Lately

Don’t let these photos fool you. It’s been a lot of potty training around here. Instead of posting pictures from our living room, I thought I’d share some of the other things we’ve been up to. You know, just in case you’re not worried about whether or not Ellie can “make pee or poop” in the potty.

ballerina

Last month, Ellie took her first dance class. If you can’t tell from this picture, she was really excited about it. This was taken on her first day. She looks about 16 here, which makes me want to hug her. 

headshot

I had the talented Megan of Crazy Bananas Creative Studio take new headshots for me. I needed updated photos for work, since the last round was taken just after I’d given birth. I love that she integrated the Kansas City skyline into a few. My dress is from Frankly Basic and quickly becoming a new favorite.

performance

So, Ellie’s class had a performance, which was equal parts adorable and funny. One minute, she would be intently focused on the move, and the next, she’d be talking to her classmates or the audience. We took a look at the photos last night, and she asked why she wasn’t doing the same move as everyone else in some of the pictures. It’s a mystery.

emporia-zoo

A few weeks ago, we headed to my hometown to visit the grandparents. We headed to the zoo, but since it hadn’t opened yet, we switched gears and went to Peter Pan Park. I had forgotten how beautiful it is. I mean, look at that view.

reader-survey

#ICYMI, I’ve been working to get my ducks in a row to bring you a better experience on Missalaneyus.com. (They’re very stubborn.) As part of that, I’m hosting my first reader survey, which will close today at midnight. I’ll use the responses collected here to plan August’s editorial calendar. Cast your vote for future content here: SURVEY

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Cantaloupe, Mozzarella & Balsamic

cantaloupe-mozzarella

This 3-ingredient side is a riff on a dish we had in Italy several years ago. While we were there, we ate our weight in prosciutto e melone, which was often served with the prettiest fresh mozzarella. (It’s a wonder we came back.)

In my version, creamy mozzarella pairs perfectly with reduced balsamic vinegar. Both are sprinkled over in season cantaloupe. The result is better than the sum of its parts. I served it for a quick dinner with grilled chicken and zucchini sauteed in garlic and soy sauce. It was a quick, delicious dinner.

dinner-for-two But, I think it would be kind of genius served as a casual appetizer. Movie night just got a little fancier, huh?

Want to see more recipes? Hate cantaloupe? Let me know what you’d like to see by filling out the reader survey.

Continue reading

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3 Days Left to Cast Your Vote for Content

reader-survey

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been working to get my ducks in a row to bring you a better experience on Missalaneyus.com. (They’re very stubborn.) As part of that, I’m hosting my first reader survey, which will close this Wednesday at the end of the day.

If you haven’t had a moment, I’d love to hear what you think. I’ll use the responses collected here to plan August’s editorial calendar. The survey is really short (10 questions), so if you have a moment, I’d love to have your input.

Thanks!
Lane

Cast your vote for future content here:

SURVEY

P.S. A big, huge, overwhelming thank you to everyone who has completed the reader survey. I know you all lead full lives, so I truly appreciate the time you took to tell me what you think of the blog.

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How to Make a Vinaigrette

vinaigrette-salad

Making your own vinaigrette is so easy, but the result always tastes better than the bottled stuff. Plus, when you tell people you made it, they’ll think you’re fancy.

In this short video, I’m sharing how to make a vinaigrette. Mustard, agave, red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper work together to make your salad more interesting.

Want to see more videos? Hate learning how to make a vinaigrette? Let me know what you’d like to see by filling out the reader survey.

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First Reader Survey

missalaneyus-survey

In an effort to create the kind of content you’d like to read, I’m issuing my first reader survey, which will close a week from today. I’ll use the responses collected here to plan August’s editorial calendar. The survey is really short (10 questions), so if you have a moment, I’d love to have your input. 

Thanks!
Lane

Cast your vote for future content here:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/HVFYWKQ

 

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Summer Dress(ing)

dress-sunglasses

In summer, I live in dresses. Cool, breezy and comfortable, they allow you to look pulled together without putting in much effort. For a movie date with Keegan, I chose a dress with a fun print, pulled on my favorite nude wedges and added some little gold studs. That’s it. Easy peasy.

dress

I didn’t even blow dry my hair, but don’t tell anyone, ok?

clutch

dress-full-length

Dress, Standard Style (old), other cute options: here, here & here; Wedges, Franco Sarto (old), a cute option; Earrings, Gorjana; and Wrap Clutch, EB Leatherworks

 

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Like a Wrecking Ball (Eric Church)

When I was in elementary school, I got Madonna’s True Blue album on cassette. I listened to that whole thing over and over and over again. (My poor parents can vouch for this.)

In high school, I was obsessed with everything on The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill CD. (I still am. That album holds up.)

Then, in college, whenever I had a paper to write, I listened to Sheryl Crow’s The Globe Sessions for hours on end.

Right now, while I’m working, it’s pretty much a remix of Eric Church on my iPhone. But, his newest “Like a Wrecking Ball” is on permanent repeat. I can’t seem to get enough. I think you’ll see why.

