November 30, 2015

How To Get The Perfect At Home Blowout

It's not often that I rock my natural hair. It's curly, it's crazy, and it's BIG. I have very thick, coarse, and difficult hair.  I was always told that you want what you don't have- especially when it comes to hair. This is true friends.

I love wearing my hair straight. You usually won't see me with curly hair unless...
A: I'm extremely tired and it's too dirty to make work with dry shampoo...
B: It's 95 degrees outside, the air conditioning isn't offering enough coolness and I don't have an hour to straighten it...

Over the years I have tried so many products. Too many. It's about finding what works for your hair. For me, it seems to be the less products the better. When I try to use one for detangling, one for sleekness, one for hold, one for this, one for doesn't seem to do it.

First I use a wide tooth comb & my Oribe Foundation Mist and brush through my hair. The Foundation Mist helps detangle, condition and protect from the heat. It's inexpensive for a salon product and lasts months because you only need a few sprays.
For my main product to straighten and sleek my hair, I am using Prejume Milk and it works wonders on my curly hair. I use about a dime size and apply from the middle section of my hair down and then any left over rub through my hair from my roots.

Now, while products are a big part of the process, so is the actual technique in drying your hair. Here's the tips I've gathered and how you can get a perfect blowout in your own bathroom.

1. Power dry your hair
- Drop the brush, you don't need it yet. Save it for the heavy duty drying. To start, simply dry your hair and run your fingers through it. I usually air dry my hair for about 15-20 minutes at minimum before even beginning to dry it. The less heat you use, the better for your hair.

2. Clip your hair up & round brush dry in small 2 inch sections
- Now it's time for the brush, but not before you section your hair. I use hair clips similar to these and you can find them almost anywhere- Amazon, Ulta, or your local beauty store. The key to a good blowout is the technique of drying.
You may think it's easier to grab huge sections of your hair and dry it quickly, but it's actually not best for your hair. Take small sections- about 2 inches wide and start with your round brush at your root. Aim your dryer at the root and work with the brush down to the ends. Slowly use your blowdryer to get each piece sleek and completely dry.
Taking small sections helps reduce frizz, lock in shine and complete the perfect look.

3. When you get to the crown of your head blow dry up- towards the ceiling instead of down the hair cuticle
- To get the best volume and lift, it's important that the top parts of your hair are paid most attention to. Instead of drying down the brush as you do for the rest of your hair, you have to switch it up. Take your brush from the root, aim your dryer close and drag your brush up towards the ceiling to create instant volume. Really focus on drying the root and lifting the hair, and use smaller 1 inch sections when doing the crown instead of 2 inch pieces.

4. To get a long lasting blowout, use a heat protectant to finish
- For my curly hair, I have to use my straightener for some parts in order to get a sleek look that will last a few days. I use the Arrojo Primp Working Spray after drying and before straightening with my iron. A quick spray all over and a little bit of straightening in a few spots help lock in my blowout for 3-4 days.

I have seen such a change in my hair and blowouts by using these techiniques, and my style lasts longer for sure. Yes, I only wash my hair every three to four days most weeks, although it does depend on the situation.  It's actually better for your hair since you're not using all the products and heat on it every day and usually my hair looks better on day 2 or 3 then it does the initial time I style it. I sleep with it in a loose bun on top of my head and on day 3 and 4 I use a dry shampoo.

A few of my favorite dry shampoo products are:
Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray
Batiste ( I just started using this and really like the way it covers)

Do you use any special tricks or tools for your hair?

Follow my Pinterest board for more tips, hair goals & ideas-

Follow Dream Big & Buy The Shoes's board LONG* HAIR don't care- on Pinterest.

November 25, 2015

Thankfulness This Year

This is a bit cliche, but each year I like to reflect on what I'm thankful for this year and what I'm feeling at the moment. While there is still so much I want to accomplish, things I want to do and big dreams I have to fulfill....I'm grateful for each day.

In no particular order. What I'm thankful for:

My blog...this space is a creative heaven for me & I need it more than you know.

My family. Times have been crazy lately. Our careers are busier than ever & time isn't slowing down, but when the three of us are safe and cozy in our home each night together it makes me really happy.

