The Fall Favorites Tag

First things first, no, I did not fall off the face of the earth. I know it’s been forever since I’ve posted anything… In a nutshell, I was blessed with a surge of freelance work, life has gotten a bit busy, I’ve gotten overwhelmed with feeling behind on my blogging, therefore, I’ve been procrastinating… But I decided to kickstart my blogging again with a tag I saw on Youtube from one of my favorite beauty vloggers, Jaclyn Hill.

So let’s get down to business and start a blog version of The Fall Favorites Tag!

Favorite Candle
2015-03-16 15.48.26I honestly have a tie between Leaves and Mahogany Teakwood, both from Bath & Body Works. Leaves has that crisp fall air and apple cider scent that just makes you see golden leaves, plaid, and want to go pick out pumpkins… While my husband says Mahogany Teakwood smells like “the mall” (which it does), it just puts me in the mood for all things fall! I just love both of them…

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Favorite Lip Color
For me, it has to be L’Oreal’s Infallible Le Rouge Lipstick in Unending Kiss. I tend to wear this color throughout the year, but it goes easily with everything in the fall months. It’s moisturizing, creamy, and a great natural color that gives color and definition without being overly bold.

Favorite Drink
2015-09-20 18.52.38-1My favorite fall drink has to be Starbuck’s Carmel Brûlée Latte for colder months, but it tends to come out closer to Christmas. So in the fall when I start drinking hot coffee drinks, I’ve made a substitute. I love getting a White Mocha Latte with half Caramel and half White Mocha. It’s not exactly like the Caramel Brûlée, but it’s just as sweet and cozy!

Screen Shot 2015-10-10 at 8.41.33 PMFavorite Blush
I can’t say that I switch up my blush too much… So for now, it’s NARS’ Orgasm. I got it from my husband in a Christmas gift bag from Sephora this past Christmas and it’s still the perfect shade for everyday wear. It has a slight shimmer, but it’s not overpowering. I love it!

2015-01-09 16.22.32Favorite Clothing Item
When the air starts getting chilly, I can’t wait to break out my comfy navy cardigan. I honestly don’t remember where I bought it from, I’ve had it for a few years… It’s a classic style and just a nice semi-chunky knit! It goes with just about everything and even though it looks big, it’s actually kind of slimming… I love pairing it with a v-neck t-shirt, jeans, and tall boots.

Favorite Fall Movie
For me, it’s not fall until I watch You’ve Got Mail. I know it’s not a seasonal or holiday movie, but it’s become a tradition. Plus, in the opening when Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks are talking about “bouquets of sharpened pencils” and scotch tape, it just makes me think of school supplies, falling leaves, and plaid! I absolutely love it! 384266_10151062452625938_1246938523_n
Another fall movie tradition is our Lord of the Rings marathon. We’ve had friends over to watch the movies back to back throughout the years – we even made our own lembas bread (shortbread wrapped in fake plant leaves from Hobby Lobby)! Watching the trilogy every year has been a tradition my husband and I have done since we first started dating…

Favorite Fall TV Show
There aren’t any fall tv series that I watch every year. We honestly don’t watch tv on the airing schedule, since most everything we watch is either on Netflix or Hulu. We always like watching The Office every fall and winter. It’s just a fun show to watch over and over again, and it never fails to make us laugh! We’ve decided (since discovering Parks & Recreation this year) that we’re going to watch The Office in the fall and Parks & Rec in the spring… 😉

Favorite Thanksgiving Food
2014-11-27 13.27.34Mashed potatoes! It’s not Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes. And my absolute favorite are my Granny’s Yukon Gold mashed potatoes! I don’t know what she does, my mom and I make mashed potatoes the same way she does (by the recipe), but hers are always sublime. Yum!

Favorite Halloween Costume
Growing up, we didn’t celebrate Halloween. It’s only been in the past few years of my adult life and working in creative departments at various jobs that I’ve dressed up for Halloween. I dressed up as Rogue from X-Men one year by putting a white streak in my hair and wearing long black gloves…

So what are your Fall Favorites? I’d love to know!

If you have not yet discovered the lovely Jaclyn Hill, I highly recommend you watch her videos. She is so fun to watch, she makes my day every time I watch her videos! Her tutorials are so good and inspiring; I discovered the value of contouring from her! Love her!

Also, if you enjoy tags like this, another of my favorite Youtubers did a version of this tag that’s really fun to watch. Check out Kristina of Pretty Shiny Sparkly’s video!

May Favorites

I know, this post is soooo late (SO Sorry! Arg!), but after debating between posting May and June Favorites together or separate, I decided it would be better to just keep them separate. Otherwise, we’d be here all day… Let’s get started!

Beauty
TangleTeezerI had several beauty favorites this month, but I couldn’t narrow it down any more, because all of these products are fantastic in their own way! First of all is the amazing Tangle Teezer. I have never used a brush that untangled my hair so effortlessly and painlessly! I use it both on wet and dry hair and it works through my hair without breaking or pulling on the strands. I’ve noticed fewer split ends and it’s great to blow out your hair because it’s less hassle than trying to work both a handled brush and blower dryer…at least I find it easier. I’ve never been graceful blow drying my hair with a brush… I highly recommend getting the Tangle Teezer, no matter what length of hair you have! I found my first Tangler Teezer at Target when they carried it briefly, but I’ve not been able to find it there since the one time, so now I get mine online.

