Thursday, June 30, 2011

Glitter Nails: The Easiest DIY Manicure


Earlier this month, I posted about having to tighten up the old budget, and it seems that several of you are in the same boat.  (As evil as it may sound, its a tad bit comforting to know I'm not the only one trying to keep my Amex in its place this summer!)  The main thing to take a hit during this spending lockdown has been my clothing budget.  I think I can count the number of closet covetables I've purchased since April on one hand.  (A big fete for me!)  But not far behind in the spending lockdown has been my beauty budget.  Luckily, I have a small MAC store under my bathroom sink, so I've been in the clear there.  But I've had to quickly reevaluate my $65 nightime moisturizer, weekly manicures, and like-clockwork highlights.  I traded in the bank breaking moisturizer for a Neutrogena fave and have learned to embrace a bit of roots and stretch out my highlights.  But one of the hardest things for me to give up has been my manicures.

Call me girly, call me high maintainance, whatever, but something about freshly painted nails just makes me happy.  My love for pretty manicures does not translate however into the slightest ounce of skill when it comes to DIY manicures.  Don't get me wrong, I've tried several times, and good heavens, was it a disaster!  No matter how careful I was, no matter how still I tried to be, my manicures always looked like they were the work of a blindfolded first grader wearing thick wooly mittens.  Uneven layers, polish halfway down my fingers...eesh, it was a mess.  But a few weeks ago, this blog post by Lindsay changed my life.  Seriously.  Armed with determination and the realization that I had to cut back on my beauty budget, I gave her tips a go, and holy goodness, what do you know?  It worked! I successfully did my own manicure and didn't have polish smeared on my elbow.  Hallelulah!

Since then, I've sucessfully done two more at home manis, both better than the one before.  So if you're like me and have been longing to get better at DIY manicures and save your bank account unneccesary strain, catch a few tips me...

Recently Updated{12345678}

1. Go read Lindsay's post.
2. Reread it, just to make sure you registered all that goodness.  Seriously.
3. Start sheer, nude, and light with your polish color.  The mistakes aren't as easy to see and you won't spend all night staring at that one spot.  (I mean, its your first time, it won't be perfect!)
4. When painting your nails, start in the middle, painting a stripe down the center of your nail, then slowly moving toward the outside of the nail.  Much easier this way!

And my favorite tip...

5. ADD GLITTER!  I have always loved anything sparkly, glitter nails included, so imagine my delight when I realized glitter is the ideal coverup for not-quite-perfect nails.  My first glitter go was silver layered over an Essie pink, and I can't stop squealing over my cotton candy princess nails.  Now I'm dreaming of a minty green with glitter, glitter tips, glittered ring finger manicures, and black with gold glitter.  Its a whole new world out there yall.  Glitter is the perfect tool for DIY nail newbies!

Needless to say, me, my nails, and my bank account are happy campers.  Expect to see lots of pretty paint jobs and loads of glittered nails around these parts.  If I wasn't already, I'm officially smitten with glitter!  And if you're a hopeless DIY manicurist, give these tips a try.  I swear, if I can do, you can definitely do it!

Anyone else a hopeless manicure DIY-er or a glittered nail lover?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Weekend Happenings


Taking an afternoon trip to see the new "Jellies" exhibit at the Aquarium...
Saying goodbye to all Matt's fellow interns at their farewell party...
Staying out entirely too late Friday night but having a blast doing it...
Picnicing with Matt for our anniversary...
Barbequing with friends...
Mixing up the simplest cocktail thanks to Trader Joe's fizzy pink lemonade...
Brunching at Big Jones with out of town friends...
Enjoying my first Starbucks in a MONTH...
Having success with new recipes stored on my Pinterest...
Treasure hunting at RAD Vintage in Andersonville...
Celebrating summer with the girls from "the store" on the most delightful deck I've ever seen...
Furiously catching up on Harry Potter before July 15...


PS: I have some SUPER exciting news to share, but I'm desperately trying to wait until I have a few more details.  I'm hope to share later this week, eek!  Happy Wednesday!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Two Years

MG 6149{photo by Rachel Robinson}

Two years ago today, we said "I do."  Surrounded by our family and friends, in a beautiful church, we committed our love and our lives to one another.  I remember that day like it was yesterday; there was so much anticpation, so much joy, and an overwhelming amount love.  Not just between Matt and I, but between the people who love and support us, the people who continue to encourage us on our journey of marriage.

