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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Inspirational Experience

Hello, friends! Today I just wanted to share a story that happened to my boyfriend and I back at the end of January. I've heard and read stories of these types of kind gestures happening at random to people but never experienced it myself. I thought it would be encouraging and inspiring to briefly share the story so I hope you enjoy!

Nick and I were in the checkout line at the grocery store getting everything out of our cart to be rung up. The woman in front of us stepped behind where we were standing to the rack full of gift cards. For whatever reason, I watched her quickly grab a card with a little animal cartoon on it so I figured she was going to a child's birthday party, she then went back and continued her transaction. Right before she left, she turned to us, handed us the gift card and said, "Here, this has $40 on it. Consider it a late Christmas present. Have a blessed day." 

We were so stunned that we barely got out a "Thank you" before she was gone. It almost brought me to tears to see a person do something so kind for complete strangers. It was such a great reminder that there are good people out there and I feel so inspired whenever I think about it.

Have you ever experienced anything like this or been the person doing the giving? I'd love to adopt these kinds of friendly gestures, even on a smaller scale, into my everyday life. Please share your thoughts and/or ideas with me below, I'd love to hear!

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Primer for Your Hair? Living Proof Prime Style Extender

Prime Style Extender: Hair Primer by Living Proof

Okay, so I've had this product for a while now but it's taken some time to form an opinion on it. I originally wanted this product because it's time to face the facts...I take forever to get ready in the morning. I've always complained that I have "difficult hair" because it's thick, kind of coarse, naturally curly and I have to go through a lot to make it look decent and sit well. I wash my hair every other day and so I figured that if I used this, it would theoretically extend my hair style into the following day, which means less work and time for me in the morning.

Let's talk details first. You get 5.0 fl oz (148 mL) for about $20. In my opinion, this is more than I would generally pay for a hair product (thanks for the Christmas present, Mom!), but it's not outrageous. Living Proof claims this "locks in your style longer," and is  "weightlessly perfecting, weather proofing, time saving." *Ding ding ding! "Time saving," the magic words for me!

When your hair is clean and damp, you are supposed to apply a generous amount from the roots to the ends. As you can see from the picture, the product is a white, thin, liquidy cream. Also, I have no idea how to describe the smell, but it's amazing! Oh and by the way, it's formulated without parabens, sulfates, synthetic dyes and several other not-so-good ingredients, which is a huge plus for me.

So does it work? I'd say yes and no.

I think the first few times I was scared of wasting it so I wasn't using enough, but you really do have to be generous with how much you apply because it does have to go from roots to tip. Once I started applying enough, I really loved it. My hair smelled great and was so soft. It also seemed to reduce drying time. What you have to understand, at least what has proven true for me, is that your hair won't be looking perfect the next morning. You aren't going to wake up and have the same hairstyle, and I wasn't expecting to be like a cartoon character and look the exact same, but I guess I was expecting more obvious results.

What I can say is that it gave me good volume in the roots that lasted and does keep my hair looking fairly polished the next day, but I do have to retouch it in the morning. I think this product might be better served for someone that showers and washes their hair in the morning and goes through the entire styling process then and there. I take my showers at night, blow dry and straighten my hair and then the next morning I curl it (I don't like it straight, just a personal preference). I would like to test out morning styling with it, but that just never fits into my schedule.

Overall, I do like this product. It smells nice, is light, doesn't weigh your hair down or make it look greasy, makes your hair super soft and does extend your style to an extent, so I'll continue enjoying it!

If you're interested, I found it on Amazon for $5 cheaper so you can check it out, here!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

2014 Blogger Challenge Post 6: Food Toppings

For this challenge I decided that I would share with you two toppings for breakfast or dessert items that I've been loving recently. The two delicious toppings in question are 1) Homemade Whipped Cream and 2) Homemade Strawberry Sauce. Both are incredibly simple to make and it honestly makes all the difference to prepare them yourself as opposed to buying them pre-made because you can really taste the difference. I actually don't even like store-bought whipped cream because to me it has no flavor and is therefore pointless. 

You all know what whipped cream is good on...pancakes, crepes, milkshakes, pudding, on mixed berries, hot chocolate, pies, etc. But the strawberry sauce is surprisingly versatile as well, it's yummy on pancakes, crepes and waffles as syrup, english muffins, ice cream, toast, and probably a dozen other things. When I make these, I don't follow a recipe exactly, it really comes down to taste and how sweet you like them.

Whipped Cream

To make the Whipped Cream all you really need is Heavy Whipping Cream, Vanilla Extract and Sugar. I strongly suggest you use some type of electric mixer because although you could do it by hand, it will take a while and will seriously be painful (seriously). Here are some step-by-step instructions if you're interested in making it- link! The results are pretty impressive and incredibly delicious- I promise you!

It comes out so fluffy and so crazy good.

