Wednesday, January 30, 2013


I'm no stranger to the 'box' phenomenon.  You know, the monthly/quarterly subscription services that you can have delivered to your door for a small (sometimes) fee.  Well, one other thing to know about me is that I've only recently started wearing nail polish (on my hands, that is).  Crazy, yes?  I sit at a desk all day long and I used to get so distracted if my nails were painted.  Apparently I am (was) 5 years old.  So what was the wonderful thing that broke my bare nails streak?  I got a full size Essie nail polish in one of my Birchboxes.  I am now a nail polish addict.  I paint my nails every Sunday for the new work week.  Clearly I'm a nerd.  About a  month ago I happened across a new 'box'.  It's called Julep and it's all about nail polish and nail care.  It works slightly different than Birchbox.  Let me explain.

First of all, it is a monthly box and you do fill out a questionnaire, so you can be matched to a certain 'style'.  I happen to be "Classic - with a Twist".  Just so you know.  Here's the best part: each month they email me to tell me the selections are available (full-size selections, just FYI).  I log in and look at what they picked for my 'style'.  So, let's use the February box as an example.  They sent me an email around January 24th to let me know that my box was ready.  I logged in and the colors for my style were a pastel purple and a cherry red.  Now, I have the following options:
  • I decide I love the options and do nothing.  On January 27th I will be charged for my box and it will be shipped to me.
  • I decide I don't love my box, but that my mom/sister/bestie would look fab in those colors so I decide to gift the box.  On January 27th I will be charged for my box and it will be shipped to the person I choose.
  • I decide I don't love my box and I don't want to gift it.  I log in and choose to skip the February box.  I am not charged.
  • I decide I don't love the "Classic - with a Twist" selection, but I do love another style's selection.  I can choose the other style.
How much does it cost?  $19.99 a month.

The colors below are from my January 'intro' box.

Two full-size polishes plus cuticle oil.

The manicures above are a week old and yeah, I'm not the best at manicures.  Don't judge.

Are you interested in being a Julep Maven?  Use the promo MAVENINTRO and get your first box for 1 penny (plus S&H).  Sign up here.

*I did not receive anything in return for this post.  The opinions stated here are my own.  If you sign up through any links in this post, I will receive (Julep) points for you doing so.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Birchbox: January

amika / Color pHerfection Shampoo
This gentle shampoo contains fortifying omega acids and healing sea buckthorn berry oil to keep your hair color bright and shiny.
Full-size: $22
Review: I really liked this the first two times I used it.  I wash my hair every other day and the first four days were great.  This shampoo doesn't lather, but my hair felt so clean.  I could curl my hair without it falling flat in a few hours.  However, the third time I used this shampoo, my hair felt very oily and much like second day hair in a matter of hours.  I knew I wouldn't be able to wear my hair a second day without washing it.  I'm not sure if this is part of the 'natural' oils process or what, but I stopped using the shampoo.

Embryolisse / Lait-Creme Concentre - 24 hour Miracle Cream
A favorite of models and makeup artists, this cult French moisturizer heals dryness and leaves skin primed for foundation.
Full-size: $16
Review: I absolutely love this product.  I don't have dry skin, but this moisturizer did not make my skin feel oily at all.  It's a fabulous primer, as well.  I've already bought the full-size version.

Juicy Couture / Viva la Juicy
Juicy's charming scent will bring out your inner girly girl.  Wild berries flirt with mandarin and soft floral notes fore a fragrance that's fun and happy.
Full-size: $25 - $90
Review:  This is the second time I've received this scent.  I've disliked it both times.

theBalm cosmetics / Put a Lid On It Eyelid Primer
Keep that pretty eye shadow crease-free with this stay-put primer, which also prevents smudges and smears.
Full-size: $18
Review.  This did a pretty good job, but it's not replacing my UD primer.

Juice Beauty / Daily Essentials to Go
Gorgeous skin is as easy as 1-2-3 with this trio of organic must-haves: Cleansing Milk, Antioxidant Serum, and Nutrient Moisturizer.
Full-size: $29
Review:  I also loved these products.  The sample size was on the small side, but I did my best to get four uses out of each pouch.  The cleansing milk might be a tad too moisturizing for my oily skin, but I truly loved all three of these products.

Are you interested in purchasing Birchbox?  Sign up here.

