Stylish, Stealthy & Healthy.


Great Decline (DIY Yarn & Burlap Holiday Wreath)

It’s amazing what a few days of peace and quiet and a little break from the normal hustle and bustle can do for you.  It’s like a steaming cup of tea for the soul.  Except I don’t really like tea… so let’s go with apple cider.  But probably like…boozy apple cider.  I mean, if we’re being honest.

After my recent long weekend, for the first time in a long time, I was actually feeling kind of relaxed and ok with things in general.  I know we all have our hot button issues that stress us out (for me: money, health/fitness, overwhelming amounts of work to do, making my home an acceptable and healthy environment for my little family to live in.. the ‘yushe.).  Whatever they are, we have them.  And normally I’m sweating and twitching due to at least two of them at a time, and trying to shove the rest of my worries under an area rug that I’m still not convinced actually matches the furniture.
See where I’m going here?

So things were seemingly going swimmingly and then… out of nowhere, like a landmine, I ascended down a great decline.  Little fires started popping up faster than I could put them out and left me scrambling for my sanity all over again.

Exhibit A: I accidentally consigned my favorite pair of jeans.  (Update: they’ve since been reclaimed and reunited with their rightful owner.  VERY close call though.)

Exhibit B: We ran out of oil for our furnace. Again.  (Yes, I realize that we are clearly idiots who do not understand the concept of checking your oil levels, but hey, we’re new at this homeowner thing.  And maybe having feeling in all our extremities is not a priority for us.)   So because of our lack of said fossil fuels, I ended up hardly sleeping at all Tuesday night (mostly shivering), and once the pup needed to go out at 5 am, I was officially up and sleep was not coming back round my way.  This made for a super pleasant Wednesday, let me tell you.

Exhibit C.  I almost got backed into in my gym parking lot for the 2nd time.  I’m confident when I say that if that had actually happened again, my gym membership would most likely be as of right now revoked due to the scene that would have went down.

Once the wrath of Wednesday had finally come to a close, and I walked through my front door defeated and tired, I was told the following within 30 seconds:
1. My puppy ate my new library book.  Which I haven’t even read.  And now coincidentally own.  But can’t read.  Because he ate it.
2. My puppy also broke his retractable leash, which as it turns out, is now non-retractable.
3.  We still have no oil.

Ok.  So this week might not be living up to the great optimistic start it once had.  But you see how the two pictures of my finished wreaths are different?  (Hint: One was just the plain wire…)  What had happened was I came home after dropping off my favorite jeans to be sold at a much lower price than I originally paid (alright, I’ll let it go), and I noticed my wreath’s balls were… drooping.  They had started coming off the wire and were sadly hanging there, minutes from falling to the ground.  So what I did I do?  I picked up my sad droopy balls, improved their foundation, and look at my balls now.  Hanging tough, like little champs.

So as this metaphor implies, I have decided to pick up the droopy balls of a week I started having and make it better.  It’s already Thursday (looking up already), I’m back in full swing with my gym routine and for the second month in a row, I hit  my sales goal.  So what if I now own 3/4 ths of Bethenny Frankel’s, “A Place of Yes” and I have to wear 2 pairs of sweatpants to sleep tonight.  These are all problems that in the grand scheme of things aren’t really all that bad.  So rock on, new-found sense of optimism.  I don’t see you round these parts too often, so let’s run with it.

After all, I do have the prettiest holiday wreath on the block.
Can’t stop my shine.

DIY Holiday Wreath
(Inspired by 2 Junk Chix)
You’ll Need:
18″ wire wreath
at least 5 packs of 6, multi-sized styrofoam balls (can always return unused)
Yarn (colors of your choice)
Hot glue gun and glue sticks
Roll of burlap
Additional embellishments of your liking

Directions:  Cover the wire wreath by tightly wrapping it in burlap, then gluing to secure.  Wrap the yarn around each foam ball so it looks like an actual ball of yarn, again, gluing to secure ends of thread.  Place balls around the wreath and secure with hot glue, also gluing them to one-another for extra support.  Add extras to fill in holes and add some texture.  Hang and enjoy!


*Edited 11/27/12: There was a very similar version of this on ABC’s The Chew this morning!


Currently Obsessing Over…

One of my favorite things to do when I read magazines is meticulously comb through the pages of recommendations for the best beauty products. (Confession: I am a self-admitted beauty product whore.) When I was younger, I had no less than 2 Caboodles fully stocked at all times with hundreds of creams, shadows, lip glosses and mascaras. Granted they were all mostly Wet’n’Wild brand or Bonne Bell, but nonetheless, they were plentiful. My Caboodles runneth over.

Since my early days of cheap beauty product hoarding, I’ve since raised the bar on quality, and more importantly, gotten (somewhat of) a grasp on quantity. I still fall victim to the occasional ZOMGYOUMUSTTRYTHIS recommendation along with the “It’s Gift Time!” promotions at the expensive makeup counters in the mall, but for the most part it’s under control. However, there have been a few new introductions into my regimen lately that I am really loving, so in an effort to take you all down with me, I thought I’d share. I know, I’m very generous.

Let’s begin.

1. The perfect eye shadow. I’ve become much more of a minimalist in the last year when it comes to makeup. For a few reasons. A. I’m lazy and I’d rather sleep in 10 minutes longer in the morning. B. My lunchtime gym routine has me looking a hot mess by 1pm, anyways. And C. I just find it an overall more attractive look. For me. (Just my opinion.) So in exchange for my bright purples and rich charcoal browns I used to slather across my sleepy eyelids every morning, I’ve opted for more muted tones as of late. This one below is great because it not only adds just the right amount of shimmer, but it’s also really versatile, and I think would look great on any skin tone.

