March 31, 2014

AKA Bookshelf: Orange is the New Black

A few months back I was given Orange Is the New Black the book, as a gift. I was reading something else at the time so it sat on my shelf. Then more recently I had a particularly strong case of insomnia/ Netflix bingeing and I rewatched the entire first season of Orange. When the show was over my appetite was not.

I'm greatly anticipating the second season but that will not be here til June! So I did the next best thing and read the book.

Both the show and the book follow Piper, a young, pretty, white woman as she goes through the ups and downs of her year in a womens prison. She is quite out of place in her new environment but stumbles her way through to make friends and figure out how to survive while in prison.  While the book is a true story/memoir of Pipers experience, the show deviates greatly from reality.

I am sad to report that for the first time ever in my life the movie or in this case the show is better than the book. The book is just underwhelming in my opinion. I'm in no way saying the book is badly written, it is just not my style. It was hard for me to relate to Piper Kerman and to view her as a likable character.

In all honesty I do not watch the show for Piper so maybe I should have known the book wasn't going to completely grab me as it is Piper's memoir. I feel as if Piper attempts to be relateable and to acknowledge her privilege but there was just something that rubbed me the wrong way about the book. Yes she experienced prison and went through hardship but her experience is so greatly different than so many of the other women. I felt like the book became so notable and popular because she was a pretty upper middle class white woman going through the system, rather than it being an amazing story or an amazing book. While that is not her fault I feel as if it is unfair that this story is so prized over others, but I guess a nice white girl getting put away is more of a story than that of other women.

The show is at best loosely adapted from the book. Maybe it was unfair to watch the show and then dive into the book, for the book is lacking in the drama and the drive that makes the show so interesting and entertaining. It was however entertaining to match characters and situations from Pipers real life to that of the show, and  how some of the great moments in the show were from real people with real names and emotions.

Again it wasn't a bad book I just didn't have a connection to the writing or to Piper. It was interesting and a quick read but my love is for the show and the amazing cast of characters it has put together. I'd love to hear your thoughts on both the book and show!

And be sure to check out a little teaser trailer for the second season of Orange due out on Netflix June 6th by clicking here.


March 28, 2014

Blogs I Read

Ashley did a similar post a few months back which you can check out here. We read a lot of the same blogs but I didn't want to bore you with the same list, so here is a list of blogs I keep up with, enjoy!

Wrist swag by Pretty in Thrift, Beautiful rainbow that is Solange, Tropical treat Trop Rouge, and the ever goofy Man Repeller

Trop Rouge: The gorgeous Christina Cardona shows us how fun and fashionable she is in NYC and all over the world. I love her style, she can literally pull off any look and I've never seen her wear the same shoes twice. Basically she's livin the dream.

Pretty In Thrift: This is one of the first fashion blogs I started following regularly. I love thrifting, it is definitely one of my hobbies/passions so I connected immediately to this blog. I love the unique fashion and perspective of writer/stylist Stefany. And she just did a beautiful site redesign!

The Man Repeller: I love this humorous take on high fashion. I appreciate the non serious approach to what is usually an overly serious subject. Plus the fashion is great!

The Band Wife: I love the look of this blog, simple and stylish. I also love that all the fashion and crafts are simple and accessible. I can actually afford to read this blog unlike many of the others where the fashion is way over my current budget.

My Damn Blog: A beautiful peek into Solange Knowles life. Simple and completely made up of beautiful pictures, some with captions most without.

Frank Ocean’s Tumbler: Because I love him and he’s an amazing writer/person.

Who What Wear: Great blog with a lot of content, tons of amazing slideshows and celebrity fashion pics. With major sites like this I like to check out/ follow there other social media sites; Pinterest, Instagram etc. With so much content sometimes its nice to follow a specific Pinterest board to zero in on things you are most interested in.

The Blab: Another great high fashion blog with a Parisian twist. I look at the site every once in a while but I follow them on Pinterest to get great pins and fashion inspiration.

The Native Fox. This girl is just super fly. I can’t afford a single thing she wears but her styling is impeccable. I like her site but don’t read it too often; instead I keep up with her on Instagram.


March 27, 2014

Reading Celebrity Style

I was recently reading my December issue of InStyle (I know a little late) and I read that both Cameron Diaz and Drew Barymore have new books. Cameron's is a book all about the body, eating healthy, and the real science behind staying fit. It seems like a great read - perfect timing too as many people have New Year's Resolutions that they might be now slacking on and want to start up again! Drew's is a photography book in which she finds hearts in un-expected places. These both sound like such fun books and I will definitely be checking them out!

