Southern Blondie

Botox at Arkansas Family Dental

This blog post is sponsored by Arkansas Family Dental. The services mentioned in this post were comped as part of this partnership. 

before and after botox, about botox, botox from a dentist

Well, I went and finally did it... I got Botox! So here's the story: 

A few weeks ago I heard about Arkansas Family Dental in Little Rock offering Botox and my first question was, "Is it safe to get Botox from a dentist?" Being my first time and all, I wanted to make sure that I knew all of the facts before making the decision. The answer is, Yes, it is safe to receive Botox from a dentist. If you think about it, a good dentist like the ones at Arkansas Family Dental really understand facial muscles. 

Once I had the facts behind me that it was safe, I felt comfortable moving forward. 

Now, if you've known me long enough, then you know how I believe in high-quality skincare, and I believe that has what has kept me from hitting the Botox needle before now. Could I have waited a couple of more years? Sure, but I believe in prevention with any good regime, and even Botox at a young age (I'm 31) can be considered prevention. There were a few fine lines that were forming on the top of my forehead, not terribly noticeable but enough for me to look at them in the mirror for longer than one should. 

before and after botox, about botox, botox from a dentist

So here is a closer image that I took the afternoon before I went to Arkansas Family Dental for Botox. I am not wearing any makeup (except leftover mascara), and there is no filter. This is my naked as can be forehead. Now, you can better see the fine lines that I mentioned, again, not severe, but something I wanted to get taken care of sooner rather than later. 

before and after botox, about botox, botox from a dentist

Actually getting the Botox part is pretty easy, though it may sting for a second or two. I received nine units of Botox. Again, I wanted prevention and to be able to move my forehead still. As an expressive person, I'm not sure how it would work if I couldn't move my face at all. 

before and after botox, about botox, botox from a dentist

I always believe in being transparent and honest with anyone who reads my blog, and the truth is after Botox you will have a few red bumps where you received the injections. These don't last very long, they were gone within less than an hour. There was no after pain, my forehead was not sore in any way. The only side effect was that I had a bit of a headache, but that might or might not have been from the Botox. It takes about 7-10 days to see the full effect. 

So what is the end result?? 

before and after botox, about botox, botox from a dentist

It's remarkable! It's enough to make a difference, but still be able to move my face! Really the best of both worlds if you ask me. The staff at Arkansas Family Dental told me that Botox will last between 3-4 months and that you will be able to feel/tell when it starts to fade. There are no side effects to your muscles once the Botox does wear off, as in your muscles will go back to normal (as will your wrinkles). 

Click here to learn more about what you need to know before getting Botox.

So, that's it! It was easy, quick and pretty pain-free. Obviously, there are multiple areas you can receive Botox on your face, but I just wanted to start out with something simple to see how I liked it before doing more. 

What do you think? 

Thirty-ONEderful Charity Donation: Moms Demand Action


So here's the thing... I am a gun owner. I have my concealed carry permit. I think guns are OK to own. Being from the South, guns were part of growing up. My dad had several guns, my friends owned guns, and it was a usual Sunday activity to go out and shoot tin cans or old signs. Guns do not scare me, but I also grew up in an environment where I understood how to use them responsibly. 

HOWEVER, I think it's time that all responsible gun owners stand up for stronger gun regulations. 

On Sunday night I was in Los Angeles at dinner with colleagues after a really successful workday raising money to end hunger and poverty. (I work for a nonprofit.) It was a pretty long day, so it was a pretty late dinner as well. When I got back to the hotel and turned on the TV, every channel was covering the tragic events of a shooter in Las Vegas. 

At midnight, two people at died from this shooter. When I woke up at 5 a.m. after falling asleep with the TV on 25 people had died, and by the time I was checking out of the hotel, over 50 people died due to gun violence. It's just too much. I love outdoor concerts, music festivals, and living life. I don't want to live in a world where it becomes normal to be paranoid in large groups of people. 