CoverGirl Eye Enhancers in Tapestry Taupe (Source)
Price: < $4

2. Much-needed hairapy. If you are anything like me, your hair has been through the ringer. Highlights, heat (my God, the heat!), flattening irons and tightly wound rubber bands are all contributing factors. It’s a miracle I even have any hair. Thankfully I do, but what I’ve got is certainly damaged and desperately in need of some TLC. So after my 20th time hearing about Moroccan oil and it’s magical healing powers, I decided to test it out for myself. And although I’ve only used it a few times, I love it. I can already see that my hair looks shinier and healthier, and it cut the air-dry frizz I’m normally left with in half. And it was only sale at Giant for only $4.99. Holler.

Organix Renewing Moroccan Argan Oil (source)
Price: < $5 on sale

3. Stay Put Polish. I used to only paint my nails for special occasions. Like my wedding. Or my birthday. Or any other day that would involve celebrating me. (Which in my personal opinion should be every day. But whatever.) Why? Because much like Hollywood marriages, manicures never last. But when I saw some of the fun colors from Sally Hansen earlier this summer, I couldn’t resist, and I bought 4 of them. And to my complete shock… they lasted. For like a week, no less! And I mean, they lasted. Through kickboxing, dish-washing, nail biting (I’m working on it), all of it. Best of all, the colors are fun and bold, which if you’ve been reading your fashion mags, is right on trend. It’s like a party for your hands.

Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Nail Color in Blue Me Away! (Source)
Price: < $3

4. Tool time. I love when my hair is curly… but I hate curling it. It takes forever, my arms fall asleep, half of my hair looks like a poodle while random sections get missed, causing me to look like a cracked out Sorority sister. It’s never a good time. But a few years ago, I learned that by holding the hair around the barrel, you get a more natural curl. It takes less time, and you don’t end up looking like you got a bad spiral perm. So After a few months of wondering about this fabulous little contraption below, I saw it on Amy‘s blog and I decided it had to be mine. A short trip to Target later and it was official: I was in love*.

Conair Infiniti You Curl (Source) Price: around $29.99


*Let me know if you want a quick how-to on using this thing. It’s easy, I promise!

So there you have it. 4 wonderful SSH approved beauty products that are currently sitting atop my bathroom counter. And all pretty affordable, which is even better. See? Saving money can be fun. Now if only Sephora would stop sending me so many emails…

What are your current favorites? Oh Lord, I might have to break out the Caboodle again…


Crafts and Drafts

So I will start with a mid-week update on my efforts to turn my sloth-like lifestyle around:  so far so good.  Food-wise, I’ve been sticking to big veggie-loaded salads with lean proteins and hearty soups, and I’m avoiding evil mindless snacking, and of course, the booze.   (I’ve got another delicious soup recipe coming for you tomorrow, stay tuned.)

To my pleasant surprise, I had one of those really kick-ass workouts last night where you feel like you could just keep going forever (very rare occasion for me).  I did 30 minutes on the arc machine followed by 15 minutes on the stair climber, and I even banged out a bunch of strength training afterwards.  I started with squats with a 15lb body bar (3 sets of 8, pulsed for 3 sets of 8), squats on the bosu ball while holding an 8lb medicine ball (3 sets of 8, pulsed for 3 sets of 8), reverse lunges (3 sets of 8, pulsed for 3 sets of 8), wall-sits with an 8lb medicine ball (held 3 times for 30 seconds), and burpees with the bosu ball (3 sets of 8, held plank for 30 seconds in between sets).  And then I died.  But only momentarily.

Today should be super fun for me and my legs.

Speaking of super fun things…


Meet my new best friend.  Tommy Knocker Pumpkin Ale.  It was everything I dreamed of and more.  (I’m no beer professional, so I’ll give you my amateur but honest opinion.) Not too heavy, but filling enough that I probably could only drink 2 at most.  The best part is the smooth finish which is a rich natural pumpkin flavor with a touch of spice.  It was $5 for a 16oz draft at a local bar (Brewhouse Grille), and worth every penny.

Another delicious beverage I encountered this weekend was Sam Adams Blackberry Witbier.

sam adams

This was my first experience with a fruit beer.  I’d been wanting to try one forever, but I’m glad this was my first.  Very refreshing with a pretty strong fruit flavor, but not overpowering.  I definitely see a 6-pack of these in my future.  Not too near future… you know cutting out the booze during the week and all.

And now for the crafty portion of today’s program. I present to you…  the Halloween Ribbon Wreath:


I have to give credit to the lovely Kelly for this one.  I completely jacked the idea from her, but let me tell you, girlfriend wasn’t kidding when she said it takes a while.

wreath two

So. Much. Ribbon.  I showed it to my Mom (via text) and when she said, “I’d like to put my order in for one!” Words were mumbled that I’m glad she wasn’t able to hear.  Imma’ need a break from this little guy for a while.  Perhaps the rest of my life.  If you have the patience though, I definitely recommend making one.  It did turn out pretty adorable, right?

So how are those of you who decided to join me in “getting back on track” doing ?  Feel free to use me for support, I’m really good at yelling at people and using guilt as a weapon.

What…? At least I can admit it.  Happy hump day friends!


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