Monday, December 16, 2013

keep the hope

today is the day.

surgery day.

when i scheduled the surgery about a month ago, i knew i would be a little nervous on the actual day. can you blame me? two inch incision to remove any other remaining cancer on my shoulder and a biopsy through my armpit to remove a lymph node or two to determine if the cancer went anywhere else. it's precautionary...i think. and i've been told. it's just hard to grasp, you know?

and while i'm nervous for the surgery...i'm terrified for what comes after it. the results.
in church on sunday we had a priest visiting and give mass. he talked about how Christmas is hope. and how during the holidays, God does some pretty magical things. and i'm not saying i believe he was talking about making cancer results negative. i know he was talking about the meaning of Christmas.
but ironically, he talked about the 21 of this month. the 21 is the expected time when i will receive my results. he talked about how that day, in scriptures, is a magical day. a hopeful day. a day to rejoice.

i believe in god winks. and i am hoping, and praying, that is what that was: that on the 21, i will get a phone call and the word "negative" will be spoken.

don't worry...i'm staying positive.
and keeping the hope.

p.s. i might be away for a few days. i'll try to sneak in a few updates on twitter (@_lovealexandria) and i'll probably be on pinterest (ohjeezlouise) and instagram (lovealexandria__) throughout the week if anything.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


1. don’t go grocery shopping when all you want at that moment is a smoothie. mango’s, plums, kiwi, grapefruit, bananas, oranges, strawberries, a bundle of apples… it all sounds amazing.

2. i have a list on my iphone of things that need to be done. i made that list a few days ago and haven't checked anything off it it....

3. after all of these health scares {which, are still scares} i want to be more healthy. i have a gym pass and i need to use it more.

4. if i could, i would fast forward to next weekend {the one before Christmas}. that way, i would be over this cold, my surgery would be over and i might have results.

5. i want to go outside and play in the snow. anyone want to join me?

devotchka, i love you

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


MUA lipsticks collection review swatches of all MUA lipsticks I

lately i've been getting a lot of emails and messages asking about my lipstick color. {which i LOVE}

i am in no way a pro at deciphering what color to wear for what skin tone or any of that.

but bright colors are so fun to wear and i think anyone can pull them off.

{you, really, you just need to go for it!}

my favorite shades currently happen to all be from NARS Cosmetics

red lizard, heat wave and carthage
if you’re feeling really bold, go with Revlon's kiss me coral for a pinkish color.

i also love MACs their dangerous or ruby woo shade.

just remember to have fun with lipstick! i always feel like myself with a bright color. what do you like to wear?

Monday, December 9, 2013


the first saturday in december is always my favorite. not because it's december {well, that, too} but because as a family we go out to get our christmas tree! i am not sure when the tradition started, but as long as i can remember we all piled into the truck, blasted christmas music and felt like little kids as we made our way to the tree farm. now, i set up my own christmas tree about a week ago, because, well, i just couldn't wait. and can you blame me?

so after i woke up from my cold induced sleep {come on, body, it's almost gone!} and my brother got home from work, we all set out in the freezing cold to Galehouse Tree Farms in Doylestown, OH. this year it was my brother's turn to pick out the tree, and while i am more for the biggest, fattest and most full tree, my brother loves the traditional triangle shape. and i think he picked the perfect one this year. it has already proven to bring memories into the Rhodes household because yesterday, it rained in our living room. it was so muddy outside that the tree was a little dirty. to clean it off, my dad had to spray it down. well, we may have brought it in a little too early out of excitement because it sounded like an actual rainfall as the droplets fell and soaked our carpet. all is well now, but that sure was interesting!

pictures, if you are wondering, were taken with my iphone and edited with the VSCOcam app.

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^^^ except for the muddy ground, it was the perfect day for picking out our christmas tree.

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^^^ one of the best parts of this farm is it has live reindeer. can't help but think of the film, Prancer, when seeing them.

