Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year | Party Outfit

Hello loves,

And Happy New Year ('s Eve)!  I meant to take pictures of the outfit I wore to my family holiday party - but so much was going on that I never got around to it - UNTIL NOW.    Luckily - it's perfect for a New Year's Party - so I thought I'd throw it in as a bonus NYE post today.

The best part about this outfit - besides the fact that it's cute - and has tights with BOWS on them? It was super affordable!

I've been wearing this Francesca's necklace with EVERYTHING lately. 

I hope you enjoyed this affordable New Year's Party outfit and bonus post!
Later today I'm heading out to visit with my GREAT friend, Melissa.  I haven't seen her since the summer and I am her Maid of Honor.  We have so much to catch up on and I cannot wait to ring in the New Year with her.

What are you wearing this New Year's? What are you doing? I'd love to know - share with me in the comments.

With love,

Traci J

Hello 2015! | New Year's Resolutions

Hello loves,

I have a love/hate relationship with the entire concept of New Year's resolutions.  At first - sure - it sounds like a lovely idea.  Sit down at the start of the New Year and set goals for what I'd like to accomplish or improve for the upcoming year.  Beautiful. Great. I'm all about self improvement.

Here's where it loses it's appeal for me.

We only talk about resolutions right before the new year and right after.  Does anyone actually acknowledge them in March? How about July? And by October - who freaking cares.  I guarantee the amount of people that stick to their resolutions is few and far between compared to those that forget about them weeks down the road.  Why is it - that we find things about our lives we'd like to change - and think we have to wait until the turn of year? If there's something you want to do - set out and do it - right away - the minute you realize it.  If you're unhappy - change it.  The beauty of this life - is that we have the power to do ANYTHING - there is no mythical force holding us into our stagnant way of life until 2015.  We can simply change our lives at any moment.

So this year - instead of making a list of resolutions - or goals for the New Year, I am going to bring you along on my journey of creating my Life Long Bucket List.

Shortly before Christmas, I visited my cooperating teacher from when I was completing my undergrad.  She and I chatted about my travels and my plans for the future - and before I knew it - she was giving me homework.

She gave me a packet - to help me keep track of all of the things I wish to accomplish during my time here on Earth.  I can list everywhere I'd like to go, everything I'd like to do, and anything I wish to be.

Let's work together to make not only 2015 the best year ever - but our lives the BEST LIVES EVER.  Push those New Year's Resolutions aside, they're chumps anyway.  Here at BFJ, we are making New LIFE resolutions.

What do you think? Will you join me?

I'll talk to you soon.

With love,

Traci J

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Time to Drink Champagne and Dance on the Table

Hello loves,

Today I thought I'd share with you the little diy champagne bar I put together for my family Christmas party!  It is super simple and an easy thing to make for a holiday party, brunch, or hey - anytime at all!

I purchased the champagne flutes from Walmart for $2 a piece - you could use any champagne flutes you have - glass - plastic - whatever works for you.  For rimming the flutes - I bought white candy melts (you can find these in the baking or party supply aisle) and gold sugar sprinkles.  I also picked up some cute paper straws.

Follow the directions on the candy melts to melt them down.  Dip the top of the champagne flute into the candy and then quickly coat it in the sprinkles.  Pat on any excess and let dry.  Ta- da! DIY rimmed champagne flutes (that also double as a quick snack if your guests get hungry). 

I did this process for 12 flutes and it only took 15- 30 minutes!  

Here are the finished products!  Unfortunately I ran out of gold sprinkles - but I had some white in the cupboard - problem solved.  

For mixers, I bought orange juice and cranberry juice.  I also had peach slices, a mix of berries (black berries, raspberries, blueberries, and cranberries), and lemon and lime wedges.  My mom had this cute serving dish complete with a cute present decoration, how festive.  

I purchased a few bottles of champagne and one bottle of sparkling cider (that when any kids that wanted to join us in the festivities were able to do so)!  I let them chill on ice in my dad's custom ice bucket (thanks Pottery Barn).  I lined all of the sugar-rimmed champagne flutes on a beautiful mirrored tray that my dad bought my mom for Christmas.  It says "Time to Drink Champagne and Dance on the Table!" It was just so perfect.

