Thursday, August 28, 2014

This Time, This Year

Snapshots from Fusian and The Union Terminal Museum Center.
Cincinnati Art Museum/Overlook/Shaved ice.
(Obligatory photos of alcohol that I legally purchased/consumed)
A few if my favorite things; i.e. boys, cats, and Ikea,
     I celebrated "21" this weekend with a getaway to Cincinnati with my dear, Andy. These were really the best few days. We explored a ton of new places; museums, restaurants, local shops that were close to his sister's neighborhood. I'll be dreaming of living in Northside Cincinnati from here on out. I went crazy and Ikea and Jungle Jim's, which is the CRAZIEST grocery store I've ever been to. They even have an erotic hot sauce section, if you've been wondering where that was your whole life. We stocked up on things for our future home, and enjoyed not being on any type of schedule. I got to see my lovely sister on my birthday, and have the most delicious meal/first legal drink at Wheat Penny in Dayton; check it out if you're in the area, you won't regret it! 
     Now it's back to reality, I suppose. Which isn't terrible, at least. I'm finishing out my last week at one of my jobs, so that I can begin full-time at the other; an opportunity I could not be more thankful for. I'm feeling as if a huge weight that has been crushing me for two years is finally dissolving. And, I can't wait to have more time to work on this site/see people/do things that a 50+ hour work week has prevented me from doing for the last six months. *Whew* I'm off to do laundry and read as much as I can before punching the clock.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

21 Before 22

     It's that time of year again, when I turn another year older and become ultra aware of all the things I hope to do. Twenty has not been so nice. This year has been long and trying. There have been huge, defeating blows and a lot to learn. I've made mistakes and accepted things for what they are. I feel like I'm starting my new year off alright. I'm come to terms with a lot of situations that have caused great stress, and feel as though I'm getting a clearer idea about where I'm going, or at the very least, where I want to be. I recently put a two-weeks notice into one of my jobs, so that I can devote more time to Rags and Roses. And, Andy and I are really getting serious about finding a house, either in our current area or another. These changes are scary and overwhelming at times, but I'm so happy to finally feel as though I am capable of making things, both big and small, happen. I made one of these lists last year, and it really helped me keep my focus. Of course, I did not complete all of them. Some of them even made another appearance on this year's list, but I want to just really make this year about finding peace and strength in myself. So here's what I've got:
1. Drink more water
2. Find a house and move in
3. Spend 20+ hours a week on Rags and Roses
4. Start running again
5. Have a date night once a week
6. Learn how to play guitar
7. Travel to 5 new places
8. De-clutter and organize
9. Start and finish Orange is the New Black
10. Take an art class
11. Bake something from scratch
12. Take walks at least once a week
13. Read 2-3 books a month
14. Stop watching so much TV (maybe)
15. Manage stress/anxiety better; let things go easier/faster
16. Start taking vitamins
17. More tea, less coffee
18. Make conversation with someone new
19. Get another pen pal (although no one will beat Ashley)
20. Be less critical of myself
21. Make time to relax

I don't count on making all of these a reality, but I they are not that far-fetched. I just want to really weed out negativity and every unnecessary source of tension. I think 21 will be just fine. I'm getting the celebration started with a full 5 fives away from both jobs. I'm getting my license renewed and all my packing finished up tomorrow, before heading to Cincinnati for the weekend with my boo-thing, Andy. We'll be scoping out the area his sister lives in, having dinner and drinks with my sister, and catching up on actually having some time together. Low key birthdays are more my steeze. 
Thanks for all the love and support this year, you guys! I'm really looking forward to making this one to remember.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Recipe: Fried Green Tomato Caprese

     I love food. I mean, who doesn't? But, my love for food goes deep. I love talking about food, I love watching food be made, I love thinking of ways that I can make food. Food is my soul-mate. Have I sufficiently weird-ed you out? Good.
     This recipe started out of my love for a Southern favorite: fried green tomatoes. There is something about frying up a not-quite-ripened tomato to crunchy perfection and drowning it in ranch dressing or sour cream dip. YUM. Plus, its namesake movie is a classic. But, on this particular occasion of me trying to savor the green tomato goodness before they turned red, I thought to pair the fried deliciousness together with the fresh mozzarella and roma tomatoes in my fridge; blending my highly-regarded comfort food staple with my other love of Italian cuisine And, oh my gosh, am I glad I did. Here's the how-to (for two tomatoes):
     Slice your green tomatoes into 1/4 inch slices. In one dish, season a few big spoonfuls of flour with salt, pepper, all-purpose seasoning, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. In another dish, beat two eggs, a splash of milk, and a few dashes of hot sauce together. Pour a cup of Italian-seasoned bread crumbs into a third dish. It's really important to make sure every component of this recipe is properly seasoned; you should always utilize all the flavor you can early on in the cooking process. The order for breading your tomatoes should be flour, then egg wash, then bread crumbs. Pour enough vegetable oil in a skillet to completely cover the bottom, and heat over medium heat. Vegetable oil is mild in flavor, so you don't have to worry about it taking over your flavors the way olive oil would, It also hold heat very well. Drop a pinch of bread crumbs into the oil to test if its hot enough; if it gently bubbles and gives a sizzling sound, you're all set!
      Fry the tomatoes until golden brown on both sides until golden brown and crispy. Place them on paper towels to drain off excess oil, and be sure to sprinkle them with salt while they are still hot. Now, you could just be done after this step, and eat them on their own; they are still so, so good with Ranch or hot sauce for dipping. But, it's a little known fact that if you make a salad with fried food, it instantly becomes good for you. Google it, dorks.
     I layered my green tomatoes over a bed of romaine lettuce, with fresh mozzarella and roma tomatoes. I sprinkled the entire plate with black pepper, and finished everything with a drizzle of my favorite balsamic vinaigrette; you could use just straight balsamic vinegar, and it would be perfect! This dish was so satisfying, and I loved the combination of the two classics. I hope you do, too! What twists do you put on the classics?

