9.30.2013

weekend


Brandon and I spent the weekend back home with our families.  We had beyond perfect weather, so we decided to take the little boat out on a cruise through the creeks.  This is my absolute favorite time of the year ...warm air with a cool crispness blowing through - those bittersweet few weeks where I want to hang on to summer and the smell of salt & sunscreen, but am welcoming the warm feelings that come with the cooler fall weather.  I love this time.  I just want to be outside and soak it all in with all my might.














9.26.2013

lust list

I am so loving this Gorjana Laurel Bangle.  It's delicate, but enough to make a statement with it's unique lines.
It's the year of mirrored sunglasses and I'm telling you, these Ray Ban Aviators were awfully hard to part with when I tried them on at the store the other day.  They have been on my mind!

My beloved Jeffrey Campbell 'Foxtrot' heels are now available in NUDE!  My heart beats quicker when I see these.  I own them in black and always get a ton of compliments.  They are classic, comfortable, and, not to mention, VELCRO! -what could be better?

Oh so obsessed with this ASOS Sweater/Jacket.  How perfect with a slightly oversized white tee, black leggings, and ankle booties (like these, which I own and love).


The prettiest hamper I ever did see.  This Pottery Barn Kids Woven Prayer Hamper would be perfect for any age - in a nursery or in -ahem- my laundry room.




9.25.2013

Milani Color Statement Lipstick {product spotlight}

I randomly spotted the Milani Color Statement Lipsticks at the store and, before I knew it, had five in my hands - ready to purchase.  I couldn't resist the pretty colors and the price tag under $5.  I got home and tried each one on, then decided to awkwardly take photos of myself so that you all could see the colors.  If you're looking for a richly pigmented lipstick in a wide variety of shades - and for an inexpensive price - I'd definitely check out these lipsticks.  They're sooo creamy and although I haven't had the chance to wear any of them for a long period of time, they seem to be quite long-lasting, too.



 3// "Sangria"




Xo-M



9.24.2013

Our Wedding Video!

I can't thank you enough for all of the sweet comments and emails after my post on Friday.  You all are just amazing!  I really appreciate the prayers and the stories many of you shared about similar situations you or a family member has been through.  You definitely made me feel more at ease in many ways.  So THANK YOU, again!

On a much, much lighter note... I have something exciting to share with you!  This is our wedding video, which was done by the fabulous Remedy Wedding Films.  I booked them right after we got engaged, well over a year before our wedding.  They are just a top-notch group of people... the perfect blend of professionalism and personality.  When you're spending almost your entire wedding day with a videographer, I feel like it's so important to feel completely comfortable around that person (In my case, it was Jamie -the owner/cinematographer & his beautiful wife, Jennifer!).  I couldn't be more happy with the talents they shared with us.  We will forever treasure this video!

This video contains, by far, the happiest moments of my life and I'm so excited to share it with you.





9.20.2013

real talk


I wrote this yesterday and didn't know whether to post it or not, but ...what the heck.

As I type this, I'm supposed to be preparing to be wheeled back into the operating room.  I've never shared anything about any health issues on the blog (and I do say "health issues" very lightly), but this blog is all about sharing, so I figured I'd just start typing and see what comes out.

Back in December, I visited an ENT because I just could not get rid of a chest cold and thought it could be a bigger problem than allergies or a sinus infection.  Well, that chest congestion I was experiencing turned out to be acid reflux.  I was prescribed some medicine and out the door I went.

I went back to the doctor for a followup appointment a few weeks later.  My doctor felt around my ears and throat -just basic protocol.  But this time, he felt a mass on my thyroid and recommended that I immediately get it looked at by an Otolaryngologist.  So I did ...and after bloodwork, a couple ultrasounds, and a very uncomfortable set of fine needle aspirations, I was told they are about 95% sure it's benign.  My doctor recommended that I eventually have surgery to remove half of my thyroid (they can't take off only the nodule itself), just to be sure, but there wasn't a huge rush.

Since that day, I haven't been able to escape the 5% chance that I have thyroid cancer from my mind.  But this was three months before our wedding.  Personally, I just couldn't undergo surgery that close to the wedding and have a big scar on my neck in all of my wedding photos.  I knew I could wait until the big day was behind us, reevaluate my thyroid nodule, and make a decision during a less intense time of my life.

