Vaca Highlights & Stylelights

*Sigh* – our days in SoCal have come to an end.  To cheer myself up as I do numerous loads of post-vaca laundry and re-enter the real world, here are some highlights (and stylelights) from the trip.

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One of my favorite dresses of all time is this lacy number from H&M. You WILL see it again, because I wear it every season with a different twist. This was my first time pairing it with a swimsuit, fedora and havaianas, but it was great! Lightweight, breathable, and a touch of feminine boho style on the beach.

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One of the things I love about SoCal is that, at least by the coast, it never really gets *too* hot. Now, that can at times be depressing during the infamous “June gloom,” but in late August, we had perfect weather. I was able to rock these neon pink pants that I’ve basically left in my closet most of the summer here in humidity land (i.e. the East Coast). Because these pants pack a punch in the color department on their own, I find myself pairing them with more basic tops, like this black and white peplum number. These pants also look fab with a chambray shirt.

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Finally, I wore this kimono over my swimsuit numerous times on the trip, paired with a floppy sun hat and a simple brown belt.  I’m thinking of ways to incorporate the kimono into fall – I think the black color will help.  I actually wanted one that was a bit brighter for summer, but I was too late to jump on the bandwagon.  Maybe next year!

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My morning run on Shelter Island was beautiful and reminded me why I loved running so much in college in this area. How can you not feel alive and inspired when this is your running track?  I’m determined to plant bougainvillea when we finally buy a house, because I just love the bursts of color.  Especially against this blue bay background!
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And the beach….of course, we can’t forget that. Probably what I miss most about CA (besides family and friends, of course). We caught this beautiful sunset at La Jolla Shores one evening and soaked it in. Gorgeous! Something about staring at the ocean just puts things in perspective and makes me feel small – in a good way.  In a “there’s a bigger picture, and a bigger Someone out there” kind of way.  Deep calls to deep.
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It’s always hard to leave *home* for home (as in where you live currently). But I’m thankful for the wonderful time we had in SoCal – a perfect way to spend the last days of August. I hope  you’re finding something bright to wrap up your summer, too. Love, Amanda

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lace dress: H&M

fedora: san diego hat company

flip flops: havaianas

blue & white striped bag: ballard designs

black & white peplum top: ann taylor

black fringe necklace: las pepas, argentina

black fringe bag: las pepas, argentina

neon pink pants: gap

kimono: forever 21

floppy beach hat: from brazil

brown belt: H&M

Toasting the End of Summer

We are in beautiful SoCal right now, enjoying some time with family as the summer wraps up.  Our family summer drink of choice for the past few years has been the “Dark ‘n Stormy:”  Bermuda’s “official” drink, created by the makers of Gosling’s Rum.

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The recipe is simple: dark rum (we use Goslings), ginger beer, limes and ice.  It’s a refreshing slice of summer in a glass!  Dark ‘n Stormy Recipe.

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Other end-of-summer favorites: my beach kimono/cover-up, straw hats (a must for fair ladies like myself when one’s out in the sun for hours), and this awesome chalkboard design Joshua created for our living room.  Check out my Pintrest page under “Prints” for a sampling of other chalkboard designs- there are some amazing ones out there!

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It’s always bittersweet to see the summer go, but why not see it out in style with a tasty cocktail in hand?  Cheers from CA and thanks for stopping by!  Love, Amanda
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black and white shirt: francesca’s collection
kimono: forever 21
hats: fedora, san diego hat company; floppy straw hat, from brazil
sunglasses: banana republic

Beauty Bytes: Bright Lips for Summertime

Lately, I’ve been hitting up good ‘ole CVS for my beauty needs. I’ve seen so many pics of ladies sporting fabulous, bright lipstick shades this summer and wanted to jump on the bandwagon!

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CVS is always so convenient, and it seems like I’m constantly there for things around the home anyway. So, I’ve started sauntering down the makeup aisle to see what’s up. I found these babies from the Mabelline ColorSensational Vivids collection.With my CVS Beauty Bucks coupon, I got 3 for the price of 2, and figured I’d take the plunge and commit. I’m happy to say I’ve really liked all of these – they stay put well when drinking/eating (even compared to more expensive lipstick brands I own, like Mac or Estee Lauder), they don’t bleed, and they are under $10, meaning that you don’t have to feel bad if next summer you decide you’re over it! They are the perfect pop of “wow” I’ve been looking for this summer. Because the color is so “vivid” (thus the name), I kept my makeup simple and let the lips do the talking. However, I do think the Neon Red shade would be gorg with a more dramatic eye, maybe a thickly drawn cat eye or something? That shade actually was more subtued than I thought it would be, but it still has some nice warm undertones and I think is a great fit for summer.

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By the way – as you can tell from my nails, shoes, jewelry here (and obviously lipstick) – this gal ain’t afraid of color. I say if you like it, rock it! I hope you enjoyed this “beauty byte” and that it added a little bit of bright to your day! Love, Amanda

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lipsticks: mabelline colorsensational vivids in neon rose, fuschia fever & vivid rose

leopard dress: forever 21

black and white top: francesca’s collection

neon shoes: j crew

necklaces: pink, forever 21; gold, vintage

nails: spoiled (by wet ‘n wild) in “did i dye it too blonde?”

Welcome to Things Bright & Beautiful!

As my first post, I thought I’d give a peek into my world and some of the things that inspire me – color, creation, friends and family.

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I love all things related to decor, fashion, beauty, and cooking (with a good dose of DIY and crafting thrown in the mix)!  You’ll see a bit of all of these at various times on my blog.

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As you’ll come to see as well, I’m not afraid of color, pattern, making do with what you have (with small DIY improvements) and finding a way to be fabulous on a budget.  Welcome to TB&B – I hope you leave inspired! Love, Amanda

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photos 2, 3 and 5 taken by onelove photography