Another capri pants combo

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It's back to being a jillion degrees, so I dug the short capris back out today and decided I'd try them with my new platform sandals. I'm not loving it. I think the top and bottom are just too plain, even with the three Superhero necklaces. You live and learn.

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Detail of the sandals, which I really do like:

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I'm wearing:
-Ann Taylor curvy cut navy capris (outlet)
-Old Navy Flutterer Sleeve Embellished Top in Calla Lily
-Naturalizer Nuevo sandals in Coffee Bean (6pm.com)
-Superhero necklaces

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Lazier-than-the-Pioneer-Woman iced coffee

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photo (19)

Over the course of the past few weeks, I've seen at least a jillion references online to the brilliant iced coffee directions/recipe given by Ree at The Pioneer Woman. As a big coffee snob myself, I, of course, tried Ree's method, and I think she's spot on. The iced coffee that comes out of her recipe is delicious.

I also think it's too much work and takes up too much space for someone with a single, regular-sized fridge. Large containers and cheesecloth? These are things those of us without big-ass ranch kitchens (not to mention those of us who don't actually cook) might not have. So...I worked on a modification for my lifestyle. And I think I've perfected it, so I'm gonna share it with my similarly ill-equipped (or, you know, lazy) readers:

1. Before I go to bed, I grind up a big French press worth of coffee beans. I used good beans. If you aren't going to use decent coffee, I pretty much think you should just skip this. I don't measure, generally, but for the sake of science, I did measure last night, and it's about 10 coffee scoops worth of grounds. More than you'd use in a regular hot French press by about a third or so. I put that in my French press and then fill it with water from my Brita pitcher. I know I should stir, but I don't want to get a spoon dirty, so I just kinda try to pour the water over the grounds enough that it all gets wet. I put the top on the French press and push it down very slightly to ensure that all the grounds are trapped, then I go to bed.

2. In the morning, I push the press down like a regular French press of coffee and pour the darkly brewed java in a water bottle to take to work. One mostly-full French press fits perfectly in my tall Oggi stainless steel bottles--17 oz, I think?

3. When I get to work, I fill my plastic tumbler-with-lid-and-straw (adult sippy cup!) with ice, then sprinkle about 2 tsp of sugar over the ice, then dump two individual half-and-half containers over that (oddly, though I drink hot coffee black, I like my iced coffee slightly sweetened and lightened). Then I fill the rest of the cup with the cold coffee from my bottle. The bottle will make three of these. I make sure the lid is screwed on tight and shake it up really well, then sip and slurp away!

4. On the weekend, I replace the office-provided sugar and half-and-half with my own skim milk and brown sugar simple syrup, but the rest of the process is the same.

Is this as good as PW's recipe? Not quite. However, it takes no time, no supplies I don't already have, and it's pretty darn tasty.

Long live the lazy and caffeine addicted!

Note: The photo above is my current iced coffee, in my cube, taken by my iPhone. Much like my cooking, my photography is not exactly in Pioneer Woman's league. We all do what we can.

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Mary Kay review and giveaway

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Mary Kay 7
Why am I lookin' so pretty? Click through to find out and to win $100 in makeup from Mary Kay!

Review and giveaway.

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BlogHer '11: My Itinerary

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Disclaimer: If you aren't at all interested in BlogHer or my conference plans, go ahead and skip this post.

You had to know it was coming--this is my first in a series of pre-BlogHer conference posts. See, it's coming up next week, and I am EXCITED. I love the annual BlogHer conference so much. This year has shaped up to be an extremely expensive one for me (cross-country plane tickets are not cheap right now, and neither are hotels), but it's absolutely worth it. However, since I am spending so much, I have promised myself to absolutely make the most of the conference this year. There is an increasingly popular sentiment from BlogHer old timers towards going to the conference but not attending much, if any, of the programming. I understand this sentiment and have ever subscribed to it in the past, but this year, I really want to "get my money's worth" and take in as much as possible.

That means an itinerary. I am not married to this plan, but it's what I'm thinking right now.

Thursday: Pathfinder Day
Pathfinder Day is something new this year--a full-day small group session the day before the official conference starts. I'm going to be attending the session with Ree Drummond and Kathryn Finney, "My Blog as Media Company." I'm honestly not sure why I picked this one, since What If No One's Watching? is far from media company status, but I'm sure I'll learn a lot. The session blurb is:

How to monetize and widely distribute your content, building an ever-larger media footprint. Spend the morning talking strategy, and how to organize yourself to achieve scale. Spend the afternoon exploring whether achieving that master plan is your dream come true.

On Thursday night, I plan to hit the Expo Hall and the People's Party, followed by the Queerosphere get together.

