Tag Archives: Women

Bag Envy

1 Jun

While perusing through a local department store last weekend, I suddenly found myself in the handbag section gawking at all the amazing bags on the shelves. I quickly convinced myself that I absolutely need a new purse, since I haven’t had a new one in almost a year now. Plus, a lot of them were on sale so this helped in my convincing tremendously. However, the ones that I liked the most were not on sale, so after nearly stroking out at some of the price tags on the bags I left the store without a purchase, telling myself that I’ll shop around and find the perfect new purse at the perfect price somewhere else.

I’m looking for an everyday bag, which for me means giant big enough to hold all of the crap that I carry around everyday (because one never knows when they’ll need a mini flashlight, dental floss, or wet wipes, do they?). In my search efforts I have come across many bags that I am totally in love with, possibly borderline obsessed with in some cases. Most of them are way above my budget but a girl can dream, right? Here are some of the latest bags that I am currently in awe of.

Available here for $1,471

Balenciaga Lambskin Large “Giant Work Bag” available here for only $1,471

Kate Spade Cobble Hill Small Leslie, available here for $348.

Kate Spade Cobble Hill Small Leslie, available here for $348

Hobo Kinley, available here for $328.

Hobo Kinley, available here for $328

Fossil Explorer Tote, available here for $238

Fossil Explorer Tote, available here for $238

Frye Vintage Stud Tote, available here for $348

Frye Vintage Stud Tote, available here for $348

Rebecca Minkoff Cupid Satchel, available here for $495

Rebecca Minkoff Cupid Satchel, available here for $495

I would take any of these bags in a heartbeat!

Which one would you choose? 

Quick Chick Flick: “Confessions Of A Shopaholic”

21 May

I recently read Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella and really, really liked it. I had seen the movie years ago not knowing it was a series of books. But when my best friend suggested I add it to my to-read list on Goodreads, naturally I took her advice. After finishing the book obviously I wanted to watch the movie again to compare. This won’t be a “Book Vs. Movie” post since the two were SO different, but rather just a review of the movie (definitely read the book, though!).

Confessions of a Shopaholic Poster

Isla Fisher stars as Rebecca Bloomwood, a girl with a serious problem. And I mean serious. She has a shopping addiction so severe that she comes up with the most outrageous (and hilarious) stories in her head to justify her spending problem. She’ll do anything to make it to a designer sale, and her problem has gotten her over $9,000 in debt. Living with her rich best friend, Suze, (played by the adorably quirky Krysten Ritter) Becky finds herself out of work as a journalist and constantly dodging pesky debt collector Derek Smeath.

Rebecca Bloomwood at a designer sale

Rebecca Bloomwood at a designer sale

Rebecca Bloomwood: Shopaholic

Desperate for money, she creates a very elaborate if not completely false resume and goes for an interview at her dream job – a top fashion magazine – only to find that the position has been filled. However, she finds out there is an opening at another magazine within the publication family – a financial advice digest. Thinking she can work her way to an “in” with the fashion mag, she goes on the interview at the financial digest and meets handsome editor Luke Brandon, played by charmer Hugh Dancy.

Hugh Dancy as Luke Brandon

Hugh Dancy as Luke Brandon

Following a very entertaining interview, Becky lands the job after Luke reads an article she writes for the fashion magazine that accidentally ended up in his hands instead. Seeing journalistic potential in Becky, he takes her to press conference where she shines with her tough, relevant questions about corporate raises after customer fund cuts. She writes a piece on it and becomes an overnight sensation in the financial advice world. The public love her. But what they don’t know is that Becky Bloomwood is the last person anyone should be taking financial advice from. Several hilarious plot twists later – including Becky telling Luke the debt collector is her ex-boyfriend turned stalker; getting into a pickle by being forced to speak Finnish (which she said she was fluent in on her resume); and her misadventures at a Shopaholic’s Anonymous group – Becky and Luke find themselves attracted to each other after spending more time together.

Becky and Luke Confessions of a Shopaholic

That is where things start to get interesting. Can Becky continue lying to Luke about her financial troubles and shopping addiction? Will her problem come between her and her best friend? The truth comes out in the end in a very shocking and embarrassing way for Becky, and she must finally confront her problem head on instead of running away from it. I won’t ruin the ending for you if you haven’t seen it, but I will say that everything works out in a way that none of the characters could have ever imagined.

Confessions of a Shopaholic is such a fun, absurdly amusing chick flick that I think anyone would enjoy. Be sure to check out the books, too! Sophie Kinsella created a character with Becky Bloomwood that girls everywhere will adore. She makes us laugh out loud, gasp at her ridiculousness, and find ourselves routing fiercely for her in the end, so proud to see her succeed that we may even shed a few tears (sniff). I’m currently reading Shopaholic Takes Manhattan, the second book in the series, and so far Becky still has a knack for getting herself into hilarious sticky situations.

What did you think of the movie and/or book? 

Audrey Hepburn’s Beauty Tips

8 May

Audrey Hepburn

I received an email from a family member a few weeks ago with a poem that was said to be written by Audrey Hepburn. The poem was so beautiful and captivating that I wanted to share it with you all on my blog. To do so, I did a little digging and found out that it was actually not written by Audrey Hepburn but by writer Sam Levenson. Titled “Time Tested Beauty Tips”, Levenson wrote it for his grandchild, and it just so happened to be one of Audrey’s favorite poems. It is said she read it to her children on her very last Christmas Eve.

