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5 Reasons I’ll Be Shopping More at Nordstrom

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I’ve decided and now I’m going to tell you exactly why. Here are my 5 reasons I’ll be shopping more at Nordstrom. Firstly, no, not a sponsored post.
5 Reasons I'll Be Shopping More at Nordstrom
When I was younger we never went to Nordstrom. I completely avoided it at the mall. I wasn’t totally broke, but I was under the impression you hate to have a lot to go there. It was one of those places were 20 sale associates were in your face begging for commission. At least that was my impression of it. I absolutely hate when you’re browsing and sales people get all pushy and in your face. When someone walks up to me in a store, I just always walked out.

Then one day I heard about HauteLook from my friend Patty. This was the prefect way to shop. Great deals, great brands, limited quantities, so you have that level of urgency. Love it or hate, you have to make your decision quickly. If not, you’ll lose the good deal to someone who snags it up faster. The prefect about of shopping and sport.

It was on one of my shopping “games” where I found the most beautiful long maxi dress. It was such a great deal I had to buy it. But I’m so short. I knew I would have to alter it and finding a place in Miami where they speak decent English and are affordable is near impossible. I have a closet full of clothing I still can’t use because alterations were so expensive it wasn’t worth it. Sometimes alterations can be nearly $100. For a dress you already paid $100 for, I just cannot justify that.

So with my HauteLook dresses (I decided to get a few), I walked into a Nordstrom. After some confusion over if HauteLook was indeed a Nordstrom company, it was told to me that all alterations were half off and if you spend over $100 on alterations they give you a $100 discount. Not sure all the details and yes I had to get a Nordstrom card, but 4 dresses later I only paid $12.

This leads me to reason number one:

Alterations

All Alterations are half off if you buy from a Nordstrom company. If they mess up the alterations they give you your money back or a new version of the item. Yes! This is huge. Not all bodies are created equal. We are different busts, heights, everything. You can’t limit us to the few sizes that are available. Let it be known that it is better to wear a cheaper garment that fits perfectly than the most fanciest and expensive one with a bad fit. In Nordstrom when trying something on, if you know you want it and need it altered, just ask the salesperson and the seamstress will come right to you.

Different Options For Your Budget

If you don’t have the budget for their main Nordstrom stores, you can always get the same brands for less online at HauteLook. If you need something even more budget friendly, head over to Nordstrom Rack. It’s their most affordable option and you can still use a regular Nordstrom store for your alterations.

Great Advice On Clothing and Life

I’ve had a lot of sales people try and get me to buy ugly expensive items before. Thankfully, this hasn’t happened to me at Nordstrom. I’ve been lucky and found some helpful and attentive people. For someone who hates the dreaded, “May I help you?” question, they really turned me around. They listened and sticked to my budget. My friend and I recently got some great life advice too. Our fabulous saleswoman told my friend to embrace her curves and those that put her down are just jealous. She went on to say that you can spend all your life trying to make other people happy and like you. You’ll never be happy that way. The only way to be happy is to accept yourself and if you love it, flaunt it. We’ll come back for the clothing and stay for the life lessons.

Amazing Service

These salespeople are great. When my daughter was impatient they would all come around and try to keep her happy. More than one person offered her a balloon. She enjoyed herself just as much as we did. I already mentioned they come right to the fitting room for alterations. They also walk you to other departments and introduce you to the sale’s people in that department. They all seem extremely well-trained. Everyone is on the same page with how things are done and you have to admire a smooth transaction.

Lots of Discounts

I’m not a fan of getting store cards, but because of the alterations and the discount I got one. I was shocked when I read some cards offer zero foreign transaction fees. Where was this card on my last vacation? The sale’s person went on an on about yearly discounts, points systems, and so much more. I seriously have no idea how it all works. All I do know is when I went back for yet another dress I had $20 off already earned. Looks like it wasn’t as expensive as I thought! I’m going to have to eventually sit myself down and figure out how all the discounts work. The once a year one sounded amazing. She said people usually wait until before the holidays to use that benefit. I’m excited!

DADELAND MALL FOOD COURT TO BE RENOVATED

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Dadeland mall food court to be renovated into a “dining pavilion”. At first, I was very exited for the renovations. It has become quite the eyesore over the years. It was always an unpleasant experience to be in Dadeland’s food court. Then I saw what they were planning and I immediately noticed some problems.

FINAL Rendering - Dining Pavilion
Here’s the info I received:

Dadeland Mall will undergo a renovation to enhance the current Food Court, creating a dining and shopping experience focused on comfort and convenience. Designed with shoppers’ feedback in mind, this enhancement project, which began in early June, will transition the current space into a sleek Dining Pavilion with contemporary accents inspired by modern Miami architecture.

A total of 19,298 square-feet of common area space will be fully renovated. Reminiscent of a modern food gallery, the Dining Pavilion will feature a series of distinct dining spaces and rooms, tastefully decorated in a neutral palette of white-on-white. Wood tones and a natural furnishings palette will add a warm richness and sense of drama to the space, reflecting the qualities of Miami’s great nightlife scene.
The Dining Pavilion will also feature additional enhancements including new vertical louvers, light fixtures on the existing rotunda, a skylight in the space, column surrounds, and new furnishings dynamically organized around a linear floor pattern, making it a posh hangout for day or night.

Guests will find fully-renovated restrooms with new plumbing and fixtures to create a modern, upscale space, complete with polished tile walls, stainless steel partitions and elegant white quartz-trough sinks and countertops. Strong Wi-Fi service and banquet tables with built in charging station will provide excellent work spaces for visitors. Additionally, a new family restroom, which will offer a separate nursing station, will be located next to Johnny Rockets, with a planned completion in early 2016.

