Um...No Ma'am.

A longer, more fitting title for this post would be "Things I Will Not Be Wearing This Fall for the Remainder of My Time on Earth"

Per usual, before bed last night, I sat down to do some bloggy stuff on the ole PC for Trend Watch Wednesday this week. Things were going swimmingly for the first 10 minutes or so-  pea coats and parkas and clogs (oh my!) The evening, however, took a drastic and horribly tacky turn when I stumbled across the new Fall 2010 line from H&M.

Let's preface the following by saying, we all love H&M. They've done wonders for making fashion affordable for gals (and guys) of all ages, shapes and sizes and I'm the first to run like a crazed lunatic toward those enticing red "H" and "M" letters whenever I visit bigger cities. But...

Please see Exhibit A below.

I give you, a squirrel sweater.

This is not a joke. Someone actually sat down and sketched this beauty out and SOLD the concept of a rodent-themed sweater (along with a well-known bridge in Brooklyn) to a panel of H&M stylists.

Oh, it gets better...

Behold! Some sweet MC Hammer pants. In sparkly tweed.

...but the train doesn't stop there, ladies.

Grab a saddle and change into your dead-sexy pleather riding pants in a lovely camel color. Perfect for a day of frolicking about on the horse farm OR remembering why you shouldn't have had that extra bagel.

And finally....

It's a litte bit Sergeant Pepper, a little bit Sherlock Holmes. And I'm obviously not cool enough to understand the appeal of this coat.

To be fair though, there were a few pieces of the collection that I actually did think were quite charming. For instance, this little polka dot flouncy dress. With a pair of kicky red stillettos and a patent leather clutch...utterly adorbs!

...and this nifty fitted sweater. Wouldn't it be precious with a pair of skinny jeans and tall boots?

See H&M, we don't think the entire collection was a total wash : ) Hugs!

On an unrelated side note...have you ever wondered what you would look like as a character on Mad Men? Well of course you have! Ponder no more, girls. Click here to Mad Men-atize yourself. I did, see?

Be blessed, lovelies-

Photo credits: FabSugar, AMC


Cravings Corner: {Early Faves}

It's t-minus 2 days until the return of my all-time favorite fall beverage the Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks! I'm so pumped I may even spurlge a little and get whipped cream on mine Wednesday morning, haha. I'm told some locations in the U.S. have already started selling these delish treats again, but here in AR, we must wait until Wednesday.

Did y'all have a good weekend? What did you guys/girls do?

This was another absolutely perfecto weekend for yours truly...for some reason, I have a sneaking suspicion they will just keep getting better and better, since fall is my favorite season.

Before we get started, I just wanted to thank everyone for your great questions and comments on Friday's "Fierce and Fit" post. The Muscle Maniac and I would like to extend our gratitude for your interest in this new little segment : ) For those who submitted questions, MM or I will be replying to each of y'all and some of them may even be answered here on the blog!

Also, PLEASE say a prayer for me tonight because tomorrow marks the start of my training with The Muscle Maniac...nervous much? I am. Thing is though, I cannot preach the importance of fitness here on the blog without practicing it myself, so I'm putting my triceps, quads and abs in the hands of MM to whip me into shape.

Ok, well with the looming resurrection of the Pumpkin Spice Latte, I thought I'd share with you fine folks, my list of "ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY, WITHOUT A DOUBT, MUST-HAVE IT OR I'LL DIE" items for fall. Ok, so I probably won't die if I don't get them, but I might shed a tear or fifty:

The Laced Julia from Follis - $347

I've blogged about this beauty several times on here already, so y'all know I'll be adding this to my purse collection this fall. LJ is the perfect shade of rich brown and the stunning laced-up detailing make her stand out in a sea of blah messengers and ho-hum satchels. Talk about some sexy arm candy....

Click here for the post with the list of stores where you can purchase your very own Laced Julia OR buy online here or here.

Jessica Simpson "Winsy" Clog- $89
I've walked past this shoe on the display at Dillard's as much as I can bear...it's time to buy, girls. Tomorrow, my pal Euni and I are going to The Mothership (a.k.a. Sephora) and Dillard's on our lunch break at work and I'll be picking up a pair of these. Cannot. Flippin. Wait.

