Saturday, August 23, 2014

Learning to Run Happy: True Confessions From a Netflix Loving Diva

So, it's been quite some time since my last post and while my little blog may be feeling neglected, it was for a good reason.  For the last two and a half months, I decided to start another exciting challenge.  The challenge?  Pushing myself to get myself off the couch, away from Pretty Little Liars on Netflix, and go outside and run.

Now I've always been a petite lady and probably haven't grown much since the seventh grade so exercising for me wasn't really a priority, but that doesn't mean I felt great on the inside.  With the day to day stresses of learning to be an adult, exercise can be a great stress reliever.

In past years I have tried to take up running.  I would run a little over a mile around the block, get back home and want to die.  Those running days didn't last very long, until earlier this summer.  Near the beginning of June I met two of my high school friends for dinner and we began discussing running.  I mentioned how I really desired to experience that, "runner's high," that so many long-time runners rave about.  My friend suggested the Couch 2 5k program to me to help me run longer distances without wanting to fall over afterwards.

A week later, I purchased the Couch 2 5k app for my phone and immediately hit the road.  This program takes new and in-experienced runners from being a non-runner to running a 5k or 3.1 miles in nine weeks.  The program I chose was three, thirty minute workouts a week.  You begin slow with one minute intervals of walking and jogging.  Throughout the weeks, you lessen the dependency on walking to build up to all running.

Those first few weeks were rough, getting out of bed at 5:30 in the morning to complete my workout, but it was a great feeling coming home from work knowing I was done with my run for the day.  For the first time, I stuck with this program and completed every workout as scheduled.  And guess what? I learned to love running,  I remember being terrified for the first workout without any walking, but it was a great feeling to complete the workout!  Over the nine week program I went from barely making it past the one mile mark to running almost four miles at a time.

I just finished the Couch 2 5k program two weeks ago and have decided to take on the next challenge of building up to a 10k.  While I haven't signed up for any official races yet, I hope to complete my first 5k soon and potentially run a half marathon a year from now.  I look forward to running each day and have finally experienced the infamous, "runner's high."  Sometimes, the first mile to two miles of a run can be painful, but something happens after that point and you just run.

Another added benefit of running is the wardrobe!  I didn't own one piece of active wear in my already overcrowded closet, but that quickly changed the more I got into my running.  The right pair of running shoes can make a huge difference in your running as well.  When I knew I wanted to stick with running, I invested in a pair of Brooks Glycerin 12s.  These are a neutral running shoe with great arch support.  

Below are a few of my favorite items for running that I've discovered on my running journey...

Left to right...
1. Brooks Utopia Thermal Hoodie II-While it's still too warm to run in this jacket, I purchased this on sale directly from Brooks for fall and winter running.  This jacket comes in four colors and is rated for 40 degrees and below.  There are also several nice details on this jacket such as thumb holes, an inside pocket for your phone, and a slit in the hood for your ponytail!

2. Nathan QuickDraw Plus Water Bottle-This all-in-one water bottle is great for longer runs on hot days.  The handle is snug and sturdy.  The front pocket is great for holding your phone, keys, ID or a small snack.

3. Brooks Glycerin 12 Running Shoes-I basically only owned athletic shoes from Kindergarten through my Senior year of high school.  After the age of 18, high heels became my shoe of choice.  When I began the Couch 2 5k program, I ran in an old pair of Nikes I purchased over five years ago.  I told myself if I stuck with this running program, I would treat myself to a real pair of running shoes, so two months into the program, I purchased the Glycerin 12s.  They are like running a cloud, not to mention they come in really appealing colors.  For someone like myself with high arches, these shoes fit like a glove.  I plan to purchase another pair of these same shoes once my current pair are worn out.

I'm looking forward to continuing this running journey and sharing it on the blog.  If you've ever considered taking up running or tried to run without much success, I would highly recommend the Couch 2 5k program.  To read more about the program visit their website here.

Until next time...

Monday, June 2, 2014

Having a Moment: Pineapples

My mom has had the greatest obsession with pineapples for as long as I can remember.  This obsession with pineapples made it very easy to find birthday or Christmas gifts for my mom.  Little did I know that my mom was way ahead of the next big trend in fashion and home decor.  Let's face it, pineapples are definitely having a moment right now.  There's just something so catchy about this fancy little fruit.  Here are a few finds that are jumping on the pineapple bandwagon...

Pineapples are a symbol of hospitality, cheer, and warmth.  How will you incorporate this fun trend and symbol into your wardrobe or home decor this summer?


