Wednesday, November 30, 2016

#NEXTonSCENE Holiday issue is LIVE!

Yup, that's right, another issue of the magazine I'm lucky to be apart of is now LIVE :) You can read it in digital form or print. Check out the link and let me know what you think about my latest article that features three simple holiday manicures!


Happy Release Day!




Blurb

Holly Johansson knows some things in her life are certain after college graduation:

1.) It’s a long road to become a full-time author.
2.) She’ll need to work to pay her bills.
3.) And Dallas Demons superstar Matt Rhinelander will never return her feelings.

Holly knows her unrequited crush on the partying hockey player is ridiculous. There’s no way Matt would be attracted to a woman who prefers nights in watching TV or reading books when he’s known for his frequent bar hops and fast lifestyle. Obviously he would never see her as anything other than his teammate’s little sister.

Yet Holly is drawn to the other side of Matt—the man she knows has always been thoughtful and easy to talk to whenever she’s been alone with him. It is this Matt that fueled the crush Holly has on him. And she knows it will always be just that—a secret crush.

Or will it?

Because when Matt helps Holly through a crisis, her heart begins to believe that there might be feelings on his part, too. After a night of hard partying puts Matt in jeopardy with the Dallas Demons, can Holly be the one to save him? And when Matt admits he sees her as more than Nate Johansson’s sister, will it put both of them on thin ice?

Links

Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32505490-on-thin-ice
Amazon - mybook.to/thinice
About Author

I live in the Dallas area with my family. I enjoy clipping out recipes I will never get around to trying, working out, and chatting with friends on social media. I’m a hockey nut (Go Stars!) and watch as much as humanly possible. I also love shopping and fashion and admit to being obsessed with whatever the Duchess of Cambridge is wearing. In addition to be obsessed with the Duchess, I’m equally obsessed with any show or cookbook featuring Gordon Ramsay.

Links


Website/Blog - http://avenellis.com/
Twitter - https://twitter.com/@AvenEllis
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/AvenEllis1
Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7265661.Aven_Ellis
Amazon Page - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Aven-Ellis/e/B00GHUYO90/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1455968038&sr=1-1
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/avenellis/





Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Must See Holiday Movies!

One of my favorite things to do during the holidays is watch movies. There's the classic holiday movies, the cartoon ones, the funny ones, and my personal faves the made for tv ones! So here's some of my faves from each genre in no particular order...

  1. The Santa Clause-...okay I lied, this is hands down my fave movie of all time. Now the rest will be in no particular order.
  2. Dear Santa-a made for tv gem! Such a cute movie.
  3. The Grinch-the one with Jim Carrey.
  4. Rudolph-ahhhh, I love his little voice.
  5. Christmas with the Kranks-ugh, this movie just makes me so happy. And it's super funny. I read the book too, which is equally as fun.
  6.  Hats Off to Christmas-have the tissues cause there's a part of this that's a tear jerker.
  7. Elf-duh. 
  8. Home Alone 1 & 2-both classics and bring back so many childhood memories.
  9. Christmas Vacation-this is another classic, but still hilarious every time I see it.
  10. It's a Wonderful Life-this is my 2nd favorite xmas movie. I watch it every Christmas eve <3.

What's your fave holiday movies? What do you look forward to this time of year? Let me know if the comments below, xo!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Ulta Deals | Cyber Monday!

Dolls, Ulta is always one of my must stop shops for all things drugstore & high end when it comes to makeup. Since they have a great mix of both, it's hard not to love shopping there. Their #cybermonday deals are killing it, with almost everything having a free gift with purchase. I went ahead and took some of the guess work out of what the best deals were. So sit back, sip your coffee and use this post as you guide.

 





What's on your makeup wish list? I'd love that Melted gift set or the First Aid Beauty one. Let me know if the comments, xo!


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Chapter Reveal!





Chapter 1

The Game Plan for December 31st

√Come up with resolutions for the New Year.

√Finish chapter one of my debut novel.

√Put on a happy face and pretend I’m excited to go to the Dallas Demons New Year’s Eve party tonight.

√Get dressed and try to project confidence in an evening gown while pretending I don’t care I’m surrounded by the players’ wives and girlfriends who are practically supermodels.

√Refrain from staring at Matt Rhinelander like a lovesick tween from a Disney Channel show from across the room.

I furrow my brow as I stare at the list written in my Things To Do Today! planner. I absently tap a gold pen against my lips, knowing I can’t place the final checks next to the last three items on my list. I toss the planner aside and anxiously twist my long brown hair into a knot, securing it at the nape of my neck by shoving the pen in it.

Uggggggggggggggggh.

It’s already six o’clock.

And I’m still sitting on my bed with my computer on my lap.

I haven’t even showered yet.

And I have to say, my Harry Potter Ravenclaw T-shirt and yoga pants are way more comfortable than the cocktail dress hanging on the back of my door.

I would be much happier writing for Calla, the fairy heroine in my manuscript, than standing awkwardly in the corner of a party, trying to act like I belong. I’d rather stay here in my brother’s guest bedroom in Dallas than go to a New Year’s Eve shindig in ritzy Highland Park.

Besides, if I weren’t Holly Johansson, little sister of Demons superstar Nate Johansson, I wouldn’t even be invited tonight. Not that I want to be. I’m not into parties.

Or getting drunk.

Since graduating from Northwestern this past month, I’m focused solely on my post-graduate life.

Which means finding gainful employment.

Yes, I am working—and working hard—at writing my debut fantasy novel, but since that won’t even cover a ketchup packet at a fast-food restaurant, I need to get a day job. And since Dallas rent is more than I can afford, I’ll move back home with my parents in Minnesota after the holidays.

I sigh. So far my website, which I designed to offer editing and proofreading services, has gathered fewer clicks than I care to think about. I’ve already inquired at the local library in my hometown, and they don’t need anyone. And I’ve applied for entry-level jobs in all areas of communication in Dallas, Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Chicago. I’ve had some interviews. But no offers.

But the truth is, all I want to do is write novels. I know becoming an author is a marathon, not a sprint. Even if it’s my dream, I need a day job to earn money now and stick to squirreling away whatever free time I have for writing.

