Thursday, May 30, 2013

Finding My Accessory Style


I've never had much of an accessory style, other than clothes and handbags I don't spend a lot of money on  jewelry or really even shoes. (Except running shoes. Come on, they're for my health!)  A cute summery, white eyelet dress, a beige, leather, large tote, now those are things I liked to splurge on. But jewelry was just nothing I ever invested time or money into.

As a child I wore the typical, girly, bright colored plastic necklaces. Pretty much exactly like these...


And of course, as an Indian, my mother adorned me in gold jewels for special occasions. Some were gifts from family specifically for me, and others were her pieces. I recall always wearing a pair of gold studs my grandmother had gifted me, they had red and green on them, and my mother still has them in a safe to this day! And of course there was my hat phase in 3rd and 4th grade, but I've I tried to suppress those memories, unfortunately for me there is video footage of our family trip to Niagara Falls where I am accosting my brother with my hat on the airplane. And no, we aren't speaking of ball caps.

Then through high school and college I don't recall too much of what jewelry I wore. There is one specific beaded choker I remember buying from Express, and then there was this beautiful turquoise necklace I received from a friend of my mom from Iran. Unfortunately beads have fallen off, but I would wear that one today if I could. Other than that it was all eclectic, random rings and gifts people had given me, but I never really had a style.

As a mother whose sole job is to run the household, I don't wear much jewelry. I figured the kids would just tug on it and grab it, so I've steered clear. It was nothing like giving up handbags. If anything, I liked going jewelryless because I don't like the feeling of restricted wear on my limbs and in the summertime it gets me hot even quicker. The only jewelry I do wear are my diamond studs and my wedding band. (Not even the engagement ring for fear of it being ruined! I save it for special occasions.)

But recently I've found an appreciation for accessories. I see how much it can change an out fit from drab to fab. (Did I just use that phrase that I'm pretty sure I've heard Clinton Kelly say on What Not to Wear?) But seriously, I do see how you can take anything you have in your wardrobe and simply change the look by the accessories. Jeans and a black shirt? Throw on Toms and your Ironman watch, go to HEB.Throw on heals and some large bedazzled earrings, dinner time. So it's not so much about investing  money in your clothes, but more in your accessories. As a mom that wears shorts and v-neck $8 t-shirts from Target, I love how jewelry can change it all up!

So now I feel like I haven an entire accessory wardrobe to build in my closet. But the trick is finding beautiful pieces that fit your personality at a reasonable price without looking cheap. See the struggle I have? What is my style? And what is a reasonable price?

So this past weekend I went to one of my favorite stores that I used to shop at in the city before I got married, Francesca's. The store has since franchised times ten and they've opened one in my suburb, right around the corner from my house, yay! So here are two items I purchased there for my clean slate of accessories...

Cook Islands Statement Necklace in Peach
The necklace has a soft vibe and can easily add some excitement to a simple colored dress. Sadly, Bambino has already pulled out one stone the one time I wore it. Luckily, it appears that I can get it clicked back in easily.

Stanton Studded Wrap Watch
I purchased a wrap watch similar to this, except the watch was circular and it was a pink/peach color. Not quite my normal style. The studs make it far more edgier than my simplistic style.  Sadly, from washing my hands so much the edge of the watch is starting to look a little worn, after wearing only three times !

And so apparently Francesca's is not the place to go to by jewelry, while it may be cheaper it does not stand up to a mommy lifestyle. So I've started looking around at some styles and brands that I hope would last a little longer, but not to exorbitant in price, but also represents me.

Classics status bracelet
I love the simplicity of this and I've always loved gold, takes me back to childhood.

I've always loved the layered look, I tried it with three separate necklaces once and by the end of the day it was all a tangled mess. Typical me.

Serenity Stone Drops
This is the perfect pair of earrings that could spice up a simple outfit. Perfect for those weekend birthday parties at Chuck E. Cheese. (You think I'm kidding, I'm not.)


Martha bracelet
This Swaroski crystal bracelet is just breathtaking, initially I thought it was cubic zirconia which I am anti, either go for a diamond or don't wear it at all. But as crystals it gives it another look.


