Monthly Archives: January 2010

Valentines Day – legit holiday or corporate ploy?

With work picking up and an intro photography class that I just started, not to mention fighting off general laziness, taking time to write and post something has been tough.  However, I was suddenly inspired after seeing a lot of ads and blog posts about Valentine’s Day, mostly pertaining to gifts, DIY ideas, and general musings.

I’ve never really been one to take Valentine’s Day very seriously.  When I was younger, I bought the typical supermarket Looney Tunes/Alvin and the Chipmunks cards and passed them out to my classmates along with sweets marked “secret admirer” for the boys you had a crush on.  The chalky taste of those little pastel-colored heart candies always transports me back to my elementary school days.  I still get sad upon hearing about the unpopular/socially awkward kids who only received a few cards. 

Anyways, flash forward to the teenage and adult years, and I honestly can only remember a handful of times (mostly during my 20’s) actually going out to celebrate.  Each time was marked by annoying waits at restaurants despite a reservation, bad service, and mediocre/expensive food.  The husband and I decided to cook a nice meal at home on the actual day instead of venturing out, and it’s worked really well for the past 3 years. 

So maybe it’s just me being a buzzkill, but I find Valentine’s Day to be a bit overhyped.  Sure, it’s nice to go out to dinner, receive flowers and chocolate, and celebrate with your significant other, but how’s that day different from any other day?  Can’t you do the same thing on an anniversary, birthday, or even just a plain old regular day of the week?  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I won’t turn down any of these things when I do receive them, but I won’t be devastated if my husband doesn’t come home on February 14th with an armful of roses marked up 500% to take me to dinner where the food tastes like something from a mediocre wedding. 

I know the above rant makes me sound like a big grouch (maybe it’s because I’m hungry)…but I think I’ll be content staying in and watching a DVD that night 🙂

DIY project inventory list

I’ve been noticing some really fun and whimisical DIY/crafting ideas and thought I’d share them in a post dedicated to future projects I hope to undertake:

DIY crocheted-flower bunting from Project Nursey:

Awesome but labor-intensive DIY felt wreath from Domestic Fluff:
DIY flower garland from Once Wed:
DIY birdcages from The Brides Cafe:
DIY silverware chandelier from Apartment Therapy:
(check out the $4500 version at Anthropologie)

Say goodbye to InStyle Weddings

I just found out that InStyle Weddings is no longer with us.  Their last published edition went on the stands this past Christmas.  Though it wasn’t one of the magazines I religiously bought during wedding planning days (like Martha Stewart Weddings), I’m still a bit bummed because it contained lots of gorgeous celebrity wedding pictures fabulously out of my price range.  Perhaps they’ll continue their website – I just took a look at and seems to be going strong.  btw, Christina Hendricks of Mad Men and her 60’s inspired wedding is featured…wonderfully eclectic and worth taking a peek!

It seems like wedding magazines, or to be honest, the entire publications industry, is heading south pretty rapidly.  InStyle Weddings is just another casualty in the market catering to brides, like Elegant Bride and Modern Bride, which makes sense given the amount of free information and resources you can find online.

Out of curiosity, I googled publications that went belly up in 2009 and was surprised by the number that popped up.  Check it out for yourself to see if there are any surprises.

Jeggings (jean leggings) are the best!

Our LA winter has been relatively mild thus far, but there have been a good number of chilly nights so I haven’t been able to unpack my shorts/flip flops from storage just yet.  I bought a pair of J Brand jean leggings (aka “jeggings”) which have been a staple of my wardrobe for the past several weeks.  They look just like regular jeans, including front pockets (which are actually fake) and back pockets (real), plus a zipper and button.  Did I mention they’re also SUPER comfortable and go well with anything?

I’d buy another pair except I’ve placed myself on a budget this month. 

Dieting sucks

Since January 1st, I’ve been part of a “Biggest Loser” contest with 5 friends/family members, with the winner taking an $1800 cash prize (we each put in $300 to participate).  Normally, I’d be watching the Food Network while cooking dinner, but to get my mind off hunger, not to mention forbidden items like chocolate, bread, pasta, etc., I decided to treat myself to shopping instead.  Zero calories, but tough on the wallet! 

I’ve been living on a diet of these:

Okay, I haven’t been THAT extreme to the point of denying myself anything remotely delicious, but it’s definitely not very fun.  However, I’m determined to win the $1800, so excuse a little grumpiness and delusional ramblings until January 31st when the competition ends.

The whole point of this contest is for us to have a motivating factor to jumpstart healthier diets and regular exercise, but given the amount of money at stake, I know we’re all going to partake in a little cheating (sauna, master cleanse…any other suggestions?)  the last few days of the month.

So far…I feel a little lighter and less bloated from consciously watching what I eat (mainly less carbs) and trying to exercise regularly, but the scale is still reporting very few pounds shed.  I gotta kick it up a notch since we’re almost at the halfway mark!

Small bedroom? No problem with vinyl stick-on headboards!

A few weeks ago, my sister (who lives at home) told me she ordered a stick-on headboard for her queen-sized bed.  It sounded kind of cheesy to me, to be honest.  The only vinyl appliques I could think of were those of the child-like variety, such as princess castles, trees with cute little birds, etc…something you’d find in a nursery or kid’s room. 

On my next visit home, I took a peek at her room and upon first glance, thought she bought a new (real) headboard.  It looked pretty good!  And for a recent college grad still living on a budget, 30 bucks to spruce up an otherwise boring bed is a pretty good deal.

Of course, she scored on Etsy…here’s a picture of the “headboard” from seller artwallproject’s site:

I wish I knew about this before buying bedroom furniture for our guest bedroom…that room’s relatively small and a sticker headboard could’ve created the illusion of a real one without sacrificing space. 
I’ll have to take a picture of my sister’s room and post it up to show the results!

Swallow bird necklace from Etsy

There’s just something about handmade gifts, no matter how small or inexpensive, that seems to elicit a lot more excitement and satisfaction from both giver and receiver vs. something mass-produced.  One of the reasons why I love Etsy is that I can connect with a virtual global marketplace for such goods, and with so many vendors offering tons of items, I’m bound to find that one unique or perfect gift for someone.

Sort of late in the game, I stumbled across these really cute sparrow necklaces that I wanted to give as gifts to some of my family members.  With only a week left before Christmas, I wasn’t sure if they’d arrive on time.  Fortunately, there were several Etsy vendors who sold these necklaces (I guess since the bird charm isn’t handmade), so after doing some research, I was able to locate two sellers that had them in stock.  And lucky for me, they arrived by Christmas Eve!

You can find this necklace on several Etsy vendor sites, so shop around for the best price if you’d like.  I ordered one for myself and I gotta tell you, I receive many compliments everytime I wear it!

New scent for a new year

I’m such a sucker for perfumes and things that smell nice (candles, soaps, new laundry, and so on).  On a recent trip to Sephora where my mission to was purchase ONLY a new brow pencil, somehow I ended up spending almost a hundred bucks, which included this:

It was one of those impulse purchases from the bins of small items placed strategically in line while you wait for the register.  The fragrance includes notes of Mandarin, Yuzu, White peach, Mountain Strawberries, Freesia, Orange Blossom, Osmanthus, Orris, Musk, White woods (per Sephora’s description online).  Not quite fruity, not really floral, a hint musky in the undertones, with a subtle strawberry note.  The only downside is that the scent disappears after a few hours, so you’ll need to respritz at least once during the day.  The limited edition bottle holds only 1 fl.oz., which makes it a very portable scent you can carrry around in your purse.  Only $24 right now at Sephora!