Friday, June 29, 2012

look for less - chambray skirt

Girl, get yo'self on the chambray train. I bought this skirt from LOFT yesterday and, after spotting this cute fashionista, decided to design a "look for less" around it. Every time I do a "look for less" post I realize just how much one outfit can cost even if each item is budget-friendly. Don't be discouraged! A simple skirt like this one can be paired with just about anything - oxford shirts, soft tees and tanks, cardigans... depending on the color and material, a skirt can get you through all four seasons. The same can be said for the red bag, the sunglasses and the gold jewelry, too.

a not-so-cheap but super cute outfit from Penny Pincher Fashion
The navy and white top I've included in the look is clearly more similar to the inspiration photo than the coral stripe (and it's cheaper), but I wanted to show another color that would look great with this look (minus the purse - go with white or leather). The navy and white version of the coral top is absolutely adorable, too - I want it in both colors! This top is cute too.

I didn't notice until after I'd already published the set that the girl in the inspiration shot is also wearing a chunky gold bracelet. It's a gorgeous bracelet, but I think it's too heavy to pair with the heavy link necklace.

look for less - chambray skirt

Coral striped top - 29.99
Navy striped top - 6.80
Chambray skirt - originally 54.50, then 39.99, now on sale for 20.99 (discounted price in store was 12.50, w/ LOFT card it was 10.62!!!!)
Sunglasses - 5.80
Necklace - 7.80
Wedges - 39.95
Purse - 35.99

Outfit cost (w/ coral top) - $140.52
Same outfit w/ in-store skirt price - $132.03
Outfit cost (w/ navy top) - $117.33
Same outfit w/ in-store skirt price - $106.96! (this striped top alone costs $105)

I love Penny Pincher's shoes, but I couldn't find any like them - let alone look-alikes under $50. The wedges were the cutest shoes I could find, and even though I rarely spend over $25 on anything other than jeans, $40 is a great price for shoes. If only I could walk in heels! I'm such a flats girl.

I got a stain on my skirt literally minutes after putting it on. Thank goodness for fels-naptha - the stain came right out.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

skinny rules

Have you seen this? It's been going around my Facebook and I'm curious to know what ya'll think. Better yet, I want to know if you actually follow these rules!

I don't do the following: 1, 5, 6, 7, 11, 13, 14, 17, 18, 20... so, half I do and half I don't. yikes.

I'm really bad at eating vegetables. It's not that I don't like them, I just don't always do it! I have a veggie or two with dinner, but I never have them at lunch. Also, I don't plan a splurge meal. That's not to say I don't ever splurge, though... :) Should planning to splurge really be a rule? I get that it's nice to have something to look forward to, but if I followed that rule then I wouldn't be able to follow rule 13, and if I followed rule 13 then I would be breaking rule 16. See what I did there?

Some of these rules don't seem very practical. Sometimes going to bed hungry is uncomfortable! But I do eat too much at night. Take the other night for example. Andy's out of town, so eating a normal meal is out the window. I'm kind of embarrassed to tell you what I had. Macaroni salad and watermelon. That's it. Haha! My stomach started growling about an hour later (hm, wonder why). I fixed a bowl of cereal. Then, another hour later, I get bored. So I had some cottage cheese. Theeeen I wanted some ice cream, but I didn't have it. I went to bed to avoid eating any more. UGH. My poor body hardly got any nutrition!

No carbs after lunch? Whoo-ee. If you do this, please tell me how. And if you still enjoy your life. I think I'm losing weight just thinking about not consuming carbs after lunch!

At least I can say I follow some of these. My main rule isn't even on here, and that's to eat when I'm hungry and stop when I'm full. It works! 

What are your skinny rules?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

ziplining and waipio valley

The day after our stargazing excursion we got up bright and early to go ziplining at Umauma Falls. The last time we went ziplining as a family was high up in the trees in chilly Alaska. This time we were zipping in summery clothes with an awesome view of the ocean in front of us.

John-Michael (brother), Sky, me, Andy, Vicki (mom), Pete (dad), Katie (sister) and Todd
umm... it doesn't look like I'm wearing pants. eek!

Todd and Katie zipping - check out that gorgeous ocean view!
After ziplining we had lunch in Hilo and checked out some nearby waterfalls.

my dad will forever be young at heart

thanks for the zoom lens, daddy!
All eight of us agreed that driving to the Waipio Valley was a highlight of our vacation. Before we got to the valley we stopped for smoothies at a cute roadside shop. 

We had rented two Jeep Wranglers for our vacation, so we were able to make the VERY steep drive from the lookout point down to the valley. If you don't have 4 wheel drive then you have to hoof it. I can't imagine how exhausting that hike would be! According to Wikipedia, "If classified as a road, it would be the steepest road of its length in the United States and possibly the world." The road is where the picture says "hike down." First, we headed left towards Hilawe Falls. 

The back part of the valley and the taro farms were lush and so green. And there were horsies!