I glance down at what I’ve written:

Calla knew she shouldn’t venture across to the North Woods. That land was beyond Flagstone Forest. Fairies were feared there. Normally Calla would never dream of stepping over the line, but the towering redwood trees and waterfalls were so beautiful, and for some reason she couldn’t explain, she was drawn to enter it this December evening.

North Woods inhabitants considered fairies evil, but despite knowing the dangers, Calla flew across the boundary as if no one was there. She soared between the redwoods, hiding between leafy branches, admiring the beauty of the foreign land below her. She would simply take in the view, that was all. See if danger truly lurked there as her older brother often lectured. But she needed to experience this for herself. She would observe quietly from high above, then leave. Nobody would notice she had been there.

That was when she saw him.

“Holly?”

I blink as I hear Kenley say my name, followed by a rap on the door.

I quickly close my laptop. “Come in.”

My brother’s girlfriend enters, already dressed in a gorgeous black evening gown. She’s wearing a maxi dress, floor-length with spaghetti-straps, but embellished for formal wear with a sexy V-neck mesh insert. Her blond hair is long and flowing, her makeup soft and subtle.

As always, Kenley is stunning.

“Are you going to get dressed?” Kenley asks. “We’re going early so I can supervise set up of the dessert table.”

Kenley has a business called Confection Consultations , where she helps plan desserts for parties. She coordinated the display for tonight, so of course, she has to be there early.

But maybe this can be my out, I think hopefully.

“You can go ahead without me,” I say. “Obviously I’m not in New Year’s Eve form yet.”

Kenley cocks an eyebrow. “You promise you’ll show up later?”

Damn it.

“Uh,” I say, testing the waters. “I’m not a big party person. It’s the writer-recluse personality in me. And I have so much work I want to get done before I have a full-time job. It really makes more sense for me to stay home and work.”

Kenley studies me. “You know my mother will not allow you to skip out on this.”

Kenley’s mother is CiCi Hunter, who happens to be dating the owner of the Dallas Demons, Peter Deveraux. She is, in essence, the co-host of this holiday bash, an annual event thrown for the entire Demons organization.

There is no way CiCi would forgive me if I didn’t attend.

I push the laptop aside and stand up. “Okay. But this party only. I’m not going to the party at Harrison Flynn’s afterward,” I declare, referring to the after party being hosted by the Demons’ captain.

“I know you don’t like parties, and you’d rather be in your writing world,” Kenley says. “But sometimes it’s good to do something different. One night won’t throw you off your timetable, I promise. You can talk to me all night. And Lexi,” she adds, referring to her best friend who is dating the Dallas Demons’ producer. “You won’t be standing in a corner by yourself.”

My heart fills with gratitude for Kenley. I misjudged her in the beginning, fearing she was dating Nate for all the wrong reasons. I swallow down the shame I feel for treating her poorly. She is good for Nate, and I have to admit, she’s been good for me, too.

“How did I get so lucky that Nate fell for you?” I ask.

Kenley begins to blush. “Oh, stop it.”

“She’s telling the truth,” Nate says, grinning at us from the doorway and looking sharp in a black tuxedo suit.

“Nobody is luckier than me.”

I see the gaze exchanged between Nate and Kenley and I have no doubts of how much they love each other.

I clear my throat. “Okay, I’ll get ready, but only for this party. Nothing more.”

Nate smiles at me, his dark-brown eyes dancing. “I wouldn’t ask for more. It’s a miracle Kenley is prying you away from your laptop as it is.”

I grab a throw pillow off the bed and lob it at him. “Shut up.”He laughs and catches the pillow mid-air, like his famous in-flight puck grabs on the ice.

“Get ready,” Nate says, tossing the pillow back on the bed. “Don’t make me give you penalty minutes for being late. Earn enough and I’ll force you to go to Flynn’s party.”

“Okay, okay,” I say, laughing. “I’ll get ready.”

“I’ll leave my car keys on the countertop for you,” Kenley says, “along with the invitation. Directions are inside.”

“Thank you,” I say.

“You’re welcome,” she replies. “We’ll see you there.”

“Right?” Nate adds, eyeing me.

“Yes, yes, I’ll be there,” I reassure him.

After they leave, I get up off the bed, and Nate’s dog Marabou comes bounding into my room, his puppy tail wagging in excitement.

“I know, I’d rather stay at home and play with you,” I say, bending down and stroking his head with affection.

Because it’s true. I’m much better with animals and books than I am with people.

I close the door to my room, and my New Year’s Eve gown is hanging on the back of the hook, a reminder that I can’t escape tonight.

I sigh. At times like this, I wish I were normal. That I didn’t suffer from social anxiety in group situations. Nobody knows this secret. Not even Nate. He thinks it’s a writer thing, and that I’m shy, but it’s more than that.

In reality, I feel inadequate in party settings. Like I’m being judged. Like people know I’m only there because of Nate. I know they are all wondering how super-cool Nate Johansson has such a socially inept sister. I’m the picture in the Sesame Street bit where one of these things is not like the others.

The setting tonight will be worse than usual. Surrounded by women who are not only gorgeous—some of them actual models—but also supremely confident. Confident in being social, letting loose, and having fun at a party. In being able to date hockey players and interact in a high-profile scene.

While the mere idea of being at this party sends me into a mild panic. I’ll wait to hit full-blown panic until I get there.

It’ll be something to look forward to. I smile. Okay, despite having crippling social anxiety, I at least can joke about it, even if it’s only with myself.

Once I get to the party, though, the anxiety will kick in, along with the physical symptoms. I’ll start sweating. Oh, this ought to be lovely in an evening gown. Good thing I use clinical deodorant on nights like these. Nervousness will overcome me. I’ll shake. As soon as that symptom pops up, I’ll make sure I put down any drink I’m holding.

But the best is when my eye starts twitching and I look like my contact is stuck—entirely possible in my ongoing war with my contact lenses—and I take on a similarity to a certain cartoon character who is a sailor man.

Ugh.

I hold up the dress and carefully remove the plastic.

