Dear 22 year old Neely

When I turned 30 last week I spent a lot of time reflecting on my 20′s. A lot of it was a mix of not knowing what I was doing in life, with relationships, and in general so I wanted to write a letter to my 22 year old self and what I wish I could tell her now.

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Dear 22 year old Neely,

So you’re finishing college! That’s great. However you are going to hate working in Advertising and it wont last long. You are far too strong willed and opinionated to be stuck in a cube all day. Be wary of the people you call your “best friends” in 5 years you won’t be talking to any of them anymore aside from one. You will realize that they are not the type of people you want in your life. They are the ones who drag you down and facilitate bad decisions. They are the friends you party with but not the ones that are there for you when you need them. Take note of the kind of friend you want and be that friend. Don’t worry in a few years you will have some of the best friends imaginable and it will feel like you’ve known them forever.

Boys. Oh boys. So next year you will meet a guy that you are convinced is the one for you. You will think this because he is 5 years older. He has a good job, nice friends, hes a grownup. You have not dated a real grown up man yet so this will cloud your judgement. When you guys break up you are going to think its the end of the world. It is not. Unfortunately 2 years later you will meet another guy. Trust your instincts 2 months in when you break up with him for not being the right guy for you. When you think he really isn’t into the relationship TRUST THAT. Sadly though you will spend 3.5 years going back and forth about it. Never fear a mere 4 months after you finally cut ties with him for good you will meet the one you will marry. Its a rough journey with boys but in the end you will see it was worth it because you have found your one.

Instead of spending every Thursday-Saturday of your weekends when you are 23-25 drinking at bars with your friends maybe take up a hobby. Trust me all that comes from those weekends are a lot of bad decisions, and days spent feeling like crap. But you grow out of that phase around 25 and start realizing that staying home with netflix is far more fun. Remember though it takes everyone time to get here. Don’t judge those that still want to go out and party. To each their own.

You are so much stronger than you ever thought you could be and this will be tested when your dad gets Cancer. It will be right around your 28th birthday and you will discover that you are his rock. All this time you thought he was yours. It goes both ways. Stay strong for him because he will fight through this.

Your mom is always right. Period. Just remember that when you are arguing with her about something. She’s been there done that and she knows.

When you are 25 you will discover a passion for something you didn’t expect. Blogging. You will think it wont last. You will think no one will read. You are wrong. This will become your true passion in life and you will love it even when you hate it.

22 year old Neely you will go through a lot before your 30th birthday but remember you will come out on the other side. Maybe a little worse for wear. Maybe a few gray hairs. But you will get through it. Just enjoy the crazy ride.

Love,

30 year old Neely

 

What would you say to your 22 year old self? 

Dark Ombre Nail Tutorial

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of The Ring and the Crown

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Melissa de la Cruz’s The Ring and the Crown recreates 20th century England by adding dark magic to the monarchy. To get a little “dark magic” of your own, check out this tutorial inspired by the book …..

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In the Spring and Summer we are encouraged to abandon our dark nails for pastels and pinks and bright colors. In my opinion this is not the case! You can have gorgeous dark nails all year round and even add a little twist to them!

Im a huge fan of a good Dark Ombre Nail. The first time I tried it a while back I thought it would be super tough but as long as you have a little patience and the right materials its actually a really fun and easy look that wont cost you a trip to the nail salon.

Here is what you will need and what you should do:

You will need:

2 Complimentary dark nail colors. I chose one dark purple-ish color and a slightly lighter plum(nearly the same color but makes a great ombre look)

Base and top coat optional

Sparkle color optional

A foundation sponge

Q-tips for cleaning around the edges(think coloring outside the lines)

Step by Step:

First make sure your nails are free of any polish if not use nail polish remover and remove excess polish.

Wash and lotion your hands just like they do in a salon :)

Now we get down to business….

Put on your base coat if you desire(not required but will help the nails stay for longer)

After that has dried completely Put on your lighter color on each nail and let dry then reapply again

 

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Now comes the fun part…

Take the foundation sponge and brush across the base color at the tip of the sponge a few times

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Next Take the complimentary color and brush that across right next to the base color a few times(this helps to blend the colors) I went back and forth over the colors a few times alternating the base color and complimentary color over one another on the sponge. This helps the effect of the ombre look.

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Now take the sponge and gently go over the top of your nail where the tip to middle are from side to side now do that again but at the bottom of your nail where the cuticle is to the middle from side to side. You can do this as many times as you want until the desired effect is reached. For reference I did this two times.

