Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Kansas Day

I've lived in Texas for almost nine years now, and I was ecstatic when Ryan moved to Dallas in March of last year. We both truly love living in Texas. BUT...Kansas will always be "home."

Kansas Day

There's one thing I learned in primary school that I'll never forget: January 29 = Kansas Day. {Kansas became the 34th state to enter the Union on January 29, 1861.} So...Happy Birthday to my fabulous home state...153 years strong!

Kansas Day

Not a month goes by that I don't hear some line from The Wizard of Oz.  I truly believe Texans really think they are creative/unique/funny when they say, "You're not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy!" or ask me, "Where's Toto?" It used to make me C.R.A.Z.Y. when I'd get these comments day-in and day-out, but I've gotten used to it over time and have learned to just laugh along with the conversation.  However, there is one line from The Wizard of Oz  that does indeed ring true for me:
"There's no place like home!"

Wizard of Oz, Dorothy, No place like home,

So, on this day when kids across Kansas are learning about sunflowers {state flower}, meadowlarks {state bird}, buffalo {state animal}, box turtles {state reptile}, salamanders {state amphibian}, honeybees {state insect} and cottonwoods {state tree} while singing "Home on the Range" {state song}, I am reminded just how lucky I am to have grown up in Medicine Lodge, Kansas.

Meadowlark, sunflowers, box turtle, salamander, buffalo, honeybee, cottonwood

Gateway to the Gyp Hills, Welcome Sign

My beloved Jayhawks are hosting Iowa State tonight in Allen Fieldhouse...and I think a Jayhawk win would be a fabulous way to celebrate Kansas Day!  

KU, University of Kansas, Jayhawk, Rock Chalk Jayhawk

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Leslie Loves...{1.04}

The blog reached a milestone last week, friends!  I received my very first "reader request." {So what if it was from my mom who pretty much has an obligation to love my still counts, right?}  Anyway, I've gotta admit, I was pretty excited when I got an email with "Blog Lady" in the subject line asking if I had any recommendations for "lipstick that stays on more than five minutes but isn't sticky."  Well, as a matter of fact, I do...along with another "love" that I want to share with you too.

Without further ado...


MAKE UP FOR EVER's Aqua Rouge 

Long-lasting lip color that doesn't dry out your lips? Non-existent, you say? I disagree. MAKE UP FOR EVER's Aqua Rouge truly stays on for hours and hours (see proof below). I have not had a problem with it drying out my lips, but some of the reviews indicate this could be an issue if you layer it on too thick. {Well, duh.} It's also going to crack and flake off {G-ross!} if you apply too many layers. The color is very vibrant, so you don't need to cake it on your lips, I promise. For the best results, apply a single (thin) layer to your lips and let it completely dry before adding the clear gloss to make it shiny. You can skip the clear gloss if you prefer the matte look...the color still lasts "forever."

The photos below are proof that this is "lipstick that stays on more than five minutes." {you're welcome, Mom!}

7:30 AM
10:00 AM
The shiny gloss has faded, but the color is still going strong!
12:30: after eating lunch, before re-applying clear gloss
The color has faded a bit on my bottom lip, but the top lip still looks fresh
Seriously...can you believe it's still there AFTER eating/drinking/napkin-ing?!!?
12:30: after re-applying clear gloss
The clear gloss worked some magic to even-out the color 
I guess I lost interest after lunch because I have no more photos to share with you...sorry! Because I believe in full disclosure, I will tell you that the color seems to fade a bit unevenly toward the end of the day.  The clear gloss works well to even-out the color.  If you don't re-apply the clear gloss, it might look like your lip liner is darker than your overall color {at the end of the day...I'm talking after MULTIPLE hours}. It definitely doesn't come off in chunks, so your lips aren't left to look like you applied lipstick in an animal-print pattern.  

Oh, and one last note, the color in my photos above is 9 Burgandy. 

