Sunday, December 21, 2014

Glitz & Glam New Year's Outfits

New Year's is one of the most exciting holidays. You feel like you have a fresh start and that anything is possible. You jot down your resolutions, make a pact to yourself to cross some things off your bucket list, and proclaim to the world that by God, this WILL be YOUR YEAR.

Of course, we all know that by March most of our resolutions are in the dust, even the thought of skydiving gives you extreme anxiety, and you now only have 8 months to make this the greatest year of your life.

Oh well, at least you can make New Year's Eve one heck of a party. And since it is indeed a party, you better dress like it.

I like to bring out my inner Gatsby, so you best believe I am a full advocate of dressing in sequins from head to toe. Here are my top NYE outfit ideas that are sure to have you sparkling.

New Years Eve Dresses

Oh my heart, how I love sequin dresses. Funny enough, each of these dresses you can find on Daily Chic (well played, ladies, well played). I own the first dress on the left, and wore it last year. I can't even tell you how many compliments I got! I felt like a movie star in that dress (and isn't that what a great dress should make you feel like?).

NYE The Last Dance

If you want to forgo the dress route, rompers, leggings and skirts are the perfect alternative. This gold romper and skirt are also from Daily Chic (this boutique is seriously killing it) and those fabulous leggings are from Gianni Bini, which can be found at Dillards!

Don't feel like you can only dress up in sequins for New Year's though and can only wear these items once either! Why not for your birthday, date night, or a girl's night? Shouldn't we always dress up in gorgeously impractical things like sequins, glitter, tulle, and lace? My answer is YES!

As Lilly Pulitzer said,
LIFE is a party. Dress like it.

Keep Celebrating!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Emily M's Winter Beauty Routine

Possibly the worst thing about winter, is how unbelievably DRY my skin gets. Anyone else experiencing this?! You go from freezing cold outside, to heat inside, to cold again.  It gets even better because the air is also dry (my hair thanks the Lord for the lack of humidity, my skin, however, does not).

Then you go through the daunting task of trying to pick out the best moisturizer and night cream that won't be too oily or make you break out. The vicious cycle never seems to end. 

I think I have finally figured out the perfect balance for my skin and I hope that this helps some of you as well! (Including a few of my beauty secrets!)

Emily M's Favorite Beauty Products

1. Clinique 3 Step System-This is one product I tend to stray away from, but always come back to. I just haven't found anything else that leaves my face feeling clean, but not overly dry.

2. Clarisonic- As big of a splurge as this product is, it. is. worth. it. I will wash my face, then use this and will still find some left over make up on the brush! It also helps your other products absorb much more (meaning they'll be more effective and work better). Just giving some of you a heads up, if you are getting one of these for Christmas, you may break out a tad more than usual the first week you use it. This is pretty normal and is actually just a lot of crud coming to the surface of your skin, so don't fret haha.

3. Clinique Moisture Surge Intense- Okay, so here was my dilemma with night creams. I either found one that would make me break out or ones that didn't make me break out, but my skin would still peel in patches. Clinique Moisture Surge Intense has been able to moisturize, but isn't heavy so it doesn't clog my pores. So far I love it and feel like I have found a Christmas miracle in a jar.

4. Vaseline- I say this is a cure all because, well, it is. Chapped lips? Vaseline. Peeling cuticles? Vaseline. Cracked feet? Put some Vaseline and socks on them at night and wake up to soft feet. If you don't already have Vaseline in your bathroom cabinet, I suggest you go buy some and save yourself some money on a multiple of products.

5. Clinique All About the Eyes- Sticking to my Clinique regimen, I use this eye cream at night and have noticed that the bags underneath my eyes are not nearly as bad in the morning. I also use Fructis' Skin Renew Anti-Puff roller in the morning, which helps me feel more awake and refreshed. Dab on some Fresh's Rose Hydrating Gel Eye Cream and it looks like you just woke up to 12 hours of sleep...even if you did only get 4.

6. Burt's Bees Lip Balm- I have one in my purse, on my nightstand, and in my bathroom. My favorite chapstick, hands down.

7. Fresh's Black Tea Age Delay Lotion with SPF 20- The clouds have opened up and I have finally found the perfect sunscreen! Best part is it doesn't smell like sunscreen and makes your face look radiant! Added bonus, is it is great underneath make up.

8. Castor Oil- This one may sound a bit odd to you, but if you're looking for a natural alternative to Lactisse, this is it. Using a spoolie (mascara wand), swipe this stuff on your eyelashes before bed. I promise you that after a few weeks your eye lashes will look thicker and healthier! And shoot, why just stop at your eyelashes? Trying to grow out your eyebrows? Put some on them too!

If you still struggle with dry skin, try drinking a lot more water and sleep with a humidifier. A humidifier will put back some of the moisture that was lost in the air from having the heat on (I learned this tip from my dermatologist!) Also, splurging on a silk or satin pillow case can help prevent wrinkles AND hair splitting!

