Thursday, May 17, 2018

6 tips to swoon worthy hair

I've always had a love hate/relationship with my hair- more so hate until I could learn how to control it. At the age of 13 my straight hair became curly... and I mean SUPER curly and unruly. Since then, it's been a battle with humidity, styling products and torching my hair. I know a lot of you out there can relate- let's face it... humidity does nothing for ANY of us!
I've put together some tricks of the trade plus my own life savers for having lush hair. It's not something all of us are born with but we can sure make it seem that way.
1. Picking a stylist who has your best interest: This is the most important piece of advice I can give you. For example: you have very fragile, thin dark hair and you want platinum- a GOOD stylist will do a consultation and be completely honest with you and tell you why you should or shouldn't do this process- no matter the price tag. might be VERY disappointed after. My stylist, Melissa is incredible and I chose her for her book of business, reputation and her honesty with me- I know that she has my best interest at hand. Do your research!

2. Avoid shampooing your hair every day: This one was difficult for me because I felt like my hair would become fairly oily overnight. I'm usually an every other day girl or I try to do every 3 days if I can. I've learned to embrace the top knot and I found a great dry shampoo that didn't give me the "icky" feel. Try to use sulfate-free shampoo- sulfates can dry out your hair which could lead to breakage.
3. Try different techniques for thickening your hair: I know this one is typically a major issue for women because a lot of us aren't born with super thick strands and it can be frustrating to work with. I have thick hair but my hair strands are fine- which doesn't work in my favor always. A few tricks I learned to fake it: Use products that help with volume and try to blow it out with a round brush. Use hot rollers or a large curling iron after blow drying (do not straighten prior) - this gives the illusion to lush thick hair. Last but not least my easiest go to: hair can have these applied at a salon who specializes in them or you can buy the clip-ins. This adds instant volume and length and you can wear your hair- up down, topknot, braids- lots of versatility with this one.

4. Hair conscious diet: You are what eat- so make sure you're eating the right foods to help promote healthy hair. You should be eating foods with protein, vitamin C, Omega -3 fatty acids and zinc. This would include foods like almonds, blueberries, eggs, broccoli and salmon. There are hair vitamins also listed but I wouldn't just leave it at Biotin. I've listed the vitamin I use below and it can be found at Sephora.

5. Olaplex- the holy grail: One of the biggest changes in my hair has been the consistent use of Olaplex. My stylist introduced this product to me and it's been the ultimate game changer is the quality of my hair. Ask your stylist about Olaplex treatments and try to have them done every time you're in for your hair appointment. Olaplex helps combat damage done to hair and replenishes the protein structures and bonds giving your hair instant life again. They do sell Olaplex at Sephora but no.3 isn't the professional grade- however, I do recommend buying it and using it weekly to help maintain your hairs appearance.

6. Don't forget these hair care basics: use leave in conditioners, I use mine every time I wash my hair. I also apply product to help combat the damage from heat styling. My biggest tip is skip the hair tie- don't sleep in them... I made this mistake for so long and it caused severe breakage in my hair- even using the ones that claim to be breakage free- I typically wear a bobby pin, or you can try a loose braid. Satin pillow cases also help to prevent damage to your hair while sleeping. Try to limit your heat use- heat is the root of all evil but it's essential. Trying heat free hairstyle can save your strands tremendously!

You can shop my entire outfit and haircare products below.


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Book Club: June

Hi friends! To switch is up and be super inclusive- I'm starting a book club series on the blog. Which I'm working to make interactive on my Facebook page and Instagram Stories ( You should follow me there @thehouseofbb if you're not already doing so) For each month I'll list a couple of books that I'm diving into- I read more than 1 book at once- it's okay if you don't, as we can have topics on  each individually.
For this months series I'm including:
1. The Nest, by Cynthia D' Aprix Sweeny.

A warm, funny and acutely perceptive debut novel about four adult sibling and the fate shared inheritance that has shaped their choices and their lives. Every family has it's problems. But even among the most troubled, the plumb family stands out spectacularly dysfunctional.
( I love dysfunction)
2. 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do, by Amy Morin
Kick bad mental habits and toughen yourself. Master strength; revolutionary new strategies that work for everyone from homemakers to soldiers and teachers to CEO's. Dont waste time feeling sorry for yourself. Don't give away your power. Don't shy away from change. Don't focus on things you can't control. Don't worry about pleasing everyone. Don't fear taking calculated risk. Don't dwell on the past.


