Monday, June 20, 2011

New Week, New Style: Trying a new Nail Color

Hi, world!  This week on New Week, New Style, I'd like to focus on our nails.  Most of us have that signature color that we reach for, and while that's great, why don't we shake it up every once and awhile?  Here's a few colors that I love!

Blue Polish
OPI BRIGHTS No Room for the Blues
I love a really great blue polish.  It's so fresh, and so unexpected on your nails.  This shade, called No Room for the Blues by OPI is a great shade of blue, it's not too bright, pastel or dark.  This color would look great with a neutral outfit, but it would also pair well with reds, pinks and yellows!

Green Polish
Piggy Polish Toe Nail Polish, Envy
Green can be a bit tricky to wear. If it's got too much of a yellow tone, you might look like your nails are diseased.  Too pastel, they tend to look chalky.  I like a nice, bright kelly green, like this one.  It's Envy by Piggy Polish, and it's a lot of fun.  With this on your fingers, you'll have everyone green with envy for your manicure!  Try this color with your gold jewelry, the two will really pop off of each other!

Yellow Polish
China Glaze up & Away Collection: Lemon Fizz #871/80941
Yellow is another color that's hard to wear.  Unless you're very young or like a punk rock look, I'd steer clear of the neons.  The best yellows are ones that don't have a brown undertone to them.  This clear yellow is perfect, and the pastel shade makes your nails a bit more demure.  It's Lemon Fizz by China Glaze. A note about yellows: they tend to be a bit transparent, so you may want to put this over a base layer of white.

Purple Polish
OPI Nail Polish Purple With A Purpose
Purple is one of my favorite colors, and I think it's so versatile.  Most people look good in purple, and most shades of purple suit most skin tones.  I don't think you can go wrong with any shade of purple!  For my personal tastes, I like a bright purple, like Purple with a Purpose from OPI. If you like the idea of purple, but don't feel this brave, try a pastel purple, as they'll look very close to a pastel pink.

Red Polish
Essie Nail Polish Really Red 0.5 oz.
Red is a classic color, but many people are afraid of it.  Too many, in my opinion.  I beg you all, if you've never worn a bright red, go try it today!  It's so fun to wear red on your nails, and it's versatile!  This is the one bright color that you truly can wear from the corporate meeting to daycare to drinks with the girls.  There are many shades of red out there, from red-orange to red with blue undertones.  I like a classic red, like Really Red from Essie.

I really love all of these colors, and want you all to try them.  If you're looking for more ideas about nails, there are plenty of blogs and websites out there dedicated to manicures, testing polishes, and trying funky new stamps or techniques on their nails.  One popular one that I follow is Chloe's Nails, you'll find a lot of great information there!

So tell me, do you have a favorite, non-traditional nail color?  And how do you wear it?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

This Weekend: Tea Party

Ahh, the tea party.  Not a new concept, I know, but it's one that's often shrugged off as boring or outdated.  However, I believe a tea party is a fabulous idea for a get together.
Blue City Table Cloth or Picnic Blanket
Table Cloth by TallyHoPrint

I can think of many reasons to hold a tea party.  We're in the heart of wedding season, and a tea party would be great for a bridal shower.  Or how about a tea party the day after the ceremony instead of brunch, or the day before instead of a rehearsal dinner?
Alice in Wonderland Shower/Birthday Invitations - Flat cards - Vintage Appearance -  Set of 10
Invitations by AnistaDesigns

What about a tea party for a baby shower?  Instead of awkward games, everyone could dress up, wear a fabulous hat, and eat tea sandwiches. How elegant!
Mad Hatter Mini Top Hat in Mad Hatter Classic
Hat by SaiSaiArts

How about just a get together with the girls?  This would be a fabulous alternative to a girl's night out, and for you parents out there, your children could come, too!  Or if you'd prefer a smaller get together, a tea party would be a great way for two or three people to catch up - no yelling over the noises of a bar or restaurant.
Shino Swirls Teapot with Cups
Tea Set by antb

If you're going to throw a tea party, chances are you already have most of the supplies around your house.  You'll need cups and saucers for each guest.  Don't worry if they aren't the fanciest, or if they even match.  In fact, a mix and match of different saucers and cups would make a fun, eclectic look!  If you want to make plain cups look more special, try tying a ribbon around the middle of each cup, or wrap it around the handle. Also, you could use any stickers you may have to decorate the cups, or if you don't mind changing them permanently, paint them with enamel paints.  (Demo on using enamel paints to come!) If you don't have any cups and saucers to use, try your local thrift shop.  But if you want something truly special, look for an artist that hand makes them.  They may be a bit more expensive, but they'll be with you forever and will make a great addition to your china cabinet.
Cup and Saucer with Turquoise and Teal Pattern
Cup and Saucer by dawndishawceramics

Next, you'll need some decorations.  Play around with what you already have.  If you already have tablecloths, great! If you don't, try some leftover fabric, a pretty bedsheet, a curtain you're not using anymore; be creative with it!  A simple centerpiece composed of a vase and a few fresh flowers is all you'll need to dress up the tables. Paper streamers, garland and lanterns can pull together all the colors of your tea sets and linens, and will add an airy, dreamy quality to your surroundings.
flower and circle paper garland. repurposed book. 3D - 10 ft.
Paper Garland by dragonflies

