Wednesday, June 26, 2013

COOKING: Chia Fresca

Are you guys into chia seeds? They seem to be the health food darling of 2013 (see you on the way down, quinoa!) and so they're getting a lot of hype lately. They're actually super healthy and have a ton of great things in their tiny little selves, like fiber, omega 3s, protein and probably snippets of unicorn tails and leprechaun beards (friendly leprechauns only, of course) since they're so special. 

I want to eat them. I do. Yes, they are the same chia seeds that are used for Chia Pets. Yes, that makes it harder to eat them. That's not just me, right? I generally go for food that isn't otherwise used as decorative hair on a Scooby Doo knick-knack. I just have a thing about it. I also know that people were eating chia seeds way before the Chia Pets people invented "The Pottery That Grows!" - as if literally anyone was asking for that. I've tried chia pudding which tastes okay, but also looks like the lumpy, wet trail a swamp creature might leave behind.

So now I'm all about Chia Fresca, a refreshing, summery drink that allows me to get a serving of chia seeds down my throat without having to think about it. I actually enjoy them now! You should probably make this too:


WHAT YOU NEED
Chia Seeds  //  Sweetener (optional)  //  Lemon or Lime Juice  //  Water  //  Container with a Lid

HOW TO MAKE IT
Put 1.5 teaspoons of chia seeds in your container.

Add 12 oz. of cold water to the container. 

Let the chia seeds sit in the water for about 10 minutes. This lets them absorb the water and plump up in an interesting and/or creepy fashion, depending on your perspective.

Put the lid on your container and shake it up well. The chia seeds have a tendency to clump and either sit on the bottom or rise to the top. You want them to be evenly distributed so it's easier to drink.

You'll see at this point that soaking has caused the chia seeds to grow a gelatinous outer layer. Yum! JK, that's totally gross, but it will help you drink them without getting the chia seeds stuck in your throat. This is what allows them to easily slide through a straw and into your body to give you nutrients without you ever having to think about the actual seeds themselves. If you are "a normal" this might not matter for you, but I need all the help I can get to ingest things that look weird to me.
PRO TIP: Try NOT to think about how much this looks like tadpoles!
Take the lid off and add about 1 tablespoon of lime juice.

Next, add sweetener to taste. I used about a teaspoon.

Just stir it around, add some ice cubes and sip away! Enjoy your polka dotted water. This is also supposed to be a natural energy drink, but it didn't do anything for me in that regard. I'm difficult, though.


Do you like chia seeds? Would you drink water filled with them? I promise it's not as weird as it looks or sounds. And it's certainly not as weird as this

xoxo,
Michelle

Saturday, June 22, 2013

STYLE: Cheap Sunglasses Roundup

It's summer, guys! S-U-M-M-E-R. Aside from stuff like humid apartments, sand in our nether regions, melting makeup and that horrible, horrible feeling of becoming sweaty the instant you step out of the shower, summer is actually pretty alright. Have you noticed? So much of the good stuff is synonymous with summer - corn on the cob, swimming, grass, air conditioning, cookouts, the ocean and, of course, the sun. I'm assuming you can handle all that stuff yourself, so I'm just going to talk about that last one: the sun.

Somewhere between my best friend and my mortal enemy, the sun makes me feel all giddy and excited at times, while other times it's busy making my mustache area glisten and my skin turn lobster red. We struggle to get to a happy medium, and mostly it works well. One good thing is that the sun allows me to purchase WAY too many pairs of sunglasses, which I love. They're basically medicinal, right? Right.

Since I'm pretty cheap (but I'm focused on value, not cost necessarily) I love nothing more than scoring a super deal on fun sunglasses. Okay, I've already lied to you; I love A TON of stuff more than a good deal on sunglasses, but for the purposes of this post let's just get all hyperbolic up in here. Cheap sunglasses = good. I just CANNOT shell out more than $10 or so for something that has a 50/50 chance of ending up in broken pieces beneath my butt. This is a great general rule to live by, I think. 

