June 29, 2012

NaBloPoMo - July 2012

If you've never joined NaBloPoMo, this is the time to do so.   It starts July 1st and runs until July 31st.  NaBloPoMo is what you make of it. At its core, all you need to do is post daily on your blog. The point of NaBloPoMo is not to be restricted by the theme, but instead to either take it or leave it. If you'll do better blogging every day based on what's happening in your world, throw aside the daily prompts.
The theme for July is KID.

If you're posting every day in July and would like to join the blogroll, fill out the NaBloPoMo Blogroll Form.   Make sure you've selected JULY and only submit your blog once, please.   It may take up to 24 hours for your blog to appear on the list.  You can sign up for July's NaBloPoMo until July 5th.  After that point, no new blogs will be added.
Just make the commitment to: 
(1) blog daily for the month (nothing more to it than that!)
(2) to support your fellow NaBloPoMo'ers by reading a handful of the other blogs on the blogroll.   Cheer them along and they'll cheer you on too.

Grab the official badge for your blog.  You could even get fancy and cross-post your blog posts onto the NaBloPoMo site.   If you need daily inspiration, the list of NaBloPoMo posts is below, which already has all the prompts for the month posted so you can plan ahead.  Writing prompts are posted at the beginning of the month so you can plan ahead, Monday to Friday (weekends are for free-writing!)

NaBloPoMo July 

Monday, July 2, 2012
Tell us your favourite joke.
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Talk about the best prank you ever pulled.
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Describe what 4th of July (or your country's equivalent to Independence Day) was like for you as a child.
Thursday, July 5, 2012
What prank do you wish you had the guts or expertise to pull off?
Friday, July 6, 2012
Do you come out and admit it when you're joking around, or do you leave people wondering?
Monday, July 9, 2012
Do you think it makes it okay to add "just kidding" after a surprising statement?
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Bubble wrap - do you love to pop it or not?
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Tell us about your favourite comedian.
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Would you rather go to a standup comedy show or a music concert?
Friday, July 13, 2012
Do you worry on Friday the 13th, or do you think the whole superstition is a joke?
Monday, July 16, 2012
When did you know that you wanted or didn't want to have kids?
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
If you parent, what is the best part of parenting?  If you don't parent, what is the best part about not having kids?
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
On the whole, do you like other people's kids?
Thursday, July 19, 2012
How do you feel about kids being banned from places such as restaurants or airplanes?
Friday, July 20, 2012
Which do you enjoy more -- babies or older kids?
Monday, July 23, 2012
What is the hardest part about being a kid?
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Talk about how you felt about adults back when you were a kid.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Do you ever find yourself now doing things you wished adults didn't do when you were a kid?
Thursday, July 26, 2012
What did you swear you would never do when you were an adult that you still never do to this day?
Friday, July 27, 2012
What is the best question a child has ever asked you?
Monday, July 30, 2012
Do you agree with George Bernard Shaw that youth is wasted on children?
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
If you could go back to one point of time in your childhood, which one would it be

June 27, 2012

Advertise Here!

Are you looking to grow your business, shop or blog?

I'd love to work with you!  

Take a look at my advertising options & feel free to contact me for more information.

Sign up today and get the first week in August free! 

Get It, Girls: Taj Crystal Bib

The Platinum Buried Bauble @ BaubleBar has arrived!  It's the Taj Crystal Bib!  This stunner is normally $38, but is on sale for $20 while supplies last.

Evoke the opulence of the Taj Mahal, with this bold statement bib. Featuring a lush strand of bright crystals enmeshed in a labyrinth of chains and beads, this piece is lots of bang for not too much buck.
  • Materials: Acrylic, Plated Base Metal
  • Length (Shortest Chain): 16" with 4" extension
  • Lobster Clasp

BaubleBar Taj Crystal Bib - On Sale For $20

Not a BaubleBar member?  Need an invite?  Click here!

My Summer Must-Haves

Since I'm a Monday-Friday-9-To-5-er, I only have two precious, work drama-free days off work per week.  I used to be totally lazy, sitting around the house, bumming it out in front of the TV, but now that I've lost so much weight (and probably about 30 more lbs. to go...) I actually have the energy to feel like I want to get out and do something!  Here's what I consider my go-to's for the summer-livin' lifestyle...

