Monday, August 18, 2014

Countdown to Kickoff:
Candy Bars, Cocktails, + All-American Collegiate Company

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #Chocolate4TheWin #CollectiveBias

party, football, Snickers, recipe, chocolate Snickers cookies


Fall, ie college football season, is upon us! Every year, I like to throw a Countdown to Kickoff SoirĂ©e for all my friends as a celebration of our team's imminent regional victory. This year, my party landed on the same day as our official university Countdown to Kickoff Luncheon hosted by Bright House Networks, so I tried even harder to pull out all the stops, ranging from classy collegiate decorations (We're grown-ups now, okay? No streamers.) to hilarious games/entertainment to delicious chocolate desserts featuring our favorite candy bars. This year's party, which went off without a hitch, was fabulous and ended up being great tributes to my hometown's favorite athletic pastime. 


The great thing about hosting a football party is that nobody is really expecting any level of sophistication or intricate decor. Me being me, I couldn't just forego the decorations, so I went with all black, crystal, and gold plates and drinkware. Plus, some sweet little sugar pie sent me a gorgeous bouquet of white lilies, so those had to go on display, as well.

Party, Football, White Lillies, Snickers

Football, White Lillies, Flowers, Decor


Contrary to the decor, your party guests will be expecting the best of the best hors d'oeuvres, drinks, dinner, and dessert. Since I'm forever a weight watcher, I opted for some fresh cherries, watermelon, and blueberries, in addition to cheese and crackers, chips and dip, and veggies with ranch dip as appetizers. My group of friends is pretty standard when it comes to drink orders, so I made sure I had water, wine, soda, cocktails, and beer--duh-- readily available. For dinner, I ordered gourmet pizza and, per multiple males' requests, some good old-fashioned wings. 

Plus, when I was party supply shopping at Sam's Club, I regrettably perused the candy aisle and couldn't pass up buying both a 48-Count Box of Snickers and a 105-Count Fun Bag of Mars candy. Football fans love candy, and Snickers bars make for fabulous dessert recipe additives. 

Party, Snacks, Food, Snickers, Cherries

Mars, Chocolate, Fun Size, Sam's Club

Party, Snickers, Mars, Decor, Football

Snickers, candy bars, chocolate

Snickers, candy bars, Sam's Club

Who can say no to cupcakes, especially if they come embellished with sprinkles and football rings? Also, hurray for horrible indoor florescent lighting. I miss the days of winter and spring, when I could confidently plan an outdoor gathering. 

Cupcakes, Football, Hostess, Party, Chocolate

Football, Cupcakes, Chocolate, Dessert, Party



If I didn't have such amazing friends, I wouldn't put forth the energy to plan, host, and clean-up after a party. However, they're the best people in the universe, and I'll gladly capitalize on any opportunity to have them all under one roof for an evening. 

I ended up having a bunch of Snickers bars left over post baking (recipe below), so we handed out Snickers bars as prizes for the winners of the "Who Am I?" game, where you tape a note card with a famous person's name or descriptive adjective on your forehead and ask questions to try and decipher what/who you have written on your forehead. Think Diversity Day episode of The Office from Season 1. It's a blast, and literally everyone ended up winning. The boys, in particular, had a lot of fun showcasing their winnings. Also on the game docket was Munchkin, Mad Gabs, and a whole lot of Mortal Kombat. 



Snickers, Football, Countdown to Kickoff

Snickers, Football, Countdown to Kickoff, Party

Snickers, Football, Countdown to Kickoff, Party

Snickers, Party, Fun


When our Snickers combine...





I, unlike everyone else in my family, am not a talented baker, so I have to aim low when it comes to my baking expectations. I really wanted to use my 48-Count Box of Snickers from Sam's Club to create something delicious, so I came up with the Chocolate Snickers Cookie. I figured that chocolate chips + cookies + Snickers had to equal something edible. They ended up being more delicious than I anticipated and landed themselves in 100% newb-proof-crowd-pleaser territory. 


Cookies, Chocolate, Snickers, Candy Bar, Recipe, Dessert

You'll need at least 4 Snickers bars, cut up into sixths, and one tube of chocolate chip cookie dough. If you're feeling fancy, make your own cookie dough! Go getcha some!

Cookies, Chocolate, Snickers, Candy Bar, Recipe, Dessert

Bake as directed for half the recommended time. Pull out of the oven and place the cut-up Snickers pieces on each cookie. Put back in the oven and bake for the remaining time. 

Cookies, Chocolate, Snickers, Candy Bar, Recipe, Dessert

When the time is up, smear the Snickers pieces around the center to create a yoke-like core. Let them cool, serve, and enjoy!


