Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Beauty: Make-Up Kandee/Halloween Special

Happy almost Halloween!

Since one of the most festive holidays is around the corner, and people are making final decisions about the possible looks they will be creating, I thought this would be a fun blog. Make-up allows costumes to come to life, and I am going to share my favorite online tutorials by my personal favorite make up artist Kandee Johnson.

I never claimed to be a make-up guru because the truth is--I have no idea what I am doing! BUT a long time ago I discovered (and stuck with) an extremely talented professional. She goes by "Kandee the Makeup Girl"! You may have heard/discovered her.

Kandee does every kind of look you can imagine, and in a time where there are millions of "make up tutorials" by thousands of different people--this woman by far is the BEST!! Anytime I need a "look", I You Tube what I am looking for + "Kandee" and I find it. Her steps are easy to follow, she names all products that she uses, and the videos are to the point (she edits out all the down time). She even has her own blog (I posted a link at the end).

Check out some of my hand picked Halloween "looks" and 2 bonus Non-Halloween looks.


Snow White: (to skip her singing go to 2:08)



Princess Jasmine:

Mad Hatter:

Avatar Neytiri:

She has a great Pin-up Series (here is one):

Smoky Eye (one of my favs!):

Check Kandee Johnson out on her blog --> HERE

Let me know how it goes!



Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Travel: Puerto Rico!

Sometimes you don't know where you want to go--but you just want to get away, right? When I feel this way and start itching to travel again--I check out to see what last minute deals are out there from my city. Its like clicking the "I'm feeling lucky" button on Google!

So recently I was feeling lucky, and guess what came up for me (and within my budget)? Puerrrrto Rrrricoooooo!! YES! Puerto Rico or PR--the festive, sunny, island paradise is home to some of the most beautiful beaches and beautiful people in the world! It is a tropical climate (so weather is great almost year around), and is also an American territory--so no need for a passport (and your cell phone still works, no extra charge!).
PR is perfect for almost any group of people: girlfriend/guys getaways, group reunions, romantic escapes or family vacays.

The best time to visit (in my opinion) is when it gets cold where you live. Depending on where that is-- that could be October to March...That way you are escaping bad weather, not vacationing when it is just as sunny back home.

I got a chance to visit this October for a quick getaway and luckily I had a friend recommend specific tours so that we got the bang for our buck! Whether you are up for adventure, or just relaxing and don't want to spend a lot of money--PR may be the right place for you.

Here are my top 3 things to do while visiting:

1. Culebra (Island)--so your hotel concierge or travel agent will try to talk you into flying there and spending big bucks, but we found out that you can rent a car (price varies) and drive down to Fajardo, then take a ferry over to the island for around $2 US. We made it a day trip--just take the first ferry over and the last ferry back! Culebra has the absolute BEST beaches and snorkeling in PR. Plus you can see St. Thomas (U.S.V.I.) on a clear day! Flamenco Beach is where you want to be at--especially if you want to relax on one of the top rated beaches worldwide...

2. Old San Juan - Old San Juan, was originally founded in 1521, and contains carefully preserved examples of 16th- and 17th-century Spanish colonial architecture. It is truly a sight to see and many tourists make sure to go for souvenir shopping, an authentic Puerto Rican meal, or just to lazily walk around the beautiful city. It is uber safe--and it is easy to catch a taxi back to your hotel. More than 400 buildings have been restored and the bright colors demand that you stop and take a photo!

3. Bio-luminescent kayaking at Bio Bay in Fajardo- This exhilarating experience was highly recommended and was truly my favorite memory! As you kayak through a lagoon in total darkness, suddenly you see a mysterious blue-green light in the water every time you row--this light is created by micro-organisms which thrive in an environment uniquely suited to their needs and can only be found in about 5 places in the world--3 in Puerto Rico. Anytime the water is disturbed--the "bling bling water" as the locals called it, comes to life! I promise it isn't scary and is totally harmless--you can stick your hands in the water and make yourself glow! Fortunately it was a new moon when we went, and that is when the organisms are at their brightest. We went with a new company called Pure Adventure PR. They picked us up at our hotel, brought us snacks, took our picture, and took us for a 2 hour night kayak (I'm talking PITCH BLACK can'tseetwoinchesinfrontofmyface dark!) and it was about $65 US per person. The service was awesome.