Sunday, May 6, 2018

8 French Instagram accounts you need to be following

Yes as we all know, I'm a self proclaimed Francophile. Why? I don't know... I can't really explain it- I love everything about France and their way of living. It's almost like everything there is beautiful. I try to incorporate a little "French living" into my day to day life...whether it's cooking, style, plants or home d├ęcor. If you're looking to add a little French flair to your life- I have 8 very French accounts for you to follow:

1. @Frenchisbeautiful: If you're planning a trip abroad or just wanting to learn a few "key" French phrases- she is your go to! I've followed her for quite some time and I love that she shows all sides to her life in Paris - her favorite coffee spots, where to buy the cute Parisian shoes and she'll show you how to order your wine (vin) in French. This will be your French Necessity.

2. @Pariswithme: You can follow Anna exploring every single crevice of Paris, while showing you where to stop for lunch, where to see the cherry blossoms or visiting the unique corners of Montmartre. I used many of her local recommendations for planning our trip and having a very local experience while in Paris. Tip- she also does photography- so, if you're looking for a few planned "hip Parisian" photoshoots- she's your go to girl!
3. @Everydayparisian: Okay, so Rebecca is my girl! She spends half of her time in Chicago and the other half wandering around Paris looking for the next best boulangerie. I love that she has the American vibe in Paris and can honestly tell you where to go, what to do and how not to be a touristy tourist. She's also a chocolate connoisseur - France is known for it's best chocolate and she knows exactly where to find it- along with the best baguettes.
4. @ Aparisianmoment: Partner of @georgiannalane- prepare to feast your eyes on the dreamiest photos of Paris that you can imagine. From colorful doors to pink gum drops of cherry blossoms blooming in the spring. If you want some major Paris envy- this one is it!
5. @Georgiannalane: As mentioned above- she is the co-founder of @aparisianmoment. Her feed captures the dreamiest images of Paris including crystal chandeliers and gold medallion walls from Versailles- up to the blooming carousels at the Eiffel Tower. She has a wide display of coffee table books including- "Paris in bloom".
6. @parisinfourmonths: I started following Carin years ago - just as she was making her journey of living in Paris while draped in Dior. This true beauty moved from Sweden to Paris to follow her dreams in the fashion industry and I love watching her journey. I love her effortless but chic Parisian style. If you want to amp up your Parisian style- she's your girl!
7. @vivietmargot: A must for shopping and drawing French country inspiration into your home. Charlotte, the owner of the shop named after her two daughters... owns a beautiful French farmhouse in the south west region of France. It boast and abundance of old world style and beauty. Her shop is filled with the perfect French market bags in all styles- along with linens and kitchenware. She's the top of my wedding registry list! I'll take 1 of each, please!
8. @messynessychic: I do not have enough words to describe my girl "messy nessy"... First of all... if you're planning a trip to Paris- go buy her book... " don't be a tourist in Paris". The book is full of everything that you should be checking out to have a true Parisian experience- not eating at McDonald's like an American... Her Instagram page is full of cool things you need to do- like the abandoned hospital... sounds weird but it was SO cool! Or the backroom in the Louvre... who knew!? Seriously, save your self from the ultimate tourist trip and look her up- you'll thank us both!
back to Instagram I go to get my French on...
Au Revoir!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

10 things I learned in France

We are back from our rendezvous in France! Don't take me as excited because France is one of those places where I could've stayed forever. I loved every ounce of our vacation-  mostly because it was stress free but France its self is one astounding place. To summarize my trip I wanted to share the top 10 things I learned during our time abroad and what I brought back with me.

1. They are HUGE into farming. Some of you might know this. During our train ride to Avignon (Provence) there was nothing but lush green pastures...some vacant...some full of white cattle and sheep. This time of year you'll pass the vibrant yellow canola fields- I don't think I have the words to even describe the beauty of the bright yellow fields. There seems to not be much development and it's a nice change from where we live where there's nothing but tearing down, building up and absorbing what was once beautiful land. I love that farming is still heavy in France and it shows with every meal you have there.

