Friday, February 22, 2013

Beauty: Anchored

I spy with my little eye a tiny little anchor...on my ankle! Finally, after months of planning, my sister and I finally got the matching tattoos we have been dreaming about getting together. It all happened last weekend on my trip home to Wisconsin.

I know not everyone sees the value in tattoos, and that's OK. I like tattoos. And my sister loves them. Tattoos really speak to her in a way that I'm not sure I'll ever understand, but absolutely appreciate. So when the thought of getting matching tattoos came across our minds, it stuck. And for us, the anchor was a perfect fit. Our bond as sisters anchors us together, and at the same time, we are each-others anchors. Always there for one another, weathering the storm or sailing under sunny skies.

I love the anchors, and I love her. And I love our tattoos.

So with that, happy Friday!

 - C

|| Photos are property of Twentyapolis. Do not use or distribute. ||

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Style: Making a Statement

I have always lived by the mantra that "less is more." But sometimes, more is more. And when it comes to statement jewelry, more is always more.

I'm usually one for statement necklaces (and statement necklaces only.) That is, until I came across this little beauty. Lust at first sight is an understatement. I think my heart skipped a beat.

With spring and summer just around the corner, the Barbie Ring by Beso Beso by Luka is my go-to accessory. The best part? The color somehow mysteriously goes with just about everything in my closet. I think it has that "statement" effect. Do you ever see outfits where a piece of jewelry looks like it shouldn't match with a certain outfit, but it mysteriously goes together perfectly? The Barbie Ring has that same effect. I'm obsessed. Seriously, you need one now. I won't even get upset that we have the same ring.

|| Photo is property of Twentyapolis. Do not use or distribute. Product provided by Beso Beso.||

In addition to the Barbie Ring, I'm going to be wearing a few other dazzling pieces by Beso Beso. A few of my favorites? The Candace Ring, Black Onyx and White Mother of Pearl Arm Candy Collection Bracelets. LOVE. Summertime, here I come.

|| Photo is property of Twentyapolis. Do not use or distribute. Products provided by Beso Beso. ||

If you're in love like I am, check out Beso Beso by Luka now. If things could even get any better, you get loyalty rewards for rating a product, emailing the product to a friend, having a birthday and a ton of other things. Seriously, these guys are good.

 - C

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Beauty: Winter Skin Care

It's February in Minneapolis. Needless to say, I'm freezing.

I really was beginning to think that the weather was finally starting to come around and that spring was on the horizon. But no, I was sorely mistaken. We're in for yet another blizzard this week. And that means it's back to the winter boots, oversize sweaters and endless amounts of layers. 

While driving on slippery roads is undoubtedly the worst part of winter in my opinion, dry skin comes in strong in second place. But while I can't change the weather, I can change my dry skin (and try to smell like spring as I do!)

A few weeks ago, I stumbled across a few Burt's Bees products that I seriously can't live without. If we're being honest here, I was a huge fan of their lip balm, but never ever gave their lotions a second thought. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I'm glad I did.

Obsessed doesn't even begin to describe it. Not only do all of these products smell fantastic (think honey meets lavender and sage), they keep my skin healthy and not dry. For a Minnesotan, this is a miracle. Personally, I use the Naturally Nourishing Milk & Honey Body Lotion right after showering and keep the Ultimate Care Hand Cream at my desk at work. And the Intense Hydration Day Lotion? In my purse at all times, except when I throw it in my gym bag.

Now that I'm saying this out loud, I feel like I'm a little bit obsessed. But I don't care. I am in love.

Ladies, how do you battle dry skin in the winter?

 - C

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Life: The Long Week{end}

I can't believe it's Tuesday already. Where did my long weekend go? Actually, a better question, where did February go? 

It's been a crazy month at work for me, and it will only get crazier until March. Just bear with me over the next few weeks! Don't worry, I'll post lots of pictures while I'm traveling for work to make my absence worth it!

But let's see...what have I been up to lately? I hate to say it, but I actually had to look at my Instagram photos to REMEMBER what I have been up to. New all-time low.

