Sunny Side Up

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This past year, I've learned that in one moment, you can be at your lowest point, and in a flash... have the world at your feet. Life is unpredictable, spontaneous, and wild. And in order to keep up, you have to either change the things that make you unhappy, or learn to accept them.

In 2011, I graduated college, completed my first quarter of graduate school, had my first blog giveaway, started dating my first real boyfriend, learned to better cope with a loss, accepted the way my undergraduate years played out, and met a ton of new friends, both in real life, and through blogging. As you can see, with tough times, come good. My challenge for you: think about all the things you've changed and/or accepted this year, and allow yourself to feel proud.

Thank you for all of your love and support! Cheers to the new year! I wish you all the best.

XO,
SWEATshirt DRESSshirt

"You are prettier than you look. Smarter than you think. Stronger than you feel. Wiser than you know." -R
*All nail tutorials can be found in the "Best of SSDS" section.

Homemade Pizza

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Besides this past Friday, I can't remember the last time I had a homemade pizza. After the first bite, I asked myself why I didn't do this more often; mostly because of all the benefits: less grease, more customization (I'm a lots-of-sauce fan), and the fact that you can make an event out of it, like my friends and I did.

Note: The dough we used was from Trader Joe's (pretty much my favorite grocery store). It has a wonderful price ($1.29!), and you have an option of regular, whole wheat, and I think... even garlic!


Nail Polish Extravaganza

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Recently, my friends and I had a nail painting party. We pooled our collections together, and spent close to an hour coming up with fun, and unique designs for the new year. It's been a while since I've painted my nails with anyone. I couldn't be more pleased with the inspiration I left the party with.

Left: 'Mermaid's Tears' OPI //right: Color name unknown, Orly //polka dots: Sally Hansen nail art pen

'My Chihuahua Bites' OPI

'Meep-Meep-Meep' OPI Muppets Collection //'Only Gold For Me' SEPHORA by OPI

Gettin' Crafty

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My friend K is so talented. I'm 100% convinced that she is going to be the next Martha Stuart. That said, I thought I'd show off some of her work, as it might inspire some of you.

Everything you see above, minus the pillow cover, she put together (with the help of my other friend K) for our annual holiday get-together. A little secret about the winter-y centerpiece: it was made using some branches from her backyard, spray paint, and ornaments from the dollar store.

Who's with me, in thinking that she needs to open up her own Etsy shop, asap?

Merry Christmas+10 Things To Do Tomorrow

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Merry Christmas, to all my friends on Blogger! I hope everyone is having a wonderful day, filled with food, relaxation, and time spent with loved ones.

For tomorrow, here is a list of 10 things you can do the day after Christmas:
  1. Relax: be a couch potato,  read a book, and/or watch movies all day!
  2. Go shopping/return stuff: there are going to be a ton of after-Christmas sales, one being the men's half-yearly sale at Nordstrom!
  3. Take down decorations/clean up: though it may be sad to see the holiday spirit go, cleaning up now, will be better than cleaning up after a long day at work next week.
  4. Exercise/burn some calories
  5. Organize your new gifts
  6. Go to church
  7. Do a DIY project (there are a bunch of cool ones on Pinterest!)
  8. Write thank-you cards
  9. Post about the previous day on your blog
  10. Go out to eat
XO,
SWEATshirt DRESSshirt

In With The Nude

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Last week, I met up with one of my best friends, N, for dinner. We chatted for almost 2 hours, and towards the end of our meal, her and I exchanged Christmas presents. One of the things she got me was 'Classy', a nude nail polish by Revlon. I've never worn a color this natural looking... until now, and I've been growing to like it.

Here's a challenge for you all: Branch out, and try on a color of nail polish that you would normally stray away from. As Deborah Lippmann once said, with nail polish, "...you gotta try it on. You can't just look at it in the bottle and be afraid of it. Nail polish should be fun."

