My Life's Loves
This blog post is dedicated to several things that I love! Listed in no specific order, check out the pictures and descriptions below to learn about some things that I couldn't live without!
Cupcakes and Cashmere started as a blog and later blossomed into a book. Creator/Author of Cupcakes and Cashmere, Emily Schuman, has been my FAVORITE blogger for about five years. Over the past few years, her blog has captured her engagement, her journey as an author and her enchanted wedding. What's even cooler is that her husband is also her photographer and is responsible for all of the amazing pictures on her blog! I can relate to her affinity for all things fashion, food & fun. In her blog, Emily provides everything from fashion forward style and beauty tips to delightful recipes, as well great ideas for home decor and party planning/entertaining. She also gives great advice for fellow bloggers; her words of wisdom have definitely come in handy since I've started my blog! After you read this post, go view cupcakesandcashmere.com and I'm sure it will become one of your favorite things, too! Thanks for the inspiration Emily!
My love for mani/pedis is something that I find hard to express in words; which is rare being that I'm a writer. From the moment my feet hit the warm bubbly water in the pedicure chair, I am in heaven. My body is completely relaxed and I can feel a little smile start to spread across my face as the water splashes in between my toes. Simple joys, such as having someone massage your hands and feet are a great example of why I am so in love with the beauty industry. Perhaps the most exciting part of my mani/pedis are choosing my polish colors. For years, I played by the rules and insisted on wearing the same color on my fingers and toes. Recently, I have opened up to the idea of a non matching mani/pedi. I usually opt for a neutral of some sort on my fingernails and go for a bright pop of color on my toes. No matter what may be going on in my life, it is always a good time for some pampering!
*I'm wearing Driftwood by Spa Ritual in this photo. For the BEST mani/pedi in the Plano area, stop by the Plano LifeSpa located inside of the LifeTime Fitness on Preston/Legacy. Your hands & feet will thank you!
I love food and everything about it. I'm always watching The Food Network, specifically Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa), Giada De Laurentiis (At Home with Giada), Guy Fieri (Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives) & my favorite Paula Deen (Paula's Best Dishes). HOWEVER, there is one food in particular that supersedes the others. It is my greatest weakness. It is the arch nemesis of my diet. IT is SUGAR. Specifically the 'happy ending' to a meal that we call dessert. Over the years I have heard people talk about their sweet tooth. Well ladies & gentlemen, Alexandria Lynn Barlowe has an entire mouthful of sweet teeth! If you cannot or do not remember ANYTHING else about me, please remember this one thing. I could literally eat desserts all day and think nothing of it (relax, I've never actually done it although, the thought has crossed my mind PLENTY of times). A few of my favorite desserts are cupcakes, ice cream or frozen yogurt & any dessert with lemon involved. I've tried time and time again to abstain from desserts but I just won't do it. I won't say that I can'tdo it because I know that I could--I just don't want to! I have come to terms with my pesky relationship with sweets but I have found low calorie/low fat alternatives to satisfy my sweet desire. I've also learned to implement a serious workout routine to keep myself in shape. This way, I don't feel so guilty about my many indulgences!
This is my guiltiest pleasure: "reality" television. You'll notice that I put reality in quotation marks and that is because I believe there is some loose scripting to all of these shows. I know that these shows are chucked full of inappropriate language and behavior; but I find them to be extremely entertaining. James thinks that I enjoy them because I don't have any drama in my personal life so I like watching the drama that transpires in the personal lives of the people on these shows. I think he is absolutely right. We've all heard the age old cliche "opposites attract." Perhaps I find myself drawn to these shows because my life is in stark contrast to the characters on the shows. Whether I'm watching the wild and weird antics of the Kardashians or gasping at the non-stop cat fights between the Basketball "Wives," I just can't get enough! You'll notice again, quotation marks around the word wives--why is it that majority of the women on these "wives" shows aren't even married?! Anywho, maybe one day I will grow out of my love for the ridiculousness that ensues on t.v. these days. Until then...I won't be missing an episode!
I'm not sure when my obsession with scented candles/Scentsy warmers began, but I am pretty sure that it is here to stay. I have a Scentsy and/or scented candle burning in each room of our apartment. I love to change the scents in my home based on the season. I also burn a different scent in each room; I am careful to choose scents that compliment each other. Trust me, I wouldn't bombard our noses with conflicting scents leaving us with throbbing headaches. During the fall and winter, I choose warm comforting scents such as Warm Vanilla Spice and Maple Cinnamon Butterscotch. With summer just a few days away, I've changed the scents to Lemon Chiffon and Sugared Melon Kiwi. I generally keep a neutral, vanilla based scent in our bathroom; currently that scent is Vanilla Cream Cupcake. I think the names of the scents can be just as fun to pick as the actual scents! I love stepping into our front door and immediately being greeted with a sweet fragrance. I feel this makes for a warm and inviting environment for guests as well!
The other day, James and I were cleaning our bedroom. When I started to clean off the vanity I said, "I need to stop buying jewelry." James immediately started laughing....hard. When I realized how amused he was at the thought of me not buying anymore jewelry, I started laughing too. When I was a little girl, I remember playing in my grandmother's jewelry collection. I would place each ring that she owned on my little fingers, drape myself in as many necklaces as possible and play around in her vanity mirror. In playing with her jewelry, I associated womanhood with being adorn with beautiful jewels. Now I have my own jewelry collection and my niece always finds her way to it when she comes to visit. I imagine my future daughter and granddaughters will do the same. No outfit is complete without the perfect jewelry and accessories to complement it. By constantly buying jewelry, I am simply ensuring that I always have the right accent to any outfit that I may choose to wear (or at least that's what I tell myself). What's just as important as jewelry is the way that you choose to display it. My grandmother had a classic cherry oak jewelry box complete with mini chest drawers with plenty of nooks for all of her little sparkly things. My jewelry display is still under construction but I do love my vintage necklace/earring holder and my ceramic hand (both purchased from Urban Outfitters). All this being said, I will NOT stop buying jewelry. In fact, I bought two new rings yesterday! I will stop buying jewelry when I stop being a woman.
