Foodie Friday: Heart Shaped Smoked Salmon Tapas

Are you looking for a last-minute dish to create for your Valentine? Our guest blogger, Sarah Knepp of Sarah Sofia Productions- a boutique wedding and event planning company, has the cutest little heart-shaped smoked salmon appetizer to help you woo your boo. Do you know the old saying that “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”? I believe it’s the way to a woman’s heart as well. Seriously guys who doesn’t appreciate great food?  Keep reading as Sarah shares her quick and easy recipe for these yummy little seafood bites.

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Smoked salmon is the perfect appetizer for cocktail parties, bridal showers, and your Valentine’s Day celebration! To make this popular appetizer festive for Valentine’s Day, you simply use a heart-shaped cookie cutter!  Voila, you will have a delicious Valentine’s Day inspired smoked salmon appetizer ready in minutes.

Heart Shaped Smoked Salmon Appetizer (serves 8-12)

Ingredients

* ½ Cup light cream cheese

* 8-12 Slices Rye bread

* 1 package of smoked salmon

* Fresh dill

* 2 Small heart-shaped cookie cutters

Step 1: Lay rye bread flat on a cutting board and press down two heart cookie cutters side by side. You can also use pumpernickel bread. Trader Joe’s has small square pieces of pumpernickel and rye, which makes the process a little easier.

Step 2: Remove excess bread and place to the side. Do this for the next 7-11 slices.

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Next, spread cream cheese on each heart cut out.

Step 4: Place small pieces of smoked salmon on each piece of bread.

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Lastly,Garnish with fresh dill.

Serve with your favorite drink and enjoy!!


Thanks for sharing Sarah! I don’t know about you guys but I can’t wait to try out this recipe! It looks like it would be the perfect size for a snack as well.

Want to know more about today’s featured blogger, Sarah? Head on over to her blog,  Sarah Sofia Productions, to find out all the details on her boutique wedding and event planning company. Check out her simple recipes that are sure to make your next get together a success. Also be sure to follow her on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest for even more food and event planning inspiration!

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Stay inspired,

Brittany

Postcards from New York City

During the month of December, my favorite travel partner and I took a weekend trip to New York City. We have always talked about visiting the Big Apple during the holiday season. This year the stars aligned and we were able to make the journey from the Lone Star State to the Empire State. I must admit I was not impressed during my first trip back to the city in May of 2013 but I am so glad that I gave the city a second chance. The weather was cold but not unbearable. We were able to visit so many attractions! I have longed to go back since we returned home. Manhattan is magical during the holidays.  Decorations can be found on almost every street corner. City lights get brighter due to the glow of thousands of Christmas lights everywhere. People seemed to be a little more jolly on this trip. It could be my imagination but I’m going to blame it on the holidays. We took so many amazing photos that I decided to dedicate a post to each of our stops during the trip. I hope you enjoy my postcards from New York City! First up, fashion & lights!

Zuccotti Park at night

 

New York Stock Exchange Wall Street

 

Christmas Tree Wall Street

 

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Marquee at Southern Hospitality restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen

 

Christmas Tree Bryant Park

 

Window display Saks Fifth Avenue

 

Window display Saks Fifth Avenue

 

Window display Saks Fifth Avenue

 

Little Red Riding Hood Saks Fifth Avenue

 

Cinderella Saks Fifth Avenue

 

Trekking through Times Square

 

 

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Rockefeller Center

 

30 Rock

 

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Stay inspired,

Brittany

What I Wore: NYC in Winter

What does one wear to the city that never sleeps during the coldest months of the year? Layers…lots and lots of layers. Here are a couple of outfits I donned during our recent trip to NYC in December. Of course, these are just the bottom layers. All outfits were topped off with gloves, earmuffs, a hat, scarf, and a coat to keep warm. It was in the 40s during the day and 20s through 30s in the evening so I had to put my figure out a way to stay true to my inner fashionista without sacrificing warmth so I could enjoy our holiday getaway.

NYC

Outfit #1 details:

  • Hat: Pharmacy near Battery Park NYC
  • Polka Dot Vest by Liz Claiborne ~JcPenney
  • Striped Long Sleeve Tee by Old Navy
  • Sweetheart cut black jeans by Old Navy
  • Knee High Flat Boots by New Directions~ Belk (super old)
  • Hoops: Charming Charlie

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Outfit #2 deets:

  • Silver faux fur vest: Fabulous You boutique
  • Necklace: Burlington Coat Factory
  • Black sweater: NY & Co. (old)
  • Hunter green jeans: Macy’s
  • Knee High Flat Boots by New Directions~ Belk (super old)

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All bundled up and ready to explore the city!

My husband was convinced that I couldn’t be a fashionista and be warm but I proved him wrong. I was cute even though I looked like I was smuggling the Michelin Man in my pea coat. What do you guys think?

26 Ways to Amp Up Your Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. *Queue love songs, balloons, teddy bears, and chocolate and reservations for 2 at a fine dining establishment*  Better yet ditch the idea of waiting for a table at a fancy restaurant or catching a movie in an overcrowded theatre and opt for a more unconventional date based on the ABC Date Night Challenge. Here is a list of dates you can try inspired by the alphabet. These dates can be done alone or with someone special.

