Winter (as in Texas “Winter”) Uniform

I don’t particularly care to discuss the weather over here, but Houston’s been pretty weird these last few weeks. It’s “ice-snowed,” been frozen, most days are just dull, gray, and actually cold, and it rains…just rains. For a Houstonian, this is pretty much miserable.

I’ve also spent most of my waking time attempting to stay warm with space heaters and a heating pad (my place has the absolute worst insulation), and catching up on Grace and Frankie (thank god I haven’t watched the last three seasons, because it was SO good to binge watch), and the Winter Olympics. (Could Adam Rippon be any cuter?) If you’ve been watching, there really have been some amazing moments so far! I swear I get such a high watching snowboarding in the Winter Olympics as I do when I watch swimming in the Summer Olympics, and of course, figure skating is my gymnastics.

I always wished that I had been more athletic when I was younger, or pushed my parents to put me in some kind of sport. I get a teeny bit jealous watching these athletes, especially the 17-year olds ones win gold medals! Alas, I thought chess club, collecting stickers, and reading Ramona Quimby books were my calling. Not sure if anything has changed—I still love Ramona, except I’ve traded chess for Hulu, and collect ink pens over stickers. I’m bummed that the games end this weekend. Maybe because of them, I’ll muster up enough courage to try out snowboarding one day OR maybe I’ll just stick to walking, and hope my ankle doesn’t give out.

I don’t know about everyone else, but after a few cold months, I wake up most mornings without the momentum to put together a cute outfit or dress up. Not sure if it’s the drag of having to wear a thick coat and rain boots (something I’m so not used to), or just being lazy. I would much rather walk around in black workout pants and a sweatshirt. With it being like this, my winter uniform has been some combination of a dress or long-shirt, warm cardigan or chunky sweater, opaque black tights, and boots. Nothing special, but it has been really comfortable. Unlike most Houstonians who can just jump into their warm cars, I do have to drive, take the train, walk, and do it all again in the evening, so staying warm and being comfortable are so key. I say this every year, but I can’t wait for the days of 100-degree weather, and jean shorts all day…every day.

Dress – Old Navy (similar), Cardigan – Forever 21 (eek! from so long ago), Neck tie – Target, Tights – Marhall’s, Boots – DSW 

Plaid Suit – Three Ways

A decade ago, I owned around 15-20 pairs of suits (my job had a serious dress code.) Today, I own two…they’re really not my thing! (The other week, I accidentally ripped a hole in the lining of one, so now I just own 1 ½.)

I’ve seen suit styles evolve over the last few years—they’ve gotten really chic, and you can dress them up or down. While my current profession does require the occasional suit, I prefer to take a more business casual approach, so I am not filling my closet with things that I don’t particularly care to wear. When I came across these two pieces at Banana Republic, I was excited. It’s a suit, without really being a suit. I can amp up the pieces to be completely professional, or take a more casual look by separating the top from the bottom.

Here are three different ways I styled this plaid suit. Unfortunately, I just checked Banana’s website and they no longer carry these two pieces online. The stores may still have them, and I’m sure they will come out with something similar soon.

The Plaid Suit

Two matching pieces, patterned, and when worn together the outfit looks quite professional. If I wanted it to look even more professional (which I’ve actually never done, which is why I didn’t take a picture of it), I could just thrown on a blazer (I’d most likely do black).

By the way, I realize that in these pictures the colors in the top don’t exactly match the colors in the bottoms. I’m not quite sure what happened…I think it was the lighting in my apartment, but they really are matching!

Plaid top – Banana Republic, Plaid pants – Banana Republic, Nude pumps – Anne Klein, Bracelet – Contemporary Art Museum, Houston

The Casual Look

This is probably my favorite of the three looks, and the one I feel the most comfortable in. I’m lucky that I can wear jeans to work, so this is something I’ll throw on for a more casual day. I could have even worn the top with a pair of simple black slacks and pumps.

