Dear Lar

I love the idea of writing more to each other – or making this blog a “full-on epistolary” as you so elegantly put it in the last post :) . Skype only goes so far and I haven’t been Instagramming as much because I’ve been so busy. It’s pretty bad when you’re too busy for Instagram!

I’ve mentioned this before on the blog, but whenever I get really busy I just want to keep things simple in the clothing department. It goes along with what you talked about in your post – having a smaller wardrobe, only having one winter coat, etc. That’s why I wore this outfit last weekend:

uniform

It doesn’t get more simple than a white button-up and jeans (with my Feiyue sneakers, Fjallraven backpack, and Jawbone Up).

Anywho, in addition to lots of school work and work work, I’ve also been spending all my time in the kitchen. I know, I know. That doesn’t sound like me at all. I don’t like to cook, I hate dirty dishes, and I love to eat out. You’ve always been more of the cook/baker.

As I told you on Skype, Troy and I are halfway through our Whole30 detox. I’ve been wanting to try Whole30 for a while every since Ashley started writing about it on her blog. So, for the month of April, Troy and I have been making all of our meals and planning ahead for a whole week. I’ve been keeping track of my meals through the Two Grand app:

twogrand

Lucky for me, Troy is an amazing cook and he’s thought up some delicious paleo/Whole30-approved meals. Here’s just a sample of some of the stuff I’ve been eating for the past 14 days:

whole30 meals

From top left:

  • Apple nut porridge – recipe from the Paleo Secret blog.
  • Creamy cauliflower and chicken soup.
  • Cioppino (made without white wine and butter).
  • Tuna lettuce wraps.
  • Sweet potato chips from Trader Joe’s (no additives, just salt).
  • Fish ‘n chips – cashew and coconut breaded fish with sweet potato fries and broccoli slaw.

In general, the detox hasn’t been so much hard as time-consuming. I haven’t gotten out of the house much in the past two weeks, except for this weekend. I actually left the house on Saturday to help judge the Style Competition at Salvage. It was so fun and I felt so lucky to be a part of it. Plus fellow blogger and foodie, Elizabeth Chai, was one of the other judges. It was so nice to see her and I got to meet Tranae Harris, the third judge and fellow lifestyle blogger (see her awesome recap of Salvage here).

salvage judges

Image via Chaiamericano’s Instagram :)

Salvage style contest

I can’t wait for this semester (and detox) to be over just so I can go to more things like Salvage – and have a glass of wine :) Plus, it always pains me not to be blogging on a consistent basis. Skyping, writing this blog, and Instagramming are the few things that make me feel close to you. Hopefully in a few weeks I can spend a lot more time doing those 3 things!

Love, Cath

 


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T-Shirt and Jeans

black vneck

I wish I had pretty pictures to show you of Atlanta – especially now that the cherry trees are in blossom – just like Lar showed you of Edinburgh in her last lovely post. Unfortunately I haven’t had much time to get out of the house. I’ve been slammed with work and school work for the past few weeks. Being so busy has made me want to simply everything – including my wardrobe.

tshirt and jeans

camper wedges

When I get tempted by cheap trends and online sales, here are some links that inspire me to keep it simple:

Felicity (the TV show) style – remember the converse and leather backpack? It might be a little dated, but I love how Keri Russel’s character made t-shirts, jeans and sneaks look pulled-together and laid back at the same time. Plus, mom jeans are coming back in style.

• Stephanie Trong’s Why I Didn’t Dress Up For Paris Fashion Week (and Won’t Ever Again)

A great post about simplifying your wardrobe.

• Good reads from Life Edited here, here, and here.

• Update: Esther just left a comment about Project 333. I’m intrigued and think I want to try it. Anyone ever tried it?

___________________

Dearest Lar,

I finally got to see The Grand Budapest Hotel. Can you believe it’s only playing in at one movie theater in Atlanta (Tara)? I loved it and I want to watch it again so I can soak in all the details. I wish we could have seen it together.

I think one of the reasons I love Wes Anderson films is how almost every character of his has a uniform: Team Zissou, Margot Tenenbaum, Suzy, etc. I like the simplicity of it amongst all of the visual stimulation.

