Thursday, May 31, 2012

Do you live in the Charlotte area?! Boutique Grand Opening PARTY tonight!

Calling all of my Charlotte, North Carolina (& surrounding area) readers!!!!  Am I jealous of you!

The sassy and AFFORDABLE (all items under $100) women's boutique Vestique is having their grand opening party TONIGHT at their new Charlotte location and you, my rad readers, are cordially invited.

Be there or be lame.  Party starts at 5:30 p.m. and there will be cocktails to sip while you get to shop Vestique's fab selection of insanely affordable clothes - like we're talking $35 for pretty summer maxi's!

It will be an awesome night with a chance for all you fun, young women of Charlotte to mingle.

On hand will be the beautiful and stylish Bethany from the blog BSoup (Follow her if you don't already because she a fellow bargainista) to act as stylist/personal shopper and will be giving inspiration on how to style Vestique's amazing selection of clothes and accessories.  I mean, just look at some of the Vestique looks she's blogged this week. I die.
photo credit
To celebrate the grand opening, Bethany is giving away this gorgeous Vestique turquoise and gold necklace so be sure to check her giveaway out if you can't make the event.

But wait, there's more.  Professional make-up artist Lauren of "Flawless by Lauren" will also be in attendance to give mini makeovers to all guests at the party!  Yes, please.  

If you check out Vestique's Facebook page, you can find pics of the new store location, pics of the cute sales girls, and their newest inventory.  

I hope all of you Charlotte ladies can make it and if you do, take pics and give hugs to all the girls from Bargain Blonde.  I so wish I could be there! 

Vestique Charlotte
1532 East Blvd
Charlotte, NC 28203
Phone: (704) 910-6426
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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Recipe: Baked Summer Squash and Tomatoes

Ello!  I hope y'all enjoyed your extra long Memorial Day weekend.  Long weekends are the best, but going back to work after one of them is the worst.  Am I right or am I right?  However, the good news is that we now have a short work week, so yay to that.  

My cousin drove to Dallas from Houston Saturday morning and stayed with me this weekend.  Saturday we went to the lake, Sunday we took it easy and yesterday after brunch I insisted we go to my local Farmer's Market because it's been on my "to-do" list forever. 

Here are pictures from the market and a recipe for Baked Summer Squash and Tomatoes, which I made yesterday evening for dinner.  So fresh, so good and so easy. 
My cousin Sierra is in the white pants although you can barely see her.
The tomatoes were enormous, a gorge deep red and perfectly ripe.  There is no way I would ever find that kind of produce at my local grocery store.

blackberries, peppers and strawberries

I didn't even notice the wall of coffee beans and tea until I went to check out.  The clerk ringing me up said the Country Special Blend variety was their best seller and so I got half a pound of it.  I brewed a cup of it this morning and the flavors were magical.  

Call me crazy, but there is something fun about taking your produce home in a box.  I left with a cucumber, corn, avocados, new potatoes, eight ball squash, jam, coffee and those jumbo tomatoes.

Sitting pretty in my kitchen. 

I knew I wanted to bake the squash, so I took to Google. I combined a few ideas I found online to make the recipe I'm sharing below.  I loved it so much, I will be making it again this week and all summer long for that matter.  I used eight ball squash, but you could make this with the longer, Italian squash as well.  

Do you visit your local farmer's market?  What's your favorite way to cook squash?
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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Review: Hana Titanium Flat Iron!

Way back in January the kind sirs at Misikko sent me the Hana 1.5 inch Titanium Flat Iron to give a whirl and review for all of you bargainistas.  Five months later (I needed to give it a proper test run, okaaaay), here I am to dish ....

I think it's important you know that prior to owning the Hana Flat Iron, I religiously used my hot pink Chi Flat Iron.  In fact, the Chi and I were in a pretty serious relationship and we were even approaching our 10-year anniversary.  That's a long time if you ask me, so I feel bad that I haven't so much as thought about touching my Chi since my introduction to the Hana.  I'm sorry Chi, but I'm not sorry.  
It's hard to see everything that came in my package, but Misikko hooked this bargain blonde up! In addition to the Hana Titanium Flat Iron, my box was complete with several heat protective travel flat iron cases, thermal protectant Serum, a silicone mat for your counter top, e.l.f. goodies (how'd they know?), hair towel, sleep mask, nail files, etc.  Seriously, it was Christmas in January when this box arrived.  Being a blogger does not suck.

So what's so great about the Hana? A flat iron is a flat iron is a flat iron, right?  Wrong.  My hair is really wavy (especially in the back) so I absolutely cannot get away with an average, run of the mill flat iron. The shiz has to be legit.  The Chi works great, don't get me wrong (or else I wouldn't have used it for 10 years), but the Hana works better IMHO.  

