Sunday, January 31, 2010

Thank God for Friends and Perspective

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Today I was sad.  Very sad.  I through two of my new 100% silk tops in the washer and they came out looking like faded, crinkled disasters.  And because I was so sad, I gawked, whined, and ultimately cried.  Yes, I cried.  A real tear actually came out of my tear ducts over two ruined silk tops.  (Yes, I realize this is sad and pathetic.)  Even as the gawking, whining, and crying was happening, I knew only about 10% of it was about the tops.  The other 90% was about struggling to be content on Matt and I’s new buckle-down budget, not being thrilled with the current state of my body, worrying over how much our cross country move is going to cost us this summer, dreading driving back home for another week of school, and having to say goodbye to my family.  I realize now that this 90% of something I need to address, but at the time it was easier to be a big whiney baby about my faded, crinkled silk tops.

To deal with my distress, I called Matt.  I prefaced the conversation with the fact that I knew I was being totally ridiculous, but I needed him to hear me out.  I went on tearfully stating how I’m tired of being a broke grad student, it’s so hard to not eat out and join our friends, have ruined tops, blah blah blah.  (No need to tell me I was being ridiculous, I knew then and know even more now.  I had a moment.)  He listened and then offered a quick fix.  (Men, when will they learn?)  I quickly realized he wouldn’t sympathize with my silk disaster, so I called my best friend Jordan, who is typically one of the first people I call when I need support, to vent, talk about girl things.  She’s the shiz, I love her.  I started to tell her my sad story, and then paused, remembering I was being self-absorbed and ridiculous.  (Sometimes, even when you know you’re being out of control, you still need to vent.  Please tell me I’m not the only person like this.  Please?)  So I stopped and said, “Wait, has anything sad to you happened today?”  Even in my moment of self-absorbed craziness, I realized I should check to make sure I wouldn’t alienate my best friend by crying over a crinkled silk top when she had something serious happened today.  She replied, “Well nothing sad happened today, but something kinda sad happened yesterday.”  I quickly broke out of my self-centeredness (I’m not that bad of a person) and talked with her about what happened.  Her great uncle died.  Here I pause, because I don’t want to tell Jordan’s business and detail the rest of our convo, but can we zoom in on the fact that someone dear to her heart died and I was about to drone on about a stupid silk top.  SERIOUSLY?!  We talked for a while and then said, “So why are you sad, Alli?”  Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmm….because…ummmm…nevermind, I am a HORRIBLE person.  We laughed together, and I said there was no way in hell I would tell her my “sad” story after hearing her sad day.  But being the best friend that she is, she swore she wanted to hear and wouldn’t care if it was a lame reason.  And because I kn0w she is my BFF and knows my heart and that I’m not normally a self-absorbed psycho, I trusted she wouldn’t judge me or think I was a horrible person.  So I told her, we laughed, she sympathized, and I felt better.  Then, we got to the 90% of what the tears were really about.  She didn’t judge me or think I was a horrible person.  That’s a real friend.  Let’s you be you (even when its not so attractive), listens, and helps give you perspective.  So while my silk tops are still faded and crinkled, I’m smiling and giving thanks for great friends who help me put stuff in perspective when I get crazy and for the countless blessings that I have.  (Silk, crinkles, and shopping aside, I have clothes on my back, food on my table, and incredibly supportive people in my life.)  That alone is worthy of so much gratefulness, never mind the countless other blessings I have.  So if you’re sweating the small stuff (or the silk stuff), call the friend you love and trust to help you put it in perspective.  Because let’s face it, who doesn’t have those crazy moments where a little perspective is desperately needed?  And that’s what friends are for right?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Anthro’s Stylishly Cool Sister

