Author: Leslie O.

Our Rustic Romantic Beach Wedding in Roatan

We got married in the beautiful island of Roatan in Honduras a year ago.

When planning for the details, I envisioned an intimate romantic-theme beach wedding where we would say our vows to the sounds of tranquil waves and the refreshing salty smell of the ocean breeze.  I imagined our guests mingling outdoors during the cocktail hour, drinking beers and colorful drinks with live music while enjoying the breath taking views of the gorgeous sunset, then later joining us for an amazing dinner and wine at a long communal table adorned with greenery and pale pink flowers, we would then sweat off the calories with non stop dancing, before being mesmerized by a fire show and end the night with bonfire and stories to share.

The day my husband and I arrived this all seem possible, the weather was perfect and the clear beach waters were stunning however the next day things took on a different  turn and a big storm was on its way threatening all of our plans and potentially prevent Antonio’s family from attending, not pleasant news but we decided to embrace it and go with it, there was nothing we could do about the weather and getting married is what mattered the most after all.

In terms of  theme, the result was an indoor rustic chic wedding, graced with rain and thunderstorms and full of excitement and emotions. One of our friends came to me and said ” This is the best wedding I’ve been to” – that meant so much to me, because even though it was ultimately  about my now husband and I taking this big leap of faith, we wanted to make the long trip enjoyable for our friends as well.

Re-living this days makes me incredibly happy, I hope you enjoy our photos.

VENDOR CREDITS

Venue: Mayan Princess

Bride’s Gown: Hayley Paige Leighton

Bride’s Shoes: Sergio Rossi Bridal

Bridesmaid Dresses: White by Vera Wang

Hair and Makeup Artist: Katrina Mcnab and her team at The Beauty Shop

Men’s Attire: Express and Macy’s

Men’s Shoes: Sperry Shoes

Invitations: DIY using Oscar De la Renta Paperless post invitation and  Paper Presentation envelopes.

Cake: Cake Bliss Roatan

Wedding Favors:  Vosges Chocolates

Wedding Photography: Leonardo Melendez Photography


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Review and Giveaway: Ouidad Advanced Climate Control

While I was on a mini vacation with my family I got to try the NEW Ouidad Advanced Climate Control® product line, which includes a Defrizzing Shampoo and Conditioner, a  Detangling Heat Spray and a Heat & Humidity Gel.

I was in Honduras for a week and the daily weather was 100+ degrees, to say it was hot and humid is an understatement.  We spent a lot of time outdoors and some time at the beach and pool (chlorine is my hair’s enemy) so this trip was definitely the ultimate performance test for Ouidad’s promise of frizz-free curls.  Keep reading to find out my thoughts on this product line and don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom of the page.

Current Hair Situation

My hair is naturally dry and very thin.  I have a lot of heat damage (mostly in the front) from blow drying/flat iron, and I’m currently dealing with hair loss/thin hair due to low estrogen levels after giving birth.  I also colored my hair right before this trip.   

First Impression and Experience

When I used the Defrizzing Shampoo in the shower,  I immediately  noticed that my hair was curling up into ringlets – more than usual- and most importantly my hair still felt soft during the wash, which is something I am not used to with shampoos since they tend to harden and tangle my hair. I was also able to easily detangle my hair with the Defrizzing  Conditioner  and I left the shower with a head full of wet curls that look ready to go, which again is not something I’m used to. Once out of the shower I applied the Heat and Humidity Gel which was very light, not greasy or sticky and my hair still felt clean, I then used the Detangling Heat Spray and use the rake and shake technique for these last two steps and was ready to head out the door without any more styling.  (Note: later I learned that the Spray goes before the gel, but I was still very happy with the results).  The curls lasted and were moist and shiny all day until I went to bed, the next day I would refresh using a bit of the gel and heat spray.

 

Final Words

I was very impressed and taken by surprised when I used Ouidad’s Advanced Climate control line because:

  1. I achieved curl ringlets in my entire head even though I have a lot of heat damage (didn’t think it would be possible, since the front of my head doesn’t curl very well)
  2. My curls never got frizzy in 100 degrees weather nor after submerging in salt water or chlorine and better yet, the curls were healthy-looking, moist and under control.

