June 30, 2015

My Go-To Lip Color

Filed under: Beauty — Emily Reeves @ 8:19 pm

I love a good bold lip in red or pink. I pull those strong lip colors out on a regular basis, but we all need that one go-to color that coordinates with your everyday makeup and whatever you are wearing. Mine is Chanel Rough Coco Ultra Hydrating Lip Colour in Mademoiselle. It is a neutral pink that is not too brown and not too pink. It gives me just the right amount of color to look like I tried without trying too hard. And I can put it on without a mirror because it is very forgiving.

June 29, 2015

Book Review: Leave Your Mark

Filed under: Books,Social Media — Emily Reeves @ 5:16 pm

This is a quick read, behind-the-scenes dish from the original DKNY PR GIRL on Twitter (@dkny) telling how she got her start, her secrets for success and her early leap into social media as a brand. I have enjoyed following DKNY PR GIRL for years (and been jealous of her adventures), but I never knew the story behind the handle. It was a fun read and one that I recommend to any fresh college graduate looking for a job in the communications business. From dress, to language, to attitude, Aliza Licht has advice for taking a career to the next level and embracing change along the way.

June 28, 2015

Totally About Totes

Filed under: Personal,Shopping,Style — Emily Reeves @ 9:17 am

I guess it is my type-A, super organized personality that attracts me to tote bags. It seems no matter the different styles of purses that I buy, I always gravitate back to my tote bags. In a tote bag, each item has its place, I can open it and see everything that is there and carry the things I need all the time (always be prepared!). These are my favorite tote bags.

This Longchamp Pilage bag is a good size for daily use. I use a bag insert to keep it more structured and organized.

This Everlane Petra tote is huge and great for travel or days when I need to carry all my regular needs plus work gear.

This Madewell Transport tote (I have it in brown) is more casual and its vertical orientation makes it less bulky in a crowd or when shopping.

This Tory Burch nylon tote is good when a more lightweight bag is needed. I use it to haul workout gear around.

 

June 25, 2015

Fly Me North For The Summer

Filed under: Current Events,Personal — Emily Reeves @ 4:22 pm

I think summertime is beautiful from inside my air conditioned house or car and behind my tinted windows or sunglasses. That is the only time I enjoy summer. The bright sun gives me a headache and I sweat profusely if exposed to temperatures above 75-degrees for longer than 15 seconds. I avoid sun exposure to my skin as if it were delivering the plague. I wish I were exaggerating.

The South is my home. I was born in Louisiana, raised in Louisiana, went to college in Arkansas and now live and work in Arkansas. I am no stranger to hot and humid summers. But that doesn’t make me any more tolerant of the heat.

When I get hot and start sweating, my mood degrades rapidly. I don’t want anything or anyone near me. I fret about my appearance as sweat runs down my face, back, stomach and legs. My shoes get tight. I literally can think of nothing else but how hot and uncomfortable I am.

To be perfectly clear: I hate summertime.

I would be completely happy spending my entire summer inside my house, working from my computer and accepting deliveries for all necessities, a la Sandra Bullock in The Net.

Why do so many people not understand my misery in the heat? No one really likes to be hot, but it seems everyone I know LOVES the summer for outdoor activities, water activities and long sunshiny days. I want overcast skies and cool, breezy temperatures.

Don’t get me wrong; I am not all “emo:”

“Emo has been associated with a stereotype that includes being particularly emotional, sensitive, shy, introverted, or angst-ridden.” – Wikipedia

I am a generally happy person. I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, and the summer typically provides more opportunity for these gatherings. As a result, I work hard to tolerate and be tolerable when the days are torturously hot. That means no makeup, lightweight and quick-drying clothes, and a lot of alcohol.

That's me on the golf course last summer, covered from head to toe in sun protective clothing. Note I am smiling. But for the record, I was not comfortable.

That’s me on the golf course last summer, covered from head to toe in sun protective clothing. Note I am smiling. But for the record, I was not comfortable.

I even went to Haiti in the summer of 2013. I have never been so hot in my entire life. Again, note that I am smiling despite the fact that my hair is dripping wet with sweat.

I even went to Haiti in the summer of 2013. I have never been so hot in my entire life. Again, note that I am smiling despite the fact that my hair is dripping wet with sweat.

So, there is proof that I am not a complete wretch when I am hot. But I can assure you, I am much happier in cooler temperatures. Forgive today’s rant, but 100-degrees outside today I can think of nothing but how miserably hot it is outside my air conditioned home right now.

June 23, 2015

I Am Not A Gamer, But The Music Influences My Mood

Filed under: Culture,Home,Married Life,Research,Step-Motherhood — Emily Reeves @ 8:34 pm

This morning, as I was getting ready for work, my background soundtrack was the “music” of the video game Minecraft as my eight-year-old step-daughter played before she left for day camp. It was driving me crazy; it felt like it was music that would be used for hypnotism and even felt sad. I remember playing Super Mario Brothers, Excitebike and Zelda in my youth. The music in those games seemed to go with the activity on the screen with the sound effects of motorcycles, doors sliding open, and such. Not having played a video game since circa 1988, I am understandably unfamiliar with how these games work and sound.

My curiosity was piqued and I did a little research this morning on game music. The first record of a game with music is from 1978 (the year I was born!) in the game Space Invaders in which four chords were used throughout the game, increasing in tempo as the gamer progressed further in the game. Now there are music scientists that analyze video game music and conferences for the experts to talk about techniques.