That's why there has to be a better way. There has to be a middle ground to say, it's OK to own a gun, but let's just be responsible about it. I am not going to get rid of the guns we have in our home, I am not going to be afraid of them (because I understand that they are weapons, not toys), but what I  am going to do is become more vocal that we need stronger regulations. No one needs to own a fully-automatic weapon. 

In my opinion, no one should be able to walk into a gun and knife show and purchase a weapon without any sort of background check. I have to go to a doctor, then a pharmacist and have to have insurance to get birth control, but anyone can just go to a gun store (depending on the state) and buy the equipment it takes to create a fully-automatic rifle? SERIOUSLY? 

I understand if this post is a little too political for a lot of people who read this blog, and that's OK if you don't agree, or if you think all guns are good or all guns are bad. Hopefully, we can all find a middle ground to agree that we need stronger regulations, but that there are responsible gun owners out there who also agree.

Gun Violence by the Numbers

1. On an average day, 93 Americans are killed with guns
2. SEVEN children and teens are killed by guns in the US on an average day 
3. In an average month, 50 women are shot to death by intimate partners in the US 
4. Background checks have blocked nearly 3 MILLION gun sales to prohibited people 
5. America's gun homicide rate is more than 25 TIMES the average of other developed countries. 

So what do we do? Where do we go from here? 

We use our voices. We join causes. We show that there IS such a thing as being a responsible gun owner and believing in stronger gun regulations. 

For those of you who don't know, I turned 31 on June 5. I am calling this, "The Year of Being Thirty-ONEderful." It's about making this year... wonderful. Part of making anything wonderful in life is to give back to others where you can. So, on the 5th of each month, I am donating $31 to a charity and highlighting the work they do in a blog post.
This month, I am donating to Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. Here's what they do: 
  • Pressuring lawmakers to improve our gun laws
  • Raising awareness about gun violence
  • Educating the public about common-sense gun laws and responsible gun ownership
  • Mobilizing grassroots supporters
  • Connecting and amplifying the voices of survivors of gun violence
Moms Demand Action supports the 2nd Amendment, but we believe common-sense solutions can help decrease the escalating epidemic of gun violence that kills too many of our children and loved ones every day.

3 Easy Things to Do to Support Gun Safety  

  1. Text 'REJECT' to 644-33 to tell your member of Congress to reject the NRA's radical agenda. 
  2. Join Moms Demand Action local chapter in your area. 
  3. If you do own a gun, make sure it is locked, unloaded, and put away.

Thank you for reading this post. 

 Thirty-ONEderful Charity Donation:

Viva La France: Last Day in Nice


It was our last day in Nice, so we had to do a few last, favorite things. The whole group met for lunch together at 'Le Cocodile'. I had some sort of cute salmon slider and beef carpaccio. I have a thing for raw meat at this restaurant. It was a bittersweet lunch knowing that we were going home soon, but also knowing that we would be leaving Nice. 

The guys went to a beach club to hang out for the day and Amy and I went shopping. I will say, it was SO hot, and I was so tired that I almost passed out in H&M. I had to find the boyfriend chair to sit while Amy got a pair of pants. After a bit of shopping, we grabbed some incredibly big waters and I immediately felt better. 

Luckily, we were close by the I LOVE NICE sign and stopped for a bit of a photoshoot.

This is the view from the I LOVE NICE sign. You can see the beaches of Nice, lots of people watching and the beautiful water. It really was as beautiful as it is in the photo. So clear you can see fish!

We decided we need a bit of a break on the walk back and found a cute bar at the top of a building to have a glass of rosè. Once we felt refreshed, we headed back to our favorite bar in Nice, Le Truc. Before that though, we did stop at a pharmacy to get a few beauty products that are cheaper in France.

When we made it back to Le Truc, the guys had already beaten us to the bar. (Shocker.) Rich and I had one last cheese board, and I tried to savor the truffle cheese with every bite. Nice was so beautiful and so lovely, with the best cheese that I don't think I'll ever forget this trip. 