Party guests were able to make their own champagne cocktail.  The one pictured above has a splash of cranberry juice, berries, and peaches. Yum!  Time to Drink Champagne and Dance on the Table!

What did you do to make your holiday party special this season?  I'd love to hear your ideas and get links to your posts.  Comment below!

Happy New Year!

With love,

Traci J

Monday, December 29, 2014

Year in Review | 2014

Hello loves,

I consider myself a highly reflective and thoughtful person. More often than not I become entirely too consumed in my thoughts - be it a blessing or a curse- I'm not too sure.

So to play to my  strengths - I decided to do a bit of reflecting on my resolutions from last year.

Did I accomplish them?
Did I not?
Are the same things important to me today?

Let's take a look, shall we... Here is my Year in Review.

1. Organize my Room
Nope. Absolutely not. To be honest, my room is a disaster.  With living on the road - consolidating two residencies into one - and just in general having a busy life - my room consistently looks as if a tornado of clothes, shopping bags, and just junk has flown through.

It's still important to me. I still want a clean room. I love nothing more than to have everything in it's proper place and looking pleasant.  This is something I'd truly want to accomplish in the months to come.  Keep your fingers crossed for me - please.

2. Keep up with my Blog
I'm here aren't I?!  Check. Check. Checkity Check. While I may not have been as consistent as I would have liked - I have been here - I have posted - and I have loved every minute of it.  I love working on BFJ.  It's something I'm proud of.  I'm not embarrassed of posting something for everyone to see. I write what I like - and I like what I write. It's my own little piece of internet sanctuary.
Do we think I can make it to year 2? Stick around and find out.

3. Try New Things
Out of all of my resolutions - this has been the most important - and I had no idea just how applicable it would be. When my boyfriend and I broke up at the start of February - I was devastated. I cried, I wallowed. Oh Lord, did I wallow.  I felt empty.  Once I could bring myself out of bed - I decided I wanted to do everything - try everything - say yes to everything, and I did.  Now, I'm flying across the country, meeting new people, making new friends, and letting go of the little things - something I was never able to do before.  Funny thing is, when I wrote the original post, it was to please my boyfriend.  He was unhappy with my lack of spontaneity.  It aggravated him beyond belief.  I wanted him to know that I was trying.

In the end - this resolution was all about me.  Now, I feel liberated and happy. Funny how much life can change in a year.  Even funnier how something terrible can turn into the one thing that makes you feel comfortable in your skin, feel good.

Whoa Traci, dial back the sentiment.
Reel in those emotions.
Bring it back.

Ok. Hello. I'm fine.

There's a look back at 2014.  What a year, huh?  What were the highlights of 2014 for you?

Stay tuned for my goals for 2015. :)

With love,

Traci J

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Maybe Christmas, Perhaps, Means a Little Bit More | What I Got for Christmas 2014

Hello loves - and merry Christmas!

I hope you had a lovely holiday - spent relaxing by the fire, drinking plenty of hot cocoa, and spending time with loved ones.  It's in the evening on Christmas day as I type this, and I am using this time to wind down and reflect on the lovely few days I've had.  On Christmas Eve, my mother and I spent time decorating a gingerbread house (poorly - I might add - but it's the effort that counts), making cookies, and then watching It's a Wonderful Life with my Dad.  Truly, it was a beautiful evening.  During the day today - we opened presents - exchanged laughs - and had a wonderful supper with my grandmother and aunt.  

I cannot express how much I love this time of year. Everyone is in a generous mood, and everyone is just more cheerful.  For a long while now I have agreed with the Grinch - that Christmas might not come from a store "maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more."  Receiving gifts is a great thing - but giving gifts - and just spending time with those that are special to you are really what this season is all about.  I feel very fortunate that I have the opportunity to do so. 

