December 31, 2012

Happy New Year's Eve

Are you celebrating the New Year? What are you doing?

New Year's will be pretty low key for me, like usual. Justin, my parents, and I will go to see Le Mis tonight, and then we'll probably fall asleep by 10:30p. We head back to Raleigh tomorrow, so I will celebrate 2013 by spending some quality time with my cats. And doing laundry.

2012 was a great year. I'm thankful that I have to think hard to narrow down the list of great things that happened this year.

The first few things that come to my mind are completing the sprint triathlon, being featured on, seeing Newsies in NYC with Justin

On a deeper level, this year presented new challenges that caused me to truly bend to the Lord's will and trust Him completely with the plan for my life. I'll share more about this soon. 

Do you set resolutions for the new year? I set goals, and intentions, for things I want to accomplish in the next year. 

Some links for you:

Happy New Year! 

December 29, 2012

telluride ski trip : day 3 recap

Yesterday was a great day of skiing. Justin and I hit some great runs in the morning and the rest of the family (other than my mom and brother) joined us in the afternoon. My mom is planning on skiing tomorrow as she has finally kicked her sickness!
My brother left to spend a few days in Denver with some friends, so it was just a quick trip for him.

Day 3 : [Ski Trip] Top 5 Moments!

1. I purchased some mittens so my hand-warmers would actually be able to warm my fingers instead of my palms. It was one of the best decisions of my life.

2. We got in some great tree skiing this afternoon!

3. We made it to one of the highest runs in Telluride called "See Forever", where you can literally see for miles and miles. It's absolutely stunning. I felt so small on top of the huge, huge mountains. The views were outstanding.

4. My family sat around the dinner table 2 hours after we all finished eating just talking. It was really nice.

5. During dinner clean up, a biscuit food fight began and migrated to my sisters' bedroom. Evidence here. We're young at heart. 

We've got two more days of skiing ahead! We're planning on snowboarding again on the last day--and that was strategically chosen because if any injuries occur, it will be at the end of the trip. Although we hope it's nothing more than a few bruises!

The ski trip has fallen on this last week of 2012, so I haven't had as much time as I would have liked to really reflect on this year and process my thoughts. I've got some new ideas for 2013, and I'm hoping to share them with you next week! 

December 28, 2012

telluride ski trip : day 2 recap

Well, we tried snowboarding.

And it actually went pretty well--considering we are all first timers.

Justin scouted out some YouTube videos the day before so we felt like we pretty much had learned everything we needed to. Because who needs lessons when there is YouTube? Can I get an amen?

We felt pretty awesome renting our boards. But then we didn't feel quite as awesome as we scooted over to "Meadows", the bunny slope for the newbies. But we had to start somewhere!

Overall, it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. Once I got the hang of the balancing act and lifting my toes to turn, I could totally understand the appeal of snowboarding. You can really cruise.

I have a whole new respect for serious snowboarders who can tear up the mountain though. That's hard stuff.

I did fall each time I got off the chair lift. I mean face plant, roll down the tiny hill, and try to move out of the way of the 4 year olds passing me on their tiny skis.

I limped the rest of the day, but look forward to trying it again!

Everyone else had a similar experience. We felt pretty good, but quickly learned it would take many days to feel really comfortable on the board.

We switched back to skis in the afternoon, and finished out the day!

Day 2 : [Ski Trip] Top 5 Moments!

1. Mom is feeling better and is up for joining us tomorrow on the slopes!

2. We ate a deliciously greasy pizza at Brown Dog Pizza in downtown Telluride and enjoyed a healthy debate of Lebron James' awesomeness. My dad and brother are not fans, but Justin, my sister, mom and I are. It's quite the sensitive subject.

3. Justin and I explored a terrain park and went over a few jumps. Now don't get too impressed here, I went so slow that I barely got any air. But it was fun either way. 

4. My fingers were completely numb with cold but I was very pleased to see they had not turned black and fallen off. I was fairly confident I lost 'em. 

5. Besides a few bruises and some sore heiney's, we all walked away from the first snowboarding attempt in one piece. 

In other news, I miss my cats terribly! They are being well taken care of and I can't wait to see them. 