Friday: Day 1
On Friday, I will hit breakfast, but skip speed-dating, as it gives me hives. Then I'll start on sessions:
Session 1: I'm going to start out on the Minding Your Own Business track with the
"Bad Blogger Pitches (The Other Side of the PR-Blogger Relationship" session. As I'm interested in building my reputation and possibilities as a product reviewer, this seems like a really good place for me to start.
Session 2/Session 3: After lunch, I'll hit my second session. I think I'm actually going to go for the double full-afternoon option, in the The Write Brain track, "Essential Blog Content Development Workshop." I've been chomping at the bit for more writing-centered sessions at BlogHer since I first started attending, and I am psyched to see this programming this year and can't wait to take advantage of it.

On Friday night, I want to take in at least some of the Voices of the Year Community Keynote, and then I'll be getting my party on. I'm not sure which parties I'll be attending--depends largely on what my friends want to do. I'm a big fan of Sparklecorn, though, so I'll likely spend some time there, and I'm intrigued by the Open Mic idea, so I want to check that out.

Saturday: Day 2
I'll do breakfast again on Saturday, then hit some more sessions:
Session 1: I haven't decided on my session for this slot yet. I'm intrigued by two options. First, I'd like to check out the Minding Your Own Business track session, "
Your Blog Can Make You a Social Media Marketer," but I'm also interested in the sponsored session, "The Path to Healthy Financial Balance," since that's sort of one of my issues right now. I'll have to wait and see how I'm feeling about it then.

I may or may not take in the lunch keynote, and I think I'll skip the first afternoon session and see what other trouble I can get into at that time. I do want to be back for the last session, though, as Karen Walrond has a session on "Owning Your Beauty: If We Change the Conversation, Can We Change the Culture?" on the Change the World track.

After that, I'll either attend the closing keynote (I am curious about what kind of speaker Ricki Lake is) or take another break, and then I'll see what the night holds with parties.

Wow. Now I'm REALLY excited.

Are you going to be there? What are you doing? Is my schedule missing something awesome? Leave me a comment or get in touch with me--I'd love to hang out!

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Stepping up the business casual

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As you may have noticed, the warmer it gets, the more casual my business casual gets. I think that's pretty natural--hot weather doesn't make most people want to dress up. However, there are certain days (like today) where it's necessary to give the impression not that I am dressed formally, but that I am taking my daily business casual wear seriously (if that makes any sense at all). I have both a lunch meeting and an after-work happy hour today, neither of which necessitates a suit, but both of which necessitate me looking as if I'm trying. And I think this is a pretty good outfit for that type of situation.

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The timer caught me trying to fix my shirt and looking down in this picture, so it's a bonus shot of my crazy part:

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I'm wearing:
-Ann Taylor Loft wide legged gray trousers (thrifted)
-Gap sleeveless purple, gray, and teal print pleat-front blouse
-Gap black lightweight half-sleeved cardigan
-Softspots purple suede wedges
-purple wooden bead bracelet (Anika Burke)
-pressed flower pendant necklace (gift)

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The 27 Club

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Amy sat up, blinking rapidly. She looked around, but the room she was in was blurry around the edges. She raised a hand and tentatively felt her skull. Had she hit her head on something? As she began to focus, the first thing she saw was a plain-faced woman with unruly hair. The woman loomed in front of her, seemingly frighteningly large at first. "Ah, there she is!" the woman crowed, seeing Amy stir. "Thought you'd never come around, girl."

Amy shook her head, trying to clear the cobwebs. The woman's voice was raspy, and she spoke with an unfamiliar drawl. Her smile was wide, though, and though she felt overpowering, there was something comforting about her. Amy licked her lips, still trying to take stock of where she was. Something about the room felt familiar. "Am I in the hospital?" she asked the woman.

The woman laughed. It was a big sound, seeming to echo. "Hey man," she said, turning to speak to someone in the periphery of Amy's vision, "she wants to know if she's in the hospital! Would that make you the doctor?" She cackled again.

Amy turned her head slightly and saw a thin black man with a great afro. Amy smiled. "I like your hair."

The man smiled back, a big wide grin. "I like yours too, little sister."

Amy sat up a little more, the room slowing coming into better focus. The more she could see, the more confused she was. Another black man, this one with crazy short dreads and a very intense expression, was painting a mural on one of the far walls. Though she could barely see it, Amy was struck by the color and intricacy of his work. She turned to the loud woman again, suddenly realizing where she must be. "Is he going to get in trouble for painting on the wall?" she asked. "This is rehab, right?"

The woman's laughter was joined this time by another loud voice. "That's some funny shit," the voice said. "Rehab." It seemed to be coming from behind her, so Amy turned to see the man to whom it belonged. She drew in a quick breath. There was something about him that was so captivating. His hair was shaggy, curling around the collar of his unbuttoned shirt, and his eyes bore into her. "No, baby," he said, smiling in a way that almost seemed to be a sneer. "This ain't rehab."

