A Night in Paris: Father Daughter Dance

Last night marked another fabulous Father Daughter dance at our school. This is my second year as co-chair for the event. Our first year was a pajama party so we wanted to get a little fancy this time around. After searching Pinterest for some fabulous ideas, A Night In Paris became our favorite pick.

papersphinx_paris_1-To get our creative juices flowing we started with this beautiful watercolor Paris pack from Paper Sphinx on Creative Market. We bought it for $12 and used it for all our invitations and posters for the dance. Super chic!

I rented an Eiffel Tower from a local prop company for $50. To save on delivery charges I pick it up and dropped it off myself with my truck. A super fun touch for a special evening! For the backdrop to our photo shoot we opted for pink and white stripes. We found a plastic table cloth roll from Oriental Trading Company and gave us 100 ft. for $20. We also used it to cover all the tables at the event. It was a deal and really looked great.

A local coffee shop and two friends had the bistro tables and chairs for us to borrow. Much better than renting them and it was a cute touch to have the sitting area at the dance. We had floral donations and also used silk flowers to add some Parisian flower market touches. Our original inspiration was these beautiful bistro windows!

IMG_1336Bistro Windows

To make the windows we used foam board. I hand drew all the pastries on the window and colored it in with colored pencils. We used black 1″ masking tape to make the window lines. For the window box, it was a separate piece of black foam board that was cut and hot glued together and onto the back of the window. The ivy pieces are so light weight they just sat inside the box. We initially had plans to hang the windows from the ceiling with hooks but they were so light that we were actually able to tape them to the wall. The black and white striped awning was poster board from Hobby Lobby. I cut foam board triangles and glued them to the back of the poster board to hold them out from the wall. There is a wooden dowel on folded under the top of the poster board with eye hooks on the side. This allowed us to hand from the ceiling as well but with a few pieces of tape it just stuck to the wall. The overall affect was stunning!

IMG_1345
A Night In Paris dance set up in our gym foyer. Bistro tables, raffle table, and concessions.
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Vintage bicycle for a prop used with silk and real flowers. Silk flowers and galvanized pails were from Michaels craft store. The fresh flowers were a donation from Native Floral in Milwaukee.
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The bistro awning was made with one large sheet of black paper and then we glued down alternating white pieces. The top was folded over a piece of foam board cut about 2-3″ wide, alternatively you could use a wooden dowel with eye hooks on the side to hang. I suggest using a dowel. It hung with fishing line from the ceiling in two parts, the top and the front to create the “hang” affect. You can see the white hooks in the photo. It really was a great addition!

If you are planning a Father Daughter Dance I sure hope this helps you! It was such a fun theme and we really got creative. Everybody walked in and felt they were transported to Paris. The girls truly enjoyed it all. Good luck with your planning!

annie-erika-paris

Paris PIN

Adult Braces: Should I?

Let me take you on a journey that started one year ago.

I’ve had jaw trouble for quite some time now. Not the normal locking, TMJ stuff. It was different. Whenever I exercised I got a charley horse in my left jaw it was super uncomfortable. I chalked it up to dehydration or some other excuse. But one day I had a jaw muscle spasm so bad and it didn’t stop. If the contracting muscles don’t relax for several seconds or more, the pain can be severe, and it was! This incident made me call the dentist and better yet, I called a highly recommended dentist in my area for a new consult in hopes of becoming a new patient and switching offices.

The Start of it All
The X-rays from my visit showed that my left jaw bone was almost totally worn flat. It was apparent I am a “clencher” and I’ve been deteriorating my bone for years and years. Next we talked about braces to fix my bite and lessen the impact the clenching is doing to my muscles and bones. I had thought about braces almost 15 years ago for cosmetic reasons and never went through with it. The dentist told me that if I didn’t get braces to correct the issue there was a very good chance that in many years from now, I’d end up with horrible jaw pain and would probably need a gum graph to fix some gum tissue that is getting worn down. It seriously sounded like the future could be hell, not to mention my jaw muscle were still spasming.

