Friday, March 29, 2013

See you soon!


Funny self portrait. Ahh!


Hello friends! Unlost is going to be taking a short break.

Don't you worry! Everything is fine.  I've just started up on some big (and exciting!) projects that require 99% of my attention. The other 1% of my attention will go towards eating and sleeping and maybe showering.

Regularly scheduled programming will resume when I get my feet back on the ground!

I miss you already. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Getting Outside















It's easy for a blogger to get cooped up indoors. Especially a student blogger who makes money by freelancing via the interconnected webs. I feel as though 90% of my life is spent in front of a computer. That is why a spontaneous adventure in Moorpark, California with my friends Matt and Daniel was exactly what I needed. We enjoyed the sun and played some music - I pulled out my much loved but often forgotton ukulele for the first time in months! Months! Sometimes good weather and good friends is all you need to feel better about absolutely everything. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Easy Neon




| Shirt: J.Crew (love this one in pink) | Necklace: Adia Kibur (Similar here) | Jeans: Joe's Jeans (old) | Shoes: H&M | Bag: ALDO (old) |

This thrown-together look served me well on a shopping tip to LA with some girlfriends. I felt put together but not "done," which is important when you spend a day on your feet! 

Linking up to:

Dear Abbey Leigh // Dress for the day you want 
Ray Gun Ramblings // What We Wore, Read, and Made Link Party
Because Shanna Said So // Random Wednesday
Kiwi Womens Style // Wardrobe Wednesday 
The Pleated Poppy // What I Wore Wednesday 
My Girlish Whims // Your Whims Wednesday  
Transatlantic Blonde // What I Wore Wednesday
Style Elixir // Style Sessions 
All Things Alisa// Diaries of a barganista

Glow Kouture // Fresh Fashionista Style

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

How to Shop the Los Angeles Fabric District


You like to sew, craft, or DIY. You're interesting in finding new fabrics and materials. Well, the LA Fabric District is a great place to start. I spent some time there a few days ago with my friends Bethany and Caroline while they hunted for fabric, and Bethany taught me her magic, fabric-hunting ways.



Where to park: Anyone who's been to Los Angeles understands that parking can be a ridiculous, expensive nightmare. To find cheap, convenient parking in the fabric district, park in the rooftop parking lot above Italy fabrics on 9th and Wall. The above photo was shot from that rooftop lot. It's relatively small and there are parking lot attendants always present. The best part is it will only cost you $3 for an entire day, unlike most nearby lots which charge by half hour or even 15 minute incriments!



Where to shop: In my opinion, 9th and Maple is the best block for fabric shopping. It's very easily accessed from our very convenient parking place, which sits right between Wall and Maple.



Bring cash. In the smaller stores bartering is just a part of the purchase, and the deal you get will depend heavily on whether or not you pay cash and how much yardage you are actually purchasing.

End your trip at Michael Levine's. This is a very large fabric store on 9th and Maple. Anything you couldn't find in the smaller stores will almost definitely be there. If you're feeling adventurous, head accross the street to the Michael Levine Loft where scraps of fabric are sold in bins at $2.50 per pound. 


Need to pee? The bathrooms in these small fabric stores will cost you money and (trust me) will not be worth the price. Just one block up from Maple (walking away from Wall street, where you parked) is a Starbucks, Subway and El Pollo Loco. I'd definitely head there if you need the loo.



Such a fun day with my girls! Now I just need to learn to sew. Ha! 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Italian Sausage Stew and a Caprese Panini



As the weekend rolled around I was craving something fresh, hearty and Italian. The result was a sort of "everything" stew I threw together using ingredients already in my fridge. The next day for lunch I heated up some leftover stew and made a delicious caprese panini to eat with it. Both are SO simple to make and effortlessly delicious.  Yum!



Italian Sausage Stew

Ingredients:
1 package fresh Italian sausage
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic
4 carrots, chopped
4 or 5 tomatoes, chopped
1 can cannelloni beans
1 zucchini, diced
1 quart low sodium, low fat chicken broth
whole wheat pasta (shells or spirals, to taste)
several handfuls of fresh spinach
1 handful fresh basil leaves, julienned
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Heat a large stockpot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Squeeze sausage meat from casings (this will be very easy with fresh sausage) into the pot, crumbling with a wooden spoon as you brown the meat.
2. Add onions, garlic and carrots and saute with sausage until the vegetables start to look a bit golden, about 7 to 10 minutes.
3. Pour in chicken broth. Add zucchini, tomatoes, beans and pasta. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a nice simmer. Cover the pot and cook until pasta has reached the desired tenderness.
4. Stir in spinach and basil until just wilted.
5. Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary. Top with grated Parmesan cheese and serve!





Caprese Panini

Ingredients: 
whole wheat bread
1 tomato
1 "ball" of fresh mozzarella cheese per sandwich
1 handful fresh basil leaves
balsamic vinegar, to taste

Directions: 
1. Lightly toast your bread.
2. Layer up basil, tomato & mozzarella the way you would with any other sandwich. Drizzle insides with balsamic vinegar to taste.
3. Place sandwich in a George Foreman grill (or panini maker, if you're fancy like that) until you have nice toasty grill marks on each side.
4. Enjoy!