If I could sum up the past year for Matt and I in one word it would be adventure.  This year, we packed up our lives together, moved somewhere new, and found a place to call home.  We grew roots together, took chances together, and made big decisions together.  We learned a lot about compromise, rolling with the punches, and leaning on one another in times of stress.  We became our own little family, learning to make decisions as a unit, (and even tougher, learning to make decisions as a unit even when we don't see eye to eye.)  This year, we took an adventure together, and I couldn't be more grateful for the opportunity it has given us to learn and grow together.

Sweet and always I am grateful for your love.  Grateful for the person you are and grateful for the person you inspire me to be.  You are one of a kind and such a blessing in my life.  This year has been such an adventure, and I can't think of anyone more fabulous and special to share it with.  Happy anniversary, I love you beyond words.

PS: If you wanna see more wedding pics, I posted a ton in last year's anniversary post.  I never get tired of looking at them :)

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Anatomy of a Bracelet Stack

Lately I have been absolutely obsessed with bracelet stacking.  I've always been one to pile on stacks of gold bangles or double up on rhinestone bling, but for some reason my obsession has gone to a whole new level in recent weeks.  Maybe its the summer heat or maybe I've just gone plain looney, but I have abandoned all fashion and color rules and started stacking bracelets of all shapes, sizes, and colors.  And to induce even more swooning is the fact that I've found thrifted/gifted bracelets make the best stacks.  True story.  I've purchased a million bracelets over the years, but whenever I stack, I always find myself drawn to the bracelets that cost me next to nothing.


Bracelet Breakdown (from top to bottom):
1. gifted from my parents trip to Greece
2. gifted from my grandma
3. thrifted last weekend (25 cents!)
4. passed down from my great aunt Bunny
5. thrifted by my mom
6. thrifted in Houston along with matching red and green bracelets
7. snagged from American Eagle eons ago
8. thrifted last week at a Chicago garage sale (50 cents!)

So the next time you're wondering what bracelet to wear, I say wear 'em all.  Beaded or bangled, silver or gold, thrifted or gifted...just pile 'em on!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

My Dad

A17{Father/Daughter dance circa 1991}

Any man who loved his daughter when her bangs looked like this and her dorky smile tried to disguise a pink retainer is a rare find :) Thank you Dad for your constant love and support and your words of wisdom.  You are the best dad a girl could ask for; Ryan and I are so very blessed.  Happy Fathers Day.

(PS: Isn't it creepy how little my dad has aged and how much he looks like my brother does now?  I hope I got those anti-ageable genes!)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Iron and Wine Concert and Giveaway Winners

Last Monday, Matt and I headed to Millennium Park to hear one of our newish (yep, that's a word) favorite bands, Iron and Wine.  They were a part of Millennium Park's free New Music Monday series, which gives Chicagoans the opportunity to gather in their favorite park and listen to great music...for free!  The concert was crowded as hell (literally, it was slightly insane) and we snagged one of the last open spots inside the pavilion.  Which meant for an hour we got to watch people beg and plead with park police, jump over barricades, and run through bushes.  It definitely provided good pre-show entertainment :)

DSCN5016If you haven't heard of Iron and Wine, you should definitely check out their website where you can listen to their newest album.  (My favorite songs are Boy with a Coin and Tree by the River.)  The Head and the Heart opened the show, and as much as I enjoyed them, I was kinda let down by the weird version they did of my favorite song, Lost in my Mind.  (If want a midday jam out song, listen to it.  I love it.)

DSCN5015We packed a little picnic, found a spot along the fence, and made friends with our blanket neighbors, who happened to be responsible DePaul students.  (They brought their math homework with them!)

DSCN5009There are few things I love more in the summer than plaid picnic blankets and armfuls of thrifted/gifted bracelets.

DSCN5007I literally wear this hat every chance I get.  Even if Matt calls me "Indiana" (aka Indiana Jones) when I put it on.

DSCN5010Lol, what a stud :)

DSCN5020Oh how we love our city.  I'm so happy we get to stay here for a long while!