tumblr_ks2za8KCq71qzaab4o1_400_large {we heart it}

Last week, I posted about some of the yummy stuff on sale at Anthropologie and since several of you commented on that post, I thought I would follow up this week with a sale from their sister store, Urban Outfitters.  Lots of people don’t know that these stores are siblings (along with Free People), but indeed, they are under the same umbrella company.  The only reason I know this is because one summer when I was home from college, I had the “brilliant” idea to work at one of the Anthro stores in Dallas.  I say “brilliant” because I took the job to make some extra money on top of my summer lifeguarding job, and each week, I spent triple what I made working there.  (Did I mention you get a 40% discount at Anthro, Urban, and Free People when you work for just one of them?)  Haha, awesome planning, Allison…you got a job to make money and then you spent all of it and more.  Nonetheless, it was such a fun opportunity, and because the store was brand new, I got to experience the grand opening of an Anthro, and I got to be a part of all the incredible detail work that goes into their store windows and displays.  (Yes, it was as inspiring and fabulous as you might imagine.)  Did you know that each Anthro store has their own creative director in charge of creating their magical look?  No pre-packaged displays, no boxed sets; it’s all unique.  (So unique, that I got paid for three days straight to make “raindrops” out of hot glue and wax paper.  I thought the woman had lost her mind, but of course, it looked insanely fabulous when she was done.)

Anyway, I’m getting off track as usual…back to Urban Outfitters.  Before I launch into all the goodies I found on sale there, I need to share my number one Urban shopping tip with you.  Have an editing eye.  (Do I sound like Tim Gunn?  If I do, awesome, because he is fab.)  But back to my edit point…I do not love everything that Urban carries.  Yes, you read that right; I said do NOT love.  Half of the stuff in that store I simply don’t care for.  It doesn’t look as well made as I’d like it to be, and the fit can be a little wonky (I’ve never actually used that word before, but find it entirely appropriate at this moment.)  When browsing their website, I don’t particularly love their models, and I’m not a big fan of their styling.  However, with all that being said, I think Urban Outfitters carries some really cool and unique pieces.  Pieces that if I pair them with some of the things I already have and love, will totally shine and fit my style (which isn’t quite as funky/grunge as Urban’s style.)  They have a way of making casual look incredibly cool so that if I pair one of their top’s with a black pencil skirt I look cool at the office, and if I pair one of their dresses with an oversized cardigan, I look cool out to dinner with Matt.  So if you don’t typically give Urban Outfitters a glance but you love their sister store, Anthropolgie, give it a second look, you might be surprised what you find.  Here are some of the goodies I recently sound in their sale section…


Kimchi Blue Beaded Cardigan Sweater.  How sweet and funky is this sweater?  Sweet and funky is a hard combo to pull off, but I think this sweater does it fabulously.  I think I’d pair it with a pencil skirt and heels and rock it at the office.  What would you pair it with?

17413253_001_b Silence and Noise Sequin Tee.  Bling is always in and I love the slightly oversized yet super chic top.  I’d rock it with a simple skinny jean, black boots, and a rockin cocktail ring or two or three.  (You know how much I heart big rings.)  An added bonus?  It’s under $20!  Total steal.

17468125_004_b Silence and Noise French Terry Metallic Stitch Pullover.  Ok, I know this sweater doesn’t look like anything special (especially with this model’s awkward slouch), but I think it would look great with jeans, heels, and some layered gold jewelry for a cozy yet relaxed date or girls night out.  (And yes, I wear heels for “cozy and relaxed” dates.  Silly to many, but not to me.)  I can see a few of my friends turning up their nose at this top, but I think with the right stuff, this could be a cozy-cool get up.

17310780_41_b Truly Madly Deeply Solid Deep V Tee.  Again, I know what you might be thinking.  “Why is this weird girl posting a plain t-shirt on her list of fabulous finds?!”  There is a reason I promise.  Remember last year when I talked about the burial of all my sorority t-shirts (if you missed that post, read it here.  It was a lifechanging and somewhat depressing decision.)  Well since then, I’ve had trouble on lazy Sundays and errand running days because I don’t have any t-shirts to wear.  Look no further because Urban always has GREAT t-shirts.  Perfectly thin and worn in with a deep V, in a variety of colors.  It doesn’t get much better than that when it comes to t-shirts.  (I actually like this shirt better than the original Gap shirt I posted.)  I also like that the sleeves are longer on this shirt because I hate shirts that remind me of the days “baby tees” were in.  Oh Lord, how I’d love to forgot those days.

