Monday, November 12, 2012

Do you have to let it linger?

There is one habit I need to change. The title of this song is something I ask myself all the time. I have no idea why I am not motivated by a sense of accomplishment. I had three things to do this weekend and I did everything but those things. So I am looking for a song that describes where I want to be and not where I am. #foward

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Weight Watchers/ Easy Breakfast

Hey Folks! I'm on the Weight Watchers band wagon again. I lack self motivation so being in an environment of accountability helps me. It helps me with awareness. Today I present to you an easy, quick, 5 point breakfast.

 Bob's red mill 10 grain cereal (made with water), fresh peach, dollop of greek yogurt. 

Make the cereal with water in the microwave according to package directions. Top with with a chopped peach and 2 tablespoons of non-fat greek yogurt. You can add cinnamon or a little agave necatar for extra sweetness. The peach on its own is good enough for me.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Perfect Vacation Horoscope

St. Kitts and NevisSagittarius 

Someone or something capable of holding you back will have less potency after the 17th. Focus on plans, trips, or ventures that bring out your daring side. It's possible to live a more fulfilled life, so don't let the negativity of others keep you from moving ahead. Motto of the Month: Courage cannot be tested cautiously. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mastering my nails

As I have gotten older I have decided that I want my outside to represent the way I feel inside. That has meant more make-up and grooming amongst other things. I also no longer wanted to hide my feet under thick white socks. I didn't want to be embarrassed when I shook someones hand. That led to regular manicures, pedicures, and a trip to the podiatrist. I have tried to paint my nails so many times but I am usually rushing so it looked like a 5 year old did my polish. Paint all over the place. I didn't have the patience for it. So I dutifully went to Vickie's Nail Boutique twice a month. At $45 plus tip, it is not very budget friendly. There are less expensive places in the city but after having to call the health department after going to an unsanitary establishment, I decided to be more discerning. It would be silly to lose a toe to an unsanitary pedicure. 

With one pedi and two manicures a month, I was spending more than I liked. Every couple of months I start looking for things to slash from my budget. I thought the mani-pedis should be a part of that. After all, sometimes I just need a polish touchup. I could also save money by not going to Georgetown which also means peaking into Zara, Lulu, or Anthropologie as I needed a way to justify going in circles to find a parking space. 

I read a few websites and watched a few Youtube videos to learn better technique. I bombed the first few attempts.  After just a few more tries, I have been pretty successful. I even had a stranger comment on my tootsies today. Woot! So let me share my process with you. 

My Arsenal

Cuticle Nipper
Nail Clipper
Nail File
Coconut Oil
Toe Separators
Sally Hansen Nail Corrector Pen
Base Coat, Nail Color, Quick Drying Top Coat

1. Trim nails down to the desirable length. 
2. Soak feet  and hands in water to get everything soft. I just fill up the tub with a little water and soak for 5 minutes. 
3. File nails
4. Apply gel cuticule remover and let it sit for 1-2 minutes. It will dissolve excess cuticle
5. Use an orange stick to gently push cuticles pack and to clean around the edges of the nail
6. Rinse to remove cuticle residue
7. Use a cuticle nipper to cut off any dry skin or hang nails
8. Check the shape of the nail and fix any mistakes
9. If your feet are rough apply gel cuticle remover to rough areas and let it sit (pedi only)
10. Use your Diamencel #20 to scrub off rough feet (pedi only)
11. Rinse and apply lotion
12. Use polish remover to remove excess polish from nail bed
13. Using this technique apply your base coat, color coat and top coat. Waiting 1-2 minutes for each coat to dry
14. Use the corrector pen to clean up any messes. 

The key here is to give yourself 90 mins to do a pedicure and manicure. You want to include adequate drying time so that your hard work isn't in vain. Don't look at your toes 20 minutes before date night and decide that you need a pedi. Or do your manicure and then realized that you need to wash a sink full of dirty dishes. Look at your feet closely once a week to check for maintenance. If my polish is still on point but my cuticles are raggedy, I just apply some gel cuticle remover and very gently remove excess cuticle with the orange stick without disturbing the polish. That makes my toes look as good as new without redoing my polish. 