Ouidad Advanced Climate Control® lived up to its promise and required very little effort on my part – I literately just washed, applied and out the door.  This line was the perfect vacation companion providing humidity and UV protection it is perfect for the summer and warm weather.  I highly recommend it.

 

Giveaway

Ouidad provided their new Advanced Climate Control line for my review and thanks to them you can enter to win the full-size Advanced Climate Control set worth $96.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enter the raffle on the rafflecopter widget below  (please click on link if you are on a mobile). Giveaway Entry Tip: you can get 2 entries daily by sending out a tweet.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Xo,


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Date Night: Paint Night at Finer Studio

Are you looking for something fun to do on a low key date night, girls night or simply a weekend activity in the Bronx to relax your mind? You should try Paint And Sip on Friday and Saturday nights at Finer Studio. These BYOB classes take place in intimate setting guided by a fine arts trained instructor.  You don’t need previous art experience to join -AT ALL-  trust me, I’m artistically challenged.
I remember that up until about a year ago before we got married, my husband and I would search for things to do in a Saturday night but more often than not just ended up just catching a movie at Ridgehill Mall. That’s because we wanted to do something that didn’t involved loud music, dressing up or spending a lot of money on “ok” food and the key thing was that it had to be fairly close to us in the Bronx and not in Manhattan. We then just settled for netflix and chill but we enjoyed this so much that we want to try it out at least once every couple of months.
 
Here’s a video the studio owner caught of my husband and I in action: 

This was our first Paint the Night experience and it proved to be an inexpensive way to have fun, where we were able to create something beautiful together with my husband.  Here’s our masterpiece: 

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But this activity could be enjoyed with anyone, not just a significant other. I will even consider getting a group together in the future.  These ladies were having a blast on their ladies night, proof that this is for everyone not just for couples: 
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FinerStudio is mainly a yoga studio, offering vinyasa, kids and prenatal yoga as well as zumba classes, and it doubles as an social artworking studio on the weekends.
FinerStudio is easy to get to by car  if you live in Inwood, Washington Heights, Riverdale, Bronx’s Little Italy (Belmont), the New York Botanic Gardens/ Zoo area (Pelham), Yonkers and parts of Weschester – to name a few of the well known neighborhoods that are located within a 15-30 minutes drive.  
Drop me a note to let me know if you decide to try it and let me know about your experience.
Xo,
Leslie

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Ouidad Mongongo Oil Review + Giveaway!

I’m so excited to review the Mongongo Oil Multi-Use Curl Treatment kindly provided to be by for Ouidad for review.

A Few Points About My Hair

  • I’m transitioning to no-heat styling
  • I have very thin and dry hair strands
  • I stopped relaxing my hair and did the big chop 4 years ago but continued to use heat
  • My styling routine has been to triple heat style my hair weekly, that is hood-dry with rollers, followed by a blow dry and then flat iron. I also flat ironed my bangs daily which equals to lots of heat damage and clearly curl loss
  • 6 months ago I bleached and color my hair twice in one week in to color correct
  • My hair needs a serious change!

Finally, I’m a curly in transition.  As of a month ago I decided to significantly reduce heat in my routine or completely eliminating it.  My husband is so supportive of this so it shouldn’t be hard. before-after-ouidad

The Verdict

I’m in love! This oil is very light weight and can be used in many different ways.  I love that it adds nice lasting shine without weighing my hair down or making it greasy. And it makes my hair smell great. I used the oil on a very humid day and my hair didn’t get out of control and I was surprised to see so many curls in the bottom half of my head.  My hair at the top is extremely damaged from the heat but you can see some curls starting to form.

 

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4 Ways You Can Use Ouidad’s Mongongo Oil

  1. Mixed with a deep conditioner
  2. In the Shower – spray on your hair after wash and massage onto scalp. Leave on for 5 minutes and rinse
  3. As a heat protectant if you use heat
  4. Daily as a finishing gloss
 

Enter to Win a Bottle of Ouidad’s Mongogo Oil!