And now for the giveaway news...the winner of the $50 gift certificate to Ellaine's Stella &Dot e-boutique is Alexandria!  (Congrats girlie, send me an email and I'll forward your info onto Ellaine.)  And for the second giveaway...the winner of the Petra bracelet is Luann from Newport Beach!  (Luann, Ellaine will be emailing you directly about your new bling.)  Thanks to all of you who entered, and a big thanks to Ellaine for providing such a fabulous giveaway!  Now go listen to some Iron and Wine and tell me you love them as much as I do :)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Common Things


"Being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things."
Henry Ward Beecher

Lately, Matt and I have been making a more concentrated effort to pull back the reigns financially.  With my internship nearing, we're looking at two rents as well as four hour weekend commutes to see one another.  That, combined with dreams of buying a house sometime in the (hopefully) not too far future, has encouraged us to watch our wallets a bit more.  And though this always proves to be a bit of a challenge for me, in a weird way, I'm learning to love and appreciate the challenge.  Because happiness isn't dining at posh restaurants, drinking $5 lattes, or wearing a new dress.  Happiness is grilling hot dogs on our patio, doing a 25 cent garage sale puzzle together, and getting creative with what I have hanging in my closet.  And while I have the occasional moment of "why is this so hard?" I'm learning to be slow down and see that the common, everything things are oh so lovely indeed.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Graduation in Texas

Two weekends ago, we flew to Texas for my brother's graduation, and I'm still blinking wondering where the trip went.  I thought I'd be more snap happy with my camera, but in reality, I left my camera in my purse for most the trip and focused on celebrating my wonderful brother.  But thankfully, I was able to swipe pictures from friends and family after the fact.  Cause yall know how much I love pictures :)

IMG 5343The sisters, the graduate, the parents, and the brother-in-law...all so very proud of our graduate.  PS: Did that make it sound like Matt is my brother-in-law?  Cause that would be just weird.  My husband, but brother-in-law of the graduate.  Lol, got it?

DSCN4921Ryan and I would be lost without the love and support of these two.

DSCN4925My sweet sister and I.

251369 1694239686575 1555290160 31296484 5822985 nMy brother and his oh-so-adorable girlfriend, Makenna.  Graduation was my first time to meet her (a major downfall of living so far away) and I couldn't believe how unbelievably delightful she was!  Genuine, funny, mature, fashionable, and insanely down to earth.  But best of all, she adores my brother, and nothing makes me happier :)

DSCN4931Family events always make me smile at how easily Matt has fit into my crazy family.

251113 1973527668676 1557575299 2040445 2602784 nThere is not a prouder big sister on the planet!

IMG 5347One big, happy family, including my aunt, uncle, and cousin who flew in from Atlanta.  PS: thanks Makenna for the picture!

DSCN4962At my brother's graduation party.  Friends, family, and Texas BBQ...the best kind of celebration!

DSCN4945Love my sweet dad :)

Soler0000015AFor my brother's graduation gift, I put together a slideshow with tons of pictures of Ryan growing up, playing sports, living and traveling in Europe, and enjoying high school.  It was such a treat to make and a blast to show to family and friends at the graduation party.  This picture made the video, and it makes me tear up, thinking how much time has passed since this picture.  The Lion King pajamas no longer fit, the baby teeth are gone, but my love for this little guy is as big as ever.  Ryan, I'm so proud of the person you are, the growth you've experienced, and the love you give to the people around you.  No matter where life takes you, I hope you always know how very much your big sister loves you.

These pictures are proof that time flies, so today, take a second to hug someone you love and squeeze extra tight, because life moves fast and we don't get the seconds back.  Have a happy Tuesday sweet friends!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Weekend Snapshots

After what seems like months of back and forth, rainy, cold, and overcast weekends, Chicago had an (almost) full weekend of sunshine.  It may have been hot and humid, but it was sunny, and dang it, we were gonna enjoy it!  So minus today's inside only dissertation workday, the rest of the weekend was spend outside, enjoying some much needed Chicago sunshine!

DSCN4971Fruity drinks on the patio?  Yes please.

DSCN4972My love affair with pina coladas is out of this world.  They are worth every single one of their 9,000 calories.  So much so, I had two :)

DSCN4973We tried a new spot for dinner on Friday (thanks Groupon Now for the push) and we were pleasantly surprised.  A Friday fish fry, a huge outdoor patio, and pina coladas on special.  Does it get any better?

DSCN4979After a slow moving Saturday morning (oh how I love waking up without an alarm), we headed to the Morton Arboretum to enjoy the sun at one of Chicago's best outdoor spots.

DSCN4976As soon as I saw the maze garden, my Harry Potter geek meter went off, playing a million Goblet of Fire scenarios in my mind.  But after thinking back to our previous corn maze experience, we decided to spare ourselves the anxiety/agony and just enjoy the maze from above.

DSCN4984Pretty flowers, happy little bee.

DSCN4991For lunch we packed a picnic and found a great little spot near the lake to unfold our blanket.

DSCN4986The view, looking up, from our picnic blanket.  I'm hardly the "outdoorsy type" but even I can't deny this loveliness.

DSCN4993After lunch, I caught up with Harry and his friends, in preparation for the upcoming movie.  July 15...anyone else counting down?!

