Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Beaded Bliss: D.I.Y. Candle Holder





I am knee-deep in designing and crafting my “Outdoor Oasis” a.k.a. “My Patio.” I am running against the seasonal clock, as the official start of summer is just a few weeks away.

I decided to do a mix of purchased goods and Do-It-Yourself crafts. I am all for finding inspiration on the internet, specifically Pinterest. The problem is that I want to take on the task of every cool project that I find. Reality and my discipline reared their ugly heads, and I narrowed my Do-It-Yourself projects down to a handful:/

My “Outdoor Oasis” will be my place of refuge throughout the summer months. So, it must be filled with serenity, and tranquility. Nothing says peace like candles! However I cannot just light a candle as that would be just be flat out boring. So, I tasked myself with making these fabulous candle holders. The best part is that these were beyond easy, and they cost a whopping $2! #winnerwinnerchickendinner

I swung past the local Dollar Tree store and grabbed these small glass bowls, and several bags of colored marbles. All you need is a high temperature hot glue gun, and a few hours to spare. This project was super simple, as there was no rhyme or reason to the process. Simply glue the individual marbles onto the glass bowl…yes that is it! Feel free to glue the marbles in any manner that you see fit. I went with the method of gluing them side-by-side, around the entire bowl, and voila! 

Come on, admit it, they look very pretty, and relaxing. Now all I need is a chilled glass of white wine!

Quick Tip-A high temperature hot glue gun is required. Glass is a less porous material. The higher temperature allows for better adhesion, and higher durability. I purchased my glue gun, and sticks from a craft store for just under $10. Also, one glass bowl requires one bag of marbles. 

read more
Wednesday, May 27, 2015

All of The Brights: Prepped, Primed & Polished

Summer is fast approaching, and with that comes open toed shoes, standing manicure/pedicure appointments, and an abundance of bright polish options. I am here for every, last bit of that!

One of my preferred polish brands is Essie because of their great quality. There are a million other polish brands on the market, but I chose to highlight my personal preference. So, get into my favorite bright colors for the upcoming summer season.



1. Fashion Playground |  2. DJ Play That Song  |  3. Play Date  |  4. Bachelorette Bash  |  5.  E-nuf is E-nuf  |  6. Coat Auzre  |  7. Tart Deco 


Quick Tips- Make your polish pop by priming your nails with a good base coat, hydrate your cuticles with coconut oil once or twice a week, and rub a pumice stone across the heels of your feet several times a week if you are just as much a fan of flat sandals as I am!


read more
Monday, May 25, 2015

Bucket List: Light, Bright & Right





I am totally digging bucking bags at this moment in my life! I carried my Zara Leopard Bucket Bag (retired), that was featured on my 2014 Holiday Wishlist, throughout the entire winter season.

My obsession continues to run deep as the seasons change here on the east coast. Do not get it confused, because I am still rocking my Zara Leopard Bucket Bag. However I wanted to mix up my options for the hot summer months ahead.





In the true essence of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” I picked up another bucket bag from Zara. This time she is Light, Bright & Right! I am lusting over this bag because it is so versatile. I can go for the full bucket bag look at night, or the cross-body messenger look during the day. The leather is of good quality, and the foiled gold lining made this a no brainer!

Do not fret because the bag is white leather.  I covered all grounds…a damp cloth or Clorox Bleach Wipe will remove any dust, scuffs, or splashes of wine the bag may encounter this summer. My bag had a date with all of these in its debut weekend. #FreakMyLife


read more
Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Relax, Release, & Rejuvenate: The Rittenhouse Spa





Each year I like to celebrate the national holiday that is my birthday by heading out for a spa day. Another year of life is a total blessing. What better way to prepare for the next year than recharging your mind, body and spirit?

This year I opted for a change of scenery and made reservations at the swanky, five star Rittenhouse Spa, which is located in the upscale Rittenhouse Square neighborhood of Philadelphia. I definitely have to share my overall experience with you all, and trust me you will not be disappointed.




