Monday, June 24, 2013

Summer Curls

One day approximately two weeks ago, I had several people ask me how I style my hair and if it was naturally curly. I must have been having a good hair day, which isn't the norm anymore, given that my bangs are in an awkward phase right now.

I figured I'd write a blog post to share the styling method that I've been using lately. My hair is naturally wavy, so it's pretty pointless for me to try and straighten it when the weather is hot and humid.

This curling method will likely work the same for you if your hair is any of the following: thick, curly, frizzy, and unmanageable.

Here's a BEFORE picture of my hair once air-dried:

If you have have silky, straight hair, this method may not work for you, but try this instead: Hair and Make-Up by Steph.

Once your hair is washed and dry, this hair routine only takes about 5 minutes. It's incredibly simple.

Here's what I do:

Step 1: Wash hair. Towel dry.

Step 2: Add a dime-size drop of hair gel to your palm and massage into your hair. Don't use much gel or you'll end up with a wet/crunchy look.

Step 3: Let your hair air-dry. If your in a hurry, blow-dry with a diffuser.

Step 4: Using a curling iron (mine is a 1" barrel), curl several of the top pieces of hair. I usually curl the pieces that are around my face or the natural curls that don't have much definition.

Step 5: Turn your head upside down and shake out your hair. I think this loosens the curls and helps achieve a natural look.

Step 6: Spritz lightly with hairspray all over. 


AFTER pictures:

The BEFORE and AFTER pictures were taken about ten minutes apart last week before we went out to dinner. That's how quick and easy it is to curl your hair this way!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

15 Ways Brian and I are Different.

I'm taking my cue from The Pioneer Woman today and listing all the ways that Brian and I are different. I think I could easily come up with one hundred, but for time's sake, here's fifteen:

1. He takes his showers in the morning.

I take my showers at night.

2.  He washes his car every weekend.

I wash my car every year.

3.  He loves looking at fish.

I love eating fish.

4.  He likes to stay busy from the moment he gets home until the moment he goes to bed.

I like to sit on the couch and drink wine from the moment I get home until the moment I go to bed.

5.  His clothing style would appeal to someone half his age.

My clothing style would appeal to someone twice my age.

6.  He likes modern decor.

I like traditional decor.

7.  He packs one outfit for a five day vacation.

I pack five outfits for a one day vacation.

8.  He can gift-wrap like a pro.

I can't wrap a gift to save my life.

9.  He cares more about things being clean than clutter-free.

I care more about getting rid of the clutter.

10.  He could eat Mexican food every day for the rest of his life.

I could only eat Mexican food every other day for the rest of my life.

11.  He's a quiet person, but he has a busy social life.

I'm a talkative person, yet I prefer to be alone.

12.  He doesn't pair up his clean socks when he puts them away.

I think not pairing up your clean socks is a character flaw.

13.  He likes blondes.

I like brunettes.

14.  He likes rap music.

I like country.

15.  His biggest fear is public speaking.

I thrive in the spotlight.

Well, he settled for a brunette.
I settled for someone who wears baggy pants and has rap music blasting from his stereo speakers.

I suppose it could be worse.  ;-)

Monday, June 17, 2013

My Small Closet Will Be The Death of Me.

Brian said my last post about clothing and fashion was a "snooze fest." LOL. Feel free to ignore this post, because I'll be talking about my clothing again. :-)

Here's an approximation of the amount of clothing I've donated in the past eighteen months:

Moved in to Brian's house = donated 3 trash bags full of clothing
Moved into our new house = donated 4 trash bags full of clothing
+ Last week = donated 2 trash bags full of clothing
Total = 9 trash bags full of clothing

I've given away 9 trash bags full and yet I still have no room in my closet!

I forgot to take a "BEFORE" picture tonight, but after an hour of organizing, I finally was able to cram most of my wardrobe into the closet.

Here's the small space I'm working with, people:

Perhaps this seems like a decent-sized closet to you, but after years of being spoiled with huge walk-in closets, this feels like pure torture.

Until my recent clothing purchases last month, I've spent the past couple years feeling like I have way too many clothes, yet nothing to wear. Going forward, I'm definitely going to be more selective about what I buy, especially since I don't have enough room for the stuff I already have!

I did some modeling for you last week in my storage closet at work.

In the pictures, you can see that I now have a few classic pieces that can create several different looks. I've been diligent lately about sorting through all my clothes and eliminating so much of the stuff that won't get much use. I've also tried to get better about putting my outfit together the night before, since 6am is too early for my brain.

I obviously tend towards neutrals.
People have laughed before when I tell them my favorite color is brown!

Here's proof that I sometimes get crazy:

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Master Bedroom Update

A few weekends ago, I tackled many of the much-needed master bedroom updates.

I purchased a headboard at the Raleigh flea market, handmade by a local mother and son team, for $160. Not a bad deal since similar ones sell at Crate and Barrel for around $600!

I rearranged the furniture.

I bought a few accessory items for the nightstands and a new laundry basket.

I splurged a bit on new bedding at Pottery Barn. There was nothing at any other store that even came close to winning me over, so I went ahead and bit the bullet.

The very next day, Otis hopped up on the new comforter, squatted, and peed.
He has no respect for my Pottery Barn luxuries.

Here's some BEFORE and AFTER pics:






Still a few things needed, but I feel like I'm making progress!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

I Swear I Smelled Almonds.

Okay, short story long - here's what happened.

Two weeks ago, we were in Maryland talking around the dinner table and we told Brian's parents about our recent Copperhead encounters. Brian's mom announced "Copperheads smell like almonds." We all started laughing, thinking about the ridiculousness of almond-scented Copperheads.

