Hooray, spring is here! Finally!
Here’s a couple of beauty specials you won’t want to miss.
The Glam Room
Y'all already know the Glam Room is a favorite of mine for ALL things beauty. Last month, I wrote about all the fabulous services I get there - READ MORE.
Through this weekend (ending April 30th) they’re featuring a spin to win promotion and FLASH sale! Buy one product, get one 50% off and you can spin the wheel to win a FREE service.
One of my favorite products is Serie Expert Inforcer Smoothing Cream (right). I’ve been using it regularly and it has drastically improved the strength and smoothness of my hair. A couple of times a week I just apply one or two pumps to towel dried hair. What a difference!
Another great offer is to purchase a $150 gift card, for yourself or someone special, and you'll receive a passport full of discounts and savings valued up to $500. Remember, Mother’s Day is right around the corner and this would make for a wonderful gift.
Also, they’ve recently added a great new service, Formostar Infared Body Wraps. A 50 minute session is designed to help you lose inches, manage joint and muscle pain, reduce cellulite plus boost your immune system. One single wrap is $69.99 or check out some of the packages available here.
Plus, as always, if you show the photo below, you'll receive $20 off a service of $50 or more, or $10 off a haircut and style!
Before our trip to Australia, I stopped by Beauty Brands to check out their "next level french braids” that never seem to go out of style. I was about to board a 3 hour flight to LA followed by another 15 hour flight to Sydney (read about that here!) and wanted an easy style that would last and still look good when I arrived. I absolutely loved this look!
My stylist washed and dried my hair and used all Redken products. I was impressed with the Water Wax 03 because it helped hold my hair but it didn't make it “crunchy”. It actually gave my hair soft beachy waves when I took the braids out, instead of a poofy mess. Plus, this look lasted Thursday to Saturday through traveling, long flights and a trip to the beach.
Right now, Beauty Brands is having a special on select products - 2 for $22 or 2 for $25.
I bought the Big Sexy Hair Spray & Stay and I use it every morning before going on-air. It’s my favorite long-lasting hairspray. It keeps my hair completely in place and my curls never fall out during a show. Normally it's $17.99, so 2 for $22 is a steal!
Get out, enjoy this beautiful spring weather and be sure you grab these specials before it’s too late.
Happy Wednesday, friends! I hope your week is going swimmingly and that you enjoyed Rachel's post about her amazing trip to Sydney. I am SO ready for our next vacation and her post has definitely had me drooling over Sydney.
Some of you may not know this, but I am an especially lucky lady because my husband LOVES to cook. Must be a sibling thing ... he and Rachel are both comfortable in the kitchen and enjoy experimenting with new recipes. I have deemed myself the sous chef and stick to cutting fruits and vegetables.
Anyway, the hubs likes trying out new kitchen products and gadgets and researching better, faster ways to get nutritional meals on the table. With that being said, we purchased our first cast iron skillet!
We've heard great things about cast iron and were intrigued. So Sunday night, my husband couldn't wait to break it out. He decided to use it to cook chicken and, oh my gosh, it was like eating at a 5 star restaurant. What took us so long to add cast iron to our kitchen supplies??
After tasting it for myself, I had to know the benefits and WHY a cast iron skillet is so amazing. I've compiled a list, but honestly, you should just try it for yourself. We got ours here.
1. They are naturally non-stick when properly seasoned.
This is important and I didn't realize it could really be better for your health. Most non-stick sprays have chemicals in them, which is never a good thing. The more natural, the better.
Even a pre-seasoned cast iron pan can use extra protection, so season your pan when you get it. Heat it on the stovetop until it's smoking hot, then rub a little oil into it and let it cool. Repeat this process a few times.
2. They are so easy to clean.
Wash your pan thoroughly and by hand by with a mild soap and water using a soft bristled brush or a nylon scrubbing pad. Soap isn’t always necessary, but a little mild soap is fine.
