Bloggers & Beauty On-The-Go

We had the August, Charlotte Social blogger meet-up, at BlackFinn tonight and it was so much fun! It was a smaller group than we normally have, but it was perfect for tonight because I was able to really talk blogging, and brainstorm about growing our Charlotte network with three other awesome Charlotte-area bloggers. 

I'm so appreciative of Tamara and Bre who have been some of the biggest supporters of The Charlotte Social from the start. I think awesome things are in store after our brainstorming session tonight, and the passion that three of us have for networking with other bloggers is exciting.
me, Tamara, Bre, and Allison

Excuse the cell phone pictures. We were sitting at our "reserved blogger" table surrounded by football fans who didn't understand why we'd be talking about blogging while the games were on. I wasn't about to whip out the Nikon and make matters worse. The beer was good, the BBQ flatbread was fantastic, and the conversation was even better. I can't wait to get together with these girls again soon.
What the girls don't know is what happened between leaving work, and happy hour. It was a hot day in Charlotte, I spent most of the day running errands, doing some semi-heavy lifting, and wobbling around in heels. By five o'clock I looked like I had just left the gym, not like I was about to head out for a girls night.

Bloggers are slightly intimidating, and I wasn't about to meet a group of them without being on my A-game, so I did what any girl would touch ups in the car! Since I'm on the road a lot for work, I think I've gotten this technique down to an art.

First, shake the dry shampoo bottle and spray in your roots, let it sit and DON'T RUB IN. While that sits put a little deodorant on (I love the black dress approved version by Degree), spray a little body mist, wipe that oil off your face, and add a touch of gloss. Now that the dry shampoo has been sitting for a few minutes it's had time to soak up the oil, rub in the excess white powder and run a brush through you hair. VOILA! No one would know that you looked anything less than perfect!
What are your favorite products to use for a quick touch-up at the end of the day? I like to call it "between five o'clock and happy hour".

Texas Aggie Gameday Gear

1. JC Penney 2. Elle&K 3.The Mint Julep 4. Elle&K 5. Ariat
I live by two seasons, football season, and off-season. Once fall rolls around I spend my weekends keeping up with the BCS rankings, and cheering on my Aggies. Unfortunately, because of work and living in another state, I can't always be there to cheer them on in person.
I'm so excited though because in three weeks I'm headed home for the Texas A&M vs Alabama game, and I get to watch my Aggies kick Bama's butt once again :)
Football fashion to me is all about comfort.You don't want to be sitting in the blazing heat, sweating to death in some outrageous ensemble, because you were trying to be fashionable. My rule of thumb is to keep it simple, and always wear your team colors. I put some of my favorite outfit combinations for Aggie gameday (or your favorite school, just change the colors) together above.
Who else is ready for college football to start? What team will you be rooting for this season?

Why You Need ipsy (in my opinion)

If you're a blogger it's hard to miss the reviews about the different monthly subscription boxes that exist, bloggers seem to love them. Monthly subscription boxes are programs that you sign up for, pay the monthly fee,  and receive a new set of products in the mail every month. It seems like there's a program out there for whatever interests you, from pet supplies, to beauty products, to hot sauce samples (no lie).
I never had the urge to sign up for one of these, simply because it seemed like a waste of money, until I found ipsy, a makeup subscription box. Each month they send you a cute makeup bag with five makeup samples to try. It's only $10/month (the cheapest program I've seen), and some of my bags have included full size products like the NYC blush above, and a POP lip crayon (not pictured).
I wanted to wait until I'd received three months of packages before giving you all my thoughts, but three months later I'm happy I signed up. If you're on the fence about joining one of these programs, I would highly recommend ipsy. It's been a fun surprise to open in the mail each month, and I've loved almost every product I've received. My favorite products from June, July, and August are pictured above.
Do any of you subscribe to ipsy? What do you think?

Psalm 37:4

I've heard this verse so many times before, but I never understood the meaning until recently.
I've always read it and thought "If I'm a faithful Christian, and do good, then God will give me everything I want, he will help me create the life I imagine."
The problem with thinking this way though, is that I was skipping over the most important part of the message, TAKE DELIGHT IN THE LORD.
The first part, living a life centered around God, is key. The second part, God providing the desires of our heart, is just the icing on the cake. Let me explain why. When we delight in the Lord and put him at the center of our lives, the desires of our hearts change. We're no longer driven by the things of this world like wealth, power, fame, or material things. Instead, the desire of our heart is to live for the kingdom of God, to do the things that please him, and live a life that reflects his grace and great love for us.
I've been growing in my faith a lot lately, and the biggest shift that my new relationship with Christ has created has been my change of heart. The things I used to desire aren't the same things I want anymore. I've slowly started to see God bring things to my life that I never knew I desired, and I've started to let go of things I used to want so badly.
I love this verse even more now, and I'm a testimony of its truth. When you live a life centered around Christ, the desires of your heart will be His, and he will faithful to these desires.
What are you placing at the center of your life? and do you think the things you desire for your life are the same things that God would want for you? It's so interesting how much your perspective begins to change when you begin to think about these two questions.