Let it dry completely and apply top coat if you desire

Another before top coat option is to add some sparkle with a glitter polish on the ends. Thats if you want to get super fun and creative!

I like using a hair dryer at the end holding it about a foot away from my nails and having it on medium to let them dry. It helps if you have someone handy around to do it for you. I utilize my fiancee when he’s feeling really nice about it. Otherwise carefully do so yourself.

Voila! You now have Dark Ombre Nails! You can do this with any color palate your heart desires this just happens to be my favorite and like I said I think it looks great all year round!

 

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I personally think this is a super fun way to paint your nails as well as easy.

It goes so great with the concept of this dark book as well. Even the colors match the book!

 This is the Trailer for the book and its very cool and interesting! Take a look!

About the book:
Magic is power, and power is magic…Once they were inseparable, just two little girls playing games in a mighty castle. Now Princess Marie-Victoria, heir to the mightiest empire in the world, and Aelwyn Myrddyn, a bastard mage, face vastly different futures. Quiet and gentle, Marie has never lived up to the ambitions of her mother, Queen Eleanor the Second. With the help of her Merlin, Eleanor has maintained a stranglehold on the world’s only source of magic. While the enchanters faithfully serve the crown, the sun will never set on the Franco-British Empire. As the annual London Season begins, the great and noble families across the globe flaunt their wealth and magic at parties, teas, and, of course, the lavish Bal du Drap d’Or, the Ball of the Gold Cloth. But the talk of the season is Ronan Astor, a social-climbing American with only her dazzling beauty to recommend her. Ronan is determined to make a good match to save her family’s position. But when she falls for a handsome rogue on the voyage over, her lofty plans are imperiled by her desires. Meanwhile, Isabelle of Orleans, daughter of the displaced French royal family, finds herself cast aside by Leopold, heir to the Prussian crown, in favor of a political marriage to Marie-Victoria. Isabelle arrives in the city bent on reclaiming what is hers. But Marie doesn’t even want Leopold-she has lost her heart to a boy the future queen would never be allowed to marry. When Marie comes to Aelwyn, desperate to escape a life without love, the girls form a perilous plan that endangers not only the entire kingdom but the fate of the monarchy.

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I actually really loved the book. I read it in about a day and a half and for me to read a book that fast I HAVE to love it. I think if you love things like Game of Thrones, or really any fantasy type book you would love this.
Ways to find out more about the book:
Visit the official website

 Follow Melissa de la Cruz on FacebookTwitter and Tumblr

Follow Hyperion Teen on Twitter and Tumblr

 

I really hope you check out the book and try this tutorial. They are both fun and both something you wont regret! Plus if you want a low key night in they go great together! What girl doesn’t love a good book and great looking nails?
This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of The Ring and the Crown

Home Decor Love: Coffee Table Books

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I would say my love of beautiful coffee table books started when I was 5. My mom, an avid collector of beautiful things has amazing coffee table books and art books. They were always very present in our home all over the place. They were not only on the coffee table which I loved. She intermixed them on bookshelves, dressers etc.

When I was in high school I started collecting my own coffee table books. My first one was an Absolut vodka book. Odd for a high schooler but I was obsessed with the magazine ads. To a point where I along with my mom would take them out of magazines for me to collect. I am pretty sure I had about 80 different ones. Next came my all time favorite coffee table book “My Love Affair With Jewelry” by Elizabeth Taylor. I have always loved Elizabeth Taylor and this book is so cool. Its not only a fabulous looking book but its an autobiography of sorts. It shows all her jewelry and the stories behind it and her life.

The collection just grew from there. Almost every year for my birthday and Christmas I would get some new fabulous coffee table or style book that my mom knew I was after. Even ones I didn’t know I wanted. I did the same for her. We have been giving each other Coffee Table books for so long I think our combined collection is insane. She prefers more arty, political coffee table books where as I go for more decorating and style books. I think this shared love is a great thing we have in common as well as something to discuss when we give them to each other and can sit and pour through them.

When A and I moved into our first place together I knew I needed my coffee table books to be involved in our decor but I did not want to turn our place into a typical “girlie girl house.”

I do have my own office in our second bedroom so A portion of my books reside there in various spots.

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We also have this amazing ledge at the top of our stairs that was screaming for some love. I mixed coffee table books, pictures, things we love(owls for me, cows for him) and flowers. The mix is so fantastic for both of our tastes. I love that every single day the natural light hits that part of our living room and really brings that space to life.

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I love that my mom and I share this love of collecting beautiful books. Some of mine are a little worse for wear what with college, moving into first apartments etc but I love them just the same.

There is something about coffee table books that are just so beautiful to me.