My car. No, not literally my car, but my freedom to drive it. I love jamming out and helps me escape. I couldn't imagine if I didn't have a car or the ability to just go when I want to.

My career. Did I ever think I would be managing an awesome salon and spa? Heck no! I love it though and I can't wait to see where the future takes me.

Candles. I love this time of year and I really enjoy when I come home from work, relax and light a candle. It brings the biggest sense of calm to me and our house.

Our wedding. Weddings aren't cheap. We are so very grateful that we worked our butts off and took care of things on our own and pulled off our dream day. While our marriage is what's most important, it was such a fun & special day for us and everyone who shared in it. I'm very thankful we were able to make it happen.

My bed. It's the comfiest, coziest place and ending my days there next to my husband is such a good feeling.

My friends. It's so crazy to me that life goes just as fast as my Grandma said it would all those years ago. I have some pretty amazing friends, most of whom don't live close. I am SO thankful for our friendship, some of which have held through for more than 25 years...that is a LONG time. It blows my mind that all these life changes happen- weddings, babies, depression, moves to new states, sadly- divorce, and we are still here for one another at the drop of a hat.

My husband. I won't ever stop thanking him for his constant support. This time of year I can get a little crazy...I'm a perfectionist. I want the house decorated, clean, gifts wrapped, cookies baked and I am like Mrs. Claus on level 100. He knows how to handle me & is my right hand man helping me get it all done and even having some fun along the way. I wouldn't want to experience this craziness every year without him.

My blogger friends. I feel so connected and close with a lot of you, and it's a truly wonderful thing. It's so nice to meet people over the Internet who understand why you show up day after day and pour your heart and soul in to something. So many of you have helped me in numerous ways and I thank you for your kind gestures.

Mashed potatoes and leftover turkey. Let's face's always better the next day. I am mega grateful for leftovers.

Thank YOU all for your support, sweet comments, and reading my journey through life. I appreciate all of you & hope you have the most wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. Enjoy this time and eat an extra piece of pumpkin pie...I think you deserve it.

November 24, 2015

Fall & Thanksgiving Printables

If you've been around these parts for a while, you know I like my printables...but not as much as I love creating them. Thanksgiving, November, & Fall make this month's printables theme come to life.

I enjoy kicking up a simple drink or cupcake by sticking one in and making the ingredients a bit more fun. These can also be used on your Turkey Day tablescape...even add a name to them to make instant place settings.

You can get your own Fall & Thanksgiving printables here for FREE!

Share the word & let everyone know:

  Tweet: FREE fun printables for your Thanksgiving dinner & fall get together's

I love an inspirational quote just as much as the next one. It's a great way to start your day and be thankful for each moment. If you're looking for some beautiful words, check out my Pinterest board & get inspired.

Follow Dream Big & Buy The Shoes's board W I S E* Words on Pinterest.
November 23, 2015

November Favorites

How is it Thanksgiving week? Is that even possible? I guess it is, but wow...where has the year gone?! I'm really excited to eat some turkey dinner this week and I even have a few days off work for the rest of my vacation so it's going to be a nice long weekend!

I enjoy recapping my favorites from the month, as always and sharing some blogger love with you. Let's get to my favorites from November.

Favorite Recipe: Apple Brie Crostini from the gals at The Sequin Notebook sounds so incredibly tasty, and I kind of want to eat it through the screen. I think it will be making an appearance at our Thanksgiving dinner this week. Thanks gals for the great recipe!

Doesn't this look SO GOOD?! (image via The Sequin Notebook)

Favorite Moment:
 I came home the other night from work to find a letter Ethan had written Santa. It was part of his homework for Social Studies as part of the Macy's Make-A-Wish Believe Campaign. For each letter received, Macy's donates $1 to this awesome organization. Well, Ethan's letter blew me away. I cried, like I always do...but he is just so sweet. I'm not trying to brag, but this little guy makes me one proud step-mom. I only wish to have half his heart.

Favorite Inspirational Post: Macy from To Travel & Beyond shares amazing thoughts in her post "Why I DO Read Your Blog"  I certainly am sick of hearing what I should and shouldn't do for my blog. It's my space, so while I am here to satisfy my readers- this blog is for me too. I am glad to hear Macy is all about community and connecting with others rather than tearing them down.