Let's see...well, I went to Wisconsin to visit my family and had a fantastic time. I ate monkey bread and drank Spotted Cow like it was my job. I worked on my laptop over endless cups of coffee {but they taste much better when they're fresh-brewed by my mom!}. I cleaned tried to clean my apartment. I bought a suitcase for an upcoming work trip and wanted to die when I saw the price tag.  Speaking of price tag, I got some great deals at the Oshkosh Outlet Mall . I prepped for an upcoming spa party I'm hosting at my little studio {which still isn't totally clean. Let's add that to my to-do list.}. I frequented Starbucks...a lot. Let's just say the 6 a.m. staff knows my name and my order. Jack and I bought a book on adopting a pet. Yes, this IS happening! Future dog owners, and I couldn't be any happier. I attended a Chinese New Year party at Jack's parents house, ate amazing Chinese food and opened a few fortune cookies {see the fortune below? Best of the night!} I ran the Valentine's Day 5K with some great friends, rolled around in the snow with that handsome black lab below and swooned when Jack made me chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast.

I think I slept at some point, too. Maybe not.

What have you been up to?

 - C

|| Photos are property of Twentyapolis. Do not use or distribute. ||

Friday, February 15, 2013

Holiday: Friday, I'm in Love

And just like that, Valentine's Day has come and gone. I have to tell you, I am a little sad (ok, devastatingly sad) that it's now time to retire my heart-printed placemats, kitchen towels and candy dishes until next year. But despite my sadness, I had an absolutely fantastic Valentine's Day. And the fact that today is Friday just makes everything better.
First of all, Melissa Oholendt stopped by to blog about her adventures in the kitchen making the perfect Valentine's Day dessert. Needless to say, I was/am/will always be obsessed with her writing and photography. The girl's got talent. Seriously, what a great way to start the day!
Once I got to work, I was surrounded by all things delicious. Red velvet cupcakes, donuts, candy hearts, chocolate - talk about a food coma. After that, a little birdie dropped by to send me the most beautiful bouquet of roses. Boyfriend, you did good.
And after work? Well, Jack and I celebrated in our usual "romantic but not so romantic but OK a little romantic" style. We ordered a pizza, watched our favorite shows, cuddled on the couch and exchanged gifts. And we may have recounted one or two (or nine or twelve) of our love stories together.
And then we went to bed by 9:30 p.m. Which, I have to tell you, IS A TREAT FOR THIS GIRL. I need my sleep.
And now today? We're off to Wisconsin to visit my family for the weekend!
How did you spend your Valentines' Days, loves?
 - C
|| Photos are property of Twentyapolis. Do not use or distribute. ||

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Holiday: Be My Valentine

Happy Valentine's Day, loves! To celebrate one of the best holidays ever created, I have a GUEST POST to share with you! My dear friend Melissa Oholendt stopped by to share a little story of her kitchen conquest to make the perfect Valentine's Day dessert. Seriously, get ready for your mouth to water. Once you're done drooling, check out her fabulous website and blog here.
Have a fabulous day! Now, where can I find some chocolate...
 - C

Recipe: Guest Post || Melissa Oholendt

True confessions. I occasionally dream about Top Chef but maybe not in the way you think would be normal... It's Top Chef meets Hunger Games. My name is drawn from the lottery and guess what? I don't even make it past the cornucopia.
HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY! (Didn't see that one coming, did you?)

So, hi. My name is Melissa. I am a photographer. Not a chef. (Thankfully.) In fact, if we're being honest, my cooking skills rank somewhere between "Can Boil Water for Noodles" and "Did a Bomb Go Off in this Kitchen?!". It's not that I don't want to be a great cook because trust me, one Food Network episode of Giada at Home and I'm suddenly the most proficient Italian cook you've ever met. I CAN COOK A MEAN AL DENTE NOODLE, OK? But anything beyond your basic culinary skills proves to be...challenging.

