Friday, August 28, 2015

A Decade Later...

Tennessee Williams said, "America has only three cities:  New York,  San Francisco,  and New Orleans.  Everywhere else is Cleveland."   While I could pick a few other great American cities and throw them in the mix, I share his overall sentiment.  Just like I also share Adrei Codrescu's feelings on New Orleans... "How did you fall in love with New Orleans?  At once, madly.  Looking back, sometimes I think it was predestined".  New Orleans is without a doubt one of my favorite cities in the world.  It is, quite possibly, my favorite city in the United States.

I cannot believe it has been 10 years since Katrina hit.  I recall exactly where I was sitting and watching the television for hours as the storm rolled toward that great city.  Of course, like most of us, I was glued to the television watching with horror in the days and weeks that followed.  I didn't get back to the city I love until about 6 months after the storm.  There was still so much devastation.  But as I've gone back over the years, it's been amazing to see the resiliency of the city.

If you are on instagram, I'm encouraging you to follow, or at least take a look at an account I love...

"When you go to New Orleans, you're not just going to a city, you're going to an entire culture." James Carville

"New Orleans makes it possible to go to Europe without ever leaving the United States."
Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

What you should have been watching this summer

Did you watch Poldark on PBS Masterpiece this summer?

If the answer was yes, then good for you!  If the answer was no, then you screwed up.  BIG TIME.  Just what were you doing with your Sunday evenings?

Don't worry, there's time to fix this problem.  You too can fall in love with Ross Poldark by watching on Amazon Prime, Apple TV, or buying the DVD.   Even better yet, the BBC has just ponied up big bucks to create 5 more seasons of Poldark.  We will have Ross Poldark in our lives through 2020!

I don't want to say too much because I don't want to spoil the series for you, and I don't want to be bossy, but GO WATCH POLDARK!  Ross Poldark seriously gives Fitzwilliam Darcy a run for his money...enough said!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Summer Movie Round-up

It's funny as I look back over the movies I have seen this summer, it seems likes my viewing of films was very weather related...

When I was on vacation early in the summer, Boston was too cold and wet to do much of anything else at night but walk to the theater a couple of blocks from my hotel.  Then once I got back to Texas, it was too hot to do anything but seek refuge in a cool theater or lay under the A/C and watch tv.

So here is a round-up of what I've seen this summer with some brief thoughts on each...

Available this week on DVD, Apple TV, etc.  I thought it was ok, but not the usual caliber of film I expect from a Cameron Crowe movie.  I felt like the story was jerky and not fluid, but Hawaii is such a lovely back drop for a movie.

Pitch Perfect 2
If you liked the original, you'll like the sequel.

Magic Mike XXL
One of my favorite authors, Jennifer Weiner, tweeted after seeing it on opening day "Magic Mike XXL is seriously the most feminist thing I've seen since my circa 1991 homemade glitter 'Keep Abortion Legal' sign".  That cracked me up, so I had to go do my part for feminism and see the movie, and yes, I thought it was good.

The most recent at the theater movie I have seen is Trainwreck.  I thought it was cute.

Several movies I had been wanting to see were released on DVD, Apple TV, etc. this summer...

Woman in Gold
I really enjoyed WIG for several reasons (1) Helen Mirren can do no wrong, (2) Much of film was set in Vienna which I'm traveling to in a few months, and (3) I loved the legal aspect of the film.

The Longest Ride
I had read the book, and if you have too, then I will caution you that the movie is loosely based on the book.  I thought it was ok.  I love Alan Alda and Jack Huston, so there's that.  And then Scott Eastwood is easy on the eyes, so...

Still Alice
I finally got around to seeing SA.  Julianne Moore was wonderful.  Totally get why she won all of award season earlier this year.