Kenley helped me pick out the one-shouldered silver gown by Laundry, and I have to admit it’s gorgeous. It is made of silver sequins, embroidered in an art-deco-inspired pattern, with a long straight skirt and slit up the side.

I study the dress, wishing it could give me some kind of superpower to be normal at the party. But while I could write this superpower into a book, it’s not going to happen in reality, so I hang the dress back up and head into the guest bathroom to get ready.

I turn on the hot water to the shower to let it warm up.

While I wait, I remove my tortoiseshell glasses and place them on the countertop, knowing tonight calls for contacts.

Maybe for once they’ll cooperate and I’ll be able to get them in without dropping one down the drain.

I quickly shower and wash my hair before stepping out into the now steam-filled bathroom. I wrap two towels around me, one for my hair to help soak up the water and keep the damp strands from my face and the other around my body.

I proceed to moisturize, deodorize, and blow out my long, brown hair with a big round brush. Once I’m primed, I zip myself into the dress.

Next step: contacts.

The one thing I’m in a love-hate relationship with. I wear my glasses all the time—hardly ever choosing these thin torture devices—but I feel like this dress calls for the contacts.

If I can successfully get them in, that is.

I mean, really, how hard can this be? In addition to social anxiety, I’m dealt the card of being utterly inept when putting contacts in.

Life is cruel.

I know I’m being dramatic, but I’m a writer. I think it’s in the writer’s handbook. The license to be dramatic.

I open the case. I pick one up and put it in my right eye, praying it doesn’t slide off into the corner. I blink a few times and holy shit, it’s in! I’ve successfully put in a contact before an event!

“Okay, down to the left eye,” I say to myself. I tip my finger into the left contact holder and go to lift it, and rip! It catches on my fingernail and tears in half.

“Damn it!” I yell. “Damn it, why? Why can’t I do this?”

Marabou barks in response. I’m lucky he can’t speak or he’d tell Nate I’m a loon who talks to herself.

I focus on my reflection in the mirror. My vision in my right eye is perfect, the left is completely blurred. So much for thinking I could skate by with one contact in. Too bad I’m out of replacements.

I take the lone contact out, conceding defeat. I put on my trusty glasses and scrunch up my nose. Not quite the look I was going for, but it will have to do. I grab my silver sequined clutch, and anxiety begins to build in my chest, knowing it’s almost time to leave. I rationalize with myself as I enter the kitchen and pick up the invitation and Kenley’s keys.

I’ll know people there. I know Kenley, Nate, Kenley’s sister and mom, and her best friend, Lexi. I hung out with all of them at the Dallas Demons Casino Night last month, and I did okay at that event. It helped that I was working as an operative to help get Lexi and Niko together, so I had a role to distract me, but still. I didn’t get twitchy until later in the evening.

I lock the door behind me and head to the elevator.

And I know Matt Rhinelander.

As soon as I think of him, my stomach does a loop-the-loop. Heat radiates across my cheekbones, and my throat goes dry.

I’ve known Matt for years now. He’s always been a teammate of Nate’s, from their start in Minnesota to when they were both traded to the Dallas Demons last summer.

Nate has brought him home for dinners, cookouts, and holidays when he couldn’t go back home to Wisconsin. He’s always been sweet to me, asked how I was doing and how school was going.

I know he was only being nice. A good guest.

And yet I have this stupid crush on him that won’t go away.I hit the down button on the elevator and close my eyes. The dumbest crush in the history of all crushes in the universe. Matt is never going to see me as anything other than Nate’s sister. Besides, he likes gorgeous girls who have no problem throwing down shots in a bar and dancing on tabletops.

I’m not his type.

Yet here I am. Dealing with stupid butterflies because I know I’ll see him tonight.

Ugh. I should stop the elevator. I should go home. I should— The chime of my Harry Potter ringtone fills the air of the elevator. I snap out of my thoughts and retrieve my phone from my clutch. It’s Nate.

God, he really could have a second career as a psychic.

“Hello?” I answer.

“Are you on your way?”

“Yes,” I say as the elevator doors open. “I’m in the parking garage right now.”

“You’re not bailing?”

I swear Nate knows me better than anyone.

“No. I considered it, though,” I admit.

“CiCi would send security out to retrieve you if you pulled that stunt,” he says, referring to Kenley’s strong-willed mother.

I don’t laugh. I could totally see CiCi doing that.

“No, I’ll be there in a few minutes.”

I hang up with Nate and make the drive over to Highland Park, an exclusive suburb of Dallas. My GPS helps me along, as Dallas is still foreign to me. Before I know it, I’m pulling up to a line of cars that are waiting for valet service in front of Peter Deveraux’s luxurious French-style estate.

I can’t help but laugh. Thanks to Nate’s hockey career, I’ve ended up in a completely foreign universe.

The car in front of me comes to a stop, and I see Demons’

forward JP Rochat step out of a sleek black Maserati. He hands his keys to one valet, while another runs toward me.

He opens my door and helps me step out into the freezing December night.

“Good evening, may I have your name, Miss?” he asks me. “Good evening, I’m Holly Johansson,” I say.

He picks up a walkie-talkie and repeats my name, and I know he’s having someone ensure I’m on the guest list, which is quickly confirmed.

“I’ll take care of your car,” he says, smiling at me. I drop the keys into his open hand and thank him. “Have a good evening, Ms. Johansson.”

Right. Good evening. I’m sure it will be great with sweating and twitching and panic, but hey, it’s New Year’s Eve and time to celebrate, right?

I so know how to party.

“Holly?”

I turn and see JP is waiting for me on the circular drive.

I smile. I met JP at Casino Night last month, and I have to say, he’s very handsome with his hazel eyes and dark hair.

Very sweet, too.

“Hi, JP, how are you?” I ask as I walk toward him.

I quickly realize these high heels are going to murder my feet tonight.

If I don’t fall flat on my face first, that is.

I concentrate on walking while JP waits, smiling brightly at me.

“I’m good,” JP says. “You look beautiful tonight, Holly.”

Heat rises again in my cheeks. “Thank you.”