I feel like you’ve developed your uniform with flowy tunics and leggings and I love it. I know you’ve had to simplify because you and Matt don’t have a lot of closet space, but I’m totally inspired by it (the simplicity more so than the lack of closet space). So thanks for inspiring me from hundreds of miles away!

Hope you have a fun, stress-free week!

xoxo, Cath


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Another Rent the Runway Success at a Great Wedding

Last month I rented this Zac Posen dress for my friends’ wedding:

Rent the Runway wedding

No Turning Back dress |  Brighthouse Baubles necklace | Simply Vera shoes (similar here)

It fit perfectly except for the straps – they kept sliding off my shoulders. Since I had read the reviews on Rent the Runway before ordering the dress, I knew this was common a issue so I made sure to add some double-sided tape to keep them in place. Everything else about the dress was great. The material was heavy so it hung nicely and never wrinkled and there were pockets! Bonus: it only cost $34.99 to rent.

I wore this dress

to their wedding

and had a blast

The last two photos in this post are by Matt Miller of Diamond Eyes – an awesome, Atlanta-based wedding photographer.

Have you tried Rent the Runway? I’ve used the website twice before (here and here) and have always been pleased with the service. Feel free to leave a comment if you want more details on how it works.

Here’s to a great weekend!

_________________

Dearest Lar,

I’m still kind of in shock that you left to go back to Scotland today. I was getting so used to having you around – and it felt so right!

At this very moment, you’re flying over Ireland – I’ve been tracking your flight this whole time. Creepy? Perhaps, but it makes me feel closer to you to know exactly where you/your plane are/is. You’ll be landing in Amsterdam in less than two hours with plenty of time to catch your flight to Edinburgh. I wish I was on the flight with you! I find it so strange that we’ve travelled back and forth between the states and Europe so much in the past few years and haven’t flown together once!

You know I’ll be missing you like crazy, but I’m so glad you’ll be going back to Scotland to make a full recovery. You’ve been through so much this past month, but I really believe that by this time next month, it’ll feel like a distant dream. Okay, “dream” sounds way too pleasant, but you know what I mean.

Skype you this weekend!

xoxo, Cath


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Peter Pilotto Collab for Target

Peter Pilotto for Target

My friend, Meredith, and I have made it a tradition to wake up early and head to Target whenever a designer collaboration comes out. The Peter Pilotto debut on Sunday was no different. We headed over to our local Target and rushed the doors with about seven other people.

Honestly, I wasn’t quite as excited about this collaboration since I’m not a big pattern/prints fan and this collection is nothing but prints. Nevertheless, I liked the modern cuts and shapes that I saw on the online lookbooks so I figured it was worth waking up early on a Sunday.

In person the items didn’t look as crisp and bright as they appeared online, so I only tried on a handful of items:

Peter Pilotto skirt and top

Tank Green Netting Print | Red Floral Check Print Skirt | Black Check Print Pants

I liked the way the tank fit, but I ended up not getting it because the print was too busy for me. The skirt was probably the worst fitting item I tried on. It puffed out at the waist awkwardly and fell just above the knee. The pants, however, were so comfy!

Peter Pilotto sweatshirt and pants

Light Blue Sweatshirt | Black Checked Pants

I really wanted the sweatshirt even though it’s on the busy side, but after my 5-day, foodie trip to Seattle funds were a little limited and I could only afford one item. So I got the pants! They’re more versatile than the sweatshirt. I can wear them to work, but they’re also comfortable enough to wear with sneakers on the weekend.

Peter Pilotto pants

Now that I look at these photos, I think might get the pants hemmed ever so slightly since I plan on wearing them with these heels or black pumps. In the winter I’ll wear these pants with the Funktional sweatshirt (above) and in the summer I’ll wear them with a loose-fitting, black, short sleeve shirt like this one.

My favorite part is the little pattern detail by the pocket.

Peter Pilotto pant pocket

Have you checked out the collection yet? Did you buy anything? Even though Peter Pilotto isn’t a household name, it sounds like the collaboration was incredibly successful. I’m hoping that the sweatshirt might eventually go on clearance in a few weeks, but it’ll probably be sold out by then. Fingers crossed!

