A blog of personal style, wonderful surprises, and chance encounters to encourage and inspire.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Perfect Summer 'Do

This summer, I have decided to grow out my hair, and while I am enjoying the array of do's I can now maintain with my locks, most of the time it simply ends up in the classic ponytail.  Don't get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this summer staple, however, variety is the spice of life and I like to change it up a bit. 

Bring in Daily Candy.  First of all, if you are not a member, become one...stat!  This website is an endless resource for great sales, travel ideas, wedding tips, and hair and beauty supplies.  Basically how it works is you sign up for the "Candies" that you would like to receive and you are sent a weekly e-mail with a new article relating to your chosen topic. 

Last week I received my regular e-mail from Daily Candy  and the topic of the day was easy summer hair.  Included was an exceptionally easy idea for a messy side bun.  Well, I am here to say that I tried it this morning, and while my finished product was centered instead of on the side, this will probably be my go to hair style for this summer.  It was quick, easy, and I could litterally let the natural waive of my hair do the work. 

Click HERE to check out the video...

Monday, June 14, 2010

It tastes like summer!

Well, it is summer here in Alabama.  I guess technically, it's not summer yet, but it sure does feel like it.  So, what do you do when it's too hot to move?  Eat something deliciously cool!

Doesn't it look delicious!!  I love to cook; I do not hesitate to admit, however, that I am not very experienced in the cooking world, so anytime I prepare something, I absolutely MUST have a recipe.  I am not one of those types who can just walk into the kitchen and whip up something wonderful.  I need specific, clear cut instructions on exactly what to buy, exactly how much to use, and exactly how long it should be cooked.  I've tried cooking out of several cookbooks, and the story is always the same - I spend an arm and a leg at the grocery, four hours in the kitchen, and by the end of the day I am broke, exhausted, and too tired to eat anything.  So, when I found e-mealz, I was ecstatic.  

E-mealz is like an online grocery list/cookbook/lifesaver.  And girls, if you are newly married and don't want to admit you don't really know how to do the homecooked thing - this is the ticket!  Basically, you sign up for a membership, and each week you are given a menu with five different recipes, a grocery list with the ingredients that you will need, organized by grocery store section.  The items on the list reference what meal they are going to be used in, so if you have picky eaters or food allergies, you can see how the item will be used and make a substitution (or skip the meal all together).  You membership allows you to choose what type of meal plan you would like, and from what store you will be shopping.  They have a variety of diet choices (weight watchers, low-carb, low-fat, vegetarian, etc.), and you can even choose the size of the meal plan according to how many people you are feeding each night.  Have I sold you yet?  This membership costs $5 dollars per month, and it is more than worth it!  I actually feel like an organized little wife with this plan, and my husband loves the meals.  I'm telling you, you should try it! 

Okay, back to the recipe.  It is an absolutely delicious, refreshing fruit salad, that takes about 10 seconds to make, and is a wonderful E-mealz creation.

I used Pineapple, grapes, and vanilla yogurt this time, but you could really use any fruit (and any flavored yogurt for that matter) that you prefer/is in season.  My husband loved this recipe so much that we went back to the store and bought all kinds of crazy fruits to try...I'll let you know how it turns out. 

Cut up your pineapple and your grapes and put in a large bowl.  I added about 2 cups of each.  I cut the grapes in half, just because the recipe said to, but I don't really think that is  necessary.  

Note: I know that is a really big knife to be cutting grapes, but I was already using it to cut the pineapple, so I didn't want to dirty another one (no, we don't have a dishwasher).  Also, I use this knife all the time, so I've become quite handy with it.  It is quite the preference when it comes to knives.

Note 2: My original plan was to show you a picture of the pineapple being cut as well.  However, I decided to follow the directions on the tag of this silly pineapple, and it turned out disastrous.  I told the chef at work about it, and he said to talk to him next time I needed help with a pineapple. We'll see if we can get a little lesson post going.  In the mean time, I suggest looking online for instructions (which is what I did the first time) and the end result was MUCH better!

Mix the fruit and one container of yogurt until the fruit is well covered.  Again, I chose vanilla yogurt, but I'm sure whatever you prefer would be fine as well.

Dish out and ENJOY!  This fruit salad is so delicious and refreshing, and actually really healthy!  I made this twice on Saturday it was so good.  That chicken mess on the other side of the plate is actually the other recipe I was going to share.  The only thing was, I thought it tasted horrible, so I didn't want to post it.  

I hope you enjoy this delicious summer concoction.  I'm sure you will find many wonderful variations and to suit you pallet.  In the mean time, I've got some fruit salad to be eating!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Cruisin' to Mexica Part III

We landed...um, well, I guess technically we ported.  I'm not sure we were prepared for Cozumel, but it's okay, because I'm pretty sure Cozumel wasn't ready for us!

