Friday, August 29, 2014

Fashion Friday: Kimono Style

Kimonos are so on trend for this fall. They first came up on my radar last fall, but was unsure if I could pull off this trend. I ended up sporting one last year and even bought another one for the spring. This season they seem to be popping up everywhere and I think I love it! I've seen them styled so many ways (over dresses, with a simple tee, as a beach cover up, etc.) so I can't wait to experiment with styling mine this fall. 

I love this one from Fab Finds Boutique because it is sheer and has the most gorgeous print on it. I paired it with an all black ensemble so that the colors of it stood out a little more. It is perfect for those nights that have a slight chill in the air! 

Tank: Forever 21 | Kimono: Fab Finds Boutique | Denim: H&M | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban c/o Smart Buy Glasses | Necklace:Kendra Scott | Watch: c/o Daniel Wellington (15% off with code EMILYBLOG) | Bracelets: Loren Hope + Accessory Concierge | Shoes: Target, old (similar here)

Written by Emily of Life With Emily

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

B2S: Healthy Meals in Minutes with Trader Joe's

Since college, Sunday evenings are my kitchen time. I prep meals for the week to the point I’m playing Tetris in my fridge with Tupperware. It’s a wonderful ritual: I ease into the work week and unwind after the weekend. Typically with my Frank Sinatra Pandora station in the background and a glass of wine in hand. It’s downright therapeutic.
This Sunday, my ritual was ripped away from me and I was plunged into the depths of despair. I might be a bit dramatic but it’s Monday and I am completely exhausted already. So please bear with me.
My apartment building turned off the gas and I couldn’t spend my evening chopping, sautéing and roasting. How rude.
I had images of me living on cereal and wine for a couple of days. Which, you know, wouldn’t be so bad except for the part where I resolved this week to eat clean. Meals out = tummy sticking out. I took this as a sign from the universe that my fluff was going to stick around for another couple of days.
But then I realized: I could still use the microwave. Grabbing what I had stored in my freezer, I created a meal in minutes with these Trader Joe’s favorites:
DC Girl in Pearls - Healthy Meal in the Microwave with Trader Joe's

Now, you’re probably thinking: “Lauren, seriously. It took you that long to think about the microwave?!?!”
I know, I know. I’m a little embarrassed but I can explain. In my old apartment, I didn’t have a microwave so in the year and a half I lived there, I was used to not having one. I actually didn’t miss my microwave that much, only when I wanted something to heat up quickly. I adapted. In January, I moved to an apartment that does have a microwave. But I was so used to not having one, I haven’t even plugged it in!
That and I worry my old building will lose power the moment I plug it in.
Trader Joe’s Organic Brown Rice has been a freezer staple of mine since sophomore year of college. 1 frozen bag of brown rice gives you enough for 3 single servings and it only takes 3 minutes! In No-Microwave-Days, these rice would also heat up nicely in a skillet.
Trader Joe’s Indian Masala Vegetable Burger is almost always on my list. They are pre-cooked so all you have to do is heat it up! I love the spices and the vegetables in the burger, it fills me up without weighing me down (energy-wise, not bathroom-scale wise).
Trader Joe’s Broccoli Florets can be steamed in the microwave in about 3 minutes. Just place the broccoli in a microwave-safe bowl with about 1/4 cup of water.
I prepared each item in the microwave and brought out my trusty Tupperware. I lined the bottom of the container with the brown rice, followed by the burger on one side and the broccoli on the other.
I added Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning because that stuff is downright addicting. It goes great on steak, popcorn, in soups and now in microwave-made lunches. Just give a healthy number of turns on the built-in grinder and voila! A healthy, clean meal in minutes.
But in the spirit of full disclosure, I will probably give a barbaric yawp when I get the email that my apartment’s gas has been turned back on.
Do you use your microwave often to cook? What do you make?Jo

Written by Lauren of DC Girl In Pearls

Monday, August 25, 2014

B2S: Running Tips + Tricks: No Freshman 15 Here!

