Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Turnip the Beet Tote Giveaway

I'm excited to announce that I'm hosting my first rafflecopter giveaway! How cute is this "Turnip the Beet" Tote from Whole Foods?! It's the perfect size for your groceries, workout gear, or just to carry as a cute bag with your wallet and phone. It starts Tuesday January 27th (today) at 9:30 am (Pacific Time) and will close Saturday January 31st at 9:30 am (Pacific Time.) Get entered below for a chance to win. Good luck! 

Monday, January 26, 2015

LA Cookie Con

Yesterday I had the great pleasure of attending the 1st annual LA Cookie Con & Sweets Show at the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, CA. Cookie Con is the West Coast's first, biggest and only baking and pastry convention. Pretty cool, right?! Here I am out front of the convention center:

The convention itself was large enough that I got to see and try lots of yummy treats, but small enough that I felt like I got to engage on a personal level with some of the vendors. I thought they did a good job of having a wide variety of treats (not just cookies.)

SH and my three favorite booths (in no particular order) were Pop Up Pastries, Drive Me Cookie and Cream by Crystal.

Have I admitted to you yet how (embarrassingly) much I love pop tarts? But, to be honest, I never feel that healthy when I eat them. When I read about Pop Up Pastries online I was soo excited to seek them out at Cookie Con. The business concept is pretty cool- Kelly, the owner, doesn't have one shop that she sells out of, rather she "pops up" all over LA so you'll never know where you might see these sweet treats next! The dough is super flaky and buttery, and the jam inside is the perfect amount- not too much making it too sweet, but not so little that you're just eating pastry dough. You could eat these for breakfast or dessert. And they are so light you don't even feel like you ate something that you "shouldn't"! I could eat a few in a row! My favorite is the lemon blackberry tart.

 Salted Caramel Apple Goodness c/o Pop Up Pastries

The Pop Up Pastries Booth

Drive Me Cookie was another great stop. SH loved the classic chocolate chip cookie and vanilla ice cream sandwich. He ate it so fast that I wasn't able to snap a photo of it before it was gone. :)

Their cute #doughlaroid sign

They do catering, delivery and street vending. These yummy treats are sure to brighten up your day (especially if you partake in any of the fun toppings like sprinkles or caramel drizzle.)

And last but not least was Cream by Crystal. This was my all time favorite cupcake place by far!!! (She won Cupcake Wars... she's THAT good.) I have never tasted a cupcake that tastes so much like delicious cheesecake goodness in my entire life. The cupcakes were so creamy, light, fluffy, and that frosting! Mm! Everything about them is perfection. The original was my favorite. 

Here's a play by play of me tasting the cupcake:
 Taste 1: Trying it, unsuspecting
 Taste 2: "Wait, this is seriously good."
 Taste 3: "Oh my gosh, mmm this is the best thing ever"
 Taste 4: "!!! It's not even fair how good this is !!! I want more tastes of all the flavors right now!"

That pretty much sums it up. Needless to say I was excited to meet Crystal.

Overall, I think Cookie Con was a fun success. There were lots of other cool booths and I have so many more photos I want to share with you, ah! I'd love to know, what about you guys? How did you spend your weekend? 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Beach Camping

Happy Friday Eve! I hope you are all having a great week. I'm so happy to share with you today some photos from our weekend trip to Jalama Beach, which is about an hour and a half north of Santa Barbara.

SH and I booked the campsite a couple of weeks in advance, and good thing too because it filled up pretty quickly. This campsite is cool because it offers a number of lodging options: there's cabins, RV camping, tent camping- something for everyone. There's showers (which we did not use since we were only there one night) and bathrooms. It's right on the beach (literally, steps from the beach and ocean.) We had such a fun time! We sat around the campfire and made smores and listened to the ocean :) It was pretty windy so keep that in mind if you do decide to visit. You can make camping reservations here

It is truly a beautiful place to stay. 

These are photos from an early Sunday morning walk that I took on the beach before SH was awake :) Isn't that Happy Birthday thing funny? What do you think it is, a cake topper? Another great plus about this campsite is everyone brought their dogs and their kids. Everyone just seemed to be having such a lovely time.

I'd love to know, do you have any favorite camping spots, in California or elsewhere? Have a great day!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Tips & Tricks: How to Cope With Daily Stress

Coping with daily stress is an acquired skill. Life is not easy - there are times when the trip to the grocery store, sitting in an hour of traffic, talking to an unhappy customer, etc. can seem like too much. That being said, being able to cope with daily stress is an important skill that mature adults will have cultivated over time. It's a muscle that needs to be warmed up, stretched, and used regularly.

