What Should You Wear on Thanksgiving Day?

My family usually dresses casually on Thanksgiving Day. Thanksgiving is really a holiday built in for family time, food and football. However, being casual on Turkey Day does not mean you have an excuse to look like a slob – you can be comfy and cute.

Put a couple of outfits together to get some turkey inspiration from – one is more casual and one is fancier. Hopefully, these little sets will inspire some fashionistas to forsake the jeans and sweatshirt look and dress it up a bit this holiday season. (Oh, and all outfit pieces are under $50)

Split-hem V-neck Md-long Loose Jumper ($33) is from BlackFive.com – it is the perfect cold weather sweater with a charming v-neck.

Doublju Womens Slim Fit Winter Warm Thick Fleece Lined Leggings Pants ($7.99) are listed on Amazon.com; but sure you can find black thick leggings a lot of places online.

rsvp Paris Women’s Boots ($32) these are faux leather but loaded with style. They have soft synthetic lining and a lightly cushioned footbed.

Vintage 1960’s Brown Macrame shoulder bag purse, Retro Boho ($19) is vintage and listed on Etsy – hurry this gem won’t last long. Major sweet and unique.

Marc by Marc Jacobs Saw Tooth Enamel Disc Studs Earring ($48) these are a bit pricier but they are Marc Jacobs. Hello beautiful earrings.

Pixi Shea Butter Lip Balm – Comfort Clear ($13) boasting a uniquely hydrating and nourishing formula, the Pixi Shea Butter Lip Balm in Comfort Clear works to moisturize the lips whilst providing a subtle hint of color.

Fraas Leopard Infinity Scarf ($33) these are the best scarves – easy to fix around the neck and leopard adds a bit of fun.

Skater Dress with Long Sleeve ($40) perfect for indoor cold weather parties. You won’t have to wear a jacket or shrug to stay warm with this gorgeous dress.

Alice and Olivia by Pretty Polly Semi Sheer Argyle Tights ($48) these are fun and add flair to the fancy outfit. You can find them cheaper at Target, I assure you.

Kenneth Cole Unlisted Once In A File Women’s Dress Zip Boots ($35) this platform ankle boot features a smooth polyurethane upper. Keep it trendy with the almond toe silhouette.

LAUREN by Ralph Lauren Il Pellicano 31mm Etched Metal Clickit Hoop Earrings ($25) Silver or gold-tone hoop earrings. Etched detail.

Charlotte Russe Rubber Boyfriend Watch & Bracelets – 5 Pack ($23) This stylish set has a little bit of everything, with a linked, rubber watch band that teams with a silver and gold face, and sleek golden bracelets.

DivaDesigns Women’s Light Thin Autumn Leaves and Pumpkin Infinity Scarf ($7.99) a great find on Amazon, it is cute to add a festive hint of pop to your outfit.

Bath & Body Works C.O. Bigelow Assorted Mentha Lip Tint Gloss Shimmer ($15) these shimmer sticks will leave your lips feeling great and add shine.

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The 5 Best Affordable Lip Glosses

lipssticlI don’t know about you; but, finding a good, affordable lip gloss is a real challenge. I have a stockpile of dollar store gems and, frankly, unusable chap sticks too. I’ve gone through a trial and error stage. Buying several kinds and marking the good ones and chunking the bad ones.

So, you should take this little list to heart. I will not lead you astray when it comes to affordable lipgloss. Seriously, these types below are good for day time use – as well as, for that formal party! They are ranked from #1, being the best to #5 my least favorite (but, still admirable and worth a try!)

1. Dr. Pepper Lip Smacker

Now, you don’t have to let your childhood slip through your fingertips. Buy this popular flavor and get a great daytime color. You typically think of lip gloss as sheer; however, this little stick of goodness has a really beautiful light color to it. So, you will get the yummy taste of Dr. Pepper and that hint of red hue. And the $1.99 price tag at Walgreens really can’t be beat!

2. Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer

A little bit more pricey at $3.49 (but, c’mon way affordable) is the lip shimmer. These are made from 100% natural ingredients including vitamin E and coconut and sunflower oils and they come in 5 different colors. Wow! This is a gloss that I make sure is a staple in my purse pocket.

DR PEPPER

No joke. This is currently in my purse!

3. Bare Minerals ‘Marvelous Moxie’

Okay – this is $18. It was a Christmas gift from my mom; but, it has become one of my favorite lip glosses of all time. It is available in many, many shades of color. It’s lasts a really long time. I use this gloss a lot – and still have not had to buy a new one (from Christmas!). It is worth giving a try.

4. Bath and Body Works ‘Ultra Mentha’

Hello breath freshener and lip gloss in one! At $7.50 a bottle, this little gloss is perfect. It is a peppermint flavor that will give you a lasting breath-freshener! I discovered this little gem in high school and love it to this day. If you are a mint lover, this is the gloss for you.

5. Benetint

So, this is not a gloss – but it is awesome. It will color your lips for a long lasting stay. Created by two sisters, they truly know what women want – all day color. You can get a sample size for $8. And trust me, you really don’t need more than a sample size to begin with!

 

Are You Too Electronically Plugged In? {IF SO…} Some Great Ideas To Get You Living Again

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Are you a slave to social media?

We live in a generation of computer screens, iphone/pads, televisions, Netflix and Fitbits. And while I congratulate technology, I mourn real life experiences.

Remember when you actually took a walk through a park and did not immediately think of taking a picture of flowers with your phone – or posting your pondering to Facebook? Sadly, it’s hard for me to remember a time when social media was not in the equation.

Facebook has been around since I was a freshman in college. And, social media has escalated from that point on really. It has skyrocketed. I am not going to complain about this burst of new media – because partly, it encompasses a lot of what I do in my daily job.

Yet, it is sad to think that my kids won’t know a time when a flower was just a flower and a hike was just a physical experience, not one that you share with the world. There is something peaceful about ditching the hyper media scene and just breathing air – listening to sounds and being comfortable in your skin without virtual accolades.

I made a list of things (below) that I miss the most about real, tangible life– and need to remember to do and reflect on –especially with social media now pervading our world. I hope this list encourages you to leave that iphone at home when you are on a nature walk. Or simply listen to the stillness instead of automatically clicking on Pandora.

Life is real. It is tangible. People are not icons on your screen. Embrace feelings, emotions, facial expressions and the magical sounds of laughter over robust coffee. It’s your choice to live in a virtual reality or really breathe in the full, bodily life. You only have one life. Live it.

Try to soak in these things. Swap the screen for a real scene.

Human Touch – we are so used to looking a pictures on the computer and feeling the keys on our keyboard. Go out with a friend and give them a big bear hug. Hugs are underrated. It’s said that you need at least 8 hugs a day and that’s no joke. So give a friend, your partner, your mom a hug. Hugs create a happiness your computer screen cannot generate.

Read Good Books – what happened to the days we read before going to bed? Now, we are caught up in Dancing with the Stars or whatever junk show is on television. Get lost in a good book. Use your imagination and expand you brain power. Cry over the pages of Wuthtering Heights because you feel the printed words in your soul.

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An art journal is always a good idea.

Listen to the Song of the Birds – there is something about nature that soothes the soul. Take time to listen to nature. Lay out in your backyard and listen to the chirping of the birds. If you are in a tiny apartment, take a blanket to a park – lay out and just listen to the music in the trees. Digest real life.

Handwrite a Poem or Anything for That Matter – buy a journal and jot out your thoughts on paper. Bleed your heart through pen and ink. Write a note to a friend or your grandmother and send it via snail mail. Penmanship is really being lost in this age of the computer. Exercise this talent. It;s not old fashioned. Written words have endured for centuries or more. 