All tenants will remain open during the renovation, and Dadeland Mall will continue to operate during regular business hours. The space is slated for completion in November, just in time for the holiday shopping season.

“The redesigned space, will create a true gathering place for our shoppers, tourists and area office employees alike,” said Dailen Rodriguez, director of marketing and business development at Dadeland Mall. “The renovation, which follows the addition of the state-of-the-art Terrace Dining Wing, is a continuation of Simon’s commitment to providing an elevated shopping and dining experience for the Miami market.”

It all sounds great, but further inspection still shows a huge bright skylight. The problem with Dadeland Mall is those bright skylights. We are under the hot blazing sun of Miami. It’s the only indoor mall where I have to use a sunvisor on my daughter’s stroller at certain times of the day. You see people avoiding the huge blinding sunny areas all over the mall. Skylights are fine, but they should have been tinted and not over places where people walk or have to sit. They are supposed to give light, but not blind and bother everyone.

The huge skylight over the food court has long been a problem. People hate sitting under it and fight for seats in the areas around it where they receive shade. It’s an indoor mall people go to when they want to escape the harsh Miami sun. Funny that architects keep missing that. It might look amazing at night, but it’s not a useful space during times when the sun is at it’s highest…lunch. Now this is an easy fix with good tints, but the rendering gives me no hope of that.

Since I’m mentioning what I don’t like I might as well mention the waste of space with the huge couches. I imagine them getting pretty gross with all the traffic they will take quickly. This is a packed mall with little space for people to sit and eat as is. They need to renovate the lounge areas in the rest of the mall, not take away dinning space. Perhaps smaller and more lounge chairs in those areas and more actual dinning seating in the dinning area. I wonder if the designers actually visit the mall and have seen the crowds?

In terms of the messy look of the dinning space now, I would suggest bolted down seating. Something stronger and secure. More tables that seat parties of 2 and 4. I love the few areas with the high top seating for single eaters and couples.

So I don’t know, that was my first reaction. I’m glad for the renovation, but wish they took the right advice from the right people when coming up with the design. I’ll probably stick to the more expensive restaurants on the new upper level. I really do love that area.

So get to the comments and let me know what your thoughts are on the space. Do you think it will work or would you have done something differently?
NORDSTROM.com

What Sponsors Need to Know Before Contacting Bloggers

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Whether you’re trying to promote an event or product, you NEED to get in good with bloggers. Here’s what sponsors need to know before contacting bloggers. These tips will help you get in good with beginning to powerhouse bloggers alike.
What Sponsors Need to Know Before Contacting Bloggers

Make sure their blog relates to what you are looking for

Nothing is more annoying and a waste of your time and their time then to randomly message EVERY SINGLE BLOGGER. Address the blogger by name, show you did your due diligence and looked through their website. You want to see what kind of promos they have already done and see if they have information anywhere on what they WILL DO.

You definitely don’t want to message a conservative blogger to promote a burlesque event or your lingerie line. If you want to promote a local event, you don’t want to contact a blogger in another city or country. Use common sense when it comes to your event and product to find a blogger that’s the right fit.

It may be a blogger with a smaller audience, but one that is more refined to a specific style and/or location.

Be ready to explain immediately what’s in your proposal for THEM

I can’t tell you how many emails I receive that are all DO THIS FOR ME. Why? What exactly are you offering? It’s similar to that line when I was just doing photography and people would say, “It would be a great opportunity for your portfolio”. No one really cares as a blogger, who you’ve collaborated with before. What’s more important is your audience and engagement. You don’t need a single sponsor or collaboration to grow your audience. So know before you message a blogger, that they don’t need you, you need them. Work out some sort of benefit for them that will help them and their blog. Will you give them a shout out on your business social media? Free samples? Paid advertisements? Paid promo post? Be specific and make sure it’s a real benefit. This is a real person you are talking to and they can tell a fake benefit a mile away.

We can’t review what we haven’t tried

Know that most bloggers will only accept products to review when you offer them FREE samples of it. They are not going to put their reputation on the line to promote a product they have never tried. It’s not good business and it can ruin their blog. Bloggers are some of the best advertisements for your brand nowadays. No one trusts ads. Who they DO trust is their favorite bloggers. Don’t undervalue that trust. Free samples, donated products for a contest, and a paid post is your best way to go. It’s some of the cheapest advertising available.

The Happier The Blogger Is To Work With You The Better Your Results

It’s not secret the more you spend and offer a blogger the more they will promote you back. If they are earnestly excited to work with you because THEY KNOW YOU VALUE THEM ENOUGH TO PROPERLY COMPENSATE, the more persuasive they will be to their audience about how wonderful your products and business are. You could have the best product, but if you are cheap and show you don’t value a blogger they will give a lack luster mention at best. Treat them in the way you would treat your best customer. You need to win them over just like you do them. They ultimately ARE your potential customers.

Case in point: I was in a very long standing lucrative relationship with a makeup brand. Even after it ended, I continued to have such a good feeling about them and their products that I honestly became a fan for life. I recommended them and continue to do so without compensation. They left such a good impression that their return on investment as far exceeded their expectations. I continue to purchase their products and sing their praises.

Disclaimer: If your product is cheaply and poorly made or just not that great. Don’t expect much praise. Rule one is have something people want. That’s a problem no promotions can fix. I have, on occasion, had to return payments after testing products because they were so bad I did not want to be associated with them. Money is great, but being true to the people who trust you, your audience, is the most important.

