Favorite Beauty Finds

September 19, 2014

While in Durango, my beauty routine was fairly minimal, as I only wore makeup a handful of times and rarely styled my hair. With that said, the air in Colorado is so dry that I incorporated a number of new products into my typical day-to-day routine. My favorite new product is the Aveda Dry Remedy Daily Moisturizing Oil. Not only does it smell incredible, the oil penetrates your hair shaft and leaves it feeling much more smooth and moisturized. Couple that with the Healthy Sexy Soy Tri-Wheat Leave-In Conditioner, and your locks will be loving you.

Most days, I threw my hair up in a messy ponytail, often teased with my new Phillips 3 Row Teasing Brush. I’m from Texas, so you know we love our volume. This brush works miracles, and I highly recommend it. I would add one of these ban.do Flash Bobbi Pins to the side, and voila – pretty pony, but oh-so-simple. I inevitably waited four to five days to wash my hair (don’t worry, I still showered in between!), so the Psssssst Instant Dry Shampoo became my best friend.

In addition to the Josie Maran Love Your Skin Argan Oil Set that I mentioned here, I also used the Wrinkle Reducing Sheet Masks by Masque Bar to help add moisture to my face. I felt a difference after using it for thirty minutes – my only complaint is that the mask didn’t stick to my face well, so I had to lay down on the couch while using it.

Last, but not least, in preparation for one of my best friend’s weddings in Mexico, I used Crest 3D White Professional Effects Whitestrips. These are the most expensive ‘level’ of whitestrips, but they are worth it! You cannot leave them on too long, or you’ll get a headache, but if you follow the instructions, you’ll have some pearly whites! Also to prep for the nuptials, I started using Latisse again. I gave it up to try Neulash, but I prefer the prescription product more. It takes 2-3 months before you start to see a difference, but when you do – va-voom lashes!

Do you have any must-have beauty products for me to try? I love testing new items!


Crest 3D White Professional Effects Whitestrips | Healthy Sexy Soy Tri-Wheat Leave-In Conditioner | Latisse | ban.do Crystal Crush Bobbi Pin and Flash Bobbi Set | Aveda Dry Remedy Daily Moisturizing Oil | Phillips 3 Row Teasing Brush | Psssssst Instant Dry Shampoo | Wrinkle Reducing Sheet Mask by Masque Bar

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Dream Master Bedrooms

September 18, 2014

Sasha has finally (yes, finally!) agreed to redo our master bedroom. It was the only room in the house that we did not buy a new furniture set for when we moved, and I have been dying to decorate the room in a style that better sits both of us. I have long lusted after a crisp, cream room with a tall, fabric headboard, light bedside tables, a pop of color (perhaps in the pillows), a big mirror, tall bookshelf, big armoire, etc.

I have been saving images of my favorite master bedrooms on my computer, many of which are shown below. I will be bringing these with me as I begin my furniture shopping in the next few weeks. If you’ve got a good idea as to where I can find similar items to the pictures below in Houston (or online), please let me know! I’ve got Ethan Allen, West Elm, Restoration Hardware, Crate and Barrel, Design Within Reach, and Pottery Barn on my list.

You can also check out my dream kitchens and living room posts. Up next? Gorgeous office spaces.


Gal Meets Glam


Style Me Pretty Living

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My sister’s house

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DIY: Floral Crown

September 17, 2014

I seriously, seriously love floral crowns. They are perfect for weddings, wedding showers, maternity shoots, baby showers, newborn photos or just because! I have made suggestions on outfits with which you can style a beautiful floral crown at the bottom of this post.

Ever since I started my Floral Arranging 101 class, I’ve been motivated to create my own. I have read a number of DIYs (like this, this and this), and decided to give it a try! At first, I thought about doing a little one for Isla (she’s already worn this one in her newborn photos), but decided to do an adult-sized one and I’m so glad I did! I will admit that this DIY is perhaps not the most technical (as I use a hot glue gun, which would make many florists cringe!), but it works! Read the process below:

  1. I went to the grocery store and picked up some cremones and carnations. Then I went to my front yard and cut down some foliage for fillers – you can also find these in the floral department of your local grocery store.
  2. I cut all of the flowers so that they had 2-3 inch stems and then laid everything out on the island and placed it in the order I wanted for the crown.
  3. I took an 18 gauge floral wire and bent one end about half an inch from the end and thread one of the carnations through – it is important to use a thick stem flower versus a piece of foliage at the end.
  4. I then began to add the flowers and foliage by wrapping floral tape around the base and the floral gauge – laying the pieces along the length of the wire. When I got to a carnation or a cremone, I would take the wire through the stem of the flower versus the side layering technique.
  5. Tip: As mentioned earlier, I also used a hot glue gun to secure some of the floral tape to the wire, and in some instances, to glue the bushy leaves to the wire.
  6. When I finished filling the floral wire with flowers, I cut two pieces of cream ribbon 7 inches in length. Put a dot of hot glue on one end of each strand of ribbon and secure it to the end of the wire. Once the glue is dried, you can put it on your head and tie a bow at the back!