After rinsing, promptly dry thoroughly by heating on high heat. When all moisture has disappeared, wipe it down with a little bit of oil on a paper towel and let it cool.
Remember, cast iron is not dishwasher friendly and metal scouring pads can damage a well seasoned pan.
3. They increase the amount of iron in food.
Makes sense, right? And, it’s incredibly cool. Several studies have shown that iron levels can increase significantly in foods cooked in cast iron pans. So, ladies, when it's that time of the month and you need to boost your iron intake, put your cast iron pan to use.
4. It retains its temperature.
For best results, preheat cast iron for 20 to 30 minutes in a hot oven or on the stovetop starting with low heat and gradually increasing the temperature (about 10 minutes). Remember, cast iron is slow to heat up and equally slow to cool down. Once it's hot, it retains its temperature longer and helps foods cook evenly and brown beautifully.
5. They are long-lasting and inexpensive.
A well cared for cast iron pan is practically indestructible. My in-laws have have used cast iron for years and they hold up great year after year.
Cast iron skillets are reasonably priced to begin with, but if you divide the expense over the number of years of use, it's just pennies a year!
What's your favorite kitchen tool? Please share below, I always need gift ideas for my hubby. ;)
Post Author: Rachel
Oh my goodness, I have so much I want to share with you all about our amazing trip to Australia and New Zealand! I've done a fair amount of traveling, but never have I had the opportunity to take this kind of adventure - where we really had the luxury of time to explore and soak in what each city had to offer.
To keep from being saddled with luggage that had to be checked, retrieved and pushed and pulled from place to place, my husband and I each packed a backpack. Yep, we were able to fit everything we needed for 2 weeks in a backpack weighing about 20 pounds; easy enough for each of us to carry. We also brought a smaller backpack to use for our day trips, but it doubled as a carry-on for the things we wanted to have ready access to on the long flights over and back. Be on the lookout for more about what and how we packed in an upcoming blog post.
Over the next couple of weeks, I'll pour through all our pics and videos and give you a glimpse into each day's adventure. I'll also share what to do, what to skip, where to eat and recommendations for must see places along the way. It was a a blast and I hope you enjoy traveling along with me.
Our first stop on the list - Sydney, Australia.
We visited Sydney during the third week of March. We caught the tail end of the their summer and the start of fall. However, the temps were in the 90's and even hit 100+ one day. It definitely still felt like the dog days of summer.
Our 15 hour flight arrived around 8 a.m. local time and we hit the ground running! We knew we'd never recover from jet lag if we didn't keep moving. We dropped our bags at our hotel, changed clothes and got on the road.
Bondi to Coogee Beach Coastal Walk
We started with the scenic Bondi to Coogee Beach walk. It gave us a much needed chance to stretch our legs and take in the beauty of the city, enjoy the ocean breeze and soak in the sunshine. This popular pathway is situated on a clifftop along the coastline and offers fantastic views and plenty of photo ops. It's generally an easy walk, with a few stairs, and plenty of water fountains and restrooms along the way. Plan to take at least a few hours so you can stop for photos, bring good walking shoes, and, for sure, remember your sunscreen.
This place is GORGEOUS!! We were in awe of this particular spot. Everywhere we looked we saw the incredible work of God's hand.
While at Bondi Beach, we stopped at the Bondi Iceberg Club, threw our backpack in a locker and sat at the edge of the pool with the ocean waves roaring next to us. For just $7 we got a day pass with access to the pool and sauna and it was so worth it. A perfect way to forget about any jet lag!
Sydney Opera House Bar
It was St. Patrick's Day so things were bustling and people were out and about enjoying the holiday. The Opera House is a stunning architectural marvel that was the perfect backdrop for enjoying an after dinner glass of wine, a live band, the cool breeze and gorgeous scenery.
Before heading to Sydney, we researched some of the best places to grab a bite for breakfast and on our list was Motown Coffee Brewers. It was wonderful! We also discovered that Sydney has some of the best coffee around. If you're a coffee lover, this is the place for you.
