i wanted these awesome satin shoes made by simple last year. They were sold exclusively at nordstrom's (from what i could tell) and cost about $70. i "simply" (hardeeharhar) can't justify spending that on sneakers...

i found them at ross dress for less yesterday for $16.99. yoink!! i SO took these bitches home.


fill iN the blaNk fRiday - life love

today's blanks feel to me like they are focusing on the more hopeful, happy side of life. i was just thinking about doing a LML (love my life - because FML was going through my head way too much and i needed to combat it with some positive thinking) post, so this is fantastic timing!

1. the most spontaneous thing i've ever done was  spent the night on the rooftop of a local school with my sister. we both had insane, hazy dreams about getting caught the entire time and had the most surreal, misty morning because of them.

2. the best gift i've ever received was a (diamond) ring from the boy. it was a big joke and the effort he put into a gag gift was impressive: trips to multiple jewelers, recruiting a friend's help, teaching me a lesson to no longer whine in jest for something being heavily sold on a commercial... love that guy.

3. a time that i was truly and genuinely surprised was when rob made a trip home for valentine's day while he was living 5-1/2 hours away. we don't usually keep anything from one another so it was impressive for him to be able to not give it away while calling me to casually find out where i was on a friday night!

4. i can't leave the house without gum. i am a chain-chewer, have been for yeeeears now. lately, i've been craving the carefree bubblegum i was hooked on for years.

5. my favorite day of the week is saturday because there is so much possibilty to the day. i can sleep and and/or stay up as late as i want without really affecting anyone. i can go for a long drive, a long shopping trip, visit family, or stay home and cook all day when the mood strikes. nothing is set in stone.

6. something that can always make me laugh is people making asses out of themselves to the highest degree. rob says i'm mean; i say i'm seizing the opportunity to find the humor in everything.

7. my perfect day would include sleeping in late, hiking through the woods - or mountains (somewhere!), eating a hearty meal, and relaxing in the evening with a big ol' bottle of wine. all of these accompanied by people i love. the best part about this scenario is: it has actually happened. in the last month.  :)

happy friday and may you all have an amazing weekend!



sometimes i get really stuck/lost on etsy. it's such a great place to waste some time, and to discover amazing handmade things. yesterday, i fell in love with rounan's 2010 xanadu collection. to wit:

this looks rather spinal to me... and i love it.

so organic i want to lick it!

in this, i see the drops of water as the base of a waterfall that freeze in the winter.


deaR ...gap???

some people are forecasting gap's rebranding efforts as a kiss of death... this move is focused on the spring 2011 line, so i wonder which aspect the winter 2010 line was focused on: the classic heritage, or the new "interesting essentials?"

my hope right now is that this collection is indicative of gap's new direction - i am loving this styling!

see the rest of their winter lookbook here.


home impRovemeNt fail.

when house hunting over three years ago, rob and i agreed that we wanted a house we could just move into; one that didn't need any work. however, we had a tough time finding anything within our not-so-strict but slightly specific criteria. we needed a home within our price range (duh) with at least a two car garage. preferably, a three-plus car garage so that i could actually park my daily driver in there.

then we looked at the house on grand avenue, and both instantly agreed that the rust orange shag carpet, 50's pine wood paneling, and iron eagles hiding in every nook and cranny were oversee-able. the garage(s) was more than what we could have ever dreamed of, there were numerous bay windows with large sills for the cats, and a well-placed sun room. there was a small yard, a cute deck, and three bedrooms. we were sold. we bought.

my sister and i spent a day pulling up the disgusting carpet, my mom and best friend helped pull down some of the most atrociously hilarious wallpaper i've ever seen the next, and i spent a few days scraping the linoleum off of the sun room hardwood floors. that was the extent of work done on the house until this summer. i was inspired by the kitchen on the show parenthood (if you haven't watched this show, i highly recommend it!) and finally decided what i wanted to do with my cabinets. being under a super-tight budget, i'd paint the cabinets a sage green color now, do the backsplash another time and, maybe way down the line, add a butcher-block counter top. as a last-minute cheap idea, i decided to spray paint the existing hardware.

pine wood = golden hue throughout entire house

early in may, i started on the process, along with the incredibly useful assistance of my mom. she built her own house from the ground up, and is comfortable working with both wood and paint. this was my first real attempt at home improvement, so i was more than grateful for the help. 