To summarize, cause I know I probably lost a few of you with these elaborate directions:


Cookies, Chocolate, Snickers, Candy Bar, Recipe, Dessert


Painfully easy, right?! Plus, they're amazing! I managed to snag one, but these babies were the first of the party snacks to go. 


Cookies, Chocolate, Snickers, Candy Bar, Recipe, Dessert


In case you want to give this super easy recipe a try, visit a Sam's Club nearby and get a 48-Count box for under $25. Also, I highly recommend buying your drinks and party snacks from Sam's, as well. It's a huge money saver, y'all. 



Who else is getting amped up for football season? You know what us southern ladies are all about-- God, sweet tea, and the SEC! Amen to that!


Happy Monday!
xo

♥ Stephanie

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Pretty Princess Dreams + Affordable Bridal Gowns:
Lazy Saturday Online Dress Shopping


Confession: Sometimes I like to spend my Saturday evenings pre-planning my imaginary wedding. It's not completely weird, though, cause now-a-days pageant gowns strongly resemble bedazzled wedding dresses. Ever since I purchased my fabulous evening gown from Regalia at a price I'm too embarrassed to disclose, I told myself that would be the most expensive garment of clothing I ever own-- yes, including my wedding dress.

Luckily, the reality fan girl in me was watching my guilty pleasure, the finale of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, and saw that Anna Shannon wore a ridiculously inexpensive yet stunning wedding dress from Light In The Box on her wedding episode, which aired on TLC on August 14th. Completely shocked at its $212 price tag, I had to do some investigating. 




This online dress boutique is literally amazing, so I immediately starting picking out some wedding dress options, all under the $250 price point. Plus, the frugal fashionista in me found these Light In The Box coupons from Coupons.com to save even more money on my next dream dress (no harm no foul in playing pretty princess dress-up games, right?). 

Counterclockwise: 1. Two-In-One A-Line Princess Sweetheart Floor-Length Tulle Wedding Dress // 2. A-Line Princess Queen Anne Sweep/Brush Train Satin and Lace Wedding Dress // 3. Ball Gown V-Neck Chapel Train Organza Wedding Dress // 4. A-Line Princess Strapless Court Train Organza Wedding Dress

I would gladly don all of these stunning garments as not only wedding dresses, but also as pageantry evening wear. So stylish, so sophisticated, and so stinkin' cheap! Seriously, these designs rival some of the pageant gowns available in the 4 and 5-digit price range, and I know from my occasional perusing of Vera Wang's website that they strongly resemble some high-end designer bridal gowns. Check out Light In The Box if you're on the market for something as fabulous as it is inexpensive. You can also find dozens of wedding items from Light In The Box, too, ranging from affordable bridesmaid options to shoes, wraps, and accessories.  


Oh geez, successful Saturday night, I'd say. Don't tell my boyfriend. What does your dream dress look like? 
Happy Weekend!
xo

Thanks to Coupons.com for sponsoring today's post!

♥ Stephanie

Thursday, August 14, 2014

My Detox-Obsessed Secret Weapon:
Combating Damage with Clear Scalp + Hair Products

As per FTC regulations, this post is sponsored by Global Influence Network, but all opinions are my own.

blonde, Halo Hair Extensions, Clear Scalp and Hair, Walmart

Even though I've become a huge advocate for heatless hairstyling (tutorial here), sometimes just relieving your hair of excess heat isn't enough. From the 5 or 6 dye jobs I endured over a 3-month period (ya, it's really that hard to take my dark brown hair to real blonde), it's not so much my hair that's suffering; it's my scalp. Apparently the chemicals used to lighten my roots, which cook pleasantly on my head for 30+ minutes under a heat lamp, are extremely damaging-- go figure?-- so I've had to completely change up my shampoo and hair care routine for my post pageant life. 

I've been a big fan of Clear Scalp and Hair products in the past, but their Damage & Color Repair products have kind of been my saving grace over the past few weeks. Formulated with fancy pants Nutrium 10, their Nourishing Shampoo and Conditioner system has been clinically proven to help restore the scalp's natural moisture balance when you follow the complete regimen, and the proven color-safe formula offers advanced protection from visible signs of damage, while simultaneously cleaning and nourishing the scalp for hair that's 10 times more resilient, strong, and perdy. It's like a miracle shampoo and conditioner combo, and right now all Clear Scalp and Hair products are on Rollback (heyo!) at Walmart for $4.48. Seriously? Stocking' up in like a hoarder over here. 

Oh, and coupon alert! There's currently a click-to-print coupon available (here) for $1.50 off Clear Scalp and Hair products at Walmart. If you've never tried any products in their line and you experience any intermittent scalp sensitivity, I highly recommend trying them, especially while they're so stinkin' inexpensive. 