Far From The Madding Crowd
Going into seeing this, I thought it had all the makings of being a film I loved.  Unfortunately, I hadn't read the Thomas Hardy book, so the early scene of sheep dying, and a dog being killed (not really a spoiler alert), just about sent me over the edge.  After I regrouped from that, then there was a scene with a frog later on.  If you know me well, you are about to assume that I hated this movie based on those two scenes alone.  But I didn't.  I still liked it, though it won't be one like Jane Eyre or Pride & Prejudice that I watch over and over again (primarily because my heart just can't take the animals dying/frog stress over and over again).

Friday, August 21, 2015

Kitchen Organization

I have needed some organization around my kitchen sink for some time now.  I finally found a good solution, and one that is cute too!
I bought a very inexpensive cake pedestal at TJ Maxx/Homegoods for $9.99.
Originally, I bought several sizes, but settled on this smaller one.
I love the frilly edges.
It's the perfect size to hold my dish soap, hand soap, a mason jar (which I already owned) to hold dish brushes, and a little decorative limoges style tea pot.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

DIY Boot Shapers

Do you have tall boots that flop over, or won't stand up on the shelf or bottom of your closet?  I had this problem a few years ago, and I went to my go-to place for organization, The Container Store, for a solution.  The solutions I found were kinda pricey though, so I set out to find a cheaper solution to my problem.  I have been using my DIY Boot Shapers for a couple of years, and they work great, so I'm sharing it with you today.

It's the perfect time of year to share this secret because...  (1) You need pool noodles for this project, (2) pool noodles become hard to find in fall and winter months, and (3) pool noodles are currently on sale!

I have always purchased my noodles at Walmart.  Specifically, the monster noodles.  I think they work best because they are bigger around than the regular pool noodles.  They usually run about $8, which is still reasonable because you get 2 sets of shapers out of each noodle, so $4 per set doesn't sound too bad.  BUT...they are on sale!  As they are getting ready to get rid of the pool noodles for the season, I just scored one for $3.88.  Let me do the math for you...that's $1.94 per set of boot shapers!
So here are the 3 things you need to complete this project ... (1) A Monster Noodle
(2) A Bread Knife (I found that a serrated bread knife worked best), and (3) a measuring tape (obviously you could skip this if you are comfortable eyeballing it.
I measure the length of the noodle, and then cut it in half.  I then take each half, and cut it in half too.
Boom!  2 sets of shapers!
Last step is to put them inside of your boots!
Now enjoy a more organized closet and boots that don't crease.  Also, congratulate yourself on being so thrifty and crafty!

Monday, August 17, 2015

{Confessions of a Product Junkie}... a new hair diffuser for ALL hair types

My Devacurl diffuser was melting after a year + of use.  I wasn't pressured by this, as all of my diffusers have eventually ended up melting, but I started shopping around to see what else was out there, when I ran across this one...

It's the YS Park Large Diffuser.  This Japanese Company came out with this diffuser that actually blocks airflow, so you are only getting heat.  Apparently this diffuser was used all over New York Fashion Week on the models, so this seems to be a diffuser that's not just for us curly haired people, but one used on all hair types.  

What has me the most excited about this product is that it is light weight and small, and will fit on ANY hair dryer.  This will totally lighten up my packing in the future!  I can use the hotel hair dryer, and bring along this diffuser that is essentially like packing a sock!  I'm so excited to lighten my load for my upcoming European trip.  Lighter load = more room for shopping!

Friday, August 14, 2015

My Next Adventure

I love a great adventure, and I've been actively planning my next one...
Yep!  In December I will be heading to England, Czech Republic, Austria, and Hungary.  I'm super excited because it will be near Christmas and the christmas markets of Europe will be in full swing.  I've booked my flight, booked my hotels, and I'm actively researching what exactly I need to see in each and every location.  

At first I just planned on Prague, Vienna, and Budapest, but when I realized I had to fly through London, I couldn't fly to my favorite place on earth and not stop.  Especially since I figured out that it didn't cost anymore for the flight if I made my layover in London 24 hours of less.  So I will be in London for 23 hours and 55 minutes!  But since I arrive at 7:25 a.m., that will give me plenty of time to drop my bags at the hotel, and spend a whole day seeing my favorite city decked out in it's Christmas decor, and hitting up my favorite spots.  