Mpix Online Photography Lab

Mpix is a division of the largest professional photography lab in the U.S. {i.e. you can get professional quality prints and other photo products without having a professional photography Tax ID number}.  Oh, and did I mention their prices are phenomenal?!!?

online photography lab, professional quality photos, photo products

I first found out about Mpix when I asked a friend where she had her {photo} Christmas ornaments made.  She told me she had learned of Mpix from her friend who is a professional photographer. Because apparently I need multiple sources of approval/reassurance, I asked Kiley if she'd heard of Mpix.  Her response {via text, of course}:

Yes. It's the consumer side of the professional lab I use for my studio. I recommend it to all my clients who purchase digital rights of their photos.
We purchased the digital rights to all the photos from The.Best.Day (taken by the amazing McGowan Images), so I decided to give Mpix a try in printing a few wedding photos we were planning to give as Christmas gifts.  I could not have been more pleased with the quality of the photos, the quick turnaround and the great customer service.  

My order included 4x6 prints and 5x7 prints.  If you select a photo size that your image isn't formatted to, a screen pops up to help you crop the image to the correct size and shows you a preview of how the image will print.  Not only that, but a photo professional at the lab hand-checks every single print for quality before your order is shipped {you'll see that they sign off on a quality check on your shipping receipt}.

Two more things:
  • Once you upload your photos to your account, you can "Share" albums with friends/family so they can order too.
  • Mpix is located in Pittsburg, Kansas!
    • For my Kansas friends: yay for supporting a local company!
    • For all friends outside of Kansas: yay for no sales tax on your order!
Let's summarize: fabulous quality photos at affordable prices. You cannot go wrong here! And....the generous people at Mpix are offering my blog readers free USPS shipping {$7.95 savings}.  Just enter promo code USPS22814.  This is a one-time use code and is good through February 28, 2014.

Mpix promo code, Mpix coupon code, Mpix discount code, Mpix free shipping code

As always, please leave me a comment if you have an opinion on anything included in any of the "Leslie Loves..." posts.  I love to hear from you!  It makes the time and effort I put into these posts {which Ryan says is a lot!} totally worth it.  Yes, I'll admit it...I'm totally vain and thrive on your flattering THANK YOU for letting me know that you actually read my blog and enjoy it! {I also welcome constructive criticism...although on a somewhat-limited basis!}

I'm traveling for work the rest of this week, but hopefully I'll be able to get another "Leslie Loves..." post put together to make up for slacking last week {blame it on our mini-vaca to Colorado; pics coming soon!}

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Wedding Traditions

I'm still a newlywed for....oh, another nine months at least {newlywed status lasts a full year, right?}, so I hope you can understand that I'm still so incredibly excited about The.Best.Day and how it truly went off without a hitch!  Today I'll share with you a few of the common wedding traditions we included in our special day.

Photo credit goes to McGowan Images...truly exceptional photographers!

Something Old

I wore my Granddad Lukens' cowboy boots.  He passed away in 2010, so it meant so much to me to have a part of him with me on my wedding day.

Granddad's Cowboy Boots, Wedding Tradition

Granddad's Cowboy Boots, Wedding Tradition

Something New

My wedding dress...

Wedding Tradition, OW Ranch Wedding, Wedding Dress

Wedding Tradition, Wedding Dress

Wedding Dress, Wedding Tradition

Something Borrowed

I borrowed an heirloom pin from my Grandma Mills.  It's a tradition for all of the women in the family to wear this pin on her wedding day.  My sister-in-law, Kelli, was the last to wear it, so it made it even more meaningful when she pinned it inside my dress.

Something borrowed, heirloom pin

Heirloom pin, Wedding Tradition

Wedding Tradition, Heirloom pin

Something Blue

Of course my "something blue" had to be tied to the Jayhawks!  

Jayhawk socks, Jayhawk garter, wedding tradition

We included a section in the program so our guests would know how we tied in the wedding traditions.

Wedding Traditions, Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue

I also had a sixpence in my shoe {from my grandma!} and three lucky pennies {from the year I was born, from the year Ryan was born, and the year we were married}.  After the photo opp, I taped these inside my boot so they wouldn't get lost. 

