Much Love Monday: The One Piece

In light of my pending trip to the beach {My parents recently bought a house in Hilton Head and I am heading way over to the right side of the country for a visit next week} I have been thinking about swimwear.

I am really liking one pieces lately.  They have such a modest and vintage vibe to them that I love.

I also love that today is August 1st - happy new month!

Did you know that there are 31 days in July? I sure didn't.  

I know there is some trick in which you use your knuckles to tell you what months have 30 days and which have 31, but I never bothered to learn it.  I rely solely on calendars.   And for some reason I ignored the fact that my calendar said 31 and all day in my head it was August 1st. Go figure.

What do you love this Monday?

Photogenic Finn

I know I have said this before {and I know that I am biased} but I have never seen a more photogenic dog than my two year old puppy, Finn.

It is as if he was born to be my dog model.  

I wish he wasn't also born to be the most anxious dog that requires $90 per bottle meds.  Oh well, we can't all have amazing looks and temperament.     

Sweet Finny


{Image via here}

July was kind of a blah month for me.  Not personally, just business-wise.

Since this is my first year running this biz-ness full time, I don't know what is a "normal" slow month.  I kind of wish there were no slow months but that doesn't really seem possible.

Here are a few thing that make me happy today:

-Monday is a new month!  Bring it on August.

-I discovered Google Chrome this week.  Who knew Internet Explorer was the slowest browser in the internet universe?  I sure didn't.  I didn't realize that which browser I used even mattered. 

For the past few months I have seen the little Google Chrome icon on my desktop and ignored it.  Well, two days ago I clicked on it and my life is forever changed.  Web pages load immediately - shut the front door.   I am able to get so much more done in such a small amount of time.  God bless you, Google.

-My new blog design, done by Dana at The Wonder Forest, is pretty fantastic.  I feel like a grown up blogger nowadays.

-Next week this time I will be landing in Ohio for the weekend for a friend's 30th birthday.  Then it is on to Hilton Head to see my parents' new house and my new baby nephew.  Super excited.

-My husband is heading to Ireland next week without me, which makes me sad.  But, I get to do the above and hopefully he will bring me back some Lily O'Brien Chocolates {they are too.die.for.}.

-I have an exciting blogg-ey collaboration in the works and guest posts coming up in once again yay for the new month on Monday.

What's making you happy today?

Have a happy happy weekend friends!

Summer of Giveaways - Something for your baby

Yesterday Gordita was such a brat - barking at every freaking thing imaginable, that I considered giving her away today.

Can you imagine?  Leave a comment and you might win one fat little mutt!

But then I saw her laying on the kitchen floor and I changed my mind....

Could she be any cuter?

In honor of our kids {human or furry} that can be so cute, yet at times so irritating I am giving away your choice of prizes: a $25 gift certificate to either Tea Collection or Muttropolis.  

Tea Collection is hands down the cutest children's clothing store ever.  I have bought their clothes for my niece in the past and they make her look even cuter...which I didn't think was possible!

If you have a baby or a baby in your life, check out their site - the clothes are affordable and well-made and their customer service is excellent.

And, Muttropolis pretty much has the cutest pet toys and accessories around {the water proof Dublin Dog collars are my fave - both of my dogs wear one}.

To enter, you just need to follow this blog and tell me which you would pick - the Tea Collection or the Muttropolis gift certificate.  If you don't have any babies or pets, still enter - these would both make great gifts!

Extra Entries {Please leave a separate comment for each entry}:
-Tweet this giveaway {include me, @AcuteDesigns, in the tweet}
-Facebook this giveaway
-Follow my food blog, Taste


My Favorite Things Winner!

Congrats to Lisset!

{email me for details}

Wanna Sponsor?

I am officially opening this blog up for sponsorship.

I have three sizes available: Large, Medium, and Small.  

Rates are super affordable and formulated with small businesses in mind.

If you wish to see rates or further info, please check out the options in my online shop here.  I have created three simple listings so that you can order online via my online shop.

Acute Designs is growing on a weekly basis.  In August I have a few more Summer of Giveaways planned - including my biggest giveaway to date at the end of August.

I also have a few more guest posts planned and the release of my first e-book - all which will drive more traffic here, which in turn will help my sponsors.

Feel free to email me with any questions and check out further details in my online shop.

Finn all over my face

I have been seeing a lot of Warby Parker lately.  I first heard about this company a few weeks ago...and then I started hearing about them all the time.  It's funny how that happens.