Eva NYC Up All Night Volumizing SprayWhile we’re in the hair department, if you have fine hair like I do, I highly recommend the Eva NYC Up All Night Volumizing Spray. I got a sample of it in an Ipsy Bag and I was addicted! I ordered a full sized bottle from here. The spray is light enough to not weigh your hair down, but gives it texture and thickness at the same time. You can apply it as often or as little as you need throughout the day or even on your non-wash days to freshen up and give your mane a boost. It also helps extend your style longer throughout the day. I spray it on damp hair before I dry and style my hair and then on dry hair when it’s looking a little flat or tired. Plus, it smells amazing!

Garnier Ultra-Lift Miracle Sleeping CreamWith getting ready to turn 30 this year, I’ve been reminded more that I need to take care of my skin. I usually moisturize at night, but I hadn’t really paid attention to my eyes. I’d just use a little concealer in the mornings to hide any dark circles, but I’d yet to find anything to minimize the tired bags under my eyes. I started doing a little reading and research on eye care and discovered Garnier’s Ultra-Lift Miracle Sleeping Eye Cream. It comes in a little tube that looks like it would be gone in a week, but it lasts forever! All you need is one little dot under each eye, TAP it in gently – don’t rub it under your eye! – and you’re set for the evening. When I wake up in the morning, I look more rested and the tired bags have been disappearing over time. I rarely wear concealer under my eyes now, since the dark circles are gone. While I’ve learned most anti-aging skin products cause me to break out instead of helping my skin look refreshed, this little eye cream does the trick!

Simple Micellar WaterSpeaking of skin care, I’ve been using Simple’s Cleansing Micellar Water in my routine lately. I first discovered micellar water after hearing several of my favorite beauty vloggers rave about it. I had used toners in my routine, but my skin would always get dried out and get super oily after a few days because the toner would strip too much natural oil from my skin. Micellar water is not quite a toner, but offers many of the same benefits without over drying my skin. Simple Eye Makeup RemoverIt also removes all my makeup, so for days when I’m in a hurry or have stayed up too late to do my whole night routine, I can still go to bed with a clean face. I also use Simple’s Kind To Eyes Eye Makeup Remover, which is a godsend for stubborn waterproof makeup or mascara! It takes off EVERYTHING, so my lashes are completely clean, helping them both stay healthier and making it easier to apply mascara the next day! Plus, it doesn’t irritate sensitive eyes or contact wearers. If you want to find out more about how micellar waters work, check out this post by POPSUGAR.

Maybelline Lash Sensational MascaraI need to post my review of mascaras soon, but after a few months of trying out different formulas and brushes that promise curl, length, volume, and all around amazing-ness, Maybelline won out for me with their Lash Sensational Mascara formula. I absolutely LOVE this mascara. I wasn’t expecting to find a mascara this great in the drugstore, but that’s just the icing on the cake! I tend to have naturally straight, kind of stubby looking lashes, that don’t tend to stay curled. I tried this mascara, not really hoping for much, but as soon as I’d done one eye, I could see a difference immediately! Even when I don’t wear a smokey eye or line my eyes, you can actually see my lashes now! My lashes stay curled and look longer, they don’t look clumpy, and it stays on all day. So if you’re like me and have been struggling to find a mascara that works, give this one a go!

Entertainment & Technology
As I mentioned in my monthly recap, audiobooks have been the best way for me to tackle my reading list this year! I’m working towards blocking out time in my day to sit down and read an actually hard/soft cover, paper pages BOOk, but for now, it’s just not possible. I still want to get through my list, though and I love hearing stories throughout the day. So, I’ve taken up my audiobook addiction again. But if you buy audiobooks, it can really make a huge dent in your budget, because most audiobooks cost more than the paperback version. Enter Overdrive. Overdrive is a free app that allows you to connect with your local library system and borrow audiobooks, right through your iPod! No need to go to the library, browse, and listen to CDs anymore. Now, sometimes, it may be difficult to find an audio version of the title you’re looking for, but most best sellers are available. So, all you need is a library card and the app! I’ve been able to listen to books while driving, doing stuff around the house, walking Pepper, working out, etc. It’s the perfect solution for frugal multi-tasking bookworms. 🙂

I’ve found three great shows that I’ve been watching on Netflix and Hulu this month. If you’re like me and love food, check out The Pioneer Woman. It’s like stepping into her blog and almost like a mini-retreat to see her home on the ranch, while she’s cooking up delicious meals. This show makes me want to cook and just eat! But with that in mind, I don’t recommend watching this show while working out. I made that mistake and my workout was torture!

But if you DO want some motivation and inspiration while you’re working out or just need a reminder that there are awesome and happy people in the world, watch Behind the Mask on Hulu. This show is about sports mascots and what all is involved in being a mascot. It follows four mascots from high school to pro teams and you get to know the person behind the mask. Outside their masks, most of the mascots are facing up hill challenges, whether that’s being the unpopular kid in school or reaching a plateau in their career. Yet, all of them are some of the most positive, hopeful, encouraging, and kind spirited people! It’s so encouraging to watch this show and see what they’re dealing with in their personal life, but that they find such joy in cheering other people up and getting others excited for their team! Watch it, it will make your day!

