Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Book Review: Primates of Park Avenue

Primates of Park Avenue

Admittedly, the big Amazon Prime day was pretty much a womp womp. But, I did manage to take advantage of the savings and get an Amazon Kindle Fire HD (<--affiliate link). I've always been the type of person that was loyal to paper books and even get joy out of browsing through a library. However, you can't argue with the convenience of ebooks. I was so excited to download my first book and was not disappointed! Primates of Park Avenue: A Memoir is a winner!

Primates of Park Avenue by Wednesday Martin


Synopsis: 
Like an urban Dian Fossey, Wednesday Martin decodes the primate social behaviors of Upper East Side mothers in a brilliantly original and witty memoir about her adventures assimilating into that most secretive and elite tribe.

After marrying a man from the Upper East Side and moving to the neighborhood, Wednesday Martin struggled to fit in. Drawing on her background in anthropology and primatology, she tried looking at her new world through that lens, and suddenly things fell into place. She understood the other mothers' snobbiness at school drop-off when she compared them to olive baboons. Her obsessional quest for a Hermes Birkin handbag made sense when she realized other females wielded them to establish dominance in their troop. And so she analyzed tribal migration patterns, display rituals, physical adornment, mutilation, mating practices, extra-pair copulation, and more. Her conclusions are smart, thought-provoking, and hilariously unexpected. (via Goodreads) Follow me @brittanydeskins! 

Quotes: 

"In changing childhood, we have changed motherhood as well, until it is virtually unrecognizable compared with what it used to be, and what it is elsewhere." 

"having too many choices is stressful. Facing more than three or four options increases negative effects such as regret, heightened expectations, and disappointment." 

"Many of the women I knew suffered from the strange, culturally specific anxiety of being extensions and reflections of others. In this sense, even their identities, their very selves, were not precisely or entirely their own." 

My take-aways:

I really enjoyed this book. But I couldn't help but be annoyed with Wednesday Martin at times. Admittedly, part of her experiment was to "go native" and embrace the culture. But it was like she was trying to straddle the line too much. For example, she would go on and criticize these women around her for their materialism and obsessions but she herself ends up lavishing in most of these luxuries as well. It's hard for me to take your preaching serious when you live in a luxury East Side apartment, document your struggles with buying a Birkin bag, and obsess about sending your kids to the nicest preschools. 

The most interesting part of this book to me was the anthropological comparisons that Wednesday Martin uses. It's so fascinating to learn that some of the phenomenons humans display are very similar to other species, especially primates. This book is so much more than just chick lit! 

Unfortunately, we can never really escape mean girls. They exists in all walks and phases of life. Wednesday documents how she feels ostracized by these high society women. It's so disheartening to think that even as we age women are still competing with another over often petty things. Can't we all just be friends and support each other?

The most striking theme of the book for me was the concept of mo money mo problems is certainly true. The women in this book have everything they could ever want in terms of financial security. Yet, their anxiety and stress levels are through the roof. 


Have you read this book? What did you think?



Tuesday, July 28, 2015

3 Sandals You Need for Summer + The Creative Closet

Sandals can be addicting. Seriously. There are so many cute and affordable options out there that you could wear a different pair every day. I have to pull myself away from clearance tables and online sales because I frankly just don't need anymore (if there is such a thing). 

I've put together the only 3 sandals you need this summer to fit every aspect of your life. I'm happy to be linking up with The Creative Closet. Head over and check out the rest of the linkup! 

I've raved a few times on here about my Sam Edelman Gigi sandals--but I honestly can't stop singing their praises. They have taken me from the pool, shopping, brunch, errands, and everything else in between this summer.They are the perfect everyday go-to sandal. 


I live for statement pieces and the same thing goes for my shoes. Life would be so boring if we just stuck to the basics--so don't! Your feet need a little pizzazz every now and then and a statement shoe is the perfect option to make a basic outfit pop. I can't lie...I always feel a little more edgy and badass when I wear these gladiator sandals (similar).

I couldn't help but wonder while shooting these photos if "foot fetish" was going to begin appearing on my analytics search terms...#anytrafficisgoodtraffic


I splurged on these Tory Burch Cameron Thong wedges earlier in the spring. Fortunately, they've gotten lots of wear! I wear them to church, casual Fridays, bridal/baby showers, and any other special occasion. 