Do it Yourself
I came across this bracelet on Pinterest I love just how unique it is. Seen from the photo it appears that it can be worn with my mommy uniform! Unfortunately it's do it yourself, which I am incapable of doing. Did you not read about my layered necklace debacle?


Pinterest
I saw this photo on Pinterest and I just love this style! The chunky watch with the plethora of bracelets, ahh my work is really cut out for me. Along with my wallet.

Michael Kors Michael Kors Buckle Ring, Golden
Michael Kors
This ring is so casual and perfect for everyday wear. Come on, it's a ring that looks like a belt! How kitsch is that?

Shiny Gold Tory Burch Riley Lock And Key Pendant Necklace
Tory Burch
This lock and key pendant is too cute. Very delicate and simple. Love


H&M
Can you believe this bracelet only costs $3.95 and it's not even on sale? Simple with a splattering of color, love it! But my guess it's only going to last one wear.

kate spade new york statement chandelier earrings
Kate Spade
I love these multi-spring colored earrings! Perfect with a plain white dress for the summer!

Melinda Maria 'Jesse' Stackable Rings (Set of 3) (Nordstrom Exclusive)
I'm really into these stackable rings, other than my engagement ring and wedding band I've never gone stackable before, but this is definitely doable. 

Nordstrom 'Tribe' 5-Row Line Bracelet
This 5-row line bracelet is the perfect buy! Looks like you've got more bracelets on when in actuality it's just one. And only $28 from Nordstroms, that's a steal! 

kate spade new york 'crystal fiesta' stone bib necklace
I'm finding that I really like Kate Spade jewelry. This one would be gorgeous over a solid color top or dress.

Michael Kors 'Seaside Luxe - Whisper' Hoop Earrings
Normally hoops aren't quite my style, but I really like the beads on the bottom. I could be persuaded to wear hoops if I had these. 

So I'm seeing that my accessory style is simple, soft with a splash of color. While I do like the chunky bracelet look that is the trend right now, I just don't think that's me. My look is more minimal with maybe one loud piece, like one chunky bracelet as oppose to ten or a statement necklace while wearing studs and just a watch.

So now my plan is to find deals as I shop to build my jewelry case.  But not too cheap a deal because my costume jewelry of the past has always has a tendency to fall apart thus leaving me in the position I am now, basically jewelry-less. Wait a minute, that should have been a sign for me not to shop at Francesca's!

So now if I can just figure out how to make this stuff baby-proof. 

Images

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Andy Cohen's Most Talkative in Audio...A Free Giveaway!

Most Talkative: Stories from the Front Lines of Pop Culture

If you recall, last week I reviewed Andy Cohen's book Most Talkative. To summarize, I was a little saddened by the persona that came across in the book, that he wasn't quite the guy next door that I thought he was, yet the closeness that he had with his family and friends was something that really redeemed him in my eyes. It seemed that regardless of how big he has gotten, and how big the name dropping is, he is always available to receive a text from his mom and share it with the viewers. Thus still keeping me addicted to all things Bravo. 

So then towards the end of the week I got an email from a Senior Publicist at Macmillan Audio asking me if I  would be interested in posting a clip from the audio version of AC's book which is read by Andy himself. I didn't realize that the book was in audio, so instantly I dismissed it thinking why would I need that, I already wrote my review. And then I thought about it some more and one thing I will say for Andy Cohen is that he has quite a bit of enthusiasm for the most mundane things. Specifically I recall the game on Watch What Happens Live where dogs from an animal shelter were walked in with wigs, basically in Housewife costume. While I didn't find it too exciting, his giddy level hit the 10 on the giddy meter and that made me laugh more than the dogs! 

As I read the book I could hear his voice in my head reading the book (Is that weird?) so the thought of Andy telling these stories himself I feel would actually be more entertaining than reading the book on it's own.   Seriously, I would love to hear Andy's scream imitation of his mother or better yet his imitation of Ross Perot! The only thing missing would be his habitual head cock. 

And so I emailed back the publicist back and said I would be interested in posting a clip of the audio version (see below) and asked for a copy for a giveaway, and she agreed!