Also, my hair has been styling like a dream. No humidty is such a nice treat! Makes things so much easier. I envy you who live in these type of climates. 

Overall, it was a fun day, despite chilly temperatures and sitting on the cold snow during the snowboarding attempts. 

December 27, 2012

telluride ski trip : day 1 recap

My family takes an annual ski trip out west (either Utah or Colorado) this time of year. It's the Christmas "gift" to all, and better than that--good old fashioned quality family time.

I think one of the main reasons it works is that there's plenty to do. We all enjoy skiing, and then oftentimes find somewhere to wander and shop to close out the day.

My brother joined us on this trip, and we were all happy that he came. He hasn't been in a few years, so it's been fun to ski with him again. He picked it up immediately, so after only a few green runs to get our "ski" legs back, we headed up higher to the blue and double blues.

My sister is a fantastic skier. Very controlled, has a good pace. She's confident and enjoyed the challenge of steep hills or the occasional mogul.

Justin is a great skier. In fact, the first time Justin came on the family ski trip, after we were married, I was excited to finally have the ability to teach him an athletic skill instead of the other way around. I reveled in the fact that I knew how to do something way better than he did. When it comes to sports, that doesn't happen ever. 

Unless that sport is shopping. At an outlet mall. With my mom and sister. Then I would always win.

So, this first ski trip with Justin. We started on the green slopes, of course. He needed to take it slow, gently figure out how it all works. I would show him how to "pizza" because surely he wouldn't feel confidence cutting back and forth across the run.

If my memory serves me, it took about 1 run and he was great. Nearly better than me in fact. I remember thinking, "DANG IT! I wanted to be better at a sport! I wanted to "wait" for the slow guy coming up the back. Sort of ridicule him, in a flirty way of course, and show him how it's done.

And then I remember thinking, "Kate. You idiot. Now he can ski at your level and you aren't tied to green runs during the whole trip. Get over it."

So I did.

And we love skiing together.

Mom and Dad are steady skiiers, enjoying frequent green runs and the occasional blue. It's really a great mix of skill so we can ski together in the morning, and then venture out in the afternoon.

This year we are in Telluride. It's a old mining town with a lot of charm and mountains. And that's about all. It's a great escape to a different world for a bit of time.

Also, Colorado just legalized marijuana, so everyone is really nice here. And hungry. 

Day 1 : [Ski Trip] Top 5 Moments!

1. Absolutely beautiful weather. The sun would peek through the clouds, and we would occasionally see a flurry.

2. I realized I was wearing my mom's boots which didn't properly fit into my skis. Somehow I managed to cram them in there hard enough to stay put without noticing they weren't properly fitted. #blonde

Thankfully this realization occurred at the bottom of a mountain where I could switch into my own boots. SO GLAD this didn't happen at the top of a blue run. That would have been a long slide down. 

3. Mom was recovering from a little bit of altitude sickness but felt good enough to come out in the afternoon to ski a few runs with dad. 

4. We made homemade spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, the perfect comfort food after a long, cold day.

5. Justin, Marc, Lauren and I all headed into Telluride (the town) last night. The easiest way to get there is by Gondola, and it's a stunning view as you ride into town. There's something I love about a quiet mountain town that closes down at 8:00p. Although, I wouldn't mind seeing a Target or Starbucks every few blocks either. #keepingitreal

Today, we are going to attempt snowboarding. For the first time. Ever. Because, apparently, we think we can do it. 

Here is how we feel this morning: 

Here is how we'll feel this evening:

Wish us luck. And preferably no more than 2 broken bones each. 

December 26, 2012

packing your carry on bag

I've learned a lot of lessons in my "carry on packing" days. I used to bring way too many things, and later compensated by not bringing enough. And it was always those trips, where I didn't pack enough to do, where there was a delay or extra long layover. 

Back in my pre-blogging days (well really, pre-small things blog), I use to write about how annoying it was to deal with other travelers. I really had a cynical, albeit sarcastically funny attitude about it all. My family used to make me read these posts aloud whenever I would arrive home. 