♥ You've got to have a beach bag!  A good bag can double as your purse and beach carryall, making it the perfect all-in-one bag to tote around.  I love these bags from RipCurl ($39.50) and BooHoo ($25.86).
♥ I never really understood the whole "wearing tons of jewelry to the beach" thing - I mean, hello tanlines!  But there are a few cute items I wear that don't get in the way, like this Juicy Couture Seahorse/Hot Pink Stud combo ($58) or these Lucky Brand Starfish/Smoky Stud combo ($35).
♥ A must have is entertainment when you're relaxing.  I'm a big fan of House Beautiful, so I'm currently reading their "Style 101" edition ($16.95).  If you're a big bookworm like me, I suggest the Blue Bloods series.  It's slightly in the Twilight vein (pun intended) of books, but somehow...better.
♥ Since I discovered these awesome roll-up beach mats, laying on towels is a thing of the past!  These Steve Madden Roll Up Mats ($40) even come with a pillow!
♥ Many people don't realize that skin cancer can affect your ears as well.  It's a big problem for people who spend a significant part of their lives outdoors.  Protecting yourself with a cute sun hat keeps the problem at bay, while still looking adorable.  Check out these sweet styles from Something Special ($27.99), Vans ($23) & Jessica Simpson ($48).
♥ Sunglasses are a must-have for protecting those peepers from harmful UV rays, and oh yeah, keeping the sun out of your eyes!  I'm big into aviators & oversized sunglasses right now, like these from Jeepers Peepers ($29.83) or ASOS ($24.86).
♥ No one likes a sunburn!  It's painful, dry & itchy, plus - who wants to look like a tomato?!   I like the spray on sunscreen best, like Coppertone UltraGuard ($8.07) or Banana Boat UltraMist ($9.49).

June 26, 2012

Trendspotting: Party Time!

I find that when planning a party, the right accessories are key.  From tablecloths to the menu, there are countless options for creativity. 

  • Chevron patterns are huge right now.  Since we're fully into the Summer season, stay away from the neutrals & blacks and snap up a chevron piece in a bright, fun color.  A table cloth or table runner would be a lovely base to begin your decorating with.
  •  Bold colors are another way to liven up a party.  Happy colors like tangerine, sunflower, turquoise, and lime add a strong pop of color to your party decor.  Think about using 3-4 small vases full of bright flowers along the middle of your table.  The colors are eye pleasing and the flowers will add a pleasant aroma.
  • Choose a color scheme.  Try and pick three to four colors and accessorize that way.  Right now I'm loving turquoise, candy pink and neon green.  Use your chosen colors to create a tablescape, bunch up balloons, or divide foods by color.
  • You don't have to have a "reason" to throw a party.  Have a casual dinner party, or a sweets party simply because you feel like it.  Who says you can't have an anytime party?
  • Get creative and make party favors.  It could be something as simple as a small tote filled with beach items for a beach-style party, or a box of cookies or a candy basket for the ride home, or even something extravagant like personalized matchbooks.
  • Pay attention to detail.  For an example, mason jars as drinking glasses would add to the theme.  Top them off with a striped straw for a cute look.  Think about creating a special drink or dessert just for the event.  

June 25, 2012

BaubleBar: Triad Necklaces

I'm just in love with these Triad necklaces from BaubleBar.  They're so simple, yet chic.  The bright colors just pop & evoke the energy of summertime!  I'm really into geometric shaped jewelry and these babies are the best!  These necklaces are a steal at between $28-$32 each!  Do you have a BaubleBar membership?  If not, sign up here!

BaubleBar Triad Necklaces

  Which one is your favorite?

Free Things To Do In The Big Easy

If you're new to the blog, you might not know that I'm New Orleans obsessed.  If you're a LoaLM veteran, then you know exactly what you're in for.  Today I bring you some totally free, yet incredibly fun, things to do while you're in New Orleans.  

1. Listen to free music on Bourbon, Frenchmen and Fulton, where jazz pours out onto the street.   Many clubs don't charge a cover so listening in won't cost you a dime.  Here's a directory of great clubs in the area.

2. Browse art in the French Quarter and Bywater. Check out the galleries on Julia and Royal streets, the Jackson Square street-art vendors, and the Mid-City and Bywater art markets.  (One of my personal favorite street artists is a man named Ricco Rideaux.  We have several of his pieces in our home.)

3. Take the family to the park: Some favorite outdoor experiences include wandering beneath centuries-old oaks at City Park, picnicking in picturesque Audubon Park, or enjoying views of the Mississippi River at Woldenberg Park.
4. Get a free history lesson at the Historic New Orleans Collection, located at 533 Royal Street in the French Quarter.  There you can get a crash course in New Orleans history.