Thankfully, I have maybe the most amazing Valentine EVER. My husband, who after nearly 8 years of cooking disasters, kitchen meltdowns and too many smoke alarms to count, has taken on the lion-share of the cooking responsibilities (the other share is carried by Chipotle on Hennepin - God bless them) and has learned that keeping me out of the kitchen is generally better for everyone. But every once in a while - and typically after a day of editing photos to the background noise of my friends Giada, Ina & Paula - I get in the I CAN COOK ALL THINGS mentality.

Cue Valentines Day and this Marbled Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies pin. Done. It was over. The kitchen was going to SEE MY SKILLZ and like it (maybe?).

And you guys. I did it. I took that brownie-cheesecake of amazingness recipe and I rocked it's world.
Two things to note before you attempt this at home (because you are totally going to, right?). One. They are pretty darn delicious on their own but paired with a raspberry reduction sauce (this is my favorite) and fresh whipped cream? I promise you will cry it's so good. Second. Just a general advisement to use care when working with the red food coloring. By the time I wiped down the counters (and let's be honest, my clothes too), my hands looked as if they had taken a soak in a red food-coloring bath.
Enough words from me. Heres' the recipe stolen borrowed from The Novice Chef.
Oh, and to the dear, sweet Twentyapolis readers...Happy Valentine's Day from this girl to you. Promise I won't try to cook you anything.

Red Velvet Layer:
3 1/4 cups flour
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
4 tablespoons milk, divided
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon red food coloring
2 teaspoons white vinegar
Cheesecake Layer:
2 8oz packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13 x 18 jelly roll pan with butter or spray with Baker's Joy.
In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons milk, vanilla extract, red food coloring, and white vinegar.
Combine the dry and wet ingredients, until completely combined. The batter will be a really thick, almost moldable texture...but don't worry, that's what you want. Remove 3/4 cup of the batter and place it in a medium bowl. Whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of milk (into the 3/4 cup of batter you just took out). Set aside the 3/4 cup batter.
Pour the remaining batter into the prepared jelly roll pan. Using a spatula, smooth out the batter to reach all the edges.
Now, in your stand mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla, beating until combined and there are no lumps. Pour the cream cheese mixture on top of the red velvet layer and smooth mixture till it reaches all the edges.
Drop spoonfuls of the remaining red velvet batter (that you mixed with milk) onto the top of the cheesecake layer. Drag the tip of a knife through the red velvet and the cheesecake layers to create swirls.
Bake for 30 minutes, rotating half way through, or just until the center is set and it no longer jiggles. Let cool completely on a wire rack before cutting. Use a medium sized heart cookie cutter to create the perfect Valentine's Day treat!

|| Photos are property of Melissa Oholendt. Do not use or distribute. ||

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Style: Valentine's Day || For Him

Hello loves! Don't think I'd forget about you right before Valentine's Day! Not even the busiest weeks in the world (literally, the busiest) could stop me. Speaking of busy, these last few days/weeks have been crazy. And they're only getting crazier. And unfortunately, Twentyapolis was put on the back-burner for a few days. But don't worry, it doesn't mean I love blogging any less! Quite the contrary, it makes me miss it more than ever.

What have I been doing in the meantime...well, there's a very long post about that coming soon. One of the things I did? I made you a gift guide! If you're still thinking of what to get your sweetie this Valentine's Day, here are a few last-minute ideas! Remember, there's always next-day shipping!

For Mr. Style - I love that Jack likes style. It makes me feel comfortable buying him nice pieces for his wardrobe that will last years and years. And lately, I'm really into all things hyper-local, especially that wool Pierrepont Hicks tie. Pierrepont Hicks was created by a husband/wife duo with Minnesotan roots, and let me say, they know their ties. You just can't go wrong with something so stylish.

For the foodie - If your guy is into caffeine (I like him already) and is somewhat of a foodie, a moka will be a great addition to his kitchen. It's useful and a little quirky. The best part? He'll actually use it. Espresso, anyone?