We walk toward the estate, and as I see the swell of people outside the entrance, my social anxiety makes its first appearance of the night. I swallow hard. Maybe if I pretend I have a task like I did at Casino Night , I can be normal longer.

I’m a writer. I need to script something and act it out, and then I’ll be okay.

“Aren’t you cold?” JP asks.

I blink. “No. Why?”

“It’s thirty-five degrees out, and you aren’t wearing a coat.”

Ha! If he only knew I’d be sweating in about ten minutes, he’d understand why I don’t need to mess with a coat tonight.

“I’m from Minnesota, this isn’t that cold,” I say lightly.

Which is true. Compared to Minnesota right now, Dallas is practically tropical.

We step up to the sweeping entrance, and I’m surrounded by all kinds of people. I know this party is for everyone in the Demons organization, from ticket sales staff to players to the vice president of operations. Live jazz music floats through the air, and once I step inside, I’m greeted with soaring foyers and opulent marble floors. Servers walk around with trays of champagne and wine. There’s a coat check to my left, and I see a lavish buffet set up across the long hallway, complete with carving stations. The mansion is completely decked out for the holiday, too, with exquisite Christmas décor everywhere.

The halls are crowded with people celebrating as far as the eye can see.

So. Many. People.

I might set a new record for world’s worst panic attack.

People are talking and laughing around me. Drinks are being poured. A group is dancing across the marble floor in the living room at the end of the hall.

And I am frozen in place.

“Would you like a drink?” JP asks me.

My throat is going dry. Oh, shit. Shit. Symptom number one is already kicking in.

“Um, would you excuse me?” I say, realizing I’m about to hit complete panic very soon.

“Sure, of course,” JP says. “I’ll see you later.”

As I turn away, I see a group of players’ wives and girlfriends. They’re all gorgeous. Talking, laughing, being fun. Do I even know how to be fun?

Doubt riddles me. I see a familiar face from Instagram.

Her name is Lauren, and she’s dating the goalie. She has a modeling contract with a huge agency. I’ve seen her in magazine ads. She’s wearing a killer short dress that shows off her long, gazelle-like legs. Next to her, I see Kenley with Nate, laughing and talking with Niko, the Dallas Demons producer, and his girlfriend Lexi.

They aren’t freaking out about what other people think.

They aren’t feeling their chests grow tight in fear.

Why can’t I be normal? I know I’m being irrational.

But I’m powerless to stop it.

Sweat. Now I feel sweat.

The walls are already closing in, faster than usual. I need to regroup. I need air. My eyes dart around the room, like a secret agent looking for an escape.

I see it. A huge row of French doors that I know lead outdoors. I head to them on instinct. I’ll find a terrace or garden or pool on the other side. Some place where there won’t be as many people, I know that.

Sweat is starting to drip down my back. I’m burning up.

I feel like I might pass out.

I weave through the mass of people, feeling lucky that very few of the guests know who I am and I can retreat undetected. I reach the door handle and pop it open, greeted by a whoosh of cold air as I step into the dark Dallas night.

I find myself on a terrace overlooking a lush manicured garden, illuminated by strategically placed lights.

I shut the door behind me and draw a deep breath of air.

I’m shaking now. Every symptom is in play except for the eye twitch, which is going to happen any second. I fight back tears. I will not let my social anxiety be seen by anyone.

Nobody is here. I can collect myself. Then, when I’m calm, I can return to the party, talk to the people I need to talk to, and go home.

Shame fills me. Nobody can know about my problem.

Nobody would understand. People will think I’m insane.

But out here I’m alone.

My anxiety is my secret.

I’m safe.

“Holly?”

I drop my clutch.

I know that Midwestern-accented voice.

I find Matt Rhinelander emerging from the corner of the terrace, his blue eyes locked directly on mine.
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Friday, November 25, 2016

Series | Feature Friday!

Today we have my sweet friend Leslie from Peaches and Willow. I really enjoyed getting to know her more, be sure to check out her socials after you read her interview!




I'm a 34 year old stay at home mom of a 13 year old boy and a spoiled pup named Willow. I'm married to my honest to goodness best friend (we were best friends for 13 years before we dated). I'm an Aquarius and I blog at peachykeen32.blogspot.com

p&b-what made you start a blog? 
The first one I started when my son went to school. I thought it was a great way to document all his moments and share them with the family we have that lives in Illinois (we're in Georgia.) As I started reading more blogs, I really got the desire to turn mine into something more public so I created a new blog in 2013 called Peachy Keen. Last year I did a re-branding and switched my blog name to Peaches and Willow; Peaches because i'm a Georgia Peach and Willow because we had just gotten a new puppy named Willow. This year i've really been focusing on growing my blog and finding my blogging tribe. I'm happy to say Kayla is a part of that.

p&b-who or what inspires you? 
My inspiration comes from a place of true happiness. It took me a while to be proud of who I am and to decide what I want to do with my life. I know I have this ability to always see the happy side of things so I think my inspiration comes from that. It comes from helping others find happiness. When i'm doing that I feel like i'm truly on fire and full of inspiration. 

As far as creative inspiration, I find that just doing what I love and if I ever feel stuck I turn to Pinterest, Instagram and other bloggers to find inspiration. Sometimes something as simple as turning all my electronic devices off and sitting outside inspires me. Other times it's walking around Hobby Lobby or Target. 

p&b-if you could collab with any beauty product or celebrity, who would it be and what would it be?
This is such a hard question because there are so many great ones out there. 
It would be a dream to work with Aloette Skin Care. I think that's my ultimate dream collab. Aloette is not a very known company, for some reason, but all their products are aloe based. I've used them all my life because my mom used to be a consultant for them so it's a company I truly believe in and it's not just a pop up brand. 