Me and Mikal riding the bus to the beach...and when I say riding, I really mean, hanging on for dear life!  Someone please tell me why I thought it was an awesome idea to sit in the first row.

Chef Dana...aka Rachel's Mom, making her debut as a genuine Chef de Mexico!!


Care for a cocktail in the ocean?  Of course I would!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Cruisin' to Mexico...Part 2

The second day of the cruise was just a Sea Day and boy was it fun!  We laid around, had some fruity concoctions, and had Rachel's lingerie shower that afternoon.  

What are vacations for if not for no makeup, crazy hair, and delicious drinks to sail the day away!

Rachel is one of the most fun people I know, and her lingerie shower was no exception...I'm pretty sure we were laughing the entire time!  P.S.  Check out her shoes, her mother bought her those slippers because Rachel had always loved her Mom's pair.  Rachel's Aunt said you absolutely cannot get married without a pair...Awesome!

Tracking our way to Mexico...Playa Mia Beach, here we come!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Cruisin' to Mexico

Over the Memorial Day holiday I had a blast on a cruise to Mexico with some of my best friends!  We laughed until we cried, shared oodles of gossip, ate more than we care to mention, drank more cocktails than we will admit, and had blast celebrating Rachel's upcoming wedding.  

This was this scene of the crime...R222.  Four ladies, with not so tiny suitcases, and not so few toiletries, pairs of shoes...you get the idea, shared this room.  Wow, I was kind-of glad to have my space back when I got home, but we did have a blast.  

Bon Voyage Mobile!

Finally, relaxing out on the balcony.  It was a gorgeous sunset, and the start of an awesome vacation!  I must say that my friends and I have been known for our balcony chats, and this cruise was no exception.  I'm not sure how we manage to do it, but oh if the walls of this balcony could talk...they would share a whole lot of gossip!


Monday, June 7, 2010

Yard Sale Confession...and some finds

So, I have a confession to make...um,...I didn't go yard selling on Saturday!  I know, I'm sorry, I was just tired, and well, I just didn't go.  Even after I made my list, my route, and everything, I just laid in the bed thinking I just needed a few more minutes, and well, you know what happened...I am quite disappointed though.  There were several that I was REALLY looking forward to going to!  At any rate, here we are on Monday evening, with no new yard sale treasures to proclaim.

So as not to disappoint to severely, I have included some pics of my most recent yard sale purchases, of which I am quite proud.  They were excellent finds!  Enjoy!

P.S. I got a new camera over the weekend, let me know what you think about the pictures.

It had not been a good yard sale day so far, and I was almost ready to give up, but I decided to go to one last sale, and I found this little treasure.  Originally, it housed a sewing machine in the "belly" of the table, but the machine has since been removed and now we are left with just the table.  I have always wanted one, and I was so happy to find it, and for only $20, it was definitely a steal!  We are using it in the kitchen at the moment, but eventually, I play to move it upstairs and use it as my desk.  Just a side note, the pineapple sitting on the left side has a tag, like a clothing tag.  Does anyone else think it is hilarious that a piece of fruit comes with a clothing tag?

The quality of this photo didn't turn out very well, but I still like it.  Also, those flowers came from the wedding of one of my good friends.  Congratulations Leslie and Jay!

 Isn't this the coolest radio you have ever seen?  I absolutely love it!  And, it was only $7!!  Are you kidding me?  When the lady told me the price, I almost fell right there in the driveway, but I mustered up the strength and shouted "I'll take it!"

I promise I'll be more diligent about actually getting of the bed to go to the sales next week, but maybe these little treasures peaked your interest enough for you to stay tuned.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Yard Sales

Fridays are one of my favorite days of the week, for numerous reasons.  One reason in particular is that I get my plan together for my yard sale shopping which will take place the next morning.  Usually, I get up quite early on Saturdays to do said shopping, so I have found it best to devise a plan of action beforehand.  I suppose you could just wake up, grab your local paper, find the sales, and hit the streets; however, I tried to do that, and it turned out to be quite the disaster.  I was criss-crossing all over town, I couldn't find what I was looking for, I kept loosing pieces of the paper in the car...after that mess, I decided to put just a bit of preparation into my game plan.  So, without further ado...this is what I do...

1) First things first, I search the local papers for all advertised sales.  We have two local papers in our area, so I search them both.  Because I just copy and paste the adds to my list, I have found it much faster to view the adds online, but I am sure you could view the paper copy as well and it would be fine.  