These are all dirt cheap! We're talking around $5 mostly so get with it and buy some cheap sunglasses - it's S-U-M-M-E-R! It's more exciting when it's spelled that way, duh.



W H E R E  T O  B U Y 
1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10 // 11 // 12 // 13 // 14 // 15
16 // 17 // 18 // 19 // 20 // 21 // 22 // 23 // 24 // 25 // 26 // 27 // 28 // 29 // 30

Do you own a lot of sunglasses? What's the longest you've kept a pair around without crushing them accidentally? My record so far is nine years and counting. I've always been too scared of jinxing myself to admit that, so I think that means we're getting closer, guys. Why are most people so inept at keeping sunglasses alive?

xoxo,
Michelle

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

DIY: Rainbow Feather Necklace

I'm kind of a sucker for anything in miniature, so when I saw these teeny tiny little feathers at the craft store for a mere $2.00 I knew they had to be mine. I like working with craft feathers - I have approximately one million feather headbands to add to my Etsy shop once I finally get around to it and I'm working on perfecting a hot pink feather bow tie (to save the world), but I've never seen or worked with mini feathers. I thought they were basically begging to get hacked up and turned into a necklace so I granted their final wish by doing just that. I'm really generous when it comes to stuff like that.


WHAT YOU NEED
14 Mini Craft Feathers in Assorted Colors  //  14 Mini Jump Rings  //  14 Crimp Beads  //  14 Eye Pins  //  2 Large Jump Rings  //  Clasp  //  18" Length of Chain  //  Jewelry Pliers  //  Wire Cutters  //  Crimp Bead Tool

HOW TO MAKE IT
First things first: trim the tail ends off all of your feathers so that only a little nub is left.

Next, slide a crimp bead over that nub at the feather's end. It should fit pretty snugly. Once it's on, place the straight end of a eye pin through the crimp bead and down the back of the feather (see second picture below).


Next we'll be crimping the crimp bead (hey, wait a minute...). If you've never worked with crimp beads you might be thinking they're kind of weird or maybe have something to do with regrettable hair choices of our youth, and you'd be half right - they are kind of weird. 

Basically, crimp beads are small, soft tube-shaped beads which are squeezed/crimped to secure other jewelry notions. A lot of people use them to secure clasps on wire jewelry like this. I've mostly used them to attach eye pins to nontraditional jewelry supplies, like feathers. The purpose here is to make the eye pin stay secure on the feather so that the eye pin can be attached to a chain to form a necklace. Make sense?

So, back to the crimping. I'm using a crimping tool, which has two notches in its head because this is a two-step process. First, you use the notch furthest from the tip of the tool, which has a dimple in it that crimps the bead into a shape that resembles a capital 'B' laying on its back. Next, use the other notch to crimp the flattened bead back into a tube shape by bringing the lumps in the 'B' toward each other. 

I promise this is WAY less complicated than it may seem. You can read more about the process here.


This is the second notch in action - making the flat-ish shape a tube-ish shape again. When that's done, use the wire cutters to trim off any part of the eye pin that is hanging outside of the crimp bead (except the actual 'eye' portion, which we need!).

Repeat your newly acquired crimping skills on the rest of your feathers.

You're almost there! Use the pliers to attach a mini jump ring to an eye pin. Then, attach the jump ring directly to the chain wherever you see fit, and close the jump ring.

I counted out chain links to space them evenly and worked in a rainbow color pattern, but feel free to get all willy nilly up in this necklace. I don't think there are any rules about how to rock a rainbow feather necklace, nor should there be.

Once all of your feathers are attached, simply link a large jump ring to each end of the chain and attach the clasp. 





This 'Party-In-a-Necklace' is fun and whimsical (ewww) to wear, and it will have a BLAST dancing around your face and neck if you wear it on a windy day. Or if you go running in it, which I can't recommend enough, as a potential witness and bystander.