17526179_023_d Deux Lux Solid Tote.  Urban has some of the best, sorta slouchy/sorta structured bags out there.  And most of them are pretty affordable, especially if you can snag them on sale.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE this bag and think it perfect for anyone who has a soft spot for bags and purses.  Ugh, love it.

17580804_020_b We Who See Essential Riding Boot.  I’ve been ranting way too much lately about the skinny jean/boot combo, but I can’t help it.  We don’t exactly have weather here in Texas that supports the skinny jean/boot combo very often, but after our Chicago trip, I was back in love and ready to build my collection.  (Those three words, “build my collection,” often get me in trouble.  Must proceed with caution and self-control.)  But seriously, these riding boots are fab and though they’re not a total steal, they’re still a pretty good deal in my book.

17526039_070_b Wishbone Studs.  If you are not sold on anything else at Urban Outfitters, please consider their insanely unique accessories.  So much of their stuff has a whimsical and hip vibe, and I always feel like it adds just an extra layer of cool when I wear it.  Even if I’m in one of my all black off ensembles for work (a la People’s Revolution, not a la funeral wear) their jewelry always make me feel a tad more unique and special.  And these little lovelies certainly meet that bill.  SO FREAKING CUTE.  Seriously, I am adding these to my cart as we speak.  I also love them because they make a statement without being big, bold or oversized.  They’re subtle yet fabulous, which is a combination I simply adore.

Ok, so what do you think?  I know Urban Outfitters isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but with an editing eye, an ability to look past their sometimes weird styling, and a little imagination, I think anyone can incorporate their stuff into their wardrobe for a stylishly cool pick me up.  So tell me what you think; I’d love to hear!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Half Weekend Recap, Half Julie and Julia


Hello to all my lovely friends and readers, I hope you had a fabulous weekend!  Is it me or did the alarm clock go off entirely too early this morning?!  Seriously, how is it Tuesday already?  I am still wondering where the weekend went!  As you guys know, last week was my first last week of school (woohoo!) and in typical style, I was busy, crazy, and sleep deprived.  Even though it was only the first week, I had put off several projects till the last minute that kept me up late every night and cursing my alarm clock as it beeped at 6 am.  Having to work all day Saturday certainly didn’t help my mood.  However, Sunday I was able to sleep in, catch up on some Criminal Minds, put away our Christmas decorations (yeah, you read that right, don’t judge me), cook a yummy dinner for our little family (yes Miguel, that includes you), and cozy up to watch Julie and Julia.  It was also so nice to have Matt back home since he was gone all week finishing up his interviews in both Baltimore and Augusta.  I love having the apartment to myself for a few days, but because I watch entirely too much Criminal Minds/Law and Order/CSI, I get spooked at the tiniest little noise.  Seriously, it’s pathetic.  The air conditioner kicked on Wednesday night and I swore a psycho-killer was breaking down the door to get me.  Perhaps I should slow down on my TV crime/drama watching…

But back to Julie and Julia…such a delightful movie!  It is one of those  movies I wanted to see in the theater but didn’t have the chance and then it snuck into Blockbuster without a notice from me.  Though I’d suggest this little flick to everyone, it is a must see for every blogger out there.  Seriously, my little blogger heart skipped a beat several times throughout the movie as they referenced the details that I have come to love and laugh at as a new and enthusiastic blogger.  Details, I’m not quite sure other people would pick up on or really understand.  (And by “really understand,” I mean reeeeallly understand.  Total difference.  Right?) 

I couldn’t help notice some similarities and laugh out loud during the movie.  Her elated excitement when she got her first comment only to discover it was her mom was totally me four months ago.  And the check ins with her co-worker about the best and most popular postings made me laugh thinking about every time I’ve exclaimed to my friend and co-worker, “Norma, I got another follower!”  The curious obsession with wondering who, if anyone, really cares what you have to say and the self applied pressure to post even when its midnight and you’re exhausted…I’ve definitely been there.  The super amazing group of friends supporting her blog, yep, I’ve got those too.  (To see how supportive, check out the photos below.)  And a husband who supports her and sits patiently as she slams away on her laptop…I’m blessed to have that as well.  So if you haven’t seen that movie (and especially if you’re a blogger) you have to check it out.  Thoughtful, cute, accurate, and inspiring…the perfect movie combination!