I'll fly to Prague early the next day, then take a train to Vienna a couple of days later, a train to Budapest the next day, and finally after a couple of days, fly back home via another long layover in London (though probably not long enough to go into the city, but plenty long to shop all of the duty free shops at Heathrow including Harrods!).  

I can't wait.  In fact, during the current 100'+ weather, I'm collecting cold weather items for my hand warmers, feet warmers, fleece lined tights, winter hats, etc.  People think I'm nuts, but thinking about being cold on my trip is getting me through this Texas heat!

Anyone who has been to London at Christmas, or the other locations, please be sure to tell me what you loved the most!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Another Purse

I need another purse like I need a hole in the head, but really, I didn't have a small cross body purse, so when I saw these at a cute little shop in downtown McKinney a couple of weeks ago, I couldn't pass it up.

I purchased a neutral color to go with more outfits, but the bright colors were super fun too.
It's a great bag, there is one zipper on the outside of one side, two zippers on the other side, and of course the main center zippered compartment.  You can remove the long strap and use it as a wristlet too, so it's multi-functional.  
The best part is that it was $24 and that included the monogram!

I didn't get this larger tote, but I saw it when I was in the store picking up my finished bag and thought it was super cute...

The fun little store is called A Number of Things.  Click on their name for their website and you can shop some of their things online.  I think they have lots of fun items and really great prices.  They didn't pay me or give me a discount, I just love to pass along a great source!

Monday, August 10, 2015

{Confessions of a Product Junkie}... summer color

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of them all?  

While there is some dispute about whether the evil step mother was asking about beauty or a fair complexion, in this post case, we are definitely talking about the latter.  I went to the makeup counter several weeks ago, and you'd have thought a unicorn walked in and sat down in the make-up chair...I got "wow!  you are really the fairest of the fair!  do you plan on getting a tan?".

I am super fair, but a weird fair, in that I can actually tan.  I just don't.  And I don't use fake tanning products because I seem to be allergic to them, and even if I could put up with the itching, they stink.   So, I need to get my summer color from somewhere, and that's what this post is all about... here is list of the products I'm using this summer for a little color.

{Eye Shadow}

I got this Tom Ford Cream and Powder eye shadow earlier this spring, and I LOVE IT.  Apparently lots of people love it because two colors are sold out, including the color that I purchased.  These are the color options still in stock...

I got the bronze color.  You have a cream that you dab on your finger, put on your eye lids, and then you open the powder portion, dab that on your finger, and then onto the top of the cream you've placed on your lid.  So easy!  That's one reason it's great for summer.  One product and you've knocked out your eye color.  You can see the color I have, and also, that I tap the inside of the lid to get the excess product off of my finger before application.  It really only takes a small amount.  This way, I'm not wasting any either. 

I've been using the Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Baked Powder Bronzer this summer.  It gives enough color without creating a "dirty" look that I feel like lots of bronzers end up giving me.  It may be more about the brush I'm using than the bronzer though.  I bought the Laura Mercier Finishing Brush because it only allows a small amount of product to go onto the skin.  

I still wear a blush in addition to the bronzer, and I've been wearing my Nars Blush in the color "orgasm", which is the color that has won more awards than you can count, and I think looks good on almost every skin color.


I brightened my lip color this summer.  I'm still wearing Tom Ford, which I think is stupid expensive, but the best dang lip color out there.  I switched to a Matte this summer, and I got the Tom Ford Matte Lip Color in Pussycat

{Nail Polish}

I do my own manicures/pedicures.  I haven't paid for one in over 3 years.  I don't generally think of the ability to paint my own nails as a "skill", but many of my friends have assured me this is a "skill" that they don't have, so maybe it is.  From my perspective, it's just something I'm able to do myself, so I prefer to do it myself, and save money for something else I'd rather buy.  I have been a Butter London devotee for several years.  Yeah, it's more expensive than OPI or other brands, but I never really pay full price.  If you watch, you can catch deals at Ulta or Nordstrom.  

