Archives For October 2013

Well gang, you probably think I found another calling by this point, after having not posted anything new in over a week. Let me explain:

If you follow me on Twitter or have liked my Facebook page, then you know I had to take an emergency trip to the U.S. to attend a funeral for one very special lady: Aunt Theresa.

I’ve never been exceptionally close to my father’s side of the family because we lived 11 hours away from them and were lucky to see them every 1-2 years as we were growing up. But my Aunt Theresa, she was one of the ones who always made me feel special–she made everyone feel special. This lady lived in the tiny town of Senoia, Georgia and I’ll never forget the times we journeyed from Arkansas to Atlanta for various holidays. She was a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day, and you were most certainly never hungry in her presence!

This same lady made the 11 hour journey to watch me graduate high school, drove to and from Knoxville twice for both my undergrad and master’s graduation ceremonies, and then made the journey again for my wedding. Maybe two years before my wedding, my Aunt was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Despite all the changes and the toll the disease was taking on her, she came anyway. And those pictures I have in the photo album are worth every bit of a 1,000 words to me now.

My mom told me to stay in Ireland because she knew how expensive a last-minute flight to Atlanta would cost me. And while she was right about the price, she probably knew I wouldn’t stay put — not for a lady who had done so many things for me. She always found a way, so, in my heart of hearts I knew I must, I wanted to, do the same. And so I hopped that plane and said my goodbyes.

Death has a way of bringing people closer. After the service, my family (mom, dad, cousins, Aunts, Uncles, etc.) all crowded into her house in Senoia and I sat outside for hours with my cousins, reminiscing of all the good times we’d had as kids and the sadness was lifted as we filled her house and her yard with laughter of all the crazy memories we’d had from visiting her. And of course, even though she was gone, we had a house full of food and desserts.

I’m safely back in Ireland now, where life will resume and plunge forward. Shine your star Aunt Theresa. You are now in a better place, but you will never be forgotten. Until we meet again, Aunt Theresa:

Irish Blessing

I’ve never done a tech post before, but as I was sitting here reading my glossies and various friends’ blogs the other day, the thought came to me! My life, especially my blogging life, has been forever changed by a few things, most of which are technology related. As this technology has helped me out so much, I’d like to share my knowledge with you now! I’ve put together the top three apps that have influenced my blogging and social media interactions and I share them with you in no particular order.

Next Issue: In the states, I had subscriptions to no less than 5 magazines and my husband had a few more. Sadly, when I moved overseas I had to cancel all of these subscriptions, and this was probably the worst day of my life because I knew that meant no more 900+ pages of Vogue with the September issues. Then, I discovered the Next Issue app thanks to my amazing friend Sarah of StyleItOnline.

This app gives you access to over 100 different magazine titles, everything from Automobiles to Travel and everything in between, and the BEST thing about this app is you have access to back issues of the magazines as well as the current issue available on the news stands. Hello, lifesaver! Now my husband and I have all of our magazines back and then some! And I’ve discovered some amazing fashion finds, recipes, and travel destinations that I may have otherwise never had in print!

The app is free to download, but will run you $10-$15 per month depending on which subscription plan you choose. For me, this is a small price to pay for as many magazines as I’m reading every month. Just make sure you do the math to ensure the cost/benefit will be worth it for you before signing up! (But you can cancel your subscription at any time) If you are a magazine junkie like I am, and you are always on the go, this app might just be for you as it is cross-platform and can be used on your computer or tablet. Don’t get me wrong, I still love having a glossy in my hands as there is no substitute for flipping pages, but sometimes those glossy pages don’t  fit in your handbag!

Give it a go here:
Next Issue

HootSuite: I don’t know about you, but in a given day I switch between Facebook, Twitter, and a host of other social media outlets so many times it sometimes makes my brain spin and my browsers crash! Then one day not too long ago, I was watching my Tweetdeck feed and I stumbled upon an article from Mashable: The Beginnger’s Guide to Hootsuite. Naturally, I created a HootSuite account, followed along with the guide, and got myself all set up and HOLY MOLY my life has been changed! I can now easily navigate between my social media platforms without having 400 tabs open in my browser; I can easily post or schedule a status update to all of those platforms (same status, all platforms); and I can even shorten my links to conserve precious character space in my posts to target my audience with hashtags! (read: it’s your 140 character best friend, especially if your blog domain takes up half of your tweet!)