The last show that we’ve been loving as of late is Parks & Recreation. I don’t where we’ve been and why we haven’t been watching this show before now, but it’s just as funny if not sometimes more funny than The Office. I adore Leslie Knope and she’s just deepened my girl crush on Amy Poehler. My husband has now ranked Chris Pratt as one of his all-time favorite actors this year and Jonathan’s now incorporating Tom Haverford-isms into his daily vernacular.  All of the characters are lovable and there’s not one episode where my hubby and I don’t just crack up over something! Even though we didn’t watch this show when it was airing, I like that we can binge watch it on Netflix and not have to wait an entire week for the next episode. If you need a heavy dose of humor, want to add some flavor to your vocabulary, or want to feel like taking on the world, this show is for you. 🙂

Food
HelloFreshWe did some fun cooking this month and discovered a few new favorite dishes! I got an intro offer with my Martha Stewart Living magazine for HelloFresh. HelloFresh is a meal subscription service that sends you all of the fresh ingredients and recipes for three meals a week, for two people. HelloFreshOur first box arrived with all of the ingredients completely chilled and refrigerated. We tried the Goat Cheese-Stuffed Chicken Roulades with Kale and Couscous Salad, Burst Tomato and Squash Fusili, and our favorite, Mustard Pork Chops with Green Beans and Crispy Potato Cakes! Everything was so delicious! We enjoyed trying new recipes and flavors, plus, I love that HelloFresh sends you just the right amount of ingredients for each dish so there are not a lot of leftovers, but the dishes are so filling.

And now we have the recipes to make our favorite dishes again! I love that the scheduling is flexible, even when you sign up for a subscription, you’re not locked in to receiving every dish, every week. You can skip a few weeks if you want to or need to, and you can also pick your preferred day to receive deliveries that works with your schedule. If you would like to try HelloFresh and get $40 off your first box, use the code: XVXVWR. Even if you’re a picky eater like me, I promise you’ll find something you like! 🙂

What are your favorite recipes? Have you found a holy grail beauty product that’s made your routine easier? What TV shows do you live to binge watch?
Tell me in the comments below!

Monthly Recap – June

Well, another month has flown by! Is it just me, or is time on hyperdrive lately?

I’ll be honest, June was a tough month for me. I don’t want to start this post off negatively, but I feel I need to be honest. In a nutshell, there were several surprises for us that weren’t too pleasant and I struggled with my depression a lot. For those who struggle with depression, you’ll probably understand; it just gets you down, zaps your drive and energy, and it can take a while to get out of the funk. But despite the rough stuff, we DID have some bright spots!

30 for 30 Progress
As I mentioned in my May Monthly Recap, I’ve been working on saving and making more money through couponing and rebates. During the month of June, I kept utilizing those tools and I’m hoping to write some posts soon on my methods. In the same vein, I feel like we’ve got our monthly budget routine pretty nailed down. As for staying within our budget consistently, we’re still working on that!

2015-06-01 21.41.11I started working on #4 “Work on landscaping and gardening.” We’ve been trying to stay on top of our lawn and greenery this year, but due to my hubby’s work schedule, we can’t go out and manicure our lawn every weekend. With all the rain we’ve had these last two months and investing in a weed management service, our grass grows so quick!2015-06-01 19.09.59 But thankfully, one day, we were both able to get outside and tackle some yard work. While my hubby did his thing, I decided that I’d trim the bushes that were taking over our front window. After about five minutes of trimming, I was reminded of how much I hated one particular shrub. So, in a moment of slight frustration and a spur of the moment decision, within 20 minutes, I’d taken a saw to the bush and trimmed it clear down to the ground. It was both satisfying and shocking at the same time. But I honestly can’t wait to pull out the other two hedges and plant some miniature boxwoods and flowers in that front bed! Budget and weather allowing, I’m hoping to finish the project before the season changes. We’ll see.

2015-06-15 18.11.33In another spur of the moment decision and whittling down my 30 for 30 List, my hubby and I decided to move our home office. Our home office had been in a spare bedroom right next to my hubby’s man cave, but I always kept the door closed and rarely spent time back in that room. We had painted it a darker color than the rest of the house, but the room doesn’t get a ton of natural light, so it was always too dark to see anything. Plus, we still had some boxes that hadn’t been unpacked and there were still things to organize, hence the reason it was on my list this year… On the other end of our house, just off our kitchen, we have a bonus room. 2015-06-15 18.12.56We’d been using it as a dining area when we hosted friends, but other than that, it was just a big room. So, on one of hubby’s days off, we just decided to move the office into the bonus room. Turns out, we’ve ended up having more space, the room is brighter, and more functional. Plus, now we actually can use the spare bedroom as a guest room until we have kids! We’ve almost finished setting everything up and getting organized, but I can already tell you that it is far more functional and enjoyable to spend time in than the other room! I love it! I plan on writing an office tour post with lots of pictures once I’ve got it all finished!

Books Read
The Girl on the TrainI was able to read two books this month! Thanks to audiobooks, I love technology… I finished The Girl on the Train. I honestly kept waiting for this book to get interesting. But it was a little confusing at times and somewhat annoying. But not terrible overall, just not my cup of tea.

EnchantmentThe other book I read was Enchantment by Donald Spoto. I adore Audrey Hepburn and have a special place in my heart for classic movie celebrity biographies. I grew up watching classic movies from the 30s-50s. While my peers were watching movies and cartoons from the 80s and 90s, I grew in up in a world of musicals and black and white film. No regrets! I always find it it fascinating to learn about the actors lives off camera and how they grew up. Audrey Hepburn’s life is no exception. It was interesting to learn about her young upbringing and see how it influenced who she became as an adult. She was such a loving woman with an incredibly generous heart, but there were also a few surprises that I didn’t see coming. It made for an excellent read. If you’re an Audrey Hepburn fan, it’s a must-read!