 

Onli Sparkling Waters and Free People Boho Look

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Today’s look is a darker Boho one featuring a Free People dress. I was able to sample some awesome onli sparkling waters too. Everyone who knows me knows my obsession with non GMOs, organic foods, and eating healthy. I’m super happy that these are GMO Free, BPA Free, Kosher, and Gluten Free!
onli beverages sparkling flavored watersSo many fun flavors you’ll have a hard time choosing one. It’s a local West Palm Beach company and for some flavors they use local ingredients. For example their Grapefruit Pomela & Peach sparkling water uses squeezed fresh Florida local grapefruit juice. All their flavors are unique and addictive. I actually bought them for many parties from Whole Foods since I like to offer my guests fancy non-alcoholic options. Their newest flavors also include Hibiscus Pomegranate Aroma, Green Tea Lemongrass Mango, and Espresso Swiss Hazelnut. Sounds super yummy, huh? I’m excited that they taste just as good as they sound. You can check out all their flavors Onli Beverages. Be sure to look for them at Whole Foods.

Free People Boho Look Miami BloggerFree People Boho Lookonli beverages sparkling flavored watersonli beverages Free People boho lookonli beverages and Free People Boho Look
onli beverages and Free People Boho Look Miami is a hot city and now that I have a new fabulous hammock I’m enjoying the outdoors more! Keep cool everyone!

Hammock | Dress – Xanadu Halter Midi Dress | Jami Spike Earrings As PicturedOption B | Onli Beverages

What Miami Moms Really Need on Their Baby Registry

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This post has been a long time coming. Now that baby girl is about 2 and a half years old I can say with certainty I would have put way different stuff on my baby registry. So here’s what I think Miami moms really need on their baby registry.
What Miami Moms Really Need on Their Baby Registry

Stuff Miami Moms Can Leave Off Their Baby Registry

Blankets – It’s too hot here! If anything get a very thin one
Long sleeved anything – It’s too hot here!!! (you might need one all year)
Jackets – It’s too hot here!!! (you might need one all year)
Those warm onesies that cover their entire hands and feet – It’s too hot here!!!
Baby hand covers – I know you are worried baby will scratch their eyes and face, but that’s supposed to happen!!! It heals and that’s how they learn not to do that. My doctor threw them in the trash, so don’t bother with them no matter what the older generation says. Not needed. Yes baby ended up scratching herself and her eye, but it healed and she did learn not to do that. One less thing to not worry about! Yay!
Black Carseats – Are you crazy?! It’s too hot here!!!!! I made this mistake, boy did I feel awful.
Black Strollers – Even more insane than black carseats. Why do they even sell these in FL?!?!? So crazy insanely hot baby was miserable 99% of the time. Sweating to death! I bought this expensive, but black, stroller thinking it would be a nice neutral color and wouldn’t show stains. At the expense of baby’s comfort. I had to give it away. Do not make that mistake just get a light colored stroller. With a HUGE freaking epic sun visor. We NEED that here!
Humidifiers – That’s for dry weather moms. Like up north when it’s snowing and they have the heaters on taking all the moisture out of their homes. We do not have that problem here. Plenty of moisture is already in your home and adding more will cause mold. A much more realistic (and dangerous) problem for us in Miami. If we need to make a room a little more humid, we can simply and safely crack open a window. More info.
Baby Tub – Never used it, waste of money. Cradle them in your arms in a tub with them or wash them bit by bit in the sink. In some countries they get a bucket and a hose and go outside. I can’t believe I almost got suckered into that jetted baby spa tub lol!

Baby Registry Items for Miami Moms

Feeding

Bottles: they are all BPA free now (yay!). Do NOT attempt to get glass or stainless steel style bottles. Boy I made that mistake. You swear you’re going to be careful with the glass ones. You think you are somehow more civilized than other moms and your baby will be calmer and different…HA!!! Honey, no. You are human, baby is a human infant. You WILL be sleep deprived and baby will get cranky. Sooner or later no matter what fancy safety contraption you put that glass bottle in, it will break and the results will be humbling. Same with the stainless steel. You cannot see how much baby is drinking and that’s huge! You need to simmer down and get the basic clear plastic BPA free bottles. You’re still a good mom. It will be just fine.

Bottle Nipples: Bottle nipples are the most important part of the bottle to babies. The first nipple they become comfortable with is what the will want FOREVER. We had 20 different bottle types and since we went with formula in the hospital and they use those pre-made little formula bottles we needed to get one near identical to those nipples and for us it was Dr. Brown’s bottles. Loved them.

Breastfeeding Supplies: If you exclusively breastfeeding you should be able to get a free breast pump now with your insurance so check with it and fight for it because if your health insurance is new (after the affordable care act) they have to give it to you. You’ll probably want bottles that are closer to a natural nipple shape in this case. My friend had luck with the Tommee Tippee brand. When breastfeeding you’ll also need nipple cream, a good nursing bra, and storage bags. Optional: nipple cream, nipple shields

Bottle Dryer: To dry your bottles get a standard bottle dryer. These are great and you need one.

Bibs: You’ll also need some bibs because babies like to spit up and eventually need to eat baby food which is messy. The bibs I like have button closure, easy to wash in the sink, and dry quick for reuse. Some good ones: here, here, and here. Button closure is preferred, but above all you want to rise and dry them for multiple uses throughout the day. Washing bibs means you need like 500 of them! It’s not smart and there is no need to suffer. Plenty of laundry to do without adding that to the mix. The ones that are entirely plastic will save yourself the most grief.

Utensils: At the beginning use something like these that are very tiny. Then get around 3 spoons and 3 forks. The best kind have plastic handles with metal like these.

Bowls: I started off with lots of fancy bowls and feeding trays. I quickly learned you want something small and that’s not easy to tip over at first. Do not judge me, but the best I found was a non slip cat dish! LoL!!! It had rubber on the bottom witch kept it in place for longer than the ones made for a baby. Something like this, but if that’s too much for you try this one. I know I’m horrible, but it really did work. When baby is a bit more civilized just go for some cheaper bowls/containers with lids and get a lot. Lids are great to save left overs that baby didn’t touch. Yay to no waste!