I spend the same 90 minutes on doing my nails but at home. It  cost about $80 for all of these supplies. If you use coupons you can always get free polish and other beauty tools.  If your feet aren't as rough as mine you can surely skip the Diamencel and find a cheaper foot file but this works so well and will last forever. I also use only Essie or OPI so cheaper polishes will bring down your cost. I also didn't buy all of this stuff at once. I have accumulated the supplies over the years as I tried and failed repeatedly to paint my own nails.

I am pretty satisfied with my current results and I know I can get it perfect with even more practice. Take that recession!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The week of crying and inspiration (Part I)

Two weeks ago I was at the AIDS 2012 conference. I am sure the conference was awesome and inspirational but I was so tired from preparing for the conference. During the event I was mostly confined to the media center. I left the conference tired and I felt like I really missed out. The next week at work was really hard and I was left wondering if I was on the right career path. I woke up every morning not feeling very well and I think my body was shutting down. I love public health but sometimes I get jaded when I can't convince myself that my work is helping people.

Last week I went to the CDC Health Communications, Marketing, and Media Conference. I made it a point to get to know people at the conference, to build my personal brand, and build relationships with colleagues.  Maybe that would help me not feel so jaded. I did meet at least four new people that I will be in contact with post conference.

On the morning of the last day of the conference, a former colleague invited me to his workshop on inspiration. I thought this was about inspiring your audience to behavior change. That is after all the goal of health communications. I was so wrong.

The session was simply about what inspires each of us everyday. Four panelist did ignite style presentations and shared their lives with us. I was blown away. One person in particular that spoke to me was Alexandra Bornkessel. Earlier in the year I met her at a conference where she talked about building relationships through social media. Little did I know that she would make me question my very existence on this planet. She spoke about having passion behind everything that you do. She gave examples of people who took risks to follow their passion. She also told the story of her father and how raising money for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) led her family to start a nonprofit for MS Research.

That set off a lightbulb and the waterworks. I was totally a mess. You see my father was a big inspiration to me but he's phsically gone now. He touched so many people and I hope my light can one day shine as bright has his. He spent a lot of time doing things he was passionate about but also a lot of time doing things he was not passionate about in the name of getting rich quick.  That always made me sad.

Doug Weinbrenner, another one of the panelist, quoted Dr. Howard Thurman.

Dr. Thurman was one of my father's greatest inspirations. He loved to read his books and would talk to me about his scholarly works way before I could appreciate it. So I found myself in a room where my father was speaking to me. What are the chances that someone would quote Dr. Thurman at a health communications conference? Infinitesimally small.

I spend a lot of time doing things that I am only sort of passionate about so the workshop got me thinking that I need to change that.  The workshop had a lot of other  quotables that I am going to remember. Lest I forget,  I made my first Storify to document the moment.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

July 30 for 30

I am trying the Kendi Everyday 30 for 30 Wardrobe Remix again. I have 30 items to wear and I must wear a different outfit everyday. This month I wanted share my outfit remixes. However, I don't think I can manage to take a picture everyday so Polyvore it is. This will be the busiest month I've had in a while so I thought I would challenge myself even during this time. So here are the items I have selected this month. In most cases it is the actual item but in some places I have picked items that look similar. Remember belts, scarves, jewelry and other accessories don't count in the 30 so let's go.

Summer 30 for 30/Project 333

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Challenge, Challenge, Challenge

Wardrobe Challenges and Remixes 

It's time for my quarterly update for all three of my readers. A lot of people know that I love to shop. I have a lot of nice clothes but I have a basic uniform. I wear that shirt with those jeans. I wear that dress with that cardigan. You won't really see me in earrings, never a necklace, barley a bangle. The function for a belt was to hide a waist gap. I like to look good but I wanted to also look effortlessly put together like my friend Bew Radley. So I took some time to study up.

1. I used Project 333 to learn how to pick a capsule wardrobe. I didn't want to have bunch of clothes that I never wear. I made it  through six months but I think it reinforced my tendency to have a uniform. I wanted have style and pizzaz.

2. Then I went on to the 30 for 30 Remix. I used 30 pieces of clothing and shoes and wore a different outfit everyday for 30 days. Accessories weren't included so it helped me learn how to stretch myself.  People at work noticed that I was so well put together and I felt great getting dressed everyday.