My Running Tips + Tricks

I am by no means an expert when it comes to running or working out in general, but I have been running a lot more recently and have found a few things that work well to build up my endurance. While I was up north, I ran about 2.5 miles everyday for a week and really noticed a difference that last Sunday. It was easier to run longer and I wasn't as out of breath! I took a week off and then continued to run almost everyday and can now run over 2 miles (when originally 1 mile was my maximum distance without stopping). That being said, here are a few tips and tricks for what I did to become a better runner!

If I could only tell you one thing to do to become a stronger runner, it would hands down be to stretch before and after you run. There's nothing worse than your mind telling your body to keep running but your ankles and legs are slowing you down and holding you back. I typically stretch out both my legs (like in the picture above!) and roll my ankles a few times to prepare.

Have a Workout Playlist
What's better than jamming to your favorite pump up song and forgetting you're running? I have about 12 songs on my playlist so that I can easily finish 2.5 miles with enough song options. Need a new playlist? Here's mine!

Use MapMyRun
I don't know about you, but I'm more motivated when I know how far and fast I'm going while I'm running. This app is seriously amazing and allows you to play your music through it so you don't have to keep switching apps. It also shows your route which comes in handy if you're running while traveling and don't know where you're going.

Mix Up Your Routes
I tend to get sick of seeing the same scenery pretty quickly (I'm also less inspired if I know exactly what I'm going to pass by) so I have a few different routes that I've mapped out. It's also beneficial to run routes with different hills and straight aways to really burn some calories!

Run With a Buddy
This doesn't work for everyone, but even forcing inviting a friend to bike along as you run provides a great distraction and makes your workout fly by. Even if you don't talk the entire time, it's a fabulous motive to keep running without stopping!

That's it for my tips! Remember, the only way you can become a better runner is by running a lot, so definitely try out these things and let me know how it goes for you!
All you runners out there: comment below your tips!

Written by Caroline of Citrus & Style

Friday, August 22, 2014

B2S Fashion Friday: Gingham Days + A Way To Organize

Dress: Modcloth, Necklace: Ann Taylor, Bracelet: Kate Spade (old), Sandals: Jack Rogers, Bag: Kate Spade

Amy Ruth Designs ℅ 
School NotebooksJournals, Mini Journals (1 / 2), iPhone Case, Folder (1 / 2 / 3 / 4), Page Flags, Agenda (1 / 2 / 3), Travel Pads (1 / 2)

It's that time of year again when school is about to start back, and I'm already thinking about organization.  Keeping things organized is so important even when school's out, but it hits it's peak once the semester starts.  I think it helps a lot to stay cute while keeping things organized.  Amy Ruth Designs is so helpful for just that.  The school notebooks, which are 8.5 x 11, are perfect for note taking.  They're all different, giving me one for each class.  These agendas are ideal as well.  I love how you can actually write in the week yourself.  And just look at that fun quote that opens up each Amy Ruth agenda.  Page flags make textbook reading so much easier.  I put them by each line that contains something important that I may need to write down and remember.  I seriously use these for everything.  My textbooks are filled with page flags haha.  This is also really useful as it saves you from writing in them, because I often rent my textbooks. The mini journals are perfect for your purse…you can never have too many of these :)  Oh and the seersucker iPhone case…don'e even get me started on the cuteness!

What are your favorite supplies to help keep organized?  Do share!

