Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Recessionista's Guide to...Beauty

A couple of months ago, I started doing a little series of recessionista date night ideas (here and here). But recently I've become a recessionista when it comes to beauty products as well, so I thought I'd share a few of my favorite finds of 2010.

Sonia Kashuk Radiant Tinted Moisturizer
I really didn't think it was possible to find a tinted moisturizer that could hold it's own to the one from Laura Mercier. But I must confess that I like this version from Sonia Kashuk even better (and who wouldn't love the $13 price tag compared to $42 for Laura Mercier's?!). It gives the perfect amount of coverage and doesn't make my skin shiny at all. Bonus -- it includes SPF 15 to keep your face protected from the sun's mischievous rays.

Proclaim Argan Oil Hair Treatment
I had been contemplating buying a bottle of MoroccanOil for quite some time when I discovered this version from Proclaim at Sally's for only $7. After reading multiple reviews (and discussing personal opinions with friends), the consensus seems to be that it works just as well as the $40 argan oil from MoroccanOil. Sally's even had it on sale for $5 a few weeks ago, so I stocked up! I use it on my hair wet and dry to help with frizz and shine. It also smells wonderful. Definitely one of my favorite recessionista finds of the year!

Maybelline The Falsies Mascara
Mascara has always been one of my department store spurges. I have naturally long black lashes, and
I'm always looking to take them to the limit. Unfortunately, drug store brands usually don't do the trick. I don't know what possessed me to try this mascara (I was probably just drawn to the fat purple tube), but I'm sure glad I did. It makes my lashes just as long and voluminous as my favorite department store brands. And $6 a tube certainly beats $25!

Neutrogena Brightening Eye Perfector
What girl hasn't read rave reviews for the Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat? Many make-up artists and celebs swear by it, but I just can't bring myself to pay $40 for an eye brightener. So when Neutrogena came out with their version, I just had to try it. I love the stuff so much I'm now on my 3rd tube! It's definitely a must-have for anyone with dark circles or tired eyes. I even use it on my lips (which are naturally very pink) to create a blank canvas prior to putting on lipliner. I'm really not sure how I ever lived without it.

What are your favorite recessionista finds?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

lobsters are really just overweight crawfish

A few weeks ago, hubby and I drove over to Orlando to kick off my birthday weekend. Being that I'm a huge seafood/water-creature lover, we decided to grab a bite to eat at Lobster Feast. When eating crustaceans, I ALWAYS choose crawfish over anything else. But since they're not in season right now, lobster was a close substitute.

So the gist of this place is that it's all you can eat lobster and other types of seafood. After sampling a lobster, the first one I've had in years, I decided that lobsters are really just big crawfish...but not nearly as tasty. Something about the smaller size of a crawfish just produces tastier meat. Sorry Lobster...I'm sticking with your smaller cousins from now on.

We still managed to stuff ourselves on crab legs and mounds of fried goodness. Plus the people watching at buffets is always fantastic. I watched a lady at a nearby table consume at least 10 lobsters and at least 5 heaping platters of crab legs. I would have to be rolled out on a gurney if I ate like that! Although this coming from a girl who can easily pack away pounds and pounds of crawfish.

What food can you eat seemingly endless amounts of?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

No longer M.I.A.

Oh my goodness, I have been going through such Blogger withdrawals! I mentioned a while back that this semester has been crazy, but the craziness has just seemed to never end. The month of October flew by without so much as one trip to a pumpkin patch or one afternoon of Halloween school has consumed my entire life! But on Friday I finished a monumental task that I have been working on since April, so hopefully I will be a good little blogger throughout the holiday season =)

Just wanted to tell you that I've missed reading your blogs and can't wait to get caught up now...and I should be back soon with some posts from my fabulous weekend!


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Beach Romance

Last weekend, one of my dear friends got married in a gorgeous sunset ceremony. The evening actually got off to a crazy start. My car wouldn't start when we went to leave, and we were running a little behind schedule when we finally made it to the town were the wedding was being held. As we were crossing a bridge over to the beach, traffic came to an abrupt stop. Everyone started getting out of their cars, acting like nothing was wrong. One of the locals informed us that the bridge was closed because some movie was being filmed. We sat there waiting and waiting and waiting. My friend Kristen and I were devastated because we had been sitting on the bridge for 45 minutes and the ceremony had already started. Then we got a text from one of our friends who was already at the wedding site, informing us that our friend, the bride, was stuck on the bridge as well! So we all made it to the ceremony, which was gorgeous. The bride was absolutely stunning, the food was exquisite, and the band was fabulous. So even though the night started off rocky, everything worked out in the end.