Do you have staple sandals that take you through summer?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Farmer's Market Recipes

I've officially become a Farmer's Market groupie. Granted, I have always thought the concept was great but honestly never took the time to go on a regular basis. However, this summer my local farmer's market has really boomed and I'm taking full advantage of all the summer produce. I'm packing along my reusable bag and busting down the opening gates like it's Black Friday! But I've run into a few snags along the way. I always get back from the market and admire all my treasures I've bought but then I find myself not knowing what to do with them throughout the week and they end up spoiling. No more! Here are some recipes I've been using to make the most of my farmer's market hauls. 


Cucumber Salads
Dicing up cucumbers for a salad is so easy and delicious. The natural crisp taste of the cucumber makes a perfect refreshing summer salad and there are endless possibilities.

I've been enjoying what I call cucumber zings lately. Basically, they taste like salt and vinegar chips without the guilt. Just mix together apple cider vinegar (more or less to taste), sea salt, and red pepper flakes. Let them marinate for a few minutes up to an hour for a zesty snack or salad. 
cucumber zing recipe

Pinterest (follow ME) has been my best friend for finding recipes. Like this Cucumber Jalapeno and Lime Salad.

cucumber, lime, jalapeno salad

Crazy for Tomatoes
Never in my life have a been a tomato fan. I would always casually dismiss them by pushing them to the side of my plate. Well, that's because I had never had a fresh homegrown farmer's market tomato. I'm obsessed now and literally crave them. 

My summer go to lunch has been these delicious tomato toasts or sandwiches. I just spread some cheese (Laughing Cow or creamy goat cheese) on toast and top it with sliced tomato, olive oil, salt, and some farmer's market basil. SO good!
farmer's market tomato toast

The beauty of a pizza is its diversity. You can mix and match any/all flavors to your heart's content. Load up your farmer's markets haul onto your pizza. Pictured we have tomatoes, fresh basil, and jalapenos. 
farmer's market pizza

This is the epitome of the perfect summer farmer's market dinner! Steak, fresh grilled corn on the cob, and a thrown together caprese salad (tomatoes, gouda, basil, olive oil, and sea salt).

Zucchinis are also overflowing right now. Remember this zucchini and cheese tart

zucchini and cheese tart


I'd love for you to share your favorite farmer's market recipes!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Pearl Magnolia Jewelry Giveaway




Today I have a special treat for you all! I'm happy to introduce you to a new jewelry company that has a designer that is just as passionate about helping others as she is about her craft. Pearl Magnolia is the vision of Angela Nemethy. Each piece is handmade by Angela and has a "touch of southern charm". Not only will you take home a unique design but you will also be helping out others! Each month Pearl Magnolia donates a portion of its proceeds to a different charity. This month's charity is The Wounded Warriors Project. Check out their Facebook page each month to see which charity you are helping out! 

Now on to the fun part---the jewelry!  Angela was kind enough to send me two pieces to try out. I let her choose and she totally nailed my style. 



The gold metal starfish pendant necklace is perfect for summer or anytime you want to feel like getting in a beach state of mind. 


Pearl Magnolia is giving away $25 credit to one lucky Lady Lawyer winner. If I were you I'd check out these lovelies and more on the website

Even if you're not the giveaway winner you can still get a taste because Pearl Magnolia is offering readers 15% off during the giveaway period with the code: LadyLawyer

ENTER HERE


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

DIY Hostess Gifts

This past month I've had the incredible experience of sponsoring Mary at Eat Drink & Be Mary. It's been so nice to get to know more about her and her blog. She truly goes above and beyond with her sponsorships and I would HIGHLY recommend sponsoring her if you're a blogger. 

She was kind enough to let me take over her blog last week with a guest post. Hop on over to see 3 DIY Hostess Gifts

Summer is such a sweet but busy time of the year. The nights and weekends are full of cookouts, pool parties, weddings, showers, and more! What better way to show your appreciation to your "hostess with the mostest" than with a cute DIY gift. Better yet, you don't have to spend lots of cash to share a sweet sentiment. Check out these DIY ideas to give your favorite hostesses! (Read More)


Monday, July 20, 2015

The Island + Paula Deen's Family Kitchen

There is honestly no place like Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Built around The Great Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg has developed into a big tourist destination. In all honesty, it's kind of like the redneck Vegas. You can get married, ride go-carts, and sample moonshine all on the same street! If you've never been it's hard to explain but if you're ever in the region it's worth a weekend visit!

Growing up we would go fairly often since it's only around a 3 hour drive. Now that my sister lives in Knoxville (roughly 30 minute drive) I find myself there more and more. This past weekend my mom, sister, and I decided to explore the new development called The Island. We had never been and were looking for something new since we've been so many times. It's full of restaurants, shops, small amusement park, and a hotel. If you've ever been to Myrtle Beach it reminded me of Barefoot Landing (but not as many shops). 


