Monday, December 16, 2013

Atlanta Gift Guide

At this point, if you haven’t purchased something for your significant other for Christmas, you might be starting to panic. Or, perhaps you need something to make that certain someone feel extra special this year? You are in luck because I have a few great last minute gift ideas that will make you shine like a gifting star! Sorry folks, these suggestions mainly apply to Atlanta friends. However, there is likely something similar in your city.

For the Ladies:

Give the gift of PERFECT HAIR


A gift certificate to Dry Bar has been my go-to girlfriend gift for 2013. If your lady has never tried it, she may want to use this for a special occasion. However, I have girlfriends that use them quite frequently. So, consider making her feel like she has a personal hair artist with either a Membership or a Bar Tab. See website for pricing and, no, this isn’t going to be cheap. What? You’re the one that waited until the week before Christmas to shop!


Give the gift of THE CLOSET CLEANOUT

Most women I know find it difficult to find their own personal style. Being on trend yet wearing what works for our bodies is not always one in the same. What better place to start than a “closet cleanout” by a professional? And if all goes well, your lady may want to start building her wardrobe with perfect pieces for her. Now this is a GREAT gift!! See website for pricing. You can determine how much your lady is worth to you…ha ha! Just kidding!

 For the Gents:

Give the gift of a CUSTOM SHIRT
There is no doubt about it, preppy is “in” and it looks like it is here to stay. There is only one problem; my husband isn’t preppy, at all! That being said, he loves having a custom shirt made just for him since the fit is far superior to shirts purchased in department stores. Getting him to go to a boutique to get his measurements taken, pick out the fabric, etc. can be a hassle, (for both of us). I was recently introduced to a stylist at J. Hilburn. They come to your home with fabric swatches in hand, take measurements and place your order. Problem solved! Prices are around $100-$175, depending on the fabric chosen.

Atlanta Stylist: Neil Gressette,
Note: Stylists are located throughout the U.S. in most major cities

After breezing past the maƮtre d' with a knowing glance, you weave past the restaurant's patrons to the open-air kitchen, eyes furtively scanning the room, wondering if anyone noticed you. One sharp glance back as you slide your magnetic keycard through the reader and enter a classy speakeasy of the new Prohibition. This is The Club at Chops, a semi-private dining room in one of Atlanta's premier steak houses.

Annual dues for membership are $700 for individuals and $1,900 for corporate memberships, which grants access to four members of the same company. But there's a new way to score a spot at The Club, among the vivid hues of leather and mosaic tile, and that's to secure a one-day pass ($25) and a reservation. Though you probably won't be seated at the Frank Sinatra or the Ray Charles tables (the best seats in the house, named for the portraits on the walls above them), you'll still have access to the humidor with 10 different cigar brands for, the live jazz five nights a week, the top-shelf liquor and the extensive wine list, plus the full restaurant menu.

Mr. Bond would be proud.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Top Five Beauty Products of 2013

We all want to look our best year-round and there is no better time to spruce up your beauty routine than right before a new year. Every year I make it a personal goal to try new beauty products that I think sound interesting or fun. I shop everywhere from Nordstrom to Sephora to CVS.  There is always a drawer full of rejects (maybe I should compile that list for you sometime!), but what I want to share with you now are my favorites. Here are my Top 5 beauty products of 2013. Let me know if you try any of them!

Top 5 Beauty Products of 2013

1. Ear Plugs
2. Fabulous Eye Drops
3. Brightening Lid Liner
4. Color Mousse
5. At-Home Peel
You read correctly, my number one recommendation is ear plugs. I have been married for close to seven years and, not only have these saved my marriage (tee hee!), but they also let me have a full, restful night of sleep. There is nothing that will make you look better than a great night’s sleep. I buy them in bulk! You will thank me later.



Do any of you suffer from constant dry eyes? I look at a computer a lot, read quite a bit, wear contact and have allergies. These things combined make my eyes so dry that I actually once removed part of my cornea while taking out a contact. Yes, that can happen. I wore an eye patch for two weeks while my eye healed. Did you know that your eye is one of the fasting healing parts of your body? Pretty cool huh? I was thrilled to learn that little tidbit when I thought I had ripped out my eyeball. Anyway, I now have the best optometrist in the world and he had me start using these eye drops. I put them in before bed & in the morning before my contacts go in. Visine has been a  well-liked product for a long time but, trust me, these are head & shoulders about that brand. This product feels great in your eyes!



