Waltzing around the Interwebz

Just a quick pop-in to share some lovely things I found around the Interwebz!

  1. This post from Ann Voskamp – the idea of eating the Word as dessert after every meal, combined with the beautiful photos, made my heart full. Looking forward to having a family one day and making this part of our meal routine.
  2. From the sublime to the rather shallow… how incredible is Erdem’s Resort 2013 collection? The navy and plum colors, the florals, the cuts and tailoring… gah! I would wear every. single. piece. Except perhaps the bikini/high heels combo. Not so practical for the nanny of a toddler!
  3. Incredible, strong, honest, and TRUE article on why we shouldn’t be reading 50 Shades of Gray. Thank you, Erin, for being brave to voice the wisdom God gave you!

Be back later, folks! I have several posts planned and this time I mean to actually follow through!

xoxo,
Alanna

Oscar Fashion Recap – My Version!

Gosh, y’all… I rarely get sick beyond a few colds a year. But this flu hit me hard. I spent five straight days in bed or on the couch in my pjs (and I am not a stay in my pjs all day girl). Then it took over a week to recoup. My energy was completely drained (and I actually still don’t have a huge appetite). Even yesterday afternoon I took an almost four hour nap of deep sleep…

…which sadly caused me to miss most of the Academy Awards red carpet. It’s my favorite part, too! However I saw a lot of the prettiest dresses and caught up on the rest during the show itself. Can I just say that I loved Miracle Max Billy Crystal hosting? Usually awards show presenters make me uncomfortable with their caustic, vulgar humor but Mr. Crystal was funny AND nice!

On to my dress favorites. I probably won’t say much that hasn’t been already said by a thousand other bloggers, but, hey, blogging is all about our opinions and thoughts right? I’m not sure I can rank them, so this is just a list of the looks I admired most (all images from CBS’s gallery of arrivals – click thru images for links):

Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman is no surprise as top of my list (yea, I know I said it wasn’t ranked). I love her style and this was no exception! Her vintage dress was incredibly flattering, gorgeous, simple, and just a little bit fun with the polka dots! A large, sparkly diamond necklace and very understated additional accessories completed her stunning look.

Penelope Cruz

I think I literally got giddy when I saw Penelope Cruz on the red carpet. Everything was so beautiful and glamorous from her vintage ‘do to the stunning dress! I wish that someday I could have a chance to wear a dress as amazingly lovely as that.

Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow’s minimalist, modern style usually isn’t that interesting to me, but I actually quite liked this dress. I thought it was prettiest without the cape, but even on the red carpet with the cape over her shoulders I found it to be a simple, elegant way to be modern and unique. That’s not easy. She absolutely glowed as always and I love the great cuff bracelet as her main accessory!

Octavia Spencer - Go, Minnie!

I was so pleased to see Octavia Spencer win! It was very deserved – her performance as Minnie, in my opinion, was spot on for what I imagined when I read The Help. Her acceptance was so moving and she looked gorgeous. The dress is simple-elegant and so flattering!

Mila Jovovich

Mila Jovovich rocked the “Old Hollywood” influence as well as Penelope Cruz. I love the finger waves, red lips, and understated jewelry. The perfect icing to an incredible dress. Sexy without revealing… the beading is amazing and the structured one shoulder is beautiful.

Emma Stone

I’ve read a bunch of negativity about Emma Stone’s bow, but I absolutely loved it! I don’t think it was too big or looked like it was eating her alive. It was an elegant gown for her tall figure, but with some youthful fun!

I also really liked the structured rose on Stacy Kiebler‘s hip. Very few figures could pull it off, but I thought it was a gorgeous centerpiece to her look, without detracting from her face. And of course you couldn’t go wrong with her main accessory. 😉 Glenn Close was classy, beautiful, and age-appropriate. Someone who’s aged with grace!

My negatives? I thought Angelina Jolie looked gorgeous except, in my opinion, her look was ruined with a too-high slit. Leaving some to the imagination is not only classy, but sexy. I don’t think she would have lost her signature, slightly edgy look with a little more modesty. The cast of Bridesmaids brought the vulgarity skipped by Billy Crystal. As I tweeted last night, being ladylike is not determined by a pretty dress. I found their behavior incredibly unflattering. Jennifer Lopez was typically busting out of her dress – girl has a great body and could absolutely stun in a lot of silhouettes but she always chooses a tacky, skin-tight look. Can I say it again? Less is more!