That aside - I still would like to share with you what I received this Christmas!  I snapped some pictures this afternoon to share with all of you. :)

 Lorac "The Royal" 3 Palette Set
Daisy by Marc Jacobs
Giftcard to Ulta
Nancy Drew: The Shattered Medallion
Philosophy Gift Set - Gingerbread Cookie Shower Gel and Frosting Lotion

Viniq Shimmering Liqueur- This stuff GLITTERS
Brown Handbag by Ivanka Trump
Racoon Reusable Handwarmers

Black Vans (I've been longing for these!!!)
Sparkling Moscato
Cosmetic Bag by Zoella
Zoella Soak Opera Bath Soak
Blue Flannel from Kohl's

Cosmetic Bags from Forever 21
Bath Fizzers from The Pampery
Cozy Socks

What were your favorite gifts from this Christmas? What was the best gift you gave ? Let me know in the comments.

XOXO - Happy Holidays

Traci J

Thursday, December 18, 2014

I Spy | What I Found While Antiquing

Hello loves,

This week was my Mom's birthday - and despite the fact that I was feverish - I mustered up the strength to peruse the aisles of her favorite antique malls.  I'll admit that this is not my most favorite thing to do, but at Christmastime there's all sorts of cute, vintage, and sparkly odds and ends that were just begging to be Instagrammed. 

Nancy Drew is one of my most favorite book series. 
Always was, always will be.

To be honest - Christmas decorations used to be weird.
And creepy.

This is not Christmasy. But I love it.
And Pizza.

Happy holidays,

Traci J 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Winter 2014 | The World Through My Headphones

Hello loves,

Welcome to the second installment of The World Through My Headphones here at Bows for Justine! 

I am excited to bring you my favorite songs of the holiday season!  There is something about bubble gum pop Christmas music that I cannot resist. I am neither ashamed nor secretive about my love for it.  NOT ASHAMED.  

Click here to listen to my winter playlist!
Wrapped in Red...Kelly Clarkson
Love is Everything...Ariana Grande
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays... N*Sync
My Only Wish (This Year)...Britney Spears
Christmas Wrapping...The Waitresses
Winter Song... Sara Bareilles, Ingrid Michaelson
What Christmas Means To Me... Hanson
Happy Universal Holidays... Adam Hicks
Jingle Bells...Brian Setzer

What are you listening to this winter?  What song is your holiday guilty pleasure?

If you're looking for more - see my top hits of the holiday season from 2013 here.

With love,

Traci J

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Gift Guide for Her - Target Edition

Hello loves!

Whenever I need to purchase a gift last minute - or I'm buying a gift for someone and I just do not know what to get them - I immediately find myself at Target.  I swear, they have something for everyone (including me, which is why I generally end up with a gift for myself too).  I decided to peruse the Target website and come up with my top 5 picks for holiday gifts for her this season.

What are you buying for your friends this Christmas?  Have you picked up anything great from Target lately - did I miss something?  Let me know in the comments.

Happy Holidays,

XOXO Traci J

Saturday, December 6, 2014

One Year of Bows for Justine!

Omigod you guys. O.MI.GOD.

Can you believe I've kept up with Bows for Justine?! I know I can't.  Maybe it's time for me to redo my About Me page? What do you think?

What is even more unbelievable to me is how much my life has changed since I started this little blog.  It feels more like 3 years have gone by rather than just one.

Whether you're new here or have been around since Dec. 6th 2013 - I wanted to put together the top 12 posts you need to read to get the gist of my blogging journey thus far.  Enjoy - and thanks for being here :)

The post that started it all

Because who doesn't love cookies?

My first ever Favorites post

My FAVORITE restaurant 

When everything changed

My first sponsored post

My most popular post 

One of my person favorites

My first event as a blogger

Adventure of a lifetime

I started a series!

The return of the Youtube videos

What do you think should grace the pages of Bows for Justine in the next year?  It's been a crazy ride and I'm hoping to experience it for years to come.

Thanks for the love.


Traci J

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Black Friday - That's a Thing I Did

Hello Loves,

Every year my mom and I go Black Friday shopping. It is our FAVORITE thing ever.  I am not even joking.  We don't go for any specific deals - we just go for the fun of it and the atmosphere.  It is SO Christmasy. I love it.

This year I decided to vlog a little bit of it and even did a little bit of a haul video.

Woah, wait, what?! Two new videos on ?! Yes. You've got that right.