So, after a good night’s rest and perfectly moisturized eyes, I still want to make my eyes pop. Many, many years ago, I started using a white liner inside my lower lash line for special events. (MAC “Fascinating”) It truly works wonders in opening up your eyes. The problem is that the white can be very stark in daylight. So, if I need for my eyes to pop during the day, I use a neutral lip pencil in, (MAC “Naked”). MAC is the best stay-put brand I have found. Give it a shot!



A few months ago I posted about temporarily dying my hair red.

I could not believe how well it covered my color. I went back in to Sally Beauty Supply to get a mousse to match my everyday hair color to use in between highlight appointments. You know, for that last week before your appointment when you think the world will end if you don’t touch up your roots? It’s perfect for those days! I also have sparse grey hairs in my temple which this product totally covers. Seriously!



I make no secret of the fact that I make a big investment in my skin each year. It is important to me to have healthy, glowing skin that makes me feel more confident. My general feeling is that there are very few shortcuts when it comes to facials and face products in terms of pricing. If you have ever bought a Microderm off of Groupon, you know what I mean.  That being said, one of the aestheticians that I go to suggested that I try these towelettes in between appointments. Since they are $8, I agreed. I love getting “mini” peels since “big” peels have to be perfectly timed due to all the peeling and redness. (Mini peels typically do not make me  peel). My expectation was that the towelette was similar to a mini peel…I was wrong. This tiny, $8 solution-soaked towelette made my face peel like a major peel. Depending on the market you live in, this usually costs well over $200. I was a little caught off guard by the peeling since I normally plan around that sort of thing, but was majorly impressed by this product!! This isn’t for everyone, I will admit. But, if you are like me and have a BFF relationship with your aesthetician, ask him/her about these!

NOTE: This product is intended to be used in conjunction with the Vi Peel. It is my personal opinion that this is not entirely necessary. Please ask your dermatologist or aesthetician where to purchase in your area…and send me before & after pics!!


Honorable Mention:

Now that I am in my late 30’s, I have really started to pay more attention to the delicate skin on my neck. I had been hearing great things about Nectifirm so I decided to give it a shot. Honestly, I feel like I may be doing more preventative work than recovery but I do like the product. It is not too light or too heavy. I do find it hard to remember to use it which means that one jar has lasted about a year. The verdict it still out on whether or not I will continue but overall, I give this one a thumbs up.

In case you missed it, here is a review of my 2012 recommendations (I still use all of these products, except for the LeMer):





Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Great Holiday Neighbor Gift

I love dropping a little treat in my neighbor's mailboxes around the holidays. Who doesn't love a sweet surprise? This one is my favorite because it is so easy, very inexpensive and delicious!

Start with: Raisins, Craisins, Unsalted Peanuts, M&M's, Butterscotch Chip and anything else you have in your cabinet. I had dried cherries on hand so I threw those in as well.

Dump all ingredients into a bowl & mix well.

Spoon them into mason jars for fresh keeping
(these last much longer than cellophane bags)
You can tie a ribbon around the top or wrap them in a dinner napkin. I picked up these holiday dinner napkins at my local thrift store for $.50/each.
What a steal!

I never know how much I will need to fill my jars so I keep a spare jumbo mason jar on hand for any leftovers. This also makes it super simple to assemble a last minute gift or make an addition to a basket.

A Festive Santa Basket

I love buying baskets at Goodwill! Did you know that they are $1.00-$5.00? They are so cheap compared to other retailers that I usually go in & stock up for a rainy day. I got this little treasure for $2.50 & decided to make it festive for Christmas...Santa style!

You probably know how much I loved spray-painting this a glossy, bright red!
(no primer was needed)

I hot-glued fur around the top and folded it into the basket
I then added a simple, black satin ribbon


The final touch was to glue a masculine buckle in place

I filled it with some delicious treats and sprinkled in a few snowflakes


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