Archive of ‘LIFESTYLE’ category

Penguin Randomhouse National Readathon: Saturday, January 24


You guys know I love me some books. Yes, I like big books and I cannot lie. I’m so excited the Penguin Randomhouse National Readathon Day is tomorrow. The goal is to read for four hours and document your reading using the hashtag #TimeToRead. I’m still in Louisiana and plan to join in on the fun during the hours of 12:00pm-4:00pm EST.

Join me on Instagram where I will be using my own personal hashtag #JCbookshelf. I am reading books that take my mind off the fact it’s been two weeks since I lost Jamie and nothing feels right. Absolutely nothing.

Here’s a list of the books I plan to read during this time. Instead of reading one book for four hours I’m breaking it up with four different books each hour. Please join me and let’s celebrate reading together. What are you planning on reading during the readathon?

The Assassin’s Blade: The Throne of Glass Novella by Sarah J. Maas. If Amerie told me to read it then I’m reading it.

Portrait of a Spy by Daniel Silva. I can’t get enough of Silva’s series about an Israeli spy named Gabriel Allon. It’s intriguing, fast paced, and set in some of the most beautiful destinations in the world. Plus, the main character is an art restorer. Go read it.

Tempting Fate by Jane Green. This will be my first Jane Green novel and I am super stoked. A few of my friends love her writing so I’m happy to finally explore her work.

The Magician King by Lev Grossman. I fell in love with The Magicians a few weeks back and let me tell you I can’t get enough. The is the second in a trilogy and I’m plowing through this one as well.

A few of my favorite Penguin/Randomhouse authors are gathered in this video talking about making time to read. I have a few of them on my reading list and on my bookshelves.

Reading Pretty: It Was Me All Along by Andie Mitchell

Andie Mitchell

My book reading as of late is all over the place. I go back and forth from fiction to non-fiction and lots memoirs. The latest joy is reading It was Me Along by Andie Mitchell and the writer behind the blog Can You Stay for Dinner. It’s the story of Andie’s struggles with food. It’s fascinating that now she writes a blog about food. I didn’t want this book to end and felt that if I met Andie in real life we would be friends.

This post is brought to you in collaboration with Net Galley. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thanks for supporting the sponsors that allow me to create new and special content like this for All About the Pretty.

Look Out That Window Girl and Live


I’m in Louisiana, but not for the reason I planned. On Thursday, January 8, I lost my dear brother Jamie. Needless to say the pain is so hard that I am in a fog. My heart feels like it’s about to break open. I didn’t expect. None of us did. We thought he was on the mend. He was getting better. That’s what the doctors told us. It’s going to take time. Lots of time. Be patient. On September 25 my brother had a massive stroke. I was on a plane the next day. I’ve been flying back and forth trying to maintain a business and a life. It’s been rough.

His birthday is tomorrow which makes this even more heart wrenching. On the flight down I was a mess. I couldn’t have made it without my husband and two amazing flight attendants on United. Those ladies mothered me for three hours on a plane until I could walk into my mother’s arms. I don’t know how she is so strong. She has had to bury a husband and now two sons. I’m looking to her for strength, because I’m so weak. Jamie was not just my brother, but my best friend. He’s one of the reasons I travel. He supported me while I studied in Paris, maintained my car and house when I lived in Houston, and listened to every complaint, frustration, and accolade. He called me every single day. There was no dream I had that he didn’t support. When I told him my ideas he encouraged every single one. Not one hesitation. Not one doubt. He believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself.

No matter where in the world I was I got a text, voicemail, and email from him. Every Monday we analyzed each NFL game. It’s been hard trying to watch the games without hearing his voice. The last time I talked to him was on September 24. My wedding anniversary when he called to wish me “happy anniversary.” He kept laughing and saying I can’t believe you found someone to put up with you. That was our running joke. Every phone call or voicemail started the same – “Julia, it’s your brother Jamie …” When I called him back I said “Jamie, it’s your sister Julia. Your only sister.”

