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Adventures in Staying Cool for the Summer!

Hi Guys. There’s no avoiding it, it’s hot out there! Look I live in Florida and this summer has been a serious scorcher. Most mornings we start in the 90s and the humidity? Don’t get me started! So I have started getting creative with ways to stay cool. It’s also true that there are some summer classics you can’t forget when dressing for the summer.

First let’s talk about my go-to summer beauty and style moves!

1.  Summer is the time to experiment with up-dos.

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That’s right, folks, bobby pins are your friend. I spend summer rotating through the full catalog of topknots, braids, and french twists. The theme? The hair off of my neck and away from my face. With the humidity where it’s been lately, my buns have really taken a messy, free spirited vibe because basically my hair is BANANAS when it’s being constantly misted when I walk outside. This is my patented summer look:

2. Switch up your make up routine! 

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It’s a similar idea from when you add or adjust makeup during the cooler months. It’s also a good time for inventory — check those expiration dates… makeup is germ carrier so it’s good to clean up our standbys every so often. I have switched to a more cream based makeup routine because I find that it reacts better to the increased moisture in the air (and my sweat!). I find that if I stick to my more mineral powder routine, I get chalky results or sweat just destroys my hard work. (Of course, by hard work, I mean sitting at a red light applying makeup, hoping I am not too terribly late to work… Spoiler, I am ALWAYS late.) Keep your makeup easy, fresh, and neutral. Then you can be sure it survives the heat.

This is my actual makeup bag that I carry in my purse because I am always putting on makeup and touching up on the go. I am a big fan of mixing cheaper makeup with fancier stuff. I am also a huge believer in sun block. I believe science supports me on this topic. Wear it.

3.  Now is the time for COLOR. 

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Guys, I am serious. Pull out all of your neon, your yellows, turquoises, and everyone’s favorite hot pink. It’s time. Pair it with white or pair them with each other and go nuts. I am a huge fan of pairing really bright colors together and just enjoy them bounce off each other. Neon pink and bright turquoise can be friends!

4. Be bold with patterns and accessories!

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Summer is a great time to bust out fun patterns and novelty accessories. You know like giant gold palm tree earrings! I know you’ve got a sweet vintage basket purse (one of THE accessories of the season) or a colorful scarf or giant flamingo earrings. Pull them out of the back of your closet and wear them. You are reading this and thinking “but how????” Have no fear. If you are nervous, pair them with classic white. White pants and a white shirt with a bold accessory and you are in a timeless fashionable place. If you are feeling braver, amp up the pattern or color with your accessory and I guarantee you will get positive feedback from your circle of friends who will enjoy your outfit as much as you!

 

Go forth and conquer summer! 

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Adventures in Changing Your Hair!

I love changing my hair. It’s pretty much at the level of an addiction. I like to joke that looking at old photos of my hair is like looking at someone in the witness protection program.

See what I mean? (P.S. These are over about two years.)

Getting my hair done is hardly something I do on a whim. My bestie, Meg, and I  spend the weeks before our appointments looking at pics, sending each other pins on pinterest, and sometimes even texting our crazy patient and unbelievably fabulous hair stylist, Catie.

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Here she is at her salon with her co-owner and fellow babe, Ashley.

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I have been visiting Catie for almost 10 years and it’s one of the most rewarding and stable non-familial relationships I have ever had!

Here she is doing Meg’s hair and makeup at her wedding nearly 6 years ago…

I feel like Catie has been through all our highs and lows with us as a listening and encouraging ear.  She’s also a wildly talented stylist and chic ladyboss! If you need someone to upgrade your beauty, check her out at Holy Chic Salon! https://www.facebook.com/HolyChicSalon/)

When you change your hair as much as I do, you need a plan. My plans always take into consideration long term hair goals, keeping my hair healthy, upcoming events, and the changing seasons. You don’t believe I am crazy about my hair plan? Check out this screen shot of my pre-appointment text convo with Catie:

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She’s so unbelievably patient and at the same time excited for whatever shenanigans I have in mind.

