//What I'm About / Vol. 4

If you're a paper/stationary nerd like me, you'll dig this magazine. It's full of all things beautiful and paper-related. It's an imported magazine, so it's on the pricier side. But it's so totally worth it.

Imagine being Beyoncé's sister. Just imagine. Queen Bey's younger sister who is ALSO trying to make it in the music business. Damn. I would probably just spend my days eating cookie dough straight from the tube and call it. But not Solange. I first heard her sing when she performed on Saturday Night Live and while I thought her performance style was a little out there for my taste, I couldn't help but be drawn to her voice and the beat of the music. I have been playing "Cranes in the Sky" on repeat in my car--and my daughter even stopped crying when this song came on. Winner.

I enjoy wearing mascara but I loathe taking it off at the end of the night, especially if I'm wearing contacts. Usually, the only products tough enough to remove mascara well are also the products that you least want in your eyes when you're wearing contacts. And for some reason, those two seem to always be simultaneous--until this (I have the blue one). I use this on a cotton pad (not cotton ball) until I see little to no traces of black. I then follow it up with my ride-or-die cleanser, which is probably more of a byproduct of my obsession with the Korean skincare routine than anything else.

Vintage compact for my translucent loose powder

I have been on the lookout for just the right vintage compact for several years and I finally found it! It's larger, mirror intact, great condition, and it came with a sifter. After I cleaned and sterilized everything, I took my go-to setting powder (which basically comes in a spice container) and poured a small layer into the compact. I popped the sifter on top and now, all I have to do it pounce my powder brush on top of the sifter and BAM!

Now for something totally out of left field! I am a big fan of the History Channel series, Forged in Fire. Thanks a lot, little brother, for starting a binge-watching marathon. Apparently, a former contestant started a new web series where the make awesome fictional or fantasy weapons that are fully functional and totally awesome. Naturally, I was immediately addicted and can't get enough of the skill and talent used in blacksmithing. Oh, and my paternal grandfather was a blacksmith, so that's cool!

//Weekend Mornings (Scrapbook Layout)

So it has been a LONG LONG LONG time since I made a traditional layout. I think the last time I made one, I was still pregnant with Hazel. Even then, I wasn't that happy with the finished product. I just wasn't "feeling it" and struggled through the process, glumly stashing the end result so I don't have to look at it. Then I took these adorable photos of Hazel one weekend and decided that I HAD to document them in a layout.

I can't tell you how happy I am with it. Admittedly, in the beginning I was thinking I was going to hate it. But I plugged away and kept playing with it and eventually I made something I am quite proud of.

I used mostly elements from a past Gossamer Blue kit, which I believe the background patterned paper was from. I was drawn to the pink and teal combination (a popular color scheme in scrapbooking as of late) and so I decided to play around with that, adding in white and kraft elements, as well as touches of gold. You know me, I can't resist that gold shiz. Sidenote: I think my appreciation for gold came with age because I was adamantly against it for the longest time. I guess it's true what they say about acquiring wisdom with age. Anyway, you'll notice that the photos I used contain NEITHER pink nor teal. And I don't care. Seriously. I was never big on matching colors used in my layout to those found in my photo(s). I don't like things to be SUPER matchy-matchy and besides, this gives me way more freedom.

I love to layer elements, so after deciding to angle the photographs atop the kraft paper, I started tucking in bits and pieces until I came to something I liked. I tried to bring a lot of pink onto the teal side to make everything blend together nicely.

I really enjoy texture in layouts, so I combined a variety of papers and embellishments to achieve that look. I even used a notebook paper punch on the edges of the white-and-pink striped paper and then roughed up the edge so it stands up a little. I was all but finished with the layout when I thought it looked a little off-balance, so I used a coral ink from Studio Calico and a date stamp in the upper-right corner to tie it all together.

That's it! If you have any questions about why or how I did something in particular, please feel free to ask!

//The 100 Day Project + Metal Stamping Made Easy!

Today I decided to begin the 100 Day Project after seeing a bunch of posts about this in my Instagram feed. I don't know all of the history behind the project, but the premise itself is simple--it is intended to broaden you creatively by having you engage in a creative task for 100 days. This website is the first thing that popped up when I Googled this project, but I cannot attest as to whether it is "the" project I was seeing references to. Either way, I decided this would be a fun way to do SOMETHING artistic once a day.