Overall, I was so pleased to see a vintage influence and something of a return to classy elegance. The majority of the stars seemed to be eschewing cleavage, slits to the hip, and dangerously backless frocks in favor of classic, stunning ball gowns reminiscent of a Grace Kelly-type style.

xoxo,
Alanna

Tidbits

Hello y’all! Not totally inspired tonight so I thought I’d just share a few tidbits with you, bullet-style.

  • This is a fabulous commentary – The Death of Pretty. I don’t have much more to add because it’s been so well said in the post, but… I do desire to be “pretty,” as the author defined it. Beauty + Innocence. There’s often a fine line but I hope we ladies make the choices to be pretty rather than “hot.”
  • Tomorrow is Epiphany… which has become my traditional “take down the Christmas decorations” day. Booo. I love Christmas! 😦
  • My mom sent me a new calendar… this one. It’s so dreamy and lovely! Even at 26, there’s much of the imaginative little girl in me. I need to find just the right place to put it up. 😉
  • I used some Christmas money to do a little shopping at Target for ME yesterday. Got some knee socks to wear under boots, a top I’d been eyeing for two months (sadly it wasn’t on sale like the rest of the Winter clothes but it was worth it), and some skinny plastic headbands. I’ve gotten [mostly] content with not being able to shop for myself – outside of an occasional Goodwill trip – but it was fun to get some new, pretty things for me. I’ve been wearing the headbands constantly. Well… one at a time, you know. 😉
  • Speaking of hair, I so, so, SO have been wanting bangs for almost a year but I follow a very natural haircare method. With my curly hair, I can’t think of a way to get my hair not to pop into teeny ringlets without using a heat tool (out of the question, except possibly a hairdryer with a diffuser). Sad. I had a rather unfortunate period in college where I cut my own bangs and it took so much work (and a curling iron) to get them not to make an idiotic fringe of curls on my forehead. Granted, I did an awful job of it, which didn’t help either.

Alrighty. Watching some little ones in the morning so I need my sleep. Hope you enjoy the weekend! It’s my first weekend NOT catering in probably two months (outside of Thanksgiving and Christmas weekends). I’m not sure what to do with myself!

xo,
Alanna

Inspiration

You might not like Mondays as much as I do, so I thought I’d share some blogginspiration for you. Just a few things that lifted my spirit this week…

  1. Hands down, these pictures of sweet Lucy made me smile:

    I’ve been following Lucy’s story from nearly the beginning. The Krulls are friends of church friends of mine. Kate is an amazing woman: humble, faithful, vulnerable, open, strong. She write with raw emotion and I can’t count the times I’ve wept as I’ve read the blog. The way she’s clung to her Heavenly Father through Lucy’s battle with cancer is amazing. Seeing Lucy so happy and strong after so many months definitely made me happy tonight!
  2. Found this girl through the Indie Christmas link party. How adorable is she? Most definitely an apropos name – Sweetness Itself. I share some things with her – pastor’s kid, homeschooled, went to a Christian college, blogging, etc. She has such a sweet heart and it shows through every post.
  3. Another sweet girl from the Indie Christmas link-up. This post is stinkin’ cute! Um, I think I’d really like to be on that coffee date.
  4. I found this blog through Pinterest. Beautiful typography settings of Scripture and hymn lyrics. I get SO excited when I see an update on NewsFire (my feed reader of choice).

That’s all for tonight, folks. I hope you have a lovely week – it’s the first week of Advent, my absolute favorite time of year!

xoxo
Alanna

Some beauty recommendations…

Sorry. I’ve been such a bad blogger. I did have an excuse last weekend… I went away last minute. But I’ll tell you about that later, once I upload some pictures from my phone. Gotta illustrate the story, you know.