Black blazer – Ross, Black jeans – GAP, Black/white loafers – Nine West (from DSW)

The Business Professional Look

This is something I’ll put together if I have a day of important meetings, a work event, etc. I could have shown you quite a few different tops, but I chose to show the style that I would gravitate to, hence the more t-shirt like top. I also think a dressy blouse, or textured top would look great.

White blazer – JC Penny, Gray t-shirt – Old Navy, Black/gold pumps – Donald J Pliner, Green cross body purse – DSW 

With pieces like this, you can recreate quite a few different outfits, especially if you’re not huge into suits like I am. This is definitely my favorite version of the non-suit, and I’m glad I invested in a couple of pieces that I know can adapt to my closet.

Also, if you’re like me, and have a hard time finding good dress pants—try the Sloan pant from Banana Republic.  The fit and material are great, and they have a nice slimming pencil leg effect. Being only 5’3”, I actually didn’t have to get them hemmed. (Here I am wearing a petite, size 2.)

Milk and Honey

you
are your own
soul mate

–from milk and honey by Rupi Kaur

One of my goals for 2018 is to read one book a month. This may come easy to a lot of people, but I had to consciously make this a priority because I have a bad habit of streaming shows at night, when I should be doing something more productive, or even sleeping! This year, I really wanted to make an effort to read more, and branch out in various genres of books.

For January, I chose Rupi Kaur’s milk & honey. I came to find out who she was through a few Instagrammers I follow, when she released her new book last year, the sun and her flowers. I’m not huge into poetry, but after reading a few of her pieces, I was curious about the rest of her work—especially being South Asian and all.

Her proses are quick and to the point. (It won’t take long to finish the whole book, but I have to admit there were times when I had to take a bit of break.) Her pieces are beautifully written, and some really get into your heart and head. Others were tough to read, and made me sad.

She explores a range of topics, and you’re bound to be connected to a few. The last chapter of the book, the healing, is the one that I felt the most connection to. Here are a few of my favorites, throughout the book.

i struggle so deeply
to understand
how someone can
pour their entire soul
blood and energy
into someone
without wanting
anything in
return

She writes, “– i will have to wait till i’m a mother” at the end of this. My Mom immediately came to mind, at the fourth line. I feel lucky to have one who completely embodies this—is selfless and has always done this for me, my brother, and my Dad.

do not bother holding on to
that thing that does not want you
–you cannot make it stay

it takes grace
to remain kind
in cruel situations

Hilary Clinton, after the 2016 election, is the first person I thought of as soon as I read this. 

i like the way the stretch marks
on my thighs look human and
that we’re so soft yet
rough and jungle wild
when we need to be
i love that about us
how capable we are of feeling
how unafraid we are of breaking
and tend to our wounds with grace
just being a women
calling myself
a women
makes me utterly whole
and complete

your art
is not about how many people
like your work
your art
is about
if your heart likes your work
if your soul likes your work
it’s about how honest
you are with yourself
and you
must never
trade honesty
for relatability
–to all you young poets

If you’re looking to read a selection of poems that speak to you, and are easy to read, I would definitely get this one. I’m hoping she does a book tour stop in Houston, as I’d love to hear her read in person. I’ll grab her second book later this year, but up next is, “A Wrinkle in Time”—which I’m super excited about!

Outfit details: dress (similar – model wears it without a belt) and booties (old) – Old Navy, belt (old) – Zara, hair ribbon (leftover material) – Joann Fabric and Crafts 

Outfit talk: I have to admit, I struggled a bit with how my hair should be styled with this dress! With beach waves and the white embroider at the top, it just looked like I had too much going on. I tried it with milkmaid braids, and that made me feel like yodeling, and with just straightened hair, it looked a bit boring. Then I decided to try out just a sleek pony tail, and for fun throw on a ribbon. I really wasn’t too sure about the ribbon—I don’t think I’ve worn one in my hair since junior high (!), but I actually don’t mind it here. Cinched at the waist with a belt, it fits my figure better than when I wore it loose. It’s also long enough so that if I do belt it, it doesn’t ride up like some other dresses do. I absolutely love the white embroider on this dress, especially at the arm cuffs. I definitely see this transitioning from season to season—I can layer it, belt it, or add a professional look to it by just throwing on a white blazer.