Linking up with Molly.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

All About a Wedge

I live in heels all week for work.  On the weekend, I like to dress a little more casual while not losing the height of a heel because I'm pretty short.  I can accomplish all of this with a wedge.  Lucky for me there's a wedge for every occasion and wedges can be worn with just about any outfit.

All about a wedge

Boot: 1 / 2
Peep Toe: 1 / 2
Sandal: 1 / 2
Slip On: 1 / 2
Tall Boot: 1 / 2

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Casual Day

I was off work yesterday to observe MLK day. So, my husband and I went to IKEA. I have a love/hate relationship with IKEA. I love to go and walk through the rooms and look at all the neat, new set-ups. I hate that there are always thousands of other people with the same idea.  It was a casual day with lots of walking, so I dressed appropriately.

Top: Target (similar) / Pants: Gap / Shoes: Payless / Bag: Kate Spade (no longer available online) / Watch: Target (old)
I'm constantly working on how I can make improvements to this blog and I know one area is with better photos.  I know photos come out better when they are taken outside, so my husband took these outside.  We are not experienced photographers, but we are working on becoming better at taking pictures.  The photo above is the best photo out of about 14.  I included the ones below because they are too funny not to share.

My eyes are closed (and the picture is blurry).  I guess it was too bright out?

I'm telling my husband to hold on.  I've spotted some grass on my shoe that I just know will show up in the photos (obviously it doesn't) and I need to remove it.

Why he continued to snap photos, I have no idea.  Catastrophe had been avoided, I did remove the grass.

Let me just readjust my glasses and then I'll be ready.

Also, I realize that my bag does not really complement my outfit.  To be honest, I don't change handbags with each outfit every day.  That is why I don't usually include a bag in most of my photos. However, we were literally right outside of IKEA, so I decided to hold on to it.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Seeing Spots

Leopard is a fun print to pair.  It's also very versatile.  It can be worn as a top or dress, but it also makes quite a statement accessory.  It can be worn conservatively in a classic shape, such as the trench coat below.  It can also be worn with neutrals, such as black and brown, to give a little pop to an outfit.  Just refrain from wearing the print too snug to the body or it may appear to look cheap or gaudy.

Seeing Spots

Top Row: black blazer / leopard dress / clutch / red shoes / leopard top clearance! / purple pants / clutch / black flats / leopard trench / grey top / black heels / black pants / clutch

Bottom Row: chambray top / pink pants / leopard clutch / silver flats / pink top / leopard scarf / olive pants / brown wedges / beige top / oxblood pants / clutch /leopard heels

I personally prefer leopard accessories.  What's your favorite look?

I'm linking up this week with Molly and Carly.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Lola. Dog

My Dearest Blog Readers,

I'm under the weather this week. On Sunday I was rushed to the vet with an ear infection. And by rushed I mean the woman called and made an appointment. The vet is open 24 hours now, so we were unable to get in until 9:30. They are usually very considerate and have us out in no time. Until this time, of course.

The man chauffeured us to their office. Since it was so late we had to call to be let in. It was freezing. They took their time letting us in. Then they told us they had an emergency situation come in right before us - could we please wait. I said absolutely not, but the woman always has the final say. So we waited. And waited. And waited. Finally they moved us to a room. And we waited even longer. The vet came in about an hour later. Instead of examining me with the big ones looking on, I was taken to the back. As the door shut behind us I heard the woman tell the vet that he might want to muzzle me. Gee, thanks a lot. As if this experience isn't awful enough. They muzzled me and stuck sticks in my ear. I don't know how to explain how horrible that feels. Then the vet left. I had all these terrifying thoughts that maybe I was being abandoned. But thankfully he came back and took me to the waiting woman and man. They took me to the front desk, where they pay the bill.

I was all bundled up in the woman's arms. In the waiting room I noticed a little black dog. Whimpering. He was so scared. I felt really bad because his mom was not cuddling him. She kept yanking on his leash telling him to be quiet. I see a lot of therapy in his future. She asked the woman if we were the emergency. Upon learning that we were not she asked us how long we had been there. An hour and a half. She then went on about possibly having a pizza delivered and how all the dogs would react to that and how it would be funny. Yes that's a great idea. Lets make the place we fear the most smell like pizza. That won't confuse us at all. I looked down at the black dog with empathy. We paid and took my ear medicine and left.