Hepburn submitted this poem to a member of the media when asked to share her beauty secrets. Known for her beauty and charm, I think this poem gives us a clear picture of the type of person Audrey Hepburn really was. Please take a few minutes to read it and take to heart what it conveys – that the true beauty and grace of a woman is not seen with the eye, but felt with the heart. It is measured by the good deeds she does for others and by  random acts of kindness. Let’s all strive to be better!

Time Tested Beauty Tips

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.

For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.

For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.

For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day.

For poise, walk with the knowledge you’ll never walk alone.

People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived,  reclaimed, and redeemed; Never throw out anybody.

Remember, If you ever need a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of your arm.

As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.

The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the  figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.

The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows, and the beauty of a woman with passing years only grows!

Sam Levenson 

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Book vs. Movie – “Beautiful Creatures”

1 May

Beautiful Creatures Book Cover

Since I love to both read and watch movies, I’m going to do another book vs. movie review! This time I chose a Young Adult novel that my best friend and I recently read, Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. Let’s begin with the book…

Our narrator is 16-year-old Ethan Wate, who lives in the small Southern town of Gatlin, South Carolina. Ethan is haunted by a recurring dream where he is desperately trying to save a girl, whose face he can not see. He doesn’t know who she is or why he’s dreaming this but he is so drawn to her and feels he would do anything for this beautiful stranger. Ethan’s mother died last year and his father has been cooped up in his study “writing” ever since, leaving Ethan to be looked after by their superstitious, grandmotherly housemaid, Amma.

The people of Gatlin’s favorite pastimes include attending church and participating in the annual re-enactment of the town’s historic Civil War battle, complete with Confederate soldier costumes and big antebellum dresses. (The authors goes on to paint the perfect picture of small-minded, Bible beating hypocrites for us.) At Jackson High School, where Ethan attends as a Junior, you are either on the inside or the outside with the popular group, and Ethan has recently broken up with his cheerleader girlfriend, thus leaving him dangerously close to being on the outside. But he doesn’t mind much as he longs for something more than a close-minded life in Gatlin. Ethan immerses himself in books that take him far away and applies to colleges anywhere and everywhere outside of Gatlin, which he sees as his ticket out of there.

But the peace in Gatlin is disturbed when Macon Ravenwood’s (the town’s alleged “Boo Radley”) niece, Lena, comes to live with him. As all of the town’s people consider Macon and his kin to be Satanists (told you these people are small-minded), when Lena Duchannes shows up at Jackson High…it ain’t pretty, y’all. She is quickly outcast and everyone’s fears are fueled by a strange incident that occurs at school – suddenly all of the windows are blown out in the classroom while Lena is being publicly ridiculed by the other students – causing mass chaos in their quiet little town.

On his way home from school that day in a severe thunderstorm, Ethan almost runs someone over in the road only to find out it is Lena Duchannes. He offers her a ride home and quickly learns she isn’t as bad as everyone thinks. The two begin to spend more and more time together and Ethan soon finds out that Lena and her family are more different than he could have ever imagined. They are “Casters” and all have special powers – kind of like witches. Ethan and Lena fall in love and he realizes Lena is the girl from his strange, recurring dream. This is when it starts to get real good.

Her 16 th birthday is rapidly approaching, and we find out Lena is in grave danger as she nears her “claiming”, where every Caster female is claimed as either a Light or a Dark Caster on her 16 th birthday, regardless of what they wish to choose. (Obvs a Light Caster is good and a Dark one is evil.) Since all of the females in Lena’s family have been claimed Dark, she fears she will follow in their footsteps and become a monster who will no longer recognize or care for Ethan, and could possibly even hurt him.

There are so many other little interesting elements to this story that I will briefly summarize: there is an underground Caster Library where Ethan finds out his mother worked as a “Keeper” of Caster records; Ethan’s maid and grandmotherly figure Amma turns out to have supernatural powers of her own and can communicate with spirits; Ethan and Lena find a locket that when they touch transports them to the Civil War where they observe Lena’s ancestor bring her dead lover back to life (whose name also happens to be Ethan Wate…mmm hmmm) with a powerful Dark cast, thus cursing all future females in her family to be claimed as Dark Casters. And then there’s Lena’s evil, estranged mother, Sarafine, who is so desperate to have Lena join her on the Dark side that she is willing to harm Ethan in the process.

All in all the book was very intriguing and had a climactic, exciting ending that left me eager to read the second book, which I am currently reading. There are four books in the “Caster Chronicles” and I am looking forward to reading each one.

Beautiful Creatures book review – 7/10

Beautiful-Creatures

When I heard there was a movie based on the book I was excited to see it as I obviously love reading a book and then watching it’s characters come to life before me on the big screen. As we all know though, not every movie adaptation turns out as well as fans of the book would hope. Unfortunately, this was the case for me with the movie Beautiful Creatures. Here’s my review of the movie…

The movie starts out with Ethan’s dream so I’m thinking, “ok this is good, they’re following the book already!” but I soon realized that was one of the few things that would be exactly like the book in this film. Ethan, played by Alden Ehrenreich, definitely lets the audience know the film is set in the South with an overwhelmingly Southern accent. (Side-note –  It makes me absolutely sick how the media portrays ALL Southerners as having this insanely twangy country accent in any movie set in the Southeast. Hello! We’re not all rednecks! Ok I’m done now.) Amma is introduced, played by Viola Davis, a much younger version of the grandmotherly figure we get from the book, and Lena is played by Alice Englert, who perfectly captures what I imagined Lena would be like in my mind while reading Beautiful Creatures (I love it when that happens). Uncle Macon is also spot on and played by the great Jeremy Irons, and I honestly can’t picture anyone else in the role.