5. Bike the levee. You can either bring your own wheels or rent a set and go for a ride along the levee while taking in the sights and sounds of the mighty Mississippi River.

6. Take a self-guided tour to the haunted homes of Madama LaLaurie (1140 Royal), the Gardette-Leprete House (716 Dauphine Street), the Beauregard-Keyes House (1113 Chartres Street), Marie Laveau (1020 St. Ann Street), or the Degas House (2306 Esplanade Avenue), just to name a few.
7. Tour the oldest restaurant in the French Quarter — historic Antoine's, which has hosted dignitaries, presidents and notable historic figures in its 160 years.  Make sure to peek into the endless wine cellar.

8. Catch a free summer show at Tipitina's, which pays homage to jazz legend Professor Longhair with free shows on Fridays during the summer.

9. Haunt New Orleans' famous aboveground tombs at Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 in the Garden District or St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 on Basin Street, which is believed to be the final resting place of Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau. Knock three times on her crypt and make a wish.

10. Take a self-guided literary tour to the homes of literary greats Tennessee Williams (722 Toulouse), William Faulkner (624 Pirate's Alley), Truman Capote (711 Royal), Thornton Wilder (623 Bourbon), Walker Percy (1820 Milan) and Anne Rice (1239 First).

*Some info. from http://www.neworleanscvb.com/

June 22, 2012

Recipe: The Rainbow Connection Mini-Cocktail

The Rainbow Connection Cocktail

1 Part Blue Curacao
1 Part Green Creme De Menthe
1 Part Cognac
1 Part Maraschino Liqueur
1 Part Blackberry Liqueur
1 Part Creme De Cassis

The only instructions are to layer into into a shot glass.  This drink is fun but kind of hard to master!  As they say, practice makes perfect:)

I've linked in at Carole's Chatter - Food On Friday's.  

I Was Featured!

Take a minute to check out my bracelets that were featured on today's post on Vintspiration!

Gold Philosophy.

I’ve been designing these crazy, over the top pieces of jewelry lately, and I really need to get those in the shop, now that I think of it!  I'm inspired by things all over and the newly launched Gold Philosophy is just one of my many muses.  I do have to say that the items are quite expensive, but they are completely breathtaking as well.  Below are some of my favorites:

gold philosophy favorites

June 20, 2012

Wishful Wednesday

Last night's episode of Pretty Little Liars was excellent as always.  I completely love the style & fashion on this show.  Today's wish list is dedicated to PLL fashion that I want but sadly can't afford most of it.

Sam Edelman Lorissa Peep-Toe Pumps, $157.50 (seen on Aria)

Steve Madden Winonna Wedge, $49.90 (seen on Aria)

June 19, 2012

Recipe: Broccoli Cheese Soup

I'm a big fan of broccoli-cheese soup.  I rarely meet one I don't like.  My restaurant favorites so far are from Outback Steakhouse, Panera Bread & Quizzno's.  I modified this recipe from one I found on the Food Network.  I didn't like a few of the ingredients in the recipe I'd found, so I substituted them out, and added a few new ones for good measure.  I really love it and I think you will to.

Get This:
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 cup minced yellow onion
  • 1/4 cup minced white onion
  • 1 cup of half and half
  • 2 14.5 ounce cans of chicken broth
  • 2 packages of frozen broccoli florets
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 pound of Velveeta
  • 8 ounces of your favorite shredded cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
Make That:
*Make sure to use medium heat while completing this recipe as you don't want your soup to scorch.  
In a large saucepan melt together your butter, flour, and minced onions.  I like to cut my onions as small as possible, because I don't want to eat a chunk of onion.  You can dice your pieces instead if you prefer a larger piece.  Cook those ingredients together for about a minute, and then slowly add in the half and half about 1/4 cup at a time, making sure to whisk constantly.  When all of the half and half is incorporated add the frozen broccoli and Velveeta.  When the cheese is completely melted, add chicken broth one cup at a time until soup is well mixed and has a consistent texture.  Next you will add your shredded carrots and simmer soup for about 10 minutes.  After ten minutes, add the shredded cheese then simmer for another 10 minutes, stirring ever so often to maintain consistency.  Serve when all cheese if fully melted.

