Thursday, July 28, 2011

It is Thursday

It's Thursday!  Yay!!!

I am still adjusting to my new schedule of working and going to class and I have to say it is wearing me out.  All I want to do when I get home is sleep- which is unfortunate considering I also have homework to think about.
I'm hoping to get some great blog topics back next week.

In the meantime, I want to wish my friend (and guest blogger) Emily a 
Very Happy Birthday!!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Things I'm Lovin These Days

Yall already know about my obsession with Tervis tumblers.  I am truly obsessed.  Now they have handles for the 24 ounce size tumbler. Uhm, I need these pronto.
I have a birthday coming up in September.  Just sayin...

My pals and I have taken to a weekly Sunday Funday.  My productivity basically goes into the negative realm, but it is tons of fun. And in this heat that we've been experiencing in DC, there is nothing to do but retreat to someone's rooftop pool. (In this case, we retreat to mine.)  Now, I know that it is hot EVERYWHERE right now, but heat goes to a whole nother level in DC when it is just as humid as Louisiana (no, really...) and you walk or take public transit everywhere you go.  Seriously. You sweat in places you didn't even know you had. 

To beat the heat, we've been taking to a pool party on Sunday afternoon. This weekend we even grilled out and ate dinner outside. Everybody brought something to share and it  was so fun! I made this strawberry cake from Martha Stewart.  This pic is of it uncooked.  It was deeee-lish.  I added some chocolate chips to the batter- they really balance out the cake well. It got rave reviews and is super simple to make.

I've also been making this blueberry-lemon iced tea recipe each week. It is popular and goes fast!  Its nice and refreshing for the hot weather.

Speaking of Sunday Funday, we were talking about the Duke and Duchess during dinner and someone in the group said, "Does he [William] work?" and everyone in the group looked straight at me for the answer. LOVE IT.  Why yes, I am the resident expert on the British Royals and celebrity babies born circa 2006.  Please direct all questions on either topic to me.

By the way, thanks to everyone who offered good work shoe suggestions! With my first paycheck I plan to place some online orders to check those babies out.

I am now taking suggestions for great lunch items to carry to lunch.  Eating out is tough on the wallet and the waistline, so any suggestions are welcome! My go-to these days is a salad.  I'm just out of the PB&J phase of life and to be honest, I don't like sandwiches anymore if they aren't toasted.  Add to list of things that are weird about Katelyn.

I am also really loving my Land's End Tote these days. It is perfect for throwing in everything I need for work and class for the day and sturdy! And virtually indestructible. Mine was a graduation gift from high school (that's right, high school) in 2006. (Gosh that's getting to be farther and farther away, isn't it?)  It is monogrammed. Duh.


Mine is the size of the one on the second row on the left.  The handles are the perfect size to go over the shoulder. Mine is also one of my favorite colors, yellow. Its great!

This past week I finished The Great Gatsby.  Can you believe it was never assigned reading for me in school? Anyway I read it and loved it.  I have a copy of Tender Is the Night at home in Tennessee and I'm going to grab it to read the next time I go home.  Did you know they are doing a remake of the movie to go out in 2012? Leonardo Dicaprio is starring as Gatsby.  Hello, perfection!

How fun is this map? Are you on pinterest? If you are find & follow me so I can follow you!!! 

Here's another thing I recently pinned.  Uhm these are exactly my type of jewelry.  Maybe I should rethink my position on marriage in the next 5 years... Just kidding. Maybe...
If you just had to decide, which is your favorite?  Mine is the one on the very bottom row on the left.  Perfection to the Nth degree!!!

Okay, ladies. That's enough randomness for now.  I have no blog topic for tomorrow- hopefully some inspiration will find me.  Have inspiration for me? Leave it in the comments.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Guest Post: Lizzie from le week-end


Today my friend Lizzie is here discussing an awesome-ly frivolous topic: luxury goods!  Thanks so much for guest blogging for me Lizzie.  I hope everyone enjoys this fun & funny post! 
________________________________________________________________
Hey! I'm Lizzie, from le week-end blog, and I'm here guest blogging for my good friend Katelyn! I love shopping, but penny pinching is always an issue. But what if it wasn't? Look, it sucks that these things cost so much money, but let's face it - if you had the cash money to dish out, these would probably be the first things on your list. And you would wear them for the rest of your life, probably for every appropriate occasion. The problem is, the total cost of all these goods is insane. But just in case you make the money little by little- NO! Scratch that. Close your eyes and imagine a place where you suddenly have all the money you ever wanted to finally build your wardrobe from the bottom up. Here's a list to keep you focused and prevent you from completely losing your head and buying that totally frivolous multicolored white Louis Vuitton purse.



