Sunday, February 23, 2014

Camo Cubed

It's starting to warm up here in Las Vegas, and as excited as I am for the spring weather, I will miss my sweaters and boots! One of my absolute favorite items this season was a camo elbow patch sweater I found in the men's department in Target. It definitely got more than it's share of wear that's for sure! Here are a few of my favorite stylings.

Glam Camo

Please disregard the messy hair. It gets windy in the desert :).  Anyway, I love the idea of  pairing something as casual as camo print with more dressy pieces. I think it's super cute, and totally unexpected. My favorite part of this outfit is the gold tassel necklace from Purple Peridot. They have the cutest stuff!
Black skirt: similar / Black boots: H&M (similar here) / Clutch: Charming Charlie / Tassel Lariat Necklace: Purple Peridot / Earrings and Bracelet: Charming Charlie

Preppy Camo

I kind of loved this outfit! Target head to toe, except the shoes which are a T.J. Maxx find from last year. I love the girly color of the pants and fun glitter loafers with the more masculine camouflage.
Shirt: similar / Skinnies: similar / Shoes: similar

Casual Camo

It doesn't get much easier than this outfit! So comfy! Just throw on jeans and some combat boots and you're done!

Boots: / Madden Girl / Necklace: / Belle & Grace
 Unfortunately, this sweater is no longer available at Target, but here are a couple of similar styles here and here.
 Also, I know, I shop at Target way too much! It's not only a budget thing, it's also a matter of convenience. I'm there all the time, so it just makes sense! And while Vegas has amazing shopping, most of it is on or near the strip, and I tend to stay away unless from that area unless I have good reason to be there. When the Shops at Summerlin open my options will open up too! Can't wait for that!
By the way, if you haven't entered my giveaway yet, there's plenty of time! Visit the original post here, and enter to win all of these goodies!

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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Belle & Grace Giveaway!

I'm still a brand new blogger, and I'm very slowly gaining more readers and followers on social media. But I wanted to say thank you and show my appreciation to those of you that do follow me, so I have a fun giveaway for you!

There are a few different ways to earn entries. Log in to the rafflecopter link below and you could win these fabulous items!

The prizes are a fun statement necklace, a black beaded Belle & Grace tassel bracelet, a gold tone handmade Belle & Grace jewelry set including a necklace, toggle bracelet, and earrings, and two of my favorite Essie polishes in Sparkle on Top and Belugaria.

The winner will be announced Friday March 7th! Feel free to link to this giveaway anywhere! Good luck loves!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is My New Best Friend!

One of my very first blog posts was showing off my new dining table and newly made over dining chairs. I promised a tutorial on the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint that I used, and I've been slacking! Now it's been so long, I really couldn't do a very detailed tutorial if I tried, but I'll do my best to recap the process. First I must rave on Annie Sloan for a minute! This stuff in FANTASTIC! The appeal at first is that you can use it to paint just about any surface, without sanding or priming! Yes, you heard me right, NO sanding! If you're a pinterest junkie like me I'm sure you've already read all about this stuff. They have the most amazing color selections. And you can layer color and use clear or dark wax to get virtually any color or finish you want. I used Paris Grey with clear wax, because I wanted the true Paris Grey color, which I thought would look great with the finish on our new dining table.  Here is the gorgeous table with the old chairs.

 The fabulous table comes from the Iron Horse Studio by the way. You MUST check out their website, because their things are absolutely GORGEOUS! This is actually one of many Iron Horse pieces in our home.

