January 31, 2013

January Birchbox

On this last day of January, I will finally share my January Birchbox!

I love the Deborah Lippmann "Stripper to go" nail polish remover pads for travel. I've collected a few of these over my year and a half recieveing Birchbox, and stash them away for later use!

The Balm Hot Mama blush is a really beautiful color. Perfectly peach, with a subtle hit of shimmer. It's very similar to this blush, which is very popular and very flattering!

The clarifying shampoo is great to use every once in awhile. Clarifying shampoos can help cleanse hair of excess product build-up and excess oil. This is not the kind of shampoo you want to use daily. Start, if you feel necessary, with once a month.

The fragrance is nice, and the cream is nourishing without being greasy or heavy! 

If you have any questions about Birchbox, click here

January 30, 2013

gold-dipped feathers

This DIY is almost embarrasingly simple. 

But it's the kind of thing that is perfect to have around for adding finishing touches to a gift, a place setting, home decor, or practically any other place you want to accessorize with a gold-dipped feather.

I used this craft paint, and some clear glitter I had laying around. I bought the feathers at Michaels.

My sister hung a bunch of these, that she made herself, over her bed and I absolutely love the way it looks. 

For now, mine are sitting in that glass box, as shown above, but I'm not afraid to relocate them to other places in my home. 

The only place you won't find them? My hair. Although as I write this that could make for an interesting avant-garde look? 

We'll see.

January 29, 2013

blush and neutrals + a giveaway

I've been sifting through my clothes lately, purging what I don't wear, and trying to think more creatively about what I own. I found this blush top, from J.Crew factory from two years ago, and this wheat colored sweater and tried them together.

The necklace, while neutral as well, is large enough to be the focus of the outfit, so I've kept it simple to balance everything out.

Leslie, with Chloe + Isabel, is giving away a "prize pack" of a bracelet and two pairs of earrings (here, here). Shop the rest of Chloe + Isabel here

Would you like to win?
Enter using the giveaway tool below! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

January 28, 2013

elizabeth olsen barely waves hair tutorial

Not long after Elizabeth Olsen came onto the hollywood scene, I began to notice her hair. She has a great sense of style, and typically wears flattering and beautiful hairstyles.

I love the "barely waves" that she's wearing here:

If my hair was a few inches longer, I think I would be able to make it look even more like hers, but I've got to work with what I've got! 

*there's a quick blooper at the end :)

1 // 2 // 3 // 4


lipstick : J. Crew

I recently cut bangs in a hasty decision to do something different with my hair. I'm enjoying them! 

January 27, 2013

a private shopping event for you!

The day is here! I can't wait to meet you tonight at Loft ( at Streets of Southpoint Mall in Durham, NC) for the private shopping event.

I spent 3 hours styling the dress forms with my favorite picks in the store. I started with about 15, but narrowed it down to my favorite 12 looks. These will be displayed tonight! 

As soon as I was finished putting the looks together, I considered grabbing all of them, walking to the check out, and buying everything.

But I restrained myself.


I did buy a few things that were calling out to me while I was there.

I picked up the cupcakes from Daisy Cakes bakery in Durham yesterday. I also considered eating every last one of them, but I saved them for you. You are very, very welcome.

The event is from 7:30-9:00p TONIGHT! It is after regular hours, so don't be confused (Loft typically closes at 7:00p on Sundays) Loft is located next to West Elm directly outside of the mall in the "outdoor" shopping area. *call (919) 484-8224 if you are lost

Be sure to print off the coupon for 20% off your entire purchase! In addition to that, the promotion today is $50 of your purchase of $100.00 (full price items) So, with the two promo's combined, you could be walking out of Loft with $100 of new clothes for only $40.00!

Tweet me ( @K8_smallthings ) or comment here if you have any questions about the event!

See you tonight!

January 25, 2013

maybe the tagline finally makes sense

I have a new favorite lip product. It's called Maybelline Color Whisper. It provides moisture along with a hint of color, that's layer-able if you want more depth. You know how their tagline is "maybe she's born with it, maybe it's maybelline." ? Well, it finally rings true. People may actually think you were born with this lip color. does the post title finally make sense? maybe she's born with the gift of writing witty titles, maybe it takes hours of terrible ideas until she settles on one.

I'd compare it closely to the Revlon Lip Butters, that I wrote about here, but with a lighter, less "waxy" finish. I wouldn't describe the Lip Butters as waxy, but compared to the finish of the Color Whisper lip color, they are heavier and more dense.