It has been a real time-saver to have such a platform that can handle all of these things for me and I never post a link on Twitter without shortening it — characters are so important! I really had no idea what I was missing out on, but am eternally grateful I found the article when I did! And while I find it’s easier for me to use while on the computer–especially when trying to put blog updates on social sites–I do also have it set up on both my phone and my IPad for when I’m on the move. Best news though? This app is FREE (but you can always upgrade to Pro if you manage multiple brands or accounts) and who doesn’t love something for free these days? I’d easily pay for this app though, knowing the simplifications is has brought into my life!

What are you waiting for? Simplify your life here:
HootSuite

Pocket: As a blogger, I read tons of other blogs in a day and I see so many more things run through my twitter feed that I want to read but just simply may not have time for when I see them. Bookmarking everything takes up too much time, and space, and ultimately just gets lost in translation! I have loads of blogs bookmarked, don’t get me wrong, but I can’t bookmark every article that I want to read! Then, I found Pocket. Pocket is like a bookmark, but so much better because it is saved to your Pocket account and then you can tag that save to easily find it later. Best parts? You can look at your bookmarks whenever and wherever from any device with the app (even offline, great for traveling!) and this app is FREE. Save an article from Twitter on the computer and read it later on the train from your phone. GENIUS. I found this app particularly helpful when I was training for my half marathon as I was storing running articles left and right.

Sign-up today here:
Pocket

I hope some of this information you’ve found useful. All of these apps have changed my life, for the better, and I wouldn’t recommend them if I didn’t fully utilize & adore them! You can always unsubscribe/delete if you hate them, right? And of course, as you work through the apps, give me a shout if you have any questions. I’ve had my fair share of frustrating moments with technology!

Enjoy your new apps. XOXO – K

After that headline, I know I have you intrigued! So read on.

Having lived in Nashville for the better part of three years, I got to experience so much of what the city had to offer and attended many a function.  A year in to living there, I actually hosted my sister and sixteen of her closest friends in my house for a whole bachelorette weekend. That same weekend happened to be the weekend of the Country Music Festival. Naturally the girls had chosen this weekend to snag tickets and watch the shows. Do you even know how long it takes sixteen girls to get ready or what your house will look like after sixteen suitcases have exploded for four days?! 

What felt like a hundred hours passing, the eighteen of us were all gussied up and ready to hit the concert — and of course, the girls were all dressed the part in their cute little sun dresses AND COWBOY BOOTS. Me? Sadly, I didn’t own cowboy boots despite having looked and looked for the longest of time.

See, I’m not one to just buy ANY pair of cowboy boots. Oh no. I wanted PINK cowboy boots and I wasn’t going to settle until I found the perfect pair. I even talked to my friend Aly once about her cowboy boots because not only were they pink, but they sparkled–I thought I was destined to be eternally jealous! Well, that was until my husband took me to one of Paris’ greatest gems: Omaya Vintage.

This perfect little gem is very well known amongst those on the hunt for vintage — both Parisian and tourist alike. It is not a shop you will find in the main stream though, and I think I’ll be forever grateful we trekked out to it! Because…LOOK WHAT I FOUND!

Vintage, Italian leather, pink cowboy boots.

Vintage, Italian leather, pink cowboy boots.

I might not be living in Nashville at the moment, but suffice it to say when I return home (be it on a trip or for our final move back) I’m ready to hit the events in style finally! And of course, my cowboy boots will be unlike any others you’ll find in the city. DOUBLE SCORE.

But, what’s a pair of pink cowboy boots without a vintage, pink, crushed velvet, peplum jacket?  Why, nothing! So, this was my second big find at a different vintage shop in Paris.

