Friday, June 29, 2012

friday's fancies #35 + friday's letters.

friday's fancies #35: beachy chic.

with two beach-front bachelorette parties on the horizon [one of them being my own!], this week's dream outfit would be a perfect addition to my summer-time wardrobe. how chic is this 50s-esque swimsuit? i haven't worn a one-piece since i was a little kid, but i'd gladly try out the style if this suit was in my arsenal. while reading laura's blog the other day, i had the pleasure of discovering these beautiful, whimsical prada baroque shades. i think they give an additional nod toward the vintage feel of this look. this bright yellow, flowy, over-sized helmut lang string tank would be perfect to throw on when heading to & from my spot in the sand. bright red manicured toes would really pop against these classic valentino flip flops. as for sun protection, you'll always find a nice sunscreen in my beach bag. the floppy hat adds both style & protection - bonus! this little collection has me totally pumped up for the festivities to come!
dear wedding planning stress, i am about to start working with you, not against you. with a little over three months to go, we are going to have to work together to bring all of this together. dear apartments that we are touring on sunday, please be everything we want you to be. you look absolutely adorable, hold the promise of what looks like a great community, & seem to be everything we want. can't wait to see you in person, so i can stop stalking you on the internet. dear self, thank you so much for getting in gear, working out, & losing weight! you're finally starting to reach your goals! dear readers, i have gotten some of the very sweetest comments EVER in the past week. thank you for continuing to encourage me to pursue my dreams.
friday's fancies \ {long distance loving}
friday's letters \ adventures of newlyweds

Thursday, June 28, 2012

kara in paris: the grand mosque + saint eustache.

in recent days, i've taken to firing up facebook in the early afternoon & checking out the photos my sister has uploaded, chronicling her adventures in paris that day. the photo above was captured at the grand mosque, where there is beautiful mosaic tiling. yesterday, she featured some breathtaking photos of saint eustache, which have me jonesing for a paris trip of my own, if only to tour this beautiful church.
a note from kara about saint eustache:

'there were hardly any people in there. when we went to notre dame, it was practically wall-to-wall people. the fact that saint eustache is so beautiful (even more beautiful in my opinion than notre dame) and it was practically empty in there was astounding. i enjoyed it because i got to admire it in peace and quiet without people pushing past me. it's definitely a place that everyone should go.'

i find that the sheer size of saint eustache is amazing. as my mom pointed out regarding the photo above, 'the people look so small.' as i spoke with my mom on the phone about these photos, we marveled at how long ago this structure was built, as well as the lack of modern machinery - you've got to give the builders credit for creating something so large, without modern-day conveniences. the whole idea of it is immense.

read more about kara's adventures in paris:

photos: the grand mosque & saint eustache, paris, france \ courtesy of kara

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

getting wedding ready: hair care edition.

since our wedding is getting closer & closer by the day (the countdown is now almost in the double digits - 108 days & counting!), i have started a little series called getting wedding ready, in an effort to both encourage myself to take the best care of myself possible, as well as to motivate others to step up their beauty routines. because let's face it: you just plain feel better when you're taking better care of yourself. 

last week we discussed skin care, & this week, it's hair care! 
getting wedding ready: hair care edition.

first things first, it's of utmost importance to have a shampoo + conditioner combo that works well with your hair type. i have tried a great many different shampoos & conditioners, & i always find that pantene works best with my hair type. honestly, this pantene duo is not what's currently in my shower, but i'm hoping to go pick them up soon. 

i'm a big fan of aussie hair products. not only are they inexpensive, but i find them to be extremely effective at what they set out to do. i use my three minute miracle every other shower to deep condition, in place of my regular daily conditioner. it really, deeply moisturizes my hair & really helps to de-tangle it. i use hair insurance almost daily - not only is it a great leave-in conditioner, but it smells amazingly of coconuts & the beach. the heat protecting shine spray does exactly what it says it does: protects my tresses as i fry them with straighteners & curling wands, as well as gives my hair a shiny finish.