High Chair: You need this one. Get one that has a good harness to keep baby in it and safe. Eventually they try to escape and if baby figures out how to get out of the pack and play too soon this may be the only place you can keep them to be safe while you cook! So make sure the seat is strong and keeps them locked in. Nothing to heavy, so you can move it around to whatever room you are in. Kitchen to cook, etc. Look for something easy to wipe down with not a lot of nooks and crannies. It will get nasty and can be a pain to constantly clean. I went with a spacesaver one that attaches to any regular chair. I love this one even though it’s a huge pain to clean, because in the moments baby falls asleep while eating it reclines!

Baby Furniture

I’m going to just give you the essentials here.

Crib: Now your options are the cheap ones, the convertible ones that last forever, or getting multiple items like a bassinet + crib + whatever. I say just get a cheap crib and buy a nice big kid bed when the time comes. The pretty bassinet tiny crib is useless very quickly. Makes a great photo, but not much else. Co-sleeping contraptions are useless. The take up too much space and if you’re going to co-sleep just do it. Buy the mattress at least 4 months before your due date and open it up and air it out to release as much of the toxic flame retardant chemicals that are MANDATORY for all mattresses. They are toxic and a suspect in sudden infant death syndrome. Until the laws change do this much needed step. In fact formica furniture also has toxic fumes, if you are not buying all wood furniture buy everything a few months ahead of time to air it out and open windows while you’re home to let it escape.

Pack and Play: AKA play pen. Whatever you call it, you NEED it. Take it with you everywhere because you cannot put baby to sleep easily and safely without one. It’s also great when baby gets bigger and you need to go to the bathroom! Or if you want to cook and open an oven. There are so many times you need to put baby some place safe. These are a real need.

Changing Table: Yes this is important. More important than a dresser! Get a changing table. You never know if you end up with a c-section and you cannot bend down at ALL. I had one on the pack and play but it was still too low and I ended up having to buy one I didn’t make space for and had to cram it in the room. Buy one!!!!

Baby Sized Chair: Eventually baby will get big enough to sit and watch tv. Make baby more comfortable with a cute comfy baby sized chair. I bought one for like $50 or $60 and regretted it. It didn’t have a slipcover I could remove and wash. Just drinking water spilling on it made the chair look gross. It is worth it to get the ones from Pottery Barn or wherever that have the removable slipcovers. I may have to buy another one at this point.

Baby Clothes

Leave off any and all warm clothing from your registry! They usually give you swaddle blankets at the hospital and you need them for only a short time. Like I said before it’s hot here and babies like it cooler than it normally is in Miami at night. Unlike the rest of the country our nights are pretty warm. Baby will be fine in a just a normal onesie. So here’s what you’ll need…
Warm weather clothes: Think shorts, short sleeves, cotton, etc.
Snap buttons not real buttons: Who the heck put real buttons on baby clothes? I hate when behind the neck there is that one real button and you have to fight for hours to try and get it on. There is a special place in hell for companies that put real buttons on baby clothes. Go with snap buttons, trust me.
No polyester: Should go without saying but that’s too hot for Miami.

My top place to avoid if I don’t want to go broke on baby clothes… Janie and Jack. (Clothes so cute you’ll wish they were in your size!)
My other fave places to buy baby clothes: Lucky Brand used to have the BEST, but they just stopped (I bought bags full when they were clearing it out). Zara is expensive, but you can find cute clothes that look less cartoonish and decent materials. I like some of the stuff at Baby’s R Us like their FAO Schwarz. I also hit up TJMax and Marshall’s for name brands at great prices.

Baby Gear

Stroller: The bane of your existence for the next few years is the stroller. This is the true loss of your freedom when having a child. Not being able to maneuver ANYWHERE easily. Store aisles will be too narrow most of the time. People will be knocking into you. You’ll get stuck. It’s no fun, but you’ll get through it with the right stroller.

Again DO NOT GET A BLACK STROLLER. It’s freaking HOT in Miami! So you’re going to need to find a light colored one and only let your kiddos have water and food that doesn’t stain. Juice is horrible and gives them a sugar high and crash anyhow. The best color is something very light grey as it’s still neutral. If you just don’t care, get whatever light color you want and worry about selling it later or just donate it.

Be realistic with your needs for a stroller. It may be tempting to get a set with the infant carseat and stroller, but if that’s not the PERFECT stroller you’re going to regret it or be back at the store when you can’t take it anymore. I wanted to save money and ended up wasting tons more by doing that. Many people think light strollers are the best. I’ll let you in on a little secret, having a baby is going to give you killer STRONG arms! Right now you might not be able to lift 30 pounds. Eventually you’ll be able to lift 30 pound in ONE arm for HOURS at a time and not think twice about it. So when you’re struggling to lift that huge stroller now, keep that in mind. Within maybe 4 months I went from having trouble lifting groceries to holding a baby in one arm and a weeks worth of groceries in the other.

Stroller Features:

How light they are – I would rather heavy to get everything I want since you only open and close it when you arrive and leave.
How Easy it is to push and turn – one finger easy pushing is the way to go!
Storage basket – How much stuff can you store under the stroller? I mean that’s the ONE good thing about lugging a stroller around, the extra storage.
If the stroller can roll up to a restaurant and be about table height – This was important for me since we eat out a lot.
Comes in a light color fabric for the seat – It’s hot here!
Comfortable seat for baby – Padding? Adjustable?
Harness – Is it easy for a baby or toddler to escape?! Can the harness be tightened so that baby isn’t half way out of the stroller able to smack strangers? For that matter does the seat not go forward allowing baby to nearly jump out?
Sun Visor – Is it a strong one that really blocks the sun? Does it cover all or most of baby head to toe? Would baby not have any sunburnt skin after a hot day in Disney World?
How much space it takes up in your trunk – Not a big deal to me if I get what I want otherwise.
How easy it is to travel with – I say get a cheap umbrella stroller for that.

