Tuesday, January 28, 2014

On The Shelf


" In a perfect world I would have a room just for all of my books.....and one for my shoes."-Me

Admittedly, I am a self professed 'book nerd'. I used to spend hours in the local library perusing all of my favorite author's latest titles and took pleasure in discovering new ones. I was always disappointed when my mother said I was limited to only two check outs and as soon as I got a card of my own I became known for checking out the maximum amount. At different locations. Needless to say I also racked up quite a few fines in my day. I couldn't help it. Reading was my escape and my favorite thing to do on a Friday evening or Saturday afternoon. Truth be told, I read whenever I had a 'free' moment and sometimes when I didn't. I can't tell you how many books I dropped in the bathtub when startled by my mother asking if I had washed up yet. Taking showers never appealed to me because, how could I read doing that? It was my quiet time and I looked forward to it every evening. My punishment's were not being able to read instead of not playing outside or watching TV. Odd? Maybe, but to me it was devastating.

True

Books were kind of the thing in my household. Both of my parents like to read and it was completely normal to find stacks of books laying around. I relished being able to sift through a stack at my leisure and find something that sounded good and get lost in another world for a few hours. I read pretty much any, and everything I could get my hands on though I have a penchant for female heroine's and murder mysteries.  For a time I was heavily into poetry (Nikki Giovanni to be exact) and spent a lot of time dissecting and discussing those works at length.
Then I went through my Stephen King stage (as I think we all do) and I was even into Danielle Steele for a while there thanks to a chance discovery in the back of my grandma's closet.

After my daughter was born my reading was limited to naps and bedtime and that was okay with me, so long as I was still able to occasionally indulge myself in the escapes of my favorite characters. Some characters are more real (and well known) to me than members of my extended family. Take Sue Grafton's Kinsey Milhone, I've read her series from the beginning and it pains me to think what will happen when she gets to the end of the alphabet. I've put off buying her latest installment as I am reluctant to get sucked in only to finish and have to wait another year for the next one. The same can be said for Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta. I'm not a fan of all things medical and bloody in real life but I love me some Scarpetta and will happily read all the gory details while she performs an autopsy.
On The Shelf
just a smattering of what's on my Amazon wish list

Over the years I've discovered plenty of ways to enjoy my love of the written word. I even worked at Barnes & Noble for a brief period and all I did was read during every break. I still frequent the library from time to time but with a toddler in tow, it's a lot harder to cruise the aisles and be quiet about it. I haven't really gotten into the e-reader although I did have a Kindle at one point. Downloading seemed like a chore and I just love the feel and smell of an actual book!
Thank goodness for Amazon! I have a wish list simply titled "Bookshelf" that currently holds a 100+ items (a few samples are above). They range from cookbooks, to business tomes, to self-help / lifestyle, fashion, novels and the like. It gives me goose bumps when I place an order and check one or two items off the list. My heart skips a beat when the box arrives and I can touch the shiny covers and find a place for them on one of our bookshelves. If I'm honest, I don't actually read all of them. Not right away. Some are for reference and others are for immediate consumption. While a few more are waiting for the right moment in which we can be alone together.  I generally have two or three books in rotation and will sometimes get so caught up in one that I forget about the others.

If you love someone let them read

When I am consumed by a book I have a hard time focusing on much else so it takes great restraint not to devour pages while I'm supposed to be cooking dinner or playing with Baby Ninja.  Many a cookie has been burned when I get lost in the world of the written word.  I simply can't help it, I just love a good story and become incredibly attached to the characters and their worlds. It's kind of my thing. My thaaang.


*puts hand up*


So yeah, I'm a bit of a book nerd and proud of it. Now if you'll excuse me, the kids are asleep, my husband is watching Sports Center and I have a book that's calling my name.


Have you read any good books lately?










Monday, January 27, 2014

THE LEGO® MOVIE “Prize Pack” Sweepstakes






So I've been sitting on this for awhile and today I finally get to share that there will be yet another awesome giveaway this month!! Whoop whoop!!

