A Little Bit of Shopping

Mall Haul

I haven’t done any Marie Kondo-ing like Lar, but I plan to pare down my personal belongings soon. In the meantime, I’m still making a conscious effort not to buy things just because I want them. It helps that I have a limited budget, so I can’t go on a shopping spree.

Even though I was tempted to buy a whole new outfit when I went to the mall this weekend, I was pretty disciplined. I only purchased these seven items:

1. Black and white Woven Top from H&M. I cannot not buy a black and white striped top. Some day in the not too distant future, my whole closet will consist of  nothing but black and white striped tops.
2. Two camisole tops from H&M. They were two for $10 and I’ve been needing a couple of camisoles to go under a few summer tops.
3. Anastasia Brow Wiz in medium brown. I ran out of my Tarte eyebrow pencil this weekend, which is the main reason I went to Sephora. The store was completely out, so I decided to try out the Anatasia of Beverly Hills version.
4. Sephora honey mask. I’ve been wanting to try one of these masks for a while. I have super sensitive skin, so I figured the honey mask was a safe bet. Have you tried any of these Sephora masks? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
5. Compact Tangle Teezer in black. I’ve had my eye on the Tangle Teezer for a while and saw this travel version in the checkout aisle at Sephora. I love it! It comes with a cover that pops on over it so I can throw it in my purse without the bristles getting bent.
6. Darling Magazine. I love getting Darling Magazine newsletters in my inbox, but I’ve never purchased an issue until now. I found it at Anthropologie. At $20 it’s not cheap, but it’s a great read and and an issue I’ll be keeping on my coffee table for a while.

I’ll admit that the magazine and mask were splurges, but I didn’t go crazy. Right? Maybe some day I’ll be enlightened enough not to feel the urge to buy anything, but not today!

 


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Getting Ready in 45 Minutes

A few days ago Troy and I decided to treat ourselves to omakase at Craft Izakaya after work. I worked until 5:30 p.m., worked out for an hour, and then had 45 minutes to shower, do my hair and makeup, and find something to wear.

I went from a hot, sweaty mess (the photo doesn’t fully show off the oiliness of my hair):

Getting Ready Before

To something a little more pulled together:

Getting Ready After

Old Navy dress (from a few seasons ago) | &Other Stories pumps | long necklace from Boutique Karma

I know some women can get ready in 15 minutes or less, but if I have to wash my hair, it’s going to be at least 30 minutes. I have super thick hair, a cheap hair dryer, and an old CHI straightener. That combination means a decent amount of time fiddling with my hair. So getting ready in 45 minutes is like lightening speed for me.

How about you? How fast does it take you to get ready? And recommendations for a decent, but not too expensive, hair dryer?


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Summer Time

Milly_for_Kohls_capri_tank

My summer festival outfit (note my hair flattened by sweat): Milly for Kohl’s tank | Rkitekt necklace | secondhand Coach bag | Marc by Marc sunglasses

It’s not technically summer yet, but it already feels like it in Atlanta. I hate the summer. I know. It’s a strong statement, so let me rephrase: I hate the summer unless I’m at the beach. Here are my five reasons to dislike the season:

1. The heat makes me sleepy and I feel like I’m much less productive when it’s hot out.

2. It means the cockroaches come out. Troy and I pay top dollar to get our house filled with chemicals to ward off the little buggers, but there’s nothing that gets rid of cockroaches completely. It’s just part of living in the south. And there’s nothing you can do about them when you’re outside in nature – like on a city sidewalk at night. My coping mechanism is to constantly prance around so one won’t run over my foot. I’m open to other suggestions.

3. I’m naturally a heavy sweater (as in I sweat a lot, not the article of clothing). If I’m walking outside for a few minutes I start getting gross and then it takes me forever to cool off once I’m inside. Troy is a lucky guy!  I have to shower at least once a day and wash my hair every day.

4. Even though sweating in the heat is miserable, I also hate the super frigid, overly air conditioned rooms. My office is so cold in the summer that I wear a sweater and use a heater under my desk. That means the air conditioning is in high gear AND I’m using energy to run the heater, which means I’m giving the environment a double slap in the face (plus there’s that whole showering multiple times a day thing when parts of the country is in a draught).