Vintage, pink, crushed velvet, peplum jacket

Vintage, pink, crushed velvet, peplum jacket

The shop, oddly, I cannot recall the name of, but it was definitely in Le Marais with several other vintage shops lined up along the same street. It was a tiny little place full of every kind of hidden treasure imaginable from the 70’s, 80’s, and early 90’s. It was probably the best shop I’ve ever been in, price wise, that wasn’t a charity shop. If you are in, or will be in Paris, get your butt to the Marais area and get shopping!

So yes, I went shopping in many, many stores during my time in Paris and all I purchased (i.e. could afford) was these two vintage items. I call that a win because I could not be happier about these items and I know they’ll get a lot of love from me — more love than that 1,400 Euro fur thing I was lusting after!

Watch out Dublin, I’ll be painting you pink soon enough. XOXO – K

 

Happy Friday everyone! I am so excited to reveal a few things to you with today’s post! (So excited in fact that I barely slept a wink last night. More coffee!)

*Drum roll please*

Starting next week, I will begin a new installment series in which I will feature weekly interviews with a fashion and/or beauty blogger who is influential and inspirational to me personally. I couldn’t be happier about those that have volunteered already and am looking forward to writing up their articles in the weeks ahead–I’m so excited about this project!

I know you are just DYING to know what kinds of questions I’ve been asking, so to kick off my new series, I’ve turned some of those same questions around on myself! And, now, I proudly present to you, a sneak peak at what’s ahead (and yes, each feature will have a different font color!):

Lights, Camera, Spotlight: ME

Q1: What words do you live by?
A1: “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” It applies in every aspect of life, but I’ve seen the most noticeable results in the office!

Q2: If money were no object, what one item would you consider a must-have?
A2: I’ve said since I was 18 that one day I WILL own a pair of Manolo’s, but my absolute must have is a pair of Valentino D’Orsay Crystal Bow pumps. I’ve been lusting after those shoes for about 6 years now!

Valentino-Crystal-Bow-Satin-dOrsay-Pump

Q3: What is your signature lip color?
A3: Lancome’s Color Design Lipstick in “Trendy Mauve”. It’s a great every day shade that is neutral enough for the office but pops enough to wear on a night out.

Lancome trendy muave

Q4: What advice would you give to new bloggers?
A4: My biggest pet peeve right now related to the blogosphere is on people who have links to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets on their blog but never ever respond to interactions. If you are going to go digital, you need to commit 100% and most importantly you HAVE (not need) to be responsive to grow your brand.

In addition to the “thinking” questions, I’m also presenting the bloggers with a set of fun, fill-in-the-blank type questions. Here are those that I turned on myself:

One thing you don’t know about me is: I’ve seen “Wicked: The Musical” four times and have tickets to see it again
My signature color is: Red
My dream holiday is: Two weeks in Bora Bora

Of course, I’ve asked the bloggers many, many, more questions but I want you to come back for more, so I’m only giving you a preview of what’s in store in the weeks to come. I am beyond excited to bring you this series, and I do hope you’ll enjoy it!

See you next week! XOXO – K

I have been to Paris numerous times, but until recently, my trips had all been fully loaded and planned down to the minute! How else could one possibly see everything one wanted to see in a short time frame without such rigorous planning?

Well, my most recent trip to Paris was different. This time, my hubby and I only had three items on the “must-see/do” list and we had three days in Paris. Seems like pretty good odds for plenty of time to just stroll around, take in the city, and enjoy the wonder that is Paris for once, right? Indeed!

We arrived in Paris about 12:20 PM and being the thrifty ones, navigated our way through the space-age looking Terminal 1 of Charles de Gaulle and finally found the Metro. Forty minutes later we found ourselves in the rather confusing station of Gare du Nord and ended up circling the platform we needed twice. Of course, after missing our train TWICE, we finally figured out what we were doing and found the right platform.

The Magenta line of the RER train at Gare du Nord

The Magenta line of the RER train at Gare du Nord

Once we were back above ground, we began a nice leisurely stroll (as nice as can be when toting two rolley suitcases, even if they were small!) toward our hotel, which was nestled in between the Champs Elysees and the Opera. Hubby is usually the IPhone master snapper, but I forced him to stop on our stroll so I could take a few snaps myself. The side of the city we were in was simply glorious this time of year!