To not hear is voice is hard. I’ve been playing his last few voicemails to me over and over. Just to hear him say it. He’s taken care of me since I was little. I remember him washing and combing my hair, taking me to school, and always being there even with a family of his own. He came to the house as I got ready for prom, going off to college, taking me to the airport to go study in Paris, helping pack my car to move to DC, telling me “have fun in DC, but come back now, you here!,” go to Spain with that guy because you know what you are doing, and much more.

Yesterday I did something I have never done. I requested a window seat on the plane in his honor. He knew I hate to fly and would never sit by the window or ever look out the window on a plane. But he always told me “look out that window girl and live.”That’s what I did.

I know he’s no longer in pain, but it just sucks. I talked to my family and asked could I write something. My mom said that’s what you do. Write it out. It will help. I’ve received so many calls, emails, and texts in support. Thank you. Life is so short and it’s so precious. I just wish heaven could have waited one more day, one more week, one more month, one more year to make him an angel. I guess they needed him more than me.


Reading Pretty: Make it Happen: Surrender Your Fear. Take the Leap. Live On Purpose. by Lara Casey



I devoured Lara Casey’s book Make it Happen: Surrender Your Fear. Take the Leap. Live on Purpose in two day. It was a particular gloomy Saturday and I wanted something to break the fiction books I was reading. I received a preview copy of the e-book, but I enjoyed the book so much I wanted to support her and purchased a “real” book.

Lara is a major proponent of looking at your life and making the necessary changes you need to make without blaming someone else for your happiness. She goes deep into her unhappy marriage and work and how she turned it around without making any excuses. I know there are a lot of self-help books out there, but what makes Laura’s book great is her desire to discuss the art of not “being perfect.” I’m still trying to figure out when perfect became the ideal. Life is messy, thank goodness. We need stories to tell and perfect doesn’t make good story telling.

I always say Instagram is the highlight real of your life and not the real dirty work. Yes, I consider what a photo will look like before I post, but actually my bed isn’t made, my office is a hot mess, I’m tired, and the past few days made me realize I need to make some shifts. She has a yearly conference and I’m seriously considering going.

Lara thanks for a great book. Keep making it happen.

This post is brought to you in collaboration with Net Galley. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thanks for supporting the sponsors that allow me to create new and special content like this for All About the Pretty. 

Happy 2015!



Happy New Year! I hope your holidays went well. Although the new year started last week it officially kicked off today with most people returning to work. I normally spend the first 5 days detoxing from all the food, sweets, and alcohol I consumed over the holidays. My life is saying lady we need a BREAK. This photo sums up all the goodies I have been using and reading over the weekend. As a yogi I’m always interested in studying under great teachers and Tiffany is next on my list. I took a workshop with her in 2013, but this I want to go deeper with my yoga studies. Also, if you haven’t seen Jada Pinkett Smith on the cover of Shape, please grab a copy. Lord have mercy that girl looks amazing and fit.

I also decided to get back to journaling. I have diaries from the time I was a child, but now I decided to go back to the trusty Moleskin soft cover and get out all the thoughts in my head and on to the page. As much as I like talking, I like writing everything down. Plus, I need to work on my handwriting which is pretty atrocious because I haven’t been writing as much and typing on a keyboard.

I hope that this year brings you lots of fun, belly laughs, beauty, fitness, books, and great wine. Yes, there will be difficult days, but hopefully we can all get through them with a little help from the beauty gods.

What are some things you are looking forward to this year?

‘Twas the “Pretty” Night Before Christmas

Christmas 1.1

I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Pretty New Year. I wish lots of laughter, joy, laughs, good food, and a holiday full of beauty. I will see you back here on the blog Monday, January 5, 2015.

‘Twas the night before Christmas
and all through the house
the only creature stirring
was the click of a Glamglow mouse.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care
With hope that bronzer  would soon be there
Mom and daughter were nestled in their beds
With visions of Paris and shopping dancing in their heads.

