Tomorrow marks the official start of summer, even though Baton Rouge has already been sitting in the 90-degree heat for awhile. When I lived in Indiana, I loved summer. Of course, I was in school, so that meant summers off from class, working shifts at the custard shop, cool night drives on winding country roads, and if I was lucky, a summer crush.
Since I work now, all year, summer isn’t quite the same. And I’m not sure this southern heat is made for bodies getting close. However, there’s still a few things I love about the summer months, so here they are…
With this heat, a pool is not even a luxury, it is a must-have. I am lucky enough to have access to pools, and often, this relaxation time includes refreshing cocktails, friends, and many hours on a raft — like the donut raft on the left (a great investment).
A day at the pool also means an entire day wearing no pants, and instead wearing a swimsuit. I know that, especially for women, swimsuit season can be stressful.
But when I’m at the pool with my best friends, I know they’re not going to judge me, no matter how I look, so I always try to find cute, fun swimsuits. I am loving the ruffled bandeau tops that are in style this season!
Ahh, the smell of coconut makes me think of the beach, and the beach makes me happy. So when summer comes ’round and I’ve got an excuse to wear/use coconut body products, I am all over that! Here are some of my favorites:
- Moroccainoil Moisture Repair shampoo & conditioner — Has a slight coconut scent and is gentle enough to use on color-treated hair (I’m a natural blonde, you know, so I’ve got to keep my chocolate waves intact).
- Softsoap Coconut Scrub — Nothing fancy here, just a simple bar of coconut soap that’s studded with sandy exfoliants. It softens the skin but is created for everyday use.
- St. Ives Coconut Milk & Orchid Extract Body Lotion — Again, nothing fancy here! I love the light scent of coconut, mixed with the floral nodes of the orchid. I use this lotion all year long, and during the summer months, I like to add a dime-sized drop of sunless tanner to a few pumps of regular lotion to give myself a light glow.
- Coconut Bay, by Yankee Candle — Okay, I know this isn’t a body product, but I love this candle! I even have the air freshener in my car, and it makes me feel like I’m right on the beach, even when I’m driving to work.
I know, it seems small, but each year, I look forward to when it’s socially acceptable to pull out my white jeans (and white white-leg trousers). White jeans, paired with a navy tank, and some gold jewelry makes me feel like a sailor, and nothing makes me happier than the thought of that. I especially love the destroyed, cropped white denim — am I stuck in the 80s? I just love this look!
Speaking of fashion, I also loved colored jeans, and am currently searching for the perfect pair of mint skinnies. A good denim vest is also on my personal wish list, as I think it’s the perfect thing to put over a maxi dress this season.
And finally, a summer outfit really isn’t complete without a great pair of sunglasses. Honestly, sunglasses really used to bother me in years passed, but lately, I can’t go anywhere without a pair. I’m not into designer shades, but I stocked up on a few cheap aviators (one has leopard print down the sides) and I love them!
Summer is the perfect season to get lost in a book (okay, so is winter), but I feel like the warmer months produce great beach reads and hot romance novels.
I can recall many great days, lounging in the sun with a good book in my hands. There’s just no better way to relax! Here are some of summer’s hottest (supposed) reads:
- Friendswood by Rene Steinke — A big, moving novel of one tight-knit Texas community and the events that alter its residents’ lives forever.
- The Last Magazine by Michael Hastings — The year is 2002. Weekly newsmagazines dominate the political agenda in New York and Washington. A young journalist named Michael M. Hastings is a twenty-two- year-old intern at The Magazine, wet behind the ears, the only one in the office who’s actually read his coworker’s books.
- Save the Date by Jen Doll — In Save the Date, Jen Doll charts the course of her own perennial wedding guesthood, from the ceremony of distant family members when she was eight to the recent nuptials of a new boyfriend’s friends.
- The Vacationers by Emma Straub — An irresistible, deftly observed novel about the secrets, joys, and jealousies that rise to the surface over the course of an American family’s two-week stay in Mallorca.
Not to push the issue, but Christian Dior is on point with this nail polish set for summer 2014 — that bright blue? Yes, please! And of course, each bottle comes complete with “CD” nail stickers, because branding your nails is completely necessary at this point.
