Once Upon a Time, I Had a Very Weird Christmas: a recap

Well, I can't say it was the worst Christmas I've ever had, but I can't say it was the best.  Actually, it was cool, other than the part where my car was stolen from the parking lot while I was at work on Christmas Eve.  Which was pretty much the low of my weekend, as expected!  

Yes, I locked my car, no I didn't "lose" my car in the parking lot, yes it was really, truly stolen.  Long story short, I left work in a hurry to get to my Christmas Eve festivities, and then wandered in circles for about 5 minutes before I realized that my mom van was nowhere in sight.  My manager stayed with me for another hour in the parking lot whilst I filed a police report.  It took until the day after Christmas (when they found the car) for me to actually realize it wasn't really my fault, people are just little miscreants.  My parents got a call at 6am that morning that it was sitting in the Family Dollar parking lot, not too far from where it was stolen.  Completely dead, needs lots o' work.

Other than a minor meltdown during the first ten minutes I noticed it was missing, I've been surprisingly upbeat!  I tend to be wildly optimistic about things, like "at least I wasn't carjacked!"  Regardless, there wasn't much else to complain about.  Except when I unwrapped the heated seat warmer that my mom got me for my car that was still missing.  That sucked.

Otherwise, lots of food, fun, and fam.

Isla & I did a remake of our Christmas photo from last year!  Give a dog a year and she'll turn from a little baby into a big one. Aaaaaabsolutely love these super-comfortable-yet-dressy pants I picked up at J Crew during their Black Friday sale.  And these are by far my favorite pair of pumps, by BCBG.

Outfit details linked below:

J Crew: Silk Twill Pant in Wolfstooth // Macy's: BCBG Treasure Pumps in Warm Sand // Nasty Gal: Don't Ask Tie Pussy Bow Blouse

Christmas Eve, this was one of the only photos I got after my super stressful car theft debacle.  We had matching kate pajama sets!

Both our sets of PJs are sold out online, but I linked different prints of the same styles!

kate spade new york: PJ Set and Layette Ready Set Bow Loungewear Set

Other than my Christmas festivities...

I'll do a little recap of what I've been up to over this holiday season.

 I had never done a family Christmas card photo with my parents!  We figured this was our year, as we always have a lot of fun if there is a dressed-up dog involved.  I made the little paper strands of retro lights.  They matched Isla's headband!  The falalalala garland was Spritz brand from Target, last year.

Outfit details linked below:  
Kate Spade: Dorothy Coat (different color, but all sale is an additional 30% off right now!) // J Crew: Topknot Headband in Stewart Plaid (on sale!) // Target: Red Cable Knit Sweater (last year, similar here from Gap) // Charming Charlie: Over the Knee Boots (last year, but they have an almost identical pair here) // Earrings are actual ornaments with a hook ear wire attached!

I made my own gift tags this year, which I was supposed to scan and sell as a downloadable file on my Etsy buuuuut...it didn't happen.  My scanner was not doing the colors justice and I kind of ran out of time.  Next year I have plans to be more on top of the holiday themed art for my shop!

In other news, I got really into building my Christmas decoration collection this year!  I found all kinds of decor in pinks and metallics, so I think that's the direction I'll be going next year.  I found my wrapping paper at Target (how can you NOT be obsessed?) and everything else from craft stores and Pier 1.  

Decor details linked below (if still available):

Target: Flamingo/Peppermints Wrapping Paper (sale!), Marble/Pastel Wrapping Paper (sale!) // Pier 1: Pink Nutcracker // Gold House & White Feather Tree: Michael's 

If you've been following along on my Facebook page, we have been doing monthly photoshoots with my cousin's baby, Addy.  We went with poinsettias for December and it turned out adorably!  

We did some cute little extra shots too, for Christmas gifts to the grandparents.  She's so photogenic!

My dad's a huge fan of anything outdoors: hunting, fishing, camping, etc.  So this year, that was the theme of our tree!  I love a tree that's adorned in ribbons, so I had to add that in there too.  It was all from either Michael's or Hobby Lobby.  For our theme, we had bobber lights, shotgun shells, and tons of outdoorsy ornaments collected from lots of different places.  My favorites were the fox, deer, and squirrel from Crate & Barrel!

I attended another fab workshop thrown by the amazing Mint & Lovely.  Here I am holding the floral bouquet I put together with help from Wood Violet.  Food, stationery, watercolor lettering, and floral were the topics of the workshop, and it took place at Black Swan on Water Street!

For my event planning job, we did a styled shoot with one New Years and one Christmas tablescape!  These are just photos from my phone, but to view the full gallery, visit our photographer's blog: GTB Imagery. (Yes, I made the wreath macarons!)

The shoot was a TON of work, but it turned out so well!  It was completely worth it.  I collected decorations from all over the place and used a lot of borrowed vintage items.  Even my great grandma's handmade ornaments made an appearance!

Finally, I finished another set of hand-lettered wedding invitations!  I was hired by a friend to complete these lovely gold and navy envelopes for her 2017 wedding.  I love being able to use my calligraphy skills to add finishing touches to someone's special day!