Maybe one day I'll share one of these archived posts from my other blog.

Maybe not. 

We'll have to see. . . 

So, I've tried to narrow down my carry on essentials to the things that I use most frequently on a plane. 

I always make sure to bring advil, tums and chocolate. Each serves a very important purpose. I pack an extra hair tie incase the inevitable static electricty takes over mid-flight. Hand cream and chapstick are a must, as well as tissues. My nose has been running since 2005, so I always carry tissues.

An ipad full of games like DizzyPad, Temple Run, and Tetris, and my favorite magazine.

Finally, a new beautiful scarf --which was a gift from my client. 

What carry on essentials do you pack? I'd love some new ideas! 

December 25, 2012

merry christmas!

Thankful for Christs' birth, knowing Him, and for what He did on the cross. 

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas, and happy new year! 

December 24, 2012

favorite hair tutorials of 2012

one   two   three   four   five   six   seven   

As this year is coming to a close, I thought it would be fun to go through my archives and pick out my personal favorite hairstyle tutorials of this year. 
It's truly a joy to share these techniques with you, and I wish you much success as you style your hair this holiday season. Don't forget about the three holiday hair tutorials over at

December 23, 2012


Do you have any last minute shopping to do?

If you live in/around Raleigh, head over to Loft at Streets of Southpoint and make sure you print off this Inviter Card for 20% off! 


Come shop with us at LOFT at Streets of Southpoint and get 20% off your full price purchase
Valid one day only, Sunday, December 23rd, 2012.

Streets at Southpoint
Durham, NC 27713


December 22, 2012

stella and dot giveaway

Nicole, my Stella and Dot consultant, is giving away a $25.00 gift card to one lucky winner! And if you use the gift card to order in December, for every $50 you spend you will receive $25 in Dot Dollars to use January 3-10.  <---this applies to anyone who shops stella and dot, regardless of giftcard! 

Some of my favorites are : 

Use the giveaway tool below to enter! The winner will be chosen TOMORROW! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

December 21, 2012

three things

It was raining last night. A steady consistent fall, that left my wipers operating at the perfect speed.

Just when I needed the windshield to be wiped, they swiped. As if they knew. Smarties.

But it got me thinking. I do all my thinking in the car. Keeps me from texting--although now that Siri is around she gets used like a can of hairspray <---see what I did there.

Anyway. . .

One of the luxuries of my job behind the chair is getting to talk with my clients. Not chit-chat about the weather or the Kardashians, but real talk. All of my clients are regulars, and have been coming to me anywhere from 1-5 years.

I know them. Some of them I knew very deeply. Which I love.

And one thing that is overwhelmingly consistent among a lot of the people in my life, from clients to friends to new friends at church and so on, is the similarities we share. We may struggle with different things, or celebrate different things, but there is a level of sameness among us.

That never really registered until I allowed myself to open up more. The more I opened up, the more I saw these similarities in my friends. Notice I'm not using the word "identical". We're all different, but we've walked down similar roads, maybe at the same time, or maybe not.

And we've found things that bring us peace and contentment. And joy!

I tend to be pretty introspective. I blame it partially on my philosophy degree, partially on my sensitive nature, and partially ( I hope ) on a willingness to better myself. To improve the parts that I want to improve. Like organization. And my sense of humor. I kid. (obviously don't need improvement there)

Do you focus too much on things you want to change about yourself, that you miss the good things?

Do you think about the things you like about yourself? Not in a narsissistic or vain way, but in a "I like that part of my personality" way. Do you like that you are funny? Thoughtful? Emotional? Calm? Spontaneous?

Can you think of three things you like about yourself? Not accomplishments or achievements, but deep personality type of things.

Mine are listed in the photo above.

Maybe it's the end of the year (or the WORLD!!!! kidding.) that's got me thinking about this. I'm not a resolution kind of girl, but I do like to reflect, and try to grow from experiences.

So, if you are willing, share those three things in the comments below. And remember those in the times you are struggling.

And as you enter into 2013 soon, and set goals or make resolutions, don't forget your great parts.