Six months passed and, as instructed, I had another ultrasound to check out my nodule.  It hadn't grown significantly, but the blood flow through it had increased and it had more solid components, both of which are big warning signs.  Before I knew it, I had a call from my doctor saying I needed to come back into his office to talk about having the surgery to remove it.  You see, the things that doctor's don't like to see in a nodule...well, I have all of them in mine.  It's hyper-vascular (lots of blood flow running through it), it's not liquid (mine is part solid making it "complex"), and it's greater than 1cm (mine is over 3cm). I was told that I could receive robotic surgery to remove it, which would only cause a scar under my arm instead of across my neck.  

Now let's fast forward to today.  11:23am on Thursday, October 19th.  Just seven minutes before my surgery was supposed to start.  But instead, I'm thinking about what I'm going to eat for lunch and what time I'm going to hit the gym today.  My surgery was cancelled pretty late in the game yesterday because of a hold the FDA put on the type of surgery I was set to have.  There was no way my doctor could operate.

My doctor was one of the first five doctors in the US to receive training for this type of procedure using the Da Vinci Robot.  He's extremely skilled and I trust him very much.  However, other doctors across the country, who hadn't received proper training, have been using the Da Vinci Robot to perform thyroidectomies and have had some catastrophic results.  So, the FDA gave them a big slap on the wrist and stopped the use of this robot for thyroid surgery everywhere in the United States.  My surgeon found this out less than 24 hours before my surgery was to take place and I was notified immediately.  The nurse told me that I was the first patient they haven't been able to operate on robotically. 

When things like this happen -sudden changes in our plans that are disappointing- it's sometimes hard to remember that this is in fact God's plan for us. I believe that there must be a reason I was not supposed to undergo surgery with the Da Vinci Robot today. My other option is to have traditional surgery, but this would place the scar on my neck, which let's be real... would be ok.  I can deal with the scar.  But I did have it built up in my head that I would be able to receive robotic surgery, which would just cause a tiny scar under my arm instead. So you can imagine my disappointment, but then again, my relief that this happened because it must be for a reason. Psalm 112:7 tells us "He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD."

Another reason I'm writing this is to bring awareness to the subject. My doctor told me that it's amazing how many people have thyroid nodules, but aren't aware of it.  I don't know how long I've had this thyroid nodule and really, I don't know when I would have found out about it had I not seen my ENT for chest congestion. I can see my nodule when I tilt my head back, but it isn't something that had ever caught my eyes in the past.

You may have heard of Tarek from the HGTV show, Flip or Flop. He recently battled thyroid cancer (read about it here). His nodule was discovered by a nurse who happened to be watching the show and recognized it on his throat. She knew what to look for because of her profession and immediately called his agent to notify him. That nodule ended up being thyroid cancer.  I don't know if mine is cancerous... most chances are that it's not.  But, I'm thankful for the congestion I had, which is the sole reason my nodule was discovered.  There was a great reason for that chest cold and likewise, there's a reason I'm not in surgery right now as planned.  I'm completely trusting in the plans God has for having it removed, even if that means having the traditional thyroidectomy with the scar on my neck.

Proverbs 3:5-6 -- Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. 



9.19.2013

winner, winner


THANK YOU to all of you who entered the Lo & Sons  giveaway!  
One lucky lady will soon be adding a new bag to her closet...


Congratulations, Tamie!

Remember, if you didn't win, you can still use the code SWANKYSEPT13 for 15% off your Lo & Sons purchase!



9.18.2013

Favorite Drugstore Cosmetics {product spotlight}

I have tried a ton of drugstore products.  I'm always on the search for new inexpensive products that perform just like their more expensive counterparts.  I've got to admit, I watch beauty videos on Youtube almost every single night on my iPad as I'm getting ready for bed.  It's just turned into a routine and I enjoy learning from the beauty "gurus" I follow.  They are always featuring interesting products and introducing me to the latest "it" product.  In fact, I learned about every single one of these products below from the Youtube girls I follow.


Face

Garnier Skin Renew BB Cream for Combination/Oily Skin (Light/Medium) //  I wear this almost every single day and have barely made a dent in the tube after about three months of use.  A little goes a long way.  The coverage is better than any other BB Cream I've tried and unlike others, it doesn't slip off my skin by the middle of the day.

Maybelline Fit Me Foundation (Color 210) // This product makes your skin look glowy from within.  I wouldn't recommend it for very oily skin types.  It provides light to medium coverage, but really keeps your skin looking natural and fresh.  Plus, it has sunscreen - extra points!

Maybelline Dream Lumi Highlighting Concealer (Fair) // If you're a lover of the YSL Touche Eclat, I dare you to try this.  For $5, you can't go wrong.  It performs just as well as many high end brighteners I've tried.  This is not a full coverage concealer.  This is best to brighten the under eye area and to highlight other areas of the face, like the bridge of the nose, the cupids bow, etc.  This stays in my purse and is a great mid-afternoon refresher!