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  • A: Aerial yoga. Aerial yoga looks like it would be so much fun but I am afraid I might fall and break my neck.
  • B: Beach. If you’re lucky enough to still have warm weather and a beach, take advantage of it! Most Americans would be willing to trade places with you in a heartbeat.
  • C: Cooking class or cook a meal at home together.
  • D: Dancing. This can be done at home to your favorite slow jams or go out to a popular night spot and dance the night away.
  • E: Enjoy some ethnic cuisine or sample an exotic delicacy. Head to the nearest foreign food market and pick up some exotic delicacies like escargot or order some take out from somewhere like a Lebanese restaurant. Discover a new dish together.
  • F: FroYo: Create your own or head to your favorite FroYo shop and enjoy your froyo with some convo.
  • G: Garden Party! Attend a garden party solo or with your special someone. The city of Atlanta has a nice one planned this year at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.
  • H: Hot Stone Massage: After my glorious massage in Mexico, I will find any reason to get another one. Valentine’s Day for the win. This can be a solo date or a date night with your sweetheart. Either way you will feel like a million bucks after your session.
  • I: Ice Skating: Woo your boo with your stellar moves on the ice or maybe you might even bump into that special someone while in the rink.
  • J: Jump from an airplane: This one is for all the daredevil couples out there.
  • K: Kinky Game Night: Turn your favorite games into a kinky showdown after dark. Parents put the kiddies to bed. Pull out the cards for strip poker and get out the Twister mat for a twisted good time (preferably naked!)
  • L: Love Lunch: No time for date night? Pack a love lunch equipped with your special someone’s favorite meal and a cute love note to spice up the one hour break and show you care. 
  • M: Museum After Dark: Museums in the city are known for throwing some awesome shindigs after the general public leaves for the evening. Check to see if your city is offering a V-Day party like the  one at American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
  • N: No Technology Dare: Leave all technology at home and do something you’ve always wanted to try without interruptions.
  • O: Opera concert. If you’re into classical music, consider heading to your nearest opera house to enjoy some beautiful arias, duets and choruses to celebrate the day of Amore.
  • P: Indoor picnic. My hubby and I did this last year for V- Day and it was very fun and romantic!
  • Q: Quiet evening at home: Maybe you’re not into the whole Valentine’s Day phenomenon. That’s ok too. Spend the evening relaxing alone or with loved ones watching your favorite rom/com.
  • R: Recreate your first date: What better way to celebrate your love than to recreate the first time you went out. Personally I would just revisit the locations of the initial date just in case the first date was kind of a bust.
  • S: Stage play: What’s Valentine’s Day without The Vagina Monologues? It’s like cupcakes without icing! Well those are just muffins and still as good. You get the gist.
  • T: Tango Lesson: Learn the art of Tango, the dance of love, on the day that celebrates being in love.
  • U: Underwater adventure. Go deep sea diving. I hear its an exhilarating experience. Remember to take your GoPro camera to capture the moment.
  • V: Valentine’s Day Gala: Lots of churches and other organizations choose to host galas to raise money for their organization or charity on V Day. So grab your tux or your gown, get decked out, and party with your sweetie or your friends for a good cause.
  • W: Wine Tasting or Whiskey Distillery tour: Go to the site where your favorite local wine or whiskey is made. Pack a dinner or try the onsite restaurant for great pairings.
  • X: EXplore: Discover a new neighborhood in your city and head to the next town over and hit up the local hot spot. Or my friend suggests that couples should explore each other’s bodies.
  • Y: Young In Love: Create a date reminiscent of young love. Create your own Valentine’s day card, get your sweetie their favorite gift or treat, go to your favorite diner. Share a bowl of spaghetti or a milkshake.
  • Z: Zip-lining: Nothing says I love you more than being connected together wearing a harness and zipping down a steel wire with the fear of falling into the jungle or water below. Everyone knows its true love when you are willing to possibly die together! *insert sarcasm here*

It really doesn’t matter what you decide to try this Valentine’s Day as long as you spend some well deserved time loving on yourself or the one you adore.

Which date night idea would you try? Let me know in the comments below!

Golden Globes 2015

I’m not a big fan of award shows. They seem boring and mundane. The same people are usually nominated year after year so they don’t excite me much. However, I LOVE watching the pre show red carpet coverage for each event. I park on my couch for at least an hr to ooh and ahh over celebrity fashion and yell the occasion “epic fail” or ” fire your stylist immediately” for the unfortunate ladies and gents who are caught parading in their less than stellar fashion choices.

Last night the Golden Globes aired. One can usually expect this red carpet to be a little more classy than other award shows like the Grammys. There were A LOT of hits and misses for the evening. I’m sure the Fashion Police will be all over the celebs that missed the mark…I’m looking at you Keira Knightley. I hate to be rude but did y’all see that dress?Absolutely atrocious. Sorry Keira, I still love you..I just have to keep it real. I was in utter disbelief that it took 30 people an entire week to make that horrible Chanel dress.  Am I being harsh? I’ll let you guys be the judge.

