Sunday, November 23, 2014

Shades of Brown

Photos by Sarah Veyna

Outfit Details:
Oversized Sweater
Striped Top (Old)
H&M Skirt (Old)
Target Opaque Tights

In case you haven't noticed, I dyed my hair darker over the weekend. I was trying to go back to my original dark brown hair color, but it ended up almost looking jet black. I still like it, though. However, it's definitely going to take me so me time to get used to this change in my physical appearance. I find myself not recognizing the girl that I see in the mirror, and I've been having to think more about what I wear, since I can easily end up looking "goth" if I don't add in enough color to my outfit. On this particular day, I was going to wear a black top, but realized that my hair blended right into it. Instead, I decided to wear shades of brown in order to add some contrast between my hair and my clothes. The good thing about having darker hair is that I can wear yellow/gold again, which I really couldn't do when my hair was lighter.

This weekend was good, even though all I did was study, bake and sleep. I really needed time to myself, especially since I was feeling a bit overwhelmed last week. I can be kind of introverted at times, and I was just not feeling being around other people. It also doesn't help that I'm stressed about taking the GRE on Tuesday. The good thing is that I'm learning how to check in with myself, and give myself the time and space that I need to get back to feeling my best. On the day that I was feeling the worst, I actually ended up taking an afternoon off from work and hanging out with my friend Anita, who was visiting from China. Being outside and hanging out with a friend helped to put me at ease and made me feel more positive. Speaking of listening to your body and mind, I think mine are telling me that I am going to need to schedule a getaway sometime in the next year, especially if I want to retain my sanity. We'll see where I end up! 

As always, I hope that you had a fantastic weekend! Thank you so much for stopping by.

xoxo,

Helen

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sweater Weather





Photos by Sarah Veyna

Outfit Details:
Forever 21 Felt Hat
Madewell Shirt
Ruche Sweater
Suede Booties from Piperlime

I'm so happy that the weather is finally starting to cool down in California! I was getting a bit tired of my summer wardrobe and couldn't wait to pull out my jeans and sweaters. I recently bought these jeans at Madewell when they were having one of their extra 40% off sales, so they were less than $50. I was hesitant to buy them at first because, believe it or not, $50 seems kind of a steep price for me since I'm working with a nonprofit salary. But, I had my last pair of jeans for 5 years before they fell apart, so I figured that buying a new pair of jeans was a good investment. These were the perfect replacement for my old jeans because they fit like a glove--the quality is great, they have just enough stretch, the rise of these jeans hits at just the right spot on my hips, and I like that they're cropped because I didn't have to get them hemmed and they look great with all of my shoes. 

In addition to me finding a great pair of jeans, life has been great. I was a bit sick last week, but I'm feeling a lot better after having some time to rest this weekend. I'm also really excited about the upcoming week because I'm going to go see Cold War Kids on Thursday! It's crazy to think that it's going to be the first concert that I attend this year, especially after all the concerts that I saw last year. For a period of time, I'm sure that I was going to see a band every other week. Of course that was when my friends/concert buddies Carly and Candace were still in town, and we would encourage each other to spend all of our money on concert tickets. It was a really fun year, even though I was constantly broke. Funny enough, the first concert that I saw last year was Cold War Kids. I'm hoping that seeing them again will help me, once again, kickstart the habit of going to shows, especially since it is one of my favorite activities.  I also really need to get on that because how else am I supposed to fulfill my teenage dream of marrying a guy in a rock band? Haha! 

xoxo,

Helen Grace

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Friday, November 14, 2014

Weekly Picks


Photo via my Instagram

I've been feeling a little under-the-weather all week, but my cold really hit me hard today. As a person who likes to keep busy, it's hard when you have to stop everything you're doing. But, I've learned that in order to fully take care of myself, I need to learn how to take breaks every once in a while. Luckily for you, I was stuck in bed for most of the day and was able to find some interesting links on the Internet (haha!). If you're also sick at home and bored out of your mind, you should check out some of these links.

xoxo,

Helen




Jenny,  the blogger behind She Loves Dresses, is one of my newest style crushes. All of her outfits are so beautiful, and she exudes so much confidence in everything she wears. Of course, I think one of the things that motivates me to follow a blog is reading the content and truly getting to know a blogger. I love that, like me, Jenny identifies as an intersectional feminist in her bio, and her writing really seems to prove that. I really enjoyed her latest post in which she invited her followers to submit their selfies, along with a caption describing one thing they like about themselves. I missed the deadline on this one, but hopefully I can participate next time. 


Photo via Design Lovefest

I don't have the equipment nor the patience to make my own pasta, but I really loved looking through this recipe post from Design Lovefest


Photo via Design Lovefest

Here's another tutorial from Design Lovefest, which teaches you how to make a unique holiday wreath. I love the beautiful colors of this wreath, and I think that it's a great way to dress up a space any time of the year.


