Ivy & Aster

Today I'm participating in Danielle's blog hop where bloggers everywhere are honoring wedding bliss by writing posts about all things nuptial. Instead of doing a once over of all the wedding details one must not forget on her big day, I thought I'd share with you my favorite recent find...Ivy & Aster.

There site features beautiful wedding dresses and accessories that are both whimsical and timeless. Dare I say, these dresses might even be fit for a royal! ; ) Instead of going on and on about how fabulous they are, I decided to let the pictures do the narrating. Behold, Ivy & Aster.

Be blessed, lovelies-


I Hate My Hair

via Pinterest
Okie dokie, I’m going to start by saying that I am positively sick of my hair. (Was the post title a little obvious?)

I feel like the color is just blah and the cut leaves much to be desired. Because I know that my stylist does not read this blog, I will say that I think it’s about time to find a new hairdresser.

Additionally, I’m not sure I’m cut out (no pun intended) for really long hair. It’s fun and I love how long hair makes one feel so utterly feminine, but OH MY LORDY does it ever take forever to dry and style. Example: I washed it Wednesday and by the time I was done drying it with the blow dryer and round brush, I was sweating and cursing (sorry Mom- I know you taught me better).

Pros of Current Long Hair

-My friend’s little boy told me the other day when my hair was down and fixed in loose waves that I looked like a “pin-cess” (i.e. princess). I’m not sure if it was the styled hair or the fact I was wearing bookoos of pink, but I’ll take looking like a princess any day of the week. Albeit, most days I look like a “pin-cess” that has combed her hair with a weed eater.

-On the rare day that my hair does cooperate with my Chi iron and the humidity is low, I love how my mane looks. It is on these days that I want to take 20 iPhone pics and send them out into Twitterland to prove that my hair isn’t always a hot mess.

-I can curl it without it looking like Little Orphan Annie.

Cons of Current Long Hair

-It takes eleventy million hours and lots of patience to blow dry and fix. Patience that I do not possess.

-My mom was a fabulous hairdresser for many years in our hometown and I fear that when people see me back home, they will think poorly of her because she taught me everything I know about hair. (Far fetched, but that’s how my mind works.)

-My hair is super thick and I think that just by cutting off 5 inches or so would result in at least a 5lb weight loss.

After September 17th (my wedding day), I do believe I’ll be cutting several inches off of it. (Unless I chicken out. And there’s a 99.99% chance that will happen.) I’d do it sooner, but the style I’m sporting for the wedding requires long hair.

I think women that have the rocks to pull off short hair are awesome. And I would like to be awesome.

So because I stink at making major decisions alone, I’ve put a poll up on my side nav appropriately titled, “Should Leslie cut her hair after the wedding?” Please go vote. You will win nothing, but perhaps it will give you the satisfaction of knowing you helped out a blogger friend with one of the toughest decisions that we ladies face.

Help a sister out, ya’ll. I need some opinions!

Be blessed, lovelies-


Trend Watch Wednesday: {Miss Brightside}

via Bebe.com

Bright colors are one of the hottest emerging trends of the spring and summer, and for good reason; they are sizzling! Colors with kick can give any outfit that extra "oomph" and are wearable for ladies of ALL ages, shapes and sizes.

Clockwise from top: Orange Cutaway halter dress, Teal Bikini, Pink Satin Bow Dress, Blue Knot Back Pocket Blouse, Coral Bow Side Shorts, Green Frill One Shoulder Playsuit- all from Topshop.

Fashionistas like Drew Barrymore, Mila Kunis and Camilla Belle aren't afraid to sport a high voltage color- the key to pulling it off is confidence. (But really, isn't that the key to wearing anything well?)

Colors like these, although beautiful, can be quite a shock to one's system after a winter of hum drum grays and blacks, so if you're a little timid about diving head first into fuschia and teal, fear not! Here are some tips for easing into the bright color trend and pulling it off correctly:

1) Start with accessories, like a melon colored clutch or sunshine yellow heel. It's an easy way to get comfy with color.

2) Grab a nice, juicy orange. No, not the fruit- the color! This is one of the most popular colors for spring/summer and has the power to perk you up better than a double shot of espresso.