Speaking of an awesome support group, my sweet friends came over on Saturday to celebrate the occasion of me reaching 100 followers.  Woo hoo!  I know this might sound silly absolutely ridiculous, but as I’ve said before, getting new followers is so fun to me, and I instantly tell when my number jumps up by even one person.  I scramble to pull up my blog and see who they are.  Then I run around, scream, or cheer insanely at the fact that someone else loves what I put out there.  Though I didn’t start my blog for other people (I started it to help me reconnect with a part of me I felt slipping away), over time, I can’t help but get excited when others love it.  Blogland is like a whole other world that I never new existed, and now that I do, I’m kind of obsessed (in a good way.)  Ok, maybe a good and only slightly creepy way.  But you know what I mean.  (This is where I’m praying yall are nodding your head in agreement and that I’m not the only slightly weird blogger.)  Anyway, on to the party…

DSCN1589 Norma and Natalia, two of my fabulous friends and blog supporters (and reasons grad school doesn’t totally suck.)

DSCN1586 Cheers to Smart and Sassy with Sprinkles 100 (now 106) followers!

DSCN1594 A huge thank you to Matt for making the little moments special :)

DSCN1592 I am so lucky to have friends who not only roll out to support what many people would consider “the silliest party ever,” but they also indulge me in taking an awkward self-timer photo.  (Translation: they’re AWESOME friends.)  These people rock my world and I’m so thankful for  them, as well as all my fabulous blog followers who made this little shin dig possible just by clicking the “follow” button :) 

julie-and-julia-0 And PS: how fabulous is Julie’s celebration table set up in the movie?  The bright colors, the mix and match dinner and glassware, the city in the background.  Divine!

So while it may seem silly to many, thanks for making this little journey so much fun.  Whether you casually read, follow my blog, or high five me when I announce I got a cool blog comment, you are special, appreciated, and treasured more than you know.  Happy Tuesday yall!

Thursday, January 21, 2010


tumblr_kqf0kjHQzj1qzw8fho1_500_large   We Heart It

“Nothing is more important than reconnecting with your bliss.  Nothing is as rich. Nothing is more real.” -Deepak Chopra

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Winter Wardrobe Gone Blah

Note to self: when you are trying to buckle down on your finances and cut back on “extras,” looking at Anthropologie’s newest sale items is NOT a good idea.  Especially when I am trying hard to stick to my new year’s non-resolution of “using what I have.”  (Read that original post here.)  I’m always a sucker for Anthropologie, but something about this time of year makes it even more lust worthy.  Winter is still around, but with spring just around the corner, lighter knits, delicate necklines, and sweet pea details seem to make winter wear more inviting.  See what I’m loving right now, and if you’re like me and in need of a vacay from your winter wardrobe, browse for yourself and let me know what you find!

910273_012_bDouble Twist Sweater.  You already how i feel about winter white (loooove it) and the detailing of the knit adds an extra sense of luxury.  Plus the twist in the front is so different from anything else in my closet.  Oh, and the short sleeves?  Perfect for Texas “winter.”

913363_004_b Puckered & Pleated Cardigan.  I have had my eye on this sweater FOR-EV-ER (Sandlot anyone?)  I think it is divine and after my Chicago trip/reinspiration of the skinny jean and boot look, this would be a perfect mate for the combo.  Sizes are limited online, so I’d have to call the store for my size, but this little lovely is totally worth it.  PS: this sweater was originally $128, and it is now marked down to $29.  Steal!

913831_041_b Palesa Blouse.  Love the contrast of the casual fit and the embellished neckline.  This is perfect for dinner and drinks with friends, and the fit is especially forgiving should you desire that extra margarita or chips and queso.  Is is sad that I thought about that?  (Perhaps that explains my unintentional jeggings problem.  Sheesh.)

910953_011_b Bias Ruffles Racerback.  I wear cardigans all the time and am always looking for great layering pieces to pair with my ridiculous collection of these sweet sweaters.  This top is perfect for layering and has the feminine detailing that I swoon over. It also comes in black and blue, and the blue would be super cute for spring.  Ugh, decisions, decisions.

