Love where you Live

When Charles and I got married, we were living in a house that he purchased when he was 21 years old. It was a cozy, wonderful little house where we had fantastic memories, but everything other than a few decorations that I had brought from my old apartment belonged to Charles. We knew we wouldn’t live in that little house off Grand for more than a few more years, so one random day, just for fun, we started looking at some houses for sale in Fort Smith {just to get an idea of what we might want} – and we found the perfect house. Charles said it had “potential” which typically scares me {he loves a good project; he is his father’s son}. Was it everything we wanted in a house? No. Was it a great location and an even better price? Yes!

We decided to just go “look” at the house to see if we would like it. Even though it was years before we had planned to buy our first home together, we ended up deciding “we’ll just throw a really low offer out there that we doubt they’ll accept and see what happens.” We never in our wildest dreams thought that they would actually accept it. So there we were, buying a house, not having a set budget, just on a whim, years before we planned.

Looking back, that was a really rash decision, and probably not the most mature thing to do. But in the end, it all worked out. The only thing was, we didn’t have any leftover money to purchase new furniture or decor for the new house, it was all of the items leftover from the old house, so we ended up having a lot of “empty space” in the new house. We slowly started trying to fill up some of the empty space by buying some cheaper items that we could afford at the time to fill some of the void, but it was never anything we actually liked. There was no consistency, no theme, and it drove me insane!

We have lived in our first co-purchased home together now for almost 4 years. We have put in all new appliances, knocked out walls to open up our space, added a dining room, replaced fans and light fixtures, added a shop in the back, planted flower beds, etc. but we have just now started to give the house a much needed interior design makeover, primarily focusing on the living room area to start. Let me tell you a bit about what we have done:

Ø  Charles redid the hideous orange tiles around the fire place with rock, and added a granite hearth and a mantle {this was done a few years ago, but still, it was an update}

IMG_3090

Ø  We removed the two larger “conversation chairs” from the corner of the room by the window and moved them into guest bedrooms. They took up a lot of space, and we didn’t even realize it until we moved them!

Ø  We added the blanket ladder {can you insert squeals of joy into a blog post?}

Ø  We replaced the LARGE area rug {pause, we bought this area rug from a coworker right before we moved for $50 and it was a HUGE rug. Fit perfectly in the room, but it was never the color scheme or anything we wanted}. We replaced this rug with a real cowhide rug {insert praise hands here} from ecowhides.com and for an amazing price. It is a Brazilian cowhide and we looked and MANY rugs before deciding on this one.

IMG_3092

Ø  We replaced our $300 sectional that we bought right before moving. I got to choose the couch I wanted from Hank’s {the most beautiful saddleback leather couch with power recliners on the ends and a USB port…swoon} and Charles got to choose the chairs he wanted. He ended up choosing two red recliners from La-z-Boy. Growing up, Charles parents {as well as his Aunt Donna and Uncle Richard} had a set of recliners. One was his dad’s, one was his mom’s, and they always sat in “their” recliners. Charles decided he wanted “his” recliner. He sits in it every day {I spend most of my time on the couch, because it’s wonderful in every way..} And can we TALK about those STUDS? The studded detail on the edge of the couch just sealed the deal for me, and it’s what I’ve been getting most of the compliments on!

IMG_3088FullSizeR (5)

FullSizeR (4)

Ø  We had Charles’ brother make us our dream farmhouse coffee table. Y’all, I have wanted this coffee table for longer than I can remember. When I envision what a coffee table should look like, this is EXACTLY what I picture in my head, to a t. I fought tooth and nail to get this coffee table built for me, I was very patient during the process impatient while waiting for my dream coffee table to be sitting in my living room. The thing was, without the coffee table, the giant cowhide rug looked incredibly out of place in our living room. It looked like we were trying to mix western with vintage industrial, and it was. not. working. I knew that once the rustic coffee table with a few industrial looking metal baskets was complete, that it would tie the room together, I just needed to see it. The coffee table is {almost} completely finished, and BOY OH BOY, it’s better than I could have envisioned. Even Charles, who was a bit of a skeptic about what I had in mind at first, cannot get over how amazing it looks. Now, all I need to complete the room is for a smaller scale and slightly taller version on this coffee table to be made for a “tv stand” to hide some cords around the TV. I added in a few baskets from Target to make the farmhouse table look a bit more “industrial modern” and I’m quite thrilled with how it tied it all together.

