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Monday, August 30, 2010

Raincheck

It's Monday Night Write Night, and while I have a really great blog post cooking, I'm going to have to bow out prematurely.  Kip, my hearty little Dell laptop, is going through puberty.  My friend, Garrett, took Kip home for a bit to teach him how to man-up.  It's no big deal, really...just some growing pains.  In the meantime, I bogarted my roommate's MAC to punch this out, and quickly realized how much I miss my PC.  I mean, you people with your trendy-ass computers...


I hope to eek out some time on my lunch break tomorrow at work to blog about what I'd originally intended.  I love it that some of you are keeping me accountable to write each week!  You don't know how much that means to me!  Until then...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Encyclopedia Brown

It's been a long time since I waxed ecstatic about the products in my beauty arsenal that are the creme de la creme.  I love product reviews, and rarely buy beauty products without research and recommendations.  So, I hope Encyclopedia Brown can help you in your quest for enhancing your hella-good looks.   

Just as I was a convert to a high-end straightening iron, my old ways of a styling with a cheap curling iron have gone.  Sarah, my incredibly talented stylist, recommended I purchase a HOT Tools curling iron, made by Helen of Troy.  It wasn't outrageously expensive ($25 from Folica), but it produces the best curls I've ever had.  I'm sure that's because the golden wand heats up to 450 degrees, just like my Solia flat iron.    I purchased the one inch barrel, and look forward to maximizing its use as my hair grows longer. 

Speaking of hair, mine is fickle.  One day, it's greasy a la Elvis, and the next day, it's reminiscent of Einstein.  If I go sans styling product, it's limp.  If I use styling product, flyaways dance from my crown.  And extended use heat styling certainly doesn't help.  I think I might have found a balance in John Freida's Frizz Ease Hair Serum in the Thermal Protection Formula.  I run a pea-sized amount through my post-showered hair, and then I add my styling product du jour...whether that be mousse, root-lifter, etc.  I find that the serum keeps my hair feeling smooth and silky, yet it doesn't weigh it down.  I was pleasantly surprised.  You can find similar products like CHI Silk Infusion, but you'll pay almost triple the price.
 
I've been a contact lens wearer since the eighth grade, and for years, I purchased cheap and generic contact solution. Several months ago, I was dealing with a particularly unpleasant bout of dry-eye, and on a whim, I purchased a bottle of Alcon Opti-Free Replenish. It cost almost double what my cheap bargain basement bottle of contact solution costs, but I'm now a believer. The bottle claims to keep eyes moist and fresh for 14 hours, and I can attest that it walks the walk. Sure, it sucks to pay more, but I don't blink out my contacts while staring at my computer screen at work anymore. And, I use coupons.


Ya'll know my battle with cystic acne and pesky blackheads, as if I'm a 13-year-old boy going through puberty.  My Yaz staves away much of the hormonal breakouts, but summertime with all its sunscreen and sweat isn't kind to my face.  Lately, I've been dealing with a lot of excess oil and as a result, breakouts.  When Mom and I were in Atlanta, I was experiencing a large flare-up and a trip (trips) to Ulta was in order.  Searching for a pore-clearing mud mask, I picked up c. Booth's Deep Cleansing Volcanic Mud Mask.  I think I was drawn to the word "volcanic," as in "the crater-size zits on my chin are volcanic."  This stuff is thick, goopy, and black as tar, but it sure does mop up the the BP spill on my chin.  It says to only use it once a week, but I've been using it every night...and it's working.  When I was in Mobile for Katie's wedding several weekends ago, I subjected Katie, Hadley, and Tyson to my nightly mud mask routine.  I realized that if I paint the mask on strategically chosen areas of my face like Wooly Willy, I could entertain the girls.  The first night, I wore a Rollie Fingers-style mustache, followed by a beard.  The next night?  Hitler.

Disclaimer:  The above photo is the result of a late-night and too much sugar.  By no means do I pledge allegiance to Hitler, the Nazi party, or hate.  I'm just sayin.' 

