Las Vegas Photo Diary

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Las Vegas Photo Diary

Long work hours and the length of my to-do list have me thinking about vacations a lot lately and since I don't have one scheduled for several months - I am vacariously taking a vacation via photos from past vacations.

Last May, my girlfriends and I did a four city - five night West Coast trip that started in Los Angeles with stops in Vegas and SanDiego. On the second day of the trip - we took off on a road trip to Vegas.  

The drive through the mojave desert had some spectacular views - if you can stand the traffic getting out of L.A the scenery is worth the drive.We only had about twelve hours in the city so we did not see any shows; we are not gambling people, so after ten minutes walking through the casino floor, we were done with that. We did walk the strip - which was interesting in many respects (good, bad, ugly), stayed at an amazing hotel (The Encore).

Although we did not get to most of the typical vacation in Vegas things - it was a fun half day in Vegas and nothing beats spending time with amazing friends that are amazing. I will take that all day, every day.  Here are a few snap shots from that trip - hoping this tides me over till I can get to a proper vacation.

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The Nineties Lip Trend Picks

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The Nineties Lip Trend Picks


Even if you have been living under a rock - you will have noticed this nude/brownish lip trend aka the nineties lip trend (and also apparently the Kylie Jenner lips as the lady at Ulta saw fit to remind me last month).
 
I am not very into trends and tend to stick with things that work great on me and for me. However, this brownish lip trend is one I can get with - since most of the colors in my lipstick collection are "ninties lip color". Today I thought, I'll share my top lipsticks that are perfect if you are planning on wearing this trend

  • Milani statement lipstick in Teddy Bear
  • Maybelliene colorsensation in Touchable Taupe
  • Maybelliene colorsensation in Maple Kiss
  • Essence longlasting lipstick in Barely There
  • L'oreal Paris Collection Privee Liya's Nude
  • Rimmel London lasting finish in Coffee Shimmer

Got any favorite nineties lip  colors ? Share below - A girl can never have too many lipsticks

 

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Spring and Baseball - Photo Diary

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Spring and Baseball - Photo Diary

If you have never been to a baseball game - you are missing out. It is one of those wholly American traditions that we should all get to experience at least once in our lives. Probably my favorite baseball day is opening day - my excitement level for opening day is about as high as my excitement level for Christmas.  Opening day of baseball season is the day Spring officiallty begins (for me). For those not familiar with base ball - opening day is the first home game of the season marked by epic tailgating,usually great weather, the flyovers - I love it all.  Last week, I was out at the ballpark to cheer on my team at their 2015 opening day game.  Here are some shots from the day.

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My Favorite Palette

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My Favorite Palette

It's the BH Cosmetics 26 Color Palette Neutral Eyeshadow and Blush - I have had this for about nine months and I have been using it consistently for the last four months and boy, let me tell you, it is seriously good.

Let talk about packaging - basic, plastic packaging that secures well. It does not come with a mirror (which I sometimes miss), but that make it really lightweight. It is flat and does not take up much space, which makes it perfect for travelling. I actually just stick it into my handbag when I am on the road.

You get 21 eyeshadows and 5 blushes. There is a mix of nudes, browns, metallics and bronzes (and a few peaches and pinks). The shade mix provides what you need for lid, crease, and brow bone. You get 12 matte and 9 shimmers. Pigmentation is great on all the eye shadow and texturewise, the shadows are smooth, buttery and very easy to blend. You might get some fall out on some of the shimmers, but its nothing that will mess up you makeup application. You also get 5 blush shades. I find that a darker complexion with have issues with two of the lighter shades. The lightest shade of the bunch is a perfect highlight on my skin tone. My favorite shadows of the bunch - all three shadows in the first column, the third shadow of the second column and the third shadow of the last column.

Now for the not so great parts of this palette - Some of the pan move out of the slot, if that happens, just use a double sided tape to keep it in place. There are no shade names. I know that is not a significant thing, but I am close to hitting pan on some of my shadows and it will be great to be able to order a replacement (if only the shade names were included). In the summer months, some of the shadows crease if I don't prime my lids, but with a primer - you are good to go. 

The Palette costs $19.95, but if you are familiar with BH Cosmestics, you know there is always a sale going on, so you can pick this up at a discounted price (currently discounted to $12.95).

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Record Book

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Record Book

Let me begin by apologizing to those of you who could care less about sports - this piece has a few sports analogy - I hope you can get past it to the heart of the message.