Element "Derry" Womens Hooded Jacket- $59.99

Saw this in a store in San Luis Obispo, CA last month and just had to have it. Problem was, they didn't have my size (cue sad Debbie Downer music), so I scoured the World Wide Web last week and found it! It feels like a hoodie, but looks and fits like a sturdy pea coat. Fashion + Comfort= It Must Become a Resident of Leslie's Closet.

Is anyone else eagerly anticipating the Pumpkin Spice Latte as much as I am? What about fall clothing or accessories...have y'all found any must-haves yet?

Be blessed, lovelies-

Photo credits: Tilly's, Dillards.com, Follis, Google Images


Fierce and Fit

It’s Friday, y’all! I’m sure you guys didn’t really need that reminder, but I always feel compelled to say it one or two or fifty times.

First thing's first, I found out this morning that yours truly is featured on Celebrate Arkansas Magazine's website today as one of their "Favorite Arkansas Blogs"!! You can check it out on their homepage or here! Thanks again to the wonderful team at Celebrate for their continued support- frankly, you guys rock : )

This week we’ve talked about everything from J.Crew to designer tools, but today we’re going to take a bit of a departure into some mostly uncharted territory for A Blonde Ambition- health and fitness. To me, fall is an opportune time to get in shape or begin a new fitness routine. The weather is perfect and with all of the eating that surrounds football season and the holidays, it’s a good idea to have something to offset the added calories : )

But I’m not going to be the one doling out work-out tips….no ma’am. Instead, I’ve recruited a bona fide fitness guru to guide us through the riggers of exercise and healthy eating.

I’d like to introduce you ladies to The Muscle Maniac (how awesome is that alias?) He’s a 25 year old national account manager for a major nutrition company in Northwest Arkansas who's currently pursuing his personal training certification. He lives for the gym, loves to be on the lake or outdoors and has been known to occasionally kick my rear at activities like bowling and mini golf : )

Without any further rambling ado, here’s MM.


Hi Blonde Ambitioners! Thanks to Leslie for that great introduction. As she mentioned, I work for a nutrition company and I specifically manage sport nutrition supplements. Physical fitness is a passion of mine (probably more of an obsession) and I LOVE sharing this passion with others. Leslie and I had been talking about a potential blog on Health & Fitness for women, but I was unsure of which topic to conquer first.

It became clear to me when I was at a wedding a couple weeks ago and one of my mom’s friends, “How do I know if I have too much arm fat?” I replied with a customary sarcastic response, “When you did the YMCA on the dance floor and your arm was still dancing after the song was over...that’s a good indicator…”

Before anyone gets upset at that comment, let me go on to explain clarify one thing: I take fitness extremely seriously and I want to help all people achieve their fitness goals. I only joke to illustrate a point and this particular woman has known me for years and took no offense to my comment. So without further ado, let me introduce our topic for today—the dreaded back arm flab. Yes, it is as sexy as it sounds! In all seriousness, it is a problem for many women and will directly impact confidence. And confidence is EVERYTHING!

First a little housekeeping tip: If you want to alleviate a problem area, you MUST begin a strict cardio regimen to reduce overall body fat. You can target a specific area with weights every day of the week and it won’t make a lick of difference if you don’t aren’t doing the cardio work. My recommendation is begin slowly with interval training. There are many articles online that you can research to find the one that fits you best. Find something you like so that you will stick with it!

There are many things that can be done to get rid of the dreaded “bat wing”. To clarify, we are talking about triceps. Many people think that bicep training is the way to great arms but the triceps make up two-thirds of your arm. So it stands to reason that triceps are the way to great arms!

Two things to keep in mind as we go through these exercises:

1. Women are often concerned about weight training because they “do not want to bulk up.” I completely understand (and agree) with that mindset. If that is the case for you, it is key to focus on low weight, high repetitions. If you are looking to bulk up, focus on slowly increasing weight and sacrificing reps and get on a good supplement plan.