after sanding, priming, sanding again, painting, sanding ONE MORE time, and painting the final coat, i got lazy. the painted doors remained on sawhorses in the garage for almost an entire month. all i had to do was spray paint the hardware! i finally motivated to do that, and rehung the doors.

not quite so gold anymore!

so, where's the fail, you ask? the fact that by mid-august, all of the paint was still tacky. anywhere that paint touched paint resulted in NO paint. if i leaned on the counter while cooking or doing dishes, my jean would stick to the cabinets juuuuust a little bit when i walked away. not the end of the world, mind you, but pretty dern discouraging.

i managed, in my first home improvement project, to buy faulty paint. fortunately, i had an experienced painter working with me because otherwise, i would have just thought that i did something wrong. not the case! a complaint to the store resulted in a call from the paint maker, lab tests, an inspection, and the verdict: they will pay for a professional to strip and redo all of the work that i did. so for that, i will disclose: the company was valspar. i may have purchased a bad product and spent a lot of time on something that would never be quite finished, but they are doing the right thing. so really? win.


Right up my alley: james peRse

i like this guy's style. his contemporary knitwear designs, and their pallette, speak to my very soul.

not that these are even close to my price-range. so it goes...


fill iN the blaNk fRiday: fall

not that these blanks are fall related, but my mind is in such a fall place... melancholy & nostalgia, here i come!

1.   when i get a day to myself i like to  go shopping. it's nice to shop with other people, but i always end up feeling bad about my tolerance (i.e. willingness to spend an entire day at the mall) of it. if i'm by myself, i can shamelessly try on thirty items at every store and take all the time i want. i've learned that shopping with my ipod is even more dangerous!

2.  high school was....  a ton of fun. i know that so many people say it was awful and traumatizing. it's certainly not that i was popular, but you know what? i had AMAZING friends. and i still hold each of them close to my heart.

3.  a little dream i have is  to travel a hell of a lot. i want to see white sand, blue water, green grass, ancient buildings, beautiful people, and new stars in the sky!

4.  a big dream i have is  to try to take over the world!!!

5.  if i could drive any car my pick would be the volvo C30-R, although honda's new take on the cr-x, the cr-z hybrid, is quite tempting. there may be a battle between the two! this is actually a topic that rob and i discuss regularly, and as seriously as two people who have zero intention of buying a new car anytime soon can.

6.  a time that i felt really and truly beautiful was when i stopped trying. i'm pretty sure that's the secret to life.

7.  tomorrow I will....  have a pretty busy, but fun day. i have a bridal shower for a longtime friend, then an end of summer (booo!) party with lots and lots of friends. i'm really looking forward to what the day has in store!

coNsideR me destRoyed

this will destroy you opened for the deftones on monday here in pittsburgh. i was a little unsure of how i would feel about an instrumental band pumping me up for the seemingly requisite (in my brain/heart, anyway)welcome-to-fall heavy rock show. holy schnikes, this band did NOT dissappoint. i purchased a cd on the way out and proceeded to listen to it on repeat for the next three days.


i'll take this oveR floweRs aNyday

rob queued up this song to be the first i listened to on my ipod this morning.
music = WAY > roses.


this is magic!!

Fistful of Mercy from Fistful of Mercy on Vimeo.

joseph arthur, ben harper, and dhani harrison???


thRowback thuRsday: Rage.

i forgot just how much i love to rock out to this song. feeling a little ready for a hardcore fall welcome and this hits the nail on the head for me.

bonus: rage against the machine's self-titled album was the first thing i ever shoplifted.


fill iN the blaNk fRiday: RaNdom

today's fill in the blank friday is filled with the randomness that is lauren's brain... works just fine for me! maybe one day i'll submit questions from interviews that i did in 9th grade for the school paper. poor mr. carson tried to answer me seriously and respectfully to questions like, "what kind of toothpaste would you be?" i showed no mercy.

on with the show:

1. the most adventurous thing i've ever done is...  really dependant on what one would consider "adventurous." is shoplifting adventurous? it's my first response, but i really just think that's because of the adrenaline rush that i got while stuffing ridiculous things like makeup and cd's into my pockets in jr. high. i only felt that way again when throwing rocks at passing trains (it's a federal offense!!!) behind a local restaurant. or perhaps it was sleep on the roof at a local school with my sister when she had nowhere to go. we were both so paranoid about getting caught that we had the most amazingly freaky (and similar) dreams and woke to the sounds of summer drama campers arriving and tried to figure how to get the heck out of there unnoticed... i guess by the technical definition of the word, the most adventurous i've ever been was going white water rafting for the first time on the arkansas river in colorado which included numerous class 6 rapids. we had an awesome guide and got through flawlessly! hmmm, that kind of pales in comparison, now...