__________________

Update on Lar:

Lar was able to come home from the hospital today – woohoo! She’s still on super strong antibiotics, which are making her feel like crap and she’s emotionally and physically exhausted. Once she gets her strength back up, I’ll have her check out all the sweet comments that you guys have been leaving.


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The Ultimate Gift-List

Cath-beautiful

I am supposed to do a fantastic/last-minute-ish gift list for you guys. Not that this blog is about “supposed tos” but Cath thought it would be a nice thing to do for you lovies. You know, be helpful bloggers, and not just navel gaze. Well, I’m totally going to be an unhelpful, self-centered blogger and do the latter.

This is about Cath and getting to be her identical twin.

I’ve been living thousands of miles away from Cath for almost 2.5 years now and not for a moment has it gotten easier. I miss the rest of my family and stateside friends so much too, but this is different. My homesickness ebbs and flows, but my twin-sickness (?) is constant. When I try to explain twin-sickness to people, the best I can come up with is that it feels like I’ve left a limb behind. There’s a constant tugging that never ever goes away until I’m close to her again.

I literally feel like my DNA is trying to tell me that because we were essentially the same organism at one time, we were never meant to be more than 30 miles apart from each other once we got past the zygote phase. After more than two years apart (with sparse holidays together scattered in between), I finally realize this is never going to feel easier or better as long as I’m not by her.

So my best Christmas present ever is getting to spend three weeks with Cath this year. And if I made a gift list, this is what it would look like:

AsianCajuns-Cos

So I’m sorry because I know that is the least helpful gift list for anyone else (excluding our parents, me thinks!). I do think though, that the best gift-lists are the ones with people on them, don’t you? I know I’m saying that during the last scramble to get your Christmas shopping done, but I hope it makes you feel a little less harried knowing that even if you don’t find the perfect thing for your wonderful people, they still get you! Mariah Carey, you knew it from the start (or at least early 90s), didn’t you?

——

Dear Cath,

I know future plans are still up in the air, but I wanted you to know how much being together means to me. I can’t wait to see you in just a week and a half! Yahooooooo!!!!


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Skip N’ Whistle Tacky Christmas Sweater T-Shirt

Happy 12 Days ’til Christmas! Time to celebrate with a Tacky Christmas Sweater T-shirt.

Skip n Whistle Tacky Christmas Sweater tshirt

Skip ‘N Whistle Unicorn Christmas t-shirtCOS cardigan • H&M scarf (similar here)• Old Navy leggings • Asos boots (ancient)

My 2012 Tacky Christmas Sweater T-shirt was such a hit last year, that as soon as Skip ‘N Whistle offered to send me another one this year I said, “Yes please!!”

I went with the unicorns pattern this year because they’re magical. Christmas + unicorns = unstoppable.

Would you like to purchase yourself a magical t-shirt? You can get it here or check out the other Christmas versions here. My friend said last year she ordered t-shirts for her whole family. Tackiness for the win!

Tacky Christmas Sweater Tshirt

When Troy took these photos of me last weekend, the weather in Atlanta was balmy and so not Christmas-y. I’m happy to say the temps are back down to our seasonal, blustery high 40s (don’t laugh, northern readers!). So it’s feeling a lot more holiday-ish and there’s good reason to order peppermint mochas, hot chocolates and ciders.

I decided to include this photo below to explain my current state of mind:

1.) I’ve been so caught up in work and studying for my final that I haven’t even gotten half of my Christmas shopping done. Twelve days is plenty of time, right?!?!?!

2.) Starbucks peppermint mochas are amazing until about 15 minutes after I finish mine and I start to feel really sick. Does this happen to anyone else or is this just the universe telling me that I should have ordered herbal tea instead?

3.) Really wishing I had some make-up on in these photos. Note to self: carry make-up in purse like a normal woman. A half empty bottle of lip gloss doesn’t count.

what

 

Hope you all are having a wonderful holiday season. Let me know if you get yourself a Tacky Christmas Sweater T-shirt!

