Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The One About Hair

Last week I had my hair colored and BOY was it not pretty. I was very blonde and a tad bit streaky and completely freaking out - so I went back to the salon Friday during lunch and had it tweaked - to a much prettier color that I was VERY happy with.

Unfortunately, this is about as scary as anything to do with my hair gets. I don't do drastic haircuts (learned my lesson after I chose a BOB for my 6th-grade graduation), and as much as I wish I was a redhead, I've never wanted to do a full dye-job.

My hair generally looks the same - straight, and blown-dry. It's impossible (literally, Mom tried a LOT when I was little) to keep curls in my hair, and even bobby pinning it up is difficult with all of my really fine baby hairs not wanting to stay in place. I use a lot of hairspray.

But...every single time I'm in Forever 21, with their $4 hair accessories, I want to splurge on fun things to add a little spunk to my boring hair choices.

I'm a sucker for a good headband, but the best part of Forever 21 is that you can buy things that you wouldn't normally wear, without breaking the bank.

I love headbands, and I know I wear them...but would I really wear a pom-pom on my head? Do I really want to pay $22.50 to find out?

So these are my picks at Forever 21, and maybe after Christmas I'll brave The Galleria and purchase a few of them.

After all...I could buy everything on this list for a few more dollar bills than this pretty. Seriously. And maybe I'd throw in this, just for that last few seconds of 2009...maybe.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The One About Brittany Murphy

The One About Great Movies

This weekend I watched White Christmas four different times (four and half really, but I just wasn't sure that counted).

White Christmas is my ALL-TIME favorite movie. Seriously. Especially at Christmas.

If you're curious about how wonderful it is, it's going to come on (back-to-back-to-back) AMC, Christmas Day - so you can check it out then.

I've also spent some quality time going through my TV's guide and DVRing the many millions of movies that are going to be showing in the next few days. I've still got White Christmas, Holiday Inn, You've Got Mail, Chronicles of Narnia, and something else I can't remember waiting for me.

Soon they'll be joined by Little Women, Meet Me In St. Louis, Holiday Affair, Ghost, Mystic Pizza, Miracle on 34th Street and My Fair Lady.

I think the head honchos of TV must assume people are home, snuggled up on the couch and ready for a movie marathon....

I'm at work.

On another movie note...I saw Invictus last night and it was wonderful. I cried (which I do in 98% of all TV/movie attempts...including Air Bud and the occasional Law and Order episode)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The One About Lonny - Issue 2

Lonny is back out, and they have an awesome story (and the images...oh my word) on J.Crew, one of my all-time favorite places. Go take a look.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The One About GIfts Given to Ladies

from here.

Christmas morning in my house used to involve my little sister waking up at the butt-crack of dawn (this is no exaggeration, sometimes it was before the dawn part actually happened) and annoying everyone else until they decided it was an appropriate time to 'rise-n-shine.'

Now we wake up a little bit later and unwrap gifts more slowly (Santa wraps now) so it's more fun and so much more important that you give something you think the gift-receiver will actually like. We're not 5-years-old anymore.

I've come up with (what I think) is a very good idea for my little sister, which I promise to tell y'all about after she unwraps it...but until then, here are some other fun things I was thinking about.

The obvious: every girl loves a manicure/pedicure, and they're simple to swing by and pick up during your lunch break or on the drive home from work. It would be even more fun, to put two in one package and let your mom or sister take a guest (and if you're lucky - she'll choose you).

Another fun gift would be a beautiful throw wrapped up with a favorite movie, specifically if you're a member of my family - we're constantly fighting over the one good blanket in the den.

I saw these on Etsy and immediately thought it would be a great idea for parents (mom or dad). This isn't a "run out and pick it up" option - but if you're already starting to think about next year, this would be such a fun thing for mom to unwrap on Christmas morning.

I saw these on Blueprint Bliss (via Deliciously Organized) and thought they would be so cute for a mom (or sister) who's running a tight ship. Both my mom and my sister are constantly busy.

Fun jewelry is always an option, so check out J.Crew, Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, Banana Republic and those cute boutiques in your neighborhood.

Things for the house are always a good idea. My mom is probably one of the least formal people you're bound to meet - but in Pier1 the other day she commented how pretty the silver-leafed chargers were (which I now can't find on the internet), and you can find them in almost any price range. I even saw some at World Market yesterday for $2.99 a piece.