And speaking of Louis, that's the first thing I would probs buy if I had an extra $775 just laying around (and an extra $1,080 with personalized monogramming) - the LV Speedy! It's seriously a classic, and it comes in a few different sizes, but I myself find the "Speedy 30" to be a perfect fit. The leather gains a nice patina after repeated use, showing to the world how long you've been a proud LV owner. It's got nothin' on the Hermes Kelly bag in terms of status, but I'm trying to be semi realistic here in terms of $$$.


Well, the chances of you ever owning an Hermes purse are like borderline zero percent, but you could possibly have a nice silk Hermes scarf in your collection of basic designer goods! Depending on what size and style you purchase, the scarves range from a "mere" $380 to a whopping $800. Please, just imagine yourself trotting around with this sophisticated scarf wrapped around your neck or tied nonchalantly on the handle of your LV Speedy!


And trot around town, you will, in your basic black, brown, or nude leather Christian Louboutin classic pumps. At around $600 - 700, I honest to god think they are the only shoes I would ever need to purchase. I have a pair of really nice Stuart Weitzman that I've been wearing for the past 6 years, and I plan on literally keeping them for the rest of my life and never buying another pair of nude heels to replace them. Just goes to show that investing in quality shoes is totes worth it.


David Yurman cable bracelet. I mean, really feel free to buy more than one of these and stack them, but know that that is not a requirement to your fictionally stocked up wardrobe. When I see a girl wearing a Yurman cable, I automatically assume she's classy. Doesn't really matter if she's a huge skank if she's wearing a Yurman. But not one of those trendy seasonal pieces, has to be a classic cable one!


Chanel ballet flats, the ultimate ballet flat purchase. Quality flats in general are a great purchase, and there are so many brands out there that make great ones - Tory Burch, for one... but Chanel invented class and apparently the everyday ballet flat. At more than $500 a pair, it's definitely something you need to save for... and think out your day before you throw these babies on. Look at the weather forecast. Make sure you're walking on cement sidewalks. And definitely don't step in dog shit. Because you will probably cry.


AND FINALLY, something you can actually afford - Ray-Bans! They have tons of classic styles, most notably the aviators or wayfarers à la Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's. They range from $100 to $200, which is really inflated if you think about how much it costs to manufacture sunglasses, but still, remember that we are in imaginary wardrobe land where you are purchasing all of the brand name basics for the rest of your life. In context, what's a few hundred bucks?!

Classy gal! Now that you have all this gear, you can go ahead and buy that overpriced designer acid wash denim and completely sequined over-sized top. You go girl. Get it.
_____________________________________________________________
Thanks again, Lizzie.  Everyone be sure to check out Lizzie's blog where she blogs about all sorts of random and hilarious things! 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Duchess Style for Less

As I mentioned earlier in the week, I did quite a bit of oohhh and ahhhing over Duchess Catherine's style choices when she and Prince William made the rounds on their Canadian and American tour.  I particularly loved this outfit that she wore upon landing at LAX, minus the nylons that is.

Source
This past weekend, I was at Macy's looking to see if I could find any good pieces for work.  I found a dress and tried it on and realized- this looks familiar.  And it was!  Because it was very similar in shape and color to this one on Duchess Catherine.  The store didn't have my right size, but I ordered it and I cannot wait for it to arrive! It is so flattering on me, and let's just say iI am not exactly close in size to the Duchess.  So, that excursion inspired me to come up with a look for less for this style including that dress.  Here's what I came up with.

Polyvore set here.
This whole look is only $236.  And that's including jewelry that you probably already own (at least something similar) and wouldn't have to purchase!  Thats a pretty great deal considering the original Duchess dress alone was listed online for just over $918 (on sale!!). 

This set is a great office-appropriate look and there are plenty of ways to personalize it with different accessories.  Does anyone else out there have a favorite Duchess look?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

4 Dresses and Counting...

Is anyone else out there a fan of Say Yes to the Dress on TLC? I am a big fan! When there is a marathon- that's golden to me!  If you are unfamiliar, the show follows brides on their quests to find the perfect dress.

Well, now, TLC has introduced Say Yes to the Dress: Bridesmaids. 
HELLO: Genius.  What took them so long to branch out in this direction? 
Source
This new show basically follows brides as they and their bridesmaids look for bridesmaid's dresses.  It is endlessly entertaining.  The brides are hyped up on hormones. The bridesmaids are pretty bitchy.  The dresses range from pretty to no-way-in-hell-I-am-putting-that-thing-on. It is awesome. 

I've now seen 4 episodes {#sorryimnotsorry} and they've got me thinking.