Legal blog necessity: Shirt courtesy of Skip ‘N Whistle. All opinions are my own.

____________________

Dearest Lar,

12 days until Christmas! You know what that means? 12 days until I get to see you!!!!! Yahoo! That’s even better than Christmas. In fact, that’s better than Christmas and unicorns combined!

Skip ‘N Whistle was kind enough to send you a shirt as well, so we’ll have to wear our shirts together when we celebrate!

xoxo, Cath


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Dress Review: Shabby Apple Margaret Dress

Shabby Apple dress with jacket

When Shabby Apple offered to send me a dress to review on here I immediately knew I wanted a piece from the Tartans and Tweeds collection. In fact, when this post goes live, I’ll be in Scotland with Lar! How fitting, no?

Shabby Apple dress sitting

 Shabby Apple Margaret dress • old jacket from Etsy (similar here) • vintage coach bag • Payless heels • old gloves (similar here) • mom’s old hat – she doesn’t realize I have it ;)

Shabby Apple Tartan dress without jacket

The Margaret dress is my official 2013 holiday dress (I don’t know what makes it official). I’ll probably jazz it up a bit for parties with some fancier heels and sparkly accessories like this and this.

Shabby Apple Tartan Close up

The peplum waist is my favorite part because it adds some femininity to the tartan. Speaking of the waist, the dress runs small in the waist. I usually wear XS to S and this S was a snug fit. So if you plan on ordering it, I recommend going up a size.

If you haven’t seen the previous post already, we’re doing a Shabby Apple giveaway! Enter to win this dress. Lar and I think it’s the ultimate holiday dress.

What are your plans for Thanksgiving? Lar and I will be celebrating with friends (Americans and Brits) on Wednesday so we’ll have left overs on Thursday before we leave our rented Scottish manor house on Friday. It’s going to be wonderful and I plan on being completely stuffed while flying back to the states ;)


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My Corolla Trip to Blue Ridge, GA

Corolla 2014 Unexpect Everything

Last weekend Southeast Toyota Distributors gave me a 2014 Corolla to drive up to Blue Ridge, GA for two nights. I had been wanting to do a mini fall getaway with Troy this season, so it was perfect timing. Blue Ridge is only about two hours north of Atlanta and is especially beautiful this time of year with the leaves changing color.

This was basically my outfit for the two days we spent wandering around the north Georgia mountains:

apple picking outfit

 

apple picking outfit details
Fantas Eyes sunglasses • J. Crew jacketSo Worth Loving tee • black pashmina (similar here) • Gap jeansJeffrey Campbell bootsFjällräven backpack
The Jeffrey Campbell boots are my new pair of boots for the year. I love how simple they are and the slit down the sides are unexpected. You’ll probably be seeing them a lot on this blog :)
Downtown Blue Ridge has really grown and evolved in the past five years. Not too long ago it was just another sleepy, north Georgia town. Today it has a number of fine dining restaurants and shops along its main street. During this time of year it’s packed with tourist like me and Troy.

Downtown Blue Ridge GA

Even though the downtown is growing fast, there aren’t really enough restaurants for all of the tourists. So, if you take a trip up to Blue Ridge during the fall,  make reservations at the nicer restaurants a week ahead of time.

Blue Ridge Georgia

I didn’t make any reservations ahead of time, so Troy and I missed out on Harvest on Main, the most popular Blue Ridge restaurant. Nevertheless, we did have excellent meals at Black Sheep, Joe’s BBQ, and Blue Ridge Brewery. Joe’s BBQ was my favorite. It’s so small and so popular that the restaurant usually runs out of food by the afternoon.

Blue Ridge Brewery

We stayed at the Aska Lodge Bed and Breakfast and loved it. It’s only a five minute drive from downtown Blue Ridge and has that perfect lodge/cabin feel that you want in the mountains. There are only four rooms (each with a bathroom ensuite) so it’s really intimate and cozy. Troy and I loved the owners, Janet and Ric, and really enjoyed eating breakfast with the other guests. My favorite part was the communal snack area, which included homemade cookies.

