Monday, December 24, 2012

Warm Christmas Wishes

Wishing all of my beautiful readers a very Merry Christmas! I am filled with much love and peace this holiday season. A lot has changed for me in these last few months, and I thank all of you for your love and support. YOU are the best gift I could ask for!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

It's Tradition

Good Morning Friends. December has truly just begun, but the holiday spirit is in full swing for this girl. I always have so many "to-do's" on my list, and I never seem to get around to doing all of them, no matter how good my intentions are.

Don't you have certain holiday events and traditions that you look forward to each year that no matter how many times you do them they instantly bring memories flooding back?

Here are a few of the top MUST DO's for me this year!
{Visiting the Henry Plant museum for the Victorian Christmas Stroll. Beneath towering silver minarets, an extravagantly adorned former Tampa Bay Hotel captures the spirit of the season – Victorian style.  There are 14 exhibit rooms; each dazzling with trimmed trees uniquely designed in 19th century themes and antique holiday accessories.  While strolling down the Grand Hallway, your spirits will soar as you become immersed in carolers singing, Charles Dickens, much loved toys and wrapped gifts, Christmas stockings and Old Saint Nick.}

{Symphony in Lights is a holiday light display at a local outdoor mall. The Shops at Wiregrass is trimmed top to bottom with over 250,000 lights, 47 miles of wire, 2,000 watts of sound, and 10 tons of holiday d├Ęcor all dancing in concert to the music of the Trans Siberian Orchestra. Center Court transforms into a Winter Wonderland of snow flurries as crowds are mesmerized by this incredible display of light, sound and snow.}

{I wonder which one of Santa's reindeer this is? Wild Wonderland lights up Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo with seasonal cheer and more than a million twinkling lights. Meet Santa, his reindeer and their feathered friends – the penguin colony.}

{Looking at Christmas lights, even on a palm tree instead of a pine tree just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.}

What is on your holiday "to-do" list this year?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Pucker Up!

Unless you're bi-coastal, a perpetual spray-tanner, or just happen to have hit the good-genes jackpot, chances are, in the winter, you're paler than usual. Instead of trying to fight nature, it is best to embrace your look with a strong makeup statement. The answer? Just the right lipstick.

So, I've narrowed down my top hues of the season to four go-to color categories that anyone can pull off. From warm-'n'-toasty neutrals to gothically purple tones, these trends let you pump up the glam and update your cold-weather look without breaking the bank. The best part about showing your lips some fun, colorful love is that it'll even make your all-black puffer coat look chic…well, maybe.

{Above, from left: YSL Gloss Pur in #6 Pure Plum, $23, available at Yves Saint Laurent; Lipstick Queen Chinatown Pencil in Mystery, $20, available at Lipstick Queen; Givenchy Gloss Interdit Ultra-Shiny Color Plumping Effect in Velvet Purple, $26.50, available at Sephora.}
I've been seeing this deep purple color popping up in the office and all over town, and when done right, it can be a total makeup home run. Don't shy away from the dramatic look — it just might be the "new you."

{Above, from left: Vincent Longo Baby Balm With SPF 12 in Positano, $23, available at Beauty Bar; By TerryRouge Terrybly Age Defense Lipstick in Terrybly Nude, $48, available at Beauty Bar; Dr. Hauschka Skin Care Lip Liner in Romantica Soft 3, $19.99, available at Beauty Bar.}
It might feel counter intuitive to go neutral during the winter, but this clean look is really editorial and was favored by tons of designers this past runway season. Plus, it's super easy to pull off!
{Above, from left: Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Intense in #36, $19, available at Sephora; Chanel Rouge Allure in Kensington, $32.50, available at Chanel; Hourglass Femme Rouge Velvet Creme Lipstick in Fever, $30, available at Sephora.}
If you're wearing a neutral or monochromatic outfit, a hot pink lip gives your look some seriously chic oomph in like... 10 seconds flat. Apply in the a.m. and wear all day, or add it on just before running out of the office, and you're set for the night.

{Above, from left: Iris Apfel for MAC Lipstick in Scarlet Ibis, $14, available at MAC; Sisley Paris Hydrating Long Lasting Lipstick in Golden Copper, $55, available at Beauty Bar; Illamasqua Lipstick Flare, $22, available at Sephora.}
When the weather's got you feeling a little bleh, smearing on a bright red lip can pull you right out of the doldrums. And, with an orange undertone, the shade's given an updated, seasonal perspective that everyone can get into.

Would you try any of these shades? What is your favorite winter lipstick trend for 2012?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Best Gift is YOU

Hello Gorgeous.

Can you believe it is that time of year again? The malls and stores are bustling with shoppers who are desperately searching for the perfect gifts for their loved ones. . .spending hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to only be faced with a mountain of bills come the new year.