Amy shook her head again. This had to be some kind of bad trip. There was music coming from somewhere, she realized, and when she turned to find it, she saw a strangely formally dressed man, his head ducked and covered in a hat, picking at a blues guitar. He, and his song, seemed more familiar than anything yet. It took her several moments to tear her eyes away from him, and when she did, she remained oddly soothed by the sound of his guitar.

There were many more people in the room than she'd initially thought, Amy realized. She could see some of them more clearly than others. Normally, waking up in a room this crowded would cause panic, but this place didn't seem at all threatening. Though she couldn't put a finger on it, she felt like these people were here to help her.

Amy turned back to the woman, who was watching her curiously. "We wondered if you'd be joining us," the woman said. "Seemed like you might be on your way." Seeing Amy's startled expression, she smiled again. "Don't worry honey," she said. "This isn't a bad place to be."

Just as Amy was opening her mouth to demand someone tell her where the hell she was, another man approached her bed. This one didn't meet her eyes. He looked down, mostly, only occasionally glancing around the room. He was blonde and seemed sort of dirty, wearing an old sweater with holes in it, but his eyes, when she caught sight of them, were amazingly blue. "Give her a minute," he said, his voice soft. "She's gotta be freaked out." He looked up suddenly, then, meeting Amy's eyes for only a moment. "She's right," she said quickly. "This is an OK place to be. A...better place to be."

Amy looked confused again. "Better than what?"

"Better than down there." The thin black man spoke again.

"Down there?" Amy's question trailed off. "Jesus. Am I...am I dead?"

"Now she's gettin' it." The man standing behind her chuckled. "That one'll throw you through a loop."

Amy's eyes widened. "I'm fucking dead." The words sounded so strange coming out of her mouth. "I'm dead." She looked around the room again, casting around for an escape. She didn't see a door. A man with a big belly and a wild beard was playing a keyboard in the corner. A joint hung from his lips. "He's smoking a joint." Amy spoke almost to herself. "I'm dead and he's smoking a joint."

The plain-faced woman laughed that big laugh again. "Don't take it personal. He's always smokin' a joint."

"There are drugs here?" Amy shook her head again. It was all too much to understand.

"There are definitely drugs here." The handsome man behind her spoke again. "As much as you want. Different here, though. We do them, they don't do us."

"After a while, you don't really want 'em anymore," the woman added.

Amy looked at the woman again. "Is this heaven?" As much as she'd thought about dying, it had never really occurred to her that she would end up heaven. As she looked around the room again, she noticed that nearly everyone she saw had an instrument. It wasn't just the bluesman in the corner, or the man smoking a joint at the keyboard. A punk looking girl carried a bass, as did a long-haired guy with a very 70s vibe to him. A man with shaggy hair seemed to be giving multiple instrument lessons. Now that she noticed, even the thin man with the afro had a guitar strap around his neck. "Do you play music here?" she asked.

The woman smiled. "We do play music here," she said. "Some days, that's all we do. And I'm glad you brought that voice, girl. We're gonna have a great time."

"The music...doesn't hurt, here." The blonde man spoke softly again, his eyes turned down. "That part's all over."

"So it is heaven?" Amy started to feel herself relax again. Maybe this would be OK. As her body woke up, she noticed she wasn't in any pain. Her head wasn't pounding, her throat didn't hurt, and she was oddly hungry.

"No baby, this isn't heaven." The woman reached for her hand. "Welcome to the 27 Club."

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An unexpected skirt

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The weather has reached the point where I think everyone should just feel blessed that I am wearing clothes at all. I have no idea why 100+ in DC is so much harder to deal with than 100+ in Austin, but it is. So, when I got dressed this morning, my major thought was "how few clothes can I get away with?"

And then I spotted this skirt. I thrifted it on a whim a month or so ago and didn't really think I'd ever wear it. I am not really a Lilly Pulitzer girl, you know? But something drew me to its pink glory, and so I picked it up (for 50% off--it was something like $3). And when I put it on this morning, I declared it perfect for a too-damn-hot Friday. And the red shoes with it? That's just an added bonus. Either it's my risky fashion statement or my feet hurt too much for heels and these are the only comfortable flats I own. You choose which explanation you'd like to believe.

What do you think?