After a few hours at Le Truc, we headed back to our Airbnb to grab our suitcases, headed to the airport and flew back from Nice to Paris. We had a hotel booked close to the airport and the next morning flew back from Paris to the United States. 

Flying back on Condor was just as wonderful as flying to Paris. Those little pillows in the seats really make all the difference when you're in the plane for 8-10 hours. 

It's time travel the weirdest thing? You know that you're getting on the plane at like two in the afternoon, but then you arrive back in the United States at like 6 p.m. in the evening. It's so strange to me how that works. 

This is what it looks like when you're excited about getting home soon. Again, really bittersweet because I would have loved to spend more time in France, but I was also ready to sleep in my own bed. 

I did love the little gifts from Condor. They had this yellow case filled with a mini toothbrush, toothpaste, socks, eye mask, and earplugs. The eye mask came in handy on the flight because I knew I had to get sleep since we were driving from New Orleans back to Little Rock. Rich had to work on Thursday and had law school class Thursday night. 

Luckily, I didn't have to work the next day so I could drive more than others. 

The Condor flight had delicious food, once again. They even had the cutest salt and pepper shaker that I have ever seen. I watched the movie Moana, and I can see where it's inspiring to young girls. I enjoy these new Disney movies where the strong leads are women! 

The drive from New Orleans to Little Rock was ROUGH leaving at 7 p.m. We all took turns driving. First me, then Rich, then Bobby, then back to me. Luckily during Bobby's shift and my last shift, Amy was awake and able to play podcasts to keep everyone awake (Except Rich and Marcus who slept back the last four hours...) We got back to Little Rock around 3 a.m.! 

The next morning I got up (or like 11 a.m.), the first things I had to unpack were all of my finds! I love looking at my souvenirs back from trips. (Don't worry the copper pot made it back too!) 

So, that's our trip. It was fun, exhausting, memorable, life-changing, romantic, chaotic, amazing, and the best thing ever all wrapped up in one. Thanks for reading along this journey. Now, back to the regular blog post! 

Missed any of my posts from Viva La France? 
Catch up here: 

Viva la France: Visiting Villefranche-sur-Mer and Organic Wine Tasting in Nice

Villefranche-sur-Mer, France

We only had two days left in Nice and decided to go out of the city to a little town called Villefranche-sur-Mer. It's a sleepy, little town outside of Nice. We slept in a bit after a long day in Monaco, grabbed an Uber (because I was too hungry to wait for a bus) and headed north.  As soon as we got there we had to get lunch because I was really hangry.

Villefranche-sur-Mer, France

We found a cute restaurant right by the marina called, "Newport."  I got a delicious pasta with a spicy marinara sauce, a glass of white wine (because it was SO HOT) and a European Coca-Cola. Rich got a really fancy dish of squid and octopus. Surprisingly, it was actually really good. 

Good thing he enjoyed the meal while we were in France because I doubt that I ever learn how to cook squid or octopus. After a full meal, we walked around the town for a bit to see all of its pretty colors, windows, and small streets. It's exactly what is in your mind when you think of a small French town. 

Villefranche-sur-Mer, France

All of that walking for about 30-minutes made us really thirsty, so it was time for our own happy hour. I mean, we were in France after all... 

Wine Pier, Villefranche-sur-Mer, France

We went to a bar called, "Wine Pier" where we could watch boats, people and eat lots of chips. Again, I drank the white wine because it was just way too hot for me to drink red. We had booked a wine class that night so we just hung out for a few hours before heading back to Nice. 

We decided to take the bus from Villefranche-sur-Mer back to Nice and got lost. The only way we could get out of being below the Marina was to walk about 75 steps straight up. My booty was BURNING. It really didn't matter how much pasta or wine I consumed because all of the walking and steps just worked it all off. I actually think I lost a bit of weight once we got back and I de-puffed. 