So far, I've purchased three bridesmaids dresses, and I recently found out that I will soon be the owner of a fourth.  (One of my longest-known friends, Rebecca, just got engaged.) So far: one black full-length gown, one bright pink short silk taffeta number, and one pale pink never-worn-cause-there-was-no-wedding dress.

Now, before I get into this, I want to say that being in someone's wedding is an honor- it really is.  Even my overly-cynical self can recognize that. You get to spend the day with one of your closest friends (or let's face it, your hardly known soon-to-be sister-in-law) and be by her side as she gets ready for what is sure to big one of the biggest days of her life.  Then you get to party afterwords.  Its a pretty fun time.  

But sometimes, yall. The dress. The DRESS.
Sometimes, the dress is bad.
Luckily, I've yet to be subjected to a 27 Dresses type dress.
Source
And truth be told, none of the dresses that I've worn have been bad at all, although I would say that the two pink ones definitely were not my "style"- I am just not a pink dress girl.  But I also have not ever worn one of them again.  

The bridesmaids on Say Yes to the Dress have been awfully vocal about what they do or do not want to wear.  And usually it ends up hurting the bride's feelings.  Well I am here to say, I am on the bridesmaids' side! I am!  If you are shelling out at least $100 for a dress (likely more) I think you get an opinion on it.  There. I said it.  Now, if the bride is paying for the dress, then I think you have to shut up and wear a bright orange tulle ball gown if she wants you to.  But usually, the bridesmaid is paying.  It is understood when you are asked to be a bridesmaid. And let's face it, saying "no" to that is kind of difficult to do.  I would also like to point out that the dress is often just the beginning of the wedding-associated costs for a bridesmaid.  There are also other big-ticket expenses including: travel, shoes, wedding gifts, and traveling to/ hosting pre-wedding events.

I do have to say, the bridesmaids on Say Yes to the Dress have been mean about their opinions- I definitely think there are ways to politely suggest an alternative if you dislike the style the bride is leaning towards.  And the girls on that show are not polite.  But that said, I think you can still express an opinion.  For the record, I thought my friend Elise was very judicious when she decided on dresses for her bridesmaids.  There were nine girls in her party, and we got to choose one of three dress styles for the wedding.  My dress was only $99.  That, I can totally live with. Even if I don't wear the dress again, I won't feel like I threw away my money.  I also got to pick the style that was most comfortable and flattering to me- that is a big WIN in my opinion.  

So, what do you think?  Do the bridesmaids get to voice their opinions? Or, like the manager on the show says, should they just "shut up and pay up?"

Monday, July 18, 2011

Ahem... Is This Thing On?

What's up, blog world? Long time no talk. (Or should I say long time no write...)

I wish I had a great excuse for being gone.  If I did, I hope it would be something totally awesome like: the Duchess of Cambridge called me and asked me to be her lady-in-waiting/ bestest friend and I've been in London & quite simply I've been far too busy with things like huge sapphires and beautiful dresses and my super fit boss (and her sister)- to blog.  But alas, I think the combination of laziness, lack of inspiration, and a mounting to-do list just kept me away from blogger.  Truth be told, the past few weeks have left me not even super excited to read my regular favorite blogs.  Weird, huh? I guess there's just something about summer that leaves us all wanting to sprint outside and dodge our computers.

So, what have I been up to? 

Summer classes.

Lounging at my building's rooftop pool.
(Hey- its free. And that is good for this grad student's budget!)
SourceBtw... that is not my pool.  But the sun shines just the same on my less-chic pool.

Taking my pup to and from the vet- and the hair dresser.
By the way- her haircuts now officially cost DOUBLE what I paid for my last haircut.  Totally NOT awesome.
P.S. Eliza's new crack (aka her new fav thing) is pita chips. I wish I had never given her one. 

Making vodka-soaked clementines.
Ahh... grown up fruit.  J'aime ça. 

Filling out paperwork.
Source
That's right, folks! Someone hired this eclectic traditionalist right up and I finally start a new job this week (today, actually!)! P.S. The job comes with a lot of paperwork, but that's okay! I kind of like paperwork.

Making smoothies.
Source
New fav thing: smoothies chock-full of protein from Greek yogurt.  Add in my favorite summer fruits and I am ready to go!

Having my groceries delivered.
Best. Decision. Of. My. Life. {Thus far.}

Flirting with dumping Diet Coke.
Source
This bad habit is a badmamajama to break.

Stalking pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge {aka my new bestie, see above} on her Canadian adventures.
SourceBy the way, I don't care what royal protocol says. When I marry Prince Harry, I ain't never wearing pantyhose. 