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I'm wearing:
-Lilly Pulitizer tiered pink skirt (thrifted)
-Old Navy sleeveless cowl neck gray shirt
-red Naturalizer flats
-turquoise stone necklace (gift)
-jade and pearl earrings (gift)

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I have never liked capri pants. I think they tend to make legs look short and stumpy, particularly mine, which is odd, given that I'm 6 feet tall. For years, they were simply a no. However, in recent summers I've slowly begun to try them out, and the conclusion to which I've come is that the shape of the pants and the shoes they are worn with are both really key. So, today, when our heat index is threatening 110 (which even at 8am you can see in my hair), I paired a slim, short pair with heels, and I actually really like the result:

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I'm wearing:
-Simply Vera Wang asymetrical hem top (thrifted)
-Ann Taylor navy capri pants (outlet sore)
-Sofft navy blue embellished Mary Jane heels (Zappos)
-threaded bangle bracelets (Ebay and Amazon)

Now, on to more important matters! Look at What If No One's Watching! If you're on a reader, please click through! I've been wanting a new look for the site for a long time and I am so so thrilled with what my fantastic friend/web designer came up with! Tell me this isn't perfect? There are still a few kinks being un-kinked, though, so please let me know if you come across anything that looks wonky or doesn't work.

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Summer 30 for 30 Day 30: 4 + 20 + 25/EBEW Yellow

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So I don't wear yellow. The scarf I have used as a belt in this outfit is literally the only item of clothing I could find in my expansive closet with any yellow in it. I really, really don't wear yellow. But this month's Everybody Everywear challenge was yellow, so I did what I could.

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I'm wearing:
#4 Merona black, tan, white, and gray patterned skirt (thrifted)
#20 Ann Taylor sleeveless pin-collar black top (thrifted)
#25 Aerosoles mint green strappy sandals

with:
-Gustav Klimt scarf as cumberbund (gift)
-vintage green beaded necklace (thrifted)
-wooden wrap bracelet (Forever 21)

AND today is also the last day of the Summer 30 for 30, at least for me! Can't say I'm going to be sad to see it go--just like last time, 30 days seemed like about 5 days too many, but it was a good exercise. Should we look back?

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What was my best outfit?

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Summer 30 for 30 Day 27-29

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So I had a major weekend Summer 30 for 30 fail. I wore 30 for 30 clothes, but I never took pictures. I was out of town all weekend, visiting a friend with infant twins, and I just didn't get to the picture taking portion of my days. I thought just skipping them altogether and making today Day 27, but honestly, I am sick to death of my 30 for 30 clothes and ready for this whole thing to be over, so you're just going to have to take my word for the boring outfits I wore:

Day 27: 30 (black Merona shorts) + 19 (purple Converse One-Star top) + 28 (red Naturalizer flats)

Day 28: 30 (black Merona shorts) + 21 (Old Navy floral ruffle front shirt) + 28 (red Naturalizer flats)

Which brings us to today, Day 29. In which my camera is once again malfunctioning.

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I'm wearing:
#9 gray Loft pants (thrifted)
#18 black and blue patterned Gap dolman sleeve shirt
#24 Antia black wedges

with:
-Old Navy blue camisole
-Betsey Johnson charm necklace (Ebay)
-Jewelmint Scarab ring

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Target kicks maxi dress a**!

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I am a maxi dress freak. For several months (or maybe weeks, time is so hard to keep) I've been scouring stores and the Internets for the best maxi dresses in the land. I pinned them on Pinterest. I made a set on Polyvore:

Maxi dresses

And I shopped. I tried on. I ordered. I sent back. I hit big stores and small ones, lots of price points. I feel, at this point, that I can say the following with some authority:

The best maxi dresses are at Target.

I have purchased THREE maxi dresses from Target this season, and they are fabulous:

The first dress I bought is from the Calypso collection, which has moved off and on and back off clearance online over the past few weeks.The retail (and current online price) is $39.99, but I was lucky to snag it while it was 30% off:

The next two dresses I bought in-store, for full-price ($29.99 each). My buying something in-store, full-price at Target never, ever happens, but both dresses are absolutely perfect.

Crochted back:

There are other really cute maxis at Target, as well, including lots of great plus-sized options. Were I to be looking for more maxis (which I'm not! I swear! This MADNESS HAS TO END!), I'd definitely be checking Target out. Maybe for one of these?

Target maxis

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Summer 30 for 30 Day 26: 6 + 23 + 24

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The weather has moved past what I'd call appropriate for using jeans to signify the importance of a Friday, so today I decided to make a more subtle "yay, weekend!" gesture with my clothing. I'm celebrating Friday with a short skirt. And earrings, just because I'm a rebel like that.

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I'm wearing:
#6 St. John's Bay navy skirt with flower pattern (thrifted)
#23 NY & Company gray-green cowl neck sleeveless shirt
#24 Antia black wedges

with:
-Liberty of London for Target brown belt (thrifted)
-chunky jade necklace (gift)
-small jade earrings (gift)

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Summer 30 for 30 Day 25: 8 + 22 +25

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If today's outfit says to you "I overslept and I am getting really tired of this 30 for 30 and oh by the way I need to do some laundry," then you're not wrong.