Organic Wine Tasting in Nice, France

We had booked a two-hour Organic Wine Tasting in Nice through Tag Tours. The tour was about $40 per person and included 5 wines and a glass of champagne. (There were also free extra glasses if you really liked a bottle...) The Tour de France of Organic wine said it would help you get better knowledge about French wine and it really did. 

Organic Wine Tasting in Nice, France

Our sommelier was SO knowledgeable. He went through a map of France and showed us where each region of our wine we were drinking was grown and created. I LOVE sauvignon blanc so I knew I would probably love that one (spoiler alert: I did), but I also learned that I like rosè and pinot noir! Rich orders pinot noir a lot when we are having date nights, but I always stuck to a Malbec or cabs, now I'm really into pinot noirs. 

Organic Wine Tasting in Nice, France

We all started out with a glass of real champagne, from the region of, you guessed it, Champagne, France. After our champagne tour in Paris down the Seine River, I felt like I was already a pro at being able to discuss how it was created with the mixture of grapes, aging and how the bottles were moved to create the fizz.

Organic Wine Tasting in Nice, France

Here are our first three wines: 

Champagne Carte d'Or Brut NV 
This is a popular champagne from a small producer in France. It's a fresh, apple pie, and honey flavored Champagne that exudes class. 

Les Davantes de la Bonnelière AOC Touraine Blanc 2016 
100% Sauvignon Blanc. This wine is grown in a 3-hectare block of Clay and Limestone soils, this Touraine is macerated for 6 hours before fermentation. A great match to lighter goat cheeses and white fish dishes. 

AOC Côtes de Provence La Cuvée Camille Rosé 2016 
A blend of three types of grapes: Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah. The 'Cuvée Camille' is aged in tanks. The three grapes are fermented separately. Its color is light pink, with fin, delicate aroma of fruits. 

Organic Wine Tasting in Nice, France

Next, we moved on to the reds: 

Domaine Bersan AOC Côtes d'Auxerre Pinot Noir 2013 
Another lesser known regions, Pinot Noir is the sole variety in this red. Subtle tannins, rich red berry fruits, layers of minerality and a long and complex finish. 

Clos de Caveau AOC Vacqueyras Fruit Sauvage 2015 
You can taste the passion in this fabulously earthy Rhône red. A powerful licorice-scented red. Spicy Syrah delivers abundant fruits and a weight palate that carries the flavor for what seems like an eternity. 

Château Grand Français AOC Bordeaux Superior 2010 
A rich, ruby red color with an intense spice and vanilla nose. In the mouth, we have a smooth rich flavor of red fruits and layers of complexity added by the chalky tannins and spicy vanilla notes from the oak aging. 

My favorites were hands down the champagne, rosé, sauvignon blanc and pinot noir. I have never, ever liked licorice so the Syrah was awful to me, I actually gave my glass away. Bleh. 

Organic Wine Tasting in Nice, France

The Organic Wine Tasting was SO MUCH FUN. It was nice to just sit for a few hours and learn about one of the best things in the world, wine!  

Once the wine tour was over, we headed to meet our other friends who had done a bike riding wine tour that day. Their wine tour seemed like a lot of fun too - minus the whole bike riding thing. I really wanted to go on that one, but my body just couldn't handle a bike ride after all of the steps and walking. 

We met them at a fun bar-district in Old Town Nice. I was hungry and needed something to soak up all of the wine, so clearly, I found the classiest thing to eat... a good ole' hot dog.

Tell me that's not the best looking hot dog you've ever seen after a day of drinking a lot of wine? Believe me, it was my favorite word, DELICIOUS! 

Missed any of my posts from Viva La France? 
Catch up here: 

VIva La France: Day Trip to Monaco


Sunday morning I woke up with a BIG pep in my step because we were going to go to Monaco for the day! I have always loved Princess Grace because of how beautiful she was and then how much good she did once she became a princess. Rich was excited because of the Monte Carlo casino. The day was beautiful, but I did not prepare for how HOT it was! 