Sooooo...check out the audio clip below and email me at thetiffingirl@gmail.com with Tiffin Girl Giveaway in the subject line and tell me who your dream duo guests would be on Watch What Happens Live and one lucky winner at random will win a copy of Andy Cohen's Most Talkative in Audio! The contest will close in one week, on Tuesday, June 4th at 12:00 am so submit your entry!


Link

Monday, May 27, 2013

Surprise! I Found a New Workout This Morning!


I woke up bright an early this morning in search of a new workout. Yesterday I went for a run and the two days before that I had done the step aerobic workout and a kickboxing workout so this morning I wanted a strength training workout that wasn't too cardio based. I knew most of my Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels workouts had a large cardio component with supersets so  I thought I'd search for something knew. And so I went to YouTube to search Exercise TV to see if anyone had posted any old Exercise TV workouts recently. (I'm pretty aware of what videos are up there at any given time.) So I searched Exercise TV and lo and behold, there was a 42 minute strength training workout that I've never done by a trainer I had never heard of! I quickly forwarded through the workout to see if it was light yet rigorous (oxymoron?) and it seemed to fit the bill, so I pulled out my weights and was ready to go! 

Sidebar- So Hubby recently purchased a Smart TV and I found out that I could link my iPad to the tv and do my YouTube workouts there. No more craning the desktop screen around to face the living room to do my workouts, yay! (I know, as my brother always tells me, "Welcome to 2005.") So I got to do this workout on the big tv! 

So I pulled out my 3lb weights and my 5lb weights even though the trainer said to use light weights. Well, a few minutes into the workout and I see why you need light weights! This turned out to be an amazing workout. It incorporated moves that I had never done before, mainly doing a lot of balance work with weights in hand. So while it did turn out to have a cardio component as well, there was a lot of balancing and using arms and legs with weights in hand, I loved it! 

Surprisingly, I have never done any Lia Montelongo workouts before. Possibly because she's a dancer and perhaps she has more ballet videos on Exercise TV, something I don't delve into. Trust me, it wouldn't be pretty. Or maybe she just doesn't have that many Exercise TV videos out? Regardless, I love this workout.

It's a 42 minute workout (Perfectly doable, not too much but not-not enough) that consists of four circuits that are repeated twice. Each move is about ten reps done on each side. And then toward the end there is an ab portion that is about five minutes long. 

I had to keep close attention as she did the moves because she has different names for moves than what I am used to. For instance what Jillian Michaels would call a one legged squat, she refers to as a stork stance. Or what would be referred to some as a side lunge, she uses another word that at the moment I can't recall. So I had to watch closely to follow along the moves, since I didn't have the names down already, but this also helped me with form, to ensure I wouldn't hurt myself. 

And all the balance work. The balance, the balance. She does a one legged squat, brings up the leg that is floating, and kicks it out while raising her hands with weights over head. Loved it! Or she does a forward lunge with a shoulder raise, and then the leg moves to the side and does a squat without ever putting  her leg down and she moves her arms to above your head. Oh the balance!  I had never done a workout with weights where you have to balance with one foot and the other was up in the air so much. I just finished the workout and my core is so sore! 

This workout will definitely be going into my heavy rotation folder, I just loved the new moves and how it worked muscles in a different format. Even though there was some cardio too with the way my heartbeat was raised and I was sweating profusely, it was still the perfect workout for today.

Now I must go stalk her on YouTube to see what other workouts of hers I can find. Until I do, enjoy her workout below!

(Sorry, Blogger can't seem to find the URL of the YouTube video, so click on the link below to access the great workout.)


Images

Friday, May 24, 2013

And the Moccasin Color Is...

If you read my post last week, you are aware of my life threatening struggle to choose a color for a pair of C Wonder moccasins I wanted to buy. (Hey, this blog isn't about hard hitting news stories, sippy cups, snacks and shoes are my worries.) I had posted a little poll in hopes of getting your input, but either nobody caught the blog except for my one friend who texted me her vote, or you just thought the poll was ridiculous and you didn't care to vote. If you fit into the former category, these were the  color of shoes I was debating against...


1. Navy Blue

2. Pool Blue

3. Azalea

I contemplated back and forth between the navy blue and azalea, and while I actually liked the azalea color better, I ultimately decided on navy blue. I just felt the shoes were far more versatile. 

