Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Eve Mani

 Before you all go 'popping bottles' tonight, I want to be sure you do it with a fabulous and festive manicure!

I'm rockin' DIY nail appliques tonight in a silvery-black snakeskin print.  It's actually the first time I've tried these strips and I am super-impressed.  I usually don't do designs on my nails as I feel they aren't appropriate at my work, but for a fun, special night these strips are awesome.  

I'm loving how simple they are to apply AND they claim to last for 10 days!  I've had them on for almost a week and they still look great.

I bought mine from the grocery store - they are OPI brand, but many other companies are making them as well, such as Sally Hansen.  I also picked up a set from Sephora in a sexy silvery lace design.  I could see myself wearing a more subtle design like this to work.  However, they come in all kinds of fun designs with shimmer, glitter, animal prints and more if your work situation is more casual than mine or if you've been invited to a party-like-a-rockstar weekend in Vegas or Miami.

This is what they look like out of the package, you just press them on your nails and then use a file to remove the excess from the tip by gently filing. I love that they are so easy to apply and last so long - a major bonus for me since normal nail polish chips off my nails in three days.

 However you decide to decorate your paws, let it be over the top for at least this one night of the year. Cheers to a fun-filled, life-changing, memory-making 2014!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Saying Goodbye

The past few months have been tough on us as we had to say goodbye to our beloved dog of 12 years - Raz.  He was an Australian Cattle Dog with endless energy and a strong desire to play.  This was apparent from when my husband (then boyfriend) first brought this tiny little puppy home.

Darling Husband (DH) and Raz on his first day home with us.  We lived in College Station, TX at the time.  In case you are wondering if I darkened DH's face for this photo - I did not, I was just exceptionally bad at taking photos at that time!

Raz loved to do EVERYTHING with us, including rafting the Guadalupe River.  He gained many fans on this trip.

Raz also loved to play with his toys.  This particular toy - a cigar - made us laugh constantly because he carried it the proper way.  Very distinguished, isn't he?

A spring day in Texas in the bluebonnets at the first house we lived in after we got married.

He wasn't too particularly happy about being a baseball player for Halloween.

I wish I had some photos of him playing fetch - which was his very favorite past time.  So much that we would have to force him to take a break or he would wear himself out.  He also loved to climb trees, find squirrels, do flips and go on long walks.  It was really hard to lose him, but we had such a wonderful time with him and count ourselves lucky to have had Raz in our family.  Since we don't have kids yet, our dogs have filled in as our children and are extremely special to us.  DH was particularly bonded with Raz and filled with sorrow when we had to say goodbye.

About a year ago, I asked my friend, Cara, to draw Raz's portrait as well as the portrait of our other dog - Maverick.  I had not gotten them framed yet and knew this was the perfect time.

Maverick and Raz

I was THRILLED with the way his portrait turned out - I love the modern interpretation and it serves as a loving memory displayed DH's man cave.  I'm so grateful to have a fun way to remember our beloved boy.  We also feel content knowing that he is resting at my parents' house under a live oak tree.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Nick Verreos Fashion Show

A few weeks ago, I attended a fashion show by Nick Verreos for the launch of his new line for Dillard's - NV Nick Verreos.  You may recognize this designer by his time on season 2 of Project Runway.  Nick has since gone on to design a beautiful high-end brand called Nikolaki as well as to commentate on fashion for various lifestyle shows.

I always love it when designers create more accessible labels for those of us who can't afford to spend $1,000 on a new outfit (Target does a great job at this).  Nick infused this collection with his signature flirty and sexy style, MUCH to my delight!  Kudos to Dillard's for bringing in a line by an emerging designer and at a fabulous price point.  The collection consists exclusively of dresses and prices range from $128-$168.

As his designs marched down the runway, I found myself liking each one even better than the last.  Gorgeous prints combined with carefully draped fabric make this an exciting line.  It is obvious that Nick meticulously crafted dresses that accentuate all the right curves of a woman's body.  You needn't be a size 2 to look smashing in these clothes and if you skipped the gym last week, Nick has you covered.