Of course sipping Mai-Tais is also something you should do (but I would think that is a given!) We loved our time there! The people were friendly and very helpful and we will definitely be back!

If you have been to PR, feel free to share other great experiences, and things to do in the comments!

Hasta la vista!


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

REALationships 101: Love Loves Company

I have had this conversation with a few friends over the past couple weeks because it is something that I have come to realize. Love LOVES company. This means that when you are truly in love and have a healthy relationship--you want that for the people around you too--because you want them to be just as happy in their relationship as you are.

This song reminds me of just how amazing love can be--but from experience--it takes a lot of hard work to get to that nirvana. If you have found love--let this song remind you of how good it is. If you have found the wrong love--this song will tell you how it should be. If you have not yet found love--your love is out there--and this is how good it will be. Enjoy.

From Christina Aguilera's album "Stripped" 2002
"Loving Me for Me" (courtesy of J. Rose)

The lyrics:

Loving Me 4 Me

People ask if I'm in love with you
'Cause I'm sitting here with your picture and smiling to myself (I smile)
I'm kinda lost in my own thoughts of you
My heart speaks before my mind thinks through and I blush as I say yes (yes)

What a feeling of vulnerability comin' over me
And I'm feeling weak and I can't speak (speak)
I can't think
Never thought I'd give in so willingly to a human being
With abilities to set me free (free), let me be me
Makes me wanna say

Your lips, your eyes, your smile, your kiss
I must admit it's a part of me
You please me, complete me, filling me
Like a melody
Your soul, your flow, your youth, your truth is simply proof
We were meant to be
But the best quality that's hooking me is that you're loving me 4 me
Is that you're loving me 4 me

Now, people ask why I'm in love with you
Well, let me start by saying you got my heart by just being who you are
And what we got is between me and you
Doesn't matter 'bout the money I make or what I do or that I'm a star

Unconditionally, you're there for me
Undeniably, you inspire me spiritually so sweet
This is meaningful, it's incredible, pleasurable, unforgettable
The way I feel so sweet makes me wanna say


It's so amazing how something so sweet has come and rearranged my life
I've been kissed by destiny, oh, heaven came and saved me
An angel was placed at my feet, this isn't ordinary
He's loving me 4 me

Stripped of all makeup
No need for fancy clothes
No cover-ups, push-ups
With him, I don't have to put on a show
He loves every freckle, every curve,
Every inch of my skin
Fulfilling me entirely
Taking all of me in
He's real
He's honest
He's loving me 4 me

Tell someone you love them today--and really mean it.



Sunday, October 17, 2010

Inspiration: Blinded By Sight

Rarely do I write a personal blog, but this has really been on my mind this past week and I thought I'd share my recent inspiration. Let me give you some backstory (the first half of this blog)...

I was drawn to working* with children because of their simplicity. There is an innocent bluntness about them that LACKS a filter--which keeps me on my toes.

One child inparticular has fascinated and inspired me so much so that I’m going to blog about it. Let me introduce Jacob** , an adorable 8 year old who loves reading, jumping on the trampoline and can tell you anything about baseball because it is his favorite sport. You can find him skipping down the hallway or chatting with his friends. He is very inquisitive, asking about anything and everything. What makes Jacob so different is that he is BLIND.

I promise if you weren’t looking closely, he blends right in with his classmates. The only difference is that he reads Braille instead of regular books. Jacob doesn’t walk around the school with a walking stick—he actually knows the campus so well that he literally tries to jog to class sometimes—just like any other child. He is spunky and doesn’t see his blindness as a weakness, but as something that makes him unique.

I saw this when I witnessed Jacob meeting a new friend the other day. “Hey...can you see anything?” a curious little boy asked, as he ran up and waved two hands frantically in front of Jacobs face.
“Well…” (looking in the direction of the little boy) “I can see some color, but other than that—nope! I can’t!”
“What’s your name? Would you like to play Bop It with me?” Jacob responded.
“Okay!” and the boys proceeded to play a game of Bop-It. The little boy didn't see Jacob's blindness as an issue because Jacob didn't make it one. See? Simple.