And so when I ordered the shoes I saw that if you acknowledge them on a social media site, you get free shipping! So Pinterest the shoes I sure did! (Is that the correct terminology?) The shoes were Fedexed, I ordered them on a Wednesday and they showed up Saturday morning during Bambino's birthday party. Yay, present for Mommy! 

I worried about the fit, but I got my usual size and they fit perfectly! I was a little hesitant of the tassels, I showed them to a girlfriend and she wasn't a big fan.  But the next day I wore them with shorts and they were so soft and comfy and looked so good with my shorts. Actually, they're so comfy that I'm worried that much like the name of the shoe, they are really meant to be just for driving, or maybe house slippers? If so, I'll be wearing my house slippers to H-E-B! Overall, great purchase. Oh, and they're kid friendly. 


If you haven't checked out C Wonder, you really should! Here are a couple of their items I'm coveting right now...

Mini Striped Nylon Easy Tote

Lace Shift Dress
I told a girlfriend I wanted to crash a wedding just so I had a place to where this gorgeous dress! 

Square Stone Drama Necklace

Silk Lip Service Scarf
If we needed scarves in 100 degree Texas weather I would wear this, but for me heat beats out any fashion statement. I refuse to look like a moron with sweat dripping down my face in the name of fashion. 

Green Ikat Dinnerware

If only I could go back in time and register at C Wonder for my wedding. Who would care if I had earrings on my registry? 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Andy Cohen's Most Talkative: Fall From Grace




If you read my blog you are well aware of my love affair with Bravo and who better to be infatuated with than the guru of weave pulling, catty arguments than Andy Cohen himself? I've watched him evolve from the curly haired, oaf looking host of the season 2 Housewives of OC reunion to the ego inflated, Giggy obsessed talk show host that he's become today. Don't get me wrong, ego inflated or not, he's still fun to watch, masking his own curiosity by throwing in obscure names with an @ sign in front of them as the source of the question which has been itching him. (Sure Andy, @krt4567 really wants to know what Nick Lachey's memories are of being married to Jessica Simpson, sure.) He was always just so funny. Yes he often talks about his best friends Sarah Jessica Parker and Mattew Broderick or Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos, but he was still just a regular Joe Schmoe who made it big and got to hob knob with celebrities and share with us. He was like our very own peep hole into celebrity life, he was there at the Met Gala and the Emmys gushing over Diana Ross and then coming to his show to talk about them and I loved him for it. And then I read his book and it all went to shambles.

So let's back up a minute, shall we? When Cohen's book first came out I was eager to read it because I wanted to hear his take on the Housewives, all the behind the scenes drama that I didn't get in the reunion, in cast interviews on Watch What Happens Live and in Lost Footage Specials. (Come on, there's got to be more!) But I didn't want to spend the money on the hardback for something I would read once and be done with it. Knowing that the library wouldn't have the book right away and  once it came in there would be a waiting list for it, I contemplated calling into his show to ask for an autographed copy as so many were doing, but then I never watch his show live. So I put his book in my back pocket and forgot about it. And then it came out in paperback and I thought of buying it, but still chose against it. And then, after five long years of work (not from me, my neighbors), a library was finally built around  the corner from my house and I put in a request for the book. I was telling a girlfriend how I was looking forward to reading it and she mentioned that she had a copy and I could borrow it. (Thanks, AK!)

And read it I did. It was a quick read, actually I think it was a quick read because I was trying to hurry up to get to the Bravo section, only to be let down. I was highly unimpressed with the book. Firstly, the writing level appeared to be catered toward the middle school crowd, there was a lot of moving around from story to story from different aspects of his life talking about life lessons he's learned. (And random bullet points.) He says it best in his book, he reached the age of 13 and never stopped maturing, that pretty surmises his biography. It's filled with a plethora of foot in the mouth moments which are highly cringe worthy and somewhat exploitative. Like the time he set up an interview with Oprah whose publicist refused two interviews, yet after the interview ended he kept the cameras rolling  but lied to both Paula Zahn (the interviewer) and Oprah that he was planning to use this section for his own segment he was producing. He spoke a lot of his tendency to speak out of line and ask inappropriate questions as he does now with the Housewives. (The first step is acknowledgement of your wrongs.)