This year when I stop to think about my own holiday wish list I was left stumped. . .empty of a material desires. Of course having something to unwrap Christmas morning is any girl's wish (Especially when it has a little sparkle!). However, things are different this year. . .

Remember when you were a little kid, the dark corners of your room seemed really scary? Those spots under your bed, that shadow the door leaves on your floor, that little nook in the wall near your closet – they all seem like great places for monsters and bogey men to hide.

After a lot of sleepless nights, your mom and dad probably caved in and got you a tiny little night light. Now, most night lights are pretty darned small and the light they generate is not really overwhelmingly life-altering, but somehow, it’s enough. We feel like our concerns have been addressed, we feel like someone cares, and hey, that little night light does lighten up those super dark spots a little bit. At least it gets easier to tell that there aren’t monsters hiding in your room, right?

When a person is going through a really hard time, their every day existence can seem like that dark room from your childhood. Every corner seems to have another new obstacle to face. Every shadow seems to be an omen of more bad things ahead. Efforts may be made to open the blinds to let any light in, but the moon isn’t out and it’s pitch black everywhere. It seems for this person like there is no way things can get any lighter, and the people who keep reminding them that morning is just around the corner just don’t seem to "get it."

When you see a friend or a loved one going through times like these, there is one little thing you can do that can be more powerful than any physical gift.

You can give them that night light otherwise known as hope.

Hope is kind of an overused word and it sounds a lot more glamorous, perhaps, than it really is sometimes. Just like night lights, sometimes hope can be delivered in the tiniest of packages, and you may not think it’s enough to make any kind of difference. But there is the actual hope you are giving someone and then there is the fact that you stopped to help. That makes the light shine brighter.

Do you know how one small, "How are you today" text or email can make a person feel like someone, ANYONE, cares? Believe me, to have someone reach out to ask how I AM without the reverse happening first. . .it means everything because it shows I am being thought of and that I matter to someone else.

Hope can come in all kinds of forms. For children who are living on the streets who may not have hope for a better future, hope can be a new home, help with school, and a good breakfast. For a person being bullied all of the time, hope can arrive in the form of a kind and caring word. For a person with economic problems or health problems, new solutions, or even the possibility of new solutions, can be how hope shows itself.

Hope may not be enough to solve a person’s problems. It might not even be enough to make them feel better for very long. But hope has a way, just like a night light, of evening out those extra dark spots so you don’t have to spend energy worrying about those lurking monsters. Offering a person a little light when they are surrounded by the deepest darkest night can be a little reminder that people are out there pulling for them.

Have you gone out of your way to offer someone who seemed to be without hope a little boost? Have you spent some time thinking about ways a person could attack his or her problems? Have you considered one small thing we could do to help someone feel a little lighter and a little more loved? It’s free, and in fact it’s priceless. But oh the value your time and energy will carry for that person grasping in the dark and cowering from monsters.

It’s worth a shot, isn’t it?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Cold Comfort

For the past week I have been fighting an uphill battle against a nasty case of the sniffles! I don't know about you, but I am THE BIGGEST BABY when it comes to getting sick.

My family and friends make fun of me whenever I come down with something. Now don't be too hard on them - I would make fun of me too! I can go through major surgery and keep the biggest smile on my face and never complain. I get a sore throat or the sniffles and I swear I can't handle it.

While there may still be no cure for the not-so-common-cold, what are the things you do to help those you love and yourself feel better? Here are a few things that have helped me through the past couple of days.

My cold fighting tips:
  • Drink lots of fluids. Water, juice, clear broth or warm lemon water are all good choices. They help replace fluids. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which can cause dehydration.
  • Grandma was right. Generations of parents have ladled chicken soup into their sick children’s mouths. Now scientists have put chicken soup to the test, discovering that it does seem to help relieve cold and flu. I actually made my grandma's recipe for homemade chicken soup for the first time this weekend. It was delicious! I don't know if it was truly the chicken soup or my thoughts of her that made me feel almost instantly better. What do you think? Look yummy?
  • Go to your room! If possible, stay home from work (I did) if you have a fever or a bad cough, or are drowsy after the medications. This will give you a chance to rest as well as reduce the chances that you’ll infect others. This is definitely a time when sharing is not appreciated!
  • Adjust temperature & humidity. Keep your room warmer, but not overheated. If the air is dry, a cool-mist humidifier or vaporizer can moisten the air and help ease congestion and coughing.
  • Vitamin C. The jury is still out, but it appears taking vitamin C at the onset of a cold may shorten the duration of symptoms. As with all of these tips, check with your doctor.
  • Apply VapoRub. This is my secret go-to treatment when all else fails. Did your mom use it on you, too? It brings back memories of her TLC… and really helps improve my breathing when I'm stuffy.
Now that I have kicked my cold, I am hopeful that I will be good for the rest of the winter (Fingers crossed!) What are some of your cold fighting tips (I need to bulk up my arsenal!)?