I don’t think this dress was flattering at all. I understand she is expecting but I am certain her stylist could have found her some glamorous maternity wear. She’s such a beautiful girl. I was expecting so much more especially since Fashion Police host Kelly Osborne was predicting that she would be one of the best dressed for the evening. I digress.

Let’s chat about the evening’s trends and best dressed on the carpet instead. The overwhelming trends tonight appeared to be the colors silver, red, and white. Beaded/sequin dresses were also very popular.  Plunging and halter necklines were also a thing. I had so many favorites on the carpet but I will try to limit it to 5.

1. Reese Witherspoon: She always looks classy so I expected nothing less. She didn’t deviate from her classic Old Hollywood red carpet hairstyle. The sparkling silver strapless gown she donned complemented her golden tresses and makeup beautifully.

2. Jennifer Lopez: Does this woman age at all?? Her style of dress reminded me of a more classy version of her infamous Grammy dress from that time she dated the artist formerly known as Puff Daddy. I like this version much better though. I think it would have been a little classier if Jennifer’s “golden globes” weren’t so exposed but she still looked gorgeous nonetheless.

3. Katherine Heigl: I love love loved this Zac Posen dress on KH. It was classic, sophisticated and accentuated all of her womanly curves. She looked very effortlessly chic. Her hair and makeup complemented the dress very well.

The next 2 were my favorite unconventional fashion looks.

4. Emma Stone: I was so thrilled that Emma Stone took a risk by wearing a jump suit on the red carpet. She looked spectacular and I think the risk totally paid off. Kudos to her glam squad. *Editor’s note: Emma’s shoes look super uncomfortable… yikes!

5. David Oyelowo: This is a look that you will either love or loathe.  I loved this dazzling ensemble worn by  “Selma” actor David Oyelowo. It’s so creative yet stylish at the same time. I don’t think I have ever seen a man wear a suit reminiscent of material covered in mod podge and glitter. No shade. I think its dope. Don’t even get me started about the shoes! This look is fashion forward in my opinion. Much different than the normal black and navy tuxedos we usually see on the red carpet.

Other noteworthy celebrities include:

Julianne Moore:

Amy Adams:

Quvenzhane Wallis:

Giuliana Rancic:

Kate Beckinsale:

Kevin Hart:

Felicity Jones:

Did you watch the Golden Globes? Who is on your best dressed list? Who is on your worst dressed list? Let’s chat about it! 

Stay inspired,

Brittany

Hello again + 2015 Goals

Hey everybody! It’s has been a while since I last blogged. We have some catching up to do! First of all, I hope you all had an awesome Christmas and Happy New Year!! Hopefully you didn’t gain weight during the holidays like I did. I just can’t resist all the yummy pastries at Christmas time. No worries though, it gives me a goal to accomplish during the first month of 2015. If you have been following me on Instagram then you may have noticed that I did quite a bit during the month of December. One of the best things I did during the holidays was visit New York City with my honey. We had the best time ever!! I will tell you guys all about that trip in an upcoming post.

It’s a new year and that means it’s time for new goals! I am limiting my list to 5 this year so that I can be more focused. Here are my top five goals for the year.

2015

  • Goal #1: Be productive! I set this as a goal for last year and I failed miserably. I feel I had too many days where I sat around doing nothing. I was very lackadaisical. But I am carelessly lazy no more!
  • Goal #2: Pay off another student loan. My plan is to attack one per year. The one I am currently focused on is nearly $17,000. It’s going to be a heck of challenge but I would love to have it paid off by New Year’s Eve. I am telling you all this to help keep me accountable. I am even going to start a series on finances to show you all what I am doing to save money and pay off this debt.
  • Goal #3: Save more money! If I’m going to pay off my loan than I will have to find more ways to save money around my home and get myself a side hustle. Stay tuned for that!
  • Goal #4:   Go on more daycations! I live in a new area and I haven’t even scratched the surface of what Houston and surrounding areas have to offer. So I want to take you guys along with me as I venture out and I plan to do it on a budget!
  • Goal #5: Spend less time on social media and more time with people. I know this may sound shocking but I actually enjoyed taking a break from some of my social media accounts and spending time with people I care about. I realized that although its nice to share my life with the world, it even better to live in the moment. The best moments don’t even make it to social media most of the time and I’m ok with that.

BONUS: Cook more at home. I have had one too many mishaps with my food allergy lately so I took this as a sign that I may need to learn to cook some of my favorite dishes at home. This way I KNOW what’s in my food and also I can keep the tip for myself :) I started a group on Facebook called Keeping Our Coins as a dedicated space to share yummy recipes and money saving tips. If you guys are interested in joining, just click this link: here. Also if you would like to see more food related posts on Creativity Arise, click the like button on this post.

Remember to take the Black Eyed Peas advice and don’t wait for someday to make your dreams come true. Make them happen today!

What are your goals for 2015? Did you miss me? ;) Let me know in the comments below.