Stroller Recommendations:
Bugaboo Bee3 Stroller – a grey seat with different options for the sun shade color. From the options I saw the lightest colored ones were: Soft Pink and Yellow, and Off White. They come in other color combos, but again I’m looking at light seat colors for baby. These are also easy to move and have lots of under storage. Not a small or very light stroller, but you can’t have it all and this gives the most function.

Stokke Strollers – I love these!!! Lots of options in colors and features. Some allow for carseats and bassinets that lay baby flat for infants. The colors and function of these are why after trying many strollers I was finally happy with one of these…FINALLY! Since I no longer needed a carseat attachment (that phase goes by very quickly so don’t make it a selling point) I went with this simple model the Stokke Scoot.
The Stokke Crusi model is great too. This Crusi comes with a bassinet. I recommended checking these out and really deciding if you want to have more than one kids when purchasing. One of the models allows for two children and it’s a wonderful smooth ride.

I really wanted a Stokke because I like to eat out a lot and not every place has high chairs with working or strong straps. Baby easily can stand up and climb out! It was becoming a nightmare. I saw a women pull up her table-height Stokke and the kid was locked in secure for restaurant eating with family! Even the lower end Scoot I bought is about average table height and we have been able to do this. It’s an amazing feeling and one less thing to worry about. Being short it’s a little harder since I don’t have the same view I did with a shorter stroller. However, baby being up higher has so many benefits I feel it’s totally worth it. The ride is a dream with one finger pushing and tons of lower storage for long shopping trips. I went with the light pink Scoot and it cleans easy with a soap and water sponge looking fabulous. I regret my first stroller choice. It was the very popular Britax B-Agile and was light, but that’s about it. It had an uncomfortable back, it was black and hot, hard to push, and not as much storage. If I could do it all over again knowing what I know now I would have got the Stokke Scoot the the same Light Pink I have now. I would also not worry about the stroller attaching a carseat. So let me get more into…

Carseat: Try to get a light color one (again it’s HOT here) but at least get those sun shields for the back passenger windows that stick on the glass. I’m big into safety so since rear-facing for AS LONG AS POSSIBLE has a huge benefit I’m doing it! I look at max weight and height for rear-facing and safety stats when choosing a carseat. I went with the Britax Marathon ClickTight Convertible Car Seat, in Cowmooflage. It’s rear-facing from birth (5 lbs. to 40 lbs.) and forward facing for kids up to 65 lbs. It’s so much better the Britax carseat that came as a set with my first stroller. It’s just made better and baby girl is so much more comfortable. I know what you’re thinking….the Cowmooflage (lol) color is black…yeah but it’s cute and I have epic tints on my car plus the sun shields. That being said my last car has crappy light tints and the sun would come directly on baby’s face and it was horrible. Moral of the story…never buy a car without making them add dark as legally allowed tints! You just mention it before you lease or purchase the car to seal the deal and they do it without paying extra. It’s a cheap service if you need to pay for it yourself just do it.

Diaper Bag: I made the huge mistake of buying a large (black) Coach diaper bag. It was very nice leather and fancy, but I didn’t need all that space. Now I just buy a medium sized cross body leather or easy to clean bag and put 2 diapers, 1 emergency outfit, and the portable wipes container. When I need to bring a bottle I use this small insulated cooler (free from Similac) and attach it to the stroller. I used to also keep a small changing page in whatever purse I used too, but stopped to save space. Now I just use a disinfecting wipe before putting baby down. It’s not super comfortable, but after a while you become ninja fast at this diaper changing business and you learn where all the nice bathrooms are, or just don’t care anymore.

Portable High Chair: We went with the Inglesina Fast Table Chair. Now you can only use it when the restaurant table is strong and won’t tip over and not super thick that the chair won’t fit. However, when you can use it it’s the best. Baby’s feet hang and there is nothing to step on to push up and climb out! Plus it has a harness, Yay! Active toddlers can be a hand full, but this makes life a little easier and baby is happy they are the same level as everyone else at the table.

OK so I didn’t tell you EVERYTHING you’ll need, but I told you the big important stuff I wish someone had told me about. Things I never thought about until my money was wasted. I hope my advice or even a small part of it was helpful or at least made you think about what you really need differently.

From Curly Black Hair to Blonde Hair: Using Olaplex

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How I went from Naturally Curly Black Hair to Blonde Hair

Yes I naturally have curly black hair. It’s one of the hardest hair types to bleach. Not just because of the color, but because of the texture. Curly hair means your hair is naturally drier. Beaching my hair type used to mean going a shade lighter at a time and having to deal with straw broken hair at the end. It would just look damaged and snap off if not completely turn to mushy goo and need to be shaved off altogether.
From Black to Blonde Hair Olaplex Review
Here is me before with my dark brown/black hair. Just remember my hair is blow-dried and curled.
800avatarStill I decided to get some ombre done from Hair By Roxy.
CHERYL HOUNDSTOOTH CAPE
Then I added some Balayage but it wasn’t quite enough for me, so I went back to Hair By Roxy.

Balayage HairByRoxy

Balayage HairByRoxy

After that I heard about something called Olaplex.

What is Olaplex?

Some chemistry mumbojumbo that adds up to a new molecule that links broken bonds in hair back together again. This molecule, when added into any haircolor services, will prevent breakage. They call it hair insurance. And it’s probably the reason why celebrities like Kim Kardashian can afford to bleach their hair to oblivion with little care.

