Monday, January 30, 2012

riviera maya: explanation and raw footage

Bryan and I had a once in a lifetime experience this past week. Once. In. A. Lifetime.

We spent 6 days shooting promotional material for an all inclusive resort in Riviera Maya. The days began at 8:00am and didn't end until well after dark. We kicked off each morning bright and early in the wardrobe room, which was followed by filming all day in lobby's, suites, pools, the spa, discotheque, bars and restaurants, always with champagne or a cocktail in hand. After work our group of about 12 people cleaned up and would head out together to explore a new restaurant on the resort grounds nightly.

Although some may consider this to be hard work and long days, Bryan and I found it to be nothing but fun. We enjoyed every aspect of our days, but most of all, we really loved getting to know everyone involved in the shoot and feel like we walked away with several new friends.

Below is amateur footage that Bryan shot while yours truly was filming a scene. 

As embarrassing as those video's are, I'm proud of this experience and feel so blessed that Bryan and I were able to do it together. I must brag that Bryan's a complete natural, was told by the photographers that he was the best at this and that he should do this kind of work as a part time job. Say what? Amazing! So proud...

Updates on the rest of our trip and an alarming amount of photos will be coming this week!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

reviews and recommendations

I've been using several products, appliances and grocery store items that are worthy of me sharing. Most are amazing, but there is one that I'm on the fence with...

Back in October I ordered the Clarisonic Mia. I had only heard wonderful things about this product. After receiving mine I saw immediate results. I felt that my skin appeared tighter, my pores smaller and my make up seemed to apply smoother. I rotate between Neutrogena Deep Clean Invigorating Foaming Scrub and Philosophy On a Clear Day cleanser. The initial change that I saw in my skin didn't last very long... maybe 2 weeks. I have now been using the Clarisonic for 3 months - although I am still unhappy with its immediate results, I definitely feel like it cleans dirt and make up out from my pores better than any other product I've used. I use my Clarosonic daily, in the shower, because I believe I will see long term affects in reducing fine lines. If you are looking for immediate results this might not be the product for you. But if you are looking for long term results throughout the aging process, give it a shot!

I am not generally a fan of wines with catchy names like Middle Sister or Fat Bastard, so when I saw Cupcake wine I was initially skeptical, but since purchasing my 1st bottle I have never looked back! Not surprisingly, Cupcake Vineyards in located on the central coast of California, just inland from Carmel - many great wines comes from this region. I have tried the majority of their reds and white, and I must say the Pinot Noir belongs in a category of its own - for the price, you can't find better! It pairs wonderfully with the mushroom flat bread listed below.

My parents got Bryan and I hooked on this decadent flat bread from Trader Joes. If you prefer simple foods, this is not for you. But if you enjoy a taste bud party in your mouth, run out and purchase this affordable flat bread and tell your husband you're making "pizza" for dinner!

I have wanted a Magic Bullet blender for some time and on Christmas morning Bryan made sure I had one to open. I make protein shakes and smoothies daily. This product has been one of the best additions to not only my kitchen, but to my life. The two most important aspects of this blender are that it is compact for storage purposes and the clean up time is literally 10 seconds. I cannot tell you how nice it is to not have to scrub out the inside of a large blender and it's blade. With the Magic Bullet you only need to clean the blade by hand, the blender portion of it is actually the glass you drink out of, so that just goes in the dish washer. I am obsessed with this product and highly recommend it if you make individual smoothies, shakes or puree's.

I discovered Betty Crockers Suddenly Pasta Salad in Classic this past spring and make it every chance I get. It is easy to make and tastes homemade. Suddenly Salad is the perfect side dish to chicken, mixed with vegetables or made to accompany a summer BBQ. The recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, but I use olive oil and it tastes delishes! This is not stated in the recipe, but I have found that when making this item, refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving or else it tastes extremely salty. The refrigeration blends the flavors and minimizes the salty taste. You can't beat the price!

Monday, January 23, 2012

weekend rewind

Cali and I sporting out new looks - Me: lighter hair. Cali: cone. - I'm clearly happier than she is!
Calz isn't hurt and she's already okay

Date night - Wine and apps at The Wine Cellar followed by dinner at Flatiron Kitchen and Taphouse, capped off with ice cream, fireplace & Valentine's Day movie back home

The next night we had plans to go to a friends house, but I was feeling a bit "off" and didn't want to get their newborn sick, so Bry and I just went out to a casual dinner at Sushi on the Lake.

Friday, January 20, 2012

tablescape breakdown

I had several people comment on my Christmas tablescape, so I figured that I'd devote an entire post to breaking it down and explaining where I bought everything. I worked really hard on piecing this together and had a concrete vision from the start - rustic, simple, clean and color-less.

(I tried to add link to where I bought everything, but hardly found anything still being sold in stores)

Birch Bark Candles: Kohls
Christmas Trees: Hobby Lobby
Gold Glitter Pine Cones: Hobby Lobby
Candle Sticks : Hobby Lobby
Pine Cone Candle Stick Holders: Hobby Lobby
Glass Shell over Candle Sticks: Hobby Lobby
Santa Claus: Lowes
Forest Green Tea Light Candles: IKEA
Tea Light Candle Holders: IKEA
Gold & Silver Candle Votive Holders (flaking Santa): Pier One
Faux Tea Light Candles (inside the gold & silver candle holders): Pier One
Table Runner: Target

And now that Christmas has passed, I have removed Santa Claus and excess holiday pieces and kept my "winter" tablescape simple.