The Island

Some attractions include Margaritaville Island Hotel, Island Ropes Course, Old Smoky Moonshine, and countless novelty shops. 

But if I'm being completely candid we went for one particular reason...to eat at Paula Deen's Family Kitchen

Paula Deen's Family Kitchen

Paula Deen has been somewhat controversial as of late and I of course don't agree with some of the things she's done. However, I always enjoyed watching her show, recipes, and the lady can make a pretty good biscuit. I have always wanted to visit her restaurant in Savannah but haven't had a chance to make it there yet so was excited to get a taste closer to home. 

After scouting out the menu we decided we would go for breakfast in order to best avoid the crowds. You know a meal is going to be good when it starts out with complimentary raisin cinnamon rolls.


The restaurant serves a family style meal at a fixed price. You choose 3 home dishes (bigger entrees), 1 breakfast meat, and 2 sides to share among the table. We chose the chicken and waffles, everyday breakfast casserole, ooey gooey butter pancakes, black pepper bacon, biscuits and gravy, and country fried potatoes. In true Paula Deen fashion it was over the top and I expected nothing less.

Paula Deen's Family Kitchen

I'm very particular and not easily impressed when it comes to southern food. I was born and raised on it so it takes more than the Cracker Barrel to get me going. Everything we had was very good besides the pancakes that were a little underwhelming. The consensus at the table was that the biscuits and gravy, breakfast casserole, and bacon were the favorites. The bacon was seriously so good and unlike anything I had ever had. The thick brown sugar glaze was out of this world good.

All in all, I would recommend visiting Paula's Family Kitchen! It's truly an experience and for $14.99 a person you more than get your money's worth. After eating go walk around The Island and explore to work some calories off and avoid a food coma! 




Friday, July 17, 2015

Nordstrom Sale Picks Under $100

Have you heard Nordstrom is having a sale? Totally joking, considering every blogger on the planet has been posting about it. But I think it's worth a post because sales like this are a testament to my philosophy to never buy anything full price. This sale is a little different than most because it contains NEW FALL pieces. Yes. You won't be browsing left over, picked through, end of summer pieces. You can stock up now and be hot to trot come fall.

What I've Bought

I have a Nordstrom Debit card (highly recommended--build up points without the hassle of a credit card.) so I got to shop early last week and picked a few things. 

I've seen/heard so many people rave about these leggings so I decided to give them at try. They're supposed to rival Lululemon so I'm excited to see if they live up to the hype. 

I've wanted this pullover for a while but have honestly just been too cheap to pay the regular $119 price. My sister got hers for Christmas last year and I've been lusting after it ever since. I got the cream color. 

Yummie Shaping Shorts $12

Spanx can be torture devices. By the end of the day I want to scream or end up taking them off half way through the day. I've read great reviews on these shaping shorts and praying they are comfortable. Plus, they're $12!!

Other Finds

This is my current workbag and I highly recommend it! I get so many compliments on it. You would honestly never know it's not real leather the quality is incredible. 

Sam Edelman is one of my favorite shoe brands. I've scored several pairs at Nordstrom Rack at great prices. I've got my eye on these flats but trying to resist. 




 

You'll be glad you bought these once fall rolls around and they're already in your closet!

I got these earrings in my Rocksbox and ended up buying them because I liked them so much. This is a great price for them and the emerald would be lovely for fall. 


What do you have your eye on for the sale?







Thursday, July 16, 2015

Hot Yoga 101

Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored. However, I was given products in exchange for a product review. All opinions are 100% my own. 

A couple of months ago my town entered this century and opened a yoga studio. Big deal folks. I had always wanted to try a hot yoga class and jumped at the opportunity to test it out at the local studio (local people check out Evolation Yoga). I expected the class to be challenging and of course hot (duh) but I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I put together this post to help any of you out thinking about taking a class. Now that I'm prepared I love hot yoga!


hot yoga 101





What to Expect

I'm a fairly active person so I had pretty low expectations for the intensity of my first class. BIG MISTAKE. First of all nothing, I mean, nothing is easy when you're in a 105 degree room. In my opinion the poses were not that difficult but the combination with the heat made it an intense workout. 

This may go without saying, but expect to sweat ALOT. I have participated in sports and other workouts my entire life but have never experienced the flow of sweat like in hot yoga. But it's so refreshing knowing all the toxins are leaving your body. 