{The bride and groom taking pictures on the beach}

{Salad of Florida tomatoes, mozzarella, and arugula}

{After sitting on the bridge in the sweltering sun, Kristen was excited to find this spray at the beach club}

{Doctor school besties}

{The gorgeous bride and I}

{Candy bar}


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Women of Faith

I have always loved a good girls' weekend. I'm definitely what you would call a "girl's girl", and my relationships with other women have become even more important to me as I grow older. Well, this weekend, I got to experience the ultimate girls' weekend: Women of Faith. Two full days of worship, fellowship, and inspiration with thousands of women. We got to hear phenomenal speakers, including Patsy Clairmont, Lisa Whelchel, Andy Andrews, Mary Beth Chapman, and Marilyn Meberg. We laughed until we cried with Anita Renfroe. And we sang our hearts out with Sandi Patty, Mandisa, and Steven Curtis Chapman. AND I got to spend some much needed quality time with my dear friend Karla. She and I went to Guatemala together and became life long friends on that mission trip. The conference left me feeling inspired and restored. If you ever get a chance to attend Women of Faith, GO!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

{once upon a time}

"Once upon a time, there lived a girl in Louisiana who studied very hard but loved to play hard as well. She loved music, going out dancing with her friends, and dreamed of meeting her Mr. Right. One day, a very famous musician happened to catch a glimpse of the girl and thought she was very beautiful. They shared mutual friends, so he decided to send her a message, which quickly turned into many long chats on the phone. The boy and girl lived very far apart, and the boy was often flying all over the world to play. However, they both knew right away that they had found "The One", and were determined to make their fairy tale come true. The girl occasionally toured with the boy but the distance between them was hard, and they missed each other very much. But the school year finally ended, the boy proposed, and the girl started doctor school with the boy at her side. On a warm October evening, with the sun setting on the beach, the boy and girl said "I do" and have been living their happily ever after ever since."

Crazy that tomorrow will mark our 3 year anniversary!! I was looking back on old pictures and reminiscing, so I thought I'd share some with you.

{Our relationship was still in the baby stages here but we already knew we were going to get married! We were in Mississippi for one of his shows}

{He flew me to New York for his show on New Year's was the first year we rang in together and my first (and only) snow}

{My first visit to see him in Florida}

{At Ampersand in New Orleans for one of his shows}

{I think this may have been the last show I attended before he popped the question and I moved to Florida}

{Traveling was fun, but I much prefer our lifestyle now!}

Hope you enjoyed this little peek into how hubby and I became Mr. & Mrs. We've had an amazing time together, and I'm looking forward to many, many more years of fun to come!

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Recessionista's Guide to Date Night: Vol 2

As many of you know, football season in the South is epic. Growing up in Louisiana, everything revolved around Friday night high school football and Saturday college game day. And it's a well-known fact that you do NOT schedule your wedding during game time. Hubby and I have been seriously missing our teams, which are a thousand or more miles away. Since flying to Louisiana to support our home teams isn't really an option right now, we decided to "adopt" a local high school team and check out one of their games. Cheap tickets and concession stand goodies made for a really fun night that didn't break the bank. And there is just something about the atmosphere at a high school football game that brought back so many wonderful memories. Hubby played high school and college football, so this gave him a great opportunity to do some coaching from the stands (ever notice that all guys seem to love doing this?). And being that I danced, twirled flags, played in the band, and was drum major in high school (and marched in the largest band in the South during college), I ate up the half-time shows and longed to be out on the field strutting my stuff.

{Awful attempt at a self-portrait during the game}

{Gaither High School band...loved their Amelia Earhart themed show}

{Plant High School band}

We ended our fun little date with a late-night supper of burgers and chili cheese fries at Steak 'n Shake with all of the other football fans. The night definitely made me homesick, but also blissfully happy. Gotta love those Friday night lights.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Bachelorettes and Wedding Bells

For me, October is the start to the best three months of the whole year. Not only has fall always been my favorite season, but these months hold my favorite holidays, my birthday, and my wedding anniversary. Alas, living in a state that only has one season (i.e. summer) causes me to get a bit depressed this time of year when I begin longing for chilly days, turning leaves, and the smell of chimney smoke in the air. But knowing that this is the last "fall" that I will have to endure in smoldering weather considerably brightens my mood.

