What I Wore: Dinner at Smith & Wollenskys

Friday night,  I met up with my blogging beauties, Bethany, Magen, Mishelle, Monica and Nina. We dined at Smith & Wollensky's (my first time ever) and since it was Houston Restaurant Week, I got an appetizer, entree and dessert for $35 (plus tip, of course). It was delish! 

I FINALLY started using Instagram and now I know why everyone is addicted.  It is the most addicting app ever. I'm sure I am going to annoy you all by posting random photos, food photos, etc. I love seeing that stuff though so I guess it'll be 50/50.

Because I didn't really know the "vibe" of S&W, I went with a classic black dress because really, you can absolutely never go wrong with a class black dress.  I also broke out my gorgeous-but-painful Zara heels because I knew walking would be minimal (basically to my car and back).



Dress- Ann Taylor (similar,  similar)
Necklace- Regina Pierallini (email her for this necklace)
Shoes- Zara (similar, with STUDS!)


Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Dining Room Updates- Almost Done!

I am so incredibly thrilled with our dining room!  We are still waiting on the curtains and the chandelier to be installed, but I wanted to show a quick update about how it's looking in our space.

As you know, we have an extremely open floor plan, so it was important for us to get a table that made a statement so that it stood out in its "own space" but not so much that it didn't feel cohesive with the rest of the space.  

We ended up keeping the Restoration Hardware table that had a tiny flaw on it because the replacement table had some broken parts under it and the color of the wood was not as nice as the one we have. Restoration Hardware had incredible customer service and we were able to get a discount on the table due to the stain.

I can't wait to put the finishing touches on our dining room. It feels so "grown up" to have a real dining room table and chairs (though we still at at our kitchen island).












Source List:
Dining Chairs- Home Source Houston- Lawford Chair
Miranda Trifle Bowl- Crate & Barrel
Faux Hydrangea Stem- similar at Pottery Barn 


Do you have and use your dining room furniture? I think we will eat at this table for more special occasions and when we have guests over. I like that this table has sort of a rustic glam look (the glam will come from the Thai silk curtains and crystal chandelier) so it can sort of be dressed up or dressed down depending on the occasion. I can't wait to dress it up for the holidays!

The Not Feeling So Hot Outfit

I haven't been wearing pants a ton lately, but on days where I'm tired or feeling kind of "blah" I sometimes opt for a skinny pant because it's easy, stretchy and comfortable. 

This outfit is a little dark for the hot weather, so I decided to add my turquoise bubble necklace to add some color.


Blazer- Gibson @ Nordstrom (similar)
Shirt- J.Crew (buy it here)
Shoes- Ivanka Trump
Necklace- c/o GroopDealz


What do you wear on days when you're not feeling your best?

Neon After Summer?

I've been talking a lot about fall lately because a lot of my readers have asked about transitioning pieces into fall.

Neon is the perfect example of something that's tougher to bring into fall.  I paired my neon pink sweater with a deep burgundy skirt and added warm, gold accessories---a perfect way to wear neon into fall.


Sweater- Linen Tippi- J.Crew (buy it here in merino wool)
Skirt- Target (buy it here)
Belt- J.Crew (similar)
Necklace- Banana Republic (love this option!)
Shoes- Nine West (buy them here)


How are you going to transition your favorite summer pieces into fall? Tell me how you'd style them below!

Striped Blouse For the Win & We Got a New Car!

I blogged about how much I love stripes last week and when I saw this gorgeous striped blouse on fellow blogger and teacher extraordinaire Tara from Mix and Match Fashion, I just had to have it...plus, it was 50% off!





Blouse- The Limited (on sale!)
Necklace- c/o Stella & Dot


I cannot wait for fall when I can layer my striped blouses! 


...And um, oh yeah, we got a new car on Monday!  


Yay!  It's a 2013 Ford Explorer.