Figure Skating

My best friend and I used to play pretend figure skating…on concrete. #thingskidsthesedayswillneverdo The truth is, I’ve actually never stepped onto an ice skating rink, but that’s never stopped me from loving the sport.

When the Tonya Harding/ Nancy Kerrigan knee-bashing scandal went down, I was horrified. I couldn’t believe girls in such a beautiful sport would actually do this to each other. Back then, I had no idea who to believe; but I also thought Nancy Kerrigan was the second most graceful skater (Kristi Yamaguchi came first in my books), and so I always leaned towards her side. Fast-forward 25 years later, I watched “I, Tonya,” and the same questions came to mind again—Did she know? Did she really do it? Did it REALLY go down like that, and why were they SO stupid?

The film is actually really funny, and Margot Robbie does an amazing job, as does Allison Janey, who plays her mom. It’s nostalgic—from the clothes to the names being thrown about—Oksana Baiul, Kristi Yamaguchi, Connie Chung, Brian Boitano—very 90s figure skating life.

It’s definitely going to tug some strings, and make you see things that you never thought could happen to her. She was a fantastic skater, and the first women to ever nail a triple axle in competition, so it’s eye-opening to see what a hard life she did come from. The entire film raises the emotional, political, self-doubt, jealousy, and competitive side of these sports, and what people (not just athletes) go through all the time. While it brings to the spotlight a scandal that had so many of us baffled when were younger, it also depicts how important it is for women to know that they are not alone. That emotional, domestic, and even self-sabotaging abuse are so common, and why these movements like Time’s Up, Me Too, and the Women’s March are needed.

I absolutely recommend watching this movie, even if you are the tiniest bit curious. The performances are great (I have to say Sebastian Stan has come a long way from Gossip Girl), and you will be emotionally vested!

Lady Bird

Well hello new year! Naturally, I’ve made a few (read: hundred) goals, that of which I wrote in my new 52 Lists Project book. Since we’re only the second week in, I’m taking small steps—going to bed a bit earlier, reading or crafting more, eliminating uninspiring Instagrammers I’m following (this is actually so necessary), taking a bit of time for self-care, cooking, training for two back-to-back weekend 5K runs, etc. It’s the little things for now.

I also took myself on a “date night for one” to the movies earlier this week. I didn’t do this at all last year, so I figured I’d start off this year by seeing Lady Bird, and stuff my face full of Whoppers (they were sold out of Sour Patch Kids…sad). The movie is adorable—it made me laugh, tear-up, and really appreciate what good music the 1990s and early 2000s had (shout out to Bone Thugs N’ Harmony and Dave Matthews Band). Most importantly, pretty much every girl can relate to the relationship Lady Bird (aka Christine) has with her Mom. I would say I’ve had very similar fights with my Mom (and in some rare cases still do). However, just like them, no matter how frustrated we get with each other, there’s nothing we wouldn’t do for one another. Additionally, all the high school bits she encounters are quirky, funny, and so naturally added into the movie. It shows why it’s so important to have awesome best friends to grow up with. I also can’t forget her Dad—he is all sorts of adorable, and just admiring of her. The whole movie is about relationships—ones you have with your parents, siblings, best friends, boyfriends/girlfriends, etc. I highly recommend watching it, if you’re looking for a feel-good, chill movie. The next one I want to see is I, Tonya—it looks down right crazy, but so good!

On another inspiring note, I am still getting a bit of a high from Oprah’s speech during the Golden Globes last Sunday. I mean…hello God. While I’m not too sure whether or not all the “Oprah for 2020” banter is true, what she said is what makes a real motivational leader. I’m glad I got to start off my year by hearing something like that. I hope more girls and women continue to feel empowered every day. Unless something bizarre comes up, I’ll be walking in the Women’s March in Houston once again next Saturday, January 20. If you are in the Houston-area, and interested in going, here are all the details. It was an amazing turnout last year, and I hope that it’ll be the same this year!

