Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Fishtail Braid Tutorial for Beginners

fishtail-braid, how-to-fishtail-braid, easy-fishtail-braid-tutorial
Here is a simple step-by-step tutorial on how to do a messy fishtail braid on yourself. I used to save braids for the beach, but lately I've had a lot of fun experimenting with different braids to mix up my typical soft curled hairstyle. 

You will need:
a few bobby pins
scissors

optional:
hair extensions (I'm wearing these c/o)


 I like to twist my "bangs" and pin them back to keep them in place during the day. I just twist a small section and pin it with a bobby pin.


 I don't typically do this step anymore, but I think if you're just starting out this step makes it easier to start the fishtail braid. Use an extra clear elastic at the top to help keep your hair together as you learn the braid. You will cut this at the end when the fishtail braid is complete. Then separate your hair into two equal sections. 


 Grab a thin piece of hair from the outside of section one, then cross it over to section two. I prefer to use smaller sections even though it will take a little bit more time. It adds more dimension and texture to the braid. 

Repeat that step by grabbing an outside piece from section two and cross it over to section one. I like to tighten the braid between each section as I go. 

You'll repeat this crossing technique until you're happy with the length of the braid. Secure the end with a clear elastic hair tie. 
Pull and separate the length of the braid until your desired messiness is achieved. Then tighten the end of the brain by dividing it into two sections and pulling them apart. This will make the ends look a little thicker. 

Carefully cut the top clear elastic, then finish with hairspray



If you have layered hair, you will need to use bobby pins to tuck in little fly aways into the braid (see how in the video below). Curls the ends of your hair if desired, but be careful to avoid touching the elastic band. I've learned from experience theses will easily break if they touch the hot tool! I also like to curl a piece in the front on the side opposite of the braid to add some balance to the look. 

I also filmed a video if you want to watch the step by step process below. If you're looking for my ruffled top, it's currently sold out. I'll keep my eyes peeled for a re-stock and if you come across one in stock definitely size up!




I'd love to see how your fishtail braid turned out! Tag me on Instagram with your finished braids (@strawberrychicxo)



Thank you for reading,
xo Amanda John 
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Monday, August 28, 2017

FULL COVERAGE MAKEUP ROUTINE

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photography_makeup_routine, strawberry chic, full coverage makeup,
photography_makeup_routine, strawberry chic, full coverage makeup, 
photography_makeup_routine, strawberry chic, full coverage makeup,

I finally sat down and filmed my full coverage makeup routine. This is my go-to routine when getting ready for blog photos, filming, or a special occasion. It takes me about 20-30 minutes give or take. Most of the products mentioned have been in my routine for Y E A R S. I definitely stick to what I like once I find a good product. 

The one thing I typically mix up in this routine is the foundation, blush color, and lip products. I do think this foundation has good coverage, but it will oxidize a little orangy on me by the end of the day. I'm still on the hunt for the perfect full coverage foundation that isn't too matte, drying, and/or cakey... if you have a good recommendation for me I'd love to hear!





I've had more and more request to add more video content to my blog so I would love to hear your thoughts on what you've seen so far. I'm definitely still learning the shooting (lighting, sound, talking... lol) and editing process, along with trying to build up the confidence it takes to film yourself. I struggle with even posting to snapchat/instagram stories... so this is definitely out of my 
C O M F O R T zone. 

Thanks for stopping by!
xo Amanda John 

Monday, July 31, 2017

EMPTY HOUSE TOUR

Hey Friends! I've been a little MIA this summer so I wanted to catch you up to where I've been... we bought a house! If you'd be interested in reading about our experience buying our first house, I'll be happy to share. Lets just say it's stressful and a world of unknowns. But for today I wanted to share this video I shot the first day we went to the house :)



I hope to venture into house updates and decor on the blog as we go. We're starting from scratch because I didn't want to buy anything in our rental in case it wouldn't work for our future home. Currently, our bed is still on the floor, the only thing in our living room is a couch and tv, and the running count for trips to Home Depot is 9 😂

Our house is turn key, but I do have some plans as far as updates I'd like to make to make it our own, maybe I'll cross them off and update them here as I go! 

