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!

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Monthly Recap – March

Whew! March was jam packed! I feel very accomplished and I’m proud to say that I got a lot done, but I’m looking forward to a less busy month. 🙂 Once again, I’m linking up with The Lady Okie and her Project 12 posts. Find how my March panned out below:

30 for 30 Progress: As I mentioned in my previous Monthly Recaps, SpringNightthere are a few items on my 30 for 30 List that I will be working on throughout the year. I made headway on a few projects this month and I’m excited to see more of my list completed! I made progress on making our office more functional (#3), I got my 401k paperwork finally taken care of (#16), I finally got a cleaning schedule nailed down (#22), and we got Pepper enrolled in training (#21)! I also started a Spoonflower Shop and entered my first contest. Even though I didn’t win, it was fun to design something based around a challenge and to be part of a creative community again. I also had two sales during the month of March! I’m hoping to add more designs to my shop in the future.
150316-MM-Day16My biggest 30 for 30 List accomplishment this month was tackling the 31 Day Purge Project from A Bowl Full of Lemons. I adapted the Spending Freeze idea from Living Well, Spending Less and incorporated it into our March project, creating my own March Makeover. It was a challenge, but it feels so good to have a decluttered and organized home! It was also really eye-opening to see how we could get through a month without having to spend money on everything. It allowed us to focus on saving and helped us stay on the same page financially! You can find out how the project went by clicking here and looking up the hashtag #MarchMakeover15PO on Instagram.

Books Read: I am so behind, it’s not even funny! No reading was done in the midst of all the productivity…

Fitness: As of this post, I’ve lost 8 pounds since I started my fitness plan in February! (YAY!) I am starting to see a noticeable difference in how my clothes fit and what I see in the mirror, plus I have more energy. It’s not as noticeable to others at this point, but it’s encouraging to see a difference. I created a separate page to track my progress here.
FitbitI also got a Fitbit! It’s been motivating to try and get all of my steps in, to track my quality of sleep, and to see that just by being more active in the day, I’m burning calories! And before you think that this Fitbit was going outside of our Spending Freeze, I was able to get a very good deal, we discussed it, and we decided it would be a good purchase!
My Fitbit syncs with both MyFitnessPal and GymPact. I’ve mentioned MyFitnessPal before in previous fitness posts, but I’ve started using GymPact which is an app that lets you earn money for working out and logging your food. I mentioned GymPact in my most recent fitness update. You can link the app with your other fitness apps and devices and set goals for yourself. When you complete or meet your goals (your pact) for the week, you earn cash that can be transferred to your PayPal account. If you miss a workout or don’t complete your pact, you have to pay. Needless to say, that’s pretty motivating to stay on track. I’ve been using it for about 3 weeks and have earned nearly $5. I know that’s not much, but it’s better than nothing and better than paying $5 for a missed workout!

Travel: No trips this month. 😦

Watched: Ever since Friends came on Netflix in January, we’ve been watching it non-stop. We finally finished the series! It was bittersweet, but it was fun and I have a feeling it will be another show for us, like the Office, that we just watch over and over again…
150325-MM-Day25We also had a movie night at home as a family and enjoyed watching Mockingjay. Jonathan and I both agree that it’s the best movie in the series so far. We were in suspense the whole time we watched it in theaters and it was just as enjoyable at home, along with all the behind the scenes footage.
My sister and I are huge fans of Pretty Little Liars, so when the season finale aired this month, we were glued to the TV. While I know a lot of PLL fans were disappointed with the season finale (no spoilers here), personally I thought that it was one of if not the best episode of the show to date! There were answers but also so many more questions and I can’t wait to see how they answer them in the upcoming season! Any other PLL fans out there?

Listened: I discovered two excellent podcasts this month! The Accidental Creative is really good and though provoking for professional creatives. But it’s also applicable to others in cop orate careers. My favorite episode for the month was “The Power of a Morning Ritual.” I was encouraged to establish a more consistent morning routine and hopefully I’ll be able to implement one soon.
The other podcast is great for when you need a laugh… Grownups Read Things They Wrote As Kids is hilarious! Based out of Canada, they hold open mic nights and encourage adults to bring their diaries, journals, letters, etc. from when they were kids. Some of the entries are adorable, most are really funny, some are deeper than they originally appear. Overall, it’s always a fun listen.