3. The next challenge I plan to do is the Freckles in April 21-Day Challenge.

I used Polyvore to try and plan out my outfits. I would have worn the gray skirt and a white collared button down shirt. Plain Jane. Instead I wore this outfit. What do you think?

Spring Office Look One

Spring Office Look One by aishalm featuring handcrafted jewelry

If you are interested in trying to create your own personal style or feel like you are in a rut,  here are some great blogs from everyday people and Fashionistas.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Working on the Spring Capsule Wardrobe

I've been on Pinterest putting together my Spring Capsule Wardrobe. Given that I am only supposed to wear things I love, my first instinct was to go shopping. I stopped myself and went to the clothing I put away three months ago to see what I could pull out and I noticed a few trends about my Spring wardbrobe.

1. A lot of it doesn't flatter me. 
I immediately put most of it into a to a donate pile. I hate walking around tugging at my clothes. I hate feeling fat. So all of the stuff that that doesn't work for me I just got rid of. Some the stuff is the right size but it's not the right cut so I could never wear it comfortably. I rather walk out the door feeling fab instead of feeling like I need to fix something.

2. Old Navy Tanks Need to Go

I have a lot of Old Navy tank tops from when I was in grad school. I love color so I went through a phase of double layering their ribbed tank tops for my weekend outfits. Not that my boobs were any smaller then, but I probablly need tanks with more structure.

3. I Love Anthropologie

I have lots of girly-girly items from Anthropologie. The store's style fits with my need for bold colors, prints,  and interesting details. Many of these items are keepers.

4. I Love Bright Shoes

Espardilles in orange, wedges in chartuese, mary janes in red. I have no neutral colored shoes for spring and summer. I will need to wear some kind of to shoe work so the search starts for neutral flats.
5. I Need Neutrals

I seem to overdose on neutrals in the fall/winter and brights/colors in the spring. So I need a bit of balance. I'm in search of a faltering all season pant, a capri,  neutral flats, and neutral cardigan. I also against my better judgement I  want a white blazer

Friday, March 16, 2012

Manicures: From Salon to DIY

About two years ago I started getting manicures every two weeks. I spend a lot of time meeting clients so manicures seemed like a necessity for the business I am in. On several occasions I have tried to paint my own nails. It seemed like what I should do to cut down on expenses. It never seemed to work. I always got paint everywhere and my cuticles just look so tired. I have a full set of supplies for a manicure but I haven't attempted one in about two years.

I realized that part of the problem was that I was always doing a manicure in a hurry. I would only realize my nails looked horrid 20 minuties before I needed to be at an event. Yeah that's not going to work if you are trying to file, clean up cuticles, paint and then dry. Last week I set out to try to get this right (meaning not doing it while I was rushed). Using my CVS Extracare  Bucks I bought the following items:

Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover.

I have cuticle nippers but I know I should only use them for hang nails. But my cuticles are so messed up I needed to find another way to deal with them. According to the internet, gel cuticle removers help to dissolve over grown cuticles. This product was on sale so I decided to try it. I spread it on my cuticle, let it  sit for two minutes and used an orange stick to push my cuticles back. I did have to clip some cuticle with my nipper but it did a great job. 

Revlon File and Smooth

I need to watch a couple of videos about how to file. I found this file to be very ineffective. It takes off too much nail at one time and when filing the side of my nail it takes your skin off. I think I will go back to my regular files. 

Burts Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream

The easiest way to deal with nasty cuticles is to prevent them. So I tried this special cuticle butter. Now I am sure I could have used my coconut oil for this but I am in love with citrus products. I have been oiling them twice a day for a week and my fingers look much better. 

So I am on a manicure vacation for a while and hopefully I can keep this up. If I give up at least one of the manicures per month I will save $204 a year. Now if I could only figure out how to thread. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Getting the Linen Closet Up To Snuff $10

It's happened to all of us.

Damn I can't close the linen closet!

Damn where is my favorite lotion!

Damn we are out of toilet paper and I need to wipe my bum right now!

Big fail. After the wedding we bought nice fluffy grown up towels but getting them into the linen closet was a big chore. Fold this way, fold that way. Even youtube couldn't help me. We had so much junk in the linen closet. Random lotion gift sets, four neti pots (don't ask), and plenty of stuff from my coupon hauls. I've organized it before but with the shelves only being 8inches deep, everything always manages to be in the way or I just knock everything over. It was kind of out of control and I should have taken a picture of it. Instead I visited my friend the internet for some inspiration.