Sixpence in a shoe, lucky pennies

We did a lot to make our wedding unique to us as a couple, and looking back at the photos and watching the video, I am sooooo glad we did that.  However, I'm equally glad that we included a few of the customary wedding traditions as well.
OW Ranch Wedding, Wedding Kiss
First Look, OW Ranch WeddingOW Ranch Wedding

November 2, 2013...The.Best.Day

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Rock Chalk: Kansas Beats Baylor

A tinge of anxiety hits me every time my beloved Jayhawks play the Baylor Bears.  Not because I think Baylor is going to beat KU...definitely not the case...but because my mind flashes back to four years ago when I lost a bet associated with this game.  {Don't worry, my Jayhawks won the game...they just didn't quite cover the spread.}

A couple of guys I worked with at Moody's are Baylor alum, and they were always harassing me about my Jayhawk fanaticism (ROCK CHALK!).  They wanted to bet on the KU/Baylor game, but they didn't believe in their team quite like I believe in a win/lose bet was out of the question. Thus, I {somewhat hesitantly} bet that Kansas would not only win, but also cover the spread.  I'm not so great with bets when spreads are involved because, to me, a win is a win, right?!!? Wrong.  I think the spread for that particular game was 7. KU won by 6.  My Jayhawks won, but I still lost.

The deal: if I lost the bet I had to wear the exact same outfit to work two days in a row. This was a BIG DEAL for a girl who tries to not wear the same outfit twice in one season. I've definitely gotta give them credit for creativity in coming up with the betting stakes.  I followed through and paid my debt, thinking it wouldn't be that big of a deal for our small Dallas office to see me in the same attire two days in a row. Oh, but news travels fast! I'm pretty certain everyone in public finance at Moody's--from San Francisco to New York--knew of the bet I lost and the fashion consequences I suffered.  

All in good fun.  And it was fun(ny)!  {I can say that now...four years later!}

Anyway, knowing all that, I'm sure you can understand why the match-up between KU and Baylor tends to induce a bit of panic for me.  My Jayhawks came through last night with a big win over the Baylor Bears....ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK!  A few pics from the game below...

All photo credit goes to

Embiid, KU basketball, Jayhawk Basketball
Embiid doesn't like those neon yellow uniforms in his space!

Wayne Seldon, Jayhawk basketball
Fans react as Wayne Seldon dives into the crowd to save the ball...
This play made SportsCenter's Top 10 plays,
and one commentator noted it could be the Play of the Year!

Perry Ellis, dunk, Jayhawk basketball
Perry Ellis can fly!
Andrew Wiggins, Bill Self, NCAA Basketball, Jayhawk Basketball
Coach Self having a little chat with Andrew Wiggins.

Perry Ellis, Wayne Seldon, Jayhawk basketball, chest bump
Perry Ellis and Wayne Seldon with a little celebratory chest bump.

If you haven't seen the 26 Billion Pixel Interactive Photo of the crowd showcasing the "I am Crimson. I am Blue. We are Phog." scene from Saturday's game against Oklahoma State, click here to see it now. It's pretty cool to see the fans in color blocks of crimson and blue...and to be able to zoom in to see faces all the way at the top! Gotta love Allen Fieldhouse!

Monday, January 20, 2014


We spent a fabulous week in Aruba for our honeymoon. Absolutely wonderful. Beautiful weather, gorgeous scenery...pretty much perfection.  Here are a few of our favorite pics from the trip:

First morning at the pool....after our mimosa brunch!
Dinner at a Japanese steakhouse
View from our balcony....GORGEOUS!
After our seafood lunch...with lots of fresh oysters!
I think I'm just posting this pic bc I like this dress!  :)
My handsome hubby...and his "mini" Heineken
Italian dinner
Sunrise boat ride
Ryan's fishing adventure was a success!
Rock Chalk from Aruba!  Jayhawks are everywhere!
Our beachfront dinner...right on the water.
Actually IN the water!  So fun!
Flying Bonefish...our favorite restaurant in Aruba

The honeymoon was absolutely perfect...very relaxing and romantic.  We truly had a great time.  Vacations are awesome, but it's always nice to come home...

My new husband carrying me over the threshold!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Leslie Loves...{1.03}

I hope you'll love this week's obsessions as much as I do.  Please keep the comments and feedback coming.  I love love love hearing from you.  It definitely motivates me to tell you more about the products that I've given "can't live without" status to.