2. if i were a pair of shoes i would be converse jack purcells. casual, a little unique... but quietly refined.

3. my preferred mode of digital communication is sadly, i think facebook. texting is cumbersome for long-winded me and email is too formal. i really love being able to check in with numerous people in just a couple of minutes. call it lazy, whatever... it works for me.

4. i feel happiest when driving around on back roads when the day (or night) is beautiful and balmy, listening to great music. my brain is a convertible car.

5. a little dream I have for my life is no big secret! i want to be my own boss. still haven't decided exactly what i want to do, but my love for fashion is pushing its way to the top right now!

6. the one modern convenience I could NOT do without is anything that lets me do things myself: pump my own gas (NJ, how do you stay in your cars!!??), withdrawal from my own bank account, check myself out at the grocery store... i love it all. being able to go about my business without talking to anyone? priceless.

7. music, movies, tv or books: if i could only choose one to enjoy i would pick music. it can really change / fix / affect my mood at any given time. everything else just helps you escape from what's in your head and it's still there for you to deal with when the movie/show/book is over, but music can simply change your mindset. that's some powerful shit there. books would be a close second, since you can learn and gain perspective from books, and this could also potentially lead to a new way of viewing the world. that and, who could really imagine their world without david sedaris narrating once in a while?

looking forward to an awesome weekend! going to see my morning jacket tonight. that's actually all that really matters.  :)


awww, yeah.

my boyfriend is putting out a new album in december!!  here is the first single... it's got me pumped already.

WARNING: the tiltle of this song is "f**k you" so, ah... it's quite explicit. in only the way cee-lo can do it. 


yes, please

this top makes me want to revamp my wardrobe. i can see myself now: causal-chic in straight-leg pants (we're talking serious change here, people) and ballet flats. i'll take one in every color, please.

p.s. and guess what? it's not j. crew! yay, me.
p.p.s. oh, except it's not any more reasonably priced. way to be consistent.


a little R & R

we are going here the first weekend of october:

rob gets to travel a lot in the summer but he's working the whole time. and while he's away, i'm holding down the fort, busy keeping the kitteahs company, cutting the grass, cleaning the house...

it gets lonely by the end of the season.
so i now officially require a quiet extended weekend for us to reconnect.

i think this will suffice.  :)



i see lots of bloggers that spend some serious dough on clothes from anthropologie... i typically don't even like the stuff they've got; forget dishing out big cash for it. that was until this:

that's the hotness.

also: did you know that on their website, customers can post pictures with their review of items? genius.


show stopperR

this may greatly change how i feel about haftahaftahafta going to see 30 seconds to mars in september.
hopefully that's more than enough time for jared to come to his senses. oi.


fill in the blaNk fRiday: RaNdom

1. my favorite thing about this week has been having hours of self-reflection while driving back from my impromptu trip to nj for the weekend. i am in awe of what the next decade can bring, once i stepped back and took a look at everything that has happened in the last ten years. shit, the last ten DAYS have been pretty interesting!

2. the weather this week has been the same as everywhere in the northeast. i actually don't even want to talk about it. BUT, we just had a fantastic storm! the kind that really make me wish that i had a real, covered porch so that i could sit there and watch/listen to/feel summer thunderstorms.

3. the last (interesting) item i received in the mail was a birthday card from my friend's parents; totally unexpected and incredibly sweet.

4. the last movie i saw was uh... we watched so many movies last weekend!! i'm going to have to say that brick was the last one we watched? this was my second time watching it and i must say, it's  a pretty amazing movie (as far as my standards go).

5. if i could be doing anything i felt like today i would definitely be en route to a beach, no question.

6. as a teenager i was a freaking angsty nightmare. but also really headstrong and independent... to put it mildly.