So far I've only tried "Pin Up Peach", which is a great pink-y nude. It's perfect for daytime wear, but can also be thrown on top of a lipstick for shine + pink finish.

The staying power is pretty much what you would think of when you hear about a sheer, lightweight product, so you'll definitely need to reapply after a few hours, but you won't have the uneven fading that may sometime happen with lipstick.

p.s. Ulta is having a buy 1 get 1 50% off right now- click here to shop

Complete side note : aren't those earrings just gorgeous? My stella and dot consultant Nicole sent them to me as a christmas gift. I've worn them several times and love them. Thanks again Nicole! 

In other news, if you live in the area, I hope you can come to the private shopping event on Sunday evening at Loft in Streets of Southpoint Mall (Durham, NC)! Print off your coupon here, and arrive at 7:30p. The event goes until 9:00, and I'll be there offering style advice, suggesting some of my favorites, and eating some of the delicious cupcakes provided by Daisy Cakes!

January 24, 2013

fondue for you

I'm not sure if there is any other dessert that gives off the "friends gathered around a campfire enjoying food and conversation", like fondue. I suppose the only other dessert would be s'mores because, well, you gather around a campfire and enjoy friends and conversation when you make s'mores.

Unless you make those suckers in the microwave. And if you haven't microwaved a marshmallow yet, you should. Just keep and eye on it. You'll know what I mean later.

My mom made this fondue a year or so ago, and it became one of Justin's favorite desserts. It's mine too, of course, but I like almost any dessert. Justin is a little bit pickier with his sweet tooth.

It really can be considered a "pantry" dessert, since you probably have all the items for the fondue already. All you need to buy are some "dippin's". 

Chocolate Fondue

1 stick of butter
6 oz. semi sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup vanilla ice cream ( I prefer Breyers Homemade Vanilla)

Melt butter in a saucepan over low/medium heat. Add chocolate chips and sugar, and simmer until chips are melted and the sugar has broken down a bit (just a few minutes). Add vanilla and ice cream. Stir until well combined and warmed through.

You can also add some "mix in's" like crushed oreo or almonds.

Serve in a bowl with sides like bananas, strawberries, cream puffs, cookies, wafers, pound cake squares, kiwi, pineapple, and basically any other thing that goes with chocolate. 


January 23, 2013

emerald skirt

blouse, Francescas similar
skirt, c/o Tailor & Stylist (10% off with "smallthings10" code!)
tights, anthropologie
shoes, similar & cuter
bag, kate spade similar
necklace, banana republic outlet (very old) 

I'm sure by now you've heard that Pantone declared Emerald the color of 2013. I'm not as excited about it as I was for Tangerine Tango in 2012, but I'm sure emerald will make it's way into my wardrobe this year.

Actually, it already began with this skirt. I was drawn to the high waist and subtle pleats on the back, along with the muted emerald color. It's easy to pair existing pieces with it, rather than working with a particularly bright green skirt.

I was excited to wear these tights, as well, however these went straight into the trash can after I shot this. First of all, they were size "s/m or m/l" which isn't exactly clear. I thought that was strange when I bought them, but I assumed they would be the stretchiest tights I'd ever wear.

Not the case. They were way too short, and I'm not even all that tall. They were also crazy thin, so the tugging to try to stretch them long enough caused a few runs.

Anyway, don't buy them. But if you see any other polka dot tights like these, let me know. I'm a pretty big fan.

January 22, 2013

eyeliners explained and how to apply gel eyeliner

The most commonly used liner is a pencil. It's the type that women are most familiar with, it's the easiest to use, and the quickest to apply.

Since I've ventured into gel liner, I'm not sure I'll ever go to back to wearing just pencil liner. I love the impact and deep line I'm able to get from gel. Sure, a few strokes back and forth with a kohl pencil liner (these are usually very soft and easy to apply) will give you a nice, dark line, but there's something about the thick line of gel that gives me more impact and lasting power than pencil.

As far as pencils go, I typically use my Mac powerpoint eye pencil. I've also used liners from Revlon, Stila, and Covergirl, and been equally satisfied. If you are looking for eyeliner, I recommend always buying waterproof. It will last longer and not be as likely to smudge. And it's not as challenging to remove as, say, waterproof mascara.

The only gel liner I've tried is the Maybelline Eye Studio Gel Eyeliner. It comes with a narrow pointed brush, but I prefer an angled brush like this one. I'm pleased with the consistancy, staying power, and color. 