From Carpools To Cocktails presents ‘THE LEGO® Movie’ Prize Pack sweepstakes from Warner Bros. Pictures that includes tickets to see the movie!!
Somewhere my kids are dying. They have been waiting for this movie to come out, even Baby Ninja gets into the previews (which is saying a lot) and I am so jazzed to be able to be a part of this giveaway!

Not familiar with the movie? Watch the trailer and get excited!











Director: Phil Lord & Christopher Miller
Screenplay: Phil Lord & Christopher Miller
Story by: Dan Hageman & Kevin Hageman and Phil Lord & Christopher Miller
Producers: Dan Lin & Roy Lee
Executive Producers: Jill Wilfert, Matthew Ashton, Kathleen Fleming, Allison Abbate, Zareh Nalbandian, Jon Burton, Benjamin Melniker, Michael E. Uslan, Seanne Winslow, Matt Skiena and Bruce Berman

Cast: Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Nick Offerman, Alison Brie and Charlie Day, with Liam Neeson and Morgan Freeman


“The LEGO® Movie,” the first-ever, full-length theatrical LEGO® adventure, from Warner Bros. Pictures and Village Roadshow Pictures, opens in theaters February 7, 2014.
Directed by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller (“21 Jump Street,” “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”), it stars Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Nick Offerman, Alison Brie and Charlie Day, with Liam Neeson and Morgan Freeman.

The original 3D computer animated story follows Emmet, an ordinary, rules-following, perfectly average LEGO mini-figure who is mistakenly identified as the most extraordinary person and the key to saving the world. He is drafted into a fellowship of strangers on an epic quest to stop an evil tyrant, a journey for which Emmet is hopelessly and hilariously under prepared.





The rules for THE LEGO® MOVIE “Prize Pack” Sweepstakes are simple - just answer the question on the raffle copter form below and a winner will be announced February 7th!! 
One lucky person will be the recipient of  THE LEGO® MOVIE “Prize Pack” to include:

  • THE LEGO MOVIE Sticker Book
  • THE LEGO MOVIE Youth T- shirt Emmet
  • THE LEGO MOVIE Youth T- shirt Wildstyle
  • THE LEGO MOVIE LEGO Emmet Cinch Bag
  • THE LEGO MOVIE LEGO Wildstyle Cinch Bag
  • THE LEGO MOVIE LEGO Minifigure
  • THE LEGO MOVIE LEGO Minifigure
  • THE LEGO MOVIE One Sheet
  • THE LEGO MOVIE Hollywood Movie Money (Admit Two)  *Hollywood Movie Money is a free admission voucher to see a predetermined film (THE LEGO® MOVIE) redeemable nation wide starting 02/06/14 through Thursday., 03/06/14 in any theater excluding AMC Theaters.





a Rafflecopter giveaway









Good luck!! 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

House Of Style // In The Boudoir

Our lease is up pretty soon and that means we are currently house hunting. We've lived in our current home for the last 4 years and it's been wonderful but it feels like the time is right to move on. We've sort of out grown this space and since we love to entertain while allowing the kids to have their space it only makes sense. But house hunting is hard y'all. There is nothing like falling in love with a house and imagining how your family would fit / live in the space and then it not being "the one" (i.e. you don't get it for whatever reason). You day dream about decor and making a fresh start in this brand new space and obsess over your Pinterest boards and before you know it your imagination has run wild and you're mentally planning your first get together. It can get out of control. 
So while we continue the search and begin the process of low key packing up our current space (because I fully believe that if you just start to pack it will come) I thought I'd share some of what I've been obsessing over when I let my mind wander.
Last week during and afternoon cruise through HomeGoods I stumbled across some fabulous bedding for the "master suite". As usual I snapped a quick pic to share with D and he he dug it! This made me happy as we women know how hard it can be to get your decorating dreams to align with your spouses and vice versa. However, this cool blue and silver/grey set was the stuff of compromising dreams and that just kicked my bedroom fantasies into hyper drive. 
Thank goodness I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to our bedroom and after a quick scroll discovered most of what I had pinned fell into this color scheme! Winning! 
Bedroom Inspiration