3) Mix it up in one color family. Confused? Lemme explain. You can go colorful head-to-toe — and not look like a kook — if you pick different shades in the same palette (like this assortment of blues on Olivia Wilde) and vary the fabrics (some silky, some knit, you get the idea). Gorgeous!

Have you bought any "bright" items yet this year? Get to it, girls!

Be blessed, lovelies-

High/Low Style: {Retro Anthro}

One of my very favorite things about Anthropologie is their consistent nod to the 50's and 60's. Their latest Look Book called Day-to-Day features items that can be combined to make everyday styles look extraordinary. It also has a very Italian feel to it- almost like styles Audrey Hepburn would have worn in Roman Holiday.

Just looking at these gorgeous outfits brings to mind images of bouncing around Italy, visiting gelato shops, riding a bicycle around a quaint sea side town and walking hand-in-hand with my fiance through a piazza in the middle of Tuscany.

As much as I love Anthro, it can get a little pricey. This fashionista has a budget, so I personally try to gain inspiration from Anthro's looks to replicate for less moo-lah. Here are some of my favorite ways for re-creating this style at home (and for less cash!)

- Look for fun, printed scarfs in Mediterranean colors (cerulean blue, brick red, mustard yellow) to add some flavor to your outfit! Nothing says European vacay quite like a beautifully tied scarf! I love Francesca's Collections and Target for less expensive versions.

Cheap Thrill:

This super cute Climbing Vines scarf from Francesca's Collections for $18!

- Belts are key to making one's waist look teeny weenie! Find a skinny belt in bright red or yellow and fasten it right around the smallest part of your torso. Try this with long tunic tees and jeans for a casual day out or with a pencil skirt and cardigan for a day at the office.

Cheap Thrill:
The Blue Patent Horseshoe Belt from Dorothy Perkins for only $8.27!

-Try mixing a vintage inspired tee with a preppy, prissy cardigan for an edgy yet feminine look (similar to the Des Artistes Lobster Tee look.) I love Forever 21's nostalgic tees and Ann Taylor Loft's cardigans.

Cheap Thrill:

Parisian Station Tee by Forever 21 ($14.90) and the Deep V Cardigan from Ann Taylor Loft ($54.50)

What does this latest Anthro look book remind you of? A personal Roman Holiday, perhaps? Or maybe a favorite vacation you once took to Tuscany??

Be blessed, lovelies-


Rainy Days and Sundays

Mornin' y'all! Hope all of you had a wonderful Easter weekend! We certainly did, although it was quite possibly the rainiest Easter weekend I can remember in my entire life!

Friday night (as most of you probably read on Twitter) was so scary for all of us in Northwest Arkansas. We had several tornados touch down in AR and so much rain that they had to close several roads in our county. Saturday wasn't much better and, needless to say, we spent the majority of the day inside baking brownies and watching movies : )

Yesterday was another wet mess and by 4:00 p.m. in the afternoon, we had 9 inches of rain! Yikes...

The day wasn't a complete wash though (pun intended). We went to the early service at our church at 8:30 a.m. and got such a blessing out of the beautiful message and gorgeous music. We got all gussied up in our Sunday best, but our efforts were futile. We were completely drenched by the time we got into the building.

I had to dry my hair AGAIN when I got to Stephen's house before church yesterday!

Love how all our pics are in the bathroom...we really need to get a camera with a timer haha
I wasn't ready for my close-up...obvi : )
Stephen lookin' handsome in his Easter shirt and tie!
This look is called "drowned rat chic"...

Last night we decided to batten down the hatches, (sidenote: We don't have any hatches to speak of, however, if we did, last night would have been an excellent night to have battened them down.)

As I've mentioned on here before, my fiance Stephen comes from a very large, Italian family. He loves to cook and his specialty is his mom's spaghetti with "gravy". Italians refer to sauce as gravy, because their version is so thick and SOOO good! So last night, this girl was treated like a princess while her man made a wonderful dinner of homemade spaghetti and Italian bread with red wine vinegar/olive dipping oil.

Dinner was bellisimo!!

I ate approximately 4.5 pounds of the stuff.

What did you girls do for Easter? Was yours as soggy and messy as ours?

