Thursday, February 2, 2012

HANAair review, Courtesy of Misikko

As promised earlier this week, I have a review of a fantastic product for you today!

I've been using the HANAair Professional Hair Dryer, courtesy of Misikko*, for about 6 weeks now.  I can say with absolute certainty and with no reservations that it is by far the best hair dryer I've ever used.  Here are some specs from the Misikko website:

  • Ion Technology- condition hair & reduces static electricity
  • Tourmaline & Titanium Oxide Technology- natural ions promote healthier hair
  • Silver Nanotechnology- for antibacterial Protection
  • Scratch Resistant Shell with black metallico finish adds durability and is easy to clean
  • Long life motor with low noise
  • Gyroscopically balanced for easy handling
  • Fiberglass concentrator
  • Italian Design

  • The HANAair also promises to "dry your hair up to 60% faster maintaining natural shine while promoting healthy luxurious hair."

    Now, here's what I have to say:

    The HANAair performs exactly as promised!

    Not only was I able to dry my hair much more quickly than I
    had in the past, but my hair actually looked and felt healthier after a blowout.  I have naturally curly hair, and, with previous blow dryers, I’d deal with a lot of static afterward, leaving me with unwanted flyaways. 
    The HANAair actually makes my hair smoother, softer, and more beautiful.  I never thought a hair dryer could do that!
    I have long used ion hair dryers, but none have given me the results I’ve experienced using the HANAair. Because of its powerful motor, my drying time has been significantly reduced.  And, as a bonus, even though the motor is more powerful than my previous dryer, the level of noise produced is not any greater.
    So, in summary, the HANAair dries my hair super fast, while leaving it more vibrant looking.  What’s not to love?!
    The above picture is from Misikko’s website, but below are a few of my own…just for good measure.

    In the past, I never would have supported paying more than $25 for a hair dryer.  I thought
    that what I had worked perfectly fine.
    Now, I'm a complete convert.  If you blow dry your hair regularly, the HANAair is truly worth every penny.  It's a great investment that you're sure to love for a very long time.  I know I will!

    The HANAair retails for $334.99, but Misikko sells it for $194.99.  And, as if those savings aren't significant enough, the HANAair is included in the above gift package for $199.99!  (The total value of the gift package is $500!)  Plus, there's currently a promotion for free shipping and $10 off!  (See Misikko's website for details.)
    Misikko was gracious enough to send me a similar gift set, and it was packaged beautifully and had some terrific products, including full size Paul Mitchell shampoo and conditioner and a heat proof pouch.

    If you're wanting something special from your sweetheart this upcoming Valentine's Day or just want to treat yourself to a high-quality product that is sure to please, then I unreservedly recommend the HANAair!  I've been nothing but superbly happy with mine.

    *Full Disclosure: The HANAair was provided free of charge to me, courtesy of Misikko, in exchange for my review.  My opinions are completely my own and have not been fabricated in any way, shape, or form.  I take my integrity seriously, and, if I say it, I mean it.

    Monday, January 30, 2012


    Hello, dear people!

    Any blogger knows that sometimes life just happens, and it certainly happened to me.

    Over the course of the last several months, I had some major things occur in my life.  I bought a house and then went through the arduous moving process.  In the midst of packing, moving, and settling in, I was enrolled in my final classes in grad school and preparing for my comprehensive exams.  I took my first round of comprehensive exams, a two-day long process that tested me over all of my graduate studies, and then I continued to study and prepare for the second part of the exam process - my oral defense.  My dedication to my coursework paid off, and I received an unconditional pass from the program - a feat that few accomplish (most students receive a conditional pass and have to complete remedial work, usually in the form of an additional paper that addresses their weaknesses).

    No sooner than I finished my exams, I had surgery to remove a benign tumor above my  thyroid, followed by a much more painful recover than I anticipated.  As I recovered from surgery, I finished up my final term papers and projects.  This proved more difficult than usual because, at some point during the moving process, my computer decided to stop picking up an internet signal.  No biggie for a blogger and grad student, right?  [Please note heavy sarcasm.]

    This little old blog of mine starting taking a back seat during all these events, and I thought that once I got through graduation, things would return to something more like normalcy.  On December 17, I officially finished grad school and received my Master of Arts in Communication.  From a young age, I envisioned getting to this point in academia, and it was truly such a thrill to get there at the age of 23.  

