Sunday, November 30, 2014

First Christmas Party of the Season

Last night Matt, my roommate, Becky, and I went out to the "burbs" for the first Christmas party of the season. Our college roommate, Kelly, and her husband had a big get together for Kelly's 25th birthday to kick of the holiday season. They had all their family and friends over to watch the light show they set up in their front yard. They had been working on it for weeks. It was honestly just like the lights you see on YouTube set to Christmas music.

I wore a red sweater from J.Crew Factory and my new blanket scarf that I got for almost nothing on eBay. Seriously, do not pay more than like $15 bucks for one of these because the one you'll get on eBay is literally the exact same thing as the Zara version and there will just be some new trendy item that everyone has to have next year. Also, Factory is having a huge 50% off sale for Cyber Monday, plus free shipping on orders over $50. Mid-rise jeans from Forever 21, boot cuffs were about $5 at T.J. Maxx, plus my trusty Frye boots that my parents gave me for Christmas last year.

I changed my nail color to Essie's "Really Red" for the occasion. It's a great color for the holidays, plus it's just a very classic red, which is one of those colors that everyone who paints their nails often should have in their collection.

Today I'm making an Asian-style beef and broccoli recipe. I've been craving it lately, but take-out can be so expensive, unhealthy, and then there are no leftovers. I already had some of the ingredients, like the soy sauce and garlic, on hand in my pantry. I'll probably make it again later this week since slow cooker recipes are a staple for me during exams and I need to have it several times to make it worth buying the sesame oil and dark brown sugar. I'll link the recipe I'm using, my sweater, and blanket scarf below, plus a similar sweater in black. Are y'all doing any Cyber Monday shopping?

**edit: I didn't use the cornstarch the recipe calls for, and I used fresh broccoli instead of frozen. I put the broccoli in with the beef right at the beginning. Served over brown rice (I used Success rice that cooks in 10 minutes). 4-13 photo-74

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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Dirty Dancing

photo 3-13 photo 1-20 photo-73 photo-72 photo 1-19 photo 2-20 My parents, Erin and I have been enjoying a little bit of a staycation this week for the holiday. My parents have had a room overlooking the fabulous Fox Theatre at the Georgian Terrace Hotel while Erin has been crashing with me at my apartment in the Highlands. On Thanksgiving night when we got back to the city, everything was closed except for the bar in the Hotel Indigo right next to the Georgian Terrace, so we all had drinks and bar snacks for dinner. The chef had just fried (yes, fried) chocolate cookie dough to make an ice cream sundae-type dessert, which they brought out to us on the house. Erin decided it was the absolute best thing she's ever eaten in her life. On Friday after bunch at Cafe Intermezzo in Midtown we walked around Piedmont Park for hours, which is where I got the picture sitting in the leaves above. Finally everyone regrouped and got all dressed up to see a theatre company perform Dirty Dancing at the Fox. My mom bought the tickets in August and says looking forward to our theatre night has been keeping her cheerful for months. Not that I'm any theatre buff, but the show was probably the best play or musical I've ever seen, and that includes Chicago on Broadway. My dad really missed out, but having my mom's sister come with us instead made it a really cute girls' night out. Finally, my boyfriend, Matt mets us for drinks at the bar in the basement of the hotel, called Proof & Provision. They have some amazing bar snacks and really original drinks, plus games like a table bocce. Matt and I stayed out with my parents until 1am, which is a bit of a new phenomenon in my family. Becoming friends with your parents once you become and adult is such a neat thing. It's a relationship I've come to cherish more and more. The lights from the Christmas trees set up in the hotel created a twinkling effect that reflected onto clothing when we took pictures standing right in front of them. I'd like to keep working on different types of shots to see what's possible with a better camera and holiday lights. I don't see the exact print of my plaid shirt from Old Navy online anymore, but there are some very similar styles on sale. The skirt I wore is from Express. I think it would make an awesome, versatile piece for holiday parties coming up, and is now under $50. The turtleneck pictured is from Old Navy, and is now $15 before the Cyber Monday code. I keep seeing similar styles all over the internet, but they're usually 3 times the price as the one I have and most likely of similar quality. Links below in the order discussed.

Do y'all have any ideas for holiday shopping deals?

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Thursday, November 27, 2014


photo-63 photo-68 photo-65 photo 2-19 photo-66 photo-67

My family had the most wonderful Thanksgiving together at the Ritz Carlton Lodge on Lake Oconee. I wish I had been able to take pictures of the spread at lunch without looking like a complete peasant. There were about ten different buffet lines all with different themes. I never even had any turkey, although I did try caviar for the first time. Not terrible, but significantly overrated.

I should mention that my parents, sister, and I didn't actually spend the night at the Ritz with my extended family, which can be a fantastic way to experience something really special without breaking the bank. They came back to Atlanta with me to enjoy all the sites decorated for the holidays. I always have such a great time being a tourist with them in my own city. More to come on that.

If you're still looking for a plaid scarf this season, I bought the one pictured above from Target a few weeks ago. Link below. It looks like they even have one similar to the Zara blanket scarf everyone has.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Is there anything better than a professional blowout?

photo 3-12

I'm so excited to have finally found a blow-dry bar in Midtown Atlanta. I first went to Highland Blow Bar a couple of weeks ago before an important meeting and decided to go back before our Thanksgiving festivities started. They're actually running a deal right now, so if you're a new customer and leave a review on Yelp you'll get half off your next appointment, plus they're less expensive than the chains in the first place. It's a small but really trendy salon, and the stylist pictured is a trained Drybar artist. He really was incredible at his job and so sweet. My entourage (read: mom and sister) even walked down the street to bring him a coffee. I know it seems like such a luxury, but it really is worth it to have your hair styled for an event or even for traveling because a professional blowout lasts for days. I put the link to their website with online booking below.

The faux fur vest pictured is Rachel Rachel Roy. I've had it for at least a couple of years, as most likely did the girl who owned it before me. I bought preowned on eBay. It's been well-loved and has held up through several fall/winter seasons now.

The long-sleeved tee is from a site called Tobi. They regularly run sales that seem too good to be true until your order comes in, and always give new customers half off their entire first order. Use the link below for what appears to be a restock of the one pictured. You can get some awesome basics for less than $20.

Silver Bells

I'm almost as obsessed with nail polish as I am with lipstick. Essie has been my go to for a long time, but the grey base is just an inexpensive Sally Hansen. I didn't go all the way down to the tip of the nail with the glitter polish, but instead covered about two thirds of the way from the cuticle. Use two coats of the grey, then a very thin single coat of the glitter polish so the grey shows through. A triple coat of Sally Hansen Diamond Flash on top creates a gel-like finish without the UV light. Festive holiday nail art, no salon needed.

Colors: Sally Hansen in Somber Bliss, Essie in On a Silver Platter, Sally Hansen Diamond Flash top coat. photo-63

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

First draft

cropped-photo-62.jpg I'm Alden, a twenty-something law student living in Midtown Atlanta with my best friend and a lot of shoes. The blog name reflects my current life and my style, essentially living my dream on a broke girl budget. I've started writing partly to document my own experiences, and also as a creative respite from my sometimes regimented world.