2. Form is the MOST important element of all of these exercises.

*Let’s get training:

Hanging Dips

Hanging Dips are a great exercise and a true test of tricep strength. Depending on your strength, you may or may not be able to do a dip without assistance when starting out and that’s completely ok! To perform this exercise with assistance, have a spotter hold your feet during the movement. Start with arms extended on the bars of the dip machine and slowly let your body drop until your upper arms are parallel to the ground and then slowly push back to the top. Aim to do 3 sets of 5, 4, 3 (if you can do more, then please do—these are difficult in the beginning). Add one rep to each set every week until you get to 12 reps in your first set.

Skull Crushers

Don’t let the name scare you, skull crushers are one of the absolute BEST triceps exercises. Lay on a flat bench with normal arch in your back, and lift a barbell straight up in the air (most gyms will have a 3ft. pre-weighted barbell). Slowly bring the weight straight down toward your forehead ensuring that the elbows stay stationary, pause slightly at your forehead, and push back up to starting position exhaling during the exertion. I recommend 4 sets—12, 10, 8, 6. You will want to use light weight in this exercise to ensure that you keep the right form throughout the movement. Be extremely careful to not drop the weight too fast and keep the wrists firm or you will develop pain in your elbow.


Kickbacks are a personal favorite of mine and one of the simpler triceps exercises. Kneel on a bench holding the bench with the same hand as the knee that one the bench. Make sure to keep your back parallel to the ground. Hold the weight in your hand away from the bench keeping the upper part of the arm parallel to the ground and at a 90 degree angle. Push the weight back keeping the elbow stationary. Extend the arm to a straight position and slowly return the weight to the starting position. Once comfortable with this exercise, you can twist the wrist at the top of the lift for a little extra flex in the triceps. I recommend doing 4 sets of 15 reps. Form takes priority over weight. To spice things up, do kickbacks on a cable machine.

Overhead Dumbbell Extensions

Sitting upright, raise a dumbbell directly over your head. Lower the weight directly behind your head as low as you can and extend back to the top. Keep your elbows stationary. If it is more comfortable, it is acceptable to flare your elbows out a little. Overhead extensions can be done as seen above on the ball to increase core strength or they can be done on a bench. Once again, keep your wrists firm to avoid any elbow pain. 4 sets of 20 reps.

Cable Pressdowns

Pressdowns are probably one of the most recognizable triceps exercises. Start with your hands out in front, arms bent at a 90 degree angle, press the rope downward and rotate your wrists at the bottom for a little extra flex in your triceps similar to the kickbacks exercises discussed above. Then slowly bring the rope back to start position. It is important in this exercise to keep your elbows from raising up as your return to start position. Light weight is recommended to focus on the form. 4 sets of 15 reps.

One last thing to keep in mind is that results do NOT happen overnight and there is no such thing as a quick fix. These exercises are tried and true and they do work if they are done properly and regularly. Y'all have all fall and winter to work on these things and get those arms in great shape for whatever spring fashions that A Blonde Ambition might recommend!

Now y'all are ready to go tear up the gyms.

Good luck! I look forward to hearing many success stories.

Got a diet/fitness related question for The Muscle Maniac? (Once again, how about that alias? Haha!) Send it to askblondeambition@gmail.com and include the words “Fierce and Fit” in the subject line. Your question could be featured here in future editions!

Be blessed, lovelies-

Photo Credits: Google images, Dustjacket Attic

*These statements are solely the opinon of the author(s).  It is necessary to consult your medical physican before beginning any work out program or diet to ensure that you are in proper health for such activities.


A Little Thanks for Your Thursday

Wow y'all, I cannot believe it's already Thursday...does it seem like the week has just flown by to you guys, too? The days are definitely getting shorter now and I can tell fall is on its way! Yay for Pumpkin Spice Lattes and some Razorback football!

I don't often get too personal on here, (which is kind of ironic for a blogger, isn't it, haha?) But last week was definitely not one of the better ones for my family. My great grandma has been in not-so-great health for some time now; she has suffered from severe dementia for quite a while and it's sadly to the point where she doesn't really recognize us anymore. After a year or more of having a live-in caretaker for her, she finally had to be placed in the nursing home last week. It has been especially hard for my grandad (her son) and my mom. She is in her nineties and this is to be expected, I know. But still, it doesn't make it much easier to deal with, even when you know it's coming sometimes, ya know?