If you live in my little sister's dream world, then you might just think a quick trip to NYC would be the perfect gift, and it would...but that's only if you're working on a much larger budget than I am! I always think the most fun presents are the ones that involve DOING something, rather than wearing something, or installing batteries of any kind.

And if you're mom - then her all-time favorite present she's ever received is this piece of paper, cut into a circle, that says "I'm Thumbody Special." It's hung on our tree by a piece of red yarn and you can't even see the thumbprint anymore. I'm pretty sure my sister gave it to her. So if you're 5-years-old, or trying to make something for a 5-year-old to give as a gift...that's a pretty safe bet.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The One About My Inherent Craftiness (PT. II)

Guess what!? I finally finished one of my projects...and they looks so pretty. Remember when I was talking about getting some Christmas decorations together...well, I completed this one. And I bought a fake tree (with ornaments), and I have some packages to wrap up and put underneath is. My apartment definitely has a festive sort of feel. Now, if I could only find those dang white lights I want...apparently everywhere in Birmingham is sold out of the classic kind - and I do NOT do icicle lights.

I started with these supplies:

red satin ribbon I bought a roll of this at Hobby Lobby but I wish I had bought by the yard somewhere else, it turned out to be not be very high-quality, but I couldn't tell in the packaging.

styrafoam ball remember that adding the walnuts will add about 2 inches to the size of the ball on all sides, so you can choose a smaller one that what you would want the final product to be.

screw eye I chose a larger on so that the ribbon wouldn't be scrunched together at the top, and spraying it along with the ball blends it in to the final product.

floral wire I bought this because Martha told me to - you don't need it. If you can figure out how to tie a bow on that screw eye, all by yourself, without having weird wire holding it in place - then you're good to go.

gold spray paint just remember - shinier is better. A matte finish will not work as well.

I also needed a hot glue gun, and the glue to go with it - but that was simple. I had the gun and I just bought a new package of glue (you're going to use a lot of it).

The first step is to spray the ball with gold paint, and screw in the screw eye. This part is incredibly easy, the only difficult part was finding a place to let them dry. I had some leftover ribbon from Halloween that I didn't need anymore, so I tied them to a coat hanger with that. Then I hung the coat hanger from the kitchen cabinet knob, and swung the door out past the counter. Voila.

Trying to get the walnuts to lay next to each other, without holes is nearly impossible - which is the reason for spraying the ball first. Spray paint tends to soak into the ball so you won't get a very solid cover - but it makes a slight difference. In the end, no one is going to notice because the walnuts get a great coat and look all shiny and festive.

A note on the walnuts - it takes a much larger amount of walnuts to cover these balls that I anticipated. I bought five bags to cover these three balls, and ended up needing to run back to the store for another three.


Then you just have to tie the bow to the screw eye, and loop more ribbon through it to hang. I hung mine from the curtain rod which was very simple, but you could use a nail too (or another screw eye).

And there is the final product (and a bit of my apartment). Trust me, if I can make this work, so can you. I vaguely wish they were a little bit bigger, but that would have just cost more money, so I'll live with these. Maybe next year I'll make two more and have a larger grouping.

My mom also suggested using this same idea on a styrafoam wreath which I thought would be pretty.

** Trust me - that last picture is bothering me more than it is you. I needed to close those blinds, get some better lighting, move the remote, fluff the pillow and that middle ribbon isn't even. Oh well, I'll try to retake it but the chances of that happening are slim to none.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The One About Gifts Given To Boys

image from here.

Boys are always, always the hardest people to buy for. Boyfriends, dads, brothers, cousins, friends who are boys - always hard.

But then again...I'm pretty sure they think girls are hard too.

There are a few things that are generally always a good bet. For instance - my little brother's clothing got washed in the washing machine yesterday with a pen in a pants pocket, so he might need some of
these or a pair of these to be hiding under the tree this year. Plus - there are things that guys are never going to buy themselves but still make great gifts, like this with one of these (engraved), these or (if you've received a hefty Christmas bonus) this.

Boys (men...?) also like to build things. Build things...and take things apart. Gift cards to
Home Depot or Lowe's are always a good bet, and if you're really ambitious you could try to pick something out yourself. One very useful thing to have around the house (and I know this because I've stolen my dad's once or twice since moving in to the apartment) is a good quality drill, but that all depends on your gift-receiver's level of expertise. Maybe he just needs a good hammer and a measuring tape...