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I'm wearing:
#8 AT Loft black pants
#22 J. Crew pintuck neckline lavender floral sleeveless top (thrifted)
#25 Aerosoles green high-heeled sandals

with:
-Forever 21 tassel necklace
-threaded bangle bracelets (Etsy)
-round bead bracelets (gift)

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Suebob's birthday contest winners

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Thanks, y'all, for your Suebob birthday wishes! The following individuals can pick one of Suebob's charities for me to give $50 in her honor:

I think what you are doing is amazing! Many happy returns of the day SueBob!

Posted by Catherine | July 6, 2011 3:48 PM

Happy birthday, Suebob!

Posted by Jes | July 6, 2011 10:46 AM

Happy birthday SueBob!

Posted by Angie | July 6, 2011 10:46 PM

I'll get in touch with the winners via email and let you all know which charities they choose!

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Summer 30 for 30 Day 24: 3 + 20 + 24

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Today's outfit may not seem risky, but it was indeed one of my "try something new" 30 for 30 combinations. What I was trying here was mixing neutrals, which I've heard a million times is doable, but haven't done much of myself. I think it worked, though! In this outfit, I've got navy, cream, black, and brown going on!

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I'm wearing:
#3: navy and cream patterned silk skirt (thrifted)
#20: Ann Taylor pin-tuck neck sleeveless black top (thrifted)
#24: Antia black wedges

with:
-Liberty of London for Target brown leather belt (thrifted)
-turquoise threaded bangles (Ebay)
-painted shell on ribbon necklace (gift)

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Happy Birthday, Suebob! (with a contest!)

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Today is my friend Suebob's 50th birthday! Suebob is an amazing lady. I'm not just saying that--I can prove it. In celebration of her birthday, she's spent the last 50 (well, 49) days highlighting great charities. These are all places she'd rather your money go than to buy her a birthday present. Pretty exceptional, no? In the spirit of her birthday, I thought I'd share her recommendations with all of you. If you're so inclined, throw some money to one of these great organizations in honor of Suebob today!

(Psst--read all the way to the end, there's a contest!)

International Princess Project
International Princess Project advocates for women enslaved in prostitution, helping them restore their lives and empowering them to live free.

National Parks Foundation
Official charity of America's national parks.

Paradigm Project
Leveraging carbon offsets on behalf of the poor.

ONE
ONE is a grassroots advocacy and campaigning organization that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa, by raising public awareness and pressuring political leaders to support smart and effective policies and programs that are saving lives, helping to put kids in school and improving futures

Lupus Foundation of America
The foremost national nonprofit health organization dedicated to finding the causes of
and cure for lupus and providing support, services and hope to all people affected by lupus.

Scholarship America
Scholarship America mobilizes support for students getting into and graduating from college.

Media Matters for America
Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.

Boys and Girls Club
Boys & Girls Clubs are a safe place to learn and grow - all while having fun. It is the place where great futures are started each and every day.

Your Local Food Bank

Girls for a Change
Girls For A Change (GFC) is a national organization that empowers girls to create social change. We invite young women to design, lead, fund and implement social change projects that tackle issues girls face in their own neighborhoods.

Operation Smile
At Operation Smile, our medical volunteers provide safe, effective and free cleft lip and cleft palate repair surgery for children born all over the world.

Wheels for Humanity
We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization located in North Hollywood, California. We refurbish donated wheelchairs and hand fit them to children and adults with disabilities in developing nations.

National Security Archive
An independent non-governmental research institute and library located at The George Washington University, the Archive collects and publishes declassified documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

Books for Africa
Books For Africa. A simple name for an organization with a simple mission. We collect, sort, ship, and distribute books to children in Africa. Our goal: to end the book famine in Africa.

Seed Savers Exchange
Seed Savers Exchange is a non-profit organization dedicated to saving and sharing heirloom seeds.

MAP International
MAP is partnering with Ethicon, a world leader in surgical technology, to provide sutures to physicians who volunteer their time to overseas medical missions.

The Fresh Air Fund
Since 1877, The Fresh Air Fund, a not-for-profit agency, has provided free summer experiences in the country to more than 1.7 million New York City children from disadvantaged communities. Each year, thousands of children visit volunteer host families in 13 states and Canada through the Friendly Town Program or attend Fresh Air Fund camps.

Electronic Frontier Foundation
From the Internet to the iPod, technologies are transforming our society and empowering us as speakers, citizens, creators, and consumers. When our freedoms in the networked world come under attack, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is the first line of defense.

Arghand
ARGHAND, the only all-natural, sustainable skincare line from Afghanistan, was founded by Sarah Chayes, a former correspondent for National Public Radio (NPR) who covered the fall of the Taliban, then stayed behind to help rebuild the war-torn country.

Impact Personal Safety
The mission of IMPACT Personal Safety is to end the cycle of violence in society by empowering women, children, and men with the self-esteem and the tools necessary to take control of their lives through self-defense, boundary setting and the understanding that your life is worth fighting for.