Autumn in Paris

Autumn in Paris

We finally arrived at our hotel about 3:00 PM and were promptly checked in, asked about breakfast delivery (yes, delivery every morning to our room!), and sent on our way to settle in.

After unpacking, we grabbed a quick-lunch at the Patisserie outside and headed off to the Louvre, one of the three things we had planned, and being Friday it was open until late.

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE the Louvre. There is so much to see — so much so that it can be overwhelming! As hubby and I had both been once before on trips in high school, we opted to just hit the highlights of the museum. But even just hitting the highlights, we were still in the museum about 3 hours! Here are just a few of those highlights:

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If/when you plan a trip to Paris, and the Louvre is on your list, make sure you plan at least 5 hours for the museum — or a whole day if museums are your thing! Out of the slide show highlights, my favorite is the Egyptian tablet where the woman is depicted in a leopard outfit — of course they still had a sense of fashion even in ancient time periods! Love it.

Day 2 began with a trip into the 13th arrondissement, where we queued in anticipation of seeing the street art commissioned inside  a 10-story building which is set for demolition starting November 1st. This project, known as Tour 13, showcases the art of over 100 street artists across the buildings 36 apartments.

Tour 13 Building in the 13th

Tour 13 Building in the 13th

Unfortunately, after standing in the queue, which was wrapped all the way around the building and down the block, for around an hour and 30 minutes with minimal movement, hubby and I decided to abandon our efforts of entering the building so as to not lose our entire day in the city. And so, we walked away without seeing the awesomeness that was inside, but, the Huffington Post wrote up a great article with some pictures of what we, sadly, missed. At least we can say we saw the building!

After the failed tour attempt, we headed back to the city and made our way into Pere-Lachaise, one of the most famous and loveliest of cemeteries there is. (If a cemetery can be considered lovely!)

After spending a good bit of time roaming around the cemetery, we had a great little lunch, did a little vintage shopping, and just roamed around the Marais and the Ile Saint-Louis before hopping the metro to Sacre Coeur for the Vendanges de Montemartre fireworks show. After the steep climb up the hill, we found seats in the grass and settled in for the show.

Sacre Coeur

Sacre Coeur

Paris by Night

Paris by Night

And what a show it was! Here is a clip my hubby managed to record during the second song of the show.

What a great way to end the second day, huh? We sure thought so! (At least until I had a panic attack & almost hyperventilated from claustrophobia in the mass exodus of people, but, I’m trying to pretend that didn’t actually happen….)

Day 3 was somewhat of a lazy day, if you will. The only item we had on the agenda was Invalides, to see Napoleon’s tomb. We wanted a few high quality snaps of the Eiffel Tower with my SLR as well, though we had no desire to actually go up. Since the Tower was closer to our hotel, we took the Metro there first and strolled over to Invalides after.

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower from Invalides Gardens

Eiffel Tower from Invalides Gardens

 Invalides

Invalides
Napoleon's Tomb

Napoleon’s Tomb

The plan was to hit up the shops after the tomb viewing, but wouldn’t you know that almost everything is closed in Paris on Sunday! (Unless you are on the Champs Elysees). Luckily for us, we had actually seen very little of the Marais the previous day and decided to head back that direction. So glad we did! The Marais is probably my new favorite spot in Paris. It has such charm, especially on Sunday! (It was one of the few areas not re-done by Haussman so it has character and doesn’t look like the rest of Paris and is also a mostly Jewish area of town, which is a bonus for shopping on Sunday!)

We wandered in and out of quirky little shops, stopped for cocktails, and wandered some more. I must say, the area is full of vintage shops, so, I definitely recommend a visit if that is up your alley! (I’d show you what I found, but I’m actually writing it up in a separate post next week, so check back.)

Overall, it was a great little trip to Paris and I’m so glad we got to explore new and exciting parts of the city. As this was the third trip for both hubby and I, we’ll be laying off Paris for a bit to ensure we see the rest of Europe as well. But fear not, we are far from done with France as a whole! Where will we jet-set off to next?!

XOXO – K