Thursday, December 30, 2010

Affordable NYE Outfit Options

New Year's Eve is always a spectacle. I'll spend weeks fusing over what to do and wear, then before I know it, I'm waking up New Year's Day with a cheap champagne induced pounding headache realizing there was no need to get so worked up over one stupid night.

I was really adamant about staying home this NYE to avoid all the NYE stress, but the closer NYE gets, the more I realize I don't know if I can do it. After all, I won't be 26 forever, right?

Now that I'm contemplating going out, the "what to wear" anxiety has kicked in. I spent my lunch break shopping for possible NYE options and didn't find anything worth buying. All I have in mind for the big day is finally buying some glitter heels I've been obsessing over for the past few months.

So, I decided to browse online for some inspiration and I threw together these 2 affordable options. Do you know what you're wearing yet? Am I crazy for always stressing about NYE outfits?

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Eve!

My mom's side of the family is from San Antonio and for as long as I can remember we have had tamales and taquitos on Christmas Eve. This year we had Christmas Eve at my apartment (a first) – but it was just a small gathering since some of my family couldn't make it up to Dallas for various reasons. My Grandma brought our traditional South Texas tamales and taquitos with her to Dallas, which are my favorite food to eat at Christmas. They were delicious as usual, and we had a fun time eating and reminiscing about past Christmas Eves. I won’t get into the story about my Grandpa and a dead fox, but it’s very funny.

After we ate and talked, we drove around and looked at Christmas lights in Plano, a suburb of Dallas where I grew up. It was drizzling rain and windy, which only posed a problem when I hung out the car trying to take pictures of the lights. The neighborhood we went to apparently goes all out and there were tons of people looking at lights too. There were times when you couldn’t drive down the street because of so many cars.

On Christmas morning we opened presents and then in the afternoon we drove out to my Aunt’s house about an hour away for more presents and Christmas dinner. I had a wonderful Christmas with my small family and I got everything I asked for and more! Christmas always makes me realize how blessed I am, and I’m so sad it’s over. I really do not want to take down my tree and decorations! Anyone want to help? Ha!

Christmas Eve dinner:

Christmas Eve lights:

Christmas Morning:
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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and Santa made your heart as happy as mine.
My nephew is the cutest, I just love baby pjs and baby bedhead!
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Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas Eve!


Christmas is almost here! I'm excited, but sad this means it's almost over.

On the agenda today: whip up some sausage balls and chocolate chocolate chip cookies. That's it! As of yesterday I am done with my shopping and wrapping. Hallelujah!

Enjoy the holiday with your loved ones and take some time to send happy thoughts to our military heroes & their friends and families who won't be able to spend the holidays together.
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Thursday, December 23, 2010

My favorite fashion & beauty trends of 2010

As I reflect on 2010's beauty and fashion trends, there are 3 that stand out as my absolute favorites and I hope they stick around well into 2011.

1. Two-Toned Hair
Lately I've been obsessed with two-toned hair if it's done right. (Notice the emphasis on "if".) The key is to make sure the 2 colors are blended well. You want your hair to look sun kissed, not like you dipped the ends in bleach. I know a lot of people probably don't like Rachel Uchitel for obvious reasons, but she rocks this look best in my opinion. Love her or hate her, the girl has great hair.
How not to sport the two-toned look. FAIL.
[image via]
2. Glittery nails
I've been a big fan of glittery nails since middle school and I'm embarrassed to admit I still hoard some teal glittery "Limited Too" nail polish from middle school. Frightening, I know. I was ecscatic when I heard glittery nails were "in" again and I have been painting sparkly flecks on my nails all winter long. A little glitter goes a long way in making me feel festive and putting me in the Christmas spirit. (It really is the small things.) If you don't have any nail polish circa 1998 stashed away, OPI has some great glittery options available at beauty stores like Sephora. [image via]

3. Mixing brown and black
For as long as I can remember it would be fashion suicide to pair brown and black together, but I'm happy to report you are now free to break this rule. I love seeing women out shopping in black leggings and brown boots.
And this unlikely color combo doesn't apply to just women. Even men, like my friend Jason in Boston, have been incorporating brown and black into their wardrobe. Jason pulled this look off by mixing a brown belt with a black sport coat while out with friends:
But word to the wise: if you're going to mix the two hues, go all out and make your pairing look intentional. The less subtle the better in my opinion.
My least favorite trend of 2010? High heeled clogs. I can't.

Obsessed? Try depressed. Go away!
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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Very simple DIY holiday card holder

Last night I was sitting on the couch with my mom (she flew into Dallas Monday) who was forcing me to watch "Skating With the Stars". I love me some Bethenny Frankel, but that show is awful.