Kristin Brooks Hope Center
The National Hopeline Network 1-800-SUICIDE

Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund
The Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit set up to provide immediate financial support for injured and critically ill members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families.

Light Up the World Foundation
Community development through the design and implementation of renewable energy systems

Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood is the nation's leading sexual and reproductive health care provider and advocate.

Doctors Without Borders
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international medical humanitarian organization working in nearly 70 countries to assist people whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe.

Heifer International
Heifer's mission is to work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the earth.

Team Rubicon
Team Rubicon bridges the critical time gap between large humanitarian disasters and conventional aid response.

Kiva
We are a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.

The Carter Center
The Carter Center, in partnership with Emory University, is guided by a fundamental commitment to human rights and the alleviation of human suffering; it seeks to prevent and resolve conflicts, enhance freedom and democracy, and improve health.

Bikes Not Bombs
Lasting peace and social justice require equitable and sustainable use of resources. BNB provides community-based education and assists development projects with recycled bicycles, related technologies and technical assistance, as concrete alternatives to the militarism, over-consumption & inequality that breed war and environmental destruction.

Friends of Maddie
Friends of Maddie support the families of critically ill babies by easing the transition into NICU life and providing an ally until the end of their child's hospital stay.

ProPublica
ProPublica is an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest.

Surfrider Foundation
Our mission is the protection and enjoyment of oceans, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network.

Livestrong
We provide support to guide people through the cancer experience, bring them together to fight cancer--and work for a world in which our fight is no longer necessary.

United Through Reading
Our mission is to unite families facing physical separation by facilitating the bonding experience of reading aloud together.

Operation Shower
Operation Shower is about celebrating and honoring military families. Operation Shower is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides joyful baby showers for military families to ease the burden of deployment.

The Liz Logelin Foundation
The Liz Logelin Foundation was established to assist widows and widowers with young families who find themselves in the heartbreaking, catastrophic situation of having lost a spouse, life-partner, and parent.

KidSave
Our mission is to create change - so forgotten orphanage and foster kids grow up in families and connected to caring adults.

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
The ASPCA was the first humane organization in the Western Hemisphere. Our mission, as stated by our founder, Henry Bergh, in 1866, is "to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States."

Kids Vs Global Warming
Kids Vs. Global Warming is a non-profit organization founded and led by Alec Loorz, who is now 15 years old. We are committed to creating opportunities for youth to learn about the science and solutions of climate change, and then take action that will reduce dependence on fossil fuels and influence the Ruling Generation to make good decisions NOW that impact our future.

Help a Mother Out
Help A Mother Out (HAMO) is dedicated to increasing access to diapers for families in need.

Direct Relief International
Direct Relief International provides medical assistance to improve the quality of life for people affected by poverty, disaster, and civil unrest at home and throughout the world.

WriteGirl
WriteGirl is a nonprofit organization for high school girls centered on the craft of creative writing and empowerment through self-expression.

Accelerated Cure for Multiple Sclerosis
The Accelerated Cure Project for Multiple Sclerosis is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the cure of multiple sclerosis (MS) by facilitating research that determines the causes and mechanisms of MS.

Women for Women
Women for Women International provides women survivors of war, civil strife and other conflicts with the tools and resources to move from crisis and poverty to stability and self-sufficiency, thereby promoting viable civil societies. We're changing the world one woman at a time.

Epic Change
Epic Change amplifies the voices and impact of grassroots changemakers and social entrepreneurs.

Amnesty International
Amnesty International is a global movement of more than 3 million supporters, members and activists in more than 150 countries and territories who campaign to end grave abuses of human rights.

I am in no way being hyperbolic when I say that this list Suebob has put together is the best list of charities I've ever seen. There isn't a single organization listed I don't think deserves my support (and yours).

So, a birthday for Suebob contest! This contest runs TODAY ONLY, so don't wait to comment!

One entry for each of the following:
1. Leave a birthday wish for Suebob in my comments.
2. Leave me a comment telling me you've donated to one of the organization's Suebob has highlighted.
3. Leave me a comment telling me you've Tweeted for Facebooked this contest.

So, THREE ways to enter. And the winners, of which there will be THREE, will decide which of the organizations in this list gets a $50 donation, in honor of Suebob!

Happy birthday again, Suebob!

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Dress You Up #10: S.

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Remember Dress You Up? Yeah, we had a hiatus, but now we're back with a special edition. Today, I'm going to be dressing up my friend S., who has some special requests. S. is currently a size 14, but is rapidly losing weight, and needs some transitional clothes. She's also recently been diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder that leaves her very sensitive to the sun, so sun protection is important. Finally, S. is a busy mom-of-two who is about to return to school, so she needs an easy-care, versatile wardrobe.