FullSizeR (2)

FullSizeR (1)FullSizeR (3)

We aren’t completely finished with our living room, but it’s coming along swimmingly, and I’m extremely happy with the progress we’ve made thus far. I’m anxious to get my hands on a few other rooms in the house at some point in the future, and I can’t wait to decorate our new living room for the holidays!

IMG_3091

IMG_3087
Ignore those pesky cords, I just need to get the console table built and then we will be FINISHED with this room

Now if anyone has any tips on how to get your husband to keep his dirty socks off the living room floor, please comment below. I may just have to let this one slide and learn that the second I wake up, I should walk over to his recliner and pick the socks and shoes off the floor and put them where they belong..I don’t think this is a battle women will EVER win.

I can’t wait for the holidays, so I can show you how we will decorate our new space for the season!

Advertisements

Let’s get crafty – Blanket Ladders!

Ok, confession time. I’ve had a crush on blanket ladders since we started seeing them pop up, but every time I got online to purchase one, my heart would sink. Most blanket ladders on the market are expensive and a lot of them didn’t have the weathered, rustic look that I sought. I was honestly starting to think that I might as well just give up on having a blanket ladder.

Maybe it was a spark of inspiration when my husband and his brother were building the new shop in our backyard, or maybe the desire to own a blanket ladder just got too strong for me to handle, but I thought, you know what? I can make one of these all by myself.

Let me first point out that I have zero knowledge in how to build things. Just ask my husband, I decided a few months back to rearrange some photos on the wall and hang some newly purchased decorations {while he wasn’t home for supervision…} and well, let’s just say our walls now look like swiss cheese in select places. I’m not sure why I thought I had the ability to build a blanket ladder, but here I am, nailing it {did you see what I did there?}

I thought I would share my blanket ladder knowledge with all of you ladies out there who are yearning after a new blanket ladder at a fraction of the cost. I spent around $20 on supplies {maybe a bit less actually..I can’t remember, but we purchased paintbrushes which a lot of you already have on hand.}

Supplies used:

  • Two 6 foot boards {you can use whatever size you like, 2×2, 2×4, 1×2, whatever suits your fancy}
  • Two dowels {I used 7/8 x 48in popular, but again, there’s many to choose from, get creative!}
  • Sand paper {make sure you use a fine grain}
  • Stain! There are so many pretty stain colors as well, but through recommendation from Pinterest, I chose Minwax Special Walnut. I was skeptical of how the color would turn out {it doesn’t look so pretty on the packaging} but people on Pinterest really seemed to love it, so I went for it {and LOVED it}
  • .screws? I’m not sure. One of these two.

IMG_2938IMG_2939IMG_2940IMG_2866

 

Ok, so first, we shook things up here. Charles decided he wanted to hop on the blanket ladder bandwagon, got pretty hyped, and decided that I needed to make my tall boards {the sides of the ladder} with a rounded edge. This step is not necessary. However, I let him have his fun {and I was so glad that he did!} He got some funky looking tool called a router and away he went. I’ll show a picture below of the differences in what they looked like with regular edges and then the rounded edges. Charles comes in handy, ladies. Sorry that I scooped him off the market! Again, if you don’t have a Charles on hand to route your boards for you, it’s completely unnecessary. BUT if you have your very own Charles or husband that compares to Charles, then you might want to take the extra time to do it!

IMG_2941IMG_2942

Moving on, now it was time to sand the boards on all sides, and then I made sure to thoroughly wipe off all of the little sand dust before I started to stain the wood, because stain is incredible sticky, y ’all. It’s no joke. I actually found that the dowels dried a lot faster than the larger boards, maybe they are different types of wood? I’m not sure. Things to think about. I decided to let mine dry overnight just to be on the safe side.

IMG_2892

 

Now comes the whole “putting the ladder together” part. Let’s talk about the dowels. You can make the rungs of your ladder as long or as short as you want them to be. Some people want very small blanket ladders, some want very wide, but I wanted a middle compromise. Just make sure all of the dowels are cut to equal sizes or you’ll find yourself in quite an irritated state because then you’ll have to go repurchase more dowels, re sand them, re stain them, then play the cutting game all over again. Who has the time?