Ethan & Lena

Alden Ehrenreich and Alice Englert as Ethan & Lena

Things in the movie get tricky as we jump around from scene to scene, and plot twists from the book are revealed to us in a somewhat distorted way. I found myself confused and saying “that’s not what happens in the book!” a lot throughout the film. For example, Lena’s family in the movie are not at all what we have come to know in the book. In the film they are almost comical and do not come across at all as they do in the book – like supernatural beings who you do not want to mess with. Take the character of Ridley (Lena’s cousin who is a Dark Caster) for example. She is supposed to have a hot pink streak in her hair, wear extremely short school-girl skirts and is constantly sucking on a lollipop (which drives all of the men wild) but she’s quite the opposite in the movie. Yes she is seductive, but played by Emmy Rossum, Ridley in the movie is dark, regal and sophisticated – nowhere near Valley-Girl-evil enough! And then there’s Larkin, Lena’s other cousin, who plays a very big role in the book with a huge twist at the ending. In the movie he is just an afterthought with only two scenes and plays no significant role to the plot.

Beautiful Creatures Ridley

Emmy Rossum as Ridley. Where is your lollipop, Rid?!

There were other disappointments as far as plot changes including a character being completely left out of the movie, the lack of Kelting – a special and very rare ability Lena and Ethan share that enables them to communicate with each other without speaking (I felt that leaving this out made it harder for the audience to understand just how close their relationship is), and the ending was totally different than the book ending.

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Alden Ehrenreich and Viola Davis as Ethan & Amma

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Jeremy Irons as Macon Ravenwood

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Alice Englert and Kyle Gallner as Lena & Larkin

Overall, the movie was entertaining and did feature some pretty cool special effects, but if they hadn’t read the book I don’t think the viewer would fully appreciate this bewitching and intriguing Caster world. I do not think they will be making a sequel or carrying on with four movies to match the books, as the estimated overall budget of the movie was $60 million and it only brought in $19 million in theaters (source). It will be released on DVD May 21, and may have more success as a rental.

Beautiful Creatures movie review – 5/10

If you have read Beautiful Creatures and/or seen the movie, leave me a comment with your thoughts! I would love to hear how others thought the movie compared to the book, or just what you thought of either one in general!

Dove Shows Women We Are More Beautiful Than We Think

24 Apr

Dove Ad

Alright, ladies. I’ve got a bone to pick with y’all. A new advertising campaign from Dove called “Real Beauty Sketches” demonstrates how we often think less of ourselves in terms of natural beauty and self-image than what complete strangers think of us when they first meet us. Have you seen this commercial yet? If not, please take a few minutes to watch it below.

Pretty powerful, right? The sad thing is, I think that all of us can sympathize with the women in this ad because we all feel this way about ourselves in one way or another. Who doesn’t wish there was something they could change about their features, their face or body? And what woman doesn’t have a makeup bag full of synthetic material that will easily cover up any trace of her natural beauty? Whether big or small, we all suffer small self consciousnesses.  I think that just as the women in the commercial were taken aback to find out that complete strangers thought more highly of them then they did of their own selves, this Dove campaign will catch female viewers by surprise in the same way when they realize they are guilty of this, too!

So why do we do this to ourselves? Sure we can take the easy way out and blame it on the media and fashion magazines who have conditioned us to think we all need to look like supermodels to lead happy lives. But that doesn’t fix the problem. I think what we need to do is take a step back from all of our criticism and negativity, and focus on the positive things about ourselves. Make a list of things that you like about your face and body, and once a day when you look in the mirror pick one to focus on. Be thankful for your natural beauty.

And since we are all in this together we should make it a point to tell other women in our lives that they are beautiful.  Compliment them on something specific that they may take for granted about themselves – you never know when someone may need it.  I think you’ll find many women will be surprised and grateful to hear someone compliment them on a specific feature, and it will definitely boost their confidence. And who doesn’t need a confidence boost every now and then?!

All in all, I think Dove was right on with this advertising campaign, and I’d like to thank them for reminding me (and countless other women) of our natural beauty.

Easy DIY Spring Wreath

12 Apr

Since my obsession with Pinterest began sometime last year, I have become a bit of a junkie for DIY home decor and such. This includes wreaths for my front door. In the Fall I made one (that didn’t turn out quite as well as I would have liked) and since Spring is in full effect here in the Gulf Coast, I decided I’d better do another one to brighten up the front of my house. In addition to some potted flowers, a garden flag and a few luscious palms, I like to keep a wreath on my door to add a little color and curb appeal to my humble abode.

Naturally the first place I turned for Spring wreath inspiration was Pinterest! I’m a hydrangea lover, so when I came across the one below, I was sold!

Spring Wreath

I also really loved the fact that it looked very simple to create myself. So, I set off to my local Hobby Lobby with my Pinterest app ready to roll on my phone for reference. It wasn’t hard to find the materials for my creation and I only spent around $35. (Have you seen how much already-made wreaths are at the crafts stores?? Like $80. That’s ridonk.) My husband and I are big fans of the color blue so I decided to use blue flowers instead of purple.

