One Year Blogiversary | Contest + Giveaway

Hello, lovelies!

On Sunday, I will be celebrating my ONE YEAR BLOGIVERSARY and it all started with a New Years resolution/goal back in 2013. I was laser-focused and ready to hit the floor running, but on the flip side, I was slightly apprehensive. Putting yourself out there can be terrifying, regardless of how personal your posts are. However, I chose to follow my heart and am so glad I did because it has taken me to such great heights. Watching my blog come to fruition has been a joyous experience and I look forward to continuing the journey.

Recently, I’ve been inspired by the giveaways and contests of bloggers I follow (including my dear friend, Stephanie). I thought: what better way to celebrate this grand occasion than giving a very special reader a product I firmly stand behind and adore?

Alas, I decided it was only appropriate to give away my favorite candle of all time – The Volcano Candle by Capri Blue. If you’ve never owned one before, you are in for a real treat!

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What I Wore | { Outfit of the Day }

I can’t believe just last week I was in Spain – le sigh.

Although my luggage was M.I.A. during half of our trip (giant thumbs down), I managed to snag a pic of a casual little ensemble I pulled together for my visit to Parc Guell and the Picasso Museum when it did arrive. Information on each piece is available below.

Stay tuned … more { Outfit of the Days } are coming to the blog soon!

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{ What I Wore }

  • Ray-Ban Clubmaster Sunglasses found here
  • M.A.C. Cosmetics Lipstick in Velvet Teddy found here
  • J. Crew Factory Quilted Jacket found here
  • ASOS Petite Slouchy Ribbed Top in Cream found here
  • ASOS Oversized Knit Scarf in Tobacco found here
  • Michael Kors Fulton Large Crossbody Bag found here
  • H&M Slim Fit Pants in Black found here
  • Lucky Brand ‘Asherr’ Desert Boots in Honey found here

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{ invaluable.com } the perfect men’s watch + V-Day outfit

Hello, lovelies!

Sorry for the delay on posting — I just got back from our annual family trip and this year we visited Barcelona (post on this vacay coming to the blog soon). In the meantime, I have a very special post I would like to share with you all!

I was recently reached out to by invaluable.com, a really unique website that allows you to bid on a slew of luxury items. They have a great selection of designer men’s watches! They are currently doing a project focused on the men’s watches and I agreed to collaborate with them on a post about an outfit centered around my favorite watch from the site. If you know me, I am a sucker for watches, particularly oversized ones…and what could possibly be better than picking up a gorgeous men’s watch to pair with a very feminine ensemble?

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I had a eureka moment. Tulle skirt + dainty details + a matte red lip + an oversized gold watch. BINGO! The men’s watch I chose is a 14 karat yellow gold beauty. Personally, I love the contrast between the masculinity of the watch against the soft and ethereal feel of the outfit tied into the warm, nude tones. If you are looking for some inspiration regarding what to wear this Valentine’s Day, perhaps this post will make your heart flutter. Enjoy!

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bloginvaluable copy1. Charter School Cardigan in Ivory { $34.99 from Modcloth }

2. Tory Burch Classic Ankle Strap Sandal in New Nude { $275 from Nordstrom }

3. The Wendy – Blush 30″ Length Tulle Skirt { $92 from Space 46 Boutique }

4. 34mm Rolex 14K Yellow Gold Men’s Perpetual Date Watch { from invaluable.com }

5. Semi Matte Lipstick in Jungle Red { $26 from Nars Cosmetics }

6. Kate Spade Las Vegas Glitter Gold Belt { $78.40 from ShopBop }

Winter Blues | How to Tame Dry Skin + Chapped Lips

Welp – it’s mid-January and we are in the dead of Winter. Of course one would expect cold weather to accompany the season, however, it has been unusually bitter here in the South — was it last week we had a low of 11 degrees? With that said, my skin has taken a serious beating this past month – it is ridiculously dried out and parched, which rarely ever occurs as I would categorize my skin type as normal. If you’ve taken a ride on the struggle bus lately like I have, below are products that I am currently using that will banish your chapped, cracked and dry skin this season!