I am getting my hair done this week and in honor of that I spent some time thinking about how to best achieve your hair goals. I have three simple steps for getting your hair to a place you want.

1. Visual aids. Look, a three paneled science fair board filled with pics might be over the top (Don’t think I haven’t thought about it. You are welcome, Catie.) BUT with technology, it could be easier to snap pics of your favorites or at least save them to pinterest. If you are really behind, print them from your computer and bring them in. Try to go for a couple of options that way your stylist can see the full picture of what you are thinking about. Pictures also make finding your voice with your stylist easier. When I got my hair colored last, I brought Catie this series of pics and look what she created:

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2. Think about it. A. LOT. When you are thinking major change think about more than just how it would look but how it would work. How would you style it? How would your cowlicks work at 8:30 when you have to be at work like, now? How will the hair grow out? How will you maintain your look?

I think we all remember the pixie cut debacle of 2013.

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I thought about how it would look but I didn’t think about the struggles I might have styling it or how much work it would really end up being or how long it would take to grow it back out. For me, it was the growing out period when I did all my “if I’d only thought about this time” thinking. A great example of a celebrity navigating these waters is Shailene Woodley who is growing out her pixie. She killed it with the pixie but the in between times have proven tricky for her.

3. Don’t be afraid to change. It’s summer, y’all! Shake off your caution and go for lighter  or bolder hair. Now is the time. Be bold.  I know it’s hard to believe after all the complaining I have done but the truth is… I am glad I did the pixie. It was refreshing and it felt great. It was a b*^$& to grow out but in the end it is JUST hair and it will grow back (especially if you take prenatal vitamins, massage it with coconut oil, and change your diet hahaha kidding, not kidding). Besides, you never know when bangs might just change your life!

 

 

Yes, I put myself in the same category as BEAUTIFUL celebrities… 😉

Glamour Magazine just published the results of a study about women and self-esteem.

https://www.glamour.com/story/black-women-more-confident-other-groups-females-survey

 The results are interesting. It looks like we all struggle with feeling beautiful and confident. If a hair change might give you a boost, go for it!

 

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Adventures in Entertaining (Part 12)!

If you know me, you know I live to entertain. I truly enjoy throwing birthday parties, engagement parties, showers, and even the occasional wedding. 😉

My favorite part of event planning is the PLANNING. I know, nerd alert! I have developed some easy tips to get you through any party planning that we used for a recent engagement party! One of my work besties is marrying one of my OG work squad from when I first started practicing law. I couldn’t be more excited for them!

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My friend, Adele, shared in my enthusiasm and thus an engagement party was born!

Here’s a classic photo of me and Adele… 😉

1. Simple food is always a crowd pleaser. I am talking about charcuterie and baked brie. No one says no. And they are delicious. Gluten free, nut free, and just plain delicious. I never throw a party without those classics.

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2.  While we are keeping things simple, the same rules apply to decorations. You can see in those photos clear glass votives and monochromatic flowers. You know you are at an IMOP (Irene Maslanik Original Production) if you have monochromatic flowers and clear glass. It’s the hallmark of my events! Why? Because the glass is classically beautiful and elegant. The flowers? I just think flowers pop more when you can focus on the flower and the rich color of a single color. Also, I have become OBSESSED with chalkboards. My mom and made the chalkboards from start to finish from old frames and then I do the writing and art myself. It’s a little thing but it really upgrades a room. (The lanterns are cheap as hell from IKEA and so reusable! That’s really important with decorations! You don’t want to be constantly buying new stuff!)

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3. Set up is key so then you can enjoy yourself. Food and decorations are great but the point of every party is the PEOPLE. Make sure when you throw a party that you actually spend time with the people at the party. Prep work makes this possible. So what if the food isn’t always completely replenished. Tag a friend to refill that chip dish and talk to a person! 🙂

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P.S. Never forget dessert! 