Working with Jacob has really challenged my thinking—I saw it as an obstacle to work around and he is so at ease that he sees it as something special. I couldn’t resist asking him about his story when we first met. He wasted no time asking me about mine! He told me how it was hard when he was a baby, but now he knows every familiar environment almost by heart—and almost everyone’s voice in the entire school! Of course I had to test him one day and when I called to him, he shot back "oh hey Mrs. Rose!"

SN: He showed me how he reads Braille and even read the Braille under the “storage” sign by my room (and promptly told me that “somebody made a mistake—this says 'Korage!'”). How funny! But I digress...

It’s so amazing to me how in tune with his other senses he is—instead of depending on vision to guide him—he uses his heightend sense of sound, smell and touch.

Working with Jacob has reminded me of two experiences that I have had. 1. Watching that Val Kilmer movie At First Sight where (**spoiler alert) Val Kilmer’s character has an operation (because his girlfriend urges him to) to restore his sight after a lifetime of being blind—and once he is able to see, he is lost, because he only knew what things looked like by touch. Therefore he would see an apple and have no idea what it was until he picked it up and felt it. Didn't think of that, did you? He went on to hate being able to see and started blindfolding himself so that he wouldn’t feel so lost in this world. His girlfriends plan backfired on her and in fact she was the one who wasn't able to see that as a possible outcome.

How crazy is it that we assume a blind person would be lost in our world when in fact sight is sometimes what screws us up! It is sight that causes us to be judgmental and superficial. And sight that causes so many prejudices and at times segregates this broken world. Yeah--marinate on that for a minute. Sight is a strong source of sensory information--so much so that many times it overrides our other senses—(hence optical illusions).

The second thing I thought of was a beautiful experience I had with my sister-in-law last summer in Atlanta calledDialogue In The Dark”***. This is an exhibit that was a little over an hour and was in TOTAL darkness. That’s right—they take away your vision so that you can truly experience how a blind person feels in our world. How amazing and profound it was to have to rely only on my sense of touch, smell and sound!

Prior to entering, you are equipped with a walking stick and later hear that you will be following a guide (who is blind) and then you are guided through a variety of environments that you may encounter on a typical day. At first I was terrified of the darkness, and felt lost and alone in the pitch black of our first location--but quickly located the voice of my sister-in-law and my heart stopped pounding as we grabbed each others hands tightly the rest of the tour.

They don’t give you any hints as to where you are—you have to use your other senses to figure it out. You even have to recognize and follow your guide’s voice in a crowd of people to know when to walk and where to walk to. By the end of the tour I knew by the clearing of his voice which guide was mine and in which direction I needed to walk to stand by him.

The one thing that you don’t realize until the very end of the tour, is that you only know the voice (and approximate height) of your guide. So when you exit into the light and you can see again, you find yourself in a large crowd--but you have no idea who your guide is until he speaks! I had this image in my head of this 65 year old, gray haired, paper thin skinned chocolate man based on his voice alone—and in fact he looked like a 38ish year old, fare toned Bernie Mac! How funny that a voice alone created an image in my head based on my previous life experiences and visual influences. What If I had never seen before like Jacob? I wonder how I would imagine then?

The highlight of the tour was the very end, where we got to ask our guide whatever we wanted. People asked him about his life, how he came to be blind, and even how it has affected him. It was refreshing that he had such a positive outlook on his life—and even though he lost his vision as an adult (from getting accidentally shot with a stray bullet by being in the wrong place at the wrong time) he took it as a blessing, and talked about how he wouldn’t have met all of the wonderful people that he has if it wasn’t for his accident.

I feel honored to have met 2 people in a similar situation BOTH with such a positive outlook on life, considering how much others would see it solely as an obstacle.

This has inspired me to appreciate what I have and to know how truly amazing it is to be able to see the vibrant colors, landscapes, beautiful faces, and scenery in the world around me. It has also opened my eyes to see that sometimes you don't have to have vision to appreciate other beautiful things in this world...personality, laughter, the sounds of nature and my personal favorite--hugs.

Maybe this has tickled your brain enough to sink in. My hope is that it will influence your way of thinking and allow you to appreciate the little things that you have been blessed with that make YOU unique. Appreciate yourself today. Flaws and all...