Thursday, May 1, 2014

A Stripes & Sparkle DIY

I love creating things and therefore, I am addicted to Pinterest.  A few weeks ago I came across this pin and I fell in love.  I'm a sucker for stripes and florals mixed together.  Over the years, I've been doing small canvas projects to decorate our home, so I couldn't wait to add this one to the collection.  I cannot draw or paint well, so I did modify the original design a bit.  This was a fun and easy DIY for an evening after work!

The Inspiration...

Supplies for Creating...

*A canvas of your choice.  I chose to do my project on an 8x8 inch sized canvas, but this project can be done on any size canvas.
*Black acrylic paint (or any color if you feel like getting crazy!)
*A one inch foam brush
*Metallic gold scrapbook paper
*Glitter flower embellishments.  The ones used for this project were from the creator of all things crafty, Martha Stewart.
*Small faux leaves.  I had some silk flower sitting around the house, so I used the leaves from those.
*Painter's tape

Just a Few Steps...

 Step 1. Plan out the placement of the stripes on your canvas.  The original project didn't have the stripes centered on the canvas and I really liked that detail, so I started my first stripe about a 1/4 of an inch from the top of the canvas.  Using light pencil lines and a ruler, I marked the stripes on my canvas.  The stripes were the same width as my ruler.

Step 2. Tape off the stripes you'd like to keep white.

Step 3.  Using the foam brush, apply two to three coats of black acrylic paint, allowing the paint to dry between each coat.  

Step 4. In order to make a clean letter, I simply Googled, "letter A template, " in Google Images and found a ton to chose from.  I printed one out, cut it out and traced it on the back of my gold paper.  I cut the letter from the gold paper and glued it to my canvas.

Finishing Touches & the Grand Finale!

 Instead of hand painting the flowers and leaves on the canvas, I embellished the canvas with the faux leaves and glitter flowers.  This would be a great project to not only make for your own home, but to give as a gift, too!  I hope you enjoy creating your own canvas as much as I enjoyed creating mine!


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Sparkle With This Chloe + Isabel Giveaway!

One of my dearest friends, Sarah and I have both been feeling the urge to start our own side projects.  I decided to finally start my blog and my friend, Sarah, has become a merchandiser with Chloe + Isabel.  To celebrate Sarah's new venture, she has partnered with, "See Her Sparkle," for our first ever giveaway, but first, a little back story on, Chloe + Isabel...

The Chloe + Isabel Story...
The company was started by Chantel Waterbury.  After her college graduation, Chantel started a 15 year career in jewelry design at large retailers that included, Target, Gap, and Tiffany.  Despite landing her dream job in 2010, Chantel wanted to do something more and that's when the idea of Chloe + Isabel was conceived.  She wanted to create a unique business model where young women could strive regardless of their skill-set.

How Does Chloe + Isabel Work?
 Chloe + Isabel operates on a network of merchandisers.  The Chloe + Isabel merchandiser is able to customize their jewelry business both online and in-person.  Individuals can shop a merchandiser's custom shop via their website or through jewelry parties.  Here are a few of the merchandiser perks:

  To learn more about the process and perks of becoming a Chloe + Isabel merchandiser visit here.

Let's Accessorize!
I love jewelry, especially statement necklaces.  I can't get enough!  Chloe + Isabel has a great selection of statement necklaces, but they offer other beautiful pieces as well.  Here are a few of my favorite items from Sarah's online boutique...

Bellflower + Pearl Collar Necklace on a white background 
Terrace Blooms Drop Earrings on a white background  
Deco Bow Leather Double Wrist Wrap on a white background
*If you are interested in hosting a pop-up shop online or through a house party, please contact Sarah at

Now For the Giveaway!  YAY!
Sarah has been kind enough to share this beautiful limited edition bracelet from Chloe + Isabel!  This is a bright, colorful piece that can be dressed up for a night out or a dressed down for a day at the office. This is a limited edition piece that won't be available for long.  This bracelet retails for $58, but can be yours for FREE by entering our giveaway below!  The giveaway will close on Wednesday, April 16th.  Good luck!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Put a Bow on It! A Bow Clutch DIY

What's more feminine than a bow?  I love bows on anything-shoes, handbags, hair accessories, you name it.  I also believe you can never be too old to wear anything with a bow on it.  I plan to be a fashionable, bow-wearing lady even when my hair has gone gray.  Today, I'm going to share a quick, weekend DIY with you for a super cute bow clutch!

 What you'll need...