**Special thanks to Christina Solazzo who took these great photos at the party!**

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Adventures in Giving the Cold Shoulder!?!

Adventures in Giving the Cold Shoulder!

Ok, it’s not what you think. Summer is here. (I mean just walk outside and “summer” will hit you like a slap to the face.) Off the shoulder and “cold shoulder” looks are really having a moment. I think it’s the convergence of fashion — a 70s lean — and comfort — exposed skin keeps us cool. There are really two kinds of styles I am talking about in this post… one is the classic off the shoulder and then one is the latest incarnation of a sort of peak-a-boo cold should look… See the difference?

Everywhere I look, I have being seeing shoulders making their fashionable debut. Here’s my friend Megan killing it in the peak-a-boo version:

Not sure how to make cold shoulder look work for you? Your girl Irene is here to clear the path.

Keep it simple. It’s constantly my advice with style — especially when you are trying something new. Since these bare shoulder tops have a flowing vibe combine them with clean lines of skinny jeans and chill accessories.

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If you are after a more fitted cold shoulder look, try something like this…

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I like a clean and fitted look when the shoulder baring top is more fitted. There’s something elegant and very Grace Kelly about that look for me. Check out this international babe, chilling in Berlin, showing us how to wear cold shoulder like a boss:

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Maria is spot on with simple jewelry and pulled back hair… it really draws the eye to her shoulders and makes her look so elegant. It’s a great way to be cool for summer and to also maintain some serious style cool.

Interested in having a bit more fun with cold shoulders? Stick with me! Pair it with patterns, bold accessories, or the of the moment denim — distressed jeans. I wouldn’t take it to far into the 70s with bell bottoms like you might be tempted. You don’t want to look like you are going to a 70s costume party.

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I think the peak-a-boo cold shoulder is a great transition piece for people not wanting to go full bare shoulders. It’s also a really cool summer alternative for people with “shy” arms. 🙂

Here’s one of my favorites! I get tons of compliments when I wear it.

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How would you make this trend your own? 

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Adventures in the Summer Time Snacks!

One of my favorite things about being a Floridian is really savoring summer. We take it seriously here. As a matter of survival it’s a uniform of shorts, tanks, and sandals. We spend time by the water, on the water, looking at the water. It’s just the best. Obviously the great thing about Florida is that you can spend the whole year round outside but in the summer, we are all kids out of school. We make the most of every moment!

If you are going to hit the pool (one of my favs), you will need snacks. Scratch that, you are going to need snacks at the beach too. 😉

My aunt Hilary got me through some dark days of law school and she’s one of my closest friends and biggest supporters. She’s also a really good time. We have a whole Sunday afternoon routine which necessitates some serious poolside snacks. We’ve experimented and found the perfect combination.

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Hilary has MANY talents and is an amazing cook. But perhaps one of my favorite of her creations (besides wings, taco dip, shrimp salad, homemade pizza, ribs — oh the ribs! — flank steak… you get my point) is her poolside drink, Strawberry Frozen Lemonade. She invented this drink when we were kids and it’s always been a staple. Of course, now that I am an adult we’ve added some adult elements to the drink. Here’s the recipe:

Aunt Hil’s Frozen Strawberry Lemonade 

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You ready for this… mix Countrytime lemonade, frozen strawberries, ice, and water (or WINE). You see where I am going with this?

Toss it in a blender. BOOM!

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Give it a straw, maybe a garnish like a strawberry or lemon slice or a piece of mint. Do what you need to do to make it cute because I promise you this, it will be delicious.

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Now that you have your drink squared away, it’s time to focus on snacks. I am not making layered dip or cutting up fruit here. We are going full maximum laziness and maximum flavor. You ready for this?