I figured the container strategy was my best bet. Each thing would have a home and I would have a harder time knocking things over.

I'm really digging the tags on that first pic and I am jealous they have room for a hamper. My first instinct is always to run to The Container Store but things can get pricey pretty quickly. However, I know everything is quality (and cute!). But sometimes you don't great quality you just need practical. Enter Dollar Tree. I discovered this store during the wedding and they do have a decent selection of things I need. I hate how disorganized it is and how grumpy the employees are but sometimes I just need what I need. Plus everything is a dollar. My toilet paper doesn't need a $7 basket.

What I need to make this all work were storage containers.

Dollar Tree ($1.00) Container Store (starting at 2.99)

I think I managed to find practical and cute solutions. The boxes aren't that sturdy but I don't need them to be. Most days they will just sit on a shelf. But having the boxes isn't enough. You have have an organizational system.

My strategy is to put like things together.
  • Hair Products
  • Feminine Products
  • Oral Care
  • Razors Handles
  • Razor Cartridges
  • Hair Ties
  • Toilet Paper Basket

For my makeup I further broke things into smaller bins so they would be easy to grab in the morning. I actually managed to get most of the medicine cabinet and the under the bathroom sink into the linen closet. The best part is that I did this for $8 total. Now I'm off to make cute little tags for the baskets.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Going Minimalist with Cabi

A couple of years ago I was invited to a party and fashion show featuring the CAbi fashion line. It's like a Tupperware party for fashion. Carol Anderson By Invitation (CAbi) is really popular among 40 year old housewives of DC. In fact, the first party I went to had someone who was on the Real Housewives of DC and the sister of Carla Hall from Top Chef. The clothes are very similar to what you find at Ann Taylor but the party/fashion show of aspect makes it really fun. After destroying (or staining) a couple of clothing items this week, I started to check out my Winter Capsule Wardrobe on Pinterest. That's when I realized that I was a fashion rut. I have limited my items but I don't have to limit my combinations. That's when I went in search of ways to wear my CAbi Emily Top. I could only imagine the top for night events but if I am going to have it in my Project 333 set it needs to be more versatile.

I came across CAbi Canary and she used the Emily top in an all CAbi capsule wardrobe. Check out some options I made using my Emily Top.

Emily & J. Crew No. 2 Pencil Skirt

Emily and Jeans

Emily, Leggings & Cardigan

Now this all seems like a no brainer but I was not being creative at all with my wardrobe. Now I can put this top into my rotation starting tomorrow!

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Save Martha

Boring and high falutin' she may be but she is my inspiration. When I was in college Martha Stewart was at her prime. She was on TV telling me how to upgrade my cooking, upgrade my bedding, upgrade my life. That was Martha. I never loved to cook but I enjoyed entertaining and I didn't want to be a starving student nor gain the freshman 15. So I cooked, simple stuff, but it made my home a place where people wanted to be. I think I've lost that and it's draining me (and making me fat!). I need to return to the place where cooking was essential. Now the the internet is full of resources about upgrading your life these days . So let's start with Joy the Baker's Almond Milk Steamer. It's easy, classic, sophisticated. So as you sit planning your shopping, (I know that's what I am doing) sip and enjoy the good life.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

A Gift in a Pinch

This Christmas was my first as a married woman. I diligently knit my sister-in-law a beautiful scarf. Guess what? She is allergic to wool*. Oh what was I going to do. It was too late to get her something else. About a month goes by and I find out she's coming to town and I haven't gotten her a replacement gift yet. I don't know her that well yet but I always try to get thoughtful gifts. So here I was with about 4 hours to make the gift happen.

I know she likes wine but it was Sunday morning so I could not purchase that. I went to Target to get a few things and I figured that I would get inspired somehow. Then it came to me. She is a hairstylist and on her feet all day. I would get her something to help her relax. I went around the store and got a few items that I could put into a gift basket. That part was pretty easy. Well when I got the stuff home, I wanted to put more of a personal spin on it. I got out my stamps and personalized the gift tag with her name and a nice note. How did I do?

*I later learned that alpaca is not wool.