Don't expect to be able to do everything in class. They call it the practice of yoga for a reason. You will get better over time.






You should expect to be outright exhausted by the end of the class. After my first class I just laid on my sweaty mat for a few minutes praying for energy to get up! However, the benefit is you should expect to sleep like a baby. After every class I sleep so well and wake up refreshed and rested. 

What You Need

1. Yoga mat: Honestly, any yoga mat will do. However, I will tell you that all mats are not created equal. My first couple classes my mat turned into a slip in slide about half way through class. It's inevitable that your mat will become sweaty but it also makes it even more difficult to hold your poses when your hands and feet are slipping. I was so excited when Aurorae offered to send me their Synergy No Slip Yoga Mat. This mat has all the benefits of a sturdy yoga mat with the edition of a towel surface. No more slips! It seriously makes a big difference. Everyone in my class has been so jealous of the mat and want one! 


2. Clothing: You don't need any fancy yoga clothes but I would suggest a light breathable material. I usually wear yoga leggings and a fitted razorback top. Check out Aurorae's cute and functional line of tops and bottoms. 

3. Towel: A towel is a necessity for me during class. I can't take sweat running down me or getting in my eyes. You can use a regular bath towel if you wish or a thinner lightweight one such as this microfiber towel.

4. WATER: You will feel like a camel during and after class. You lose so much water from sweating during class it's essential to rehydrate. Try to drink at least a bottle during class and one after. 


Tips

I'm by no means a yogi or expert but from my limited experience I've found these two tips essential! This may be a no-brainer but it is so important to shower ASAP after class. Not only will it alleviate your stank you have brewing but it also will prevent irritation and heat rashes. During hot yoga while you sweat your body is ridding itself of toxins. Well...those toxins lay on the surface of your skin if not washed off causing chafing, discomfort, and rashes. After my first week of class I developed a heat rash around my waist band and it was not fun. 

Yoga works muscles that you never even knew you had so you will likely be sore the next day. Everyone always preaches about stretching, and I'm the first to want to skip it too, but it's a necessary beast to beat soreness. Aurorae sent me their Pain Cream Healing Relief Roll-On and I was so impressed. The cooling menthol soothes sore aches and pains and it's easy to just roll on your target spots.   

Hot yoga is now one of my favorite workouts! It's so rewarding to push yourself outside your comfort zone and push your body to its limit! 


Big shout and thanks to Aurorae who sells the best reviewed yoga mats, yoga apparel,and yoga and meditation accessories online. You can browse their yoga mats, yoga bags, yoga apparel and other yoga accessories here. Find out more about Aurorae on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram
Do you practice hot yoga? Please share your tips! 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Emotions in the Workplace

Generally, I relish in being a female. I take great pride in being a woman and thankful for my opportunity to have a career. However, being a (young) woman in a male dominated field does have its challenges. 

Emotions are a tricky beast. I don't consider myself particularly sensitive (unless when it comes to furry friends). Sure, I tear up at the occasional documentary or rom com, but in general I don't wear my heart on my sleeve. Instead of being a bleeding heart I find myself getting emotional in peculiar situations such as when I'm angry, feeling nervous, confronted, or even happy.  I realize I'm not a robot and all of this would be fine...well fine..until it comes up at work.

Last week I was having a particular frustrating day at the office. I had just been told I had to switch offices and pack up all my junk and move it downstairs. Not a big deal I know but it was annoying and I probably took it a little too personal. I was in the midst of packing all my piles of paper into boxes when my boss walks into my office and shuts the door. This is a rare occurrence on its own so it already had me on edge. He begins to explain that he could tell I was upset about the situation and started to go down a philosophical road about how in life you can't take anything personal and should never assume anything. Disclaimer: I take most things personal (I can't help it) and can be defensive. As he's talking I'm making eye contact, nodding, and inserting the occasional "ok". I have it all together until I start to feel my face and neck heat up. I instantly know that I am beet red. This spins me even further because I HATE that my emotions can be seen (literally) all over my face. I try to take slow breaths because I know too well what is about to happen. He's still going on and gets to a place where he's actually complimenting me on my work and potential. Then I feel it. I start to feel that tingling in my eyes. The feeling that can only mean one thing---I know that any second my eyes are going to start welling up. The ONE thing I do not want to happen in this situation. Mentally I am trying with every ounce of my being to hold back the waterworks that I can feel building up. I can tell that he can see that I'm uncomfortable and likely puts me out of my misery and quickly ends the conversation and leaves. As soon as he walks out I spin around in my chair and feel the tears pour out of my eyes. 