Tiling the master shower and updating the vanity with paint, hardware, and new mirror
Paint Tims video game room (the green room)
Paint the navy accent wall to brighten it up for my video / blog room
Shiplap or paint the powder room, add storage
Plant things outside that make me happy (and I won't kill)
New carpet upstairs
Add some interest to the kitchen island (such as x's on the side)
New hardwood floors + add hardwoods on stairs 
Update the shelving unit in the pantry 


Thanks for reading / watching!

xo Amanda John

Thursday, July 13, 2017

NORDSTROM ANNIVERSARY SALE TOP 10

Nordstrom anniversary sale wishlist, Nordstrom anniversary sale, Nordstrom anniversary sale must haves




Here are my must have picks from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. I'll explain later because I'm running late to work... haha!

This morning I had an unplanned early wake up that lead to a little too much extra time before work to peruse the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. The next thing I knew I had 30 minutes to shower and leave so thank you for waiting it out for me to finish this post :)

My game plan for the sale was to shop online and pick up in-store, so I knew the items I wanted most were reserved for me in the store before I drove 30 minutes to my nearest Nordstrom. Normally, I got for new boots and a few little things here and there, but this year I wanted to focus on really good basics that I will get regular wear out of, like basic tops, a good pair of jeans, and comfy layers for work and the weekend.

I'm always cold at work year round, so I knew picking up a few different cardigans would be a good investment to my wardrobe and out of all the options  I ended up with these three. A must have for me this year is finally trying the Barefoot Dreams Circle Cardigan that always sells out while I contemplate the price tag, so this year there was was no hesitation other than deciding the color.

This isn't a piece that I normally go for but I was intrigued by the design and color and wanted to reserve it to try on. I'll let y'all know what I think of it when I get it.

My current comfy LBP is in serious need of tossing and this one with the ruffle detail will be the perfect replacement! Drop ruffle details can be a hit or miss with my hips, so I hope it fits! I can picture so many different outfits around the dress, so I'm excited to style it.

I wasn't expecting to get a new olive green coat because I have one but I've never been happy with how it fit on me, so I'm hoping this one is a more flattering cut and I wear it more because I think they are a fall staple.

 I love the little bow tie sleeve detail on this otherwise boring plain white top (even though I can never have too many of boring white tops for work!).

Another Barefoot Dreams item I regretted not picking up last year. It's actually been in my cart ever since but I didn't want to pay full price when I knew the sale price in the back of my head! I don't neeeeeeed a new robe, but since I live in my $12 Tuesday Morning robe I thought I wanted to treat myself to this one.

The holy grail AG jeans... These are always one of the first things to sell out, so this year I wanted to see what all the fuss is about with these! I would never pay full price for them, and even the sale price is a little hard to swallow, but I'll let y'all know if they're worth it after I get to try them on. I ordered two sizes to be safe since I'm not familiar with how they fit.

Out of everything in my closet I get the most wear out of my basic tees, so I wanted to pick up a few of these to try at under $16. They look thicker than most I've seen, and I'm hoping that's a good thing! They will work perfectly under all the jackets and cardigans I ordered.

I also wanted to share the other items still tempting me and hanging out in my cart:




wasn't very tempted in the beauty department because most of the options we're large gift sets and unless I knew it was a product I already love I didn't want to spend more to get more. I did purchase this set because I love the scent of the deodorant and it lasts me forever. I think I buy like 2 a year somehow, it's crazy. 

