Sunday, June 30, 2013

Brooke's Bachelorette Party

I had a sorority sister's bachelorette party last night and we all had such a blast!

One thing that I've found somewhat irritating about bachelorette parties is that usually there is no way to tell who the gift is from. 

Think about it. It's not like Hallmark makes cards for these sort of things and rarely anyone uses gift tags. So now there are a mountain of pink striped boxes from Victoria's Secret, and you even lose track of which one is yours. Then the bride picks one of them up and asks who's it from and you're just sitting there like, "I don't know. It could be mine. It could be yours. It could be theirs..."

Needless to say, I was not going to let that happen again. I saw this gift wrapping idea on Pinterest (where I get all of my good ideas from these days) and knew that I had to do it!

 I also made my own bachelorette gift tags and got a little creative. You can download the tags here.

This was the outside tag I made. I glued it onto some silver Martha Stewart scrapbook paper and wrote on the back that the gift was from yours truly. 

Then I tied this tag to the gift itself just as a fun little surprise :) She loved it!

The bachelorette theme was "incognito" and everyone at the party was given a mask to wear downtown (you know how I love a good themed party!). This was such a fun idea! The only problem we ran into was that at some bars they wouldn't allow us to wear the masks (I guess a bunch of young women in masks look like we're going to rob the place? I don't know haha), but we still made the best of it.
The bride wore white, bridesmaids wore black, and then everyone else was allowed to pick and choose any other colored dress. I thought that this was a great idea to have the wedding party stand out from the rest of the group. 

Kay, Liz, and me at dinner before going downtown.
(please excuse my hair. It was curled until the Southern humidity attacked it)

I hope everyone is having a great weekend so far! 


Saturday, June 29, 2013

Sun Dissed Over Sun Kissed

I love being tan. Clothes look better, you look healthier, and just everything about you seems to glow.

But girls, we need to have a come to Jesus meeting.

We have got to quit killing our complexions by laying out without SPF and paying to damage our skin in easy bake ovens.

As much as I love soaking up some Vitamin D, I always try to make sure that I've applied and reapplied sunscreen when I'm outside. Wrinkles, age spots, and cancer are very big and very real risks we take every time we're exposed to those wonderful golden rays.


Apparently, so did the genius that invented sunless tanner. We now have countless options to avoid the sun, but still shine year round.

1. Sun Labs
2. Fake Bake
3. Toma's Self Tanning Airbrush Spray
4. Victoria's Secret Instant Bronzing Tinted Body Spray
5. Jergens Natural Glow

I tend to use Jergens, but have recently been on a quest to try something new that might last longer. This is when I found the wonderful blog maskCara on the subject. 

The biggest sunless tanning fears are being orange, spotchy, or that awful tanning smell. Cara seemed to cover them all! Looks like I'm going to have to try Sun Labs very soon!

All the ones listed had rave reviews and I'm looking into trying out (besides my beloved Jergens obviously).

 Do you use any of the ones I've listed? Hated or loved? Any suggestions?



Friday, June 28, 2013

Get in the Zone

Ok in all honesty, who really shaves during the winter?

Lets be real, "no shave November" doesn't just apply to guys, so when summer comes around we realize that we might have more to maintain than just our tan.

You know what I'm talking about.... the dreaded bikini line. Hair, nicks, and worst of all bumps are the last things we want people paying attention to when we're in our bathing suits.

Here are some tips and tricks to help prevent that ugly razor burn:

1. Exfoliate- Gently scrub the bikini area before shaving to remove dead skin that leads to pore-clogging, post-shave irritation. You can use a scrubby cloth, or a regular body or facial scrub. Exfoliating this area on a regular basis will help prevent future irritation, ingrown hairs, and skin sensitivity.

2. Wait Until The End Of Your Shower, And Use A Natural, Oil-Based Shave Cream - For the sensitive skin in your bikini area, there is a basic shaving technique that experts agree works for everyone. Most experts suggest waiting until the end of a shower to shave. After your skin has been soaking, hair and skin become softer, allowing for a close, gentle shave. Apply an emollient-rich, cream-based shave cream containing argan and hemp seed oils to add moisture and protection during your shave.

3. Shave With Hair Growth First, Then Against The Grain - Pubic hair is coarse, and the skin in that area is the most prone to irritation. Start by shaving in the same direction as the hair growth. Then, if you want a smoother, completely hairless look, shave against the grain, and rinse. This technique can be used on all body hair, but generally finer hair on the legs and arms can be shaved against the grain from the start. It is best to use a fresh razor every time your shave our bikini area.

4. Gently Pat Dry - After you are done shaving, pat the skin dry - don't rub. Rubbing with a towel irritates the skin, and should not be done regardless of whether the skin is freshly shaved or not. You should also try to keep out of the heat to avoid sweating for 24 hours after shaving to prevent itchiness and ingrown hairs.