We took the public bus right outside of Airbnb to the bus stop. Then, we got on another bus from Nice to Monaco. The bus system was pretty easy, but as I later learned, the city buses are not free and we kept riding them without paying. *Whoops!* I would feel badly, however, I spent A LOT of money in Nice so I think it's ok if I took a couple of bus rides on accident. 

I had been preparing for Monaco for weeks, and by that, I mean I had to find a good restaurant to eat lunch at while we were there and find a dress that I wanted to wear during the day. And don't worry ... I did on both counts. 

When we first arrived in Monaco, I already knew where we were going to eat lunch. At an Italian restaurant called La Salière in Monaco. The menu had so many options, but because something spoke to me when we sat down, I had to get the paccheri with meatballs, cherry tomatoes and pecorino cheese. Every. single. bite. was worth it. It's made me make homemade marinara sauce twice since we've gotten back from our trip. 

Yes, I am drinking white wine with pasta but it was too hot for me to drink red during this lunch. I was so hungry by the time that we got to La Salière that I ate it all. Then I took the bread and cleaned any sauce on my plate. I was so satisfied and full I could have just gotten back on the bus to head back to Nice at that point if it wasn't for the Prince's Palace!  

So, I wobbled along through the city until we made it to the Prince's Palace. It was a LONG way up the hill. There were a few times I had to stop to rest because there were SO many steps in Monaco. If you didn't have a good butt when you got there, you had a good butt when you left. 

The only good thing about all those steps were all the views! It was gorgeous everywhere you looked. The water was so blue and clear you could almost see through it if you looked down. It also made me feel very un-wealthy with all of the yachts everywhere you looked. 

After about a million steps, we found the Prince's Palace! We didn't take a tour inside, and I kind of regret it now, but it was so pretty out the outside. We even timed it just right and saw the changing of the guards. 

Those outfits are VERY white, and they also look very hot. It was a very proper ceremony, and one guard seemed to have a bit of a smile on his face. Wouldn't it be hard to keep a straight face when people are taking photos and videos of you just walking? We hung out at the Prince's Palace for a bit and look at all of the views and people watched. I also had to do some shopping. 

This print was only around $5 and honestly, I would have paid more. I loved it when I first saw it. It was the best souvenir to buy from Monaco that day. 

After we left the palace, we headed towards Monte Carlo. Did I mention how hot it was? I thought I was going to melt into a puddle because there were NO clouds to cover the hot sun. 

Because this was probably my one and only time in Monaco, I really wanted to be in the moment and be as present as possible with Rich. Even if I was whining because it was hot, we had a wonderful lunch, got to see so many cool things, visited the Prince's Palace, and even went inside Monte Carlo. It's SO grand! Everything about it is gorgeous! 

Rich got to play the slot machines though we couldn't go into the larger casino area because of our attire. He even won! I think we walked away with 3 more euro than we walked in with, which was fine to me because that was bus money to get back to nice! 

When I say it was grand, I mean, it was GRAND. Inside the casino you could see large crystal chandeliers, gold everything, and the fanciest bar I have ever seen. The security was very tight though, just to go inside the slot machine area I had to get my bags checked and held by coat check. Sadly and understandably, photos are a big no-no. 

It was SUCH a fun day and everything that I had hoped it to be! After Monte Carlo we headed back to Nice. The buses stop running from Monaco to Nice around 7:30/8 pm in the evening and we didn't want to leave on the last bus in case there wasn't enough room. 

When we got back to Nice we went back to the Airbnb and relaxed for a bit before going to Old Town Nice for dinner at a Portuguese restaurant. After dinner, we headed back to our favorite Le Truc bar! Monaco was one of my favorite days of our adventure and I'm so glad that I was present in the moment. 

Missed any of my posts from Viva La France? 
Catch up here: 
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