923317_049_b Whizbang Mini.  I freaking love this skirt!  I can already picture it with black tights, a black top/sweater of some sort, and a fabulously oversized black scarf.  Boots or heels would work.  Love it.  Want it.

944482_001_b Coin of the Realm Necklace.  My love for Anthro’s statement necklaces isn’t a secret, and I toyed with buying this at full price, but thankfully I waited.  I already have this one though, are they too much of the same thing?  (I’m thinking since one is white and one is black they are completely different.  Completely different, right?!)


Straight Story Boots.  Maybe I’m taking my boot love to the extreme (especially since we live in Texas) but I feel like the cold cities have all the fashion fun when it comes to boots.  I’m tired of being left out, and ff we end up coming to Chicago, I am DEFINITELY getting these sweeties.

So what about you?  Did you see anything you liked?  What do you do to your wardrobe to carry you from January to April?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Little Engine that Could

4154782780_0b7336affe_large {We Heart It}

Today is my last first day of school!  Though I’ve still got a dissertation and an internship to finish before I get those three little initials behind my name, I’m getting closer each day.  You know what I say to that?  Hellllls yeah :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Thank you, Dr. King


“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Our Chicago Trip and Thankful Thursday on a Sunday/Monday

So we’ve been back for a week and I’m just now posting about our delightful trip to Chi-town.  I’m sure true Chicagoans (yes, they’re really called Chicagoans) hate when people call it Chi-town, but I’m not a Chicagoan, so I can say Chi-town if my little heart so desires.

And before I get too far into this post, an impromptu Thankful Thursday is needed.  I realize I could just say a normal “thank you” and that it’s not even Thursday, but pssh, why not go all here?   A huge, super, big, gigantic thank you to our friends Matt and Christie for hosting us for most of our Chicago trip.  We were technically in town for Matt’s interview, but since we flew alllll the way out there, we figured we’d stick around for a couple more days of fun.  (It made total sense, right?)  Thankfully, our dear friends are the best hosts, cooks, tour guides, comedians, restaurateurs, photographers,  snow shovellers, and cab  hailers we know, and we had such a blast spending an extended weekend with them.  Christie and I have been dear friends since third grade and we have seen each other through lots of dorky and awkward phases.  Don’t believe me?  See below…

a27 Haha, told you.  Christie (third from the left) and I (second from the left) went to summer camp with two of our best friends through most of elementary, middle and high school.  Any friend who has seen you through from 3rd grade to now is pretty special in my book.

Back our fabulous hosts and amazing friends…we had such a blast with them and loved seeing all the awesome parts of Chicago, especially the parts you don’t find in a tourist guide.  Much love to you both, Matt and I are so thankful for your hosting abilities, but even more so for you fun and fabulous friendship.  Check out all the fun we had in the windy city!

DSCN1468 After arriving in Chicago at 1:30 Wednesday night/Thursday morning, we headed to the hotel so Matt could rest up for his interview which was seven hours later (poor dude).  When we woke up in the morning, this is what we found outside our hotel…SNOW!  We hadn’t seen snow since our last trip to Chicago (March 2007).  From a warm, heated hotel the snow is so delightful.  Outside, well, that’s a bit of a different story :)

DSCN1470 After Matt’s interview, we grabbed a cab and headed to Matt and Christie’s adorable little brownstone in Lincoln Park.  It was so precious.  As we prepared to head out to dinner, Christie politely pointed out that my Uggs wouldn’t cut it in the snow (as my readers so brilliantly pointed out in my original post about the weather.)  Though I’m sure she was laughing inside at my lack of snow savvy, she kept from teasing me too loudly, and offered me my pick of her super chic warm boots.  Thankfully, we wear the same size shoe so my Uggs were spared.  Here we are grabbing dinner and drinks at a cute little Tapas place a few blocks from their house.  I will crave those delicious little potato delights for the rest of my life.

DSCN1472 When we got back, we had to face reality.  Living in the cold weather comes with some crappy details (exhibit A: shovelling snow.)  Christie wasn’t phased; look at her go!