Family Moments: We survived a few little earthquakes (one big one that jolted both Pepper and I) and our first tornado of the season. We were only in the tornado warning zone, but it still makes me a bit anxious, so I was thankful that hubby was home at the time. Pepper slept through the entire thing…
We got Pepper enrolled in training this month! So far, she’s the only one in her class due to a schedule mix up, but she’s learning and catching on. She loves going to “school” as we like to call it and gets so excited when we drive up to the building. We’re working on loose leash walking, sit, wait, leave it, etc. The loose leash walking is the most challenging, but I’m glad we’re seeing a little progress there. It gives me some hope that in addition to being the sweet puppy she is, she can be an obedient puppy too. 😉

This Made My Day: I finished up my first sketchbook for the year! If you follow me on Instagram, you can see me post a daily sketch and since we’re almost 100 days into the year, I ran out of paper in my first sketchbook and had to start a new one! It’s been really neat to go back through and look at the sketches I made at the start of the year. I can’t wait to look through all of them at the end of the year and see how my style and technique has progressed!

Monthly Moral: With the March Makeover, I learned a lot about “stuff” and how much of it we don’t really need. I found so many things that were just that, “things” and were taking up space both physically and mentally. I had to work on letting go of things that I no longer needed and really didn’t serve a purpose anymore. I was reminded of how much of a sentimental pack rat I am. But once I started seeing the extra space that was starting to be created and realizing what I actually used, I was able to let go a lot easier and feel like I could breathe! I think I’m going to have to purge clutter periodically from our home and from my life.
I also realized that we can live on less. I went grocery and general shopping once. That’s ONE Target trip for the month! But we made it and we weren’t deprived or in desperate need for anything, plus we were able to save the extra money we would have spent frivolously. I don’t think we should try to live in a Spending Freeze all the time, but it honestly doesn’t hurt to do it every once in a while.

I’m excited to see what April has in store! How was your March?

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! 🙂

Fitness Update! | 6lbs

PurseGoal

Just wanted to make a quick update on my fitness progress. I’ve lost 6 pounds so far!

I’ve made a new page to help track the progress on my handbag budget, so I’ll be updating that as I continue to shed the pounds.

Overall, not much has changed in my workout routine other than I’ve been using my stationary bike more often for my cardio, since it’s a little more forgiving on my knees than my elliptical. I’ve also been walking Pepper more with the weather being warmer. I’m really looking forward to her learning how to walk with a loose leash though, instead of literally dragging me through the neighborhood. Just today, she did what I was worried might happen; she pulled so hard on her leash that I fell flat on my face and busted up my knees and hands a bit. We cut the walk short today, but we’ll get back out there and work on heeling (and healing)…hopefully.

With our Spending Freeze this month, I’ve noticed that our eating has been a little healthier. We’re trying to eat up what we have before we go shopping. So far, we’ve only eaten out twice this month and I noticed after the second time that my stomach didn’t feel so great after fried food. So I think my body is adapting to healthier options and it’s becoming less appealing to just go through a drive-thru.

I need to up my water intake. Unfortunately, I feel like that’s the only area that’s really backslid this month. I’m averaging about 4 cups of water a day instead of 16 like I’ve been shooting for, so I’m going to try to be a little better about that.

GymPact AppI discovered another app to help with fitness motivation. It’s called GymPact and it actually pays you cash to workout. It syncs up with other fitness apps like MyFitnessPal and MapMyFitness to log your food and workouts. GymPact allows you to set the amount of days you want to workout or log your food and then once you’ve met that goal, they pay you. If you miss a workout or a food login, you have to pay in. The app links with your PayPal account or bank account and offers breaks in your pact should you get sick, get injured, or go on vacation, etc. So basically, the people that don’t follow through on their goals pay in and in turn, the people who succeed get rewarded! I just recently started using that app and am still working on my first pact, but I’ll keep you posted on whether I keep using this app or not. So far, it’s definitely upped the motivation to workout!

So, some progress made, but there’s more to go! 🙂
Do you have a favorite fitness app or favorite exercise?

