by boe Loot

Last month, I was lucky enough to win a giveaway on A CUP OF JO  to pick out a piece of jewelry of my choice from by boe. Getting that email was soo exciting! The first and only blog giveaway I’ve ever won (they’re not rigged after all! ; ) ).

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Of course, I documented the always fun package-opening so you can experience it with me. haha. There is something so satisfying about pretty packaging.

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After literal hours of browsing, analyzing, and friend-consulting, I chose the Amazon necklace in sterling silver.

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Here’s my goofy mirror shot showing off my bling.

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It definitely has a handmade aesthetic (I even had to do an easy repair job when one of the arms detached from the chain) but I do like it a lot! I’m still finding outfits that work best with it and I might even work my way up to layering with it one day. I’ve never been a long necklace person so there is a slight learning curve. : )

Thanks so much to Jo and by boe for my necklace! It was a thrill to win and pick out my new jewelry. It was a great intro to by boe and I have bookmarked them for later. Sterling silver jewelry is really difficult to find at a decent price, so I’ll be back!

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Favorite 2013 Planners

2013 is around the corner, and that means it’s time to start thinking about getting a new planner! Despite my many technological gadgets that are capable of keeping track of important dates and events, I take such joy in jotting them down in a pretty book. Here are some beauts I stumbled upon:


-1- | -2- | -3- | -4- | -5- | -6-

Without further ado, here is my personal pick for 2013, which I will be purchasing soon!

I chose #2 from my roundup, which was inspired by the book Parisian Chic: A Style Guide (top two books pictured above). Not only does the planner have an adorable layout with bonus fashion tips, the format is just what I was looking for. There are so many options available, but I’ve found that daily spaces without times plus extra space on each page for to-dos and notes is best for me. And I prefer to go without all the extra contacts, website, subway map, etc. pages that many books boast.

Shout-out to #3 on my list: I had this during my last year of college and LOVED it! It has pages for life and school goals, study checklists, to-do lists, class schedules, etc. The layout is fabulous and useful. Every page has college advice and/or an inspirational quote from other college students. If I were still a student, I would still be using this, hands down!

And remember, if you find a planner that works for you but you’re not loving the cover, you can  change it until you do! {Like this and this}

What is your favorite planner?

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Nails Nails Nails

Here’s my recent manicure roundup courtesy of my Instagram account. 🙂

Confetti Glitter

Copper Micro French Tips + Dotted Accent Nail

Aqua + Glitter Accent Nail

Subtle Pearl + Copper Plaid

Ombre Ingredients {+ Breakfast}

Pink Ombre + Ring Pops!

Ring pop power. #bachelorette #ringpops #candy #jewelry

A post shared by Jessica {Leigh} Efthyvoulos (@sparkleigh) on

Nude + Gold Polka Dots

Black & White Checkered French Tips + Gold Glitter

Ballet Pink  + Silver Glitter Accent Nails

Metallic Foil Purple + Silver + Black Scalloped Tips

                            Technique via

I still can’t believe how huge and popular nail art has gotten! Such a fun and creative outlet for me.  I wonder what my Thanksgiving nails will be! Ooh . . .

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Pumpkin Decor

Thanksgiving is coming up and this year my family will be hosting a shindig alfresco. Of course, I’m pretty excited to come up with decorations. There are so many wonderful ideas floating around the internet nowadays. Here are some of my favorite ways to decorate using pumpkins:

I still have some time left to start narrowing down my options. Since we’ll likely be eating outside (shouldn’t be too bad in Southern California), I think I’m going to run with the idea of warmth and glow. Hmm. Decisions, decisions. Do you know what you’ll be doing for Thanksgiving yet?

Sources:
Paint Glitter Drill Lace Decoupage Scrape Carve Gild Paint

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Savory French Toast

Wow. I think 3 months is a significant enough blogging break, yes? Time to get back at it! Since I last blogged, I’ve gone on two trips, have become slightly obsessed with Instagram, explored two new job ventures, turned 25 on my roof while watching fireworks with someone special, lost a petand successfully co-planned and orchestrated one of my best friend’s wedding along with another best friend who was also a fellow bridesmaid (phew!). I also ate. As I love to do. Here’s a dish I documented just for you guys!

Savory French Toast

We had some formerly delicious jalapeño bread from a local organic bakery that was pretty tough and stale, but I didn’t want to give it to the dogs just yet. Since normal bread in the same condition usually gets turned into french toast, I decided I’d give this savory bread the same fate.

First, I mixed eggs with some milk and my favorite smoked seasoning salts from Trader Joes.

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After blending well, I dipped each side of bread into the egg and milk mixture and dropped the bread into a pan sizzling with butter.

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I cooked each side until golden brown and then set aside on a plate and repeated the process with the rest of the bread.

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In the meantime, while the bread was cooking, I started a basic white or cream sauce to top the french toast (somehow I didn’t think maple syrup would cut it).

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I decided a cheese sauce would be even better, so I shredded some cheddar and whisked it into the sauce.

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Ooh la la! I seasoned the sauce with a dash of worcestershire, some Franks, freshly cracked black pepper and sea salt.

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I knew a certain boy would be enjoying it with me, and like many other boys, this one appreciates the addition of meat. I crisped up some diced summer sausage in a small cast iron pan while everything else cooked (it draws out all the fat while bringing out the flavor of the sausage).

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I knew this dish would be incredibly rich, so I diced up some tomatoes to cut through the fat and add some nice contrast in temperature and texture.

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I plated it up and we dove in moments after.

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It was a hit and didn’t last long. 🙂

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I had fun experimenting in the kitchen and was thrilled it turned out well! I much prefer this to sweet french toast and wouldn’t hesitate to play with savory flavors again. What is your favorite savory breakfast food?

Happy eating!

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Mani Time

Lately I’ve been slacking in the nail art department! I’ve been lucky enough to find time to let regular coats dry, let alone do additional fun stuff. Here’s what I’ve done over the last couple of months. Life is so much more fun with nail art though, so I’m determined to get back into it. 🙂 Enjoy!

It looks white, but the base color was actually a pale blue. After it started chipping, I threw on a crackle coat for camouflage.

And then when that started chipping, I added yet another camouflage of turquoise tips. haha.

I loved these screaming, neon, watercolor-esque blended nails

Before taking off the polish, I played with a feather look that I will definitely experiment with again

Sparkle french tips

And my current nails, hot pink glitter with bow lace trim

Hope your week gets off to a great start!

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Decoupaged Day Planner Part 2

Happy weekend! Only a few hours left until Monday; hope you’re making the most of your Sunday night.

Without further ado, here’s my made-over day planner post I promised last month. {See part one, here!} I needed a new one (and had to end the school year planner cycle by jumping into the June section of a Jan.-Dec. calendar planner. No more school; bittersweet!) but am always on a super-tight budget, so I headed to the 99 Cent Store and found one in a size I liked. It was plain, but I liked the color, so I went ahead and splurged for $1. 🙂

I decided to jazz it up with a chevron-inspired pattern using masking tape and paint.

The paint all peeled off, so I retaped and instead used a paint pen. Thankfully, this method worked.

Then I topped the gold paint pen off with some sparkly nail polish for some extra pizazz.

Ta-da! Easy peasy, and one of a kind.

While putting together this post, I took a break to make kale chips that are now completely gone. haha. Now to wash them down with a little something. . .

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