H hasn't gotten a new car in 12 years so we are so excited for this new addition! It is his car but of course I will be able to drive it on weekends :)

Motivation Mondays: Maja Launches Her Health & Fitness Blog, HautePNK

I think this is my most exciting Motivation Monday...ever!  My gorgeous friend Maja was the first to ever be featured in Motivation Mondays and for more than a year, I begged her incessantly to start a blog.

Maja is a huge inspiration to me because in addition to living an extremely healthy lifestyle (she and her husband even grow their own vegetables), she is also incredibly kind, intelligent and beautiful inside and out.

I annoyed Maja enough and I am thrilled to tell you that she finally launched her very own blog, HautePNK!



Maja's blog focuses on health and fitness, with a little style and beauty mixed in.  The best part is that she shares her workouts (her body is amazing---and she works hard for it!) and also shows photos of how to do each move.  If you ever don't know what to do at the gym, you can use your phone to pull up HautePNK and try one of Maja's workouts.

In celebration of the launch of her very own blog, I asked Maja to share with us some of her fitness updates, favorite foods and overall fitness advice and motivation. 




Over a year ago, you were my first Motivation Monday feature---I think you pretty much inspired the entire series---so what made you finally decide to start your own blog (after me badgering you for well over a year?)
I am a big blog reader, but had never envisioned being one myself until that first Motivation Monday post. Veronika’s Blushing is what really sparked the fire! The one thing I admire most from you and other blogs I follow is that they really earn my trust. You see a real person with real life experiences and over time you trust their feedback. In parallel, I had a growing number of friends seeking advice on workouts, recipes, products I use, etc. It kind of all clicked together and realized I wanted to take the love I had for blogs and action it with something I am passionate about. I love the community, support, and the feedback from like-minded people. I think most of all, I wanted to take the opportunity to share all that I’ve learned (and am learning) through real life experiences to reach anyone who is looking for it.


What is the overall goal of your blog?
As cliché as it sounds, if my blog reaches even one person and positively impacts them or helps them reach their goals in any way shape or form, I feel I’ll have fulfilled the intent. The thought of someone changing their lifestyle to get in shape and eat better while using some of my feedback as a guide, blows me away. I want to create a positive community where we can support one another and share feedback. 

As your blog grows, what kinds of posts can we expect to see from you?
HautePNK is still in its infancy stages. I tried to start with a vast taste of what’s to come when I launched. In short, it will have a strong focus on workouts, diet and nutrition, tons of tips and tricks that work for me - it’s what I LOVE most! I’ll also plan to post reviews of products I love (and ones I don't). Also, some outfits of the days/nights and maybe the odd shopping haul. It’ll almost be a mash of all the things I find most interesting in the blogs I follow. I am hugely open to feedback and requests too.





Will you also blog about style and beauty? You have amazing makeup/hair/everything!
I most definitely intend to! Some of the most common questions I get are about hair and makeup, so I figure I’ll consolidate my response and just make a blog post about it. I’m not one of those quirky people who can pull off various different unique/adventurous styles, but I think there is still something nice and classic about the girly girl conservative look. Maybe this blog and the people I meet through it will eventually take me out of my comfort zone and I’ll try some new things.





I love how you show photos of how to do all of the moves---it's so easy to look up the workouts on your iPhone when you get to the gym---what inspired you to make your blog so user-friendly?
When I really started thinking of a blog, one of the things I wanted to put lots of attention on was planning out was the site map, usability and most importantly reader experience. I have spent the better part of my career in technology, so it was natural for me. It doesn’t follow the standard blog format where the whole post is on the landing page, but I had this vision all along, so I went with the tiles. I wanted to make a nice browsing experience (I feel it’s easy to browse through older posts), and I put lots of attention in the details (i.e the animations when you scroll over the post name, the custom twitter bird, swipe feature from a smart phone/iPad etc).