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Sugar Lip Treatment with SPF 15 by Fresh, $22.50

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Y’all — I love, love, love this stuff and it’s the real deal. I would even be bold enough to state that this is the best balm around. It’s velvety soft, moisturizing and provides the hydration that my poor, little chapped lips need. The best part of all? It comes in 11 different varieties and they all smell delicious. The one shown above (Sugar Rose’) is the one I use and although it looks intimidating, it is barely tinted – all it does is give the perfect rose flush to the lip. But if you are not one that loves a tinted lip balm, there is an untinted option as well. { Check them out here }

 

Ultra Repair Cream by First Aid Beauty, $6.50-$39

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Would you believe me if I told you that this stuff was life changing? Because it is. I wish I could take credit for discovering this but I simply cannot. My best friend, Heather, is the one who shared this magic with me and after purchasing it, I knew my world would never be the same. Wow. Just, wow. Here is the run down: you can use it on your face and your body – legs, arms, hands – it’s amazing. But what is great about this product is that it is made specifically for extremely dry skin – from people who are facing damage from harsh winter weather to those with various skin conditions such as eczema. Feeling a little hesitant and not willing to commit to spending $30 or $39 on a moisturizer? It comes in a variety of sizes, including a tester for $6.50. The proof is in the pudding – try it out first and get back to me. { Snag one here }

 

 Lip Exfoliator by e.l.f. Studio, $3

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Fact: This lip exfoliator will remove dead skin from your chapped lips. Fact: It tastes like brown sugar. Fact: It is only $3. How did I stumble upon it? Oddly enough, I was checking out at Old Navy and saw it in their “impulse buy” section. You know, that designated area by the cash registers that have fun, little goodies for you to browse while you are waiting in line in hopes that it will provoke you to make an impulse purchase? {Hello, Consumer Behavior 101}. I picked one of these up while waiting to pay for my new boyfriend jeans, and ended up taking it home with me. I can vouch that it actually works…and did I mention it was $3? { Take a gander here }

 

Oatifix Fresh Face Mask by Lush, $6.95

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Let me start out by saying, I heart Lush. It is such a wonderful retailer with a great mission. Everything they sell is developed by them, they use little to no preservatives, make their products from organic fruits and vegetables and refuse to purchase their ingredients from companies that partake in animal testing. Secondly, I just started getting into face masks. So the two combined? A match made in heaven. When I’m not using the Mask of Magnaminty, which I use to exfoliate my skin, I’m using the Oatifix Fresh Face Mask which is made for really dry skin. Made with soothing ingredients such as bananas, oatmeal and ground almonds – it will leave your skin soft and nourished. { Pick it up here }

 

7 Dry Hair Hydrating Day Cream with 7 Plants by Phyto, $28

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Is your hair feeling super dry this time of year? This hydrating, leave-in treatment will protect your hair from split ends, frizz, flyaways, and static. Oh, and a little bit goes a long way. If you have never used Phyto products before, I would highly recommend. I can honestly say that everything I’ve used by this company has been top notch. { Grab one here }

Recipe Box | The Best Steak You’ll Ever Have

Happy Saturday y’all and happy GAME DAY to all of my fellow Carolina Panther fans!

Tonight, we are facing the Seattle Seahawks and its a big deal for those of us here in Carolina! Last week for the game, we all gathered at our friend Joe’s new pad and brought an assortment of delicious food to share. I made my famous sausage balls but there were some other notable treats (i.e. – caprese skewers, pigs in a blanket, chex mix and mimosas). For those of you who are gathering tonight to watch some football, may I suggest making the best (and I do mean the best) steak you’ll ever have. And get this…it is not done on a grill.

Now bear with me folks, I know this sounds crazy. But with it being unusually cold here, making this incredible, tender filet mignon can be done in a pan and finished off in the oven (restaurant style). This steak can be cut with a butter knife, and it’s decadent, full of flavor and absolutely to die for.