Last, but certainly not least, you'll need your food and beverages.  For food, keep the menu light.  Anything bite sized is a great idea.  Finger sandwiches and deviled eggs are classic, but for a new twist, try making these jalapeno popper cups, or this bacon wrapped pineapple recipe. For desert, cake pops are all the rage now, and they're perfect for a tea party.  They're fairly easy to make yourself, but if you don't have the time, there are many reputable people that you can order them from.
Mom's Killer Cakes & Cookies Original  Design Cupcake Sundae Cake Pops
Cake Pops by Mom's Killer Cakes

Now, on to the star of the party, the tea.  You can either serve just one tea, your favorite tea, or you could serve several different types.  Whatever type of tea you choose, make sure it's special.  No one wants to come over for tea and be served the supermarket special tea.  Try looking at import stores, as these usually have many different and unique types of tea.  Look for a specialty store in your area that sells nothing but tea and tea supplies, these are bound to have something special.  Or look online, many sellers have unique blends or organic ingredients in their teas.  Make sure you have plenty of sugar, honey and lemon slices, as well as plenty of your chosen tea blend.
Herbal Tea Combo Pack by Spirit Horse Herbals
Herbal Tea by Spirit Horse Herbals

I hope that you can host a tea party soon, whether it be for a special occasion, or no occasion at all.  What better way to pass the time than with friends, laughter, joy, and tea?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Feast on This: Broccoli and Cauliflower with Olives

Hello, world!  For today's Feast on This, I'm making broccoli and cauliflower with olives.  This recipe is super simple, and a great use for broccoli or cauliflower that's started to go limp.

For the ingredients, you'll need:
One head each broccoli and cauliflower
6-8 Olives (I prefer kalamata, but black olives would work fine, too)
Olive oil
2 tbs. Butter
Salt and Pepper
Garlic powder (If you have a fresh head of garlic, feel free to use one crushed clove, instead)

First, start heating a large skillet on medium heat.  Add the butter and a splash or two of olive oil.

While the pan is heating, chop the broccoli and cauliflower into small clusters.  If you like the stems, feel free to use those, too.

Once the butter has melted in your pan, add the broccoli and cauliflower.  Add a dash of salt (not too much, as the olives are salty), pepper, paprika and garlic powder.  I rarely measure my spices as I cook, but if you'd  like to be precise, use about 1/4 tsp of each spice.

While the broccoli and cauliflower are cooking, slice your olive into fourths.

Continue cooking until the broccoli and cauliflower start to brown slightly, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Add the olives.

Cook for two more minutes, until the olives are heated through.  Time to serve!

This is such a simple dish, but it's so yummy!  Since broccoli goes so well with beef, I'd serve it with a roast,  or even steaks.  If you're veggie like me, try it with a long grain rice.  Add a piece of crusty bread, and you're all set!  Let me know how you like it, or what you'd serve it with!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

New Week, New Style: Stacking Bracelets

So sorry I'm late with this post, world, my 'puter was being naughty yesterday!

For this week's, New Week, New Style, I've decided to cover bracelets. I love bracelets. I can't count how many I have. But when it comes to putting them together, sometimes you have to be creative.  They can be a bit boring if you don't do something new and fresh with them.  So this week, I challenge you to stack your bracelets!

 Here's a look at just some of my bracelets.  How did I get so many?!?

The first (and easiest) way to stack bracelets is to simply stack them by color.  Use any and all bracelets you have, but stick to one or two colors.  It doesn't matter if some are beaded, bangle, tennis, or any other kind, just as long as they're within your color scheme.  Here's one stack I did, concentrating on yellows and oranges:

Here's another, this time in purples and pinks:

Easy, right? The second way to stack is by using a single bracelet as an inspiration.  For instance, here's one of my absolutely favorite bracelets.  I love the colors and the vintage feeling of it.

However, on its own it feels a bit plain.  For my first stack with this bracelet, I went, again, with colors.  I pulled all the bracelets I could with colors I found in this first bracelet.  This is what I came up with:

Fun, huh?  Next, I tried to stay more with the vintage feeling of the bracelet.  I dug through some of my heirlooms, brought out the pearls, and viola!

See? Two totally different looks, based off one bracelet.  Let's try it again, with a different bracelet.  This is a tiny Asian inspired bracelet, and I love it.

Okay, so I'm going to stack using both the colors and the feel this time. Here's my creation:

I love it!  Now, here's my last little tip.  Sometimes I'll pick up a set of bracelets with two or three bracelets in a similar hue or feel.  Here's one I got awhile back:

Cute, but could use some jazzing up.  I decided to add some more beaded bracelets, but in pinks and plums. Here's what I came up with:

So much better!  I love this look, it's so easy to achieve, and it's a blast to do!  Plus it's free, you can use all the bracelets you already have.  If you're going with the stacked bracelet look, I'd keep the rest of your jewelry fairly neutral.  Maybe one statement ring on the opposite hand of your stack, no necklaces, and simple hoop or stud earrings.  You won't want to take the focus off these babies!