I was debating about what my project should be. At first, I thought it would be an amazing feat if I chose embroidery or scrapbook layouts. But then I realized that if I was being serious, I needed to be realistic in my goals. Embroidery would require too much fiddling around with supplies and if I wanted to use more than a single color, rethreading my needle multiple times would get annoying. Fast. And with scrapbooking, well, that was just impossible. I could take hours working on a single layout and I certainly don't have that kind of time with an-almost 6-month old. I decided to go with watercolor.

I went to the store and got a pack of 3" x 5" index cards, unruled, so that I could paint on those. I began playing around with what to watercolor and in the end, I chose basic pattern and mark-making. Most importantly, I give myself only 5 minutes to work on this (not including drying time). That's right. FIVE MINUTES. Honestly, even as a mom of an infant, if I don't have five minutes to myself each day, I really need to change some things because I am not about that life.

On the back of the painted card, I used my Mega Date Stamp from Studio Calico (currently out of stock, but they do have the time stamp in stock) to stamp today's date. I plan on making a mini-album of these when the 100 days are up, but for now there will be a small pile on my desk.

Another fun creative thing I did today was try my hand at metal stamping! I was at Target (otherwise known as "my second home") and I perused the craft aisle. Y'all, Target got some new goodies in! Some of these lovelies include DIY project kits by Brit + Co. The best part? Each kit is under $30!! Oh, man. I used to LOVE project kits when I was a kid because you had everything you needed to make something cool--and sometimes practical! I had a hard time deciding which one to get but I ultimately chose this "Metal Stamp a Necklace Kit."

I instantly knew I wanted to do my daughter's name as my necklace. I used the practice bar to get familiar with the process and once I felt comfortable with that, I used the included vinyl tape to secure my metal blank. Stamping this took only minutes and then about another three minutes to attach the chain to the metal bar.

You have enough supplies to make TWO necklaces (think about how fun it would be to make matching necklaces for you and your BFF!!!) but considering that the only supplies you'd have to buy more of are the metal blanks, you can really get a lot of use out of this kit. I couldn't be happier with my new jewelry ;)

//What I'm About / Vol. 3

I have been super duper absent lately thanks to a bout of disease that ran rampant through my family, so that was fun. At least my baby girl didn't get too sick. The hubs and I bore the brunt of that haha. Anywho, I thought a good way to ease back into the blog was with a good ol' "What I'm About" post. Let's proceed!

PINK MARTINI!! They are so fun and have a very multi-cultural, cosmopolitan swing/jazz sound. I currently am obsessed with their most recent release, Je Dis Oui! It means "I say yes" and it's the chorus of the first track, "Jolie Garçon." My daughter, for the record, enjoys this song ;) Their music has been on heavy rotation during my commute. I really feel like I should be drinking cocktails in a smokey bar in Paris when I listen to their music, though I don't know why.

The Puppini Sisters are another great group. They are considered a "vocal harmony swing group," according to their website, and they do a lot of covers that span genres and it all has a very retro twist to it. The group is UK-based and no, they aren't literally sisters. I've been listening to their Christmas album a lot because it's great and I love Christmas. If you think people shouldn't listen to Christmas music out of season, then fight me. Just fight me.

So, real talk. I love coffee. LOVE it. I kind of wish I could be one of those folks who gives up caffeine and is constantly drinking water and staying hydrated and being all-around fabulous. But this is not meant to be for me. When I was pregnant, that was literally the toughest thing for me, giving up my usual insane amount of daily coffee. When I tell people how many espresso shots I liked in my latte, they looked at me like I should be committed. To each their own. I am also a slut for Starbucks and whenever they come out with a new menu item, I'm immediately intrigued. I gave the Cascara Latte a go and I love it! It's just subtly sweet and as long as you don't get additional espresso shots, the balance is perfect between the sweetness and bitterness. 10/10 would recommend. PS. I guess it's pronounced "cass-care-ah" because when I say it as "cass-car-ah," the barista promptly--and irritatedly--corrects me. Meh.