Anything I missed?? What's your favorite from the sale?!

xo Amanda John
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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Atlanta Bridal Boutique Reviews



I wanted to share a quick little cheat sheet from my experiences shopping at bridal boutiques in Atlanta so all of my fellow ATL brides can have a little inside scoop to the type of boutiques they want to visit. If you missed my wedding dress shopping experience, you may want to read that before heading out for you appointments because I shared a lot of shopping tips and tricks!

atlanta bridal shop review, atlanta bridal shop, the white magnoliaThe White Magnolia in Buckhead 

  • The most darling little shop
  • Smaller selection
  • Patient and budget friendly consultants
  • Very intimate. All appointments are 1:1 in the store 
  • Good lighting
  • Extra large fitting room
  • The consultant wasn't in there with you until you needed to zip / clip 
  • Offered 10% off day of appointment purchase
  • No in-house alterations to get an idea of what that will cost
  • No problem with you taking pictures

Wedding Angels in Roswell

  • Large selection divided into rooms by style of dress
  • Seemed to be the only shop that offered different perks: when I went they were offering a free veil. 
  • Large selection of bridal accessories
  • Bad lighting in the viewing rooms (at least the one I was in)
  • Great consultants 
  • Separate rooms to go into when showing everyone the dress to help with intimacy
  • No problem with you taking pictures
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Atlanta Bridal Couture in Alpharetta

  • Good natural light when trying on dresses
  • Had to carry some heavy dresses up the stairs to the fitting room
  • Medium sized selection
  • I self-selected everything, the consultant wasn't really picking up what I was putting down
  • No problem with you taking pictures

Joan Pillow Salon in Buckhead

  • Expensive, but the most dreamy selection
  • Not the best lighting
  • Right next to bridesmaids shop. You can see how the dresses will look next to yours.
  • This was the only boutique that had someone from alterations there to talk me through what to expect in my fittings. This may depend on day/time you go.
  • No problem with taking pictures
Hayley Paige wedding dress, J. Andrews bridal shop review, atlanta bride shopping guide

J. Andrews Bridal in Peachtree City

  • You can't see most of the selection so you have to have a good consultant / clear vision - 
  • I wasn't clicking with the options my consultant was putting me in, but maybe that is because I didn't really know what I wanted? 
  • Very small fitting rooms, especially for bigger dresses + the consultant in there with you while you changed.
  • Good designer selection

Bridals By Lori

  • It was cool to go to because of the show, but don't go on a Saturday or weekend when they're busy. I felt like I was in a beehive and it was very loud / busy. Go on a weekday if you can fit it into your schedule.
  • They didn't really respect the budget you told them. I was told, "well there's this dress but it's $****"
  • Dresses are in bags so it's a little harder to tell if you want to try them on, but it did keep them looking nicer than other samples I tried on.
  • Not intimate.  Multiple girls will be looking into the same mirror and trying to have their "moment", plus I felt uncomfortable trying on gowns in front of everyone else's entourage and watching them talking about the dresses on me.
  • More pressure to purchase environment 
  • Biggest selection of gowns from all the other boutiques 
  • I didn't have an appointment and they worked me right in
  • No pictures allowed
BHLDN bridal review, atlanta wedding dress boutiques, atlanta bridal shop review

BHLDN

  • Smallest selection
  • Budget friendly, most selections are around $1000 and under. 
  • Unique and pretty accessories, though expensive
  • Only two fitting rooms are reserved for BHLDN, the rest are for Anthropology customers. Bridal gowns are by appointment only, but my Mom and I were going to shop for bridesmaid dresses and the first time they let us go into the regular fitting rooms and the second trip to look for her dress they made us wait quite a while to use the BHLDN fitting rooms. I would just recommend called ahead for an appointment to be safe. 
  • You can easily see all of their selections online before going. Other boutiques would just list the designers offered.
  • No in-house alterations to get an idea of what that will cost


I do want to visit a few other Atlanta stores just to update them here for you.  On my list is Adore Boutique in Kennesaw, The Sentimentalist, and Fabulous Frocks. I may even look into selling my dress there so if you're interested in reading about re-selling your dress then let me know! 