Enjoy. XOXO

-Traci J

Monday, December 1, 2014

Winter Inspiration | Happy December

Hello loves,

I wanted to show you some of what's been inspiring me on Pinterest and Tumblr the last few days.  I am so excited for it to be December and Christmas season!

What are you excited for this winter?

Links Left to Right: 1-2-3-4-5-6

With love,

Traci J XOXO

Thursday, November 13, 2014

My Brief Stay in Pittsburgh | Life Lately

Hi loves!

I just wanted to give a little update on the few days I spent in Pittsburgh working at Duquesne University.  It is such a lively, young, and eclectic city. Everywhere I turned there was a new shop, restaurant, or place to hang out.

While I was in Pittsburgh I ate at some really great places:

Steel Cactus
Milkshake Factory
Pamela's Diner
(The Croissant French Toast..OMIGOD)

 I definitely would recommend visiting this city if you haven't already!

Wonderful chocolates at The Milkshake Factory

View of Pittsburgh from Mt. Washington

I love making new friends (note the milkshakes in hand)

Adorable homemade candles in the marketplace

The beer candles ACTUALLY smelled like beer
Still figuring out how I feel about that

I even had time to explore Millennium Dance Complex -one of my favorite dance studios!

Duquesne is a beautiful campus within the busy city

Look at the color of the trees!

Are any of you from Pittsburgh? What do you love most about it!?  What other cities do you think I need to visit? Let me know in the comments.

With love,

Traci J

Monday, November 3, 2014

Autumn 2014| The World Through My Headphones

Hello loves,

I feel like I haven't shared anything with you for a while and I just needed to have some Bows for Justine - reader time.

The separation anxiety is killing me.

Throughout my traveling - there is always one thing that is constant. I am always creating new playlists listening to new music, discovering old music, and listening to it at every chance I get.  So, I was brainstorming quick, easy, and personal ways to connect with you through BFJ and came up with a new series... WOOHOO!


The World Through My Headphones.
Click here to follow on Spotify

Through these posts I'll share what I'm listening to and include a Spotify playlist so you can listen along with me! Eeeee! I hope you are as excited as I am.

Afire Love...Ed Sheeran
Nina...Ed Sheeran
Often...The Weeknd
Coffee...Sylvan Esso
Runaways...Betty Who
Fun...Troye Sivan
Love Lost - Acoustic...The Temper Trap
If I Go...Ella Eyre
Fire N Gold...Bea Miller
See Her On The Weekend...Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
Maps For The Getaway...Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
Nicotine...Panic! At The Disco
Collar Full...Panic! At The Disco
Give Me A Little More Time...Drake Bell

In the fall I tend to lean towards mellow-toned tracks like Coffee, Love Lost, and Bridges.  Something about music like that makes me want to curl up on the couch with coffee and a blanket. But then there's songs like Collar Full, Nicotine, and If I Go which don't fit in that realm at all. Deal with it, okay?  My playlists are always pretty eclectic in terms of genre, artists, and everything possible really.  I have a hard time staying consistent - even when I'm trying.  

Kind of like this blog. At this point you're probably thinking... "this is supposed to be a beauty blog, right?"


I hope you enjoy my autumn playlist.  What are you listening to this fall? Do you have random musical taste like I do? What songs am I missing on this playlist?! Let me know in the comments!

Don't forget to follow on Spotify - click here!

With love,

Traci J

Sunday, October 12, 2014

I Love Weddings! Drinks All Around | October Style Challenge

Hello loves,

First things first. I - LOVE - WEDDINGS.

I admit it. I am a hopeless romantic. I get caught up in the flowers, the vows, the venue... Shoot, I even get caught up in the color scheme. Weddings. They're down right magical.  

And... I'm in luck.  My beautiful best friend, Melissa, is getting married next summer - and asked me to be her Maid of Honor.  Not only to I get to attend the wedding of two of my most favorite people on the planet - but I get to help her plan her big day.  Since the boyfriend no longer exists - this may be the closest I get to planning a wedding in quite some time. #foreveralone

Snap out of it, Traci. Let's get to the point.

