Seasonal Affective Disorder

You guys. I need help with something totally frivolous.

Yup, it’s time for another “let’s talk about Justine’s hair” post. You love those, right?

But for realz. I need advice.

As my more long-standing readers can attest, I go back and forth on what color my hair should be fairly often. It’s kind of a seasonal thing.

In the last year or so, however, I’ve come to the conclusion that I am happier as a blonde. I think it suits me better.

YOU WOULD THINK THE QUESTIONING WOULD END THERE, RIGHT?

Wrong. I still have questions.

Because lately my hair has gotten pretty darn blonde. And I think for fall, I want to do something a bit deeper. But not so much darker that it’s at all difficult to go back to blonde once the weather gets warmer.

So I have a couple of options.

1. Ombre.
Although I read something online yesterday that mentioned ombre might be over. I always miss things. But I was thinking something soft like:

2. All-over reddish-blonde toner.
I’ve done the red hair thing, and while I liked it, it’s pretty hard to maintain in the long-run. But a subtle honey-colored toner for fall/winter? Seems simple enough. I’m thinking:

So…what do you think? Anyone else make a seasonal color change almost every year, or am I the only crazy one? At least I’ve narrowed it down a little, right?

For whatever reason, summer seems to have hit New York with a fiery passion this last week. It’s supposed to rain sometime Friday, so hopefully we’ll get some relief, but as of last night, things were a bit, shall we say, steamy.

And not in a sexy way. There’s nothing sexy about the backs of your legs sticking to whatever you’re sitting on from the sweat. Just sayin.

The point is, the hubs and I were looking for some refreshment.

I’ve never been a huge beer drinker, and since my favorite brew isn’t even available in New York, I’m more inclined to order a cocktail, wine, or cider out at bars. The first drink I legally purchased (just moments after turning 21 my first summer in New York) actually happened to be cider.

Don’t believe me? Check it.

Photo taken by my darling friend Susan. Yes, I had short hair. Yes, I was fatter. Let’s move along, shall we?

The point is, I really love cider, especially in the summer. What I don’t love? The extra calories. Which is why I was really excited when I heard about Michelob ULTRA Light Cider.

In case you haven’t heard of it, Michelob ULTRA Light Cider is a less sweet, lower calorie alternative to traditional ciders. In fact, it has one third fewer calories than the average cider. Well played, Michelob ULTRA. Well played indeed.

We enjoyed our cider with homemade shrimp fajitas, which is quite possibly the easiest dinner ever.

Simply saute sliced peppers and onions for about seven minutes whilst lightly sauteing the shrimp in another pan.

I added a few dashes of paprika, cumin, and cayenne to each while cooking for a little kick. Once the onions and peppers are soft and the shrimp are pink and curled, you’re done with the cooking portion.

Add chopped veggies (like tomatoes and lettuce), freshly grated cheese, and some non-fat plain Greek Chobani in place of sour cream, and you’re done!

And I have to admit, Michelob ULTRA Light Cider made a pretty great pairing with the fajitas. It’s really refreshing (ideal for heat waves) and will appeal to anyone who likes traditional cider. (Translation: It doesn’t even taste like alcohol. Proceed with caution.)

Want to try it for yourself? Michelob ULTRA Light Cider will be available nationwide (excluding CO, UT, WY and OK) beginning May 7, 2012, and will be available in six-packs of 12-ounce clear glass bottles. And in case you like your drinks really cold, it can also be served over ice. Just got a little chill, didn’t you?

Have you tried this cider? Which favorite summer meal do you think would go best with Michelob ULTRA Light Cider?

Feeling pretty darn happy and optimistic going into the weekend, recent news aside.

My schedule is filling up with fun plans and freelance gigs, the weather is gorgeous, and today is my first summer Friday. (I’m out at 12:30!!)

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend!

After a fairly warm winter and a pretty rainy spring, summer has apparently decided to up its game this year.

Basically, it’s hot, y’all. And not just hot. Humid.