Here’s what you’ll need to create this beautiful Spring wreath:

Spring Wreath Supplies

Wicker Wreath – $6
Cream Hydrangea Silk Flowers – $8 each
Blue Hydrangea Flower bundle – $7
Wooden Craft Letter – $2
Floral Wire – $2.50
Roll of Burlap – $8 (optional – I wrapped some around the top of mine to hang it)
Paint (not pictured – I used some leftover sample paint from Lowe’s that cost $5)

As far as tools, you’ll need wire cutters, scissors and a glue gun.

Spring Wreath Tools

First, cut the stems off of your flowers, but be sure to leave a little bit of the stem so you can stick it in the wicker wreath.  Arrange them on the wreath how you like them.  Next, cut off  some floral wire and use it to secure the flower to the wreath.  Do this by wrapping the wire around the wreath and through the flower several times.

Spring Wreath Flower

Attaching flower to wreath

Once your flowers are in place it’s time to paint your letter and attach it. Yay, you’re halfway done already! Told you this was easy. In a well ventilated area and on a paint-proof surface paint your letter and allow it to completely dry.

Painted Letter for Spring Wreath

When your letter is dry, attach it to the wreath using your glue gun.  Position the letter and spread glue on some of the larger twigs that touch the letter.  Let it dry for a few hours.

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Finally, wrap the burlap around the top of the wreath twice and then tie it in a knot, leaving some length on the ends to dangle.

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All done!! Now go hang it on your front door and get ready for your neighbors to come ask you where you got your lovely wreath!

Spring Wreath

What Spring crafts will you be making this year? 

Wedding Anniversary Traditions To Try

3 Apr

Wedding Bands

This past weekend my husband and I celebrated our six-year wedding anniversary. 6 years! You hear people say “time flies” all the time and don’t really take it to heart, but I can honestly say the past 6 years have flown by in a blur. It’s so easy to fall in to a routine with work and home life that when an anniversary sneaks up on you there isn’t much time (or money) to plan some big extravagant way to celebrate. My hubby and I celebrated this year by just spending the day together, starting with breakfast at our favorite cafe and a romantic dinner at a special place for the two of us. And it was perfect.

However you celebrate your wedding anniversary, below are some very simple, inexpensive things you can do to make the day a little extra special. I love all of these and aside from our tradition of always buying each other something off the traditional or modern wedding gift lists each year, my husband and I have done several of these in the past and plan on doing others in coming years. Hope these ideas inspire you to do something memorable on your big day!

  • Dance to your wedding “first dance” song. Most likely, the song you and your significant other danced to at your wedding is a pretty romantic, meaningful song for the two of you. And every time you hear that song, you think of your wedding. What better way to remember a special wedding moment than to relive that first dance at home, to that exact song?!
  • Toast each other with your wedding champagne flutes.  Chances are you still have those champagne flutes you used on your big day when you shared your first toast as husband and wife. Why not break them out and pop some bubbly? Toast the number of years you two have been happily married, toast to your future, or just toast to the fact that you two haven’t strangled each other yet.
  • Go back to the place where you got engaged. Whether it’s a vacation destination, your special spot, or a romantic restaurant, it’s fun to take a stroll down memory lane on or around your anniversary and reminisce on a very important day for you and your spouse. Especially at the place where it all started. If it’s too hard to go back where you got engaged (like in my case – we can’t just sporadically take a trip to Las Vegas every few years, unfortunately) try going to the place you shared your first date, or recreate the date. Either one would be a romantic way to spend time together.
  • Take a photo holding your framed wedding picture. My best friend told me about this idea (probably something she saw on Pinterest!) and a few years ago when I went to visit them around their anniversary, I took the picture below of them. You probably have a framed wedding photo hanging somewhere in your house, so just grab it and have someone take a picture of the two of you holding it. It’s a great way to capture a “now and then” moment of your love story.

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What are some of your wedding anniversary traditions? 

Spring 2013 Beauty Must-Haves

20 Mar

Spring Flowers

Happy first day of Spring! 

I love this time of year – everything feels new and fresh. Here in the Southeast the azaleas are in full bloom and the trees are slowly turning green again. The weather is mild, with temperatures topping out in the mid to upper 70’s making for very pleasant, Spring days. And it is definitely giving me a case of Spring fever!

Each Spring there are certain things that I do ritually around my house: clean and organize room by room, give the yard a good mowing and clean up the flower beds, change out my Winter wardrobe with my Spring one, and make a list of staple items that I need to add to my wardrobe/beauty bag. Here are some of the items on my must-have Spring beauty list.