  • If you are concerned about salt, you can use a low sodium chicken broth instead.   
  • If you have leftovers, make sure to place them in an airtight container.  When reheating leftovers, you may want to add just a little milk before reheating, as the soup may become thick once refrigerated.
  • This soup is excellent served in a bread bowl or with rolls.  For a different twist, try this soup poured over a bed of rice or mixed with pasta.
Images via Google

June 15, 2012

Birchbox Haul

I finally broke down and subscribed to Birchbox.  If you aren't familiar with Birchbox, let me explain.  Birchbox is the best way to discover new grooming, beauty and lifestyle products.  Each month you'll receive top product samples from high-end brands, get expert advice, buy new favorites and earn points with every purchase.  Each box is a curated offering of supplies that will span beauty categories and deliver exciting products that fit into both your day-to-day routine, and into those days when you want to turn up the drama a notch.

Each month, you'll receive a selection of samples that the co-founders have tried themselves.  They source our samples from both well-known brands and emerging gems. The women’s subscription includes everything from skincare to makeup to fun non-beauty extras.  The men’s subscription delivers top-tier grooming products in addition to lifestyle accessories ranging from hip socks to tech accessories.

The Birchbox website content helps you get the most out of your samples. Here you'll find a source of inspiration, advice, and information.  They'll show you how to master techniques and upgrade your daily routine with articles, expert interviews, and videos.  Check out the Birchbox Magazine and explore the The Guide for more great information.

The coolest thing about Birchbox, besides the amazing box itself, is that you can purchase full size versions of the products directly from the Birchbox Shop.  There's an awesome loyalty program too!  Earn rewards every time you shop, refer friends, and give feedback on what you thought about your monthly samples.  The points you earn can be used to save on full-size or gift purchases!
Oh, and did I mention that Birchbox only costs $10 a month?!  That, my friends, is an incredible deal.

Since this was my first box, I wasn't sure what to expect.  The theme for June is "Jet Set".  This month is all about inspiring your inner jet-setter!  Did I mention that not everyone gets the same items in their box?  What I get may not be what you get, but there seems to be a really good selection of products - I doubt you'll be disappointed!

My products were:

Ada Cosmetics Bronzer -
This dermatologist approved powder is shimmery and talc-free.  It comes in one color that is designed to flatter every skin tone.  The full size retails for $12.45.

Likewise Facial Moisturizer + Sun Protectant SPF 50 (Normal To Dry) -
This zinc-infused cream soothes parched skin while deflecting harmful UV rays.  The full size retails for $44.

Masqueology Brightening Mask -
This sheet mask evens our your skin tone with the help of arbutin & mulberry root.  The full size box features 3 masks for $24.

theBalm Cosmetics Stainiac in Beauty Queen - 
This two-in-one lip and cheek stain is made up of a sheer gel formula that creates a subtle yet long wearing flush.  The full size retails for $17.

Cynthia Rowley Dress Up Band-Aids
This product was my Lifestyle Extra (aka my full size product for the month).  These designer bandages come in many different patterns, like rainbow sequins and jewelry inspired prints.  A pack of 20 retails for $15.

After watching a few June haul videos, I realized that there's some really cool stuff in these Birchboxes!  I'm super glad I subscribed.  I'm super curious about the Comodynes Self-Tanning Towlettes, the Eyeko Fat Eye Stick & the Georgie Beauty Winks.

If you are already a Birchbox subscriber, did you like what you got this month?  If you're not yet a subscriber, would you like an invite

June 14, 2012

Neutrals & Neons

In my attempts to wear more color, I have gravitated to neons in a big way.  I hate to spend a ton of money on clothes when I can usually find something similar and way more affordable.  Oh, and there's that "my closet is filled with neutrals" issue....  So, my solution is this:  mix & match a neutral with a bright color.  Yes, I realize it's not a groundbreaking revelation, but just the same, it's a way to get more wear out of your old pieces by mixing old & new together.

Neutrals & Neons #1


June 13, 2012

Coming Soon: The Daman Chronicles

Have you ever thought about that the life of a costume designer must be like?  I can only imagine the incredible fashion that those eyes come across on a daily basis!  I know I'd be swooning all over the place if I was surrounded by the most beautiful things that the fashion world has to offer.  

Eric Daman, costume designer for “Gossip Girl” and the much-anticipated “Carrie Diaries,” has teamed up with Swarovski and Cambio for “The Daman Chronicles", which is a reality web series that follows Eric as he gallivants around New York City prepping for a shoot, researching for upcoming television seasons and meeting with his influential fashionista friends.

