Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Let's give thanks...

Tomorrow, friends, we feast. And, in just a few short days, you can stop seeing your news feed populated by #thankful and #blessed posts.

While we agree it is most important to count your blessings all day, every day, there is just something about those November posts that rub us the wrong way. This article pointed out you might look like an asshole for basically rubbing it everyone's face, but we think it's important to be grateful of all the amazing blessings in your life--just...maybe lay off it on Facebook, okay?

With that thought, an idea was born. How could we give thanks without appearing obnoxious, offensive, or both? Out of that idea came a collaboration between two great minds--Kate from Thoroughly Modern and Katie from The Style Dunce.

Without further ado...

 photo 612a8f37-a28b-4989-8716-68f3e6b8f88c_zps157c5721.jpg 

The Style Dunce (SD): I'm grateful that my mom and step-dad are wine people, so there is always a ready supply of the sweet nectar at get-togethers.

Thoroughly Modern (TM): I'm grateful we aren't facing the zombie apocolypse. I mean, I know The Walking Dead isn't real, but what if?

What if Daryl, what if?? via Giphy
SD: I'm grateful that Bravo exists because without the Real Housewives I wouldn't know how to be a woman.
TM: I'm grateful I abandoned butterfly hair clips in 1999 and never looked back.

We are never, ever, ever getting back together.
SD: I'm grateful that my boyfriend buys the popcorn and coke when he drags me to an awful movie I don't want to see (oh hi, Riddick).

TM: I'm grateful for friends who are always ready to cure my baby fever in a heartbeat. ("Watch videos of live birth," thanks Alison!)

SD: I'm grateful that I'm not a 14-year-old girl or else I might have Bieber fever and you don't come back from that shit. 
Wait, fondue? You didn't mention fondue. Everything has changed. (via)
TM: I'm grateful that, after all these years, Taco Bell and I are still going strong.

For the record, "raw as hell," is not a euphemism for something dirty. I checked.
via Giphy
SD: I'm grateful that I don't really watch TV late at night anymore so I haven't seen those Sarah McLachlan animal abuse videos in forever. In the arms of an angel, I'm watching Parks and Rec on Netflix instead.

TM: I'm feeling #blessed that there are now cars with heated steering wheels, because we all need something to strive towards.

SD: I'm grateful that Ravenswood has shown me that Caleb really isn't so bad, but I am not grateful for his stupid haircut.
His face is asking if I'd like to rethink that stance. Maybe, Caleb, maybe. (via)
SD: I'm grateful that "It's All Coming Back to Me Now," is nearly 10 minutes long so I can enjoy every precious second of Celine Dion. 

TM: I'm grateful I can, like, totally eat whatever I want and not gain a pound!

JK kidding! Had ya going there, didn't I?
via Giphy
SD: I'm grateful that Adam Levine was named Sexiest Man Alive so that every other skinny, white dude with muscles and tattoos can now have a dream.

TM: I'm grateful that I can get by without washing my hair every day. You know it, I know it, we all know it--washing/drying/styling is a big ol' pain in the bones.

SD: I'm grateful that it is the time of year when I can watch Love Actually on a loop and no one can judge me.
TM: I'm grateful there weren't smartphones or instagram back in 2001. That perm I got was a PLD that doesn't need to be remembered.

Take it from me, Leslie: perms are an Oh No No.
via Giphy
SD: I'm grateful that House Hunters has taught me the importance of granite counter-tops and stainless steel appliances.

TM: I'm grateful I have granite counter-tops but not stainless steel appliances, so ya know, we don't seem too elitist.

SD: I'm grateful that Blair Waldorf and Seth Cohen are getting married so everyone has a reminder that the universe just gets it so right sometimes. 

TM: I'm #thankful that the lights are down during spin class, because I don't want anyone trying to copy my graceful form. (And by "graceful form," I mean I don't want people to see me lookin' like a fool.)

via Giphy
SD: I'm grateful that cheese exists because as if I wasn't going to take this opportunity to mention it again.

TM: I'm grateful Amy and Tina are back to host the Golden Globes this year--not because it makes an awards show bearable, but because Amy + Tina = all things that are right and good in the world.