Spring 2013 Beauty Must-Haves
 
  1. St. Ives Apricot Scrub - With Summer fast approaching, now is the time to prep your skin for silky smoothness. St. Ives Naturally Clear Apricot Scrub is my go-to product for exfoliation. It scrubs out your pores, removing all that built up dirt and oil, but without drying out your skin (which is the worst). This item is a staple in my beauty routine and if you haven’t tried it before, do it and you’ll be hooked! Find it for $4.29 at drugstore.com.
  2. Juice Beauty Irresistible Glow Facial Highlighter - In the Spring and Summer I tend to want to go light on the makeup and this lightweight, USDA Certified Organic blush stick by Juice Beauty is perfect for that. I love mine! It adds a little color to your cheeks, making them just the right shade of rosy – without that weighed down makeup feeling. Available at Ulta for $22.
  3. Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm - I have a secret to share: I’m kind of obsessed with Burt’s Bees. Ok, like really obsessed. I love everything about this company and will try absolutely any of their products. What I’m really into now though is their new line of 100% natural Tinted Lip Balm, particularly the Pink Blossom color. I wear it almost everyday and love how it goes on like a chap stick but gives you the softest pink lips ever. Perfect for Spring!  Get it at your local drug store or at burtsbees.com for only $7.
  4. Gillette Venus Razor - Ok ladies, we all know that when the weather heats up we start showing more skin. And there’s nothing worse than having nicks and cuts all over after shaving, so be sure to use a high quality razor like the Venus line by Gillette. A razor is something worth investing a few more dollars in, y’all! Get a Venus razor at your local drugstore or for $8.99 at drugstore.com.
  5. Zoya Nail Polish in “Cho” - A big trend in Spring nails this year are nude and earthy tones. I love a bright, shocking polish as much as the next girl, but sometimes I want to give my nails a rest with a low-key color on my digits. My favorite right now is Zoya’s “Cho”. If you haven’t tried Zoya yet, you definitely should. It stays on way longer than any of the other big brands I’ve tried and they have so many great colors to choose from. This polish is $8 at zoya.com.
  6. Neutrogena Sunscreen - I have grown to be very sun conscience in my old age (and by old age I mean my early thirties). The thought of how my sister and I used to lay out and spray oil all over ourselves so we could bake like potatoes makes me cringe (and pray I didn’t do irreversible damage)! These days if I’m going to be out in the sun for an extended period of time you better believe I’m going to be lathering up in the sunscreen beforehand, and I love Neutrogena’s non-greasy, non-comedogenic formula that is safe for my oily, acne-prone skin. And with the weather heating up you can be sure there will be more time spent outside in my future. You can get it for $8.55 at drugstore.com

What are your Spring beauty must-haves? 

Pinterest Project: Natural Homemade Laundry Detergent

17 Mar

laundry-line

Ah, the scent of fresh laundry, so clean and fresh. Did you know that what you are really smelling is the sweet smell of poison?? It’s true, most household brand name laundry detergents contain toxic chemicals. They don’t have to tell us about these chemicals of course (how convenient…), since it is not required that laundry products list ingredients on their packaging in the United States. So how can you tell what’s really in your detergent? You can research it online (go herehere or here to get started) or you can be like me and just stop buying brand name detergents altogether. I don’t mean that I stopped cleaning my clothes or anything (ewww) – I make my own using all natural ingredients. This way, I know exactly what’s in my detergent.

When I first decided myself and my family were going to try to lead a healthier lifestyle, of course Pinterest was the place I went for ideas and inspiration. While looking for a homemade detergent recipe the two most important things were that it was all natural and that it would save me bookoos of money (because laundry detergent is NOT cheap!). I decided on this pin, originally from The Frugal Girls. I could not believe how simple and inexpensive this is to make!

The Frugal Girls’ recipe calls for Fels Naptha soap, which can be found on the laundry aisle of Wal-Mart or similar stores for about a dollar (told you it was cheap). In my first batch I used Fels Naptha and it worked great, but I found out that it is not an all natural product. So this time I went looking for a substitute soap and found Grandpa’s Unscented Baking Soda Soap at my local health foods store. It is vegetable based and boasts to be a natural dirt, grease & grime remover. Sounds good enough for my laundry!

Here is my recipe for an all natural, homemade laundry detergent:

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You will need:

  • 1/2 Cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (around $4 at Wal-Mart)
  • 1/2 Cup Borax (around $5 at Wal-Mart)
  • 1/2 Bar of Grandpa’s Unscented Baking Soda Soap (around $4 at health stores)
  • Bucket or some other container with a lid to store detergent in (I used an old Tidy Cats litter container – fully cleaned)

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Grate half the bar of soap over a large saucepan and add 6 cups of water.

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Heat and stir until the soap dissolves. Next, add your Washing Soda and Borax, and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat.

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Now pour 4 cups of HOT water into your clean bucket, then add the soap mixture from the stove and stir well. Finally, add 1 Gallon + 6 cups of water (that’s 22 cups total for all you math rejects…like me) to the bucket and stir it up good.

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Viola! You’re all done! Put the lid on and allow it to sit for 24 hours. It will have a watery, gel-like consistency. This batch will last about a month and a half in my house, and I use a dry measuring cup to scoop 1 to 1-1/2 cups per full load of laundry. Also, you still have a half bar of soap left for your next batch and your Washing Soda and Borax will last many more batches.

I encourage you all to try making your own all natural detergent , it’s a much healthier alternative for you and your family and it will save you some major $$$ over time.

What Pinterest projects have you tried?

Character Fashion Inspiration: Comic Book Characters

9 Mar

So we’ve already established that I have a nerdy side (see examples 1, 2 and 3) but I also really enjoy fashion and other girly things. A thought crossed my mind the other day and I about fell out of my chair: Why not do a Character Fashion Inspiration post based on comic book characters!? How I did not think of this sooner is beyond me. Think about it, comic books are filled with color and artistry, and superhero costumes are so sleek and stylish… all things that inspire fashion. There have been many cases where superhero art has inspired runway fashion and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC even held an exhibit on this subject in 2008.

