Wednesday, January 26, 2011

work it out.

For so many people the new year begins with a promise to get in shape. "This year, it'll be different," but usually it's not. About two weeks in (if we make it that far) we start to fail at our gym routine and, like every year prior, we trade the treadmill for the television. 

My boyfriend, Miss Amy, and I have been very good at our workout routine since the end of 2010 and (so far) show no signs of giving into the temptations of the sofa. I always find that the best way to get on a routine and stay on it is to reward yourself with new clothes/gadgets/tools to motivate yourself. Positive reinforcement through presents? Yes. Here are some of my work-out favorites. Whatever it takes to keep you sweating, right?

1. Tech Stretch Hoodie, Athleta, $118- because you need something to keep you warm on the way there! I don't have this (yet) but it looks practical and cute- win win!
2. Tri-Blend Racerback Tank, American Apparel, $19- I love how loose and comfortable these are for everyday gym-going.
3. Aerie Layered Sports BraAmerican Eagle Outfitters- Aerie, $29.50- AMAZING. Who doesn't love a layered look? The picture doesn't do it justice (the yellow is more bright lime), but trust me, best activewear purchase I've made in a long time.
4. Vata Short, Athleta, $39- I don't have these yet either but plan on getting them soon. I love the way bike shorts feel but am not comfortable enough to go prancing around in spandex. This way you get the look and feel of two pairs of shorts for one!
5. Nike Free Run+ WomensFoot Locker, $84.99- Okay I lied. THIS is the best activewear purchase I've made. EVER. They feel like you're wearing socks. I was inspired to buy these after Steve got a pair for Christmas and raved about them. If you run a lot, these are a must. My feet used to fall asleep when running (don't ask, I don't know) but not anymore! They're also Nike+ Sensor compatible so you can track your progress as you get fit.
6. Goody Stay Put Secure Fit Headbands, any drugstore or (my favorite) Target, about $9 for a pack of 3- I have bangs. They get sweaty. These solve that problem.
7. iPod Shuffleapple, $49- Some jerkface stole my old shuffle from the gym (but I was the real idiot who left it there by accident). Without music a workout is pretty much torture so it had to be replaced. The new shuffles have the Voiceover feature that my old one didn't, so I guess I can look at it as an upgrade!
8. Ink'd SC Headphones, Skullcandy, $19.95 (but only $9.99 at Target!)- One of the few headphones I've found that stay in my ears while I'm jogging along. AND they come in a bajillion colors. 
9. Hydraform Handheld Pocket by Amphipod, Athleta, $20- I don't have this yet either, but it's on the list of things-to-buy. The worst thing about working out outside is finding a place to keep all of your stuff. This not only makes it easy to carry your otherwise annoying water bottle, but also stores small necessities such as your keys and money. LOVE.

It's almost February. If you're still on your gym routine, reward yourself. You deserve it ;-)

it's time.

I'm writing this post from home with my fingers crossed and my breath held that my macbook doesn't decide to fail me mid-type. Last night nothing, and I mean NOTHING, on it would work and I pretty much accepted that my entire tax refund (and maybe a new credit card?) must go towards a new macbook ASAP. It's been 3 years since I got this old guy and I'll be sad to see it go, but here's to new beginnings and more powerful machines!

Friday, January 21, 2011

What I Love Now: Drapey Shorts

Photo borrowed from

I can't get enough of these drapey shorts/ tap shorts/ skorts that I'm seeing everywhere. I have yet to get a pair, but they are ADORABLE. I especially like them with knee-high socks (see below) and a loose, silky tank. Wear them bare-legged, with tights, however you decide to and they'll still be cute. Perfect Winter-to-Spring transition piece and there are so many different options! That polka-dot pair might have to be factored into my budget ASAP. 

Here are a few of my faves (Pictured, from left to right)
1. Big Bow Ruffle Shorts, Free People, $68
2. Frilly Tap Shorts,, $38
3. Dolce Vita Macie Print Shorts, Shopbop, $77
4. Aster Fields Skort, Free People, $58
5. Tibi Lace Shorts, Shopbop, on Sale for $193.20
6. Leopard Print Scallop Hem Shorts, Topshop, $110
7. Polka Dot Skort, Free People, $58
8. Waterfall Drape Shorts, Topshop, $70
9. Simple Trouser Shorts, Forever21, $15.80
10. (same as no.1)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Right Now: My Etsy Favorites

As an Etsy seller, I think it's really important to support my fellow crafters. My bank account may not agree, by my apartment has been looking great ever since I started buying handmade. Here are some of my favorite items for sale right now (also on my birthday list, in case any of you were wondering).

