Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Festive Holiday Nails!

We all browse Pinterest and find our favorite things and pin them SWEARING we will try it, and half the time we never do, but this time I did!  I saw a beautiful picture of super cute holiday nails and had to give it a try! 

Here's my results!

My Instagram Post the Day after :) @LivelyHappening

I wanted a 'pen' instead of the old paint and toothpick to see if I liked it any better.  I went off to Walmart and found the Nailene White French Tip Pen for just under $5 and thought I'd give it a go! 

If you've ever had any of those painters pens, this is super similar.  You shake the pen and then press down until the felt tip is filled with paint and have a go! 

First, I gathered my supplies and painted my nails a shimmering red (Frankly Scarlet 745 from Revlon).  I topped them with Essie's "Good to Go" to help them dry faster, and then got to creating!  My husband had to help me with part of my right hand.  When we were finished creating my design, I topped them all with Revlon's Matte Top Coat (790). 

It took me nearly 30 minutes to finish all of this, which is a really long time just to paint your own nails in my opinion, but I think the outcome was worth it!

All in all, I think this Nailene pen was a decent purchase, especially if I French tip my nails in the future!  For the little details I wanted though, I should have probably gone with the good ol' paint and toothpick!

Happy Holiday's ya'll!  Are you doing anything festive with your style?

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Americans in Paris!

It's been 3 weeks since my brother's wedding to his new bride, Séverine!  I haven't yet posted anything about the trip, but it's time to do so for family and friends that could not be in attendance!
Neal, my father and Kim arrived on Wednesday in beautiful Paris.  We were greeted to the most warming welcome from Séverine's family upon our arrival.  Her father and his parents, the most adorable couple, treated us to a beautiful home cooked meal!  We had 4 courses, and since there was a language barrier, we didn't realize this when we had our first course.  Needless to say, we ate too much at the first course and continued to politely take as much as our bellies could handle for the remaining courses!
A traditional lunch with wine and cheese as a course!
Our family friends, Hope and Dane, also shared in this adventure with us!  They had arrived a few days earlier, on Sunday, and were really able to take all of Paris' many historical venues in!  Seeing as we arrived on a Wednesday afternoon and had to leave on the following Sunday morning, we had to really squeeze in as many sights as we could!
The Americans in Paris crew!


Buying the 5 day metro pass was definitely a blessing and the best purchase, I think.  It truly made site seeing so much less stressful and having to think if you had enough on your card to get to the next destination.
Here's some of the highlights of our adventures we took in Wednesday through Friday.
 None other than the Eifel Tower.  This was my main request to see, so we visited on our first night!
 Arc de Triomphe, also seen on our first nights. I would have loved to go on top, but we were limited on time.  I hear you can see the Eifel Tower well from that view point!
 Day 2 started with a trip to the beautiful Notre Dame Cathedral.  There are currently large stadium style seats setup in front of the building which detracted a little from the exterior beauty, in mine and Hope's opinions.
We even managed to find Indiana while in Paris! WHAT!?  The Indiana chain of restaurants features very American food.  Domonique, Séverine father, took us to dinner at one of the Indiana restaurants on Friday night. 
In a city so beautiful, it's hard to imagine there's this haunting exhibit into the Catacombes.  My grandfather, Dad's dad, said this was one of the most unique places he visited when he was in Paris.  My father remembered his father telling him this years ago, so we made a visit.  There's just walls and walls of bones arranged in various fashions.
King Louis XVIII Wardrobe for what he wore at this church 
 Similar to Macy's in New York, Printemps department store had shop windows filled with beautiful Christmas themed displays!  They were all sponsored by Prada, and here's a few of my favorites!
My absolute favorite thing to do on vacations is eat food you wouldn't normally find where we live in Indiana.  This is basically whipped up sugar puff!  WHAT! 
Hope and I became quite fond of nutella crepes while visiting!  This is us freaking out about our delicious treat!
The Grand Arch is a large building shaped similar to the Arch de Triumphe.  If you look closely in the center of this photo, you will see the Arc de Triumphe.  This is view is from the Grand Arch.  I love the two buildings mimicking one another, the old and the new.
The Louvre, inside the Pyramid on our way up.  This is actually one of the best locations, coming through the subway stops to the pyramid to get into the Louvre.  You are at the center with easy access to each wing and the lines don't seem to get as long here for your tickets!
 And here's some of my Instagram posts from the week!  You can find my full account and follow me @LivelyHappening
Lastly, my favorite specialty of Paris has to be the sparkling Eifel Tower!  Check out my short video on my Instagram by clicking HERE