Finally, nail, screw, whatever your dowels into your boards. And voila, your very own blanket ladder has made its debut. I’m already loving the way it brings our living room together, and it was so inexpensive to make, and barely took any time to accomplish.

IMG_2943IMG_2944 (1)

I hope I’ve inspired you to create your own blanket ladders!

In the middle of September – Happy 4th wedding anniversary

It’s Monday already? All I did was blink on Friday at quitting time and yet somehow it’s already Monday. Don’t get me wrong, some weeks I’m more inclined to like Mondays. Sometimes, I’ve gotten all of my wifely duties done over the weekend – like cleaning the house, stocking up the fridge, updating Charles’ and my calendar for the week, washing the sheets, giving Cholla and Milli a bath, and even meal planning. These are the weekends that I go to bed on Sunday nights and feel ready to tackle a new work week. Clearly, this was not one of those weekends. In fact, I haven’t had one of those weekends in about six weeks, which is unheard of for me. Between friends’ weddings, moms’ accident, being out of town, and stomach bugs, it’s been a little hectic around the Alley Homefront.

I am bound and determined to make this coming weekend one of those weekends. It may seem boring to you, but when life around me is total chaos, I need to feel like everything else is in control {does this make me a control freak? Maybe..a little?} So now that I’ve told you about the weekend I didn’t have, let me tell you a little bit about the great weekend I did have.

As mentioned in my previous post, Charles and I celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary on Thursday. We actually spent the day at work, then went and spent time at the hospital with my mom, to be followed by wing stop and popping a bottle of champagne at our house. It was surprisingly a perfect night, especially because we knew we would be getting to spend the entire weekend together at the lake..{also, how lucky am I that I have a husband who doesn’t care to spend their anniversary in a hospital room and eating take out? I’m the real winner here.}

Friday was another work day, but after work, I made the trek, dogs in tow, to meet Charles at the lake. It was perfect from the minute I arrived. We spent the evening on the deck, watching the sunset, talking and listening to Michael Buble, drinking red wine, and making my mom’s homemade spaghetti sauce, and finished by watching a movie before we fell asleep.

I had every intention of “sleeping in” on Saturday, but when you work 6-3 Monday through Friday, “sleeping in” is making it to 7am. I let Charles sleep while I made breakfast {banana pancakes and bacon, mmm} and sipped on coffee while my mister slept in until around 9. We then popped a bottle of champagne and sipped on some mimosas while watching a certain team who shall not be named that broke our hearts {but we still love anyway…} We finally got out on the water and enjoyed one final day on the always breathtaking Lake Ouachita. When we got back to the house, we started cooking dinner and Charles insisted that he handle it and that I go take a hot shower and relax {to which I quickly responded with “deal”} When I got out of the shower, I was greeted with an amazing dinner of seared scallops and shrimp, truffle risotto, and Brussel sprouts au gratin. Raise your hand if you love a man who knows his way around the kitchen!

On Sunday, we packed up shop and got the pleasure of spending the day with the world’s cutest two year old nephew, Liam! We let him nap for a few hours while we attempted to unpacked and then off to the fair we went! After some fair fun, we went to a new place in town, Vargas Fruteria, and treated ourselves to some rolled ice cream! It was FANTASTIC. If you live in Fort Smith and haven’t gone, what have you been waiting for? There will be many trips in our future…

That concludes this episode of “where in the world are the alley’s,” but don’t worry, because I’ll be back soon with more. We are in the process of re-doing our living room area, and I hope {literally crossing my fingers} that I can get my coffee table finished this week in time to post this weekend about the new look of the room.

I hope you all have a quick and painless Monday, and that your week flies by!

Green Thumbed Alley’s

Does anyone else have two days in a row that are just so utterly opposite of each other? Because this is happening to me at the present moment – so please tell me I’m not the only one!

The past two days, I’ve felt like I’ve had it all together – I’ve gotten to work early, had successful days at work, watered all the plants and vegetables and moved them into the sunshine, taken walks at lunchtime and then taken the dogs on 2 mile walks after work, gone to the gym, prepped dinner, swept + mopped all the floors, had all the dishes done, and been in bed at reasonable times. I felt like I had been nailing this week.