Fitness
As I mentioned above, I struggled with depression this month. From being sick the month before and overwhelmed by other life “stuff,” my fitness goals kind of took a back seat. In all honesty, I found that my stress-eating had gotten out of control and I ended up gaining back all the weight I’d lost. I still logged my food and worked out on my bike, but I’d lost my self-discipline and motivation. My efforts were bare minimum and half hearted. So, I’m back at square one, but July will be different! I’m tired of this lack of motivation and the setback in progress was so frustrating! July will be different.

Travel
No travel this month. And, I’m not sure that we will be making any trips until the holiday season. I plan on writing an update, but I’ve decided to change goal #12. Instead of taking a vacation this year, we’re planning on adopting another puppy into our family. There’s no set timeline on this yet, but after talking about future goals and plans, along with discussing our budget, we realized it was unrealistic to do both a vacation and adopt a puppy this year. So we picked the puppy. 🙂 Who wouldn’t? Like I said, I’ll keep you posted on this, but I can’t say when, just yet! Stay tuned. 😉

Watched
For Fathers Day, my sweet dad wanted to go out to a movie with all of us. My husband was only able to join us for brunch before he had to go to work, but it was a fun time to spend the day with my sister and parents. It’s not been just the four of us for a while. InsideOutWe decided to go see Inside Out. I. Was. Stoked! I have been waiting a year to go see that movie, because I’m a huge nerd and love Pixar! This movie isn’t your typical Pixar, though. Yes, they have a tendency to anthropomorphize everything from toys to cars to animals to monsters (you get the idea), but this concept was unique in the fact that they were able to give a face to emotions. I LOVED it and I think it’s a great way to understand the basics of how our emotions influence us and how they contribute to developing our personality. The amount of detail and subtleties that I noticed reflected so much research that went into the film. I learned a lot as an adult and I think this would be a great movie for kids who are growing up and trying to understand why they feel the way they do…and realize that it’s ok to feel different feelings, that we need all the various feelings to make sense of life. They all serve a purpose and that we shouldn’t be defined by one feeling or another. The animation was as always, amazing. Plus, the cast was just perfect. If you’re an Office, Parks & Rec, or SNL fan, you’ll love it! I could keep raving, but I think you should go see it for yourself. 🙂

In other news, Pretty Little Liars is back on! The pilot and first few episodes of season six have been so good! My A theories are evolving… So You Think You Can Dance also started up again. Audition weeks are my favorite, so we’ve been enjoying those. Plus, they’ve been on Hulu, so I can go back and re-watch my favorite routines. It’s gonna be a good season!

Listened
I mostly listened to my audiobooks this month, like I mentioned above. So nothing too new in the listening department.

Memorable Moments
2015-06-09 21.02.49-22015-06-10 14.29.20My husband turned 28 this year and we had a great day celebrating on his birthday. We enjoyed a dinner and I baked him a cake, then later on he enjoyed a guys day out watching Jurassic World and hanging out with his guys. Our parents were able to have dinner with us and we tried the new Pepperoni Grill that opened nearby. It was incredible! All in all, I think he had a pretty good birthday this year!

Spoonflower-HedgehogsI entered another Spoonflower contest in June, which you can see here. I didn’t win, but I love entering their contests because it offers a great creative outlet, plus a fun community of artists! When they have contests, it’s neat to see everyone’s interpretation of the same subject. Every single one is different!

This Made My Day
2015-06-17 20.59.36I had a random mish-mash of things that just made my day this month. At a family gathering, my aunt gave my a Diet Coke she’d found with my name on it – spelled CORRECTLY! That never happens.

Jonathan and I enjoyed a random nostalgic jam session while we were moving the office. We found our mixed CDs from high school and had a great time guessing who the artists were. We got to explain our weird eccentric tastes and the influences behind them at the time.

2015-05-27 15.34.47I got sunset hair this month! I’m a natural brunette, but I’ve been a red head for the past year or so, which I love. I’ve never felt more myself than with red hair! But I decided to shake it up a little this time and add purple to the ends. 2015-05-27 11.32.47My stylist did an excellent job and created a color melt between the red and purple so that they transition in a more “natural” looking way… Since I work from home and don’t have to adhere to a dress code, I decided why not? I love it! 2015-05-27 16.52.27The only draw back is that my shower looks like a purple minion got splattered all over the walls when I wash it, but other than that, it’s perfect! It’s just subtle enough where you don’t immediately notice it, but in the sun, it looks kind of like an upside down sunset. 🙂

Monthly Moral
June taught me that positivity is a fight! Happiness is fleeting and joy is a choice. It doesn’t come easy. It’s a daily choice to look for the good around you or to change your perspective of your situation. The world is fallen and we are not perfect. It’s so easy to spiral into depression and despair, but we are not doomed to that. We have the freedom to choose what we make of our day and how we choose to look at it. We can’t control other people or what may happen to us, but we have full control over our response and attitude. It took me a while to remember this truth this month, but I finally did and I’m thankful. I plan on making July a better month.

How was your June? What was the best part of your month?

Gallery

Fresh Tomato Bruschetta

#TBT

In honor of food and summer and Throwback Thursday, I felt like sharing a yummy recipe from my old blog! Yes, I once upon a time wrote a blog that mostly consisted of recipes. *I was in a crazy cooking phase as a brand new newlywed in a tiny apartment kitchen… Ah, those were the days!