The road towards the beach was riddled with water-filled craters, which made for an exciting ride. We parked the cars to the left of the river outlet and spent a while traipsing about and checking out the insane view. 

a note for my guy

We saw several rainbows in Hawaii, but this was the most magnificent.

John-Michael and Todd making the trek across the river

Lazily strolling the beach was such a relaxing way to end our day on the eastern side of the island. Watching the surfers and seeing that rainbow... I felt like I was in a dream. If we ever go back (crossing my fingers) I'd love to pack a picnic, make a fire and gaze at another breathtaking sunset. Want to come?

Monday, June 25, 2012

things I'm afraid to tell you

inspiration found here

I am team transparency. I used to talk about it all the time when I was in a Bible study and when I led one. We need to be more transparent. We won't grow as a group if we aren't more transparent. I respect a person more when they are transparent with me. Etc., etc.

I'll tell you almost everything about my life - my relationship with God, my beliefs, my marriage, my family, my friends, my work, my hobbies...

Almost everything. But not everything.

I'm still not going to spill all of my secrets. Some are simply unnecessary to publish on a public website. Some I still find too shameful, too painful to talk about. I will, however, tell you a handful of things that if I'm honest, I'm afraid to tell you.

I'm insecure about my intelligence
One of the best decisions I made in high school was taking mostly IB (similar to AP) classes. The downside was that most of my closest friends were the insanely smart kids. All they talked about at the end of senior year was their GPA and who was going to be valedictorian. I didn't get into Virginia Tech - a fact that I'm still ashamed about, and my SAT scores were nothing to write home about. I dread the day when my child asks me for help on their math or science homework and I don't know the answer. 

I'm not crafty and I can't draw worth beans
You're probably wondering why I'm afraid to tell you this. It's the strangest thing - so many people assume that I'm crafty! I guess I feel like I'm letting people down? There's this pressure to be crafty because everyone else is craft-crazy these days. I don't scrap-book (I stay far far away from scrap-booking supplies), I don't knit or crochet or sew (yet) and I rarely ever do DIY projects. I get frustrated and impatient with crafts. I much prefer to do projects like painting furniture or arranging items on a bookcase. I have a creative eye, and I think it's a pretty good one, but I don't play well with crafts.

I struggle with jealousy and comparing myself to other people
I don't have a cool job, or a high-paying one. I don't run marathons (or work out much at all). I rarely shop at "fancy" stores. I'm not a very good photographer. I am completely inept at doing my own hair. I don't live in an exciting place. Many of my peers are more talented writers than I am. I drive a minivan.

I've cried over many "I'm pregnant!" facebook statuses
Something I won't tell you is when we're trying, how we're trying, if we're trying, etc. I don't need MORE pressure to have a baby. The truth is, I'm very happy with how we've handled family planning, and I'm very happy that these past four years have been sans baby. Still, that desire in me to be a mom makes it hard for me when other people receive that honor. I've never not been happy for a friend - babies are exciting and all of my friends are going to make awesome mommas - but I have absolutely been jealous! Mainly because the phrase I've heard over and over again after a pregnancy announcement is, "Laura, you're next!" Yeah, I've had to listen to that for two years. Hear my heart - I appreciate that people are excited for us to become parents, and I'm sure I've done my fair share of unknowingly pressuring someone to have a baby, but I'm tired of being bombarded with baby questions! When we do have/adopt a baby one day, it will be planned. We will have years of marriage experience, going to restaurants alone and sleeping in behind us. We will have saved up. We will have traveled. We will have gotten practice watching other people's kids. So that's pretty great. 

I feel guilty for having had such an easy childhood
My parents are together and have a very happy marriage. We had a nice house and nice things. I was never abused, abandoned or neglected. I never struggled with smoking, alcohol or drugs. All of these things are huge blessings and I certainly wouldn't want the alternative, but I ache for people who have had loneliness and devastation in their life. 

I like fast food, including McDonald's
I'm surrounded by friends and family who turn up their nose at fast food chains. They're right, I know. It's gross. But Wendy's junior bacon cheeseburger? Taco Bell's chalupa supreme? Checker's fries? McDonald's breakfast? Nom nom nom.

Jim Gaffigan- McDonald's from Viksaa Mk on Vimeo.

What are you afraid to tell?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

stargazing in Hawaii + weekending v.14

Last Sunday we took a tour bus up Mauna Kea, the tallest mountain in the world from base to peak (much of the mountain is under sea level). It's also one of the best places on Earth to stargaze. At the peak of the mountain are thirteen huge telescopes that we could see from the resort we stayed at. I loved looking up at those tiny specks at the top of the mountain and thinking, "I get to go up there!"

if you look closely you can see the telescopes
using my zoom lens to get a better view

We're on top of the world! 

The top of Mauna Kea is home to the world's largest astronomical observatory. The telescopes aren't open to the public in the evening, but it was still amazing to be up above the clouds and walk around knowing that we were standing among insanely expensive equipment!