What is the best fitness advice you've ever gotten?
This is an easy question because there are a couple of definitive things that I was told and think of every single day – I mulled over this and couldn’t pick just one, so here they are:
1.     It isn’t the number of reps you do to feel a burn, it’s the number of reps you  push out after you start feeling the burn
o    This one statement stands out in my mind every time I work out and just give it that extra push. As soon as I think I am done because I can start feeling it, that’s when I know I have to step up and keep going. That is where the results are hiding.
2.     PATIENCE
o    Patience truly is a virtue. A lot of people are really good at starting a program and being dedicated, but what I find mostly (true for me some days as well) is that you think that you’re going to start seeing amazing results within the first week. Reality check: you need to be patient and trust the system. Keep going and do not get distracted – remain focused and be patient.

What are some of your current favorite snacks?
I snack a lot! When I post food journals to give a glimpse into some of my daily meals, you will find that I snack in between every meal. Some of my favourites are baby carrots, bananas, apples, berries, salads and of coure; homemadeoat bars.




How about dinners?
FISH! I love cod, haddock, tilapia, and salmon the most. I will post some great healthy recipes for baking fish and their benefits. Other than that, I find some tiny pleasures in having breakfast-y items in the evening, so I might make some omelettes or scrambled eggs. Alongside, I will always have a salad, zucchini or some kind of veggie. For carbs, it usually a small sweet potato, rice or something like that.

Tell us about your vegetable garden? What made you decide to grow one? What vegetables do you grow?
I grew up with my dad planting a huge garden every summer. I distinctly remember the difference in taste between everything we grew at home and what we were forced to buy in the winters from a grocery store (same with my husband when he grew up). So when we got married and bought our first home we immediately converted over half of our back yard into a vegetable garden. We don’t use any pesticides and all the soil and seeds we use are certified organic. We grow TONS of lettuce, kale, swiss chard, cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, eggplant, hot peppers, green onions, beets, radishes and spinach. Again, I plan on doing a whole tutorial on the garden and how little of space you actually need to grow a large amount of vegetables.




Your husband is so supportive of you---what is his involvement with the blog?
He’s amazing – I am truly blessed. From the first minute I mentioned that I wanted to start a blog he’s always offered his advice and infinite support. He owns a full service design and advertising company and he took me on in his spare time, then had his developers build “the dream”. The team did an amazing job through design, build and testing. I am so thankful to all of them!

Where do you see your blog a year from now? 
If someone told me I’d even have a blog one year ago, I probably wouldn’t have believed them. So thinking a year ahead, I am hoping that I will have developed a community that can learn and share with me. I have no intention of slowing down and will continue to always share my honest opinion, feedback and tips.




What other interests do you have other than fitness that your readers might want to know about?
I have a deep appreciation for art and music. I love high fashion. I love movies, but not TV (we don't even have cable or the basic channels at home). I aspire to be an advanced seamstress one day and admire anyone who is really good at sewing. I adore baking! I never bake for myself, but jump on the opportunity to bring a treat when we are invited to a party or dinner. I'm also very crafty and put a lot of effort into something as little as decorating a cake or wrapping a gift. 

Thank you Maja, for motivating us this Monday! I am personally so thrilled that we will all have your blog as such an amazing resource to learn more about fitness and health so thank you for all of the time and effort you put into it!

Sunday Snaps

Sundays tend to be lazy days for me, but today was full of cleaning. I have been on a cleaning/organization kick lately so I feverishly go through the house and clean and organize everything in my path.  

Now, I'm taking a break and relaxing before I hit the gym for a workout (as if cleaning vigorously wasn't enough!)


I love a nice, clean bathroom countertop.


My MacBook keyboard cover finally came in.  I'm a little disappointed because it's not made for the newest MacBook air model, so it's not as tight over the keys as I'd like it to be, but it will do for now. Better to protect the laptop keys, even if it's a little more difficult to type.  When the new ones come out, I'll get one that's a perfect fit. Mine is by KB Covers.



I also cleaned out my closet today, because believe it or not, it was a mess. Stuff all over the floor, everything out of order. Sometimes, it just gets that way when I don't take the time to keep it organized.

It still shocks me to see how much color and how many prints I have in my closet...



...and how color little color I have in my shoe collection:



Hello black, nude and brown. Ha.  I'd love to get a pair of leopard print heels and also polka dot heels. I love these, by Kate Spade, but don't want to pay that price.