A Case of Nostalgia

I've been trying my hardest to stay off Facebook for the past few weeks for fear of getting my heart broken. You see, in the collegiate world there's this thing going on, it's called sorority recruitment, and seeing all the pictures makes me wonder how four years went by so quickly.
Fall '07
It's a week that as college students we loved to hate, but looking back I've realized I made some of the best memories during rush. We spent hours rehearsing songs and chants, painting banners, and perfecting the art of convincing a batch of new pledges that your house was better than all the rest.
Fall '08
We spent way too many hours with each other, wore heels that were way too high, and yelled so many chants that at times you'd think you were at cheerleading camp.
Fall '08
But then you'd wrap up a week of hardly any sleep with bid day, which is a sorority girls equivalent to Christmas morning.
Fall '09 
You'd throw on your matching t-shirts (because sorority girls don't have enough t-shirts), and welcome 50 new bright eyed girls into your home. 
Fall '10
So, you can see why looking at all the recruitment updates online would give me a case of nostalgia. Those were some of the best weeks of my college career.
Fall '10
If you're going through recruitment right now, enjoy each moment, because it flies by!

Sweetly Southern

My freshman year of college I began a love affair...with anything and everything monogrammed. This love didn't end once I graduated college, because to this day I'm a sucker for anything you can personalize. So, when the ladies at Southern Charm Apparel asked if I'd be interested in one of their cute acrylic monogram key chains, there was no way I could say no!
I'm in love with my new keychain. It's preppy, and personal, and oh so southern.
Y'all have to check out their site. You'll find everything from jewelry, to clothes, to adorable phone cases. I bought a few scarfs from them and I get compliments every time I wear them.
I've picked out my favorite items from the shop and included them below. How cute are those bow earrings? And for $10, you really can't go wrong

What is your favorite monogramed item?

Food For Thought

We had a rainy weekend in Charlotte, and it's starting to feel a lot more like fall than it does summer. It was the perfect opportunity to recover from all the traveling I've been doing, and I took full advantage.
The best smelling candle you'll find, Sugar Blossom, from Target.
My mom called me three different times yesterday and each time I had to tell her I was just waking up from a nap, no shame. Nina rocked some serious bed head all weekend too, but she didn't seem to mind one bit.
Anyway, at church they've been talking about Images. I spent a lot of time this weekend reflecting on what we define as beautiful, and thinking about how quickly we judge others based on their outward appearance. So I wanted to leave you all with some food for thought, and I'd love to hear your feedback...

If your outward appearance was a direct reflection of your inward beauty, would you like what you saw when you looked in the mirror?
"...The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” -1 Samuel 16:7

Dear David...

My little brother is headed off to college next week. I went to Houston in May to watch him graduate, and I couldn't believe that the baby of our family has grown into such an amazing young man.

David, I remember being in the same exact spot you are now, excited to start this next chapter of my life, but scared to leave my family and my home. It seemed like everyone wanted to give me advice before I left, mostly of things I SHOULDN'T do. So I've decided to leave you with some advice of my own, things I think you SHOULD DO during these next four years of your life.
FIND A CHURCH (or a youth group or campus ministry group to join). You're going to get to college and believe it or not you're going to miss the faith base you had at Houston Christian. Find a group where you can continue to grow in your faith.

GO TO CLASS. Mom's not going to be there to drag you out of bed and make sure you get to school on time, and it's so tempting to skip. Go to class, you'll end up making lots of friends, and just being there is the easiest way to get good grades.

MAKE LOTS OF FRIENDS. The people I met in college have become my closest friends. You'll experience so many things with these people so have fun, and value them. These will be the friends you'll have for the rest of your life.

GO ON DATES. You're going to meet a ton of new girls, go on dates. Find out the qualities that you do and don't like, and don't ever feel like you have to settle. The right person will come along. Remember to be kind though, because these girls probably have a brother (or three) just like me.

DON'T BE AFRAID TO CALL HOME. Know that you can always call us, even if it's 2 in the afternoon or 2 in the morning, we'll always be here for you. Don't forget to call mom once in a while too, it'll make her day.

EXPLORE WHAT YOU LOVE. You literally have a world of opportunities ahead of you. Find out what you love, and do just that. As long as you are doing what makes you happy, you're always going to find a way to be successful.

TRAVEL. Some of the most fun I had in college was when we decided to take last minute road trips. Take the opportunity to explore new places!