7. i wish i could trade lives for the day with someone waist-deep in the fashion industry. i'd love to work at a magazine one day, or be backstage at a fashion show, or help a designer pick out fabric, or watch a great fashion photographer. i don't think i have it in me to fight to get into that world, but i'd love to just observe for a day!

(check out the original and many more over at the little things we do)

oN the feNce

i'm not sure how i feel about this. forever 21 has launched a maternity line...

now. i am all for stylish, affordable clothing for pregnant women. even without needing to explore the options of cutesy preggo duds for myself, it is clear that there is a hole in that market - though i have found myself, more than once, excitedly grabbing up clothes in target, only to find that i've wandered into the maternity section again and should leave those cute dresses and tops to the ladies who really need them (side note: should i be concerned that i would rather admit that maternity clothes are better designed for my figure than to simply exercise?).

however. this concept nags at my little brain because of forever 21's target market. certainly, 21 year-olds have every right and typically no moral questioning in being pregnant (though i could never have imagined it for myself), but i'm concerned with the tweens shopping in the same stores as twenty-somethings... which, if my eyes and ears have any validity (at my ripe old age of 30) while browsing stores, is happening more and more. will this line make teenagers go out and get knocked up so that they can purchase from it? no, of course not. but could it potentially send the wrong, semi-glamorous message to my little 12-year-old cousin about the reality of needing maternity clothes? well - probably not, again. but.

i'm still on the fence.

UPDATE: see stylist's interesting take on this... more fuel for my fire. 


i would make fuN of you

if you showed up to a party, or anywhere, wearing this:


fill iN the blaNk fRiday: schoolgRRRl

i'm sure this is fully open for interpretation, so i'm filling in according to high school, because i barely remember my "college" days, more from working at least two jobs while i was there than any kind of partying, and because it wasn't really college, rather full-time business school. kind of takes the fun college experience part out of the whole scenario. so.

1. The best thing about being in school was: seeing my friends (almost) every day. and i would have to say that the worst part of "growing up" is NOT seeing them every day. i'm not exactly a social butterfly, but i do love me some fri-ends!

2. The worst thing about being in school was: teachers telling me what to do. i've never really dealt well with micromanagement, and this was my first understanding of that fact. i believe "fiercely independent" is what often comes out of my mouth when trying to explain myself. you'd never imagine the offense that was taken once when i used it to explain to my date (whom i had asked out) why i was going to, at the very least, go dutch on lunch. whoa - back to the question! my immediate memory of this feeling was a teacher yelling at me to put my shoes on while walking down the hallway. it was pretty freaking normal for me to not wear shoes, so why did it bother him that one time? doesn't matter; his threats were ineffective.

3. My favorite subject in school was: art. is art like gym, where people will argue that it's not a class? it sure was for me! the structure of our art room, being complete lack thereof, was much more akin to my taste, and i spent more time there than anywhere else, despite lacking any focus or drive in my projects. all i know is the peace i felt while throwing pots or getting my hands filthy with pastels or joking as my friends and i drew each other over and over and over again. peace, i tell you!

4. One subject I wish I could have mastered is: french. all is not lost! i may still give that one a shot. you'd think, after taking three years of it, that i'd have more than a vague recognition (no, not an understanding!) of words. 

5.  I could never get tired of studying: hmmm. i think i'm learning that i tire of just about everything... not so sure that there would be a subject i could stick with. we never had any type of mythology, sociology, or psychology class when i was in high school, but i'm pretty intrigued my the way people work - and think all of these subjects have something to do with that - and so i think that my curiosity could be quite satisfied with unlimited glimpses into these concepts.

6. The most memorable teacher I had was: i can't pick just one, but they were all science teachers. mr. hall had (still has) a crazy mustache, took us on a geology hike, and sold beer at the stadium in the summer. mr. pellis had red hair, a red face, and a loud voice, with which he yelled at me quite often, which i deserved, and loved him for even more.  mr. schreiber... ah, mr. schreiber. he was unbalanced, hilarious, occasionally violent (in a somehow funny way), and oh-so-easy to get off topic. mr. fredericks was our little chemistry teacher that we absolutely tortured but eventually won over. he's such a perfect dork that he has a comic strip about... maybe some chemistry stuff because it's so over my head but hilarious anyway! the problem with all of these great guys: i didn't learn a damn. thing.