Hope you all are having an amazing Friday. The countdown to weekend brunch has begun!

Stay warm and inspired guys!

Milestone

grad 2006

On this day 8 years ago, I graduated from the University of South Carolina but more importantly I finished nursing school! It was one of the best days in my life. If someone told me back then in 8 years you will not be working as a registered nurse at the bedside, I would probably have laughed. After all those late nights, early mornings, stressful exams, clinical rotations, and presentations, I was convinced that my heart beat on an EKG would print out in the shape of a nursing caduceus. Never in a million years would I have imagined that my life’s journey would lead me away from the bedside into the world of nursing education. Initially, I felt like I was just taking an intermission from the stress of hospital managed patient care.

Some people in my family and even some of my friends questioned me about why I gave up on my dream. But I never really gave up on my dream. I just felt so limited and I longed to do more! I wanted to impact patients in a mighty way without worrying about being scolded for minute things like clocking out a few minutes late because I decided to console a patient having a rough day. I believe that my decision to become a nurse educator has been one of the best decisions I have made. I am still impacting the field of nursing in a great way by imparting my knowledge to the next generation of  nurse clinicians. Although my focus may have shifted, the field of nursing is still my passion. God just decided to send me where I am needed most to help fill a shortage of nursing educators and to help ensure that only the most qualified and compassionate students become nurses who touch the lives of many…maybe even yours :)

Do you remember what you were doing on this day 8 years ago? Share your favorite #throwbackthursday memory.

Stay inspired, Brittany

Hanging out with Mom

My mom came to visit me during Thanksgiving for a week and we had a blast. It was the first time she visited me in my new location in Texas and I wanted to show her a good time. During her time here, she showed me that you can have a great time without spending a ton of money. One of the things that we did was take a lot of photos! My mom has always had a knack for photography. She used to take classes back in her day. I have tried to convince her to start a photography business on the side because I think she is talented. I am pretty sure I inherited my creativity from her.

Yesterday before she left,  we visited a coffee shop in the Houston area called Tout Suite. They have pretty good hot cocoa and some decent breakfast tacos. I was hoping for a more extensive breakfast menu but nonetheless it was a cute little breakfast joint with a great atmosphere.

Tout Suite

I ordered the potato & egg and sausage & egg breakfast taco with some hot chocolate.

Tout Suite

They have a pastry section in the Suite as well. I decided to try red velvet, ginger snap, and creme brûlée macarons for the first time to see what the hype is all about. I am not a fan.

Tout Suite

Mom enjoying a Texas root beer.

Instagramming my hot cocoa like all the bloggers do ;)

Instagramming my hot cocoa like all the bloggers do ;)

Tout Suite

Tout Suite

 

Tout Suite

Super cozy look for a rather chilly morning in Downtown Houston

Tout Suite

After leaving the restaurant, my mom and I head to the Discovery Green in Downtown Houston to take a short stroll in the park. It turned into another impromptu photo shoot.

Out in the weeds

Out in the weeds, hair blowing in the wind.

Discovery Green

Probably checking Instagram again. I’m a little obsessed.

At the end of the morning we did a little shopping in the Pearland Town Center before I dropped her off to catch her flight back home. While walking through the shopping center, Mom spotted a boutique with these beautiful Tiffany blue doors. Of course she had to capture the moment and I didn’t mind.

Pearland Town Center

I was really sad to see her go but I will cherish our time together. These photos are proof that all you need to have fun is be in the presence of good company. A great camera and talented amateur photographer doesn’t hurt either ;)

Hope you all are having a wonderful Wednesday!

Humor & Thanksgiving

My mom shared a Thanksgiving joke with me at breakfast on Tuesday morning and I laughed until I cried. I just had to share it with all of you!

A young man named John received a parrot as a gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary. Every word out of the bird’s mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity. John tried and tried to change the bird’s attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music and anything else he could think of to ‘clean up’ the bird’s vocabulary.

Finally, John was fed up and he yelled at the parrot. The parrot yelled back. John shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even more rude. John, in desperation, threw up his hand, grabbed the bird and put him in the freezer. For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed. Then suddenly there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute.

Fearing that he’d hurt the parrot, John quickly opened the door to the freezer. The parrot calmly stepped out onto John’s outstretched arms and said “I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I’m sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behavior.”

John was stunned at the change in the bird’s attitude. As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behavior, the bird spoke-up, very softly, “May I ask what the turkey did?”

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Happy Thanksgiving guys. Remember that thankfulness should not be limited to one day a year but we should be grateful for everyday that we have another chance at life!

P.S. The last entry for the $150 giveaway will be accepted until 11:59 tonight. Make sure you enter for your chance to win!

An Inside Look @ Fashion Houston 5

I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to attend Fashion Houston 5 last week. I was grinning from ear to ear the entire time I was there and I was still beaming from the experience every time someone asked me about it over the weekend. I love my readers, family, and friends and wished that you all could have been there with me. So I created a short video with clips from the evening as a way to take you all along on this journey.  I hope you guys enjoy!