For those particularly stubborn zits, I've been dabbing on a bit of Bye Bye Blemish Drying Lotion before bed.  It's pink like Calamine lotion and it smells unpleasantly like sulfur, but it shrinks the zits overnight.

Thanks to the economy, I've been on restriction with salon manicures and pedicures this year.  I've taken to buying quality nail polishes and nail tools, instead of forking out the dough on a professional application.  The first gem I've discovered is Nailtiques in Formula 2.  It's a nail protein that fixes peeling and splitting nails.  I saw improvement in the strength of my nails in a few days. 

Because I've been doing my own nails, it's imperative that they dry quickly.  I typically only have time to sit down for a mani or pedi before bed, although, sheets and wet nails do not mix.  At the recommendation of an associate at Cosmetic Market, I purchased a Seche Vite Fast-Drying Topcoat.  This is the same top coat used by your local salon, and it wasn't kidding when it claimed to be fast drying.  I can go from wet nails to under the sheets in less than ten minutes.  And, not a crease or a smudge by morning.  I kid thee not.

Lastly, I'm sort-of addicted to OPI's beautiful array of nail polishes.  They really are the best.  My favorite summer color is "My Chihauhua Bites," part of the Mexico collection.  It's a sassy red-orange, almost coral.  I get compliments on it often when it graces my fingers and toes.  I've also been a huge fan of "Greenwich Village," enjoying the pop of green peeping out of my sandals.  My nail color of choice for my upcoming cruise will be "Catch Me in Your Net," a blue-green glitter, that will perfectly outfit me for snorkeling in Key West. 

Do you have a favorite OPI color?  Some colors are synonymous with my friends:  Ashley L. loves "Cha-Ching Cherry," Stephanie D. loves "Cajun Shrimp," Mandy. G loves "You Don't Know Jacques!," Natalie W. loves "Strawberry Margarita," and the list goes on.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Write Night, Numero Uno

{Insert feeble, prosaic comment here regarding my lack of writing in the past month-and-a-half.}  *Ahem.*

Several weeks ago, Mom asked me near the end of a phone conversation, "so, when are you going to start blogging again?"  I responded how every normal adult would respond:  I burst into tears.  I desperately want to put my thoughts and experiences down on paper, or at least punch them into cyberspace, but my writing always seems to fall by the wayside.  Sometimes, it's just the easiest thing to put-off when I get busy.  I'm determined to change this, although, I know you've been hearing this from me throughout the past year. 

I've decided that Monday nights will be my "Write Nights."  I normally leave work at four on Monday, pick-up Danielle (the girl I mentor at the CWJC), grab a bite to eat with her, and then drop her off at school.  From 5:30 on, I'm pretty much free.  I've been filling this extra time with grocery shopping, coffee with friends, special errands, and sometimes, an early bedtime.  But, I'm hoping to get back in the habit of pursuing my favorite pastime. 

Anyway, I haven't exactly been sitting around on my tokus...I'm a busy gal.  I enjoy being busy, especially when it's characterized by friends and family.  Here's a bit of a 42-day recap:

In mid-July, Mom and I took a long weekend road trip to Atlanta.  I'm finally at the age where I can really appreciate my Mom not only as my "Mom," but also my best friend.  I love-love-love being with her, and traveling with her.  We didn't have any real reason to go to Atlanta, but it was still a good excuse to stay in a nice hotel, lay by the pool, shop, eat good food, and giggle a lot.  We embarked upon downtown Atlanta for our very first visit to IKEA, and while I didn't buy much, I was thrilled by the cheap wares. 

A weekend later, I hit the road for East Tennessee to visit one of my best college friends, Amy, her husband, Nathan, and her two sweet bebes, Eva and Reed.  Another one of my best college friends, Ashley, also rode in for the weekend and we boated, waterskied, swam in the pool, drank some good wine, and laughed a lot.  I already miss them....especially Eva and Reed.  It's always nice to hear little babes laugh, call out your name, and give you lots of hugs and kisses.  It's food for a single gal's soul.