Here are some other great nail lacquers for the upcoming season: Haute in the Heat by Essie, Life Gave Me Lemons by OPI, Fierce no Fear by Essie, Down to the Core-al by OPI, Strut Your Stuff by Essie, Marjorie by Julep, Roarrrrrange by Essie
I hope you’ve got a great summer planned! Let me know what some of your seasonal favorites are!
Last weekend, I was flipping channels, searching for something I could get lost in for awhile (one of my favorite hobbies), when I came across the movie, “Definitely, Maybe,” starring the one and only Hottie With A Body, Ryan Reynolds.
Good Lord, that man is fwwiiiinnne.
Aside from boy band crushes, Mr. Reynolds might just be my original celeb crush, as I loved watching him on the sitcom “Two Guys, A Girl and a Pizza Place” (1998-2001).
I remember getting the Adidas sneakers, white with three patent orange stripes on the sides, because he had them. Because that would have totally made him fall in love with my 8th grade self, provided we ran into each other on the street.
I have always dreamt big.
Some other movies you might recognize him from include Green Lantern, Smokin’ Aces, Just Friends, Van Wilder, The Proposal, and Buried, among many others.
Many people do know that he’s currently married to the beautiful Blake Lively, but did you know that he was previously married to musical badass, Alanis Morissette, as well as large-lipped Scar-Jo?
People Magazine has a nice timeline with all the details, just for you.
I’ll leave you with another beautiful picture of Mr. Reynolds, looking fine as hell, and just because I love you (and him) — click the pic to watch episode one, from season one of “Two Guys, A Girl and a Pizza Place.”
We might be too proud to admit it as guys, but we still need to learn how to manage responsibility, how to face our challenges.
Boy do I love curling up on my couch for a self-made marathon of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” built using my collections of seasons on DVD.
“The Mary Tyler Moore Show” ran for seven seasons, beginning in 1970 — a time when America was going through political change, and women were beginning to experience economic freedom. Feminism was spreading, women were granted the right to vote, and in 1973, women were granted the right to an abortion.
But as the show premiered, the idea of women having freedom was new, so a show about a girl — a single girl — moving out on her own to establish a career was a fresh idea. “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” was the “Sex and the City” of its time.
Starring Mary Tyler Moore (obviously), Valerie Harper (Rhoda), Cloris Leachman (Phyllis), Ted Knight (Ted Baxter), Edward Asner (Lou), and Gavin MacLeod (Murray), the show is centered around Mary and her adventures in working and dating.
What I love about the show is that, aside from its already shocking plot (single woman on her own!!!), the show covers issues that are relevant today, even 40 years later, including equal pay for women, premarital sex, addiction, homosexuality, divorce, infidelity, prostitution, death, adoption, infertility, and heart health.
Here are a few things I’ve learned while watching “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”:
- Alcohol at work should totally be allowed. Mary’s boss, Lou Grant, is known to keep a bottle of scotch in his bottom desk drawer, and take a swig when times get stressful. That’s a smart man.
- Sleeping on a pullout sofa bed can be glamorous. Mary’s one-room apartment is cute with its tiny kitchen, dining table, and barely-there closet, leaving Mary to sleep on a pull out bed every night. Yet her place is never messy!
- Working in the news business is cool. Okay, so Mary’s office isn’t anything special, but at the time, a room full of typewriters and clocks, complete with a coffee pot? BAMF.
- You’re gonna make it after all. Although Mary dates a few people throughout the show’s entirety, she remains single. And you know what? I think it’s pretty badass. I need more single women role models in my life, and so what if one of them is on a TV show thats 40 years old.
If you want to check out the show for yourself, there’s a ton of episodes on YouTube. Click the pic to get started!
Well I just wanted to let you know that sometimes I get concerned about being a career woman. I get to thinking that my job is too important to me. And I tell myself that the people I work with are just the people I work with. But last night I thought what is family anyway? It’s the people who make you feel less alone and really loved.
—Mary Tyler Moore, as Mary Richards
Yes! I saw The Fault in Our Stars this weekend!