And the only DON'T on my list? Don't be afraid to be yourself, because you are amazing.
Bud, I am so proud of you, and amazed at the loving, courageous, and fun loving man you've become. Have fun starting this next chapter, I know they're going to be some of the best years of your life.
xoxo BRI

Ask The Expert

Picture this recently started seeing someone new, you've been on a few dates and things seem to be going pretty well. Then, you go out for a night on the town and being the hot mess of an individual that you are, you end up drinking one too many. You show the "not so perfect" side of yourself a little too soon, and you're afraid that you've scared this new guy away.
So what do you do? You spend the entire next day replaying the night in your head, asking all your girlfriends for their advice and for them to help you figure out your next move. That's the problem though, they're girls, and most of the time their advice is going to be exactly what you want to hear.
Don't you wish in times like these that you had a guys opinion? Honest feedback straight from a dude, from someone who's been there and has a pretty good idea of what this other guy is thinking?
Well, fret no more, because I've decided to bring in an expert! He's one of my best friends, and has always given me solid advice and insight, direct from the eyes of the opposite sex. He's charming, witty, and smooth with the ladies, plus he has a fantastic sense of fashion, and beautiful hair.
He's decided to volunteer his services, and he's here to answer any questions that you have. He won't sugar coat it or tell you what you want to hear, but I promise we'll all be better for it. Meet the resident expert (R.E.)...
Q: I drank a little bit too much and said some things I regret. I think I ruined things with a new guy I've been seeing. What should I do?
R.E: What's that quote? "Sober thoughts are drunken confessions"? Anyway, No. 1- get your life together. If you were so drunk you lost your mind, you need to put the Cosmo down. No. 2- Apologize like a proper lady and move on. If he accepts you'll know that he cares about you. If he doesn't, you know it wasn't meant to be. Dudes put up with a lot for the right girl, if you're right for him, it'll work out.

Q: He tells me he doesn't want a girlfriend, but he still treats me like one. Does he like me?
R.E: Actions speak louder than words.. Always judge the relationship by the actions. Words are nice fillers, but today, it's too easy to just fake it. You can't fake actions. Example: He says he doesn't want a relationship, but blows you up all day on the phone and wants sleep overs. He can deny it all he wants, but in reality, that's called a relationship. The actions prove he wants to spend time with you and wants you in his life.

xoxo BRI

My Photog Adventures

I don't know everything about blogging, nor will I ever claim to be an expert, but I have learned something in my years of following and reading other blogs. The thing I've learned is this...most successful blogs have fantastic pictures. Yes, you need to have good writing, but what really brings a blog to life for me are the pictures. The two blogs that come to mind when I think of great blogs with fantastic pictures are Jenni and Kelle.
A while back I decided that I wanted to be one of those blogs with beautiful pictures, so I made it my mission to become a self taught photog (or somewhat of one). When a Charlotte blog friend of mine, Alexa, mentioned she was selling her DSLR I jumped on the opportunity.
Spending the money on the camera was the motivation I needed to start learning. I've taken it with me almost everywhere, and thanks to working in PR I've had plenty of opportunities to practice. Here are some of my favorite shots...
I've been teaching myself through YouTube videos and online tutorials, just trying to pick up new things as I go through trial and error. So please, any and all camera and photography tips and tricks you can send my way would be greatly appreciated!
xoxo BRI

Make it Personal

I have an embarrassing confession to make. I've saved EVERY. SINGLE. CARD. I've received since high school. If you were to open the drawer in my bedside table you'd find stacks and stacks of cards. Birthday, graduation, Christmas, you name it. They're all piled up neatly, and the words inside serve as reminders of how much I'm loved on those days when I'm feeling a bit down.
I think cards are one of the most special gifts you can give to someone. It's a small token, but it's a gesture that lets someone know "Hey, I picked this just for YOU". It's personal.
Because of this, I was thrilled when Cardstore asked if I wanted to review their site, and send one of their cards to someone. After using their services not once, but twice, I have to say that I am hooked.
Their site has hundreds of cards to choose from, perfect for any occasion, and they can all be customized to fit your needs. Once you pick the card you want, the site walks you step by step through the customization process.
I've made two cards so far. One for my grandma for her birthday and one for my dad for fathers day. Both cards turned out beautifully.
Fun fact: My grandma actually goes by "Honey" because when she had grandkids she said she was too young to be called grandma.
After your card is ready to go, you have two options. They will send you the card to deliver/mail yourself, OR they will stamp and mail it for you.
Honestly, the chances of me never making it to the post office to mail the card are pretty high. I have family that lives all over the country so the fact that I don't have to worry about sending it myself is my favorite part!
Here's my dad with his father's day gift, a Bobby Flay book, and a personalized card from Cardstore. My mom said he opened it up and got teary eyed (and I'm pretty sure it's not because of the book).  
Tip: you can sit down and make cards for the whole year at one time and schedule the delivery. I can't tell you how many times I've forgotten about special days and regretfully the only thing my loved ones got was a phone call from me. Now I'll never miss a special day again.
Thank you Cardstore, you've made a customer for life!
xoxo BRI
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