A weekend later, my old roommate and dear friend, Emily, returned from Paris for a little stateside vacay.  We spent a humid Friday evening inside the chilled Frist Center for the Arts.  The main exhibit is "The Golden Age of Couture," an exhibit that features post-WWII fashions from the houses of Dior, Balenciaga, Givenchy, Balmain, and others.  In addition to the dresses, the heels, the hats, and the accessories, there was also a collection of fashion photography by Richard Avedon.  Beyond the main exhibit, the Frist featured a blown glass presentation by Dale Chihuly.  The large glass installations are amazingly beautiful, in and of themselves, but it isn't until you see the documentary that you really begin to understand how much sweat and labor is poured into each piece.  It was a very nice bonus to end our Frist visit.  After leaving the museum, we were en route to Miyako for sushi, when we practically ran over the Blidge.  I cannot elaborate on that...it's too politically incorrect.  But let's just say that both of us were screaming with laughter.

I don't know how hot it's been where you are, dear reader, but it's been pretty damn hot here.  And by hot, I mean oven hot.  It was one of these impossibly Sunday afternoons that we celebrated my friend, Joe Hendricks 35th birthday.  Here's a picture of Amanda, Amy and I from the party.  I think we look cute.


In early-August, Hadley and I packed up the car after work on a Thursday evening and set out for Mobile, Alabama.  My sweet friend, Katie, got married on August 7, and the wedding weekend was full of fun and festivities.  At Katie and Gary's baseball-themed rehearsal dinner, we played wiffle ball, and it was so dadgum fun.  The weekend was characterized by quite a bit of laughter.  When we were setting up the reception hall on Friday, Tyson (another one of Katie's bridesmaids) noticed that the DJ station was positioned in an interesting location:  "Is the DJ going to play Baby-Got-Back underneath the crucifix?"  Other memorable moments included the beehive positioned on our heads for the ceremony.  Donna, the hairdresser, teased my hair higher than Snoop Dogg.  I couldn't help but break out into song and dance, a la The Supremes.  Even with our southern bouffants, we still looked right purty. 


My Bible study ended our "summer siesta" of weekly coffee-dates, and began a Deeper Still Bible study with Priscilla Shirer, Beth Moore, and Kay Arthur called "Anointed, Transformed, and Redeemed."  The study examines the life of David from three unique viewpoints. I'm super-excited that my girls are enjoying it so much.

This past weekend, I spent Saturday with the parentals, and we went to East Nashville's TomatoArt Fest.  I'd never been before, and I was anticipating a small grouping of booths.  I was wrong, and pleasantly wrong at that.  Rows and rows of booths stretched down the arms of Five Points, featuring local artisans, antiques, delightful junk-wares, unique food vendors, all with an emphasis on the "tomato."  Throw in some local musical talent and it was a delightful time.  We lunched at one of my favorite Nashville establishments, The Dog.  I love introducing my parents to new local restaurants, even more so when they like it as much as I do.

Late last week, my good friend Molly and I booked a cruise to Key West and Cozumel for an extended Labor Day weekend.  This will be my first cruise experience, and I'm excited to see what the hype is all about.  We're flying to Ft. Lauderdale first class, thanks to Molly's sweet uncle.  I've never flown first class either.  It's going to be a time of lots of firsts.  We're in the midst of planning what to do while we're there.  I may have to drag Molly along, but I aim to visit ol' Ernie Hemingway's home, and pet a few of his polydactyl cats.  Yep, I like cats.  So sue me, all you cat haters.  Anyway, we hope to spend lots of time in a pool chair, on the beach, or tossing back some much deserved margaritas while we're there.  I'd love some suggestions of what to do in Key West or Cozumel, or simply some helpful cruise tips. 

In between the above, my time has been filled with countless social dinners, birthday parties, afternoons at the pool, catching up with old friends, and so much more.  The past couple of months have been fabulously uplifting, and such a contrast to my second-half of April and May. 

See you again soon.  I promise.

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