Irene and Hil’s UNBEATABLE Poolside Snack 

Mix this…

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With this…

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Mix together…

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Congratulations you just spent like 3 seconds making a delicious snack. I am not kidding. The cheese puffs combined with the buttery popcorn is incredible. You just get yourself a spot under an umbrella and try this combo. You won’t be sorry! (Also it’s gluten free if you care about gluten. Some people do.)

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Now you are officially ready to be poolside.

Get to snackin’!  

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Adventures in Fourth of July Festivities!

I challenge to find someone who doesn’t love the fourth of July. It’s a birthday party for our whole country. We disagree about a lot of stuff but we are united in our love of birthday parties and this is the biggest one!

How do you celebrate the fourth?

Me? I love the beach. Living in St. Petersburg, FL I am surrounded by awesome beaches. So the beach on the Fourth is my favorite choice!

 We hit Reddington Shores last weekend and it was beautiful. The water was so clear and the beach was gorgeous.

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Seriously, isn’t that view insane? (No filtering, no editing.)

I am glad we went when we did since I won’t be able to hit the beach or the pool for the next couple of weeks. I will be spending the fourth as far as away from water as possible. Why? I am laid up with a boot. (It’s not a big deal just need to rest my foot so it can heal and I don’t really live a life where I can sit all day with my foot up thus the boot!) Don’t worry there are tons of other water-free ways to celebrate!

To celebrate the fourth far from the water, I got my nails done. I know, right, I am wild and out of control. I was feeling sorry for myself about my water hiatus and decided to treat myself. I googled fourth inspired nails… there were so many!

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People get intense about their patriotic nails. I loved looking at the options. I settled on classic red with an accent nail:

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I know they are silly. But I have to say, I have got a lot of joy out of looking down and seeing my patriotic nails!
If you are looking for tips on cute outfits for the fourth, check out my post from last year. I love this post and would wear all of the outfits again in a heartbeat!

https://adventuresinpolkadots.wordpress.com/2015/07/04/adventures-in-fourth-of-july-fashion/

When it comes to celebrating special holidays like the fourth, I have a couple of no-brainer tips:

  1. Celebrate with people you enjoy. Whether it’s friends or family, you need to make sure you spend your day with someone who makes you laugh. I am a big fan of this lady… IMG_4991
  2. Be comfortable. I mean you can look cute and festive without being blistered or cramping from crazy heels. God brought Birkenstocks into this world. So wear them! IMG_9198
  3. Be kind to yourself. I know we are eating healthy, maybe even dieting, or cleansing… but this day, just take a break and relax. Eat a hot dog. Drink a cold drink. Be in the moment and celebrate.

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I hope you have a great fourth! Enjoy the holiday! XOXO

 

 

 

 

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Adventures in Adulting!

That’s right, people of the internet (specifically my mom, my friend P, and a couple of stalwart hometown followers), I have returned to blogging.

To celebrate the occasion and to mark the passage of time, I give you a year in selfies –>

From wine, to food poisoning (thanks, Mom), to picnics, to princesses (for T Swift), to dinos, to pool time, to birthday dinners, and absolutely no shame, this is me. 

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Why the break? To be honest, I felt like I was in a rut. I moved to a different city to live with my grandmother (roomie) and tried to save money to buy a house. I had to take a break from traveling and shopping (ok, I tried at least) to save money. It meant taking a break from blogging too. But guess what? IT WORKED. I have been in my NEW HOUSE WHICH I OWN for a month now and it’s been amazing.

Owning a house (I just pinched myself to make sure it’s real!) is adulting level 100.

What is adulting? Urban dictionary defines it as “Adulting (v): to do grown up things and hold responsibilities such as, a 9-5 job, a mortgage/rent, a car payment, or anything else that makes one think of grown ups.” Urban dictionary is talking about my life, who’s with me?

Now that I am back — in my city that I love and in my new house — it’s time to get back to blogging.

I hope you smile at least once every post and enjoy this adventure with me. Happy Adulting!