Here are some tips and tricks that I use to help myself handle the daily stressors of life:

1. Check yourself. What is really going on here? Are you reacting to the situation, or are you processing it? I have found that reacting often takes a lot of energy, whereas processing allows you to take action immediately. Example: Student walks into my office and is unhappy. Are they unhappy because of ME? Probably not. If I reacted to a negative tone with a defense mechanism, I am expending important energy that is best channeled elsewhere (like solving the issue at hand.) Rather than reacting I should check myself and process the issue. Tone aside, what are they really unhappy about? What is the message they are inadvertently sending? When I focus on this I am much more able to get to the issue at hand and take action.

2. Check your thoughts. Having negative thoughts repeatedly throughout a day will undoubtedly alter your mood. Not only that, it will alter how people perceive you, and how you perceive yourself. Check your thoughts. If you are thinking negative things about yourself and your life often throughout the day, your mood, mental health and overall well-being are probably suffering for it.

3. Nourish yourself. How can you cope with stress if you don't properly nourish yourself? Your diet is between you and your doctor, but trying to get the right amount of vitamins, minerals, protein and fruits/veggies is a great place to start.

4. Drink water. This is a huge one for me. When I am dehydrated, my thinking, processing, well-being, everything- is compromised. When I start to feel super cranky and tired for (seemingly) no reason, I know that's my cue to drink more water, stat. It really helps with my energy levels plus it does wonders for my skin ;)

5. Pat yourself on the back! More likely than not, you are doing your best. Some days that means you will operate at 100%, other days that means you might be operating at 80%. Be kind to yourself. No one is perfect and we often times have to deal with stressors that are out of our control. The sooner you acknowledge that you don't have control over everything and that you're just trying your best to handle your day, the better.

I'd love to know, what are you tips and tricks for coping with daily stress? Have a great week!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

5 Lovely Links

1. The Morning Routines of 13 Ambitious Millennial Women, from heragenda.com. Read it here.
(Umm can I channel Isa Adney for a day?)

2. Why Some Teams Are Smarter Than Others, by Anita Woolley, Thomas W. Malone and Christopher Chabris. Short, interesting read about three characteristics that contribute to groups working smarter together. My favorite: "Finally, teams with more women outperformed teams with more men." 


3. 7 Tips to Help You Keep Fitness Resolutions - read it here

I particularly like the idea of adding fruit or something yummy to my water to help keep me hydrated, and it's never hurt to have cute workout gear to get me in the right mindset for a workout! 

4. What, to the Black American, is Martin Luther King Jr. Day? A thought provoking read by Chris Lebron in light of yesterday's holiday. 

5. 24 Hours in New Orleans, LA with Juley or of Upperlyne & Co - New Orleans is on my bucket list of must see places and this 24 hour guide makes me want to go even more! Read it here

Have a great start to the week everybody! I know that I'm having a bit of a slow morning. :) I hope you all had a great long weekend. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

New 'Do

Hi everyone! I have Monday off of work so I'm keeping this really short and I'll be back for a normal post on Tuesday. I just wanted to share my new haircut (which I cut myself and I'm so happy with!) 

Lob city! I hope you're all having a fantastic weekend! 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Cutting Your Own Hair

Hello, friends. This is a short-story called, "The Day I Cut My Own Hair"

Every time I feel like being someone new, I cut my hair. I want to get over an ex-boyfriend? I cut my hair. (Dye it too, for good measure.) I’m starting graduate school? I cut my hair. I want to stop getting asked if I’m a student (which is the current reason)? I cut my hair. Only this time, I cut it myself. $60+ salon visit? Ain’t nobody got time for that! Plus there’s something intriguing about cutting your own hair… something that feels so 90’s grunge… so teenage rebellion, doncha think?

Step One:
Shower. Shampoo, Condition.

Step Two:
Comb wet hair. Pin back bangs.

Step Three:
Take (desk) scissors (woops.) Run fingers through left chunk of hair. Try to replicate what they do at salon. Snip off first two inches. Hold in mini panic attack that is rising in my chest. Re-run fingers through hair to see if the first chunk is even. Snip some more to make edges jagged and not look so I-just-cut-my-barbie’s-hair.