March Makeover – Week 3 Progress Recap!

We made it halfway through March! This was another busy and productive week. Even though this week, most of these projects didn’t get done or posted on Instagram before midnight each night, the perfectionist in me is learning to give myself grace and not beat myself up about it. To be honest, my day doesn’t end at midnight…but it also doesn’t start until about lunchtime. 🙂 #LEOlife #paralleluniverse  So here’s how the week panned out:

3/15: Downsize clothing and put away for seasonal storage if necessary // Purge purses and handbags
I had already gone through my clothing and somewhat downsized it and organized it, so the seasonal storage wasn’t really necessary this go round. So, I focused on going through all of my purses and handbags. I ended up having about seven to give away and the rest I was able to organize and store neatly in my closet. I didn’t take a picture of how they really looked in my closet beforehand, but let’s just say all of my purses now are up off the floor and easily accessible. I’m working on a “What’s In My Bag?” post coming soon, so stay tuned!

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3/16: Get crafty and make something useful (instead of buying home decor, make it!) // Purge board games and candles
This was quite the fragrant day! I discovered that all together, I had 71 candles stashed around my house. SEVENTY-ONE! I had apparently been collecting a stockpile from all my Bath & Body Works sales shopping… I was able to whittle my collection down and sort out the half burned and never burned candles. I tossed out the used up candles (except for one or two, which you’ll see why further down in the post) and now can easily store all of my candles to use. I think I’ll need to put myself on a candle spending freeze at least until I can get through most of these… *Goes and lights a candle 😉
I also went through all of our board games, puzzles, and playing cards. I had forgotten how many fun group games we had! We’re going to have to schedule some game nights with some friends soon. 🙂

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3/17: Finish useful craft project // Purge desk
Since I’ve been slowly working on our home office, thankfully this day wasn’t too bad. I was able to get our desk cleared off, organized, and clean for hubby to use while he studies or for when I do any paperwork.
I also finished up the useful home decor project I had started the day before. I made a cleaning chart to use throughout the week. Using a photo frame that I already had, I wrote the daily and weekly cleaning tasks on some blank stationery and framed it. I use an Expo marker to mark off tasks for each day and can wipe them off to use over and over. I hung it our hallway so it’s not just out where everyone can see, but still where I’ll see it everyday as I do stuff around the house!

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3/18: Recycle by finding new uses for old things // Purge bills
This task took a while, but it’s FINALLY done! All of my filing is finally finished! This is a big deal for me, because I’ve been trying to get through our combined files since we got married (four years ago), but with our busy schedules and when I worked outside the home, I wasn’t able to get it all done. It feels so nice to be able to find paperwork whenever we need it. I know, I sound like a nerd, but there’s just something about having things in order that let’s me be able to relax and have peace of mind – especially around tax season!
I found a new use for some of those old used up candles I went through earlier in the week! I cleaned out the wax and took off the labels to use the glass canister for a cotton pad storage solution in our bathroom. At first I wasn’t sure how to best clean the wax out, but after a little research, I followed Ingrid Nilsen‘s method. You can check out her video here. Her channel is pretty upbeat and fun to watch too, if you every need a bright and cheery pick me up for the day! I’m thinking I may need to make some makeup brush holders like she made in her video sometime…
P.S. Mahogany Teakwood candles from Bath & Body Works are probably the best candle scent in the world, in my opinion! Jonathan thinks they smell like the mall…but that’s fine with me! 😉

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3/19: Purge nail polish
Thursday’s task was to go through all my nail polish… Now, for a person who only consistently wears nail polish on her toes, I don’t know how I ended up with this much nail polish! Looks like I need to start giving myself a manicure every now and then. I was able to weed out a few colors that just weren’t my style, but I still ended up with quite a few colors. I store all of my polishes in a drawer, since that’s the most convenient place for me, so a while back I had come up with the idea to use a q-tip to paint the tops of all my polishes the color that was in the bottle so I could see colors easier without having to go through every single shade to find the one I was looking for… I have a few stragglers that I need to do this to, but overall, it’s been a very helpful little trick.
What’s your favorite nail color for spring?