D&G Inspired

This sweatshirt is a DIY I came up with after stumbling across some Dolce & Gabbana (D&G) runway fashion. I love all the embroidered and embellished pieces, exaggerated prints, the bold colors, the florals, the makeup—red berry lips and cat eyeliner, jewelry, and even the crowns! I usually gravitate towards minimalistic looks, but for some reason, I just really love their more avant garde take on fashion. I think the models look so royal, yet fun.

Inspired by the floral embroidery, I thought it would be fun to recreate something similar. To stay in line with my style (so I’d actually wear it) and my budget, I opted for a floral sweatshirt, and thought I’d attempt a similar makeup look.

When I got the idea for the sweatshirt, I didn’t realize what a huge trend floral sweatshirts would be. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find one that I really liked, so I figured I’d just make it using this bold floral applique I found on Amazon.

Here are the steps:

  1. Lay the sweatshirt on a hard surface, and play around with the placement of the floral applique(s) until you like it. I had one long applique, so I had to cut it up into one large piece, and two smaller ones. (If needed, apply a bit of no-fray solution to some areas you cut, where you think the embroidery might come undone.) Once you get all the pieces arranged the way you want it, secure it down with some sewing pins.
  2. Unpinning the applique section by section, apply fabric glue onto the bottom side of it, and lay it down where you originally had it. Make sure to get the edges, because you don’t want those to unstick. Continue to do this for the whole piece.
  3. Lay some heavy books onto the applique, and let it dry (for at least 24 hours).
  4. To keep it even more secure, I went back and stitched down a few areas after it was dry.

I really like designs that run on the shoulders and onto the back. To do this, I just cut small areas of the applique where I could drape a little bit of it over the shoulders.

Makeup & hair:

For the blog, I recreated one of the D&G makeup looks, but on a much more minimal scale; hence, no crown! (Trust me…if I had a crown, I totally would have worn it.) Instead, I went with this leaf headband from Michaels, and my hair was inspired by this Gibson Tuck tutorial. The makeup is definitely something you could do anytime, since it’s a simple glam. (All makeup and outfit details are below.) I do wish the lip color had photographed correctly—it’s a much deeper red berry than this.

Since this sweatshirt is pretty bold, I’ve only worn it with jeans and boots, and/or a plain black skirt. (My Mom loved it so much, she even wore it for Christmas this year!) As much as I wish I could walk around with a leaf crown every time I wear it, I opt to leave it out.

I hope you liked this last post of 2017. I wanted it to be a bit festive, yet creative. I had hoped to post more often this year, but my schedule at work was extremely hectic, and before I knew it, it was today! For now, I hope everyone had a very Happy Holidays, and if you’re like me, you can’t wait to hit the champagne this weekend. Have a fabulous New Year’s Eve/Day, and remember any surface can be your dance floor!

Makeup: Foundation – Bobbi Brown Skin Long-Wear Weightless Foundation with SPF 15 in Honey 5; Concealer – Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer in Medium-Dark Warm; Brows – Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Granite and L’Oréal Brow Stylist Plumper in Medium to Dark; Eyes – Tarte Tartelette in Bloom Clay Eyeshadow Palette – colors used Charmer, Flower Child, and Jet Setter; Eyeliner – Inglot Eyeliner Gel in Black; Mascara – Cover Girl Peacock Flare in Extreme Black; Cheeks – NARS Blush in Dolce Vita and Bronzer in Laguna; Highlighter – NARS Highlighting Blush in Albatross; Lips – NYX Soft Matte Cream Lip in Copenhagen and NYX Lip Liner in Prune

Outfit: Sweatshirt – DIY (floral applique & black sweatshirt – Amazon); Jeans – American Eagle; Earrings – gift; Leaf headband – Michaels craft store 

Bob is the New Barb

If you get the title, then you’ve seen Stranger Things season 2. (I am not going to talk about how awesome the show is—I think that’s been done quite a bit!) However, I do have to give mad props to Bob for being…so Samwise Gamgee. If it weren’t for him, Frodo would have been utterly useless, Middle Earth would have gone poof, and demagogues would have torn up so many people to bits. Spoiler: I mean…I can’t be the only one that yelled out, “Nooooo…NOT Samwise!!!” in that one Stranger Things scene. All I can do now is thank you Bob/Samwise for your bravery in our sci-fi/fantasy worlds. Sigh.