Create an Art Project – that’s right, make an art project. Don’t look at your phone for inspiration. Create something from your heart. Paint with messy colors, clip pictures out of magazines – to construct a collage. The sky is the limit. Let your amazing creative juices flow free.

Throw a Tea Party with Friends – have a basket at the door ready to collect everyone’s phone for just 30 minutes. Drink strong tea out of fine china and talk. Connect with one another. Talk about books, your kids, whatever – just don’t use social media. Think of yourself in the time of Little Women.

Tips for Morning Workouts

febecdefbfd3ddbab4add2fbf5171cbbLet’s face it – dieting is B-O-R-I-N-G. I mean, I do not look forward to limiting portion sizes and forsaking that lovely glass of red wine after work. It stinks. But, you know – the results truly makes you happy and healthier.

So, I have a little more than 6 months until my wedding day. Yikes. The time has flown by so fast. And, what girl doesn’t want to look good on that special day? Looking good = discipline. Ugh, I hate that part.

I work at a desk. Yep, it’s a 9am-7pm – sometimes later job. That’s a problem. Like when do I workout? The hard truth is – I need to workout in the mornings. Yuck. Habit – I need to get into the habit of making this a priority.

So, I put together a little list of tips (in the infographic on this post) that should help ‘us’ get to moving in the morning. When that alarm clock rings, you’ll be ready to conquer that early morning cardio.

Now, I am not perfect – so will be attempting the early morning workout with you. And, will report on my progress.

To start, I am going to attempt to do this 3 days a week. I am going to try these tips – so I can look great for that wedding day, and of course, nurture this body God has given me.

Maybe this little chart will make the tips look more fun! Fingers crossed.

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Fresh Flowers Have Health Benefits

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What a cute idea – use a pitcher as a vase!

There is something about flowers that brightens my world. Looking at them really gives me a serene charge. It’s like my heart smiles at every glance of a pastel petal in a crystal vase.

To me, it’s worth it to chunk out $4.99 or more {don’t go crazy!} every few weeks for this bit of peacefulness. You’re worth it.

But, what is it about flowers that make people happy? This might surprise you, but there was actually a study done on the emotional impact of flowers.

The study finds that – happiness, friendless and memory are gained.

Maybe the people who coined the phrase ‘Flower Power’ were on to something?

Women who are given flowers are reported to carry happiness around with them for up to 3 days after receiving flowers. If flowers are displayed or set out in a room, it incites friendliness. Flowers given to elderly people actually improve memory retention.

You can read the FULL study here.

Also – as a little bonus for you work desk dwellers – flowers and plants promote innovation and productivity in the workplace.

And guess what – men garnered 15% more ideas than women having some type of green plant present in the office. However, women benefited more in the creative department.

Go out and buy some flowers. Let your heart smile a little more today!

DIY: String Cheese Snowman

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Perfect for lunches, school parties – or even an office Christmas event.

One of my favorite things to do in the morning is scan Pinterest for new, cute and fun ideas. It’s really a creative outlet – looking at the thousands of artistic and quirky designs.

Not to mention, delicious new recipes. However, sometimes, I am doubtful that my designs will be just as cute as the originators.

You see the Pinterest fail pictures —> {click here to see what I am talking about} and you get discouraged. But friends, I am here to tell you that sometimes they work out better than you expect.

I made a cute string cheese snowman because it looked easy – and it was so easy. All you need is: 1 string cheese, black sharpie, little piece of ribbon, piece of paper, tape and a red/orange sharpie.

Be creative. Your snowman might not look exactly like mine, but you won’t fail on this one.

Simply draw cute little buttons and a face with the black sharpie. And a little carrot nose with the red/orange sharpie. Just like a bow on a present, I tied the ribbon around his neck. I simply colored a post-it note black and cut out the shape of a hat; then, just taped it above his little face.

Kids will love these in their lunch bags. If you are headed to an office party, and you know there will be endless treats there, take some string cheese snowmen in a bowl/basket. You can watch your weight and skip the tempting sugar rush. People will love your inventiveness.