After reading the book, and then seeing the previews, I was seriously counting down the days until the movie hit theatres. Although it’s out of character for me, I didn’t go to the midnight premiere, but I did see it on Sunday, and the theatre was full of fans.
I arrived at the theatre early, worried it might be sold out, packed my caramel corn, a book, and a pile of tissues. Before seeing the movie i’d heard both sides: one person told me the movie butchered the book, while another told me that the author, John Green, was present for all of the filming, and he was pleased with the film.
I wasn’t too worried — if the author liked the film, I figured I would, too.
Going into any film that’s adapted from a book is a little nerve-wracking. If you loved the book, there’s a big chance you won’t like the movie. After all, they can’t be exactly the same, right?
While some movies based on books I’ve seen have been really different, that doesn’t necessarily mean they were bad. Take for example Nicholas Sparks’ Safe Haven. The book is very different from the movie, yet I love both of them!
I won’t give away any spoilers, but I will say the movie is a tad different from the book when it comes to The Fault in Our Stars. However, it’s not different by much. And it’s a phenomenal movie.
What I loved about the book and the movie, is the story in general. It’s a love story that’s a testament to our time. We live in a world where people have cancer. And some of those people are young; and they face challenges that many of us have known, but only through others.
And, if you didn’t love Augustus Waters in the book, you’ll still fall in love with him on the big screen.
I can’t say enough just how great this movie is. When I left the theatre, I felt new. And that’s happened just a few other times in my life — once being after I saw Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.
Anyway. TFIOS. See this movie. And then call me.
You have a choice in this world, I believe, about how to tell sad stories, and we made the funny choice.
—Hazel Grace, The Fault in Our Stars
While I do have an extensive collection of makeup, including lip wear, I have a really bad habit of leaving my lips out of the makeup party — I’m never really sure what color to wear, and then there’s that whole mess of it on my coffee mug in the mornings, and my wine glass in the evenings.
But I realize having a colorful lip will accent my whole look, so in an effort to utilize the collection of lipsticks, stains, and glosses that I’ve already got, here’s a little how-to (for me and you).
WHAT SHADE LOOKS BEST ON YOU
Wearing red lipstick is nothing new — in fact, it’s classic. But it’s becoming insanely popular again, giving me the confidence to actually use the few shades of red in my collection. But different shades look good on different people, so here’s the crash course on colors.
If you’re daring, or just not sure, try a red lip palette to see which shade looks best with your skin (or just mix and match). Try the MAC Pro Lip Palette, Sleek Makeup Lip 4 Palette (in Tease or Siren), or Mineral Shine Lip Palette by Everface.
ON TEXTURE: MATTE, GLOSS, VELVET?
Matte, meaning “not shiny,” are most of what you see on celebrities lately — while glossy lips are said to be stuck in the 80s. But you know what? I love a glossy lip!
If you want a matte look, it’s best to choose a lipstick that actually has “Matte” in the name, just to be certain. You can also try out a new lip texture called “Velvet” — it will say Velvet finish — which gives the matte appearance, but goes on like a gloss. Velvet lipstick is said to dry weightless and have long-lasting wear.
- The Ultimate Matte Red Lipstick by Vasanti USA
- Pure Red by Sephora
- Color Design Sensational Effects Lipcolor by Lancome
If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck, get a matte red lipstick and a red gloss — wear both when you’re feeling saucy, or just go for the matte when you’re on trend.
A red gloss alone probably won’t give you that standout BAM! thing you’re going for. Here are some great red glosses to check out, to wear over your lipstick, or even over your stain or crayon.
- Tinted Lipglass by MAC in Russian Red
- Lippy Liquid Lipstick by Butter London in Come to Bed Red
- Color Stay Liquid Lipstick by Revlon, in Top Tomato
A lip stain gives the appearance of just-bitten lips — very sexy. It comes in a liquid form, sometimes in a tube or a felt-tip marker. Some stains can be used on the lips and cheeks. The stain is going to provide a naturally matte look, unless of course you apply a gloss over it.
- Just Bitten Lip Stain & Balm by Revlon, in Gothic
- 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Lip & Cheek Stain, in Cherry
- Avon Extra Lasting Lip Stain & Balm, in Ready Red
Lip crayons are said to have all the great things about lip color rolled right into one, housing color, sheen, and moisturizing properties, all while remaining easy to apply (something I can’t really say about lipstick).