Do you sometimes get creative log-jam? Not really writer’s block or a creative desert. It’s just so much ideas and potential swirling around that I get overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. My mind’s like, “I want to tell you about my favorite beauty products! I want to write about self-deprecation and self-image! I want to post dreams for my future apartment decorating! I want to share some charities and causes that have touched my heart!” And then I don’t do anything and that is so not the best way to get it all out. Well, it’s the complete opposite of being creative. Hello Captain Obvious!

So today since I’m a bit headache-y and tired, I’m going to start with the silliest, easiest post… taking you through my beauty regimen, sort of, through the different products I love. Sound boring? Well, go visit another blog! I’m totally okay with that. I, however, love to read others’ opinions on products. I have been trying over the last couple years to really be careful about the ingredients in the stuff I put on my body. AND I have a budget. In this day and age, it’s easy to find healthy, environmental beauty products. It’s not so easy to find them at a normal girl’s price. So here’s some stuff I found that’s good for you and for your pocketbook!

Boots Expert Sensitive Gentle Eye Makeup Removal Lotion

I just got this a couple weeks ago from Target. At $4.99 it’s compatible with most other makeup removers. All the ingredients (and there aren’t many) are natural… the best part? This is the best stinkin’ makeup remover I’ve ever used! I dab a little on either side of a cotton ball and that’s enough to clean both eyes. Yeah BOTH. One side of the cotton ball per eye. And I have friend who hasn’t been able to find a makeup remover that doesn’t make her eyes sting. She was with me this weekend and borrowed it… and it doesn’t make her eyes sting. She was impressed. At night, I usually use just all-natural soap or mix a little baking soda and water to cleanse my face. Baking soda is an awesome beauty product. Keep reading…

I am a Curly Girl and proud of it!

This book literally changed my hair’s life. I had discovered a few of the suggestions on my own but once I plunged in to the CG method full-steam, my hair went from a frizzy, hot mess to silky ringlets (okay, most of the time – I still have bad hair days). Really. I wish I had a good comparison shot. Shampoo hasn’t touched my scalp since January 9, 2005 and my hair couldn’t be happier. Before you freak out, yes I do wash my hair! Curly hair is very dry and delicate and most shampoos are far too harsh. Right now, I’m on an every other pattern. One day I cleanse my scalp with conditioner, the next with a baking soda paste, a brown sugar + baking soda paste, or just brown sugar. My hair loves baking products!

Conditioner

Smells so good!

Keeps mosquitoes away!

Grr… I wish I knew how to get the photos on one line. Anyway, I use Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition conditioner because a) it smells good, b) it’s cheap, and c) it’s silicone-free and full of natural, real ingredients! I just started using the Garnier Fructis Pure Clean gel… my hair likes it! Plus, it’s got citronella in it. I swear it helps keep the mosquitoes away. Seriously – I was in the pool with friends a few weeks ago. Normally I get eaten up. Several of them were struggling to keep the skeeters away and I wasn’t bothered at all!

I LOVE THIS!

I bought the Physician’s Formula Organicwear Jumbo Lash Mascara after reading a review in InStyle. Let me say… it is SO worth it! One of the things I love best about it – besides the natural ingredients – is that it doesn’t clump or dry “stiff!” You know how most mascaras make your lashes feel stiff and crunchy? When this dries, your lashes are springy and soft, almost like you don’t have anything on! This is about the only really healthy makeup I use. Currently I use some Cover Girl mineral foundation. I don’t love it but it works and I had it on hand (remember, unemployed = no money). I was using ELF’s mineral foundation and sheer powder, which are AMAZING and $5 each. Seriously… worked like BareMinerals. But Target stopped carrying them – Boo! I need to order from the site. When I have money.

A must-have lotion

Couldn’t live without this lotion – okay yes I can but I’d rather not. It’s very light but moisturizes longer and better than any other lotion I’ve tried. It’s very natural. And it lasts forever. I bought it probably almost two years ago and still have a lot left. It’s only $10-15 at Whole Foods, or on their website. I just saw they have conditioner, too! Must try it out.

So there you go. A long, and perhaps boring, post on some of my favorite beauty products! What are some of your must-haves?

xoxo
Alanna

Not About Missoni for Target

This is not a post about Missoni for Target. Because y’all can read about that one everyone and their mom’s blogs and Missoni for Target when I am unemployed = cruel and unusual punishment. 😦 However, I still tortured myself and clicked through the whole collection. Sigh.