If you're an Atlanta bride, where did you say yes to the dress? I'd love to know hear about your experience!


xo Amanda John 

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Come wedding dress shopping with me


wedding dress shopping tips

This probably isn't going to be the wedding dress shopping experience that you're anticipating, because y'all let me tell you - my experience was pretty stressful, even after I said yes to the dress! Growing up my mom and I would joke about how we were both dreading it, because of how indecisive I can be about basically everything. Not that it was dreadful, believe me it was so much fun, but the decision definitely got to the point where we were just happy the shopping was over ;) I went to a total of 7 stores in the Atlanta area. If you're an Atlanta bride and want to read my quick take on each boutique then read my post here: Atlanta Bridal Boutique Reviews

I hope you have a nice cup of coffee or wine because this post is going to be as detailed as possible. I wanted to share everything I could to make it useful to you if you're going through the process.

I "knew" a few things going into my first appointment:
  • It has to be comfortable
  • I definitely don't want anything strapless
  • I want the option of two looks - I was thinking an overskirt for the ceremony and a more fitted dress for the reception.
  • Something traditional but not something we've seen a million times
Lets see how that went...




All the shops around Atlanta we're pretty limited in their overskirt selection. They were either just a thin piece of single tulle or were split in the front like this. My ideal over skirt was similar to this one to give you an idea. Remember how I said I didn't want anything strapless? Well when I started to try on dresses with sleeves or a covered neckline, everything felt scratchy and cause my skin to turn red... not ideal. 

After my initial research, I had my heart set on finding a dress from Hayley Paige. Her designs are so fun and youthful, but also a unique. After trying on basically all of her gowns at a trunk show, I still felt like something was missing.

This dress was my initial favorite, it was flowy, fun, comfortable, and had sleeves. However, something about it told me it wasn't the one for me. It felt a little too bohemian for my classic southern style. 
hayley paige elysia gown

Hayley Paige wedding dress


Hayley Paige Elysia Style 6556

I loved the Dori Gown, but knew above all my dress had to be comfortable, and this one is basically the opposite of that on me. Under the gown, there were two layers of taffeta to make it a ballgown shape, and I learned very early on in life that I hated this material after picking a Belle Beauty and the Beast gown for Halloween when I was 6 years old🙅. I also worried that Tim would have a heart attack if I picked it because we're both very traditional.
dori gown, Hayley Paige wedding dress
dori gown, Hayley Paige wedding dress

dori gown, Hayley Paige wedding dress

Hayley Paige Dori 6413

OTHER WEDDING GOWNS I TRIED ON






Hayley Paige wedding dress

SO WHAT DID I CHOOSE?

I knew this Monique Lhuillier gown was the wedding dress for me because it was the most comfortable dress I put on. However... it was strapless, something I initially swore off. I figured I could always come up with something in alterations to give it some more coverage in the top. The silhouette was fitted enough where I still considered adding a customized overskirt as well.

Flash forward to alteration time, and everything we tried to customize the top didn't seem right. Also around this time, I was pretty tired of money flying out the window towards the wedding that I decided I didn't need an overskirt. I went with a more dramatic veil to give me that feel - and saved a good chunk of change by doing so. 

Two weeks before my wedding, I decided I still wanted to wear something different towards the end of the reception, so I looked around online and came across this dress and instantly fell in love with the subtle pinky-ivory and it's gorgeous bow detail. I called my local BHLDN store and somehow, they had ONE dress left on sale in my size 🙌. I ended up having a tailor hem it 4 inches the week before the wedding. It all came together in the end.



WEDDING DRESS SHOPPING TIPS 

Start shopping 8-10 months before if you want to order a gown. If you're sample shopping, you don't need as much time, but it's better to have more time than stress with a deadline and paying for rush fees.

I would recommend looking online (I used these two websites 1/2) to see if there are any specific dresses you really want to try. Look up the shops that carry those lines and call ahead to see if they have the dresses you want to try. That way, you know there are some dresses at the appointment that will interest you and you can check them off the list if they're not your dress. It also doesn't hurt to ask what their deposit is so you know upfront how much you may be putting down.

However, have an open mind when trying on dresses, especially in the beginning. Remember my little "must have list" at the top? Sometimes you don't know what you want until you try them all on!