Do you have any beauty tips? I'd love to hear them!

Keep Celebrating!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Another Tender Tennessee Christmas

One of the many reasons why I love living in Nashville is because there's always something to do and Christmas time is no exception. Whether you want to window shop down Historic downtown Franklin with a coffee in your hand, or get dressed up and go to a Christmas show, Nashville has got you covered. 

Here are my top ten things to do in Nashville and Downtown Franklin during Christmas:
Opryland Hotel- I guess if you're not from here, or have never been to Nashville, you're probably confused on why I said you should visit a hotel for Christmas. Three words: 2 million Christmas lights. Whether your inside or outside, you'll see lights everywhere you turn. And too add on to your Christmas cheer, its free and open to the public! To learn what else the Opryland Hotel has to offer, click here.
ICE! At Opryland-Want to enjoy something a little out of the box? Go to ICE! at Gaylord Opryland where you can hundred pounds of ice carved into intricate figurines. This year's theme is 'Twas the Night Before Christmas and to say that it is anything short of magical is an understatement. To learn more, click here

Photo from The Marriott
The Nashville Ballet’s “The Nutcracker”- If you feel like getting dressed up and enjoying a classic, go see "The Nutcracker" performed by the Nashville ballet. It will definitely leave you with sugar plums dancing around your head. For more information, click here

Photo from the Nashville Ballet
Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art- No matter the season, Cheekwood always feels like you've entered into some sort of magical Wonderland to explore. Winter seems like an odd time to visit a botanical garden since all the flowers have faded, but during Christmas you can visit live reindeer, Santa's workshop, or take a wreath or gingerbread house decorating class. There honestly is something for everyone to enjoy at Cheekwood. To find out more, click here.
Radio City Rockettes- Making it's home in Nashville for 13 years as America's #1 holiday show, their performance is, well, spectacular. If you've always wanted to go, be sure to attend this year since its the final year they'll be in Nashville! Buy your tickets and learn more, here.
Dancing Lights of Christmas at Jellystone Park- A favorite hobby for most families around Christmas time is driving around and looking at Christmas lights. One of the hardest parts about looking at Christmas lights is trying to figure out which neighborhoods or houses to go to. Jellystone came up with a solution to this problem with their two mile dancing Christmas light display, which lasts from November 7- January 4. You can even get a $5 discount on Mondays and Tuesdays! If you would like to know more and where the park is located, click here
Ice Skating- I personally love to ice skate year round. This may be because I took figure skating lessons when I was younger and have just always enjoyed the sport, but Christmas and winter time have me itching to tie up my skates even more. If you're in Nashville, the  Centennial Sportsplex is probably where you'll end up going (its also home of the Nashville Predators practice rink!). To learn more about the cost ad public skating sessions, click here.
Downtown Franklin Theatre- Probably one of my favorite things to do is grab a cup of coffee and window shop in downtown Franklin. And what better way to end a day of window shopping then by getting dinner at one of the delicious local restaurants and going to the historic theatre to watch some old Christmas classics like A Miracle on 34th Street, White Christmas, or It's a Wonderful Life? To see the theatre's full schedule click here

Photo from Southern Living
Dickens of a Christmas-Coming this weekend (December 13-14), enjoy running into Ebenezer Scrooge, little Tiny Tim Cratchit, and other beloved characters from this classic tale! Also be sure to check out the carolers, arts and craft vendors, or take a horse drawn carriage around the square for $2 a person. ! No need to yell "bah, humbug!" over the cost either because its free and open to the public! Want to learn more? Click here. 

Photo from Elm Street Life

Of course, there are a few more things that I could add to this list, like Christmas Village, which happened earlier this month, and not to mention the historic homes that are all over Nashville and Franklin that are decorated to fit the time period they were built (Like the Belle Meade Plantation and Carter house). Needless to say, Nashville is so much more than country music. It's made up of history and entertainers, tradition and art, good food and, of course, fun!

Keep Celebrating!

Matte About You

A beauty trend that I am currently loving for fall and winter is the matte look. It seems like every time I turn around one beauty product or another is coming out with matte version (matte foundation, matte powder, matte blush, matte lipstick... you get the idea).

Matte About You

I don't know if I'm completely sold on  matte powder since I feel like it makes my face look more dry during the winter months, but if you tend to have oily skin this is perfect solution for you. Primer can also help give you a matte look and help your makeup stay on longer! I love Smash box's photo finish, but Bobbi Brown and Mac also carry some great primers. Using a primer can be a game changer  when added to your make up routine and just using a tad can go a long way!

What I am currently OBSESSED with is Essie's 'Matte About You' top coat. You can pair this top coat with any Essie nail color of your choice, and the best part is that it dries super fast!