Be my best friend?
via Giphy
SD: I'm grateful that The Voice made their show 5 hours long each week so I don't waste my time watching it anymore.
TM: I'm grateful to know that in just a little over one month, PLL will be back in my life.

SD: I'm grateful that Christina Aguilera lost weight so that I can breathlessly read every gossip rag's breathless exclamations of how great she looks and then read their breathless exclamations about how she's gone too far after I fondly reminisce about their breathless exclamations that she was too fat. Oh wait, I meant I'm grateful that my weight isn't dissected by nitwits.

TM: I'm grateful for the 43 vineyards in Loudoun County, plus the bajillion others that are located around Virginia. Also--#grateful for the sangria slushie machine at Prince Michel Vineyards. Yes.

SD: I'm grateful that it is almost Christmas time because I like to get my Christmas card ideas from the Kardashians. 

Think you can top this? You can't. (via)
TM: Lastly, I'm going to say what we're all thinking--I'm grateful for Mean Girls. With that one, beautiful, tropical fish of a movie, we've got a lifetime's supply of quotes, gifs, and life lessons.

Life lesson from Mean Girls #55: You can't just ask someone why they are white!
via Giphy
And there you have it. Is your heart filled with joy? Ours certainly are and not just because we're about to watch Love Actually for the 500th time. Can you watch Hugh Grant shake his junk too many times? No you can't, stupid question. Now go get your pajama jeans ready for Thursday and make sure you have a Thanksgiving Day game-plan. Only amateurs strike out after the first course.


Monday, November 25, 2013

The perfect Thanksgiving meal

For Americans, Thanksgiving is in just a few short days, but in lieu of me actually cooking or being any kind of a domestic goddess, I thought I'd just share what would be on my table in a perfect world.

1. Deviled eggs, duh. I used to be scared of yolk so I'd squeeze out the insides, but I'm not that fool anymore and, like Ron Swanson, my ideal situation would be having my own tray.

via Tumblr (tyedye-the-typhlosion)

2. Sweet potatoes with marshmallows, brown sugar and pecans. It's dessert, but it's not technically, so you can still eat five slices of your mom's pumpkin pie and only feel a little bit bad.

Leave it to Williams-Sonoma to class up this classic dish. (via)

3. A big bowl of sweet corn, slightly buttered and seasoned to perfection. Or alternately, corn on the cob. But there will be no bacon, cheese or any other ingredient added to this dish.

via Tumblr (yarinessuarez)

4. Corn chowder. This is where we can get fancy, okay?

via Better Homes and Gardens

5. Cornbread. Yeah, I like corn. Who doesn't?

via Southern Living

6. Roasted Brussels sprouts. If there is any vegetable from our youth that we are supposed to terrified of, it's the Brussels sprout. But damn it, if they aren't delicious roasted.

via Tumblr (jillianbenson)

7.  Ham as the main dish. Is that sacrilege? I just like ham so much better than turkey. And Nigella Lawson has this amazing ham recipe where you cook the ham in coke and molasses and brown sugar and it gets the best glaze, and do I really need to go on? 
via Cookstr. (photo by Francesca Yorke)
8. Pumpkin pie. It's tradition for a reason. 

via Tumblr (foodphotosets)

9. Oh, and also this:

via Tumblr (donnasdish)

Like I wouldn't have some chocolate cream pie too.

So, what's missing?

--mashed potatoes. More room for sweet potatoes, you understand.
--green bean casserole. Sorry, Logan. 
--turkey (okay, okay, I'll eat turkey too)
--brightly colored fruit and marshmallow mixtures (though I will eat that if you put it in front of me, because who doesn't like eating bright pink things?)
--stuffing (never been a fan)
--and, cranberry sauce (I know, throw me out already). 

But enough about my awesome taste in Thanksgiving food. What are you looking forward to?


Friday, November 22, 2013

Winter twee in 7 easy steps

Step 1: Start with a patterned, high-waisted skirt. 

Step 2: Add a top in a different pattern. Bonus points if it has a peter pan collar. 

Bonus points if you also put up a photo where it looks like you have a very thin mustache.

Step 3: Throw a slouchy cardigan over it.