5. On an even more vain note, sweating outside + freezing inside makes for some seriously unfortunate outfits. For example:  sleeveless dress with ill-fitting sweater I keep in my office for emergencies that makes me look like I stepped out of Lands End catalog from the 1980s. I always forget to bring a better sweater or coverup alternative with me to the office because as I’m running out the door in the morning into the god forsaken heat, the last thing on my mind is more layers.

Am I alone here? I know it’s ridiculous to be so down on summer when I live in the American south, but you have to take the bad with the good. Hot summers also mean not having super cold and long winters. So there’s that. And then Creative Loafing just published its 2015 Summer Guide this week that made me not hate this time of year so much.

I hope you all have a not-too-hot weekend!


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Quick Weekend Outfit

It’s going to be way too hot to wear this outfit this weekend – 90 degrees this Sunday! I’m never ready for summer weather. Spring and fall are my favorite seasons. If I could live somewhere that is always jacket weather, I’d be perfectly content.

weekend_outfit

BB Dakota jacket | Urban Outfitters top | Gap jeans (obviously very old) | Boutique Karma necklace | Longchamp bag | Flats, secondhand from Meredith

What’s that you say? Did I get Troy to take an outfit shot of me at our local Kroger? Uh. Yes. Yes, I did. I have no (blogger) shame. I realized my hair was looking decent when we went to the grocery store and whipped out my camera in the, ahem, beverage aisle.

I don’t really have super cute, creative weekend outfits. If I spend money on clothes it’s most likely going to be work appropriate because that’s what I have to wear 80% of my waking life. For the most part, my weekend wardrobe consists of t-shirts and jeans. I like my t-shirts baggy and my jeans slim – and my shoes flat. I’ve come the realization at the ripe old age of 31 heels are not my friend. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the way heels look and will wear them as much as I can, but after years of ballet and heel wearing, it’s time to be a little kinder to my feet.

multitone_flats

A t-shirt with jeans might seem uninspiring, but I like having a uniform for the weekend. I might branch out at some point this summer and get a romper/jumpsuit (what’s the difference?!) to wear on weekends, but only if i can find one on the cheap. Any suggestions? H&M? F21? Let me know what your weekend uniform is.


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Stay Golden

Hi luvs!

Thank you to everyone who commented on Lar’s last post. We’re excited to take AsianCajuns in a slightly different direction and I suppose it goes without saying that I’m over the moon that my twin sis/bestie is moving back stateside.

We’ll start making the blog transition over the summer and we hope you like it!
____________

I wanted to do a quick post on my love for golden jewelry. It’s kind of become a little bit of an obsession. And keep in mind I’m talking about golden jewelry and not jewelry made of gold- I’m not rolling in money, folks!

Last weekend I stopped by the Root City Market pop up in Decatur and bought three more rings to add to my collection from Melting Sun Apparel – 3 for $9!

gold_rings

Rings from left to right: Melting Sun Apparel, Squash Blossom Boutique, Agnes Scott College Ring, Melting Sun Apparel, Top Shop (mentioned here), Melting Sun Apparel. And for those of you who are interested, I’m wearing these on my nails.

I also recently bought this golden necklace (below) from Boutique Karma – a locally owned shop in Decatur, GA – for only $20.

gold_accessories_necklace

 

I know the golden trend is nothing new – it might even be a little passé. What’s next? Rose gold? Silver – even though it feels so 90s/00s now?! Either way, I’m sticking to gold for now. Any other gold/golden jewelry fans out there?


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Monday Inspiration: Sia

Dearest Lar,

I rarely talk about my job on the blog. For whatever reason, I’ve always kept AsianCajuns relatively separate from my work in local government. I suppose it makes sense. Economic development doesn’t really have a place in a lifestyle blog. That being said, I’m making an exception today.

As you know (but our readers don’t), I’ve been working with my organization’s innovation team – a group of 12 of us that is charged with creating an innovative project. We gave a presentation on that project in Phoenix at a local government conference last week (where I found this gem). In addition to our presentation, we also got to show our group video – which has nothing to do with our project and everything to do with our definition of innovation:

I debated about whether or not to share the video – mostly for egotistical reasons. I hate my outfit. Seriously. I need to get my shirt tailored and buy new pants. But I’m so proud of my team and their amazing willingness to take part in my crazy idea that I had to share it. I don’t know of any other government organization where you’d find such open-minded and creative folks willing to learn some crazy choreography, put on a blond wig, pink blush, and come in on a Saturday without pay to do a video for work.