But aside from the nostalgia, this is a pretty delicious recipe if I do say so myself! It goes great with a fresh salad, grilled veggies, grilled chicken, or a plate of pasta (for my fellow carb lovers)!

Hope you enjoy and hope you all are having a lovely summer!
What’s your favorite summer dish?

The Red Shoe Chef

We were both surprised at delicious this tasted tonight! Neither of us are crazy about fresh tomatoes usually, but we both devoured this dish!

Tomato Bruschetta

-about 12-15 grape tomatoes

-1 garlic clove

-parmesan cheese

-olive oil

-black pepper

-Italian seasoning

-fresh basil

-Pepperidge Farms frozen garlic bread

Dice the tomatoes, chop garlic, and basil. Blend together in a bowl with olive oil. Add parmesan, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Make sure it’s all blended well and chill in the fridge for at least 15-30 minutes. It can be chilled longer if necessary. Bake bread according to the directions. (My husband has me beat on baking this bread, he gets it perfect every time!) Once the bread is toasted and ready, spread the chilled bruschetta over the top and enjoy!

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March & April Favorites!

It’s crazy how time flies! Since I totally missed my March Favorites (and I’m honestly cutting it close on April’s favorites), I decided to just combine them with April. So, buckle your seat belt, there’s a lot! 🙂 As always, these are just items I fell in love with and wanted to share. I’m not sponsored by any of these products…

Savings
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We decided to go ahead and answer “yes” when the Target cashier would ask if we “had a Target REDCard.” We applied for the debit card and I honestly was a little nervous the first time I used it, but after I got my receipt, I was pleasantly surprised! 5% off adds up quick and I really love how you can see how much you saved per trip, but also how much you’ve saved so far for the year! If you shop at Target as much as I do, it’s silly to not get a REDCard (debit that is…). You can stack the 5% savings with their Cartwheel app, getting $.05 off for every grocery bag you bring, coupons, and sales, so you can save quite a bit for every trip!

Products
2015-03-24 17.28.33
I had shattered my phone screen (again) on my iPhone 5, so we started comparing the price of upgrading to a new phone or just replacing the screen… 2015-03-24 17.18.27After some debating, we decided it would be a better deal in the long run upgrade. I am in love with my new iPhone 5s. I got the gold color, and found a cute white an gold case from the Dollar Spot at Target for $5! By the way, the Target Dollar Spot has been having quite a few cute phone accessories for cheap lately. Some are worth buying like the phone cases and arm bands, and then some are just cheap and not worth it, like the battery operated phone chargers and speakers… Just sayin’.

2015-03-27 19.52.44I finally got a Fitbit! And I love, love, love this little guy! I love it even more because I got it for a great deal by buying it from a friend of a friend. They decided that they wanted a different kind of Fitbit after having this one for a short time. I was able to buy it from them practically brand new for about half the retail price! Having my Fitbit has been more motivating to get moving in my day and really insightful to see how much sleep I actually get each night. I’m hoping to keep upping my activity since I have an easier way to track it. I’ve already asked for new bands for my birthday…

2015-03-16 15.48.26I’ve re-fallen in love with all my candles again as I’ve been trying to use them up around my house. My house feels cozy, I’m using up what I have (so I can eventually get new scents), and I’m gaining new glass canisters for storage after the candle is all used up!

2015-05-27 14.58.03I finally found a good pair of sunglasses! I tend to be pretty picky about my sunglasses, mostly because of how they impact my makeup during the day… I don’t like sunglasses leaving little marks on my nose or cheeks from settling in my makeup. With summer coming up, I needed to find something that would work! I found some cute shades at Target and they are light enough to just rest on the bridge of my nose and not leave any weird marks…

Beauty
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I rediscovered an old love. After using a variety of cream moisturizers and not quite finding one that offered everything my combination skin needs, I remembered using Garnier’s Moisture Rescue Refresh Gel Cream a while back. I bought a little jar of it and fell in love all over again. I forgot how much I loved this stuff! It gives my combination skin everything it needs to feel moisturized and comfortable all day. It’s not oily or greasy, but offers hydrating moisture all day. It’s light and helps my foundation glide on smoothy. I think I’ll stick with gel moisturizers over cream for a while!

Screen Shot 2015-05-31 at 11.35.47 PMI’d been hunting for a blendable eyeshadow palette for a while. I’d tried Maybelline’s The Nudes  palette and a few other neutral quads, but nothing quite was the right color collection or powder formula. I heard a lot of buzz from the beauty bloggers I follow on YouTube about the L’Oreal’s Color Riche La Palettes. While at Ulta, I decided to go ahead and buy it, despite it’s kind of expensive (for drugstore) price tag. I got the Nude 1 palette, since it has more of a neutral color variety. The Nude 2 palette had more violet tones and not really what I would wear on a daily basis. The color pay off is some of the best in drugstore options I’ve found so far. The only color I’ve been disappointed with is the darkest brown. I like to use colors like this for liner, but the color didn’t show up as dark as I was expecting, so I still use one Maybelline quad color for my liner. Other than that one color, I’m in love! The shades blend beautifully and offer a wide range of look options from day to night!

Screen Shot 2015-05-31 at 11.36.33 PMI found my holy grail of mascara! Maybelline’s Lash Sensation Mascara is by far the best mascara I’ve found thus far! I know that I mentioned Tarte’s Lights, Camera, Lashes in an earlier post, but this Maybelline mascara is better than a dupe for Tarte! The price is just right ($8.99 compared to Tarte’s $21.00 a tube!), it offers length, volume, and impact, plus it holds the curl in my lashes all day! It does require an eye makeup remover to take off at the end of the day, but it comes off pretty easily with the remover. Any other mascara would have pretty big shoes to fill at this point!