While I have more colors than I want to admit, my go to summer colors for my pedicure are...

It's described as a tropical, fuchsia pink creme

It is described as an orange-y coral nail lacquer.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Meet Louis III

So an exciting thing happened the end of last week... A friend at the courthouse said "Hey, do you have any interest in buying another Louis from me?"  She is the same friend who sold me my Louis Vuitton Neverfull, aka: Louis II.  Apparently, she had purchased the Tivoli PM and decided it just wasn't for her, and was offering to sell it to me for a "too good to pass it up price".

This was perfect for me.  I had long had my eye on the Speedy.  I LOVE the way the Speedy looks, but there are some practical elements to it that I don't love.  I don't love the handle length on the Speedy (it feels a little too tight to carry on my forearm).  I also don't love the ability to get into it and see what's in your bag.  Now, the Tivoli perfectly solves both of those problems, but the reality is that it costs $600 more than the comparable sized Speedy, and I would NEVER have sucked it up and purchased full price.  But at 80% off of the original price?  HECK YES!

So meet my new Tivoli PM, aka: Louis III.  It's beautiful, and as you can see, has hardly ever been carried.  It looks brand spanking new and it even was delivered to me in the original Louis Vuitton shopping bag.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

THE Sale wrap-up

Sorry!  I've been mostly absent from the blog since getting home from vacation. Strike my blogging absence up to the following:

June through early July~ I was teaching two summer school classes in addition to my full time job of being a lawyer, and well, I was meeting myself coming and going.

End of June through current day ~ my law partner is on maternity leave until after Labor Day, so double duty on the legal front has me hopping.

Enough of my excuses...I realized that my favorite holiday, aka: The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, has come and gone and I didn't mention a word about it.  Now don't for a minute think that means I didn't celebrate the Anniversary.  Of course, I've gone to the store multiple times, and placed more online orders than I'd like to count.  After lots of buying, returning, buying some more, and more returning, I think I came away with some good fall/winter staples.

Here's what I got...

I got this Halogen long open cardigan.  First in black, and then I loved it so much that I got it in purple too!  I totally am a repeat buyer.  I don't know if this is good or bad, but if I find something I love, I buy it in multiple colors. 
I really like how they are pairing the longer cardigans with dresses and skirts this year, so I'm excited to leave the jacket behind and shake up the dresses I already own by adding the cardigan.

I got some new Zella 'live in' leggings...

I purchased the Wit & Wisdom Super Smooth Stretch Skinny Jeans.  I ordered them in black, and liked them so much I ordered another pair in blue.  Unfortunately, the exact same pair in blue were way too big, so they had to go back.  I actually have another pair of the black on their way to me right now.  The ones I got have a weird hitch in the zipper.  I'm hoping the next pair fit properly and zip without a hitch.  Then I'll have a winner!

I also ordered some new Kut from the Kloth Jeans.  These are the Reese Stretch Straight Leg Ankle Jean, and the color is "encouraging" (whatever that is...I don't think you'll find a crayola that color no matter how big of a box you buy).

I did not do too well with finding tops this year.  I only got this one: Caslon Asymmetrical Three Quarter Sleeve Tee in the black and grey stripe.

Finally, I got a new pair of black boots.  I know brown is the most popular color, but I wear my black boots about 90% of the time, and I had worn mine smooth out.  I need wide calf boots, and I'm so happy that lots of brands are accommodating this now!  Way more than when I bought my black boots many years ago.  That being said, and despite trying many different boots from the sale, I still ended up with the same brand.  They were the best fit for me and best bang for the buck.  I got these Naturalizer "Jennings" Knee High Boots...

I don't think I did too bad.  I think everything I bought will be well worn if the weather turns cooler.  Right now, it's hard to see the light at the end of this oven hot tunnel we call summer in Texas.

How about you?  Any purchases from the sale that you LOVE and can't wait to wear?


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