The great thing about being sick is the cuddling and getting to do things I don't normally get to do. I appreciate your condolences and hopefully I'll feel better soon. Hopefully I'll also get a bath. I don't even want to talk about what these ear drops do to my hair.

Until next time,

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Recipe: Stew

Stew is one of my favorite things to eat when it's cold outside.  I grew up loving my grandma's stew.  It is so delicious and just thinking about it makes my mouth water.  It's a pretty far trip to get my grandma's stew these days, but my husband makes a fabulous alternative.  There's nothing like a big bowl of hot stew to keep you warm on a cold day.

First things first, round up the ingredients.  You can actually pretty much dictate what ingredients you would like in your stew.  There are no set ingredients.  We use the ingredients below for our stew.
Olive Oil, Flour, Pearl Onions, Corn, Beef Broth, Pepper, Salt, Potatoes, Green Beans, Carrots, Beef Stew Meat
Preparation: Snap the ends off the green beans, peel and cut the carrots into pieces, peel the skin off the onions.

First, sear the stew meat in some olive oil.

Take the meat out and add in beef broth and flour.  Stir to mix.

Add in the vegetables, except for the can of corn.  Since it's in a can, you will want to add that in about 30 minutes before the stew is done.

Add in the seared meat, more beef broth, and some water.

Cover and let cook for over medium-low heat for 3 hours.
I like to eat my stew with homemade cornbread.  Enjoy.

Stew Recipe:
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Flour
2-3 cups Beef Broth
1 pound Beef Stew Meat
Potatoes (as many as you like)
Green Beans (as many as you like)
Carrots (as many as you like)
Pearl Onions (as many as you like)
1 Can of Corn
Salt and Pepper

In a big stock pot sear the stew meat in heated olive oil.  Take the meat out and put them to the side.  Add in one cup of beef broth.  Slowly stir in the flour.  Add in all the vegetables, except the corn.  Add in the seared meat and stir.  Add the second cup of broth.  If the meat and vegetables are not covered, you can add in additional beef broth or water.  Add in salt and pepper (a few sprinkles of each).  Cover and let it cook on medium low heat for 2 hours and 30 minutes.  Then add in the corn.  Cover and let it cook for an additional 30 minutes.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

OOTW: Navy & Mustard

One of my favorite coloring pairings is navy and mustard.  I know it's all about stripes right now, but I still have a thing for polka dots.  

I love to wear wedges as an alternative to heels. 

Mustard Cardigan: Banana Republic
Black and White Polka Dot Top: Banana Republic (similar)/ 
Navy Pants: Banana Republic
Wedges: Payless
Bracelets: Stella & Dot

Monday, January 14, 2013

Baggin: Pop of color

One of the trends rockin Spring collections is bold colors.  This should come as no surprise since the color of the year has been deemed Emerald, a lively, beautiful shade of green.  Although we may all be looking forward to Spring, so we can pack up our sweaters and break out our skirts, we are still stuck in January.  I see no reason to not begin introducing these colors to our wardrobes.  An easy way to do that is through a bag or clutch.  This not only prefaces Spring trends, but it also adds a pop of color to what could be considered a cold and drab season.

Baggin: Pop of color

Baggin: Pop of color

Splurge: Top Row: Red / Lime / Blue
             Bottom Row: Iris / Coral / Citrine

Save: Top Row: Blue (On SALE!) / Fuschia / Red
         Bottown Row: Orange / Green / Yellow

I'm loving the blue Kate Spade bag.  What bag do you like?

I'm linking up with Molly and Carly for YOLO Mondays.


Friday, January 11, 2013

Lola. Dog

My Dearest Blog Readers,

I have been super busy this week.  Here is my list of random things for this week.

I would rather be at the salon.
  • I don't go to the salon every month to freshen up.  Sometimes I just hop in the bathtub and scrub down.  I prefer the salon and the pampering, but it's not in my budget for every month and we all must make some sacrifices.  
  • The Queen of England has announced that if the future child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge is a girl, she will be referred to as 'Princess' and not 'Lady'.  Lady is so very Downton Abbey, don't you agree?  I'm also wondering if she was referred to as 'Lady,' would that be for her whole life?  So as a five year old girl she would be 'Lady (insert name here)'?  Given the choice I would most definitely like to be referred to as Princess Lola.  Just so you know.
  • I had free screening passes on Wednesday to see Quartet.  This is the first movie Dustin Hoffman has directed.  The main reasons why you should definitely see this movie is because not only is Professor McGonagall in it, but Dumbledore is, too.  It's a comedy/drama (dramedy?) about retired opera singers.  That makes it sound super interesting, yes?  Well, for me the music (not just opera) and the star studded cast (other than Professor McGonagall and Dumbledore) hold it together.  It turns into a really sweet story that causes laughter and possible tearing up during certain moments.