The web series will be exclusively distributed on Cambio this summer with the first episode premiering June 19 following a live-streamed kickoff event at Swarovski’s Lincoln Road boutique in Miami.  

Leading up to “The Daman Chronicles” premiere, Swarovski and Cambio are inviting fashion fans to tap into their own costume design abilities through participating in the Dress As Your Favorite “Gossip Girl” contest.  Simply upload photos of yourself dressed as your favorite “Gossip Girl” character(s) to Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #swarovskistyle

Eric Daman will scour through the entries, looking for what he believes is the best interpretation of a character’s overall look.  The lucky winner will snag a Rocket Necklace from Swarovski’s summer jewelry collection and Seasons 1-4 of “Gossip Girl” on DVD, making the grand prize more than a $550 value! 

Check out "The Daman Chronicles" trailer below:

June 11, 2012

Lasagna Cupcakes

It's no secret that I love pasta.  I love making lasagna, but it takes sooooo long.  I found this cute and less messy alternative and wanted to share it with you.

Get It:
16 pieces of lasagna, cooked & drained
olive oil
3 1/2 cups grated parmesan
3 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
3 cups shredded cheddar
...& your white sauce (scroll down for recipe)

Make It:
Trim 12 of your lasagna pieces into 6" strips and place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet.  Cut your remaining 4 pieces into three equal sections and place on sheet pan.  Brush a 12 cup cupcake tin with olive oil.  Lay two of the 6" lasagna strips in the bottom of each mold to form an "X".  The strips will hang over the sides.

Now sprinkle about 1 1/2 tbsp. of each type of cheese over the pasta, making sure to pack it down well.  Top with 1 tbsp. of your white sauce.  Then place one of your smaller lasagna pieces on top.  Repeat this until all of your molds are done.  Finally, fold the two overhanging pieces (from when you made your "X") over the top of each cupcake, using sauce to seal the edges. 

Place a small amount of sauce on top of each and sprinkle with cheese.  Cover with plastic wrap and let chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours.  When they're ready to go, preheat your oven to 325 degrees, baking cupcakes for 25 to 30 minutes.  Let the cupcakes rest about 10 minutes before serving. 

Make This Too:
This is your white sauce recipe.  You can use a store bought alfredo if you like, but if you want a 100% homemade meal, make the cupcakes with this sauce...

Melt 4 tbsp. butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add 3 tbsp. flour and stir for 2 minutes.  Add 2 cups of hot milk, slowly, and making sure to stir constantly.  Add a pinch of salt and cook over low heat, stirring until thickened.  It will take about 10 minutes.

Alternative Options:
•Exchange your alfredo for a marinara sauce.
•Try provolone, monterey jack or a smoked mozzarella for a different flavor.
•Add a sprinkle of feta cheese for a tangy boost.
•Place a tbsp. of ground beef or diced chicken inside the cups.

June 8, 2012

Fill In The Blank Friday

I consider myself a creative person and blogging is an outlet for me to share the things I like, whether it be shopping, fashion, cooking, crafting...or just whatever strikes my fancy at that particular time.  The way I see it is that there's got to be at least a few people in this big world who like the same things that I do and might enjoy reading what I write.  I write for those who like to read blogs, those who enjoy reading peoples thoughts, opinions and creative whimsies.  I appreciate every comment, suggestion & question that my readers may have.  I love the interaction that takes place between the blogger and the reader.  It's wonderful to think that someone halfway across the world read and enjoy your posts. 

June 7, 2012

Would You Like To Be A LoALM Sponsor?

 Are you looking for a place to promote your shop, small business or blog for spring or summer?  Contact us here and we’ll send you our media kit with our advertising specs!  We’ve got a few spots opening up and the prices are super affordable.

June 6, 2012

Wishful Wednesday

Ohhhhh you guys, I am seriously overcome with wanderlust!  I feel like my skin is crawling, just anxiously waiting for my body to take it somewhere exciting.  That's what it is, I need some excitement.  I need to bar crawl, sing karaoke, dress up & feel goooooooood.

There are some old friends who have really been on my mind lately, and even when I try and shake the thoughts, I can't.  I wish I could see them, we literally haven't hung out in years.   Can you tell that my mind is a jumble of a zillion things right now?  Here's what I want today:

 1. - Map Of New Orleans, $6.95/ 2. - Belle de Sucre Striped Sugars, $10.77/