Service

The service was nothing shot of AMAZING! From the moment I arrived at the valet depot I was literally whisked away. A spa concierge named Katherine was assigned to me, and she was born for that role. Her attention to detail, and perceptive qualities ensured I never had to ask for a thing. She was always ten steps ahead of me, and kept my champagne flute overflowing with Mimosas. #winning

I booked a full day of services….I mean it was my birthday! I began my services with a 60 Minute Full Body Hot Stone Massage. I may have lost consciousness once or twice during this service, it was just that damn good. My masseuse was named Mary Ellen, and let’s just say she graduated in the top five of her class. She worked out an entire year worth of nooks and crannies in just 60 minutes…Go Mary Ellen!

Once I finished my massage, knocked back a few mimosas, and chit chatted with my sister friends, I proceeded to my 60 Minute Natural Facial. Listen Linda…..I fell asleep and woke back up to the sound of my own snoring. Yep this too was just that damn good! Who falls asleep during a facial? Oh the girl who is serviced by the Lead Esthetician, Kelly. So, if the masseuse was in the top five, Kelly was Summa Cum Laude!

I wrapped up my services with a Classic Manicure & Pedicure, which is just what I needed to round out the experience. In addition to a tre chic mani/pedi, I got some of the most fun and entertaining conversation from my manicurist, Kim. She was excellent, and kudos to her for working on Mother’s Day while her family was at home! No worries she left after she finished servicing meJ It was nice to be serviced by a celebrity manicurist, I have been telling folks my entire life that I am a star!






Ambience/Décor

I am obsessed with the movie Eat, Pray, Love. Specifically the part where Julia Roberts heads to Bali, Indonesia! I love this part of her journey because she gets to refuel her spirit in a tranquil setting. Now Rittenhouse Square is the where the privileged play, but it is no ones Bali. However the spa came very close as they created an ambience that was as tranquil, calm, and serene as you are going to get in Philadelphia. The décor was elegant, meticulous, and utter perfection. From the private retreat lounge that was filled with candles, complimentary beverages & snacks, to the rooftop sundeck, pool and the sauna. It was sheer excellence.

Quality

Did I mention that this spa was located inside the five star Rittenhouse hotel? Oh yeah I did tell you that already. Well lets just say that the spa earned every, single one of those five stars! The robes and slippers were plush and of superior quality, the drinks and snacks were delish, the products used during my services were top notch, and the staff was just to die for! This spa reeks of quality and sophistication, all with the urban jungles serving as the backdrop.

Overall Experience

EVERYTHING!!! It was just what the doctor ordered, well technically what I ordered…never mind. My sister friends and I loved the Rittenhouse Spa so much that we are already prepping for next year. I am also penciling in a quarterly massage and facial, because a girl needs to recharge more than once a year. I am so appreciative of the overall experience I had. It was the perfect birthday gift, along with a few blue Tiffany boxes! 

So, be sure to book your appointment sooner than later if you live in the Philadelphia area. The Rittenhouse Spa is my new refuge from life, and it is as close as I will be getting to Bali, Indonesia during the 2015 calendar year. #IyanlaPleaseFixMyLife

read more
Thursday, April 16, 2015

Wind It Down: Sipping Sangria




This blog is not called Because Life Happens for nothing……life completely happened over the past few weeks. So much that I have been off my blogging game. The silver lining in the cloud is that the life that happened was goodSo, now that I am assimilating back into life and things are balancing as best as they can, I am totally back in the saddle again!


This quick post will conclude my three part series featuring my spring meal, which included PeruvianChicken, Berry Vinaigrette with mixed greens, and now my Sipping Sangria. This quick and easy adult beverage will be the perfect compliment to round out this delicious meal. I mean really…who does not love to wind down on Sunday afternoon with a chilled glass of wine? No one, that’s who!!