*1/2 yard of exterior fabric
*1/2 yard of lining fabric
*1/2 yard of fusible interfacing
*14 inch zipper
*Dressmaker pins
*Sewing machine

The First Steps...

1. Measure and cut two pieces of exterior fabric and two pieces of lining fabric into 14"x11" pieces.
2.  Cut a larger, 22"x17" piece of fabric.  This will be for your bow.
3. Cut a 5"x5" square.  This will be the knot of your bow.
4. Measure and cut two pieces of fusible interfacing to 14"x11"Adhere the interfacing to your two exterior fabric pieces.
5. Take your 22"x17" piece and fold in half width-wise with right sides together.  Press.  Stitch the long edge with a 1/2" seam allowance.  Press open seam and turn right-side out.  Center your seam.
6. Take your 5"x5" piece and fold in half with right sides together.  Stitch the long edge with a 1/4" seam allowance.  Press open seam and turn right-side out.  Center your seam and with right side together, stitch another 1/4" seam on short side.  Turn right-side out.

Putting a bow on it...

7. Fold your sewn 22"x17" piece, accordion-style and slip through the knot piece, forming a bow as shown in the first photo.
8. Take your bow and pin it to one of your 14"x11" exterior pieces.  If your bow is too large, you can trim the ends to match your 14"x11" piece.  Stitch the raw edges of the bow to front of clutch using a 1/4" seam allowance.
9. Place the zipper face down along the top of your exterior piece.  Place a piece of your lining fabric, right side down on top of your exterior piece and zipper.
10.  Using a zipper foot, stitch the zipper to the lining and exterior piece using a 1/4" seam allowance.  
11.  Your lining, zipper, and exterior fabric should look like the last photo when you are finished stitching.
12. Repeat steps nine and ten for your remaining lining and exterior pieces.

The Finishing Touches...



13. Once the zipper has been attached to the top of your clutch, create a large rectangle by matching the right sides of your exterior fabric and right sides of your lining.  *Ensure that your zipper is unzipped before sewing or you will not be able to turn your clutch right-side out.*
14. Leave a six inch opening at the bottom of your lining.  Stitch a 1/2" seam allowance around your clutch, leaving the six inch opening.  Trim your seam allowances and clip corners.
15. Turn right-side out through the six inch opening in lining.  Slip stitch opening.

You're done!  I've made two clutches and I've been experimenting with different sizes.  I plan on using the blue clutch as an iPad case and the smaller one as a makeup bag.  Try experimenting with different fabrics and prints, too!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Get to the Pointe...Shoes for the Ballerina on a Budget

Who doesn't love a pair of fancy shoes?  I know I do and while I adore a beautiful pair of Louboutins, I also love finding an amazing deal on unique footwear.  Last week, a friend of mine showed me an adorable pair of flats she had purchased from  Obviously, I had to browse myself and that's when I found a pair of flats that needed to be mine.  I had been lusting after the nearly $500 version of these shoes for months and couldn't believe my eyes when I saw a nearly identical pair for only $60!  So what are these designer dupes you ask?  They are the Audrey Brooke version of Chloe's Ballet Flats!  Shoe perfection for the ballerina on a budget!

These are the original $485 version from Chloe.  They can be purchased here.  These are made from leather and are available in black, gray, and pink.

BUT, if you want a deal, here's the $60 Audrey Brooke version from DSW!  Like the Chloe originals, these are made from leather and have soft, suede, padded in-soles.  In addition to black, gray, and blush options, DSW also offers a silver version.  

I will admit, I was nervous to see these shoes in person, but I am very pleased.  They're almost like wearing a pair of real ballet shoes, but are a step above your standard pair of flats. DSW sent me a coupon in the mail yesterday, so there's a chance I'll be adding the silver pair to my shoe collection soon! 

Friday, March 28, 2014

High Fidelity Friday-Top Five Songs for an Indie Rock Dance Party

Music is probably one of my all-time favorite things.  Hands down.  I love going to shows and discovering new bands.  During my junior year of high school, I discovered a little known duo known as the White Stripes and from that day forward I was an Indie Rock lover.  So, to celebrate my deep love for all things music, I bring you, "High Fidelity Fridays," where I'll go all Rob Gordon and share my top five songs in certain genres.  I'll kick this off with the first group of five songs that make me want to dance!

Top Five Songs for an Indie Rock Dance Party

*All songs can be purchased on iTunes!

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Few Favorites...