Pine Cones: Pottery Barn
Glass Bowl: Crate and Barrel

Thursday, January 19, 2012

dooms day

It's official -- Bryan is 30 years old! 

He turned 30 on Friday the 13th. Pretty cool if I do say so myself!

We had a weekend full of mini celebrations, starting with my dad flying into town and taking us out to dinner at 131 Main for Bry's last meal in his 20's!

The next morning the birthday boy awoke to a hearty meal made by none other than Cali... She's such a good little cook!

 That night we headed down to Nikko Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar for a swanky birthday meal. I am happy to report that it took us just less than 2 years to find, what is in our opinion, the best sushi restaurant in Charlotte. Oh my word -- it's amazing!

 Back home we sang Happy Birthday, chowed on some cupcakes and sipped Mumm Napa champagne

All in all it was a fine birthday... just fine. Bryan and I are not fans of our birthdays and this year 30 hit him pretty hard. I must admit I'm elated for him to finally be 30 with me! These 3 months that we are the same age are my favorite months of the year!! Bry? Not so much... he'd rather be 29!


Last April we celebrated my 30th birthday in Cabo, so following suit, we'll be truly celebrating Bryan's birthday here:

Happy Birthday babe! 30 never looked as good as it does on you!!


So I asked Bry what I should title his 30th birthday blog post and without hesitation he laughed and said "dooms day." And we all know that what a birthday boy wants, a birthday boy gets!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Mady is here!

Christmas day

Madyson Brianne - born January 7, 2012

Last week Bryan and I went to visit Mady and new mommy and daddy, Allyson and Matt. We are so happy for their little family and can't wait to watch Mady grow. I'm not going to lie, I don't think all babies are cute, nor do I love all babies. But Mady? Boy does she make my heart melt. Check out all of that hair and that gorgeous skin. Bryan looked at her from afar, whereas I held her for about an hour and she didn't make more than a quiet peep - she's such a sweet little baby.

Maybe I want one.

Congrats Matt and Allyson -- Mady you are loved!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

holiday surprises

Before Christmas I received the most unexpected and thoughtful gifts in the mail.

Whitney sent us the most perfect ornament to add to our tree - "1st Christmas in our new home. All roads lead home" I mean, this was made for us -- thanks Whit!

Then my friend, Anna, sent me this amazing jewelry tree and a yellow scarf from Urban Outfitters. Can you get any sweeter? I don't think so! I mean, she saw me blog about these items, bought them and had them shipped to me. Amazing and so appreciated!

These two girls made my Christmas just that much more special. These were such unexpected and thoughtful gifts. I was, and still am, truly overwhelmed by their generosity and kindness. I need to take a cue from them...

Thank you ladies, I know you're reading!

Monday, January 16, 2012

bryan's trip back home to california

After our tour ended, Bryan flew straight from Atlanta to LAX to spend a week back home with his family and friends. He had an awesome time and I'm still pretty bummed that I didn't go home to Orange County also!

With his best friend, his little brother... his family dog, Mac

Bryan took his mom and brother down to San Diego for a day.

The Brickyard cafe is in the background here... it's seriously the best kept breakfast secret downtown. Not only do you eat outside on the trolley tracks, but to the left of this cafe is my old condo complex (white with redish rooftop). This is where Bry and I met and began to fall in love, aw!!

The best salad and burgers are found in the Gas Lamp District at Nicky Rottens -- Bryan and I used to eat here every weekend on these very stools they're sitting on here!

Bry and his dad walking Mac at the dog beach in Huntington Beach

Bry's mom had a party for him - the golden child is home :) This is Bryan's aunt, his cousin and his cousin's family

Best friends from high school

Out in downtown Fullerton, just like old days! 

Bryan had such a great time at home and really got to spend a lot of quality time with not only his parents, brother and family, but his best friends also.

Cheers to a memorable week!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

porch christmas decor

I know we've all moved on from Christmas, but I just found this post saved in my drafts, and well, since no one hardly ever posts on Sundays (I wish more would!!) I decided why not! 

Welcome to our front porch at Christmas!

And for your viewing pleasure... my cute tree, horrible grass and a hot baseball pitchers butt courtesy of the husband.

You're welcome.

Friday, January 13, 2012

HANA Pro Flat Iron

A couple months ago Brian, from Misikko, reached out to me and asked me to reviews the HANA Professional Flat Iron. After trying to figure out how this was going to get to me while on the road, I checked into my Nashville hotel and had this beauty of a package waiting for me at the front desk.

Can you believe all of the goodies I was gifted? Amazing!

Next thing you know, I was flat ironing my hair practically every day. You see, I've always owned a Chi straightener. I had it for years and love it, but when traveling for 4 months with 1 suitcase, you can't pack everything. Therefore, I chose my curling iron over my flat iron and went 3 months without straightening my hair. Tragic, I know!

Well, Brian saved the day by sending me this beauty of a flat iron!!

There's one thing you need to know about me. I'm not a liar. So I'm going to shoot straight with you here...

I love the HANA Pro Flat Iron! Like I said, I've always had a Chi. I mean, I had never even heard of HANA before. But now, I'l honestly never use my Chi again. No way.

I love my new HANA flat iron. Want to know why?

1) It straightens my hair in record speed. Even faster than my Chi.

2) I don't have to blow dry my hair straight. I can go to bed with my hair wet, wake up with it all wavy and then take the HANA Pro to it and it's pin straight.

3) Although I haven't used it in humid conditions, I have used it in damp conditions, and I'm happy to report that my hair remained straight.

Remember, I don't lie.

Anyone want to buy my Chi off of me?