For the workout fiend - An armband with earbud holders. A necessity for any gym rat. If he doesn't have one, he'll be happy you thought of it.

For the outdoorsman - Camping season is coming up quick. If your guy likes camping, outdoor festivals or anything that takes place outdoors, a blanket from Faribault Woolen Mill is a great fit. Also hyper-local, Faribault offers durable blankets that are ridiculously warm and are made right here in Minnesota. 

For the traveler - I love dopp kits. They're so quintessentially...manly. And your guy probably needs and/or wants one. Especially this one. It's leather, and it's monogrammed. Score.

For the techie - I don't consider myself a techie, but I actually want this alarm clock. All you have to do is set your phone atop the clock. Not only will it charge your phone, it looks like an old-school alarm clock. He'll love it. 

For the music lover - If your Valentine is into music, it's likely he's planning on attending a few concerts this summer. Help him prep for the show by buying him a DVD of one of their concerts. It'll how him you're excited for the concert too and will be a way for you guys to learn all the songs before you go. I recommend Mumford & Sons. (Jack and I will be seeing them in Ohio in August!)

For the sports enthusiast - It's nice Valentine's Day comes right after the Superbowl. What does that mean for us girls shopping for our sports-obsessed boyfriends? SALES. On everything. Jerseys, hats, hoodies, you name it. 

Happy shopping! And chocolate eating. It's almost Valentine's Day. You deserve it.

- C

Friday, February 8, 2013

Life: Relaxation

It's almost comical to me that I'm writing this blog post, because as most people tell you, I have a very difficult time relaxing. Maybe it's my Type-A personality or my incessant need to write a to-do list and work hard to cross everything off. Either way, I find it hard to relax. And to be honest, I don't do it enough.

But people, this blog is a learning experience. And I'm due for a lesson in how to relax.

While I think massages, weekend getaways and acupuncture are probably fabulous ways to find my zen, I'm not looking to break my bank in order to chill out. Luckily for me, I'm slowly (but surely) finding ways to relax in my cute little studio, both conventional and unconventional.

Yoga - Lately, I've been laying out my yoga mat and practicing a little bit of yoga on the hardwood floors of my living room. A lit candle, my yoga mat and a relaxing yoga DVD...Namaste.

Baths - I'm very lucky to have a clawfoot bathtub in my bathroom (and even better news? It's Tiffany blue.) What's even better is that I have the perfect bubble bath to go with it. Neutrogena Rainbath. Let me tell you. Unbelievable. It smells light and refreshing and is the perfect way to relax after a long day. Bubbles included.

Candles - It's no surprise I'm a huge fan of candles. But with the right scent, a candle can relax my nerves like no other. Lavender, vanilla, jasmine - talk about relaxation. And your apartment will smell fabulous, too.

Baking - For some reason, baking has always been relaxing to me. I think it's something about starting with nothing and ending with something. And eating it isn't half bad either.

What do you do to relax?

 - C

|| Photos are property of Twentyapolis. Do not use or distribute. Soap provided by Neutrogena. ||

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Life: The Bad Day

While every day is a good day to be a good day, some days, they just aren't. No matter how good your mood is or how hard you try. Some days, your day just doesn't go quite right.

And there's nothing wrong with that. 

But even though you've had a bad day, in my opinion, that is all the more reason to make it a good night. While I'm no expert, I have had a few of these days myself. I hope these activities help turn your bad day into a better evening like they tend to do to me. Cheer up, buttercup!

Make breakfast for dinner
There's nothing better than breakfast for dinner. Not only is it easy to make, it's great comfort food. Chocolate chip pancakes, scrambled eggs, deserve it.

Watch your favorite movie
For me, this means Pretty Woman. Trust me, your favorite movie helps, every single time. And if it's a tear-jerker? Great. Everyone needs a good cry every once in a while. I think it's healthy.

Eat chocolate. A lot of chocolate
Um hello, this one is a no-brainer. We love chocolate. It's delicious. And after a bad day, it's well deserved. In mass quantities.