Clear Scalp and Hair, Coupon, Walmart

How do you cope with lifeless hair and/or a damaged scalp? Suggestions welcome!

4 hours til Friday!
xo

♥ Stephanie

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Beauty without the Breakout:
My Long-Lasting Blemish-Proof Makeup Routine

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #AllDayLook #CollectiveBias
Neutrogena, Makeup, Beauty Routine, All Day Beauty

I've been on this beauty detox kick lately (if you missed my Heatless Hairstyling Beauty Detox Tutorial, check it here), and unfortunately that's because my hair, skin, and nails are quite literally screaming for a break after all my pageant escapades this summer. That's why I've decided to go clean with my makeup and beauty routines for the time being. Unfortunately, do to my hectic work schedule, I can't just not wear makeup for two months. My skin, which is rebelling in the form of pleasant cystic acne all over my chin, looks tired and worn, so based upon the recommendation of my girl Hayden Panettiere, I decided to pick up a handful of products from Neutrogena's healthy makeup line at Target. Without or without my desire to detox, they've become integral parts of my long-lasting beauty routine. 

When I want to let my skin breath but still get moderate coverage, I always opt for BB and CC creams instead of foundation. You can always spot treat with concealer for specific problem areas. Also, when I'm going for a more naturally glamorous look, I tend to opt for light pink hues and browns instead of blacks. Ergo, these are my Neutrogena essentials for getting an all-day look that won't make you breakout: 

Neutrogena, Makeup, Beauty Routine, All Day Beauty


Always, always, always start with moisturizer. It doesn't matter how oily you are, dry skin will always make you shinier than well-moisturized skin. Neutrogena's Oil-Free Moisture with SPF 15 is ah-mazing, and when you dab (not smear) it all over you face, it keeps your skin feeling soft and hydrated all day, while simultaneously providing the same skincare benefits as SPF 15 sunscreen. 

Neutrogena, Makeup, Beauty Routine, All Day Beauty

Once your skin is good and moisturized, apply approximately 2-3 pumps of Neutrogena Healthy Skin Enhancer with Sunscreen to your face. With BB creams and/or enhancer products, I prefer to use my fingers, but you can use a foundation brush if that's your preference. Not only does this enhancer have SPF 20 sun protection, but its oil-free formula also contains a vitamin-infused Retinol treatment and a fabulous sheer tint. I use the Light to Neutral 30 shade, but there's a wide spectrum of available shades. You will literally walk around feeling like you have absolutely no makeup on, and your skin will notice-- but nobody else will.


Neutrogena, Makeup, Beauty Routine, All Day Beauty


This next product is my favorite. Once you've applied the Health Skin Enhancer, use a powder brush to set it in place with Neutrogena Shine Control Powder. It's a rice protein complex that instantly eliminates shine for a fresh look that lasts literally all day. It layers invisibly over your makeup (I use the Invisible 10 shade) and provides an amazing matte finish on your face. I carry this around in my bag, too, for quick touch-ups on the go. It's an absolute lifesaver. 


Neutrogena, Makeup, Beauty Routine, All Day Beauty

Next, I finely line my top and lower eyelid with Neutrogena Nourishing Eye Liner. The liner goes on super smoothly, but the color stays for hours. Since I wanted to go for a more natural look, I opted for Spiced Chocolate 30 instead of black, which is my usual default. These fabulous liners are infused with olive oil and rain forest shea butter to condition the delicate skin around your lashes, and they feature both a built-in sharpener, which gives precise definition, and a contoured smudger, which softens and blends for a variety of all-day looks. 


Neutrogena, Makeup, Beauty Routine, All Day Beauty

Further enhance and condition your eyes with Neutrogena Health Volume Mascara. After curling them with an eyelash curler, I swipe my lashes about 3-4 times with the wand for the best results. This mascara will give you beautifully full and healthy lashes, building lash volume by 400%, with no clumps, smudging, or flaking. I used Black/Brown 03, and it complemented the brown in my eyes and the brown tint of the eyeliner wonderfully. 
Neutrogena, Makeup, Beauty Routine, All Day Beauty

And what all-day makeup routine would be complete without a classic lip shade? I've heard raves about Neutrogena's MoistureSmooth Color Sticks from fellow friends and bloggers, but I picked up my first one a few weeks ago, and I have yet to use another product. I'm obsessed. The color stick, which is made with fruit extracts along with mango and shea butter, instantly moisturizes your lips, while continuously conditioning them so they are softer and smoother in just 3 days with nothing on them. Plus, the twist-up package eliminates the need for a sharpener and guarantees a perfect application every time. I used Sweet Watermelon 30 in this tutorial, but you can find them in 8 gorgeous shades. 