Any guy you're buying for, with the exception of a 12-year-old who is into electric airplanes, will appreciate one of
these. They come in all shapes and sizes from tiny little Weber charcoal grills, to big "outdoor kitchen" type grills so finding one in your price range isn't too difficult. Plus...you might get a nice steak dinner out of the deal. Good ideas for the guy who just moved out of his parents house for the first time ever? How about one of these. Or a nice set of these. Or even gift certificates to great take-out restaurants.

And sometimes it's just thinking creatively that works the best. What about a "gift certificate" for one shopping spree in the grocery store. Or all the fixings for his favorite meal. Dad's usually appreciate things that focus on their kids (even if you're 22) so picture frames with family photos are good ideas.

If I had all the money in the world I would have bought my Dad a trip to the bowl game in Phoenix this year, because he likes the Horned Frogs almost as much as I do...too bad he's having to help me pay the way for myself.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The One About Christmas Parties

I'm headed out to my company's Christmas party in about 3 hours and I am PUMPED. It's at a delicious restaurant and I get to wear the most fabulous dress. Seriously...very excited!!

Then, this weekend I'm going to be decorating and planning for the fabulous Christmas cocktails party that my friends and I are throwing next week.

And when I get done doing that I'm going to see these guys play at Billy's.

Sounds like a good weekend huh?

Y'all have a happy one too!

P.S. Plane ticket purchased, hotel rooms booked, game tickets reserved, and party bus in the works...Phoenix is officially happening and I'm beyond excited. I miss these people.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The One About Gifts Given To Your BFF

from Smith & Hawken

I figured, since I am a genius when it comes to gift-giving and everyone I've ever given a gift to has absolutely loved it and still calls it their favorite gift ever - to this day, I should make a list for all my many millions of blog readers to reference.

Can you hear the sarcasm?

I can say though - with a fair amount of certainty that I online shop more than most people - and although it is generally a detriment to my bank account...it's about to come in very handy for you!

So, if you are planning to buy your very best friend a gift this year these are a few things floating around the internet that just might allow you to keep the BFF title until next Christmas.

This is pretty much genius, and perfect for a friend who is very indecisive (or if you're indecisive). You go into Sephora and buy this handy little package for $50. When your friend opens the box she can test all of the best-selling Sephora fragrances and THEN, when she's picked one (after weeks of contemplation), she just goes back to Sephora and picks up her brand new bottle of perfume. Genius. Not only does your friend have new perfume, which she picked out herself, but she also has loads of mini sample sized bottle which are the PERFECT thing to carry around in her purse. The anecdote to nasty-cigarette bar smell after a night out with the girls.

You're aware that I love Gadabout, so go out and get your friends some notecards. They have so many different styles, it's a one-stop-shop for all the girls.

I'm also obsessed with all things letterpressed. I think this is absolutely ridiculous. A city, all planned out in the vertical? Amazing. It's also a pretty large piece for the price so those of us who live in apartments with lots of walls and don't have the cash-money to fill those walls with original art ... well, there you are.

I also think this would be such a fun surprise to receive all wrapped up in pretty J.Crew wrapping, I am definitely not one to spend a fortune on costume jewelry (and neither are my friends) but it's so much fun to have a few great pieces. I'm a firm believer in buying people gifts you know they will love, but would never buy for themselves. It's always more fun that way!

Another fun idea? Pool all of the money you were planning on spending on your best group of girls and buy one big something. A session with a great photographer...wouldn't it be nice to have some professional images of those people you care most about? You could even wrap up a cute picture frame for each girl as a way of announcing the surprise. You could also splurge on a hotel room for a night. You can either go the - hotel downtown for a night of bar-hopping route, or a hotel with big fluffy down comforters for a night of pizza, cider and movies.

And, if you are a recent graduate (like me and my friends,) fun home gifts are always nice. I would never go out and buy this for myself - but isn't it adorable. Now that I might actually have a tailgate party (i.e. have been rudely removed from college and no longer tailgate AT the game) it could come in handy. And on a less football-related note, these and these would be adorable gift for girlfriends.

Oh - and for those of your friends who are constantly doodling, or writing down small thoughts...wouldn't this be wonderful. Easy to keep track of, and easy to keep up with. Precious covers too!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The One About Bells

I saw these pretty bells on The Newlywed Diaries last year, and I've been looking for some ever since. Well what do you know....