This movie was really good. Like, way better than I thought it would be. It was funny (Hailee Steinfeld and Woody Harrelson are so freaking good) and considering that I was once a teenage girl back in the day, man, did I relate to some of this stuff. The teenage angst and the meanies at school and the making a damn idiot of yourself in front of a boy you like---yep, been there with all that shiz. Rent this tonight with a pint of Halo Top ice cream (Peanut Butter Cup is the best flavor, IMHO) and watch it in your jammies (preferably with a friend or two).

I am almost afraid to admit this because I feel like there is going to be a barrage of criticism. But when you're a mom, that's par for the course, right?! ;) My 4-month old LOVES this show. It's the colorful and expressive blocks on the screen, I think, but the music is also really fun. I think this is a Canadian show but we watch it through YouTube or Hulu and it's the only thing that was able to calm my baby down after her last round of shots (poor thing). While I don't believe in using a TV as a babysitter for the fact that time is so fleeting and I would hate to miss out on a bunch of time with Hazel in that way, I am ALL FOR this show as a way to spend time together. The songs are very catchy and fun and educational, but in interesting ways. A+ to Big Block Singsong.

//BBRBF Book Club / The Bette Davis Club

With this being my first ever BBRBF Book Club post, I am a little nervous--but mostly excited! I rarely post about what I wear because, truth be told, I am not 100% happy with how I look and I always look at photos of myself and pick apart every little thing that I don't like. HOWEVER, in an effort to be kinder to myself, I am attempting to turn that around by posting the freaking photos anyway and saying who gives an eff.

Taking these photos was an interesting endeavor. My first photos were sent to the depths of Hell and so I had to retake them. Considering that we only have a few windows in our townhouse and all of those windows are located in less-than-easy-to-pose-in locations, I was left with using some lighting and my unfinished basement as a backdrop. In the words of the wonderful Tim Gunn, "Make it work." I hope to be able to take the photos outside for next month, though, and hopefully get better results. And who knows, I'll probably redo these, too, and edit the post! Ha!

February's book was "The Bette Davis Club" by the late Jane Lotter. I read the forward of this book--something I hardly ever do--and was touched. It was written by the author's daughter who said how her mother's biggest dream in life was to be a published author. It was so very sweet and humbling because while being a published author is no small feat, the fact that it was this woman's greatest wish and it actually happened is adorable and emotional. Jane Lotter ended up passing away shortly after publication, so knowing that she was able to see her dream come true just in time is the kind of amazing things you only hear about once in a blue moon.

From Goodreads:

"The morning of her niece’s wedding, Margo Just drinks a double martini and contemplates the many mistakes she’s made in her fifty-odd years of life. Spending three decades in love with a wonderful but unattainable man is pretty high up on her list of missteps, as is a long line of unsuccessful love affairs accompanied by a seemingly endless supply of delicious cocktails.

When the young bride flees—taking with her a family heirloom and leaving behind six hundred bewildered guests—her mother offers Margo fifty grand to retrieve her spoiled brat of a daughter and the invaluable property she stole. So, together with the bride’s jilted and justifiably crabby fiancé, Margo sets out in a borrowed 1955 red MG on a cross-country chase. Along the way, none of what she discovers will be quite what she expected. But it might be exactly what she’s been seeking all along.

From acclaimed humor writer Jane Lotter comes this madcap, laugh-out-loud adventure, The Bette Davis Club."

As you can see, the book centers around Margot Just, a martini-guzzling, older dame who is essentially destitute and attending her niece's wedding. And her niece's mom happens to be the child of the wife of Margot's father, who had a sidepiece otherwise known as Margot's mom. A little confusing, to be sure, but stick with me.

So Margot is in this super awkward situation, staying in California with her half-sister Charlotte--who is MEGA rich and successful, mind you--when, on the morning of the wedding, the niece is nowhere to be found! She up and left her own damn wedding, leaving Charlotte to convince Margot to go looking for her and bring her back to get hitched. Why? Because Margot is the cool aunt. Margot agrees to do it, but only after being offered $50,000.