Yes. So, the people at Weddington Way approached me with a challenge to style a bridesmaid look centering around one of their dresses. My reply was "HECK YES I WILL." Okay, that wasn't really what the email said - but you get the gist.

The challenge was as follows: If you were the Maid of Honor and the bride asked you to help her style the look for her big day, what would you suggest?  -Side note how convenient that I AM the Maid of Honor?!

I took one look at this dress and my mind immediately went to Breakfast at Tiffany's - and then to Blair Waldorf (this is the way my brain works).  The style of the dress is super classic. I paired it with the black pumps - pearl collar - and trendy coral lipstick.  Mint and coral will forever be my favorite color combination. I cannot get enough. 

I threw in the cute tank just for grins...hoping my bride will let me wear this while we are getting ready ;) 

Take a few moments to peruse their site and gawk at all the BEAUTIFUL dresses.  How would you help style your friends' wedding? 

I challenge you to create your own style board and link to your post below!

Don't forget to check out all of their bridesmaid dresses here!

With love,

Traci J 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Make your Mani "Fall Fabulous" with Julep

Hello loves!

If any of you have been paying attention to my Twitter or Instagram, I have been obsessing over how pumped I am about fall being here!  SRSLY guys. I love all things fall, especially nail polish. 

 The beautiful people at Julep and I want to help YOU find the perfect nail color to take your mani from fun in the sun to fall fabulous

Check out my outfit inspiration based off of Julep's Roc Solid.  

Relaxed Roc-er
Based off Julep's Roc Solid 

Looking to shift your style into Autumn? Use this helpful chart from Julep to pick your perfect fall polish!

What color will your nails be rocking this season? Let me know in the comments!

With love,

Traci J

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Embracing the Wanderlust. Life Lately

Welcome home, loves!

It's been ages since I've written a blog post - and I am so sad about it!  Sometimes I get a bit ambitious with how much time I think I have... I truly thought that I'd be able to manage a blog, plus do my Traveling Leadership Consultant job at the same time.  Let me tell you, that is not the case!  Somewhere along my travels - I made the executive decision to take a blogging hiatus. It was too much to try and work on blog posts and perform my job to my highest abilities.  Believe me when I say that I am so sorry for disappearing. 

But have no fear! I am home for a week, and am hoping to get a few posts lined up while I'm here.  For now, I thought I'd catch you up on what my life has been like over the last couple of months.  I have been extremely busy with sorority recruitments, officer trainings, and developing leadership at ZTA chapters all over the country.  While this has been the most difficult job I have ever had, it is also the best, and most fulfilling job I have ever had.  I love every minute of it, and have never been more happy. :)

Through traveling I have learned more about myself than I've ever known before - and it is so satisfying.  There is no greater way to discover yourself than to travel alone.  If you ever get the chance - you have to take it.  

Take a look at all of the friends I've made, food I've eaten, and fun I've had since July!

These are my fellow Leadership Consultants.  Although we travel individually, we are all one big support system for each other.  We also have the BEST GroupMe chat. 

Dear Lord, the food.

Top Left: Chai Lattes and Croissants at Caffe Strada in Berkely, Califronia
Macchiato at Quills Coffee in Louisville, Kentucky
Chicken Spaghetti at Arcade in Memphis, Tennessee
Middle Left: Cheese Fries, Chips Ahoy, and Water (the ultimate recruitment diet)
Cotton Candy SnoCone from Jerry's SnoCone in Memphis, Tennessee
Bottom Left: Lemon Raspberry Cinnamon Roll at Cinnaholic in Berkeley, California
Macarons at a bakery in Berkeley, California
Lobster Roll and Fries from La Forge Casino Restuarant in Newport, Rhode Island *as seen on Food Network

Top Left: Church where John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy were married, RI
Me. Being adorably patriotic, TN
The beautiful beach, RI
 2nd Row Left: Cute care package given to me at Berkeley, CA
The MOST amazing board game ever - QUELF, TN
3rd Row Left: Beach selfie, RI
4th Row Middle: Justin Timberlake's Parents' House, TN
Beautiful event set up, NC

Stay tuned for some beauty and fashion posts this month!

Traveled recently? What did you learn? What did you love?
Tell me in the comments!

With Love,

Traci J