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Fall 2016 Basic Shoes Wardrobe from Target Buy1Get1 50% Off!

Time to get our shoe racks ready for the Fall and Target is having an amazing sale until August 20th to help us get started on the basics.

THE PICKS

1. Suede Pumps modern pointy pumps that are perfect for the office. They come in a classic black or a burgundy color that is very hot this season.

2. Lace-up Flats I want them in every color! These are so perfect, they have great aesthetics, available in beautiful colors and have a nice little height so that you are not completely flat on the floor.  Black is perfect for everyday work, denim is great with a white outfit, red looks awesome with jeans on the weekend or will add a pop to a black or white outfit, it also works great with stripes. And brown suede has autumn written all over it, perfect for a casual weekend outfit.

3. Mary-Jane Flats these playful leopard print flats will add pop to your weekend outfit.


4.  Classic Boots whether you choose black or cognac, you can’t go wrong with these classic, comfortable and trendy boots.

5. Open-toe Booties if you are looking for trendy, these are for you.  You can dress them up for a night out or dress them down in the daytime.

6. Cowboy Booties cowboy boots are a fall staple and the slick and more refined version of it cowboy bootie is something city gals can roll with.

7. Classic Bootie 
Anyone familiar with the snowball payoff plan, the envelope system and the rice and beans budget would appreciate Target’s Buy1Get1 50% off shoe sale.  As I get older I’ve learn to appreciate quality over quantity but the truth is I could build an entire wardrobe of pretty shoes at Target for a quarter of the price of a beautiful pair of Stuart Weitzman boots and that will do until I kick Sallie Mae to the curb.


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Thank You 2015 : Welcome 2016 How I'm exiting the old year and welcoming the new one

As we end the year we can’t help but to want to recount all of our accomplishments and successes and talk about the new goals for the year.  Though I welcome the new year with open arms, I will not say goodbye to the old year as if it the year was an uninvited guest.  I will acknowledge, honor and thank the year we left behind.
Before I share my successes in 2015 and goals for 2015 here are a couple of interesting things:
  • My most over utilized tools continue to be Pocket and Evernote.  Canva for blog images.
  • These cool life-hack Ted Talks available on Netflix.
  • I like reading yearly horoscope for entertainment and here is a cool one.
  • Unhappy with your life? Take action for happiness here.
 