October also tends to be the start of wedding season in the Deep South...hurricane season is almost over, you can finally sit outside without being drenched in sweat, and the humidity graciously drops below 80%. My fabulous friend Carolyn will be getting married in a couple of weeks, so we celebrated her final days as a bachelorette with a fancy night out.

{Dinner with the girls at Bern's Steakhouse, a Tampa landmark}

{Me and Jennifer waiting on our desserts of strawberry shortcake and bread pudding...she is a fellow Louisiana girl and we share in our homesickness together!}

My own anniversary is in a couple of weeks as well, so this time of year always brings back memories of my own bachelorette party and wedding. I will share some of those with you as the date gets closer =)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Can you tell that my last fall semester of doctor school is already kicking my booty? I am totally overwhelmed by all of the uncertainties in my life right now, but I'm so thankful that I have a Savior who is my constant through it all.

I have been clinging to this scripture today:
"Those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint."
-- Isaiah 40:31

I could certainly use a little renewed strength right now; how about you?

I don't have any fun pictures to share with you today, but I do have something amazing to tell you. Some of you may remember that hubby had a terrible cycling crash over the summer, which resulted in some pretty substantial injuries. He has been waiting to have surgery because the doctor couldn't do anything until the bone had healed enough for the ligaments to be reattached. These past couple of months of waiting have been tough for hubby. He hasn't been able to ride his bike or sleep comfortably. Moving his arm the wrong way can trigger unbearable pain. He even had to quit working. Hubby met with the surgeon a couple of weeks ago and scheduled the procedure for Monday morning. The injuries were very serious and potentially life-threatening if one of the shards of bone came any closer to a near-by artery. The surgery was known to be complex, and the recovery long, painful, and brutal. Needless to say, we have been dreading surgery day.

Two weeks ago, hubby sat with the surgeon and poured over the images from the MRI, which showed the severity of the tears throughout his rotator cuff, labrum, and ligaments. Yesterday morning, the surgeon opened him up and found that most of the injuries had healed...a miracle!! The surgeon was shocked...he had very little work to do...just cleaned up some "angry tissue." So now hubby's recovery will be much easier and much faster than the 6 months originally predicted. I feel like God must have something incredible planned for hubby...maybe something that requires him to be able to use his arm? I can't wait to see what it is!! So even in this state of feeling overwhelmed, I feel incredibly thankful and blessed.

"On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand."

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Pomeranians & Peanut Butter

This past week has felt pretty significant to me because I realized that it was the start of my last fall semester EVER. I've had a fall semester every single since year since 1988...and now I am starting my last one. Somehow this blows my mind. I suppose it's because I've known I wanted to be a doctor ever since I was a small child, so I always anticipated being in school forever. And now that it's almost here...well, I'm a little overwhelmed. How is it that I, the girl who still loves on her stuffed polar bear and gets excited over chocolate dipped ice cream cones, will soon be someone's doctor?

As usual, this weekend has gone by way too fast. Yesterday, I went to a reunion party for those of us that went to Guatemala together. We caught up, ate lots of good food, and watched a little documentary about our short, it was amazing. I made mini chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting for the party. I thought that making them small would somehow make them "healthier" (sounds good in theory, right?).

No matter how stressed and overwhelmed I may be feeling, I can always count on Heaven for a dose of cuteness and joy. Hubby has a tendency to pile laundry on the bed in my study, then he and Heaven will nap there. She also loves to perch on the bed and look out the window, growling at any dogs that may be out on walks down below. I was trying very hard to get some work accomplished when Heaven decided that it was nap time.