Neutrogena, Makeup, Beauty Routine, All Day Beauty

And now you have an all-day makeup routine that's as healthy for your skin as it is gorgeous. Your skin will love you for it, and best of all, no one will know that you're going through a beauty detox since you'll be polished, matte, and fabulous.

Neutrogena, Makeup, Beauty Routine, All Day Beauty


Truth be told, I'd never noticed the Neutrogena makeup aisle before, so in case you're in the same boat, look for this aisle next time you're at Target to pick up any of the products I used in this post. If you use this cartwheel coupon, you can get 10% off now through August 16th! I promise, you-- and your skin-- won't be sorry. Also, be on the lookout for the all-new Target Beauty Concierge event. The event begins August 24th, and limited quantities are available. Check with your local Target store for Beauty Concierge day and times.

Neutrogena, Makeup, Beauty Routine, All Day Beauty


Also, I wanted to share some of my inspiration for this makeup tutorial with y'all. Hayden Panettiere, one of my favorite actresses from the show Nashville (and a regular on Disney channel in the '00s), did a series of All-Day Beauty segments for Neutrogena, and I couldn't help but want to copy her Day Off Look. Y'all can watch it below: 





What do you do when your skin is dying for a break but going makeup-less isn't an option? I know my fellow working girls out there feel me on this. Any tips? 


Is it Friday yet?
xo


♥ Stephanie

Monday, August 11, 2014

Obsessively Organized + Classically Compulsive:
Living Colorfully with a Plan

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Sharpie, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #SharpieClearview http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Organization, Planner, Sharpie, Sharpie Clearview, Pollinate

Benjamin Franklin once said, "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail." I couldn't agree more. I really am a huge fan of spontaneity and impulsivity, but at the end of the day, I've yet to find success while wandering around aimlessly without some variation of goal setting. I need a plan. I need color coding. I need my Kate Spade planner. I need it all. 

The "back to school" season is literally one of my favorite times of the year due to the amazing display of office supplies and college paraphernalia scattered around my favorite stores. It's all usually on sale, too, so I take this time to stock up on highlighters, pens, colored paperclips... basically anything I can use to make my planner more organized and, intuitively, more fun. This year I came across Sharpie's new Clearview highlighters at Walgreens, and I couldn't say no. They're cute, colorful, and the perfect way to color code tasks on my calendar. Oh, and I also bought a handful of other Sharpie products, since a girl can never have enough lime green or hot pink markers. 

Organization, Highlighters, Sharpie, Sharpie Clearview

These are my all-time favorite highlighters, since they legitimately do not smudge, which is crucial for any OCD perfectionist like moi, and you can throw them anywhere (purse, desk, etc)  without the fear of leakage. They come in a variety of fun colors, too, so color coding on the go, and yes-- I will update my planner in the car--, is a breeze. 

So how exactly do I keep my life {via my planner} organized? I always plan a month ahead. All of my blog ideas, professional and social events, important dates, holidays, etc. are all mapped out on my monthly calendar. I also research the unique holidays, like National Pancake Day, and make sure those are marked, as well. There are some days, ie National Lipstick Day, that a girl just can't not celebrate, and they can provide great topics for post ideas and inspiration. 

Organization, Sharpie, Sharpie Clearview

Organization, Sharpie, Sharpie Clearview, Planning

Next, I detail my week-by-week calendar as intricately as I can. This is where the color coding and note making becomes most valuable, since I flip through my planner almost 45 times a day looking for information. Yellow highlighting indicates anything Diary of a Debutante-related, pink highlighting indicates an important date, and green highlighting represents a work event or deadline. 

Hosted events and/or travel plans usually get their own post-it until the details are cemented, since dates constantly change and I despise scribble scrabble black-out marks. This is why I always keep a variety of colored notepads and markers handy, too. Once the plans are finalized, even if the dates have passed, I'll write them in my planner for record keeping.

Organization, Sharpie, Sharpie Clearview, Planning

I always keep a notepad in my planner to make daily "To Do" lists. I used to keep these in my phone, but it was hard to remind myself to look at it often enough  to ensure that I was on track to actually accomplish the day's goals. When tasks are completed, the little box gets highlighted, which is a great way to further visually identify the day's progress. 

Organization, Sharpie, Sharpie Clearview, Pollinate

Even though my organizational habits may lean on the extreme side, I don't miss deadlines, I don't forget birthdays, and I'm always prepared to meet the personal and  professional expectations set by my company. Plus, I've got a super cute planner that's filled with structure, color, and memories. 


Do you live life by your planner, too? What organizational tips do you have? 


Happy Monday!
xo
♥ Stephanie
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