Also, Greg shot the whole thing on his fancy camera after I told him I was going to attempt to use my old iPhone. What an awesome friend! And Troy was there the whole time helping Greg with the camera work and he spliced down the song to two minutes so I didn’t have to choreograph a four minute song. Best bf ever!

So basically, I’m riding on a high that I have such amazing friends/co-workers who were willing to do this with me and I wanted to share.

Happy Monday!

xoxo, Cath


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2015 Q1 Favorites

Dearest Lar,

I’ve totally gotten hooked on watching favorites make up videos on YouTube. I just love hearing about real products from real women. So I figured I’d do my own favorites (not just makeup), but instead of doing a monthly favorites (I don’t buy enough things to have favorites every month), I’ll just post my favorites every quarter :) So without further ado, here we go!

1. Tarte Cosmetics LipSurgence and Butter Lipstick
Tarte lip gloss 1
The lipstick is the Tartelette limited edition Amazonian butter lipstick in Ethereal Pink. I picked it up last time I was at Sephora because I’ve been looking for the perfect light-ish pink that goes with my skin tone. I like it on its own, but I like it even better with the gloss layered over it. I got the LipSurgence gloss (in Flush) as a gift with purchase and didn’t really think I’d like it. I’m not really a bright pink person, but it goes on really nicely and it is the ONLY thing that keeps my lips from drying up.

Even though Tarte cosmetics aren’t all natural, they’re a step in the right direction. Tarte products are formulated without parabens, mineral oil, phtalates, sodium lauryl sulfate, triclosan, synthetic fragrances and gluten.

Here’s what it looks like on my lips:

tarte pink lipstick

 

2. Muji Multi Cape

Muji Multi cape

You were so so so sweet to buy me this amazing piece from Muji last summer. I love how versatile it is and the fabric is so delicate. It’s the perfect spring time cover up/scarf.

Also, do you have any idea how I can prevent so many wrinkles from gathering on my skirt?! It looks terrible!

3. J.Crew Factory D’orsay Flats

JCrew flats

I’ve been wearing more flats since I’m trying to get 10,000 steps in each day. Wearing heels = me finding every excuse not to walk and roll around on my office chair instead. The only problem is that office appropriate flats usually don’t work with my feet. I have wide feet and pretty ballet flats usually hurt like crazy. So I picked up these D’orsay flats a few weekends ago and have been wearing them ever since. My left heel got a small blister the first day I wore them, but other than that they’ve been really comfortable.

JCrew factory flats

4. Topshop Ring

Topshop ring

I picked this ring up at the Atlanta Topshop opening last month and wear it almost every day. It was only $18 and the best money I’ve spent all month. I can’t find it online, but it might still be available in stores. I’ve received so many compliments on it because it’s such a statement piece, but not your typical giant cocktail ring. Wouldn’t it be cool if the glass was really a rough-cut diamond?! Actually, scratch that. If it was a real diamond, I wouldn’t be able to afford it so never mind!

5. Kickstarter: #TruthBeauty

Beauty lies Truth

Alexis Krauss and Jessic Assaf are on a mission to make the safest skincare and makeup affordable to everyone. I love the concept because, as I mentioned in this post, I’m slowly trying to get rid of all harmful beauty products. But sometimes it gets so overwhelming trying to keep up with what’s natural and what’s really bad for you. Also the natural stuff that beauty magazines suggest are usually crazy expensive. I now read the Beauty Lies Truth blog religiously.

6. TV Shows: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Peaky Blinders

favorite tv shows

Both are streaming on Netflix and they couldn’t be more different. I’m so glad I got you hooked on Unbreakable. Since I’ve already seen the whole season, I’ll replay episodes as I blog and check emails. It’s happy-making but also not completely superficial and Titus Andromeda is the best! Also, hashbrown no filter.

Peaky Blinders is dark in every way possible – storyline, sets, costumes, makeup – but I love it. The acting is great, the set design is more stylized that a typical period piece, and somehow the contemporary music totally works. I know you said you’ve seen a few episodes, so keep watching and let me know what you think!