As for celebrities that I would love to collaborate with; Ellen DeGeneres or Reese Witherspoon. 

p&b-what's an item on your dream beauty wish list? 
The OPI <a href="http://www.ulta.com/breakfast-at-tiffanys-mini-mani-month?productId=xlsImpprod14901021">Breakfast at Tiffany's</a> collection, Colourpop's Ultra Matte <a href="https://colourpop.com/collections/collections/products/foxy">Foxy</a> lip set and Colourpop's <a href="https://colourpop.com/collections/collections/products/mile-high">Mile High</a> shadows and pigments.

p&b-finish this sentence: I can't go a day without __________
Coffee. Coffee really is life, y'all! It's a really special treat to have coffee made by my husband on the weekends. 
I'm not sure what he does but he really does make it the best.

p&b-if you could swap lives with anyone for one day, who would it be and why?
This is hard because I'm pretty happy with my life but I'd say Sophia Amoruso. She's the ultimate Girl Boss and I feel like I could learn so much about entrepreneurialship and empowering women from her. 

p&b-what's your go to girls' night look like?
Oh goodness. I haven't had a girls night out in so long. Mostly because I choose not to. I'm such a homebody. 
If I were to have a girls night out though it would start with massages and mani/pedis then maybe to a cute little cupcake shop for some delicious desserts and maybe a fun concert like Britney. I think my night out just turned into a girls trip weekend. Ha! 

p&b-if you were only allowed to bring 3 products with you on a week long trip, what would you bring?
Better Than Sex mascara, toothbrush/toothpaste, and my hair straightener. 

p&b-how did you spend your last birthday?
My hubby took me shopping then we got dinner to go from our favorite restauraunt (where we had our first date). We brought it home and ate dinner in the living room around the coffee table then we snuggled up on the couch with our new (at the time) puppy and watched a movie. 
I'm not kidding. I am such a homebody but it was the perfect low key birthday. 

p&b-I know you love spending time with your dog, Willow. How did you get her and how'd she end up with the name Willow?
I had been wanting a big dog for a while but my hubby and I had agreed on a list of reasons why we just couldn't have one at the time. 
Eleven days before my birthday & 13 days before Valentine's Day, a local pet store that I followed on Facebook posted a picture of the sweetest little girl puppy that they had just found that morning. They were going to foster her but they needed a furever home for her. 

I saw her picture and fell in love because she looked so much like our dog Duke who had passed away in October. I thought it couldn't hurt to ask my hubby just one more time if we could have a dog so I re-posted the picture of her to his Facebook page while he was at work. I thought it would be a great ice breaker when he called me to tell me he was on his way home that night. I was hoping he had seen her by then. 

In the meantime, I picked my son up from school that day and headed to my parent's house like we do after school everyday. As we get out of the car I see my mom sitting outside and I can tell she's holding something. Her three dogs were running around like they always do but as we got close to my mom I could see she had the puppy. She says to me "look what i'm fostering!" This is nothing new, she's always rescuing animals but she had been to the pet store to get dog food for her dogs that day and saw this sweet girl in there. Long story short, she ended up being the pup's foster mom and she knew nothing about me asking Alex if we could have her. 

At this point you'd probably think my mom and I were working together in this, my husband still believes that to this day, but I promise we weren't. In fact, my mom has brought home 4 kittens and 3 or four more dogs since this. As we got ready to leave my son was super sad, he knew the odds of us getting this dog were slim but he kept the hope. When we went to get in my car to leave, it wouldn't start. Convenient, right? So I went inside and called my hubby and told him I needed him to come over to help my dad fix my car. Again, not planned. It just all worked out this way. After a couple hours of working on the car, they got it fixed and came inside. When my hubby came in he took the puppy from our son and sat on the couch with her. He was talking to her and loving on her. He was already smitten but alas, we left that night without her. 

I sweet talked my hubby that night and asked if we could please get her. She reminded me so much of our beloved Duke and I was home all the time to potty train her and work with her. As we fell asleep that night he said, "I'll think about it." I was so discouraged but just let it be. My marriage was more important but the next morning my hubby called me from work and said "I've been thinking about it, you can have her. Happy Birthday & Happy Valentine's Day, baby." I was in so much shock that I probably asked him more than once if he was kidding but he was totally serious. That day, after school she came home with us and has been part of our family ever since. 
Naming her proved to be the difficult part. Every name I threw out there my husband and son shot down. My husband said they sounded like stripper names. Ha! I was really pushing for Katniss Everdog (after Katniss from the Hunger Games) and my husband and son wanted to name her AK (totally a boy's name!) This poor dog didn't have a name for three days y'all. Finally on the third night I told my husband we weren't going to sleep until we named her. As we were laying there throwing names out he suggested Willow. I thought about it and decided I liked that name so we finally agreed. Ironically enough we live on Willowbrook Dr. and as soon as I pointed that out, my husband gave her the middle name Brooke. I didn't have the heart or energy to fight it out so Willow Brooke is her full name. 

p&b-best advice you've ever received?
It's kind of funny who I received this advice from. It was a guy I dated before I got married who turned out to be more interested in my best friend than he was me. He might not have lasted but his advice did. He said "take everything at face value" meaning when someone says something, don't dig to find a deeper meaning. I am such an over thinker or I was but every time I catch myself getting worked up over something i'm over thinking I remember his words. Somehow his advice actually helped me realize what a dog he was but you live and you learn. 

p&b-looking forward to 2017, what's next for you? 
In my personal life my hubby & I will build our dream home and we will have a teenager entering into high school. That all gives me a little bit of anxiety. I won't lie and if the Lord's willing, we will have another baby. 

In my blogging/creative life I hope to grow this blog even bigger and pursue one of my other passions. Maybe even take that next giant step i've been scared to make and actually open my own Etsy shop. I have so many dreams and I have the support to chase them so stay tuned to see what I do next. 

I would also really love to do my first 5k, have a booth at a craft fair and enter into one of the cupcake challenges that happens in our area every year. 

Leslie's Links

Snapchat: georgiapeachy82

Thursday, November 24, 2016

4pm pick me up!



I'm not sure why the camera man didn't do a nice close up of that fella in the white, but it's Thursday & Thanksgiving, so here's a throwback from the Macy's parade. Enjoy, xo!


ps- happy thanksgiving. I am thankful for each and every single one of you. I hope today is full of food, laughs, and love!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Weekday vs. Weekend


This is my take on the Real Life vs. Instagram challenge. I couldn't wait to get started on this. I watched my friend Samantha's video and was totally inspired. The reason why I changed the name is because typically I don't wear a lot or any makeup during the week, but then on the weekend when I have time to spare, I really go all out. 