How delicious and simple is this?
Happy Monday everyone.

Congrats to Sharon for winning the Seven Blooms Giveaway! I will be emailing you shortly :D 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

My Favorite Travel Books

My Favorite Travel Writing
I've always loved to read. In the past year I've been devouring one particular genre far more than others, and that genre is Travel. Huge surprise there, right? I'm imagining many of you rolling your eyes at me right now.

 I'm not necessarily talking about non-fiction travel writing found in blogs or magazines such as National Geographic, although I do love those as well. I'm talking about Novels, some fictional, some truthful and some halfway in between, that do a great job of describing amazing places around the world.

Today I'm sharing my favorites with you!



1. The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux.
 I loved this book. It is smartly written and tells the tale of a man who rides trains all across Europe, Asia and back again. The main character goes places (and eats things..ha!) that most sane people wouldn't dare to. Great read!

2. The Good Girl's Guide to Getting Lost by Rachel Friedman.
This book is cute, witty and sweet. More importantly though, it's written very honestly. Rachel, the main character, is self-depreciating an funny, and I think the book accurately portrays what it's like as a female traveler. Be careful though, if you think your wanderlust is bad it will be far worse by the time you're finished.

3. Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin.
 I cried so much, guys. I will recommend this read to everyone who will hear me. I will shout it from the rooftops! Three Cups of Tea tells the story of a man's mission to build schools in war torn Pakistan. Mortenson (the protagonist and co-author) strongly believes that education is the surest way to find peace. This is an eye-opening story that taught me a lot about Islam and Extremism and inspired me to do a lot more research on the subject. It is non-fiction but is written like fiction - there is a plotline and character development and I felt a strong connection with the story from start to finish.

4. Little Princes by Connor Grennan.
I picked up this book after finishing Three Cups of Tea because they seemed similar to me: Little Princes is about a young man who dedicates himself to bettering the lives of children in post civil-war Nepal. The stories are very different, however and I love both. Grennan's way of writing had me bursting out laughing (loudly...in public...) and sometimes bawling just a few paragraphs later.

5. Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene.
 It's important to point out that this book is a spoof. It's a satire set in 20th century Cuba and I found myself laughing throughout the entire thing, all while being totally seduced by the picture he painted of the hot, sleepy pre-Castro Carribbean. While there is plenty of ridiculous, ironic drama brought about by British spies and espionage, Greene still manages to express important ideas about social class, religion and international affairs.

6. Female Nomad and Friends by Rita Golden Gelman.
I picked this up thinking it would be a guilty-pleasure read along the same lines of Eat. Pray. Love. In many ways it was, but I really did relate to many of the different women throughout the stories and it was a real page turner.  The book is about women travelers who love to eat and there are recipes. RECIPES!


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Happy



What makes me happy? More than that, what do I do that makes me happy? I was pondering this the past few days and I came up with the following list:

1. Reading good books
2. Going on walks
3. Laughing
4. Being outside
5. Experimenting in the kitchen
6. Taking photos just for the fun of it
7. Catching up with friends
8. Doing little nice things for my husband, family or friends
9. Studying scriptures
10. Traveling and finding adventures

And then I thought to myself...how many of these things am I really doing right now? Even the activities listed which I do take part in (reading books, being outside) I don't do nearly enough as I wish I did. How is it so easy to get stuck in the grind of a day to day routine, hammering out to do lists and not stopping to enjoy the simple pleasures of life?

I'm going to try to do better this week. Isn't being happy what we all want and hope to achieve? And what better way to find happiness than to simply do more things that make us happy?

What's your "happy list?" Please share in the comments!

P.S. Sponsorship options are 35% off today!! The deals are crazy good. Check them out here and use code FLASH35 at checkout.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Seven Blooms Giveaway!



| Blouse: Equipment | Necklace: J.Crew (similar here) | Belt: H&M (old) | Skirt: c/o Seven Blooms | Tights: H&M | Boots: GC Shoes | Purse: Forever 21 (old) | Rings: Amrita Singh, Flea Market in Florence | Sunglasses: DKNY |





How cute is this red skirt from Seven Blooms? I love how lovely and simple it is - I can think of a million and one ways to wear it. Today I styled it with classic white, black and a few touches of gold - but come summer you bet I'll be pairing this dynamic piece with a chambray top, cute wedge sandals and a hobo bag.

If you've started thinking about how to update your wardrobe for spring, you are now definitely in luck because Regina from Seven Blooms is graciously giving away this cute skirt in the color of your choice!

That's not all. Included with the skirt will be two surprise items. You just don't know what they are yet! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway is open until Monday, March 18th. Good Luck!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Sorry, I'm not Sorry ;)



My spontaneous week long break from blogging has felt fabulous. I was getting very overwhelmed with my long list of tasks and I decided that churning out mediocre posts while I'm stressed and panicking wasn't a solid idea. 