2. They put pride into taking care of themselves. Everyone is sharply dressed, well put together and you don't see much of sweatpants or gym clothes unless someone is honestly working out. Me, I wear yoga pants to Target just because... It was a nice change to see people actually putting themselves together - even if running in for a baguette. I know most of you will disagree with " oh but they smoke"... while some do smoke... it's actually not as common as it here in America. However, when the French do smoke... majority roll their own cigarettes leaving the harmful chemicals behind. Walking- You'll notice parking is very scarce there- leaving many people preferring to walk- which is GOOD! We all need a little exercise instead of fighting each other for the closest parking spot at the grocery store.

3. They appreciate their " Green" Space. With Provence being very rural... you'll especially notice this fact in Paris. With all the many gardens or Jardin's there are to see in Paris- you'll notice that any time of day each one will be full of people. You could be sharing a picnic with friends, sitting by the fountains with a good book or sharing romance with a bottle of champagne. I appreciate a little quality time outdoors - especially in beautiful gardens. This is something I think we could implement!

4. City of Romance. Paris is in fact the most romantic city. Everyone there is lovey dovey- our cab driver even mentioned this to us. It's so true- you'll see couples holding hands- sharing a romantic afternoon at the Tulleries with a bottle of champs or a couple sharing a picnic and book under the cherry blossoms. It's like a beautiful love story here...

5. The food is GOOD. Yes, this is true. I will tell you why their food is good... You see my number 1 up there? This plays a huge part. Because they utilize their fresh quality produce from local farmers. You can probably find processed food in a casino shop but doubt you find it in a restaurant. The french take pride in their food and what they are serving their clientele. Complain all you will about the cost but I'd much rather have a 14 euro burger than a 2.00 mickey d's special. I felt like I was doing my body a favor in France...even if I did eat croissants everyday... I knew that everything was organic and locally grown with no bi product.

6. Architecture. Now, you can argue with me on this one as we all have different taste...but... they do it better over there. They aren't demolishing historical buildings to put up some lame shopping center or to build a plethora of cookie cutter homes. Nope. They are preserving the beautiful buildings they have... they are doing everything they can to make sure they are in working order and keeping them in tip top shape. The buildings are beautiful- some full of shops, some full of swanky apartments and then you have the most beautiful french cottages... most built hundreds of years god they are beautiful. The fact that these homes and buildings are still standing is pretty impressive compared to the advance in building we have today- a house built in 1998 will probably crumble before a house build in 1772. You know I'm right... Even the detail is impressive... google Versailles and let me know when you can hand carve all those details...

7. You need to speak their language. No, I'm not talking about becoming totally fluent in French. It's not necessary- in fact you don't really have to speak any of it if you don't care much about taking in the experience. I think it's very important to learn the basics, like, Hello- Goodbye, How much, How are you...and a few other phrases. Chris and I did a quick start guide and listened to a CD and used a booklet. It was very helpful in some instances where there was actually a language barrier. Try to learn a few things from Menus as well... like chicken is Poulet...this way you have an idea what you're ordering or else you'll be google translating all night long. I think trying to speak their language is super polite and respectful and believe me- they appreciate this! Plus it's fun to learn and try it out!

8. The French/Parisians are NICE. Yes, I said it. You hear all these stigmas about how the french or Parisians are just rude. Sorry, but I didn't have that experience and I went in thinking they were going to be so mean to me. In fact, people were nicer there. For example- it was raining one night and we went out in Avignon for dinner... I walked into the restaurant and asked for a table for 4 being wheelchair friendly- the restaurant was absolutely packed mind you. The owner without hesitation said of course! She ran outside in the rain- grabbed a table from outside, wiped it down, took chairs from other tables inside for us to use and asked people if they would kindly move the table a bit to fit us in. Everyone was very willing and happy to help her. We sat down and let me tell you- the service was incredible! The funny thing is- most were all like this! More people helped us along in Paris- were kinds to us, befriended us- it was truly amazing everywhere we went. 