P.S. Make sure you watch the video in 720p HD! Otherwise you won’t get the full effect of the beautiful designs :)

Tomorrow is the last day to enter for a chance to win $150 on Black Friday in the CA Scavenger Hunt. Have you entered yet? Do it today!!

 

Thursday night at Fashion Houston 5

Last night, I had the privilege of attending day 3 of Fashion Houston as a media blogger. If I could only use one word to sum up last night’s show I would choose the word EPIC. I know, I know it’s very cliché’ but I could not think of another word that could clearly convey the level of brilliance and creativity surrounding this event. I arrived early to get my media credentials. Afterwards I headed through the glass doors of the Wortham Theatre Center to hit the red carpet so that I could photograph the city’s fashion community. As expected, the fashionable people of Houston did not disappoint.

FH5 red carpet

FH5

FH5

The red carpet at Fashion Houston is an inspiring event all by itself. The glitz, the glamour, the flashing lights of dozens of cameras, the party rocking mixes being played by the DJ definitely set the mood for the show. The light rain didn’t even put a damper on the pre-show festivities. I was able to capture the photos of Houston based designer David Peck, NY designer Bibhu Mohapatra, and reality star Tami Roman from Basketball Wives. I was even able to pose for a photo on the red carpet compliments of Audi.

David Peck FH5

Bibhu Mohapatra FH5

 

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Brittany FH5 red carpet shot

After the red carpet, I headed up the escalator to the press pit to wait for the show to begin. It was amazing. Bibhu Mohapatra was the opening designer of the night. His collection was gorgeous. He delivered a modern take on classic feminine pieces. My favorite looks from his collection were the 2 piece cropped shirt and skirt set and the flirty dress with a checkered overlay.

Bibhu FH5

Photo credit: Bibhu Mohapatra Facebook page

Photo credit: Bibhu Mohapatra Facebook page

Next up was designer Rebecca Minkoff. I was über excited to see her Spring collection. I have always admired her  handbags. In my opinion, the shoes in this collection were the shining stars of the line. Love love loved them.

Rebecca Minkoff FH5

Seriously. How cute are these shoes?!

Rebecca Minkoff FH5

Rebecca Minkoff FH5Emerging hometown designer, Jio’Zei Reyes, captivated the audience with his feminine yet borderline risqué designs. This beautifully crafted, berry colored gown definitely captured my attention. I wouldn’t dare try to pull off this look though. The dresses in this collection are gorgeous but definitely not “commando” approved. One wrong move and…well you catch my drift.

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Jio'zei FH5

Jio'Zei FH5 Jio'Zei FH5

Jio'Zei FH5Designer Rolando Santana’s collection was in the top 3 of the night. I loved the vibrant shades of blues and greens, the sequins, and the prints and textured used in the collection. His designs dazzled as the models made their way down the runway.

Rolando Santana FH5

Look at that fur!! Just stunning!

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Rolando Santana FH5Last but certainly not least, Houston based designer and former Project Runway star, Chloe Dao blessed us with her ethereal Spring 15 collection. Her designs consisted of gorgeous navy and pink hues and lovely floral prints and my favorite print- stripes. Absolute perfection for spring.

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Dao Chloe Dao FH5

Dao Chloe Dao FH5

Dao Chloe Dao FH5

Dao Chloe Dao FH5

Overall, I had a spectacular time at Fashion Houston. The designers did an excellent job. I see a few items that I would like to put on my Christmas gift list this year. Maybe Santa will convince Bibhu Mohapatra or Chloe Dao to gift me one of those beautiful dresses from their collection. A girl can dream.

What look was your favorite? Did you have a chance to check out Fashion Houston 5? What were your thoughts? I would love to hear about your experience!

What to Wear to a Blog Conference

You guys may remember that I had the opportunity to attend my first blogging conference, Blog Elevated,  back in September.  The first thought that came to mind before I even made accommodations was what do bloggers  wear to a blogging conference? Should I get dressed up or could I wear shorts and a t-shirt? Should I wear a dress and sandals? So many unanswered questions. I went to my trusty friends Google and Pinterest for some inspiration but there were only a few pictures. They weren’t really that helpful either.  I came to the conclusion that it would be better to be overdressed than underdressed so I packed dresses and sandals and black slacks and ballet flats for the event. I decided that my mission before leaving the conference would be to fix the lack of blog conference style photos on the internet. So I scoured the ballroom during a break at the Blog Elevated conference for some photo worthy blogger street style looks. I’m awesome, I know and you’re welcome :) These bloggers were nice enough to be my muses for this project.

blog conference outfit ideas

Leslie of Southern Flair blog

blog conference outfit ideas

Addie of Old World New Girl & Cintia of Simply Cintia

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 Deonna of Child at Heart blog and Tamara at Katy Moms Blog

blog conference outfit ideas

Jessica & Casey of Thoughtfully Styled

blog conference outfit ideas

Tosin of My Style Pad and Roxy of GrrFeisty

blog conference outfit ideas

 

Keitha of The Bajan Texan and Tiffany of Art Sea Chic

 

 

 

 

blog conference outfit ideas

 Pamela of A Renaissance Woman

Based on my observation of the attendees I concluded that there are 3 key elements for dressing for a blog conference.

