Fashion For the Rest of Us

Now that fall has officially arrived, I’m tempted to max out my credit card on an entirely new wardrobe. Actually, I’m always tempted to max out my credit card, but I refrain.

The thing is, fashion can be confusing, and for a regular girl like me, it’s hard to know what fashion trends are appropriate to take on and where you should NEVER EVER go. For instance, my friends and I have had endless conversations about the leggings trend. Should we try it? Should we not? Some say  you should only wear leggings if you are toothpick thin. Others say it’s fine regardless of size, just make sure you wear an appropriate top or dress (long enough to cover your butt). Some people say you can wear them, but only the long version, not the version that stops mid-calf. Others are totally against them.

Kate Beckinsale can totally pull them off.

Of course Kate can pretty much rock anything, so I guess that’s not really fair.

Lindsay lives in them, but I think she looks a little silly.

And I’m sorry, but these are just plain ridiculous. Unless you’re Kelly Osbourne. I think Kelly could rock these.

I’m not sure what to make of leggings. I have fully embraced the dress with opaque tights trend, so leggings don’t seem like that much of a stretch, but I just don’t know. Where will I wear them? To the grocery store? To get the dog groomed? To the bar? I’ll wear anything to the bar. And what will I wear them with? A dress? Well that pretty much just makes them tights doesn’t it? I guess not if you wear heels instead of boots and there’s that little space of skin on your feet showing? Is that what makes leggings leggings? The lack of the foot? Or the thickness?

These are the questions people. I have no answers. Fashion is confusing. Don’t even get me started on jeans. Skinny jeans, boyfriends jeans. They even have jeans that are leggings now! Denim leggings. And you can pay $178 for them at Nordstrom.

Until I know for sure, I think I’ll avoid the legging trend for now. I’m not ruling it out, but I just don’t think it’s for everyone, and I’m not sure it’s for me. You might see me in some little booties with the metallic studs one of these days though. Now that’s a trend I can get behind. Where’s my Mastercard anyway?

By Color

As a book lover, I have a tendency to hoard everything I’ve ever read. Yes I loan books to my friends and reserve from the library, but for the most part we have an ever-increasing pile of books that lives in our guest room on two bookshelves that are much, much too small.

One day I intend to have a lovely library, the kind with books all the way up to the ceiling and a moving ladder and a cozy recliner with a throw I knitted myself. Maybe something like this:

Until that day comes though, I’ll have to make due with a guest room/library with ugly yellow paint the previous owners slapped on the wall, my sister’s old double bed with my crusty college bedding, and two lovely bookshelves crammed full of books.

When I walked into the guest room last week to take stock of said books, I was confronted with the following:

before books

before books2

No rhyme or reason, just piles upon piles of books crammed onto the shelves. Not to mention those sitting in piles on the floor, in boxes in the guest room closet, and in the attic. And on my coffee table. And my nightstand. And in the office.

On this day, my goal was clear. Something needed to be done about these books. I decided I could alphabetize them by author. Or I code organize them by subject or theme. Fiction vs. non-fiction. Yes, those are all classic ways of organizing a library. But why not do something bold? And something beautiful?

I chose to color code.

First step was to take all of the books off of the shelves and organize them by color.

floor piles

Tons of blacks and whites, but you’d be surprised at the number of blue-ish spines out there. And maroon/red was a close second. Greens and yellows and oranges lagged behind. Strangely enough, there was only one book with a purple spine. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. An anomoly wrapped in an enigma. Or something.

Anyway, once the hard part of color coding had been done, it was simply a matter of cleaning off the shelves and then putting the books where they belonged. I tried to alternate between vertical and horizontal arrangements, and I even added a few display pieces and a vase to make it a little more interesting to the eye.



Yes, there are still some books on the floor and in the closet, but now that the books on the shelves are organized, I feel a sense of calm opportunity. Next step, getting rid of those yellow walls.

For Love of Reading

I’ve always been somewhat of a bookworm. When I was a kid you could often find me sprawled out on my bed with one of The Babysitter’s Club series or maybe some Roald Dahl.  Sometimes I’d even go sit under a tree in the backyard because I thought it was a romantic place to sit and immerse myself in a fantasy world. I envisioned my would-be prince Charming would find me under that tree and sweeping me away some day. In high school I transitioned to the local coffee shop, actually a number of local coffee shop that would let me sit and chain smoke and lose myself in John Steinbeck or e.e. cummings or J.D. Salinger. Those teenage years really helped solidify my love for literature. I excelled in Language Arts classes even given my tendency for rebellion, and I devoured almost every book I was assigned. In college I continued down the path, knowing almost immediately I wanted to major in English Literature (although I toyed with creative writing for a while, I’ve found I’m better evaluating and appreciating the work of others than creating my own).