5. Apply an All Natural After Shave Treatment - Apply an after shave treatment containing all natural ingredients. Tea tree oil-based products are particularly effective for a freshly shaved or waxed bikini area. Tea tree oil has anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral properties. It is a very effective natural remedy against countless skin ailments, infections, cuts, scrapes, burns, insect bites and skin spots etc.

Using Tea tree oil will help heal and renew the skin, which allows you to shave more often and maintain a close shave with minimal irritation. Look for a product that combines tea tree oil with more emollient, vitamin E and Omega 3, 6, 9 rich oils such as hemp seed oil, avocado, rose hips, soybean, jojoba and apricot oil to moisturize and protect freshly shaved skin. These types of after shave oils are great for after waxing as well.

6. Stay Away From Products That Contain Harmful, Irritating Ingredients - Freshly shaved skin that is as sensitive as the bikini area easily absorbs any products you may apply, therefore it is important to avoid harmful or irritating chemicals. Be sure to avoid pre and post shave products that contain mineral oil, dyes, sulfates propylene glycol, acetylsalicylate (which is potentially toxic and present in many shave products), phthalates or parabens.

I've been trying these methods recently and they seem to really work! Do you do anything that has helped you with this icky summer problem?

I'd love to hear them!


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Preppin' My Skin for Summer

As a girlie girl myself, I always like to look my best when I'm out, and when bikini season rolls around I'm in full swing ready to tackle pool parties, beach weekends, and those summer nights out.

It's that time again to show off a little skin, but how do you make sure it always looks in tip top shape? Here are a few things I try to do daily to make sure my skin looks it's best.

1. Stay hydrated! I can not emphasize this enough...I'm not the best about drinking water all the time, but it is one of the number one things my doctor, dermatologist, and esthetician suggest when trying to keep your skin hydrated and cleansed of impurities. What you put in your body can sometimes drastically improve how you look on the outside.

2.  Exfoliate. So I recently discovered this on pinterest and am literally addicted to this scrub! It makes your legs feel so silky smooth, and sometimes if I feel really dry or feel like my skin is lacking a little luster I do it all over. Love, love, love it!

And with all the sunscreens, oils, and sweat, you might find that some of your pores are getting clogged  on your back, shoulders, and chest. Neutrogena's body scrubs are a great way to prevent and treat that from happening. I like the scent of the grapefruit one, but all of them tend to make me feel nice and clean.

3. Moisturize. Even if your skin isn't flaky or dry, do it! It prevents aging and keeps your skin glowing! The most important time to slather on some lotion is right before you go to bed because when you sleep your skin loses the most moisture. 

4. SUNSCREEN. Ok, ok, you all knew that one was coming right? Because it's so flippin' important!!!! I know, I like being tan too (more on that tomorrow), but it is so bad for your skin. Here are some direct words from my esthetician and dermatologist, the more you take care of and protect your skin now in your twenties the less you'll have to do in your forties, fifties, and sixties. Why? Because all the skin damage you do now doesn't surface until years later. So put on a big sun hat and lather on that SPF.

I know these are pretty basic, but sometimes we all need a friendly reminder (even myself haha I'm definitely guilty of baking in baby oil!).

What are some of your secrets for keeping your skin looking great? Any products you swear by? I would love to hear them and try them out!

Have a great Thursday!


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Summer Chicken Salad

It's no secret I love spending time with my friends and having people over.

I honestly believe that the relationships we make are the only things in this life that are eternal. I cherish them greatly.

Like most friendships, I always feel like any event we meet up for revolves around food. Do you know how many times I've asked people to go out for breakfast, lunch, dinner, brunch, linner, coffee, and anything else that involves food?! Almost every single one.

But sometimes, we don't want to break the bank every time we feel the need to be social and go out to eat, so instead we just invite people over and fix something ourselves.

This was the bind I was in yesterday. I invited a friend to go to the pool, then thought I should invite her to my apartment for lunch. But what to fix? Scrambling through the freezer, fridge, and pantry I figured out what to make.

Chicken Salad

2 1/2 cups diced cooked chicken
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 cup seedless grapes, halved
1 cup chopped walnut or pecans (optional)
1 small minced onion
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (if you'd like)
1/2 cup mayonnaise

Combine all ingredients then chill. Serve on crackers, bread, toast, bagel, rolls, or lettuce.

Besides cooking the chicken, this took me a grand total of 10 minutes and looks somewhat impressive. Perfect light summer meal! I was so happy I had all the ingredients, which is extremely surprising if you could see how bare my refrigerator is right now.

I put it on toast, and paired it with some chips and apple slices. Yummy!