the herbal essences long term relationship leave-in split end protection for long hair is something i use on an as-needed basis. lots of times, i will use it on second- or third-day hair, to spruce up the ends & keep them looking hydrated. i've found this stuff is way too greasy to use on any other part of my hair, which makes sense, considering it is marketed as such. on a side note, i find it has a strange scent - it kind of reminds me of pepper... but, this is definitely not a deal-breaker.

coconut oil has become something of a holy grail product for me - i use this as a conditioning hair treatment about once per week. i'll wash my hair at night, towel dry it, then coat my hair - root to tip - with this luxuriously creamy product. then, i'll throw my hair in a top knot & sleep on it. as i've said in a previous favorites video, it is a bit greasy & it does take a couple washes to get completely out, but the silky hair results are worth it. 

another product that has shown up in a previous favorites video is the got2b fat-tastic instant collagen infusion mega lift root-boosting spray. as i said in the video, this stuff is great for adding volume to clean hair, without adding greasy residue. 

last but not least, a good dry shampoo is a huge part of my hair-care routine. since i have dry hair, i do not wash it daily, & this suave professionals dry shampoo spray is perfect to spruce it up between washes. plus, it smells great!

sorry, no accompanying vlog for the hair care portion of the getting wedding ready series just yet - i have been quite sick for the past couple of days. as soon as i can bring myself to apply makeup & fix my hair again (hopefully tomorrow) i will upload a video & add it to this post. 

link-up: wedding wednesday \ something charming

Monday, June 25, 2012

eating-a-late-breakfast currents.

today's post brought to you over a late breakfast of nutella toast & black coffee.

ok, that's a lie.
i scarfed down the toast while my computer was loading.
but i am still drinking the coffee.
and it was a very, very late breakfast.
reading the final pages of dracula. y'all, this book has restored my faith in classics. and you can read more about it in july's critique cache anchor post, coming next week. 
writing out lists of posts for this week, as well as a miles-long to-do list. did you happen to know that i am the world's worst procrastinator? well, i am.
listening to the hum of the air conditioner. and wondering why that hum isn't replaced with some tunes.
thinking i'm really enjoying the blogging rhythm i've fallen into as of late. i finally feel like my blog is expressing my personality... know what i mean? sometimes it's hard to put yourself down on paper internet.
smelling a freshly-brewed cup of coffee. is there any better scent in the world?
wishing confirmation of my summer plans would come. i'm not good at being in limbo. nor am i good at limbo in general anymore. i used to be. 
hoping for the best. keeping a positive, non-stressed attitude is my biggest goal for the week. that, & working out every single day.
wearing an alpha chi omega rush t-shirt. it's red, with louisiana tech university in big white block letters.
loving that our wedding is almost only three months away!
wanting a starbucks to be down the street from me. and sooner - rather than later - this may be a reality.
needing to remember to be thankful. sometimes i get caught up in a lot of meaningless frivolity & forget what's important. 
feeling much better today, after the shot of nyquil i took before bed. i hate being sick. but it always happens with major temperature changes. and, boy, it's been hot around here in recent days.
clicking the weekend jams list over on wishful thinking - i absolutely adore when people post their current listens. i may do a post this week or next. oh & also, picmonkey, which i found out about over on living in yellow. i love discovering new photo editing sites - you can never have too many, in my opinion.

photo: a late breakfast \ instagram

Friday, June 22, 2012

friday's fancies #34 + friday's letters.

friday's fancies #34: meet me at the (color) block party.

ok, so first things first.

obviously, i wouldn't wear this to a legit summer time BBQ jeans-and-a-t-shirt block party.

where would i wear this? well, on a night out with the girls, of course! and that's exactly what i'm craving at the moment. this diane von furstenberg tamika color block stretch crepe dress, perfectly paired with these miu miu peep toes, would no doubt be a hit for a nice sit-down dinner, followed by drinks at at a dimly-lit wine bar [and who knows - maybe some karaoke later into the night...]. it seems i've gone a bit off the deep end, deciding a night out also warrants not one, not two, not three, but a grand total of four chanel products. but can you really blame me? who doesn't ache to own a classic chanel quilted shoulder bag? and just imagine how luxurious that creamy eye shadow, lip stick, & nail polish is bound to feel upon application? last, but not least, for a playful punch of color, i'd adorn my ears with these juicy couture bold solitaire earrings, because they are too much fun!