Warby Parker is a prescription glasses company with retro inspired frames. For each pair sold, they donate a pair of glasses to a needy child {a la Toms}.

The last time I bought new glasses was about 400 years ago - and they were $150 and they are ugly.  So, imagine my surprise when I read that all Warby Parker glasses are only $95. Seriously.

And another cool thing - they let you do a free home trial of five pairs.  Just order the frames, try them on, and send them back {they provide a shipping label}.  

It is like dress up for your face.

I picked my frames last week, received them the other day, and tried them on this morning.

The simple fact that my puppy's name is Finn is the only reason I included the Finn pair in my home trial.  Well, lo and behold, they are my favorite.  My second favorite is the Webb.

Which is your favorite?

Do You Pinterest?

I am sure you all do - and if you don't, you should start.

It is so addicting!

A month or so ago, I was sent an invite, so I joined and did nothing else.  I continued to use my old-fashioned technique of bookmarking links I loved or saving them in Word Documents.  Yeah, I do that.

When I finally took a minute to look around Pinterest, I was thrilled to realize that it is a glorified bookmark site - so fun!

If you see something you love online or something you want to save for later - just pin it to one of your boards.  You can also browse other people's boards and re-pin what they have pinned.

Believe me, you can easily get sucked in and spend hours pinning.

My fullest board so far is my diy board.  On this board I collect inspiration for fun how-to's.

If you are on Pinterest, follow my boards....if not and you want an invitation, let me know and I will email you one.

Weekend Wear: Baggy Jeans

When I bought these jeans they were tight - not too tight, just on purpose tight.  Well, they slowly became too tight.  Right before my husband and I started our new eating plan, these jeans would not fit.  Now, they are baggy.

It has officially been three months since I created and put my Level 1-10 Eating Plan into action and I have nearly reached my goal.  I am proud of myself and of my husband.  In all honesty, I didn't think we would follow through - eating and drinking is just so much fun...who wants to cut any of it out?!

Anyways, we cut a little here and there and feel fantastic.  We have not killed ourselves, which is why I think it worked and continues to work.

Weekends are for "cheat eating" so we went out to a little burger restaurant in our neighborhood and I wore my now baggy jeans....and ate way too much!

Before and After: Patio

Last week, I shared the before photo of my desperate looking patio in this post.

I finally finished cleaning it up this weekend and planted a few succulents - which I hope I can keep alive!

I love the patio now and have spent a lot of time out there this past week. 

It is so much nicer and more inviting.  And, once the seeds I planted in the yellow and turquoise buckets grow {fingers crossed!}, it will be less barren.

The only thing I still want to do is make one or a few DIY lanterns or hanging lights.....I have a few ides that I am considering.

It is amazing how a little cleaning and a few plants really improved the space!

Much Love Monday - Succulents

When I decided that my patio was in dire need of a makeover, I knew that one fix was to plant a few plants.  I kill pretty much everything I plant...I am not sure why.  Too much water? Not enough water? It is all so complicated!

One thing I can keep alive is succulents.  They don't require much attention or gardening skills.  And they are on the budget friendly side of the planting world.  I bought three little plants for $2 each and put them in plastic planters I got for $1 each.

Then, I snipped a few branches from a succulent bush in my front yard and placed them in smaller plastic planters that I filled with lentils.

So cute.  I added two little yellow flower plants for a pop of color....hopefully I can keep them alive for a while.

If all stays alive, I will have a cute little succulent garden.

I hope you all have a happy Monday!

Summertime Pups

This week's photo challenge over at The Paper Mama is a photo of your child doing something summery.

My entry....the dogs taking a break from wrestling in the hot sun, which they do every day.  It is kind of crazy - I posted a video of it a few months ago - click here to see them in action!

I hope you are enjoying your weekend!

Summer of Giveaways: A Few of My Favorite Things

I am going to pretend that I am Oprah today and give away a few of my favorite things. 

You guys will have to pretend as cashmere sweaters, tvs, or ipads....just a few of my favorite little things {and a little story about each one}.

When I was in high school, my parents took us to London.  At the time my dad was travelling a lot for his job and was a super duper Delta member.  So, this meant Business Class for all.  If you have never flown Business or First Class on an international flight, you have not lived.  They treat you SO well - non-stop food and drinks and, you get a little pack of toiletries.  At the time, Delta was using L'Occitane en Provence products and this is where I discovered their hand cream.  It is amazing. Hands down amazing.