Weekday 

I keep it super simple, most of the time doing this look at my desk. I will interchange the lip sometimes going bold. Especially if my hair is a mess, which is a tip I learned from Rachel from Rachhloves. Wear a bold lip and it'll distract people from looking at your hair and you'll look put together. It's something I do often.

My weekly go-tos: a dewy foundation (the L'Oreal proglow is my fave!), clear brow gel, and mascara. If I want to up the game, I'll do a swipe or two of highlight. 

This is the outcome... 

 


Weekend 

Using the workday look as my base, I took it to the next level. I've been LOVING the Wet & Wild palette in 'comfort zone'. It's the perfect compact palette and you mix the quads to get the most of it.  Other weekend staples are the Urban Decay naked concealer, Essence make me brow, Tarte blush in 'exposed', Becca Cosmetics X Jaclyn Hill palette, L'Oreal Lumi, two mascaras, and of course Kylie Cosmetics matte lippie in Koko K. Not pictured is my translucent powder, setting spray, brushes, and beauty blender. 

 

I contour, I bake, I blend. I really go out all out. And there's what the outcome is.



What's the big difference in your weekday vs weekend look? Let me know in the comments, xo!





Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Rice Krispie Treats | 2 ways!

This was supposed to be a Friendsgiving recap, but if I'm being honest, I completely forgot to take pics. You know how it is, your friends show up and the champs is popped, and well the last thing you want to do is stop to take all the pics. But I will say that I was prepared and took pics of my krispie treats to share with you! 

Here's the two recipes I came up with for Friendsgiving. Rice Krispie treats are kinda my specialty now and I love to put on twist on a childhood favorite.


Salted Caramel Rice Krispie Treats

What you'll need:

6 cups of Rice Krispie cereal
4 cups of mini marshmallows
3 tbsps of butter
Salted Caramel Sauce (you can make your own using this recipe I found or you can be like me and use a jar sauce...) 
Sea Salt
Mini Chocolate Chips

1-In a large pot, melt the butter and add in the marshmallows. I like to continusouly stir the marshallmallows with a fork over light heat. 
2-Once they are almost melted, pour in about 1 tbsp of the sauce. Stir and add 2 pinches of the sea salt. 
3-Continue to stir and add in another tbsp of the sauce. 
4-Now add in the krispie treats to the pot and remove from heat. Stir krispies until coated. Transfer to a well sprayed dish (if you don't spray the dish or pan, they will stick!)
5-once pressed evenly into the pan, add the mini chocolate chips
6-spoon drizzle caramel sauce
7-serve and enjoy!

*this will be a little sticky, if you put foil over them and let them set up overnight, they'll be less messy!


Chocolate Toffee Rice Krispie Treats
 
What you'll need:

6 cups of Cocoa Krispie cereal
4 cups of mini marshmallows
3 tbsps of butter
Health Toffee pieces


1-In a large pot, melt the butter and add in the marshmallows. I like to continusouly stir the marshallmallows with a fork over light heat. 
2-Once they are almost melted, pour in about 2 tbsps of the toffee pieces. Stir until mixed in
3-Add the krispie treats to a well coated dish
4-once the krispies are spread out, sprinkle the rest of the pieces on top
5-cut and enjoy!


Btw-Friendsgiving was a MAJOR success. We laughed until our faces hurt, ate until our bellies were full, and played board games cause we are just big kids. My friends also put me on yet another dating app, so I guess that's a win for you too. Cause hopefully I can get some comical posts out of it, xo!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Red Carpet Style | AMAs

Spoiler alert, I didn't even watch the AMAs (well for 2 reasons, 1; I'm writing this on Saturday and 2; the Rangers are playing at the same time as the show...) But celeb Kayla hit and worked that carpet. Here's what I would've worn...

 

I paired this beaded lace top by Costarellos with this amazing Ostrich feather skirt from Ralph Lauren. I love the way this top looks with the skirt, the perfect mix of sweet from the lace and edgy with the feathers. As for accesories, you knew I'd have a McQueen clutch cause they are celeb Kayla's weakness. Loubs with some mixed metals and the most amazing pair of earrings I've ever seen.

 

Glam I kept simple...I negative, geo white mani, with a traditional smokey eye. Paired with a dusty pink lip (cause I thought red would be too excepted) and then a simple braided look with some curls to top it all off. 

What do you think of this look for the AMAs-Hit or miss?  Let me know in the comments, xo!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Series | Feature Friday!

Here's another installment of Feature Friday and today we have the beautiful, Kelly from KBellaBeauty and she creates some of the most gorgeous eye looks I've ever seen!


A little blurb about me... Well I'm a 29 year old who is passionate about beauty, animals, and kids.  I'm a Christian, a wife, and a dog mom.  I love to travel and spend time with my nieces/nephews.  I also love to read and volunteer my time.  I have work with some animal rescue volunteers as well as working in the children's ministry at my church.  I am originally from the Metro Detroit area in Michigan, but I've been in Houston, TX for about 6 years now.  My favorite thing about the YouTube/beauty community is definitely the friendships I've made!  I love how makeup and fashion can bring people together :).