Written by Rachel of A Preppy State of Mind

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Simple Summer Vegetable Risotto

DC Girl in Pearls - Simple Summer Vegetable Risotto
Last weekend, I did something pretty reckless and wild. Something I haven’t done since I was a sophomore in college. Have I piqued your interest yet?
went to Trader Joe’s without a shopping list or even the faintest idea of what I should make this week.
For someone whose cardinal rule of life is to make a list, this was ca-razy. Or maybe a wakeup call that I need to get a grip. You tell me.
Lately, I’ve found myself in a bit of food rut. I felt like I was cooking + eating the same thing, over and over. I needed a clean slate, a creative jolt to wake up my apathetic palette.
Anyway, I was wandering the aisles of Trader Joe’s waiting for inspiration to strike. I tossed some asparagus and leeks into my cart because a) I love asparagus and b) I’ve never used leeks before and figured, why not? In the pasta line, my eyes locked with a box of Arborio rice and it was game on. I was going to finally make risotto!
I’ve never made it and only ever had a couple bites of friends’ risottos at brunch and dinner but I remember it being pretty tasty and I was already practically livin’ la vida loca so I thought, “Let’s do it.” My entire inner monologue in the pasta/rice aisle of Trader Joe’s. Wish I was making this up, folks.
After perusing a variety of risotto recipes, I made some adjustments for simplicity and I must say, I’m pretty pleased with the results. Which is especially gratifying given my moments of self-doubt and worries that I was going to screw up this venture while setting off my overly-sensitive smoke detector and waking up my neighbors. Ah, the joys of tiny galley-kitchen culinary quests.
Okay, let’s get to it!
DC Girl in Pearls - Simple Summer Vegetable Risotto
asparagus, approximately 10 spears but if you want more or less, not a big deal
1 leek, trimmed and cleaned
1 zucchini
1 tsp, chopped rosemary leaves
1 1/3 cup Arborio rice
1 tbsp, extra virgin olive oil
1 cup, chicken broth (you can substitute with vegetable broth)
1/2 cup, dry white wine
shaved parmesan cheese, for garnish
Spray cooking spray on a roasting pan.
DC Girl in Pearls - Simple Summer Vegetable Risotto
Chop vegetables (I further sliced the zucchini into halves) and toss them along with the rosemary into the roasting pan. Toss with 1/4 cup or so of the broth.
DC Girl in Pearls - Simple Summer Vegetable Risotto
Place in the oven for about 20-25 minutes on 400 degrees until vegetables are tender. Stir every 10 minutes.
DC Girl in Pearls - Simple Summer Vegetable Risotto
Now it’s time for the risotto!
So what exactly is risotto, anyway? It’s an Italian rice dish that at its simplest requires Arborio rice, broth, dry white wine and some parmesan cheese. But we’re going to get wild with summer vegetables. Better buckle up!
DC Girl in Pearls - Simple Summer Vegetable Risotto
Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan and add Arborio rice. Stir continually for around 2-4 minutes.
DC Girl in Pearls - Simple Summer Vegetable Risotto
Add the broth to the saucepan about 1/2 cup at a time. Wait until the rice has absorbed all the broth before adding more. Stir continuously so that the risotto will not burn (you’ll be stirring for about 25 minutes…sorry).
Side note: I had the brilliant idea to take this recipe for a spin right after my Pure Barre class. And all I could think about while standing there was how sore I was and how I had already done an arms workout that day. And after that workout, my arms felt like lead. Okay </whine>.
Between rounds of broth, I poured 1/2 cup of dry white wine into the mix. Because I was using the wine for cooking, I called on the ever-dashing Sir Two Buck Chuck de Sauvignon Blanc and he was more than up to the task!
DC Girl in Pearls - Simple Summer Vegetable Risotto
At this point, your vegetables should be tender (test to see if a sharp knife goes easily through the zucchini) so take ‘em out of the oven to cool. And if you’re me, worry that all the heat will set off my diva smoke detector. It once went off when my chicken nuggets were still frozen. How rude!
DC Girl in Pearls - Simple Summer Vegetable Risotto
Once the Arborio rice has absorbed all of the broth, it should be cooked al dente. Add the vegetables in over low heat and toss until heated.
DC Girl in Pearls - Simple Summer Vegetable Risotto
Toss shaved parmesan on top and you are all set! A delicious meal that brings the best flavors of summer into each bite, totally worth the time and the extra arms workout. Originally, I thought maybe I’d add lobster chunks but alas, Trader Joe’s was all out. Perhaps another time, Lobster.
Risotto is completely customizable so get creating! Do you have a particular vegetable or protein you like to add to your risotto?

