Throwing Shade

If I could only share one style secret with the world, it would be this: when in doubt, wear sunglasses. Sunglasses have been my go-to for several years, and now I wear them more than ever. Not only are they practical – who likes squinting at the sun and creating more eye wrinkles? – but also they’re chic, and effortlessly so. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve worn them to spice up a sweatsuit, or to hide the fact that I’m not wearing makeup (now you know my secret). And one more good thing about sunglasses: you don’t have to spend much money on them. I certainly don’t – given the fact that I break about one pair a year, I don’t feel like I should buy an expensive pair, but at the same time I do feel like I should treat myself to a new pair each year. Now excuse me while I go add this top pair to my cart…. anyone else loving the round lenses this year? Here for it.

 

P.S Every pair here is $15 or less. 🙂

 

 

Spring 2019 Mini Trend Guide

Now that it’s officially spring, here’s a my annual trend guide (albeit a mini one this year)! Ah. Spring style. It brings to mind lightweight jackets, bright Easter dresses, white jeans and flowing tops. Ironically, none of those things are included in this year’s trends. Spring 2019 trends are a motley crew, a combination of ’90s flashbacks and feminine details (yes please). Before you read this, let me add a gentle reminder: just because something is a trend doesn’t mean I personally care for it (which is why you won’t catch me in bike shorts). And it doesn’t mean you have to either! But here they are, because it’s good to stay informed.

 

Peep-Toe Sandals

 

 

Sash Tie Shorts

 

 

Bike Shorts

 

 

Tie Dye

 

 

Midi Dresses

 

 

Sneakers Paired with… Anything! (literally)

 

 

Big Barrettes

 

 

Wide Leg Crops

 

 

Jumpsuits

 

 

Florals (of course!!)

 

Why I Make My Own Bread

Let me preface this post by telling you that (a) making bread is easy and (b) I also make a lot of other staples (salad dressing, baby food, yogurt, ice cream, broth, etc). I wanted to share both of these pieces of information because I really don’t think they’re related. Making your own bread is EASY regardless of if you make any other staples or have ever made homemade bread in your life. So don’t be intimidated – be encouraged! Okay, preface over. Let’s begin!

When I was halfway through college and moving out of the dorms into my first apartment, I decided to make my own bread each week instead of buy it. At the time, I didn’t really have any sort of reasoning as to why, it was really just on a whim – almost as if it were a challenge to myself to not buy bread. Well, I didn’t buy bread at all during college (though I can tell you I sure ate a lot of it), and fast forward several years and I’m still making my own bread. Occasionally I will purchase bread, but only if it’s a specialty bread that I don’t have the time or inclination to make myself – like the focaccia bread from the Italian grocery down the road (yum!). Other than that, I always make my own. Not only have I found that I enjoy the simple process, but also I’ve come to realize just how much healthier it is. Store-bought commercial bread has so very many added ingredients, most of which are unhealthy, not kind to our digestive systems, and only serve the purpose to keep the bread “fresh” on the shelf longer or to look more like “normal” sandwich bread. Did you know that the “wheat flour” listed as an ingredient in many commercial breads isn’t even whole wheat flour?! I mean, you would think that’s what it is, but it’s really just a clever marketing tool to make plain old white flour (what it actually is) seem healthier. No thanks!

 

Anyways, let me show you just how easy is it to make your own bread, and you don’t even need a bread maker! (I don’t own one and have never felt the need for one.) I always chuckle to myself when people have some of my bread and ask “Did you make this?” in a tone mixed with shock and awe. Every time, they are very impressed, but they really shouldn’t be. A five-year-old could make bread, it’s that easy. Or come to think of it, maybe even my three-year-old nephew could make it, as he’s quite competent in the kitchen. Seriously!

 

I’ve used one main recipe over the years, and while it has been changed out of my rotation from time to time (lately I’ve been making this honey whole wheat recipe – it has more ingredients but I love how soft and flavorful the bread turns out), it always seems to find its way back. Why? Because it tastes good, it’s hard to mess up, and it only has four ingredients. Yes, really! It’s the main recipe found in the cookbook Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, with my only revision being the addition of whole wheat flour.