I don’t have much to say about this outfit—the t-shirt/blazer/jeans combo is something I’ve worn dozens of times here. However, I do want to take a moment to talk about these gray shoes—only because they have been my top find for 2017, so I thought I’d share.

I realize that they are not everyone’s cup of tea. In fact, when I first got them, I thought they were a bit too boy-ish for my taste. Turns out, they go with just about everything and are incredibly comfortable. I wore them for a 17-hour day at work, and my feet only hurt because I was on the go for so many hours. I’ve received tons of compliments on them, and people are shocked they are from DSW…not sure why really. I highly recommend them if you are looking for something comfortable, stylish, and easy-to-wear. Plus, the platform adds a little height, and the material is waterproof. They are a bit shiny, but it’s what makes them stand out. I may actually grab the silver pair—for days when I’m feeling just a bit extra (!)

These images were shot in my apartment. The bar makes me look cooler than what I really am. I promise you—I’ve used it like twice! Plus, it wasn’t even designed/painted by me—my talented friend Kristen made it. It was cold and rainy outside, and I was really determined to get a blog post up before 2017 ended, plus I actually did my eye makeup this night. I was going for a rocker chic/nude lip look—not sure if I achieved either!

I came across the NARS x Man Ray collection eye palette, and loved all six shades. I have two other palettes, but always get a bit overwhelmed with the number of colors, and end up only using like 2-3 of them. With only six shades, I can see myself using all of them when I want a bit of a dramatic look. I’m extremely out of practice in putting on eyeshadow, but with these, all I needed to do was use my finger to pack on the shadow on my lid, and then a couple of brushes to blend it into the crease and form the outer “V.” It’s super pigmented, and the colors are really fun. I’m hoping I can wear them more often to dress up my casual looks.

Outfit: baseball t-shirt – Target; blazer – Banana Republic; jeans (hi-rise) – American Eagle; bag and bracelet – Madewell; shoes – Franco Sarto (DSW) 

I feel like this is the only post in 2017 where I actually talked some fashion (!) I’m pretty sure I talked more about the Bachelor/Bachelorette more than anything else this year. Don’t worry…2018 brings us another year of this “love to hate-watch,” show, but with a boring Bachelor—Arie. (I’m just not going to get into this right now.)

For now, I’m going to end this weird rambling, and impatiently wait for 2017 to end. Anyone else feel the same?

My Experience Going to a Casting for The Bachelor/The Bachelorette

Well Bachelor Nation (yes…that is an actual term for groupies of the show), next week Rachel Lindsay chooses her guy, and her journey will end. As for me…well I had my own Bachelor/Bachelorette experience.

Last week, castings for the show were held in Houston (!) at the downtown Aquarium; because nothing says “love” like the smell of fish tanks, mixed with champagne, and hundreds of single people. One of my best friends passed on the message, and honestly it took me less than half a second to decide to go. (It takes me longer to decide whether or not to wear a light gray top, or another shade of a light gray top.)

Now I know what you’re thinking—that show is so awful—like BEYOND awful. Why?! This, I will not deny. For the record, everyone knows I’m a fan, and I also did not go in with the intention of getting casted—it was more of a social experiment. Basically, it came down to, why the hell not? Which was one of my answers to an interview question.

Let me just say, I was super curious to find out what this was all about. I’d never gone to a casting before…clearly. Even in junior high, the drama teacher would have done anything to cast me out of her adaptation of Snow White. (Ultimately, she felt sorry for me, and let me be the smallest dwarf—far far away—I’m talking like off the stage.)

I also wanted to see who would show up, how it worked, and what the whole experience would feel like. So, I grabbed my entourage—it consisted of my best friend and her husband, and went. If you’re wondering if I was nervous, the answer is, “no.” Honestly, I didn’t have any expectations (which could not be said for a lot of people in the room), so I just went through the whole process pretty nonchalantly.