The titanium plates are the real show stopper here.  This particular model has a 1.5 inch plate, which means I can grab more hair at a time.  The more hair I can cover per stroke of the flat iron = less time to get ready.  Wam, bam, thank ya mam!

I also love that the Hana has an adjustable heat setting.  I use the highest setting (450 degrees) when straightening my entire head of hair, but if I just need to smooth out a kink or two to touch up, I can lower the setting to save my hair from unnecessary extreme heat.
They say the proof is in the pudding, so here's my proof.    

I wouldn't be singing the praises of the Hana Titanium if I didn't love it so much.  I had my Hana with me in the "getting ready" rooms during my friend Courtney's wedding as well as my friend Kristina's wedding back in January and February, and all my besties tested the Hana out. I'm happy to report that they loved it just as much as me.

If you want to get a Hana for yourself, it's on sale right now for $174.99. It's regularly $239.99, so you can save some major dollars!  It ships same day, comes with a free 2-year warranty and you'll get these goodies for free:

If you have any additional questions about the Hana, I'm happy to share my experience using this flat iron. Just leave your questions in the comments or e-mail me!  Happy Thursday ladies.
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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Calling all Blondes. Purple shampoo: why and how it works!

Sorry my non-blonde beauties, but you'll have to sit this post out.   Hugs and let's reconvene tomorrow?

Friends shouldn't let friends let their blonde get brassy, so today we explore the brilliance that is Purple Shampoo.  If you have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about then you are probably wondering two things:

I used purple shampoo in high school, forgot about it during college and started using it again about two years ago when I came back to my senses.  In between highlights my locks inevitably loose their luster, so to breathe life back into my hair, I use a purple shampoo a few times a week (do not overuse purple shampoo. A few times a week is ideal.).  I was curious how and what purple shampoo actually was so I asked my stylist the last time I was in the salon.  Here's what I learned.

Hard water, air pollution, too much sun and clorine are some of the culprits that will turn your blonde a brassy or yellow color.  Purple shampoo revives brassy tones in your hair between a fresh color sesh and below is how.    
Two words: color science.  The general theory is that opposing colors on the color wheel neutralize each other out.  Exhibit A:

As you can see above, purple and yellow are directly across from each other on the color wheel.  Thus, the purple color in a purple shampoo/conditioner will effectively neutralize all the yellow tones in your hair.

Any questions class? Maybe you don't know where to find purple shampoo?

Go to your local Ulta.  Don't have an Ulta? Try Target or Sally's Beauty Supply.

Want my personal recs?
Currently I'm using AG Sterling Silver Toning Shampoo (33.8 oz size = $40).  
Don't freak.  I did not spend $40 on shampoo.  I purchased it during an Ulta promo when it was on sale for $12.99. I also had a $3.50 off $10 coupon I used, so my bottle was less than $10.  btw - I only remember this because I blogged about it

I  go through conditioner faster than shampoo, and I recently ran out of my AG purple conditioner. I wasn't about to spend $40, so I picked up the budget friendly John Frieda Sheer Blonde Color Renew Tone Restoring Conditioner ($5.99).  That's a mouth full.  

Now go forth, buy some purple shampoo and say see ya later to your yucky brassy blonde.  I promise that after about 3 uses, you and those around you are going to notice a difference.  Bargain Blonde out. 
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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Bargain Blonde's Raspberry Champagne Spritzer Recipe

I wanted a champagne spritzer recipe for a bridal shower I was throwing a few months ago, so I took to Google to start my search.  I found one by Top Chef hosts Padma Lakshmi & Tom Colicchio, which I have now simplified and IMHO, perfected.  I have served this at a bridal shower, two Stella and Dot parties last week and at a BBQ at my humble abode.  Not one person, male or female, hasn't been obsessed with it.

I have had several requests from my readers for the recipe, which I actually mentioned in last week's Bachelorette Viewing Party Recap post.  The recipe was included under the picture of the spritzer, so it seems it may have been easy to miss.  Regardless, I love the recipe so much I thought it deserved it's own post.

Try this refreshing spritzer next time you have friends over and they'll think you're all kinds of fancy serving it.  Little will they know how easy it is to whip up.

Last week I was asked if the spritzer was really minty and I personally don't think so. I'm not a huge mint fan (I can't stomach mojitos), but it gives it a really nice, balanced flavor.  Try it and see if you like it because I bet you will. If you absolutely don't like the flavor, then omit it.  I am not responsible for any champagne hangovers.  
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Monday, May 21, 2012

Catch-up with me! The last few weeks/weekends in photos.

Get ready for a ridiculous photo dump to come your way right meow.  Today I'm playing catch-up all the way back to Cinco de Mayo.  Shout out to Instagram for helping me document my life. Don't know what I did before ya.

And that about sums up what I've been doing with my life.  I'm looking forward to a fun-filled full week of blogging every day since I slacked so bad last week.

Up tomorrow: Raspberry Champagne Spritzer Recipe
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