Don't be shocked at how different wedding sizes are from your typical size. I'm usually a size 4 and purchased a size 8 and it fit like a glove.

Consider alterations and accessories in your budget. - some salons have in-house alterations. If you can, have them talk through potential alterations and pricing. I've heard some salons order the dress bigger than you measure for alterations, although that wasn't the case at my salon.

I recommend waiting to select your bridal accessories. The jewelry, belts, and veils in the boutiques will probably be a lot more than what you can find online, and it doesn't hurt to space out the payments either. Instead of purchasing the matching veil to my dress for $1000 at my bridal boutique, and I ended up getting a veil for $100 off Etsy. Read or watch all about my bridal accessories here.

Consider having your gown shipped out of state to save on taxes. I shipped mine to my Aunt in FL and she overnighted it right back after she signed for it. The total cost was $70 for shipping vs $400 in taxes.

Take a little extra time to get ready for your appointment and bring a hair tie if you're planning to wear your hair up on your wedding day to see the full look.

Don't be that girl that gets self-tanner all over the sample dresses.

Don't think you need every single girlfriend and family member there, you want to save some surprises for them! I actually only had my Mom and Mother- in-law with me when I said yes.

After each appointment, write down your consultants name and any specifics you may not remember as far as style numbers, prices, and special offers. I wrote all of this down in my wedding planner.

There's no rule as to how many dresses you should try on. If you know you're the type of girl who will question if something else was out there (🙋), then keep looking!



What was your wedding dress style? Drop a picture or link below, I would love to see!

xo Amanda John


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Monday, May 15, 2017

APRIL INSTACHIC ROUNDUP


It's been a while since I've done an Instagram roundup, so to help keep them a little more regular on here I thought I would add in a monthly round up of my feed with all of the current links. 


I've gone on and on about this $20 gingham top, but it's been such a favorite lately! I mean, how can anyone say no to the bows in the back? You can see the full post here

 This was my Easter outfit after Tim said "we're leaving in 5" and I had to throw something together because of course, I didn't plan it out. What's funny to me about it is this skirt was in my very first #ootd on Instagram 5 years ago on Easter. What goes around comes around ;)  As for the top, I always get compliments and surprised faces when I tell people it's from Target!

A little shot from my office. I love mixing up these shelves with my latest favorite nick nacks. You can see more in my office tour post.

 These bow wedges were comfortable from the first wear and I know I'll be wearing them all season long. 

I rediscovered my love for the Loft this year and love this fun little off the shoulder number. Everyone else must have of too because it's sold out, but this one is pretty close for only $14! When I think an outfit is boring, I always go for these fun pink heels to add in some color. 

 This donut hat makes me so happy! I think it would be a simple DIY, but if you're not into investing in the paint and brushes and crafting isn't your thing this one is only $22! Plus, I have a coupon code for you to use all May long at Charming Charlie for $10 your $60 purchase- In store give them this:
 720000000003 Online use: UKTTWANF

I spotted this top in store and loved the fluttered sleeve and the structured off the shoulder design. I'm not a fan of off the shoulder tops that just have the elastic all the way around because they're not very comfortable. My clutch is a splurge from Clare V, but I've carried it as many times as the price tag so I think it's a staple. If you're looking for something more affordable ($45) then this leopard clutch will be right up your alley. Sam Edelman makes the most comfortable heels, I actually have these in two colors! Get these on sale here. 

This shot was from our trip to D.C where I walked off all of my calories for the year. So glad I brought along these Nikes with me!  My top is from J. Crew and sold out, but I found a $13 dupe for you here. Here are the sunglasses that I always wear on my head. 
Another mention of these Valentino dupes, but they have been such a hit and I technically shared them on April so there here again for this roundup! I have them in the color Poudre Matte. Size up a half size in them and you'll forget they're not the real deal (after the spray paint smell goes away the day after you open them ;) Here are my pink pants (40% off).

 Thus clutch was another purchase from Charming Charlie but I can't find it online. My top however is still available and is oh so cute. 







xo Amanda John