The light grey wall color is oddly soothing and I'm pretty sure would be beneficial to allowing me to relax and get a good nights rest. I'm also convinced that when you love your bedroom you'll be inclined to spend more time in there which in turn could also lead to sexy time (tmi) and more sleep. I love that it's neutral enough to go with pretty much any color scheme I can dream up therefore not limiting my color palette. You'll also notice a common theme of mirrored accents in all the photos and I think that speaks to my desire to have a more sophisticated room. When we first moved in together and bought our bed we wanted something that worked with the space and I was going through my "dark" phase. Now I'm over it and stepping into the light and want our sleeping space to reflect that. I may regret the mirrored accents when I have to wipe the finger prints off of them but right now, I'm all about it!
My dream is to at some point get rid of our current bed frame and end up with a padded headboard (which I would like to DIY) and possibly just paint our current furniture lighter and change out the knobs for something a little more "upscale". But for now, I would settle for new sheets and a nice bedding set. And perhaps some fresh flowers. 


Sadly, when I went back to purchase the bedding set I placed on hold, and subsequently forgot about, it had already sold. So, now I am on a mission to find it in another store discover something similar and equally as awesome to fulfill my bedroom dreams. I have no problem travelling hither tither and yon for a great deal on bedding set.

Have you ever regretted not buying something for you home when you first saw it? Tell me in the comments!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Work It Wednesday // Getting My Rear In Gear With Pop Physique

A few weeks before Christmas I came across a workout DVD at Target that got me excited. I'm perpetually on the hunt for new and exciting ways to challenge my body and get me "fitspired" so I was delighted to discover that Pop Physique had a DVD! I've been wanting to try this workout for some time. My friend Andrea goes to the studio in Seal Beach but that's over 30 minutes from my house as is the one in San Marino so until they open one on this side of the 57 freeway, I'll be working out at home.


For me, working out isn't about fitting some ideal standard of what my body should look like but maintaining a level of fitness that I have grown accustomed to. I worked very hard to lose the baby weight (because I could NOT afford a brand new wardrobe) and as such have tried to maintain where I was at. I'll be the first to admit I'm not as diligent as I could be. I see my friends post on Instagram about leg day and how they're hitting the gym first thing in the morning or going on a 3.5 mile run while I'm sitting on the couch eating cookies and drinking wine. I know I need to be eating better and taking the time out to work on my fitness (it does wonders for my psyche) and I'll be the first to admit that I can be pretty lazy about that kind of stuff so I'm trying to stay motivated. Enter the DVD. I bought it on a whim last week and it's been sitting on my TV stand ever since. I aim to try it out at least twice this week and then up to three times next week writing a full review on it by the end of the month. It will be interesting to see if there are any changes in my physique. Personally I'm hoping for a tighter tush.

Another motivating factor? I walked into Target last week (to purchase said DVD) and was greeted by bathing suits. Yes. Bathing suits. In January. I know, it is California and we are experiencing 80 degree temps this week but dang, it was just the "eating season" i.e. the holidays and I did a pretty good job of packing away the delectable treats and the calorie laden drinks. Hence why I've been rocking leggings and the same couple pairs of jeans for the last month and a half. It's my 'winter weight' wardrobe.


Seeing all the cute suits just motivated me that much more to get my rear in gear and get my booty looking right. Being a member of the tiny tush club I do all I can to add some junk to my trunk and I'm hoping this well help. After a few weeks I plan to mix in a yoga workout and possibly something else but right now, it's all about getting it poppin'. 
Finding the time is really my main issue. Being home with Baby Ninja all day is kind of the equivalent of a cardio workout but I want to really focus on what I'm doing and get in tune with my body. The morning seems like the best option but sleep is such a hot commodity that I often talk myself out of getting up for the sake of "a few more minutes". I have got to get it together. I know I can do it as I was previously waking up at 4:30 postpartum to squeeze in my Jillian sessions so really I have no excuse. 
Don't talk about it, be about it right? So, yeah , let's get it poppin y'all!