when i'm back in shreveport in the coming weeks, i will be making a night like this happen. ok, so maybe i won't be wearing this exact outfit... but that's not the point. right?
dear dad, i am excited about possibly getting to work for you. dear anna claire, i've been loving our daily chats of late. dear jenny, you are getting married so soon! i absolutely cannot wait. we are going to have so much fun at all of our compiled upcoming events. dear kara, i hope you are soaking up every last bit of your time in paris. i can't wait to hear all about it! until then, i'll just live vicariously through all your facebook photos. dear justin, i'm not thrilled about the fact that we're about to enter into a long-distance relationship again, but i know that the end results will be more than worth it. i'm so excited about our future together! dear adults everywhere, let's remember to act our ages, shall we? dear justin, thank you for putting up with my meltdown about not having a job. i'm horribly dramatic, remember? thank you for dealing with me on those days when i'm having one of my 'fits.' dear mom, i hope you're excited for all the fun wedding planning we're about to embark on. it's going to be so great to get a lot of stuff done, & i know we're going to enjoy the process. dear nottoway, see you in a little over three months. dear motivation, please stick around. dear everyone, let's have ourselves a merry little weekend. i know, i know, it's june... but i am craving christmas time something fierce.

bon weekend!

friday's fancies \ {long distance loving}
friday's letters \ adventures of newlyweds

Thursday, June 21, 2012

kara in paris + my random european wish list.

my sister is in paris, france! i am extremely jealous of her, but also extremely excited. luckily, she has been able to upload some photos to facebook, so i thought i would share some of them here. while she's there, i plan to share little updates here & there about what she's doing & where she's going.
above she can be viewed jet-laggedly posing in front of the fontaine de saint michel. not only is this kara's first trip overseas, it was also her first experience flying. ever. she describes the jet lag as follows:

'hopefully i will feel normal again soon & not like 
some monster who feels like they're constantly swaying.'

from what she told me, it sounds like she has quite the picturesque paris experience mapped out. i can't wait to write more about her adventures, & of course, share her photos [and let the jealousy continue].
my random european wish list.

that's right. when my sister asked me what i wanted her to pick up 
for me while she was off galavanting in paris, i responded:

'a light, floral print summer scarf... or a chic, vintage cross body bag.'
photo: fontaine de saint michel, paris, france \ courtesy of kara

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

getting wedding ready: skin care edition.

with my wedding date closing in at warp speed (115 days & counting!), i've kicked my beauty routines up into over-drive. i thought i'd feature a little series in the coming weeks, titled getting wedding ready. not only will this documentation coerce me to keep the good habits up, but perhaps
everyone would benefit in being reminded to take a little bit of extra special care of ourselves,
whether nuptials are in your near future or not. [goodness knows, i always need a reminder!]

with that intro out of the way, it's time to dive in to this week's theme: skin care.

the arsenal:

getting wedding ready: skincare edition.

as you may have gathered from the above depiction, there are certain products i use in the morning, certain products i use at night, & then a little gathering of products i use either/or.

now, let's start with the early risers. these products only come out in the a.m. i use my neutrogena oil free acne wash pink grapefruit cream cleanser every morning when i wake up. why? because it smells absolutely delicious, has citrusy scents that do their darndest to perk me up in the morning, & gives me a fresh canvas for moisturizer. then, following moisturizer, which i'll discuss in the swingers category, comes sunscreen. i slather a pea-sized dollop of my aveeno active naturals continuous protection sunblock lotion, spf 30, onto my face, ears, & down my neck. this formula is specifically designed for the face. it smells like the beach & keeps my skin protected from the sun. what more could you ask for?

next up, the night owls. these products only come out - you guessed it - at night time, before bed. my night time routine begins with makeup removal. these trusty equate micro dermabrasion exfoliating cleansing towelettes are perfect for taking the day off. bonus? they are a terrific value. my two current favorite exfoliators - aveeno active naturals skin brightening daily scrub & proactiv solution renewing cleanser - fall into this category because it's better to exfoliate your skin at night. don't believe me? watch this video. that was all the coercion i needed to move these products into the nocturnal range. it's no surprise that my olay regenerist micro-sculpting cream is p.m.-only - its rich, creamy formula needs time to sink into the skin. to top my night time routine off, i pat a small amount of my yes to cucumbers soothing eye gel under each eye. gotta keep those peepers looking fresh!