I guess looking back, it was a pretty busy holiday season!  I had a lot going on, but I managed to complete a lot of projects that I had in the works.  Looking forward to more in the upcoming year, and improving my organizational/planning skills so it decreases my stressed-out moments!

Even though my Christmas Eve had a bit of a wrench thrown into it, I still count it as a good Christmas weekend.  

Stay tuned for my final posts of 2016, can't believe it's almost come to a glorious finish!  

Hair: Any Cosmo Girl Would Know!

This quote was spoken by one of my hair idols, Elle Woods!

I've had this idea for my hair how-to for a while now! It's just personally the way I do things, not the way things have to be done, obviously. But if you've ever wondered about the way I style my hair, this post is for you!

Grow it out!

I guess length will be the best place to start!

The most common questions I get about how loooong my hair is:

Q: How did you get it to be so long?
A: Uh, by not cutting it.

Q: Are you going to cut it?
A: Nah.

Q: Have you EVER cut it?
A: ARE YOU SERIOUS? It would be trailing me like the train of a wedding dress if I hadn't cut it for over 24 years.

I have pretty long hair, as evident by this photo! I only get my hair trimmed about once every year, which is longer than most people advise to go... Luckily for me, my hair is pretty strong and resistant to damage.  That's why I can go such a long time between trims.  It's almost all one length, although there are still some layers hanging around from haircuts past.  As the last time I did have one of those things called a haircut, it was probably my junior year of high school. That was 7 years ago! 

Color it!

I've been red, I've been black, I've been almost blonde.

These days I'm my natural brown with some balayage highlights.  Low upkeep. I just prefer my hair lighter, so it'll probably be this way for a while! I had it very dark until this past January where I got the first round of balayage, then waited until September to put more in.  I always have some red tones that pop out every once-in-a-while too.  No doubt that I'll eventually get bored and go back to completely dark, but I don't have plans for that currently.

Style it!

On any given day, my hair is either straightened with a flat iron or curled with a curling iron. So yes, I use heat on my hair almost every day. I know for some people that this is not a possibility, but I really enjoy styling my hair.  Although, I usually can go two days without washing my hair. So if I straighten it on day one, I'll ride that look out for day two.

Another reason for my styling choices is that my hair is naturally wavy, not straight nor curly. Once it dries after showering, it's very poofy, especially in humidity! I let my hair air dry if I have a lot of time on my hands, so basically never, and use a hair dryer on every other occasion. Then I'll use one of my tools for styling.

Then I use one of the styling tools listed below:
To straighten it, I use a CHI Ceramic Ionic Tourmaline Flat Iron.  Our relationship has been blissful and we've been going strong since 2013!  The one I've linked is the exact same one I have, except mine is purple.  It makes my hair feel so much softer and shinier than any other flat iron I've owned.  And it definitely reduces my dreadful puffiness!

I just started using the Beachwaver S1 Curling Iron and it is also a dream come true.  And it gets reeeeeally hot (410 degrees).  I finally am getting the loose, BEACHY curls that I want!  If you've never seen it in action, you have to.  Check out some videos on their website because it's crazy.  I have always loved doing my hair, but you definitely don't have to be a pro to be able to use the Beachwaver.  You just clamp the strand of hair and press the arrow button and it curls it right up for you!  Super simple, and the clamp is designed so that it doesn't leave a crimp!  It took a couple of tries for me to get my curls exactly how I like them, but I'm in love.  


When it comes to products that I put in my hair, I tend to stick to what I know and love.

Whenever I hop out of the shower, I apply two products to my hair right away.  First, is the Renewing + Argan Oil of Morocco by OGX.  I'm not picky about my Moroccan oil brands, but I've been using this one lately because it's affordable and lasts a long time!  I just like to add extra moisture to the ends of my hair when it's still wet.  I don't really apply this to my roots at all. 

Next, I like to use Hot Toddy Heat & UV Protectant by Drybar.  I actually am obsessed with Drybar lately because 1) I'm a sucker for pretty packaging and witty cocktail-themed names and 2) EVERYTHING SMELLS SO GOOD.  Like I said, I use heat on my hair almost every day!  My Beachwaver is usually set at 410 degrees, and Hot Toddy protects your hair to up to 450 degrees.

When I use my flat iron, I love Dove Style & Care Extra Hold Hairspray because it keeps your hair really soft instead of crunchy like many hairsprays.  I've been using this brand/type for years.  I like to spritz each layer of my hair with it before I straighten it because it helps to tame flyaways.

After straightening, I always use a tiny dollop of Regis Designline Silk Drops Repair & Shine Serum to smooth everything out.  I also love Paul Mitchell Smoothing Gloss Drops which works the exact same way.  I cannot go without using some kind of gloss drops on my hair after straightening!  It's what makes my hair so silky all the time!  I put a pea-sized drop into my hand, then rub it around to disperse it all over my hands, and apply it to the bottom half of my hair.  Then I'll usually brush through with my flat iron one or two times.  This product makes all the difference.