Since I left college and subsequently graduate school, I haven’t given up reading, although I don’t consume nearly as many books as I used to. When I was working full time I often felt there wasn’t the time to read, and now that I’m unemployed I tend to think of reading as a guilty pleasure that I shouldn’t always indulge in. I am trying to change that mindset however, because reading truly does give me pleasure, and aside from that it helps to keep my mind sharp and fuels both the creative and logical sides of my brain. While I like to read as much as possible, spending money on books isn’t always an option. Because of that, I’ve taken a few different tactics in order to satisfy my desire for fiction.

  • Go to the library. I’ve been frequenting my local branch of the Denver Public Library, which is a short bike ride away. The system encourages you to read quickly because you have to return books in a timely manner, and with the online system it’s a piece of cake to request any book. Yes, sometimes there’s a waiting list (I’m number 144 on the list to read a current best-seller) but in the meantime there’s always something else to read.
  • Subscribe to a magazine. I paid $39.99 for a year’s subscription the The New Yorker, meaning I get a new fiction story every week and now have unlimited access to their online archives. Hundreds of short stories, only a click away.
  • Listen to podcasts. In addition to my New Yorker subscription I also download a monthly fiction podcast that features one of the magazine’s previous writers reading aloud a story they’ve always admired. Every month I’m exposed to new stories and authors and I can listen while I’m doing something mundane like cooking dinner or doing the dishes.

These days I’m usually back sprawled across my bed reading, or in our hammock if it’s a nice day, but my joy is no less than it was when I was 10 and reading those Roald Dahl books. I’m about to start The Elegance of the Hedgehog. Have you read any good books lately?

Things I’m Loving

Today’s Things I’m Loving post will be dedicated to beauty and personal care products. Guys, you can use all of this stuff too. And you probably should.

Method Home Care and Personal Products. I use everything from the multi-surface cleaner to the dishwashing soap, but my favorite is definitely the personal product line and specifically, the cucumber hand wash. I love that these products are natural and non-toxic, they smell delicious, and they work. Not to mention, they’re cheap. Love.

Yes to Carrots beauty products. At my house, we’re currently using this C Loves Your Hair Pampering Carrot Shampoo and the Tremendous Tomato Volumizing Conditioner. These products are free of parabens (a group of chemicals often used in cosmetics and beauty products) and are not tested on animals, both important features for me. And of course, my hair looks lovely.

Tweezerman slant tweezers. The best tweezers I’ve found, hands down. I don’t think I need to go on at length about what to do with these puppies. Use them.

Burt’s Bees Fabulously Fresh Peppermint & Rosemary Body Wash. This stuff smells so good. It wakes me up in the morning and has a nice tingly feeling.

Best part? You can find all of this stuff at Target. Go, now!

Workout Playlist

So kids, you may or may not know this about me, but once upon a time I was a serious punk rawker. Well, not that serious. More like a pop punker. I dunno, whatever there was in 1995. It was awesome. I wore Guttermouth t-shirts that mortified my mother (side note, we still can’t agree on clothing very often) and I put my hair into two little buns and I set trays on fire at Wendy’s. Because that’s how I rolled.

These days I’ve cleaned up my act a little, but I still like to rock out with the best of them. You should see me play guitar hero. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy totally inappropriate, often-times misogynistic rap music as well as teeny-bopper music that has absolutely no creativity or originality, and then of course the typical Indie fabulousness that most of my friends listen to. I love all of those things. And for my workout music, the music I need to shake my booty to when I’m jamming on the treadmill or attempting to lift something heavier than my couch cushions, it needs to have some variety. So here’s my latest playlist, complete with old faves Rise Against and AFI as well as the new  hits (you know I had to put some Lady GaGa in there).  Got anything good I should add?

Workout Mix

How Not to be a Vampire

Being unemployed, or even having the ability to work from home, or being a professional blogger, or a stay-at-home mom has its perks doesn’t it? Or that’s the perception anyway, that just because you don’t have to get up and trek into an office, you’re living a life of pure relaxation.

Want to stay in your pajamas all day? Go for it.

Have leftover cold pizza at 9:30 in the morning? No one’s watching.

Watch the Today Show while that conference call is on mute? We’ll never tell.