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^^^ chopping down our own tree is always so exciting. although, someday, it would be cool to live in the city and go to a tree farm on the side of the street. looks so festive.

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^^^ brave brother carrying to ginormous tree to the car. he may have almost fallen over but recovered pretty quickly.

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^^^ the inside of the barn is beautiful! you can buy hot chocolate, hot cider and popcorn, sit by the fire and warm up by the fire from the cold. there are also some amazing christmas decorations, ornaments and treats in there as well.

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^^^ zip was extra loveable on the way to the farm and home. i think he was happy to get to go pick out our tree!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

a little winter wonderland, baby


it was pretty snowy on friday.
the weather man said we were going to get 6 inches by that morning
when, really, it all came at once that night.
and it was beautiful.

it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Thursday, December 5, 2013


i needed a pick me up, health wise, this past week. so i have been trying to be good and cram lots of healthy choices into my diet to kick this cold in the butt!

one of my favorite things are smoothies and these fresh ingredients made it perfect!

sorry about the pictures...wordpress seems to be having some issues. and the pictures were edited using the VSCOcam app

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^^^ the Oster personal blender is my favorite thing. i have told so many people about it and they all love it and instantly get addicted to smoothies because of it. eating healthier is so much easier when appliances are this awesome.

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

trust me on this one...

hot chocolate becomes a favorite of mine all over again in the winter time and, friends, that time is HERE! so on the night i put up my Christmas tree, i was craving hot chocolate in my favorite Christmas mug.

as i was getting the things out i needed, i came up with an idea. why not add a splash of International Delight's peppermint mocha creamer to the mix?

creamer only for coffee? what?

it was phenomenal.

actually, more than that.

so worth the calories.

so trust me and try it for yourself. and if you hate it, i'm sorry. but i know you won't!

hot chooclate

25 beautiful christmas challenges


^^^ a picture from 2010 at the house from A Christmas Story in Cleveland, OH

i was searching the web for some easy yet challenging christmas ideas for this year. a couple of pages in the search results, i came across this blog post and was inspired so very much.

you don't have to feel obligated to do any of these challenges, but if you do, please share.

here is what she blogged about allllll the way back in 2009:

last christmas, i blogged about how my mom had sent each of her daughters a christmas package on december 1st, which included 25 of her favorite christmas stories along with 25 christmas challenges she had compiled. the idea was to read one story each day and also complete one of the simple christmas challenges until christmas day.  i really loved this idea and since last december was particularly difficult for me, this little project helped me get into the true spirit of christmas. and hopefully this year i won’t be such a slacker and i’ll actually complete this list….

i wanted to share the list again this year incase you’d like to join in with me in completing one challenge each day. whether you celebrate christmas or not, i think a lot of these little challenges are the perfect way to go about your day in the right way…

25 christmas challenges…

  • go out of your way– befriend someone today that needs a friend and follow through to christmas

  • tell someone you love them

  • make a tree decoration that will remind you of Christ

  • in your prayers today, give thanks for every blessing without asking for anything

  • try to be as kind as possible to others today

  • try not to quarrel with family members today

  • do a good deed anonymously

  • make goals for yourself– seal a copy in an envelope to be opened in a year

  • visit someone sick or lonely or sad

  • do volunteer work for some worthy cause

  • do something fun for a child or younger sibling

  • try to forgive someone who has wronged you, be reconciled

  • make a “give list” instead of a list of gifts you’d like

  • improve yourself in some way to please the savior

  • quietly reflect and choose uplifting activities vs shopping

  • phone or send a card to an old friend or family member

  • listen to handel's messiah

  • make a christmas treat for someone else

  • be a calming influence today and control your temper

  • accept the gift of forgiveness– pray for some weakness and ask for help in repenting of it

  • look at christmas lights… where does all light come from?