Are you into feathers? Have we all learned the difference between good crimping (beads) and bad crimping (any hair-do circa 1985-1991 and also occasionally in this century for some reason)?

xoxo,
Michelle

Monday, June 17, 2013

ETC: Girl Crush Feature on Miss Malaprop!


You know what makes for a wonderful morning? Finding yourself the subject of Miss Malaprop's Girl Crush feature! I recently did an interview with Mallory (who is THE SWEETEST) and I have officially been deemed crush-worthy. 


Make sure to check out more from Mallory, too - her blog is awesome!

xoxo,
Michelle

Thursday, June 13, 2013

BEAUTY: Two-Tone Pastel Nails


Sometimes one nail color just isn't enough, you know? I love finding ways to create simple nail art that looks interesting without taking too much time and energy. I can't be devoting precious TV watching minutes to hunching over my nails with a polish-dipped toothpick and a furrowed brow. I have priorities. Let's be honest - detailed nail art is the most fun after you're done, when people are looking at your perfectly drawn ice cream cones or whatever and giving you compliments. When you're actually doing it, it can be frustrating

I used to be obsessed with painting pictures and scenes on my nails in my younger years, and it wasn't unusual to see a cloudy sky (with shading!) or a full on plaid look on my fingers. I still like to do detailed looks from time to time, but when time is a factor simplicity is key. That's where looks like this one come in. Paper reinforcement stickers are great for manicure tricks (as are actual nail stickers like these) because they give you a crisp line upon which to make your nail magic. That is basically what nail art is. You are a nail magician. Let's cast a spell together, shall we? 


WHAT YOU NEED
Wet n Wild Base Coat  //  Lacey Lilac by Sally Hansen  //  Mint Sorbet by Sally Hansen  //
Seche Vite Top Coat  //  Paper Reinforcement Stickers 

HOW TO DO IT
Paint your clear base coat and let it dry completely. I only use fast dry ones because I am impatient.

Paint half of your nails with the mint green polish and the other half with the lilac polish in an alternating pattern. I made each hand different (3 green nails on the left hand and 2 on the right hand).

Peel off a sticker and stick it to the back of your hand. This removes some of the tackiness so  you get the perfect amount of sticky on your nails. They're a little too much right from the package.


Place the de-sticky'ed (yes, we'll go with that) sticker about halfway down your fingernail, as pictured, and press down around the edges to secure.

Paint the tips of your nails with the opposite polish color as you used for the base. So, paint lilac tips on the mint green nails and mint green tips on the lilac nails. This was probably not a necessary explanation. Let's move on.

Peel the stickers off slowly and carefully to reveal a (hopefully!) clean line. If you get any weirdo bits or messy edges just clean them up with a q-tip and maybe a little more polish if you need it.

Cover in a layer of Seche Vite top coat. I mean, you can use other top coats, but why bother? If you're in the nail game you probably don't need to hear this, but if not please listen up: THERE IS NO OTHER TOP COAT! You might think that you've seen them in stores or even purchased them, but once you try Seche Vite you will realize that those other impostors were just there to waste your money and break your heart. This is the real deal. It dries SO FAST I don't even understand the physics of it, and when I say dry, I mean DRY - as in I could, like, do the dishes 5 minutes after I put this stuff on. Not that I would, but I could. It sets in minutes as if your manicure has been there for days. What would happen if you tried to use your top coat and then wash dishes minutes later? It would probably be a goopy, sad mess, yes? I told you those other top coats will just break your heart. I'm looking out for you! USE THIS STUFF.

Done! Two-tone pastel nails are ready to go. Perfect for your Easter egg hunts or spring brunches, I'm sure.



Are you into two-tone nail looks? Would you consider using office supplies in your manicures? Do you feel as strongly about your top coat as I do about mine?

xoxo,
Michelle

Saturday, June 1, 2013

STYLE: Five Style Lessons to Learn (and Avoid) from 90s TV


Tia & Tamera enjoyed all these trends at once, so this will serve as your key to these lessons; 
you may want to print a copy to keep in your wallet for reference.
It was the era of chain wallets, butterfly hair clips and sky-high bangs, but not every fashion choice made in the 90s was quite so regrettable - need I remind you of the classic Doc Marten or the super trendy knee high sock? 