Battling Baby Fever6/12/2013
For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted a family more than anything else. I was the girl who doodled the names of her four children in her notebook during Biology class. I remember putting a question mark after the first names that I had chosen as I had no idea who my husband would be. Now that I am happily married, my desire to start a family is stronger than ever. It is so strong that I often feel unfulfilled because I am not a mother yet. Every time I see a pregnant woman or someone holding a baby, I have to look away or I will start welling up with tears; seriously--its that bad! Perhaps my baby fever is at its highest when James and I are snuggled up on the couch. In these tender moments, I can't help but think how perfect it would be to have a little infant lying in between us as we cuddle. I've even put a pillow in my shirt and stood in the bathroom mirror to get a glimpse of what I will look like with a baby bump! Ok, so you must be thinking "why don't you just have a baby then?!" Read on, my friend.
My overwhelming desire to have a baby is completely emotional. When I am fighting back tears at the sight of a pregnant woman, I am not considering all that comes along with raising a child. I am not taking into account the fact that having a baby changes EVERYTHING and I'm honestly not ready for everything to change...again; I just relocated last year so everything did recently change for me. I'm only trying to deal with one major life change at a time if at all possible! I'm also not thinking about the fact that James and I are still newlyweds and we should soak up and enjoy each and every moment during this phase of our marriage. Most importantly, I'm not thinking about the fact that I don't feel quite ready to completely care for a little human being! I often tell myself to stop just looking at the "cute" stuff about motherhood because from what I hear and see, motherhood is definitely not always cute. I want to be the best mother I can possibly be and I don't feel I can do that if I don't even feel ready to have a child yet. I completely understand that many women get pregnant unexpectedly. Obviously James and I are open to that should it happen, but we are not planning for a baby at this time.
So for now, I am doing my best to tuck away those warm tingly feelings I get when I play with our niece or when I see James playing with our niece. Or when I pass by the kids' clothing section at Macy's (this may be the main cause of my baby fever). I am going to remind myself that we don't need to be in a rush to make such a final decision. I am also going to do something that I have NEVER been good at: LIVING IN THE MOMENT. I've always spent a lot of time thinking about my past and wondering what will happen in my future. For the first time in a long time, I really love the things that are happening in my PRESENT and I want to relish in those things. I NEED to relish in those things. Instead of thinking of how perfect it would be to have a baby snuggled in between James and I as we lay on the couch, I need to snuggle up even closer to him, be thankful for the time that we share together and tell myself "all in due time Alex." One thing is for sure, when the time IS right and we are both ready have a baby--I will be the happiest woman on the planet! In the meantime...BEAT IT, BABY FEVER!
Sometimes I Have It & Sometimes I Don't...6/9/2013
As I pursue my writing career, I am learning more and more about my writing process. One thing in particular that I have learned is that my inspiration seems to be a bit inconsistent. There are times when I have fleeting bursts of inspiration. During these times, I can sit at my computer and write for hours until my fingers cramp. Sometimes I even have trouble getting all of my thoughts out quick enough! When I’m inspired…I mean REALLY inspired, I’m in my ZONE! My headphones are on, my favorite Pandora station is cranked up and I’m just flowing. I could be on the couch at home with my feet propped up on the ottoman, or I could be sitting in the Panera down the street (like I am right now). When this happens, I feel like everything in the universe is perfectly aligned and I’m free to write from my soul. I feel like an artist painting a picture with the words that I write; its euphoric.
Then there are other times when I sit down to write and nothing comes out. Good ol’ writer’s block is what they call it. If writer’s block were an actual person, I would strongly dislike that person. Whenever they came around, I would not speak to them. I would shoot them dirty looks. I would push them down a flight of stairs if at all possible. I pray and ask God to inspire me and provide me with insightful and thought provoking topics to write about, but sometimes he doesn’t answer; at least not by Wednesday afternoon—which is when I work on my blog. I even try to find inspiration in my daily routine. “Ok, what’s philosophical about washing the dishes or cooking dinner?” I’ll think to myself. I’ll try to find the smallest glimmer of inspiration as the chicken sizzles in the skillet. “Maybe I can write about how much James loves chicken,” I think to myself laughing because I know that’s a terrible blog topic. I wonder what people would think if they logged on to my blog only to find “My Husband Loves Chicken” as this week’s post title.
Truth is, some days…I just don’t have it! That’s not a bad thing. It’s not a good thing. It’s a truth. “You can’t hit a home run every time,” James says when I complain to him that I’m all tapped out of fresh ideas. He is absolutely right. I am learning to examine my thoughts and emotions and find out if there is an underlying issue that is preventing my creative juices from flowing. I am learning to be patient with myself during these uninspired times and most importantly to find ways to unblock the passage way to my zone! I can "unblock" by going for a walk or going to the gym. Sometimes even a quick nap or hot shower does the trick. No matter how inspired or uninspired I am, I must accept my truth which is that sometimes I have it…and sometimes I DON’T!