Anyway, I was bored, and my eyes kept catching the clutter of Christmas cards that had taken over my bar, and it wasn't long before I was off the couch and rounding up ribbon for a little DIY project.

A few years ago I got a "Real Simple" book with everyday household solutions. One of the projects in the book suggested using double sided tape to hang ribbon on your refrigerator with mini clothespins to attach pictures, post cards, etc. to the ribbon. I did this project in my previous apartment, but when I moved about a year ago, I never got around to doing it again for some reason.

So, I adapted this ribbon on refrigerator idea to hang cards from ribbon over the door to my laundry room, which is in my kitchen. It was very easy to do and took all of 10 minutes. All you need is some of your favorite ribbon, hot glue, push pins and mini clothespins.

First, I cut the ribbon I was going to secure the cards on to the length I wanted, and then cut a shorter piece to use to tie bow.

Next, I hung the ribbon over the door using a push pin to secure the ribbon on the other side of the door. I tied my bow, and hot glued it to the top of the ribbon.

The last step is to take the mini clothespins and secure your holiday cards to the ribbon. Before you know it, you have a festive DIY card holder!

Here are pictures of each element (hopefully the pictures will help make more sense then my explanation):

How do you display holiday cards from family and friends?
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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

"Geeze, when did you turn 40?"

That was my brother's response when he came over Saturday afternoon to pick up Reese, my nephew, and saw my failed attempt at a DIY project. You see, I attempted to make this festive candy cane candle I saw on Sweet Something Design's Holly Tablescape post:

Turns out I don't need to start a candy cane candle business anytime soon.
I saw this cute idea Friday and then swiftly went to the Dollar Store and Michael's for all the necessary supplies. I was so excited to make my very own candy cane candle, but quickly realized my project wasn't going as planned. I didn't buy tall enough candles, the candy canes wouldn't position how I needed them to and I finally threw in the towel when my attempt at a bow turned into a ragady knot.

Instead, I've settled on a simple and plain alternative that I'm very content with. My DIY centerpiece cost less than $20 and I bought all the supplies from Michaels, the Dollar Store and Garden Ridge. There's always next year - maybe I'll give the candy cane candle another whirl then.

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Monday, December 20, 2010

My Affordable Hair Care Routine

Last week I was window shopping on my lunch break and a sales woman asked me what shampoo and conditioner I use to keep my hair so healthy (her words, not mine). She was very surprised when I told her what it is I use, so it got me to thinking I should probably do a post on my hair care routine.

I've tried $2 shampoos to $40 shampoos, but I never once felt like I got my money's worth for anything super pricey. Every once in a while some extravagant hair care product will entice me, I'll splurge and then inevitably be disappointed I wasted my money.

Obviously everyone has different hair types and you have to find what works best for you, but this is what works for my hair type. My hair is really long, thick, wavy, fine and as mentioned in a previous post, it gets oily very easily.

Here is one of my favorite pictures of me and my BEEF (Best Ever Ever Friend) Patty, and it just so happens it's a good shot where you can see my hair:

So without further adieu, here are the products I use to straighten my hair in this order:

1. Dove Intensive Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner -
I have A LOT of hair, so I always buy the 25 oz bottles because I go through this stuff like crazy. Wal-Mart has a 2 pack of the 25 oz size for $10 online. You can find Dove products at any drug store and they are always reasonably priced (and smell amazing).

2. "It's a Ten" Miracle Leave In - 4 oz. spray bottle
I dread brushing my wet hair after I shower because it is always a tangled mess, but this product makes brushing it manageable. I found it starting at around $12 on Amazon, but I buy this at the salon where I get my hair cut at for around $15 I believe. I saw this at Ulta this weekend, but I'm not sure on the price because it's only available in their stores and not listed online.

3. Biosilk Silk Therapy -
You can find Biosilk anywhere and a little goes a long way. It's great for heat protection and I've sworn by it since I was 16-years-old. A 12 oz bottle starts at about $25 on Amazon, which would be pricey if you were buying this once a month. A bottle will last me a year or more, so $25 is nothing.

4. Bio Lure Root Boost -
This may be no help because the only place I've seen this line is at my salon, but I Googled and found out Jose Eber makes the Bio Lure line. I love it, but I've never tried any other root boost product because this one has always worked perfect for me.

Anyone have a cheap root boost product they swear by?

*Some final tips:
A few other reasons I think my hair has remained in tact over the years is that I really try to avoid heat during the week for work. I have wavy hair, so whenever possible I'll wear it natural (with mousse) or in a messy bun for work to save on time and avoid any unnecessary damage.