5 Things Julia Child Can Teach Present Day Women

julie child

Yes, the famous kitchen!

What better way to excel in a particular hobby than to study someone who totally rocked in that area of life?

For this past year, cooking really has developed into a passion of mine. Artistic by nature, painting and writing have always been loves of mine. But, I never thought cooking would take up a permanent residence in my heart.

Cooking is creative, fun and a stress reliever. It is nice to come home, relax and absorb the rich smells of the kitchen. You really can get lost in this moving feeling. Cinnamon, rosemary, cilantro – such full scents and bold flavors!

Recently, I went to the American History Museum – and saw Julia Child’s kitchen. It was super cool. I am not typically into looking at cooking exhibits, but it was simply fantastic {probably because of my new found passion}.

Obviously, she is the face of cooking; but what made her so grand – and what can we take away from Chef Child?

Confidence and Self Worth Are Key

Ladies, this woman was 6’ 2”. She was comfortable in her own skin – and that was exemplified in her television presence. Google pictures of Julia Child. She loved life and was always dressed with a smile. Smiling was her favorite {in the words of Buddy the Elf}. Not to mention, she was always classically feminine.  I like this about her. She wore skirts and aprons. Embrace femininity.

Embrace Being a Career Woman

I bet you did not know that Julia was a research assistant in the Secret Intelligence division of The Office of Strategic Services (OSS.) I know, I was stunned – this woman created a cooking empire – all while being a professional thinker. I think woman in the kitchen get a bad rap sometimes. You can totally be a certified working girl and cook unashamed. That does not mean you advocate barefoot pregnant women in the kitchen.

Always Stay Physically Active

julie child 2

I think this might be her actual height!

Julia died at age 92. She was active. She did not just bathe in buttery lard. This woman moved her keister. In fact, she was a part of a basketball team. No joke. This cooking maven played at her college. She also enjoyed tennis and golf. So, get out and do something physical. Just eating your cooking creations will get you nowhere fast. Also, ladies, don’t aspire to be rail thin either. That is just not healthy.

You Are Never Too Old To Try Something New

Mrs. Child was 37 when she enrolled in culinary school. The woman known for America’s cooking revolution was almost 40 when she stared learning about cooking. If this does not inspire you, I don’t know what will. She was 36 when she started learning a new language. This woman’s hunger for knowledge knew no age limits.

Know What It Takes – Practice & Hard Work

After cooking classes, Julia would cook and experiment in her own kitchen. She was driven to be the best. She was not afraid of a little hard work and elbow grease. She had to work hard to get ahead. She knew a pretty face will only get you so far – but a hard work ethic and mean skills will last a lifetime. She won an Emmy for heaven’s sake!

Tuna Salad Veggie Rolls

ImageSo, I have been listening to Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover audio book. You can thank my sweet boyfriend {who has told me almost every weekend to listen to it} for that. But, to my surprise, I am actually enjoying listening to it. Dave Ramsey for president! Anyone?

Really – if you want to plan for your future, you may want to check it out. I like the audio book. But, you can read it too if you are book lover.

One thing I cannot get past is spending my precious lunch money on the work cafeteria. I mean, can I really justify $6 for a salad when I can make my own at home for a dime?

I can buy a six pack of romaine lettuce at Costco and eat salads for more than a week for next to nothing. So, that is my new challenge – I am taking my homemade lunch to work.

Check out these awesome Tuna Salad Veggie Rolls that I made last night (pictured in the post.) And, I used the leftovers for a salad at work today. Score! Gluten free, healthy and cheap. This tuna salad was quick and easy to make, and I used the lettuce leaves as bread!

You will need: 1 can of light tuna in water, 2 cage free hardboiled eggs, 2 tbsp. light mayo and one handful of shredded cheese.

Simply drain the tuna and dump it in a bowl. Peel hardboiled eggs and use an egg cutter to dice them up in pieces. Add to tuna mixture. Scoop out the mayo and add it to the bowl. Stir this up and sprinkle in the cheese last.