Have a great Monday!


P.S. I also encourage you to try the Dialogue In The Dark tour if you are in the Atlanta area--it would be a great family outting, girlfriend get together, or second+ date! Definately makes for great conversation!

*Professionally, I am a certified/licensed pediatric occupational therapist—and I’m a badass!

**names have been changed to protect the innocent

***Dialogue in the Dark has been presented in over 30 countries and more than 160 sites in over 110 cities throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East and America since it’s opening in 1988. So far, over 6 Million visitors have experienced Dialogue in the Dark worldwide, and over 6,000 blind candidates have found employment through Dialogue in the Dark. In the USA, there is an exhibit in Atlanta, Georgia.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fashion Fridays: The L.B.D. Right For Your Body Type

So a couple months ago I wrote a blog about dressing right for your body type here--and with an overwhelming response, I thought I'd do a part II! Of course I'm keeping my original names--and remember you may be a combination of more than one body type.

Now everyone from Tim Gunn to your favorite fabulous aunt will tell you that if there is one staple that should be in every woman's closet--it would be the Little Black Dress (LBD). This typically is an all occasion dress that can be styled up or down depending on the event. I have done a little online shopping and found some knock out picks for particular occasions for each body type. Of course the one that I picked under your body type may not be your taste, but find inspiration where you can. Feel free to refer back to the original post (it has its own tab at the top). And as always, enjoy!

The Goddess

(Formerly Petite)

Max & Cleo Bouclé Mock Two Piece Sheath Dress $158

Silk Contrast Dress $29.80

The Queen

(Formerly Full Figured/Apple/Diamond)

Studio M Black Three Quarter Sleeve Matte Jersey Dress $74

The First Lady

(Formerly Pear/Triangle)

BCBGMAXAZRIA Pleated Mock Two Piece Dress $165

Night Fever Dress $158

The Empress

(Formerly Busty/Broad Shoulders/Inverted Triangle)

Slouchy Pockets Dress $29.80

The Renaissance Woman

(Formerly Classic Hour Glass)

Urban Renewal Johann Lacy Luck Dress $68

Alternative Apparel Donna Tube Dress 29.99

The Duchess

(Formerly Rectangular/Tall & Slim/Athletic)

Maggie London Beaded Shoulder Dress $158

The Diva

(Formerly Curvy)

Laundry By Shelli Segal Illusion Bodice Jersey Sheath Dress $185

Le Petite Diva

(Formerly Curvy Petite)

Sasha Dress $148

Have a wonderful weekend!



Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Home Décor: My Living Room's Face Lift

I haven’t really done a blog on home décor yet and yet it is one of my favorite things to do! Decorating a new home or re-doing a familiar space is therapeutic and it really allows me to unleash my creativity. I have been told that I am “craftsy” before—but I don’t take that to mean scrapbooks and paper dolls—more like I can make something amazing out of anything—no matter how bad.

How would I describe my home décor style? I’d say modern with a nod to tradition, sleek and simple (no surprise, huh). I love old hardwood floors, color blocking, abstract paintings, lots of family photos and I always opt for the darkest espresso shades of wood. But I also like for things to feel like home—just imperfect enough and comfortable enough to not feel like a model home...

There are two things that I dislike when it comes to decorating—1. When things are so perfect that it doesn’t feel lived in (and therefore you aren’t comfortable out of fear that you may knock something out of place!), and 2. When it is obvious someone hasn’t redecorated since your visit 15 years ago (grandmas are excused because it’s actually quite nostalgic to visit and feel like you were warped back to your childhood—baby blue paisley couches and all!)

Anyway, one of the projects that I had the pleasure of working on this past year was my home in Connecticut. We moved into this quaint colonial style house in New England, and my assignment was to redecorate the living room and the study— two small rooms on the main floor with the original hardwood floors still intact (yes!).

The previous family had painted the top half of the walls a stale and dusty periwinkle blue and the bottom half a sparkly (yes, sparkly) cobalt-ish blue. The kitchen was—and still is--canary yellow. Yeah. I have NO idea!