While we’re probably better off leaving the baby backpacks behind, there are some positive lessons to be learned from our past, and nowhere are these lessons demonstrated so expertly as on 90s television shows. This visual scrapbook of our younger years is like a fashion time capsule, so here’s a helpful guide to deciding which trends are meant for simply waxing nostalgic and which are primed to be dusted off and tried again. 

............................................................
TREND: Super Bold Prints & Patterns

HOW THEY WORE IT THEN:
No one was shy with bold prints or pattern mixing on 90s TV, but if we’re being honest, there were some unforgivable prints that I’m sure we’d all like washed from our collective memory (Zubaz pants come to mind). 
For the refined 90s man who preferred a little flair in his sweatpants.
Cosby sweaters aside, 90s television also brought us some of our favorite print and pattern pioneers, like the adventurous Clarissa Darling, who showed us that any patterns can live in harmony if worn with confidence. My So-Called Life's Angela Chase demonstrated the grungier side of pattern mixing, never one to leave home without a floral and plaid combo, and when the Fresh Prince wore his school blazer inside out to showcase that wild paisley print we just about lost our collective mind.
Why, yes it is, Will. Yes it is.

HOW TO WEAR IT NOW:
Be inspired by that carefree 'tude today by pairing spunky stripes with feisty florals or gutsy geometrics. Pattern mixing is a great way to wear everything in your closet, so you’ll find everyone and their mother mixing prints today, from Fashion Week to the blogosphere to that older lady mumbling to herself at the grocery store (this one may not be intentional).
Sources: 1  //  2  //  3



............................................................
TREND: Menswear as Womenswear

HOW THEY WORE IT THEN:
Menswear for women was everywhere on 90s TV, from Monica's unnecessary suspenders on Friends to Alex Mack's ever-present backwards baseball hat to 90210's Kelly Taylor and her never-ending supply of colorful structured blazers. Men themselves were no slouches in the high-waisted-pleated-pants game, but no one rocked an oversized suit like Seinfeld's Elaine Benes. No one. 
She is literally begging you to argue with her on this.

HOW TO WEAR IT NOW:
Luckily, dressing up like the boys is back in full force, and it's now second nature to slip on a pair of loafers, wear a vest over your dress or pull on a pair of boyfriend-fit jeans. With modern menswear icons like Janelle Monae, Tilda Swinton and Gwen Stefani to inspire us, it's only a matter of time before we're all running around looking like Spinelli from Recess. There are worse things.
Sources: 1  //  2  //  3



............................................................
TREND: Denim, Denim, Denim

HOW THEY WORE IT THEN:
Condoms optional.
If the 90s were a fabric they would definitely be denim, and chances are good that you can find a jeans-heavy promo photo of your favorite 90s TV show (acid wash backdrop optional) floating around online pretty easily. 
I was not kidding.
Nobody could get enough of this stuff, but as classic as denim may be, there sure were a lot of ways to look just shy of ridiculous while wearing it. The jeans and denim shirt combo, a la Jay Leno, isn’t a good look for most, but the horror of Britney and Justin’s matching denim red carpet wear is painfully unforgettable.
Do you think this started by Justin saying "Eh, I just wanna wear jeans tonight"? Also, please note the denim train on her dress.

