Wednesday, December 20, 2017

12 Days of Ugly Christmas Sweaters

Tis the season for holiday shindigs, and it seems that these days they are all Ugly Christmas Sweater themed. Remember when you wouldn't be caught dead in an unflattering, kitchy jumper? But now it is a "thing". No longer do you have to hunt down a Goodwill or beg Aunt Margie to let you raid her closet. Now Target has an entire section dedicated to them. The more pom poms, glitter, embroidery, animals, and puns, the better. Oh, and of course - lights! I remember my mom being ahead of the trend when she purchased a sweater in the late 80s that lit up "Happy Holidays". The battery pack alone weighed a pound. She wore it to a work holiday party and was asked to switch it off. I wonder what those coworkers would think of the options today?

If you are handy with a glue gun, you could always fashion your own:

Friday, December 15, 2017

Friday Feels - Volume VIII

I feel like I am zigzagging to and fro for quick getaways or weekend stays quite often during this busy time of year. Wit & Delight's weekender bag fits everything I need for a couple of days away - check out the bottom compartment which is perfect for separating shoes! It's designed with a combo of utility and style. Now off you go!

2017 has been a gut punch right up until the end. It will definitely be a year to remember, eh? With the #metoo movement gaining momentum and revealing some crushing realities about men that we may have even looked up to, I surveyed my friends to see whose downfall from bad behavior would be the biggest blow. The clear winner? Allen Bauer, himself:

I've heard only good things about Lady Bird and now that I've seen that other little art house movie (hint: rhymes with car doors), this will be my next film outing.

And I've watched enough talk show rounds with the leading lady to finally know how to pronounce Saoirse.

THIS couldn't be a better story (along with the accompanying and always classy Page Six photo).

Why are dogs just the best? A statement hoodie that reads my mind.

Thanksgiving may be over, but these super savory and sage-forward salt bombs keep the thanks a flowin'. It's one of those novelty items that actually work.

Not sure how long this product will be on the shelves after T-Day, but if you missed them this season, you know what to add to your shopping list for next November.

Might not be the perfect pairing for the above, but the release of Beaujolais Nouveau 2017 is upon us. Fruity and affordable, I enjoy this wine year-round, but there is something festive about uncorking the new vintage this time of year.

Isn't this just lovely?

I realize you could buy a plane ticket to Cancun for the same price (and I advise you do that and buy one for me while you're at it - Vitamin D is important during the winter months!), but the delicately crafted wreath is just so darling and magical and Christmas-y. I even spot a dachshund! It puts me in the holiday spirit.

Are you full of Christmas cheer yet? If you are struggling to find some merriment, watch this clip from a past Billy on the Street episode featuring Amy Poehler. It's become an annual viewing tradition for me. I promise you a few fa-la-la-la-las and a lot of ha-ha-ha-ha-has.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Cyber Monday and Beyond

Cyber Monday is really beyond. Even though I know it is forthcoming every year, I still never manage to save my shekels in order to spend it on the crazy good deals a few days after Thanksgiving. Why? Why, LuRuSo? Stop buying things in August, September, and October and wait until Cyber Monday, you ding dong! 

There are many Cyber Monday steals that are worthy of your attention this year. And quite a few extend into the week.
Here is a full compilation of travel options:

Capitalism is alive and well, my friends.

But of all the 30% off serums or 25% off TVs, I think my favorite deals this year are for DNA testing. This can be such a game changer for finding out about your health, sparking interest in your heritage, or even connecting with some relatives that you may or may not want to know (please, let them not be Trump supporters!) The two major testers, 23andMe and, are both offering their best deals of the year, at $30 and $100 off, and $45 off, respectfully.

Speakings of genes, this lactic acid-based serum is one of the only skin care products that has made a visibly positive difference in my skin. Problem is, it isn't cheap. So grabbing it during a Cyber Monday sale, like Dermatore's 25% off, is ideal.
Sunday Riley Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment -

Beyond fabricated genes, I've been into taking collagen as of late. I know, I know, I sound loopy. I have no scientific basis for spending money on such kooky claims, but my skin, nails, and hair are supple and strong since dissolving this powder into my hot coffee each morning, so either I'm Benjamin Button or there is something to these peptides. Vital Proteins is having their own Cyber Monday deal where you can gain some free product with purchase.

Before spending a whole day focused on spending, I spent a whole week focused on nature and family. My lil' nuclear family, in particular.
The Sorensens in Shadow

This year, we tooled around L.A. and the Santa Ynez wine country rather than focus on a big Thanksgiving meal for only three people and a short-legged dachshund. Unplugging from the media and plugging into the here and now of nature was a wonderful and grateful experience. It's fairly easy to do when in wine country. Who wants to look at MSNBC or Facebook when you can look at this?
Santa Ynez Valley, CA

I feel in love with the region's Pinot rosé wines. Bone dry, just like my sense of humor. I also was impressed by this gadget which tapped the wine without uncorking the bottle.
Not that I ever have trouble finishing a bottle of wine, but it's a pretty nifty concept. You can score one on sale today at Sur La Table.

We also had a few nights in Solvang (my people!) which reminded me of the movie Sideways and what a solidly great film that is.
Solvang, CA

Sorry, Miles.

 Following wine country, we journeyed up the mountains into the Ojai Valley. There was a special kind of magic during our 24 hours in Ojai. We even witnessed "the pink moment".

Not that the trip was without consumerism. After battling major gridlock...