Favorite Purchase: Our Christmas cards! I love sending them out every year. I don't care how much postage costs...I will send them forever. I love receiving cards from other's year after year and I hope I put a smile on someones face when they get ours. I am really excited to send them out after Thanksgiving.

Favorite Cocktail Post: Alexis shares a delicious late night drink perfect for these cooler months, without the caffeine that will keep us up all night. Check out this Creamy Cinnamon Pumpkin Steamer at Chemistry Cachet.

My Favorite Dream Big posts from November:
DIY Home Tray
Why I Blog
My 101 in 1001

Keep up with all my adventures on:
A photo posted by emelia❣ (@emeliaanne_) on

Happy Tuesday friends...
what were some of your favorites this month?

November 19, 2015

Currently: November 2015

I feel like the past few weeks has been crazy busy, but what's new? I have read so many good posts lately that have made me think hard and really appreciate all the different views we have as bloggers, but still come together and appreciate one another because we are a community.

I enjoy sharing recipes with you, creating DIY projects and giving you wedding advice, but my favorite thing about this blog is that it's mine and I can come here and just share some updates on my life and connect with all of you. That's what is happening today.

Watching: Everything on Bravo & E. Hello...Kardashians are back and so are the crazy kids from Vanderpump Rules. I am not a HUGE fan of Real Housewives of Atlanta, but their drama makes me laugh so I still watch it. I can't wait for the Beverly Hills Housewives to return too. I'm a reality TV addict, and I'm okay with it. Did anyone else know that Ariana from Pump Rules was a Disney princess? I found that out by watching the after show last week.

Decorating: Only a *LITTLE* bit for Christmas. My husband's favorite holiday is Thanksgiving, so he doesn't like to see our house as Santa's workshop until after next week. I was really feeling the holiday spirit last week because it was so cold and asked him if I could put one of our trees up. He didn't exactly say yes, but he didnt' say no. I put our bedroom tree up and most nights I turn out our lights, plug in the tree and just sit and stare. The best part-there's not even ornaments on it yet. I asked him if I could put up our kitchen tree now & he groaned. Somehow it magically appeared set up and decorated when he got home from work the other night. I'm not sure how it happened. I'm also not sure how I still have a bed to sleep in after breaking the Christmas rules...haha, kidding.

A photo posted by emelia❣ (@emeliaanne_) on

Planning: Ethan's 12th birthday party. The fact that this time next year we will have a teenager blows my mind. Sometimes I am so sad about how fast he grows, but other times he says things that make me really happy and proud of the young man he's turning in to. He requested his party be at Dave & Buster's again this year, so that's what we are doing. Last year was A TON of fun & I'm sure this year will be even better. I was messing around last month on Pic Monkey and made a creeper head from Minecraft (which is all he talks about) & he saw it and loved it. He asked me if I would make his party invitations and I about died. They're pretty simple but I was honored that he asked me to do it.

Loving: The time Chuck & I got to spend on Sunday in Pittsburgh. There is nothing like your hometown & I have so much love for the 412. Part of my wedding present to Chuck was tickets to the Steelers vs. Browns game. When I purchased the tickets I immediately thought we would be in our winter coats, but Sunday was so perfect. A day game in the sunshine in long sleeves & sunglasses...who would have guessed that for November? It was an awesome game (STEELERS WON!)  and so nice to get away with each other, if even only for the day.

My lovely husband is participating in Movember as you can tell...yay.

Such a beatiful day for football!

My favorite player of all time- Jerome (The Bus) Bettis made a halftime appearance

Wishing: That the holidays didn't rush by. I feel like I am nowhere near prepared this year for Thanksgiving or Christmas. It's going to come regardless, but I wish the days didn't go by so quickly. I put a few goodies from LUSH on my Christmas list this year along with some items for baking and entertaining from Crate and Barrel, but other than that I don't want much. I am looking forward to enjoying family time and simply being with one another.

This LUSH Peeping Santa Bubble Bar is too cute. 