HOW TO WEAR IT NOW:
Because of these missteps, you may be hesitant to try denim beyond your trusty jeans, but these days cute denim looks are popping up everywhere from Miu Miu runways to Old Navy racks. The key? Style it a little more Kelly Bundy - think studded jean jackets and frayed cutoffs over tights - and a little less Jonathan Taylor Thomas. 
Sources: 1  //  2  //  3
We know that denim is super 90s, but throw on some colored jeans and you might as well be doing the Macarena with your Beanie Babies at Central Perk. That is to say, colored denim is super, super 90s, and it’s back with a vengeance at pretty much every store in the mall. From pastels to summer brights, colored pants are a great way to channel your inner Lisa Turtle, and they work well as a bold contrast to printed shirts or with solid tops for a color-blocked look. One tip: just say no to the matching scrunchie.
Sources: 1  //  2  //  3



............................................................
TREND: Proportions & Layers

HOW THEY WORE IT THEN:
Proving once again that everything looks good on Drew Barrymore.
Proportions were wild, as our stars dressed in baggy sweaters over tight-ankled jeans and cinched t-shirts with leggings, but no look was more quintessentially 90s than the baby tee and baggy jeans combo, and the volume, like that of Jason Priestly's hair, was extreme. 
EXTREME!!!
Layering up, like the classic sweater vest over white tee rocked regularly on Boy Meets World or the more demure vest-over-blouse look favored by DJ Tanner, is also decidedly 90s. Back then, even wearing a short sleeve t-shirt over a long sleeve t-shirt was considered a fashion statement.
Wearing the same outfit as a teacher: don't let this happen to you!

HOW TO WEAR IT NOW:
Sources: 1  //  2  //  3
We've wised up since, thankfully, and now we can play with proportions by pairing swingy blouses with skinny jeans, a tight tank top with a full skirt or a fitted leather jacket over an A-line dress. We can update the layered look to include belted cardigans draped over sundresses, vests and scarfs worn over blouses and that tired hoodie and blazer thing that guys won't stop doing. 
The go-to look for EVERY menswear photo shoot for the last decade.  Men of the world: commit to either being casual or dressy.



............................................................
TREND: Hats

HOW THEY WORE IT THEN:
I think maybe Pete is shocked because he forgot HIS giant flower?
From Blossom's iconic flower-topped look to the red-and-black-plaid number always found on Little Pete’s ginger head, 90s television stars were nothing if not hat obsessed. Their constant fixation on head covering was not without merit - most people do look pretty awesome in a hat, and as long as you leave the lesser trends (Starter snapbacks, Dr. Seuss caps and, ewwww, the dreaded bucket hat) back in the 90s where they belong, you can be one of them. 
Literally the only time I will allow a bucket hat.

HOW TO WEAR IT NOW:
Simple beanies always look effortlessly cool and basic black bowlers are still interesting without trying too hard. Use your instincts when it comes to modernizing the look; if a hat could double as either a Jamiroquai concert prop or your little sister's Easter bonnet you may want to rethink things.
Sources: 1  //  2  //  3

............................................................
Let's Not Make These Mistakes Again, Okay?

Sweater/Shirt Tied Around Your Waist: 
It just screams "I didn't know I was getting my period today!" This is excused if you actually did get your period unexpectedly; if so, we're all here for you.

Exhibits A, B and C
Bodysuits: 
I think we can agree that taking off all of your clothing every time you need to use the bathroom is a deal breaker.
All the inconvenience of a one-piece bathing suit AND it stays securely tucked into your jorts!
Overalls: 
One strap or two, this look is really hard to pull off past kindergarten and no one really cares to see you try.
Carefree attitude not included.
Frosted Tips On Dudes: 
It doesn’t matter if it worked for Pacey on Dawson's Creek (btw it didn't) - the only thing I want frosted is my cupcake.
A look that worked on approximately 0% of guys. Over-the-sunglasses glances did not help.
High Heel Sneakers: 
I'm not sure what kind of occasion calls for either really casual heels or really dressy sneakers, but I won't be RSVPing. 
Inexplicably, this was NOT a joke.

What great or horrible 90s trends are you loving? Have you ever understood the allure of the heeled sneaker? Do you ever just want to crawl inside your TV and swim in daisy print dresses when 90210 reruns are on? These are the issues!

xoxo,
Michelle


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