Aska Lodge

Our room had its own private section on the upstairs porch. It was perfect for reading with a cup of hot cocoa and for applying makeup ;) I also took full advantage of the fake fireplace/heater next to our bed.

Aska Lodge stay

Aska Lodge Room

In addition to spending a few hours exploring downtown, there are a number of other things you can do in the Blue Ridge area.

We spent a morning at Mercier Orchards, which has been around since 1943. The place is huge! There’s a market, gift shop, deli, and bakery.

Mercier Orchards market

It’s a little too late in the season to pick your own apples, so Troy and I just ended up buying half a bushel of Black Arkansas apples (recommended by Ric from our B&B), and then had a mid-morning snack that included an apple dumpling and the amazingly, delicious fried apple pie.

Mercier Orchards fried apple pie

Blue Ridge isn’t far from the start of the Appalachian Trail so there are tons of outdoorsy things to do if you’re staying in that area. It’s also close to Amicalola Falls, the tallest cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi River. With so much beauty and so many trail options in the area you would think Troy and I spent a good part of our trip hiking. Well, we’re not outdoorsy types, so we chose the shortest and closest (and I think best-named) trail to our B&B: Fall Branch Falls.

Fall Branch Falls

I really don’t think it gets more perfect than beautiful scenery, an awesome place to stay, a sweet ride, local BBQ, and drinking hot cocoa on the porch on a chilly morning. Even though the trip was only two days, it’s one of our favorites we’ve taken. Troy and I already want to bring all of our friends on a Blue Ridge road trip next month.

Mercier Orchards tree

I’ll leave you with this last photo from Mercier Orchards. Happy fall!

___________________________

Dearest Lar,

Troy and I spent the whole weekend talking about how beautiful Blue Ridge is. . . and then I saw your photos from Perthshire. Whoa! Blue Ridge is beautiful, but Perthshire is like magical unicorn beautiful.

I think you and Matt would really like Blue Ridge. It would be so fun to do a couples trip up there some day. It also made it really fun to drive a new, fancy car. I’ve never driven a car that has a backup camera and a touch screen audio system – exactly what you’d need for a road trip. Makes you kind of miss America, doesn’t it?

Only twelve more days until we see each other again!!!!

xoxo, Cath


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I’m a Fashion Fraud

It’s true. I’m a fashion fraud. Actually, I should really say style fraud, but I like the alliteration better.

Pinterest has helped me come to this conclusion. Let me explain.

I like the outfits in the following three photos. All three are comfortable, work appropriate, not too boring, and are pulled together. But here’s the problem, none of them represent how I see my style – at least not my ideal style.

fashion fraud one
Marc by Marc Jacobs sunglasses • old cardigan from a local boutique • So Worth Loving tee (read more about it here)• Club Monaco necklace • Limited skirt • Sole Society shoes

fashionfraudtwo
Fantas Eyes sunglasses • dress worn as a top from a stall in London • Asos lace skirt (now on sale in coral) • Dolce Vita sandals

fashionfraudthree
Phillip Lim for Target top • second hand Derek Lam jacket • Spotted Moth pencil skirt • BC Footwear wedges • Longchamp bag

What’s my ideal style? If you take a look at my Style Inspiration Pinterest board, it looks something like this:

FashionInspiration 1

fashioninspiration 2

fashioninspiration 3

A lot of menswear inspired pieces, minimal patterns, lots of neutrals, structured pieces, tailored pants, and mostly black shoes. I have some of these items in my closet, but they’re few and far between. Which leads me to ask, why do I end up buying items that don’t reflect the style I want?

After some thought, I’ve come up with a couple of reasons:

1. Impulse purchases – I find that I’ve done more of this with so many designer collabs and seemingly never-ending online sales.
2. Lack of focus – A lot of times when I’m out shopping I have a vague idea of what I need (another pencil skirt, a blouse for work), but nothing specific.
3. Laziness – I tend to wear the same outfits over and over again because when I get up in the morning I don’t have the creative energy to think of something different. Also, menswear inspired pieces like oxford shirts and tailored trousers usually require some sort of ironing or planned out trips to the dry cleaner.