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3/20: Purge spices
Did you know spices expire? Apparently I didn’t… I went through all of my spices and found several had to be tossed because they had expired or lost their taste. After a little research, I learned that on average, ground spices only last about 3-4 years, of course it ultimately depends on the spice and whether it’s ground or whole. I was able to pair down quite a few spices and figure out what I really use and need to replace. I also had been storing my spices on two separate sides of my kitchen, so with a little rearranging, I was able to get all of my spices in a more convenient area for when I’m cooking. Now I just need to go through my recipes and spice things up a bit… 😉 Here’s a handy link for how long kitchen spices typically last

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3/21: Week 3 Progress Recap // Purge tupperware
Tada! We’ve reached today’s task. Today was pretty easy, I didn’t need to throw anything out and just had to rearrange a few things. I honestly don’t use plasticware all that much, since I rarely cook large meals that require leftovers. Plus, I personally don’t like leftovers, I know, I’m weird. But for the times that we do end up with leftovers or need to bring a dish to a family or holiday function, I love these Lock & Lock plasticware pieces! My husband’s sweet grandmother has been helping me build a nice collection of these sturdy containers and they are the best I’ve ever used!

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All in all, this was a pretty productive week, but not too overwhelming. My house is feeling cleaner and I feel like I’m able to find things a lot easier. I’m being reminded of how blessed we are and despite our spending freeze, I’m finding that there’s not much that we truly need to buy. I’m hoping we can keep up this momentum of living on less, both financially and with all of our “stuff.”

How was your week?
Random question for this week:
What is your favorite flower to plant in your front yard and why? I’m wanting to gather ideas… 😉

February Favorites!

No, I didn’t forget about my favorites post for February… I know this favorites post is a little late (now that we’re halfway through March!), but with my March Makeover, I’ve been so busy! Even though February was a short month, I found a few favorites that I enjoyed throughout the month… So, better late than never, here we go!

Products

2015-03-10 12.17.27So when I go grocery shopping, I like to carry my coupons that I plan on using with me for reference. It used to be a hassle trying to juggle all these pieces of paper, my phone, and picking out items in the store, but I finally found something to help keep all my coupons together! I found these great giant paper clips at Target in the office supplies. I love Nate Berkus’ products and these look classic, but also work well for keeping everything together! It’s the simple things, but I love these…

Beauty

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 2.43.26 AMLately, I’ve been loving several beauty products! First off, I lucked out with scoring samples of Benefit’s Roller Lash mascara at both Ulta and Sephora. I saw several beauty bloggers reviewing this mascara before it came out and I was really curious about it because it’s supposed to curl your lashes and keep them curled longer. My lashes will curl for about a minute before they start straightening out again, so I was really intrigued to try it. And I have to say, besides one other high end mascara I’ve tried, this has been the only mascara to hold a curl all day! I’m still not sure I want to shell out $24 for a tube right now, but it’s nice to know that my lashes will cooperate with a mascara for once! Right now, I’m using the Roller Lash as my first coat of mascara to hold the curl and add length. Then I apply a second coat with the Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes mascara that I mentioned in my January’s Favorites.

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 2.48.24 AMSpeaking of eyelashes, I received a new eyelash curler in my Ipsy Bag and it has made a noticeable difference in my eyes looking more bright, open, and awake! The Emite Make Up Professional Eye Lash Curler is amazing. It gets in so close to your lash line and presses the curl into your lash without creating an awkward dent. Even when I’ve not used the Roller Lash mascara, my lashes have look more curled. I’ll be honest, if I hadn’t received this curler in my Ipsy Bag, I don’t think I would spend $25 right now on an eyelash curler, but it IS a quality beauty tool, so I still think it would be a good investment in your beauty tool collection.