Step 4: Put on a wish-bone bracelet.  

Step 5: Add knit tights and black patent flats. 

 Step 6: Spoiler alert, you already saw Step 6. Sorry. Put on a brightly colored lipstick.

Step 7: Take a photo where you put your hands in your pocket and stand pigeon-toed. It'll be adorable. 

Extra points for the following: 

--a hair bow
--nail art
--mary jane's or oxfords (which reminds me that I have a pair and am now a huge failure)

And you're done! Unless you want to give some half-hearted nod to the fact that guys will hate this look as if you actually give a flying fuck.

Sidenote: I might have just made fun of this look, but you better believe I've worn it 500 times, including today*.

Another sidenote: I had the worst case of bitchface during this photo shoot. 

"What's your damage, girl?" ... is probably what some douchebag would ask me in a club.

If anyone cares, I got the cardigan, tights and shoes at Target, the skirt at Urban Outfitters, the blouse at a local boutique in Kansas, and the bracelet at Maurice's. Everything is old, which is why I never actually link anything. The lipstick is Revlon in the shade Lollipop.

My dog, who put up with my photoshoot with a look of confusion, would like to wish you a happy weekend:

*Wrote this ahead so today was Wednesday or something. Full disclosure and all that. 


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Throwback Thursday: That time I put gold-leaf on my nails

Oh, hi, that's just gold leaf on my nails. No biggie.

Remember that time I put gold-leaf on my nails?
Well I do. 
It took two hours (at least), it got everywhere and it didn't really look that great. But I was taken in by THIS tutorial from The Beauty Department (never again, ladies) and with dreams of greatness, I bought not only a booklet of gold leaf, but also of silver leaf. You know, just to have.

Their version is gorgeous, right? All of their manicure ideas are adorable. They're nail geniuses. 

And I have that teal nail polish they used, but I thought it would also look pretty with this orangey-coral I had (which just looks really orange in photos) and it was all downhill from there. Not because the coral was a bad choice, but because, well...


Probably the same people who eat gold shavings on their hamburgers. And, well, me. 

And also people who don't use their hands for anything ever. 
Why is it such a bad idea?

Only because gold-leaf is crazy delicate and once you actually manage to cut it into properly shaped triangles and place it on your nail, chances are you're just going to chip it within an hour of applying it just by living and using your hands to do normal hand things.

If you even make it to that step and don't completely fuck up placing the little triangles on your nails and give up in a blind rage because you keep messing your polish up. 

And now I have two nearly full packets of gold and silver-leaf because the pay-off isn't good enough to attempt this manicure again. If only I liked to gold-leaf things.
And the worst part? All I have to document the labor and heartache is this one shitty, blurry cellphone photo. 
What about you? Any misguided attempts to copy the work of someone 100 percent superior to you? (Sorry I had to word it like that.)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The thing about commenting on other blogs...

I feel like getting meta today because it's Wednesday, and though that's not actually a good reason, I'm just going to run with it.

If only I looked so handsome winking. (via)

So here goes.

The thing about commenting on other blogs...

 ... is that I put way too much thought into it.

And, also, I suck at it.

I don't comment on nearly enough, but then when I do I can spend several minutes thinking of how to basically write what every other commenter has written but in a new way, because really I don't have anything original to add, but I want to somehow show my support.

I see the short, "oh this is awesome!" comments and then think, "why can't I just do that?" But then I think, no, I want to show them I actually read the post and connected to it.

But someone has probably already said it better than me, so I throw in something they didn't mention.

What was that? Yeah, I'm neurotic... about commenting on other people's blogs.

I'm not alone, am I?

There are a few blogs I read every morning and typically comment on every day (oh hey, twin, i.e. Kate at Thoroughly Modern, and my go-to girl-crush Helene), but sometimes when I go through my daily roll, I'll quickly glance over the comments and see one person who has replied to EVERY blog I read.

How are they everywhere at once? How do they have the energy?

I'm already impressed by the bigger bloggers I read who respond to all of their comments when they get 40+ each day.

Let's not even get into when you're commenting on a "big" blog and you have had no previous interaction with the blogger so you want to make sure your comment is clever or something that'll stand out. Hours spent on that. Okay, no not hours. But more minutes than was necessary.

