How To Throw A 4th Of July BBQ

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Happy Monday! Do you have to work today, or are you on vacation? Luckily I am on vacation until Thursday! Much needed time off. What are your plans for 4th of July? Still undecided? That’s where I’m at right now. 4th of July is tomorrow, and we still don’t have plans set in stone. I have a few family members that are having BBQ’s, but my boyfriend and I are unsure if we just want to spend the day at home (we went camping all weekend long and celebrated 4th of July with my parents), or head to a family member’s house. Or do I just throw a little BBQ with a few close friends? Since I have one day to get this all together, I’m going to show you what I did to host a last minute BBQ!

I love hosting parties outside. We have such a small place, but I have the prettiest backyard (which is where I shot these photos!). I have to say, I felt like The Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland, setting up for tea. I had rabbits running all around me! We have so much wildlife in our backyard, it’s crazy! We even have chickens running around (yes, I said chickens!). My landlord lives a few houses down from us and she lets them roam around when she’s outside (our backyards are all connected). They love to be pet just like dogs!

Anyways, onto the BBQ! All of the items in the photos above are from Dollar Tree, except the mason jar cups (they were a Christmas gift) and fresh flowers. Heading to your local Dollar Tree to get items for 4th of July will really help you save a lot of money! I went there and bought all of these items, a makeup organizer, fireworks (just sparklers and pop its), and a bunch of candy for my boyfriend (haha!). My total was $24!

One thing I hate about hosting, is that I’m always cooking and don’t get a chance to spend time with my guests. It’s always a good idea to have your grill set up near your guests, and buy simple sides that don’t take long to make. You can even buy pre-made items from the deli like potato or pasta salad. One of my favorite appetizers are fruit kabobs! You can make them in the design of the American flag to stay festive.

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It’s super easy to make. All I used was blueberries, mini marshmallows, and cut up strawberries. To make the items slide on easily (especially the marshmallows) I just dipped my thumb and 1st finger in olive oil, and rubbed it on the kabob stick. Worked perfectly!

One of my favorite BBQ alcoholic drinks has to be cola and whisky. I was invited to an event in STL to celebrate the launch of Alive Magazine’s 3rd issue, and to try the new Jim Beam Vanilla. The event was focused around art and entrepreneurs. I left the event so inspired after listening to all of the artists and entrepreneurs talk about how they got started. Make sure you pick up the new issue and read all of their interviews! As soon as I walked in, I was invited to try the new Jim Beam Vanilla. You guys, it was SO GOOD. It was smooth and had a great vanilla aftertaste.

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Jim Beam Vanilla and Cola (from Jim Beam’s website)

1 part Jim Beam Vanilla
2 parts Cola (any brand)
Cherry Garnish

Fill mason jar with ice. Pour Jim Beam Vanilla into ice filled mason jar, then top with cola. Garnish with cherry (optional).

The new Jim Beam Vanilla is so smooth, and when mixed with cola, it tastes like you are drinking vanilla cola. So yummy! To make it a little patriotic, I added a 4th of July paper straw.

Head to the Jim Beam website HERE (you have to be 21!) to see where you can find the new Jim Beam Vanilla near you, and to see all the cocktails you can make with it! Make sure you let me know how you like it in the comments!

Thanks for reading, and have a Happy 4th of July!

Valerie

This post was sponsored by Jim Beam Vanilla and HEX. All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that make Styled Muse possible! 

St. Louis Style Collective Meetup

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Above photos taken by Taylor Mobley of blondeandambitiousblog.com

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Above photo taken by Carmen Ramirez of frontrowstl.com

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Pictured above from left to right: Myself, April, Anna, Taylor, and Carmen. (click the names to see their blogs!)

On May 21st, the St. Louis ladies of Style Collective had our first meetup! But it wasn’t your ordinary meetup. We were celebrating the launch of Style Collective’s new podcast! Just search “Becoming Fearless” to give it a listen. I love meeting bloggers that are located in the STL area. It gives me comfort knowing that we are all doing this blogging thing together, and trying to figure it all out as we go, considering it’s kind of a new industry.

The meetup was held at Blo Blow Dry Bar in Chesterfield, MO. About 30 minutes from STL. Blo was nothing but amazing, and gave us complimentary blow outs. I decided on the style “Pillow Talk”. You can see in the photos above :). It was my first blow out, and the experience was SO relaxing. I cannot wait to go back! They were so accommodating and let us setup our snacks on a table in the back of the salon. We had cheese, crackers, grapes, cookies, and of course champagne!

We also had the opportunity to collaborate with some great local shops! They were kind enough to donate items from their shops for goodies bags for each of the girls. You can see in the photos below what they gave each of us. Thank you to all the shops who donated! I linked all of their websites and put their Instagram handles so you can check them out!