In sports there is something called stats - which is essentially a "record book" of a teams' performance - Stats are kept in such detail that it borders on ridiculous sometimes. If you want to know how many games a team has won when wearing the white jersey - there is a stat for that or how many interceptions a quarter back has thrown in cold weather vs normal weather (or at home or away) - there is a stat for that. Essentially, anything you can imagine about your team - someone , somewhere has kept a record of it. Sports fans tend to hold on to those stats (even the ridiculous ones) when their team is losing - the stats (even the ridiculous ones) give us hope that if any team can beat the odds, it will be our team. Record books and stats are what help the sport fan to hang on till the last second of a game because perphaps per chance. Sometimes, something incredible happens, history repeats itself - that team scores two goals in the last three minutes of overtime and their winning record when wearing a white jersey remains intact.

I have been thinking about stats and records lately - not the stats about my favorite teams, but stats about God. As I meditate on my creator's stats, my mind floats back to two years ago, while waiting on a connecting flight at Heathrow airport , I was at one of the lowest points of my life and just overall weighed down. I was seated at Terminal 5 - people watching and I began to wonder if God was aware that if he did not show up in the situations I was facing - there was no way I was coming out of it, that if he did not intervene - these things I was facing were going to drown me - it all became too much and I just broke down in tears.

As I tried to keep myself in check I began whispering a quiet prayer and felt the urge to make a list of what God had done in my life and family.  Half way through the first page of my note pad - my tears of despair became tears of joy because I realized that God has never failed me, he has always shown up when I found myself between a rock and a hard place. I realized, God had not forgotten me, my name is written on the palm of his hands, ever before him is a picture of me. That gave me the strength to get up and fight again and live again and try again -  until I completely forgot about the list a few months later when something unplanned came upon me and I went down the spiral of "does God remember me", again.

I know I am not alone here, we get these sprouts of knowing that if God did that, he will do this - but then just as quickly we revert back to wondering if he is able and capable to see us through. It's almost as though we have amnesia and the presence of trouble leads us to forget the record and the stats of a great , incomparable God.

At a recent bible study, my Pastor asked us to make a list of everything God has done for us, frame it up and keep it in a place we can easily access it - so that we never forget the God has got our backs. I began making a mental note during that bible study and the entire drive home, I could not stop saying 'thank you, God". When we keep a recordbook of and about God - that's something to hang on to when the day is dark, that's what gives us the courage to try again, to live again , to stand again. 

When we are faced with difficulty - its not the time to panic, that is the time to look up the stats of our God; that is the time to pull out the record books and hang on to the stats of the Creator. Maybe your world is so cluttered by the challenges you are facing and you cannot clearly see that he has and always will be there - then pick up your bible - it is essentially the greatest record/stat book,

 The bible is full of records that remind us that our God can and will bring us through whatever it is we are going through, that we are not alone, that the same God that parted the red sea, the same God that healed the woman with the issue of Blood; the same God that gave his son, the same God that fed the widow and her son on a handful of flour, the same God that gave Abraham and Sarah a son (even when everything said it was impossible) - that same God is still working and doing miracles today.

I don't know what challenges you are faced with today and I don't know how many things are threatening to drown you - don't give in to the fear - Pull out God's record book and take a minute to draft your record book of what God has done in you and for you, write on your bathroom mirror, frame it up for your beside table or your work desk. Hang on to his stats when it is darkest; hang on to it when the situation you face seems impossible, hang on to it when man's report has said there is no way out. No matter the situation we can hang on to the stats of a God that has never changed - he is constant always and forever. He has an always winning record.  His record is impeccable.

There is a song that we used to sing back in the day - the bridge goes like this : " When I look back over my life, and I think things over, I can truly say that I've been blessed - I have a testimony." Just for a few minutes today - take a lookback, search the recordbook and I guarantee that the fear and anxiety will quickly give way to a heart of thanksgiving - when you go over God's impeccable record, you will be in awe of just how many testimonies you have and your faith will be stirred up and you will find the courage and strength to get back up, to fight again, to try again, to live again, to love again. The strength that we need to face an uncertain tomorrow lies in the record of what our God has been doing from before time began and what he will continue to do forever and ever.

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Style Edit - Dress for Work ~ Tan Jacket

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Style Edit - Dress for Work ~ Tan Jacket

Currently, there is a pile of cloths on my bed and on my closet floor. I have tons in my closet, but can never seem to find anything to wear, especially when it comes to work wear. I have been working on revamping my work wardrobe and building outfits around statement pieces I currently own. Here is a style board I created around a camel (tan) jacket I own. So far the style boards have been very helpful and I have worn these looks a few times over the last two months. 