This is an absolute MUST and it was one of the coolest experiences ever! You can see all of Sydney in the most spectacular way. Our tour guide's knowledge of the city was impressive and we learned so much about the history of Sydney. Plus, the views were out of this world!
As you can see, we donned some very fashionable gear for this excursion. HA! When we arrived at the BridgeClimb location, we watched a safety video, filled out paperwork, breathed into a breathalyzer (yep, can't drink before this adventure!), threw on these jumpsuits and were checked to make sure our harnesses and gear were clipped correctly. Everything from your hat to your sunglasses are clipped on because you are climbing about 450ft above a highway! No phones, cameras, jewelry, water bottles - you can't take anything with you. We were able to store the rest of our stuff in the free lockers they have available.
We chose to do the morning bridge climb, ascending the upper arch in about 3 1/2 to 4 hours. The views, particularly at the top of the bridge, were sensational. The climb leaders take pictures and videos for you along the way that are available for purchase at the end of the tour. You will want those once in a lifetime shots!
The climb wasn't terribly difficult, but we were definitely ready for some lunch and a cold brew when we finished. Our guide recommended the Australian Hotel so we gave it a try and our lunch was delicious! We were already stepping out of our comfort zone, so we ordered up a kangaroo burger and devoured it in no time. Also, it was fun trying a couple of different beers since they have over 100 on tap.
Later that afternoon, we hopped on a ferry and headed for Manly Beach for a little exploration of the Northern Beaches of Sydney. We heard so many great things about this spot and it didn't disappoint. We made our way to 4 Pines Brewery, a local beer company, and taste tested a few of their most popular brews. We claimed a spot on the patio to relax and enjoy the view on a hot Sydney day.
That evening we had reservations at Fish at the Rocks where we ordered oysters and split a seafood pasta dish. The staff was attentive, the atmosphere was cozy, and and we loved indulging in a superb seafood dinner along with a glass of wine. Highly recommend.
Our last day in Sydney, we got up early to see the sunrise. We walked over to the Sydney Bridge to catch the sun as it came up over the Opera House. It was absolutely breathtaking! We were so glad we didn't hit the snooze button and miss this brilliant view. It was out of this world magnificent and pictures just don't do it justice.
Once the sun was up, we walked back to find some breakfast and enjoy our last cup of delicious Sydney coffee before hopping on our next flight.
By the way, we split every meal during our trip. The portions were plenty for two and we saved some cash too. Speaking of cash, you aren’t expected to tip in Australia. Staff is paid minimum wage and tipping is not customary. But be aware that also means the service is much slower just about everywhere. We planned about two hours into our schedule for each meal to compensate for the slower service and that worked well for us. We were never rushed and learned to enjoy the slower pace.
Sydney was by far one of my favorite vacation destinations ever. I'm already looking forward to our next opportunity to take a trip down under.
After Sydney, we flew up to Cairns to explore The Great Barrier Reef. I'll have more on that coming soon! I can't wait to share more photos and videos with you from this incredible adventure.
It's Friday!! Since Rachel threw it back to her wedding day, we are keeping it rolling and this week's Fashion Friday is from the rehearsal dinner. Our spring dresses with cowboy boots!
And just for fun, here's a group shot of all the bridesmaids with the bride, plus you can see all our cute boots!
This week, I'm reflecting. Last year at this time, my husband - then fiance - and I were finalizing a million details for our wedding and packing for our honeymoon. We live in Kansas City, but we were married in Nashville, TN, where Grace and my brother live. We chose Nashville because it’s just so beautiful and we knew it’d be the perfect city for our guests to enjoy.
My apartment was an absolute mess. I had wedding decor, clothes, documents, etc. spread all across the living room floor. I was calling my mom in Dallas multiple times a day trying to figure out what was still on our to do list and who was doing what, along with figuring out the logistics of transporting everything to and from. Whew, it was a hectic time! Although it was a bit stressful, it was also a ton of fun planning and pepping for our big day!