Anyway, during rough times, I like to take time to count my blessings and kind of thank God for the GOOD things in life, just to help me keep things in perspective. Plus, as much yuckiness that surrounds the current situation with Great Grandma, there are just as many amazing, wonderful things happening in other ways in my life.

I started keeping a gratitude journal a couple of months ago and would strongly encourage anyone out there to try it, too. Each night, I just kind of make a list of the things I'm grateful for that day. Not necessarily the bigger, more obvious things, like my job or my apartment, but smaller things, like getting an unexpected email from an old sorority sister or having a moment of hysterical laughter with a good girl friend.

Here's a bit of what was in my gratitude journal last night:

Perfect (Cooler!) Weather- These past couple of days have been positively blissful. It was 65 degrees when I went out to my car yesterday morning and GRACIOUS does that ever feel good compared to 90 degrees and 1000% humidity at 7:30 a.m., haha. Definitely thankful for that!

My Co-Workers- I will stand up in court and testify to anyone that I work with the most amazing team of people, period. A lot of them have become close friends of mine outside of work as well, and it's so refreshing to go to my job each morning knowing that even if it's a crazy/stressful day, everyone has each other's backs. Sure, we get, *ahem*, testy with each other from time to time, but as my dad would say, "they're good people."

New Opportunities with the Blog- I've gotten several bits of exciting news (some big, some little) that will surely surface on here within the coming months, things I'm so excited to share with you all! We'll be welcoming some new faces (and voices) and talking about some fresh topics to help gear us up for fall. Get excited, girls : )

Sharpie Pens, Tazo Mate' Tropic Tea and Smashbox Undereye Concealer- The first, because it keeps my writing all nice and neat (hello Type-A personality!), the next, because it tastes like summer and the last, because it helps me look less frightening due to lack of sleep : )

This Prayer- One of my co-workers sent this to me 2 years ago and I immediately printed it off, intending to put it on my bamboo board at home. I was digging through my desk the other day, stumbled upon it again and took it home and tacked it to the front of my fridge so I'll see it every day...seriously love it.

What are some of the things you're thankful for today/this week?

Be blessed, lovelies-

Photo credits:


Trend Watch Wednesday: Mod Squad

Happy Wednesday, dolls! Before we start talking trends, I just have to say something....it's 65 degrees outside! Apparently the good Lord has heard our prayers for some relief from this heat. I walked out to my car this morning to leave from work and almost caught a chill....it was heaven. I think the high is supposed to be somewhere in the mid-80's today, which is just pure bliss to me. Could this be a sign of cooler weather on the horizon for good? I sure hope so!

The crisp weather makes me even more excited to write about today's featured trend, the Mod look.

60's Mod will be all the rage this fall, so start stocking up on clunky rings, shift dresses and Peter Pan-collared tops. Miu Miu's Fall 2010 RTW collection was totally 60's themed and I loved it in an "I'll never actually wear this, but it would look cool on the cover of a magazine" way.

For obvious reasons, it made me think of icons like Twiggy and Edie Segwick.

Model Twiggy circa 1967

To create your own Mod look this season, aim for big, baubbly cocktail rings, straight-cut mini-shift dresses, cardigans with rosette detailing and square, structural bags in colors like bright poppy yellow, grass green, shiny black or lavender. It's important to remember however that if you do attempt this look, do it subtly. Light touches of Mod, like a piece of jewelry or 60's inspired bag. Otherwise, you'll risk looking like you stepped off the set of an Austin Powers movie : )

Pink glass pendant necklace by Marni; Poured-glass brooch by Mark Walsh and Leslie Chin; Crystal ring by Roger Vivier

Wool dress with flower appliqué by Miu Miu; Wool and patent leather bag by Miu Miu

What say you about the Mod trend? Think you'll be willing to channel your inner Twiggy or Edie this fall? I'll probably sit this one out for the most part, but I'm dying to hear what you beautiful ladies have to say about it!

Be blessed, lovelies-

Photo credits: Miu Miu, Elle.com, Getty images


Miss Fix-It

Let today, August 24, 2010 go down in history as the one and only time I'll probably ever blog about tools and hardware and fixing things that don't involve a zipper; it's unlikely to happen again in this lifetime.