  • It rained here this week.  Yeah.  It was cold and wet.  I was expected to go out in it and take care of business.  I still don't understand why I can't have this.
Until next time,

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Trend of the Month: Stripes

Today I'm linking up with Marion of Marionberry Style. She does a segment each month called 'Trend of the Month'. This month's trend is Stripes. I personally love stripes.

I have not fully embraced the practice of mixing prints. I usually play it too safe and pair my prints with neutrals. So, I've slowly been adding additional prints through accessories.  The shoes subtly add in polka dots.  I love the red heel on the shoes.  The scarf is a fun print, as well.

Lola always has to be involved.
Navy and Grey Cardigan: Gap (similar) / Red top: LOFT ($15!) / Grey trousers: Banana Republic (on SALE!) / Red and Polka Dot shoes: Madden Girl (similar)/ Watch: Target / Bracelets: Stella & Dot / Necklace: Tiffany & Co.

That reddish brown blur is Lola.

Add a scarf for a little pizzazz
Stripes are a very popular trend and are extremely easy to find, since they are popping up in every store.  Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Accessorize with Scarves

My favorite accessory in cooler and colder weather is a scarf.  I think it works in an outfit the same way a necklace does.  It can add a little pop of color, it can serve as an accent to the colors in an outfit or it can pull the entire outfit together.  I also find that keeping my neck covered keeps me a lot warmer without having to constantly wear a bulky sweater or jacket.  So, when I put an outfit together and I feel it's missing a little pizzazz, I throw a scarf on.  There are also a lot of different ways to wear a scarf.  The main thing I do is fold my scarf in half and then just test out different ways to loop the ends until I find a style that I like.

A better picture of this outfit is here.  So, yes I've worn it on the blog before.  The scarf adds a little oomph.

This is not a friendly face.  I have no idea why I'm so serious.
Top: Loft / Pants: Banana Republic / Scarf: Happy Scarf / Shoes: Nine West (old) / Jewelry: Stella & Dot
A subtle way to mix patterns.
Top: Loft / Pants: Gap / Scarf: Banana Republic (similar) / Shoes: Payless / Jewelry: Stella & Dot

It pulls together what would otherwise be a very simple outfit.
Top: Banana Republic (similar) / Pants: Banana Republic / Scarf: (old)/ Shoes: Gap (old) / Jewelry: Target and Stella & Dot

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Rent the Runway

So, as you've probably already noticed, I changed the layout on my blog.  I also added some social media links over on the right.  The Facebook page is new (so please like it if you get a chance), the twitter page hasn't been updated in a while (but I'm really going to make an effort to tweet more - to Lola's dismay (here and here), and the Pinterest page is very active (I like to pin).  Now, on the post for today.

I had never used Rent the Runway before, but I had definitely heard about it and was very intrigued.  Then, SG and I received an invitation to a New Year's Eve wedding at a very upscale hotel in Dallas.  I went through my closet, knowing I had nothing to wear to such an event.  With the wedding two months away and in the midst of the holidays, I wasn't sure I would be able to find an appropriate and affordable dress for the event.  I immediately logged onto Rent the Runway and started perusing dresses.  The website is fairly easy to use.  I was able to look at dresses by event and date.  I could even narrow down my selection by the price range I wanted to stay in.  I marked the dresses I liked (with a heart, natch) and then was able to look only at my favorite dresses.  It was my first time renting a dress, so I received a first time discount (I don't know if this is always the case).  I finally narrowed my selection down to one dress.  The great thing about Rent the Runway is that you don't rent just one size.  They send you a second dress (the same style) in a different size, to ensure that one of the dresses will fit.

I needed the dress on Monday, December 31st.  The dress was delivered on Friday, December 28th.