You can extend the life of your crown significantly by storing it in a drawer in your refrigerator. Mine lasted four days, then some of the flowers started to wither. Make sure you start the process with the freshest florals you can find.


Arrange all flowers in the order you’d like them on the crown, then thread them through the floral wire (steps 3-5 above)


Add the ribbon to the ends and tie, then voilà… a beautiful floral crown!

How to Style the Crown

Mexico City Travel Guide

September 16, 2014

We left for Mexico City with friends of ours early Thursday morning and landed around 10am. Our fully-packed agenda started almost immediately after checking into the Meridien Hotel (located near the Paseo de la Reforma – see more below). We were in town for one of my best friend’s weddings – her and her husband are both from Central America, and chose this gorgeous city for the wedding – I am so glad they did.

Some of my favorite ‘to do’s’ include eating dinner at Morablanca in the trendy Polanco area, sipping on delicious sangria at La Casa de las Sirenas while overlooking Mexico City’s Metropolitan Cathedral (so incredibly ornate and gorgeous), walking around the Castillo de Chapultepec (travel around the park via train), exploring the Saturday bazaar in the San Angel area, and getting lost in the treetops at the Condesa DF hotel rooftop bar.

I’ve created a travel guide to inspire you to travel to Mexico City and then help you plan your trip! Many of the recommendations below are from my older sister’s good friend, Marina, who is from Mexico City and also got married there earlier this year. We also received tips from a friend’s uncle who visits there often, and from a fellow blogger, Ashton, whose wedding site was extremely useful in planning our long weekend.

Click here to see a complete list of my travel guides, which includes Bali, Paris, Istanbul, Durango, Austin, Houston, Washington, DC and San Francisco. Up next? Athens. If you’re interested in contributing to Snapshots and My Thoughts for a city guide post, please contact me.


Must See Places

  • Castillo de Chapultepec (“Chapultepec Castle”): Chapultepec Castle is located on top of Chapultepec Hill, located in the middle of Chapultepec Park at a height of 7,628 ft. above sea level. The site of the hill was a sacred place for Aztecs, and the buildings atop it have served several purposes during its history, including that of Military Academy, Imperial residence, Presidential home, observatory, and presently, the Museo Nacional de Historia. The castile is gorgeous and definitely worth the slight trek through the park.
  • Museo Nacional de Antropología (National Museum of Anthropology): This museum is the most visited in Mexico. Located in the area between Paseo de la Reforma and Calle Mahatma Gandhi within Chapultepec Park, the museum contains significant archaeological and anthropological artifacts from the pre-Columbian heritage of Mexico, such as the Stone of the Sun (or the Aztec calendar stone) and the 16th-century Aztec statue of Xochipilli.
  • Alameda Central Park: The Alameda Central park is a green garden with paved paths and decorative fountains and statues, and is frequently the center of civic events. The area used to be an Aztec marketplace. The park was created in 1592, and the name comes from the Spanish word álamo, which means poplar tree.
  • Casa de los Azulejos (House of Tiles”): The House of Tile is an 18th-century palace which was built by the Count del Valle de Orizaba family. What makes this palace distinctive is that its facade on three sides is completely covered in the expensive blue and white tile of Puebla state. The palace remained in private hands until near the end of the 19th century. It changed hands several times before being bought by brothers who expanded their soda fountain/drugstore business into one of the best-recognized restaurant chains in Mexico called Sanborns. The house today serves as their flagship restaurant.
  • Zocalo: Zocalo is the main plaza of Mexico City, and it was once the main ceremonial center in the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan and from the colonial period on, the main plaza or square in the heart of the historic center of the city. The plaza used to be known simply as the “Main Square” or “Arms Square,” and today its formal name is Plaza de la Constitución. However, it is almost always called the Zócalo today. Plans were made to erect a column as a monument to Independence, but only the base, or zócalo, was ever built.
  • Frida Kahlo Museum: Also known as La Casa Azul (or Blue House), the museum is actually the house where she was born and also died. The nickname, Blue House, is due to the structure’s cobalt-blue walls. The historic house museum and art museum is dedicated to the life and work of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. It is located in the Colonia del Carmen neighborhood of Coyoacán. The building was the birthplace of Kahlo and is also the home where she grew up, lived with her husband Diego Rivera for a number of years, and eventually died, in one of the rooms on the upper floor. In 1958, Diego Rivera donated the home and its contents in order to turn it into a museum in Frida’s honor.


