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I'm definitely a brand loyalist. Once I find something I like, there is very little deviation. That's for sure the case with Essie nail polishes. It's not just that they have cute little white handles, I genuinely think they go on easier and I love their color selection! 

When I lived at home and had a paycheck to burn I would routinely get my nails done at a salon every 2 weeks. Gone are those days because with marriage came a budget tightening. At first I really had zero nail painting abilities, but gradually got better and now I think I do a pretty good job! On my own nails anyway, I have a feeling I'd do terribly on someone else's. 

An unexpected bonus of my budget tightening do-it-yourself manicures, was learning that keeping my nails painted keeps me from biting my fingernails! It's easy to talk yourself out of chewing on them when you worked so hard to paint them, and wanting your paint job to last a long time. 

I'm completely obsessed with Essie, and that's the majority of what I own. With the last bottle I purchased, I had to expand my storage to two acrylic bins instead of one. Bittersweet for me actually. I love having a nice collection and plenty to choose from, but it totally meant a reorganization of my medicine cabinet to store it. 

Here's how I keep my collection tidy: 

I found these 2 acrylic organizers at Walmart, and I think they were meant for a drawer, but they are perfect for our not-that-deep medicine cabinet. I had about 18 polishes before I outgrew just one. 
And now for my current favorites! I love all of my colors, but these are the ones I have been grabbing more of lately. 

one// Fiji
Fiji is an awesome light pink, but it's still a very bright color. Great for both spring and summer. Light colors like this make me feel a little bit more tan!

Petal Pushers was Essie's color of the month in December (or maybe January?) and I hadn't seen it before then. It's such a great blue-gray and I think it's still a good color for spring. I was wearing it the other day when my friend Ashley complimented it, she said she had been looking for a similar color after she saw it on Pinterest. I had her pull up the picture and sure enough it was Petal Pushers! She was first of all amazed that I knew it before I read the caption and secondly really excited that she could borrow it from me anytime.

This has been a favorite lately too. Cute As A Button is a bright coral color, but also not fluorescent. I feel like this color goes great with everything both spring and summer.

Four// Gel Setter
Ok, so this isn't a color, but it's my favorite on this list! I swear by Gel-Setter. It's a super thick top coat that makes your regular polish into a gel manicure. It makes your nails shiny and chip resistant. I'm incredibly tough on my nails, and I even hand wash our dishes. I get atleast a week of chip freeness when I use this top opposed to maybe 2 days without it.

I'm currently on a nail polish buying freeze until I use up a bottle or two. A girl can only use so many colors...I justify it by thinking about how much money I save by doing my own manicures. At a salon a regular polish manicure can be anywhere from $10-20. Each Essie polish is about $8, and contains countless manicures and pedicures...right?! Yeah, Blake didn't buy it either. 

Leave me a comment: Tell me your favorite nail polish brands and colors! Are you a brand loyalist? Do you do your own nails, or do you splurge and go to a salon? 

This post may contain affiliate links.

Favorite Nail Polishes

Thursday, April 28, 2016

one// Outfit time! I did really bad this week with my outfit pictures. Most of these are actually from last week...I am so mad at myself because I LOVED my outfit last Friday, and I completely forgot to take a picture. I will have to recreate it. 

two// I got my Ipsy bag in the mail last Saturday. I had actually completely forgot it was coming! I got a bottle of moroccan argan oil, which I wasn't extremely excited about because I have gotten 3 or 4 argan oil samples since I signed up for Ipsy-and you don't use all that much so I have quite the collection at this point. I also got a Tarte lipstick, which is great and feels so awesome on your lips. The highlighter brush is such a pretty color, but I don't have any highlighter to try it out with! I've been wanting to get some though. I got a creamy gold eyeshadow, and I will probably give that away. The eyeliner is a really cool light tan color, which I am experimenting with in the corners of my eyes. 

three// Our weather has been gorgeous and all I want to do is be outside. We did another little hike at Big Shoals State Park, and that was so fun! My hip has been bothering me after a tough workout last week, and I wanted to stretch it a bit, so a nature trail was just right. That golden hour though...everything looks so picture perfect. 

four// I feel like such a traitor and imposter! I was born and raised in Tallahassee, so I basically have to be an FSU fan. But, I went to my first Gator game Thursday night. I have to admit I even wore orange and blue...I feel so guilty! It was such a close game. It was 1-1 the whole game, and they ended up playing 12 innings. It was so late, but I really wanted to stick it out. Georgia eventually won, but I loved being on the same 'side' as Blake, who is an avid Gator fan. 

five// Guys, I have to share these pictures of Delly! She had a vet appointment this week for her yearly check up. She gets crazy at the vet! She has learned that's where she gets her nails trimmed, which is a nightmare. As soon as we pull into the parking lot she's frantic. Recently when we are there she has tried to climb into my purse, hoping I will carry her out! It's so cute. Okay, how hilarious is her face in these?! 

Happy Friday!

Friday Five

Friday, April 22, 2016

From Amazon: FRANCE, 1939 In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn't believe that the Nazis will invade France … but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne's home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive.
Vianne's sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can … completely. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others.
What I Didn't Like:
I really don't have much to say in this column! I'd really have to nitpick to find something I don't like. Isabelle really irritated me at first, but not for long. 

What I Liked: 
The character development in this book is outstanding. There are some really strong women in this story. I love these sisters and their dynamic is so realistic to family that has had a strained past. Their relationship story is great, and I also love Vianne and her daughter's relationship, as well as Vianne and her best friend Rachel's relationship. All very moving and easily to relate to! I liked reading about how two people can have very different responses to the same tough situations, and you can completely understand both points of view. 
The flashforward chapters completely threw me and I was not excepting how emotional I got during that last one! It's hard to believe how awful humans can be and that WWII wasn't that long ago. 

Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5 Stars (1: hated it, 2: didn't like it, 3: liked it, 4:liked it, 5: loved it)
Another 5/5 for you! I really enjoyed this book. It's not a difficult read, but it takes you on quite a journey. 

Leave me a comment: What's next on your to-read list?

Book Club: The Nightingale

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

I absolutely love the idea of Stitch Fix! Getting new clothes is so great, but the actual act of shopping isn't all that fun for me. I get frustrated so easy and dressing rooms are the worst. Stitch Fix is an online personal shopping service. When you sign up you fill out an style profile that includes your size, tastes and preferences. They ask you questions like how often you wear dresses or if you prefer gold or silver jewelry. Plus you can link your Pinterest boards for your stylist to look at! They send you 5 pieces to try on, and if you like them you can buy them. Buy all 5 for 25% off. 

My stylist is Jamie, and in her note to me I found out she has a pug too! While she couldn't find what I had requested, she did a great job analyzing my style. I like that each piece comes with a styling card with suggestions on how to pair each item. 

In my first fix I received 2 dresses, a top, a skirt and a pair of earrings. Let's break it down!

Zad Val Chandelier Earring - $28

Whoa, close up! These earrings are super pretty and not heavy at all like I thought they would be. I love gold, and I think these would go with a ton of things. I think that the price is a little high for a pair of earrings, so probably not going to keep these.

London Times Nancee Dress - $98

Black is so hard to photograph, but I gave you guys a close up so you could see the material better. Oh and nosey Delly makes an appearance too. I have to say I really like this dress! Who doesn't need a go-to black dress? This is long enough to wear to work but also nice enough to wear to a party. You can't go wrong with a fit and flare. 

41Hawthorn McAdams Beaded Neckline Blouse & Renee C Melisa Printed Skirt - $48 & $58

I LOVE this outfit- on the hanger. In my style profile I indicated that I wear a lot of skirts, so I was happy to get one. The colors here are great, the length is awesome and I love the idea. But, I just can't do pencil skirts anymore. Squat probs! My butt is just too big for this. I'd have to go 3 sizes up to get this skirt to look right, and then of course it would be way too big in the waist. The top is iffy for me though. I love the color and it's a great quality. I think it's a bit too baggy untucked, so I have to do some thinking about how I would style it without this skirt. 

41Hawthorn Melony Shirt Dress - $78

Another dress that doesn't photograph well. This dress is beautiful in person, but it looks terrible on me. I love the color and the material. One problem is that the lining is really tight on my butt, but loose everywhere else. I don't think this dress lays in the right spots for my body. Maybe a belt would look better but the tie is attached so I didn't try it. Honestly I just feel like this dress adds like 20 pounds. Plus it's a high low dress which isn't my fav. 

Stitch Fix asks for feedback on each item and I think over time you could really end up with a great wardrobe. The more feedback means better shipments! One thing you can also customize is your budget. I don't mind paying a bit more for excellent quality pieces that I really like. I do think it's funny my favorite piece of this box was the most expensive, but that's pretty typical of me! 

Another great thing is that this isn't a normal subscription service. You can select exactly how often you want these boxes, even if you only want to do it one time. There is a $20 styling fee, but it goes toward anything you buy. 

I'm still deciding on what to keep and what to send back, so your feedback would be awesome! If anything I will keep the black dress and the orange top. I feel so conflicted because I am trying to get rid of clothes that I don't absolutely love, so buying more feels wrong! 

If you want to sign up for your own Stitch Fix click here! If you want to see my other outfit posts, click here! & If you want to see what my room looks like when the bed is made, click here!

This post contains affiliate links. 

My First Stitch FIx

Thursday, April 14, 2016

My dad and my sister made it really clear they thought this was a really weird thing to do, but I really wanted to retake our wedding photos! We got married 6 years ago, and we hired a friend of the family photographer to take our wedding pictures. He did a good job documenting the day. But, there were maybe 2 or 3 portraits of Blake and I that I actually loved. Most of them were really awkwardly posed or photoshopped to death. 

So it may have been a weird thing to do, but I'm so so happy we did it! Chabeli has taken our family photos before and did an amazing job once again with these pictures. I wore my original dress, but had to do my hair a bit differently because it's much shorter now. Blake on the other hand had a completely different outfit on. On our wedding day he wore a rather ill fitting tux, but now he's in his trusty navy suit. Our friend Tammy made us a bouquet and boutonniere. I did my own makeup and my sister did my hair! I only wish I did my own makeup on our wedding day-I may have actually looked like myself! 

So it was really super hard for me not to post every single picture! I love them all. The hardest part will be deciding which ones to get prints of! You can see more of our pictures here or here.

Dress by David's Bridal (I'm pretty sure it's one of their $99 ones now! A little upsetting since it was a lot more than that in 2010) 
Pearls: Helzberg (A gift from Blake)
Hair Comb: Amazon

Suit by Men's Warehouse
Tie: J Crew
Pocket Square: Mark and Graham 
Shoes: Jos A Bank
Star Wars Cufflinks: Ebay

Leave me a comment: What do you think of retaking wedding pictures? What do you think of ours?

We Re-took Our Wedding Photos

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


Hi friends! I'm Kristen, and this is the Life and Style of an early 30's Floridian living the Best Life Ever, with her husband and three pugs. Runner | Avid Reader | Small Shop Owner

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