Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Oh, Crop!

A crop top (also cropped top, belly shirt, half shirt, midriff shirt, midriff top, tummy top, short shirt, and cutoff shirt) is a T-shirt or blouse with the lower part cut off, showing off some of the abdomen. 

Thanks to Wikipedia for this wonderful definition of a crop top. Where would we be without Wiki?

Well, like it or not, the '90s are back! Short tops have been cropping up all over stores (I'm hilarious, I know), and they are being shown with ev-er-y-thing. Crop tops and jeans, crop tops and A-line skirts, crop tops and maxi skirts, crop tops and high-waisted shorts. You name it, you can probably wear it with a crop top.

In the "dress code" section of my middle school student handbook, there was a clause that explicitly stated "no exposed midriffs." I went to middle school in the early 2000's, right after the '90s crop top craze, and I remember thinking "ew, why would anybody even want to expose their midriff? Also, why is midriff such a weird word?"

Well, now it's 2014, and I've got answers. Midriff seems like it should be a compound word, right? Mid drift? Like, "my mid is so exposed that I'm catching this drift of wind." Turns out I was… well, kinda right.

According to Wikipedia, "'Midriff' is an old term in the English language, coming into use before 1000 AD. In Old English it was written as "midhrif", with the old word "hrif" literally meaning stomach; in Middle English it was "mydryf". The word fell into obsolescence after the 18th century, until it was revived in 1941 by the fashion industry partly to avoid use of the word 'belly' which many women considered undesirable in reference to their bodies, as it has connotations of obesity." Interesting, huh? Ya learn something new every day.

My personal recommendation when playing with proportions is that you don't go overboard one way or another. So if you're wearing a super short crop, don't wear it with itty-itty-bitty shorts. You don't want to look like you're in a bikini unless you're--y'know--at a pool.

My second recommendation is to be considerate about where you wear this trend. Your boss probably doesn't want to see your bare midriff or (gasp) exposed belly button when you walk into his office. If you currently attend Jarrett Middle School, the handbook likely still says "no exposed midriffs" because it may not have been updated since the 90's. I also wouldn't recommend wearing a crop top to any sort of church function because duh. And you could wear a crop top to the mall if you want, but the AC is always so cold there, so maybe it would be better if you wore a sweater over it…

But in any and all other cases: Rock the crop, guys.

Photos by my talented friend, Nick Warnock, edited by me. To see more of his edits from this shoot, hop on over to

Outfit details: Crop top//Forever 21. Black jeans//Forever 21. Brown beaded bracelets//Vintage.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Grandma's Summertime Sandwiches

"I've got those summertime, summertime sandwiches." 

Sweet summertime! Springfield is finally warming up to my favorite temps, and I'm so glad tomato season is upon us. 

Did you know some people don't like tomatoes? Can you imagine that?? Can you believe that some of the same people who don't like tomatoes do like ketchup? Some people are crazy.

This isn't an entire post dedicated to tomatoes, and I'm sure some of you are upset about that. This is another food post. Fun fact: There are more food posts than any other category on my blog because I have a looooot to learn in the kitchen. But I'm working on it! Here is another one of my grandma's recipes that I've come to love.

Ingredients (Makes one sandwich):
- English muffin, cut in half
- One (or two or three) slices of cheese
- Pre-cooked bacon (because everything is better with bacon)
- Basil and oregano, to taste

Basically, you put all of the ingredients on the English muffin, and then broil it on high for about 5 minutes. Easiest recipe ever! I'm a big fan of homemade food that can be prepared quickly because sometimes I just get really hungry. 

And there ya have it! Grandma was pretty good at making up recipes

Happy Memorial Weekend, friends! I hope yours is filled with bacon and tomatoes, cheese, and laughter. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Sweet Springfield

How I got over myself and learned to love my hometown.

I wrote an article on this topic, and you can read it by clicking here if you'd like.

Photo by Nick Warnock.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Letters are Forever

My dear friend, Lindsay, surprised me this week with some sweet snail mail. It wasn't anything that required a box or a bow; it probably only took her about 5 minutes and 50 cents. She simply said she was thankful for our friendship, but getting that fun little letter in the mail was the highlight of my day.

It's really amazing how much a teensy sacrifice (5 minutes!) can mean to another person. Lindsay's letter didn't say anything earth-shattering or groundbreaking, but it was note-worthy. She reminded me that I should make a point to start writing some letters, myself! Ink on paper adds an extra-special touch to a message by making the communication more intentional.