I don't use liquid liner often, and I'm much more likely to "dot between my lashes" when I use it instead of drawing a bold line. Here is a tip when using liquid liner to make your lash line look thicker.

I've enjoyed the Revlon ColorStay liquid liner. It's inky, the brush is small, and a little product goes a long way.

And now for a tutorial on how to use gel liner! It may seem pretty obvious, but I've got a trick that helps guide me when I'm applying the gel.

January 21, 2013

easier than it looks updo tutorial

I think one of the most important things in creating a beautiful updo is breaking the hair down into smaller sections. Oftentimes, due to lack of time or even lack of experience, I see women trying to gather all their hair and quickly throw it up into an updo, when instead it would actually be quicker to take it section by section.

For this style, I did just that. This is a great way to achieve a lot of volume at the crown--which is one of the tell tale signs between a professional updo and a "home" updo. If you can get volume at the crown, you'll make any updo look fancy.

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

polka dot top (similar)

January 18, 2013

High Five for Friday : over-caffinated edition

Have you ever had one of those weeks where you had way too much time to get your tasks done but you, in fact, got nothing done at all?

It's been one of those. My husband was out of town for a few days, so I locked myself in my office and began working on ( read: starting ) a pile of blog-related things. . .but got nothing finished.

I need an idea executer. I've got lots of ideas, but fail to execute them. Too many ideas, too little time. 

Also, I'm trying to chill out a little bit and streamline my jobs . . . things . . . life.<--let's be honest.

Nonetheless, this has been a week with five highs. You did realize that was the whole play on words with my sister's link up "High Five for Friday". We aren't just high fiving for no reason. C'mon. We're high fiving about our five high things for the week. Okay, am I high? 

Here we go! 

1. My mom is a slightly huge fan of Skinny Pop popcorn. She talks about it frequently. She'll group text my sister and I reminding us how much she loves it. Also, my dad also has a secret stash of Skinny Pop in his office. It's a strange, but deep, love.

I left my bag of popcorn in my work bag and couldn't reach it while I sat in traffic. Misery.

I finally broke down and bought some the other day, and I completely understand the unnatural love. It tastes identical to the popcorn from "The Popcorn Shop" in my home town. This shop is a candy shop, about 4 1/2 feet wide that was build within an alley.
They made you fight to get to your candy. Not really, but you could only stand shoulder to shoulder with one other person, and if they were filling their bag with all the lolipops, you just had to stand behind them, breathing down their neck, waiting for them to move along.
I know what you are thinking. "Sounds safe!"
It's legit. And it was one of my favorite places to go to in order to stock up on sour patch kids and sixlets as a kid. 

2. It occured to me this week, for some reason, that I wasn't being very trendy with my jeans. I became worried that I was like the women that never grow out of (ex. women rocking 80's bangs in the 2000's) the trends.

Was I judged for wearing flare jeans? Did people look at me and think ,"Oh, how cute. She still wears flare jeans. That's so sweet, sweet thing. God bless her soul." 

When Justin and I went bike shoping, I wore some old flare jeans and the man at the bike shop suggested that I may want to "roll up my bell bottoms so they don't get caught in the chain."

That's when the fear started. Are my jeans , ::gasp:: , out of style?

And then I thought, "Okay, no." But texted my sister and she said flare's were out so, turns out I was a little out of style.

This does not mean I'll retire my flares. Flares flatter my body shape. I like flares. I just need to add a little trendy variety into the mix.

But I ain't doin' skinnies.

My "j.lo" doesn't enjoy the skinny jean. I'll wear skinny jeans tucked into boots, and skinny jeans rolled up with flats/wedges, but that's it.

So I settled with boot cut. I found a great pair at Banana Republic--on sale for $50.00. #winning #ihateyoucharliesheen

Here I am all trendy-like :
See how happy I am in my trendy boot cuts?

3. I had a really great time teaching an online class on using Pinterest to grow your blog via the Influence Network on Monday night. I'm hoping to offer this class, or something similar again, so keep your eyes on the Influence Network site for all the class updates.

You may also continue to read my blog for updates about my classes. I'll allow it.

Anyway, I'm pretty pale (which I embrace) but there is something that happens to skin color between real life and the webcam that is . . .well . . .alarmingly unsettling. So I set up my umbrella lights and that helped remedy the situation.