    With school completed, I thought I'd be ready to leap right back into my previous blogging schedule.  Of course, then the holidays happened.  I love Christmas and everything that comes with it, and much of my energy went into preparing for and enjoying the holiday season.  I even took some time off and spent a little over a week with my family in San Antonio, which was great.

    Once I came home, I got the internet issue on my computer fixed.  With a computer that was actually capable of receiving an internet signal, I figured it was time to hook up an internet connection at the house.  (I hadn't done so yet because it wouldn't have done me any good.)  The day the installation guy came, I pulled out my laptop, pressed the power button...and nothing happened.  My laptop was out of commission.  I've gotten by through a Logitech Revue hooked up to my television, which allows me to do most internet functions, but I've been unable to edit photos - which, obviously, is not conducive to fashion blogging. 

    Needless to say, my blogging hiatus has been much longer than I ever expected or wanted.  

    But there's good news on the horizon!  

    A new laptop will be in my hands very shortly, and I will be back to blogging soon...I promise this time.

    And there's more good news!

    My break from blogging has given me fresh eyes, and I'm planning some big changes.  I'll soon undertake a complete re-branding of the blog.  Not long from now, you'll witness a name and domain change, more 'life' along with the 'style' of the blog, and a new look. 

    I'm excited for the changes that are going to happen, and I humbly hope you'll continue to follow along as this blog experiences a re-birth.  For those of you who have stuck around through my absence, I am so incredibly grateful for your readership.  I wouldn't be coming back to the blogging world if it weren't for readers like you.

    In the meantime, I will have a review of an amazing product up very shortly.  I have been excited about sharing this item with you for quite some time now, and I can't wait for you to read my thoughts about it.  (Keep in mind my product pictures will be completely unedited, but hopefully my words make up for less-than-stellar pictures.)

    I truly hope you'll continue to stick it out with me as I adjust to continued changes both in my life and on this blog.  I wish you nothing but the best, and I look forward to our reconnection.

    Peace and love,


    Monday, December 19, 2011

    Checking in

    I just wanted to briefly pop in and let you know I'm alive!  These past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind, and I took some time away from the blog to concentrate on finishing my last term of graduate school.  I'm happy to announce that my commencement ceremony was this past Saturday, and I received my Master of Arts in Communication.  Finishing school is exciting and overwhelming all at once, but I wouldn't trade my experience for anything in the world.  I'm in the process of sending in my job applications, and I am beyond happy about pursuing a career in higher education.

    I hope you've been enjoying the holiday season!  I look forward to catching up with all of you as I (once again) get back into the swing of things around here.

    I wish you a multitude of Christmas blessings!  Have a happy Monday and a fantastic week!

    Monday, December 5, 2011

    Notes from a barista: Holiday drinks


    Has anyone else noticed that the current accessorizing trend in the fashion blogging world appears to be that famous red cup from Starbucks?

    Who doesn't love a great holiday drink in brisk weather?!

    Although I don't work at Starbucks, I love being a barista at a local coffee shop inside my church.  We may not have red cups, but we've been serving up a lot of holiday goodness lately. 

    We all know the traditional winter favorites: peppermint mocha, chai latte, and so on and so forth, but one of the best parts of being a barista is getting to concoct your own drinks.  So I thought I'd share some of the drinks my coworkers and I have been brewing up this season.  They're sure to warm you from the inside out!

    First up, variations on chai...

    Gingerbread Chai
    A traditional chai latte with a shot of gingerbread.  This is one of my favorites!

    Spiced Eggnog Latte
    There's a couple different ways to make this one.  If you go to a place that uses real eggnog for their eggnog lattes, have the barista make a chai latte with eggnog instead of milk.  My cafe uses an eggnog syrup, so we simply make a traditional chai latte with a shot of eggnog syrup.  This has been a customer favorite lately.

    Next, variations on mocha...

    S'more Latte
    A traditional mocha with a shot of toasted marshmallow and gingerbread syrup.  All you'll need is a campfire!

    Pumpkin Spice White Mocha
    A white mocha with a shot of pumpkin spice syrup.  So good!