Pottery Barn has them right here.

Reminds me of The One with the Apothecary Table.

Unfortunately, no matter how much I love Phoebe...I still want them. And they come in a garland too - so now I want my (still nonexistant) tree to be wrapped in white lights and "vintage" bells.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The One About How I'm Hemorrhaging Money

This next month is going to be the most fun (read: most expensive) month of my whole lifetime. Yes - that's probably an exaggeration, oh lord I hope so, but seriously. I'm beyond excited, because there are some really fun things coming up. Parties and trips, and lots and lots of time to hang out with friends (including a few of those who live in Texas), and a couple of weddings...are all making this time of year my absolute favorite.

My friends and I are throwing a party.

I do not want to talk about the fact that the invitations have not gone out yet, they haven't - who cares if the party is only 10 days away.

Last night I printed the invitations, and whole punched and be-ribboned. And they need to be addressed and stamped tonight. The mailman needs to have these things tomorrow. Absolutely, no later than tomorrow. These things are going out.

The list goes on and on. We're going to have to feed these people, and get these people semi-intoxicated, and my apartment needs to look PHENOMENAL...which is all going to cost some dollars, so if you have any genius ideas for cutting costs you just let me know. I'll be hitting up Martha Stewart like it's my job.

I've been working on the apartment part this weekend. I have a fabulous wreath on my back door - complete with a really pretty, fluffy red bow. And I actually did make these and if I do say so myself...they're GORGEOUS. I made three, one for each window, and they're all hung at different heights. I guess I should take a picture of those....hm, I'll get back to you on that.

Now we just need a Christmas tree (on the list for this weekend), some lights, ornaments to go on the tree, stocking holders, STOCKINGS, some presents wrapped up and underneath the tree, some pretty serving pieces for the food we're going to be feeding the people at this party...

I'm getting overwhelmed.

Also, I'm going to Nashville for New Year's Eve.

Then I leave for Phoenix on the 2nd for our bowl game. The Fiesta Bowl. Did you hear that TCU is in the Fiesta Bowl? We are, and I'm going!!

So I have been working on booking a plane flight, and a hotel. ...and maybe I've been perusing the internet for a cute new purple outfit?

Oh, and totally unrelated (and definitely not fun)...I have to replace my cell phone apparently, and I need to get my hair colored, and it would be really nice to pay rent for January.

I probably need a raise, but also some days off - because I'm going to need a nap too.

And I'm starting to worry about buying Christmas gifts (for friends, and work, and family). I would really love to pick out exactly the perfect thing for each person...but does that ever really happen? And you want to hear something depressing funny? I have everyone listed out in an Excel document so that I can keep track of what I'm giving, and if I've bought it, and what I still need to be looking for, and how much I spent on it. EXCEL. That's a very grown-up thing to do, and I'm not sure I want to be a grown-up.

But the fun things totally outweigh the stressful things...like going to Phoenix with some of my very best friends in the whole wide world, and Nashville with some of my other best friends, and Madison to see my family, and our small party is going to be fun, and we're having a work party.

And reps have been sending cookies to the office.

So all in all, Christmas is fun, but it might be more fun if Santa's elves had access to the U.S. Mint and could print me some new money...

So, that's what I'll be up to the next couple of weeks. Also, I'm planning on putting together a small list of ideas for Christmas gifts. Ideas for your best friend, or your parents, or your siblings - but to all of those people, don't worry - you won't be seeing your present on my list. I'm keeping those ideas to myself. Otherwise, my mother would start guessing now...and I'm not sure I could keep things a secret until Christmas.

Be looking for that, along with the usual ramblings.

*click on the images for links

Friday, December 4, 2009

The One About Gadabout

I've done one giveaway on this blog, and that was fun - but there are people out there in the universe that do them ALL THE TIME. Jealous. This giveaway at High-Heeled Foot In The Door is so freaking cute I decided to share it with y'all (and I get to enter one more time because I'm blogging about it, in the interest of full-disclosure). Y'all - this stuff is CUTE. The company (Gadabout Paper) makes an entire series that involves the most adorable drawings of women in great dresses - and the best part is the names of the designs. I mean, "Life Starts All Over Again When It Gets Crisp In The Fall" - HOW CUTE IS THAT!? They do other cute things too...

Hanna Brooks Nation is a genius, apparently. And really cute and now I want her to be my friend.

So - in the interest of giving (virtually...), I've picked out some pretty fun things for my friends.

