Monday, January 24, 2011

{Live to Indulge}

If there is one thing I look forward to, it's a night out to an A+ restaurant. I can't believe I forgot to mention earlier that DC restaurant week was this past week...and my sister & I had a fabulous time at Fogo de Chao on Saturday (I think we are STILL full from our feast!). To make up for my forgetfulness, and to include you in on just how wonderful these deals really's Baltimore Restaurant Week! Basically, if you have never been in on this little secret before, you can go to one of your favorite (and often overpriced) restaurant's and get up to a 4-course meal (including dessert) for a flat price of $35.11 per person! Check out the participating restaurant list (and menu) here and make your reservations online here. Now you can spend a night out spoiling yourself  (and not have to wait until it's your birthday or anniversary) without breaking the piggy bank. Here a few great places to try out:

Just thinking about all of the places involved in this event is making me hungry! When it comes to food...I'm in. It's not that I don't like to cook up something delicious...I consider myself a lucky girl that my sweetheart loves to take over the kitchen within 5 minutes of us making a meal (we have to designate responsibilities so neither one of us stomps on the other's 'parade' so to speak). And while an at home meal is divine (especially when he is master chef), I am just one of those ladies who loves to throw on a nice outfit, hit up the town, order a glass (or two) of vino and indulge in a heavenly meal. So if this little blog post is speaking to you: check out the restaurant list, make a reservation & Bon Appetit!

All images via Google

Thursday, January 20, 2011

{Singing in the Snow}

Spring, I am ready for you to be here. It isn't that I don't like to make snow angels, go skiing or have a snow day to stay home with my pups...but I am really excited for the sun to come back out and greet me (being a solar-powered individual and all) and for the warm weather to show up. Now, I will admit that I love my winter wardrobe, especially the warm boots & coats I have accumulated...but when I start seeing bright colors and beachwear pop up in store windows I get excited. So much so that my heart starts beating faster & I immediately start justifying why I need another bathing suit, sundress or pair of sandals when I could go the rest of my existence without purchasing any of these items. Well, to avoid getting too ahead of myself, because winter is far from being over, there are a couple of items that not only bring my mood up, but are great for both winter and spring weather. The first is something that will definitely be coming in handy for the icy rain & spring showers we will face:

1. Fashionable Umbrella
Image via Google
Coach Pink Leopard Umbrella

Love it! Umbrella's are one of those things you can always consider to be a need. They can be found pretty much anywhere and in any size, but let's be honest...who doesn't like a cute umbrella? If you're going to drag it around and make a scene trying to close it, you might as well love it. The second item we can embrace with open arms as the perfect counter-part to the umbrella?

2. Rain Boots

Let's be realistic, with all of the snow we are supposedly going to see in the next month...rain boots are definitely a plus and will come in handy for spring when Mother Nature decides we haven't yet seen enough water. I had a little fun with this and decided to pair some rain boots I love with adorable umbrellas that are out. Enjoy!

Spring Spirited

Charming in Pink

Fabulously Floral

Playing with Patterns

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

{Classy Candles}

When I first met my sweetheart, I was surprised to find out he was a lover of candles like myself. A few weeks after our first meeting, he showed up at my front door with a handful of roses...or what I thought were roses. In fact, I went to take them from him when I spotted something funny sticking out the top of each rose. Is that a wick? Are these candles? Sure enough, they were homemade candle roses. What a great gift idea! I've discovered that making candles is not only the perfect activity on a rainy day, but it also makes for a sentimental gift. If you're looking for something to make for a special someone (say, Valentine's Day?) this is definitely a good idea. Now, I'm not about to go rolling soft red wax into petals, rolling soft green wax around wiring for stems and making green leaves for a bouquet of candle roses, but there are several other candle-making ideas. My favorite candle I've made to date is a Guinness pint. It was a team effort, but it was fun melting down crayons & candle wax to make the perfect colors to imitate an actual pint then pour each layer into a Guinness glass!

To me, there is nothing more calming then lighting candles during dinner, while taking a bath or hanging out in your room. If you're not the candle-making type, there are plenty of amazing candles out there to collect. While visiting Sedona, AZ, I came across a Global Candle Gallery that creates a circular candle designed to glow when lit. After the candle is dipped in multiple colors and the "glow" layer is set, the artist then carves the candle (typically in front of several people) and hangs it in the gallery. What is super neat about these candles is that each one is uniquely hand-made and beautiful. Check out these candles before and after being lit:


Hibiscus Flower


All images via Global Candle Gallery

Friday, January 14, 2011

{Laptop Luxuries}

I am happy to say that the days of lugging a heavy laptop around are long gone. In college, it was essential that I have a real backpack with shoulder pads & back support in order to carry around my miniature computer...otherwise, I would be in worse shape then I already am. Lucky for me, my laptop decided to let me print out my final papers prior to graduation before taking a hiatus of its own. Yes, my iphone is still (and probably always will be) a life source for me, however, I decided to use Christmas money and finally purchase a new computer for 2011. I don't know about you, but for me walking into that Apple store was like walking into technological heaven. The glass gates swung wide open and I was met by flashes of light from LED screens & several individuals adorned with hand-held computers ready to welcome me into their world. As if it couldn't get any better, I walked over to "glance" at the computer bag selection and there it was...staring back at me...