In a perfect world, I would give away almost all of my clothes a buy everything on my Keep Fall 2013 Shopping List.

Keep Fall shopping list

 

But in reality I have very little money budgeted for clothes. So, here’s my plan:

1. No more impulse purchases. Duh. I’m going to unsubscribe to all those shop e-newsletters so I won’t get tempted to buy items randomly online.
2. I have a list of specific items I need (well, want) on my phone’s notepad. So next time I just happen to find myself shopping, I can stick to what I really need/want. I got this idea from Hilary Rushford.
3. I’m going to stop being lazy! Just kidding. That’s impractical – sitting on the couch watching TV is just too enjoyable. But I’ve started using Dryel and it’s made my life much easier – and more affordable.
4. Using Keep.com has been really helpful because it notifies me if any of my items I’ve posted go on sale.
5. Be more deliberate about how I spend my money – this applies to clothes and everything else. I go through periods where I’m really good at sticking to a monthly budget and then there are those other times – like when I travel – that my budget just goes out the window.

I’ll keep you posted on how well I stick to my plan. Hopefully you’ll see some evidence of change in upcoming blog posts.

What about you? Am I the only who has this problem of real style versus ideal style? I feel a little ashamed that I’m a style blogger and am now just realizing my vision doesn’t match my reality. Leave a comment, I can’t wait to read your thoughts!

_____________________

Dearest Lar,

You’ve been much better at buying clothing items that you need and walking the talk of ethical fashion. I know some of that has to do with your limited closet space, but I still find it so admirable. Also, you’re able to save up for things like a pair of Ferragamos where I’d be pushing it to save up for a pair of Payless boots ;)

I feel like I had a better weekend than usual because I was able to Skype with you twice!

Love you so!

xoxo, Cath


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Hello Fall

So I might have been a bit premature about saying goodbye to summer in the last post since the highs have been in the 80s this week. I just so badly want it to feel like fall right now! I know, first world problems and all that. . .

This past weekend, the weather was perfectly crisp in that almost-fall-in-the-south kind of weather. Troy and I took our dogs for a quick walk to our local doughnut shop.

Fall outfit dog walking

Revolution Doughnuts is walking distance from our house and is always packed on the weekends. On Sunday I got a latte and pumpkin spice doughnut. FYI, for those of you in the Atlanta area that are vegan, a lot of Revolution’s cake doughnuts are vegan. For you non-vegans, everything at Revolution is delicious – no matter whether or not they have animal by-product in them – yay butter!

fall outfit patterned sweater

 Outfit details: Minnetonka Nickel hatGolden Tote sweater • cross body bag from Salon Red (years ago) • Blank NYC cargos • Mia clogs (no longer available, but similar here) • Fossil & Hide necklace

fall outfit details

 

revolution doughnuts fall

I’ve lived in Decatur for almost a decade and tend to take the small-town feel for granted. Can’t everyone walk to a local doughnut shop on the weekend?! But ultimately, I know how lucky I am. I know all my neighbors and I live 6 miles east of a large city (hello Atlanta).

Speaking of large cities, I’ll be in New York City for a few days next week (work related, not blog related). If you’re in the area, let’s meet up! I love meeting up with my blogger friends and already am planning to meet Diane from Snapshot Fashion in person – finally! Just email me at asiancajuns at gmail dot com.

___________________

Dearest Lar,

Do you remember the very first day we arrived in Edinburgh on Jan. 2, 2004? We dropped our luggage off at our hotel and walked the entire city, well at least most of the city. That was such a magical day. Exploring an amazing city together. Little did we know that we would totally fall head over heels in love with the Scots and the city AND that you would call it your home 8 years later.

I always remember that day and am reminded of how well we explore cities together. I wish you were coming to New York with me next week. I know we’ve been to New York together, but it’s been years! I think the last time we visited together, American Apparel had just opened up its first east coast shop. How young we were – so naive!

Who knows, maybe the next time we visit New York together, the federal government will be functional again! I kid of course :)

Hope you’re having a smarvelous week!

xoxo, Cath


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