You're welcome.

Now I'm feeling refocused and ready to go! This weekend is all about reorganizing, recentering and finding inspiration. 

See you on Monday, dear friends! 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Staying Stationary


Near my home in Ventura County, CA

I was born to travel. More than once I've related the feeling I get when I'm in a new place to a high. I'm addicted to that high.

We are in California now. I love California, don't get me wrong - but boy do I miss traveling. Yes, I've been exploring some of my state and loving it, but there's something different about waking up in a place with an entirely different language and culture.

Steven and I have changed around a lot of things in our life lately. A year ago we were living in Europe. Neither of us were in school (not counting my online classes) and we had very wonderful, very flexible jobs that allowed us a fairly comfortable lifestyle and frequent opportunities to travel.

Sometimes I find myself thinking: Why would we give that up? What were we thinking? 

I have to remind myself that even though life often seemed perfect in Europe, we had no opportunity for growth there. America is where we need to be to finish our education and transition into careers we love.

Our life here is not going to be as glamorous, at least not for a while. I'm in the middle of an 18 unit semester of school and sometimes I can't even find the time to breathe, let alone plan trips and fabulous adventures.

I'm not done traveling. I'll never be done traveling - but I'm coming to terms with the fact that I need to be happy with how life is NOW. I need to recognize the beauty of where I am instead of sighing wistfully at every picture I see of someplace else. I need to count my blessings.

I live in a country where I'm allowed to receive an education.
I have a family who loves me.
A husband I would do anything for.
There is love and laughter and fun in my life and I am blessed beyond measure.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Fifty Shades of No-Friggen-Way: A Plea for Stronger Heroines




Last night, a friend from school emailed me a bunch of her e-books to my phone. Among them was the first installment of E.L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey.  Now I know I'm way late to the game here, but I couldn't bring myself to buy/read the series last year when this stuff wasn't old news. Now that I had a free copy on my phone, I decided to the read the first few chapters to understand what the hype was all about and why women love to read these books so much.

And I get it, I do. I understand the appeal these books (and similar stories such as the Twilight series) have to women. I myself read the Twilight books in high school and they were very entertaining. This is not a post to judge any readers for enjoying young adult (or in the case of Fifty Shades - very adult) fiction. Reading to be entertained is totally fine, respectable and even awesome.

However I need to take the time to talk about the female characters in this book and the very unhealthy image and standard characters such as these are putting into place for women, especially the women in younger generations who are still growing up to figure out who they are and who they want to be.



It's pretty common knowledge that Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey are very similar books, as E.L. James' BDSM Romance novel originally began as a sexualized fan-fiction of Stephanie Meyer's vampire series.  It's no surprise then that the heroines of both series' share striking similarities as well:  Thin, pale brunettes who are clumsy, shy, have absolutely no idea about fashion or makeup and possess a startling lack of self confidence and poor posture. Both characters meet strikingly beautiful, powerful men who SOMEHOW become obsessed with these weak, uninteresting female characters. These men seem to be so, so, so out of these girls' leagues, which both females make a point of mentioning again and again throughout the books. 

Both women cry, a lot. There's nothing wrong with crying, but crying all the time in direct relation to your partner?

Both male leads are obsessed with their female counter parts. They are possessive, jealous and stalker-like.

Both books make it very clear that the Christian/Edward really wants to hurt Ana/Bella, and BOTH Ana and Bella willingly enter into these relationships knowing they are unhealthy, that their hearts are in real danger of breaking, that it's possible they could be severely emotionally or physically damaged if they stay with these people. They choose to do so anyway.

I understand that on paper, this translates to a desperate, whirl-wind magic passion romance thing that sweeps girls off their feet.

But in reality? Heck to the no.

These books are written BY women, FOR women, and yet they totally hate women. The males in these stories are far, far more interesting than the females.  A man sick with influenza in the early 20th century rescued and adopted into a family of vampires? A man with a rough, abusive upbringing who becomes a billionaire and turns to BDSM to deal with his demons? Those are the interesting plotlines. The only extraordinary thing about Bella or Ana is that they somehow get their more-fascinating male counterparts to fall in love with them. 

I'm just using Twilight and Fifty Shades as examples here. Really, this format is everywhere. How many TV shows and movies and books and stories do you know of where the innocent, virginal ingenue is swept off her feet by the dark, brooding rebel without a cause?

THIS IS MY CALL TO WRITERS AND READERS EVERYWHERE:


Where are the smart women? Where are the strong, interesting, independent women who have successful careers and colorful lives? Where are the women who love food and adventure? Where are the women who won't take possessive, jealous, unhealthy crap from any man? That will teach young female readers to kick a guy who treats them poorly/makes them cry often/verbally or otherwise abuses them to the curb?  Where are the women who LOVE themselves? 

And don't you dare tell me these women wouldn't make interesting stories.

-----

Note;  I know many of you probably have very strong opinions about this. I welcome any thoughts here, negative or positive -  Add to the discussion in the comments! 

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