How did I find out about this? A girl friend/coworker told me about it…and I’m telling you, I will never eat a steak any other way again. I’m dead serious. We paired our filet with a spinach-artichoke dip twice baked potato. I’ve included that recipe as well. Enjoy!

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Best steak ever

 Recipe: Best Steak Ever

What you’ll need:

  • Filet Mignon (however many you need)
  • 1/2 Stick of Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Zest
  • 1 Clove of Garlic
  • Sea Salt
  • Fresh Ground Pepper
  • 3-4 Tablespoons of Olive Oil

Directions:

  • Pour a little olive oil on each steak (both sides)
  • Grind a substantial amount of fresh pepper on both sides of the steak. Do not be shy, you want to coat it enough so that it almost forms a crust.
  • Sprinkle a good bit of sea salt on both sides. Do not be shy with this either…the salt will help tenderize the steak.
  • Let the steaks sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes so that salt and pepper goodness sinks in.
  • While steaks are marinating, take the half stick of butter and soften slightly so it is easy to mold.
  • Chop 1 tablespoon of parsley, garlic clove (minced) and zest the lemon to get 1 tablespoon of lemon zest. By hand, mix the softened butter, parsley, garlic and lemon zest and form into a log. Put in the fridge to chill.
  • Once steak is done marinating, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Put a little bit of butter in a baking dish and place it in the oven and let it sit while it preheats.
  • Put some olive oil in a pan on high (about 3-4 tablespoons).
  • Place the steaks on the pan when it is screaming hot.
  • Pan sear both sides of the steak until it is brown and forms a crust from the salt and pepper – approximately 2-3 minutes on each side.
  • Once finished, take the steaks and put them in the buttered baking dish in the oven and let them cook for about 6-8 minutes for medium rare. About 9-12 minutes for medium (You do not have turn the steaks over).
  • Remove the steaks from the oven, and plate. Take the special butter you made out of the fridge, and put a dollop on top of each.
  • Enjoy!

 

 Recipe: Spinach-Artichoke Dip Twice Baked Potato (Serves 6)

What you’ll need:

  • 3 Large Baking Potatoes
  • 2 Teaspoons of Olive Oil
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons Melted Butter
  • 9 Ounce Bag Fresh Spinach (Roughly Chopped)
  • 3 Tablespoons Cream Cheese (Softened)
  • 1/4 Cup of Sour Cream
  • 2 Tablespoons of Sea Salt (For Seasoning Potato Skins)
  • 6.5 Ounce Jar of Marinated Artichoke Hearts (Drained and Chopped)
  • 1/4 Cup of Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • 4 Ounces of Shredded Fontina Cheese (Or a Similar Cheese)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Pierce the potatoes with a fork all over.
  • Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and put in oven for approximately 1.5 hours or until cooked all the way through (soft inside).
  • Take out of the oven and let them cool slightly.
  • While potatoes are baking, heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat; add garlic and spinach. Cook the spinach until it is wilted (approximately 7 minutes).
  • When spinach is done, take out of the pan and put it in a strainer. Press against the spinach to remove any excess liquid.
  • When potatoes are cool enough to touch, slice in half lengthwise. Scoop out the middle of the potatoes into a bowl but be sure to leave enough of a border of potato to keep the shape of the skins.
  • Rub some olive oil on the skins and sprinkle with sea salt; set them on a baking sheet.
  • Mix the scooped out potatoes (in a bowl) with the cream cheese, 3/4 of the fontina cheese, sour cream, and melted butter until smooth. Fold in the spinach and artichokes.
  • Place the mixture inside each of the potato halves. Sprinkle the top with the parmesan cheese and remaining fontina cheese.
  • Place in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes (or until cheese is melted on top).
  • Enjoy!

2015 Trend Report | Home, Fashion, Beauty + All

Happy Friday!

Although this is the second week of January, I would like to pretend it’s the first real week of the year as many people were still in vacation/holiday mode last week. I am actually very excited for 2015 because it’s a great excuse to make a fresh start.