Photo via MLovesM

I love the whole pastel hair trend, but since I have naturally dark hair, it doesn't seem like I'll be able to rock it anytime soon. The good thing is that even if my hair can't be a pastel color, I can still participate in the trend by incorporating pastel colors into my wardrobe. I really like the idea of a pastel colored coat, and I fell in love with this pink coat that Mara from MLovesM wore in one of her most recent blog posts. What I love the most about this particular shade of pink is that it kind of reminds me of bubble gum. Haha! 



Photo via Free People Blog

I haven't really tried Kombucha, but it seems like everybody I know is crazy about it. If you're one of those people who loves Kombucha, this recipe for Spiced Apple Cranberry Kombucha Sangria from Free People Blog seems like a great way to get your dose of it during the holidays. 


Screen Capture via Team Coco Youtube

I couldn't stop laughing when I watched this fake infomercial for wooden emojis starring Nick Offerman. 




I never felt that Lifetime quite catered to women like me until the network announced that it was premiering Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever, starring the lovable Grumpy Cat. What makes me even more excited about this movie is that Aubrey Plaza, one of my favorite comediennes, is the voice of Grumpy Cat. While you're waiting for the movie to premiere, you should watch this hilarious interview that Aubrey did on Jimmy Kimmel Live. 



The Harry Potter fan in me got super excited when I saw this recipe for butter beer on Offbeat and Inspired. Blogger Tiffany Mitchell also talks about her experience visiting "Wizarding World of Harry Potter..." in Orlando, Florida. After reading the post and looking at all the pictures, I think I know where my next vacation is going to be! Also, if you haven't done so already, you should check out Tiffany's Instagram @Tifforelie. Her photos are always so amazing!


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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Vintage Finds On Bodeeo

Vintage Finds On Bodeoo


A couple of weeks ago, Bodeoo contacted me and asked me if I could look through their website and pick some items to feature on my blog. As I was browsing through Bodeoo's website, their vintage section really caught my eye! I really loved their beautiful and diverse collection of vintage items. Although I don't own that many vintage pieces at the moment, I am looking to expand my collection as time goes on. There's just something very special about a piece of clothing that can stand the test of time. Since Bodeoo has so many great items, it was hard to pick just a few to feature on my blog. In particular, I really love the color and print of the "Higher and Higher" dress, and their "American Woman" skirt is such a fun and colorful piece. 

Even though I feel that the pieces in Bodeoo's vintage section were those that most represented my personal style, I really enjoyed browsing through their website. One thing that is unique about Bodeoo is that you can see how each of their items fit on models of different sizes, which helps give customers a better idea of how a particular item might fit on them. I also enjoyed this feature of Bodeoo's website because I believe that it is important for brands to emphasize and promote the idea that you can be beautiful and fashionable at any size. 

I hope that you enjoyed these picks, and you should definitely head over to Bodeoo to check out their selection. As a thank you to my readers, Bodeoo is offering you all free shipping when you use code GUMDROP25

xoxo,

Helen Grace
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This post was sponsored by Bodeoo, but all of the ideas presented in this post are my own. Collaborating with brands allows me to deliver new and exciting content to you, and I strive to collaborate with sponsors that truly represent my interests and those of my followers. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Phyllo Dough Flat Bread



Today I'm sharing with you one of my go-to recipes: phyllo dough flat bread. I started making flat bread when I first moved out on my own and I needed to prepare meals that were fast and easy, and that could serve as leftovers for work. The great thing about this recipe is that it's really easy to make. You can even prepare it in advance and just pop it in the oven right before mealtime. It can also serve as an appetizer at your next party. Although you can pick any of your favorite toppings to put on your flat bread, I am suggesting some of my favorite combinations in this post. One of my favorite appetizers is bacon-wrapped dates, so it only seemed natural to use those two ingredients as a topping in one of these flatbread recipes. I also love Greek salads, so I decided to combine some of the ingredients in my second flat bread. But as I said, the possibilities are endless. This recipe is also great with a side salad if you're worried about getting in your daily serving of veggies. I know that I'm definitely trying to pay more attention to that these days. Haha!







PHYLLO DOUGH FLAT BREAD RECIPE
(Each flat bread makes 4-6 servings)

INGREDIENTS FOR CRUST:
(Makes 1 crust)
10-12 Phyllo dough sheets 
1/2 cup of Olive Oil
1/2 cup of Pasta Sauce (I used Trader Joe's Organic Marinara)

GOAT CHEESE, DATE AND BACON FLAT BREAD
TOPPINGS:
8 oz herbed goat cheese
3-5 chopped dates
1 cup of chopped bacon
Sliced onions (to taste)


FETA CHEESE AND OLIVE FLAT BREAD
TOPPINGS:
1 and 1/2 cups of crumbled Feta cheese
1/2 cup of chopped basil
1 cup of chopped tomatoes
1 cup of chopped Kalamata olives
Sliced onions (to taste)

Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, lay down a baking sheet or piece of aluminum on a tray, and lightly grease it with olive oil to ensure that the phyllo dough sheets don't stick. To make your crust, start off by laying down a phyllo dough sheet over the aluminum or baking sheet. Use a brush or a paper napkin to rub olive oil over the sheet before you lay down the next, and repeat this until you've laid down all 10-12 sheets. Once you have your crust, spread a thin layer of marinara sauce over it, and then evenly spread your toppings over the crust. Finally, bake the flat breads for 45-50 minutes and serve. 

