Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Little Valentines Bling {Or, the Easiest Garland You'll Ever Make}


We all know how much I love to decorate for holidays (remember Halloween? Christmas?)... and Valentines Day is right around the corner. I didn't want to go overboard for a *cough* made-up *cough* holiday (there, I said it) but I still felt the need to do something - however simple and subtle it may be. 

Enter: my idea for a sparkly heart garland. It only requires 5 ingredients, found at every craft store.


STEP ONE: To start, I found some heart stencils online (by typing "heart stencils" into Google images), printed them out, and used them to trace heart shapes on the back of the sparkly paper.






STEP TWO: I cut them out.


STEP THREE: I punched a hole in the middle of the heart - at the top (right under where the two bumps meet.)





STEP FOUR: I strung the white ribbon through the hole and tied a knot where I wanted the heart to hang. I tied a bow on top of the knot (and then tied the two ears of the bow together again for extra support.)


STEP FIVE: I repeated step four until all the hearts were hanging from the ribbon.


Pretty dang cute, right?

Monday, January 30, 2012

That Hansel's So Hot Right Now


In my effort to become a better blogger, I've been practicing my photography skills. I've been learning about lighting, focus, white balance, and positioning. Over the last 6 months, I feel like I've grown a lot (see here vs. here,) but portrait-taking is still my definite weakness. People are the hardest to capture.

This weekend, to practice my skills, I forced Zach to drive up to Griffith Park for a mini photo shoot (poor guy.) He was a good sport though... and actually, a pretty good male model.



{I don't know why, but I love that last one.}

Through my photography journey, I've become a lighting snob. I didn't want to shoot unless it was early morning - or right before sunset. In this case, it made all the difference. The world is so much more interesting with long shadows and soft light.


Oh, hey there!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

{I HATE ALL MY CLOTHES} Mixing Patterns


This is week 2 in my attempt to re-vamp my wardrobe. I'm trying to create new outfits - using the clothes and accessories I already have.

Last week, I designed an outfit around a new necklace that I didn't know how to wear. This week, I'm working with the Loft broach (turned hairpiece) that I wore at my wedding reception (please excuse my crazy hair in the photo below):


I love the muted pink color of the broach - and that it's covered in sequins. And, it definitely matches with a lot of my clothes... I just forget to wear it.

So, for the outfit below, I paired it with with a retro style shirt, polka dot skirt, and slouchy black boots. And yes, I broke the rules by mixing patterns. Generally, I try to stay away from this taboo (because it's hard to do it well.) Here though, I think it works:


Sometimes it's nice to break all the rules. :)


{wedding photo by bryan rupp. other photos by me. shirt = nordstrom, skirt = anthropologie, boots = cathy jean}

Thursday, January 26, 2012

{One.Two.Three}

Let's keep this brief. Date night starts in 40 minutes... which means the Zachster and I aren't supposed to use Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Blogger, Flipboard or Pinterest for the rest of the evening(ish.)

As you can see, I've gotta write this post quickly! So here's what I've been lovin' on all week: 

My cousin got us a record player as a wedding gift (totally unexpected; completely genius.) Since then, the apartment is constantly filled with music from the current favs: Adele, Mutemath, Coldplay, Sufjan, etc. But, this week, I got all up into classical music by jamming to Handel. These records came as gift from my world-traveler parents who picked up some vintage vinyl at a Berlin street fair last fall. (Yea, my family's pretty rad.)

I generally love to bake. But there are definitely weeks (like this one) where I don't want to go near an oven. On these particular days, to satisfy my sweet tooth I lean heavily on the support of dark chocolate infused with sea salt. Dark chocolate's good for you - so I don't feel that guilty having a few bites (as long as I only have a few bites.)

New obsession: magenta lipstick. I got some a few months back for a special occasion - but haven't really touched it since. Well, until a few weeks ago when I decided I loved this color and wanted to wear it more often. So, I've been wearing it to work... and to the movies... and when I run errands. Who says you can't have bright pink lips on a random Wednesday at Trader Joes? Not me!

I'm SO glad tomorrow's Friday. This weekend, Zach and I are going on an "urban hike" so I can't practice shooting portraits (he's gonna be the model - we'll see how that goes) and then I'm hoping to get some quality lounge time in.

Until next time, happy weekend!

{photos by me}

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Handmade Valentines

On a recent trip to Target, I found myself shaded by a banner of pink and red hearts. The bright colors had called unto me from afar. And they coerced me into entering... Yes. The Valentines Day card aisle. 

It wasn't until I got home that I smacked myself in the head. Why on earth did I buy those stupid, commercialized cards? Why, when I of all people, LOVE making my own?

Oops... momentary memory lapse.

So, I returned the cards (yes, I'm that cheap) and headed to Paper Source instead.

Now, Paper Source can be overwhelming for me. I want everything! I spend my time in the store flitting from display to display, picking things up and then putting them down. It's so hard to decide! This time, however, I only bought ONE item. A pack of flat, heart-shaped cards and little red envelopes. My goal = make the best Valentines ever using only my stashed-away craft supplies. (Hey, we're in a recession people.)