...we ventured to the happiest place on earth - Disneyland.
I was warned that Thanksgiving Day might be torture due to the crowds, but we lucked out by purchasing the MaxPass which sent us straight through to the ride each and every time. I know, so lucky! I definitely recommend it for the mere $10 extra per ticket. Also, you get to digitally save any photos captured during the day, like these gems:

Like I said, Happiest Place on Earth! (In all fairness, my dad had gotten surprisingly soaked right before the first pic and feared his iphone was going to launch out of his pocket in the second.) We never really had any awkward family photos growing up, so now we are making up for lost time.

After many years of hearing extolled virtues of the Dole Whip, I finally partook. In all honesty, this was because I thought we were in line for the Tiki Room, and after 20 minutes of waiting and approaching a cash register instead of a crooning parrot, I supposed I might as well go for it.

And now I get it. Oh boy, do I get it! Now, the question is - where do I get it?!
I've been told there are actually a few Minnesota establishments who do the DW, including the State Fair. But can I wait until late August? A Google search led me to this:
Which seems slightly less magical. But, might be worth a try?

After a day at Disney, I turned to a beloved Disney character and his take on Taoism. I'm not sure I totally bought the correlations between the Chinese philosophy of living in harmony with the Way and a tubby bear that loves honey, but it did make me want to learn more about this ancient tradition. And eat honey.

Another book I've been moved by this month:
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood - Trevor Noah

I really couldn't recommend it more. I haven't been an avid follower of Trevor Noah, previously only knowing him from snippets of The Daily Show. But, after seeing him live in Minneapolis, mark me a fan. He was uplifting, hilarious, and timely. So engaging and truthful with his comedy. If you can't see him live, at least read this intriguing book.

"Love is a creative act. When you love someone you create a new world for them."
-Trevor Noah

As proof, let's turn to a sweet note; this is just darling. It almost makes me believe in romance and true love and commitment and fairy tales again (and I'm the bitterest Betty of Bitterland). But I'm rooting for them!
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, BBC News - YouTube

One last random looking-toward-the-future note: do I need an Ugly Christmas Sweater this holiday season? Thus far, I've not been invited to any Ugly Christmas Sweater parties, but I want to be prepared...if so, which jumper should I buy?

Let's bring good cheer (and ugly sweaters) to the Holiday Season!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Friday Feels - Volume VII

It's FriYAY! I'm sorry, I just canNOT get into that word. I like the sound of Friday just as it is. But here are some things I *am* into:

The controversial and massive $50 million Nicollet Mall overhaul is finally complete, which held an opening celebration last night. And our Mary is back in place!

She sits near the area of her iconic hat toss from the open credits of the Mary Tyler Moore Show. 

Have you ever noticed the bespectacled, kerchiefed woman at the end of the shot, who is giving some serious side eye to Mary?
Well, her name was Hazel Frederick - read about her story HERE

Also, since we are on a MTM kick - come visit me in Minneapolis, and we will do a mini Mary tour:

Were you into high school theater? It was a pretty big deal at my school and some of my happiest teenage memories are from on and off that Eagan High School stage. 

That's why I will definitely be tuning into this upcoming TV show where former class/cast-mates reunite to give one last performance of their favorite musical. Hm...maybe EHS should sign up?

It's been gloomy and cold around these parts. Last year we had such an extended warm fall that I got spoiled. Plus, with the darkness settling in each night by 5pm, it really can get you down. A suggestion from a family member led me to try SAM-e, a supposed natural mood enhancer. Maybe it is a placebo effect, but my outlook has brightened since taking them.

The news has been hard to take this week (or every week, really.) There is so much to unpack and sort through on a lot of really uncomfortable subjects. This week in particular, I've been disappointed in men. But at the same time, I'm honored to know so many wonderful males in my life. I won't go into all of the ongoing mess any further on a silly blog, but I did think this article had many strong points to be said about raising kind and confident boys.

I'm not a habit-forming kind of person. I tend to switch things up and multitask to the point where I always have a million unfinished projects. I've spent so much time organizing other people's lives, that my own tasks are left to dangle. Lately, I've taken charge of that and one tool that has really helped me is the Habit List app.

There are no bells and whistles, but it is very user friendly and I find the streak-incentive addictive. 8 glasses of water a day, here I come!

Or if not water, maybe beer...?

I admit, I often buy beer much like I buy makeup - based on the name and packaging. Luckily with these design-forward brews, the beer inside is just as impressive as the cool cans.

I fell in love with this colorful and mind-bending can when it was first released late summer, but couldn't score a pack before they sold out. I still was able to taste the hazy and fruit-heavy IPA at Fair State's Oktoberfest shindig and found it super refreshing. I was thrilled that they decided to have one more limited release this week - this time I was on the case - literally!

Sours are an acquired taste and not necessarily my first choice, but how could I not love a Lucy? 

This one totally shocked me. I grabbed a 6-pack after being drawn in by the mystic aurora borealis themed-can. I clearly did not look past the pretty midnight colors swirling about because this broo is a combo of ale and cold brew coffee! It is quite interesting and definitely wakes you up.

What are some of your favorite artfully contained beers?

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Velvet Walk

I've been crushing on velvet footwear as of late. Velvet usually makes an appearance around the holidays, but I love it year-round for a dash of lux, texture, and whimsy. Shoes are the perfect way to test the velvet trend without feeling like The Velveteen Rabbit.

A softer version of a structured shoe:

Festive meets casual with this sandal:

Talk about easy:

Giving blue suede some competition:

These remind me of an amazing vintage store find:

This is a perfect shade of grey paired with the sweetest satin ribbons:

I love the rainbow of colors velvet is now available in - like this emerald:

I am always onboard for a take on the classic mary jane:

Does anyone else have that Black Velvet song in your head now?

Who knew loafers could be so pretty?

Grey velvet just works:

If you are the type to choose gold velvet, well then please teach me your ways.

What do you think of the velvet trend? Would you dip your toe in velvet?