I also had made sweet tea earlier since I literally run off the stuff, but if you want to get fancy fruit tea is a great and easy to make choice.

Hope y'all have a relaxing Sunday! Looks like another pool day for me!


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Throw It in the Bag

This is a serious "now why didn't I think of that" moment.

Last night, I went to my friend Allison's house warming party and let me just say, that I have now deemed her a pro at hostessing.

Plenty of drinks and food (because a hostesses worst fear is to run out of food!), great music in the background (but not too loud to destroy good conversation), and more than enough seating inside and out.

Now, Allison is already the type of person that can make anything sound interesting (seriously, she could talk about taking out the trash and you'd be hanging onto every word with a smile on your face), so I already knew that she's a great party thrower, but she put the icing on the cake when she made take home goodie bags for all her guests. 

Guests could create their own to-go bags which they could fill with homemade cookies, mini pecan pies, cream puffs and any other sweet goodies left over.

How stinkin' cute are these?!  And how smart?!!! Who wants to be left with three dozen cookies and loads of treats left over after a party? It's more mess to clean up, will take up more room in the fridge, and not to mention will add a couple inches onto your waist line. So, why not let your guests pick and choose to take home some of their favorite treats from the evening!

From what I can tell, this is how I think she made them.

Look online and find a picture or design that you think will best fit your themed party (let's just say this house haha). Using a pencil sketch the design onto a piece of construction paper and cut out using a ruler to create straight edges. Use this as your template to cut out as many houses, roofs and awnings you need onto different colors of construction paper. Sketch design with pencil on each one before outlining with sharpie. Using colored markers color in specific areas like door, shutters, and bushes. Glue the roof and awning to the house before gluing to the bottom of the bag and voila! Take home bags for your guests!

I will definitely be copying this idea for future parties!

Hope y'all have a great Saturday!


Friday, June 21, 2013

Housewarming Gift Guide

So I don't know if any of you got the memo, but as soon as you become a freshman in life weird stuff starts to happen, as in your friends start getting married, buying houses, and having babies (meanwhile I'm just sitting here getting awesome).

I have literally had three of my friends buy houses in the last few months! It's nuts, but of course I am also absolutely thrilled for them.

Me, being the Southern lady that I am, knows that it is only appropriate to come up with the perfect housewarming gift for your friends, coworkers, and family. Heaven forbid, you walk into a housewarming party empty handed.

Here are a few of my favorite picks and my go to guide when trying to find the perfect "it" gift.

1. Wine. Seriously, when can you not go wrong with the stuff? The best thing I've ever heard about networking, "Is to keep a bottle of wine in your trunk and business cards in your pocket." So true. Pair with some pretty wine glasses and you have a great go to for any housewarming party. My favorite is Cupcake's Moscato wine.

2. Create a housewarming jar. This is what I've recently started doing for friends of mine who don't host housewarming parties (I know, I know. Why would you not host one when you have such a great excuse? Beats me). I filled the two I made up with kitchen sponges, nice kitchen soap, bandaids, Advil, a Caphalon kitchen towel, and for my friends with dogs, dog treats. There are plenty great housewarming jar ideas online. This would also be fun to create a dorm jar for an upcoming freshman in college!

3. Now, I've heard mixed things about how these home ornaments have turned out, but I still think that they are a neat and personalized gift. Who wouldn't want a mini version of their first home on their Christmas tree each year? You can find them here.

4. Sometimes, all you want is a nice cup of coffee, and with plenty of new mortgage bills and upcoming house projects they'll be begging for some. If you have a large price range, buy a Keurig if the person doesn't already own one or pair some cute mugs with a nice bag of coffee. Buy something that they wouldn't usually splurge on themselves, like Starbucks over Foldgers.

5. Gift Cards. I usually like to make my gifts a little more personalized, but gift cards can be a lifesaver when you're in a hurry or don't have a clue what to get. Home Depot and Lowe's are great choices for the renovators who have all those household projects to conquer. Also, Bed, Bath and Beyond, Home Goods, and Target are great choices for those who are ready to decorate.

6. Fresh flowers always liven up a room and make a house a home. I love potted orchids so those are usually my first choice, but even a simple bouquet is a sweet gesture.

7. Monogrammed pillows. I am loving those "established since ---" pillows that have become so popular, but those are usually better fit as wedding gifts. Buying pillows for someone can be tricky, but if you know the person's taste you could have a hit on your hands. I found the one shown here, but Dear Lillie also has some great pillows with verses and song quotes, which I adore!

8. Personalized Door Knocker. Come on. Anything you can put someone's name or monogram on I'm an instant fan of. I found the one shown here.

Remember, the trick to good gift giving is to buy products and things that you personally love, chances are they love them too!

Any great gift ideas I missed? I would love to hear them!

Have a blessed Friday!