I don't even know if this needs a story, so I will just say obviously because this is the best stuff ever.

Arbonne Exfoliating Masque with Thermal Fusion

About 6 years ago, I was invited to one of those parties where someone is selling stuff.  This particular party was for a beauty products company called Arbonne.  I drank too much wine and ended up buying way too much {this is how they get you!}.  One thing I bought was this face mask.  I have since bought it again and again.  I think they put crack in it and I don't care.  It will make your face softer and fresher than it has ever been before.

I introduced these super tiny rosebud earrings a few weeks ago and love them.  You will get a pair in the color of your choice.

Three ways to enter:

Please be a follower of this blog and leave a comment telling me what your favorite product is - the one thing you cannot live without!

Additional entries:
Post this giveaway on Twitter {include @AcuteDesigns in the tweet} or Facebook about this giveaway.

Please leave a separate comment for each entry.


Read, Write, and Decorate Giveaway Winner

And the winner of last week's giveaway is....

Congrats Monica!  Thanks for entering - email me for details!

I will be back this afternoon with an edition of "my favorite things" giveaway - think Oprah, just less rich.

Paper Doll Project: The Blues

Today is The Paper Doll Project day! 

The Paper Doll Project is a fantastic concept where one blogger gets paired up with another blogger {I was paired with Kenzi of The.Cardigan.Queen} and they style a piece from each other's wardrobe.

The fun thing about this that it can create a whole new perspective on an item that you have either no idea how to wear or have been wearing the same way for months.

In my case - I have worn this blue skirt a lot and always the same way - with black.  Kenzi suggested wearing a blue top and accessories for contrasting shades of blue.

Definitely not something I would have ever tried, but I love it! 

Check out more Paper Doll outfits and pairings here.

Paper Doll Project

Hair Tutorial - Side Braid

Last week in my EveryBody EveryWear: Yellow outfit I wore my hair in a side braid.  Several of you asked about my hair {ok, like three people asked, but several sounds much better}.

Soooo, here is a little back story - I was out to dinner the night before and our waitress wore her hair in a super cute side braid.  But it looked different.  Not like you average side braid.

I asked her what she did and she turned around and showed me that she pinned her hair half up and then braided the rest over her shoulder.  Genius!

I have been attempting a side braid since 'nam, but hair from the other side of my head would always fall out.  By pinning it up first, that hair was a little in control and I could side-braid away.

Enough babbling - here it is in pictures:

{Note - it is summer and kind of warm so my hair is a wee bit on the frizzy side.  And please excuse my lack of makeup - some days I just can't be bothered to get all done are lucky I changed out of my sweaty tank top for these photos.}

{Double Note - I just realized that I asked my waitress to touch her hair.  Sick.  Now that is the only memory I will have of that restaurant.}

Gather a little of you hair in a half-up do. 

Use some bobby pins to pin it in place.  My hair is thick, so I need about 6-8 bobby pins to keep it secure.

If you want the pins to blend into your hair...don't use ones that are the opposite of your hair color like the black ones I used. I also used a few Acute Designs Hairpins to dress the look up.

Pull your hair over one shoulder.

Braid - I start mine off a little tight because it will inevitably fall a bit.

A view from the back.

Easy summer hair - I love it!

Weekend Wear: The $15 Outfit

Almost all my outfit posts contain some item that I got on the super-sale-super-cheap.  I am proud of my bargain hunting.  What I am not proud of is the one thousand things I have bought because they are "Only $3!"

Sometimes when something is SO cheap, I feel like I cannot go wrong - even if I never wear it, it won't matter.  But it probably does.

When I add up the thousand things I have bought for under $5 and never worn, I am left with a lot of wasted money.  I could have bought five super expensive things that I love and wear all the time.

Do you know what I mean?

My newest shopping motto is: "Don't buy anything on sale you wouldn't buy at full price."

So far, I have done pretty well.  And, I have so many less clothes in my closet.  I no longer buy just for the deal.  It takes a lot of self control and I have slipped up here and there but it is all a learning process.

Case in point: this Lauren Conrad for Kohl's skirt that I found for $2.  I have worn it so many times.  

Other elements of this outfit: a $7 TJ Maxx tank and my favorite Old Navy sandals, which cost me $6.  So, if you do a little math that is $15. 

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