This is the extremely adorable S:
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The first thing I did when thinking about style for S. was go pick a few pieces from the specialty sun-protection wear websites she sent me. Unfortunately, those clothes are both very expensive and not the most stylish or flattering things in the world, so it seemed like the best bet to pick a few things and style around them, using other clothes. This first outfit is styled around a cute sun-protective skirt:

Dress You Up #10 S.: Outfit #1

J Crew longsleeve t shirt
$17 - jcrew.com

Slimming top
$7.99 - aeropostale.com

MIA strap sandals
$48 - zappos.com

Forever21 cuff jewelry
$4.80 - forever21.com

I like this for several reasons. The lightweight white long-sleeved tee over the colored tank provides sun protection for S.'s arms and shoulders, but still leaves her looking summery and not overheated. She'll still need to use sunscreen on her legs in this ensemble, but it will provide coverage between her neck and her knees. I also really love the idea of S. in these fun colors, especially for summer. Finally, the elastic skirt waist will allow S. to wear this skirt through a couple of sizes.

This next outfit is built around a sun-protecting hoodie. I definitely think S. should get one of these, in a bright, fun color. Here, I've paired it with simple khakis and a tank top, and accessorized with a bright necklace and sneakers. This will give S. almost complete sun protection when she needs it, and she can easily ditch the hoodie and still have a cooler, casual outfit. I love the neutral tank and pants together with the bright accent pieces, too, and think they'd be super flattering to S.'s increasingly svelte figure.

Dress You Up #10 S.: Outfit #2

Madewell striped tank top
$20 - madewell.com

Gap pants
$50 - gap.com

Converse trainers
$40 - delias.com

Beading necklace
$14 - nordstrom.com

The third sun-protection item I chose was this long, featherweight hoodie. It reminds me a lot of the Prairie Underground cloak hoodies Sal wears sometimes, and I think it would be a great wardrobe piece with or without extra sun protection. One way it would be easy to wear is the one I've styled here, with skinny jeans and flats. I also really love the turquoise and red combination for S--I think she would look wonderful in it. This outfit is very simple, but seems totally comfortable and fun.

Dress You Up #10 S.: Outfit #3

J Crew crew shirt
$30 - net-a-porter.com

BP. ballet shoes
$50 - nordstrom.com

ALDO bangle bracelet
$18 - aldoshoes.com

Zara feather earrings
$9.90 - zara.com

I noticed several pairs of wide-legged, lightweight pants in the sun protective clothing I reviewed, but none of them really did it for me, so I decided to style an outfit using non-specialty pants of a similar style. Here, I paired a white linen pair with neutral, boho-influenced accessories and a metallic-accented tunic top, and I think the outfit is both sun-friendly for S. and really, really cute.

Dress You Up #10 S: Outfit #4

Old Navy empire waist tunic
$25 - oldnavy.gap.com

Mid rise pants
$27 - alloy.com

ASOS leather shoes
$43 - asos.com

Nine West copper earrings
$24 - ninewest.com

Armani Exchange wooden jewelry
$38 - armaniexchange.com

After I'd exhausted the sun-protective clothing websites, I gave some thought to what non-specialty items are particularly good for sun protection. This outfit features two of them: the maxi dress and the floppy hat. Both are on-trend, both would be adorable on S., and both would offer good sun protection. Here, I'm pairing a great maxi with a floppy straw hat, Toms, colorful bangles and belt, and an optional lightweight shrug to protect S.'s shoulders.

Dress You Up #10 S: Outfit #5

Hive Honey bohemian dress
$50 - piperlime.gap.com

Kaliko
£19 - debenhams.com

TOMS slip on shoes
$48 - nordstrom.com

Bracelet
$28 - topshop.com

ALDO summer hat
$20 - aldoshoes.com

TopShop orange belt
$25 - topshop.com

Two more current trends S. can take advantage of to increase her sun-wearable wardrobe are loose, lightweight, long-sleeved tunic tops and long-length shorts. Here I've paired a mid-sleeve lengthed tunic with Bermuda shorts and flats, which will only give limited sun protection, but is a lot better than short shorts and a tank, forcing S. to sunscreen up only her lower arms and legs, rather than her whole bod. Also? I LOVE these shoes.

Dress You Up #10 S: Outfit #6

Old Navy khaki bermuda shorts
$20 - oldnavy.gap.com

Poetic Licence blue flat shoes
$39 - shoostore.com

Feather jewelry
$8 - nordstrom.com

Plastic sunglasses
$9.99 - pacsun.com

On days where full sun-coverage really is key, one suggestion I have for S. is to make the most of both the maxi skirts and the tunics that are currently popular, and pair them! A wide belt will keep all that fabric from looking boxy, and there are endless variations on this casual chic boho them. I like this one because of the interplay of colors between the tunic and the skirt pattern, as well as the surprise yellow sandals.