Rimmel Natural Bronzer in Sun Dance // This is a major dupe for Nars Laguna.  It's not milled quite as fine, but to me, it looks just the same once applied to the face.  It's not too brown, not too orange... just a perfect sunkissed color.  Did I mention it's like $3?  

Lips

Maybelline Vivids Lipstick // These are too perfect.  Creamy and pigmented (although I always recommend wearing lip balm underneath lipstick).  They have a great color selection and stay put for a long time.  My newest favorite is a fuschia plum called "Brazen Berry."

Eyes

Maybelline Color Tattoo 24Hr // This product is so incredibly similar to MAC's paint pots.  Maybe not quite as creamy, but they last wayyy longer on the eyelids than the paint pots.  These are beautiful to be worn alone or layered under other shadows.  My absolute faves are "Bad to the Bronze" and "Tough as Taupe."

NYX Super Skinny Marker // I honestly didn't expect to find an eyeliner I loved more than Clinique's gel liner.  Well, I don't know if I love this one more, but I do love it just as much.  This is a breeze to apply and lasts all day long.  I love how skinny the felt tip is because it really allows me to build up my line to whatever thickness I want.  Plus, it's thin enough for me to wing out my liner pretty easily!

NYX Wonder Pencil (Light) // This is a multi-purpose pencil.  It's basically a concealer pencil, but I use it to line my lower water line of my eyes.  It really brightens up my eyes and makes me look more awake on days I'm lacking in the Zzzz department.

Maybelline "The Rocket" Mascara // Lengthens, volumizes, curls, separates... it does it all.  Please don't ever spend your money on expensive mascara.  Drugstores have such great options!

I had no idea I liked Maybelline so much before writing this post!  Do y'all own any of these products and like them just as much as I do?  Have any drugstore "holy grail" items in your collection?  Do tell!



9.17.2013

weekly roundup

Sorry I missed you yesterday.  Over the weekend, we enjoyed dinner at O-Ku on Friday night, cleaned like crazy people on Saturday, and then I worked an event on Saturday night.  I completely stalked the Target sales people on Sunday morning for my pick of the Phillip Lim for Target bags (it worked!) ...and made it back home in time to get ready for church!  Pretty productive weekend.  Here are worthy links that were never posted last week!

//  I received a sample of the Korres Pomegranate Balancing Creme-Gel Moisturizer and am completely obsessed.  I have combination skin (very oil in areas and very dry in other places) and this balances it so nicely.

//  This is a really great article on the importance of taking chances and accepting responsibility.

//  You've got to check out the Sauvie Island "Tiny House."  540 perfectly styled square feet for a family of four!

//  This is a great article on the common misconceptions about counting calories.

//  It's not a liquid, yet not a powder.  Very curious to try this foundation.

//  J. Crew is having a 25% everything sale with code SHOPFALL.

//  Perfect modern blonde.

//  So loving this print.

image via




9.13.2013

happy purchases

I instagrammed a photo of these booties earlier this week.  I seriously cannot believe I found them at Target for just over $30.  I wore them all day to work and was really pleased with how comfortable they were.  I paired them with this Hive & Honey Military Shirtdress.  I also own the dress in grey.

While at Target, I snagged this sheer blouse and can't, for the life of me, find it online.  Head to your nearest store and search for it.  Trust me... it's a goodie!

Yesterday, I wore this J Crew Collection Mini Skirt (now on sale!) with a top from Zara.  I paired it with a statement necklace from Zara and Jeffrey Campell heels.

When in LA, I stumbled upon two pairs of the best leggings ever.  For real.  I will never buy another brand as long as they make these.  They are thick and comfortable and flattering and all this other amazingness that I just can't describe.




I also got this sleep top from Target and I've literally slept in it every night this week.  Ok let's be real, I've put it on the moment I got home from work every single day.  It's just too good.
(I don't always wear red lipstick when I wear my pajamas, but when I do, I wear YSL Rouge Volupte Shine in #4, Rouge in Danger - mentioned earlier this week.) 

That's it for today!  Happy Friday.  I'm sad to miss out on this week's "weekly roundup," but I do have some links that I may share early next week.  Xo-M



9.12.2013

LO & SONS: O.G. vs O.M.G. Review & Giveaway


I'm sure many of you are familiar with Lo & Sons, an amazing designer bag company that was created by a mother and her two sons.  Their bags are highly functional, yet lightweight and water resistant.   The best part is that these bags look incredibly stylish and will satisfy even the most organized-obsessed due to their many well-placed compartments.