Lindsay could have told me she was thankful for our friendship via text, Facebook, email, Skype, or Twitter, but letters are forever. Love you, Linds!

P.S. Is this blog post forever?
P.P.S. Nick Warnock let me borrow his 50mm prime lens for this post, and I'm enjoying learning how it works!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Summer-Fever Playlist

I've got summer fever bad, guys. It's like spring fever, but worse. I long for burgers fresh off the grill, denim shorts, Table Rock Lake, driving with no shoes (don't tell!) and my windows down.

However, tomorrow's high is only 64. Not so happy about that.

Anyway. This post is about music… Not my dissatisfactions with the Midwestern weather. My friend, Luke, made this awesome summer-fever playlist. Hope you enjoy it as much as I have!

I think my favorite song on here is Dan Croll's Compliment Your Soul. It's just too good.

See another favorite song here.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

How to Brow

My friend, Katie, recently graduated as an esthetician and got a sweet job as an Ulta Prestige Beauty Advisor and Benefit Arch Expert. Since she's officially an expert on brows (wow), she gave me the lowdown on how to maintain awesome arches.

So, here's how to brow:

You start by painting a weird tribal mask above your eyebrows. This is important to get into the mood, so you'll have the whole Amazon woman thing going for you. (Just kidding.)

Katie suggests making these lines to guide your brows, which is a great idea for anyone who may not have a super well-defined natural arch. She uses a white pencil to guide where the lines should go, so it's easier to wipe off when she's finished. (Smart girl.) First, she holds a pencil straight up and down from the side of her nose, and draws the line where the pencil would hit. This guides where the brow should begin. For the second line, she holds the pencil from the side of her nose, and continues as if it would make a line through her pupil—it is approximately a 45-degree angle. She draws this line to see where the arch should go. Then, she holds the pencil again from the side of her nose and ends at the corner of her eyelid. That is where she draws the last line, and where her brow stops!

After the lines are drawn, Katie tweezes what's outside her guide. She recommends that you alternate between brows as you pluck, so that you don't over-tweeze one brow, and then have to play "catch up" with the other. Also remember, "eyebrows are sisters; not twins." It is more important that you follow your natural arch line than pluck each brow to look exactly like the other. Trade secret: It hurts less if you tweeze close to the root and in the direction of hair growth. Another trade secret: It also helps to have a cute cat to hang out with you.

Katie draws a sharp, straight line from the beginning of her brows and continues it until she reaches the highest point of her arch. She stops drawing the line at this point, and she uses a small brush to blend the liner both at the front and into the ends of the brow. Katie has learned that this looks most natural because eyebrows tend to grow in softer closer to the nose and darken a little as they complete the arch. Interesting, huh?

Katie uses a variety of brow products (I didn't even know brow products were a thing.. Look at how much I'm learning!), but she says the necessities are a good pair of sharp tweezers (for obvious reasons), and either a pencil or a powder to fill in your sparse spots.
Products from left to right: Anastasia Brow Powder Duo in CaramelNYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Milk (to make the white guides around her brows), tweezers, Chella Ivory Lace Highlighter (to make corrections), e.l.f. Small Angled Brow BrushMAC Cosmetics Eyebrow Pencil in Spiked (this is what she used in this post)e.l.f. Clear Brow Gel, and Naked 3.

Like you probably noticed earlier, Katie uses a pencil to fill in her brows instead of a shadow. Either is fine to use, but it is usually easier to get a well-defined brow with a pencil since a pencil makes sharper lines and is easier to control than a shadow. You don't need a fancy-schmancy "made-specially-for-brows" pencil, either; an eyeliner is just fine! Katie finishes her brows by covering up any color that made it outside the lines.

Picking the right color to fill in your brows is mega important. Best-case scenario, you'll find one that matches your hair color perfectly. But if this isn't the case, use this as a guide: Ladies with dark hair tend to look best with eyebrows a little lighter than their hair color, and blondes tend to look the best with brows just a tad darker. Katie recommends that you pick a brow color within two shades of your hair color. She also said one of the biggest "no-no's" is choosing a brow shade that is too red. So, when in doubt, choose a color that is a little more ashy than red-hot.

Ain't she just the prettiest?? I'll take beauty advice from this girl any day! If you want to see more of her makeup looks, you can check her out on Instagram @katielitter. Happy brow-ing!