Feeling: OLD! Well, I fell down the steps the other day and I am still feeling it. Here's a funny story for you...3 years ago I fell down like 15 steps at a night club in Pittsburgh after having one too many drinks and being asked to leave. It was my friend's 30th birthday and we had several tasty martini's at her place before heading downtown and it also happened to be the night Whitney Houston passed away. I love me some Whitney. The last thing I recall is asking the DJ to play one more Whitney song. I guess he told me no & I gave him some choice words and continued to drink and then give him some more of my opinion on his choice of songs. I was asked to leave and fell down the steps. I woke up the next morning with a bad hangover and lots of bruises, but other than that was great.

Monday morning I fell down about 7 steps with a laundry basket and I feel like it's taking way too long to get back to normal. My back hurts like hell, and I have a cut up elbow that is really driving me nuts. Falling down my steps is my worst nightmare. I kind of wish I was drunk Monday morning so that I didn't remember it because it's all I think about now...steps and falling down them are my worst nightmare. Woof.

Cooking: Well, trying to cook up something new this year for Thanksgiving. I always make my Sweet Potato Casserole, but I like to try out a new recipe to share. Last year I made Caramel Apple Crisp Bites for dessert and they were also a hit, but I like to switch it up. Does anyone have any good suggestions?

Last but not least, don't forget to enter to win the awesome giveaway currently happening.
You can win $140 to Sephora & the awesome Too Faced LeGrand Chateau

Amanda OlyaJaeCherieBeccaKelly RachaelRachelLindsayMichelleEmelia

November 18, 2015

Bridal Accessories // Wedding Wednesday

I am a huge fan of accessories. I'm known among my friends and co-workers for my big earrings and scarves. Since I wasn't going to be wearing a scarf on my wedding day, you KNOW the earrings had to be good.

Some of my accessories were my "Something's" know the Something New, Something Old, Something Borrowed and Something Blue.

Something New & Something Blue

Something New- My garter was purchased at Lola at Panache Salon. It is from Pink Pewter and was so unique. I wanted something that was similar in style and beading to the belt on my gown, and this was perfect.

Something Old & Something Borrowed- A diamond earring of my mom's. My grandmother gave me my mother's jewelry box a few weeks before the wedding and I looked through it trying to search for the perfect piece to add to my day.

Something Old & Something Borrowed

I found a diamond earring and decided to attach it to my bouquet next to the picture of her. Unfortunately I couldn't find the match and it was frustrating. But then I thought, this is kinda funny and totally like me...always missing jewelry and losing it. My mom & I are more alike then I thought.

Something Blue- My underwear from Victoria's Secret. It said "I Said Yes" on the butt and I thought they were a cute pair.

I have previously mentioned some useful wedding websites including Rent the Runway and I actually used them for the first time for the wedding. I had my eye on renting a cute Kate Spade clutch, but I wasn't quick enough. After some time spent scouring the website I found this gem and the bling was just what I needed. It was the perfect complement to my earrings.

Would you believe me if I told you that a whole shopping road trip and day was spent around finding my earrings? ...And then we still didn't find them that day.

I was looking for something big, but not too big. Flashy, but not to upstage my dress. I tried on some that were just too small and I knew I needed bigger. We hit up every store in the Ross Park Mall then tried to find a bridal boutique but got lost. Luckily, my Maid of Honor lives in Pittsburgh and went that week and sent me a bunch of pictures of some earrings she thought I would like.
I found a pair that I loved and ended up not even choosing them in person, and they worked out perfectly.

Getting accessorized

My dress came with a belt that was already on the dress when I purchased it. It was one of the things that made me fall in love with it. I tried to put together pieces and accessories to come together around the belt. 

My favorite part was of course, the shoes. I had to have some killer shoes. I had been looking for a long time and considered a ton of different shoes. I thought I wanted purple ones, then I thought I wanted some type of wedge, but then I found these Badgley Mischka's and HAD to have them.

THE SHOES...obsessed

Bling Bling!

I am still pretty obsessed with them and loved the way they went with my whole look and gown. Chuck didn't want to see them until the wedding day, even though I tried to show him numerous times, and he loved them too so that made me happy. We are shoe fanatics in this house.

I have to share Chuck & Ethan's shoes too, because they had matching ones. Chuck told me early on he wanted to wear Nike's. It wouldn't be our wedding without him in some Nike's so I let it happen. They were actually really cool and patent leather & meant to be worn for special occasions. The Nike Tuxedo kicks were a hit and Ethan loved matching Daddy on our wedding day.