Also, when I am going to blow dry and style my hair with heat, I always let it air dry until it is 80 to 90 percent dry so less heat is needed.
I'm clearly not a professional hair expert, this routine has just always worked for me. Good luck and happy hair styling!
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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Pei Wei Lover?

Today Pei Wei is giving you 25 percent off your entree if you bring in a non-perishable food item. Last year they gave you an entree for free when you brought in a non-perishable food item, so I guess they decided that was too generous of an offer. Regardless, still not a bad deal and they are donating all collected food to local food banks.

My favorite entree is their Mandarin Kung Pao Chicken. If you love spicy like me, get an extra side of their chili sauce, so yum!

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Surprise! ... Another Christmas Post

Did I mention I like Christmas?

I have enjoyed wrapping presents since as long as I can remember, and it might just be one of my favorite things about the holiday season. My Grandpa used to save my Grandma's presents for me to wrap and I loved that he wanted me to help. I guess that's when my affinity for wrapping was born.

We normally don't get too fancy with bows in my family, but we definitely try to use ribbon over the pre-made "stick on" bows. For some reason this year I felt compelled to step it up a notch and make my bows a little more ornate (which really only meant a tad more expensive ribbon, same technique).

Of course I made sure all of my wrapping supplies didn't break the bank. I got all of my paper and ribbon from Wal-Mart, 99 Cent Only Store or The Container Store. Some of The Container Store paper and ribbon can get pricey, but I made sure I limited myself to only two spools of ribbon and they were $2.99 and $4.99. Is there anything better than pretty presents under a sparkly tree? Nope!

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Christmas Questions

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper for sure. I've seriously always dreamed of working at the Dillard’s gift wrap counter, and this year I'm trying to get fancy with my bows.

2. Real tree or Artificial? Both have their perks, but now that I've experienced my first real tree this year, I definitely say real. Although admittedly, they are much more work, it's so much more fun and festive to have a real one.

3. When do you put up the tree? As soon as possible after Thanksgiving.

4. When do you take the tree down? A couple days after Christmas.

5. Do you like eggnog? I don’t think I’ve ever tried it, but it looks gross.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Hmm … A James Avery charm bracelet and Puppy Surprise are 2 gifts that stand out.

7. Hardest person to buy for? I feel like everyone is hard to buy for, I’m always worried they won’t like what I get.

8. Easiest person to buy for? My nephew Reese, 3-year-olds love everything.

9. Do you have a nativity scene? No.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail for sure, I love getting Christmas cards.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I think one year someone got me a knitted Halloween sweater when I was in high school. When would I ever wear this??

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Home Alone

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Last year I vowed to do a little shopping every month so I could spread it out and be done by December. What a joke! I don’t ever start until December.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Most likely, but I can’t remember.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Tamales and taquitos on Christmas Eve.

16. Lights on the tree (colored or clear)? White.

17. Favorite Christmas song? “All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? I’ve never stayed home for Christmas. We have always traveled to my Grandma's in San Antonio, but last year and this year we are going to my Aunts in Alvord (close to Decatur).

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? Dasher, Dancer, Comet, Cupid, Prancer, Vixen, Rudolph ... I know I'm leaving some out.

20. Angel, star or ribbon on top of tree? Angel is on mine, so I will go with angel. All are pretty.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas Morning. If you open them all on Christmas Eve, what is there to look forward to? I’ve never understood that.

22. Favorite children's Christmas song? I really like the Grinch song lately. The WORST children’s song has to be the Chipmunks. How could anyone listen to that??? AWFUL.

23. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Parking and the lines at stores.

24. Favorite ornament theme or color? Gold, red and silver.

25. Turkey or ham on Christmas day? Turkey

26. What do you want for Christmas this year? See my Christmas list in previous post to find out! =)

27. Does anyone in your family dress up as Santa? Ha, no!

28. Age you discovered who Santa was? I’m not sure my exact age, but I know it was some time in elementary school. And it was all because of the Puppy Surprise. I remember going to my mom’s trunk to get something and I saw a pink Puppy Surprise. I really wanted the black and white one because I heard they had the most puppies, so I told my mom I hope Santa knows I want a black and white Puppy Surprise. Sure enough “Santa” brought me a black and white one, so I knew she was the culprit!

29. Eggnog, hot chocolate, or apple cider? Hot Chocolate, we usually drink it on Christmas morning.

30. Traditional colors (red and green) or other colors? Red, Gold and Silver.

31. Do you have any Christmas decorations on your roof? No, I live in an apartment.

32. How does Santa get into your house? Chimney or magic key? Chimney! Who has heard of Santa using a magic key??? If there isn’t a chimney he uses his magic to make one, of course.

33. Do you prefer gifts or gift cards? Gifts.

34. Favorite children's Christmas Cartoon? Rudolph.

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Monday, December 13, 2010

13 Days

Only 13 days until Christmas! Are you ready?