Pluck off three big leaves of romaine lettuce and fill them with tuna salad. Your dinner is served.

Oh, I also sprinkled some olive oil dressing on top of the leaves. I used the left over oil from Trader Joe’s Marinated Mozzarella Cheese. This is another way to save a buck – just added the oil to a little glass canister. Yum.

4 Young, Fresh Tips on Wearing Red Lipstick

REDI have always shied away from wearing red lips. There was always this fear that the color would bleed on my teeth at parties or at work.

I hated scrubbing that wine glass rim or walking around with a coffee cup and remnants of my lipstick gracing the edge of the cup.

But, you know, there is something freeing about wearing red lips. I thought only fashion models and high profile people could pull it off, but I may have thought wrong. It is simply fun and refreshing to wear red lips to a party – or even to work. Every woman can do it. It does not matter if you are model height, shape or form or not.

There are some guidelines, but it definitely can be done. You will feel more feminine, powerful and classy making this change in your beauty regimen.

You don’t have to wear red lips every day (that might be a little overkill) but once a week may be refreshingly fun. Mix it up. People will notice and like the change – guaranteed.

Toss Red Lip Liners

Lip liners are unnecessary. I feel like this is an extra step that is not needed. All this will add to is your frustration. You don’t want a line around your lips when the red lipstick decides to fade. So, just don’t buy lip liner. Save money – and look young and fresh without a liner.

Make Sure You Pick a True Red Color 

If you have fair skin like me, this tip is really necessary. Choose a true candy-apple red. Look for shades that have blue undertones (rather than yellow). Experts say this brings out the warmth in your skin tone. Here is a top list of red lip colors compiled by Elle Magazine, click here.

Make Your Lips The Focal Point

If you decide to wear red lips – don’t overdo your eye makeup. Red Lips were meant to be the focal point of an outfit. What I like to do is dress in all black (a nice black dress). It looks better to dress in one color. Your lips will pop more that way. No need to play up your eyes, your luscious lips will draw attention.

Pair Your Red Lips With a Red Accessory

If you must throw in color to the outfit – paint your nails red, wear red heels or carry a red clutch. This little accessory adage will enhance the effect of the look you are trying to create. This will for sure look like a fresh youthful look.

Now, powerful women, go out and wear red!

What Successful People Do In The Morning

successful pplIn the morning I find peace. I like to wake up at 5:30am most mornings and just take my time to get ready. Shuffle to the kitchen with my hair in a messy bun for a cup of coffee. Pajama pants wrinkled from a long night sleep, it’s nice to ease into the day ahead – to really take in the rich aroma of the homemade brew – to reflect and listen in the stillness.

You can visualize work, think on life, utter prayers to your Maker, read a chapter of that novel you have been promising yourself you will finish, do a few yoga poses, run to the sound of first light, take your dog on a walk and hear the bird’s fist daylight song, listen to a radio show or make boxed lunches for your family.

In this post is a chart of a few things you can do in the morning that will maximize your day and maybe give you a little more peace and joy.

Movers and shakers make the morning hours their Bethlehem. It is not surprising to find that CEO’s wake at daybreak to start their day off right. Though you might be tempted to turn on that noisy TV – it’s best to sit in the quiet and reflect. Think. These are your hours. In these moments you can choose chaos or opt for peace.

Michael Acton Smith, CEO of Mind Candy states, “I purposely try not to check my phone or turn on the TV first thing in the morning. I have my best ideas when my head is clear of distractions and I’m getting ready to leave the house. I’m fresher and have a clearer head. I find being creative later in the day much harder after a jumble of meetings, phone calls and other distractions.”

It takes willpower to do what is important to you. Aristotle offers word of wisdom here, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” I think it is important to make waking in the morning hours a habit.

Even the psalmist says, “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.” (Psalm 63: 1-2)