I still have to organize some of my drawers and throw away some stuff that's too old and tattered to wear. Hopefully I'll have the energy to do that tonight. What I do know is that H and Lulu definitely don't have the energy to help. This is their typical Sunday routine. Birds of a feather:


As I mentioned on my Facebook page, I have a fun fall fashion feature coming up on CultureMap...here is a little preview:



Hope you're enjoying your weekend!

Weekend Shopping & Brow Planing at Michael Kemper Salon

I've had the busiest Saturday, but I LOVE being productive, so I'm not complaining.  I woke up, had a bowl of Fruit Loops (don't judge) and  cup of coffee and then I got ready and had H shoot a few outfits for a fall trends story I'm working on with CultureMap.

After that, I dropped off my husband at this fantasy football draft and headed to Target to pick up a few things...and that turned into LOTS of things.

Let's start off with what I wore on my errands escapade:




Dress- Marshalls (similar); Bag- Kate Spade (buy it here, on sale!), 


You can watch my haul video to see all I got---but here are some fitting room photos of a few of the items I got at Target:



Mossimo Tweed Pencil Skirt- $22.50, size 6


Mossimo "Silk" Blouse- $22.50, size small

In the photo, the color isn't showing up properly, but it's a gorgeous spearmint color---deeper than a pastel mint but still very minty. It's gorgeous and a great choice if you don't want to spend the money to get a blouse like this at J.Crew or Banana Republic. These come in a ton of great colors---I might go back for more!

Okay, now to the fun part of this post---I have gotten a lot of comments lately about my eyebrows not looking so good/being too close together. As I mentioned in my YouTube video, it's hard to be objective sometimes about how you look. I see my face daily so it's hard for me to notice when something might be off.  Three years ago, when I was having my wedding makeup trial with my makeup artist, she mentioned that my brows were really close together. I let her pluck a few hairs and they looked good, but I didn't keep up with it.

When I was in high school, I had really thin, really awful eyebrows. When I started modeling with an agency as a teen, they asked me to not touch my brows for about 2 months. I was forced to grow them out but they looked great---and I vowed to never again have thin brows.


(from my modeling portfolio, after I had grown them out)


(later on in high school, it's hard to see because of the lighting in this photo, 
but they were super thin and not shaped well)

As you can see above, I did end up tweezing them again when I quit modeling and then I realized how much I hated them and grew them back yet again.  So I feel very, very attached to my thick brows.  Here's how they looked in my wedding day:


Nice and thick and beautifully filled in by my makeup artist.  Even as a child, I had some pretty thick brows going on:


(what was I looking at?)


(as you can see, I was already into ruffles and handbags as a baby---
watch out Suri Cruise, just sayin'---
and that's my beautiful grandmother in the background)


(apparently, I was not shy)


(Beach hair, circa over 20 years ago)

Well, that was a fun blast from the past.  Back to the brows. I went to see Craig, a brow specialist and makeup artist at my hair salon, Michael Kemper Salon.  He does brow planing, which is a technique that you can learn more about here. Craig is a pro and at $29, it's a very affordable service---plus, you to get leave with your very own brow planing tool to get the look at home. Brows frame your face and they are such an important feature that they're worth the investment.

Craig sits you down first and talks about how to measure brows and then he fills in your brows with power where they are supposed to start and end, and where the arch is supposed to be. I actually had no idea that one of my brows had an arch and the other didn't. Craig fixed it so that now they both have very subtle arches.  He also took the starting point of my brows way back---after zooming in on my photos, I did see what people meant when they said my brows were too close together. They look much cleaner and more defined now.

I am extremely happy with my results. Though it can be hard to hear negative feedback about your appearance, sometimes you need to hear it to improve on something.  So thanks to my readers who gently gave feedback about the spacing of my brows---I particularly want to thank the ladies who gave the feedback in a very constructive and non-malicious way.


(forgive my outfit, I've been cleaning all day since I got home)


If you'd like to see what else I bought this week, watch below!


Happy Saturday everyone!
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