stats: age, relationship status, zodiac sign29, Married, Scorpio
p&b-when did you get into beauty and makeup?
For as long as I can remember I've loved makeup.  As a little girl, I used to play in my moms makeup and walk around the house.  I was probably 4-5 years old and she would let me put a little shadow and lipstick on, but I would have to wash it off shortly after.  Once I was a teenager it turned into borrowing my older sisters makeup.  I actually sold Mary Kay for a while in my early 20s.  It was about 3-4 years ago that I started watching YouTube and getting into different brands of makeup.
p&b-what made you start a youtube channel?
I took theater in high school and I've always loved being on camera.  I also really like sharing my opinion with others.  It was just a natural progression for me I guess.  After watching YouTube videos for a couple years, I started getting the idea in my head that, "Hey, I can do that!"  After a push from my husband, I finally took the plunge.
p&b-favorite youtuber/influencer?
I would have to say Desi Perkins!  I love several YouTubers, but she's my favorite!
p&b-must have beauty product?
I would have to say my Anastasia Beverly Hills brow definer and brow wiz.  Who would have guessed how important brows would be?!
p&b-what's a beauty product you regret purchasing? or a trend you wish you didn't try?
I usually end up returning the beauty products that I'm not satisfied with.  However, I never did return the Maybelline Dream Velvet Matte foundation or the L'Oreal True Match Lumi Cushion foundation and I regret both of those.
p&b-finish this sentence: my style is closest to _________
I was trying to think of someone to insert here, but no one is coming to mind.  I have a very natural, girl next door style.  I'm pretty much a jeans and tshirt kind of girl!
p&b-if you could swap lives with anyone for one day, who would it be and why?
I would totally want to swap with the Queen of England or Princess Kate.  My husband and I are very into history and traveling.  We love Europe!  We recently started watching the tv shows "Versailles" and "The Crown" and I would love to know what it was like to be in the monarchy!
p&b-what's your go to girls' night look like?
I'm a sucker for a rose gold eye with a wing.  Or a rose gold halo eye.
p&b-fave tv show?
This is so hard!  I have so many favorites.  Most recently, the show "Versailles", but that's because my husband and I were just there this summer.  I love the typical shows like Scandal, How To Get Away With Murder, Madam Secretary, and The Real Housewives of anything!
p&b-if you were only allowed to bring 3 products with you on a week long trip, what would you bring?
My ABH brow wiz, Maybelline The Rocket Mascara, and my Kylie Cosmetics liquid lipstick in Candy K.
p&b-go to everyday makeup look?
Usually a very basic eye, a rosey nude blush on top of a contour and topped with highlight, and a mauve lip shade.
p&b-best advice you've ever received?
This one is tough... I don't have any words of wisdom swirling in my head that I replay from time to time.  If I have to think of some advice that I would want to share it would be simple... just be you!  As Dr. Seuss said, "Today you are you, that is truer than true.  There is no one alive that is Youer than You."  I think we should be celebrating our uniqueness and our own individual qualities.  After all, there is only one "you"!
p&b-if you could collab with any beauty product or celebrity, who would it be and what would it be?
I would love to collab with a company to create some lip shades.  I'm a huge lippie fanatic.  I could totally work with Dose of Colors, Ofra, or Mac!
p&b-looking forward to 2017, what's next for you?
Traveling with my husband!  We have really enjoyed traveling and we want to get as much traveling in as we can before we start a family.

Catch up with Kelly and show her some love!
YouTube: KBellaBeauty
Instagram: @kbellabeauty
Google: +KBellaBeauty 


Thursday, November 17, 2016

4pm pick me up!



a little #tbt for you, xo!




ps-I'm currently running a giveaway on IG @polishedandbubbly go check it out!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

#OOTD

A couple of Friday nights ago, I went to the movies with babytooth (to see Trolls 3D, duh!) and I took my casual Friday work look to girls' night out with one simple accessory (that I purchased while we were out & about) a floppy hat!




I paired mine with a black mid-maxi cardigan, oversized tan tank, black chunky hand knit scarf, jeans, and over the knee boots (which I took off for the movie, cause I'm all about comfort...) 

Here's similar pieces to recreate my look!







& a bonus pic you would've saw if you follow me on snapchat @blondek18 & IG @polishedandbubbly


ps-I'm currently running a giveaway on IG @polishedandbubbly go check it out!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

#friendsgiving prep

This coming Saturday is Friendsgiving with a group of my friends. We're all bringing different dishes, some traditional and some not so traditional. There will be turkey of course, but I'm not being left with that responsibility-which is probably for the best, I've only made one turkey my whole life. Here's what I'll be bringing to the the table and check back next week for a whole recap!


Crockpot Green Bean Casserole-recipe from Family Fresh Meals


Perfect Cranberry Sauce-recipe from Food Network


Salted Caramel Rice Krispie Treats-recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod


Want are your Thanksgiving/Friendsgiving must haves? Let me know in the comments, xo!


ps-I'm currently running a giveaway on IG @polishedandbubbly go check it out!!

Monday, November 14, 2016

a book in review!



Brief Summary:

Unleashed, the romantic, high-stakes sequel to New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan's Uninvited, is perfect for fans of such favorites as James Patterson's Confessions of a Murder Suspect.
Davy has spent the last few months trying to come to terms with the fact that she tested positive for the kill gene HTS (also known as Homicidal Tendency Syndrome). She swore she would not let it change her, and that her DNA did not define her . . . but then she killed a man.
Now on the run, Davy must decide whether she'll be ruled by the kill gene, or if she'll follow her heart and fight for her right to live free. But with her own potential for violence laying right beneath the surface, Davy doesn't even know if she can trust herself.

Review:

I just finished Unleashed and I can't stop thinking about it. You may remember I read the first book in this two book series on recommendation from Kaylee because she said book 2 was in the top 3 books she's ever read. She said in her review that the author takes everything you thought you knew and flips in on it's side. She was 100% right! I don't want to give anything away, so I'm going to be really general with you. Davy's journey continues and she still is focusing on coming to terms with being a carrier. She has to learn how to embrace that part of her and move it aside from constantly dwelling on it. There's lots of twists and turns, ups & downs for Davy in this book and once the shocks start, they don't really stop. I'm still deciding if I love the ending or if I hate it. If you've read Unleashed, let's discuss how you feel about how Davy's story ends up! I recommend this 4.5 star book to anyone who loves dystopian novels that leave you on the edge of your seat, xo!

To Buy:


B&N 


ps-I'm currently running a giveaway on IG @polishedandbubbly go check it out!!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Series | Feature Friday!

For the next 10 weeks (10!) I will be showcasing some of my favorite blogger/YouTubers here with guest posts & interviews! To kick off this fun series, I'm starting with an amazing up and coming YouTuber who I consider a friend, Samantha March!