Writing a BIG OLE paper.
YUCK. Lord help me.

Scouring the internets and my local stores high and low for a pair of comfortable work pumps.
Not okay. No ma'am. 
Any suggestions from bloggerland? I need PRACTICAL.  

How are you doing out there? Any suggestions for future blog topics? Leave 'em in the comments, loves! 


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Guest Post: Emily on Hair Styling


Today, we have another special guest post.  My sorority sister & friend Emily is going to share some of her tips on how to hot roller your hair!  I know hot rollers may bring back many goofy 80's and 90's memories back for a lot of people, but speaking as a curly haired person, I agree with Emily that hot rollering (or using a curling iron) can help to give your curls definition and order.  
Thanks so much, Emily!!! 
______________________________________________
Hey yall! My name is Emily and I am so excited to be guest blogging on The Eclectic Traditionalist today. Katelyn is one of my dear friends and sorority sisters and I'm so proud of her and her blog!
Today I am presenting to you some tips on HOT ROLLER-ing your hair. I am a BIG fan of hot rollers and have been using them religiously for about 4 years. I have very thick and dense, wavy/curly hair and my hot rollers are my bff!  All I use is the BaByliss PRO Ceramic Roller and tons of hairspray!!
I'm a total hairspray junkyyy!!
My hairspray haul! I'm trying to focus on using up a WHOLE can before buying another but this has proven difficult :-)
I like to use hairspray in what I call the 'rainbow' method. I usually hold the can in one hand and swipe it over the top of my head making a 'rainbow' of spray across my crown.
These are my two current favorite hairsprays. Suave Professionals Flexible Hold (Advertises an 'ultra fine mist'. Ultra fine mist is the most important element of a hairspray, for me!) and Paul Mitchell Extra Volume (also a fine mist and a cool nozzle!)

A few things to know:  I am NOT very neat when sectioning my hair and rolling. Because my hair is so thick and dense, for me it doesn't really matter. I let my hair dry naturally before rolling. I find that if I blow my hair straight first, it is too silky to roll really well. I need a lil texture for my rollering!
 
The first step is to do the 'Mohawk' down the middle of your head. You can see in this picture that I took my bangs/fringe and used a velcro roller to get them tucked out of the way. I then did three big rollers straight down the middle of my head.


Next I tackle one side of my hair. I lift up a top section (closest to the 'top') and roll under. I do try to spray each section before rolling (but I often forget). Try to roll tight and secure firmly. I always secure with the pin and then add the clip on top as well for extra hold. My hair is heavy so I sometimes need both but I recommend always using the pin as it gives a tighter hold. 
 
I work my way from 'top to bottom' on one side, then move to the other side and work top to bottom, rolling under. I usually have one or two 'stray' chunks in the back to roll and since I have a tough time reaching those i usually roll them anyway I can!

Here's a pic of my whole head. Mohawk down the middle, sides rolled up, pins and clips!

After waiting about 10 minutes or until the rollers cool, carefully remove pins and allow the roller to unravel.
Here's a picture of one 'from the back' after being immediately removed.

Immediately after removing the rollers I spray my whole head, liberally with hairspray.
I generally try to let my hair 'rest' immediately after for about 10 minutes, hairspray periodically using the rainbow method.
After the hair has cooled and set I 'shake' my curls out. You can flip your head over and shake, or run your hands through your mane. I perfer the latter.
I do not need to tease my hair after hot rolling so i sort of tossle the crown with my fingers and spray spray spray.
After "tosseling." 
Here is a picture of my with my hair 'done'
I'm in the middle and posing with two of our sorority sisters.
We wish Katelyn could have been with us on that trip in April!!
 
I hope that my tips are helpful and have fun HOT ROLLER-ing!!

Thanks Katelyn for the opportunity to share my tips!! 
____________________________________________
Thanks again, Emily!! 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Favorite Haunts on the Redneck Riviera

I just got back from a refreshing week-long vacation on the Redneck Riviera.  For those who are unfamiliar with that area- I am referring to the Alabama Gulf Coast and the Florida Panhandle.  My family specifically stayed in Orange Beach, Alabama.  
Source
Growing up, when we did beach vacations, they were usually in Gulf Shores. When I was really little, my grandmother even had a condo on the bay side in Gulf Shores.  Last year, we started staying about 12 miles East of Gulf Shores in Orange Beach and we just love it.  It is a bit less crowded and the grocery store is just across the street from our condo of choice.  This might not seem that important but in our family, it seems at least one of us is going to the Publix (the grocery store) at least once a day, if not more.  Also, can I just go on record saying that Publix is pretty much the best grocery store ever. It is so clean and well organized! I love it. 

