Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Leila on Haute Look

It's no secret that jewelery is something that I adore.  For the most part, I pick up fun, trendy pieces here and there that are fairly inexpensive.  I've got tons of "statement" necklaces, chunky rings, and enough bracelets to have a different wrist party every day for a year.  A year ago, if you asked me to name a jewelry designer, I'd probably say, "Um, Tiffany and Co.?"  Basically, I'm saying that I have no loyalty to specific brands and I buy what's trendy and cheap. But this was before I discovered Leila.  I first saw a Leila piece about a year ago around my favorite makeup guru's neck, Makeup By Tiffany D.  Leila has the most beautiful way of crafting pieces that will never go out of style.  They are elegant, yet edgy, and the best part is they don't break the bank.  They especially don't break the bank when the pieces are on one of my favorite websites, hautelook.com.  Last night, I picked up several pieces that were on the site because I thought it was ending today, but as it turns out, it's ending tomorrow at 8am!  I might have to get a few more things. 
Being the crazy cat lady that I am, you know I had to pick this up.  Only $24!

I also picked up one of these in a "C" for my mom.  Inital jewelry never goes out of style and its a steal at only $28!

Do you have a Haute Look account?  Leave your e-mail in the comments and I can send you an invite!  They usually have pretty awesome brands.  Benefit cosmetics, Juicy Couture, Lilly Pulitzer, etc.  Oh, and those brands are usually 75% off. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

My deepest apologies

My life has been nuts lately.  Work was slammed last week, as it usually is the week after Christmas.  I have been neglecting you guys, my family, my boyfriend, my health, my animals... and the list goes on.  I had strep throat last week, and only took three hours off work.  Yep, it felt like I had razor blades in my throat and I had a 103 temperature and I only took three hours off.  Luckily, I've been on mega antibiotics and I'm feeling lots better.  I finally had a day off (yesterday) and I caught up on my sleep.  I'm planning on getting my hair done tomorrow (hello mega roots!).  I am back on my diet BIG TIME after eating everything possible during the holidays.  I have clothes everywhere and my car is a trash can.  My boss is a saint, and I'm taking a personal day tomorrow after discovering that I have THREE to take by the end of the month. 

I need to clean up my act, and it would mean the world to me if you guys could bare with me in the mean time.  I promise I'll be back!  I still have that Coach Mini-Skinny to give away!  Also, despite it being 2012 (I can't believe it!) I would still love to continue my "Best of 2011" series... because I feel like last year was filled with some great stuff! 

And just so this isn't full of my excuses, I'll leave you with a picture of my beautiful cat family!
Daddy, mommy, and baby!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Best of 2011: Hair Products

2011 has been a big year for hair as far as I'm concerned.  I took my highlights from just a few blonde streaks to full on blonde.  I've avoided the yellow hue that usually comes along with being a bottle blonde.  I've let it grow super long.  I'm manged to heat style damn near every day and have very minimum damage.  How have I managed all of this?  Well, I've discovered some pretty awesome products!

After a few months of being a super blonde, my hair started looking a bit brassy.  I went to my local Sally Beauty Supply in search of something to help with this.  I figured I needed a toner, but when I asked the sales lady where they were, she informed me that a toner wasn't what I needed.  She put a bottle in my hand that has changed my life.  It's a purple shampoo called Shimmer Lights by Clairol.  The purple in the shampoo counter-acts the brassiness in your hair.  I use it around three times a week, and at least once of those times, I'll wash my hair with it once, then re-apply it and leave it on for five or so minutes.  And voila!  I have beautiful blonde hair.  Not yellow.