This morning I woke up and drove halfway to work before realizing I was still wearing my UGG slippers, then when I got to work, I got off the phone and instead of hitting “end call” on the phone, I turned off my lamp. Some days, you just can’t win.

That being said, I want to share with you a marvelous weekend that Charles and I had last weekend {the weekend before Easter}! My husband and I have been focusing on curb appeal for the house, and we have been having a blast in the process. A few weeks ago, I shared with you the two small flower beds that we fixed up on both sides of the garage, and we are loving how much such a small change created such an impact to the appearance of the house. Sunday was all about tackling the swampy pit of grass and dirt that sits in front of our guest bedroom window. All that was there was a dead tree that blocked sunlight from the house and the dead limbs sprawling everywhere actually made the house look smaller! Needless to say, it had to go. My husband and his handy friends Chad & Matt got to work to remove that tree last week! I am so pleased. Since the tree was finally removed, and the ground was finally dry enough to create the flower bed, Charles and I took full advantage and started our next curb appeal project.

Let me just show you the “before” picture {sans tree..I forgot to take a before picture while the most hideous tree known to man was still there..what kind of blogger am I?}

before2before1

We set out to Lowe’s as soon as they opened, coffee in tow, to get our supplies. They ended up not having everything that we needed, so we got what we could and off to Southerlands we went.

PSA – Are you a member of Southerland’s text message “Garden Club?” If you aren’t…you are missing out on 25% off trees and shrubs every day!supplies2supplies1supplies3

45 garden paver stones, 35 bags of top soil, 9 bags of compost, 12 perennials, 6 boxwoods, 3 bags of mulch, 4 succulents, 2 adorable little purple plants, 2 lavender plants, 1 cute little plant that I’m not sure what it’s called, 1 elephant ear, 1 aloe vera plant, and 1 weeping willow later, we were finally ready to start our flower bed.

It took us about 7 hours total for this project, including shopping for supplies. Here’s some pictures of the progression / after:

duringafterafter2after3

Doesn’t it look about 50x better? We were both so pleased with how much of a transformation this made to our home. And it was fun to do together! We laughed, listened to music, enjoyed the sunshine…We even ended up having enough rock left over to make small flower beds around the mailbox and around a tree in our front yard. We haven’t planted anything yet, but hope to this week sometime.

 

In addition to planting flower beds, we used two of the succulents, one of the lavender plants, and the aloe vera plant and planted them in the cutest {and most inexpensive} terra cotta pots from Wal-Mart, of all places. I think the mossy green color pairs perfectly with the orange, rusty colored pots. I’m actually quite surprised at how much I love having these little guys inside the house, it just makes the kitchen feel more homey and bright.

succulents

We also re-potted some of our vegetables that we have been growing, since they need bigger homes! The tomatoes, cayenne peppers, jalapenos, and green onions are all re-homed into their bigger pots, and the mint and lavender are starting to sprout now, so they are still in their little homes.

 

I have to tell you, Charles and I are both loving having our own little garden and nice flowers around. I enjoy going home at lunchtime so that I can take a walk around the neighborhood and put the vegetables and plants out in the sunshine. I enjoy going home after work and watering all of the plants, then taking the dogs on a walk. It’s been my routine these past few weeks, and it’s become more something I look forward to than something I have to do.

 

I can’t wait to show you a few more things Charles and I have been working on for around the house to make it feel more like “us.” It’s supposed to be a cold weekend, so who knows what all we can accomplish to the interior of our home this weekend..Stay Tuned!

My weekend – via iPhone

Some of you may be wondering where I have been since last year when I posted last – and some of you may already know where I’ve been. Suffice it to say, it has been a whirlwind of a past few months for us, and I’m finally ready to get back into the swing of this blogging thing.

I don’t want to waste time catching you all up on the ins and outs of the past few months {trust me, there’s nothing interesting to share, I really haven’t been up to much!} so let’s just hop right into how I’ve spent this week/weekend. Warning: This will be all from photos off my iPhone. I only decided about ten minutes ago that I was going to jump back into posting, so I didn’t know to get out the good camera – or to have my sister come take pictures! With that being said, here we go!