Entertainment & Technology
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Since the Oscars had just aired…way back in March, eh hem… I discovered a really great documentary called And the Oscar Goes To… by TCM! I love movies and I love history, so this documentary was right up my alley. It went through the history of film and how the Oscars began. It’s pretty amazing to see how it’s changed and grown through the years! If you love film, I highly recommend it!

Over March and April, I discovered a few new favorite shows, which I promptly binge watched when I could, because they are just THAT entertaining! Younger is so fun to watch! I absolutely love Sutton Foster in everything I’ve seen her in. Her dead pan and whitty humor is reminiscent of classic film dialogue from Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant movies, but with the pacing and pop culture references of Gilmore Girls. The flavor of the show reminds me of a clean Sex in the City, with the girl bonding and city living, which makes total sense thanks to director Darren Star! My favorite thing about the show is the optimism of the main character as she’s rebuilding her life and choosing to throw age right out the window. If you haven’t seen it yet, give it a go!

MV5BMTc3OTEyMTEyMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDk4OTc0NDE@._V1_SX214_AL_Another fantastic show is the Netflix original, the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt from the clever mind of Tina Fey. It’s totally wacky, colorful, and completely quotable. I adore Ellie Kemper from The Office. She has the same Amelia Bedelia character personality and there are so many other fantastic characters and cameos played by notable actors. The entire time I watched it, I kept saying, “oh that’s so and so from this show, and that show!” Both my husband and I were laughing out loud through the entire season and I’m really hoping that they decided to make more seasons! If you need a good dose of fun TV, you can binge watch the first season in a weekend. “Hashbrown, no filter…” 🙂

March brought us the Pretty Little Liars‘ season 5 finale, “Welcome to the Dollhouse.” Oh. My. Goodness! Holy Cow! Fellow PLL fans will know what I’m talking about! This had to be hands down, one of the most intense and best episode in this entire show, in my opinion! I couldn’t look away and there were so many times that I gasped out loud. I finally feel like there WILL be answers revealed and that it’s all building to the root of WHY all of this has been happening to the girls. I cannot wait for the season 6 premiere! It should be a good one. 😉

2015-04-06 23.09.11-1In April, the final season of Mad Men FINALLY came back…after a year! My husband and I are huge Mad Men fans and had been waiting and watching for when the last half of the season would air. I’ll give my final thoughts on the end of the final season in next month’s post, but it was so fun to have the show back in our weekend viewing.

While we painted our kitchen, we rediscovered our love for the Flight of the Conchords. We have both season 1 and 2 on DVD and just played episode after episode. We were cracking up the entire time we painted! Can you see a trend with the shows my hubby and I love, we love to laugh! 🙂 If you haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing the Flight of the Conchords, I highly recommend it. It’s the perfect show to watch if you need to just laugh!

Food
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I’ve been enjoying the deliciousness that is Brookside Dark Chocolate Crunchy Clusters. I found these at Target and had a Cartwheel deal for them. They look healthier than a bag of M&Ms because they have granola-like crunchiness and fruit gumminess covered in smooth dark chocolate. See what I did there? Granola…fruit…dark chocolate… Those are all healthy, right? Regardless, they’re so yummy and have taken up a regular spot in my grocery cart.

Screen Shot 2015-05-31 at 11.44.54 PMIn other healthy pursuits, I’ve started drinking Special K’s Protein Shakes when I need a quick breakfast or want to satisfy a sweet tooth after a workout. They’re loaded with protein, but don’t taste like a protein shake! They’re smooth, cool, and just like iced coffee or a milkshake. I tend to get the coffee or chocolate flavors, but they have other flavors available too. The only downside is that I have to try to enjoy them before my hubby gets to them! He’s been on a pretty heavy protein kick with all of his workouts.

2015-04-21 22.39.57This last snack is far from healthy, but it’s so good! If you like those airy, sweet, crunchy cinnamon twists from Taco Bell, you’ll love Cheetos Sweetos! They’re a limited edition Cheeto product and they’re little puffs of sugary airy loveliness! I have to ration them out, otherwise I could eat an entire bag! And unlike my protein shakes, my hubby doesn’t like them. I don’t know what’s wrong with him, but oh well, more for me! 😉

Miscellaneous
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In March, I got samples from my Spoonflower shop! If you haven’t discovered Spoonflower yet, it’s chock full of incredible art and inspiration! I’m excited to work on some new collections soon.  Right now I just have one small collection, but I have lots of ideas and just need to buckle down and get them out of my head and in my shop. For all my fellow creatives, take a look, enter a contest, and get inspired. I love entering their contests, they have great ideas to get your juices flowing.

What did you enjoy last month? What are you most excited to try?

Also, what kind of things do you like discovering on Favorites lists?

French Toast, Cheesecake, & A Theatre All To Ourselves…

I would have gotten this post out earlier if I hadn’t been knocked off my feet and sick on the couch for nearly a week with tonsillitis! But four years ago this month, I married my Mr. Wonderful!