Be blessed, lovelies-


The Garden

I wanted to share my very favorite Easter-themed song with you all this morning, "The Garden."  It sums up Christ's sacrifice for us better than any other song I've heard and it's also sung (and written) by my favorite band, Needtobreathe.

Have a blessed Good Friday and a happy Easter.

Be blessed, lovelies-



Ridiculousity: Complete ridiculousness. Foolishness beyond belief and reason.

This week has been packed full of ridiculous events and silly happenings, which I’d love to share with y’all today.

1. I do believe that the hoopla surrounding the royal wedding is a titch redonkulous. Don’t get me wrong, I think the entire royal aspect is pretty cool. I mean, what girl doesn’t dream of becoming a princess one day? It’s neat to see Kate fulfill something we’ve all daydreamed about from time to time. But people are seriously peeing their pants over this. One friend on Twitter even told me that someone she knows is skipping work to watch it all go down, which makes me deem this- Ridiculous.

2. Speaking of weddings (of the non-royal variety) I’ve been having the weirdest pre-wedding dreams lately. The other night I dreamed that we got to the church on the day of the wedding, only to find out it was double-booked and the other party beat us to the punch. We were forced to hold our wedding outside at a picnic shelter by the lake. Our photographer also failed to show up, so my mom walked across the street to the Dollar Store (which kind of appeared out of nowhere) and bought a disposable camera to capture our wedding moments. I woke up in a cold sweat with my heart racing. – Ridiculous.

3. I fix my hair and re-apply lip gloss before I go to the gym. Just noticed this the other day as I was getting ready for a Saturday morning workout. I do believe that we southern girls are probably the worst about useless primping before a sweat session. – Ridiculous.

4. As some of you probably read on Twitter earlier this week, I showed up to work on Monday morning with only one of my eyes lined. I went into the bathroom and when I walked out and looked in the mirror, I couldn’t figure out why I looked cock-eyed. Then it dawned on me that only one of my eyes was rimmed in Lancome Kohl. – Ridiculous.

5. Gas prices. Nuff said. – Ridiculous.

6. Kate Gosselin’s reality show just got renewed for another season, despite the fact that reports say the kiddos are tired of being paraded around in front of the media. – Ridiculous.

7. Someone suggested I do a fast the WEEK leading up to my wedding day, because she did and she felt “so cleansed and free and spiritually ready.” Two things:

  • I’m not sure I want to pass out on the alter from low blood sugar. That doesn’t sound sexy at all.

  • I don’t think this person realized the absurdity of asking a southern gal to forego food the week before a big event. They obviously have never attended any kind of wedding/shower/funeral/football game below the Mason Dixon line.
I’d rather just take a shower and say a nice prayer for my “cleansing and spiritual readiness” thankyoukindly. – Ridiculous.

8. For the Star Wars fans out there, I present, "Chewbarka" via Pinterest. - Ridiculously Awesome.

What’s got you all fired up this week, Blonde Ambitioners? Any ridiculosity in your lives at the moment?

Be blessed, lovelies-


Trend Watch Wednesday: {Spring Beauty Trends}


One of my favorite things about the seasons changing is that it allows you to change up your hair and beauty routine! Here are a few of my favorite trends for spring 2011!

Faux Glow

Nothing looks better than a great tan paired with the lovely pastel colors of spring…but alas, we don’t want to look like Magda from There’s Something About Mary. So what’s a girl to do? Fret no more!

I cannot sing the praises of Mystic Tanning enough! I dearly love my local spray tanning joint, (Calypso Tans for anyone in NWA), because they offer affordable, natural-looking tans of the non-UV variety. Mystic at my salon costs about $59 for 3 sessions, with each session lasting about 1 week. That’s only slightly more than I used to pay for real tanning…and I’m doing my skin a favor. It is also the choice of the world famous Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, as well as celebs like Jessica Simpson and Carrie Underwood!

This Blonde Recommends: Mystic Tan

Bare Lip

Forget sticky glosses or chalky lipsticks. Instead reach for an un-tinted balm to provide colorless moisture to your pucker. It’s funny, so often we forget how pretty the natural, rosy color of our lips really is. *Hint: Your man will appreciate this trend, since he won’t be dabbing gloss off his collar or face when y’all exchange smooches.

