Thursday, June 28, 2012

Monumental Moments

All of the attention on Washington, DC lately has stimulated me to reflect on my own time and experience working and living on Capitol Hill. The U.S. Capitol building became symbolic of my time there when, as a young summer intern, I would look up at the Statue of Freedom every day on my walk from the metro to the House Office Buildings and think to myself, "I'll be back." No, no... I didn't think that with a Terminator-esque accent, rather with the confidence any late college student tries to muster when looking beyond graduation.

It turned out that I was fortunate enough to return to Capitol Hill, with that same statue leaving a permanent mark on what my idea of future promise looks like. So when I decided to expand my perception of opportunity and success by moving to Florida, I knew an image of the Capitol building and the Statue of Freedom would continue to inspire in me that intern-like feeling.

Eastern Market in the Southeast part of the District was the perfect place to look for personally significant prints that I was looking for. The artist of these paintings came to the U.S. after the Georgia-Russia conflict of 2008 and has just of an emotional commitment to the Capitol as I do.

These seasonal prints express the energy of time passing and through that, spark a kind of carpe diem (seize the day) disposition. It's the artwork that has sentiment and a story behind it that means the most to me and truly makes my apartment a home.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

You didn't know you wanted... homemade stationery

A personal note sent through the mail is quite possibly one of the most genuine ways to show someone that they're appreciated. I actually mail a little hello every week in addition to whatever birthday or holiday cards I write. So when I saw some blank stock cards, a glitter set, and glue pen at T.J. Maxx for only $7, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to make my handwritten "texts" even more sincere.

To make these, you simply use the glue pen to transcribe your message as you would a normal pen and then pour the glitter on the glue surface before it dries. I removed the excess glitter by hanging the card over a piece of scrap paper and funneling it back into the glitter container. When sending the note in the mail, place a note card in between the glitter and the inside of the envelope to protect your handy work :)

What's your favorite kind of stationery? Do you ever send notes through the mail just because?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Six Spice Shrimp

Kimberly Snyder's Beauty Detox Solution has had a substantial impact on my meal planning since I read it... twice. One major change that even my hamburger and steak lover of a boyfriend has embraced because of this book is that we try to only eat meat once or twice a week. For a difference source of protein, we incorporate a lot of seafood into our dinners and this six spice shrimp is one of our favorites - it doesn't hurt that it's one of the easiest, too!

There are two ways that you could prepare this shrimp: one which makes them a little crispier and the other, as you'll see below, gives you softer shrimp that I like to have if I'm planning on reheating leftovers for dinner the next night as well.

For this recipe you'll need:

1lb Peeled and de-veined shrimp, rinsed and completely dry
1 Tbsp Sugar
1 Tbsp Paprika
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Garlic powder
1/2 Tsp Ground red pepper
1/2 Tsp Ground thyme
1 or 2 Tbsp Olive oil, depending on version
1/2 Bag of baby spinach

To prepare:

- Rinse the shrimp and pat dry

- Mix together six spices in bowl

- For the crispier version, add 1 Tbsp olive oil to the spice mixture and fold in shrimp. Add shrimp to large pan for sautéing

- For the softer version, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in the sauté pan on medium heat. Add the shrimp to the pan first, cook for ~1 minute, then mix in the spices to cover the shrimp

 - For both versions, sauté the shrimp until opaque and serve over a bed of raw spinach when done.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Lotions and Potions: Shea Terra Authentic African Black Soap

A little over a year ago, my skin decided to mutiny. My jawline and cheeks were on a mission to sabotage any picture that I wanted to take or big event that I wanted to attend. I literally tried everything. After seeing multiple dermatologists, racking up a ridiculous amount of Sephora Beauty Insider points, and getting three chemical peels, I finally found Shea Terra. I have been looking for acne solutions for so long that, quite frankly, I don't remember how I discovered this sublime bar of soap. All I know is that I'm glad I did.

This soap is a 100% natural solution for firmer, blemish free skin. I personally follow the instructions on the Shea Terra website and lather the soap on my face and leave it on as a mask for a few minutes before rinsing and lathering my face again. It is honestly worth the time. Even after one use of this soap, my skin improved. It tightens my pores and really goes to work on any existing blemishes while preventing new ones. I bought a cute soap holder like this one from anthropologie to give the soap bar a permanent position on my sink's counter top.

Last but not least, this bar of soap is only $8.00! I was even able to beat that incredible price with an online coupon.