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I hope that you all had a great weekend. I spent most of mine in my loungewear, baking and studying. I don't think that I have to say that my weekend wasn't too exciting! I'm just trying to get through this month, take the GRE, and then have time to enjoy the holidays. 

Also, I'm sorry if I have been slow responding to comments. Your opinions and questions are very valuable to me! As I've mentioned a few times, I'm trying to take a step back from blogging for a while, in order to make time for studying and self-care. However, I don't want to completely ignore this blog since I really enjoy working on it and interacting with all of you. Nevertheless, I should be able to be more active here by the end of the month, once I've taken the GRE. 

xoxo,

Helen Grace

Friday, November 7, 2014

Weekly Picks


Before you check out the picks that caught my eye this week, I have to warn you that I've mostly been looking at recipe posts. It seems that lately all I want to eat is bread and desserts, and my browsing history is definitely evidence of that. If you're experiencing similar cravings and have no shame about them,  then you should keep on reading! If you'd rather not be tempted by pictures of dessert, I apologize in advance. 

(Photo via The Glamourai)

Kelly Framel from The Glamouri put together a really nice shopping guide to London. Looking through all her pictures makes me really want to visit London, since I've never been. Even though I can only dream of affording a shopping spree at half of these stores, I can at least do some window shopping when I do visit. 

(Photo via A Beautiful Mess)

As I mentioned before, I've been really craving sweets lately. This Flourless Chocolate Cake recipe from A Beautiful Mess combines some of my favorite things: butter, chocolate, coconut, sugar and eggs. What other dietary staples do you actually need? I'm definitely using this recipe this weekend, and I'll let you know how it turns out!

(Photo via Fitsugar)

If you're a fan of pumpkin, you should check out these healthy recipes from Fitsugar. All of them can be made by using one can of pumpkin.

(Photo via Design Lovefest)

I know that many people don't quite understand why stores bring out all of their Christmas decorations the day after Halloween, but that's probably because they know people like me will go crazy over them. If you're ready to start decorating, you should check out this DIY Holiday Garland tutorial from Design Lovefest. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sewing Lessons


Photos by Sarah Veyna

Outfit Details:
Forever 21 Clutch/Wallet
H&M Top
Handmade Gingham Skirt
White Mountain Loafers via DSW

Some of you might remember that two months ago, I had set a goal to learn how to sew and start making my own clothes. When I first set that goal, I kind of underestimated how challenging it would be to learn a new craft. I just had this vision in my head that I was going to sit down in front of a sewing machine, and that I was going to magically crank out a whole new wardrobe in a month. Well, it's been two months since I started learning how to sew, and I finally finished my first piece just last week. I made the gingham print midi skirt that I'm wearing in the picture--complete with pleats and everything--and I'm so happy of the way that it turned out. Of course, I have to say that I couldn't have finished this skirt without the help of my Mom. She was very patient in teaching me how to do everything, and I have to give her credit for attaching the zipper. I bought an invisible zipper when I went to the fabric store, and didn't realize that it would be much more challenging to attach. 

 Another reason that I'm so happy to have finished this skirt is because I feel like I'm participating in a family tradition. Since my Grandmother was a seamstress for a living, and my Mom also has amazing sewing skills, I have always felt obligated to learn the craft so that I can pass it on to future generations. It's actually kind of surprising that I don't already possess the ability to sew, especially since I used to dream of being a "dressmaker" as a child. I even remember trying to make dresses for my Barbie dolls out of scraps of fabric that my grandmother would give to me. Although I still have so much to learn before I can say that I really know how to sew, I hope that eventually I'll be able to make the jump from making clothes for dolls, to making clothes for real people.


I hope you all had a fantastic Halloween. Even though it isn't my favorite holiday, I made the effort to to be festive and ended up dressing up as Mary Poppins for work. Surprisingly, I actually ended up having a lot of fun, and I guess that sometimes it pays off to try out new things. I ended up staying in that night, though, because I was planning on taking my 11-year-old brother trick-or-treating, but he wasn't in the mood to go out this year. That probably means that he's getting too old to hangout with his older sister, which makes me kind of sad. But, I guess that he's going to have to grow up at some point in time!