I now see him in a different light. When I watch his talk show I feel like he's no longer the guy next door, my best friend, but just another media hound who is itching to get a story. He even spoke of an interview he did with Nicholas Sparks before The Notebook came out. While they were filming this documentary they have footage of Sparks getting a phone call that his father passed away. Cohen chose not to use the footage out of respect, but later regretted it saying it goes against journalist integrity. Sparks even thanked him later on in life, but I sensed that Andy's professional side weighed more than his respect side.

And last night I watched his talk show for the first time since finishing his book and I didn't find humor where I normally do. Jamie Lynn Sigler and Heather Dubrow were his guests and they were talking about Lydia from Real Housewives of OC and how her mother habitually smokes marijuana and did through her childhood.  It appeared Andy and JLS were making a joke of it and they even made the poll question if people cared if their mother smoked pot. I was highly upset that he would make light of something so dark in Lydia's life. We're not talking about a grown adult whose mother has taken up pot smoking recreationally in retirement. This is a woman whose mother was in an altered state for much of her childhood. If she were an alcoholic we wouldn't be making jokes about it. I'm not one to always see everything politically correct, I can take a joke, but I feel like this is a pattern by Cohen. Take anything and make a joke of it at the expense of others and for ratings for him.

Oh! And the main reason I read the book, to get some more dirt on Housewives, there was nothing there. Other than Cohen outing Jill Zarin as a lunatic, as we all knew and were just waiting for Cohen and his Switzerland stance on the  Housewives to acknowledge finally did.

Between his constant boasting about his popularity in high school and A-list meetings the only poignant part in the whole book were his relationships. He has such a strong bond with his family, his mother in particular, and he has kept his friendships since childhood which was an endearing theme throughout the book that contradicts his professional intentions, but is the part of him that will keep me watching his talk show. I love how he speaks of his mother and how he reads texts from her on his show and will acknowledge that his mother will be irritated with him after certain words that he says. Despite my frustrations with his obsession to earn ratings, the importance of his relationships shows that the tin man does have a heart, at least when it comes to his own family.


Images
Andy Cohen and his book
Andy Cohen and SJP
Oprah and Paula Zahn
The Notebook
Lydia's mom
Jill Zarin
Andy Cohen and family

Monday, May 20, 2013

Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Muffins


Last Thursday was my Bambino's first birthday so it was of utmost importance that he had some kind of cake to blow out a candle and devour! Since his party was on Saturday (Thus the reason I have not had time to blog!) and  my parents  ordered a tiered Mickey Mouse cake, I didn't want to make an entire other cake and so I went looking for muffin recipes. I thought of chocolate chip muffins because it's kind of like cake, but actually a muffin.

I Googled the words chocolate chip muffin and the first recipe that showed up was Nigela Lawson's Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins from the Food Network. It was simple and somewhat healthy minus the cocoa powder and chocolate chips, but not a horrendous amount of sugar and vegetable oil so that's the recipe I went with.

And can I tell you how much I love Nigela Lawson? I discovered a cooking show of hers years ago on PBS and fell in infatuation. With her sweet, British accent and her ability to cook. So of course I had to make a Nigella recipe! She's like the English version of Giada, or Giada is the Italian American version of hers, whatever, you know what I mean. Just another reason to make the muffins!


Overall the muffins came out pretty well, I enjoyed them. There were a lot of reviewers that said the recipe was bland and that it needed something more. Personally, I think they thought this was a cake recipe, and if you have the expectations that you are biting into a cupcake, then not it is not as moist and fluffy. But if you think of it as a light muffin, then it's actually more of a decadent muffin!

Hubby, Sweet Pea, Bambino and I all enjoyed the muffins on Wednesday, but after I frosted a couple on Wednesday night and refrigerated them over night, the results weren't so great. After we sang happy birthday Bambino just looked perplexed. He knocked the muffin upside down and just stared at it. I cut it up for him and he continued to just stare at it. Then I threw some cheerios on his plate to determine if he wasn't hungry or just didn't care for the muffin. Well, apparently he was mighty  hungry with how he stealthily found all the cheerios in between the muffin crumbs.