My hair is naturally very curly and unfortunately I don't like the curly look on myself.  On a daily basis, I blow dry my hair with a big round brush and I run a 450 degree flat iron over it.  Sounds dangerous, right?  One would think that with the bleaching and the heat styling that it would look like straw and that my split ends would have split ends, right?  Wrong.  My hair is smooth and soft, and I have very few split ends.  I've blogged about it before, but I get my hair highlighted and cut at the local beauty school.  It is cheaper than my usual salon by half, and I really like the work they do.  They are a full service salon, and with that they use legit salon products.  O.P.I., Dermalogica, Redken, Paul Mitchell, CHI, Joico, etc., etc.  Well, when you have a service done at the student salon, you get 40% off the products!  I was told this, and I immediately started browsing.  Since I have my HG (Holy Grail) shampoo above, I began looking for a treatment, smoothing serum, etc.  I picked up a bottle of something called a "K-Pak" by Joico.  This product claimed to mend your split ends, and prevent further ones, and blah blah blah.  I have always read and assumed that the only way to get rid of split ends was to CUT THEM OFF.  I didn't really buy what it claimed to do, but with the discount I was recieving, I thought "What the hell?" so I purchased it.  Purchasing this item was the smartest thing I've done in a LONG time.  I have ZERO split ends and I'm going on about three months without a haircut.  My hair feels healthy, and it just looks better.  I just apply a little bit to my ends before I blow dry, and then I'm amazed.  Pick it up, then thank me later.

I'm pretty sure everyone uses the Goody Ouchless hair elastics.  I've got a billion of them and I'm sure you do too.  Think about it.  Are you really satisfied with your ponytail?  Well, I was.  Except I always had a crease in my hair and sometimes I'd get a headache.  Then, they'd stretch out and my hair would fall down.  Oh well, not much we can do about that seeing as there's basically one band of hair elastics to use.  WRONG.  About six months ago I got this funky looking hair elastic in my monthly Birchbox shipment.  (For those of you that don't know what Birchbox is, it's a monthly box you get filled with deluxe beauty samples.  It's only $10 a month, and I've seriously gotten some cool stuff!  If you're interested, let me know and I'll give you my referral link!)  It stayed in the box for a while, then I finally used it.  First of all, it looked sort of cute on my wrist.  I loved the way it felt in my hair.  It didn't hurt.  After a day at work with my hair up, I'd come home and take it down and NO LINE!  This thing was a miracle, and I had to get more!  According to the card in my birchbox, it's called a "twistband," and I could order them from Birchbox if I wanted.  I Googled them, and sure enough, they have their own website.  Let's just say I've shamefully ordered one in every color and the rest is history.  They are a bit more pricey than your typical hair ties, but they are so worth it in my book. 


Are there any products that have really changed your hair for the better this year?  


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Guest post

Hello darlings!  Check me out today at Amanda's blog, For Love of a Cupcake.  And while you're at it, check Miss Amanda out and subscribe to her!  She's awesome!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Best of 2011: Books

2011 is slipping away from us and I've decided that I'm going to do a post every day (or every few days... don't make me say it again... I'm dyingggg at work!) on some items that have really stood out to me this year. 

In true bookworm fashion, I'm going to kick this off with my favorite books of 2011.  In my career, I'm surrounded by books on a daily basis.  While I have my own tastes in literature, sometimes I just want a quick, easy read.  When I'm searching for this escape, I usually turn to the Bestsellers section.  As lame as it sounds, I figure if the majority of America likes it, so will I.  I'm yet to be disappointed with this method. 


Earlier in the year, I kept hearing lots of hype about a book called "The Help."  Our stores actually sold out at times, and I was determined to pick this one up.  My summer reading kept piling up and I never got around to it.  Finally, we got word that they were making it into a movie.  I always read the book before seeing the movie, so that was the push I needed.  I was fortunate enough to have two days off in a row one week, and I devoured the entire book cover to cover in those 48 hours.  Never have I ever loved such a work of fiction as much as I loved this one.  Okay, maybe that's a stretch, but it was very reminiscent of my favorite book, "To Kill a Mockingbird."  I realize that most of America has read this book and seen the film adaptation.  I have seriously never cried so much at the end of a book.  Not because it had a sad ending, but because it was over.  I won't bore you with what it's about and why it moved me, but if for some strange reason you haven't read this masterpiece, run, don't walk to your local bookstore and purchase this book!
   