Dare I even say my excitement for the bag was possibly on par with how I felt about the actual laptop? Ladies and gentlemen, not only do we now have the perfect travel-sized laptop that is conveniently lightweight but we also have an assortment of fashionable cases and bags to put it in! Yes, I know this isn't exactly new news but who doesn't love finding the perfect laptop bag...or another excuse to have a fabulous new bag in general? Any large bag will do, but here are some inspirations for spicing up your hardware:

(I love these MJ bags...I've had one for over a year & swear by it!)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

{Fashion Vault 101}

What are the things I love? Fashion? Shopping? Amazing Deals? Oh yes, how silly of me...I'll take all three! Like I've mentioned before, regular price tags make my credit card cringe & want to cut itself having an "in" on fabulous sales is what my bank account highly approves of. One of my favorite online sites to receive promotions & sales information for is eBay's Fashion Vault. Up to 70% off on some of my favorite designers? Why, yes please!

Rue La La is another one of my top sites, with boutiques offering discounts out the...latest designer handbag ;-)

Bluefly claims it is the "ultimate hook-up for the fashion obsessed" and I think they do a pretty good job, allowing you to view merchandise via your choice of designer.

Of course, there are several online venues that help you find a good deal, in addition to the sale sections of your favorite stores. It never hurts to have the upper-hand on what is currently fabuloso without the jaw-dropping price tag. That said, here's one more morsel for you that I am obsessed with: ideeli! Don't forget to check out the travel section!!

All images via Google

Monday, January 10, 2011

{The Magic Bullet}

Tired of making the trip to your favorite smoothie joint & dishing out a little too much green for your daily intake of fruit? Want to make salsa, dips & delicious sauces in minutes? How about creating your very own salad dressing? Or an at-home facial mask? Well, look no more because I have an answer that saves time, money & is pretty much stress-free! This blog post is made possible by the wonderful Roxanne Mendis, who has given me a gift that I will never grow out of. It all started a couple of years ago when my sweetheart used to make me at-home frappuccino', does that not sound amazing? When I discovered The Magic Bullet was one of the simplest pieces of equipment to use in the kitchen (aside from the microwave) and could allow me to create numerous concoctions in seconds, I was astounded.

This little machine comes with different blender blades (say, for if you want to make fresh grated cheese vs. a homemade V8), different sized containers (for at home or on-the-go) & more. I love making a fresh smoothie on my way to work, a cocktail for after-work hours, and my little brother just mentioned he had success using the "bullet" to make a delicious jerk-chicken sauce for dinner. I know a lot of you ladies (and guys!) might will find this magical machine a lifesaver.

The Best Breakfast or Post-Workout Aid :-)

Perfect for a Party Host!

Bon Appetit!

All images via Google

Thursday, January 6, 2011

{Trendy Turquoise}

I am in love with turquoise. Some people collect coins, stamps, china...I want to collect turquoise jewelry. My first experience with these stones was when I was a kid, admiring the many pieces of jewelry my great-grandparents donned when visiting from New Mexico. Wearing turquoise is quite different than many other stones...those who truly wear it well wear it in chunks. What do I mean by chunks? I like to refer to is as such because those who believe in the ideology of turquoise don't tend to wear a dainty piece of this stone on a ring or hanging around their neck...when they wear turquoise, you can't miss it:

For many different cultures, the meaning of turquoise ranges: it can symbolize wealth, protect you from harm, connect you to your spirit world, take on the characteristics of its wearer, provide wisdom, heal the body, etc. Turquoise can also be used for a sign of affection; even Shakespeare uses this symbolism in the Merchant of Venice when Leah gives the precious stone as a ring to Shylock to win his favor. What I love most about this stone is the belief that it is a medium in which you attain spirituality; this was fascinating to me when I studied Navajo culture, in which turquoise is an essential part of life, and even more interesting when talking about the stone with Navajo natives at a turquoise market in Arizona.

(a gift from my sweetheart a few Valentine's ago)

Though my collection is slowly growing, I was happy to finally find the perfect ring this past fall while at that turquoise market. Now, I am on the quest for a great pair of authentic earrings. I must admit, I do hope I am blessed with my great-grandparents treasures one day...because I will treasure them along with all of my happy memories we had. Wearing turquoise isn't as easy as I once thought...I think you dress around the stones. However, it never does go out of style. All I keep thinking is Spring is just around the corner...and so is the perfect white dress with a great turquoise accessory!