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Photo by Photos by Esther

This year’s wedding anniversary is one of my favorites so far in our short four years! We had a fantastic day:

The weather was drizzly and rainy all day, but it reminded us of our honeymoon and the almost daily rainstorm that would come in the afternoons in Fredericksburg, Virginia. We started our day off with a late brunch to Ihop. The morning after our wedding, we ate at Ihop, so this made it especially enticing to enjoy some hot breakfast food on a rainy day! I ventured out of my normal short stack with a side of bacon to try the brioche French toast with cinnamon roll filling, and OH MY GOODNESS! It was amazing! Plus, the bacon, hash browns, and coffee were delicious too. By the way, did you know that calories are non-existent on wedding anniversaries?

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Photo by Photos by Esther

After our scrumptious brunch, we headed over to our local wine shop and placed an order for our favorite bottle of wine from the vineyard where we got married. We buy a bottle every year and drink it the following year. We originally started this tradition with our first anniversary. We bought a bottle of wine for our first anniversary in place of saving some of our wedding cake for a year in the freezer. We decided to keep it up, since it’s nice to enjoy on occasion and remember where we got married!

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Pardon the bad lighting and mirror shot…this is just real life.

Later that evening, we got all dressed up and went out to the Cheesecake Factory. We served cheesecake at our wedding instead of a traditional cake and so it seemed fitting to get some fancy cheesecake for dessert, but only after we enjoyed a delicious dinner. My husband always tries something new every time we eat there. I usually stick to my favorite (Crusted Chicken Romano), but I figured since my adventurous palate was successful for brunch that I’d give it a go again. So I opted for a new and delicious dish, the Parmesan-Herb Crusted Chicken! So good! (Can you tell I love food?) We took our cheesecake to-go since we planned to enjoy it with a glass of wine at home later that evening.

Stuffed to brim, we headed to the movie theatre to catch the latest installment of the Avengers (we’re nerdy and we know it *wink). Unfortunately, by the time we got to the theatre, the only available showings by that time were all in 3D (now, we’re not that nerdy…). So, we searched the board for something else that looked mutually interesting. We both have a love of history, so the movie Woman In Gold stood out to us. I had earned enough Shopkick kicks for an AMC gift card, so we only ended up paying the equivalent of one ticket! We walked in early to an empty theatre and picked a spot right in the middle.

I wore my "something blue" bracelet from our wedding day… :)

I wore my “something blue” bracelet from our wedding day… 🙂

We watched ALL the pre-previews and then the previews themselves. We realized that we were going to have the entire theatre to ourselves since no one else had come in, so we settled in and got comfy! The movie was really good! It’s based on a true story and is well played by Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds. We both really liked it!

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Snicker’s Cheesecake, Cookie Dough Cheesecake, & Tres Suenos Winery Select White!

Once we got home, we changed into comfy clothes, poured our wine and ate our cheesecake on the couch while watching Seinfeld with a very snuggly Pepper, who was glad to have us home after being in an empty house most of the day. Overall, it was a very enjoyable anniversary!

What are your favorite anniversary traditions?

March Makeover – Week 4 & the Final Progress Recap!

Since the last week and a half of March got a bit crazy, I decided to combine the Week 4 Progress Recap and the last few days of the March Makeover together into one final recap. I’ll be honest, this last stretch of the Makeover was a challenge because we had a few extra things going on, so my days felt overly full. But it finally feels so good to have a purged and organized home! I’m glad to have done this project, however I’m thankful to have a little more time in my day now… #feelingaccomplished

So let’s see how the last week panned out:

3/22: Sell or donate your extra stuff // Purge bedding and linens
Since we’re hoping to have a garage sale next month, I didn’t sell or donate anything yet.
I was so glad to go through all of our linens and towels! Our towels weren’t too crazy, but all of our sheets, blankets, and other linens were all over the place and mostly in big plastic storage tubs under our window in our bedroom. They’d been sitting there since we had moved into our house over a year ago because I hadn’t found a place for them… So, I did a little reorganizing and used a hamper that I had bought a few months before from Hobby Lobby during a sale to store all of our blankets. I moved all of our sheets into our bench at the end of our bed and was able to put the remaining linens in our linen closet in the hall. I love that everything has a place and we don’t look like we’re still unpacking in our bedroom. Plus, it’s nice to have more walking space on my side of the bed…

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3/23: Purge and organize wrapping paper and stationery
I have a confession, I’m one of those people that keeps all of the tissue paper I receive during Christmas, birthdays, and any other gift giving ordeal. But then, I tend to buy more wrapping supplies because I both forget about the saved tissue paper and I like to create a cohesive wrapping look when I’m giving a gift. Therefore, I have a ton of wrapping supplies! So, I went through all of them, since they’d been stashed in my office closet and there was no way to make heads or tails of them if I needed to put together a gift for someone in a pinch. I went through everything and organized all the tissue paper, all the gift bags, all the gift tags and embellishments, along with ribbons, bows, boxes, you name it, I’ve probably got it! I got everything all sorted into neat bins and boxes. I decided to store all of my gift bags in a crate and use hanging folders to divide them into categories (Christmas, birthday, wedding, etc.…) so that they would be easier to find. I used another storage box with hanging folders to organize all of my tissue paper. The lid of this storage box has space for gift tags, embellishments, and few other gift wrapping essentials. I stacked it all neatly back in my closet, but I’m hoping to find some shelving that can fit in that spot so I can access it a little easier. But at least for now, it won’t all tumble out!