Ta da! My next favorites post will be in June. You should do one too!

Skype this Saturday? I can’t wait to hear about your Berlin trip!

xoxo, Cath


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Fig and Flower – Natural Beauty

Dearest Lar,

While you’re exploring Amsterdam (finding canals, drinking green juice, buying Van Gogh postcards, etc.), I did a little exploring in my own backyard today. Fig and Flower opened up a little less than a year ago in the Poncey Highland neighborhood and I’ve been meaning to check it out ever since.

fig_and_flower

Fig and Flower sells all natural makeup, skincare, and household cleaning products. So it’s basically a store made for you!

For the past few years, you’ve been inspiring me to switch to more natural products. Sometimes I slip up – like when I’m suppose to make a quick trip to pick up a prescription at CVS and end up with three new chemical-filled lipsticks (I blame the weekly coupons!) – but overall I’ve been trying to clean up my makeup and skincare routine.

fig_and_flower_Atlanta

I seriously wanted to buy everything at Fig and Flower times two (one for me and one for you).

Fig_and_flower_eyeshadow

They even carry Vapour, an all natural makeup brand I’ve been wanting to try forever. Look at all of the pretty lip colors! That’s Troy in the background checking out the selection of beard oil.

fig_and_flower_vapour

I felt like a kid in a candy store. I can’t wait to take you there next time you’re in Atlanta!

fig_and_flower_shopping

Just a few more of the brands they carry: Holly Beth Organics, Indie Lee, Acure, and 100% Pure.

fig_and_flower_products

Also, look at these amazing services they offer:

Fig_and_flower_services

I really want to come back for a makeup application and beauty bag clean out – that’s where they show you how you can replace your favorite items with all natural versions.

Becca, a makeup artist that works at Fig and Flower, was super helpful. I told her that I’m attempting to grow out my eyebrows and she explained the best technique for doing it. I’m listening to her in the photos below, which is why I look so serious – because eyebrows are serious business.

fig_and_flower_seriousface

This is me laughing at the thinness of my brows:

fig_and_flower_eyebrows

If my eyebrow grow-out is successful, I might do a future blog post on it. If not, I will never speak of them again!

I ended up purchasing the 100% Pure Eye Brow Powder Gel in Brunette. I initially thought it was too light, but Becca showed me how it just subtly enhances my brows without making them look drawn on.  I also got the 100% Pure Naked Palette since the only other all natural eye shadow I have is the Josie Maran Argan Beautiful Eyes quad, which is all shimmery shades. I’ve been wanting to jump on the Urban Decay Naked palette bandwagon, but have been hesitant since it’s not an all natural brand. So the 100% Pure palette is exactly what I’ve been looking for – all natural, neutral, matte shades. I’m going to spend a few weeks playing around with it and then I might do a mini 100% Pure Naked Palette makeup tutorial.

I can’t wait to see all of your photos from your long weekend getaway to Amsterdam. I’m so jealous that you got to go to an Other Stories store – and experience a different culture and what not. :) Is it bad that I get more excited about stores you’re visiting than museums. I think I’ve become shallower with age.

Let’s go crazy and Skype during the workweek once you get back to Edinburgh, ok?

xoxo, Cath


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New Things

I’ve been trying to be really good about budgeting lately since I still have a stack of hospital bills to pay off. Some days I’m more disciplined than others. I know it’s never good to buy things to make yourself feel better and feed into consumer culture, blah, blah, blah. But sometimes when you’re down, a new item of clothing or a cheap sparkly ring, is exactly what you need want.

redplaid_closeup

Two weeks ago I was desperate for something new and shiny to get my mind off stressful health stuff and I remembered that I had a few giftcards from Shopbop – woohoo! So I ended up getting a BB Dakota Lillian Drapey Front Jacket and a MICHAEL Michael Kors Jet Set Cross Body Bag.

shopbop_accessories

Yes, I’m bringing the late 90s back with my loose fitting bootleg jeans. Don’t judge. They’re comfortable and perfect for the weekend.

redplaid_outfit

H&M scarf | Hat from Amazon.com | American Eagle jeans and boots | V rings from Squash Blossom Boutique | Old Navy spiral ring | French tip and polka dot Jamberries

plaidoutfit_accessories

For those of you who don’t have a Shopbop giftcard, not to worry! From now until Sunday, Shopbop is having a big sales event:

If you spend $250 or more, you’ll save 15%.
If you spend $500 or more, you’ll save 20%.
If you spend over $1000, you’ll save 25%.