To sum up this part of the American's in Paris adventure, I'd like to leave with a few lessons learned:
  1. Parisians typically do not eat on the go.  It's not particularly polite to eat on the subway or even carry a Starbucks in your hand.
  2. Parisians eat hamburgers with a fork and knife.  I suggest watching others before you start eating, but don't stare...be cool about it!
  3. When dining, if you want water, you must be specific and say tap water, otherwise you will get bottled water.  This is fine if you want to pay, but come on, I just spent a boatload on the plane ticket, I've gotta be savvy!
  4. Parisians really don't wear color!  A few friends told me to pack black, and I did, but of course I brought pops of color.  I'm not sure if I looked obviously American or what, but when I wore my red hat, I felt like people looked at me in that, "What the heck, she's wearing COLOR" kind of way!
  5. It is perfectly fine to order Irish Coffee at any time of day.  Seriously, you are in Paris, drink coffee and you may as well put cream and whiskey in it since you're on vacation ;)
  6. Get a day or multiple day metro pass.
  7. Don't be afraid to go off the beaten path, there's plenty of great site out there with day trip ideas, just do a little searching!
  8. Paris is cold, and rainy in November.  Be sure to bring an umbrella.  However, as soon as you walk into a shop or museum, make sure you set the umbrella down at the door!
 I'll have a post on Greg & Séverine's wedding soon, so stay tuned!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Packing for Paris...and for a French Wedding...!?!

For the past week, okay maybe month, I've been trying to decide what to pack for Paris.  I think I have my wardrobe down, but I'm still not sure!  How do you pack for Paris in November, and how do you do it for a wedding!?!

Back in mid September, my brother told us that he and his girlfriend got engaged.  Horray!  But now what...?  She is French, and he is American.  Planning their wedding hasn't been the easiest for either of them.  First, they were going to do an American wedding after she got her fiancé visa, but then they decided to do a wedding closer to her family.  This also allowed them to get married much sooner than the typical 6-9 months it could take for the American visa process to go through. 

This coming Saturday my brother, Greg, and his fiancé, Séverine will be married at the city hall of Le Vésinet, near Paris, France!  We have a Parisian wedding to attend!

Now what?  I don't know what to wear in Paris.  I want to be comfortable, but I still want to be chic.  Do I bring my fancy purse so I might fit in with the fancy Parisians, or do I bring my regular? My brother mentioned pick-pocketers were common around the city, which I am sure is typical in every large city, not just Paris.  Also, how practical should I be with shoes?  When I think Paris, I think sexy heels, and beautiful boots.  And what, you can't wear black to a wedding in Paris....it's November, my fall wardrobe is oh-so-dark right now with hints of color from jewelry and scarves.  WHAT will I do!?

First, I sent out loads of pictures to my family and friends to get advice on what to wear, especially to the wedding, and I am going with this lovely teal-green dress for the wedding, sheer tights, heels and a jacket.  Post wedding, I'll change into my comfy, more casual, blue dress.  I have the green dress show with boots and tan tights, but I'm going to dress it up a bit more.
Why the wardrobe change?  Well, from what I've read, it's common for a French Wedding to last all day long.  It's also common for a wardrobe change between day and evening.  Here's a link to a summary of a typical French Wedding (note, not all guests are invited to all of the day's events, it's much different than what we in America are used to).