Ingredients:

  • 1C Orange Juice
  • 1C Fine Cognac 
  • 1 Bottle of Sweet Red Wine
  • 1C White Sugar
  • 1C Strawberries
  • 1C Pineapple
Directions:

  • Rinse and chop strawberries and pineapple.
  •  Add fruit into a glass Sangria pitcher, mines is an oldie but goodie from Crate & Barrel.
  • Sprinkle sugar on top of fruit, and muddle together.
  •  Add orange juice, cognac, and wine. Stir well.
  • Place the pitcher into the refrigerator until chilled, and serve.

read more
Saturday, March 28, 2015

Berry, Berry Nice: Mixed Berry Vinaigrette



 


Remember that amazing Peruvian Chicken from a few weeks ago? No, you have not a clue what I am speaking of? Well here it is if you are living under a rock, Peruvian Chicken.

Anyhow I promised to write a follow-up post to that recipe featuring the complimentary items to make a complete meal. Well here is part two, which features a colorful spinach salad dressed in a Mixed Berry Vinaigrette. I am still obsessed with spring, and so I am staying true to the mindset that spring is an excellent time to eat light, and from farm to table. I hope that you enjoy this sweet and filling salad, and vinaigrette.





Ingredients

  • 1/4C Strawberries
  •  1/4C Blueberries
  • 1/4C Blackberries
  • 1/2C Sweet Red Wine
  • 1/2C Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2C+ Olive Oil
  • 1/4C Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice (Appx 1 Lemon)
  • 1 Tbsp Honey
  • 4 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tsp Pepper
  •  Mason Jar with Lid 

Directions

  • Place all of the berries into a blender. Blend the ingredients on medium speed until it becomes a puree. Add a few teaspoons of water to move the blending process along, if necessary.
  • Pour the puree along with all other ingredients into a mason jar.
  • Place the lid onto the mason jar, and shake the ingredients until completely mixed.
  • Use the Mixed Berry Vinaigrette to dress the spinach salad, which consists of 3C Spinach, 1C Strawberries, 1 Granny Smith Apple (sliced), 1/4C Pecans, & 1/4C Craisins.
read more
Sunday, March 22, 2015

Curls, Curls, Curls: Curls I Do Adore



This post is very spur of the moment based on several requests for my daily hair care regimen. I am more than elated to share, because I am a sucker for all things hair, healthy hair that is! I love everything about hair from short to long, curly to straight, black to blonde, weave to extensions. Trust me when I tell you that my hair history has had an encounter with each and every one of these styles.

I really have an affinity for hair and all that it does to accessorize the personality of a woman. For the past five years I have been a curly girl, as I reverted back to my natural hair texture in June 2010. I love the freedom that comes with my curls, and there is just something about them that gives my spirit ease. I recently chopped all of my long curly locks off in August 2014 simply because I needed a change, and indeed a change is what I received. I am currently in that awkward in between stage of growing my hair once again, and it is far easier this time because I know the ropes of the curly hair journey.

I post pictures on my personal social media pages, and often times I am questioned on my curly girl routine. So, I decided to share what works for my curls, and makes them what I like to refer to as “super popping.” Now keep in mind that works for one curly girl, may not necessarily work for the next. You may need to tweak or bend my regimen, and modify it to fit your lifestyle & specific curl pattern.

When it comes to my regimen I am really big on no-fuss, and I am a pure minimalist. The very reason I reverted back to my natural hair pattern was due to me being sick and tired of being indebted to my hairstylist week after week. So, with my natural hair it has to be quick, fast, and in a hurry!

Cleansing

My cleansing regimen consists of me washing my hair two to three times per week with sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner. My personal experience is that the sulfate-free products keep my hair color vivid and does not strip it, and it gives my curls serious definition.  Now while I am a fan of sulfate-free products, I still feel the need to use regular shampoo & conditioner once every few weeks to remove any type of product build-up that I may have acquired. I deep condition my hair once or twice a week, simply because I have color and I need to keep my hair as healthy as possible. I personally do not sit under a heated dryer, steamer, or a cap. I simply slather deep conditioner on my hair while in the shower, and rinse it after about 5-10 minutes. I am not opposed to letting the conditioner set with heat, as I often get the royal treatment when I visit the hair salon for cut and color (shout out to my stylist Donna at Polish Hair Bar-Philadelphia, PA). However when it comes to my home routine, I am not here for sitting under anyone’s heating agent for deep conditioning.