Truth be told, I would love to learn how to do small household repairs, but when things break, I tend to panic and just call dear old Dad : )

You see, for the past month, my toilet has been running constantly. So much so, that I don't even notice it anymore. That was, until I received my water bill last week and it shot up from $8 last month to $24 this month! I've been calling my apartment office repeatedly for the past few days, but alas, no one has come to fix my potty yet : (

So I've decided to take matters into my own hands and fix the thing myself. This has the potential to be either highly empowering or horribly disasterous, girls.

In my sudden urge to learn the ropes of home repair, I bought this helpful guide on Amazon last night.

Ever the fashionista, I also set out in search of some cute fix-it supplies. Yes, that's right, I went looking for stylish tools. I mean, if I have to get down and dirty, I might as well be well-accessorized. Y'all know how I roll.

I vaguely remembered an email I got from the fantabulous peeps at Cynthia Rowley a couple of weeks ago announcing the new line of tools she designed.

Couture tools? I'm all over that.

Suddenly, I'm filled with the insane urge to tighten a bolt or slice open a box with something much more hardcore than my pink safety scissors.

Why that Cynthia, bless her heart, she even designed a tool bag that looks like a tote! Très chic!

I still haven't decided completely on what I'll wear to tackle this little home repair, but I still have a couple of days before my book arrives, so I have some time to ponder wardrobe decisions ; )

Be blessed, lovelies-

Photo credits: Cynthia Rowley



Buonjiorno, Blonde Ambitioners! Did you all have a fantabulous weekend?

This girl's weekend....absolutely perfect : ) So perfect, I wish weekends could be twice as long...sigh...

As I mentioned on Friday, I saw Eat Pray Love and thoroughly enjoyed it! My very patient and sweet date for the evening was kind enough to go with me and sit through it, haha. So first, a quick review of the movie- (skip this section if you haven't seen the movie yet!)

For the most part, the movie stays pretty true to the book, which was a relief to me. Julia Roberts perfectly captured the "voice" and spirit of the author, Elizabeth Gilbert and Javier Bardem was EXACTLY as I pictured Felipe; handsome, charming, very Brazilian and funny in an off-beat sort of way.

The movie was wonderfully cast, with appearances by James Franco, in a bit part as actor and flavor of the month, David, Billy Crudup, as Elizabeth's ex-husband, and Richard Jenkins as "Richard from Texas", a man who serves as Liz's mentor at the Indian meditation center.

The scenery was absolutely picturesque. Not that I didn't want to go before, but now more than ever, I WANT TO GO TO BALI. There's a scene at the end where Liz and Felipe ride off into the sunset on a boat and all I can say is oh em gee! Gorgeousness.

All in all, a very good movie that did justice to a very, very good book.

So you might be wondering what the heck the title of this post means. Well in the movie, Liz and her friends discuss their "word". Like if you had one word to describe you, what that word would be. Well Liz finally chooses her word at the end of the movie, attreversiamo, which means "let's cross over" in Italian. I know this isn't the context for which this word is intended, but I thought it perfectly fit the feature of today's post.

"Let's Cross Over".....into fall!!

It was insufferably hot this weekend and seeing these photos from the fall 2010 J. Crew catalog online was like rubbing salt into an open wound.

The latest Crew catalog (both online and in print) features the cast of the upcoming romantic comedy, The Romantics, which debuts September 10, (guess you know where I'll be that night ; ) Cast members Josh Duhamel, Katie Holmes, Malin Akerman, Jeremy Strong, Adamy Brody and Rebecca Lawrence showed off the latest Crew goodness for an upbeat (and let's be honest) drool-worthy photoshoot to promote the movie and the awesome new fall attire.

I have no idea what this movie is about, but I definitely want to see it now! How much fun are these pics?!

I'm also totally craving that sequin skirt that Malin is wearing below.

L-U-R-V-I-N-G the shift dress, turtle neck combo Ms. Holmes is sporting, too. And Mr. Brody! My gracious, doesn't he look all grown up in his jacket, tie and perfectly mussed hair. He's certainly come a long way since his dork-tastic O.C. days.

And guys out there, take note of Mr. Duhamel's outfit....perfect, it is indeed. Fergie is a lucky girl ; )

What looks are your favorites from this latest J.Crew spread? Do you plan on checking out this flick?