When I read this article I thought about all of my other favorite books written by some celebrities and I thought I would share them with all of you and to hopefully to inspire some reading this Spring!

The Honest Life - Jessica Alba. This book is all about living organically and pestisite-free! She has everything from what ingredients should or should not be in your shampoo to what fruits you need to purchase organically. It has given me a whole new outlook when shopping! Plus is has adorable pictures of her whole family and easy-going lifestyle. 

Celebrate - Pippa Middleton. Pippa’s fabulous book is all about what she does best - party plan! She gives you great tips for different parties during each season. From children’s parties to a Scottish style highland tea, she covers everything from food to serve to decorations and color themes. 

Tim Gunn's Fashion Bible - Tim Gunn. As a huge Project Runway fan I think that automatically means that I am a big Tim Gunn fan. His book covers all things fashion and it isn't your typical “don’t wear this, wear this instead” book. It truly discusses the history of each item that he covers. 

Decoded - Jay-Z. I am a huge Jay-Z fan and this book does not disappoint. It is a great one to have on any coffee table as it has a very interesting cover and great stores inside. It covers his time growing up and rise to fame, while dissecting his song lyrics along the way. 

Style and Beauty - Lauren Conrad. I love love love Lauren Conrad’s books almost as much as I love her. It is the perfect go-to guide for everything. Lauren goes through the basics of fashion and beauty in an all comprehensive guide for any girl. 


March 26, 2014

Interweb Goodies

Image via Buzzfeed 

Some great DIY hacks just in time for Spring Cleaning 

A funny take on actors brought to you by Louis C.K. and Bradley Cooper 

We love to travel - here are some great tips on saving for your big trip

Love anything with Sarah Jessica Parker - this video is no exception 

A great article on Sincerely Ethiopia, a documentary that one of Kira's close friends helped create! 


March 25, 2014

Kira's Dresser Organization

photo 2 (5)

 A couple months back I made over my old dresser, you can check out the makeover post here. I am so happy with the results and it is so much easier to get dressed now. My closet is no longer over flowing and all my jewelry and make up have a place to go. Now that I'm all settled in I thought I'd update you and show you how I organize my dresser. Ashley did a similar post last year which you can check out here

photo 3 (5)

I try to keep the top of my dresser clean and organized at all times. That way I can set out jewelry and make up on it as I get ready. I also use it often as a makeshift standing desk and like to set my computer on top. Plus it just looks nice when its all clean! 

I like keeping practical items handy on my dresser like lotion and perfume as well as a few sentimental items. I love seeing my signed copy of The Weeknd's KissLand everyday along with a baby pic of me and my bro and one of my grandparents. The canvas is a gift from Ashley that has one of our all time favorite quotes from Season 2 Project Runway, aka the best season!  Also if your digging those custom crayons, you can learn how to make them here.

 photo 4 (4)  

This little contraption is the best! I bought it at Marshalls, it's intended purpose is for the office but it works perfectly for my makeup and jewelry. In the first drawer I keep the makeup I use on a daily basis, while the special occasion makeup/ extra stuff goes in the second drawer. 

photo 5 (3)


March 24, 2014

Hometown Hike

Recently, we took a hike in our hometown. We live in a really hilly area that over looks the entire Bay Area. It was a beautiful day and we brought along our friend’s dog, Walt. It was so nice to explore our own backyard and get in some exercise. Whether you live in a big city, small town, or somewhere in the middle spending time outdoors with friends is both a work out and a super fun way to catch up. 


It's also a fun activity that doesn't cost any money! I think it's great to have a set of fun and free activities that you can do with friends at a moments notice. It's a nice break from movie nights, shopping trips, and lazy days spent inside. 


March 21, 2014

Amazing Apps: Music

Ashley and I love music, it is a staple of our friendship, and we always have some on while we work. Apps have made it even easier for us to love music, play music, share music, and find new music.

Here are our go to apps when it comes to music.

Songza: Most amazing playlist app! You can put in an activity, mood or genre and it will offer up multiple professionally assembled playlists; everything from sweaty dance party to somber songs to fall asleep to. It is both expansive and specific in the types of music it offers. I have never been let down by their playlists. If none of that has sold you, there are also no ads or commercials that interrupt your music! I LOVE this app.