One year later, I want to share with you, and especially with our bride-to-be followers, some of the details, photos, videos, wedding party gifts, dress info, and advice I learned along the way. Feel free to skip around with the links below!
Our first dance was Head Over Boots by Jon Pardi (give it a listen to the right!), so it only made sense for us to sport boots and two step our way into marriage! It was such a relief to be wearing comfortable shoes that I could dance in all night long.
Nigros is a family owned store right here in Kansas City and they were wonderfully accommodating. When they ordered my boots, the vendor told them the delivery date was going to be cutting it close. They assured me they’d arrive in time, but I think I still called every day to check in and they were so understanding and even let me pick out a second pair of boots just in case mine didn't make it in time.
Follow Nigros Western Store on Instagram.
A few months later, one of my girlfriends purchased the same boots for her wedding and she loved them every bit as much as I did. I can’t say enough good things about Nigros, their staff and their boots. Love everything about them!
Jessica Elle Photography
Follow Jessica on Instagram or Facebook.
Follow Peerless on Instagram.
Hair & Makeup
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DeLaney also styled my hair perfectly so I could wear the same floral headpiece my mother wore on her wedding day. Our florist did an amazing job adding a few fresh flowers to give it new life and it meant so much to me to wear it on my wedding day. And, yes, I’ll be saving it for many more years in hopes that I will have the chance to pass it along one day to a daughter on her wedding day.
Dresses: David's Bridal
Shirts & Ties: Dillard's
Socks: The School of Sock
We went with Kendra Scott jewelry because it never disappoints. Plus, pro tip, if you shop during your birthday month, you get 50% off one item.
I also had a hanky embroidered for my mom. It read, "Mom, If joyful tears begin to fall, wipe them away and then recall, the love and laughter we share together and how much you mean to me forever." I was very pleased with how beautifully made it was and it came in handy during the ceremony.
For the bridesmaids
When the girls visited Kansas City for the bachelorette party, I gave them each a KC heart t-shirt from Charlie Hustle. It’s one of my favorites.
On the big day, I gave them each a robe and big cozy socks along with homemade “survival kits”. I snagged some cute makeup bags at Target and filled them with essentials like lotion, tissues, Advil, mints, etc. And before the ceremony, I gave them each pearl earrings in a cute box with this note - “I couldn’t say ‘I do’ without my best girls by my side”.
My husband put together a box for each groomsman that included their tie clip, socks, a customized set of cuff-links and a small bottle of liquor.
For my dad
One of my bridesmaids made a frame etched with some sweet words and I added a photo of me laying on his chest when I was just a few weeks old.
For our little flower girl & ring bearer
My mom had cute little t-shirts made for the flower girl and ring bearer to wear at the rehearsal and dinner the night before the wedding. The flower girl’s said “Flower Power” and the ring bearer’s said “Ring Security.” They were really sweet.
We also had a special hanky made for our flower girl to carry in her basket down the aisle and one day, hopefully, it will be her “something old” when she’s a bride.
Our ring bearer carried a football instead of rings down the aisle and we gave it to him to keep. The unexpected bonus was that it also entertained him all evening!
Also, we purchased a few items to keep them busy at the reception - coloring book and crayons, a toy truck, etc and at the end of the night, they got to take them home.
With my father, brother & bridesmaids
However, I wanted to have a special first look with my dad and my brother beforehand. It was a vary special moment. We all shed a few tears, my brother wrote me a letter I’ll treasure forever, and I presented my dad with a special framed photo. It's a memory I will forever cherish.
Flower Girl & Ring Bearer
My husband's nephew rocked boots like his uncles, suspenders and a bow tie. How cute?! Instead of carrying the rings, he carried a Chiefs football down the aisle. If you don’t already know, my hubby and I met when we both worked for the Chiefs so, of course, it was a special way to represent where it all began.