What wasn't helpful was the fact that my cats decided to brawl during my class. In my office. In plain sight of the camera.  And my husband was gone, so I was the only "cat parent" around to yell.
I wasn't sure if the attendees would maintain any level of respect for me if I scolded the cats like I usually do : 
"Mr. Gravison. PULL IT TOGETHER."
"Guys. Love each other. We're a family. Snuggle."
"GRITNESS DUGGAR. STOP going for Gravy's jugular."
(I simply cannot explain the "Duggar" addition to Grits' nickname. It happened once and stuck.)
So I let them brawl, just like animals do. Gravy won, like usual. He's the alpha.

It's kind of a shame my cats aren't as talented as these guys. That would have made for quite the show.

4. This post is getting exhaustinly long. If you've made it this far, I commend you for sticking around.

5. My sister invited me over for breakfast for dinner tonight. Well, sort of. I called her and recommended, strongly, that she invite me over for breakfast for dinner and a game night and she agreed. So, when you really get down to it, she was looking for an opportunity to invite me over, and I allowed her one.

It's kind of a ritual to have breakfast for dinner whenever it snows in Raleigh, and we got a bit of snow last night. It's a big deal here, and all the residents flee to the grocery store and purchase all the eggs, milk, and bread they can find.

As if the only meal they are going to make is French Toast.

Why are we not buying frozen pizza and ice cream, people of Raleigh? Where did this go wrong?
So, I crave breakfast food around snow days, along with the rest of the citizens.

I hope you had a good week! Enjoy your weekend, and you'll see me Monday (get it? because I post a video on Monday's?)

Okay, signing off. 

Too. Much. Caffeine. 

Link up here!

January 17, 2013

raspberry love

I've acquired a deep love for all things raspberry. It's a perfect "not pink, but kind of pink" color for winter. While I'd love to wear red lips and a-line dresses everyday (I was made for the 50's), raspberry has been the perfect modern alternative to a classic.

Last summer I had the opportunity to design a nail polish color for Zoya through Birchbox. I created a mood board full of rich corals and pinks, and Zoya created the little beauty shown below.

I have no idea where any of the items pictured are from. If you know, let me know in the comments.

It's also named "Kate".
You can buy a trio of polishes (including Kate) here.

My go-to nail polish this winter is Miami Beet by OPI. I layered 1 coat of Kate on top of 2 coats of Miami Beet and was left with a brighter, punchier raspberry color. You should try it.
The Zoya polish is made to be layered in that it's more of a gelly formula instead of a highly pigmented shade like Miami Beet. It is not gel nail polish, it's just thinner and slightly more translucent than other polishes.

Even more raspberry love:

1. Embrace the pale face this winter and add a bright blush.
2. Benetint is the perfect solution for lip color on date night! It's not as heavy as lipstick, but will give you a great flush of color.
3. I love the consistancy of Sugar lip balm. It's creamy and moisutizing without being waxy. 
4. For a more vibrant raspberry gloss, try Korres Lip Butter Glaze.
5. Miami Beet is the perfect deep raspberry shade.
6. Nothing smells quite as delicious as Philosophy shower gels

January 16, 2013

umba box number one

Have you heard of Umba Box? I've had it on my mind for a few months but didn't bite the bullet to subscribe until December. I purchased a 3 month regular subscription, and my first box arrived last week.

Umba box is a monthly subscription service, similar to the Birchbox concept, but instead of cosmetics you receive unique handmade items. 

Each box is $25.00. And that is why I waited so long. While I value handmade, and love getting a suprise every month, I wasn't quite sure if I was going to be glad about spending $25/month on items that I'm not sure I'll like.

Hence: the trial period. I'll see how it goes.

My first box had 2 items, a lip balm and a desktop calendar.

The lip balm does taste delicious, and I love the calendar. In fact, I once considered getting into the letterpress world because I love a beautiful letter-pressed card. Turns out, letterpress machines cost a pretty penny so I decided to table that idea for the time being. 

Would I spend $25.00 on either of these things on my own? Probably not. Not because they aren't worth that, but simply, they aren't things I would typically spend that kind of money on. But that's the nature of these box subscriptions! You are presented with new items and exposed to new businesses, so you need to be open-minded about it.

I really do understand why they charge $25/month. In order to receive high quality handmade items, you have to charge for it. I imagine they wouldn't be able to find the same caliber of designers for, let's say, a $10/month subscription. 

I'll share my review of next month's box, and then in March share whether or not the subscription is something I'll be keeping up.

Are you a subscriber? What are your thoughts?