DSCN1484 Such responsible and cute Chicagoans :)

DSCN1481 Before I go any further, I have to clarify.  Both Christie and I’s husbands are named Matt.  Confusing?  Yes.  Annoying?  Pretty much.  So within ten minutes of us being there, nicknames were in order.  Christie and “her Matt” quickly dubbed “my Matt” “Dr. Matt” in honor of his upcoming degree.  Though I didn’t ever call him Dr. Matt (not unless he calls me Dr. Allison), the name stuck with Matt and Christie and therefore, will be used for clarity for the remainder of this post.  Here Dr. Matt and I snap photos while Matt and Christie shovelled.

DSCN1485 But I soon got tired of watching and decided to try my hand at shovelling and snow sweeping.  I was a natural :)

DSCN1489 I can’t help myself, I’m always looking for a good photo opp, even in a blizzard.

DSCN1493 The next morning, the streets were covered in pretty powder.  I forced Dr. Matt to pose for a picture.  He’ll thank me someday :)

DSCN1494 You never have to convince me to stop for a photo :)

DSCN1498 That day, the four of us headed downtown for a little shopping (ok, maybe more than a little) and some yummy dinner.

DSCN1499Here come the men in black.

DSCN1500 Christie showed off her best Martha Stewart with a homemade chocolate cake (putting my cake-from-a-box method completely to shame.)  Thanks to Matt for my delightfully heart shaped piece, complete with powered sugar.

DSCN1505 Saturday we headed downtown to see the sights and explore the city.  Christie was such a good sport to show us around in the freezing cold.

DSCN1511 This is what happy Dr. Matt looks like.  He has been raving about Chicago dogs since we were there last.  We stopped at a tiny little spot downtown for this “yumminess.”

DSCN1509 Can you guess which picky eater looked like a total tourist asking for only mustard and ketchup?  (Ok, I confess, but I cannot stand any of those Chicago dog ingredients alone, nevermind mushed together.  Eck, sickening.  I’ll stick with picky thank you.)

DSCN1514 Matt and I in Millennium Park.  (Loving the boots Christie let me borrow.  Must get a pair!)

DSCN1538 Checking out “The Bean” downtown.  (Technically, its called “Cloud Gate” but pssh, no one calls it that.  The Bean it is.)  And why have I said “pssh” twice in this post?  Two times too many, Allison.

DSCN1519 Look, there we are!  So cool!  And how beautiful is the reflection of downtown?

DSCN1529 Double trouble :)

DSCN1534 Hahha, this picture is so awkwardly awesome.  I am so weird.

DSCN1531 Let’s play a little “Where’s Waldo.”  Do you see us?  All three of us are there…

DSCN1531 Ok ok, I’ll give you the answers :)

DSCN1527 :)

DSCN1537 I heart this picture.  I have cute friends.

DSCN1544 I couldn’t get enough of the snow in the park.  Very undisturbed and pretty.  The art instillation behind us is cool in person, but kinda creepy in this pic.  Yeah?

DSCN1550 Christie and I outside the new, soon-to-be flagship Anthropologie (aka heaven!)  Sadly (but lucky for my bank account) it didn’t open for another two weeks.)

DSCN1558 Dinner and drinks our last night there.  I wish I knew the names of all the places we went.  I was so trusting of our hosts/tour guides that I didn’t even to bother asking where we were or where we were going!

DSCN1557 The Matts.

DSCN1560 In the cab between hot spots.  Yes, I am that person who takes pictures everywhere I go.  Life is short and special, so why not capture all the moments you can?

DSCN1563-1 Our last spot of the night, which of course, I don’t remember the name of…Jasper’s?  Kate’s?  Some single name like that.  Regardless, it was dee-li-cious.

DSCN1562 This guy makes me really happy.

DSCN1564 Cheers to a fabulous trip, a fabulous dinner, and FABULOUS friends. 

I also want to give a huge THANK YOU to my fabulous readers who commented on this post when I was freaking out about how to balance the snow and freezing temperatures with a wardrobe that maintained some level of cuteness.  Though I was terrified of looking like an overbundled, puffy marshmallow, their tips kept me warm and somewhat chic (at least I think so!)  Many thanks to those that shared their cold weather/wardrobe friendly tips with me :)