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 2.54.06 AMAnother beauty product I’ve been loving is the new L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation. I tend to have oily to combination skin that is sometimes a challenge to keep from looking too shiny throughout the day. I saw this foundation and had heard some good reviews on it, so with coupon in hand, I decided to give it a go. This foundation is awesome! It applies beautifully and smoothly, it goes on matter but isn’t cakey and my skin doesn’t get shiny. A bonus is that this line provides a light fair color that matches my skin tone perfectly. Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 2.53.56 AMSo for all you fair skinned ladies out there, this foundation might be for you! If you like to set your liquid foundation with powder like I do, I highly recommend using the L’Oreal Infallible Makeup Extender Setting Spray with this foundation to keep it in place and help set the foundation and powder together. The setting spray is half the price of Urban Decay’s All-Nighter or De-Slick (both great settings sprays, by the way, but a little expensive fore everyday use in my opinion), so it’s a great everyday option for your budget!

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 2.01.37 AMWith the new pro-matte foundation I’ve been using, I’ve started applying my foundation with the Precision Blending Sponge from the Grab ‘n Go section of Ulta. I wasn’t able to find it on Ulta’s website, but Amazon has it listed on their site. However, at Ulta, the sponge is half the price than what Amazon listed. I know that there are other blending sponges out there, but I tried this one since it was way cheaper than the popular, yet expensive, Beauty Blender and I’d never used a blending sponge in my routine. I don’t think I’ll go back to applying my foundation any other way! Using a damp blending sponge to apply my foundation has minimized the amount of foundation I have to use and gives my face a more smooth and flawless look. I’ve also noticed that it helps my makeup stay on longer than before. I’m hoping to try a few other blending sponges (this one is my next one to try) to find one that is reasonably priced but also made out of a quality material that will hold up well through cleanings. Regardless, I’m sticking with blending sponges for my routine from now on!

Entertainment & Technology

I tend to binge watch a lot of TV on Netlfix and Hulu, but lately I’ve been watching YouTube more often than TV. I’ve always loved YouTube and my subscription list is pretty long, but during February, I found myself watching a few channels more often than others:

TheKitchyKitchen – I recently discovered Claire’s channel and just couldn’t stop watching her videos once I found her. Her videos are so inspiring and refreshing. She has a lot of fun and simple recipes that are so sophisticated. Her dishes look like they would be challenging, but they are so easy and take hardly any time to make! Most of her recipes are pretty healthy too. It makes me want to bust out my mixer and start baking and throwing dinner parties. The design and editing style for her videos are very professional and it’s like watching a magazine. I absolutely love her channel! Her website is pretty neat too!

GlamLifeGuru – I have been watching Tati’s channel for a couple of years now and I love her reviews and tutorials! She shows a wide range of beauty products from high end to drugstore makeup products, but she also focuses on getting the best deal for your dollar. What I love about her channel is that she is so genuine with wanting to show her subscribers what they really want to see and goes the extra mile to answer their questions. She has a very down to earth personality that is so fun, it feels like you’re just hanging out with your friend and talking about your favorite things. She recently launched an app that allows her subscribers to interact with her and each other. She’s simply lovely and I look forward to watching her weekly videos!

PrettySparklyShiny – Kristina’s channel just makes my day every time I watch one of her videos. I feel like I can relate to her tastes and interests in a lot of ways. She does a lot of makeup videos, but she also does reviews on technology, designer handbags, and planners on her blog as well. Her vlogs are so fun to watch, since you get to follow her all over Houston and enjoy her weekends with her. She has a really positive and optimistic style to her videos while still keeping’ it real, if you know what I mean.

Clothing

Ok, prepare yourself, we’re about to get personal here. But ladies, this really is a crucial part of working out. Having the proper clothing can make a big difference in your confidence to work out and also at times, motivate you to workout. I find that when I’m wearing clothes that make me feel good, I feel better about working out, because I don’t feel frumpy. So, I discovered a new sports bra that I love. Typically, when you work out, there’s the standard sports bra you can wear…which can sometimes be a hassle to put on or take off and can discourage you from working out. At least, that’s how it’s always been for me. I decided I needed to invest in something that would make me feel feminine, be comfortable, and still support me. I discovered Victoria’s Secret Sports bras. They provide the perfect amount of support, comfort, and they make you look cute while you workout. They also offer different kinds of fits and closures which can make it way easier to wear. Yes, they are a bit more expensive than a standard sports bra, but if you’re signed up on their mailing and email lists, they send out coupons and have sales running all the time! I don’t think I’ll ever go back to another kind of workout gear. 🙂

Food

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 3.08.31 AMDespite focusing on my health goals in February, I did have a few favorite treats that hit the spot! Justin’s peanut butter cups are better than Reese’s in my opinion. I usually will keep a pack in my purse in case I need a little bit of protein or just a snack. My favorite are the dark chocolate cups! They’re organic and they taste so good.