Pretty much everyone and their dog complains about humidity, so I’m not even going to bother whining to you guys. The point is, it’s super humid and that makes looking decently put-together even more of a chore than it usually is.

I’ve already decided to give up on keeping my makeup from sliding off my face (summer routine consists of: tinted moisturizer, liquid eyeliner (I’m determined to master winged eyeliner this year), mascara, chapstick…and the tiniest bit of concealer for those nights when I don’t get as much sleep as I should), but the true challenge is managing the veritable beast of hair growing out of my head.

I’m blessed/cursed with pretty thick hair. And because I honestly find long hair easier to manage than short hair (at least in my case…homegirl has some wicked cowlicks), it’s pretty long at the moment as well. AKA, we’re talking quite a bit of hair.

Which is great. Except when it’s not.

This time of year, there is really no point in trying to go for a sleek look. Frizz, perpetual dampness, bizarre waves — it’s the perfect storm of hair follies.

And that’s why I’ve decided that Summer 2012 will be the SUMMER OF UPDOS. (Yup, we live large in my head.)(On my head?)

Lately I’ve been pinning every simple updo I find for those days when my hair is too trialsome to deal with. Here are a few of my favorite options so far:

1. Top knot. Remember the good ol’ days when we just called this a bun? Anyway, top knots have taken over the blog world lately, and they’re perfect for just getting wonky hair up and out of you face. Plus, as we know, great for days when you haven’t washed your hair for most of the week. (Not that I ever do that..errr….)

2. The 3-Braid Bun. The trouble with most updos is that they can be difficult to do on your own hair. But I love how simple this one is. I can totally create three braids in my hair and then wrap them around each other. Plus, all the humidity makes my hair feel huge, so adding extra volume on top should be easy enough.

3. Wrap it up. This picture makes me want to invest in 20 silk scarves. I’ve always been tempted to try out the scarf turban look that was so popular last fall, but I always chickened out for fear that I would look…I don’t know, like I was trying to hard or something. Anyway, this summery version seems a lot more low-key.

4. Twisted pony. Fun fact: I wore my hair in a ponytail EVERY SINGLE DAY for the first seven or so years of my life. #TOMBOY4LIFE. But I like that this subtly twisted version is a bit more sophisticated. (And perfect for those of us who are — yet again — growing out our bangs.)

5. Maiden hair. Obviously, braids are the answer to everything. And braiding back all your hair into a bun has always had a sort of Renaissance feel to me. Which is kind of romantic, right? Romantic and…perfect for girls who feel lazy about their hair.

6. Sidebraid. I love this look, but it can be difficult to manage if you have a lot of layers. (Like I do.) Here’s the secret: braids within the braid. Start by creating a low side part (mine is on the right). Pull all your hair over your opposite shoulder (from the part) to the side where you will be braiding. Starting from your shortest layers (mine are my old bangs), create a thin braid. (I also create a thin braid on the opposite side for the hair that normally falls on the right side of my face. Divide your hair into three sections, incorporating the thinner braids into the larger chunks of hair. Braid like normal.

That probably makes no sense when you read it. Might have to create a tutorial…

The point is, sidebraids are a great way to look like you tried with your hair when really you didn’t.

Anyone else have any great summer looks I should be incorporating into my repertoire?

Spring is a time of rebirth. A time to mix it up, go for the new, embrace fresh.

What I’m saying is, spring is a time to go shopping.

My dear, dear friend Erin is starting a new job soon (a VERY exciting one!), and she decided this upcoming weekend will be when she breaks her shopping fast in favor of awesomely adorable spring clothes.

Erin herself is quite adorable, and she can get away with everything from super trendy looks to classic pieces. So when she asked me to put together a style board of spring looks to inspire her shopping trip, I knew I had a pretty easy task ahead of me.

And you guys. There are SO many cute spring clothes out now. I know Erin likes color and I’ve never seen her shy away from pattern, so I threw a lot of each into this board. (Plus, she could wear any of these items to her new job. And you know I love a win-win situation.)