9. The French value their time. You can expect places to close between 12-2 pm during the day. Dining hours are roughly between 7:30- 10 pm... Sundays, everything is closed and usually even Mondays. The french don't appear to overwork themselves - I could be wrong. From what I observed they focus on having a life and not so much working their life away. 

10. When in as the French do! I mean this literally. It's different there and it's a nice change. Try something new, whether it's a dish with the house sauce, a french cocktail  or just their way of doing things. I think this was the biggest one for me because I love to dive into a different place. I'm excited to explore, learn and see- I want to have a "real" experience and I think that's very important when traveling somewhere new. I know we can all be set in our own ways but you won't learn anything until you decide to step out of your comfort zone and try it. I wanted to do as the french do- I sat at the cafes with my cafe au lait, I had my day baguette, I had no idea what I was ordering sometimes but I ordered just the way it came. For restaurants, I didn't want anything remotely touristy or American... I wanted the real deal french food. I wanted to sit out in the gardens for hours or walk the streets in search of new finds. A good experience is one you can really dive into- so I challenge you all to do this on your next world travel!

Bon Voyage!


Tuesday, March 27, 2018

One dress- 3 ways

Spring is officially here in Florida- minus a few cold days in between. The trees and shrubs are blossoming, the farmers market is full of spring bouquets again. This is no doubt my favorite season. Since the weather has started to warm- I've been on the hunt for spring pieces to update my wardrobe. I like to have a few staple pieces to mix and match and know that I can easily throw something together... (even if I'm still sitting in my closet for hours debating what to wear). My favorite piece is a white linen dress that I found at forever21- I was impressed with the quality of the dress and how well it wears. I decided to pair this dress 3 ways to spark some creativity into your closets on how you might be able to wear some of your staples repeatedly but as different outfits.

For transitioning into spring from winter the days are often a mix of temperatures so I paired my denim jacket (another closet staple) to keep this look cozy, casual and effortless.

To elevate this look I dropped the shoulders on the dress and added a statement earring and a scarf with a pair of low heels. Let the accessories do the work for you in glamming up the dress a bit.

My third look I opted for a scarf belt to accentuate the hip and paired with my go to wedges and a market bag.

I also wore this to pick strawberries with Lilly in one of my latest Instagram post. I've listed similar options below that you can find online.

       Happy Spring Friends!


Sunday, April 30, 2017

Vacation Style Round Up

So, I basically planned my outfits for my trip to New Orleans and Destin waaaay in advance. I had to find the perfect pieces for the trip or else I would've been stuck wearing leggings and t-shirts like every other basic chick. ( I can be super basic) I know I typically tag my photos with the brands but sometimes it's difficult to really pinpoint where I got each single piece from - so I'm creating this post to help source each item to make it easier for you to buy.
French Quarter
The first outfit I shared was the day we visited the French quarter. I knew it would be a lot of walking and it would more than likely be HOT. I opted for something casual as well as comfortable for the stroll. The shirt I purchased from our local Forever 21 (duh) I think I paid maybe 19.00 for it? It was soo comfortable and light weight. I loved the bell sleeves- it seemed to make casual not so casual. The shorts...the day before we left- I ran around the mall like a mad woman trying on shorts from every store to try and find the perfect pair. I finally settled on the pair shown from H&M- I think they were 25.00? Talk about comfort... they are high waisted but didn't ride up - probably my favorite pair of shorts I own. The sandals are from Zara- I saw these online and because they are velvet- I knew I had to have them. These were not only cute but also functional and seemed to go with everything. My bag- this is my dream bag from Zara that I asked someone to buy me in an earlier post... and Chris ended up buying it for me because I was so obsessed and honestly- I don't own that many bags... just shoes...
Garden District
For the Garden District- I knew I wanted to take a blog post photo so I wanted something colorful that reminded me of vacation and that I could wear over and over again- in comes this romper from Zara. It's like a mullet...the front is a dress while the back is considerably a romper. I love the detail with the side cutouts and the ruffles on the shoulders. This is one of my favorite go-tos from here on out. I wore this look with the same sandals from Zara for comfort- however it would look killer with my chunky heels. I also carried my Zara bag with this look.