  • sing carols

  • do something nice for someone without their knowing it was you

  • be the first to say hello to people all day

  • ask someone to tell you about a past Christmas

thank you so much, Naomi of Rockstar Diaries, these were beautiful and i cannot wait to do all of them.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

i'm thankful for...


doctors and how their words can be so reassuring.

food on the table.


sweaters and big warm, fluffy blankets.

my health - besides the melanoma.

my family.

my friends.

my jobs even when i am stressed and exhausted by the end of the night.

my dog.

my car even though it doesn't run very well half the time.

new york city.

a little change for the holidays

i needed a change. and honestly...this feels a little bit more like me right now. and i kind of love them. even if i am still trying to learn how to manage them.

products used: pureology and pantene volume mousse.


and i have to admit. the head massage after my shampoo and conditioner felt amazing after the month i've had. Monday i found out that i have to have a larger portion of skin removed to make sure the cancer is gone and i also have to have a sentinel node biopsy. all in the same day during the same surgery. little nerve wrecking because i know i'll have to wait to find out if the cancer had spread. and that scares me.

but today... i had some good definitive positive news. no more skin cancer! the one on my shoulder was a fluke which somehow makes me feel better.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

shake shack obsessed

the title should say it all. because, I swear, there is no better place than shake shack. i think one of the first things i asked to go do was get a burger and milkshake from shake shack. it didn't happen that night but you better believe for lunch that next afternoon it did!


and you better believe i had it again.

i hope i'm blessed with a daughter or two someday to have tea parties with

as soon as we were seated in alice's tea cup, i remembered how adorable and charming it is to just be in that restaurant.

the cut little tea cups all mismatched, the delicious tea and the atmosphere all come together to make this place a favorite. the wording on the wall from the children's book is also a wonderful touch.

so to my future daughter(s) i can't wait to have a tea party with you at alice's



i'm beginning to notice a pattern...

…but my salads and vegetables just never seem cool enough for a blog post.

maybe when i go to NYC one of the things i look forward to most are the bagels at the star lite deli on 44th. something about them there are just so much better than the ones anywhere else.

maybe i say it's no biggie because i'm on vacation.

oh how i wish that were a good enough excuse.



Monday, November 25, 2013

one of the most magical things i've seen in new york city

well, it's one of the most magical things i've heard and seen in new York city.
tuesday night was the night for holiday window unveiling, it seemed. Bloomingdales and Bergdorf Goodman were the two main ones.

i was so excited and lucky to be able to attend the event and just the event itself got me into the holiday mood!

Josh Groban performed after the amazing New York Children's Choir and boy, let me tell you. i was in tears half of the time because it was just so beautiful.


^^^ i was so proud of them and i didn't even know them


…and it was one of the most magical things i have ever heard.

Saturday, November 23, 2013


i'm home.

after three hours waiting for a delayed plane in LaGuardia.

after having a bottle of jack daniels spilled down my leg and into my boot on the plane.

after an amazing and fun filled week in my favorite city.

after making so many awesome memories

and taking a million pictures.

i'm home.

and i can't wait to share my week with you.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

guest post: homemade wreath

About six months ago I graduated college and moved out of my parents’ house. Moving into a new place has given me plenty of opportunity to use my decorating skills and taste. But this time between Halloween and Thanksgiving has been a little complicated. It’s still fall so the pumpkins can stay, but I had to put all my “scary” d├ęcor away. At first I had a bit of trouble thinking of what I could do to add around the house. So I decided a wreath was one way to go. (Plus I’m on a budget!)


All you will need is scissors, a ruler, a wire hangar and scraps of fabric.


Start by making the hangar into a circle. It does not have to be perfect because you won’t be seeing it once the wreath is complete.


I used fabric by Elements Jelly. They are premade scraps which makes it much more convenient to pick out fabric and to cut it up. The set I purchased was 2.5”x48” strips.

But you could grab any fabric and cut it into 2.5”x7”

I got mine from JoAnn Fabrics – remember to always google a coupon before going!

I always look one up on my phone while I’m in the store and usually I end up with 40% off!


I did not double knot these, but you can if you desire.

If you would like the wreath to be fluffier then cut your strips longer.