The best part about this fashion show was that you could try on the clothes immediately after.  There was a mad dash to the racks and then the dressing rooms as soon as the show was finished.  Nick was incredibly nice to all of his fans, posing for photos and signing autographs.  When some of the ladies came out of the dressing room wearing his garments, his face lit up with excitement and I thought that was just precious.

It was so much fun to meet Nick (what a sweet guy!) and he even complimented me on the gold sandals I was wearing that day.  Blush.

You can check out all the dresses in the collection by visiting http://nvnickverreos.com/collection and you can snap one up at http://www.dillards.com/shop/NV-Nick-Verreos/Women/_/N-174y0Zlfx6 or at a Dillard's near you.  My personal favorite is the 'Heidi' dress (named after the one and only Heidi Klum) - a one shoulder number with a faux-leather waist.

I also love his colorful pieces, so I guess I should just take one of everything!  Happy shopping friends!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Dream Homes

One of the most famous homes in New Orleans is for sale!  It could be yours if you love Nola, incredible architecture and have $9.5M.  It's the house at 1415 3rd Street.

I think I was born to live in a grand home and this one would suit me just fine.  If I stepped into this entrance, I'd never want to leave!

Gorgeous stairway.  I could really make an entrance on this baby.  Or an exit!  Remember when Rhett carried Scarlett up that huge staircase to um, make passionate love to her?  Poor DH, what chance does he stand with my love for romantic scenes in literature?

Lovely backyard, if you can call it that!  

Beautiful sitting room, though maybe a little too much dark wood.  Is this an old-fashioned man cave?

Now we're talking.  I'd feel like Marie Antoinette in this stunning room.  Where's my crown?

I think 25 of my closest friends would enjoy a dinner party here.  I wonder if Emeril caters?

And for only my closest friends, an intimate dining room.  No boys allowed.

Sweet, girly dreams.

Loving these windows and that feminine pink wall paint.

What kind of bathing suit would you wear at this pool?  What would a modern-day Marie Antoinette wear?

Zimmermann Devoted Floralprint Swimsuit in Floral - Lyst

This might work, with an enormous hat or feathers in my coif.

Floral bikini
I'm also loving this bikini - Geri by Next.  Notice the French blue?

It's 87 degrees in Texas today, so I guess I've got pool-lounging on my mind!

homes for sale - http://721.mlsimages.movoto.com/016/937316_16.jpg

If I decide to purchase this property (while dreaming), I invite you to stay with me in my guest room!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Healthy Motivation

Some people can't stand her.  I don't know if I could stand to work out with her even once.  Surprisingly, however, her weekly podcast is a fantastic source of motivation as well as education for me.

Sometimes my commute can take an hour after work!  My solution has been to download and listen to podcasts that motivate me to accomplish my goals.  You may not like her bossy-screaming-attitude on The Biggest Loser, but fortunately, you'll find none of that in her podcast.  What you will find is a woman who knows her stuff.  After working in the fitness industry for more than five years and reading countless health mags, I can tell you that Jillian does her research on all things health and fitness.  I have learned the truth about diet and exercise through this woman.  She explains the science behind everything and makes it easy for a non-pro to understand.  

She invites her friend Dr. Herle, an endocrinologist, to speak on multitudes of topics, sharing her wisdom about how our 'insides' work.  Her producer, Janis (below on right), is witty and enhances the show with her spirit.

While I can't agree with some of her politics, I think she is one of the most important advocates of health and fitness in America.  Sometimes she'll talk about eating healthy and other times speak about challenges in her personal life, making you feel like she's a normal person!  I don't know about you, but I like to know that fitness superstars are somewhat human.  I look forward to her weekly podcast and have even gone back to listen to my favorites a second and even third time.

Here's a fun fact - Jillian doesn't even like to work out.  Intriguing, right?

If you haven't listened to her podcast I highly recommend it - especially if you are trying to make a health change this year!


Go for it!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Ebay Searching

I am an eBay search-a-holic.  Checking eBay has now become a habit before bedtime, when I'm bored, after reading a shelter mag or design blog.  With that being said, I have created multiple 'saved searches' in 'My eBay' that make it easy to indulge in my new habit.