I dry my freshly washed hair using the T-Shirt Drying Method. The method consists of using a cotton t-shirt, which you can cut down the center to elongate. I simply run the cotton t-shirt through my hair in the very same manner that I would use a towel. I personally find that the cotton t-shirt minimizes frizz, and absorbs a significant portion of the water from my super-thick hair. While the cotton t-shirt absorbs the excess water, it does not absorb the moisture from my curls. In fact, my hair is soft and shiny once I remove the towel.

Hydration

My hydration regimen is based exclusively on the L.O.C. Method, which is an acronym for Leave-In Conditioner, Oil, and Cream. It is simply the order in which you apply your hydration products, which helps to lock and seal the moisture into your scalp and hair. This method works wonders for my hair, and I have not wavered from it in months. I use this method to hydrate my freshly washed hair.

Styling

My styling regimen consists of virtually nothing! At this phase in my hair growth journey mousse works best for styling my curls. The brand of mousse I use does not dry or harden my hair, and it does not leave any flakes or residue. So after my hair is cleansed and hydrated, I apply a liberal amount of mousse to my hair and proceed to use my fingers to define the curls.


Finally I use the T-Shirt Drying Method to set my curls. I use the same cotton t-shirt used earlier in the cleansing process, and wrap my hair in the manner of a turban for drying. I move on to my morning routine while my hair dries under the cotton t-shirt wrap. Once I am ready to walk out the door, I let down my hair & run my fingers through it to plump up my curls. I promise my curls are Tracee Ellis Ross drool worthyJ






Products

As far as products are concerned I am not a junkie, and stick to the most natural and readily available. Here is a listing of my staple products for each phase of my hair regimen. Again, these products are my personal preference, and you very well may have to go through a trial & error phase to find what works best for your hair. I hope this helps, and I hope that it answers many of the questions that I am often asked.

Cleansing
  • Shampoo
    • Crème of Nature Sulfate-Free Shampoo
    •  Tresemme Naturals Low-Sulfate Shampoo
  •  Conditioner
    • Crème of Nature Sulfate-Free Conditioner
    • Tresemme Naturals Low-Sulfate Conditioner
  • Deep Conditioner
    • Aussie 3-Minute Miracle Deep Conditioner
    • Eden Bodyworks All Natural Deep Conditioner
Hydration
  • Leave-In Conditioner
    • Crème of Nature Leave-In Conditioner, Spray
    • Curls Unleashed Leave-In Conditioner
  •  Oil
    • Coconut Oil
    • Olive Oil
    • Grapeseed Oil
  •  Cream
    •  Crème of Nature Oil Moisturizer, Cream
    • Shea Butter 
Styling
  • Crème of Nature Argan Oil Mousse
  •  Palmer’s Coconut Oil Hair Milk

Tools
  • Wide-Tooth Comb
  • Cotton T-Shirt
  • FingersJ
X.O.
Shreen 
read more
Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Lip Locked: The Power of the P.U.R.P.L.E.





AAAAAAHHHHH spring is so close that I can smell it….literally as I type this post, and the fresh air rushes in through my windows. If I have not said this before, spring makes me happy, very happy to be exact. Maybe it is because I am a spring baby, and it is deeply embedded in my DNA…or maybe notL Nonetheless I get very excited with just the thought of the seasons changing. All of the textures and tones that come with spring just get me all in a tizzy, and I like it!

Staying true to my mantra that a good lip can transform you from subpar to superb in a matter of seconds, I bring you my fab faves for all things purple lipstick. I mean a good purple lip just screams spring right?

         

I am in love with all of the options ranging from bright fuchsias to deep grapes. Purple lipstick is a constant staple in my Spring/Summer makeup box, and I cannot wait to make these lips pop! I am excited to serve Barney realness for the next few months! Checkout my fab faves, and feel free to share yours.  

Quick Tip-Get the most out of any lip color by dabbing a bit of flesh tone concealer onto your lips. This provides a neutral canvas for your lip color, and gives you the most pigmented result.

read more