{"Come on, Mom. I want a snuggle buddy."}

{"It's really comfy up here! You know you want to join me."}

Who can resist a precious little ball of fur? Not me apparently. I joined her for a long afternoon nap, and now the weekend is over. I just can't say no to pomeranians or peanut butter.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Escaping from the Swamp Witch

A few days ago, I decided to blow off a morning of school work and spend a little time exploring with hubby. With our cameras in tow, we set off to take some fabulous pictures of old buildings and city scenes. As we were having lunch, I mentioned that I wanted to go to Orlando soon to search for a skirt I saw in Tampa that wasn't available in my size. Being the spontaneous couple that we are, hubby suggested that we go to Orlando right then and there. I am never one to turn down a shopping trip, so I quickly agreed and within minutes we were on the interstate. We had only gone a few miles when hubby suggested that we make a quick little detour on a particular exit because he was certain there were some good photographs to be made in that location. Being that I was giddy with excitement and my thoughts were spinning with all of the things I wanted to buy in Orlando, I agreed, thinking "This will only take a few minutes and then we'll be back on the road." After we exited, I quickly noticed that we were not in the city anymore. I had no idea where we were, and the surroundings were looking too much like "The Hills Have Eyes" for my comfort. Hubby assured me that this road connected to a road that led to Orlando (isn't this how it always goes in scary movies?). After a while, we came upon a park. We decided to get out and explore a bit, take some pictures, then continue on our way to Orlando.

{We found a deserted playground, so naturally we had to spend some time playing.}

{I'm pretty sure you're never too old to swing.}

The woods looked lovely, so we decided it wouldn't hurt to follow one of the trails out a bit and take some photos. It was much too hot for any animals to be out and about, but we enjoyed a gorgeous view of the river flowing below us. (Well, for a few minutes anyway. The suspension bridge starting swaying and I had to get off immediately. You never know when those things will just collapse, right?)

{View of the river from the bridge}

Without really realizing it, we ventured farther and farther into the woods. A swarm of insects found me to be a rather tasty meal for them, so I declared that I was over the woods and ready to go shopping. But the trail did not seem to lead us back to the start point...instead we were going deeper and deeper into the woods. At this point, I started to get a little freaked out. I was being consumed by mosquitoes, it was 100 degrees, and there were no other signs of human life. We started to pass landmarks that looked eerily like ones we had already passed. Hmmm...isn't this what happened to those kids in the Blair Witch Project? Certain that we were about to become supper for some swamp witch, we ran through the woods in the hopes that we would see a sign or map somewhere.

{While making our escape, we interrupted two grasshoppers having a romantic moment.}

At long last, we ran upon a sign pointing us back to the area where we had parked our car. Grateful to have escaped from the Swamp Witch, we stopped at a country gas station to reward ourselves with grape sodas. I'm pretty sure one of the customers in the store was a meth was a very weird place. We never did make it to Orlando that day. I ended up ordering the skirt online, and all was right with the world again.

Friday, September 3, 2010


I must confess that I'm pretty good about treating myself when I've been working really hard (in psychology we call this "self-care", and it's considered a necessity...don't you just love that?). My holiday weekend is going to consist of working on my dissertation, writing patient reports, and working on internship application I definitely felt like I deserved a treat. I have a wide range of things that I do for "self-care", which include simple things like allowing myself to sleep in one morning, spending an afternoon with a cup of tea and a book, going to my favorite bagel shop before a long day of studying, and so on. Today I decided to treat myself to a few things off of my fall wish list, which included:

A ladylike camera bag for toting my Canon, lenses, and Holga

A structured mustard jacket with cropped sleeves...perfect for a Florida "winter"

A fun book to read when I need a break from neuro textbooks

What are your favorite ways to treat yourself?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


My bags are packed again! Be back next week!

Monday, August 23, 2010

pizza + sunset = a good summer night

Supper time is usually a dreadful part of my day. It requires that never ending dialogue of "What do you want to eat?" -- "I don't know. What do you want to eat." -- "I don't know. How about (insert name of food/restaurant here)?" -- "Eh, I'm not really in the mood for that tonight." And so the conversation continues until we end up having cereal for supper.

Thursday night began with this usual conversation, but rather than argue it out, we decided to grab our cameras and head to the ocean. There are numerous little beach towns in our area but we selected Dunedin for our impromptu photo shoot because it also happens to have a cute little downtown area with shops and restaurants (and one of our favorite ice cream shops, but I'm sure that had absolutely no impact whatsoever on our choice of location).

We enjoyed a lovely dinner at Pan y Vino, which consisted of crisp fresh salads and a fire oven pizza (topped with fig, goat cheese, prosciutto, basil, and mozzarella). It was seriously amazing and I cannot wait to eat there again. We decided to burn off all those calories by walking around town, along the shoreline, and finally out on the pier. We topped off the night with ice cream sodas (so maybe that ice cream shop influenced our choice more than I thought).