I didn’t follow a pattern of color with my wreath.

I just grabbed whatever color I felt like would look good next.


Ours is currently on our front door.

This craft is super easy and can also be something fun to do with children.
It can be modified to any color and theme and is wonderfully cheap.

Thank you Alex for sharing your blog with me!
I invite others to check out my blog featuring personal entries and more crafts!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

guest post: holiday traditions

Want to add a few new traditions to your families upcoming holidays? Here are a few of my favorites.


Christmas Tree Search Party-

My family drives up north about an hour to go to a Christmas tree farm where there are horse rides, bonfires, apple cider, hot cocoa, smores, tire swings and lots of other fun activities. (They have beer or whiskey for the men in my family). It's great fun to watch tipsy family members tease each other and argue over what tree is better.


The Christmas Pickle-

It's rumored that Germans brought over this goody. A Pickle Christmas Tree ornament is hidden some where on the Christmas Tree. Who ever finds the pickle gets the prize (at least that's the rules my mother goes by). Our family prize is always a gift card. Some families though say that it represents the persons good fortune for the upcoming year.


Gingerbread houses (Ew!)

I have never enjoyed ginger bread so my mother always let me make my house with graham crackers. Waaayyy better (thanks mom!). One might think that building gingerbread houses is silly when you're no longer 10. I beg to differ. When Rach and I were 17 and 19 we made fabulous little love shacks... I mean houses. Some great memories always come from trying to sabotage another's work. Done with sisterly love, I assure you.


The Festival of Lights

"Get in the car!" Mother was always so patient. Another great thing my family does is load up in the car with whatever snacks we have made (fudge or popcorn balls) and set off to see what neighborhood has been deemed the most amazing place for Christmas lights displays. It's really cool to see how creative people get and guess how much their electric bill is.


Hanukkah is celebrated in a great way. People light a candle to remember the great miracle their God provided them with when they had no oil to keep their lamps lit. The lamp they had stayed lit for 8 days. So every night for 8 days in a row they light one of the candles with the help of a 9th candled the shamash (helper). They also love to fry food during these 8 days to celebrate even being able to have oil.


My family goes to midnight mass. Pretty much so we can stay awake (hyped up on coffee and ridiculous amounts of sugar) and open a few presents before exhaustion over takes us. (When I say us I mean the adults.)

Christmas Movies

Movies are beyond important in our family. It's how we get the kids to sit down and shut up while we cook. I'm though I did hear my grandmother say that when I was younger. My favorite is A White Christmas. My mom loves all things Charlie Brown. I'll just make a list for you:

A Christmas Story, Miracle on 34th street, The Muppet Christmas Carol, The Santa Clause (Tim the Tool Man Taylor), Elf, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and It's a Wonderful Life.

Dear Santa Letters.  How cute is this? I'm going to do this when I have my own children.

I think that's all my family does. Share your family traditions for the upcoming holidays below.

xo oneofficialhotmess

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

guest post: holiday lip scrub

Hi Everyone! My name is Brittany and I'm a Lifestyle & Beauty blogger over at Life, Set Sail. I am so excited to be here with you today, and even more excited about the post I have to share!

This time of year I find myself fawning over anything Christmas inspired...from fashion, to home decor, to beauty. The products at Lush are downright decadent, but if you're anything like me it's hard to justify spending very much cash on fancy soaps and scrubs!

What if I told you, you could make your very own custom lip scrub and that you probably have at least eighty percent of the ingredients in your kitchen right now?! It's easier (and yummier) than you think people! So let's get to it ;)

What you'll need:

8 teaspoons brown sugar

6 teaspoons coconut oil

6 teaspoons honey

8 drops peppermint essential oil

1 airtight container

Mix all of the ingredients together, leaving the essential oil to be added last. That's it. Really.

This project set me back less than $10. I spent $6.99 on the peppermint oil and $2.50 on the jar. Now that I have the oil, I can make however many batches I want! This recipe made about 1/4 of a cup of scrub. You can play around with the flavour too...I think orange would be another lovely option for this.