    Vanilla Peppermint Mocha
    To me, vanilla tastes good in just about any coffee drink.  Switch up your usual peppermint mocha routine by substituting half the usual peppermint with vanilla.


    Pumpkin Pie Latte
    A breve latte with shots of cinnamon and pumpkin spice.  It's like pumpkin pie!

    Vanilla Peppermint Latte
    Same as the mocha, minus the chocolate.


    Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice Tea
    To me, this is the perfect cold weather drink.  I add a little bit of honey and just a spot of milk - perfection!  Not all cafes carry Harney & Sons tea, but you can buy it here.  (The Winter White Earl Grey is fabulous, too!)

    Let me know if you try any of these concoctions!  What sounds like your favorite?


    Thursday, December 1, 2011

    Gift conundrums: Secret Santa

    Secret Santa, secret snowflake, or any of the other seasonably appropriate names - if you haven't participated in one already, you're sure to at some point in your career.  What says 'holiday spirit' more than exchanging gifts with the acquaintance down the hall at work?

    Okay...but really, they're kind of fun, so who cares if Susy Q. from the billing department isn't exactly your bestie?  Buying little gifts are fun!

    I vividly remember my mom participating in Secret Santas at the school she worked at, and she always enjoyed the process so much.  There are various ways to go about the tradition, but the ones she participated in always included little gifts with clues throughout the week and culminated with the final (more substantial) gift and the Secret Santa reveal at the end of the week. 

    Luckily, my mother has always enjoyed the giving part more than the receiving part because she didn't necessarily always get the pick of the litter when it came to gifts, if you know what I mean.  But don't be that person who gyps your receiver!  You can spend very little money on each little gift but still be thoughtful and purposeful...and not have the gift, ahem, trashed.  Don't give gifts that no one wants!  If you're going to go to the effort to participate, be jolly about it.   

    Obligingly, here are my recommendations (for female receivers)...

    But gift cards are so unthoughtful, right?  Well, I've got news for you - they don't have to be!  Put your Secret Santa detective skills to work, and find out what your receiver's favorite drink is.  Say it's a grande peppermint mocha with an extra shot - ask the cashier to ring up the drink so you can find out how much it costs, and purchase a gift card with exactly that amount.  Leave a sweet note saying, "You're favorite drink on me!" (or something of that sort).  It's so much more thoughtful than a generic $5 gift card.

    If you've never tried one of these babies, you're really missing out!  Somehow they make a simple bath so much more decadent and enjoyable.  And the fizzing is just so fun!   They even have Christmas themed bath bombs - the perfect way to celebrate and give a seasonably appropriate gift without buying another generic Christmas mug.

    Revlon Nail Enamel, Frankly Scarlet 745
    There's nothing like a fresh coat of nail polish to make a gal feel pampered.  It's such an easy, inexpensive way to feel a little glam.  Why not try a festive holiday color with a little sass?  I especially like Frankly Scarlett by Revlon.  The perfect red with a hint of shimmer!

    Merry Christmas Cookies
    Channel your inner Martha Stewart and bake your receiver's favorite cookies.  (Throw in some Christmas cookies for good measure.)  It's an inexpensive but thoughtful gift...and you can eat the leftovers.  You can use the same idea for other treats as well, such as cupcakes or brownies.

    Sudoku Plus (1) (Paperback).Opens in a new window
    Admittedly, I've never been a sudoku person, but some people love this stuff!  If you're receiver isn't a number person, perhaps she loves word searches or get the idea.  You can even find these at dollar stores!  Both your receiver and your wallet will be happy.

    Overall, here are a few general recommendations:
    • spend about $5 or less on the small gifts (don't overdue it - you'll be broke by the time the large gift comes around!)
    • do your research - get to know your receiver and give gifts that align with her interests
    • don't give something you wouldn't want to receive or would immediately get rid of - be thoughtful
    • please, please, please don't give a Christmas mug with a hot chocolate packet inside - it's so overdone!
    Do you have anything else to add?  Any more gift recommendations?

    Wednesday, November 30, 2011

    Sunday funday

    Outfit details
    cardigan: Old Navy, thrifted (similar)
    dress: very old SJP line (similar cut - and super cute!)