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So, which character do I cover? There are so many directions I could go and I’m thinking there will have to be multiple posts on different characters. A few of my favorites that I am having fashion ideas for at the moment are The Hulk, Batman, Dr. Who, Poison Ivy and Iron Man. Let’s start with my all-time favorite male superhero…

Superman!

Superman

Superman is an American icon who was created in 1932 and first appeared in comics in 1938. It is said he stands for  justice, morality and righteousness and has developed to a hero seen not only in comics but also in movies, television, video games and on merchandising worldwide. So, he’s pretty much The Man, y’all.

When I think Superman the colors red and blue immediately come to mind. But let’s not forget that he is also the Man of Steel, and the new movie of that same title coming to theaters this June will focus more on the “steel” aspect of Superman. From the trailers I’ve seen (which are ah-mazing, by the way – go here to see the latest) this new Superman costume is going to be more of a dark red and blue color. So I’ll do both a more traditional Superman outfit and a modern Man of Steel inspired one. Here we go…

Character Fashion Inspiration: Superman
 
Character Fashion Inspiration: Man of Steel

What do you think? I would wear either of these but like the navy pinstripe dress and those maroon booties the best!

Which comic characters can you imagine fashion inspiration coming from?

Friday Music – The Power Of Love

15 Feb

Hello world and happy Friday! I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine’s Day yesterday and got some good lovin’. In honor of the big holiday, I thought we could kick the weekend off with a classic 80′s love song. I don’t know about you but I can’t help turning the radio up and singing along when I hear this little gem. And, it’s from one of the best movies of all time – Back To The Future. Nothing says “I love you” like Huey Lewis & The News, “The Power of Love”!

Have I mentioned before that I love the 80′s?? Have a great weekend!

Valentine’s Day Nail Inspiration

9 Feb

With only four more days till Valentine’s Day I think it’s time for a post about Valentine’s Day nails, don’t you? I found some really great nail inspiration on Pinterest and most of them are fairly simple designs (which is wonderful for people like me whose extent of nail art reaches to painting one nail a different color). Just click on each picture to be routed to the image source.

Chevron Ombre (includes tutorial)

Heart Tips

Diagonal Pop of Color

Tainted Love (includes tutorial)

Two-Tone

All Dotted Up

Red Hot

I really like all of these but the pink and red two-tone and the diagonal pop of color are my favorites. And I think I could actually do those!  Follow me on Instagram to see my nails from time to time and find out what I end up doing this week for Valentine’s Day!

Which is your favorite? 

Sweet Valentine’s Day Date Looks

4 Feb

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and many of us are making plans with our sweeties. Maybe it’s a romantic dinner, a fun date movie (think Safe Haven or Warm Bodies), or maybe you’re karaoking with your girlfriends at a local bar. Whatever your plans are be sure to take advantage of the one day of the year it’s ok for us to go all out with the romance and glamour and dress accordingly.

When we think Valentine’s Day we think pink and red, flowers and hearts. Why not incorporate those in your look this year? Here are three ideas to get you started – floral, red and lace – yes please!

Valentine's Day Look - Sweet Floral
Valentine's Day Look - Romantic Red
via polvore
Valentine's Day Look - Lovely Lace

Which look is your favorite? Happy Valentine’s Day!

Friday Music – Beyoncé!

1 Feb

Beyonce

By now I’m sure you’ve heard that Beyoncé is hosting the halftime performance show during the Super Bowl this Sunday! The world is ready for some serious bootie shaking and I’m sure we’ll get the mother-load Sunday night. Bring it on, Beyoncé! I gotta hand it to the girl, she is pretty incredible. With an amazing voice and moves like no other, she’s a force to be reckoned with.

In honor of her forthcoming Super Bowl moment here are two of my favorite Beyoncé moments (you get two Friday songs today – score!). Try not to hurt yourself busting a move to these two jams.

Here are “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” and “Bootylicious” by Destiny’s Child, circa 2001. TGIF!

Character Fashion Inspiration: The Women of “Once Upon A Time”

29 Jan

Once Upon A Time

Being the Disney lover that I am, of course I’m a fan of the hit ABC series Once Upon A Time. The show follows classic storybook characters like Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, Captain Hook, and Rumpelstiltskin, but instead of them dwelling in their magical, make-believe lands they have been transported to the small New England town of “Storybrooke” by The Evil Queen (who else would do such a nasty thing!?). We flash back to the fairy tale world in every episode to learn a little more about each character’s alter ego, and of course magic and mystery surround the plot of this fantasy show. There are three main female characters – Emma Swan, Mary Margaret/Snow White and Regina/The Evil Queen – each one a strong and powerful woman with their own unique style. Here are my picks for fashion inspired by these lovely ladies…

Emma_Swan

Emma (played by Jennifer Morrison) is the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming and serves as the local sheriff. Sent to our world as a baby she grew up knowing only this land and is just now discovering that she has magical powers of her own, which she uses to serve up justice in the small town. Emma’s look is practical and slightly rugged, almost always consisting of skinny jeans, a leather jacket and durable leather boots. I created a look that I think she would happily wear!