Have you ever tried Pop Physique or another barre class? What's your workout motivation? 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Spring into Style With Stella & Dot

The polar vortex that hit most of the country last week had everyone everywhere dreaming of warmer weather. I don't blame them, I'm not a cold weather type of chick but I am all about the freshness of spring and the air of excitement that it brings.The new Stella & Dot spring line launch just happened to coincide with the awful weather and the bright colors, new designs and fresh styles were just what was needed to lift most stylists spirits. Mine included.


Yesterday, January 13th, marked the official launch of the Spring '14 line and the first official day customers can place orders. Trust me when I say that you want to get in on this.
There are literally so many delightful pieces I had a hard time choosing my samples and am still hemming and hawing over a few choices. Tonight I'll have the chance to view the collection first hand and I couldn't be more excited.







There is even more incentive to be a hostess this spring season as the collection is insane and you have the opportunity to earn even more in free accessories!!! I mean! How can you say no to that? Get some girlfriends together, grab some wine and let's get to styling! It's that simple! I do all the work and there are no games to be played or "presentations" to sit through. Just you and your ladies allowing me to help you find the perfect items to step up your personal style!



It's so easy to earn hostess rewards and right now is as good a time as any to get the ladies together for a GALentine's soiree! Just look at all the gorgeous gems below and tell me you're NOT interested in that? 


Personally I can't wait for my new samples to arrive so I can style them and show them off to the ladies around my neighborhood, my family and friends. I think I may even host a viewing party of sorts because it's just that good. Seriously. 
If you were on the fence about hosting during the Holidays, time to make a move and book a date! Even if you live out of state you can always host a catalog show and pass the look books on to your co-workers and other family members and they can shop via your personal link at their leisure. I'll be available to answer any and all questions about products and you don't have to clean your house! It's a win win! 
So head over to my website NOW and create your wish list so we can get you started on that trunk show and earning as many hostess rewards as possible. You can thank me later when your friends swoon over your jewelry.


Monday, January 13, 2014

Don't Stop Get It Get It !! / A Giveaway!!

Y'all know I'm super pumped about 2014 and am doing all I can to make it the best year ever. So far things are shaping up to be pretty rad and it's all thanks to y'all my awesome readers and friends!
In honor of hitting 700+ followers on Instagram and to kick start the new year in the most positive manner I'm happy to announce that I've partnered up with Michelle Dwight Designs for an AWESOME giveaway!
One lucky person will be the winner of not just one but FIVE fabulous 5x7 prints their design shop. Yep. You read that right. Five. Because they are just awesome like that. Perhaps you're familiar with Michelle Dwight? Their famous "Every Day I'm Hustling" pillow cover was featured in a spread in HGTV magazine last April. I instantly fell in love with the design , placed an order immediately and my own pillow has been happily resting on my couch ever since. My husband saw it and just said "yes." so I knew it was a winner. I get so many compliments on it and I have been wanting to team up with them for some time as I am a huge fan of their designs.
Hustle (natural)
source


A few weeks ago on their Instagram they shared a sneak peek of one of their latest prints "Don't Stop Get It Get It" using Pantone's 2014 color of the year Radiant Orchid and I about died. Purple is my favorite and this particular shade just speaks to me as did the print! I knew I had to make it mine and put it in my "office" for daily inspiration! It's totally my favorite thing and motivates me to keep hustling every day!


Now, you get the opportunity to win one of your own!! Simply follow the rules on the widget below for your chance to win FIVE of their awesome 5x7 prints. You get to choose your favorites and keep them all for yourself or spread the love and share with a friend or two!

The contest will run until Friday 1/17/14 with a winner being announced Monday January 20th!!

Best of luck!!!





Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Work It Wednesday // Sequins Are Always A Good Idea

You may remember a few weeks ago I posted about discovering sequin "sweatpants" from Lulu's and if you follow me on Instagram you've probably seen my obsession with sequin pants grow exponentially in the last month. And even though the holidays bring out the reason to don sequins at every given opportunity, I realized that I had been missing them in my everyday wardrobe. I began to seriously question myself for a minute (how had I NOT owned sequin pants prior to discovering the "sweats"?) and then I remembered how they can sometimes be uncomfortable and painful. Factor in life with a toddler who is decidedly excited by all things shiny and would want to touch them it made sense I hadn't seen them as a priority.