7. If I could choose between going to school for the rest of my life or working for the rest of my life, I'd choose probably going to school. it's easier to change your mind, switch gears, and study something new than it is to change careers. that's my final answer.


sweet dReams

try as i might to stay away, i come back again and again to the stylings of j. crew. couldn't tell you the last time i could justify spending money there though, and i feel like their unaffordability has grown in direct, if not greater, proportion to the increase of my income over the last ten years. regardless, i can't help but look... i've been very good and haven't peeked (too much!) at their fall line, which i know i am going to lovelovelove, in some ridiculous attempt to stay semi-current with my obsessions.

and right now, i can't get enough silk:


fill iN the blaNk fRiday - movie editioN

1. My absolute favorite movie of all time is the dark crystal. i watched it over and over again while growing up... we also had the read along record and storybook, and a couple of books on it as well. it's no coincidence that years later, i discovered that my favorite artist, brian froud, was behind the design of that movie.

2. My favorite movie as a child was um, well - the dark crystal!

3. The best movie quote ever is  from the labyrinth (gee, finding a jim henson theme here!): "you have no power over me!" really, this is the only movie i've quoted repeatedly in my life. i just love it!

4. My favorite actress is claire danes - going all the way back to (not a movie) my so called life - though she hasn't been in anything in a while. i don't think it hurts that rob and i have this in common...  My favorite actor is well, you guessed it: johnny depp. i just can't help myself. no matter what freak flag he is flying for a role, it just makes me love him more.

5. The movie I could watch over and over is  pineapple express. i have never laughed so hard the first, second, or third times i've watched a movie! an no, i'm not a pothead. this movie has close to absolutely nothing to do with drugs; it's more about the crazy situations that people get themselves into. it is at the same time both completely far-fetched and totally realistic (especially if you have some friends that are either potheads or not very bright. or a combination of the two.).

6. My favorite movie genre is ...is "completely twisted" a genre? maybe that's film noir...? i tend to love really effed up movies that are very artistic and mind boggling. for examplezz: the cell, stigmata, ink, city of lost children... speaking of these movies (if you've seen them), have you seen lady gaga's latest video for alejandro? i'm not really much of a fan of her music, and this song is certainly my least favorite so far, but this video just really reminded me of a combination of the cell and the city of lost children. i've gotta respect the girl for being dark.

7. A movie I'd like to watch this weekend is a horrible chick-flick that i know rob won't like (he's in canada this weekend!). i'm rather tempted to see if valentines day is on the netflix instant queue, even though i've heard nothing good about it. i'm just SO curious how a movie with a cast like that can be bad!



MinxShop was just featured on the front page of etsy.com today! props to my fellow 'burgher - i'm not super into vintage clothes but i love the inspiration she takes, like a little lace or buttons to accent a well-shaped piece. i'm also a fan of her mostly grey color palette. shocking, i know (great jersey fabrics don't hurt, either!).

the designer, anna-marie, also recently posted this shoulder chain on facebook, and i fell in love. looks like a perfect incentive to get my arms back in shape!


summeR conceRt kick-off

today is the first day of the three rivers arts festival here in pittsburgh. as much as i love visiting the artists market a few times during the ten days of festivities, what really gets me excited is the music. where else can you see the likes of guster, dirty dozen brass band, ingrid michaelson, and patty griffin (eeeeeee!!!!! FINALLY i get to see her!) for free?? sounds like a really fantistic start to the summer concert season...

i'm also really looking forward to some later shows this summer, including sleigh bells, rogue wave (including my buddy/one time rommate from high school, cameron), beth orton, my morning jacket and kings of leon with the black keys. these, unfortunately, are not free... no wonder i'm broke! but so worth it.


soRRy, modcloth...

but i've got to disagree with you. there is absolutely nothing stylish about acid-wash, tapered, pleated mom jeans paired with admitted orthopedic shoes. nothing.


speakiNg of tapes...

a cool video for a great song.


fill iN the blaNk fRiday: wow, alReady??

how fast was this week??!? good thing, too, because my sister is driving her way across the country today to come visit for a week and i simply can't wait! today's real fill in the blank (over at the little things we do) was regarding personal style and, while i lovelovelove fashion, i don't exactly have much of a style thanks to spending all of my moolah on a "professional" wardrobe for the last ten years. i dream of someday having a job / owning a business where i can be myself and dress any which way i like. then i will be able to have a personal style! until then, here is a substitute:

1. the first thing I do in the morning is snooze. usually for about 45 minutes... how ridiculous is that!! then, i get out of bed and sneeze. sometimes i think my life is laughing at me: morning routine = snooze + sneeze.