and finally, let's discuss the swingers. these products easily transition between day & night time. some of them show up in both routines, such as my proactiv solution revitalizing toner. i squirt a generous amount of this onto a cotton ball & spread it across my face, after cleanser & before moisturizer. speaking of moisturizer, my go-to day time hydrator - clean & clear advantage acne control moisturizer - is perfect for keeping your skin spot-free. both my noxema the original deep cleansing cream, as well as my queen helene mint julep masque, are included in this category because they are used sparingly. and, last but not least, my cetaphil gentle skin cleanser is a swinger because it lives in my shower, & i use it absolutely all the time. 

into watching vlogs?
check out my corresponding getting wedding ready: 
skin care edition video here, or simply click below to watch.

so there you have it! that's my current method for working toward clear, glowy skin! i hope this helps anyone who is searching for the motivation to revamp their routine.

link-up: wedding wednesday \ something charming

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

thoughts on my first-ever wedding shower.

one of the most exciting parts of all the pre-wedding festivities - i think - 
is the gathering of so many of your loved ones. 
it's such a surreal, overwhelming feeling to have
 those people together, all in one place. 

one of the best opportunities for such a phenomenon? a wedding shower, of course!
one of my oldest friends laura, & her mother, put together an amazing kitchen shower for me the first weekend of june. not only did they open up their gorgeous home to me, but they decorated it just so, with yellow detailing, sunflowers, & antique tea cups. i couldn't have dreamed of more. 

i'll close with some advice for future brides:

- have someone make a bouquet out of all your gift ribbons, like this one mrs. wendy made for me.
- prepare for the awkwardness of opening gifts in front of a room full of people.
- embrace the awkwardness, & feel free to squeal in excitement over dish towels.
- have someone help you make sure not to break any ribbons while opening gifts
(i'm sure i don't have to tell you why... but click here to find out).
- get those thank you notes written! it's easier to write them while it's still fresh in your memory
(and you'll feel a huge sense of accomplishment & happiness when you pop them in the mail).
- take an obnoxious amount of photos. you can seriously never have enough.
- smile. laugh. relax. enjoy the company of your loved ones. take in the day. have fun!

photos: kitchen shower at the b residence \ courtesy of mom & laura
to see more photos from this gathering, click here.

Monday, June 18, 2012

justin's adventureland critique.

in the spirit of my new link up, critique cache, justin wanted to do a critique of his own, of a movie we watched the other night. it was not the first viewing of this film for either of us, but i think justin has some really interesting & entertaining observations.

a reminder about critique cache: the anchor post for each month's critique cache will go up on the first wednesday of each month. the link-up will remain open throughout the month & will close the day before the next month's anchor post goes up - this gives you (and me) all month to link up about what we've been reading/listening to/watching/etc. 