Dress You Up #10 S: Outfit #7

Beaded tunic
£25 - debenhams.com

Gypsy skirt
$20 - amazon.com

ASOS leather sandals
$34 - asos.com

Nine West beaded jewelry
$24 - ninewest.com

Forever21 buckle belt
$5.80 - forever21.com

So how about remixes?

Dress You Up #10 S.: Outfit #8

Dress You Up #10 S: Outfit #9

Dress You Up #10 S: Outfit #10

So what are my overall tips for S?

1. Buy only a few things from the expensive specialty stores, and make sure they are fun, colorful things you'd like to wear anyway.
2. Make the most of the drapey, long, boho styles that are in right now. Embrace the natural maxi coverage they offer.
3. Have some fun with shoes and accessories.
4. Colors, colors, colors! I love turquoise and red for you, but really, whatever colors YOU like will work.

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Summer 30 for 30 Day 22 & 23: All about stripes

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Apparently, stripes are Americana to me, as I wore them for both the 4th and the 5th of July!

Day 22: 4 + 16 + 28

This outfit was worn for a little thrifting and and at-home dinner. Nothing fancy, but comfortable, and I am kinda digging the pattern mixing.

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I'm wearing:
#4 Merona tan, black, gray, and white printed skirt (thrifted)
#16 Old Navy white with red stripe scoop neck t-shirt
#28 Naturalizer red flats

No accessories!

Day 23: 15 + 26 + 29

This is a work outfit, albeit a casual one. I like the pink tank layered under this white shirt--I find the shirt too sheer on its own, and the pop of color is fun.

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I'm wearing:
#15 Gap white v-neck t-shirt (thrifted)
#26 Sofft black wedge sandals
#29 black and white striped maxi skirt (Nordstrom Rack)

with:
-Banana Republic hot pink camisole (outlet store)
-silver faux vintage owl necklace (Ebay)
-braided leather bangle bracelets (Ebay)

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Summer 30 for 30 Day 21: 23 + 28 + 30

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Well, it's Day 21 and my 30th item has been added. I didn't intend to add this item, but today's agenda and weather made the decision for me. A full-day of thrift shopping in 95 with high humidity? Time to add some shorts to the equation. I was glad all day I made that decision.

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Holiday weekend joy:

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I'm wearing:
#23 NY & Company gray-green cowl neck sleeveless shirt
#28 Naturalizer red flats
#30 Merona black Bermuda shorts (thrifted)

with:
-pressed flower pendant necklace (gift)

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Summer 30 for 30 Day 20: 2 + 27

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Today's outfit is courtesy of date night, without which I never would have changed out of my exercise clothes. I think it turned out very nicely.

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I'm wearing:
#2 New York & Company black ruffle-front maxi dress
#27 A. Marinelli studded green high-heeled sandals

with:
-purple and silver dangly earrings (Anika Burke)

Shall we have a look at Day 11-20? Which was your favorite? Least?

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2011 Goals Check-In #6

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Wow, half the year gone already! Let's see how I'm doing on these goals:

1. Read 30 books.
Utter fail. Still at the same 13 books I was at last month. Goal for July: read a damn book.

2. Get at least one new stamp on my passport.
Still on hold until the fall, but we're starting to make plans!

3. Blog 5 times a week.
Killed this one--33 blog posts in 30 days!

4. Journal every day.
Dropped this one.

5. Cook dinner at least once a week.
Didn't cook at all this month.

6. Fully fund my 401k.
Still contributing 6%.

7. Save $15,000.
Progress! Last's month's balance was $2,915.72, this month's is $3,919.73. I expect to be able to make an extra deposit of at least $1,000 in July, too.

8. Excel at my new job.
Things are still going extremely well.

9. Make one positive health change per month.
I recommitted to the gym and started paying attention to fruits and vegetables this month, particularly towards the end.

10. Re-institute monthly date night.
We did a movie date earlier in the month, so check on this on.

All in all, a pretty good month. For July, I want to make sure and READ SOMETHING and continue my savings and nutrition work.

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Summer 30 for 30 Day 19: 7 + 19 + 28

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At first glance, there is absolutely nothing exciting about this outfit. But I do find it exciting. Why? This purple shirt, #19 in my 30 for 30 items? It was the only thing I hadn't worn yet. With this outfit, I have worn every single item I picked out at least once. That totally feels like victory.

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What am I doing with my feet in this picture? I have no idea.

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And here, this picture taking is suddenly very. serious. business. Also, I am pointing at...my thighs? Again, no idea.

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I'm wearing:
#7 Eddie Bauer curvy bootcut jeans (thrifted)
#19 Converse purple embroidered detail shirt (Target)
#28 Naturalizer red flats

with:
-Steinveka enamel pendant necklace (Etsy)
-three string glass bead necklace (gift)

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