Like this for Liz...when her dog-walking business goes gangbusters she can whip these out to write down "Sue- precious little Fluffy needs more dog food, and could you please throw in a couple extra benjamins with that next check? Thanks - Liz, Dog Walking Extraordinaire"

...and, if you continue to work at Flower, you can have these too. If you land this other job though, I'll have to find you some Birmingham-skyline themed notecards to write to all the people helping you plan our gala.

And these for Sara Emily, because I can honestly picture her sitting down to write thank you notes at a desk that looks like this, and I'm pretty sure she has that tote bag. Or maybe she want's something a little simpler. She likes simple. I think these would work.

And Dawson can have these, because she's the only person I know who consistently wears pearls and looks fabulous doing it. And, remember when I said the titles were FABULOUS, well this set is called - "The Jewelry He Gives You," and I know a certain "He" who should be giving her some jewelry in about 21 days. Plus, she needs a little reminder of what a wonderful place Alabama is. On that note, maybe she should get a set of these too.

And Kirbie should get these, because she's the only person who gets to wear a bathing suit (almost) all year 'round. Jealous. Maybe we can get Gadabout to draw some cowboy boots on your feet....

And Mary Knox can have these, because she's from South Carolina and LOVES it. She can use these to write thank you notes to all of those people over there when she comes to visit. Or, maybe she should write ME a thank you note - and come visit Birmingham.

Oh - and me. I guess I should get presents too. I like these, and these and these. I'm not picky - pretty much anything will do. This shop is so unbelievably cute, and they even have Christmas notecards too!

So run over to Gadabout and pick up some notecards, and run over to High-Heeled Foot in the Door and enter the giveaway (but if you win I will beat you up, in the interest of full-disclosure).

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The One About My Inherent Craftiness

Holidays always make me feel a little bit crafty (despite my general inability to finish things in time, and the fact that my projects very rarely turn out the way they were planned). For Halloween I tried to hang a garland of letters spelling Happy Halloween over the giant window in my living room - the result was a LOT of orange ribbon holding up each letter, loads of glitter to be swiffered up and a garland that didn't even look all that great - the letters were flipping over to the ugly, not fully painted side. Oh, and there may or may not be some leftover black spray paint residue in the hallway of my apartment building, but shh - don't tell. Then this misfit of a garland stayed hung until, well - until Sunday. Fail.

But - this holiday season I am going to do better.

First and foremost, we're getting a tree. My roommate is allergic, so it's going to be a fake tree, but it'll be a tree - with pretty white lights, and ornaments and sparkle and presents underneath.

We're going to have a real-life evergreen wreath (with the perfect red bow) on the OUTSIDE door but on the inside I'm planning on making this little pretty (candy fix). Wouldn't it be so cute with peppermints? I also thought about this one (only big enough to hang in the center of the door)...I'm still working on the color scheme. Originally I was planning on all silver and white and happiness, but recently I've been leaning more towards the typical red and green - festive and fun. I'm young right - my Christmas decorations can be cute, they don't have to be pretty.

Also, I saw this from Martha, and it seems pretty simple. Does that work with the red and green theme? I want it too but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't like it as much if it wasn't covered in 24k gold. Maybe I'll switch out the bow for red...that would work right? I have a massive window in my living room, I thought three of these (one in each window) would look really pretty.

I'm also considering making some of my own ornaments - I have none of my own, and I would like to have a full Christmas tree. Places like Home Depot and Target sell mass quantities of red, silver and gold balls (pretty blah if you ask me) but I think I could use those and then punch it up with some fun handmade things. Kind of like this and this. Seriously people - where does Martha come up with these things?

Oh, and I'm going to need stockings - and holders. I really like these from Target, but unfortunately there are just two of us in my apartment. I guess I could just hold on to the others - I think they're really cute and they're inexpensive. And then there are these...which I absolutely ADORE, and because I want them they are "no longer available." Maybe they have them in the store. I guess I could take a trip to The Summit to check it out....

What are y'all doing to decorate for Christmas? I need some good suggestions for my very first real-life apartment and my very first Christmas not living at my parents - oh, and my very first real-life Christmas party.

I guess that means I'll have to do something with the table...and there will be food involved. Aren't you looking forward to a completely holiday-inspired December around here. Eventually I'll get to the point where I can't talk about anything else and you'll love it. Have I already gotten there?