2. every night before bed i read. even if it's only for ten minutes, i can't seem to shut off my brain without reading just a little bit. this method is so effective, though, that it can take me a very long time to get through a book because i fall asleep while trying to get further.

3. my favorite thing to do when I'm having a bad day is get together with some friends and vent for a while, then just spend the rest of the time being goofy. it's really a great offset: get it off of your chest, and move on. life's too short to let all that stupid stuff weigh you down. i'm really great at preaching that, but not so much at practicing it... something i need to work on.

4. something that makes me cringe is when people are rude. whether it's people being jerks to others "serving" them, or people in customer service who have no people skills, people who interrupt or don't take turns merging... the list goes on and on and on! everyone is looking out for number one and they forget to be kind to each other. the thing that amazes (scares!) me is that pittsburgh is supposed to be one of the friendliest cities!!

5. social situations tend to make me freak out, generally speaking. i was a really, really shy child and have worked very hard at being able to shoot the shit with strangers, but i still have days when i just don't have the patience or desire to do so. i also don't deal very well with crowds, which is unfortunate for my love of concerts.

6. i like to collect music. cd's, to be exact. i know it's silly in this digital age, but i love the packaging... the smell of the inserts (though they're not quite as awesome as those for cassette tapes!), the artwork, the photos. i like to tell myself that they'll have a comeback someday and then, finally, i will be awesome.

7. weekends are for spending time with family, friends, and pets. and sleeping. sundays, especially, are for sleeping.

have a wonderful weekend!!


fill in the blaNk fRiday - fiRst shot

1. the very best thing about summer is being able to run around in bare feet. also, spending late nights outside talking and drinking with friends. this includes the following settings: decks, patios, restaurants, and campfires. unbeatable.

2. my first crush ever was boy george. this actually speaks volumes about me. i had a little bear that was named georgie that wore a dress. georgie was most certainly a boy bear. my little brain gender-bended without question... janice the muppet has also always been a boy to me. he just has long hair and wears lipstick! i have always loved pretty boys, especially ones in eyeliner.

3. this may sound really silly but i am afraid of marriage. actually, i am mostly afraid of being someone's wife. lucky person that i am, my partner (who hates being called my boyfriend after ten years) is willing to wait until i reconcile that shit with myself.

4. i squeeze my toothpaste from the bottom, if i'm feeling ambitious. you may find me squeezing from the middle if i'm in a hurry, but i'll have to fix it the next time i use it.

5. my absolute favorite "comfort food" is cheap chicken patties, kraft macaroni and cheese, and canned spinach. with a tall glass of milk. this is what my sister and i would make for our first meal every time we moved into a new place. which happened a lot. (speaking of...)

6.a random fact about me is that i have moved thirteen times since i was sixteen. the fact that i am about to celebrate my third year in my house is truly monumental. and a little confusing for my nomadic brain. instead of moving, i cut my hair. a girl's gotta have change!

7.the one piece of technology that truly makes my life better and I couldn't live without is anything that plays music, be it my ipod, my car stereo, a record player... i could live without my computer, my phone, my car, but not without music!


coloR me oNce

i forgot all about this one!!


New love: eve gRavel

i have one word for the awesome designs of eve gravel: WOW. this is so up my alley. if i could sew. or if i actually wore the dresses that i fawn over. but, whatever.
first off, i am drawn to anyone who uses alternative models, be they "real" sized or covered in tattoos and piercings. and then there's those sexy dresses...

but wait - there's more!
tights and skirts and jackets!!???!? um. i'm so in love.


snip, snip

so i've been scouring the interwebs for some ideas of hair styles to take with me for my consultation next week... certainly can't go in empty-handed! care to vote?

clearly i am a bit attracted to the inverted / asymmetrical bob.
con: rob is fairly opposed to this "really popular" look (according to him), as described by his hand motions

this might be too safe and similar to my normal long straight hair...

though shorter than i was originally thinking, i'm pretty sure this one is my favorite.

whaddaya think?? :)