Simple Light Whole Wheat Bread

-1.5 Tablespoons of yeast

-1.5 Tablespoons of salt

-3 Cups of water

-3 Cups of whole wheat flour

-3.5 Cups of white flour

 

Mix yeast and water and let sit for a few minutes until yeast is bubbling. Add in salt and flour and mix with a wooden spoon only until all ingredients are combined and dough is shaggy. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a dish towel and let rise for 2.5 hours. After initial rise, place covered bowl in the fridge for 1-7 days (dough will be too sticky to handle without refrigerating). The longer you leave the dough in the fridge, the more tangy the flavor will be. upon removing dough from the fridge, let it sit out at room temperature for an hour or so (you can skip this step if you’re short on time). Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Take half of dough, shape it loosely – no kneading! – into a circle, place in the middle of a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or a silpat mat, and let it rest while the oven finishes preheating. Once the oven is fully preheated, use a serrated knife to draw a line or two in the dough and then bake the bread for 25-30 minutes (the time varies based on your own oven). Let cool before eating (or freezing). Enjoy!

Three Easy Ways To Brighten A Room

With few exceptions, I believe we’re all drawn to light. Just last week I visited a friend’s home for the first time, and I gushed to her “It’s so light!” I meant that as a serious compliment, especially coming from someone who lives in a house where there’s not a whole lot of natural light. Don’t get me wrong, I love our house and what we’re doing to it, but it’s not the brightest house you’ve ever been to. This has forced me to be creative in finding ways to draw out the light that’s already there, and I’ve learned a little bit in the process. Let me share it with you!

 

  1. Paint All The Trim White

I’ve spent the last 1.5 years painting trim, and as tedious as it can be, I don’t regret a second of it. Covering up the dated and dark stained brown trim with a coat (actually three coats!) of white paint has transformed our house and lightened it up in a way that nothing else has. Trim is one of those things that you don’t realize how much of an impact it has on a room until it looks bad. White trim goes with any color, isn’t going to look dated in 30 years, and, as you may have guessed by now, brightens up any room. If you already have white trim in your home, lucky you!

 

 

2. Use Sheer White Window Treatments

There’s nothing quite like lightweight curtains blowing in the breeze by an open window on a summer afternoon. Window treatments are a topic in my current favorite home decorating book, Cozy Minimalist Home, which opened my eyes to just how important of a role they play in the story of a room. You see, a lot of times drapes are used to darken a room, and while this may be necessary in some cases (like a baby’s nursery!), they don’t always have to be this way. They can instead be used to not only brighten (yes, really!) a room but also give the visual impression that the room is bigger than it actually is. In the Cozy Minimalist Home, the author recommends mounting curtain rods a foot or so above the actual window and extending them out so that the curtains (which should reach to the floor or even a bit further) can hang on the rod without blocking any of the light from the actual window. Brilliant! If your home sadly does not have high ceilings, like me, you can still implement the the lightweight aspect of the curtains and use sheer or lace material- so that even if they do end up blocking some or all of your window, they won’t block most of the light.

 

 

3. Paint The Most Important Piece of Furniture in the Room

It really isn’t necessary to paint ALL of the furniture in the room a fresh new color in order to brighten up the room. I mean, that would be nice, but who has time for that?! Not me. Instead, take a moment and look at the room. What piece of furniture is dragging it down in terms of being drab and/or dark? It could be the largest piece in the room, or it just be that it holds the most visual importance because it’s tall, or really wide, or what you see when you walk in. This was the case for the dresser that was in my office. It was a dark stained wood and, while it has less surface area than my white table, it’s more easily visible when you walk in the room. I found that it was dragging down the brightness of my otherwise light and bright pink space. I painted it a pale pink color and immediately the entire room was lighter. Sure, it would be nice to paint my dark stained wood desk as well, but it’s smaller, and not as important in the overall brightness of the room. Choose the piece that will make the biggest impact on the room and you’ll find that it’s worth the time spent painting it.