Tutorial: Braided Bun

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I'm a big fan of hairstyles that look really complicated, but were a cinch to create. If you're like me, and are in search of something different (but do-able!) from the everyday, classic styles, the Braided Bun is worth trying out.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 2 hair elastics, a few bobby pins that match your hair color, and hairspray (optional)

DIRECTIONS
1. Create a middle part and split your hair into 2 even sections.
2. Braid each section.
3. Loosen each braid by gently tugging at its sides in an outward direction.
4-5. Secure each braid near the nape of your neck, making sure they lie parallel to one another. Tuck in the ends, and pin in any fly-aways.
6. Optional: Finish the look with with a mist of hairspray and/or add a headband.

Feels Like Home

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While spending time with a few of my close friends today, I dined at a place called The Maltby CafĂ©. If you're familiar with the term, "a hole in the wall", you've already got a good sense as to what this place was like; cozy, with a home-y touch, and amazing food. Think of it as a replica of your grandmother's kitchen.

The portions were large, the prices were small, and the service was great. I'd give this place 4.5 out of 5 stars (Only because I've had better Caesar Salad. Though, it doesn't mean this one wasn't great.)

On it goes, to my list of "Places I'd recommend in Washington".


*Thanks to B, for letting me use his camera, because I forgot mine!

Winter Nail Picks

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Each year, there are a handfull of shades that are deemed the title of "Most Popular [insert season here] Nail Colors". Sometimes, in order to have a better sense of uniqueness, the best thing to do is to choose your own "top" colors, which is what I have done here:

1. Cool Hues: 'For Audrey' China glaze, 'Navy' F21, 'Lincoln Park After Dark' OPI
2. Warm Tones: 'Valentine' Revlon, 'Broadway Burgundy' N.Y.C.
3. Glitter: 'Only Gold For Me' SEPHORA by OPI, Iridescent and Silver from F21

Music To My Ears

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Over Thanksgiving Break, I was able to take some time out of my tight studying schedule to see Breaking Dawn. Besides Taylor Lautner, one my favorite things about the movie was its soundtrack. From all the criticism the Twilight series receives, they at least deserve credit for their music selection, especially for BD.

A few tracks that stood out to me:
1. 'Turning Page' Sleeping At Last
2. 'Love Will Take You' Angus and Julia Stone
3. 'It Will Rain' Bruno Mars
4. 'A Thousand Years' Christina Perri
5. 'Requiem on Water' Imperial Mammoth

3 Minute Miracle

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One of my favorite beauty-related things to do is get deep conditioning treatments at my local salon. I decided to cut this luxury from my life, though, because honestly, it was a big waste of money. In an attempt to find a cheaper substitute, I discovered Aussie's 3 Minute Miracle. I was a bit skeptical at first because of it's price... I suppose it was too good to be true. After using it for a little over 2 weeks, it was instant love.

If your hair is feeling dry, this is a remedy worth trying. It smells fantastic (fruity, with a strong hint of coconut/blueberry), only costs a few dollars, and works well. You've seriously got nothing to lose.

Tip: To prevent greasiness, use this product 2-3 times a week, instead of every day.

*I paid for this product with my own money.

Gift Guide: The Men In Your Life

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Christmas is just around the corner. If you're like me, and are slightly lagging on getting gifts for your dad/brother/best guy friend/boyfriend/etc., perhaps, these recommendations will spark an idea.

1. T-shirts. A lot of guys I know, overheat easily. Take my boyfriend, for example. In the midst of cold weather, while I'm bundled up in a heavy jacket, scarf, and boots, he's fine in a t-shirt and light jacket. This gift will carry over nicely when springtime comes around.

2. For the man who likes to dress up: cuff links or a tie clip. You can never go wrong with these.

3. DVDs... or, if you're feeling bold: video games.

4. Jack Black's 'Beard Lube' = a luxury shaving cream ($16 via Nordstrom). Pair this with a nice razor, and you're set.

5. Warm things (for the guy who doesn't warm up as easily): socks, hats, gloves.

6. A wallet

Tutorial: Snowflake Nails

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Is it getting really cold where you live? Because in Seattle, it feels like it should be snowing. To honor the cold weather, I decided to come up with a design for snowflake nails.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED: dark blue nail polish, glitter polish (preferably iridescent or silver), and a white nail art polish

DIRECTIONS
1. Paint your nails dark blue
2. Paint 1 or 2 layers of glitter polish. I used iridescent and silver from F21.
3. With the white nail art polish, paint an asterisk. Add a few short lines to each leg of the asterisk to complete the snowflake look.