DSCN4997The Arboretum has over 1,700 acres of gardens, woods, and lakes, so it truly is impossible to experience everything in a visit, so after our picnic, Matt and I agreed to hike the trail to Big Rock.  I was slightly unprepared for the hike as I thought it would be more of a "stroll through heavily manicured gardens."  Not entirely lol.  So after a little bit of whining, I calmed down and we set off for a solid hour hike.

DSCN5004I can't help but laugh at this picture.  A little lost and a lot hot, we pause for a break, and in true fashion, Matt turns to the map and I turn to the camera.  We make a good pair us two :)

So there you have it, a little sneak peek into our sunshine filled weekend.  What was your weekend like?  PS: Don't forget about my Stella & Dot giveaway!  You've got a few more days to enter to win one of two awesome prizes!  Hope your weekend was lovely and that this week is even better!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Alphabet Me

Alphabet{etsy via my pinterest}

Ambition: be good to the ones I love and use my degree in a creative way...
Bad Habit: eating raw cookie dough...
City: Chicago...
Drink: Diet Dr. Pepper...
Education: almost done with this dang ph.d...
Food: potatoes...mashed, baked, fried, cubed, oh how I love them...
Guilty Pleasure: buying one more black dress...
Hometown: Carrollton, Texas...
Ice Cream: Blue Bell Fudge Nut Brownie...
Jonesing for: a beach vacation...
Kryptonite: obsessively buying, sending, and loving snail mail...
Look-a-like: I get Katherine Heigl a lot, and even though I don't think I look anything like her, I think she is gorgeous, so I'll take it...
Movie: Legally Blonde, Wish Upon a Star, Mean Girls, Emperor's New Groove, Home Alone...
Nickname: Alli, AJ, Neebs, Sprinks...
Obsession: my little brother, he's the shiz...
Perfume: Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue...
Quirk: when possible, i prefer to write in all lowercase letters...
Regret: not studying abroad in college...
Starbucks: grande sugar-free caramel soy latte...
Thrift Find of the Year: a vintage Diane von Furstenberg silk scarf...for a dollar...
University: Boomer Sooner...
Vacation: Positano, Italy, absolute paradise...
Wine: yes please, red...
X: now this one is just impossible...
Years: 27...
Zen: being with the people I love...

Leave me a letter or two about you, I'd love to get to you know you better.  Or better yet, do an "alphabet me" post on your blog and leave me the link so I can come and visit!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Stella and Dot GIVEAWAY!


Stella and dot

Today I am thrilled to be hosting a fabulous and just-in-time-for-summer Stella & Dot giveaway!  I think everyone has heard of Stella & Dot, but in case you've been living under a rock, the company has recently burst onto the scene with fresh, youthful, and one of a kind jewelry designs.  I have been drooling over their stuff for months now, so when Ellaine, an LA based Stella & Dot stylist contacted me about doing a giveaway, I jumped at the chance.  The only thing better than pretty baubles and big bling is gifting pretty baubles and big bling to my fabulous readers!

And to get summer started right, Ellaine has graciously offered TWO prizes.  The first is a $50 gift certificate good towards any purchase in Ellaine's e-boutique.  $50 to spend on whatever your bling loving heart desires!  Here's how to enter:
1. "Like" Ellaine's Stella and Dot Facebook page and leave her a comment/wall post.
2. Then come back here, and leave a comment telling me what your favorite piece is.
**You must do both steps to be entered in the giveaway.

And for another entry, "like" Smart and Sassy with Sprinkles' Facebook page and leave a separate blog comment telling me you did so.  Two chances to win...yes please!

And to sweeten the deal, for every $50 you spend, your name will be entered in a drawing to win the Petra bracelet (a $98 value and seen on Leighton Meister on Gossip Girl!)  Here's how to purchase from Ellaine and get qualified for the drawing.

Screen shot 2011 06 01 at 8 06 03 AMVisit and click on "find your hostess."

Screen shot 2011 06 01 at 8 06 42 AMType "smartandsassy" into the host first name spot, search, and follow the link to our private trunk show.

Screen shot 2011 06 01 at 8 07 54 AMOnce you do this,  you'll see my blog name as the party host, and you're ready to start shopping!

Both giveaways will close Wednesday, June 8, 2011 at 11:59 pm.  I already have a list a mile long of baubles I love, earrings I want to gift to friends, and bracelets I can stack halfway up my arm.  Best of luck and a huge thanks to Ellaine for providing Smart and Sassy with Sprinkles with such a fabulous giveaway!