Honestly, this weekend has been a glorious weekend. My husband and I were BOTH in town this weekend at the same time, and didn’t have concrete plans. This may seem to most as normal or nothing to get excited about, but lately, for us, this is a “little luxury” and I intended to soak up all of this time together. We’ve been trying to take a different approach to life lately. A slower one, focused on more time together, more intimate, more calm and kept to ourselves. I stumbled across a quote the other day that embodied everything we have been feeling lately, and it’s been such an inspiration. It says “The older I get, the more I realize the value of privacy, of cultivating your circle and only letting certain people in. You can be open, honest, and real while still understanding not everyone deserves a seat at the table of your life.”  That struck a cord. Just some food for thought for your Sundays!

Let’s get right into the weekend. On Friday, it was particularly stormy, and I thought we were probably going to be stuck in for the night {which I was completely content with!} but right as Charles got home, the storm had cleared, the sun came out, and a beautiful rainbow appeared. I should have known right then that good weekend was to come. We ended up getting sushi, and I was in bed by 9:30. The end.

Saturday morning, I woke well rested and decided to head to our local farmers market with Cholla, our little min-pin. It was only the second weekend this market has been open for season, so there wasn’t a vast amount of vendors, but it was still magnificent. Look at my loot! I’m fairly certain you can smell that gorgeous mint through the computer..

We had a great time, despite the chilly weather. We went back home and made a cup of coffee and did some research on what we would need from Lowe’s to FINALLY DO SOME LANDSCAPING IN THE FRONT YARD. We had nothing. No flowers, no trees, nothing. I was blessed that Charles was willing to get out of the warm bed on a cold and windy morning to go with me to Lowe’s to pick out flowers, trees, soil, etc. We didn’t completely finish everything we needed to, but we came home, made some mimosas, and got to work on the two flower beds outside of the garage. Look at this before + after. Nothing too fancy, but a significant improvement.

BEFORE
AFTER

I tell you what. I had more fun listening to music, drinking mimosas, and planting flowers with Charles than I’ve had in weeks. He makes me laugh, it was just the two of us, and we just had a glorious time. There’s still a lot of work to do creating a flower bed off the guest bedroom window and then doing a small flower bed around the mailbox, but we were happy with what we accomplished. Since it had rained, it was to wet to do anything besides those flower beds…{but that’s okay, that just means I get another fabulous gardening day with my handsome husband..I won’t complain!} We did, however, plant a plethora of veggie seeds and can’t wait to see how they turn out! We planted: green onions, tomatoes, cayenne peppers, jalapeños, vidalia onions, lavender, and mint!

We spent the rest of the afternoon doing a bit of grocery shopping + cleaning around the house. We grilled out steaks with friends and had a nice fire in the backyard. Take a look at some of our new additions to the house decor: The large GATHER sign and the large Letterboard are both from Paperwerk, which I’ve blogged about SO often, and much of the other decor was from Hobby Lobby. All of their items labeled “spring shop” were 40% off {and they were already fabulously priced..}

I am LOVING my new Mainstays essential oil cool mist diffuser. I purchased this at walmart and have been obsessed with Lemongrass and Grapefruit scents. I’ll put a few drops in the diffuser in the mornings and it wake me up and makes me feel refreshed. I’ll switch out of sandalwood or lavender at bedtime. Do you have a favorite essential oil? Please share if you do..

Sunday has been spent lazily drinking coffee, puppy walks, and then we are going golfing with some out of town friends {well, the boys will be golfing..I’ll be sitting in the golf cart!} 

I hope you’ve had as wonderful of a slow weekend as I have. I’ll leave with with a recent picture of the mister and myself.

Ho Ho, XO!

Welcome to my witching hour. I hope my post will be at it’s prime today because of the fact that I’m writing it during my favorite hours of the day — the wee hours of the morning.