Step Four:
Dry first chunk. Make sure it doesn’t look like I lit my hair on fire or went through a washing machine.

Step Five:
It doesn’t look like I lit my hair on fire or went through a washing machine, so repeat steps 3-4 throughout head, separating my head of hair into five chunks- two on the left side, two on the right, and keeping my bangs out entirely. Dry each chunk separately.

Step Five:
Dry bangs. (Which I did not cut.)

Voila! 20 minutes later and $60 still in my wallet, I have a new ‘do.

Lol! That is literally what I did last night. Are you horrified?


To see a photo of my new hair, visit my instagram: mapleandmint!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Wednesday Wishlist: Warmer Days

It's been kind of icky weather here in LA the past couple of days. (And by icky I am totally spoiled and I mean not 70 degrees and balmy.) Summer is my favorite time of year so I'm dreaming of warmer days with longer hours of sunshine, evening concerts on the beach, short shorts, straw hats, pina coladas and laying out. Here are some things I'm thinking about in anticipation of sunnier days :)
Oh, and the midi rings stacking set is only $32 (and the feather ring is $30.) Juuust saying. Because how super cute are they? I'm going to be keeping an eye out for a cheaper version of the Sigerson Morrison sandals below. Also, the red wedges are on sale at Kohls and the green crossbody comes in a million colors and is unbelievably affordable for how expensive it looks :) What items can you not wait to wear this spring or summer?


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Get Out of Town

 Peacoat: Target | Jeans: Lucky | Boots: LL Bean | Blanket Scarf: Zara | Ring: Tiffany | Clutch: Kate Spade

Hello everyone! Happy Tuesday! I wore this grocery shopping over the weekend- very simple and cozy for a rainy day in LA. My friend gave me this Kate Spade "Get Out of Town" clutch for Christmas and I am completely in love with it!! I love navy and white stripes (just in general,) and the gold lettering is the perfect touch. I'm going to be carrying it everywhere!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Winter Pastel

 Top: Soprano from Nordstrom, similar here | Pants: Nordstrom Rack | Blazer: Lush, also love this one | Booties: Forever 21 | Watch: Citizen | Bracelets: Alex and Ani | Necklace: Gorjana | Earrings: Gift

Hello everyone and happy Monday! I hope you all had a lovely weekend. I wore this to a work event last week and really enjoyed taking part in the winter pastel trend! This pastel pink blazer is perfect for spring or winter in LA where it doesn't ever get too cold. There is some pastel pink in these track pants, too, so they go together but aren't overly matchy matchy. I was having trouble deciding- are these geo-print track pants, or tribal print track pants? Are they a combination of both? I am obsessed with track pants and you'll probably start seeing them on my blog much more now that I've acquired a few pairs. They are so comfortable but can also be chic. I snagged this pair at Nordstrom Rack and have never looked back! I love to pair them with these Forever 21 ankle booties.

In other news, I'm trying my first link-up. I'm honestly not really sure how they work- I'm still new to this. But I joined "Mingle Monday" and you can take part as well if you head to http://www.lifeofmeg.com/2015/01/mingle-monday-blog-link-up.html. Check out some awesome fellow bloggers and what our new year's resolutions are! You can also read my post here about what I think of new years resolutions.

Thanks as always for reading and have a great day!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

2015 Brainstorm

Hi everyone! Happy Friday Eve! :)

I've read a number of blog posts about new year's resolutions, and many of them seem to flow along the same vein- "I don't want to make promises I'm not going to keep," and "I'm not going to set unrealistic expectations for myself this year." Many of the posts have taken a new, more uplifting spin on typical resolution making, which can feel daunting and, well, even a little self-shaming sometimes.

Last year I created a 2014 "brainstorm" - a list of things I hoped to learn and do. Looking back, it was a great list! And I was able to accomplish many things on it. But a few of the things on that list are things I am ALWAYS striving to do, such as love myself, eat more greens, and eat less cheese ;)