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Tiny Boxwood - Houston

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Tiny Boxwood - Houston

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One of my absolute favorite things to do when I travel is check out local eats and on one of many trips to Houston, I discovered a real gem - Tiny Boxwood. It is located in the Houston downtown area (West Alabama at Saint Street). Its been awhile since I have dined here, but on a recent trip to Houston - a few girlfriends and I met up here for brunch after a fun filled bachelorette party night.

Its the start of spring in Texas (which means patio dining), so we were seated on the Patio (and the ambience is spectacular), decorated with wood logs and patio furniture . It has this feel like you are dining on the patio of a friend's home.  I love everything about this place - and the food is an absolute winner. I have only been here for brunch  and I always order the migas or mother's breakfast. Mother's breakfast is served with these biscuits (and strawberry jam) that just melts in your mouth (my new standard for perfect biscuits). oh !  the lemonade - you must have a glass.

You can check out the brunch menu here and if you find yourself in the Houston area --- this is one of those places you have got to check out.

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The Beauty Roundup - March

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The Beauty Roundup - March

It's time to round up the best beauty products from the past month (well the last two months). Febuary was cold and busy; March was just ridiculously busy and these products came in handy with dealing with the weather and stress. Here are the products that got the job done for me in March (and Febuary)

Shea Moisture Coconut Hibicus Hold & Shine Moisture Mist. This does exactly what it says on the bottle - gives hold and shine. When I wear my hair in curls, I spray it with this mist before putting them in rod rollers and on days I don't want to be bothered with curls, I spray this over my hair and comb through. It holds curls in place and give shine for days. Plus its light and smells amazing. [$9.99]

Spongy Rod Rollers.  No more basket of rollers or plugged in curlers. These get me the curls without any fuss. I spray my hair with the shea moisture mist, comb through hair and then wind hair around the rollers. I usually leave it in overnnight (or for two to three hours) and I have curls without any of the hassle.  I use the hot tools professional curl brand I picked up from Ulta for $9.99

Essense "I love extreme" Volume Mascara. Lashes for days. It gives volume and length and it does not clump up like most mascaras I have used. This is one of my holy-grail products - It gets the job done. [$3.99]

Palmer Cocoa Butter Skin Therapy Oil. This is a part of my bedtime routine. I take off my makeup and I moisturize with this oil before calling it a night. I have never been a fan of oils, but I picked this up for research purposes and I have been pleasantly surprised. It moisturizes without being greasy and you skin will thank you because it softens, evens tone and plumps up the skin (and those pillow lines that sometimes happen with moisturizers are a thing of the past). [$14.99]

First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Overnight Mask - oh boy, this stuff is amaze, slather it on the face just before going to bed  and it works while you sleep to moisturize and brighten the face. You wake up to a super hydrated face.[$38]

Bliss Ingrown Eliminating Pads. If you have ever struggled with ingrown hair - this is for you. I use this daily between shaving (and waxing) session to eliminate bumps and ingrown hair issues. I picked up the 50 wipes pack which is almost out. I have already placed an order for the replacement - that's how great this product works [$38]

Skyn Icelandic Relief Eye Pen. This pen came in handy for the very busy March and it does most of what it says on the tin. It claims to reduce puffiness and dark circles. With puffiness, it get the job done. On the dark circles deal - not so much for me but the reviews for it are outstanding, so if you are in the market for a good eye cream - this might be one to consider. [$20]

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FAITH : ALL OR NOTHING

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FAITH : ALL OR NOTHING

All or Nothing: Having no middle ground or compromise available
— google

We have all heard that phase and at different times, its meant something different. I have been thinking about that phase a lot lately and I am getting a new perspective of it and I am challenged to go deeper in my faith walk as  I think about it. I am sure you have heard the phase before , what does it mean to you or do you ever toss that phase into conversations when giving someone an ultimatum.

We are in a age now where politically and in all other sense - the world is asking us to pick a side - it's either a blue state or red state ; democrat or republican ; prolife or prochoice and the list goes on. We gladly and firmly take a stand on those things and we will defend to sweats our party candidate and our stance, but I wonder if we ever take that same approach in our walk with God and the word ? Do we firmly take a stand or do we take a stand only when it is convenient for us , but if our cool factor is affected then we put it on the back burner.

God has been dealing with me about this lately - He said my children only want the good parts, the blessing, the enlarged territories and that is why the world sees them as hypocrites and the way they get to change the world, the way they get to draw men to me is by having that all or nothing mentality and drive. 
 