So I found a salon via Instagram Hair Healers that uses the product and went in.

The service took nearly 6 hours and in the end I was still really brassy. I needed another session of bleach and was told to come back.

afterHairHealers

After by Hair Healers

Only I found yet another hairstylist also via Instagram xLouis and who did a fabulous job on my sister. She’s a natural blonde who enjoys dying her hair dark and just decided to go back to blonde.
This was the final product…
HairByLouis

Hair by Louis

I finally feel I got the exact color I wanted. Louis darkened the roots a bit and bleached it more over all. Left side is without flash and right side is with flash. It looks more like a natural color. Not on me, of course, but someone else… lol. The very tips since they were lightened the most and I use the purple shampoo look a bit silvery. Which I find pretty cool and on trend.

Oh and did Olaplex work? Well let’s just say that my hair isn’t perfect, but it never was. I blow dry and flat iron all the time. However, it isn’t breaking off. It’s soft. And I’m a happy camper.

So yes, a lot more people will be going blonde now. Why? The same reason my blonde haired sister likes to darken her hair. Women like change and to spice it up. Now that us curly dark haired girls can do it with little to no damage, we’re going to get a little crazy.

Next post I’ll be giving all the details on how to take care of bleached blonde naturally curly hair. If you see me out and about feel free to ask to touch it.

Get to the comments and let me know what you think of my hair journey! Feel free to share yours and any of your hair tips too!

How to Grow Roses in Miami – My Miami Rose Garden

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Wait for your swoons, this one is going to hit you in your sweet spot.  Today I’m talking about How to grow roses in Miami and showing off my Miami Rose Garden.  Not only that, but I’ll also talk about growing the fabulous David Austin Roses in Miami.  Let me just say…YES YOU CAN!
How to Grow Roses in Miami - My Miami Rose Garden | David Austin Garden Roses

First I want to show off my favorite roses from Home Depot.  These are called Chicago Peach and they are huge and vibrant show stoppers.  If you follow me on Instagram (PersianKittyKat) I’ve posted photos of these beauties by my hand and they are so much bigger than my hands!  These make great cut roses.

How to Grow Roses in Miami - My Miami Rose Garden How to Grow Roses in Miami - My Miami Rose Garden How to Grow Roses in Miami - My Miami Rose Garden How to Grow Roses in Miami - My Miami Rose Garden How to Grow Roses in Miami - My Miami Rose Garden How to Grow Roses in Miami - My Miami Rose Garden How to Grow Roses in Miami - My Miami Rose GardenSee what I mean?  Don’t they look fabulous on my table?

How to Grow Roses in Miami - My Miami Rose GardenThen I have these cute little roses.  They grow with NO PROBLEMS in Miami.  I hardly pay much attention to them and they are always packed with flowers.  Yay!

How to Grow Roses in Miami - My Miami Rose GardenHere is an old rose I’ve had since I was a kid, also from Home Depot.  No idea what it’s called, but it’s been alive both in ground or in a pot for most of my life with little attention.  It was attacked for a while, but nothing a little trimming couldn’t fix.

How to Grow Roses in Miami - My Miami Rose GardenHow to Grow Roses in Miami - My Miami Rose Garden | David Austin Garden Roses

And another

How to Grow Roses in Miami - My Miami Rose Garden

David Austin Roses – Growing Garden Roses in Miami

I’ve got a few more roses from Home Depot and some from my favorite local plan nursery.  But if you’re a rose lover, like myself, you want to see the David Austin Roses!  These beautiful petal packed garden roses are the stuff of dreams and fairytales.  Every bride wanting roses truly would rather garden roses to traditional roses.  As they should, they are AWESOME.  These magical creatures have made it to the United States and are available to order online.

Here are some pictures to swoon your eyes out.  Then I’ll tell you everything you need to know about growing these babies in your Miami garden.

How to Grow Roses in Miami - My Miami Rose Garden How to Grow Roses in Miami - My Miami Rose GardenHow to Grow Roses in Miami - My Miami Rose Garden How to Grow Roses in Miami - My Miami Rose Garden How to Grow Roses in Miami - My Miami Rose Garden How to Grow Roses in Miami - My Miami Rose Garden How to Grow Roses in Miami - My Miami Rose Garden

So you probably noticed how awesome the petals are compared to regular roses.  Garden roses come in more styles and most have much higher petal counts than traditional roses.  I love the cupped shaped garden roses like the Juliet variety.  Now if you venture back in my Instagram feed I have the names of these roses.  But new varieties are constantly being created, so just go to the David Austin Roses website and request a cataloge and see what’s best for your area.

Tips for Growing David Austin Garden Roses or any Roses in Miami

When you order then from the website I highly suggest getting their brand of rose food and if nothing else you MUST get their Mycorrhizal Fungi.

What the heck is Mycorrhizal Fungi, you ask?  It’s black magic that helps your roses deal with the stress of travel and being transplanted.  It helps them grow better and stronger roots, makes them more resistant to stress, and check out this link here for more details.   Just take my word for it, huge difference and for the money you are throwing into these beauties you want to give them every chance in the world of success.

Your roses will be bare rooted when they are shipped to you in a moist large plastic bag.  IMMEDIATELY get some huge plastic bins, like storage bins from Walmart or something.  Pure cool water into them and make sure you cover the entire roots with water.  Let them sit over night max and plant asap!  You don’t want to let them die.  Plant them right away or they will!  Track your shipment and make sure you’ll be home to take care of them.

Use lots of manure and a little bit of garden soil.  Mix that with the rose food.  Use the Mycorrhizal Fungi, by wetting the roots and stick it to them.  Make holes twice as wide and deep as the roots and 18 inches or so apart from each other.