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Paperdolls Boutique @pdshopgirl: They have the cutest clothes! I’m in love with the scent of the candle they gave us. I also cannot wait to wear those bracelets!

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Christopher’s @christopherskirkwood127: This shop has the perfect gift items! Christopher’s was kind enough to give us Pink Pig Soap, and a tape measure (are you surprised I didn’t own one of these!? haha)

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CR Jewels @crjewels: Our very own Carmen Ramirez made these gorgeous jewels and was nice enough to donate a few to us!

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The Spotted Pig @thespottedpigstl: Another one of my favorite local shops for gift items! This would be a great place to go for Father’s Day gifts! They were super kind, and sent us this Lucky Penny key chain.

I had such a blast at our meetup, and I cannot wait for our next one! If you would like to join Style Collective to experience local meetups, and to pump up your blogging game, you can join HERE!

Hope everyone has a great week!

Valerie

P.S.: I have an exciting Instagram collaboration coming up with a huge clothing company, so make sure you are following me on Instagram to see it! I can’t wait to show you!

 

Nordstrom Half Yearly Sale

NORDSTROMHALF YEARLY

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Happy Friday! I decided to kick off this Memorial 3 day weekend with my favorite picks from the Nordstrom Half Yearly Sale. This is one of the biggest sales they have of the year (the other one being the Anniversary Sale, which I will also share my picks in July). What I love about this sale is that designer items are included. I saw a YSL bag for over $500 off, like whoa! But of course it sold out right after I saw it. Items go super fast, so if you see anything you like, make sure you jump on it.

Anyways, most of the shirts above I currently have in my shopping cart, and I’m having a hard time trying to figure out which ones to get! Help me out by commenting below with which one I should purchase and style for you guys! I have really been wanting a robe, so this one is a must for me! After going through my closet last weekend, I realized I didn’t have enough short sleeved shirts for summer! I’m in love with this sheer one! I also have this one in the color “Neon Pink” in my cart, even though it’s not on sale, I just couldn’t pass it up! The color is perfect for summer with a pair of white skinny jeans.

They also have a lot of home decor on sale. I love these white shag pillows! I currently have them on my living room couch as you can see in the below photo :).  The pink flamingo pillow I found at Michael’s Craft Store, and the banana leaf pillows are from Shein, but you can find similar ones from Target!

Couch Pillows

I hope you all have a great Memorial Day Weekend. I plan on going camping (well, I guess glamping because my parents have a camper with AC and showers, haha) at the lake about an hour from our house. The weather is supposed to be pretty bad this weekend, so hopefully I will have a little dry time to hit up the beach for a little while because I really need a tan! Haha. What are your Memorial Day Weekend plans? Let me know in the comments!

Valerie

How To Get Rid Of Dark Undereye Circles

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Happy Wednesday! We are SO close to the weekend. I know I have mentioned this before, but, I have been working a lot of overtime at my job lately. I am in the process of searching for a new car, so I need all the extra money I can get for a down payment. But all of this overtime has been making me extremely tired! You can really tell under my eyes. I have never really had an issue with under eye bags/dark circles until now (I guess that’s what happens when you get older?).

I decided to take action to find a product to prevent this. I’m going to share 3 things I started doing to help get rid of dark circles, bags, and fine lines:

Drink Water: I know this sounds super simple, but it’s the truth. I have noticed that when I drink the proper amount of water I need, I always feel and look a whole lot better (I can really tell a difference with my skin!).

Cooling Pack: I found an eye therapy gel bead face mask at dollar tree one day, and decided to give it a try. I let it set in my fridge for a few hours, then put it on my face while watching Netflix. The cooling sensation helps my strained eyes to relax, since I stare at a computer screen all day.

Try an eye mask: When VII Code contacted me about their Oxygen Eye Masks, I knew I had to give them a try! They sent me a box of 6 pairs of eye masks. But these aren’t your ordinary eye masks. These you can leave on for up to 8 hours! Which means you can put it on before bed, and go to sleep and take them off in the morning. This was the first thing that made me fall in love with them. When I get home from working overtime, I cook dinner, take a shower then head to bed. I don’t really have time to put on a mask and sit around for it to complete the process. The VII Code Oxygen Eye Mask saves me a lot of time!

The material of the mask is gel-like, and has a lot of essential vitamins, antioxidants, proteins, botanicals peptides and essential fatty acids that work together to provide your undereye everything it needs to be healthy and prevent tired eyes, dark circles and fine lines. The eye masks conform to the shape around your eye. You can can apply the eye mask 2-3 times a week, with 3 boxes (18 eye masks) needed for a full course of treatment. On the days you don’t use the eye mask, you can apply the cool therapy gel bead mask.