Strawberry Sauce

There are many different ways you can make strawberry sauce, as with most things, but when I've made it all I've used are strawberries and a little sugar (I even use Truvia and it's just as amazing). You can either cook it down on the stove and crush the berries as they heat up, or you can put it in a blender for a really smooth mixture. Here's a really simple recipe for this if you're interested- link! You on't be disappointed in this either, it's so warm, slightly sweet and SO flavorful because of the punch the fresh berries give it. Yum!

This was my breakfast yesterday morning...just a couple of whole wheat Eggo Waffles and half a banana covered in the strawberry sauce.

You guys probably saw this in my February Photo Diary but these are the crepes I made for my boyfriend's birthday breakfast with the homemade strawberry sauce and whipped cream.

I highly suggest you guys try these out for yourselves because they are both so delicious and make you seem like you've gone out of your way when they're actually so simple!

Happy first day of spring!!

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Outfit of the Day: Pattern Mixing, a little Glitter & Announcements!

Hi, everyone! I'm sorry that I haven't written a post in over a week, that's the longest break I've ever taken! I wasn't sure how to come back, though, because I didn't know if I should mention the reason I was gone, or write an entire post about it or say nothing about it here. Because I wouldn't feel right ignoring it, but I don't want to go into an explanation here, I'll just say that if you look at my Instagram or if you already follow me, you'll see a photo I posted on March 12 and that'll explain it enough...

I also wanted to thank all of you so much for following my blog because I reached 505 followers while I've been gone! That's incredibly exciting to me and I'm so grateful for all of you :)

Onto today's outfit post: 

This was my outfit Sunday before last. The weather was so nice; it was sunny and fairly warm with only a slight chill in the air. I've been wearing the animal print scarf (is it cheetah or leopard? I can never tell the difference!) with everything, literally. I suppose because it's technically a neutral with the colors it goes with a lot. I tucked a navy polka dot button down into my usual black skinny pants and belted it with this sparkly glitter belt I got from Loft for under $6! I just loved the polka dots, glitter and animal print together. Sometimes pattern mixing is so fun!

Scarf: Gift
Polka dot button down: Loft
Black pants: Lovefire brand from Belk
Shoes: Rack Room Shoes last year- super inexpensive!
Bag: Michael Kors
Bracelet: Mine! 

I'll do a separate post soon, but I've posted a couple of photos on Instagram of a couple of the pieces of jewelry that I've made so far but this is the first time you would have seen this bracelet- it's simple, easy to stack and looks glitzy because of the lovely texture. I love creating things and this has been so much fun for me so far to make them and wear my own creations :)

I hope you've all been well!

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Monday, March 10, 2014

Home Decor Update

A few weeks ago I was really feeling like the area on top of the bookcase was needing some attention. I've always found this to be an awkward area to decorate and I'm not sure why. For months the largest frame that's leaning on the wall had a collage I made and had in my bedroom at college so it was pretty girly and my boyfriend never liked it. Then, around Christmas, I decided to just take a piece of Christmas wrapping paper and put it in the frame to give me a quick fix for the meantime. A couple of weeks after Christmas the wrapping paper was still in there and I knew I had to figure something out. 

I've never been one to buy random prints from Michaels or wherever because they don't mean anything to me. I would rather print a picture from a trip I've taken because it's just more personal. Of course, though, I couldn't decide on one. Luckily I was online one day and found the print that's in it now and I thought it was perfect!

Bookshelf decor featuring picture frames, books, candles and flowers.

I love that the print is simple- just plain black and white with the phrase, "Let's Stay Home," because as much as I love being out in the world, I have no problems staying in and relaxing. I kept the same two frames with some of his family (which he asked me to blur our, hopefully you guys don't mind!) and one of the two of us. I added two books that fit well together, which just happened to be the first Harry Potter and a Film book I had in college to give a little more dimension and interest.

The vase and flower I got from Michaels for pretty inexpensive. I just liked that the vase is white since all of the frames are black so it lightens the area up a bit, and one of my favorite color combinations is black and green so I knew the green flower would look great with all of the black. For some reason, the green flower just seemed crisp, bright and cheery to me, as opposed to one in the red, pink or purple color families.

Bookshelf decor with free printable and vase with hydrangeas

Free printable home decor update

I also added this black and white striped print with a gold glitter heart that reads, "love" because it has a modern and fun look that I thought would be nice to spruce the side table up a little in the living room. (It was originally meant for Valentine's Day decor, but ya know how that goes.)

Thrift store home decor milk glass

Milk glass thrift store finds

The last thing I wanted to share is that someone told me about a local thrift store in our area so I went and checked it out. When I go to thrift stores, my favorite thing to do is look through the home sections because a lot of times, you'll find pretty unique pieces that not everybody has and for super cheap! I've become obsessed with this place because I've been on the hunt for milk glass and they always have some cute little pieces for me to find.  The last few times I've gone I've picked up these three pieces. I'm pretty sure the only one that's actual milk glass is the pot with the dots all over it, but I love them all. I love that they're white because that just gives it a chic and modern look to me. I also love the scalloped edges and the dot details because it makes them look so sweet!