So remember this post from back in November, when our neighbors casually mentioned that there were Copperheads in our yard?

I knew it was only a matter of time.

Brian killed two small Copperheads this past month and one baby Copperhead was run over by a car in our cul-de-sac the other week.

Well, news flash: North Carolina is #1 in the country for the number of Copperhead bites reported each year, with Wake County having the majority of reported bites. We live in the woods in Wake County, so I've come to terms with the fact that snakes are my new reality.

Even though we're spoiled with a gorgeous view, snakes come with the territory.

We can't have our cake and eat it too.

While I try to be semi-cautious of snakes, I'm still guilty of frequently walking around in the woods in shorts and flip-flops, especially at night when I'm taking Otis out for a walk.

This was the case tonight. I decided I'd take Otis out to pee after dinner. It was already getting dark. It was rainy and humid (prime Copperhead conditions, fyi), but I really wasn't thinking about snakes at all. Copperheads never crossed my mind as I was slipping on my flip-flops and heading out the front door.

But the moment I stepped out onto the front porch, I smelled it.

Almond extract.

And I know the smell of almond extract like I know the back of my hand.

I've baked way too many cakes and I've drunk way too many Amaretto Sours in my lifetime, so trust me when I say - I know almond extract when I smell it.

My mind immediately went back to the Copperhead conversation at the dinner table in Maryland. OMG, is there a snake out here? (We live deep in the woods, so there aren't too many almond smelling explanations that come to mind).

I backed into the foyer, shut the door, and took Otis out to the backyard instead.

When I got back inside, I immediately turned to Google to see if this "Copperheads smell like almonds" nonsense was actually for real.

I found nothing.

So now I'm left wondering, will I ever know the answer? And maybe there's some poor soul out there having the same dilemma, Googling about almond-smelling Copperheads, and maybe he/she will stumble upon my blog and leave a comment so that I know it's not just me. So I'll know that I'm not crazy. So I'll know, once and for all, if Copperheads really do smell like almonds.

I drew a multiple scenario flow chart.

Note to Self

Dear Self that may eventually want another dog at some point in life,

A dog will be your best friend. He will keep your secrets, lie next to you when you're sick, and let you cry into his fur when you're feeling down.

But remember, Self. Your current dog excitement is clouding your good judgement.

And here's the reasons why you don't want a dog:

He'll pee on your $500 Pottery Barn bedding the day after you buy it.
And he won't be sorry.

He will cost you, at minimum, $2,000/year.

Although your spouse convinces you otherwise, when it comes to taking care of the dog, it's all on you. The 4am potty breaks, morning feeding routines, and evenings spent at home so that the dog doesn't have to be crated for 12 hours straight - have fun with that.

When the mood strikes and you're feeling like you may want some romance with your spouse, there he'll be....

And when he's fast asleep and seemingly dead to the world, like this:

And you're feeling like this may be a good time for romance with your spouse...

You'll run into the other room, whisper "Hunny, he's sleeping. Hurry. Take your clothes off."....

But somehow, someway...he knows.
Because five seconds later....

there he'll be.

So don't cave. Use your head on this one. If you're still having second thoughts, just borrow a puppy for a week. Then give it back. Then say, "Oh yeah, now I remember....".

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

So Many New Outfits. It Would Be A Sin Not To Show Them To You.

I have an amazing new work wardrobe thanks to my mother and mother-in-law, who both purchased me some amazing new outfits for my birthday! Yay!

You may recall that I've been doing the Contentment Challenge, which means I am not supposed to be buying anything other than groceries or gas for three months. Well, that plan has been tossed to the wind. So long, Contentment Challenge.

My new wardrobe comes from the following stores: Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, and The Limited.

Depending on your budget, these stores may seem somewhat pricey, but Banana Republic was having a one day sale (40% off entire purchase), and Ann Taylor had a whopping 20% off entire purchase discount for students (my student ID does not expire until like 2025). The Limited had a 15% off entire purchase sale, along with a 30% discount for The Limited card members. Even if there aren't any advertised sales, I would encourage you to ask about any special offers or coupons. We saved over $200 in one store just because Brian's mom asked about what discount they could give us. Also, always Google coupons or coupon codes before you shop. Most stores will honor anything these days.

Ok, here's today's outfit, along with a list of reasons I love it:

First of all, I have Brian's mom to thank for this outfit. Barbara has great taste in clothing, and she's really great at turning a few good pieces into a hundred different outfits. She's a personal shopper, so she's obviously well-versed in fashion.

Secondly, the compression sleeve on my arm is not part of the look. I slipped and fell outside of Kanki on Saturday night and injured my arm. I hadn't been drinking. I wasn't wearing heels. I was just walking along and then the next second I'm lying on the ground wondering what the heck happened.

Thirdly, I was in my storage closet at work when I took this picture. LOL! I don't own a full length mirror, but it's probably time I break down and buy one. I'm tired of standing on toilets.

I love this outfit for these reasons:

#1. I have a very straight figure and no curves, but the peplum style top gives the illusion of a more desirable pear-shaped look. I think this style is truly flattering for all shapes and sizes.

#2. The skirt is the perfect length for work. I never like to wear anything that makes me feel the slightest bit self-conscious. My personal safe-rule is that if I'm questioning whether or  not my outfit is work-appropriate, then my best bet is to not wear it.

#3. I'm so glad we found this gold belt at The Limited. The outfit would still look great without it (the Banana Republic top has good stitching lines that enhance the detail), but the belt definitely ties it all together. Also, the belt pretty much works with most of the outfits I purchased.