December 20, 2012

daily makeup routine

I've updated a few items in my daily makeup routine so I thought it was time to share my favorite products with you again. 

1. Benefit It's Potent Eye Cream. Applied daily under my eyes
2. Arbonne Makeup Primer. One pump used all over my face.
3. Mac Pro Longwear Concealer. Used under my eyes and on blemishes
4. Arbonne Perfecting Liquid Foundation. One pump used all over my face, oftentimes applied with fingers--occasionally a brush when I have time.
5. Tarte Blush in "Amused"
6. Neutrogena Bronzer
7. Mac Paint Pot in Painterly // eyeshadow primer. Applied by fingers on eyelid.
8. Mac eyeshadow in Era
9. Mac eyeshadow in Brun
10. Mac eyeshadow in Vanillla
11. Stila Smudge Stick in smoke // used on my lower lash line.
12. Sephora Eyelash Curler
13. Maybelline Gel Liner // used on my top lash line.
14. Tweezerman Tweezers.
15. Maybelline Eyebrow Pencil
16. Mac Studio Fix powder // used to set makeup.
17. Cover Girl Lash Blast Mascara
18. L'Oreal Voluminous False Fiber Lashes

I'm not very creative when it comes to doing my makeup. The most adventurous thing I try is a new lip color. You'll find me in the same brown/neutral eyeshadow for years. 

Do you find it hard to discover the right eyeshadow? It has taken me awhile to discover the right darkness, without being too smokey, without any hint of red or warmth. All the browns I wear have to be very neutral/blue based, otherwise I look like I've been crying for weeks.

My favorite product, of all that is pictured above, is the foundation. I wrote more about it here. Simply put, it's the best foundation I've ever used. It's not cheap, but it does last for months (depending on usage of course). And I have found it to be valuable to invest in a high quality foundation in order to avoid breakouts, bad coverage, or a mismatched tone. 

I also love using that Stila Smudge Crayon in Smoke on my lower lash line. It gives depth and color, without looking too heavy or dark. And it's reflective, so it both brightens and gives some color to my eyes.

December 19, 2012

accessorizing a little black dress

Do you have any fancy parties to go to this holiday season? For Christmas or New Years? If you are sticking to the classic "lbd" (little black dress), play around with some new jewelry to change up the look. Below are some suggestions of necklace/earring combinations, but keep in mind if the neckline of your dress is different, some of these combinations may not work.

Other ways to spice up your little black dress are with fun tights, a unique clutch, or colorful shoes

Most of all, wear something you are comfortable in so you can enjoy your evening!

December 18, 2012

blooper video

Did you know I refuse to watch the first 10-20 videos that are published on the blog? It's literally painful to see how uncomfortable I am in front of the camera.

I never inteneded on being the girl styling the hair. When the idea of hair tutorials came to me, I searched and searched on youtube so I wouldn't have to make them myself.

I couldn't find what I was looking for, so I filmed a few.

People kind of like them.

So I kept filming.

And here I am, a year and a half later, still filming.

but still needing a LOT of editing. . .

this video features many blank stares, a Grits cameo, and the voice of my sister. And lots of awkwardness.

accessories giveaway!

Henle Headband Giveaway!

"Through the desire to wear headbands that are simple and sassy (and don't hurt your head), Henle Headbands was born. Henle is the original clip-in headband that was designed to NEVER give you a headache!
Be Individual. Stay Induvidual. Love Henle."

These headbands are really easy to wear, and truly do not give you a headache! Henle Headbands offers a variety of styles, so be sure to check out the shop! 

Would you like to win a Henle Headband Starter Kit? It includes a selection of headbands from all three of the series from the collection.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


December 17, 2012

Start your Holidays: Holiday Organization Part 3

The aspect of Christmas that tends to be the most chaotic for me is shopping for and wrapping gifts. I tend to leave it to the last minute and part of that reason why is that I always think I may add just one more item to the gift.

So I wait to wrap it until it's too late, and I end up throwing the whole gift in a bag with tissue paper. Now, there is nothing wrong with that, but my creative side enjoys the wrapping process and I always regret not leaving enough time for it.