That's my little home decor update! Nothing too big, just a couple small additions to add a little life! I hope you guys enjoyed! Let me know where you like to shop for home decor :)

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

2014 Blogger Challenge Post 5: Nails

White nail polish by NYC

For the last several weeks I've been wearing this white polish from NYC called 134 French Tip White. I had never worn bright white nail polish all over my nails before, but I had a craving to give it a shot! I bought this one by NYC because it was really inexpensive so if I didn't like it I wouldn't be losing much. Obviously, though, I loved it!  It's so chic, matches everything and is a really nice transition color from the dark fall/winter shades while still being cold-weather appropriate because it's white like snow- doesn't get any simpler than that!

As far as this particular polish, the brush is thin so it's difficult to apply. It definitely takes a little work to get an opaque even layer, but it is possible.

How do you guys feel about white nail polish?

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Monday, March 3, 2014

Photo Diary: February & Oscars Chat

Happy March, everyone! And happy almost spring! Yay!! (Even though as I type this there are several inches of snow on the ground and it's still coming down...)

February was a pretty eventful and busy month for me, which explains why it feels like it came and went so quickly. There was a lot of snow, several birthdays, Valentine's Day, baking, crafting, spreadsheets, planning, ahh! It was a lot, but I enjoyed it all.

1. Anybody else watch The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills? I watch it every week and often times on the show Yolanda has her hair pulled straight back into a low bun and I always think it's so chic! I've done it a few times like in this picture (and I love it with a scarf) and I always feel put-together, but in an effortless way.

2. My boyfriend ordered a Vitamix recently and it came with an amazing cookbook that we've been reading through and all I want to do is start making smoothies! This was the first time we used it and we made protein pancakes- not too bad :)

3. This bracelet was honestly one that I wasn't sure about at first so this was my first day wearing it and if you follow me on Instagram you would've seen this post, because I absolutely loved it! I felt special all day when I looked down and saw the sparkly pendant peeking out from the back of my wrist :)

4. My boyfriend's birthday was the 13th, so I made him a special birthday breakfast which was strawberry banana cheesecake crepes with fresh strawberry sauce. It was my first time making this except for the day before when I practiced, hehe. I added fresh whipped cream and a candle like his mom always did for him and I have to say, they didn't turn out half bad. He ate every bit of it and keeps asking for it again- win!

5. His birthday cake was a serious labor of love, and even though it didn't look as nice as I had hoped, it tasted amazing! He decided on an apple cake. It was incredibly moist, full of flavor and a great choice for such a snowy day. I also got him sparkler candles, which were fun, but honestly a little scary, haha.

6. On Valentine's Day my boyfriend surprised me with a trip to DC, Pentagon City and reservations at our favorite restaurant because we rarely get to go anymore. I'm glad that I looked decent that day because I thought we were spending most of the day at home!

7. We did a no-no and went to Cheesecake Factory last weekend. I can't remember what either of these were called but we got a chocolate/fudge/german chocolate cheesecake and a lemon cake and obviously they were both delicious.

8. I made an impulse buy and got this charcoal face mask by Freeman's and it isn't the kind of face mask you can look cute wearing or that is exactly Instagram worthy (you know what I'm talking about) but it was an exfoliating mask and it was so amazing. I may do a more in depth review soon for you guys.

9. Lastly, I've spend the last week with a cold so I've used almost that entire box of tissues, lots of Vix Vapor Rub, taken a lot of Vitamin C and Sudafed, and drank tons of water and even a couple cups of hot tea. Luckily, I checked my temperature several times and I never had a fever and although I'm not 100% right now, I'm feeling much better!

Switching gears...

I'm not going to do an entire post on the Oscars or the fashion there, but did you guys watch? 

I absolutely loved Julia Roberts, Lupita Nyong'o and Charlize Theron's dresses and I was underwhelmed by Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence and Kristen Bell, as well as any man in a white tux or jacket (Sorry Jared Leto).

I enjoyed Ellen Degeneres for the most part, thought that some presenters should've practiced a little more (or the teleprompter people needed to get it together), loved Jared Leto's speech and Lupita Nyong'o's speech because they were so inspiring and definitely could've done without all of the musical performances.

I love watching the Golden Globes and the Oscars because they honestly bring me a lot of happiness, it's hard to explain, but it's like a true, to the core happiness. They give me something to aspire to, something to be inspired by and seriously make me miss being in film school and feeling like I'm in some small way a part of that community or have a closeness to it.

Let me know your thoughts on anything from my February Photo Diary or what you thought about the Oscars, I'd love to hear!

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