This Blonde Recommends: Rosebud Salve lip balm or Burt’s Bee’s Wax

Pastel Eyes

The word pastel can sometimes induce queasiness and fatigue in those of us that survived the early 90’s. However, this season’s palette of pale pinks and light lavenders are just downright pretty. Be sure to avoid doing this with any kind of frosted lip gloss (in fact, let’s just avoid frosted anything…except cupcakes, those are ok.)

This Blonde Recommends: Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Sellout

Shimmery Cheeks

Nothing looks sexier or fresher than dewy, glowing skin. My favorite way to create subtle shimmer is to apply it to the portion of the eye right next to the tear duct and also on the highest point of the cheekbones. Avoid shimmer on the forehead, chin or nose- you will look greasy. And grease, (though delicious when it involves a chimichanga or Chicago-style pizza) doesn’t look so hot on your face, girls.

Ka-Pow Lashes

With a light eye color, like the pastels we talked about a sec ago, you’ll need some mega eyelashes. I prefer to use falsies when I’m getting dolled up for a night out, but in a pinch, I reach for my FiberWig mascara or my DiorShow Mascara (both are equally awesome!) The DiorShow is really cool! You can buy it at Sephora and, although a bit pricey, it will last 6 months. The Fiberwig mascara, also available at Sephora, contains micro fibers that literally cling to your lashes and extend them up to two times their length- yowza!

This Blonde Recommends: DiorShow Mascara or Fiberwig Mascara

Do you have any favorite beauty trend for spring that you’re itching to try?

Be blessed, lovelies-


Fierce 'n Fit: {Down to the Core}

This post was inspired by the new cover of Self with Gwyneth Paltrow on the cover- her abs are stunning! (Need I add that she has birthed two kiddos- eep!) Your midsection is one of the most stabilizing muscle groups of the body; without a strong one, it’s very difficult to get a complete workout anywhere else.

I’ll be honest, I don’t do a ton of ab work since cardio is the best remedy for toning and leaning out the tummy. Also, most other exercises from leg presses to tricep dips also work the core really well. Even still though, here are a few of my fav moves, which I’ve been doing since the old college pom squad days!

Stability Ball Plank

Equipment: Stability Ball

via Shape mag

Using the stability ball to work your core will get you amazing results quickly! To begin, engage your abs to stabilize. Kneel down in front of the ball and place forearms on top of it, hands in fists. Step your feet back (the closer together they are, the more of a workout you are getting) and keep your body straight, butt down. Hold for 30-45 seconds, repeating the exercise 3-5 times.

Long-Lever Crunch

Equipment: Stability Ball

via Shape mag

Lie face-up with your back centered on a stability ball, knees bent and feet hip-width apart. Squeeze your butt so your hips are even with your torso. Extend arms alongside your head, thumbs interlocked and palms facing up. With your booty muscles engaged, crunch up as far as you can, without over extending your neck. Do this movement 10 times, completing 3 sets.

Wood Chop

Equipment: Resistance ‘Tube’ Band; Access to a high, sturdy post or pole to hook the band around

via Shape mag

Anchor the center of the resistance tube to a high object, like a bed post (at home) or a cable machine (if at the gym). Hold one handle in each hand. Stand parallel to the anchor point, left side closest to it, with your feet slightly wider than your shoulders. Extend your arms over to the left side at shoulder height. Keeping your torso engaged, pivot on the left foot as your draw your arms down to the right in a chopping motion. You will need to keep a slight bend in the knees to prevent pulling a lower back muscle.

Roll-Out with Stability Ball

Equipment: Stability Ball and soft mat

Kneel on the floor on a yoga mat behind a stability ball. Place your forearms on top of the ball, hands clasped to start. Contract your abs and roll the ball forward as far as possible without bending back or hunching shoulders (shown above). Hold for 2 counts, then return to start for 1 rep. Do 2 sets of 15 reps.

What kinds of moves to you guys do to keep your midsections nice and trim? Please share!

P.S.- Per request, here is a pic of Stephen's new (and only) tat...pretty cool, right?!

Be blessed, lovelies-


We're on a Boat!

Pre-boat photo shoot : )
Top o' the mornin' to ya, Blonde Ambitioners! (A slight nod to the Irish hertiage today, I suppose : ) Did y'all have a great weekend? Anyone do anything special or did you guys just take it easy?