Lesson learned? Nigella's Chocolate Chocolate-Chip muffins do not taste good refrigerated over night, they harden. Otherwise, great recipe!

Click here fro Nigella's recipe.

Ingredients
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1 cup milk
1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Sift flour with baking powder and soda. Add in cocoa powder, sugar and chocolate chips.

3. In a separate bowl mix together milk, vegetable oil, egg and vanilla.

4. Mix two bowls together.

5. Pour into greased cupcake tins and bake, about 20 minutes or so until muffins are dark and rise.

Amateur Cooking Difficulty Scale: 3
This is a really easy, straight forward recipe for muffins. And considering muffins usually include some fruit that has to be cleaned, peeled, chopped or blended, this makes it even easier.

Good stuff people, easy, yummy and somewhat healthy. I say make it! But don't frost it and put it in the fridge overnight, apparently even sugar obsessed toddlers don't care for it.

Images
Nigella Lawson and Mario Batalli

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

What Color to Moccasin? I Need Your Help!

I've never been a big fan of the penny loafer. It reminds me of the style from 9th grade (Since I was sported the style in 9th grade, it must have been more popular when I was in the 7th.) that I used to wear with my...I'm far too embarrassed to describe the style I was wearing. It was my attempt at wearing whatever was in that could be purchased at Mervyn's. (At that time I was unaware that you could purchase finer and trendier items at the mall for sale price that would be similar or less to Mervyn's.  You know, like the Gap.) Anyways, so when I saw that loafers were back in style I just couldn't fathom the look, it wasn't for me.

What I did like were men's loafers that came in vibrant colors. I just loved the style and for years now I've been trying to get Hubby to buy a pair, but perhaps he too had similar sentiment regarding penny loafers from high school and refuses to purchase a pair. 



How awesome are those red loafers? How does he not want a pair? And then I started to think, is it that I want to buy him a pair or is it that I want a pair for myself and don't think they are feminine friendly?

And then the Tom's craze went under way and I of course had to get a pair. It was the complete antithesis of the flip flop rage (that in my head has been going strong since high school) and I loved it. Granted, the closed toe shoe did bring back my foot problem from childhood...I won't get into that now but of all people who remember far too fondly, that would be my brother. 

So I wore my Toms all through the fall and winter (it's Texas, shorts and closed toe shoes mean it's cold outside!). And now I'm getting tired of Toms. I thought maybe I needed a new color or design, but I'm starting to think that Toms are just played out and I'm over it. (I get over things oh so quickly, I know. My newer diaper bag is only two months old but I'm already getting that handbag itch.) 

Bye, bye, Tom's! 

And then a couple of months ago I was at Nordstrom's and saw red flats. I immediately became obsessed with bright colored flats that were not Toms. But the only problem was that I thought they were a little too dressy to wear with shorts, which is my staple uniform.

So pretty! 

And then I forgot about my need for the new and improved version of Toms until a few weeks ago (or maybe a week ago?) I was reading a blog about great mother's day gifts and came across this photo for suede driving moccasins at a store called C Wonder. 


I immediately fell in love with the shoes and the store! The store, C Wonder, is kind of a version of Anthropologie without the boho feel, and overall just more of a giddy feel. (I don't know about you, but despite the bright colors sometimes Anthropolgie comes across a bit bleek and dismal. Perhaps the C Wonder models smile and Anthropologie's do not?)

Anthropologie

C Wonder 
Yep, that explains it.

Moving on. So I loved the shoes, but saw that they were $98 and felt it was a bit too much to spend on something I wasn't sure how often I would wear the shoe. And I figured I would just hold out for a sale.

And then today on Twitter (Yes, I started following C Wonder on Twitter. Follow others on Twitter as they will then follow you? Oh, is that not the Golden Rule?) I saw that they were having a massive sale and my moccasins are on sale for $54.99! Yay! 

So I am desperate to buy a pair of these moccasins, but what color to buy? What will be more versatile and could go with more outfits. I really like the Navy and Azalea, but just can't decide, so help me! 

#1- Navy
 
#2- Pool Blue
#3- Azalea

Post in the comments below what color I should purchase. Times a ticking as the sale ends in just two days! (Am I being a sucker for marketing gimmicks, apparently so.)


Image Sources