P.S.- Random sidenote, but Max has been having lots of problems with his neck and back lately : ( The vet says it's probably from jumping on furniture, as mini-dachsunds are prone to back problems because of their body shape and weight distribution. Have any of you other weenie dog owners out there dealt with similar issues with your fur babies? What are your solutions, (short of putting them in a crate forever), to keeping your dogs from jumping on the furniture?

Be blessed, lovelies-

Photo credits: J.Crew online


I Heart Fridays (and frankly, who doesn't?)

"You were given life; it is your duty (and also your entitlement as a human being) to find something beautiful within life, no matter how slight."
- Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love

I'm so proud of us because...we survived another work week! If that doesn't merit some sort of happy dance or celebratory drink with an umbrella, I don't know what does.

For some reason, I feel compelled to congratulate all of us for making it to Friday, because honestly, I was beginning to wonder if this week was ever going to end. Yes, sweet blog friends, it has been one of those weeks. When it rains, it pours, right? Oh well, I'm alive and happy and greatly looking forward to the next couple of days of weekend bliss.

My plans?

I'm so glad you asked.

As soon as the clock strikes five (or the emails stop pouring in, whichever comes first), I'm heading home from work and gearing up for some Eat, Pray, Love action. Two words: Cannot. Wait.

I read this book a about a year ago and wished upon many a non-shooting star that they would make it into a movie. Apparently the folks at Columbia Pictures heard my prayers (and the prayers of 2.1 million other women) and tonight I will finally see the book come to life on the big screen. I've purposefully tried to keep an open mind and steer clear of any internet spoilers, so I just hope it is as good as the book. Or at the very least, that it doesn't make me resent Julia Robers. *Fingers crossed*

Saturday, I'm attending a Vinyasa yoga class at 8:30 a.m., (yes, you read that correctly), at a new place in downtown Bentonville. The name of the place is Yoga-Story, which I'll admit, sounds a little hippy-dippy-trippy. And coincidentally enough, hippy-dippy-trippy is my preferred style of yoga studios : ) I'll give you a full play-by-play of the yogatastic morning on Monday, if I'm still moving and functioning.

What's a girl to do after a morning full of sun salutations? Why hit the stores for end of summer sales, of course!

And I think I'll take my girl Dee along for the retail ride. I tell y'all, there is nothing more precious than time spent with your best girlfriend while sifting through racks of summer markdowns at Maude and laughing til you cry at some random joke or story from the previous week.Warms my heart just thinking about it.

After church Sunday, I'm going to try my hand at a new recipe for Blueberry Crumble Bars. I found the recipe here and think blueberries and crispy, buttery goodness might be just what I need to fix my soul after the insanity of this week.

I guess that about wraps it up. What are you girls (and boys) planning to do this weekend? Anyone else going to see Eat, Pray, Love?

Be blessed, lovelies-

Photo credits: IMDB, Smitten Kitchen


If You Really Knew Me

"In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different."- Coco Chanel

Have any of y'all watched that show called If You Really Knew Me on MTV yet? Oh my gosh, total tearjerker! I was on the treadmill at the gym last night and it happened to be on the screen in front of me. Even the macho meathead guy on the tready next to me was like, "Man, that's some pretty heavy stuff!"

 I usually don't watch TV while I work out, (that just seems a little sacrilegious to me), but I had no headphones. Short story long, I blew out my iPod earbuds earlier in the day at work, I guess. I put them on last night, cranked up some Ke$ha to get my endorphins flowing and....silence. Earbuds out.

But yeah, back to the point of this post, If You Really Knew Me. The premise of the show is pretty unique; like a reality TV version of The Breakfast Club, each episode takes place at a different high school and chronicles five students from different "groups" (jocks, nerds, outcasts, etc.) as they go through a series of team-building exercises to learn more about each other and break down the barriers of the different cliques. It's definitely a unique concept for a show and I could totally see programs like this working in public schools to help thwart school bullying.

Anywho, watching this show gave me a really fun idea for a blog post, (well, in my opinion polishing silver is fun, so we'll see, I guess ; )

I thought we'd put our own little light-hearted spin on this concept and learn some fun facts about each other. Nothing too deep or life-changing, just some rando information that will help us "get to know" each other better.