Yes, there are countless wonderful things about being able to stay at home all day, but not having a daily destination can often create more trouble than you might think.

For me, it’s about the lack of social interaction. Yes, I spend a lot of time interacting with people on the Web and through email and Twitter, but even with all of this technology at our fingertips, nothing beats face-to-face interaction. And if you’re cooped up inside your house all day, it’s easier than you think to get cabin fever. Here’s how I keep from going crazy:

  • Take a short walk around the neighborhood. Typically I do this under the auspices of walking Saucer, but sometimes I just go it alone.  Okay that’s not true I never go it alone.  But the dog needs his exercise, and I need my Vitamin D. Even if you are the pajama blogger type, a little fresh air and sunshine never hurt anyone. Try not to be such a vampire.
  • Space out your errands. If you are a bad-ass housewife 2.0 such as myself, you know how it important it is to have a house fully stocked with groceries so you can make some strange dessert concoctions and what not. So take a trip to the grocery store one day, and then take your clothes to the dry cleaner the next. Devise little ways to get yourself out of the house and into the world, even if it is just to make small talk with the stoner behind the deli counter.
  • Go chill at a coffee shop. If it’s got free WiFi, it’s bound to be a haven for other home bound types such as yourself. And even though you’re probably all sitting there with headphones on staring at laptop screens just like you’d be doing at home, at least you’re around other people. You don’t ACTUALLY have to talk to anyone if you don’t want to
  • Try and keep your friends. I know it’s hard to resist the desire to just hole up forever and watch reruns of 90210 on SoapNet, but it pays to make an effort. Call someone. See if they want to go to lunch. Even if they have a day job they can probably still go to lunch. If you’re trying to conserve money, invite someone over for lunch. It’ll give you an excuse to take a shower.
  • Which brings me to my final point. Take a shower. Every day. It doesn’t have to be first thing in the morning. But it does need to happen. Because if you don’t, you won’t want to go out of the house, and one thing will lead to another, and then all of a sudden you’ll have your neighbors calling asking if a cat died in your attic.

In Loving Memory

A poem by one of my favorites, e.e. cummings. It’s not about 9/11, but I find meaning in it. I hope you will too.

this(let’s remember)day died again and
again;whose golden,crimson dooms conceive

an oceaning abyss of orange dream

larger than sky times earth:a flame beyond
soul immemorially forevering am-
and as collapsing that grey mind by wave
doom disappeared,out of perhaps(who knows?)

eternity floated a blossoming

(while anyone might slowly count to soon)
rose-did you see her?darling,did you(kiss
me)quickly count to never?you were wrong

-then all the way from perfect nowhere came

(as easily as we forget something)
livingest the imaginable moon

Flourless Brownies

It’s that time again! Housewife-y Cooking 2.0 is back with flourless brownies from our favorite health food store, Whole Foods. I’ve heard about people using the secret ingredient before to make brownies, but I’ve always been skeptical. Well color me convinced because these turned out beautifully!

What’s the secret ingredient, you might be wondering?

Beans! Black beans to be exact.

I started out by assembling the ingredients:


Black beans, cocoa powder, agave nectar (I substituted some of this instead of using all sugar), sugar, salt, chocolate chips, walnuts, butter, and eggs. Sorry about that half eaten banana sitting there. Guess that’s not too appetizing.

Moving on. The first step was to blend the beans, cocoa powder, agave, sugar, salt, butter and eggs in a food processor. Well crap. First obstacle. I don’t even have a food processor. When we got married three years ago we registered for one, and actually received three as gifts. Well I ended up returning all three of them, getting the cash and buying a vacuum. (Sorry if you were one of the food processor givers. If it helps I truly love my vacuum.)

So no food processor, so I used the blender instead. All of the ingredients together looked a little disgusting, I must say.


But they mixed up nicely.


See, who needs a food processor? Once the blending was finished, I used the amazing chopper to chop up the walnuts.


Once the walnuts are chopped, fold them into the batter, along with the chocolate chips.


Mix all together and pour into an 8 inch pan.


Bake at 350 for 30-35 min (I ended up doing 32:30 just for fun).

out of the ovenAnd plate!



Guess I still need to work on my plating technique, but I think you can tell how gooey and dense they are. And they actually really really good. I cut this pan into 20 small pieces. They are small brownie bites, but I think they’re a perfect size because the flavor is so intense. Each piece is about 100 calories, so these flourless brownies make for a nice little treat. I’ll definitely be making these again!