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3/24: Enjoy some free activities with the family // Purge and organize pet stuff
On day 24, I worked on organizing all of Pepper’s stuff. We store most of her things in our back bonus room by the back door. We have a small shelf that’s pretty much just filled with her food, treats, toys, collars, meds, etc. After going through everything, I had been hoping to be able to fit everything all neatly in just the little shelf, but unfortunately, the shelf was too little, even after I’d tossed out chewed up toys, empty treat boxes, and other things that needed to go. But most of it fits in the shelf and now it’s not all jumbled up various in a bins that you have to dig through. We used a bin in the living room to store her toys, since the living room is the main room she likes to play in, plus keeping everything in a bin on the floor makes it easy clean up for me and easy access for her. She decided to “help” me clean up the living room after I’d put up her toys…by taking them all out again. *sigh*
Our other task for the day was to enjoy a “free” family activity together. Though we didn’t go out and do anything overly active, we did enjoy some relaxing family time on the couch and finished up the last season of Friends. It was so nice to just chill out and enjoy time together. Now we need suggestions on another show to binge watch on Netflix! 🙂

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3/25: Have a “free” date night // Purge mudroom/laundry room
My laundry room is pretty small, so this project didn’t take too long… I mostly just needed to clear out some cluttery hangers and tidy up a few areas. I’m hoping to eventually add in a shelf over my dryer so that I have a little more storage space. So this task was pretty simple!
That night, we enjoyed a free date night at home by eating some leftover pizza, popping some popcorn, and watching the Mockingjay movie.

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3/26: Purge e-mail subscriptions Purge nightstands
Ok, this day was just too busy to start on purging my email subscriptions, so I opted for a more doable task. I swapped these two days since time got away from me. My husband’s nightstand is pretty much always neat and tidy, because that’s just how he is. I, on the other hand, seem to somehow collect all these random things that just turn into a huge pile on my side of the bed… Amongst all the random stuff, I ended up finding most of my missing hair ties, eight (yes, 8!) lotions, a stack of books, four pens, and a pair of winter gloves! Needless to say, I didn’t need all of that to be by my side at night, so I paired down everything and now it all is neat and tidy. Far more relaxing and calming, no longer cluttered and chaotic. *ahhh*

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3/27: Purge DVDs
This was a pretty easy day! I only ended up tossing out one movie and one TV series. I did a massive purge of all of our movies and TV seasons last year because we thought we were going to have a garage sale that ended up falling through. We donated all of the movies and TV shows that we didn’t want any more, so there really wasn’t anything else to get rid of. We still have quite a few DVDs and BluRays, but we really enjoy the ones we held onto. We love movies in this house!

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3/28: Week 4 Progress Recap // Purge nightstands Purge email subscriptions
So this was a doozy! This post, I actually posted to Instagram before I finished. I had to break this task up into two days and I was just purging subscriptions, I’ll have to organize and migrate my emails later… Between the five email addresses I use (yes, five…I need to fix that) I had so many email subscription lists I’d gotten on. I would wake up to about 30-40 emails on average everyday and get even more throughout the day. After I finished up this project (the following day, because it just took too long to do in one day), I noticed my email inbox was receiving less than half of what it had been getting before. Now I just get emails that I actually want to read.

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3/29: Re-assess budget // Purge junk drawer
This day’s task was to purge the junk drawer. Our junk drawer resides in our kitchen and tends to become a catch all over time. Since I’ve been organizing other parts of the house with all of the other daily projects, I was able to relocate a few items that I’d been keeping in the junk drawer. That helped free up a little space in the drawer, so nothing got buried and now we can find those random necessary items easily.
I actually didn’t re-assess our budget on this day, since I knew we would be discussing our budget later on on our planning date.

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3/30: Planning date for April and discuss upcoming goals, events, or projects
// Purge under the kitchen sink
Our planning date actually ended up happening on April 1st, since that was the first day that we were both free to go out and talk through everything.
The purge project for the day was to go through everything that was under the kitchen sink. As I mentioned on Instagram, this is probably one of my least favorite places in our house. The lack of practical storage space and the visit of a mouse within our first year of living in our home made me want to only open up the cabinet door when I absolutely need to. I just try to avoid this space as much as I can (I just don’t like it). But since I needed to organize this area, I rolled up my sleeves and tackled it. I was able to toss out some old dried out cleaners and make some space in the one bin that I keep under there for cleaners and sponges. Now it makes it easier to find what I need quickly. 🙂

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3/31 & 4/1: Celebrate date! // Purge garage
I’m telling you, this last week of this project, just kept hitting some snags! On the LAST DAY of the purge, we ended up running into weather issues. I had to clean up the garage, but it was a hot humid day during the day and then it turned into “a dark and stormy night,” literally! We had hail and strong winds coming in all over the state, plus I ended up having an intense migraine. So this task ended up having to be pushed to the next day (no fooling *wink).
The next day, we had better weather. Thankfully, since we’ve only been in this house for almost two years, we really haven’t accumulated too much stuff yet, which is how we want to keep it! Our goal is to keep our garage clear enough to easily fit both of our cars inside. I was able to rearrange a few boxes and put up some stuff that had been sitting out, so now we can walk around a little easier and it’s less cluttered.
We didn’t end up doing an exclusively celebratory date, but we did do our planning date today while enjoying some coffee. 😉

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And now it’s FINALLY done! I can’t tell you how awesome it feels to have an organized and de-cluttered home! I have such a sense of accomplishment. I had hoped to stick to all 31 days of this project and even though it got a little rough toward the end, I’m glad I finished it out. I think it would be good to do this kind of thing every so often, since life happens and stuff gets stuffed all over the house. Overall, it’s been a really good learning experience.

And now, it’s time to relax a little! 🙂