Dining chairs pre-makeover.
As you can see the chairs just didn't work with the new custom table. The needed an upgrade. Badly. The old table (not shown) and chairs are oak, and were originally stained a light/medium oak color, which is so not my style. Several years ago the hubs and I took on the tedious process of sanding everything and staining it black. I loved the way it looked, but man oh man, I did not enjoy the sanding! That is just about the worst task I can think of. It's boring, it's terribly time consuming, and MESSY! Needless to say I did not want to take that on a second time. So after seeing Annie Sloan all over Pinterest, and reading that there was zero sanding involved, I had to try it for myself. I tracked down a store here in Las Vegas that sell the product, and does classes on how to use it properly. I'm a jump right in and learn as I go gal, so I did not take advantage of the class. While I'm sure it would have helped, my results were fine without it. If you're a Vegas or Boulder City local, check out Bloom. It is just about the cutest shop ever! I think everything in their store is done in Annie Sloan, and it's all precious! You'll be happy you stopped by!
Anyway, these are the materials I used for this particular project:
1. Plastic sheets to use as drop cloths, or a tarp, or cloth
2. Old t-shirts to use as rags
3. Medium sized good quality paint brush (make sure it's decent quality, or you'll get strands in your paint job!)
4. Annie Sloan Chalk Paint  (I used their Paris Grey color)
5. Annie Sloan Soft Wax (they have a clear or dark option - I used the clear)
I spread a layer of plastic over the floor in case of spills or splatter (I tend to be a bit messy when painting), then I dove right in. I began with my chairs kind of upside down, so I could paint the legs first, then flipped them upright to do the rest. You just paint your surface with your brush like you would with any kind of paint. I admit I was skeptical during the first coat. At first it didn't really seem to cover that well, so I was I little nervous. It did stick incredibly well though. If you've ever tried to paint something that wasn't sanded well, you've seen how the pain just kind of puddles, and doesn't actually adhere to the surface. That was not the case with the Annie Sloan. But there were still a lot of streaks where the black showed through, and I was crossing my fingers that the second coat would do the trick, because three coats was not on my agenda! Let me tell you, the second coat was like a miracle! It covered everything! I couldn't believe the difference in the first and second coats! I was almost sold! And I was able to cover 6 chairs and use just over half of the can of paint.

 The painting is the easy part with chalk paint. The finish is super chalky, hence the name, and not very desirable. That's where the wax comes in. After you're done painting and your surface has had time to dry, it's time to apply the wax. I invested in Annie Sloan's wax brush (pictured at the top of the post) when I bought the paint. I didn't buy their regular brush, since I have a ton of paint brushes around the house. But the wax process was totally new to me, so I didn't want to take any chances. I just dabbed the brush in the wax, and then brushed it on the chairs. Sounds simple, right? For the most part it is, but it's kind of smelly, and very messy! You will end up with this stuff all over you! I started with just a very thin coat of the wax, because after you apply it, you have to buff it with your rag. Since I didn't do the class, I just kind of wiped off the first coat of wax. When I went back to do the second coat, I spent more time really trying to buff it to a shiny finish. I'm not sure if another coat would have given it more of a glossy look or not, but I was pleased with how it looked after 2 coats, so I stuck with that. Also, a little goes a long way! I did 6 chairs, and I there's barely a dent in the can of wax.
After 2 coats of paint, 2 coats of wax, a good buffing, and some new fabric on the seats, here are our made over chairs!

I just love them! I love the grey with the dark stain on the table.
We are still in the LONG process of making over several areas in our home, but it's nice to have one thing checked off the list! Now for some new curtains, new wall color, new rug.....I could go on and on! But now I'm super excited to tackle whatever's next on the list! Probably starting with a side table and dresser that need refinishing! 
I want to know....have any of you tried Annie Sloan? Or is there another furniture painting solution you love? Share your DIY go-to's!

Also, just for you, because you're fabulous, here's a sneak peek of a great giveaway coming up! Check back soon for details!

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Monday, February 17, 2014

Trending: Handmade Jewelry

If you didn't already know, I have a little jewelry making hobby. I sell my hand made pieces on the Belle & Grace facebook boutique, as well as on etsy. Sometimes I'll get a very specific idea in my head of a piece of jewelry I want, and then of course I can never find what I'm looking for! I love being able to make exactly what I want when I can't find the perfect item. Lately I've been leaning a little toward the preppy side with my accessories. As a southern gal, I love anything monogramed of course! I thought I'd share with you some of my favorite hand-stamped items from Belle & Grace, along with some others cute styles, all hand made by yours truly, and all of which you can get right here! I'm linking you to my etsy page where you can purchase these directly, or you can drop by my facebook page and order that way. You can also feel free to comment on this post with your email address and I'll invoice you!
All of these hand stamped items are available in gold OR silver.

 These necklaces are also available with a full monogram!

 If monograms aren't your thing, a clover also a classic.
 These are all available in gold OR silver.
  Maybe you're into tassels...
 I've got lots of other beaded stretch bracelets that would make a great addition to your stack!
Several of these items are available in limited quantities, so don't miss out!
Again, you can shop these items and LOTS more on facebook, etsy, or right here by leaving me a comment!