It truly was one of the happiest moments of my life. Seeing my groom waiting for me at the altar and knowing this was the day we’d finally be joined as one, made it especially hard not to let the happy tears fall.
During the ceremony, Lindsey played piano and sang while we took communion (photo above), prayed together and worshiped remembering none of this would be possible without our Heavenly Father guiding us every step of the way.
Dinner & Dessert
Reception & Sparkler Exit
We are so thankful to everyone who traveled to Nashville to support us and celebrate with us. It meant the world to us to have all of you there!
Of course, a very special thank you to our parents, our families and our wedding party, we truly appreciate each of you. We couldn’t have done this without you. Thank you!
A huge shout out to my mom who helped me plan, organize, and get every single detail just right. Thanks for letting me call you 24/7 and text you a million times. Love you, mom!
To my bridesmaids - I am so thankful you are always by my side, not only on our wedding day, but through all of lives ups and downs. I truly treasure my friendship with each of you and am so thankful for your love and support.
Have no fear though, spray tans work wonders and I am all about feeling great in a swimsuit no matter what my weight or tone status is when pool season arrives. I am learning to love every feature (the good and the not so good) of my body, because God created me in his image, but I must admit, it’s a process, for sure.
So here’s my swimsuit secret...
American Eagle is CRUSHING it in the swimsuit department! Their suits are beautiful, the prices are incredibly reasonable and the sizing is spot on. They even have “long” options in their one pieces. YES! I have to give credit to one of my girlfriends who let me in on this swimsuit secret, because otherwise I would have never known.
Do yourself a favor and run, not walk, to AE to get your swimsuits for 2018! Narrowing it down to just one or two favs when I really want them all, is going to be my biggest challenge. See for yourself - here’s a few on my wish list.
So although swimsuit season tends to scare most of us, remember, you are beautiful today and every day!
Rachel is sharing her favorite travel outfit and Grace is showing off a cute top she wore for her birthday celebration (read more about that here :)).
- R & G
I am also a big fan of celebrating your OWN life and today is my 27th birthday! Woohoo! I enjoy looking back on the year and seeing the hand of God in my life — where He's taken me, how He's grown me, provided for me, and the list goes ON. We serve a good God y'all.
This year I am feeling extra thankful because God has done so much in my life this past year. I grew in my faith, challenged myself, took on a new and exciting job, grew in my marriage, deepened my friendships and more. This is worth celebrating!
My husband asked me what I wanted to do to celebrate my birthday this year, and after last year’s big celebration, I really just wanted something small and intimate. So I told him to plan it, invite our two closest friends and just tell me when to get dolled up.
When I woke up this past Sunday, Blake told me I needed to get ready to celebrate. I made a quick little shopping trip and picked up a new lightweight sweater (it was freezing in Tennessee this past weekend!) and we headed to our first destination: Arrington Vineyards.
You guys, I love Arrington..all of it! I love the wine, the atmosphere, the country feel, everything. We got an incredible bottle of wine, sat by the fire and spent a little time walking around exploring the grounds.
After we finished up at Arrington, we headed to our next destination: Josephine. I have been wanting to go here since we moved to Nashville. This restaurant has amazing reviews and I was so excited when Blake surprised me with a dinner reservation here.
For starters, we ordered the brussels sprouts and Nashville hot scrapple. Scrapple is a sausage and, oh my goodness, it was to die for. For the main course, I ordered the scallops, the guys ordered the roasted chicken, and my bestie, Rachel, ordered a pasta dish. We all cleaned our plates and even splurged on some after dinner hot apple pie. I cannot say enough about the truly wonderful dining experience this place provides — the service was incredible, the atmosphere was just perfect and the food was amazing.
We ended the night with a time of affirmation. We've made this a tradition to do on birthdays and it is so special. Everyone takes a turn to verbally affirm the person whose birthday we are celebrating. I always shed a few tears, laugh a lot and felt incredibly loved.