I'm pretty proud of the result:





I know I should've done some sort of tutorial (the masses need to know!), but I'm not really sure how these happened. I didn't take any specific steps; I just pulled out a bunch of lace and ribbon and twine and paper and started gluing.

But please, feel free to steal the ideas!



I can't wait for my friends and family to receive their little love notes in the mail!


{photos by me}

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Prints Are All Right

Zach and I have a new home-decor project in the works.

I'm SO excited about it! And, I can't wait for you to see! But, it's still a secret, so you'll just have to trust me for now. In the mean time, I can tell you that it involved a little trip to Ikea and one (or more) of the below prints. Weeee!




Ok, the last one was vetoed by hubs. But I'm OBSESSED. So, I'll probably just buy it for myself and put it next to my bed (the one place in our apartment that I have complete reign.)

{photos from here, here, here & here}

Sunday, January 22, 2012

{I HATE ALL MY CLOTHES} Necklaces Under Collars






















My wardrobe needs some refreshing. Lately, I've been wearing the same outfits over and over - because they're easy and I know they look good.  But now, I'm bored with everything. Something needs to change. 

Instead of going on a shopping spree, I've decided to try looking at my wardrobe with new eyes. I realized I have so many accessories that I never wear - because I've never taken the time to figure out HOW to wear them.

No more.

Every Sunday, from now on, I'll focus on a specific accessory and show how I've developed an new outfit around it. My hope is to expand my current wardrobe without spending very much extra money. And in the process, maybe you'll be inspired by my findings. :)






















First up, a Roots necklace I got for Christmas. I LOVE the color of these beads, but I've had difficulty pairing them with anything.

Today, I decided to try it under the collar of my (current) favorite shirt. Its shimmery texture barely peaks out above the first button.

Then, I added a black pencil skirt, (imaginary) black pantyhose, and leopard print flats.



When I wear a flowey shirt, like this one, I like to contrast it with a structured pant or skirt on the bottom. It think it helps to define my waist.

Then, I'm always a sucker for fun leg-ware... but since the shirt is loud and the shoes are patterned, I didn't think it'd be the best choice in this situation. Black (sheer) pantyhose are always a good alternative.






















First outfit = success!

Looking forward to next week...

{photos by me. shirt = XXI, skirt = express, shoes = j.crew}

Saturday, January 21, 2012

{One.Two.Three}

Why is it that 4-day weeks always seem the longest? This week has completely dragged on.
Don't get me wrong - there were some definite bright spots. Date night with my hubs... happy hour with my friends... and the following three things (that I found myself loving, and using, all week):


















My Kate Spade bracelet. I've been putting it on with every outfit. It's perfect for dressing up my black and gray work attire. Plus, it compliments one of my favorite pair of earrings (picked out by my uber-fashionable husband.)


















Our Anthropologie coasters. Compared to the crappy Ikea coasters that we've been using until now, these are like... high class. They draw the blue from our kitchen walls out into the neutral living room. 


















My favorite flower: tulips. Fresh ones are my weakness and I try to have them in the house as often as possible. There's something nice about have live accessories (plants & flowers) contrasting with our wood, glass, and ceramic furniture.
And now (*yay!*) it's Saturday. I'm super excited about this weekend - I have high and lofty goals of RELAXING (and maybe making some cupcakes and/or Valentine's Day cards.)
Wishing you warmth and whimsy until the certainty of Monday. 
{photos by me}

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Better Popcorn

























I'm sorry, but I have to say it: microwave popcorn is nasty. If it's not covered with a film of fake butter and salt, then it tastes like cardboard. (Y'all know I'm right.)

In my "sheltered" world before college, I didn't know that people made their own popcorn. For all I knew, it grew in little paper packages. It wasn't until a roommate started buying her own kernels and popping them on our stovetop that I discovered what I'd been missing... heaven.

Now in the world of Piepmeyer, stovetop popcorn is a regular occurrence (especially when Modern Family's on! Cliche, I know.)

Tonight, I'd like to share my tactics for the best popcorn eva... Make it. Eat it. You'll want more, I swear.

























STEP ONE: Fill the bottom (and only the bottom) of your favorite pot with kernels. Each of the kernels should have ample access to the bottom of the pot. Pour canola oil (not olive oil, not coconut oil... canola oil) over the kernels so that it just covers them.

























STEP TWO: Turn your stovetop on high.

























STEP THREE: Once the first kernel pops, start shaking the pot. Keep shaking until all (or most) of the kernels have popped.

























STEP FOUR: Pour the popcorn into a bowl and lightly dust with salt. Shake the bowl so the salt mixes with the popcorn. Lightly salt, and shake, again.

























Voila! Instant happiness. Enjoy!












































 {photos by us}

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Day at the Museum

Zach and I have been wanting to visit LACMA's "California Design" exhibit for a few months now. And, MLK Day provided the perfect opportunity. Why? Because it was free! (Thanks, Target.)































The beauty of our current living situation is that it's within walking distance of the museum. So, we took advantage of a beautiful January day and headed out for a stroll.































We're suckers for everything mid-century, so the exhibit was wonderful - providing the chance to view cars, fashion, architecture and design from California in that era.


















And, since we were already at the museum, we took the opportunity to view a few of our other favs...
































































































All in all, it was a great way to spend the extra weekend day.
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