 

What is your favorite thing to collect?

Sunday Social

Before we get started can you all go do me a solid and like my Facebook fan page?? Thanks so much!!

 

 

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Hey Guys Happy Sunday Social Day!!!
This Weeks Questions:

1. What was your best birthday? I think honestly my 29th. We went to San Diego and had our first vacation together and it was AMAZING!

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2. What was your best vacation? When A and I went to Chicago and saw Book of Mormon and hung out with friends and his family and ate tons of good food. Also Chicago is my favorite city.

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3. Best date you’ve ever been on? Really? Date 1 with A actually no our 2nd date…ok all of our dates.

4. Best Movie(quality) you’ve seen? Quality would be Argo. I think everything about that movie was amazing. I remember how the entire theatre was literally on the edge of their seats at the end.

5. Best TV show ending of all time? Oh god I wish I could say HIMYM but to me it was Sex and the City. I like to pretend they didn’t make movies and that the show ended with her walking down the street and us finding out Big’s name.

Can we pretend the movies didn’t happen? Please!

Next Weeks Questions:

1. 5 songs you’ll listen to the rest of your life
2. 5 things on your bucket list
3. 5 celeb you’d love to hang out with for a day
4. 5 things you always carry in your purse
5. 5 books on your reading list
6. Share the last 5 pictures on your phone

Its Sunday so come get Social with us you know Sunday Social :) Also be sure to link up, spread the word and encourage others to come make some new bloggy friends!

 

Friday Five

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Hey Guys! Im so glad its Friday. This week has been crazy. I wasn’t feeling well for most of it. So I bring to you my Friday Five!

 

1. Next Issue: Pretty sure I found out about this from someone on Friday Five. This is amazing! I added it to my iPad and now I have about 100 magazines to read for a small monthly fee. SOOOO AMAZING! Especially if you are like me and love magazines but hate spending a ton of money on them monthly. Lately I’ve been reading the New Yorker and Real Simple constantly.

2. New Coffee Mugs: I am somewhat of a coffee mug collector. Not on purpose it just kind of happened. Here are my 3 recently purchased or given to me as gift coffee mugs. The first is from Amanda Catherine Designs collab with Society 6 and the second was given to me by a friend for my birthday from Starbucks. I also got a Starbucks mug with the Dallas Skyline on it which I love.

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3. Lululemon Shorts: I love Spring time because I can bust out my favorite running around/workout shorts. They are from lululemon and I adore them! I am also a fan of these shorts from Nordstrom.

4. Tervis Tumblers: Tervis sent A and I some tumblers a while back and I really love them. I drink out of my bride tumbler a lot and my old monogram tumbler as well. Can’t wait till October so I can drink out of my new monogram tumbler :)

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5. A Nothing Weekend: This weekend is the first weekend since we got engaged where we have NOTHING on the books. No appointments, no birthdays, or family dinners, nothing at all. All we have to do is relax, grocery shop, get a few good workouts in and do some binge watching of some TV shows. Basically all I want out of a weekend for the first time in a LONG time!

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So what are you doing this weekend? 

 

Previous Friday Five Posts:

Friday Five

Friday Five 

Friday Five 

Steal vs Splurge: Lipsticks

Ok I am a self confessed beauty junkie! I have so many products I could probably open my own Ulta.

I love love love to buy makeup, try makeup, play with makeup. Much to A’s dismay our bathroom is becoming overloaded with Makeup. Until about 6 months ago I was all about the brand names. Then one day at Target I wandered into the makeup aisle and purchased a TON of non expensive items. Come to find…..they weren’t that different. Other than maybe a label.

So today I want to talk about lipsticks!

I love lipsticks, lip glosses and chap sticks. There is not a time when you wont find several in my purse.

Lately I have been testing out expensive ones vs drugstore brands and you know what…not much of a difference!

So lets see if you can tell the steal vs splurge between Tory Burch Lipstick vs. Cover Girl Lipstick and then Guerlain Lipstick vs Revlon.

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First Up Tory Burch vs. Cover Girl

Which one is which can you tell? The right is Cover Girl the Left is Tory Burch

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To me the quality is extremely similar, I find that I actually love the Cover Girl one a lot more because of its staying power!

 

Next up Guerlain vs. Revlon. The Right is Revlon the Left is Guerlain

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Again the quality is almost identical. The staying power of both is great but I think the way it goes on I prefer the Revlon one. I do still love the Guerlain one but for the money I would go with Revlon.
You see both times the steal won. Not because of the price alone but because the quality to me was almost exactly the same. If I had seen a big difference that would have made up my mind for sure but when you are out buying makeup products I think its easy to get sucked into fancy brand names and ignore the drugstore brands. This has really opened my eyes to more drugstore brands and I find myself gravitating towards those first.