The bible says the lord detests the luke warm - you are either hot or cold ; you are either for him or not. Christains are (myself included) straddling the fence --- we accept and embrace the parts of the word that make us feel warm and fuzzy , but we won't take up the parts of the word that convicts us to repentance or call us to higher. We are all about the blessing and the transfer of wealth but we ignore the part about giving to the point of talking the clothes off our back. We pray about kings coming to bow at our feet and our gifts bringing us before kings but we gladly ignore the scripture that call us to service.

Men want to obtain favor from the lord, but will not love their wife as christ loved the church. Women are asking God to give then a King and fight for them as the weaker vessel, but how dare someone remind them that wives should submit to their husbands. 
 
We treat the word as a buffet and only pick and choose the parts of the bible that work for us - we pursue the things that fit into our lives and the things that don't align with us, we discard as, not for us or "well that's the old testament". We piece the word apart so that it fits us ; instead of piecing ourselves apart so that we fit into the word.

Think about the cross for a minute - Jesus came for all men and to redeem us from all sins - he did not say , well father, those ones with the lying and coverteousness issues - I got them, but those one dealing with lust and inpure thoughts - well those one, I don't think I can die for - he came freely and died freely for all of us and to redeem us from all of our transgressions. If he did that with zero guarantee that we would ever accept him. We can accept fully and wholly the word, we can bend and piece ourselves apart so that we fit into the word.

How can we say we love him - if we only embrace the part where he pours out to us, but not the parts where we pour out our lives to  him. If its not pretty and a blessing - we say its not for us. 

Married folks - do you only love you spouse when he is dressed GQ-like or when she is dressed to the nine with makeup on point or do you love them in those sweaty gym clothes and fat pants - You love your spouse irrespective (at least I hope you do) - how much more God and his word.  

God is calling me (us) out today and he is asking more of us. its all or nothing . We cannot accept him as healer and provider and protector and not embrace forgiveness. We cannot ask the lord to enlarge our territory or bless the works of our hands  and ignore working diligentily for man as though we were working for God.
 
When we go in all or nothing --- then we stand on solid ground to defend our faith when the world throws a scripture at us as justification for how they live - Scripture like "love your neighbor as yourself" gets thrown at us quite a bit as justfication to accept the things that break his heart, In those times, we can stand bold and say if you will use that as a basis of argument ; then you must be willing to embrace the call to let go of adultery and pervarse ways and thoughts. But until we as Christains embrace all of him ; until we go all or nothing - we cannot ask the world to join us in a middleground, sometimes compromising, lukewarm relationship with God.

Are we willing to accept all of him or are we all about the buffet ?  

Selah !

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Five Healthy-ish Breakfast for Swim Suit Season

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Five Healthy-ish Breakfast for Swim Suit Season

Its starting to feel like spring around these parts - which means - spring cleaning, no more heavy coats and bathing suit season drawth near. In preparation for the dreaded swim suit season and in line with our overall goal of infusing healthy habits, we have been doing a lot of healthy-ish breakfast lately (except for those off days when the chick fil a chicken biscuit call our name - then all bets are off). Here are five healthy-ish recipes we have been loving over here at HQ.

1. The five minute, three ingredient smoothie. Need we say more, its three ingredients , tossed in a blender , whizzed up and healthy delicious breakfast in minutes. We could have this smoothie for every meal (and a snack). We make a pitcher food in the mornings and enjoy throughout the day. This is the best and it makes healthy-ish eating ridiculously easy.

2. The Oatmeal. We are not oatmeal people at the HQ, just cannot get on board with it, but things turned around when our sister site (here) shared this Cranberry Oatmeal last year. It has become a massive favorite and there are rumors that a cookie butter oatmeal recipe will be arriving on their site in a few weeks (we cannot wait).

3. Juicing it up. One of our favorite blogger shared a delicious juice recipe that we cannot stop sharing and talking about. It is full of vitamins and satisfies the daily vegetable and fruit requirement. Seriously some great stuff - we love it, we think you will too.

4. Greek Salad Fritatta. Everything ! Loaded with all the good stuff, olives, spinach, feta cheese. This is another recipe from our sister site. The original recipe was made with the yokes, but for an even healthier version, we have been using just egg whites and its just as delicious (oh, it very filling as well).

5.Avocado toast with goat cheese and tomato. Anyone who runs a blog all about breakfast is aces in our book, so when Marta (what should i eat for breakfast today) shared this recipe last fall - we pinned it, we added a link to our favorites, sent the link to friends...you get the picture, we really love this one. Avocado = the good fat, tomato then the cherry on top with the goat cheese ? - Our day is made when we have his for breakfast.

Got any other swim suit season preparation worthy breakfast ideas ? please share below.

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