But the sweatpants lit a fire in me and I was on a low key quest to find just the right pair. Not too sequin-y as to be mistaken for a disco ball or anything that looked cheap.  I kept debating the "sweatpants", I knew they wouldn't arrive in time for New Year's but there was the possibility I could wear them to TCFTurns 5 and that got me excited. I showed them to one of my bestie's who's known for her honesty and she said "No." Quickly and without feeling. She's good like that. Crushed, I relented on those pants but still quietly searched for something , anything , else. And then it happened, while scrolling my Instagram feed I came across a photo from The Oxford Trunk and decided to take a minute to peruse their site.
Low and behold there they were, the perfect pair of black sequin leggings under $40. It was like the heavens opened up and I could hear angels singing. I quickly tried to add them to my cart but the S/M was sold out. What?! No!! How could this be?
I posted them and their cheetah print cousins to IG and folks were all hand claps and hell yeahs and I KNEW I had to make them mine. Luckily for me, my friend Heather of River & Bridge handled their graphic design and knows the owners personally. I emailed her to find out about sizing and she was kind enough to reach out the Jess and see what she said. Less than two hours later I had an answer that the M/L wasn't a huge sizing difference and before the day was done they were purchased and I was a anticipating their arrival.

Immediately I had some buyers remorse (what if they didn't fit? what if they didn't arrive in time?) as New Year's was a middle of the week holiday and I had no idea how long it would take them to process my order. Thank God they are local and my shipment was processed quickly and they arrived on Friday before the party. I may or may not have danced a little happy jig at the mailbox upon seeing the package. Soon after I walked in the door I slipped them on and held my breath. They fit! Oh thank you Jesus! I was some kind of happy let me tell you!
I had just the look in mind for the party and knew that all I needed to complete my ensemble was a graphic tee I'd seen at Forever 21 earlier in the week. Top it off with a red lip and my favorite Stella & Dot jewels and I just knew I would kill it. I even lucked up on a pair of shoes the evening of the party that were almost identical to a +$300 pair I had pinned months earlier. They just upped the ante.



When I put the whole look together I had a moment of pause (who do I think I am? I am mother for pete's sake!) but then I realized I LOVED the look more than I doubted it and just rolled with it.
I'm so happy that I did. Sure, in the grand scheme of things I'm basically wearing leggings and a t-shirt but I felt phenomenal. Like I was Nicole Richie / Gwen Stefani / Rachel Zoe of some sort but you know....in real life. It was just the thing I need to kick off the new year and sort of propel me in the direction of my goals and dreams.



I know, they're just leggings right? Surely a pair of pants couldn't have done all that could they? 
But they did. And maybe that's shallow that I allowed a pair of pants to boost my confidence and give me a little extra oomph and if that's how it comes across so be it. Things have been kind of dismal in the family department and I needed a pick me up for sure. These pants are the truth. And I'm already trying to find another time/ place to rock them.




Have you ever made a  purchase that's rocked your world the way the sequin leggings did mine? Tell me about it!


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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

In A Word // My View For 2014


Beautiful.

I've always dug the beginning of a new year. I like the idea a fresh start and a clean slate. The ability to make things new if you will. There are always so many things to work on and get excited about. And this year is no exception.
I generally pick a word at the start of each year and that is kind of what I live by and in the past it's really worked well for me as a reminder to stay focused and what my focus is. This year is a bit different. No one word seems to fit. And I have SO many words running through my head it's hard to narrow it down. The themes for this year are varied yet similar and all resonate deeply with me.

Hustle
Purpose
Focus
Serve
Love

I don't write or make resolutions unless it's about style but I have goals that I want to hit and this time I've broken them down for each month and into categories like Relationship, Family, Home, Work etc.  I'm excited about all the things to come both personally and professionally.