So, without further ado, here’s what I see Erin sporting this spring:

Let’s start at the top. I’m convinced that if you have at least one cardigan, at least one blazer, and at least one blouse-y top you can dress up or down, you can conquer the world. I included this Cardigan in Putty from H&M, a Turquoise Blazer from H&M, and a Scalloped Ruffle Top from Old Navy.

Next, accessories. Erin has the tiniest waist you’ve ever seen, and I think she should show it some love with a skinny wrap belt. This Camel Belt from H&M would look great over sweaters or skirts. I’m also a huge fan of statement necklaces, and a boldly colored one — like this Lily Pond Necklace from Pree Brulee — fits the bill perfectly.

Onto bottoms. (Heh, heh…bottoms.) It gets really hot in the city in the summer, so I’m recommending skirts and dressy shorts. The best part about a brightly colored skirt is that it pretty much makes the outfit, which means you can throw on a sleeveless top, grab a pair of wedges, and call it a day without too much fuss. And a breezy pair of shorts is dressed-up enough for the office without sacrificing comfort. I picked a Coral Skirt from H&M, Floral Shorts from H&M, and a Pencil Skirt with Frill from Zara.

Finally, my favorite clothing item: dresses! I am loving all of these small-patterned styles, which provide the same cohesive look as a solid dress with an extra something to add visual interest. I included two casual options and two dressier versions for Erin to mix and match with sweaters and accessories. Pleated Abstract Dress from Forever 21, Combined Crepe Dress with Flowers from Zara, Scoop Back Floral Dress from Forever 21, and Peplum Dress from ASOS.

There you have it! I know Erin already has a lot of the basics, so these pieces will add personality and a fresh, spring-y look to what she already has.

Have SO much fun shopping, Erin!

Spring cleaning. Such an ambitious topic, isn’t it?

On one hand, I love the idea of one big, deep cleaning. I love the idea of getting into all those little nooks and crannies where normally you just stuff the junk and never look back and finally straightening the out for once. I love the idea of everything being sparklingly, perfectly clean. (Even if it’s only for a week or two.) And with a full-time work schedule (along with a bunch of other time commitments throughout the week), it’s nice to know that I can have one giant junk purge to get me back on track even if I can’t keep up with the clutter every single day.

But on the other hand, spring cleaning is a commitment. And if you don’t actually get everything sparklingly, perfectly clean…well…I feel like I’ve failed somehow.

That’s why this year, I’ve decided to break up the chore a bit. Every weekend (despite all the weekends this month and next being a bit, shall we say, insane), I’m going to tackle at least one hidden corner of mess and at least one DIY project that I’ve been putting off.

We’ll call it the month of “Will You Just Do That Already?” Or, the month of “No Excuses.” Or the month of “It’s Really More Important That You Just Do Whatever it is You’re Promising to Do Rather Than Come Up With a Cutesy Name For It.”

Kinda rolls of the tongue, right?

Last weekend, I actually did quite a bit of cleaning in the living room/dining room/kitchen because I had company over on Friday night and our tax guy came over Sunday morning. (How old do saying the words “our tax guy” make one feel? Really, really old. That’s how.) And as you know, I like to maintain the illusion that we live in a perfectly organized life when guests are over.

This weekend, I have three goals:

1. Organize the hall clothes closet. The hubs has this maelstrom of shoes going on in the lower left-hand corner, and the shelves are all kinds of wonky. (Technical term.) So this weekend, that ends.

2. Sew the new bedroom pillows. The fabric came in over the weekend, and it’s super pretty in person. I can’t wait to get it put together to adorn the bed. (Who knows? I might even invest in the new comforter too.)

3. Finally go to Goodwill. I feel like I’ve been saying I’m going to do this for a million years, but I really, really mean it this time. Sunday. I’m there. And I’m on the hunt.

Oh, and I also will hopefully get started on the shadow boxes. I organized a few of the knick knacks I want to include last Sunday, so now I just need to wait for the photos I had printed to arrive, buy some matting, and get the dang thing started.

What about you guys? Do you do your spring cleaning in one big sweep or break it up into smaller tasks? Speaking of which, what little chores do you find yourself putting off for weeks?