In other news, I have had another shop sale – from someone I don’t know! It’s a friend of a friend, but still… exciting. And I made two deliveries at church today. I have some new styles (the church deliveries were based on requests and turned out great!) I need to make again and photograph! Plus I saved my wrapping paper from my birthday… going to have some pretty, colorful new earrings in the shop soon! One of the great things about delivering the purchases in person this morning was that I got to see the ladies’ faces when they opened them (plus I had them in brown lunch bags tied with twine and it was adorable). One of my biggest inspirations creating and baking is to do it for someone. I just love to delight people and make them excited and pleased.  Of course, being a people pleaser has its own set of issues, but I do so enjoy the fact that I can be creative and then share it with someone else, bringing them joy as well as the joy I get from the creation process. That was not exactly the most well-constructed sentence, but y’all knew what I meant, right? I wish I could travel with each thing I sell and watch the purchaser open it up.

I’ve just got connected on Facebook with my daddy’s cousin in Alabama. Although I myself am a transplant to the South, my grandpa’s family is a very Southern, Alabama family, so I’m at least a quarter Southern-blooded! We’ve just been chatting and she’s teaching me how to be a good Southern belle. I’d been thinking of sharing the little ways I’ve been assimilating the Southern culture, and this was another motivation. So, in the past four years I’ve come to:

  • Hate going out in public without dressing up a little and certainly not without at least lipgloss, but preferably some lipstick.
  • I don’t think it was even a year before I was back in full swing saying “y’all.” We lived in Richmond, VA, when I was little – being a child I picked up on it easily and it never quite left my vocab.
  • Have a definite taste for sweet tea, fried pickles and fried green tomatoes, strawberry cake, BBQ… now I’m salivating!
  • Use at least occasionally the following phrases: pitch a fit, fix/make a plate, love me some…
  • Stroll… you don’t understand the leisurely pace of the South until you’ve lived through a Summer. Then you know you have to go slowly!
  • Love me some Vera Bradley! I know VB is loved in the North, too… but whoooo, boy, is she all over the South!
Well, that’s a good list for now. My cousin (I am too confused to figure out the whole how-many-removed) is encouraging me to pick an SEC team… leaning towards UT because I like their bold, bright color, and simple logo. That’s why you pick a team, right? Plus, I don’t know as many UT fans as fans of other teams and the imp in me does love to tease and trash talk.
xoxo
Alanna

 

3… 2… 1…

It’s birthday week! Two days! *throws confetti* Yes, Wednesday is my 26th birthday – I love birthdays and believe in Birthday Week, versus just a day of celebration. Today I’ve decided to put together a little birthday wishlist. I love to see other bloggers’ collections of pretty finds, so I figured my birthday is an excellent opportunity to create my own. So here goes, in no particular order (pictures are links to the items)…

Is this poster from The Literary Gift Company not the coolest? It’s got the names of famous authors all arranged where they wrote and lived. There’s one for the UK, too. And once I move into my own apartment, I’ll need a lot more art for the walls.

Yep… I want a Kitchenaid Mixer. I used the image of the brushed nickel one because ultimately I think it would be best to get something to match a lot of different colors (still don’t know what colors I’ll use in my kitchen). But isn’t this one divine?

My sister had a set of the Flower Fairies books – little hardcovers. I would love the whole collection!

I think this ring is incredible. It’s so gorgeous! I love sort of woodsy/elven jewelry.

I love her voice! She seems so sweet, too. I hope her innocence is protected.

If you have not seen the documentary Born Into Brothels, YOU MUST. It is the story of how the Kids with Cameras organization was founded. It’s so beautiful but bittersweet. This is a book containing the kids’ photographs.

Last, but not least… an Instax camera! I love seeing other bloggers’ post their Instax photos and it seems like so much fun!

Well… I really could go on, but at the risk of seeming greedy and materialistic, I’ll stop. Oh… if you need my mailing info to send any or all presents, just email me: charlieandlu at gmail dot com. 😀

xoxo,
Alanna