As soon as we walked in, my first impression was, “whoa.” Please note that this is just my observation–but there was hardly any diversity in the room. I’m talking across all boards–girls/boys, various ethnic backgrounds, ages, etc. During the 2 ½ hours that I was there, not a single Indian or Asian girl walked in. Being Indian myself, it would have been nice to see that. Maybe they had come earlier? I can’t really tell because it had been going on for 2 ½ hours before I got there.

Yes, the show is all sorts of bizarre, it has always lacked diversity (until Rachel Lindsay fabulously broke that), and I can’t imagine a weirder way to find love–but there are still people from all backgrounds, who are hopeful, and would like a chance on the show. I really think that after being on-air for 15 (geez!) years, the show really needs to step it up, and learn how to appeal to all people. (Yup…definitely not getting casted now.)

Putting that aside, there were some really sweet people, others who were also there for fun, ones that were 100% completely serious about it, some were checking out the “competition,” and I’m pretty sure there were a few people who ended up going to dinner together (smart move). There was also a “hypemom” buying rounds for her daughter and friends…perhaps…?

The process was long. I had to wait in line for an hour to get my photo taken. I can’t imagine how cute those photos could even be, considering you had to hold a white board with your name and phone number—mug shot style.

While in line, I had to fill out a six-page application. SIX pages. (I’m surprised I didn’t have to fill out a HIPAA form.) It basically asked me to hand over my life, while wondering if I liked dogs, drinking, and dancing—the only 3 D’s you need in life. Kidding. Seriously though, it asked questions about dating, marriage, divorce, the type of guy I wanted (for all of this season’s Bachelorette fans, I took one for the team, and wrote down “Peter Kraus”), what I liked to drink (not kidding here), hobbies, etc. Where it asked why you got a divorce—it gave only two lines…come on now. (Not that I have gone through one, but I can’t imagine two lines is enough!)

After waiting in chairs for another hour, I was called in to meet a casting member. She was incredibly sweet, and I got to wear a mic. Which actually made me feel super cool! The whole interview was video taped and lasted about 5 minutes. She asked me basic questions—what I liked to do, what dating has been like (HA…HA…HA), and why I wanted to be on the show. Nothing too fancy.

That was it—I did it!

I am definitely not getting casted for this thing, but the whole experience of going was kind of cool, and I’m so glad I went—it actually turned out to be a fun time. While so many of us (me included) scroll through online dating apps, in the comfort of our own homes—judging each person we swipe by. This is a completely different ball game.

Here, you are putting yourself out there, in an unfamiliar setting, where you get video taped and judged by casting members and producers—who knows who is going to see you! I really have to give props to every single person who went. (Though, I’m sure there were some sneaky people with not so good intentions that go through.) It takes a little courage to do something like this. It may not be everyone’s favorite show, and it can be ridiculous, but you were hopeful, and you went. That still shows something. Also, you never know…

Oh and here’s me doing the “whoo girl,” as I walk into the interview room…

Current Forecast

It’s July, which means half the year is already done (!) As a mid-year check-in I thought I’d round up a few of my current favorites from the past few months…

Reading: About to finish One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories by BJ Novak. These short stories for adults are hilarious—complete with witty twists and “morals” at the end of each story. I highly recommend it as a fun summer read. (Also, I wonder if he’s the father of Mindy’s baby?) Next up is The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah (I’m really asking for a good cry with this one).

Watching: I watched Master of None season 2 (twice), earlier this year. It’s amazing—said every review ever. Right now, I’m in the midst of The Handmaid’s Tale (I have not read the book), and The Bachelorette (of course). Two completely polar opposite shows, but hey…that’s how I do. I also just finished 13 Reasons Why, which I tried to avoid for months but finally caved, and I still haven’t been able to shake off the feelings that show gives you.

Eating: Cottage cheese (weird…I know). Earlier this year, I did a few sessions with a personal trainer who also monitored what I ate. After listening to my weird food habits, he suggested I start my day with cottage cheese because it’s packed with protein, along with a glass of pink Himalayan salt and lime—which is supposed to help you retain the good nutrients. So, I have a few spoons of cottage cheese in the morning. It’s not the most savory breakfast, but I get some of my daily protein-fix.