Garden District take 2
This was actually our last day in New Orleans and I knew I would be spending the next 4 hours in the car so I opted for something super comfortable. Of course I'm wearing the same shorts from H&M but also this striped top from Forever21- I loved how light and airy this top was and it was super comfortable! Also paired with same sandals and bag- see, they go with EVERYTHING!

Dinner in Destin
So before heading home- Chris and I wanted to stop in Destin to hang out around the beautiful beaches there. We weren't ready for reality yet. I saved this number for this occasion as it truly reminds me of vacation style. I purchased this dress/romper at Marshalls a few months back- although I'm certain they still have this in stock in some stores. It's actually a hidden romper but I love the slits and the peek-a-boo affect that it gives. It's casual but super elegant at the same time. You could pair this with heels or flats- I opted for my lace up heels from Forever21- by the way which are super comfortable to walk in- they took on 2 miles in New Orleans... I paired this look with a cute little clutch that I purchased while volunteering at our local Junior League Thrift Shop- I paid 1.00...what a steal!

Beach Day
So the last look of vacation was the beach day. We had 4 more hours of driving until we finally arrived back in Gainesville- so I opted for comfy. I bought this tank a few months back from Target in the "Who What Wear" collection. I love this top- you can mix it up -layer it or wear it as is. I paired it with my highrise H&M shorts, Zara bag and my sandals from Saks- these are the Saks brand but I bought them last summer. 

If you have any questions about any of my other outfits- reach out to me! I'm always happy to spill my secrets of where I shop! You can always shop directly at the store to see if the items are actually in stock- sometimes they aren't always available online.(PS this is not paid- I just really love finding pretty clothes and sharing them with you! )

Sunday, April 16, 2017

What to buy on SALE right now

So I know this weekend was full of family fun festivities and we are finally all relaxing with drink in hand... well kind of... it's bath night my little and I'm just waiting for her to finish her dinner.. (sigh) Meanwhile... I have an empty suitcase staring at me that needs to be packed because we are going to NEW ORLEANS- this week! Excited is an understatement. But, while all the exciting events and plans are going on.. there are also a lot of sales! Most of them are ending tonight but realistically this is probably the only time we've actually had to relax, read, shop...breathe... so I've put together just a few of my favorite items listed from the sales- some for women and some for toddlers- can't leave little cuteness out of the equation... sorry guys... I'm going to have to let Chris weigh in some "man style" influence - although he could actually careless and he has never purchased a single clothing item for himself unless it was camo- let's be real. Love ya anyway (wink wink) He always gets upset he's not included on the blog so that can be his cameo.
Lets start with Shopbop- I honestly don't shop here often but after reading about this major sale - I've browsed through and did find some really nice pieces that are affordable and designer... obviously I'm not going to steer you in the direction to by a 6k dress... it's just not me... sorry. But- they are beautiful! The sale is 20% anything 500.00 and under- if you spend over 500.00 it's 25% off. One key item I'm looking at...Levi shorts... where else am I going to get this discount!? (includes their full price AND sale items) use code: EVENT17 (everything shown is under 125.00)
Completely obsessed with this dress

My FAVORITE- hands down!
Old Navy- I personally don't shop for myself here- only because the women's size runs big on me- I'm pretty petite in height and weight. I have however, shopped their kids section for myself and once in a while it works out for me. The toddler section is like crack- they have so MANY cute clothes and shoes- I literally have maybe 16 items in my shopping cart right now and my total is probably less than 150.00- no lie. They honestly have really good sales often but this weekend or today's sale seems to be really good! 15% off and 50% off!

My all time favorite!

These shorts can be paired with the 2 tops above
We also have these- in gray

Just bought these for Lilly
I didn't have much time to put together one for HM - which is one of my favorite stores next to Zara- there's literally just so much to choose from and I could spend all night linking my favorites items but I'm running out of time. They are having 20% off your purchase over 60.00 and friends- let me tell you... they have some AWESOME dresses for summer weddings... I've already picked one out. They also have a really great kids selection- if you saw my instastory from a few days ago- you saw Lilly modeling a couple of her favorite items. Hurry now as the sale only last for 48 hours!
I can't get enough lace or tulle
My favorite pair of shoes
This cute little dress is only 4.99
I love this little tee!
Okay Friends- that's all for now! Happy Shopping!!
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