I recently shared a few apps and printable sheets to help organize your Christmas shopping list. Those will help me keep all the gifts straight this year, so I'm planning on having plenty of time to wrap. And since I'll be checking off everything on the list, I'll know that the gift is complete.†

I like to shop for gift tags, ribbon and other wrapping accessories at either Hobby Lobby or Target. Both stores have a good variety and their prices are pretty fantastic.

When it comes to ribbon, my mom taught me the quickest way to curl a pile of ribbon.

I used to cut individual pieces and curl each one. Then gather them up and tie them into a bunch.

My mom taught me to cut a long string of ribbon and curl the entire piece until you have a good pile. Then, "fold" it onto itself until you have a center point to tie, and tie it into a bunch!

When you are wrapping your gifts, sometimes less is more. My childhood was filled with trying to tear the impossibly tight ribbon off of a box. My mom would always laugh and hand the pair of scissors my way. A great stocking stuffer would have been a pair of scissors open the rest of the gifts!
I like to add unique pieces to the outside of my gifts. For example, if I'm gifting a hair accessory, I'll attach it to the outside of the box. It distinguishes your gift, and it's a pretty way to creatively wrap.

I also like to use unsuspected items as gift toppers. I made these gold dipped feathers for myself, but thought they would be the perfect gift topper. They were cheap, simple to make, and it's possible the recipient of the gift may use them as well! It's a little more interesting than a bow.†

So while the wrapping can be time consuming, it always pays off to see the eyes of the recipient light up at your beautiful gift. And my favorite part of Christmas is sitting in the circle, with my family, and watching everyone open their gifts.†
What is your most favorite holiday tradition?†Answer that question, and you will be entered for a chance to win a $50 Starbucks gift card, courtesy of BlogHer.
No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
b) Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the†following unique term in your tweet message: ""#SweepstakesEntry""; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
c) Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 12/17/12 - 12/28/12.
Visit the Starbucks brand page on††where you can read other bloggersĂ­ posts and find more chances to win!

December 14, 2012

High Five for Friday!

It's Friday!

This week has flown by. You know the kind? Where you can't believe it's Friday already?

1. The biggest thing that happened this week was the feature on If you haven't already, check out the 3 holiday hair tutorials I created just for Real Simple

2. We are so pleased with how many of you have purchased our eCookbook! We hope you've enjoyed the recipes so far! Did you hear we are donating 10% of the profits to Feeding America? So thank you for helping us give back.

3. My client Andrea gave me this beautiful scarf for Christmas. I love it! It's from Boden, a clothing store that has really cute stuff--similar to J.Crew

4. If you are still Christmas shopping for your girlfriends, be sure to check out my holiday gift guide on the Birchbox blog! 

5. Random, but I've committed to getting up at 5:00a with my husband to go to the gym. It's surprising how quickly my body has gotten used to it, and I love having a few extra hours in the morning to blog! 

I hope you had a great week! Link up with Lauren with your High Five for Friday post! 

December 13, 2012

DIY dotted placemat

If at any point in the near(ish) future you are having a dinner party and you need cute placemats. . . make these. 

All you need? Martha Stewart metallic acrylic paint (or any kind of craft paint), some tool to "dot" with, and a plain placemat.

diy gold-dipped feathers coming soon! 

December 12, 2012

two brights

coral top // purple sweater // jeans // wedges (Franco Sarto via TJ Maxx)

I wasn't sure how these two tops would go together, but I tried them on and thought it worked. I didn't buy them with the intention of wearing them together, but as I was wearing the coral top and looking for a sweater to wear over it, my eye kept going to this purple sweater. 

This coral top is the kind of shirt that can be worn year-round. It will be simple to wear in the spring and summer, since it's a bright color and a lightweight fabric, but I've also found ways to incorporate it into my winter wardrobe. Pairing it with darker colors, from heather grey to navy, it can act as a subtle addition to a mostly "dark" outfit.

Do you store away all your summer clothes in the winter? Think twice before you pack everything away. . . you may be surprised how a blouse or shirt can be paired with a sweater for winter!