Click here to get the coupon code. If you can’t hit the $250 mark, get some friends in on your order.

Disclaimer: AsianCajuns participates in Shopbop’s affiliate program, but this isn’t sponsored post, so all my thoughts and opinions are my own.

And last but not least, thank you to everyone for such wonderful and sweet comments on my last post! It’s not easy for me to open up about my health on the blog and all of your support and kind words mean so much. Now that I’m almost back to 100%, I’ll be blogging a lot more regularly!

xoxo, Cath


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Beating the Post-Christmas Blues With Jamberry

Dearest Lar,

I think almost everyone gets the post-Christmas blues. I’m jealous the Brits celebrate Boxing Day because it puts off the inevitable depression for a day.

However, this year I didn’t feel as bluesy and I think that’s because my expectations for Christmas weren’t as high as they normally are. That sounds terrible, but it really wasn’t bad! You and Matt didn’t come home for Christmas and we didn’t do presents this year so everything was very low key, but in a really nice, relaxing, decompressing kind of way.

Anywho, I’m rambling. What also helped stave off my post-Christmas blues was an evening hanging out with Brie and Ali. The day after Christmas (a.k.a your Boxing Day), Brie, Ali and I got together to have a girls night in and try out some Jamberry nail decals.

jamberry mug

(Recognize the ring you got me in London! It’s one of my all time favorites. And Thom got me the beautiful J. Crew bracelet)

I’ve always liked nail decals – like the ones that you just had on your nails for the holidays. And I always figured Jamberries were like all the other nail decals out there. So it took me a while to jump on the Jamberry bandwagon, but I’m so glad I did. Why? 1.) Because they’re affordable. One $15 sheet of decals will give you at least 4 manis or 2 manis and 2 pedis or 3 manis and 1 pedi, you get the idea. 2.) They last as long as other decals, but you can remove them with a good soak in olive oil – no acetone needed. 3.) Jamberries are made in the states, and 4.) It’s a company started by women. Woohoo!

jamberry tools

Brie and Ali are both Jamberry consultants so they have all the fancy Jamberry tools (above), but as long as you have a file, buffer, an orange stick, nail scissors and a heating tool of some sort (heater, hair dryer etc.) you don’t need to buy anything other than your Jamberry sheet, which looks like this:

jamberry sheet

This color is called Cherry Ice. It’s actually more raspberry than cherry and I love it. Perfect for the holiday season. You apply them by snipping them to size, heating them up, and placing them on your nails. Here are the official application guidelines and here’s a video I found that was super helpful when I was first trying them out.

jamberry application

It definitely takes a bit longer than just painting your nails – especially if you’re a newbie like me – but the results are worth it. I’ve had these on since last Friday and they still look brand new.

jamberry before and after

There are a million, bah-jillion different designs that you can check out here (that’s the link to Brie’s Jamberry site). I love all the fun patterned ones, but they’re just not me. I’m more of a solid or subtle pattern girl. The next ones I want to try are these nude beauties or these geometric ones.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve become less interested in having trendy, fashionable clothes and more interested in cultivating a wardrobe. My closet is slowly becoming more pared down with blacks and grays, which sounds drab (and probably is), but it makes me happy. Because of all that simplifying, I like having a little bit of sparkle or something of interest either on my nails (hello, Jamberries!) or fingers (delicate, gold rings are my thing at the moment – tempted to get these when I magically have more money).

Next time we’re together, whether it’s in Atlanta or Edinburgh, let’s have a Jamberry session with a cuppa – and maybe some cake. Unlike going to get a mani or doing one at home, you can actually EAT while applying Jamberries because there’s no drying required. I probably should have mentioned that first because that’s the biggest selling point for me – eat while you apply nail decals! ;) Best. Thing. Ever.

So tell me, what are you doing to beat the post-Christmas blues? I hope you’re not just spending your days off doing work.

Can’t wait to hear about your lovely New Years Eve dinner you have planned!

xoxo, Cath

PS: Brie has tons of info and fun posts about Jamberry on her Facebook page.


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