My nephew (pictured above with Santa) was the *star* in his church Christmas play yesterday. He played a shepherd and was the cutest thing I've ever seen (I may be biased).

I hope everyone had a great weekend! It's crunch time to finish shopping and wrapping.

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Friday, December 10, 2010

My Favorite Christmas Movies

I am by no means a movie critic or expert, these are just the top 5 Christmas movies that I have watched over and over again.

1. Without a doubt, Home Alone is hands down my all-time favorite Christmas movie. Other 80s babies like myself know what's up. Who didn't want to be Kevin McAllister? I could quote this movie all day long and yes, I still have the VHS version my brother and I watched when we were kids. My friends like to make fun of me for having (& watching) VHS tapes still.

"Buzz, your girlfriend ... woof!?"

2. Love me some Love Actually, and I don't know any girl who doesn't heart this romantic comedy. This now holiday classic for me delves into all different aspects of love by following 10 different relationships that all intertwine. And call me crazy, but I've yet to meet a Hugh Grant or Colin Firth movie I didn't enjoy.
3. I don't know if everyone has heard of my third pick, Prancer. This oldie but goodie was released in 1989 and if you read the plot, you'd probably think I was crazy for liking this movie. And I'll admit, the storyline does sound pretty ridiculous; I think this is one you just have to trust me on. It's sad at times, but very touching at others. Definitely a feel-good.
4. I've always liked The Santa Clause for some reason, but I haven't seen it in years. Maybe I liked it because I grew up watching Home Improvement and a had huge crush on Brad (the older, more athletic brother). I even sent him a letter via his fan club seriously thinking he'd read it, want to contact me and we'd fall in love. Totally normal. Anyway, in this festive flick Tim Allen must become Santa Clause after he accidently causes Santa to fall from his roof on Christmas Eve. Again, this plot sounds ridiculous, but it's a good one for kids and even adults. If you liked Tim "the toolman" Taylor, then I'm sure you'll like this movie too.

5. And last but not least, I always have to watch the Family Stone, a comedy-drama about a quirky family's misadventures during Christmas. SJP, Diane Keaton, Craig T. Nelson and Rachel McAdams all star in this (among others) and I'm big fan of all of them. This is the kind of movie that will make you feel better about your family. If the TV shows Brothers & Sisters or Parenthood were a Christmas movie, this would be it.
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A Single Girl's Solution

If you read my previous post about the Shutterfly holiday card freebie, you know I was having trouble deciding what photo to use on my 50 free cards since I'm single with no children. After some brainstorming, I decided the only sensible solution was to pick a festive holiday photo on iStockphoto to use in place of the typical 'happy couple' or 'adorable child' picture.

Once my buddy Stef Sam @ Desperately Seeking Skinny approved my creation, I sent the card to the presses and they arrived a week later in a pretty orange box. Now that most of my family and friends have received their cards, I'll show you the design. (I know you're on the edge of your seat and can barely contain your excitement, don't lie.)

Do you like the retro Christmas tree photo I picked out?
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Thursday, December 9, 2010

P.S. Santa

At first I couldn't think of what I wanted to put on my Christmas wish list, but now I have a few more items I would like to add to my list. I hope Santa is still checking his mail:

1. Olay Regenerist Regenerating Serum - At only $19, this product is the "best drugstore preventative wrinkle cream" according to Consumer Search, a Web site that collects the best reviews, analyzes the results and recommends what to buy. For the past couple of months I've been obsessing about getting old and wrinkly. I know I'm "only 26", but it's better safe than sorry, right?

2. I can never find the spices I'm looking for when cooking, so I think this 3-tiered cabinet organizer from The Container Store is the perfect solution and reasonably priced.

3. A 3-in-1 avocado tool from Crate & Barrel that pits, scoops and mashes an avocado. Amaze!

4. I love these Pier One wine glasses and I'm currently down to only 2 because somehow I always end up dropping them in the sink while cleaning them, whoopsies.
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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I Love Lamp

At first glance I almost passed on this lamp because I thought the lamp shade was way too big for the base. It took me just a few seconds to change my mind and appreciate the uniqueness of it. I must say, I'm really glad I gave this lamp a second chance.

The lamp is from HomeGoods and was only $29.99. HomeGoods is a little place I like to refer to as heaven on earth. If you can walk into a HomeGoods and leave without buying something, you have some serious self-control and I applaud you.

Do you like the artwork above my bed? Friends always ask, "Where did you get those paintings?" Would you believe I made them a few years ago with a little spray paint, package of doilies and canvases from Hobby Lobby? Oh you know, just my inner Martha at work.
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