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Missalaney – July

Missalaney-July

1.These ice cream cones are too cute, such a simple and festive idea.
2. In recent years, I’ve been on the hunt for great tasting granola bars that aren’t full of junk (I’ll save that for my candy). Smitten Kitchen shared a fun recipe for making them yourself.
3. This kitchen from Amber Interiors is the stuff dreams are made of, but just wait until you see how gorgeous the whole house is. I’m thinking of moving in.
4. Yes, I’d take an off-the-shoulder dress like this one please.
5. How Sweet Eats has revolutionized the popsicle with snacksicles. Genius.
6. Inside Out is touching and wonderful and so well developed. However, bring kleenex. Some parts will have you tearing up. Feel free to blame it on the popcorn or allergies if you want to keep your tough girl image intact.

The weekends should be for exploring. Every Friday this month, I’m sharing something fun to check out.

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5 Ways to Keep Your Images From Falling Flat

I couldn’t be more excited to have Megan on the blog today. Her ability to capture beautiful, interesting images is one I’d like to steal. So, I asked her the question that’s on my mind (and probably on yours) “How can I take better photos?” Here’s what she had to say.

These days the ability to capture great photos is literally at our fingertips. With the advent of cell phone cameras (which are often better quality than some of the best point-and-shoot cameras) and digital SLR equipment being more affordable than ever, even novice photographers can take gorgeous images that will stop me in my tracks! Do you find yourself browsing your Instagram feed or perusing Facebook and wondering, “Why don’t my photos look like THAT?” If so, there are some simple adjustments you can make, which will take your images to the next level.

crazy-bananas

  1. Follow the Light – In its purest form, all photography is about light. Really, the greatest thing that the more expensive, professional cameras do is help a photographer manipulate light. So if you’re using a cell phone or non-professional grade camera, the most important thing is to find good light. As you’ll be less able to manipulate the light using that type of camera, finding great light will enhance your images immensely. The best time of day to shoot is during the golden hour, which happens a half hour before sunset or sunrise. Don’t face your subjects toward the light, and instead, try backlighting, which means placing your subject in a position so the light is behind them.
  2. Don’t Center Your Subject – One of the biggest mistakes people make when shooting photos is placing their subject in the center of the frame. A tenet of photography is the “Rule of Thirds,” which basically states that a photo will have more interest and tension if it is not centered. Even if you center a photo in camera, try cropping later to see if it adds more dimension when it’s positioned in another way.
  3. Use Filters Sparingly – Yes, Instagram filters are super-fun. I get it! I love them too…but when you filter your images, often you are dating them and taking away their timeless quality. I’m as guilty as the next person. When I look at my Instagram images from four years ago, I find myself cringing! The blur and weathered images looked so cool at the time…but now they just look dated and unprofessional. Try using photo editing apps that allow you to filter, but keep it to a minimum. I love Snapseed and PicTapGo because they allow me to bump my images up, but not overdo it!
  4. Try a New Perspective – If you feel like your images are looking stale, try something different! Get on the ground and shoot from the perspective of a child or beloved pet. Try shooting from behind a thin curtain or through the doorway of a room. Frame your image in a unique way, and you’ll be amazed at how they will pop!
  5. Keep it Simple – There are so many tools and tricks out there, sometimes it’s hard to remember the most important rule of thumb…Keep it Simple! If you’re trying to create the perfect image, you might miss a beautiful moment right under your nose. The most clean, simple images are usually the ones that speak the most to me. Keep the clutter to a minimum, and don’t forget to experience the moments as you photograph them. After all, that’s what photography is about…capturing and sharing moments!

Megan is a photographer and blogger based in Kansas City. You can read more about her adventures at Crazy Bananas.

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Melt-Proof Beauty Products

melt-proof-makeupIt is hot, folks, which after a rainy, wet summer is a welcome change. However, it can be hard to stay put together when you’re sweating at 9:00 AM. So, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite melt-proof beauty products that are on heavy rotation this summer. sea-salt-spray

I scored the first item in the swag bag at Go Blog Social, and it is saving me from the torture of blow drying my hair. I just spritz a bit of the Kevin Murphy Hair Resort Spray in wet hair and then, go about my day. Within a few hours, I have beachy, messy waves that aren’t crunchy. It also smells fantastic. At the end of the day, I also like to use it with a little dry shampoo to revive my hair.

The little tube next to it is actually a lip balm, Pixi Shea Butter Lip Balm in Pixi Pink, but I’ve been dabbing it on my cheeks for a sun-kissed blush. It’s a little dewy, which helps when you’re already sweating.

make-up

The lip gloss, L’Oreal Paris Colour Riche Le Gloss in Watermelon Crush, on the left looks bright, but is sheer, so it’s wearable. It also tastes and smells great. I  like to layer it over a bright lip.

The Maybelline tattoo eye shadow is amazing. Do you use it? I have Bad to the Bronze and Inked in Pink, but am wondering which others should be added to my cosmetics bag. I love that they can be applied with a few swipes of my fingers and that the colors also have great staying power – perfect for summer.

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