Now back to 2015, in a couple of sentences or paragraph let me know in the comments what this year was like for you? 
For me it was a selfish year.  I can’t recall when I initiated a phone call to relative/friend that didn’t involve me, nor did I  follow through on those ” we need to make plans to meet up” this year.  While I attended some friends events, I was absent from many of my good friends important life events such as moves, children, some birthdays among other things. All I talked about was my wedding in 2016 and whatever issues related to me.  I wanted to send Christmas cards but I didn’t. Yes, 2015 was a very selfish year for me…and that’s OK I needed  it to be.  After spending a couple of years giving, volunteering, worrying about other people’s problems, reaching out, trying to find balance in my life through outside sources, I needed this inward-looking time to myself.
Beside neglecting a lot of my friends/family (and I really do miss spending time with them) I am very thankful for what those 12 months brought to me.  So here’s to acknowledging, honoring and thanking 2015:
Dear 2015,  Thank You For:
  1. A wonderful relationship.
  2. Our friends and family, their health, presence, love and support. And for all of our friends and family that have confirmed their attendance to our wedding and those that wish they can be there but are not able to make it.
  3. My moms unconditional and overwhelming  love and support.
  4. A new job where I feel very happy.
  5. Our new house in The Bronx (peace rent!).
  6. Allowing us to save up and pay for our wedding cash, no debt.
  7. New friendships that are here to stay (you know who you are).
  8. Overcoming my fear of weights at the gym. I’ve always been skinny fat, basically I’ve never worried about diets or exercise and was never consistent with my workouts. I did steps and ballet in high school and occasional yoga in my 20’s (I had a gym membership for 2 months but hardly used it).  After working out with my fiancé, I now love weight workouts and want to have healthy diet and exercise plan.
  9. My blog 1 year anniversary, it’s successes and increased readership. As well as the awesome people I’ve met because of it.
  10. Our daily bread and being able to treat myself to Luke’s Lobster, Vosges Chocolates and my favorite foods when I craved them.
Things I will be saying good bye to in 2016:
  1. Shoe laces and trading them for this.
  2. My mole (I just wish i can move it closer to my lips!).
  3. Wisdom tooth.
  4. Hair breaking scrunchies and replacing them with these lovely things.
  5. Spending 2-3 hours in the hair salon every Saturday (they are always really busy and take no appointments) instead I’m going to use less heat and do my own hair more often.  Turning this into a hot oil mask is working magic on my hair.
  6. Buying lunch 5 days a week, reduce that to only 2-3 times a week.  these collapsible bowls are everything!
  7. Letting sales people talk me into buying things I don’t want or need or that are simply just not right for me. Instead, I will make more planned purchases.
  8. Clutter. I will continue my minimalist/clutter free project and will begin applying the 3-7-14 rule to anything new I buy.
  9. Boring clothes.
Things I will be trying in 2016 
  • Be Grateful: I will write 3 things I’m grateful for each day  or things that made me happy and dump it in jar like this.
  • Journal:  Continue to journal on evernote and on my blog.
  • Exercise: Develop a routine and stick to it.
  • Meditate: I’m already doing this.  If you are new to meditation sign up to be notified when the next Deepak and Oprah free meditation challenge is available.  I recently tried Kundalini Yoga and loved it.
  • Random Acts of Kindness: I was the recipient of a couple of acts of kindness throughout the year and I want to pay it forward.
Things I Welcome in 2016 
  1. Our wedding.
  2. Will this be the year of the baby bump? We want it to be.
  3. Go back to church / congregating.
  4. Keeping a gratitude jar.
  5. Spending more time with friends and being present in their lives.
  6. More blogging, more collaborations and making back-end changes to the blog to make it faster and prettier.
  7. A fitness routine (making fitness a priority, finding a gym and schedule that fits into my life naturally and without major effort).  My upper body strength is very week so I will be using this guide.
  8. Healthy meal plan / grocery list.
  9. Since my measurements rarely fit into anything straight from the rack I want to take a sewing class or improve my cooking skills.  There are fun classes on VerlocalWilliam Sonoma offers free cooking demos which is a good start too.
  10. Host a couple of summer backyard parties.
  11. Take at least one international trip other than our wedding.  Potential places are the south of Italy, Norway, the Dominican Republic where we have friends and family.
  12. Read good stuff.
  13. Stop being camera shy and take more photos of myself, my love ones, my surrounding.  They will make good memories one day.
  14. Support my fiance (husband by then) with his photography passion and business.
  15. Being the one who is always on time.
The 2016 MONEY-OUT wishlist 
  1. Pay off my smallest student loan.
  2. A laundry room in the basement.
  3. Let Ikea open up and redo my tiny kitchen.
  4. A space saving refrigerator that will help me stay organized and keep food fresher longer.
  5. New work wardrobe.
  6. A nice everyday handbag.
  7. An updated lingerie drawer. Getting rid of stuff and adding new things. So far I was gifted this beautiful robe that I’m in love with and this set.  I bought this gorgeous lace balconette set and picked up a couple of fun inexpensive pieces: a super comfortable uniform bra, this super cute nightie, this white and baby blue set, and this set in tequila sunrise, I didn’t love the color but its a nice fit so I’m keeping it.
  8. International trip other than my wedding.

The 2016 extra MONEY-IN to-do list

  1. I’m writing myself an abundance check a la Jim Carey with how much money I want to be making long term (big check) and another small one for much I want to make this year blogging.
  2. Help my fiance launch his photography side business.

That’s all folks.  Happy and Prosperous 2016!

xo, Leslie


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