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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Dreaming in Spring Pastels

I love where I live. I've been seeing everyone all over the country posting pictures and status updates of the snow and ice, and not envying them the slightest bit. This is what my car said yesterday:

Granted, it was probably more like 78 or 79 degrees outside. It was a teensy bit warmer in the car. But this weather in the middle of February? I'll take it! I hate to rub it in to all of you shivering in your scarves and mittens out there, but I'm loving this Vegas weather! If it makes you feel any better, in a few short months when it's 120 here and I'm hibernating in a dark, air conditioned house, you may gloat all you want. But for now, my mind is on spring, so I thought I'd share with you one of my favorite wearable trends for the coming season: Pastels!

I love my pastels! This is a no brainer for spring. My favorites are mint green, baby blue, and of course pink. The great thing about this trend is that you can incorporate it into your wardrobe so easily. It works in a great pair of skinnies, a cute blouse, dress, or accessory. Anything goes! Because I tend to lean towards neutrals, I usually like to use color in a statement necklace, handbag, or scarf, but I do love a pastel skinny jean! Here are some of cute pieces in fun spring pastels.
1. / 2. /
3. / 4. / 5. / 6.
 1. / 2. / 3. / 4. / 5.
1. / 2. / 3. / 4. / 5.
1. / 2. / 3. / 4. / 5.
1. / 2. / 3. / 4. / 5.
And we can't forget about spring nails! I'm loving the Essie Resort 2014 Collection  (on the left) right now, and their Wedding Collection (right) is also beautiful!
What's your favorite spring pastel?
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Valentine's Day Bliss

I hope all of you had a sweet Valentine's Day yesterday spent with people you love. We had a low key family day capped off with backyard smores. Perfection! Flowers, jewelry, and fancy restaurants are great, but this is what makes my heart smile.



Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Bachelor Week 6: New Zealand

After being slightly disappointed with this current season, last week’s episode gave me renewed hope and excitement to keep watching. Y’all, I really don’t know exactly what it is about Juan Pablo that just kind of turns me off. I can’t even believe I’m saying that! I was super excited about him being the new Bachelor, as was everyone else, right? But he really is a bit of a let down. Everything he says just sounds so insincere to me! Anyone else getting that vibe? I actually think that in real life he’s probably a good guy, but it just doesn’t translate to television. I couldn’t tell you why.  That being said, I’m glad the drama is back. I’ll still watch for the entertainment value, but JP is hard to take seriously. Anyway, that’s my rant. On to last night’s episode….

Can I just start off by commenting on how stinking gorgeous New Zealand is? Wow! It’s on my list of place to go one day. So idyllic and beautiful. And what a perfect setting for Andi to finally get her first one on one date! Seoul and Vietnam were great and all, but I’d take NZ any day! So, I loved Andi’s plaid shirt on her date with Juan Pablo. Super cute. They hop on a boat and speed off to who knows where, and all I can think is does she not have a hair elastic with her? I mean, she looks cool and all with her hair blowing behind her in the wind, but can you imagine what a tangled mess that was when they stopped? The things I think about. Weird, I know. Then they proceed to get into what looks like some seriously cold water, based on the fact that she had his coat and scarf on in the boat. So far this date is a stinker! JP takes her into these crazy narrow crevices that are so pretty, and she has no idea where they are going. Hubs thought maybe they were going to be dinosaurs on the other side? (Yes, I made hubs watch with me. Poor guy.) Anyway, they make it through the passageways without getting stuck, and then suddenly the date is awesome, because the light at the end of the tunnel is a warm waterfall! Totally worth the cold water to get there! Gorgeous! Then they had a total Tom Cruise/Elisabeth Shue Cocktail moment and made out in the waterfall, as (@Millsy11374 pointed out on twitter).

If you haven't  seen Cocktail, it's my FAVORITE 80s movie. Watch it. Side note: I love that Andi wore  a one piece bathing suit. She totally rocked it too.
The dinner part of their date was right next to a geyser, which conveniently went off for them. So cool. I still really like the two of them together. Great chemistry, and she's by far my favorite. They make out a little, and of course she gets the rose, which he pulls out of his coat. Cute.