When I use my Beachwaver to curl, I use Herbal Essences Body Envy Volumizing Hairspray.  In this case, I just want a hairspray that is a little stronger so that my curls hold all day.  I'm not super picky about the type of hairspray I use when I curl my hair, but it needs to be pretty heavy-duty for my curls to stay perfectly in tact!  I like this one because even though it's strong, I like how it doesn't make my hair feel crunchy.  

    I've also been using Triple Sec by Drybar because my hair is soooo long that it needs a little extra boost of volume! It's a 3-in-1, so it adds volume, acts as a dry shampoo, and adds a matte texture to all hair types.  I usually use this on the day that I don't wash my hair, to prevent it from falling flat and to absorb any unwanted oils.

I also just got a little sample of the Detox Dry Shampoo by Drybar from my Sephora Play box (a subscription service which will be the topic of an upcoming post).  This is my favorite smelling product I have tried from Drybar!  It not only serves its purpose, but it's like a really good smelling perfume too...for hair.

Hopefully I didn't leave anything out!  But before I go, I want to know your go-to hair products! I'm always down for trying new things. Let me know!

Outfit of the Day: Festive Fall Looks

I always try to convince Janai that she needs a fashion blog. She always has on amazing outfits and I feel like the world needs to see them! The other day, she got a taste of my process for creating an OOTD post. She and I went out to do a mini shoot to put together some looks for Thanksgiving! And turns out she finally did create a blog, which she will be debuting soon!

Now onto the outfits...

Personally, I dress up for every holiday and usually end up being the only dressed-up person in attendance. Typical. But I feel like I have very few real opportunities to dress up and be seen, so it's a must for me! These looks are obviously a little bit on the fancy side, but not over-the-top! I don't consider a tulle skirt or a leopard romper to be super dressy, do you? I'm kind of being serious.

Overall, these outfits are something that would be easy to throw together with pieces you already have. A flannel, a skirt (doesn't even have to be tulle, there are no rules here!), a sassy turtleneck, a dress with no sleeves... Mix and match them and you have reimagined something that you would have kept hanging in your closet until summer!

Oh, and don't forget your holiday red cups...

Details below!

Black Turtleneck Knit Top: Forever 21 // Leopard Print A-Line Dress (actually comes with a black belt): Forever 21 // Opaque Black Tights (old, similar linked): Vera Wang // Skinny Pink Belt (old, linked something similar on Amazon): Forever 21 // Deandra Sunglasses (no longer available, similar linked): kate spade new york // Gold Glitter Flats (old, linked similar): Forever 21 // White Set in Stone Enamel Stone Hinged Bangle: kate spade new york // Jazz Things Up Cat Ear Pave Bangle: kate spade new york // Luminous Creme Lipstick Duo in Violet (no longer available, but linked similar from Bite!): Bite Beauty

Best way to wear a sleeveless dress in the winter - a long sleeve underneath! Janai and I both wore the same turtleneck from Forever 21 for this post. I love how the dress I'm wearing already comes with a belt that is almost identical, but black. I cannot rave enough about a good a-line dress. The style works with almost any shape, since it's meant to accentuate you at your smallest and flare out from there! PS: This one is on sale now. I wanted to add a little color, so I went with a pink one I already had. For shoes, I love these glitter flats. I hadn't worn them since high school and almost gave them away! But I brought them out recently and they have been complimenting a lot of my looks. I have a million pairs of opaque black tights, so I honestly couldn't tell you which ones I am wearing in this post! I know I've had success with Vera Wang, so I linked one of my favorite pairs. For bracelets, I wear my white Set in Stone bangle constantly, with almost every outfit. The cat one went perfectly with this leopard outfit! It's also on sale (plus an additional 30% off for Black Friday, can you believe it?!) Finally, my favorite pair of cat-eye sunglasses called Deandra completed the rest of my feline themed attire. They aren't available anymore online, but I linked the Luann's which seem to be Deandra's bedazzled cousin! For lip color, my favorite lipstick brand, Bite Beauty.

White Turtleneck Knit Top: Forever 21 // Pleated Tulle Skirt: Forever 21 // Black Flats (old, similar linked): Charlotte Russe // Blue Plaid Flannel (old, similar linked): Charlotte Russe // Necklace (old, any statement will do!) // Bracelets: all from Alex & Ani // Wine and Dine Metro Watch: kate spade new york // Lipstick (in Blankety): MAC

Like I said, we both wore a Forever 21 turtleneck for this post. The tulle skirt is super popular right now, and Janai grabbed hers from Forever 21. If you recall from my Halloween post, I got mine at Charlotte Russe. I swear, they're everywhere! She started out with just the top and skirt as her outfit, but threw on the flannel to match with our fall photoshoot's vibe! Really, any color flannel would work. Just add a statement necklace to match! She has a wrist full of Alex & Ani bracelets too. And a simple pair of black flats to finish it off! I also am obsessed with her lip color, which is a MAC shade called blankety. It's the perfect neutral for any season!

We loved putting together some festive fall looks for you, 
so stay tuned for our next fashion collab!