We have a pretty regular routine for the beach.  We usually eat out the first night we are there and then again one other night.  We eat all our other meals at the condo.  My dad loves going to the beach on vacation- but he doesn't actually go ON the beach.  He chills out in the condo and reads and naps and cooks for us.  That's his idea of a great vacation and that's fine by the rest of us! We spend the week drinking great cocktails and eating delicious fresh seafood.  It is AWESOME. 

Since we've been going to this area for a while, I thought I would share my favorite "haunts" in the area. 

The Flora-Bama
Source
The Flora-Bama can be described as the ultimate dive bar.  It is grungy and completely awesome.  It is legendary in the South for being an awesome hang-out.  In recent years, I think the Flora-Bama is best during spring break time.  When we went on this trip, it was not very busy. 

The Pink Pony Pub
Source
The Pink Pony Pub is located right on the beach in Gulf Shores.  The food is pretty good (for bar food, at least) and reasonably priced.  The drinks are well-priced, too.  It is SUPER casual- I mean they don't even have a no shoes-no shirt-no service policy.  It is the redneck riviera, after all.  I can remember going here as a little kid.  (Kids are welcome in the restaurant until 9 pm.)

Louisiana Lagniappe 
Source
We tried Louisiana Lagniappe for the first time on this trip and the food was fantastic!!! We will definitely be going back there.  It is a pretty nice restaurant inside, but still very casual.  But it definitely would not qualify as "cheap eats" although the menu was well-priced for the portion size and quality of the food. 

Tallulah's
Source
Tallulah's is a great little gift shop in Orange Beach.  We go there every trip and it is very hard to walk away without buying anything adorable.  I would love to have pretty much everything they sell.  There is also a great local art store right next door. 

Cosmo's
Source
We also decided to try Cosmo's in Orange Beach for the first time this year.  I had this yummy tuna salad- it was so light and refreshing!  Cosmo's had a really great atmosphere and waiting area with a nice bar and appetizers so you could relax while you were waiting for a table instead of just sit around.


In addition to Publix in Orange Beach, we also stock up on fresh fruits and veggies at Burris Farm Market Bakery in Loxley (on the road on the way to Gulf Shores) and my dad purchases fresh seafood from Billy's Seafood in Bon Secour, Alabama. 
There are also a couple of shopping areas in Gulf Shores- one is the Tanger Outlet Mall in Foley, Alabama.  Another is newer- its called The Wharf in Orange Beach and it has some great little local shops located in a really big outdoor mall.  On our last two trips there, I've also gotten my hair cut at Fusion Salon at The Wharf and I really love the girl who cuts it.  And it is only $35.  Can't really beat that! 

While finding photos for this post, I also found this webpage that offers more advice on fun things to do in the Orange Beach/ Gulf Shores area.  If you are planning a trip there, I highly suggest a quick browse of this page

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day

We hold these truths to be self-evident,
Source
that all men are created equal,
Source
that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,
Source
that among these are 
Source
Life,
Source

Liberty

Source
and the pursuit of Happiness.
Source
Happy Independence Day. 
Source
May we all celebrate living in these United States of America & honor those who have fought to expand and defend our Freedom. 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Weekly Gratitude

Before I start off this Weekly Gratitude post, I wanted to let everyone know that I'm guest blogging over today at Primitive & Proper about my favorite things about Louisiana. 

Thank you to my fabulous guest bloggers this week! It was so great to change it up on the ole blog and to have a little break from writing.  Thanks again to Tara, Cassie & Jenn

Thank you to @britishroyals on Twitter for providing me with endless gossip about the British royal family- namely the young royals.  I think my celebrity baby habit has been replaced with a British royals habit.  There was a time when I retained a useless and stupid amount of knowledge about celebrity babies and their names- I even still know the full names of all the Jolie-Pitt children. Kind of embarassing but kind of true.

Thank you to my friend Lauren, my cousin Megan and my brother Chris joining our beach trip at the last minute.  It makes me endlessly happy to be back in the deep south in driving distance of all the people I love the most.

Thank you to the Alabama Gulf Cost for a great week and a great trip to the Redneck Riviera.

Thank you to Neutrogena for making possibly the greatest sunscreen ever.  I am telling yall, the Neutrogena Age Shield Face with Helioplex SPF 110 is so effective for me.  

 

Thank you to Danielle & Alison for their wonderful idea to spread the word about safe sun habits through Sun Savvy Bloggers

Thank you to all the members of my family for a great week at the beach. 

Thank you to Joy at Fusion Salon in Orange Beach, Alabama for an awesome (and cheap!!!) haircut!