Adventureland (2009)
Director: Greg Mottola
Adventureland is a comedy set in 1987 in the image of the director, Greg Mottola.  Mottola uses reflective events and characters from his own experiences of a summer job at an amusement park in Long Island, in 1985.  The movie is centered around the main character, James Brennan (Jessie Eisenberg), a recent college graduate who was accepted to grad school at Columbia.  After a parental career setback, Brennan loses his graduation present, a backpacking trip to Europe and paid living expenses for grad school.  Brennan is left with the option of a summer job at a local decrepit amusement park.  Unknown to James, this local job sets a perfect course for him to find love with co-worker Em Lewin (Kristen Stewart).  
Brennan is a socially awkward, early 20s graduate met with disappointment and spoils of the real world.  Casting did well for this find.  Eisenberg, along with Michael Cera, fits the profile of awkward, skinny, dorky, and “good guy likeability.”  It wasn’t long after this movie that Eisenberg played the role of Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network.  Seems that Cera and Eisenberg have a profound “good guy look” and awkward delivery of acting that draw in the audience.  We do know that Mottola used life events and characters to make this movie. So, one would have to believe that James Brennan parallels the life of Mottola.  
Supporting cast: If you have ever worked a summer job, these character roles are going to sound familiar. We find out early in the movie that the only summer job that Brennan can get is with childhood friend, Tommy Frigo (Matt Bush).  Frigo is comic relief throughout the dry points of the movie with his ability to produce nutt-shots to Brennan in his most vulnerable settings. Joel (Martin Starr) brings a dry and sarcastic approach to the summer position. Who doesn’t remember the first person to show you around your work station during the summer? Remember how unenthusiastic and sarcastic that person was and how they immediately became your best friend for the summer?  Starr has an uncanny ability to make you like him without trying. SNL counterparts Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader play the managers of the park.  Wiig and Hader are the bosses you wish you had.  Who wouldn’t want a boss that chases a customer with a bat? Or a boss that tells you, “No one gets a giant panda”. Amazing how this giant panda fiasco introduces Em to the movie. No summer teen movie is complete without the cool, smooth, older guy, Mike Connell (Ryan Reynolds), and the hot chick, Lisa P. (Margarita Levieva).   
Mottola was able to capture the summer job feel and the fact that like all summer jobs they eventually come to an end. I felt that character development with virgin, awkward, 20-year-old Brennan was spot on. Throughout the summer, Brennan gained both confidence and relationship maturity. However, Mottola fell short with casting in my opinion. Stewart is not a believable sex object, and her inability to act as one makes the affair between her and Reynold's character awkward and slightly statutory. Reynolds is pushing 33 years old when cast for this movie, and although Stewart is supposed to be around 22 in this movie, she looks the part of a 16-year-old. One of the “sex scenes” with Reynolds shows Stewart’s inability to make this a believable scene by her just awkward approach to kissing. It's about as bad as the Twilight movie kiss scenes with Robert Pattinson. She’s actually dating that guy in real life and still cant deliver an intimate kiss. Please, someone teach this girl how to make a believable passionate kiss, rather than this peck-on-the-cheek approach she does. Although, I believe the her approach works with the Eisenberg relationship. Probably because he's supposed to be inexperienced, which would make things awkward at first. That being said, the most awkward and worst intimate scene of the movie is at the end. Since there may be some who haven’t seen the movie, I won’t be the spoiler. But let me just say you're going to use the words “what,” “that never happens,” and “gah that was awful,” to describe it.
I can’t let Reynolds off in the hook in this movie, either. Mike Connell is supposed to be a cool, savvy, struggling musician that could have whatever girl he wanted. This is where I feel Mottola missed. I guess I just expected Reynolds to have brought more comedy to this movie, like his character Monty in the movie Waiting..., instead of the serious, boring, married guy routine, who loves his wife yet needs a side affair to keep him young. I don’t feel this was a good role for him, and he should have walked on this movie.  
The setting of the movie was well done. I feel that anyone that grew up in the 80’s could relate to the music and fashion represented throughout. From disco dance clubs, hiked up pants, and hot-pink attire, the 80s were back. Mottola did well with the amusement park also. Reminds me of the local amusement parks as a kid, where you knew the games were rigged and that the rides constantly were broken. I enjoyed the scenes with the staff hanging out in the parking lot after work, talking and waiting for rides. The best part of summer jobs is the immediate friendships you make, because everybody has a story as to why they were left working at this crap job for the summer.
Grades: I believe these are the most important aspects of movies. 
Setting: A 
Plot: B
Casting: C
Character development: B
Acting: B (managers, Eisenberg, and Starr saved this from a C)
Ending: C
Overall: C 
Overall, the movie has funny parts and is relatable to any summer job you’ve ever had. Eisenberg keeps the movie watchable. It’s a movie that I would own and watch occasionally, but not something that has aspects making me want to watch it over and over again.


i think justin did a great job writing his first critique!
adventureland is actually one of my favorites -
i could watch it over & over again!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

happy father's day!

to a dad with excellent taste in music.
to a dad with an award-winning sense of humor.
to a dad who is endlessly supportive.
to a dad who loves unconditionally.
to a dad who is a role model & someone to look up to.

thank you for all you do for me!

photo: circa 1981/2 \ sowell archives