Water them immediately after planting, a LOT for the first few weeks, in growing seasons, and when they look sad (even slightly droopy).  Mulch a lot, keeping at least 2 inches.

After a while you’ll notice happy leaves sprouting!!!  Like below.

How to Grow Roses in Miami - My Miami Rose Garden | David Austin Garden RosesThe site will only ship during the best growing season for your area, so trust them on that.  I do warn you not to order before your growing season, as they can forget to ship your order or whatever.  It’s a small company, so order when you need to plant them.

Now let’s talk about after the season is over and your roses start to look crappy.  Miami actually is so hot roses will go into a type of dormancy in the very hot summer months.  Less leaves and flowers.  Keep that in mind.  We don’t have a winter, but we do have times of the year your plants will not look as nice.  That’s totally OK!

Just keep them watered and when the temperature becomes favorable again, they will come back.

As far as keeping them healthy, I eat a lot of bananas.  Roses love potassium and I give them the peels of the bananas (inside faced DOWN).  Move the mulch over a bit, put them inside of the peel faced down in the dirt, then recover with mulch.  If the baby throws her banana on the floor I’ll also bury it in the dirt by the roses.

I sprinkle Organic Bone Meal around my roses every month or so.  Keep up with rose food depending on what your package says!  If you don’t go with the David Austin one, this is an Organic Rose Food I also use with much success.

Avoiding mold and black spots in Miami, is HARD!  Rainy seasons will drive you mad.  All you can do is your best and what I do is NEVER water the leaves.  Nope!  I have the little button pressed on my hose to keep it on, while on full mode, and sit it right to the ground with the least amount of splashing.  I let it saturate the ground underneath each rose one-by-one.  The button keeps it on, so I can walk away.  I count up to 60 seconds in my head for newly planted roses and up to 45 seconds for a regular day in growing season.  Obviously not so much if at all during rainy days and rainy season.

I only use poison on my non-David Austin Roses when they have an invasion of bugs.  And I only use organic non toxic like THIS or THIS.  If you see some spiders around leave them to get the bugs for you.  The other option is to manually rub the bugs off with a moist sponge gently.  Do this early so the leaves has time to dry.  For other plants I may put the hose on full blast and blast off the bugs section by section, but not a good idea for a rose.

How to Trim your Roses

Trimming your roses is VERY important!!!  It’s the secret to beautiful roses that come back year after year.  First, I want you to remember what your roses looked like when they came to you bare root.  This is a totally appropriate amount of trimming to do at the end of summer, just before growing season in Miami starts.

Other than the big yearly trimming, trim constantly after blooms die.  this is called dead-heading.  You want to trim down to the healthiest set of 5 leaves or more on the steam.  More if it just looks bad for a little ways down.  When leaves begin to look funny or smaller, TRIM. If all else fails, trim.

I was scared to trim so much, but once my roses started to look ugly I finally got the nerve to do it and boy they came back with nice shiny big leaves again!  So you can do this.  You are not looking for a huge plant, just a happy and healthy one.

Even more details on trimming and pruning your roses may be found HERE.

So get to the comments and let me know what you think about my Rose gardening tips!  Do you have any tips for getting beautiful roses?  Share with us in the comments!!!  If you have a link to your rose garden lemme see that too 😉

How to Organize Your Jewelry

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When new friends see my bedroom dresser they always comment on how organized my jewelry looks. Today I’m going to share with you how I organize my jewelry and how to organize your jewelry!
How to Organize Your Jewelry
I got the idea to organize my costume and cheaper jewelry when I realized exactly how much of it I had stuffed in random drawers. I never used it. Out of sight, out of mind! While expensive pieces need to be kept hidden, your cheaper pieces should be out where you can see and use it! I had so much stuff that the act of organizing it alone helped me to realize I needed to get rid of most of it. I just never used it, didn’t fit right, nothing matched it, uncomfortable, etc. I just put my most used pieces out and the rest could be put in a jewelry box next to my jewelry stands.
organize braceletsSome great displays for bracelets are HERE, HERE, and HERE!
Organize earringsCheck out these earring organizers HERE, HERE, and HERE.
Organize NecklacesMy favorite necklace displays are HERE, HERE, and HERE.
organize rings For a lot of rings I would recommend this fancy ring organizer box! Other options for ring holders are HERE, HERE, and HERE.
Larger jewelry pieces like watches, brooches, etc. I place on an acrylic tray like this one.
How to Organize Your JewelryIt’s SPRING, I say start your Spring cleaning with your jewelry. It’s been a whole year since I first organized my jewelry like this and I cannot tell you enough how it’s changed everything. I actually wear it now lol! It’s not a lot of stuff, but it is no longer going to waste. My casual daily look is always nicer with a little bit of jewelry to make me feel put together. This is coming from someone that hates putting on jewelry. I just never feel like I have time for it. Organizing it has made it such a quick and painless process.

How will you be organizing your jewelry? Share any tips you have in the comments below!