With a new year, comes a new you. Part of that happens internally but the other part can be external or what is on the surface. Sometimes people like to make a drastic hair change or try out a new style. Of course, what we choose is very personal but perhaps I can help get your wheels turning. Below are some of the big trends to watch in 2015 for every aspect of life. Enjoy!

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{ HOME } Eclectic Style. Pops of Color. Jewel Tones.

Think vintage, retro, mixing patterns and textures, personal touches, rich colors.

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ECLECTIC STYLE – The Rundown: This is probably my favorite trend for 2015, mostly because I feel like the style encompasses me as a person: incredibly eclectic. The mix of new and old, everything is random yet it somehow seamlessly comes together…it’s amazing. If you’re looking to change up the look of your home this year, this is a great way to do it.

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POPS OF COLOR – The Rundown: Looking to make some subtle changes to your home decor? Adding pops of color will surely do the trick and it’s big in 2015. Pick up some colorful chairs, pull out your vibrant KitchenAid mixer, or even simply paint a door a different color like in the image above.

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JEWEL TONES – The Rundown: Deep, rich jewel tones are a heavy hitter this year. There is something sophisticated and tasteful about them. I’m loving this look in the office/study below.


{ FASHION } Wide-Legged Pants. 70s Retro. Boho. Lace Up. Gingham Print.

I honestly could not be more thrilled about these style trends for 2015. Mostly because they remind me of the vintage, sepia-toned photos of my parents from the 60s and 70s. It makes me smile.

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WIDE-LEGGED PANTS – The Rundown: Although I do not think skinny pants will completely disappear, I do think wide-legged pants will soon be ruling the world, and in my opinion, we are long overdue for a new silhouette.

70s RETRO – The Rundown: As mentioned above, the 70s style is back with a vengeance (and I cannot contain my excitement).

BOHO – The Rundown: The bohemian look is also making an impact on the runway for Spring/Summer 2015…so go ahead and channel your inner flower child.

LACE UP – The Rundown: Lace ties are also quite prominent for the new year – just check out the Louis Vuitton runway images alone.

GINGHAM PRINT – The Rundown: The gingham print (yes, it may also remind you of a picnic) was gaining traction in Fall 2014 but will be huge in 2015. It’s feminine mixed with classic mixed with chic and I love, love, love it!

{ Check out all of the runway images here }


{ BEAUTY } Minimal Makeup. Bold Brows. Dewy Skin. Statement Lips. Negative Space Manis.

We are now living in a time where less is more, beautiful skin is everything and making a statement on your lips and nails is a way of life.

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MINIMAL MAKEUP – The Rundown: A big trend this year is the minimal/nude makeup look. In 2015, less is more. We’re not saying absolutely no makeup, but a more natural look, nude shades and a “fresh face”.

BOLD BROWS – The Rundown: Remember being young and plucking your eyebrows to make them thin was cool? Well, times have certainly changed. Heavier brows are in. But not an unruly brow, a very structured, well groomed brow.

DEWY SKIN – The Rundown: This ties into the “fresh face” look mentioned in the Minimal Makeup Rundown. Bottom line: dewy skin is in. Looking clean and natural with a slight sheen is what you’ll be seeing a lot of this year.

{ Images can be found here —> Minimal Makeup, Bold Brows, Dewy Skin }

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STATEMENT LIPS – The Rundown: For Fall 2014, we saw a good bit of the wine stained/vampy lip. It will definitely translate to 2015, even in the Spring. But let’s be real, any statement lip is big this year. Whether you go for the newly popular orange-red, a classic red, or even a true pink – you’re in good hands.

{ Images can be found here }

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NEGATIVE SPACE MANIS – The Rundown: This look is all over the runway for 2015. Negative space nails are without a doubt, the next big thing.

{ Images can be found here }


{ EVERYTHING } Marsala

If you missed my post on the 2015 Pantone Color of the Year, Marsala, you can read about it here. But to reiterate, Marsala will be huge this year. In every aspect of life – design, home decor, beauty, fashion…you name it! Below are some inspiration images of how you can implement the Pantone Color of the Year into your life!

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