Shazam: One of my first and most used apps that I’ve downloaded. I can never remember the names of songs and I’m always trying to discover new music and Shazam helps greatly with both of those tasks. I have no idea how the app works but I’m constantly amazed at how quickly and accurately it works, it’s basically magic. I also use it to tag songs that I already know but want to download. This way I always have a running list on my phone.

Soundcloud: This is the newest music app I’ve been using and so far so good. I’m still figuring out how to make the most of it for my needs but I really like being able to follow friends as well as musicians. This way you can see what your friends are listening to as well as your favorite musicians. It’s great for finding and checking out new music and great for finding remixes of your favorite songs. You can also create your own playlists from the app. This app allows you to like, follow and creat different playlists so it is one if the more personal, customizable music apps. Enjoy!


March 20, 2014

Ashley's Obsessed

I am loving the new advertising line from Kate Spade featuring Capri, Italy!

I am a huge Kate Spade fan, the clothing and accessories truly represent all things girly. Pink, bows, patterns! I just love it. I am constantly on the hunt for some great Kate Spade items.

My current top picks from the new line are below!

All images via Kate Spade

I studied abroad in Italy during the summer of 2011 and I fell in love with all things Italy. Capri is easily on of my favorite places on Earth. I only spent a day there, but it was spent on a boat with friends sailing around the island, exploring the towns, and I had the most amazing lunch with my best friend. I am dying to go back!


March 18, 2014

Welcome to the new AKA BLOG!!!

Hello everyone!!

At a friend's Valentine's Day party

Welcome to our new site!! We are still in shock that we won a re-design contest. It was such an exciting time to really think about all that we wanted to feature on our blog and how we wanted it to look.

We couldn't have done any of this without the help of Chris over at Hubby Jack. He did a wonderful job with the re-design! Don't you agree?!? He designed all of our new social media buttons, our header, and our new "grab button" on the right side of the screen as well as did the entire layout of the site. We are so grateful and appreciative of all his hard work.

We took our time while working on our redesign to really think about what we wanted to write about and feature on AKA. We decided that we wanted things to be more organized as well as to feature more content. We want to start different weekly or monthly series, start writing about fashion more, and showing more of our day-to-day discoveries.

Exploring wine country 

Here are some things to look forward to:

- Fashion Fridays; we are going to write about our favorite fashions from the week. Sometimes it will be us, sometimes friends, and sometimes someone we just saw on the street.

- We're Obsessed; a fun way to find out about little things we are "obsessing" over. From makeup, to TV, to music and fashion!

- AKA Bookshelf; a little mini book club. We will talk about what we are reading and hopefully our readers will help us find new books.

- Interweb Goodies; we will feature some of the fun things we have find weekly on the web; bloggers, articles, funny things!

- Amazing Aps; our favorite and most useful apps for our phones.

- Monthly Mood; a space for us to talk about what is inspiring us for that month and what we are looking forward to.

- Bring Your Pins To Life; what we are crafting/cooking/DIY-ing/styling from everyone's fav website Pinterest.

Kira's delicious muffins - recipe to follow 

With this new layout, some of you maybe thinking - where do I find everything? Well let us tell you!
At the top of the page under our beautiful new header you will find our different tabs. Everything will be in the main blog but we will organize most posts into one of the tabs:

-Series; everything that you saw above will be in this new tab

-Wear; fashion, make-up, accessories, beauty, hair

- Explore; our travels and adventures

- Cook, Create, Celebrate; a fun place for everything that we are cooking and eating, crafts we are making, and parties we are planning and attending!

Painting in the park

With all of these new fun changes we also are going to be using our social media a lot more! Make sure to follow us on our Twitter, Instagram, Bloglovin, Ashley's Pinterest, and Kira's Pinterest! We are constantly putting up information about our blog, things that are inspiring us, and our fun adventures!

Additionally, with the switch to Blogger it is really easy to follow our blog! On the right hand side of the page under "followers" you can sign up to follow along with us!

Thanks for all of the constant love and support we are loving this whole blogging thing and really excited to see where it takes us!


Pie for Pi Day! 

Spring Cleaning

Spring time is a time for fun and flowers. It’s also the (stereotypical) time to get clean and organized. There is a ton of stuff in my house that I am trying to get rid of and organize better. I will periodically be posting a little something about my organizing tips that I come across as I Spring clean. 