After applying the mask for the first time, my under eyes felt very moisturized and more awake. I could also tell the darkness under my eyes start to disappear (and that was only with the first treatment!). You can purchase the VII Code Oxygen Eye Mask from Amazon.

What are your remedies for getting rid of dark undereye circle? Let me know in the comments!

Valerie

This post was sponsored by VII Code. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Style Muse possible! 

Easter Dresses Under $40

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Dress: Charlotte Russe – Similar, Pink, Olive, Coral (with bell sleeves!) // Bag: Charlotte Russe // Shoes: Similar // Bracelets: Similar, Similar // Lipstick: Nyx, Shade Lace Detail 

Happy Monday! I can’t believe Easter is only a couple weeks away. When I was little, my mom would always take my sister and I to get our Easter outfits. Luckily, we didn’t have to get matching ones. She would let us pick out our own. I was more of a tomboy when I was younger, so I would either wear a skirt and shirt, or pants and a nice top. My sister on the other hand, would always wear cute dresses. Of course as we got older, our styles changed. Now we are the complete opposite! I love wearing cute dresses, and she likes to stick with jeans and a t-shirt. Haha! Easter is always something I look forward too.

Since I’m trying to save money this year (new car, here I come!), I decided to show you guys a few dress ideas that will fit your budget. All of them are under $40! Of course as soon as I shot this dress, it sold out! But they have a lot of other colors available, so I tagged them all above. I even bought it in black!

I’m absolutely in love with this crossbody bag from Charlotte Russe! They have so many different colors, and you can wear them with any outfit. You also can’t beat that they are under $20! Also, The NYX Lingerie liquid lipstick in Lace Detail is the perfect nude shade! It’s long lasting, and you can’t even tell that you are wearing anything!

What are your Easter plans? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading!

Valerie

Leopard Booties And Ripped Jeans

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Leopard Booties (on sale for under $20!): Charlotte Russe // Jeans: Nordstrom // Top: Similar // Earrings: Baublebar // Ring: Charlotte Russe // Clutch: Similar

Happy Monday, babes! Did y’all have a great weekend? All last week I was battling the flu, that turned into a sinus infection/ear infection! No fun. My plan was to have this post up last Wednesday, but I literally had no energy to write it. So you get to see it today! 🙂

This was one of my favorite outfits to wear over the winter. Since we are still having chilly days, I figured this would be perfect to post. The pink tassel earrings from Baublebar add a perfect pop of color for spring. They will be on repeat, I can already tell! I also plan to incorporate these leopard booties from Charlotte Russe into my spring wardrobe. I will have a post all about how to do that in a few weeks. Right now they are currently under $20, so make sure you grab them before they sell out. They run true to size, and are SO comfortable!!! I wear them literally everywhere.

With the leopard booties, I wore my black ripped jeans (these are great to wear year round, they are one of my closet staples!), and an oversized long sleeve turtle neck. I found this on the clearance rack a Kohl’s one day (and is no longer available), so I tagged a similar one. The clutch I got a Target two years ago and is no longer available, so I tagged one that I like even more! I might need to add it to my collection. 🙂

I was also really excited when I found out that Charlotte Russe is finally starting to sell bigger sized rings! I have big knuckles, so I have a hard time finding rings that fit. These fit me perfectly! 

Would you like to see a blog post about my wardrobe staples? Let me know in the comments! Have a great week, and thanks for reading!

Valerie

The Perfect Top For Spring Transition

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Top: Soft Surroundings // Pants (similar) // Heels (similar) // Bag (similar) // Bracelets (similar)

Happy Friday! Do you have any fun plans this weekend? My mom and I are going to a Working Women’s Survival Show/Convention on Saturday! They have it in St. Louis every year, and we always go! We haven’t been able to go the past couple years though, but I’m so excited to finally make it this year! You can follow along with me on Insta stories (@valeriehelton) or on Snapchat (valzors)!

Has it been abnormally warm where you are? In January and February, it is usually pretty cold and snowing in STL. Well, lately it has been so warm, like in the upper 70s! My closet has been really confused, haha!

I found this top on Soft Surroundings’ website, and it is perfect for transitioning from winter to spring. The colors are perfect for spring and have cute beading details around the collar! It has long sleeves that you can easily roll up when it gets warmer. I paired it with white jeggings and nude stud heels. You can even wear this during the summer with a pair of jean shorts. It is a bit oversized, so I would go down a size or two if you want a more fitted look.

Soft Surroundings has so many new tops for their spring collection, and will have a bunch more in their summer collection! I think I’m going to add this one to my closet. Also, this swimsuit might make an appearance. Soft Surroundings plans to open 17 stores in 2017, so check to see if you will have one near you!

Thanks for reading, have a great weekend!

Valerie

In collaboration with Soft Surroundings. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Styled Muse possible! ❤