Since I'm the host, I'll start things off.

If you really knew me, you'd know that...

-I'm surprisingly domesticated. I love cooking and baking and get the biggest high out of seasonal decorating. Especially Christmas decorating, don't even get me started, y'all. Additionally,  I can hem a pair of pants and I have been known to bust out my glue gun now and then. True story.

-I'm a clean freak. In fact, I'd say I teeter on the edge of the OCD cliff. I never let dishes pile up and rarely does a day go by that my bed goes unmade.

-...and speaking of cleanliness and organization...You know that show Hoarders? Oh my, I can't watch it. Gives me the willies to even think about being buried up to my elbows in old food/pizza boxes/newspapers from 1980/kitty litter, etc. I shudder to think...

-I'm a huge dork. I love Star Wars, own real Lisa Loeb-style nerd glasses and laugh hysterically at all my own jokes. I'm a very funny person, in my opinion.

-I'm terrified of clowns, needles and Chyna the wrestler.

-When I was little, I wanted a monkey for a pet. I wanted to dress him up in little monkey pants and make him wear little monkey shoes. I planned on carrying him around in a mini backpack or Baby Bjorn type thing and letting him ride around in my pink bicycle basket. I was crushed when mom and dad said, "No". To this day, everytime I look at a spider monkey, I'm taken back to that dark place in my childhood.

-Things I'm good at:
    Tap dancing, playing the piano, poofing hair, Jenga, Scrabble, Operation (the board game),
    making sweet tea, talking to old elderly people and quoting movies from the 1980s. All things
    that will surely serve me well in life.

-Things I can't do to save my life:
   Bowling, playing pool, algebra, Sudoku, open a bottle of wine without mutilating the cork, hacky sack 
   (yes, I have tried), parallel park.

-Although I loved the movie, I didn't shed a tear watching The Notebook, but I bawled like a baby after Marley and Me. I obviously have a soft spot for animals.

-I once volunteered to judge a chess tournament in middle school to get out of fifth period class. They gave me a pad of paper and pencil and put me in charge of the 2nd and 3rd grade games. I should have probably mentioned to the teachers and chess contestants that I did not, nor had I ever known how to play chess ; )

Ok, so if we really knew YOU, what are some things we would know?

*Please note, deeply personal and/or gross medical conditions, financial problems, religious issues and politics should probably be omitted here. Not that I'm not interested, but let's just keep this light and upbeat. This is a HAPPY blog, after all, haha : )

Be blessed, lovelies-


Trend Watch Wednesday: Big Hair

Oh heavens, it must be my lucky day : )

As if I wasn't lurving all the trends for fall already, this little newsflash just sealed the deal. On top of tights with shorts, python-sized scarves and clogs, we can now add BIG HAIR to the mix. You Blonde Ambitioners know that I'm a tremendously loyal fan of "the Poof"...I mean, I am southern after all. I even wrote about it in a post earlier this year with step-by-step instructions on how to create the perfect poof.

So last night I was skimming the September issue of Glamour, when what did my eyes behold?! Why, an entire write-up on the joys of sporting ginormous hair for autumn and winter! That's right, ladies, it's time to dig out your teasing combs and bobby pins, (if you ever put them up, that is.)

Design houses like Rochas and Chanel were all about some Brigitte Bardot-esque strands for their fall runway shows and many Hollywood starlets have been spotted with perfectly poofed coifs as of late.

As with everything in life, there is a right way and a wrong way to rock a bouffant hairstyle. Notice Exhibit A, above. The long, side-swept bang and toussled waves make this poofy style a definite "do". For a "wrong way" example, look no further than Snookie from Jersey Shore. (You'll notice there isn't a photo of her here...I just couldn't bring myself to put her mug on this blog.)

The key to making this style work is confidence. Those who like to blend in to the crowd, need not apply, as this style is definitely a head-turner (pun intended.)

Of course no perfect poof just spontaneously occurs...this style takes some serious work and some seriously serious equipment. Here's what I use to keep my bump intact:

-Redken Forceful 23 Super Strength Finishing Spray
This super fast-drying hairspray holds my poof in place for hours on end. It's ultra strong, but not stiff and crunchy like some mega hold hairsprays.