Margot and the jilted groom head off in search of the runaway bride, zipping around in Margot's father's beautiful red convertible--a 1955 red MG, for what it's worth. Not totally sure why they couldn't have taken a different car, especially since the convertible had a "Just Married" sign and balloons attached to it, but hey! Armed with Charlotte's American Express "black card" and enough angst for a gaggle of teenagers, the hunt is on!

//this is that car that's mentioned about a million times in the book/

Admittedly, this book is not something I normally would pick up. That being said, I...didn't like it a whole lot. I really wanted to like it because of the story behind the story. Don't get me wrong, it was a fun book to read. The plot was pretty light-hearted, despite the money troubles, alcoholism, and dysfunctional family. I just didn't feel like the narrative flowed all that well, probably because of the two timelines--Margot reminiscing about the past while looking for the niece in the present--and it made the story feel a little too disjointed for my liking. At the time of this writing, I haven't even finished the book (though I plan to because that's just in my nature, darn it!). I have read that things end up working themselves out in the end, though to what that's referring, I have no clue. I guess we'll see!!

On to the clothes!

Forgive me for looking like I'm ill, but it's because I am. I'm pretty sure my darling, innocent 4-month old girl got me sick. It's okay, I still adore her and she can do no wrong in my eyes. I'm just feeling like poop and trying to hide it the best way I know how--with MAKEUP! Bless!

Since there are a lot of Old Hollywood references in this book (uh, hello, the title!), I thought it would be super fun to go glamour up in here. I don't often get the chance to doll myself up this way, so what better occasion than a book review?!

This dress is from Amazon. I know. "AMAZON?!" you ask, shocked. Yes, Amazon. And it was a steal at only $23.99! I ordered it in the "Red" color, though in the photo and in person the color is more wine-like, which I prefer. Speaking of the stock photo, I think it's hilarious how you can obviously tell it's a photo of Dita von Teese. Kudos for trying to appeal to the right crowd, I guess?

The size chart was pretty spot on and frankly, I could have even sized down with the amount of stretch in the dress (which, btw, is great if you have thicker arms like me!). I like having the bit of breathing room, so I'm still happy with what I have. The keyhole isn't TOO revealing, so I think I could get away with wearing this at the office, especially with a blazer. I really love the length, both of the dress overall and the sleeves, and the higher collar is super chic. The ruching around the waist is quite flattering and the quality seems pretty good for a dress that cost less than $25. I am pretty confident I'll be ordering it in other colors

The fascinator by Urban CoCo also came from Amazon and considering it's through a different seller, the colors worked pretty well together! The color I got is listed as "Wine Red" on the site, though the photo makes it look more like a true red. Rest assured that in person, it IS closer to a wine color than not. I just want to say that I love being able to get a decent outfit with Prime Shipping. What a time to be alive.

The fascinator comes attached to an alligator clip, which I appreciate because my hair is short and I don't always care for how a headband looks with one of these. It arrived in a box and not a bag, for which I was very grateful because let's face it, most of these "more affordable" sellers tend to skimp on the packaging, resulting in a crushed product. It came to my mailbox without any issues and for that, I was very grateful!

The veil has these pipe cleaner-type pieces studding the material and the overall look is very charming. I am thinking of getting the navy blue fascinator offered as my next choice, though be sure to note the differences in price between the selections.

//derpy expression: check!//

My shoes are my current favorites and they are getting a TON of love right now. They are the black Windmill style by Restricted Shoes and they are super comfy, look cute af, and if you go visit the blog of the lovely Ashley, a.k.a., "Southern (California) Belle," you can get 25% for a limited time!

I had a lot of fun putting this look together and I can't wait to see what the other ladies come up with!! Please visit their blogs using the links below and see how they styled themselves using this book as inspiration.

Join me next month for our March book selection, The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko, where I will take better photos ;)

~Fabulous Ladies~

Sara of In a Nutshell
Helene of Circle Skirts & Petticoats
Kathrine of The Miss Information Blog
Noelle of The Classy Junk
Kristina of The Eyre Effect
Laci of Laci Fay

                                                                         // Outfit Details //
Fascinator - Urban CoCo on Amazon
Tights - Target