The box it's shipped in (with my address covered).
All packed in nice and neat.  
As a bonus, they threw in a RTR tote.
Both dresses were in the garment bag (which is yours to keep, btw).
Both dresses, surprisingly unwrinkled.
The wedding was very nice and both SG and I had a great time.  The dress was perfect.  I was so happy they sent two sizes, because the size I thought would fit, didn't.  This is a Milly dress.  

The fit was amazing.
iPhone Photo: Happy New Year.
The next day I put the two dresses back in the provided envelope and dropped it off at the post office around the corner.  

So, overall my I had a fabulous experience with Rent the Runway.  I loved the dress and I look forward to renting another dress for another occasion.

*The opinions in this post are my own and I received nothing in return from Rent the Runway.  Other than making an online purchase, I doubt they know I exist.  

Linking up with Molly and Carly for YOLO Mondays.


Friday, January 4, 2013


My Dearest Blog Readers,

My new year started off rather bleak.  I was all alone.  The big ones got all dressed up and went to a party.  It's okay, though.  I spent the evening working on a new budget and putting together my goals for 2013.  My resolutions have not changed from last week.  Find them here.  I like starting a new year. I get to look at 2012 and see what happened.  Determine what things I would like to change and what things I would like to keep.

1. New dog food: Keep.
2. Politicians: Change

You get the drill.  I'm not even going to comment on the fiscal cliff and the spending cuts 'can' that keeps getting kicked down the road.

Since I had so much extra time, I also went through all the fashion trends from 2012.  There are a ton of things that I'm happy will carry over to 2013.  However, there are a few trends that I  truly hope stay in 2012.  I give you the trends that I hope do not carry over.

Goodbye Trends

Until next time,

Thursday, January 3, 2013

December Birchbox

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked my December Birchbox. The previous months were a little bit of a let down for me, so I was very happy to open the December box.

1. theBalm Cosmetics Mary-Lou Manizer
What is it? It's a luminizer.  Still confused?  It works like a highlighter.  Swipe it on where you want to highlight your face: upper cheek bones, down your nose, under brows, etc.
How does it work? Play up your best features with this three-in-one highlighter, shadow, and all-over shimmer.
Full size price: $24
Review:  I actually really like this product.  I was using a liquid lumi and I did like it, but I have combination/oily skin and I felt like the liquid lumi just made my skin look more dewy, which is not a good thing in my book.  This is a powder (like eyeshadow), so I have more control over where it goes and it's easier to blend into the make-up I already have on.  Plus, it's very versatile.  I can wear it over blush or as eyeshadow.

2. Emily's Chocolates Chocolate Covered Fortune Cookie

What is it? Well, it's a chocolate covered fortune cookie.
Full size price: $5.99 for a box of 6
Review: Surprisingly it tastes really good.  The flavor I received is dark chocolate, but it also has a mint type of flavor, as well.

3. Nicole by Nicole Richie

What is it? Perfume
More details: For her first fragrance, the Hollywood starlet dreamed up a festive blend of creamy amber and rose touched with a hint of vanilla.
Full size price: $20-$69
Review:  I'm pretty picky when it comes to perfume, but I actually really like this perfume.  It's not too sweet or too overwhelming.

4. Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Repair CC Cream

What is it? A CC Cream
What does it do? This brand new CC (color control) is the ultimate multitasker.  The lightweight cream naturally improves skin tone with Vitamin C and grape-derived resveratrol.
Full size price: $39
Review:  I didn't like it, but I didn't hate it.  I've tried BB creams before and I have the same issue with this CC cream as I did with the BB creams.  Not enough coverage.  I don't have naturally beautiful skin.  I have breakouts and acne scars.  It's a mess.  I need something with more coverage.  This reminded me a lot of a tinted moisturizer.  (It even says it's more of a tinted sunscreen).  I did like, however, the SPF 30.

5. Kerastate Resistance Ciment Thermique Protect

What is it? It's like a leave in treatment/conditioner
What does it do? The heat-activated formula protects hair from damage.
Full size price: $39
Review:  I really like this product.  It made my hair silky soft.  Does it protect my hair from damage?  I don't think I've been using it long enough to tell.

Bonus: Rent the Runway Coupon

What is it?  It's a coupon.
More details: $50 off a purchase of $125 or more
Review:  It's a nice added bonus if I plan to spend that much.  I'll hang on to it just in case.

Are you interested in Birchbox?  Sing up here.

(Disclaimer: If you sign up through the link provided, I will receive credit for it.)