Samantha March is an author, editor, publisher, blogger, and all around book lover. She runs the popular book/women’s lifestyle blog ChickLitPlus, which keeps her bookshelf stocked with the latest reads and up to date on all things beauty, fashion and fitness. In 2011 she launched her independent publishing company Marching Ink and has four published novels – Destined to Fail, The Green Ticket, A Questionable Friendship and Up To I Do. You can also find her on Youtube sharing beauty reviews and creating makeup tutorials. When she isn’t reading, writing, or vlogging, you can find her cheering for the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Cubs. Samantha lives in Iowa with her husband and Vizsla puppy.


p&b-what made you start a beauty channel?

Samantha: When I started Youtube, it initially started as another branch of my blog, Chick Lit Plus. CLP has always been focused on books, beauty & all things chick, but after starting Youtube, it was clear the beauty side had a much stronger presence on Youtube. I relaunched the channel in May 2016 as a beauty channel, and have CLP and other social media accounts to focus on my bookish passions.
p&b-who or what inspires you?

I get inspired on the daily from people in my personal life, people on the internet, my own life, etc. I never know when the next inspiration will strike, but I’m always on the lookout for it.

p&b-if you could collab with any beauty product or celebrity, who would it be and what would it be?

Youtuber Jaclyn Hill was one of the first beauty vloggers I really fell in love with, and who inspired me to start my own channel. I actually recently did a video explaining how she motivates me and other fun stuff: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_eIKEwlMERM I would love to collab with her in any way shape or form, but I know she is expected to launch a cosmetics line shortly as well, which I can’t wait for!
p&b-what's an item on your dream beauty wish list?

Honestly, kind of basic stuff. A vanity is at the top. I’ve never had one, and I would absolutely love to have  nice vanity in my room!
p&b-finish this sentence: the best thing about being a beauty vlogger is ____________

Finding a new confidence every day.

p&b-if you could swap lives with anyone for one day, who would it be and why?

Kris Bryant’s fiancé – because Kris Bryant

p&b-what's your go to girls' night look like?

Usually yoga pants and wine. Sometimes a movie, sometimes a game, but always our dogs!
p&b-if you were only allowed to bring 3 products with you on a week long trip, what would you bring?

Moisturizer! Eyeliner! Ah um…lip balm. I hate chapped lips.
p&b-beauty trend you regret trying?

Overplucking my eyebrows in high school!
p&b-beauty trend you love?

Highlight!
p&b-Your dog, Aries is the cutest! If Aries was a human, what do you think her job would be?

I love my girl, thank you! Oh my…how about professional hype girl. She’s always behind me (or on top of me) ready for whatever!


p&b-best advice you've ever received?

To keep strong, because you never know who you’re inspiring.
p&b-you're a super successful author, how do you juggle being an author and a beauty vlogger?

Lists! I’m a big lists person, and goals person, so I need to plan out each and every day to make sure I’m hitting all my goals and getting everything accounted for.

p&b-if you weren't an author or beauty vlogger, what would you be doing?

Traveling the world! (I wish!)
p&b-any details on when your next book comes out?

January 2017!
p&b-looking forward to 2017, what's next for you?

I hope to publish 3 books in 2017! I would love to see my Youtube and Instagram grow to 100K, though I know that’s entirely ambitious. And I hope to grow my family – by getting another dog ;)
Links to catch up with Samantha!
Snapchat: Samantha.March



Links to purchase Samantha's novels!
Destined To Fail - http://amzn.to/2egZj0M
The Green Ticket  - http://amzn.to/2eDKWbl
A Questionable Friendship - http://amzn.to/2eiuSsq
The Christmas Surprise – http://amzn.to/2fk6vPc

Be sure to check out Samantha's links & books and show her some love-her IG videos are some of the best! Be sure to check back next Friday when we catch up with my girl, Kelly, xo!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

a book in review!



Brief Summary:

From New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan, Uninvited is a chilling and suspenseful story about a girl whose DNA brands her a killer, perfect for fans of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and Confessions of a Murder Suspect.
Davy had everything—a terrific boyfriend, the homecoming crown, a bright future at Juilliard—but when her genetic tests come back positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome, she loses it all. Uninvited from her prestigious school, avoided by her friends and family, she is placed in a special class with other "carriers" who are treated like the murderers they someday might become.
Only Sean, a fellow HTS carrier, can relate to her new life and tells her that she alone controls her actions—not the code embedded into her DNA. But even if she can learn to trust him, can Davy trust herself?

Review:

We all know I love a good YA, dystopian novel and Uninvited doesn't disappoint. I youtubed "fall books" and this video popped up. After watching I knew I had to read Uninvited so I can read Unleashed. I love this story line and the twists along the way. I was so into what would happen next to Davy and I instantly fell in love with Sean. He is a great male lead, complete bad boy type. Davy's journey is a ride that will make you hold onto your seat. There are times I just want Davy to snap out of what's going on in her head, but then there's other times were she completely surprises you. I can't say enough good things about Uninvited and I'm going to dive into Unleashed this week, xo!

Monday, November 7, 2016

5 products I'm thankful for...

My friend Krissy, who you'll be seeing a takeover from on here every soon, tagged me on IG in her new tag for November. Since Thanksgiving is this month, she wanted to do a play on things I'm thankful for, but with beauty products. So without further adu...here's my top 5! 


 
This has become my signature shade and my obsession. It's the perfect pink on my skin tone and does not move while eating or drinking (or when you have the stomach bug, trust me I know this first hand.)

If you want to white teeth for the Holidays, go buy this system and thank me later! I will never use another whitening system again, this is the holy grail. 
To save 5% on the whole website, use my code: polishedandbubbly5

My obsession with dewy skin is no secret and this foundation will be a staple for 2017 as well. I've tried a few others, but this is my tried and true ride or die foundation.

I haven't made the jump to Tarte's shape tape concealer yet because this has been my go-to for all of 2016 and I have 0 complaints. It's long lasting, full coverage, and blends out like a dream.

I mean this is my favorite product of ALL TIME. And it's sold out and not being delivered to my local Harmon or Ulta, so I ordered 3 bottles off of Amazon. Now I'll be good until next fall...if you are a nail polish lover, check this top coat out. I swear by it!

Let me know what products your thankful for in the comments, xo!