And there you have it, a perfect little treat for your kisser and a great gift for friends too!

xx -b.



*Always make sure to sterilize your jars before you put anything in them.

Monday, November 18, 2013

right now...

i'm on a plane.

about to see the beautiful sights of the city


photo 3CACKDXL5

i love...

i love the new crisp feel outside as fall slowly transitions into winter. or in my case, overnight.

i love that this means it’s definitely time to bring out all of my sweaters, hats and scarves.  (actually, maybe i’ve already pulled them out, and maybe i've been wearing them faithfully for the last month and a half because, well, i feel like it.)

i love vanilla tea and you can bet that along with my sweaters, i've been drinking it in my big hug mug with a huge smile on my face. i also love tazo's sweet orange tea. yum.

i love when my dog freaks out when i walk in the door. howling, jumping and everything. he's pretty darn cute.

i love when i find time at night to read the scriptures and use my study guide as a guide to learn more. i am thankful for and love the strength and happiness they bring into my life.

i love how i'm discovering how much i love {sometimes} running {when i'm not coughing up a lung} and yoga.

i love walking outside without my phone. shocking, i know. i'd rather look around me and take in my surroundings, the sounds and the smells of fall without being distracted.

i love my blog.

i love changing my room up a bit. even if i move a lamp, or rearrange my bookshelf. small changes are good.

i love my brand new white sheets i got from the store.

i love my life. i do. and i am thankful for all of it.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

new york city, here i come

two days, people!

two days and i will finally, once again, be in the city that never sleeps. and i have a feeling i won't be doing much of that at all.

sorry my posts have been kind of scattered. i've been busy planning guest posts, scheduled posts and all that on top of PACKING and getting ready. not to mention working like crazy.

finally, the other night being the procrastinator i am...i started packing.

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^^^ bright colors, oversized sweaters, jean shirt and scarves and hats. LOTS of scarves.

i'm definitely getting there! of course i'm packing my brightest of lipsticks because i feel like new york city is one of the best places to wear them.

if it weren't for my family, i would be living in new york right now. but i love them too much.

speaking of family, as mentioned in my previous post, it was my brother's 21st birthday (wooooot!) and we celebrated last night with cake, ice cream and presents. i love baking so i volunteered to make him a favorite: dark chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting. the cake wasn't homemade (gotta love those boxed cake mixes) but the frosting was and i even had extra to freeze to use for another time!

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busy last few days but i am SO excited for next week. work that morning and then hopping on a plane. see you soon, beautiful city.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

happy birthday, little brother

how are you 21?

so you're not so little anymore...but you're still my little brother, okay?

and i got you a harry potter platform 9 and 3/4 ticket phone case. you loved it.

and i'm making you cake tomorrow. you'll probably eat the whole thing.

thanks for always going to midnight showings with me for movies, late night "i'm bored" outings, your confidence in me, your awesome taste in style {your kids will someday be very well dressed, i'm sure} and your friendship.

i love you and you make me laugh like we were five and seven again.

happiest of birthday wishes to my friend and brother, Mitch.


^^^ circa 1993/1994


^^^ 2010 when i fell in love with the city and my favorite picture of us


^^^ don't hate me for posting this!


^^^ 2012

let it snow, let it snow, let it snow


monday night the temperature drastically went down. the feeling in the air was frigid and the smell was even cold. by the time i had climbed into bed, there was already a beautiful blanket of snow on the ground.

i even left my blinds open all night so i could see the snowfall.

there's something so magical about the first, real, snowfall. and boy, did i feel it.

when i woke up the next morning, it was STILL THERE and STILL SNOWING.

i couldn't even be mad about scraping my car off or the dumb drivers who don't know how to drive in the snow.

it was all glorious.

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^^^ i mean, come on, how can it get prettier?