    Although the Monday before my surgery was less than fun (see here), the Sunday before my surgery was pretty darn great.  I attended a Creative Connections meet-up at Cork It in Grapevine, where I got to network, chat, and drink some yummy wine with other DFW creatives.  One of my favorite local fashion blogger pals, Elissa of Dress With Courage, attended as well, so it was great to see her.  Seriously guys...if you don't already subscribe to Elissa's blog, head over there now!  She always has interesting, thoughtful content, and she's an excellent thrifter.  Also, if you're a DFW blogger, please attend the meet-up in December!  You won't regret it!  Elise Ostermann of Hey Sweet Pea does a wonderful job of putting these things together.

    Afterward, Caleb and I met up with my Uncle Bob and Aunt Lisa, who were visiting us from England.  I hadn't seen them in over 20 years, when I was just a wee bit of a thing, so it was really great to get to spend time with them and get to know them a lot better.  We chatted at their hotel for awhile, and then we headed for some good ol' fashion Texas cooking at the Stockyards in Fort Worth.  The food was delicious, the conversation was fantastic, and I was with terrific company.  What more can you ask for?  Bob and Lisa have invited us to come spend some time with them in England, so we've got that in the works now.  We hope to visit the other side of the pond in the not-to-distant future.

    In other news, I get my stitches removed tomorrow!  Hooray!
    How is your week going?

    Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    Gift conundrums: White elephant party


    It's that time of year again, and Christmas is just around the corner.  By now, you've already seen a plethora of bloggers creating gift guides for all sorts of people - the bff, the sig-o, your mother, sister, and, hey, maybe even yourself.

    But, let's face it, you know all those people a lot better than I do, so I'd say you're more equipped to pick out a gift for them than I.

    However, we all run into those circumstances where we can't quite figure out the appropriate gift for the occasion.  That's where I can share some thoughts.  I'll be sharing some Christmas gift recommendations for those areas that may cause you to draw a blank.  I hope you'll join along and share any of your thoughts.

    So, with no further ado, let's get started!

    First on the agenda is gifts for a white elephant party.  Surely, you know how this works, but, if not, click here and be enlightened.  Caleb and are hosting our second-annual white elephant party this year, and we're super excited about it.  However, I'm not of the camp that believes white elephant gifts have to be corny and useless.  You can find inexpensive, quirky gifts that others would love to exchange.  Here are some of my recommendations...

    Sagaform Takeaway Enjoy Your Coffee Porcelain Mug  - 8.5 oz.Opens in a new window
    Travel mugs are always useful, and the new ceramic ones are so much cuter than the traditional thermos versions.  This one is close to $14, but I have a couple that I got at Ross and Marshall's for a mere 5 bucks - you can't beat that!  Avoid the temptation to buy anything holiday themed; it will look cute around the holidays, but it'll be shoved to the backof the cupboard come January.

    Who doesn't love a game with friends?  Don't like Phase 10?  Then how about Uno or some other simple game?  Somebody is sure to have grabby hands for a fun game!

    Johnson & Johnson Band-Aid Adult Mickey Brand Adhesive Bandages - 20 Count.Opens in a new window
    Have you ever noticed that you can never find a band aid when you need it?  Stock up one of your friends with some fun printed band aids.  They're quirky, but definitely practical!

    Pretty neat treat.
    Winter weather often means dry hands and chapped lips, so who wouldn't appreciate this little life saver from Burt's Bees?  Stick to the traditional beeswax flavor to keep it gender neutral - no girl scents!

    Grabber Warmers Toe Warmers
    I hate having cold toes!  In fact, I think just about everyone does.  So help your friends warm up with some toe warmers.  They're perfect for winter weather.

    Here are some general rules for selecting a white elephant gift:
    • keep gifts gender-neutral - that way anyone who opens the gift can enjoy it
    • spend about $5-10 dollars
    • re-gift if you'd like, but don't use a white elephant party as an opportunity to get rid of your junk
    Do you have anything to add?


    Monday, November 28, 2011

    Remember that time I had surgery and disappeared for a while?

    Outfit details:
    sweater: via TJ Maxx (sequins and lace)
    skirt: Sparkle & Fade, via UO (exact)
    tights: Kohl's (similar)
    flats: via Burlington (similar)
    scarf: left behind by an old roomie (similar)
    belt: Betsey Johnson, via Marshall's (similar)

    Hello, hello!