`Everything is so peaceful between 5-7am. So peaceful. The peace is only intensified during the Christmas season. Everything during life is so chaotic during this time, I’m rushing back and forth from one place to the other, only to come home and have a to do list as long as my arm, so getting to spend a few hours knocking out the essential to do list items during a time of day when it’s oh so silent, my husband and sweet pups are sleeping, and the Christmas tree lights and twinkling just makes my soul soar. Now, of course I only get to enjoy these hours during the weekend – when I should be sleeping in – because I have to work at 6am during the week, and usually, I do sleep in..until at least 6:30 on the weekends, but today I had to take my parents to the airport, which means no “sleeping in” for me. {I foresee naps in my future..} Luckily, I got to spend some much needed time prepping for my husband’s 30th birthday lake weekend, and I can’t WAIT to share with you the fun things I have in store for him.

Okay. I’m sitting in bed with Milli the doberman curled up in the tiniest little ball next to me, I’ve got a cup of french vanilla coffee in the cutest sweater mug you ever did see {thanks, Katie!!}, and the winter morning light is starting to pour in the bedroom. Let’s start this post.

I know I just shared a few drinks with you a few months ago {ahem, I have been drinking that Cranberry Moscow Mule for WEEKS now..each time it just keeps getting better, so I hope you loved it too!} but I wanted to share a more “big batch” recipe with you that will be perfect for your holiday hostessing. I was doing a lot of soul searching Pinterest searching, and was trying to get inspired for a new Christmasy cocktail.

Can we pause for a moment to talk about the HYSTERICAL names for Christmas Cocktails? I’ve found everything from Santa’s little helper, Santa’s little ho ho, Jingle Juice, Grinch Green Punch, Rudolph’s tipsy spritzer, Yuletide Mules, the Red Rudolph..I could go on and on. I just love every single name! It makes me feel all holly and jolly inside. I perused all of the recipes, and I just couldn’t find one I was amazingly excited to make, so I decided to put my own twist on a winter sangria. I adapted this from a “secret sangria” recipe I found on Pinterest. First of all, why do people call things “secret recipes” even after they have shared them with you? I don’t understand. More like not so secret sangria.

I hope you enjoy this little recipe I’ve concocted, and I hope you get the chance to use this at your Christmas gatherings. Never miss an opportunity to get boozy with family and friends that you don’t always see! I’m giving you the “Big Batch” recipe, but feel free to adapt for yourself! Oh, and I’ve named this cocktail “Ho Ho, XO” 

  • 1 can La Croix {or Aquafina sparkling grapefruit water, or Fresca, or Squirt..}
  • 1 bottle champagne {Don’t use extra dry. Use either Brut or Spumante. I honestly think Spumante may make this drink too sweet with all of the other sweet flavorings in this sangria, so Brut would probably be your best bet. Because, you know, me being a professional bar tender and all…}
  • 2 cups vodka 
  • 1 cup white juice {You can use white grape peach, white grape, white cranberry..whatever you want, just make it kind of fruity tasting}
  • 1/2 can frozen limeade {softened..}
  • Garnish {cranberries, pomegranate seeds, rosemary..whatever you’d like, really!}

You stir it all together {..and you turn yourself around, that’s what it’s all about! 10 bonus points to you if you read this singing “do the hokey pokey”} in a big pitcher, and let it chill. Letting it chill isn’t necessary, you can pour this into a glass and drink right away, however, one, I like to make things ahead of time when I’m anticipating a large group, and two, I like the different flavors to get a chance to blend a little bit better.

Now, clearly in the pictures below, I only made enough for one person. Do as I say, not as I do, alright? It was just myself drinking this and I didn’t want to make enough for a party until Christmas Eve. Also, I wrote this post on Saturday and didn’t get it uploaded until Monday..don’t hate me.

dscn5653

dscn5656

dscn5657

dscn5659
Have a few glasses of this drink and it’s you that’ll be merry

dscn5662

dscn5672
bottle popping struggles

dscn5674

dscn5676

dscn5680

dscn5683

dscn5685

dscn5687
Glaring at your husband / photographer

dscn5690

dscn5693

dscn5696

dscn5698

dscn5701

dscn5708

 

Winter is coming, protect your hair!