The view of the sunset wasn't bad either. :)

Once the sun set our tour guide drove us slightly down the mountain and from there we were able to look through his telescope. It was pitch black and the night sky was absolutely dazzling - shooting stars everywhere! I've seen clear night skies in dark environments, but this was a view like no other. The tour guide pointed out constellations and stars using a strong laser pointer, and he positioned his telescope to show us different sights. My favorite thing we saw through the telescope was Saturn. I'm no sky nerd, but I thought it was thrilling. Maybe I'll become a sky nerd.

The whole time we were on this excursion I had a verse from "How Great Thou Art" in my head.

O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder, consider all the works thy hand hath made, I see the stars, I hear the roaring thunder, Thy power throughout the universe displayed.


It's hard to believe we've been home from Hawaii for a whole week. I was out of commission for several days after the trip. I blame my lack of Hawaii blog posting on that nasty bug I had. It really took a lot out of me! I feel much better now, and I had a great weekend. Yesterday Andy tackled some projects outside. Poor guy made two trips to Home Depot and still didn't have enough mulch to cover up the old stuff! Our front and back yards already look much better, though. I stayed inside and put away a shocking amount of laundry, unpacked boxes and cleared out some closets that I had shoved misc. items into. I'm a bit discouraged by how much stuff we own. I thought I had done a great job of getting rid of stuff when we moved, but it just never ends! Gah. #firstworldproblems, I know.

We now have a room that I call "the craigslist room." Anyone in the market for barstools, televisions, a vanity, a tiered bathroom organizer or a shower curtain and liner? Yes, I realize this is a bizarre assortment of items.

After all that hard work we treated ourselves to dinner out and a Redbox. We went to Il Forno and shared the buffalo chicken strips and the cold cut pizza. I had tried their four cheese pizza and loooved it, but I liked the cold cut pizza even better. All I could think about while we were eating was I have GOT to try to make this so we can eat it all the time! After dinner we watched "Jeff Who Lives At Home." Jason Segel was fantastic from the get-go. I figured from the trailer that the movie would have an indie feel to it, so I wasn't expecting it to be a hilarious fast-paced comedy. It did make us laugh, though. And.... I cried.

Andy headed to Philadelphia this morning to catch a baseball game with some friends from Harrisonburg, so I spent the morning listening to this sermon and painting my nails bright green. Then I picked up my awesomeblossom friend Kristen who is visiting from Florida and we had lunch at my favorite coffee shop. It's been a weekend of great food - my french toast sandwich (stuffed with scrambled eggs and sausage) was outta control. Another one to try at home! We spent the afternoon at Cunningham Falls State Park exploring the waterfall and swimming in the lake. Is there anything better than catching up with a dear friend? Now that we live in a different state than all of our friends I've realized how special it is to simply spend time with my favorite people. 

OH. I don't know why I'm blogging about this, but I was at the coffee shop a month or so ago and saw I guy that I swear went to my high school. I didn't say hello b/c Andy think that's pretty much the most awkward thing ever, but I've been racking my brain ever since to try and remember his name. I saw him again at the coffee shop today, and I still can't remember! Any Lee people interested in helping me figure it out? Guy at the coffee shop - if we're Facebook friends and you're somehow reading this, say hi next time you see me!

Friday, June 22, 2012

clothes for hawaii

This summer I'll be posting different "looks for less" each Friday. (Click here to see last week's, and here for the week before). I've been too busy recovering from a bug I got in Hawaii (blah) and starting a new nannying job to put together an outfit, so I thought I'd share with ya'll a few of the items I took with me on my trip.

I normally lean more towards function than fashion when I'm packing for a long trip, but I wanted to look fresh and summer-y in Hawaii. I made the last minute decision to not check any bags, so everything we brought had to fit in two carry-ons and two backpacks. I took one pair of jeans, one pair of capris, three pairs of shorts, two thin sweaters, eight or nine shirts and two dresses. We had a washing machine, so I could've gotten by fine with two pairs of shorts and five or so tops. Everything fit, though!

clothes for hawaii
details here
I wore the striped tee shirt from LOFT on the airplane and then again halfway through the trip. The chambray shirt and  drawstring capris are Old Navy (my capris looked slightly different, but close enough). The striped shirt is Target, and the shoes are Bare Naked sandals that I picked up at Ross. The most expensive item was the chambray shirt, but it's now on sale. Darn

I have so much to tell ya'll about Hawaii. We had the BEST time!

Thursday, June 21, 2012


on repeat, all day long.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

date on the Big Island

Top down, shirts off.
Map casually glanced at.
You drive there, I drive back.

Zooming in on the Pololu Valley.

Unless you want to get the most disgusted and disappointed look ever, don't tell Gill you didn't hike down to the beach. Also, you probably shouldn't mention that the reason is because you are short for time. He'll take forever to make your tacos (on purpose, methinks).

"Koreafornian" tacos - worth the wait.