I used Essie's Bahama Mama nail polish then painted the 'Matte About You' on top.  I love how it turned out and I have gotten several compliments on it!
Maybelline creamy matte lipstick in Divine Wine

(Photo from always_heidymua Instagram)

My second favorite matte product is matte lipsticks! I saw a coworker wearing Maybelline's Creamy Matte Lipstick in Divine Wine and fell instantly in love. I had to go to  Wal-Mart and two Targets to finally have this colored lipstick in my possession (I was a girl on a mission!). It was definitely worth the search! It is the perfect color for fall and winter (no wonder it was so hard to find).
On a bad day, there is always lipstick.
This lipstick goes on smoothly and stays on pretty well through out the day (basically, I'll probably be buying a few more in different colors!)

Do you like the matte trend? Do you have any matte products that you like this season? I'd love to hear from you!

Keep Celebrating!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Emily M.'s Christmas Movie Checklist

I already know what I'm going to be doing for the rest of this month, and it involves a lot of movie watching.

I was originally going to give my top 25 Christmas movies, but soon realized that was an almost impossible task considering that my list seems to change by the day, so being the OCD (Obsessive Christmas Disorder) person that I am, I broke them into categories.

And what helps cross some of these movies off your list faster than ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas?! I've attached their full schedule here.

25 Days of Christmas

And no Christmas movie marathon is complete without hot chocolate and snacks! One of my new favorite Christmas snacks is a twist (peppermint twist that is) on classic puppy chow. I got the idea from Sally's Baking Addiction and tweaked it just a tad.

Peppermint Puppy Chow

5 cups Rice Chex cereal
10 ounces melting white chocolate or vanilla flavored Almond Bark (I used Almond Bark)
1/2 teaspoon Peppermint extract
1 cup Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips
1 cup crushed candy canes
1 cup (or more) confectioners' (powdered) sugar

Pour 5 cups of Chex Cereal into a large bowl. Melt white chocolate/Almond Bark according to the package directions. When melted stir in peppermint extract and pour over cereal, stirring and folding until the cereal is completed covered. Fold in Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips (they will melt and make your cereal look pink or swirled). Then fold in crushed candy canes.

In a large zipped top bag or covered container, add the powdered sugar. Pour the chocolate covered cereal/candy canes into the large bag or container. Seal the bag or container and shake until all the cereal is coated with the powdered mixture.

Discard excess powder. Store at room temperature up to 2 weeks, if it lasts that long!

So bake some cookies and make some snacks, and get all your friends or family together on the couch to watch a good movie or two! Did your favorite Christmas movie make my list? And do you have a favorite holiday snack or recipe that I need to try? I'd love to hear it!

Keep Celebrating!

Christmas Card Cheer

I know that Buddy the Elf would say, "the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!", but I would have to disagree with him (*gasp*) because:

1. If I was to sing as loud as I could for all to hear, the only people that would be cheerful about it would be the ear plug companies.

2.  You'd probably get pretty hoarse after awhile, and I'm pretty sure if everyone was going to be singing around each other we'd all be sharing the flu...or ebola.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Christmas music and Christmas carolers, but one of my favorite ways to spread Christmas cheer is by sending out Christmas cards (shocker right? the girl that loves all things paper likes sending out Christmas cards).

 I love every aspect to sending out Christmas cards. Picking out the cards, the stamps, addressing them all, and of course, adding a little bit of sparkle to each one. It's just a small labor of love that I really enjoy doing. I also believe that it is one of the most personal and thoughtful things we can do that only takes a few minutes of our time.

Christmas Cards

A few companies that I like to card shop on are Rifle Paper & Co., Sugar Paper., and Kate Spade. They run a little pricey, so if you find you Christmas card list becoming longer and longer Target (obviously) has some adorable ones! 

When it came to sending out invitations to a little Christmas get together I'm having for the girls I've been in a Bible Study group with since Middle School, I went digital. Yes, in some circumstances I think its ok to send a card or invitation via the web. When do I think it's ok? Well for starters, it depends on the event. If its casual and short notice, I say go for it. Plus, I had to check with the girls to see which date worked best for all of us since a lot of people will be going out of town, so everyone had already marked the date on their calendar. 

My favorite site to use in these instances is the Paperless Post. They have tons of options, and a majority of them are free to send! 

If you're still going the snail mail route, I've given you a few tips on how I address my envelopes here, but a new found love of mine are the Sharpie Oil Based Paint Pens. These pens trump every paint pen I've ever owned. They come in a multiple colors and in metallics, AND you can buy them at a fine and extra fine point. Sold! I've also converted to using Scotch Expressions Metallic Tape to seal the envelopes, because they stick much better to paper than washi tape.

Oh, and I definitely got the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer stamps at the post office (Don't judge. It's the movie's 50th anniversary this year! and you can't tell me that you don't think he's cute)

reindeer animated GIF

Keep an eye out, because a little Christmas cheer is coming to a mailbox near you!

Keep Celebrating!