It was a beautiful, fall weekend. In fact, it was our first weekend home with virtually no plans in several weeks. We spent our Friday night dancing around the kitchen to country music, cooking and cleaning as we went. We went to bed early. We awoke the next morning early to get ready to take our Christmas card picture {insert shoutout to my sister’s amazing photography business here — go like her on Facebook  — N.M. Franklin Photography!} I started showering and getting ready for the fun shoot we decided to do – Christmas card pictures in our pjs — only to find that I was virtually out of shampoo and conditioner. No. Good.

I made do with what I had and rushed to finish my hair and makeup. I was going to do soft curls with my straightener, because who has time for a curling iron? Or knows how to use one? Seriously — i don’t know how – i need help, let me know. That’s when problem number two snuck up on me — my trusty Paul Mitchell flat iron completely crapped out. I don’t mean was struggling – I mean complete and totally dead. To make matters worse, only half of my hair was curled when it died, and it was too early in the morning to run out and buy another one {if someone wants to open a 24/7 emergency Ulta anytime soon, let me know, because I would be all about it.}

Surprisingly, I didn’t panic of freak out {mainly because there was no time} and instead I just messed up the curls I already had and tried to tussle the top section of my hair to look like “bedhead” since it was a pajama shoot, but this left me in a lurch — I had to find a new straightener AND new shampoo and conditioner. I went back and forth on whether or not I should go back to the Paul Mitchell, as it had treated me so well over the years, but ultimately decided to try something new and see how I liked it. Enter the BaByliss PRO Nano Titanium Prima3000 — phew, that’s a mouthful. This post is getting lengthy, so i’m going to bullet point the aspects of this flat iron that make me swoon:

  • Doubles as a flat iron and a straightener {just lock the plates for the wand!}
  • Straightens my hair with ONE PASS, and that’s unheard of if you have ever felt my hair
  • Made of stainless steel, so it won’t warp like plastic constructed straighteners
  • Titanium plates instead of ceramic – higher heat transfer to your hair at quicker speeds, which causes less damages and smoothes faster
  • Swivel Cord. Because we all learned from our old CHI flat irons to NEVER buy a flat iron without a swivel cord.
  • Hairstyle holds for DAYS as opposed to hours. FACT.
  • SHINE FOR DAYS

After only a week and a half, I can honestly say I’m crushing pretty hard on this flat iron. No, I was not paid to write this post, nor was I sent a free flat iron in exchange — all thoughts are my own and the product was purchased with my own money.

dscn5533

dscn5534

I honestly have been having a good hair day every single day for the past week and a half, partially because of the straightener and partially because of my new shampoo and conditioner. I have always wandered past the ethnic hair section in Target and wondered what kind of effect the products would have on my hair, since it’s a completely different consistency than the target market for this section, but after intense research, watching videos from beauty guru’s on youtube, watching reviews and tutorials, I finally decided – I’m going to be brave and try out a new hair line from the ethnic section. What does my hair need more of? Well I color my hair and I use heat tools, so of course my hair needs moisture, which is exactly what these products aim to do. Enter Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Line. I ended up purchasing the hair smoothie {mask + moisture treatment}, the shampoo, and the conditioner from this line after hearing rave reviews, and boy oh boy, am I glad I did. Below are some of the benefits your hair will surely reap if you try this collection:

  • Less Frizz {I know, doesn’t every shampoo claim to do that? Yes. But how many actually deliver?}
  • More volume. Most shampoos tend to weigh my hair down, but this combination left so much body and life in my hair, that four days later, my hair still looks like day 1 or day 2. Talk about a win. 
  • The smell. You. GUYS! The smell is probably my favorite part. I usually go for shampoo’s that smell “clean” and “fresh,” but this combo smells like, well, for good reason, vanilla. Vanilla cake batter, in fact. Actually, it reminds me of going to Vegas and walking into hotels. They always have that vanilla mist that they spray to make the hotels smell nice, and this is that smell in a nutshell. Four days after washing, my hair still smells like vanilla, and I like it. 
  • SHINE FOR DAYS

dscn5522

dscn5526

dscn5525

dscn5544
This is DAY FOUR HAIR. Day. Four. And there’s still volume, hallelujiah!

dscn5546

dscn5547
I wanted you to see the texture of the hair smoothie.

I promise I’ll have my super awesome photographer sister take some good outfit pictures soon, but you guys, life has been so crazy! You’ll have to settle with my amateur photo skills for this week, at least.

`