have. And cleaning house really makes me feel, well, less burdened. It's a difficult process for me, because I do tend to hold onto things, but it makes me feel a ton better in the end.

You can check out the other spending hiatus posts here.

PS: I also tried out a new DIY beauty product that I'll be reviewing later- let's just say I'm getting really into this DIY thing :)