We spent the weekend on our boat, which was really fun but OH SO COLD! The weather Saturday night was pretty nice, just a little chilly, but the weather yesterday afternoon was windy and really brisk. Stephen taught me how to drive the boat and also how to drive the truck/trailer up the boat ramp- yes, even blondes can master the art of boating : )

The view at sunset on Saturday night at Beaver Lake in Northwest Arkansas

Saturday, Stephen got a tattoo, which he's wanted forever. He got a large cross with lots of cool detailing on his upper back and I think it looks pretty awesome! He wears it well and I love that it represents his faith : ) So cool.

Yesterday, we also finally got a chance to register. On our registry: Lots of nice towels, kitchen stuff and high quality sheet sets. As two 26 year old adults, we have a lot of great household things already, so we tried to think of practical things that we know we'll need an abundance of.

Other than that, we finished up Sunday night with Real Housewives of Orange County and a couple of ribeyes and iced tea...perfect end to an evening, in my opinion.

Not riveting stuff, but, we enjoy our casual, fun weekends. Pray tell chicas, how were your past two days spent?

Be blessed, lovelies-


Wanted to Share

I had a little happy cry night before last as I was going to bed. So often, we only cry when things are going bad, but right now, I’m just so grateful to be at the place I am in life. So many great things are happening and I’m blessed to have an amazing man to share them with. God is good and sometimes, I feel so happy I could burst.

 Also, I wanted to share mine and Stephen's story in one post, because (I kid you not, I get about 20 emails a week from readers saying, "Are y'all that couple that met on Kelly's Korner?!" Ha!)

The tear fest came as I was working on a blog post for next week for my single ladies : )As a semi recent single lady myself, I remember how much I needed encouragement sometimes. It felt like every girl in the South except for me was married by the time they were graduating from college. I found my encouragement through Kelly and her blog, which we all know and love. Her inspiring words of being a former single lady gave me hope that God had someone in store for me, too. Coincidentally enough, I found him through her blog : )

Anyway, so I was working on that blog post (which actually became this blog post) and I started to think back to where I was at this time last year. I was just coming off of a series of truly bad dates, work was getting tougher and more stressful than ever and I was dealing with a little health scare. I was getting wedding invitation after wedding invitation in the mail and (I know this is terrible) I wanted to flush every one of them down the toilet.

It was around that time when I started doing my prayer journal and made a committed effort to become happy with myself. I reconnected with old friends, upped my standards for what I was looking for in a husband and vowed to quit looking in bars and clubs for a soul mate. Just to be clear, I have NEVER been a fan of bars and loud clubs…I don’t like smoke and random intoxicated people aren’t really my thing. It seemed like that was the only place where single guys my age hung out though.

It was difficult at first and I knew it might be quite a while before I went on a real date again. But I knew it was for the best.

All summer I continued to dedicate myself to work, fitness, friends, family and, most importantly, my faith. I started to feel like the old Leslie again, the one who, once upon a time, didn’t pin her every happiness on a significant other.

I found out in July of last year that Kelly was hosting Show Us Your Single Boys. Now, it is SOOOO unlike me to ever put myself out there like that on the web. But something else kind of took over, (hello GOD!) and led me to post a comment on Sarah’s blog, where she had posted about her brother, Stephen.

I commented, immediately felt embarrassed and went on about my day. 24 hours I got an email from a guy named Stephen who worked for a nutrition company and had just finished building his new house. He liked dogs and lakes and Entourage.

I liked dogs and lakes and Entourage…and him.

We talked on the phone a couple of times and went on our first date on July 30, 2010. The rest, as they say, is history.

I remember feeling that night like I had never felt before with a guy. Stephen was different; he was genuine and kind and funny. He opened my car door and pulled my chair out and commented on my toe nail polish (how observant!) We talked openly about our faith and our dreams and our mutual love of Johnny Cash : )

And he was hot. Bonus!

I said all of that to say….if you are out there and currently searching high and low for Mr. Right, quit. Yep, I said quit.