Christmas Things

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I love the holidays. If someone asked me to name off all the things I like about this time of year, the list would be endless. To save time and space, here are my top 12 favorite things:
  • Unlimited time with friends, family, and my pillow
  • Giving/wrapping presents
  • Warm drinks
  • Cinnamon candles
  • Taylor Swift's Christmas covers (my favorite: Last Christmas)
  • Snow
  • Black Friday
  • Winter fashion
  • Decorating sugar cookies
  • Sitting by the fire
  • Decorating the tree
  • Reading and creating holiday blog posts
What are your favorite things about the holiday season?

P.S. For those of you who shop at Trader Joe's, I highly recommend you check out the cut-out gift tags on their paper bags (see picture below). They're adorable, and eco-friendly!



Happy Birthday

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image via tumblr

Dear Taylor,
Happy 22nd Birthday! Thanks for a great year of music and inspiration. Don't stop being amazing.
Love,
Your #1 Fan

Leather Jacket

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faux leather bomber: Urban Outfitters $70 SALE //boyfriend shirt: Madewell // black tank: CABi //necklace: Nordstrom B.P.

On Black Friday, I caved, and finally got the faux leather jacket I had been eyeing for months. Although it's a little too cold to be wearing anything but a down jacket in Seattle right now, I've managed to sport it a total of 2 times in public. Oh, spring, why can't you be here any sooner?

For The Girl Who...

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Even though you may know your BFF inside and out, sometimes, it can be hard to think of something to get them for the holidays. Below, you will find a list of 4 types of females, which, I'm hoping will give you a kick start on finding the perfect gift.

For the girl who has everything: You can never fail by giving this type of person something hand-made, with a lot of sentimental value. Examples: a friendship bracelet with some pretty rhinestones or beads (one for you, and one for her!), a hand painted ceramic item, or a scrapbook full of inside jokes and pictures.

For the fashionista: Think about the places they usually shop at, and what kind of style they have. It can be difficult getting someone clothing items, because you can never tell if they're going to love it or hate it. Think outside the box. Examples: a roller-ball perfume, a pretty scarf, nail polish, earrings, or a trendy phone case.

For the interior design junkie: Similar to the fashionista, think about what style they have (home-wise). If she's really into vintage-type things, Pier 1 Imports and Anthropologie are the places to look, for cute knick-knacks. A cheaper alternative (that's just as good!) is Target's housewares section. Example items: candles, a tea pot (can be for displaying or drinking out of), a cute mug, picture frames, a bath rug.

For the I-love-everything gal: This one, clearly, will be the easiest to shop for. If she's in college and has her own place, try scouting out cute dish towels, dish ware items, or room decor. Think about her personality, and any hobbies she may have.

all images via Polyvore, graphics designed by SWEATshirt DRESSshirt

The Boyfriend Watch

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You've got the boyfriend blazer, jeans, shirt, and now, watch. Who would have thought, that your significant other's wardrobe and feminine fashion could have so much in common?

Tip #893: When wearing a masculine piece, balance out the rest of your outfit with feminine pieces.

From left to right, here are my top picks on boyfriend watches to splurge on:
1. Micheal Kors
2. Marc by Marc Jacobs
3. Fossil

images via Polyvore, graphic designed by SWEATshirt DRESSshirt

Tutorial: Candy Cane Nails

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Considering how it's been a while since I posted up my last nail tutorial, I decided it was time to pull out my dust-collecting bag of nail polish that I, unfortunately, have little time to play with these days.