My next book is also a work of fiction and a book that was made into a movie.  "One Day" by David Nicholls was a book that screwed me up for days.  It had such an emotional effect on me that I was literally putting it in every customer's hand when they asked for a recommendation and damn near breaking into tears when they asked me why I liked it so much.  It's definitely not your typical novel, as it follows the two main characters, Emma and Dexter, on a certain day over the span of twenty or so years.  I enjoyed the dialogue, and the characters were witty.  The characters were just so wonderfully human that you could see yourself in all of them.  This book doesn't have your typical happy ending, so definitely grab a box of Kleenex if you choose to read it.  While I thought Anne Hathaway's was excellent in the movie, it didn't live up to the book at all.  Read, don't watch "One Day." 


My last book is a work of non-fiction that I downloaded on my Nook the day it was released.  Since I was a little girl, I've had an obsession with the Kennedy's.  I think they are such an interesting family.  They are such a group of powerful and privileged people, yet their lives are surrounded by such tragedy.  The book "Jack Kennedy:  Elusive Hero" was just a fascinating glimpse into JFK's life... someone I consider one of the most important figures in our history.  This book digs into everything.  The story behind his famous "Ask not what you can do for your country..." speech, his fight for civil rights, his creation of the Peace Corps, and why he pushed to put a man on the moon.  Even though a lot of the focus is on his accomplishments and story behind the man, it also gives a glimpse into the unsettling aspects of his personal life.  JFK is truly an unforgettable figure in American history and if you're a Kennedy obsessor like myself, or if you want a break from fiction, this book comes with the highest recommendations from yours truly.

What have you read in 2011?  Any favorites?  Do share!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A week and a half to go...

I can't believe that Christmas is a week and a half away!  I'll eventually quit talking about it, but in my business, we are so busy.  I'm actually working six days next week because the workload is so extreme.  I promised myself this year that instead of wishing the holiday's away, I'm going to actually remember to take time to enjoy it. 

It's just me, my Mom, and my Dad here.  We are extremely close, and we spend the holidays together.  On Christmas Eve, we always go out to eat for dinner.  On Christmas day, we get up whenever.  Usually no later than 9:00.  We do the present thing then my mother cooks breakfast.  We spend the day playing with our new stuff (ha!) and watching TV and spending time together.  Every year for Christmas dinner we have prime rib.  It's tradition, and my Dad quotes the Grinch at least ten times that day when referring to the big hunk of beef, "Roast beast is a feast I can't stand in the least."  At times I am jealous of people that have big families and spend literally all day doing the Christmas thing, but honestly I wouldn't trade what I have with my parents for the world.  Ever since we moved to Rock Hill when I was a baby, we've been what my dad likes to call "the three bears" and that's what we are till this day. 

And now, for your viewing pleasure, a few pictures of Christmas at the Smith house!
The gingerbread tree in the dining room

The main "gold" tree in the living room.


A quick, blurry, cell phone shot of Justin and I before the Fray concert last Friday.

I have a quick question for you lovely ladies.  What's your favorite dessert?  I am in charge of making dessert on Christmas day, and while the strawberry and pretzel salad I made on Thanksgiving was amazeballs, I'm wanting to try something new.  Please keep in mind that I am not a master chef, so something that is fairly easy.  Anything would be greatly appreciated!

Once I quit being a lazy biatch, and actually put my spare time to good use (a.k.a. actually getting out of bed and NOT reading two Janet Evanovich novels on my next day off) I plan on guest blogging at one of my favorite blogger's blog.  It's Amanda from For Love of a Cupcake and she is too stinkin cute for words. 
See what I'm talking about?  And her name is pretty cool too :-)