Are there any face washes out there that you've fallen in love with?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Debby (not a) Downer

While Tropical Storm Debby looms out in the Gulf, I've been trying to make the most of the day stuck inside instead of on the beach. Naturally, my time on the couch has led to a lot of online shopping (and maybe a youtube video or two...)

It turns out this Debby isn't so much of a downer, because I found this gem of a tote bag from none other than one of my favorite designers, Tory Burch! I had originally been looking at the 'Robinson' weekend bag for an upcoming trip to South Carolina, but unfortunately at $850, that one is going to have to stay in my dreams for a while. This canvas tote, however, will not only be perfect for a weekend away or a day on a boat, but I also plan on taking full advantage of the fold-and-zip-into-a-super-cute-leather-pouch feature. I'll be keeping it in my work bag for those days I stop at the grocery store (or Sephora, who are we kidding) and don't want to waste a plastic bag.

The best part is that all profits from buying a universally classic tote go to economically supporting women and their families at home here in the United States through the Tory Burch Foundation. Honestly, what is there not to love?!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

You didn't know you wanted... These drink notes

Happy Saturday everyone!

When my mom and I went shopping at Francesca's Collections during her last visit, she found these drink notes while I was trying on some of their dresses. Though none of the clothes worked out, I was really happy to leave with a fun new way to keep track of drinks when my boyfriend and I are entertaining.

A glass of red wine ranks pretty high on my list of favorite things - with my friends, with my boyfriend, or just with a book - though these notes could be used for both margarita or martini glasses as well. Their timeless "Hello my name is" design jives perfectly with my classic style, as did the price at just $8 for a set of six! It doesn't look like they are available online through Francesca's, but I found them here for a dollar less :) The notes are also reusable, but as you can see from the picture below, I'll probably try my own dry erase marker to have the names show up a little darker.

Do you have a fun way to keep track of drinks when you're hosting?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Yummy summer pasta

Now that it's the peak season for hass avocados, we've been eating quite a lot of them lately. One of my favorite recipes using fresh avocados is a quick, simple, and tasty pasta - perfect for a summer night that we'd rather spend enjoying "our backyard" instead of cooking!

Angela at Oh She Glows first inspired me to make this pasta, but I've adapted it a bit - namely I don't have a food processor! With the changes I've made, it's a perfect protein without meat, dairy free, gluten free, and crazy good for you. Avocados alone give you cholesterol-lowering fats, more potassium than a banana, a high amount of fiber, and an abundance of B, E, and K vitamins. Add in spinach, tomatoes, and quinoa and you're rocking an easy, well balanced meal!

For this recipe, you'll need:

* 1 box (8oz) quinoa pasta (I use Ancient Harvest elbows)
* 2 ripe avocados
* 1 Tbsp minced garlic
* 1 Tbsp cilantro
* Juice from 1/2 a lime
* 1 small container of cherry tomatoes
* 1 bag of baby spinach

To prepare:

- Pre-cut the cherry tomatoes into quarters, set aside

- Cook pasta as directed on box

-While pasta is cooking, stir/mash avocados, garlic, cilantro, and lime juice in large mixing bowl until homogenous and slightly creamy

- Add cherry tomatoes, fold into avocado mixture

- Strain the pasta once it's done cooking, and add to the avocado mixture

- Serve pasta over a bed of spinach and enjoy!

And now, after a fast and yummy dinner, take some time and smile about all the time you have left to relax! I know I savored every second of this sunset here...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A fresh start

Welcome to Not Your Average Beach Bum! Having just celebrated my birthday, the beginning of this blog marks a fresh start for me in more than one area of my life. Sharing new outfit ideas, recipes, beauty products, and other random purchases is something I love to do with friends and family, so I figured why not try blogging and make other people smile about new discoveries? I'm looking forward to connecting with you along the way as well, so please do email me at the address at the bottom of the page!

The Fresh Sugar Rose Tinted Lip Treatment is the perfect product for the blog's fresh start. I wore the same lip treatment for around 10 years before this little treasure gallantly made its was on to my lips. Thanks to Belle at Capitol Hill Style, I decided to give this one a try- and it really does live up to the hype. The tint is just the perfect amount of color, which I can say without a doubt because it gives some tint to my lips AND I still get kisses from my lip balm-averse boyfriend :)

While the texture is perfect by making your lips feel hydrated without needing to blot off any excess, the final kicker for me was the SPF 15. I have really learned the lesson of protecting my skin from sun damage (posts on acne and scarring are definitely headed your way), and my lips are no exception. Not to mention that I look like a clown on the days my lips get sunburned.

Do you have any go-to lip treatment? Is SPF a criteria for your daily choice?