Written by Lauren of DC Girl in Pearls

Monday, August 18, 2014

B2S: Top 10 Most Forgotten Dorm Room Essentials

As many of my friends are gearing up to head back to college, my recent post-grad status has forced me into a deep reflection period. I find myself longing to shop for school supplies at my local Walmart and thinking of ways to decorate my college dorm room. I remember moving into my freshman dorm room. I packed practically everything I owned to move into that 10'x10' concrete box. 

While I thought I was prepared, I found after unpacking that I wasn't prepared for the challenges brought on by college dorm rooms. It was sweltering hot that first month as my university didn't supply air conditioning to the dorms, the cafeteria food made my stomach turn and my posters wouldn't stick to the concrete walls with sticky tack! Ahh, the woes of college. I hope that you'll learn from my mistakes and not forget these 10 college essentials when packing for college this month! 

Power Strip - Dorm rooms are very limited when it comes to electrical outlets! One of these babies will be your saving grace! There's enough outlets to plug in your laptop to keep the music going, charge your phones, and plug in your curling iron and straightener when you're getting ready to go out with your girlfriends!

Command Hooks & Strips - I learned pretty quickly that tape and sticky tack just do not help when it comes to hanging posters and frames onto concrete brick walls! Command Hooks and Strips will help you keep your posters hanging all year round.

Bed Risers - Dorm rooms are basically small boxes. Create more vertical space with bed risers! With these, I was able to gain enough space to place my mini fridge under my bed.

Over-Door Mirror - Many dorms don't come with mirrors. Be prepared to bring your own unless you want to get ready with the other hundred girls on your dorm floor in the communal bathroom (ew).

Shower Caddy - Speaking of communal bathrooms, don't forget to bring a shower caddy! Place all of your hygiene products in one of these for easy transportation down the hall. Don't be that girl who carries all of her shower products in her arms down the all to the bathroom in her robe. The results of trying to pull a stunt like that can lead to major embarrassment. Not that I would have any experience with that...

Ibuprofen - Whether it's a migraine from your loud dorm mates or from lack of sleep from studying, make sure to keep some form of headache medicine around!

Quick tip: do not take Tylenol if you've had a fun night out with alcohol present. The chemicals do not mix well and could cause major damage to your liver. Don't take it when you wake up the next day either. Stick to aspirin or ibuprofen. Also, drink responsibly.

Fan - I'm not sure if your school provides air conditioning to it's dorms but I know Ashland University did not. Those dorm rooms become unbearably hot during the first month of school since it's still the summer season. Students at AU often duct taped their box fans to the windows to create air flow!

Tums - Dorm food and cafeteria food aren't always the most healthy options. Enough said.

Memory Stick - Don't be the student who can't turn in a paper because their laptop crashed. Always make sure to back up your papers and files frequently!

Kleenex Expressions Oval Facial Tissue - Whether it's a makeup spill as you're getting ready for a girls night out or a breakdown from the stress of finals week, Kleenex has your back! Their new Expressions Oval Facial Tissues come in adorable chevron prints that will kick your dorm decor up a notch!

The Kleenex Expressions Oval Facial Tissues chevron designs can be found in the back to School, Back to College or tissue aisles at your local Walmart Supercenter!

Here is my  desk from my freshman year (wow, things certainly have changed)! If only the chevron oval facial tissues existed back then! They would have looked so cute on the top shelf with my flowers, don't you think? *Goes back in time and places a box on my shelf.* Much better… :p

Written by Ashliegh from The Darling Daily

Friday, August 15, 2014

Fashion Friday: Pink Seersucker

Written by Shelby of Lucky Day