Some of you may know that I have a love for festive nails. Well, the holidays are no exception. Modeling after one of my favorite winter treats, I present to you, a candy cane nail tutorial.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED
-Red nail polish (I used Big Apple Red by OPI)
-White nail art polish

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Paint your nails red.
2. Using the white nail art polish, paint a thick diagonal line on your nail, followed by a skinny one.
3. Repeat this pattern one or two more times, depending on the length of your nail. I decided to switch it up by painting the skinny line first every other time, instead of every time.
*Optional: Use glitter polish on the nails you don't paint stripes on (I used a red glitter from F21).

XO,
SWEATshirt DRESSshirt

Happy Holidays!


last image via http://www.flickr.com/photos/happygirltc/4179940278/, other images by SWEATshirtDRESSshirt

DIY: Shopping Bag Greeting Cards

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While wrapping up my Secret Santa gift last night, I got desperate. I thought I had gotten everything I needed, until I realized I was missing one of the most important things: a card! How else was I supposed to reveal my identity? I was running low on supplies, and didn't feel like going to the store at such a late hour.

After finding several random items in my "office stuff" drawer, I finally put together a plan that didn't turn out half bad.

USING THE FOLLOWING THINGS:
-A Sharpie
-An old greeting card, or a ruler
-A shopping bag made of material resembling the thickness of card stock, or index cards. Be sure there is a lot of blank space.
-Scissors

I DID THIS:
1. Lay your shopping bag flat on a table or floor space.

2. For this step, you can either create a customized sized card with a ruler, or do what I did, and trace the outline of an old greeting card on to one side of your shopping bag.

3. Cut out your card, fold it in half, and voila! You're already more than halfway done.

4. Using a sharpie, draw a pretty design on the front. You may want to put a piece of paper on the inside of the card, or keep it opened, as the ink may bleed through. My design was inspired by a henna tattoo I got at the fair over the summer.



Second Best

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While shampooing and conditioning on a daily basis may feel like a nice thing to do, it can actually be very damaging to your hair. Several of you may be hesitant to give up this luxury because you refuse to sport the "greasy" look. Well, from personal experience, wearing second-day hair "up" can minimize, if not completely eliminate this unwanted look.

If the classic ponytail isn't cutting it for you, check out the following tutorials I scouted on Pinterest:

Hair Affair

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images via here and here, edited by SWEATshirt DRESSshirt

I go to school with girls who have really great style. And on top of that, they always have really great hair. They've inspired me to start styling mine once again (I got into the habit of ponytails, from being so carefree over the summer).

In honor of the renewed relationship I have with my hair, I decided to pull some pictures from Pinterest for inspiration.

images via here, here, and here. Edited by SWEATshirt DRESSshirt

Small Spaces

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Tip #832: Sometimes, you'll be like me, and with 2 other roommates, will have no choice but to keep your shoes in your room. To reduce the amount of dirt tracked on to your carpet, store your shoes on a pretty mat. This one pictured above is from Ikea ($4).

P.S. Congratulations to T.S. for winning Artist of the Year last night at the AMAs! I'll be at your concert in spirit, tonight!

Take Care

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As human beings, we can be greatly impacted by even the smallest stressors in our lives. In class yesterday, several of my classmates presented on ways to take care of yourself physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I thought I would pass what they had to say on to you guys, because after all, too much self-care is never a bad thing.

Physical
  • Take a walk, or ride a bike.
  • Exercise and stretch at the gym.
  • Sit in the sun for 15 minutes.
  • Change one thing to improve your diet.
  • Take a nap.
  • Get a massage.


Emotional
  • Take a deep breath and think, "I am calm and peaceful."
  • Sing or listen to music you enjoy.
  • Hug someone, or ask for a hug.
  • Pet your dog or cat.
  • Notice what you are feeling several times a day,
  • Write a letter to someone who has hurt you, but don't send it.


Mental
  • Say an affirmation aloud.
  • Read a book or magazine article.
  • Express your thoughts or feelings in a journal.
  • Make a to-do list.
  • List your traits, needs, and wants.
  • Make a list of short-term and long-term goals.


Spiritual
  • Practice daily quiet time.
  • Pray or meditate.
  • Write about your spiritual purpose.
  • Practice unconditional love with yourself, and others.
  • Join a church or support group.
  • Study with a spiritual teacher.