Styling (my hair): Two twists, and two buns…very Princess Leia/Chung Li. It’s incredibly hot and humid in Houston right now, and I can’t always be bothered with my hair, so this helps to keep it out of the way.

Wine-ing: I don’t really gravitate towards white wines, but I happened to come across this Cabañero JalaPINO (get it?) Wine at HEB. The initial taste is nice and light (not to sweet), but then has a spicy kick to it. I kind of really liked it, plus it makes for a refreshing summer Taco Tuesday wine!

Beautifying: With all the humidity, my waves/curls have been losing a little bit of their oomph, throughout the day. I wanted a hair product that was a bit stronger, but not a hair spray. I follow Kristen Ess on Instagram (celebrity hair stylist), who came out with a line of paraban and sulfate-free products sold at Target, and I scooped up her Beach Wave Spray. It’s a mix of dry shampoo, hair spray, and beach wave spray—all in one. It’s pretty great, and holds the style a lot longer. To keep my face from melting off, I’ve been using the NYX Matte Makeup Setting Spray.

Podcasting: Pod Save America. It’s hosted by Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, Dan Pfeiffer, and Tommy Vietor—speech writers and spokesmen during the Obama Administration, and who also helped Hilary Clinton. They have a great way of talking politics, but while being serious, they are also hilarious. Honestly, I’m getting most of my political news from them, as I’m trying not to read too much into the complete stupidity that’s going on in the country right now.

Instagramming: Lucy Laucht of These Foreign Lands and Salma Sabdia of The Polka Dotter. Lucy is a travel photographer, while Salma is a baker/food photographer. Both of their feeds are beautifully done, and very inspiring.

Exercising: Another tip I picked up from the personal trainer is to squeeze in at least 50 squats and 40 lunges every day. I do them in increments of 20 or 25. I add resistance via weights or with holding the squat/lunge between 3 – 10 seconds, and sucking in my stomach. I’ve already seen a bit of improvement, and feel a little stronger in my lower body. It’s definitely something I’ll keep up since I can do it anytime.

Wearing: This gray on gray outfit I picked up from GAP. It is made out of the softest, airy fabric, and I love that I can wear each piece separately. I also picked up a black shirt and matching shorts set in the same fabric. They are perfect spring/summer/transition into fall pieces because of the lightweight material. Plus, I can dress up the outfits with heels (like I did here), or down, with flats.

Double Buns

It’s been sweltering here the last few weeks, and honestly I can’t be bothered to let my hair down all that much. For the most part, it’s been a bun, French braid(s), or this double twist/bun do.

To Get the Look
Note: I decided to turn this into a mini-tutorial after taking these images, so hopefully my steps below make sense!

First start by sectioning your hair down the middle (I can never get this exactly right, so I just hold each section to see if they “feel” the same), and then spray a dry shampoo onto each section. (Dry shampoo is optional, but it helps with the styling. I use Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak Dry Shampoo.)

Starting from the top of the head (right where the middle part starts), take a small chunk of hair and twist it back a couple of times, then continue to grab small sections of hair and add it to the twist, and twist it back again.

Once you have twisted all of your hair in that section, wrap it into a bun, and secure it with bobby pins. I actually have to first pin it down with a couple of pins, then place a small elastic band over the bun, and then continue to pin it down with open and closed bobby pins.

I would say, “That’s it!” but it actually took a little practice before I eventually got the hang of it. It’s definitely worth trying if you want a different updo every now and then.

The belt here is actually a guitar strap my cousin brought me from Chile. Since I barely play the guitar these days, I really wanted to use the strap because I love the colors. I wasn’t sure where to add it into my apartment décor, but found a way to incorporate it into my wardrobe. I’ve worn it like this, and even with a simple gray t-shirt tucked into high-waist blue jeans, and heels.

I hear it someone’s birthday tomorrow…Happy Fourth of July!