Good things come to those who hustle

I can feel the change in the air and the buzz of excitement that is permeating throughout my very being. It's kind of like pre-party or first day of school nerves. So much energy and excitement but no worry about expectations. I'm not putting pressure on myself to hit each and every goal in a certain time frame. I have to set goals for myself each month because it's easier to see things as they come and know what I should work on/towards but I know some things will take longer while others will come quickly and seemingly without even trying.

a happy life

I have big plans to keep up my hustle and remain focused on my purpose all while finding a way to serve and show love to those who need it. (see what I did there?)
I'm looking forward to pushing myself a bit and going beyond what has long been my 'comfort zone' in order to pursue my dreams and see where it takes me.
Bring it 2014. I am ready.

Do All Things With Love




Do you have a word or theme for the year? How do you decide what they are?

Monday, January 6, 2014

S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y Night // TCFTurns5 Recap



Happy New Year loves!! I'm excited to kick off my first post of the year with a recap of THE event I attended this past Saturday night. One of my blogger lovelies The Curvy Fashionista celebrated her 5th blogiversary this past December and what better way to celebrate her successes than to have a rockin' shindig right? When she first posted about it way back in November I just knew I had to attend.

I first met Marie back in April at LuckyFABB and was blown away by how sweet she was and loved her pitch for why she should attend NY Fashion week as a correspondent for Lucky Magazine. She won the pitch fest and when I approached her after to tell her congratulations she couldn't have been more gracious. She's also a BLM girl and has been more than generous with her assistance to us newbies and lesser known bloggers. She's been willing to take the time to answer any and all questions and never hesistates to tell it like it is. In a word I love her. But in a non creepy stalker way. So I RSVP'd with a quickness and texted my sister-friend to tell her to save the date cuz we were going out! It seemed to take forever to arrive but finally the day was here! My friend Ebony and I were the glam squad for a wedding early in the day and even though we were tired we were both excited for a night out. Her first time out since having her baby last summer!!

Located inside the VIP Lounge at Club Nokia we were among the first to arrive and instantly made friends with Vanessa and Priscilla while waiting in line. They were absolutely lovely and we were jazzed to have found some folks to chit chat with on the way in.


Upon arriving to the door of the club there was a red carpet situation with Chenese Lewis interviewing attendees as they did the step and repeat. I was nervous to unexpectedly be on camera and because I'm "decidedly NOT so curvy" thought it might seem odd for me to be there. But as I explained to Chenese , women of every size and color need other women to be there to support their ventures and I dig Marie and what she's about so I went ahead and strutted my stuff  in front of the camera and promoted my blog without missing a beat.

I was super geeked about my ensemble. It may not have seemed like much but I finally found the perfect sequin leggings via The Oxford Trunk and they arrived just in time for the party! I picked up my RUN DMC tee at Forever 21 that afternoon and the BCBGeneration shoes were a delightful find at TJ Maxx that same day. Of course I had to pull it all together with my favorite Stella & Dot jewels and a bright red lip.  (full outfit post coming later this week)



The woman of the hour was KILLING it in a black low cut jumpsuit and serving all kinds of Diana Ross sass with her hair. I was happy to grab a photo op and take a minute to gush over her ensemble while introducing her to my girl. I was kind of jelly about how awesome her boobs were looking while mine were just dumb in comparison.





The venue was lit in a sexy purple hue and gave off a plush vibe but was also very California cool and laid back. The bartenders were on point and so were the DJ's.
We wasted no time in hitting the photo booth and taking outfit photos. Who knew what we would look like at the end of the night?
obligatory bathroom selfie's
After that we hit the dance floor and didn't quit until it was time to go home. And to make things even more awesome, I witnessed a real live full on dance battle. I think life should be like a musical where everyone breaks out into spontaneous choreographed dance and it has been a lifelong dream to see a battle take place in a club. My life is now complete. Y'all, these folks tore up the dance floor and I was just happy to bear witness while two-stepping on the side lines.



Congratulations Marie, on your many accomplishments over the last year and I can't wait to see where this year takes you. I am truly grateful to have met you and I thank you for allowing me to pick your brain and for continuing to lead by example.



So what did y'all do this first weekend of the new year?



**If you want to see more photos of the event be sure to check out the hashtag #TCFTurns5 on Instagram / Facebook /Twitter as there were camera flashes all around and sure to be many more amazing photos from the night! 


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