I do want to preface by saying that yes, this is a sponsored post, but I am very, very picky about the products I choose to accept.  I decline about 80% of the sponsored post requests I receive and I would never give a product a positive review if I wouldn't be happy to spend my own money on it.  Also, I will always notify you when I was gifted a reviewed product.  That said, Lo & Sons was more than generous to send me both the OG and the OMG bag.  I actually received the OG bag, the bigger of the two, earlier this year and posted a video review of it here on the blog.

Now that I have the OMG, I've been able to really compare the two and figure out the best uses for each. If you've been trying to decide between the two sizes, this post should be very helpful!


In the photo above, the OMG is on the left and the OG is on the right. You'll see that there isn't very much visual difference between the two. The OMG has a 16" wide base and the OG is one inch wider at 17". The OMG is 1.5" shorter than the OG (13.5" vs. 15"). They are almost the same size in depth... the OMG is 6" and the OG is 6.5". 

Even with the extra inches, the OG weighs only .1lb more than the OMG. So basically, let's just say they both weigh two pounds and call it a day.


Both bags are currently available in six colors. I was immediately drawn to the black because of how classic it is and how rich the gold hardware looks against it. I'm also especially partial to the lavender interior. Great color combo! 

What do I keep inside these bags? 
Well, let's start with the smaller of the two, the OMG.


This bag quickly became my gym bag. It's the perfect size for all of the things I need for a workout, with even some extra room left over. In the main compartment, I keep my shoes and gym clothes. In the inner side pockets, I keep my hairspray, lotion, a water bottle, and a cosmetic bag with a few random things in it. In the front outer pocket, I keep my ipod, headphones, hairbrush, and some hair ties/clips. In the back outer compartment, I keep flip flops for the gym shower - but they aren't pictured ...oops!

Now, the OG....


The OG bag is my "everything" bag.  I absolutely will not travel without it.  Most recently, I used it as my carry on bag for LA. Sure, I could take a bigger duffle-type bag (which would allow me to bring more shoes, duh!),  but I can't pass up how organized this bag keeps me on trips. 

All of the things you see below fit extremely nicely into the bag.  While on the plane, my friend made the comment, "Wow, you sure can fit a lot of things in that bag." That's because I kept pulling out item after item after item, trying to situate myself for a lengthy flight. I legit felt like Mary Poppins. Not only can I fit all of the things seen below into the bag, but everything has its own special place. I know exactly where to find each item. 

As you can see in the photo above, I have my iPad, a zip-loc baggy of travel necessities (eye drops, face lotion, makeup remover wipes, floss sticks, hand sanitizer, kleenex, a clear moisturizing face mask, etc.), a travel pillow, hand lotion, a pen & pencil, a notebook, my current book of choice, along with three magazines, an emergency iPhone/iPad charger, a mini wallet, an eye mask, and snacks -duh. Not pictured, but also went inside the bag was a collapsible water bottle and a travel blanket (both being washed!). 

Final thoughts?
The OMG (smaller) is the best option for me at the gym, simply because it fits in the lockers and the OG doesn't.  The OMG definitely fits better underneath plane seats, but I make the OG fit under there with a little extra effort!  Also, if you just carry a lighter load in general (or just books), the OMG might be a better option for you.

The OG (bigger) is my favorite.  It's big enough to make a difference in terms of what I can carry in it, but not big enough to make it more difficult to maneuver through an airport or in the car, etc.  I tend to gravitate towards bigger bags in general, so to me... the bigger, the more I can fit in it, the better!  It's great for stacking items on top of each other.  For example, I put the books in, then put my travel pillow and blanket on top of them (just under the top zipper).  On the same regard, if you don't have a need to stack things on top of each other in the bag, I'd go with the OMG to save space while traveling.

Read even more details about these bags on the Lo & Sons website.  You can also revisit my video review of the OG bag for a closer look at the pockets they both feature.

Meanwhile, on the kitty-boy front...
Winston is still deciding which bag he likes best.  He said the OG bag is nice and big, with room to grow!


Lo & Sons is offering each of you 15% off your order with the code SWANKYSEPT2013.

They are also giving you the chance to win one of their bags!  One lucky winner will have his/her choice of an OMG or an OG bag, in any color.

You must be a follower of Style Me Swanky via Google Friend Connect to enter (right sidebar where it says "Followers: Join this Site...").




9.11.2013

get the look



I'm loving these two pieces together.  Sometimes, I just can't wear heels to work on days I know I'm going to be running around like crazy, but I can't wait to dress this new skirt up with some pumps.  The Asos tank is the perfect one for tucking into skirts because it's not too long.  I ordered a medium in it....runs small! 



 
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