At my brother and Séverine's wedding we will be attending their civil ceremony early, before noon, at the city hall, and then have a reception at a restraint in Versailles.  Later in the evening, we are taking a riverboat cruise along the Seine River, thus the wardrobe change.

My husband and I will be traveling to Paris 3 days prior to the wedding, arriving Wednesday afternoon and meeting up with my Dad, Kim and out two family friends Hope and Dane.  I started putting clothes aside for the trip a week ago.  Here's the rest of my attire:  two pairs of boots, dark skinny jeans, and basic tops along with 3 lovely jackets as the weather will be in the 50's and below.  Yikes!

Nearly all of this fits into one carry on suit case, the tan jacket in the middle top is going in a backpack with my
purse and toiletries.  I'll wear one of the 2 pairs of boots and one of the outfits on the plane!

Of course none of my traveling is complete without my own
personal jewelry from Lively Happenings
Question of the day:
How far in advance do you start packing for a trip?  Have you ever been to Paris?  If so, any packing tips or traveling tips you suggest?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Yellowsmith and Lively Happenings, Lost Wax Studio Challenge

Last week, I was beyond excited when I received a Facebook Message on the Lively Happenings FB page about a company that had found my designs on Etsy and was inviting me to submit them to their design challenges!

I looked Yellowsmith, formerly Shop Bevel, and found that I totally was in love with what the company is doing.

Yellowsmith is an online seller of unique and creative jewelry.  Their designs come from people like me, and then they manufacture and promote some of the designs they and their community feel would do well. The designer still maintains the right to make and promote their original design, and they receive royalties from what's sold on Yellowsmith!  Yellowsmith has been featured in many magazines such as "Lucky", "Cosmopolitan", "Redbook", and more!

I'm THRILLED to announce that one of my designs is currently in their "Lost Wax Studio Challenge".    Vote for these beautiful earrings by clicking here!

You can vote between now and Sunday, November 10th at 6pm Eastern.

The winner of the challenge will be announced on Monday, November 11th along with the launch of the presale.  The designers will also be invited to the Production Challenge, where they could get an entire line (a few pieces) of their designs manufactured and promoted on the Yellowsmith blog, hosting 40,000+ followers across Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter and Instagram as well as included in ongoing press promotion.

I want this SO BAD and would LOVE your support!  So go VOTE for my "Druzy Elegance Earrings" and maybe do some shopping on Yellowsmith while your there!

To see all designs in the Lost Wax Studio Challenge, click here.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Old Faithful Geyser Basin

There's so much to do while in Yellowstone, but we only had part of a day so we hit up some of the highlights you will find when coming from Grand Teton National Park: West Thumb & Old Faithful!

West Thumb is the first major stop you can find when coming from GTNP entrance to Yellowstone.  It's filled with beautiful pools and occasional geysers.

The lake off of West Thumb looks more like an ocean it's so expansive!

Then we traveled onto the Old Faithful area.  Though I've seen Old Faithful numerous times, I've never hiked around all of the geysers that surround this most famous one.  I'm SO glad Byron and Katie suggested to do this!  We saw 3 completely amazing eruptions!

First, we saw Grand Geyser, the tallest most predictable geyser.

About 10 minutes after Grand Geyser erupted, we saw Old Faithful erupt, and from the 'backside', which I've never done before.

Then we met back up with Dad and Kim where we walked to Morning Glory, which is one of the most beautiful pools in the park.  If you come early in the morning, the colors are apparently even more brilliant.  Morning Glory is located at the end of a well paved path about 1.4 miles from the main area of Old Faithful.  You can walk or bike to it.

The Color Spectrum of a Pool

On our walk back, we saw Lakeside Geyser Erupt.  This one was probably my favorite.  it was so beautiful!

 I honestly didn't know there was this much to do and see around Old Faithful Geyser Basin.  I highly recommend taking the time to stop for more than just Old Faithful's Eruption & take a walk around this beautifully unique area.  It really is like you are on another planet!
Like I said, another world...

Do you see the buffalo?
Rainbows Over the Geyser Basin
Always take time for a new adventure!

The Beauty of Yellowstone