Do some online shopping
Well, this might just be a personal favorite for me. Knowing I have a little something coming for me in the mail just makes me swoon. Have I told you I think retail therapy is real? It's worked for me on many occasions.

Take a bath/shower
This is one of my solutions for almost everything. I think taking a long hot bath or shower is a great way to relax and clear your mind. And after a long day, it would probably do you some good.

Light a candle
It's a rare occasion that I don't have a candle burning. But especially after a bad day, my whole apartment will be a very non-creepy way. Don't worry.

Work out
OK, this one is absolutely optional. While a great workout can relieve stress and release much-needed endorphins, sometimes getting to the gym is enough to re-collapse your entire day. If you make it to the gym? Fantastic! If not? Don't worry, you can always go tomorrow. The gym will wait.

Go to bed early
The power of a good night's sleep is incredible. And after the day you had, you need it. So pull back the covers, and start tomorrow off better.

- C

|| via || 

Style: Well-Suited

I'm all about classic pieces. Looks that set the tone, make people look twice and make a style statement. And for men, I have to say, there's just something about a good suit.

I mean, look at these gents below. Seriously. They know how to rock a suit. Stylish, classic, dapper and outrageously handsome, there's something to be said for a man wearing a suit. And especially in the dead of winter, a suit on any man is a great idea.

Also, if you're obsessed like me, check out newest Tumblr obsession, Guys In Suits. Whoever made this is a genius. And is now to blame for all of our mindless drooling and lack of productivity.

 - C

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Fit: Namaste

I finally did it. I finally joined a gym! And you guys, I love it. I joined the YWCA and have been going to the Uptown location since joining last week. And let me tell you, I'm loving it.

My favorite part about being part of the YWCA is their schedule of classes. I've found a class almost every day of the week that I'm interested in taking, and at the times I'm available. My favorites? Yoga.

I used to do yoga frequently when I was in college, but over the last year have been practicing it less and less. My busy schedule and tight pocketbook are usually to blame. But to better myself in 2013 (and, in reality, the rest of my life) I think yoga is going to do me some good.

So while I've been getting back in the swing of things, it's nice to have a little refresher. I found this cute little infographic on Pinterest and couldn't help but share! Namaste, dears.

 - C

|| via || 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Read: Book Club

Ok you guys, remember how I said I was going to keep my resolutions this year? To fill my resolution of reading more books, I joined a book club! Thankfully, two of my best friends, Sarah and Liz, also wanted to read more in 2013. Being the clever ladies we are, we decided to join forces and start a book club. Good books, great conversation and lots of wine - what could be better?

Our first meeting is tonight, and I found myself wondering...what exactly do I bring to a book club meeting? Well, as I'm clearly no expert (book club first timer over here...) I thought the book of the month, a journal, a bottle of wine and a big bag to put it in sounded about right. And if I'm wrong, at least I'll have next month to improve!

Any book clubbers out there? What do you bring to your monthly book club meetings?

 - C
bag || book || journal || wine

And yes, for all you wondering minds, Fifty Shades of Grey was our first book! It was Liz's idea, I promise!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Listen: Loveliest Love Songs

It's the weekend! And for this girl, that means hitting up my new gym! Yes, believe it or not, I'm actually following through on my resolutions. There's a first for everything!

But if there's one thing I need when heading to the gym, it's music. And with Valentine's Day right around the corner (you didn't think I forgot, did you?) I'm craving songs about love. And I'm lucky I can work out to just about any kind of music.

Here are some of my current favorites.

...ok, these are a little mellow. Maybe try playing them on your walk or drive home :) 

 - C

Friday, February 1, 2013

Life: It's a Good Day have a good day. And for me, this means a new desktop photo, which continually reminds me to lighten up, smile and enjoy each and every day. And it's Friday. Even more reason to smile.

Very optimistic. And stylish. I like that. 

 - C

|| Picture is property of Twentyapolis. Do not use or distribute. ||
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