My 2014 brainstorm list included:
  • Learn how to use a slow cooker
  • Host one party a month (ambitious??)
  • Host a game night
  • Host a movie night
  • Try a DIY project
  • Go to Griffith to hike (did this Jan 4th!! It was beautiful!)
  • Bake
  • Write cards to friends (snail mail)
  • Learn karate and earn a belt (!!!)
  • Run a 5k
  • Love myself
  • Eat more greens
  • Eat less cheese/bread/chips and sub fruit/veggies/protein
  • Call more friends
  • Reach out more frequently (calls, emails, etc.)
  • Enjoy life
  • Seek out nature
  • Say a prayer
  • Take a dance class
  • Go for a run
  • Read more
  • Start an etsy shop
Making a list of new year's HOPES rather than hard and fast "resolutions" is what works for me. Some of these goals have changed, too. For example, in 2014 (and probably earlier, if I'm being honest with myself,) I discovered that I just don't really love running. Why try to turn myself into a runner when I don't even enjoy it? What I did learn in 2014 is that I really enjoy Krav Maga classes (and though I didn't learn Karate, I did earn my first belt in Krav Maga and it felt awesome!)

In short, I don't want to change my nature, I want to tap into things that I'm most naturally passionate about. With that in mind, here are some things that are on my 2015 Brainstorm list:

  • Bring lunch to work (saving money and being more frugal is high on my list of priorities this year!)
  • Take a break from pizza and sweets (pizza, popcorn and sweets are my three favorite foods. Safeguarding my health is important to me, so the frequency of my indulging in certain foods might need to shift as I age.) 
  • Continue to explore my creative side (sketching! Blogging! Crocheting!) 
  • Keep better track of what books I read and what movies I watch 
  • Maintain a good apartment cleaning schedule 
  • Continue to travel to new places as often as possible
  • Grow my blog readership 
  • Develop a good blogging routine  
  • Do something that scares me a little bit 
  • Continue to grow and maintain healthy, fulfilling relationships 
What do you think of my brainstorm? Are there any things in particular that you want to accomplish in 2015? 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Vintage Plaid Shirt

Shirt: Vintage | Jeans: Joe's | Belt: Forever 21 | Boots: Miz Mooz from Nordstrom | Coat: J. Crew (similar here) | Bag: Marc Jacobs from Marshalls

I've had this shirt since freshman year of college. It's one of my favorite finds from vintage/ thrift store shopping in Colorado Springs. When shopping for thrifted items, you want to make sure that you examine each article of clothing or accessory closely before purchasing. Does the item have any rips or stains? Is the lining coming undone anywhere? Does the garment have any icky odors or residue? Are there any signs of excessive wear? If "yes" to any of the above questions, ask yourself: am I okay with this? Will I still wear this item despite its imperfections? Are these issues I can get fixed (i.e. at the tailor or dry cleaners? Do I want to pay the money to have them repaired/cleaned?) Then ask the retailer if you can have a discount for these imperfections.

If "no" to any of these questions... ask yourself, is it a deal breaker? If it is, put it back on the rack.

Other things to consider: are all the buttons/sequins/beads in tact? If "no"- ask for a discount! It never hurts to ask, and if you don't ask you'll never know.

Also I always, always, ALWAYS either have my items dry cleaned after I buy them used, or I make sure to throw them in a hot wash. You never know where something has been. (Truly!)

As for styling this shirt, I have worn it on a number of occasions- to themed parties as a cowgirl with daisy dukes and western boots, tucked into a long black maxi skirt for a casual look, and with jeans for a more polished look, as you see here.  I initially put on my black Frye boots with this outfit but it looked a little too country. These Miz Mooz boots paired with this J. Crew jacket makes the look a little more prep, which was what I was going for. And I love the gold buttons on this jacket. Something about navy and gold makes me happy. The corduroy detail on the collar adds a unique and special touch to this coat.

What about you, do you like to go thrift store shopping? Do you have any tips for thrift/vintage store hunting and styling? Have a great day and thanks for reading!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Cozy Knit

Sweater: Free People | Jeans: Joe's | Sneakers: Converse | Bag: Marc Jacobs (Nearly 50% off the retail price at Marshalls!!)

Happy 2015, everybody!! I am officially back to the daily grind today after the holiday break. I hope you all had a restful and fun holiday season! Happy New Year! I wore this to brunch yesterday with SH and it was super cozy! I love cuddling up in this blanket sweater and because I live in LA... I can get away with only wearing a tank and a loose sweater in January :) I'm also super excited about this new bag because I have been lusting after a Marc Jacobs handbag for probably, you know, five years or so, but I can never bring myself to spend the $500 + on it. I found this beauty at Marshalls for 1/2 the usual retail price and was SO excited to scoop it up and make it mine! It fits everything... my wallet, kindle, a book, keys, everything. So happy about this find! Have a great Monday!

design + development by kelly christine studio