Instead, throw every ounce of your energy into yourself. Reconnect with old friends, start a new hobby, go on a long roadtrip, and most importantly, pray. Pray for God to give you guidance and to keep you strong and to keep you from lowering your standards. HE will not fail you.

It may happen next week, it may happen next year (as it has with me) or it may be a while longer, but eventually, a Stephen will appear. Or an Andrew, or a Luke or a Jonathan. And he will be perfect for YOU.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Be blessed, lovelies-


Happy Little Things


What's makin' me happy this week? I'll tell you mine if you tell me yours...

1. The sleep rompers I bought at VS earlier this season for warm, humid weeks like this past one. Comfy and perfect. Love.

2. The funny/hilarious/slightly weird texts that S and I exchange during the day when we're at our subsequent jobs. We are 5 years old.

3. Gearing up for registering for wedding gifts with my beau this weekend. Spice racks and tupperware and monograms, oh my!

4. My job. Even though I blame it entirely for the stomach ulcer I have at the moment, (TMI? sorry), it's a pretty great gig.

5.  The anticipation of the new Gaga album.

6. My hair is officially touching my bra strap in the back...yay for finally having long hair!

7. Reese's Eggs.

8. Sunny and 75.

9. This blog post by the brilliant Jon Acuff.

10. These babies. Not literal babies. Babies as in shoes. Shoes (at this point in my life) make me considerably happier than something that cries and poops and requires feeding every hour.

Talk happy to me ladies...what's bringing a smile to your pretty faces this week?

Be blessed, lovelies-

Fierce 'n Fit: {Legs & Booty}

via Self Magazine
I got several reader emails last week asking about what I do for certain areas of my body, so each week for a bit, I'll be focusing on the various exercises I do for arms, legs, abs and cardio! Lately, I've been working my legs double-time in hopes of sculpting defined calves, hot hamstrings and a better backside.

Disclaimer: Consult your doc before you start any exercise program, yada yada yada and blah blee bloo. In summary, please don't take me to court if you don't see results. A fitness guru, I am not. Just a southern gal looking for a firmer backside.

Here's a glimpse into some of my weekly leg routine

The Move: Body Bridge

Targets: Hamstrings, Thighs and Butt

Equipment Needed: Nada!
Lie flat on the ground with one leg bent, the bent-leg foot on the ground. Point the toe on the non-bent leg and slowly raise your body up off the ground, exhaling on the motion. Hold in the "up" position for 3 seconds then lower. Do 10 reps on each leg.

The Move: Stamp the Sky

Targets: Thighs, Butt

Equipment Needed: Yoga block

Lying flat on the ground, bend and elevate your right leg. Flex your elevated foot to create a "tabletop" for your yoga block. Balancing the yoga block, "stamp" the ceiling using your non-elevated leg to push your butt and hips off the floor. Repeat on left side for 10 reps on each leg.

The Move: Bosu Ball Squat

Targets: Butt, Thighs (inner and outer) and Core (bonus body part!)

Equipment Needed: Bosu Ball and 10 lb. Medicine Ball

Standing on top of a Bosu ball with your legs slightly bent, hold a 10 lb. medicine ball out in front of you and squat. Remember when you squat back to go into the movement like you are sitting down into a chair. Don't let your torso lean over your knees! Do 3 sets of 15 reps.

The Move: Reverse Lunge

Targets: Thighs, Butt

Equipment Needed: Zilch, zero, zippo

Stand with both of your feet straight about shoulder length apart. Lunge back with the left leg and lower your knee towards the ground. Make sure that your back is straight and your right knee is over your ankle so that you can still see your toes. Using your left leg, push off the ground and return to the starting position. Do 3 sets- 10 reps.

The Move: Plie Squat

Targets: Butt, Booty, Rear, Badonka-donk

Equipment: Your Hot Self

Set your feet shoulder-width apart and turn out your toes. With hands on hips, squat until your knees reach 90 degrees, keeping your body upright and knees behind toes. Drive your tailbone to the floor. Press up to start, and repeat. Make it harder: Hold 5- to 10-pound dumbbells to add weight, or press onto your toes at the finish to target calves.

So there you have it, a few of my fav moves for toning my legs and booty! I also do about 1-2 days of elliptical training, which also helps tremendously with toning the stems.

Be blessed, lovelies-