  1. Comfort is a must. There is a lot of walking, networking, socializing at a blog conference. The last thing you want to do is be in some uncomfortable shoes or restrictive clothing. Wearing the wrong garments can definitely affect your mood at least for me anyway.
  2. It’s ok to be creative. Blogging is a creative field so let that spill over into your wardrobe if you like. You don’t have to feel like your style has to fit into a neatly packaged box. Yes there are brands and professional organizations present but you are also there to learn and have a good time so I say find a happy middle ground between business, casual, and creative.
  3. Be yourself.  Wear what makes you happy.

 

Here is a short video showing you all what I wore on day 1. Not the best video but it is what it is. I will get more comfortable in front of the camera over time :)

Hope this little guide was helpful for you all. Tell me, what would you wear to a blogging conference? Have a wonderful Wednesday!

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Thanksgiving Travel Destinations

thanksgiving travel destinations

I have often thought of ditching some of the traditions associated with Thanksgiving. In lieu of spending the  day slaving away in the kitchen to prepare a delicious high calorie meal to be enjoyed by 2, I would love to take a mini vacation and let someone else worry about the cooking for a change.

Here are the top 3 places I would choose to escape to if I could go anywhere to celebrate

Thanksgiving in the United States this year. 


new york city


1. This is a no brainer- New York City! I would love to finally see the Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade in person. I would also like to dress up and head out for Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixings at one of the city’s top restaurants such as Craft New York. Let’s not forget this is the city never sleeps. That means there will be a plethora of patisseries such as the Lafayette Grand Cafe & Bakery and Dominique Ansel Bakery open long enough for us to grab some delicious pastries before hopping on the subway and making my way to the SoHo boutiques for a little late night shopping  to work off all those calories. Hey if the city doesn’t sleep then why should we?

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Photo credit: TripAdvisor

2. The Smoky mountains of Tennessee – Gatlinburg, TN to be exact. This travel destination would be great for families and couples who would still like to cook and gather together for a traditional Thanksgiving meal in a different location. I would check into a beautiful cabin in the area and get lost in the beauty of nature. The color of changing leaves, the feel of the brisk Autumn air, and the smell and taste of some good ole Southern soul food would be tantalizing to my senses. My goal is to get away from cooking altogether on Thanksgiving so I would opt to go somewhere like the Seasons of Ober at Ober Gatlinburg for a delicious home cooked meal. The menu sounds divine and the price of this dinner can not be beat at less than $20 per person. After dinner, we could head to Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, TN for some fun. It’s important to start working off those calories before the tryptophan from the turkey starts to set in otherwise it’s a one way trip to a food induced coma for me.

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3. San Francisco & Napa Valley, CA. If you are chasing the perfect Thanksgiving dinner, I think it can be found in the bay area. The Food Network and Food & Wine magazine were actually the inspiration behind me choosing these 2 travel destinations. They are approximately 1 hr apart which means you could easily choose to visit one or both locations in the same day! There are many award-winning chefs and restaurants in the area. This means that you are bound to stumble upon a delicious Thanksgiving meal somewhere in the city or the countryside. Besides the food, you could take a train through the wine country and enjoy the beauty of nature. You could also enjoy some premier wines if you are into that. In San Francisco, you could take a Bridge to Bridge cruise on the Bay, enjoy some shopping in Ghirardelli Square or Union Square, or even take a waterfront segway tour with the Electric Tour Company before dinner.

The possibilities are endless! Where would you choose to go? Let me know in the comments below.

Don’t forget guys there is $150 dollars still up for grabs. Head on over and play the Creativity Arise Social Media Scavenger Hunt. Winner will be announced on Black Friday so make sure you enter for a chance to win today! Details found here.My signature

San Francisco: A Photo Diary

San Francisco

The hills are alive with the sound of traffic

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Of course I had to capture the beautiful architectural designs of the houses in the city #architecturelover

Of course I had to capture the beautiful architectural designs of the houses in the city #architecturelover

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Beautiful view from Golden Gate

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View of city from Bay through the fog

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Us

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San Francisco

Rowers under the bridge

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Pier 39

Photos from Pier 39/ Fisherman’s Wharf area

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Tourists headed to Alcatraz

Tourists headed to Alcatraz

Alcatraz in the distance

Alcatraz in the distance

San Francisco

View of Bay Bridge from our window seat at Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Co.

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San Francisco

Cute vintage looking bus

San Francisco

City life

The hubs and I got to stop for a quick layover in San Jose, CA on our way to Hawaii back in August. Since we were so close to the bay, we decided to rent a car and take a short trip to San Francisco for the day. I am so happy that we made the journey. Although it was chilly for a summer day, we had a lot of fun. I was thrilled to finally check visiting the Golden Gate bridge off my travel bucket list. I recorded a short clip of us making the trek across the infamous bridge.

I may just start filming snippets from our travels. I feel like it will be an awesome way to relive the moments when I complete bucket list items.  What do you guys think? I will definitely be returning to the area for a real vacation in the future!