(from left to right)
1. Lets Get It On, $15, linocutboy- amazing.
2. New York Yankees Solid Pine Wall Hanging, $24.99, Rivalry Time- if your boyfriend insists on having sports memorabilia in the house, at least it can look artsy
3. Peridot Sterling Silver Ring, $75, stonefeverjewelry- I lost the ring I wear on the tip of my middle finger and Etsy is the only place I can find a size 4 ring I like
4. Vertical Cities Print, $45, allisonrae- I've been lusting over this print for a really long time. One day I'll break down and finally buy it
5. Teresa Print, $20, holly- This SHOULD be called the "Nontra and Q Print"
6. Shut The Front Door Sign, $175, WilliamDohman- I'm going to take a stab at making one like this for the bathroom that says "TAKE YOUR SOCKS OFF"- awesome if you know the secret meaning behind this phrase ;-) 
7. So Fly Printed Letterpress, $15, rollandtumblepress- because I am, duh. 
8. Binary I LOVE YOU heart, $27.50, wallenvyart- sometimes the boyfriend pretends to be a robot so it seems fitting to have this hanging on our wall

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Peppermint Bark Gift Jars

Remember when I told you I was going to cover glass jars for my co-workers' Holiday gifts? Yeah well I lied. I struggled with finding paper I liked and procrastinated long enough that there was NO WAY I would be able to Modge Podge two dozen lids in time. Because I had already bought the jars, I had to improvise. I decided to make small jars of home-made Peppermint Bark instead! 

I started with the Food Network's Peppermint Bark Recipe and made some modifications. Here's a step-by-step on what I made!

The Supplies

  • Dark Chocolate Bars (my personal preference)
  • Cookies 'n' Cream Chocolate Bars (couldn't find White Chocolate)
  • Candy Canes
  • Pinking Shears
  • Hammer
  • Large Zip-Lock bag
  • Microwave-safe Bowls for melting chocolate
  • Rubber Spatula
  • Tin Foil
  • Baking Sheet
  • Big Knife and Cutting Board
  • Holiday Fabrics
  • Ribbon
  • Labels
  • Glass Jars (I ordered mine here, super affordable!)

The Steps

1. Chop chocolate bars into small pieces and put into separate bowls (white chocolate in one, dark chocolate in the other). Place unwrapped candy canes in the zip-lock bag and break into small pieces by hammering from the outside of the bag (my downstairs neighbors did not like this step).
2. Line a baking sheet with tin foil. Make sure the shiny side is facing up. 
3. Melt dark chocolate in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir with the rubber spatula and repeat until chocolate is melted all the way. *do not microwave for more than 30 seconds at a time or the chocolate will burn! 
4. Spread a thin layer of the melted chocolate onto the lined baking sheet using the rubber spatula. 
5. Let chocolate harden. I put it in the fridge to speed up the process for my second layer.
6. Repeat steps 3 & 4 with the white chocolate, spreading the layer on top of your hardened first layer.

7. While the white chocolate is still melted, sprinkle on the chopped candy cane pieces. Gently press the pieces in so that they stick. 
8. Allow to harden completely. When the bark is ready, break it into pieces. TADA! You've got your bark! 

I put Christmas-colored m&m's into the bottoms of the jars for more color before adding in the Peppermint Bark. I think it added a nice little candy "mattress" for the main attraction. Next, I cut squares from the Holiday fabrics using pinking shears and tied the fabric over the closed jar lids with ribbon (a second pair of hands helps for this step- thanks, Amy!). Lastly, I added custom-made labels for a personal touch! 

... and there you have it! An easy, one-night project that's both affordable and personal! I wish I had done this post early enough so it could have been relevant, but I think this would also make a GREAT Valentine's Day treat as well- switch out the candy canes for cinnamon hearts, maybe? If not, there's always next Christmas :-) 

Monday, January 10, 2011

a busy new year...

hi blog readers! I am SO sorry I haven't posted anything for over two weeks. It seems like 2011 has brought along a rush of work (both the 9-5 and personal) so I have hardly had any time to sit down and come up with good posts for this blog! I promise this week I will find some time to add fun things for you to read. Stay tuned and thanks for reading :-)

Monday, January 3, 2011

new year, new beginnings!

Happy belated holidays to everyone! Looking forward to a fantastic and productive 2011 and wishing all of my readers the same :-) more posts coming soon!

xoxo, Nontra