Emma Swan from Once Upon A Time
Mary_Margaret
Mary Margaret’s alter ego is Snow White and while in her fairy tale land she was a powerful heroine, in our land she is a humble school teacher, hopeless romantic and ultimate do-gooder. She comes across as a motherly figure and often is the voice of reason in Storybrooke. Played by the adorable Ginnifer Goodwin, M.M./Snow’s graceful, feminine look consists of cardigans, lace and floral patterns. I chose a few pieces I felt captured her charm nicely.
Mary Margaret from Once Upon A Time
via polyvore
Regina_Mills
Regina Mills is the Mayor of Storybrooke but as the Evil Queen (responsible for wiping the memories of all the fairy tale characters and placing  them in a new land) she  has a hand in just about every evildoing in town. She is the character that you just love to hate! Her closet contains smart suits and sleek, stylish dresses. Oh, and don’t forget the signature fuchsia lips – gorgeous!
Regina from Once Upon A Time

What do you think of these character’s styles? I think I can identify more with Mary Margaret’s or Emma’s fashion choices, although I do envy Regina’s trendy power suits. For more fairy tale fashion be sure to tune in to Once Upon A Time on Sunday nights at 8/7 Central Time on ABC.

Whose look do you identify with most?

Wonder Woman Movie Casting

20 Jan

Here’s a little known fact about me (if you don’t already know me): I am a huge comic book fan! I don’t actually collect them or anything, I just have always loved the excitement of the superheroes and villains, the supernatural powers and graphic art associated with comics. I also love anything “girl power” related, which comics have a lot of. Sure, there are always the damsels in distress in comics – the girls who need constant rescuing by a hero – but there are also a lot of kick ass girls who don’t go overlooked in comics. Batgirl, Supergirl, Black Widow, Tank Girl, Catwoman, Storm, Rogue, and my absolute favorite: Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman

When I heard some time last year that they would finally be making a major motion picture based on the DC superstar that is Wonder Woman, I just about died y’all! How long have we all been waiting?? Decades. I immediately started brainstorming who I thought should play the fantastic leading lady in the film, which brought me to the topic of this blog post: Who should play Wonder Woman? I have a few opinions on who our fearless heroine should be, and here they are…

Evangeline Lilly

Evangeline Lilly

When I first started watching Lost years ago, the idea of “Kate” as Wonder Woman crept in to my mind. To me Evangeline Lilly is the only choice for Wonder Woman and I can see her effortlessly pulling off all of the things WW stands for: strength, justice, and femininity.

Gina Carano

Gina Crano

This brawny beauty got her start as a mixed martial artist and kicked some major butt in the film Haywire a few years ago. She’s been an American Gladiator, a model and actress, but I’m afraid she may be a little too rough around the edges to portray WW. A lot of people like her for the role though, so we’ll see!

Lynn Collins

Lynn Collins

Lynn Collins is no stranger to action roles based on her work in X-Men Originals: Wolverine and John Carter. She’s young and has the fresh face that may be just what a WW revamp could use.

I can’t wait to see things develop in the creation of Wonder Woman, and there is even talk about a WW (and other members of the Justice League!) sneak peek in the upcoming film Man of Steel. 

Who is your favorite superhero and who do you think should play Wonder Woman? 

So Long, 2012 – My Year In Pictures

31 Dec

Well, 2012 is just about over and now is the time to  reflect on the past year. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and hopefully enjoyed some time with family and dear friends, celebrating old traditions and making new memories. Today I have been reflecting on 2012, and put together a little post celebrating my year in pictures. Enjoy!

My husband and I spent New Year’s Eve 2011 in Gatlinburg, TN. We rang in 2012 downtown in twenty degree weather with about 10,000 other people, and enjoyed an impressive fireworks display. In February, we celebrated Valentine’s Day (of course!). My sweetie had a beautiful bouquet of red roses delivered to me at work, and when I came home I had lots of treats and sweets waiting for me. I’m one lucky gal!

January February

In March my husband and I celebrated 5 years of marriage! After eating at our favorite restaurant for dinner, we went to see the symphony perform songs by Pink Floyd in an amazing music and laser lights show. Also that month, after many months of anticipation and excitement, I finally got to see The Hunger Games! I also took some silly pictures in weird hats, apparently. April brought Spring Fever and many afternoons spent sitting in my backyard, or visiting the local botanical gardens to see all the flowers in bloom. I also got to spend some time with my bestie!

March April

In May we celebrated my Mom’s birthday and Mother’s Day by throwing her a “fiesta” at my house. My Spring Fever continued and I spent a lot of time outdoors that month. June was probably the busiest month of the year for me. My sister, two nephews and brother-in-law came down to visit for a week, and I spent a lot of time hanging out with them. We celebrated my sister and my dads birthdays, as well as Father’s Day. We also travelled to Huntsville, AL to visit my in-laws. And sadly, tragedy rocked my little world with the news of the very sudden death of a dear friend from college. I gathered with friends and sorority sisters to attend her funeral, and we all went to lunch afterwards to share memories and celebrate her life.

May June

July brought the most fun thing about 2012 for me and my husband – a trip to Universal Orlando! This year I decided to get serious about checking things off my bucket list, and one of them was to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal (yes, I’m a nerd). We had the best time ever! I got to tour Hogwarts and Hogsmeade Village, drink a Butterbeer, and fly with Harry on a broomstick. It was kind of amazing. We also really enjoyed the Jurassic Park and Marvel exhibits there. In August, I attended a birthday party for my best friend’s little girl, hung out with my kitty, Gus, and acted silly with my mama.