- Love Me Dew Moisturizing Lip Crayon by Laura Geller, in Cranberry Glaze
- Ilia Lipstick Crayon in 99 Red Balloons
- Art Stick by Bobbi Brown, in Harlow Red
…I kind of thinking I’m SOLD on the stain or the crayon — never tried either!
HOW TO APPLY, WEAR
Now that you’ve picked the perfect red to go with your skin (and style), and you’ve got a texture to be excited over, let’s get this lip rockin’!
Start by prepping the lips. Use a lip scrub (try Fabulips by Bliss or make your own with a little honey and sugar) or simply use your toothbrush to rid your lips of any rough patches — we want a smooth application here.
Next, apply a good lip balm (not a gloss), even Chapstick is okay here, and let it soak in for a minute.
This is when you would apply liner, but that’s totally unnecessary. If you’re worried about the lipstick bleeding away from your lip use concealer around your mouth to ensure everything stays in place.
Next, apply the red. If you’re using a lipstick or a crayon, fill in the lips first with short strokes. Using a stain? Apply that now. Blot with a tissue.
Then, apply a second coat of color.
Next, if you want to top with a gloss, do so, or top with a balm if you used a stain.
Finally, place your index finger in your mouth, purse your lips around it and pull your finger out to prevent any chance of color on your teeth.
Other good things to keep in mind when wearing red lips? While it’s not a must, it is a good idea to dial down other makeup. You can still have eyeshadow and all the normal stuff, just don’t go for the black smokey eye along with the red lip — unless you’re performing on stage. No, seriously.
As far as clothing goes, you CAN go matchy-matchy, or total opposite (sexy black dress, sexy red lip), and it’s definitely okay to rock your red lips at the office, or when meeting the gals for lunch.
I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely feeling confident about my red lip look and I’m ready to show it off. Now, where is that little black book?
Wow, do I love a good brunch. I’m lucky enough to live in a city that’s got dozens of great brunch spots, but I’ve always had a little dream of hosting one myself.
The thing is, it seems like such a huge ordeal — what to serve for food? What about drinks? How fancy should it be? Yadda, yadda, yadda. Well, after scouring the interwebs (pretty much my favorite thing to do), I’ve got some ideas and tips for you!
BRUNCH MENU OPTIONS
The cool thing about brunch is that it’s breakfast AND lunch, so you can choose one or the other, or you can have a little bit of both. I looked for recipes that combined sweet breakfast foods with savory lunch items.
- Ricotta & Asparagus Quiche
- French Toast Strata with Chicken Sausage
- Baked Fruit
- The Lola Burger
- Bagels & Lox
- Blueberry Almond Crunch Brioche Rolls
- Mexican Eggs Benedict
You could serve a few of these, or pick a main dish (such as the Strata) and have some sides (fruit, eggs, and bacon) — having plenty of options is the key here.
Lots of items you could purchase ready-made, i.e. a fruit plate/salad, lox platter and bagels, and then toss together an egg casserole and you’re good to go!
While I love to eat, brunch isn’t brunch without a proper cocktail (which doesn’t always have to be alcoholic). It’s always great to have the basics: bloody Marys, mimosas (traditional is champagne plus orange juice), coffee, etc.
But you can also make your own cocktail, say a giant pitcher of something refreshing?
Here are some cool drink recipes I found:
- White Summer Sangria
- Basil Prosecco & Limoncello
- Irish Coffee
- Fruit Cube Mocktails
- Blood Orange Negroni
I also came across a cool, rather easy idea: create a mimosa bar! Have bottles of bubbly (or sparkling cider, or soda water) on ice and then container of different juices. Here are some ideas on how to build your own mimosa bar.
Depending on why you’re having a brunch — hosting a bridal party, a baby shower, or celebrating a promotion — you may want to cutesy it up a little, or maybe just keep it casual for you and your friends and family. I really need new plates and glasses, so I went on a hunt for some of those, and some other cute things that will make your brunch (or everyday) special.