If you've never done this, try it. It’s a beautiful way for the guest of honor to start a new year.
Bring it on 27! The best is yet to come!
Here are a few inspirational quotes and verses that I've been loving lately. The second image is actually my current phone background. I love it!
Share your favorite quotes or verses with us in the comments!
Rachel shared an outfit from her trip and Grace is sharing a fun athleisure look!
First things first though. During the 15 hour flight from Los Angeles to Sydney, I discovered there are some crucial necessities on long international flights.
Essential - on the flight over, my skin, my nose, my lips, everything was extremely dry. I caught a quick glimpse of my dry, peeling skin in the mirror and yikes! I didn’t make the same mistake on our return flight though. I packed travel size containers of face and hand lotion in my carry on bag and applied it every couple of hours and what a difference!
2. Eye mask and neck pillow
For an overnight flight, you won't have the sun disturbing your slumber, but there are all kinds of other lights that will keep you awake - TV & phone screens, reading lights, etc. The eye mask blocks all of that out and helps keep the air from drying your eyes out too.
Another must-have is a neck pillow. It's absolutely imperative, even if you have the window seat. Most airlines will give you a small pillow, but they’re never quite the same as one you pick for yourself.
Invest in these two items for a more comfortable snooze and you’ll be glad you caught those ZZZ's before arrival so you’re ready to hit the ground running.
During the flight to Sydney, I got a major headache and attributed it to lack of sleep and hydration. I was limiting my intake of liquids on the flight since I had a window seat and I didn’t want to disturb other passengers that were resting by getting in and out of my seat with several trips to and from the restroom. I definitely needed to drink more water prior to the flight though. Also, grab a couple of water bottles at the airport to take onboard with you. Makes it a lot easier to get a drink at your convenience and you don’t have to wait for refills.
4. Extra pair of socks
I had read this tip on other blog sites and didn't really buy into the idea that I'd need them. I mean, I had socks on already, but I threw a pair in my bag just in case. Turns out they were right! Here’s why. I didn't want to wear my shoes the entire flight because it’s uncomfortable and restricts blood flow. But I also didn’t want to walk around the plane in my regular socks because those floors aren't the cleanest. Solution - I slipped on these big, fuzzy socks with rubber on the bottom for the duration of the flight and wrapped them up in a plastic bag afterwards.
Socks - I got some from Ross Dress for Less, but Amazon has a few as well.
5. Noise-cancelling headphones
It’s never really quiet on an airplane. If you’re like me, the bells, the beeps, the talking, the unhappy baby, etc. keep you from resting peacefully. These Bose noise-cancelling headphones are worth every penny! We wore our headphones the entire flight and when we weren't watching a movie, we were listening to music while we dozed. There were even a few times I had them on with nothing playing but to block out the noises around me. It made a huge difference and I highly recommend them.
Headphones - Bose
Let me know if you have any tips or tricks for traveling more comfortably in the comments!
A good friend said she wanted to have a swanky Friday night and try somewhere new, and luckily, there are always new restaurants and bars in Nashville, so I'm typically down for the adventure. I asked her where she wanted to go and she suggested Attaboy over in East Nashville.
Attaboy originally hails from New York City so you know it's going to be good. When we arrived, we saw a line forming at the door, but then a waiter would come and grab a few people at a time. This had me kind of scratching my head in confusion. Then I realized Attaboy is a speakeasy. If you've never been to a speakeasy, it has this underground "hush hush" feel to it. You knock gently when your group gets to the door and they only take a few people in at a time. Places like this make me so happy because I feel like I'm invited to experience something fun and unique.
I'm so glad that Nashville is getting more speakeasy type bars because they are my fav! So, if you are ever in the area be sure to check it out! Dress up, think about what your favorite flavors are and enjoy what they come up with for you!
Check them out here!