Here are some of my goals: 

  • Organize my kitchen cabinets to everything really has a place and (ideally) is labeled 
  • Organize my storage closets so the items within them are easily accessible 
  • Clean out my closet of items that I don’t wear anymore 

Additionally, I am a huge crafter, I have so many items that I keep or pick up at garage sales and such. I decided that one big thing on my Spring cleaning to-do is to actually do these projects so I can display them nicely in my house instead of sitting in a bag. 

What are some of your tips for Spring cleaning? 


March 14, 2014

Happy Pie Day!!

I Love Pie!

I was raised on pie but somehow it wasn't until today that I actually baked one. 

I was in middle school when I first learned about this majestic day, March 14 aka 3.14 I liked math but I loved pie so it was so something I was very much looking forward to. I dreamed of all the glorious pie to be had on this day, just rows and rows of deliciousness, what I got instead was a few small slices. Sad day but I still continue to celebrate despite the initial heartbreak associated with the holiday. 

I love most pies but I am partial to the berry variety. For my first pie ever I decided to make a blackberry raspberry pie.

Note this pie can be made vegan, just take out the eggs, don't use shortening and add in a butter alternative like coconut oil or whatever alternative you prefer! You can also use any berries you like.

Here's what you need 
Pie Crust:

2 1/2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of salt
3 tablespoons of sugar
1 stick of cold butter cubed
1/4 cup of applesauce*
1 egg slightly beaten
Glass of cold water

*Most pie recipes call for shortening but Ashley and I wanted to use an alternative so we used a quarter cup of applesauce rather that the half cup of shortening most pie recipes would call for. 

First mix the dry ingredients into a food processor than add in the wet. As you pulse the dough add in about a tablespoon of water between pulses. This helps keep the dough from overheating which can be caused by the hot motor of the food processor. Keep pulsing until you have a nice ball of dough. You may need to add more flour as you do not want the mixture to be too sticky when you take it out. 

When it’s ready, take out dough and divide in half. Shape into two discs, wrap in plastic then place in fridge for 30 minutes.

Starting the process 

3 cups of berries, I went with 2 cups of blackberries and 1 cup of raspberries
1 cup of sugar, you can add less if berries are already really naturally sweet, your call
1 lemon juiced
3 tablespoons of corn starch

Mix all filling ingredients into a saucepan over medium heat. As the mixture cooks down lower the heat so that the berries simmer for about 30 mins. 

Kira in the kitchen

Yummy berries!! (And it made the house smell great) 

After your dough has rested, take out one disc and roll it out. If you’re using a standard pie tin, 8 inches in diameter than roll out dough to about 9 inches. I just eyeballed this and pinched off excess dough once it was placed in the tin. Pinch or crimp edges of pie and place back into the fridge for 30 mins. By now your berries should be done simmering. While your pie crust chills your berries can cool.

I used a fork to pinch the crust 

Once all nice and rested fill your pie and add the top! This is where your second disc of dough comes in. You can lattice your pie with strips of dough or use cookie cutters like we did. However you do it just have fun and be sure to leave some sort of ventilation for your pie, don't just cover it completely because then it might explode! No, not really but it needs a vent forsure! If you want a shinier pie crust brush top with egg, if you wanna go vegan just skip the egg. 

Pour the filling into the pan 

 Cookie cutter perfect 

Right before it went in

While you’re adding the top preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place in pie for 25 minutes then rotate your pie and cook for another 30 minutes. Crust should be golden brown. Enjoy!!

Happy Pi Day! 


Must Have Shoes for Spring

We were recently talking about all of the shoes that are both on our wish-lists. Below are some of our picks. 

What shoes are on your wish-list for Spring? 

Perfect shoes

Spring into Spring

It’s Spring! Time for flowers, bright colors, lots of birthdays, and hopefully some more California rain. I’m truly thrilled to bring the essence of Spring into my wardrobe and adventures. Here is my little top 10 list for Spring: 

  1. Start working on my vegetable garden so I can enjoy fresh veggies all summer
  2. Take many hikes with friends while there is truly perfect weather
  3. Celebrate St. Patty's Day surrounded by family and friends... and Irish Coffees 
  4. Buy a pair of floral printed pants 
  5. Three of my best friends have birthdays in Spring, so I want to have fun celebrating
  6. Have Easter brunch with my family 
  7. Clean up my backyard so it's ready for summer BBQ's! 
  8. Lots of pastel and bright nails
  9. Purchase a great pair of high-tops to wear all season long 
  10. Spring Cleaning!!!