The Orthodontist

My next visit was with an orthodontist in town. My dentist and orthodontist are married and I actually love it! I know they have great communication and are on top of all the new trends in these fields. My 9-year-old daughter sees a different orthodontist than I do. Yes, it’s weird. I really felt that Dr.Allison Mantel knew the best way to fix my teeth and I never got a second opinion. Originally there wasn’t much of an estimate as to how long I would need braces. I opted for the clear ones which are made of glass. I also had clear rubber bands the entire time– I was never brave enough to get pink or blue or any other color. The time frame estimate in my chart said 18-months and in my head I gave myself 12-months. Honestly, there was really no way to tell in the beginning how long it would take.

Dr. Mantel did outfit me with AcceleDent, a Vibratory Orthodontic Device clinically proven to speed up orthodontic treatment and reduce discomfort by up to 71%. Yes, I do believe it worked (not with discomfort)!! I followed all the instructions and my braces were off in about 10 months. [happy dance]

I won’t sugar coat my experience. It was painful on so many levels. My teeth moved extremely fast and I cried HUGE tears leaving that office for the first month– and this was just from changing rubber bands and wires. I felt like a baby with all the tears and need for a soft diet (mostly vanilla malts and wine). There were a few times I swore at the poor assistant working on my mouth. It was not a pretty experience but it’s what I had to go through. I still struggled with looking at myself in the mirror and hating what I saw. I had food in my teeth all the time and struggled with eating in public. Ten months went fast but when I look back, it went pretty slow some times.

Should you do it?

I can’t answer this question for you but I can offer up my raw truth. It truly depends on how bad you want a perfect smile. What would having that smile meant to you? Do you have jaw problems like me? Will not getting braces cause a much larger problem in the future for you? That’s the boat I was in. I knew that future damage would be far worse than anything I would go through for one year of my life.

I had braces, you want Invisalign? Yep, that works on most accounts too. For me it wasn’t an option. I needed my back teeth moved in a direction that Invisalign wouldn’t have been able to correct. Right now I have two clear retainers that I need to wear 24/7 for 6 months (unless I’m eating, etc). This is basically what Invisalign is and I’m not sure this is any better. Taking them in and out to eat all the time– it’s a tight fit and messy! You can still see them on my teeth and the process can take longer. It’s also super important to wear them 24/7 or else it doesn’t work as fast.

So I think if you need or want to have adult braces, do it the real way. The community was always my cheerleader. People would say the kindest things ever to me! It really gave me a newfound sense of strength and confidence. In some situations I had to put on a full metal-mouth smile and grin like I owned the world. I was uncomfortable and scared but I did it anyways.

It’s Finally Over

I have a splint to wear while I sleep to keep my teeth straight and to help with the clenching. I’ve also thought about going back to physical therapy to make sure that I’m strengthening my jaw muscles and moving in a forward direction with that issue. It was a crazy ride this past year but I did it.

If you decide to have adult braces— you can do it!

 

 

Timeless Mother’s Day Gifts

This year Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 13. It’s a popular U.S. holiday where we celebrate honoring the mother of the family, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society. It’s a day to celebrate everything moms do! Traditionally gifts are given. Gifts on this type of occasion are most often thoughtful and come from the heart. Little kids tend to make something for their mother.

Even though handmade gifts are common, it’s nice to surprise mom with something fun– a splurge item she may not get herself. Here are my top-five timeless gifts for mom. No matter how old she is, chances are she’ll definitely appreciate it. My most favorite thing that isn’t listed on here is the amazing spa experience. Give her the gift of a relaxing day or morning. Last week I booked my mom a 1-hour facial and brow wax for her birthday. She LOVED it so much!! It’s not something she ever does for herself and was so happy to be pampered for an hour.