My Miami Garden – Miami Gardening Tips

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I love gardening, even in this difficult Miami climate you can still find lots of flowers and beautiful gardens. Here are some of my first Miami Gardening tips and a mini tour of some of my Miami garden.Miami Garden Tour and Miami Gardening TipsWhen you decide to start gardening in Miami, the first thing you have to deal with is BUGS. We just have tons of pests!!! It’s icky. So I try to look for plants that don’t have a lot of pests and just keep them healthy. I use high pressure on my hose to blast off bugs under leaves and on pant stems. You just have to constantly check them and keep up with it.Miami Gardening Tips | Queens Wreath | Wisteria of FloridaThis is the beginnings of my Queen’s Wreath (aka: Bluebird Vine, Sandpaper Vine, Petrea volubilis, Florida Wisteria). These tiny purple flowers create hanging grape-like clusters and such lovely abundance of purple color for a few months out of the year in Miami. The rest of the time this pretty vine can offer you lovely greenery and shade over a pergola. Miami Gardening Tips | Geisha Girl FlowersGolden Dew Drop (aka: Sky Flower, Pigeon Berry, Duranta erecta ‘Geisha Girl’) this SUPER poisonous bush is loved by bees and butterflies. Just do not let little ones eat any part of it. It’s all poisonous. I love them because they make my bees happy and my butterflies love them. Whatever they love, I love! Miami Gardening | Tips climbing wall vineCreeping Fig (aka: Climbing Fig, Creeping Ficus (Ficus pumila) are great additions to your Miami garden. I just planted a few to begin covering the back concrete wall in my backyard. It will make a nice lush green backdrop and cover up that dull wall. Miami Gardening Tips | Mayer Lemon Tree
I’m half Persian, so I LOVE lemons and limes! I learned the hard way that you don’t want to plant citrus trees directly in the ground in Miami. It takes years and year and years before they will grow and mature enough to flower and fruit. The roots need to establish first, remember that. Also they are full of pests and it’s hard to keep them healthy in the ground. I found buying a HUGE pot from Costco or Home Depot is the best way. Not plastic pots please! In less than a year I already have my first flower buds!!!! Amazing! The roots established and since the entire tree is contained when it gets pests I’m on top of it and rip off any leaves with those bugs that dig inside them and use the hose at high pressure to clean off any bugs sticking to the stem or hiding under leaves. I do this every watering or at least once a week just to keep up with the bugs. You don’t want to let it go too long because it can get out of hand fast! The one in the ground got so invested it will just need to be cut down. Never let it get to that point. I don’t use sprays or chemicals. Just some good old organic citrus fertilizer.Miami Gardening Tips | Aloe FlowersI had no idea Aloe had flowers! Not only that, but they are pretty! The bees are not the only ones that love these flowers. There is this tiny little bird that is all over them every morning and evening. The cutest little bird ever with a little yellow under it’s cute belly. Only the little guy is too fast and I haven’t been able to get a photo yet. This is right below one of our windows so we get to watch him pretty close up without him knowing. Miami Gardening Tips | Aloe Flowers and BeeAll I can say is that if you’re looking for plants and you see bees all over them, BUY THEM!!!! You owe it to the environment and our precious bees. They keep making hybrids of flowers that look fuller and better to us, but the bees will not touch them. So do not buy these horrible abominations. Buy flowers that are bee approved! Miami Gardening Tips | Succulents Succulents are great for Miami. I just bought one of these for $1 or $2 and ignored them. They flower sometimes and have tons of little babies everywhere. You cannot go wrong. They are lovely year round. Miami Gardening Tips | Ground Orchids Want something to add some color but is SUPER low maintenance? Ground orchids are your friends! They come in lots of colors and once established (did not take long at all) will pretty much always have flowers. Like always. The neighbor across the street has some that are huge and ALWAYS blooming purple flowers. So get a bunch and landscape with them. Trust me!!!

Next gardening post I’m going to be talking about roses!!! Oh and David Austin Garden Roses!!! Yes yes yesssss!!! Eventurally once it’s all in full bloom I’ll do an official garden tour.
So what’s growing in your garden? What are your favorite low maintenance flowering plants? Share any Miami gardening tips in the comments! I would love to hear them!

Classic Leather Jackets

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Every girl needs this staple in their wardrobe, the classic leather jacket! I’m looking for one for next winter since I like to take my time and buy wardrobe staples when I don’t need them immediately. Here are some of my current favorites. I personally don’t like leather jackets that are not fitted properly, look funny open, and have bits that touch my neck. I spent all last weekend trying on jacket after jacket only to always find something wrong with them. Usually the zippers didn’t work properly or if it had buttons, they were a pain. Even $1000+ jackets with bad zippers. So sad. Attention fashion designers!!! Use quality zippers!!! I saw the most perfect nude/light pink leather fitted and fabulous jacket, but the zipper would constantly get stuck. It was horrible. No one wants to spend that kind of money on something that doesn’t work correctly.
How to choose a classic leather jacket for women
Now when I look for a leather jacket I try to stay away from trends as much as possible. I am willing to spend a lot of money and even ignore designer labels just to get exactly what I want. I love putting my hands in my jacket pockets, so I’ll always prefer good pockets on a jacket. Oh those that are zippered pockets really anger me! Or those pockets that are not really meant for hands…why so mean jacket?

I had a bunch in faux leather, and while I’m all for saving the animals, some things just need to be real leather. Your couch and your jacket. But there are many great faux leather option nowadays too. They are just not for me since I don’t want to constantly replace my jacket each year. If you are totally against leather, I would prefer going with a jean jacket. A nice one will stand up to good use and still be causal chic for years to come. If you do have the money to buy a faux jacket each year and don’t mind that, it’s a great way to get to try out lots of different styles and fads for less.

Here are some of my current favorites:

OK this one is AMAZING!!! Am I right? Love the color. ::dies::

I’m not currently feeling the double breasted jacket look (or asymmetrical). I say this only because I feel it may be a fad and be over with eventually. I prefer to purchase something expensive, but that will stand the test of time. That means looks great open too! It just isn’t cold enough in FL to need to keep your jacket constantly closed. This look only works well when the jacket is closed and while that is needed and great for a long winter coat, it’s a bit much for a jacket. To me, it looks messy open and bulky in most styles closed. Of course if you still love the look, here’s one that I think is super cute.

Here’s another that’s Faux Leather

Get to the comments and let me know which one I should get, or which one you want! Ahh!!! I can’t decide!
Bloomingdale's

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