Let me make this clear, I am not embarrassed to cry and think that showing your emotions is very healthy. But in this particular case being it was at work and the fact that there was no specific reason to cry I was so frustrated with myself. It's an all too common dilemma. As a woman in the workplace you have to walk a delicate tight rope. You have to be tough and thick skinned and being overly emotional makes you "unpredictable" and "unstable". However, if you're too rigid you're seen as a bitch.

What is the happy medium? I don't necessarily feel like I lost respect that day by having my emotions take over. But I can definitely recognize where problems could occur. Lawyers are supposed to be tough, cutthroat, and not afraid of confrontation. However, it's not just in law, most careers have similar standards. I'll be the first to say that those traits do not come natural to me but I've gotten so much stronger over the last 2 years. I can't help to think though whether this is a step backwards for women. Granted, nobody needs soppy emotional messes in the workplace. But, the beauty of a woman is in her strength as well as softness. The duality is what makes us special and powerful. 

I would love to hear your personal struggles in this area. What are your thoughts on being a woman and walking the fine line with your emotions?


Monday, July 13, 2015

Bloggers Who Brunch

I hope everyone is having a good Monday so far! On Friday I told you all that I was headed to a blogger meetup on Saturday. I had a great time meeting some local blogger ladies! I thought today I would show some highlights from the brunch and introduce you to some new faces.

Erin graciously hosted the brunch at her cute home and she pulled out all the stops! She spoiled us with mimosas, punch, bloody marys, and a delicious spread of food. 



This was my first meetup and it was so nice to relax and just chat with some girls but also share blogging experiences. Often I feel like blogging can be isolating and lonely when it's just you, your laptop, coffee, and perhaps a dog on your lap. We chatted about strategy, affiliate programs, dealing with trolls, and more. 

We were lucky enough to have the talented Natasha Raichel capture all the moments for us and even take a few head shots. Let me tell you, she's super talented and full of personality. All the photos in this post are by her. Check her out! 



Meet the Girls

Starting from left to right (besides me of course) we have Erin at The Mimosa Memoir, Candice at Growing Faith, Gaining Wisdom, Briana at My Blessed Existence, and Courtney at The Bourbon Soaked Mom (if you live in KY she is a must read). 

Natasha took some great photos and I can't wait to use some of mine!




Have you been to a blogger meetup? What's your favorite part?

Friday, July 10, 2015

Five on Friday

The week after a fun holiday weekend is always so rough--but we've made it friends! My sister is coming in town this weekend and I'm excited for a weekend full of fun and the chaos that comes when you put a schnoodle, chihuahua, and golden doodle together--eeek. 

One. Blogger Brunch

I've been so jealous of seeing other bloggers have meetups in their area. Thankfully this weekend I get to go to one. Some blogger ladies in my area are brunching away this Saturday and I'm pumped. I've never met any of these ladies in person but it will be nice to chat about life and blogging. I'm nervous because I tend to be awkward in first encounters but nothing a few mimosas can't handle :)

Two. Nail Polish Fail

When it comes to nail polish I'm pretty loyal to OPI. I just can't get behind Essie because I hate the thin brushes. Anywho, while in Ulta this week I picked up this (what I thought) lilac polish hoping it would be cute for summer toes. I was very disappointed when it was so translucent. I put three coats on and still looked like a clear polish. Warning: beware of OPI Care to Danse.

Three. Chris Stapleton

Have you all heard of the singer Chris Stapleton? He's a local around these parts who is making it big in the Country/Bluegrass/Rock genre. I blindly bought tickets after seeing he was playing in a local theater. Since then I've listened to his latest album and really like his style. If you like the sound of older/classic country, Drive By Truckers, Mumford, and those type of bands you should check it out. His album and hit track is called Traveler. I'm excited to be seeing him tonight live! 

Four. Rocksbox

Once again I must sing Rocksbox  praises! Last month's box was so impressive and I ended up keeping the Kendra Scott pendant necklace. This month my box included the Perry Street Kayla necklace, Kendra Scott Tessa Stud Earrings, and the Loren Hope Sarra Cuff.


I can already imagine the KS studs making a permanent home in my jewelry box! Want to learn more about Rocksbox and get your first month free? Sign up using the code: BRITTANYBFF300.

Five. In Case You Missed It...

Here is a round up of some of my favorite posts from this week (including some self promotion). 






Have a great weekend! 

Linking up with High Five for FridaySeptember Farm, and Five on Friday


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