Timeless Gifts

  1. Rodan + Fields Spring Renewal Gift Set. This limited-edition gift set compliments every skin type. The natural skin renewal process slows as we age, but ingredients like Peptides and Vitamin A are clinically tested to have a significant impact on the visible signs of aging. This has everything she needs to feel refreshed and revitalized for the new season. It includes Intensive Renewing Serum, Lip Serum, and Eye Cream. Contact me for more questions.
  2. Succulents. They are all the rave right now! These faux potted succulents are from Crate & Barrel but you can find realistic ones in a lot of great places. Your local garden store will even have chic pots and real plants in a multitude of sizes. Succulents are easy to care for and require very little water. It’s a good way to add some life to any room.
  3. Tea Towels. Even if your mom isn’t a chef in the kitchen, having some fun towels (especially for when guests come over) in the kitchen is a welcome gift. It’s nothing you ever buy for yourself. This one is from Anthropologie and there are lots of beautiful and unique prints to choose from! A well curated grocery market has tea towels (Sendik’s does to locals here) and I’ve also seen them at some home dec boutiques. They wash well, soak up lots of water, and are just fun to have in the kitchen.
  4. Henri Bendel Cosmetic Case. I love everything from Henri Bendel, his style is timeless. These legendary brown stripes have been around since 1907. Women hardly ever buy themselves a new makeup case yet we all use one in some form or another. This is a printed leather and features a silk lining. It’s impeccably made and oh so chic.
  5. Organic Cotton Pajamas. These are my all-time favorite pajamas from Garnet Hill! They come in four styles: cropped pants, shorts with sleeveless top, nightgown, and full-length pants and top. Both my mother and mother-in-law have received a set from me as a gift. The prints are fun and feature an Asian-wrap style. Sizing is true-to-size (I am a medium 8-10). With four different styles to choose from, she’ll surely love this gift. Again, beautiful, new pajamas aren’t something you would normally buy for yourself but something you love to receive!

No matter how you celebrate Mother’s Day make sure you acknowledge a special woman in your life. Mothers work so hard on multiple levels. It’s nice to take at least one day and really treat her with love and gratitude. I hope this guide points you in the right direction!

Le Tote, is it worth it?

There are many different clothing subscriptions out there. It’s no secret that retail stores are dying and the online industry is booming. Not only are women shopping online more but with clothing rentals and the chance to try-before-you-buy, shopping online has never been easier. It’s literally commitment free.

This week I tested out Le Tote, an online clothing rental with option to purchase. Here are the basics.

  • No commitments or contracts, cancel any time
  • Choose from three monthly plans ranging from $59-$75/month for 3 clothing items + 2 accessories up to 4 clothing items per box
  • Free priority shipping both ways
  • Wear everything for as long or as little as you want, just mail back when you are done and the next Tote ships out
  • There is the option to purchase anything you love at a discount by holding on to it
  • You can choose the items that are mailed out, unlike some services that just send you a mystery box

By browsing through tops, coats, pants, athletic wear, and accessories you are able to create your own “closet” which stores your favorites. A simple survey of measurements when you join gives you a good idea about what size you’ll be in the clothing. Each clothing item also gives you a few really nice photos of a model in that item and her measurements and height. It’s a good reference for you to look at.

IMG_7645Here is a photo of my closet that I’ve created. I’m not much of an accessory girl so I wish there was a cheaper option of not having accessories.

As you add to your closet, it’s best to rate your pieces and help Le Tote truly learn your style. The more you rate and favorite, the better your next tote will be. That’s personal style at it’s easiest.

IMG_1073.jpgIs Le Tote Worth It?

If you want to be on the edge of style and don’t want to purchase a new wardrobe every season then it’s definitely worth it. I also see the value in women that need to wear nice clothes to their job each day. Dressing up for work can be a hassle– and expensive. By renting clothes each month, you can save a ton. With a promo code I found, I paid $50 for two totes this month, each containing 3 clothing items + 2 accessories. That’s a lot of variety for $50.