Sometimes the Steal vs Splurge test is a great way to find your favorites.

What is your favorite steal or splurge? 

Healthy Snacks: What to Eat?

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So we all TRY to eat healthy or at least I like to think so. The problem is you can plan your healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner but then what do you do for snacks? Most people get hungry between meals and thats normal. You shouldn’t suppress this hunger but make healthy snack choices. This is something thats always a challenge for me because man that ice cream looks good!

So here are my tips and tricks for making Healthy Snack decisions:

1. When grocery shopping think ahead to your week. What do you have going on? Are there days you may need more snack type food(long day in the car commuting, road trip, travel etc). Or like me to do you work mainly from home and can easily access a kitchen? Also think about things you love even if its an unhealthy snack usually you can find a healthy alternative.

2. Make a list before shopping. While thinking about the above make a list. Get creative. Things like hard boiled eggs can make great snacks as well as something like cottage cheese and fruit. You are also getting protein with both and proteins are more filling. Try to step outside your comfort zone.

3. ONLINE RESOURCES! There are a ton of blogs, websites and more that are food and fitness focused that have great ideas! Check these out and don’t be afraid to ask them questions.

Here are my favorite healthy snack options:

Nuts: I am a huge fan of grabbing a handful of almonds, cashews, etc. They can fill you up fast and for me they get rid of my need for salty snacks. *Im more of a salty person than a sweets person.

Healthy Bars: Larabars, OneBar, Kind Bars etc while may being a higher calorie count are great to eat in parts. I usually will eat half of one and maybe the second half the next day or after a tough workout.

Fruits and Veggies: Apple slices, oranges, blueberries, strawberries…let me count the ways I love them. I am also a huge carrots and celery person! Now be careful because dipping it in ranch not a great option! Maybe sub the ranch for a bit of hummus which is very very good and good for you!

Wheat Crackers and Cheese: Not all the time but in a small quantity this can be very filling.

Food Should Taste Good Chips with Salsa: Salsa is one of the most healthy things you can eat. I met with a nutritionist a few years back who told me Salsa is also a great alternative to salad dressing. Also Food Should Taste Good Chips taste just like tortilla chips but are made with great things like Quinoa and happen to be gluten free :)

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Cottage cheese and peaches: This is an A approved favorite. Great when you need something sweet after dinner and just aren’t quite full. Also a great after dinner treat is sorbet. In small quantities it really gives you that desert filling you crave without loading you up with excess fats and sugars.

Green Monster Smoothies: I drink these daily and they can be pretty filling as well as a great post workout snack! I have my recipe listed here but I also add other things like grapes, carrots, broccoli etc which is always masked by the strong flavor of berries and banana! A big hit in our house!

 

What are your favorite Healthy Snacks?

 

**note I am no expert I just know what works for me and how I maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Stylin it up with Kleenex Style

Thanks to Kleenex for Sponsoring today’s post and keeping my life Stylish. 

OK I know what you’re thinking. How can Kleenex be stylish? I was raised on Kleenex so I know you are probably thinking that Im crazy. But Kleenex has gotten pretty stylish lately with this new collaboration! Kleenex partnered with Isaac Mizrahi to create 4 designs which are intended to evoke confidence and inspiration to help you express your personal style and step out of your comfort zone when it comes to incorporating the latest trends. Exclusively on the Kleenex style finder you can watch videos featuring Isaac Mizrahi where he provides his latest style advice and shares his own experience as a design leader for more than two decades.

This made it really fun to pick out some new boxes and hook my car, office and purse/workbag up with some fashionable Kleenex.

I love how cute these Kleenex packs look in my purse. So much more fun than those boring packs with zero design!

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Also this box matches my desk in a fun way and I love that you don’t even feel the want or need to put a Kleenex holder over it. It looks fabulous on its own.

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I bought all three of these at Target and I was so excited to see such variety. Honestly it was hard to choose. You should go to your local Target, Walgreens, CVS etc and see what cool styles they have. I also love that the car wedge fits right between my seat. PERFECT!

Kleenex Style really ups the anti on everyday products and finds a way to make them more fun and easy to make your mind up wandering down those aisles at the grocery store or drugstore. Its fun to get to choose some everyday products that are more stylish than you would normally find. Cause who wants boring in their lives.

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Check out the video below for more info!

Thanks to Kleenex for Sponsoring today’s post and keeping my life Stylish.