We all have our guilty pleasures and one of mine is reading reviews of beauty products.  Sure, it sounds boring, but there's something so exciting reading about how a product changed someone's life or how it's become a product they've relied upon for years.  Through my addiction of hoarding beauty products, I've come across a few gems of my own...

Macadamia Natural Oil Deep Repair Masque
Every now and then I would see a pin pop up on Pinterest of this hair mask that fellow Pinners claimed was a "game changer."  I immediately felt the need to deep condition my hair, but at $34 for an 8.5 oz jar, I was reluctant to invest in this so-called magical mask, but then I found that was selling this product for only $17.49 for the same 8.5 oz jar!  A few days later, the magical mask arrived at my doorstep and I was ready to test it out!  I'm pleased to say that this product definitely lives up to the hype.  My hair was noticeably softer and smoother.  This also has a fresh, natural scent that will linger at least a full day after using it.  I would suggest using this once a week.

Jolie MD Skin Metamorphosis
It was my lucky day when I won this two-step skin care through a giveaway from MaskcaraThis is a two-step system consisting of a softening serum and an enlightening serum.  Used nightly, this product claims to reveal brighter, healthier, younger looking skin.  The softening serum contains acne fighting ingredients such as salicylic acid and the enlightening serum contains ingredients to repair discoloration.  While I didn't suffer much from acne as a teenager, I have struggled in my adult years.  I've tried every product under the sun and never experienced successful results.  Not the case with Jolie MD!  I could go on and on about how great this product is for adult skin, but to sum it up, I've experienced less breakouts, old acne scars have started to fade, and my overall skin tone appears brighter.  While I was lucky enough to win this product, the one downfall is the price of $96.  If you're willing to take the plunge, take a browse on the Jolie MD website and view some of the before and after photos.

LORAC Blush & Bronzer Duo
The time is coming for bright and bronzed cheeks!  I was running low on my current bronzer and was looking to try something new.  This blush and bronzer duo is the perfect item for the upcoming summer months.  I purchased this duo in, "Hot Flash," which includes a bright, cheery pink blush and a darker bronzer which can also be used for contouring.  The compact also has a secret compartment for storing the brush.  You can purchase this little gem at Ulta.

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion
So if a lovely new zit has appeared the night before a big event, don't fret, this drying lotion from Mario Badescu is your new best friend.  This spot treatment is formulated with salicylic acid and calamine to drastically shrink large zits and reduce redness overnight.  Dab on at night using a Q-tip and rinse off in the morning.  While you may be tempted to shake the bottle, please refrain as the product will not work as effectively.  Find this at your local Ulta.

Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupte Silky Sensual Lipstick
Last, but certainly not least is this beautifully packaged lipstick from YSL.  This lipstick was actually a Valentine's Day gift from my husband who was strongly encouraged by a J. Crew employee to go buy me, "something French."  My husband saved the receipt from Sephora worried that I wouldn't like the color he chose; however, this might be my favorite color amongst the many lipsticks I own.  The color is Nude Beige and is the most perfect everyday shade.  It is a creamy, neutral pink-beige that will instantly brighten your complexion.  Not only is this lipstick beautiful to look at, but it also contains SPF15.  Venture to Sephora to own this little slice of heaven.

Perhaps one of my favorite things will become one of your favorite things! 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Closet That Love Built

Four years ago my husband and I bought our first house.  For most people, building a walk-in closet is not on the top of the list of home improvements, but I was bound and determined to make this happen and on a small budget.  Since our home was built in the 1950s, the available closet space was pretty sparse.  Luckily, we were able to find a home with four bedrooms, plenty of space for two people...and a DIY walk-in closet.  Since our house is the traditional Cape Cod style with sloped ceilings, we needed to get creative.  Here's how we turned a lonely spare bedroom into a style getaway...

 Most importantly..."Where will I hang my clothes?"

This piece has evolved over the years and began with a single metal rod that ran the entire length of the room.  Later, we added the white shelves above for purse storage, drawer units below and the white cabinet.  Below are the key pieces used.

From top left: These storage drawers from Target are great for storing belts, tights, or smaller accessories.  We used one of these brackets from Lowe's every few feet along the wall to support the metal closet rod.  It's also a good idea to use plastic anchors to support the weight before drilling into the wall.  This simple metal rod can also be found in the closet organization area of Lowe's.  These rods come in a variety of lengths.  While this is not the exact storage shelf we used, it is very similar and can found at Target.  This is a nice addition as it can be used to display your favorite pieces and for storage purposes.

How do we make this pretty?