Out of the three tops, I wore only two of them. The red stripes didn’t seem to flatter my body type. I also think the blue blouse was not my color. As tempting as it is to just keep everything in the box, I sent it all back except for the scarf. The color and print of it just fit my style. I love it! At this point, I realize I paid $50 for some clothes I never wore. Not sure if that is worth it or not. If you are seriously going to wear all the things in the Tote it could be worth the money each month. Other subscription services are free unless you decide to buy something. I see the pros and the cons to Le Tote.

But alas, I work from home and in the heart of the Midwest. I care about what I wear but not to the point that I need to be wearing the top fashions each week. Let’s be realistic here, I live in jeans and some days I go without seeing another adult except for in the pick up line at school.

 

Style notes: The Kenneth Cole earrings were beautiful but being worn before, the clasp didn’t work great. I sent them back for this reason. Overall, the sizing was good. I got a medium in all three shirts and I’d say they were appropriate. I could have sized up in the SMILE sweater– which I wore and it bought me good luck all day! Today I scheduled a day to get my braces off. The stripes were not flattering on me. And if the blue blouse was in my closet, I’m not sure I’d ever reach for it first.

I’m due one more Tote with my subscription and after that, I think I’ll be canceling (or at least on hold) my membership per my thoughts above.

Good luck with your Tote! Want a free one? Try this link! https://letote.com/freetote/ERIKA1821

Favorite Spring Finds 2018

I can’t help it. I’m always on the search for fun, new things! I’ve came across some really great products and I think they will be perfect for you for spring. Here in Wisconsin we come crawling out of winter looking for anything that can brighten up our days. Here they are in no particular order and the reason why I love that product.

 

favorite spring

  1. Gimmie Brow by Benefit Cosmetics. This is a tinted eyebrow gel that contains tiny microfibers which adhere to skin & hairs. It instantly gives my brows the full and natural look (even though they are not microbladed). I use it almost every day. It doesn’t smear and washes off easily with my makeup cloths at night.
  2. Joico Color Butter. I’ve used the pink/rose color and it’s completely non-committal! Very easy to apply with gloves on either wet or dry hair. My locks came out a very soft rose color. I’m so pleased and know that it will wash out in a week or so. There are lots of colors to choose from and the directions are easy to follow. I even experimented on my young girls.
  3. Rothy’s ballet flats. These run true-to-size as I’ve ordered a 10.5 (which rocks because they even HAVE a half size). I need a comfortable ballet flat for traveling later this year and leather tends to make my feet sweat. These are made from a woven material which comes from recycled water bottles. The shoes are recyclable and can even be washed. I’m really impressed with how comfortable they are. I know my feet will be happy traveling for three weeks with them on.
  4. Self-Made Stella & Dot tee. I love Stella & Dot jewelry and but this shirt goes to a whole new level. I am self-made, my mother is self-made, and I sure hope that one of my girls are self-made someday. This shirt has gold foil and speaks to the empowerment of women.
  5. Lola 100% organic cotton feminine hygiene products. I’ve read so much about the toxins in feminine products and I started to worry what the future would look like for my girls. I know lots of women with cancer these days (unrelated to feminine products) but it really made me think about what I’m putting inside my body and what my young girls may be putting inside theirs. Lola products have no toxins, dyes, or synthetic stuff. It’s just organic cotton. Bonus: The company also donates feminine care products to low-income women and girls across the U.S.
  6. Lash Boost Enhancement Serum. Ok, this may seem a little weird, talking about organic fem products and then throwing in lash enhancement serum— but these are YOUR lashes! No extensions or fillers. Just natural longer, darker, and fuller-looking lashes and eye brows. In weeks, you’ll be wondering if you need mascara at all.

I could go on and on but these are really top in my books for now. Stay tuned for more coming at you. I’d love to hear what you favorite (even splurge) products are right now.

Rose hair
Joico Color Butter in Rose — Day 4 streaks