Enjoy...{And definitely let me know if you decide to try, or currently use, something I post about.  I want to know what YOU think of it!}

The perfect solution for those nights when you don't want to can't drink an entire bottle of bubbly. This cute little single-glass serving is the same Sofia Blanc de Blancs sparking wine that comes in a bottle. I wouldn't even know where to begin to describe the taste, so I consulted the website and found the following:
Fruity and refreshing, Sofia Blanc de Blancs is a rare blend of Pinot Blanc, Muscat, and Riesling. Mellow flavors of apples and pears are topped by a hint of citrus and honeysuckle. Elegant in character, this wine is lightly textured and vibrant through the finish.
I'll admit that I tend to be a little picky, so I was a bit shocked when I actually liked this. {note: my initial assumption that canned champagne is equivalent to boxed wine couldn't have been more inaccurate.} It might not be the absolute best champagne I've ever had {once}, but it is pretty great! And what about the fabulous packaging?!!?  I mean, who wouldn't L.O.V.E. that sparkly pink octagon box? Each pretty little box contains four pretty little cans, each with its own bendy straw. I usually pour the bubbly into a glass rather than drinking it from the can, but the cute little straw made me realize how perfect these minis would be for the pool or lake on a hot summer day!

champagne in a can = juice box for adults

Sofia Coppola sipping on her namesake cocktail.
I'm almost 100% certain everyone would look this fabulous sippin' on a Sofia mini by the pool!

I've gotta give props to Kiley Clagg for accidentally introducing me to this little obsession.  She was ultimately annoyed when the store only had the mini cans of Sofia in stock (rather than the full-size bottle), but she hesitantly bought the cans anyway. Thank goodness...everything happens for a reason, right?!!? And Arnold Beam, I swear this product was made just for you!  A cute little pink can of bubbly...with a straw!  If it only came topped with a bow....

P.S. When I was searching for a photo for this post, I came across a Neiman Marcus fashion trend party that served the "chic drink of the moment" {the Sofia canned champagne} March 2011! Soooo...I guess I'm a little late to this party, but it's still a fabulously fun (and tasty) cocktail choice!  I hope you enjoy!

The {Ultimate} Jewelry Travel Case

Never again will you have to sort through a tangled mess of jewelry!

Anyone who has jewelry will love this.  Those of you who have jewelry and travel frequently?  Well, you should probably go ahead and start composing the thank you note/email you're going to send to me after you've ordered and received this gem. :) You're going to wonder how you ever survived (and accessorized) on the road without it.  I'm serious.  Order!

My A-MAZing mom gifted this jewelry book to me when I was telecommuting from Kansas part-time...constantly living out of a suitcase whether I was in Dallas or Kansas.  I think she got tired of hearing me whine that the jewelry/accessories I needed were always at the other location...or maybe it broke her heart to see my priceless family jewelry thrown in a box and tangled up with the $25 costume jewelry of the moment.  Either way, this gift was pure brilliance on her part.  THANK YOU, MOM!

The book initially comes with three pages (jewelry storage on both sides) that snap in and out of the base book.

You can also purchase additional pages, including the insert for pierced earrings
(so you don't bend the posts) 

If you travel at least once per month, take my advice on this one.  I promise you won't regret it.

UPDATE: The jewelry book is completely sold out at the links above, but it is available here.  If you're not already a Gilt member, click here to join in order to purchase the jewelry book.

Bath and Body Works 3-Wick Candles

I love candles.  Period.Dot.Done.  I can guarantee you that if I'm home {and awake}, there will be a candle burning in our house.  I'm not saying that Bath and Body Works candles are the ONLY brand of candles I buy, but I am saying these candles rank at the top of my list for a variety of reasons:
  • Strong scent.  One 3-wick candle will easily fill the entire room with its fragrance.  
  • Great seasonal selection. I love for our home to smell like the current season...because every season really does have its own scent, right? Burning a seasonal candle for the first time just puts me in the mood for that upcoming season.
  • Frequent sales.  Regular price for these candles is $20 each, but they go on sale about once a month {usually 2 for $22}.  If you miss a sale, don't worry...there will be another one soon.  
There are a couple of scents that we burn year-round at our house...

Mahogany Teakwood
A masculine scent, like men's cologne.
A very warm and inviting scent.

Eucalyptus Spearmint
Part of the Aromatherapy line.  Truly relaxing.
ALWAYS have one of these in my bathroom to accompany a bubble bath!

I can't wait for the weather to warm up a bit {mainly because I hate the cold!} because I have some great "loves" in mind to share with you for spring/summer!