Who knew only a few lines could require so much thought?

But if anyone's in a Wednesday slump, you should probably enter this giveaway:

November Giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The feminist I am


Cat's out of the bag. I'm a feminist. A big one.

Call me a feminazi, if you must, like the term hasn't been rendered completely meaningless* due to over-use, it's fine. I can handle it.

But what I can't handle is people who don't identify as feminists telling me what it means to be one.

So I thought I'd clear a few things up.

When you've met one feminist, you have not, in fact, met them all. Please don't tell me anecdotes about that crazy bitch you know (paraphrasing) to pretend some kind of expertise on the subject.

Like any school of thought, there are a multitude of different viewpoints amongst people who identify as feminists. Crazy I know, but feminism is not some monolith where every person who calls themselves one believes the exact same thing.

But I can't speak for other feminists, only me, so I thought I'd share my own personal brand of feminism.

--I will never make statements about how much I love men so you don't think I'm a man-hater. What do you want me to say, "I don't hate men, I have a boyfriend?" That sounds familiar somehow, but I can't quite put my finger on it.

--I don't think every decision a woman makes is empowering because a woman is making the decision, but I also don't believe in judging how another woman chooses to live her life, unless she is harming others.

--I don't care if you're a stay-at-home mom. It's not an affront to my sensibilities. Taking care of kids is hard work. Keeping a house in order is hard work. Anybody who has done either knows that, and anyone (male or female, because I have most definitely heard this statement from sexist men) who suggests that staying at home is "opting out" is an asshole.

--I believe in rape culture. You don't? I'd like to live in your reality.

--I don't think songs like this are romantic. (Though don't mistake that for me saying I don't like the Pistol Annies, because I love me some Miranda Lambert). But I don't need flowers gathered from some field. I need a man's support and help in actual, tangible ways.

--I hate that popular female celebrities find it so hard to call themselves feminists, but like, Katy Perry, I believe in the strength of women.

--I also believe in the strength of men, which is why I reject the notion popular to rape apologists that men don't have self-control.

--I find it funny when anti-feminists make statements about how feminists are just the ugly girls who can't get ahead in life because they're so ugly and bitter, without recognizing how much that statement illustrates the importance of feminism.

--Articles like this rub me the wrong way. I'm not going to make excuses for shitty behavior on the parts of women because we are taught by society to compete against each other for male attention. I won't disagree with that, but I know so many women who have rejected such behavior, that I know it's not an inevitability for women to be horrible to each other, and I'm not going to hold some women to different standards than I hold myself.

--At the same time, being a feminist does not mean I have to like every other woman on this earth. I don't.

--It also doesn't mean that harmless criticism = not supporting women.

--I don't think Miley Cyrus parading around in skimpy clothes on stage is detrimental to the feminist "cause," but I also don't think it does anything for feminism. I applaud her for not giving a fuck, but I also think there are areas where she should probably give a few more fucks.

--I don't think Taylor Swift is a feminist's nightmare because she's an old-fashioned romantic, but I do think she has some really stupid lyrics in some of her songs that reinforce tired gender stereotypes and the slut-shamey stuff needs to go. How a person can constantly sing about the taken boy she wants while simultaneously villainizing women who steal her boyfriend without batting an eye boggles my mind. Taylor, self-awareness. Self-awareness, meet Taylor.

--Feminists like to tell non-feminists that feminism is simply the belief that women are human, that we're equal to men. I don't agree. Why? Because Sarah Palin would agree to that statement (that women are equal to men) and not for one second do I believe that she's a feminist. We have to have a basic set of standards that are a little more complex than just women being equal to men, or it's completely meaningless.

--Straight men can be feminists without it meaning that they are "whipped" or "pussies." And while we're at it, stop using the word pussy to mean weak. In fact, let's talk about this. Do you (person who uses the word pussy) really not think it's messed up that to praise someone you tell them what huge balls they have and liken them to a man, and to insult someone you tell them they are a vagina and liken them to a woman? Can you tell me with a straight face that that says nothing about the society we live in?

--I don't want to hear your opinion of women who sleep around. I give zero shits.