    I am back (again) after an unexpected hiatus.  I had surgery last Monday to remove a mass above my thyroid, and recovery was a little more trying than I anticipated.  I thought I'd be back to normally scheduled blogging in no time, but, quite obviously, that did not happen.  I am feeling so much better now, but I still have stitches across the front of my neck.  The first thing I remember hearing Caleb say to me after I got out of surgery was, "It looks like someone slit your throat!"  Thanks, dear.  That was quite appreciated.  I experienced a LOT of swelling afterward, but most of that has gone down now.  I'm looking forward to getting my stitches removed this Thursday so I can feel normal again and take pretty outfit photos - I don't want to expose any more people than necessary to the gnarliness that has become my neck.  The stitching technique used involved leaving 'wiskars' poking out from the incision, and it's definitely not pretty.

    But on to brighter things!

    These photos were taken before my throat was slit surgery.  It was a pretty cloudy day, but I didn't mind.  As long as it's tight-wearing weather, I'm happy.  Unfortunately, the lighting wasn't the best because of the lack of sunlight.  This sweater is actually a pretty light lavender, but it looks pretty close to white in the pictures.  I love the lace details on the shoulders and the buttons on the back!  Don't you just love small touches?

    Anywho...I hope you (Americans) had a fantastic Thanksgiving.  I was just relieved that I could chew and swallow normal people food by Turkey Day!  No surgery was going to hold me back!

    I'd also just like to say that, now that Thanksgiving has passed, we can officially start celebrating Christmas.  I like to give Thanksgiving its due time, but now I'm in full Christmas mode.  Is it too early to start saying "merry Christmas" to strangers on the street?


    Thursday, November 17, 2011

    The hair chronicles and a simple new 'do

    Before: hair on my wedding day - it went to about my bra line when it was straight  (that's my beautiful mom whose hair I'm fixing)

    After: two months post-wedding

    A few months later, when I first started the blog

    Now (or at least recently)

    A little over a year ago, I chopped about 11 inches of hair off.  I loved sporting a shorter 'do for awhile, and then I decided to start growing it out again.  I was so used to having just a few go-to ways to style my short hair, and, now that it's longer, I've seem to have gotten myself into a hair rut.  Styling my hair is usually an afterthought, and my typical look is bangs pinned back out of my face with either my natural curls or an at-home blowout.  Just see here, here, and here for evidence.

    Recently, though, I decided to try something new, as you might have noticed in this post.  Here is the simple look I created:

    I'm no expert, but I did like the way it turned out, and it was pretty easy to do.  I merely divided my hair into two sections and braided each section, wrapped each braid around itself, and pinned into place.  I used the flower bobby pins to add a little bit of interest.  It's not the most groundbreaking look, but it's a start, right?

    Do you know of any good hair styles or tutorials for mid-length hair?  Please comment below or share a link!

    p.s. In addition to cut, I clearly enjoy experimenting with hair color.  What are your thoughts on dying your hair?

    Wednesday, November 16, 2011

    Texas love, y'all

    vintage blouse: thrifted (pink, love-but pricey)
    skirt: thrifted (more patchwork)
    belt: Fossil, thrifted (similar)
    oxfords: Steve Madden (similar- on sale!)
    sunglasses: Betsey Johnson, via TJ Maxx (similar)

    I would like to clarify one thing: I often lament Texas' bipolar weather patterns here on this little ol' blog of mine, but I love Texas.  I'm proud to live in Cow Town, as Fort Worth is lovingly nicknamed, and I love that I live in a large metropolitan area but have the sense of community that makes you feel like you live in a small town.  I wouldn't trade my life in Texas for the world...although I do love a great vacation.

    I also owe some thanks to Texas for my outfit.  First and foremost, thank you Texas for fostering a the kind of community where a Texan housewife could hand sew this fine little skirt of mine.  Also, thank you Texan housewife for then donating it to a thrift store where I could purchase and enjoy it.  Additionally, in general, thank you Texas for providing a plethora of thrift stores for my shopping pleasure.  This outfit truly would not be the same without you.  (...seriously.  Most of it is secondhand.)

    And, just one more clarification: I did not ride a horse to this photo location.  We do, indeed, drive cars in Texas.

    Do you love your state?  Share your thoughts!
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