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^^^ sorry for the was through my window but i loved how you could see the colors on the leaves still against the white.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

i have what, again?

so, remember that post about my biopsy a few weeks ago? maybe not because it was one of my first ones on this blog and wasn't too interesting, anyway.

a short recap: had a biopsy of skin patch that was making dermatologist nervous. had it removed and waited THREE WEEKS to hear back about it.

the results: melanoma.

my thoughts: all over the place.

i know it's not breast cancer. i know it's not lung cancer. but it's cancer. and it's the worst type of skin cancer you can have. it spreads to other parts of your body and can make you really sick.

the worst part of this right now? having to wait to weeks or more for answers. i have to go back in for a deeper and wider biopsy to make sure they removed it all. and then i have to have a lymph node test to make sure it hasn't spread.

no words for that, really.

so yeah, it's a scary and emotional thing. i'm not, in any way, trying to take away the word from those who fight every single day for their lives or those who have lost their lives from cancer...but i won't lie when i say i'm nervous.

but i'm also confident and staying positive. i'm healthy. i'm young and i have no other symtoms.

so that's where i've been for the last two days. in another world.

things that scare me...

nights alone by myself.

the dark after watching scary movies.

when my dog barks in the middle of the night or in the morning at nothing.

sometimes...the future.


spiders in my room {there rarely are but when there are... i freak}

the word cancer. i've heard it too much this year.

small spaces {slides, getting stuck in an elevator, in a car on a bridge--it always feels smaller}

mean people.

Monday, November 11, 2013

happy veterans' day!

i want to take a minute and thank all of the service men and women who have sacrificed their lives to make sure ours are safe. to those who have fallen during battle or those who have since passed away, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

to my grandpa F. whom i wish i would have had a longer time with, thank you.

to my grandpa R. thank you for your time and dedication.

to my cousin steven, thank you for all that you do. you say goodbye to your family so that we can all be safe.

to those i don't know, know that i am praying for your safe return and thank you.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

more than you know

so i was busy last night. i went through the files for my book, More Than You Know, to make changes i had been writing down for awhile.

i've read every single one of my readers' reviews and comments and taken everything into consideration. i fixed some things that were confusing {and shook my head at them because, really, they were} and updated my links and about the author.

so to my will probably receive an update on your kindle's soon and for new readers, your versions are all up to date! Also...there is a difference in the preview for my second book, Like Crazy, so make sure to check that out.

thanks, lovelies.


Friday, November 8, 2013

this morning it was snowing...

and it made me smile ear to ear.

it was cooooold today and i bundled up in anticipation of it. but when i walked outside to my car, the blustery snowflakes made everything worth it.

a surprise ending to a dull night is always a good thing

today was just...blah.

i woke up too early on my morning off, the day dragged on before having to go into work.

so when i got a text message from a friend asking me to help her with something tonight, i was like, "YES PLEASE!"

the fabulous Jenn and i go way back. somehow through good and bad, we have always come out friends. if we haven't seen each other in awhile, when we finally do hang out, it's like no time has passed. she's just awesome and i'm lucky to have a friend like her.

we met at my place and she explained she needed me to teach her how to do her hair for tomorrow night. and surprisingly, and luckily, it turned out pretty well!

but that's not the best part. we talked for a few hours and, like always, i'm reminded how much i enjoy catching up with her.

so my dearest friend, jennifred, thank you for a great pick me up tonight.

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^^^ this is from forever ago! but always one of my favorites.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

love comes slow and it goes so fast

i've been thinking a lot lately about things that make me nervous. like those big kid decisions that change a lot of things. things that are hard to give up.

i'm twenty-three and i feel like i know what i want out of my life but it's scary to take the steps to get there. it's like i have levels of what i want. do i go for the best or settle for what will be good enough is what i seem to be asking myself here.

life moves too fast. it really does and i remember being told that in passing when i was younger. but it's true. and im trying to remember that each day is a new day and to find the good and love out of it no matter what.

there's reassurance in the fact that at some point, i'll get to my decision.

yep, i'll get there.