My first thought was PAINT IT—I could try to make the blues purposeful but it would have been too much of a stretch (and to be blunt the colors weren’t doing anything for me). I tend to gravitate towards warm colors for the parts of the house I will spend most of my time in, again, to make it feel like home.

My second thought was where do I draw some inspiration? Sometimes inspiration can be a color, a fabric, a painting or picture, an area rug—or even a comfy old couch that molds to your body. I’m a sucker for those oversized couches—the kind that you blink and then wake up an hour later having slept through your entire show!

Well, for this project I was inspired by this beautiful burnt brick reddish color. Now before I delve into painting—I plan out my space and consider all of the possible components:

1. What are the dimensions of the room and how can I maximize this space?

2. What colors will look good together and what type of accents do I want in order to
create a space that feels like me (i.e. plants vs. vases, photos vs. art, vintage wall hangings vs. 3 dimensional art etc.)

3. Does my color scheme allow for flexibility and easy updating—i.e. Will it be easy to change it up season to season or year to year with new throw pillows, accents or a different area rug?

Once you can answer these questions (and everyone is different), you can begin your project.

No matter how small your budget, you can always give your home a face lift--sometimes it is as simple as de-cluttering.

To help nudge you in the right direction, here are some quick and easy updates/ideas that I have used in the past (and for this project):

1. Framing fabric with abstract prints—I actually got this idea from strolling through one of my favorite stores—Crate & Barrel. I love Marimekko fabrics the most (the ones you always see framed at C&B and shown above)—they are vibrant, original prints that bring new life to a living space—and make for a cheap alternative to buying expensive paintings. The only thing is that C&B only sells them at their outlet stores (sad face). But—for our living room, we went to the fabric section at Ikea—and they also had some fun prints—and most prints have inverse prints with the same colors so you can switch it up. Plus Ikea has a super cheap framing section where you can pick up a variety of frames at a reasonable cost.

2. Fresh paint—never underestimate the power of a new color. My husband didn’t understand this until after the room came together and he said it made a world of difference! Home Depot has plenty of color cards and even a computer program that will help you put different color schemes together and give you some decorating ideas by seeing some of the already created living spaces.

3. New accents—try a fresh potted plant or 3 candles of different lengths—and keep in mind the space you are decorating. For example—on our bar in the study, I accented with a cocktail tray, a cocktail shaker and a magic 8 ball. Its fun and its practical! is a glimpse of how the living room turned out:

an over-sized comfy couch, framed fabrics, a colorful area rug, and lots and lots of photos!

All frames are from Ikea and were under 10 bucks (even the big ones!)

Happy decorating!



Friday, October 1, 2010

Food 101: Coast Toast

Everyone that knows me knows that I love to travel--and one of my favorite places is the beautiful San Diego, California. I had the pleasure of visiting frequently when I lived in Los Angeles (it was only 2 hours away by car) and one of the best parts is an area called LaJolla (pronounced La-HOY-ah). LaJolla is a coastal town just north of the city and is known for its scenic overlooks, and affluent residents (and of course good food!).

A hidden jewel that I discovered in LaJolla is a restaurant called Brockton Villa--it's right on the coast and they serve the most amazing french toast that I have ever tasted! It is a thick cut, orange flavored soufflé-like concoction that they call "Coast Toast" and they are actually famous for it. Now, we all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day--and eating healthy is what we are supposed to do, but occasionally it's okay to splurge and try something yummy!

Buuuuut since we can't all make a trip to LaJolla--here is the famous recipe:

"Coast Toast" at Brockton Villa - LaJolla, California

Brockton Villa "Coast Toast" Recipe

1 loaf soft French bread (sliced)
1 qt. whipping cream
10 eggs
¾ cup orange juice
½ cup sugar
a pinch of salt
2 tbs. vanilla
2 tbs. orange flavoring

Combine liquid ingredients. Pour over bread slices. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour.

Remove bread and discard liquid. Spread butter on flat grill.

Cook bread until golden brown, then bake at 450° for 5 -7 minutes or until bread is puffed up like a soufflé. Dust with powdered sugar.

Serve immediately.

Serves 6

If you ever make it out to LaJolla and need a fabulous eatery--try Brockton Villa. The views are stunning. For a virtual tour click here.

Cook a little something special for someone special in your life :)



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