Have you visited San Francisco? What are your favorite attractions?

Hope you are having a fabulous Friday. It’s the weekend baby!!

Diva Day Houston 2014 Recap

On Sunday October 12th, I had the pleasure of attending my first fashion focused event in the Houston area, Diva Day Houston, with a few other Houston Fashion Bloggers.

Houston Fashion Bloggers

Diva Day Houston is an annual event presented by Grind 365 the magazine and The Session TV show. It was a day complete with dancing, singing, fashion, as well as a health and wellness experience. There were various vendors who presented great health information.

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There were vendors selling merchandise such as t-shirts, fragrances, and much more. One of the vendors, Nicole Alfred of Dior Adornments, was selling some beautiful handcrafted jewelry. I fell in love with her work.  We all know how I love my jewels!

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Although the event was a little slow to warm up in the beginning, it definitely was set ablaze during the evening’s fashion show! The pre-show entertainment was fabulous! There was interpretive dancing and spoken word.

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Recording artists, Tia Gold and Sharve’ took to the runway to belt out some high notes and get the crowd hyped before the show began.

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I must say I was blown away by Sharve’s performance . She is only 15 years old but extremely talented! She took charge of the room and got the audience singing along with her.

diva10 We also enjoyed the smooth neo-soul sounds of pianist and singer, Rain Heard, as she harmonized covers from Floetry, Amy Winehouse, and even Hezekiah Walker, before the show commenced.

And of course it’s not really a fashion show until amazing models hit the runway in designer pieces. Here are a few of the looks from the event. Unfortunately my Nikon camera died before the models came down the runway so I resorted to using my phone. Note to self: Pack the backup battery!

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Overall it was a great event. I am making plans to attend next year’s fashion show as well.

Hope you all enjoyed the recap!  Let me know what look was your favorite down below! Also be sure to check out my instagram page @brittanylcarson as well as the hashtag #divadayhouston for exclusive video and other footage from the event. 

 

 

How to overcome the feeling of “not good enough”

We’ve all had moments in our lives when we might not feel like we are “good enough”. I know for a fact that this feeling is derived from comparing ourselves to others. Comparing your appearance, marriage, relationship, current job, financial status, or anything else in your life to another can take an emotional toll on you. I used to be guilty of doing this. I have learned that I can’t compare myself to others because God created us all differently for a reason. It would be crazy for me to try to be someone I am not. In simple terms why should a banana try to be an orange? There maybe someone out there struggling with the feeling of not good enough. I wanted to share a video from one of my favorite YouTubers, Patricia Bright, on how to overcome the feeling of mediocrity in our lives.

 

My favorite tidbit from Patricia’s video is comparison is the thief of joy. Don’t give away your joy. Live your life to the fullest. You are more than enough!!

Happy Monday everyone :)

Why do people stay in abusive relationships?

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. Unfortunately I have personally known several victims of domestic violence. I have witnessed many knock out drag out brawls as a youngster. For some of the abused women, it was a one time incident that led to an immediate dissolution of the relationship.  Other women and men I have known stayed in the abusive relationship for what I felt was an eternity under the circumstances. I have also cared for patients that I had to hide under the guise of an alias after being hospitalized after a brutal run in with their abuser. There was one scary incident in particular where a family member leaked the patient’s fake identity to the abuser and then he called to threaten my patient that he was headed to the hospital to finish the job.  I had to move the patient and put the security team and police on high alert for the suspect. It was bananas!

I have always tried to figure out why someone would ever chose to stay after being battered repeatedly. Then one evening in September I got my answer from the most unexpected source- Twitter. Something magical happened on the night Janay Rice took to Instagram to defend her husband after he lost his job in the NFL due to the elevator debacle. #WhyIStayed became a trending topic.  #WhyIStayed helped me to realize that it is not as easy as packing up your stuff and hitting the road. Abuse can escalate violence quickly when the victim tries to leave. Sometimes the abuser has broken the person down so much that they start to believe that they deserve the abuse. There can be many reasons but I figured it would be best for me to allow the survivors own words to explain the reasons why they stayed.

Contrary to popular belief, domestic violence is not just an issue that affects women. It is one that affects men and women worldwide. It’s a sad epidemic. This thread made me shift my thinking from why do people stay in abusive relationships to how can I help someone in an abusive relationship? What is one thing I could do to support someone trying to leave?

For starters, I would definitely let the victim know that you are not alone.  There are people who are willing to help you escape the violence. There are various organizations that help victims leave these types of situations. Contact the National Domestic Violence hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or head to their website to identify resources in your area.  You are worthy of love that doesn’t hurt physically, mentally, or emotionally.

End Domestic Violence

 

You Could Win $150

The holiday season is quickly approaching and I am thrilled as usual! It has become a bit of a tradition on my blog to host a giveaway for my readers at the beginning of the holiday season. This year will be no different. After a lot of thought, I have decided that I will be giving away CASH money via PayPal. Dollar, dollar bills y’all! One hundred and fifty ($150) dollar dollar bills to be exact to one (1) lucky winner. I’m going to make it drizzle for y’all!  Not a million dollar blogger yet ;), so I ain’t even going to try make it rain.  This giveaway is my way of thanking you all for reading my blog for the past 2 years!