July August

In September I went home to Tennessee to visit my family and some good friends. It was so great to get to see my sister and her kids, and one of my oldest and best friends, Anna. Also in September, my husband and I enjoyed our last beach day of the year – soaking up some sun and sipping on a cold one. Then it was on to October, my most favorite month of the year! Not only is it my birthday month, but also brings my favorite season, Fall, and Halloween! I spent my birthday with my hubby, who got me the most amazing birthday daisy bouquet! We also carved pumpkins and I finally started to see the first signs of Fall.

September October

November brought Thanksgiving at my parent’s house where we ate lots of my mama’s home cooked, delicious food. It also meant the final Twilight movie, Breaking Dawn Part 2. Of course my BFF and I went to see it, and here is our reaction to the ending of the series. Pretty classic. And finally, December. It has been a wonderful month – I’ve had two weeks off of work and have been able to truly relax and enjoy the season.

November December

I hope you all had a fantastic 2012, and wish you many blessings in 2013.

Here’s to the New Year! 

Swoon Worthy Christmas Party Looks

8 Dec

Christmas is a little more than two weeks away! Tis the season for Christmas parties, so start planning on looking your best at your family, friend or work holiday function now. Stick with red, emerald (Pantone’s 2013 color of the year!) or gold and you can’t go wrong. I love a cute party dress, but my heart also melts for black skinnies paired with a festive top and sassy heels.

Here are my favorite Christmas party looks this year.

 The Sophisticate

Christmas Party Looks - The Sophisticate

The Life of the Party

Christmas Party Look - The Life of the Party

via polyvore

The Trend Setter

Christmas Party Looks - The Trendsetter

Pair any of these looks with a red manicure and lip color and you’re all set!

Christmas Party Looks - Red Lips and Nails

via polyvore

Which is your favorite Christmas party look?

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Winter Must-Haves

30 Nov

Winter is just around the corner and will be here in just a few weeks! I absolutely love this time of year and always look forward to cooler weather down here in the deep south. Although we haven’t had any really cold weather (unless you consider the low 50′s cold) I am getting prepared for Winter by making a list of things I consider to be “must-haves” this year. Here they are…

Shorts Over Tights

I used to rock this look as a child in the 80′s (thanks, Mom!) and couldn’t be more thrilled that certain throw-back styles like this one are back in fashion. I’m looking for corduroy, wool or plaid shorts for Winter, particularly in black or red. Plaid would be the best! Here are a few examples of the look I’m loving right now.

via Mandy on Pinterest

via Mandy on Pinterest

via Mandy on Pinterest

Riding Boots

I love, love, love tall riding boots! They have been a weekend staple for me lately, and I usually throw mine on over some skinny jeans for stylish comfort. Here are some boots that I dream about.

Riding Boots

Hand & Lip Moisture

When the weather gets cold my skin tends to dry out a lot, and I can’t stand dry, itchy knuckles and chapped lips. I always keep lip balm and lotion in both my purse and bedside table and just want to drench my hands and lips in it during the Winter. I prefer all natural, chemical-free products and can’t get enough Burt’s Bees, especially their beeswax lip balm (the menthol is so refreshing!). Also love their new tinted lip products in place of lipstick.

All Natural Hand & Lip Moisture

Cozy Cardigans

Cable-knit, oversized, and warm please! Kinda like this one…

Forget It, Black Friday – Shopping From Home

24 Nov

Yesterday was Black Friday, and I was foolish enough to get out amongst the crazies (does that make me a crazy, too??) and hunt for those amazing deals that stores promised us. It’s kind of a family tradition, where no matter how much I don’t want to, I just have to go to at least one store the day after Thanksgiving. Victoria’s Secret, Express, Toys R Us, and Kohls were blowing up my inbox all week telling me to get my bottom to their store and take advantage of all the free stuff they’re going to give me. Well, I ended up getting out late yesterday afternoon – I refuse to be one of those people who stands in line until midnight and then ferociously make a mad dash for the electronics section – and hit up a couple of department and non-chain stores in search of a few unique gifts. While I didn’t make it to any of those mass merchandisers, I did take advantage of their sales early yesterday morning from the comfort of my couch. Which brings me to the topic of this post – the joy of online shopping.

Unless you live in an area where internet coverage is not offered or are in a coma in the hospital, there is absolutely no excuse for you not to shop via the internet this holiday season. I got all the offers and discounts that I was promised in store this Black Friday, plus free shipping, and didn’t even have to get out of my pajamas.  I didn’t wait in line anywhere, I didn’t have to deal with the attitudes of sales clerks who had been working since 11:00 the night before, giving everyone the stink eye, and I certainly didn’t have to drive around a parking lot for twenty minutes waiting for someone to leave so I could park. I shopped at my own pace, taking my time browsing the sites. Doesn’t this sound like a pleasant shopping experience?

Now, I understand that there are some Black Friday and holiday deals that are only offered in store. This is when you have to ask yourself, “Is this item really going to make or break Christmas for the recipient, and is it worth going through all of the shopping madness for?” If the answer is yes, then bless your heart. When you are forced to venture out to the stores for gifts, please follow my simple rules of Christmas Shopping Etiquette, some of which include shopping with a plan, leaving little ones at home, and getting well if you are sick before doing your shopping.

In summary, try to enjoy the Christmas season and don’t make it all about presents. It’s easy to get caught up in the commercialism of Christmas, especially with stores constantly in our faces with ads for the latest and greatest gadgets. Only buy (or better yet, make!) gifts that are from your heart to the recipient. And please, stay in and do your shopping from the comfort of your home whenever possible!

Happy Holidays! 

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