While JP and Andi are on their date, the group date card shows up. Everyone’s name but Clare’s is on it, so she’s obviously getting the second one on one, and I’m sure the girls are just loving that. Oh well. On the group date the next day the go downhill in OGOs.
If you didn’t watch, OGOs are those giant inflatable balls where you get inside and roll down a hill. Screams motion sickness to me. Another stinker of a date. But then comes the dinner portion, and suddenly the date has totally redeemed itself! I’m going to out myself as a total dork right now, but if I got to go on a date to Hobbiton, I would totally “geek out” as Sharleen put it. I’m right there with you panda! I mean, how cool is that? By the way, I don’t think we’ve seen Sharleen this happy all season! Like, she was genuinely smiling!  Loved it!
So Juan Pablo has his time with most of the girls. Makes out with Rene,
makes out with Nikki,
can’t even say two words to Sharleen before he’s making out with her too.
Seriously, she tried to awkwardly converse with him per usual, but he didn’t even let her get a full sentence out I don’t think. She thinks this whole process is “inorganic”, and he’s all, “shut up, let’s make out.” He let’s Cassandra talk though. And talk, and talk, and talk. And he looks so bored and uninterested the whole time!
Terrible poker face JP. He should of just kissed her if he wanted to shut her up. Works on everyone else! So, Sharleen ends up getting the group date rose, and Cassandra gets the boot. ON Her BIRTHDAY! Not like we all didn’t see this one coming. He tells her he doesn’t want her to wait until the rose ceremony, because that’s two more days she would be away from her son. I think it was the right move to send her home, but I also think he probably could have done it in Vietnam. Oh well. She acts like it’s the end of the world, and she’s been waiting SOOOO long to find the right guy. Can someone please remind her that she’s only 22? Not even 22 for 24 whole hours yet! You have all the time in the world Cassandra. And did anyone else notice the seriously intense exit music? It was nice, but maybe a little over dramatic? Teensy bit?

Clare’s one on one date is next, and isn’t that what we’ve all been waiting to see? I know I was dying to see how this was going to play out. She’s going into in expecting an apology from Juan Pablo. She basically gets one. He tries to explain that he doesn’t kiss girlfriends in front of Camilla, or even hold hands. I guess television doesn’t count though? Hmm. Clare’s appeased, and they make out. Duh.
I’m still so annoyed by her. I did like the part of the date where they changed into sweats and just hung out. That would have been totally cute if it had been anyone but Clare. Of course she gets the rose, then they make out some more. Blah blah blah.
Cocktail party night, and Chris Harrison finally makes another appearance! Yay! Where have they been keeping him this season? I miss him! Glad he’s emerged to do the pre-rose ceremony guy talk session with Juan Pablo. The cocktail party ended up being super tense and uncomfortable. Nikki gets her one on one time, and they make out. Duh.
Oh yeah, and apparently JP wears pink underwear? Mmmkay. Good to know? Mama Rene gets her time as well, and they make out too.
I just love Rene. She’s so awesome. But I’ve said it before, she’s not going to end up with Juan Pablo. I hope she finds someone though. She really deserves too. The conversations with Chelsie and Kat were a little less, "romantic", shall we say? No kissing. But again, JP fails at hiding his lack of interest.  This is his "I'm totally listening to you and care about your feelings" face.
My prediction was that Kat would be the one going home this week, and I was right. Not as many tears were shed this week. From the girls and Juan Pablo I mean. There were plenty from Kat. Were they perhaps glad to see her go?

So, In summary, here are this week's make out stats. Juan Pablo made out with 5 out of 8 ladies, on 10 different occasions. Is this a new record? I hope someone can answer that question for me. I'm curious to know if another bachelor has topped that. And someone cover Camilla's eyes!
The scenes from next week look AWESOME! Can’t wait for some catfighting! Clare vs. Nikki……I feel like Nikki may take this one! I’m thinking there will be tears from Clare. We’ll see. And my guess is Chelsie will go home, and possibly Rene. Unless Sharleen decides to leave on her own, which is a very strong possibility.

What are your thought? Any predictions for next week in Miami?

Footnote: Why, oh why, was there a poo fight? Seriously, why? Unless you are a monkey, this is never, ever, EVER OK. Ever. Do Not Fling Poo. Gross.

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