-Sephora Snag-Free Hair Elastics in Clear
I love these little guys for making cute, poofy ponytails or top knots. The clear bands blend right into your hair and the unique elastic fiber makes them super easy to pull out.

-Supreme Bobby Pins by Marianna
These are lifesavers when it comes to crafting big hair. Handy for wrangling stray hairs or giving your bump a little boost, these will run you about $2 for a 70 pack at just about any drugstore.

-Pin Tail Comb from Ulta
Also known as the "rat-tail", this comb is a must.  The "tail" makes sectioning off hair a cinch and the close-set teeth amp up the height of your bump. This is the most critical ingredient to a great poof, ladies.

In summary, when it comes to hair this season, go big or go home.

Be blessed, ladies-

Photo credits: Style.com, {this is glamorous}


There's a List for That

Ok, so I feel like I've probably "fashioned" you guys to death for the past week or more, so I thought we'd do a little something different today to change things up. I mean, there's only a certain amount of poly-blend cardigans, ribbed tights and Chanel tweed one can take until it all starts to run together.

As they do in my yoga class, let's begin with a nice, deep, cleansing breath in through the nose....and out through the mouth.....(feel free to add an "ohmmmm" in there for good measure, if you feel so moved.)

See, don't you feel better?

Ok, first order of bid'ness to attend to...so I've decided I'm a compulsive list maker. First of all, yes - I do realize this is 2010 and we have these wonderful gadgets called "iPhones" and "Blackberries" that can keep track of everything but the kitchen sink. However, I'm old school and kinda partial to keeping my lists on good old fashioned Post-It notes.

I realized my list-making quirk might be a full blown red flag for some form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder when I opened my planner yesterday and reached inside for my "Monday Afternoon To-Do List", but it was nowhere to be found. However, my "Organic Cleaning Supplies I'd Like to Try" list, "Things I Need To Do Before Thursday's Work Conference" list and "Semi-Serious Fall Reading" lists were all there, neatly tucked away inside my zebra-striped Betsey Johnson day planner.

Then I started to ponder the extent of this list making mania...is this normal? Do any of you Blonde Ambitioners also suffer from list-making OCD? Just wondering...

Fortunately, I'm 25 and still relatively sharp when it comes to remembering things like, "Buy new mascara from the Jessica Biel commercial" "research local gyms" and "schedule dentist appointment", so you'll be glad to know I was still fully functional, despite losing my P.M. itinerary : )

In other news...I baked my mom a pretty fabulous birthday cake this past weekend and was quite proud of the final result. It's called a Chocolate Layer Cake with Cheesecake Filling and it comes from my girl, Mrs. Paula Deen. You can get the recipe here, if you think you might want to attempt this bad boy yourself.

I had to use my mom's super awesome beige Tupperware cake holder from like, 1980, so the presentation left something to be desired. Overall though, I was pleased. I would highly recommend it to any of you chocolate/cheesecake lovers out there.

Moving right along...
Max has started eating his bed.

Perhaps I am a bad mother and he is not getting an adequate amount of some crucial nutrient. Or maybe he's just having a wicked craving for wool cushion stuffing. Who am I to judge? To each his own, I suppose. Whatever the case, this is just bizarre doggy behavior.

Maybe he is simply unsatisfied with his current sleeping arrangements and would like something a bit more spacious or an option with a pillow top...He can be quite the diva, after all ; )

Have any of your pets ever done this? Should I have him checked? I digress.

Ok, let's see...what else should we talk about...?

Oh yes, how could I forget!? Today is this woman's 50th birthday!

"Who is she?", you ask.

She is my best friend, my primary fashion consultant, my mentor, my therapist, my partner in crime, my biggest cheerleader. She is the consummate voice of reason in the back of my head; the one who most encouraged me to aim higher, make my voice heard and never settle for just "ok".

She taught me how to bake cookies, fold fitted sheets, apply eyeliner, tease my hair just so, and many more important things we girls must learn how to do. I notice more and more each day just how similar we are and have recently come to the realization that, yes, I am indeed becoming my mother.

And I thank God for that every day.

Happy birthday, mom. I love you!

"...many women do noble things, but you surpass them all. Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."- Proverbs 31:9-31

Be blessed, lovelies-