Groom & Son getting ready

The groomsmen got ready at a lake house that we rented for the weekend nearby the resort where we got married. We held our rehearsal dinner there on Friday and the groomsmen met there Saturday morning to get dressed, hang out and get pictures before the ceremony.

Chuck chose bow-ties for his groomsmen to wear and got a special patterned one for him. I loved them and thought they looked great with the grey.

I adore this picture, Ethan is so serious!

Like I mentioned, we are shoe fanatics. It's kind of insane the amount of shoes that are in this house. We took some fun shoe pictures during our engagement shoot  and had to do the same on our wedding day.

Bride & Groom 

Me, Chuck & Ethan #squadgoals

The shoe shots are some of my favorites from the entire day, because I love shoes so much. I wish we would have taken a few more, but our priority was enjoying our entire wedding reception rather than being pulled out for more pictures. 

I recommend searching for your accessories early, because it can take some time to find the perfect things. It can be overwhelming, but is also a lot of fun. I loved every single piece I purchased and rented, and think they all went together so well.

What do you want to hear about next Wedding Wednesday? I can't wait to share more with you. I hope  you aren't bored with these posts, because there's still a lot more to come!

Thank you for all your sweet comments and constant support.

To Travel and Beyond
November 17, 2015

Love, Positivity and Paris

Politics, terrorism, and things of this nature are not topics of my expertise. While I won't begin to break down the events of the tragedy that Paris experienced on Friday I want to touch on a few things I stand for and believe in.

Love and positivity.

image via

My 11 year old stepson has an Instagram account. He was upstairs playing when he came down Friday night and asked "What happened to Paris? Why is everyone posting Pray for Paris?" I gave him the information I had at the time and he said he wanted to know more. He asked me if we had to be worried, like we were on 9/11.

I pulled up an article and let him read it. He's 11 and current events are discussed at school. I love the fact that he wants to know more and learn about our world. He was done reading it and said he wanted to read another one. So, I found another article from CNN and he read that too.
I watched him the whole time as his face looked concerned and he was very focused.

When he was done reading he told me that he didn't want to go anywhere that night. He said "we shouldn't go on any more vacations, and we definitely shouldn't go to Paris." I gave him my thoughts on the subject.

Unfortunately, we can't be prepared for these things. Scary things happen each and every day. Tragedy can strike at any minute and there isnt' anything we can do about it. There are sick people in this world who do awful things with no explanation. While we should always try and stay safe we can't stop living our life.

I believe that love prevails. Love will conquer all. I am convinced that there are way more people in this world filled with love, rather than hate. We can be the ones to continue to make this world a good place to live in. Our goverment leaders make the big decisions and govern our country how they deem appropriate, but we can attempt to be the positive change. Positivity and love are so important. It's crucial that we live each day to the fullest, and we only get one shot at this life. Each day should be lived with these 2 things at the forefront.

Everyone makes mistakes, and you may say something you shouldn't have. You may hurt someone's feelings. You may have slept too late or not excercised. You have a new start each day and choices to make. I don't think we should be afraid to live our lives though.

image via
While it's hard to think positive when there are bombs being dropped and people being terrorized, what if we all had negative outlooks? What if we lived our lives in fear? This isn't how life is supposed to be. In fact, TIME said that 70 million people shared their Prayers for Paris on Instagram so far. It's a beautiful thing when the world can come together and share peace, support and positivity in light of a tragedy.

Inform your children, but reassure them that love is powerful. WE must continue to be the positive change that is needed. Every day you have a choice, live with love and make it worthwhile.

In no way am I downplaying the multiple tragedies, including the attack on Paris this past weekend. Please understand I am simply sharing what I intend to focus on and teach my family.

My prayers are with Paris and I personally cannot wait to hopefully someday experience the beauty of this city.

"Be the change that you wish to see in the world"- Ghandi.

**I want to end this post on a happy note, so why not with a giveaway? You have the chance to win an awesome gift card to Sephora for $140 and one of the Too Faced LeGrand Chateau awesome. Good Luck!!