Monday, August 11, 2014

Weekend Round-Up

(instagram: ragsandroses_)
This weekend was packed full,which is why I'm sharing some very riveting phone pictures instead of an ACTUAL post. Woops. I cut about 6 inches off of my hair and got a really subtle ombre. I LOVE IT. It's amazing what a new hair cut will do for a person's psyche. This weekend also aloud for a lot of cat/boyfriend cuddling. Which is something I will never not like (d'aww). And, last but not least, seeing Manchester Orchestra at Summerfest! It was the the third time I've seen them this year, and by far the best yet. Live music forever and always, amen. How was your weekend?

Friday, August 8, 2014

Outfit: A Summer Day (with

I've always considered myself cheap fugal. I love to shop, but I can't stomach spending more than twenty bucks on an article of clothing, unless it's something really special. Especially in the Summer, when I just want simple and breezy clothing with little fuss. I stalk the clearance racks, and love a good thrifted find but sometimes that doesn't cut it.
Keeping up with current trends while also staying true to my budget-conscious nature sometimes proves to be tricky. Ya know, because usually things get marked down or thrown out to second-hand shops when they are considered out of date. My window for buying Summer clothing is short-lived being from a region where it's cold and unpredictable more often than not.
But, is changing the game on how you shop. is the first online marketplace where users can buy and sell gift cards. This means you don't have to shop less, you just have to shop smart. makes it easy to get more bang for your buck by offering a platform for people with unwanted gift cards to sell them for a lesser cash value; giving you more to spend at your favorite stores!
The look above is a great representation of my signature Summer style, and is one that you could easily recreate by taking advantage of's new way of purchasing the latest fashions. I tend to go for a more effortless looking style with an edge. I love a good pair of cut-offs and ankle boots. And, more often than not, you'll find me in a simple tank worn under a flannel or kimono top. I utilize practical accessories like hats and sunglasses to give something extra to my look without adding any hassle. 
So, what Summer trends will you indulge in using

Outfit Details:
Hat- Target
Tank- T.J. Maxx
Kimono- Thrifted (originally from Target)
Shorts- Thrifted/DIY
Boots- Thrifted
Sunnies- Forever 21

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Kitchen Sink Beauty: Avocado and Olive Oil Hair Mask

     I put my hair through a beating pretty much everyday. I color it, load it with product, and turn it to straw with blow dryers and curling irons. I'm currently depriving my hair of a trim because I want my bangs to grow out before I dive into another new style. This means that my ends are breaking like crazy, and I look a lot like a Sanderson Sister a la Hocus Pocus. I stumbled upon a DIY hair mask made from two ingredients that are kitchen staples in my house: avocados and olive oil. Both foods are full of healthy fats that are ultra-nourishing to your body, but also do wonders for your hair! 
 Slice up one ripened avocado and put it in a mixing bowl with 2 tablespoons of olive oil; double the recipe if you have extra long hair. Break down the avocado with a whisk until smooth. After the majority of the pieces are broken down, whisk until you have a creamy, mousse-like consistency. (Avoid adding lime juice and cilantro at this step. Har, har, har.)
     This is what your mask should look like! Set your bowl beside the shower, and shampoo your hair. Once your hair is clean, grab your bowl and evenly distribute your mixture as best you can. Once your hair is covered, twist or clip your hair to the top of your head to let it soak in as you finish up your other showering routines. The heat from the shower will help the mask set in. Once your done with washing up, rinse the mixture out thoroughly. Once it's out, condition your hair just like you normally would. That's it!
     These pictures were taken just after a quick blow dry with a rounded brush. I didn't use any other product or heating tools just to show that the results from this mask are out of this world. My hair was super soft and shiny, and was rid of it's usual frizz. My ends were noticeably repaired, too.
There you have it, folks. The answer to healthier hair is just a couple ingredients away. What other natural remedies for dry hair do you guys use?

(Adapted from here)

Sunday, August 3, 2014

DIY: Floral Monogram Frames

     I've really been trying to up my game when it comes to DIY projects for Rags and Roses. And, since Andy and I are currently working towards moving in together, I figure my crafts should have purpose. Decorative purpose, that is. These floral monograms were a breeze to make, and I'm already imagining them placed above our bed or the kitchen table. You know, the ones in whatever house we end up in. Here's the how-to!
You'll just need fake flowers, scissors, acrylic paint, hot glue sticks/gun, old picture frames. I found my frames at Goodwill, but any leftover frames you have around will do!
Paint two, even coats of acrylic paint over the existing painting/cardboard of the frame. I really regret painting over that dreamy flower painting. SAD-FACE, SAD-FACE, SAD-FACE. I used a hair dryer to speed up the drying process because patience is not my strongest attribute. 
Arrange your flowers in the shape or letter formation of your choosing, and use hot glue to hold them in place. I went back over my white flowers with gold leaves and colored petals for some contrast, but feel free to really customize this to your liking!
     And, there you have it! Your very own personal monograms. I probably should have picked different flowers to really give the letters clearer definition, but ultimately I'm happy with the outcome. Plus, the ones I went with were on sale. LONG LIVE A BARGAIN. I hope this sparks some DIY-inspo for you all!

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