--I don't use the word slut as an insult, ever. It's an unbelievably sexist term and there is no equivalent word to describe men who sleep around that even comes close to holding the same amount of power.

--I want my nieces to live in a world where they won't be told they're worth less because of how they dress, who they socialize with, or where they work. 

--I wrote an open letter to female rape apologists, but that shouldn't be mistaken for me believing that they are the problem when discussing rape. I wrote it because I find it to be discouraging, but I wholeheartedly believe that the key to decreasing rape is not in how women respond to other women, but in teaching would-be rapists (who are, in general, not the shadowy stranger, but the person you know) that they are not entitled to other people's bodies. If we want to talk about the "entitlement" problem we have in the US, let's talk about rape.

--Lastly, I hate when women call their romantic partners "my lover." Does that have to do with feminism? Probably not, but I really, really hate it.
*Just kidding. The word has always been as meaningless as the person who coined it. 


Monday, November 18, 2013

Beauty basics: The perfect at-home manicure

Whatever. Don't act like I don't have a future in hand-modeling.

I don't know if you're one of those cool kids who have been perfecting their nail game since middle school, but I only started to properly take care of my nails in college. And since then, I hate for them to be bare.

But the only time I've ever paid for a manicure was in high school when those french-tip acrylic nails were really popular. Except I didn't realize asking for "clear" polish wasn't the same as asking for a french manicure and my nails looked like shit. Oh, and also, I was too timid to say anything. 

But I wanted to do this post because I've had several friends make comments to the effect that they always pay for a manicure because they suck at painting their own nails, and I want to show that even if you'd flunk out of coloring class, it's still really easy to get a good-looking manicure.

Nail buffer, polish remover, cotton ball, clippers, nail file, top coat, polish of choice, base coat.

Full disclosure: There will be a lot of stating the obvious from this point forward. Sorry about that.

Step 1:

Clean those nails up. Get all trace of any other color off there or it will come back to haunt you.

Using a cuticle tool or the cleaner part of the nail clippers, push down your cuticles. They are not invited to the polish party.

Shape your nails to the way you prefer. Mine are pretty short right now so I like the tops slightly rounded. 

Step 2:

Buff your nails with a four-sided buffer, starting with evening the nails, then smoothing and then making those a-holes shine.

One odd, little bump on your nail that doesn't get buffed off will sabotage your entire manicure.

It's that serious.

Step 3:

It's time to start painting!

Don't skip on applying base and top-coats if you want a manicure that lasts more than a couple days.

I use Revlon's quick-dry base coat and Essie's Good to Go top-coat.

For my polish, I chose Essie's Sole Mate, because I'm an Essie fangirl.

The thing about applying base-coats is that you don't want to screw it up or your manicure will just be all downhill from here.

Only apply a thin layer.

If your base-coat is old and gloopy, get rid of it because it will be a horrible base for the rest of your manicure, making the final look sloppy. 

Step 4:

I typically only apply two coats of the actual polish, but I've found Essie reds can be streaky (sorry, Essie), so in this case, I applied three.

Since I have so many layers, it's really important to make sure they're thin, or else your manicure will look gloopy and sloppy (my favorite words, apparently).

Don't worry about getting polish on your skin, just make sure the polish doesn't pool where your nails and skin meet.

Step 5:

Apply one layer of a quick-dry top coat.

I love Essie's Good to Go because it's good at protecting the nails from chipping.

Quick-dry top coats are the only ones I'll use, because I'm over going to sleep with what I think are dry nails only to wake up with the texture from my comforter embedded on them. 

Step 6: 
Let those suckers dry. 

I wasn't joking when I said don't worry about getting the polish on your skin. Sometimes I just really don't care about trying to be neat. Because guess what? 

a) nail polish remover exists and b) hot water  helps take it off really easily.

My preferred method is to paint my nails at night and then clean them up in the shower the next morning. 

And even if you get polish all over your skin, they can still look like this cleaned up:

What your nails will look like holding a purse.

[Unrelated: I finally got instagram. It'd be super cool of you to follow me. I promise not to use my account for bad. Also, tell me which celebrities to follow, unless both their first and last names start with a K.]