Having a vanity where I could get ready for the day or for a fancy night out was a necessity.  This vanity was found at a local flea market for only $25.00.  After some elbow grease and a few coats of chalk paint, I had a personalized vanity and a pretty place to store my make-up.  I feel as if my vanity is the place where I showcase some of my prized possessions.  It's the place I display my wedding bouquet, a cherished music box, and one of my favorite wedding photos.  The vanity also came with a stool; however, it was beyond repair.  While wandering TJ Maxx, I noticed the turquoise chair from across the store and it was fate.  The turquoise in the chair was a perfect match for the turquoise painted walls. 

The shoes needed a home, too... 

Since the bedroom itself had been transformed into a closet space, the actual closet in the bedroom was open.  Clearly, this was where the shoes were meant to be!  Luckily, I came across these shoe racks on clearance for about $3.00 at Lowe's and bought every one they had left.  Similar shoe racks can be found here.  They ended up being a perfect pun intended...

The framed shopping bags were something I had re-pinned on Pinterest.  I had a few bags stowed away from special occasions and vacations and this was the perfect way to showcase them.  I found that these shadow box frames work very well for framing shopping bags.

This space turned out lovely and is a nice retreat after a long day.  While I had the dream of a larger closet, I can't take 100% of the credit, it was my very understanding husband who did most of the dirty work.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

T'was the Night Before the Launch of the SJP Shoe Line...

About a year ago, I had read somewhere that Sarah Jessica Parker aka Miss Carrie Bradshaw aka Manolo Muse was launching her very own line of shoes and handbags with Nordstrom.  Could this be happening?  Would it be possible for the everyday lady to walk in Miss Bradshaw's shoes? Well ladies and gentleman, this dream has become a reality!  SJP Shoes by Sarah Jessica Parker will be launching in Nordstrom stores and on, tomorrow beginning at 12AM Pacific Time (that's 3AM for all of my Eastern Standard Time friends.)

So what can the fashionistas of the world expect from this collection?  Here's what we know so far...

While there are so many great styles to choose from between heels, flats, or boots, these are at the top of my wish list:

From top left, The Carrie/Etta/Ina/Diana

If you ask me, the Diana looks a bit like those coveted Mary Janes from the sacred Vogue closet...

Only a few more hours until you can say, "Hello lover," to a new pair of shoes!  For the time being you can visit here to read more about this lovely collaboration!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Let's Go to the Beach...Even Though It's Still February...

While it's still insanely cold here in Northeast, Ohio, I can't help but think of the long, summer days ahead.  Summer is probably my favorite time of the year, it may even outrank fall, and I do love a good scarf!  Here are a few of my favorite things from my favorite season.

A stylish swimsuit is key.

This suit has a lovely silhouette...

  Purchase this suit from Anthropologie.

 One piece swimsuits are making a comeback and I may purchase this suit myself...

This suit can be purchased for a great price from our friends at Target

In the words of Rachel Zoe, "Don't forget your sunnies!"

I had been dreaming of owning these Ray-Ban sunglasses for months and I finally caved.  They have a vintage vibe with a thick cat-eye frame.
I searched for these in several mall stores, including J. Crew and Sunglass Hut, but ended up ordering online.  Purchase these and protect your eyes from the rays at J. Crew.

Let's get bronzed!

I'm guilty of spending some quality time in the sun sans sunscreen or in a tanning bed; however, as I've gotten older, I've been investing in some self-tanners and sunscreens.  After several shades of orange and smelling like a hamburger, this has become my all-time favorite self-tanner.  It does have a strong, candy-like smell that fades over time, but I don't find it offensive like many other self-tanners.  It is infused with Tarte's signature Maracuja Oil for moisturizing benefits.  While the color application is dark, it will fade to what I like to call a, "glow."  This is by far the most natural faux-tan I've ever had!

Purchase this here to become a bronzed beauty! 

And lastly...A punch colored pout!

I venture to the closest Ulta a few times a week and this past Sunday was no exception!  I came across a 50% off sale on Cargo Cosmetics and noticed this coral-pink wonder amongst the sea of testers.  I've never tried any other products by Cargo, but this color needed to be mine.  Palm Beach is a bright coral-pink that is the perfect, pick-you-up color!  This was $11 on sale, so how long this color will be on store shelves is questionable.  These lipsticks are said to have high pigmentation and nourishing shea butter and jojoba oil.

I was able to find this punchy color here.

Sit tight, snow dwellers, the sunlight is at the end of the tunnel!