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I absolutely love playing games. My wedding guests, students, and family know this all too well. Since this is my biggest giveaway to date, I have decided to turn entering this contest into a social media scavenger hunt. *cue evil laughter*


 

Here are the 6 steps you must take to enter this contest. Player, are you ready? Get your keyboard and mouse revved up!

Step 1: Follow Creativity Arise via email here on my blog. Hint: Look in sidebar for directions.

Step 2: Like the Creativity Arise Facebook page. Find a post about my favorite cookies.

Leave comment: Brittany loves ________(fill in the blank) cookies!

Step 3: Follow me on Twitter @brittanylcarson.  Find the message down below on my twitter feed and favorite & retweet it to your friends on Twitter.

I just entered to win $150 via PayPal from Creativity Arise!  You should enter the  too! 

Step 4: Follow me on Instagram @brittanylcarson. Look for a picture of the Golden Gate bridge in my photos.

Follow the directions on this picture.

Step 5: Follow my boards on Pinterest.  Like or repin my full skirt outfit (Style & Inspiration) board.

Step 6: Comment on one of your favorite blog post here on Creativity Arise. (NOT THIS ONE!)


After you have completed those 6 steps, comment on THIS POST with the user names you used on each social media platform to enter the contest & the title of the blog post you commented on. Send me a private message via the Facebook page with your email address.

EXAMPLE:

FB: Kenzi French

T: @KenziFrench

Insta: @KenziFrench

Pinterest: KenziFrench

blog post: Everyday Tourist

After I have verified all six of these steps have been completed, you will be entered for a chance to win. YOU WILL NOT BE ENTERED IF ALL SIX STEPS ARE NOT COMPLETED. #sorrynotsorry  

The winner will be randomly selected through a drawing and announced on Black Friday 11/28/14 at 12pm CST.   This giveaway is open internationally.

Disclaimer:  Winner will have only 24 hours after official announcement to claim prize or an alternate winner will be selected. You must have a PayPal account to receive the money if you are chosen as the winner.

Yes I realize it’s a lot of steps but I think the chance to win $150 in free money is well worth the trouble. Remember to tell your friends about this contest! The more the merrier.

The countdown to cash begins now!

Think Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness

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Outfit details:

Dress: Ross  

Boots: DSW

Handbag ~Henri Bendel

Earrings & Necklace: Aldo Accessories

Sunnies: Kate Spade via Nordstrom Rack 

think pink

October is Breast Cancer awareness month. I couldn’t let the month end before I rocked something pink in honor of thousands of breast cancer survivors and the dozens of patients who I have personally watched fight a good fight yet pass away after a long courageous battle with the disease. I decided to wear this pink summer dress on my lunch date with JC on yesterday. It still feels like we are in the midst of summer here on the Gulf coast even though it’s almost November! It was 85 degrees yesterday! I’m starting to think Fall doesn’t exist in Houston.

JC treated me to lunch at the Grand Lux Cafe at the Galleria. I think he missed me since he was out-of-town on business all week. Of course I missed him dearly! We had a good time catching up and the food was divine.

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Lunch is not complete without a pink lemonade ;)

 

He had curry chicken

He had the curry chicken.

My meal was extremely unhealthy. I had the Carolina BBQ pulled pork and fries. At least I ate a salad first :)

My meal was not the healthiest but it was delicious. I had the Carolina BBQ pulled pork and fries. At least I ate a salad first :)

Of course it’s great to think pink by dressing in pink and sipping on pink lemonade for the cause but it is far more important to check the tatas regularly for any lumps and bumps. Early detection is the key to winning the fight against breast cancer. Make sure you all remember to do regular self breast examinations monthly. Guys this goes for you as well. It’s a rare occurrence but men can get breast cancer too.

 

What did you do this weekend?  Hopefully you had a great one. Happy Monday!

1426 Fashion Week

Hey y’all! Do you know what this week is? It’s 1426 Fashion Week in Houston. I am super stoked! I am one of a group of lovely bloggers who will be on the front row covering Friday night’s “Integrating The Runway” fashion show featuring a group of talented designers:

LaMaica Couture 
Anthonia Chickwelu
JP Gabii
Gwen Davis
Mr. Lionell Rivers
Alton McCullough King
Wendy Striggles — Wendy S Collection
VDINX Designs
A.J. Jones —- Phieline

 If you know me by now, you know that I live for a reason to dress up, a pair of cute shoes, and a good fashion show! This will be the first time that I will be attending a show featuring my curvalicious sisters and I just know they are going to be fierce while strutting down the runway! So if you are in the Houston area, be sure to check it out! Tickets are still on sale for the shows and other events such as a designer and model workshop.  A fun event called a sip, swap, and shop event scheduled as well. Did I mention there will a finale show on Sunday. I heard that one is going to be dope! You won’t want to miss it.

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Hope to see you all there!