Neighborhood Guides

Click here for a Google map of the main attractions and restaurants

Colonia Polanco

Do and See

This neighborhood is known for nice shops, great restaurants and good people watching. Popular activities in this neighborhood include going on a walk through Parque Lincoln and down Ave. Masaryk for good shopping. Stop by Tane on Ave. Masaryk for silver jewelry and home decorations, or visit the outdoor shopping mall Antara where you will find a few stores not available in the US (Purificacion Garcia, Uterque, Massimo Dutti and Rapsodia). Another one of the main attractions is Castillo de Chapultepec, which is the beautiful castle in the Chapultepec Park. Enjoy the view from the top while you learn about the history of Colonial Mexico. Nearby, you’ll find the National Museum of Anthropology and The Museum of Modern Art.


Eat breakfast at MaquePasteleria BondiCafe Budapest or Noisette.

Eat dinner or lunch at Tori Tori (Temistocles location), LampugaMorablanca (incredible atmosphere), Bar TomateDulce PatriaJaponezDulcinea or El Chiringuito.

Night Life

Go to Limantour or La Surtidora for cocktails at the end of the day.

Colonia Roma and Colonia Condesa

Do and See

These neighboring colonia’s are known for their architecture – a lot of the streets are similar to ones you would find in Europe. Walk down Colima Street, Orizaba Street, Parque Rio de Janeiro, Parque Mexico, Parque Espana, Casa Lamm and Ave. Alvaro Obregon for gorgeous scenery.


Eat lunch or dinner at Los Panchos, Contramar (best tuna tostadas in the city and phenomenal sangria), Maximo BistrotEl CalifaRosetta or Romita Comedor. You should get drinks across from Contramar at a restaurant called Fisher’s and sit in the enclosed front patio.

Night Life

Get drinks at Blue Bar at Camino Real Hotel or have drinks on the rooftop of Condesa DF. Another option is Cabrera 7.

Paseo de la Reforma

Do and See
Every Sunday, Paseo de la Reforma is closed to cars until 2pm which makes it the perfect day to walk (or bike) from Polanco to the Historic Center. Walk through Alameda Central Park and arrive at Bellas Artes, the performing arts center. Take the Street 5 de Mayo, where you will pass by the House of Tiles, a few blocks to the Zocalo (Constitutional Plaza). Visit the CathedralNational Palace (with murals by Diego Rivera inside) and Templo Mayor. Stop by Dulceria de Celaya, which is a very cute candy shop with over 150 different types of Mexican candy


Eat lunch or dinner at La Casa de las Sirenas (amazing views and delicious queso), Azul HistoricoEl Cardenal, El Danubio, or Casino Espanol.

Night Life

Get drinks at Bar Milan – their mojitos are legendary, and this bar is voted one of the best in the city.

Colonia San Angel

Do and See

This neighborhood is known for its narrow cobblestone streets and is an oasis in otherwise bustling Mexico City. You should visit the Frida Kahlo Museum in the nearby suburb, Coyoacan. In addition, go to the market on Saturday – so many amazing gems to be found.


Enjoy Sunday brunch at the San Angel Inn and eat at Keizo for lunch or dinner.


Tips when visiting Mexico City

  • Money: The easiest Peso denominations to carry around are 20 (blue) 50 and 100 (red).  Once you break some 100 peso notes, you’ll have some 10 peso and 5 peso coins, which are good for tipping.
  • Water: The trick to staying hydrated while visiting Mexico City is to buy several liter bottles of purified water at one of the local convenience stores and carry one wherever you go. There is a big convenience store chain called OXXO, and they are everywhere. There are also tons of independent grocery/convenience stores called abarrotes (which means groceries).  They are everywhere and mostly look like a storage room filled with junk – but they sell everything and all have an abarrotes sign out front. There will be an OXXO or an abarrote store within a block of your hotel.
  • Taxis: Make sure to take hotel taxis, and try to make an arrangement with one to use him for the whole day. Ask the hotel concierge to quote the price of your journey if you’re taking a private car without a meter. Also, when you are at a restaurant or bar, ask your waiter or the maître ‘d to call a cab for you. This is common practice and safe. Also, make sure that you tip the doorman, cab drivers, etc. a blue note (100 pesos or about 80 cents) or a red note (200 pesos).
  • Attire: People dress up to go out at night – it’s a very well-dressed city.
  • Sidewalks: Walking on sidewalks in Mexico is a heads up experience. There are always sharp objects, wires, rebar and  hard stuff hanging off roofs, doors, walls and telephone poles that are easy to walk right into, as there are holes, cracks and trip hazards on the sidewalks. Walk slowly and pay attention to where you’re stepping. Also, remember that cars rule in Mexico City, so cross at lights and look both ways if you decide to step off the curb.


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