The things they research, discuss and do make total sense: they try to replicate the emotions that the game makers want to induce in the players and the express the emotion of the activity in the game. The music mimics what your body does when you feel emotions in real life: if your avatar is running, the music speeds up to mimic your heartbeat as if you were the one running.

But none of this explains the somber music of Minecraft. A little deeper digging, and I came across this article in The Guardian. From the creator of the Minecraft soundtrack, Daniel Rosenfeld:

“…I decided to work with experimental simplistic acoustic music that doesn’t actually tell you anything about the game.”

It works because the slower tracks give players permission to take their time – Minecraft is a game about making stuff, and Rosenfeld’s gentle minor key songs provide a peaceful sonic playspace.

He also wanted the music to be unobtrusive enough to be easily phased out in the player’s mind. “I almost hoped that they’d only notice it when something interesting happens in the game,” he explains. “That way the player automatically identifies the music specifically with events that they themselves created. Imagine you’re building a house and the sun starts setting, and the theme the music comes in – or you go into a cave and there is lava and there are diamonds, and then the music plays. People still come up to me and tell their story of how they did this or that and then the music came in and it was like magic to them – even though it’s completely random.”

While not a completely satisfactory explanation for the Minecraft music, it is at least an explanation. And now I know more than I did this morning.

June 22, 2015

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

Filed under: Home,In the Kitchen — Emily Reeves @ 9:16 pm

I have always loved to bake cookies. I still have the cookbooks of my childhood, those that were inscribed by my mom to her “little Martha Stewart,” and sprinkled with splattered batter, evidence of frequent use.

A Kitchen Aid mixer, it’s flour shield, a hand shifter, the perfect sized dough scoop and a grid cooling rack. These were my toys.

My mom had the perfect cookie plate: Lester Breininger Redware with “Chocolate Chip Cookies” in yellow script across the center.

About ten years ago, I was gifted the most perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe from my aunt Rosalyn. People request it. I’ve taught my step-daughter to make them; she calls the “scratch cookies.” And I’ve never tired of making them. Today, I gift the recipe to you.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

 

 

My Step-Daughter Wants a Cat, and a Bunny, and a Gerbil

Filed under: Home,Married Life,Step-Motherhood — Emily Reeves @ 8:44 pm

I am a new step-mom, only eight months into this adventure that will last a lifetime. Though I never thought I wanted children, I have fully embraced my new role as a mom figure of an eight-year-old girl. Starting July 1, Sophie will be living with us full time, whereas we’ve only spent every other weekend with her until now. And I am looking forward to finding our rhythm and routine, learning and growing together.

Since the day we told Sophie we were getting married, she asked for a cat. She is going to be a master negotiator one day. We knew we were about to start a major home remodel, so we promised once that was complete, she could have a cat. As home construction tends to go, the process has taken much longer than we originally anticipated and it looks like it will be another four months before we move into our refreshed home. Gerbils, more than I would care to acknowledge, have kept the impatience at bay. Then last month, Sophie learned how allergic I was to cats after we visited some that were available for adoption.

So now she wants a rabbit. And I think that is super sweet because she doesn’t want me to have swollen red eyes all the time. The desire for a rabbit started today. In our world of instant gratification, she wants it now, much like Violet from Charlie and the Chocolate. Without knowing a thing about caring for a rabbit, there have been pouty faces and near tears tonight as we discuss all the research and work needs to be done to prepare. “This is hard!” she says before demanding again a set date for getting a bunny.

We’ve now Googled, set a date for a rabbit “knowledge test,” scheduled time to build a pen and taught her how to use Google calendar in the process. Still not quelled, we’ve distracted with a family viewing of a Jurassic Park movie.

I’m exhausted. #thisismotherhood

March 30, 2015

My First IKEA Experience

Filed under: Shopping,Travel — Emily Reeves @ 10:30 pm

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I’m not going to lie: I was dreading the trip to IKEA. Big, overwhelming, crowded and just generally too much — this is what I was expecting. It just looks intimidating when pulling into the parking lot. Oversized and intimidating. Amy was on a mission to buy some items for her salon, Red Beauty Lounge, and I was tagging along for the adventure. Turns out, I love IKEA and will definitely be heading back there when it is time to accessorize my home.

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The fact that Amy had been there before and was on a mission to retrieve very specific items definitely helped me not get too overwhelmed.

What? They have a childcare center in the store. And a restaurant. They are definitely expecting you to stay a while.

What? They have a childcare center in the store. And a restaurant. They are definitely expecting you to stay a while.

Amy was "experienced" with the process at IKEA.

Amy was “experienced” with the process at IKEA.

Ok, now we are ready.

Ok, now we are ready. Oh, and she matches the store colors.

With her long legs, I was practically running to keep up where her speed walk through the store. As we went, she explained how the system worked. Including the arrows that direct you through the store. Never veer from the arrows, says Amy.

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We had fun along the way, and I even found a few things to include in the shopping basket.

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About 10 minutes from Little Rock, Amy realized that she forgot to buy this chair. We will just have to put it on the shopping list for our next visit.

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My stuff.

My stuff.

We made it to the checkout line with a full shopping cart and a flatbed dolly.

We made it to the checkout line with a full shopping cart and a flatbed dolly.

Rather than driving the car around to the front to load up, Amy decided to walk the massive parking lot pushing our purchases on the dolly.

Rather than driving the car around to the front to load up, Amy decided to walk the massive parking lot pushing our purchases on the dolly.

Our IKEA haul. And the massive mirror fit in the back of Amy's car. I've never seen her more excited.

Our IKEA haul. And the massive mirror fit in the back of Amy’s car. I’ve never seen her more excited.