Just for fun, I thought I'd share some of my saved searches in the hopes that I am not the only one out there frequently searching eBay for their dream purchases.  

A few of my favorites:

Silver Mint Julep (for future Kentucky Derby entertaining & mint julep serving)
Silver Tea Set
Noritake Silver Palace (my wedding china)
Reed & Barton Francis I (my silverware pattern)
Blanc de Chine
Hollywood Regency

Sigh...I want to eat a beautifully decorated piece of cake with this fork!

I love blanc de chine temple/ginger jars, so pretty!

Handpainted Sevres porcelain is exquisite!  The gilding on this vase makes my heart go pitter-patter!  Oh, to feel like Marie Antoinette...

For what items do you frequently search eBay?  Or are you a One Kings Lane, RubyLane or Etsy searcher?  I'd love to hear!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Better Late Than Never

I have to admit - I'm LATE in sending out thank you notes for my Christmas gifts!  I've made my list, selected my cards, but have yet to sit down and write them.  I hope I'm not the only one to be late on this!  My mother taught me from a very early age to send a thank you note for every occasion that warrants one.  An old fashioned thank you note is a lovely gesture, albeit a fading tradition in the digital age.  It certainly beats the more frequently used 'Thx' text message.  Receiving a note or invitation in the mail always makes me a little giddy - what could be in this envelope?

A wonderful surprise to receive in the mail - a thank you note from my friend Jenny's son.  This special note has been displayed on my refrigerator since October.

I purchased Crane's Blue Book of Stationery this year to use as a fun and traditional guide to influence my correspondence.  Inside, you'll find etiquette advice on all manner of stationery from the types you should have in your 'wardrobe' to the proper way to address a Governor.  Not sure what to include on an invitation?  This book has the answer.  

According to Crane, a thank you note, "is brief and generally consists of four parts: 1. The greeting 2. An appreciation of the item or favor 3. Mention how useful it will be 4. Sign off with a suggestion of a future meeting."

I'll share more wisdom from this book as well as its information on the history of stationery in a future post, but for now, I've got to start writing!

Monday, January 14, 2013

New Year's Resolution Fun

"Mama, why are we out walking when it's such a cooooold day?"

Mama - "Because Mama's NY resolution plan began today."

Just thought I'd share an update on my progress - Day One ;)

At least the sky was beautiful while I was out freezing my tush off!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

I Heart Books

I am just so tickled to have been voted onto the San Antonio Library Foundation!  I received this lovely set of bilingual children's books, which are printed in collaboration by the San Antonio Public Library Foundation, Trinity University Press and the San Antonio Museum of Art.

I have loved to read since I was very young, so promoting literacy and reading is a passion of mine.  What a great opportunity I have in working with the library!  I remember my first trip to the downtown library and how exciting it was to see the rows and rows of books - all available to me through a library card.

Another favorite memory of mine was library time at my elementary school - where they had lots of cushions and comfy chairs to sit and read.  But the most prized nook was an old claw foot tub filled with pillows!  My friend's daughter recently started kindergarten at that very same elementary school and she assured me that the claw foot tub was still in action!

I call myself a literary nerd babe because many of my favorite books are classic novels.  Try as I may, I just haven't found a modern book that I love as much as my old standbys.  I even bought the book 1000 Books to Read Before You Die to make sure I don't miss any truly important works.

A few of my favorite classic novels: To Kill a Mockingbird, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Little Women & Sense and Sensibility.  Of course, there are many more and I definitely can't write this post without mentioning The Count of Monte Cristo or Gone With the Wind!  I'm still looking for some nicely bound, yet affordable copies of these two.  The three leather bound books in the middle are by Easton Press.  I try to buy these on Ebay because they are a little expensive, but I would like to own nice copies of my favorites, so I will splurge.

What are your favorite books?  Do you appreciate classics or are you more of a NY Times Best Seller fan?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

May 2013 be filled with meaningful change, incredible memories, peals of laughter and sparkly heels!