- Spring plates
- Neon drink stirrers
- Chevron Salad servers
- Paisley Tea Towels
- Floral Spreaders
- Metro Madness Glasses
Doesn’t seem so bad now, does it? I hope I’ve inspired you to host a brunch — even if it’s just for your family! Perhaps one of these recipes will make for a good Sunday morning, even if it’s just a simple breakfast. If you’ve got other brunch ideas, please share them! Cheers!
This shot glass has been sitting on my counter for weeks — because what are you supposed to do with a gift someone that you thought was boyfriend-potential got you, and then stops talking to you? The options are as follows:
- Throw it against the wall, hoping it shatters into a billion pieces
- Drop it from a second-story window
- Wrap it up for the company white elephant Christmas gift exchange in 6 months
- Put it on a shelf
- Fill it with whiskey, shoot it, and hate yourself
Let me explain.
Boston and I were set up by a mutual friend of ours. Our first date was a blind date, and I was pleasantly surprised, as he was handsome, funny, and very polite (#Winning). We went on two great dates, and then Boston headed on a trip… to Boston, to visit a childhood friend.
He asked me what kind of souvenir I wanted. While getting me a gift was completely too kind, I told him that I collect tacky shot glasses from different cities. He thought I was kidding and asked me again.
I was serious. I really do have a shelf in my kitchen dedicated to the tackiest shot glasses I’ve found in this country. So, he returned with said shot glass.
He gave it to me on date #3, when I went to visit him at his home in New Orleans. We went to dinner, and then went out for handcrafted cocktails. When we went back to his place, he asked me if I wanted to stay over.
Following one of Patti Stanger’s rules — no sex until monogamy — I kept it clean. But sleeping next to someone new is always another step forward, if you ask me.
The next morning, as I drove back to Baton Rouge, I was thinking a lot about the weeks leading up to that morning. I was blown away. Here was a man who had his shit together, was fit and sexy, had a great sense of humor, lived in a cute little house, and was quick to compliment me.
It was really great. While I wanted to take things slow, I also wanted to know if he was dating to eventually get to a relationship, or just dating to date… and I was prepping myself to ask him about it on date #4.
But he never asked me on that date.
Despite a great date, he was acting distant toward me once he returned home from Boston. I know, it sounds weird, because I’d only known him a few weeks, but something was off.
And I started questioning myself… am I asking for too much? How much can I expect him to call/text me when it’s a new relationship-ish thing?
But I felt like he was giving me the fade, and I’ve had that happen to me way too many times, and I wasn’t going to let it happen again. So, I called him on it and asked him if something was up. He told me that it had nothing to do with me and that his work had been crazy since he got back.
I didn’t think that was the truth, and even if it was, it pissed me off. I’ve dated many-a-dude obsessed with working, and that whole excuse gets old.
But, he called me the following night and told me that during his trip, he visited his ex.
Oh, that. The ex factor.
This ex told him that she hated her current boyfriend, and that since she figured out that she wasn’t going to be in love, instead she would focus on her career.
Sounds great to me, what’s the problem?
The problem was he felt guilty. Apparently really guilty. So guilty that he stopped talking to me.
I was (and still am) crushed. I know it was only a few dates, but damn! Why’d it have to end because of that? It made me upset; I felt like I wasn’t enough to get him to push his ex from his mind. I felt sad that something good was ending and I couldn’t do anything to stop it.
And I felt mad at his ex for making him feel bad. An entire coast away, and she ruined it.
I’ve gone back and forth in mind with different scenarios — if he called, what would I say? Would he apologize and want to make it right? Or would he give me the “It’s not you, it’s me” speech?
I can’t judge. I’ve got exes, too. Bad ones. And if I saw them, talked to them (that would never happen), then I’d probably lose my shit for a few days.
But, I can only react to what has happened, and what’s happened is his ex. And then a whole bunch of quiet.
And in those times of quiet, I try to stay really, really busy, so that I don’t have time to think about it and so my hands stay busy to keep from texting those I shouldn’t.
It’s a bitch of a cycle.
And so, I decided to keep my Boston shot glass (for now) and any time someone comes to my apartment because their guy or girl pissed them off, they MUST take a shot from it.
It’s not the outcome I hoped for, but I’ll deal with the one I got.