When out on the roof there arose such a clatter,
I sprung from my bed to see what was the matter,
Away to the window I flew like a flash
Tore open the shutter to Tarte’s Lights, Camera, Splashes!

With a little old drier, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick,
More rapid than eagles, the products all came,
and he whistled and shouted and called them by name.

Now Bobbi, now Jo Malone, now Hermes, now Rodial and Estee
On Leonor Greyl, on CHANEL, on Carol’s Daughter and Laura Mercier
Becca foundation in the color called Mink
Products all over the shower and next to the sink.

To the top of the porch
To the top of the wall
Now dash away! Dash away!
Products stashed in the hall

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk
And laying his finger aside of his nose
What a lovely scent, Malle Carnal Flower?

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of products he had flung on his back,
and he looked like a beauty counter opening his pack.

Santa came on his sleigh with beauty products galore
Carrying bags from Neiman Marcus, Follain, Sephora and more
I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight
May the lip gloss be with you all, and to all a good night.

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Pretty New Year!

Based on the poem by Clement Clarke Moore

Holiday Gift Guide 2014 – The Book Nerd

Book Nerd

I have an addiction to books. I can’t stop buying them in all forms. I read hardback, paperback, and e-books. If I’m having a bad day the best thing for me is to walk around in a bookstore and I feel much better. I have always been a voracious reader and I read all types of books. I have been known to read cookbooks to in bed at night. I’ve read some great books this year and I wanted to give my favorite books for the book lover in your life.

I offer a few of my favorite wellness books because we all can take better care of ourselves. Beauty starts inside dear hearts. You all know about my love for Elena Brower.

At the moment I am blowing through the Daniel Silva ‘Gabriel Allon’ books. I’m obsessed. Seriously. I have been tweeting him and because he lives in Washington, DC I am putting out in the universe that I’m going to meet and talk with him in 2015. I don’t mean book signing chats, but an in depth conversation. I have so many questions I want to ask him and it needs to be in person. As the daughter of a U.S. Marshal and FBI graduate my conspiracy theory brain is always working.

I’m also obsessed with Ann Patchett. As an English major I love a really well written book that causes me to think and engage the brain cells that at times I want to turn off. If you haven’t read Bel Canto do me a favor and go buy it stat. Baby it’s cold outside and these books are perfect for enjoying with a big cuppa tea.

A Discovery of Witches is a must. If you haven’t read Deborah Harkness brilliant trilogy please don’t talk to me. Just kidding. It’s that good. I bought them in ebook and hardback. Yep, I need those beautiful covers on my shelves. My love for her is deep people. Deep. Joy the Baker is my new food girl crush. I’m still making her simple spicy vegetarian tortilla soup at least once a month. Plus, Joy recently moved to Louisiana (my birth state) and that makes her equally as wonderful based on her 504 area code.

A mind is a terrible thing to waste.
Read more because it’s all about the pretty.


Wellness Books









Reading Pretty: How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are

How to Be Parisian

I’m currently in Louisiana and trying to catch up on everything I need to do before the 2014 Paris Beauty Tour that starts next week. It seems like just yesterday I announced the dates and it is amazing that I get to lead and welcome an amazing group of ladies to my favorite city in the world to beauty shop. I will announce the dates for 2015 next month and I can’t wait. In the meantime I am listening to French podcasts, music, and catching up on all my French reading. One book I am devouring and laughing out loud at the same time to is How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style, and Bad Habits by Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline De Maigret and Sophie Mas.

The book is very tongue-in-cheek compared to a lot of Parisian lifestyle books and this one had me crying out loud at some of their musings. I started this on a plane and it’s one of those books that make a long flight bearable. If you are into all things French then I suggest adding this book to your bookshelf especially with lines such as “Embrace your inner snob. (Because let’s face it, that’s who you are.)

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