2) Narrow the selection.  Depending on the time of year, there can be hundreds of advertised sales.  Obviously, you wouldn't have time to go to all of these (nor would you want to), so I narrow the selection somewhat.  I make rules about which sales I will and will not visit based on neighborhood, passed experiences in that neighborhood, time restraints, etc.  For instance, if I have to be somewhere that morning, I will usually only select the sales that are in the general vicinity.  Also, if you are new to your area (or maybe just haven't been out and about in your city), you may not know which areas are better for what you are looking for, but don't worry, you will learn very quickly.  Personally, I like to look for antiques and vintage items, so the neighborhoods where the older people live are always the hot spots for me.  One of my friends prefers the newer neighborhoods because she is always looking for kids clothes, so which sales are the best is really a personal preference and matter of opinion.

3) As I mentioned earlier, I just copy and paste the ads to my list.  I have a list that I use each week that has the neighborhood/areas already listed, so I just go in and delete last weeks ads, and copy and paste the new ads into the appropriate place.  This helps keep me organized when I am trying to decide which neighborhood to visit and which houses in that neighborhood are on my trek.  Once this is complete, I print out the list, and I am ready to go for Saturday morning.

4) Now it's sale time!  My goal is to be on the road by 6AM, but that doesn't usually happen.  I just go with it though.  If I'm a little tired or whatever it's fine...I don't want to stress myself out over a hobby.  I always make sure that I have my coffee and a snack or two with me.  It can be a long day without a little nourishment (especially if you don't usually get up that early), so it is best to be prepared. I also bring my GPS along as there are still some neighborhoods I am not entirely familiar with.

So, that's it.  I just follow the list, and just go with the flow.  Sometimes I decide not to visit a sale that I put on the list, and that's fine, and sometimes I decide to visit sales that maybe were not advertised or that I didn't have on my list, and that's fine too.  I just try to have fun and see what I can see and enjoy the morning. 

One last note...while you want to be careful that you are not wasting your time, do not judge a book by its cover.  Some of the most amazing sales I have been to have been at the ones you would least expect, and visa versa.  And, don't get discouraged.  Just because you haven't found anything wonderful in the last few stops doesn't mean your next stop won't be a gold mine!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Travel Essentials...

So, I just returned from an absolutely AMAZING! cruise to Mexico.  I had a blast with my girlfriends, cocktails, and just relaxing (pics to come, I promise!).  Since this is the time of year for travels galore, I thought I would make a list of my top 10 travel essentials.  I'm sure there are some who could narrow it down to just 3 essentials, but let's not get carried away...5 is good for me. So here we go...
5.  Everywhere I travel, whether to a friend's house or a long vacation, I always bring along a steamer.  I bought this particular model at Target a few years ago, and I have gotten my money's worth, and then some!  I love it because it is light, easy to deal with (you just plug it in and it goes!), and literally takes seconds to warm up.  It's so much better than a fussy old iron...I highly recommend it for any trip!
4.  Next is a Zune (or Ipod or whatever you use).  I cannot tell you how many hours I spent half asleep laying by the pool with my Zune on shuffle (somehow it always knows just what to play).  Unfortunately, I left my car adapter at home, so I was dearly missing it on the drive home (while everyone else was asleep!)
3.  Travel sized toiletries - I Just realized on this trip that I have been waisting so much space my whole life.  I decided to try buying travel size this go around, and you know what...I had more than enough for the entire trip, and so much extra space! Not to mention my back being saved from having to lug around 50lbs of shampoo and a 5 gallon drum of lotion. 
2.  Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer - I have been wearing this for years!  It is perfect for everyday, and even more perfect for travel because it has just a little summer color of lipstick/gloss, with the power of sunscreen.  It's packs as much SPF as your sunscreen, but can be part of your everyday makeup routine.  It is perfect for travel, and really for anytime.  

 1.  This is the major player of the day.  Vicks VapoRub.  I know you are probably thinking this little ointment can only be used to soothe your cough in the winter, but that is far from true.  This little stuff is like a magic potion that can heal almost anything.  One of my friends at work got me hooked on this stuff, and now I use it for everything!  It works perfect for a cut or scratch to speed up healing, I have used it on sunburns and it takes the sting out like magic, it works perfect to heal the occasional blemish, it can even help dispell a bruise or two.  I'm telling you this stuff is magic.  This little jar of goodness has been a faithful trooper through each trip during the past few years, and it has yet to disappoint. 

So, that's it...those are the top 5 things that I absolute will not travel without. And, come to think of it, I almost always have these things with me even when I'm in town.  Maybe I should just rename this list "My Everyday Essentials."  Anyway, these are my top 5 essentials wherever I am...hopefully it will help you narrow down you packing list.