Amanda OlyaJaeCherieBeccaKelly RachaelRachelLindsayMichelleEmelia

November 16, 2015

My 101 in 1001

I've been wanting to create one of these lists for a while, so I was more than excited when I saw Macy was hosting a link up and a place to share our dreams and goals with each other. Having a group to movitate me to knock out my 101 things will be awesome. 

I love lists. Lists of all types are great, especially as I get older (womp womp). I am really happy to have all this written out in a place that can hold me accountable and keep me on track with things I have been wanting to tackle and accomplish.

So, here it is. My 101 in 1001...I'm really looking forward to working on all these things.


Do a blog photoshoot
Introduce a sponsorship program
Grow my blog to be able to work with larger partners such as BlogHer, Social Fabric & more
Update pages (About Me, Best Of, Sponsor)
Meet another blogging friend in real life
Update blog files on my laptop
Ask to be a guest poster on a blog
Make a vlog
Invest in business cards
Get published in a magazine
Get published in an online outlet
Start a blog series
Start a monthly service created around a blog niche
Find a blogger in my city to connect with
Collaborate with another blogger on a project
Take more photos for fashion & beauty posts
Update old posts

Create a recipe book of old family recipes
Make homemade pasta
Take a cooking class
Host a dinner party
Create my signature cocktail
Try at least 3 new foods
Bake a new cupcake flavor from scratch
Visit 3 new restaurants and write about them
Invent a new recipe
Learn how to grill
Eat from a food truck
Make 100% homemade Thanksgiving dinner

Health & Fitness
Eliminate pop from my diet completely
Try a green smoothie
Take a barre class
Find a fitness routine that works for me & STICK TO IT
Buy a bike
Stay off electronics at night at least 20 minutes before bed
Give myself 30 minutes of relaxation a day with no phone or computer
Eat at least 1 fruit & 1 vegetable per day for 21 days straight (make it a HABIT
Go social media free for a weekend

Visit Napa & explore Wine Country
Have an all girls weekend trip
Travel to a brand new city
Take Ethan to NYC
Go on a Segway tour
Ride in a hot air balloon
Take a one year anniversary trip
Go skydiving & hope my husband doesn't faint watching me
See Britney Spears in Vegas, again
See Janet Jackson in concert
Frame a large map & track our adventures
Surprise Chuck & Ethan with a trip
Go zip lining
Fly a kite
Take a drive with no destination planned
Go on another cruise (hopefully to the Caribbean)
Go to a Steelers home opener game
Attend a light up night event around the holidays
Find a butterfly garden and visit one

Professional Growth & Development
Write a children's book
Take on at least 1 "client" and plan an event 
Take a photography class
Finish a webinar, whether for my blog or personal growth
Earn a promotion & raise
Design something for someone- a poster, invite, etc.
Make 5 new crafts
Market my talents and pursue a side business
Start a poem journal

      Just for Emelia
Have another spend freeze for at least one month
Pay off all loans and see if I can refinance my student loans
Read for 30 minutes every day
Get my wedding dress preserved
Spend the afternoon at the library without worrying about time
Get a new tattoo
Create a special memorial event just for me to honor my mom
Spend the morning at a coffee shop
Get Britney Spears to tweet me back
Find my signature lip color
Get rid of the clothes I will never wear again
Get a custom sketch drawn by Brittany Fuson

Make my own coffee table
Organize addresses 
Make or purchase a new headboard for our bed
Have Christmas shopping done before October 1st
Sell old wedding décor
Host a themed party
Turn some of Ethan’s old t-shirts I have saved in to a quilt
Host a craft party
Make over a piece of furniture
Update pictures frames with new memories
Buy our first home
Get a picture of our own photography on a canvas for décor
Find the perfect entertainment stand

For Others
Leave a 100% tip
Pay it forward & do a random act of kindness for a stranger
Adopt a family for Thanksgiving
Volunteer somewhere with both Chuck & Ethan
Adopt a family for Christmas
Make an Easter basket for a child in need
Make personalized Christmas gifts
Clean out closets and donate it all to someone I personally know who needs it
Take Ethan to the Lego store & let him spend as much time as he wants in there
Take Ethan somewhere animal related for a behind the scenes look (zoo, park, etc)

What do you think? Have you ever done one of these lists?

to travel and beyond