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 3.09.23 AMAnother chocolate favorite is Hershey’s chocolate spread (can you see the chocolate theme?). Since it was Valentine’s Day in February, I enjoyed some chocolate strawberries with this chocolate spread. I seriously could eat it with a spoon right out of the container, but I try to reserve it just for strawberries. 😉

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 3.10.28 AMI’ve given up soda with my new fitness plan and so instead, I’ve been drinking a lot of water and juice. I discovered Disani sparkling water and it has just a hint of flavor and carbonation. So, when I’m craving a soda, instead, I can mix some of the Disani sparkling water with some juice and get a healthy soda substitute. Plus, the sparkling water is good on it’s own, so when I’m enjoying a meal that I’d usually pair with a soda, I just get a sparkling water instead.

So before March is over, what have you been loving in February? Who do you watch on YouTube? What’s been your favorite snack or most motivating workout gear?

March Makeover – Week 2 Progress Recap!

Week 2 down and another busy week! I love how my house is shaping up and getting more organized. If you follow my Instagram, you’ve already seen everything that got done with week, but let’s break it down:

3/8: Create a spring cleaning plan // Purge cleaning products
I wrote up a daily and weekly cleaning plan and have been trying to stick to it everyday. So far, I’ve been able to do the weekly plan, but the daily tasks are a challenge to build into a habit right now. I’ll still keep working on it. Ideally, if I can do the daily and weekly tasks, my house should stay clean and I’ll be able to work in spring cleaning all year round. By the way, since it’s not pictured, the daily tasks I wrote up are: wash dishes, wipe down counters, tidy rooms, make bed, and sort/file mail.
I went through all of our cleaning products and I shouldn’t have to buy any cleaning supplies for about 4-6 months! Seriously, I have plenty of Windex! I was able to get it all wrangled despite a 4.0 earthquake coming through in the middle of my organizing. No joke! Oklahoma’s got it all, we have been having earthquakes for the last few years. Pepper is still getting used to the rumbling, so when it came through, we both jolted and she jumped in my lap and would not move for a while…

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3/9: Spring cleaning day // Purge shoes
I started implementing the cleaning day, since it should keep our house spring cleaned year round with daily application.
Since it was my hubby’s day off, we both went through our shoes. His shoe purge was much faster than mine…He only had one pair of shoes he didn’t want or war anymore. 😉 I was able to go through all my shoes and together, hubby and I were able to donate 13 pairs of shoes. I now have my shoes fitting all neatly in my shoe rack and not all piled up. Now I’ll just need to restrain myself from buying new shoes. I love shoes!

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3/10: Clean and organize bonus rooms (we don’t currently have kids,
so we have bonus rooms) // Purge/clean out cars
Thankfully our bonus rooms were already pretty organized and cleaned up. We organized our dining/bonus room when we painted it. Hubby’s man cave is his space, so I decided to leave it alone. He has his all of his stuff in his room where he can find it and the way he likes it.
So I focused my energy on my car! I wish I had been able to take it through a car wash too, but I decided since we were on a spending freeze, I’d wait for rain to come later in the forecast. I cleaned out all the extra stuff and trash in my car. Now my glove boxes are actually helpful instead of a scary place to open up and try to find something. I vacuumed the carpets, wiped down everything, and even broke out the glass cleaner to clean off Pepper’s window art in the back seat. 😉 It feels like a new car!

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3/11: Organize master bedroom closets // Purge master closets
It was still our weekend with hubby being off work, so we went through both of our master closets. He started on his closet before I did, so I missed the “before” picture. But, between the two of us, we were able to clear out a good sized stack of clothes to donate. I mentioned my hanger method on Instagram. Basically, I hang all of my clothes on hangers backwards at the beginning of a season or after a big clear out. As I wear clothes throughout the season, I hang up the clothes on hanger facing the normal way. Then, after a few months when I’m ready to go through my clothes again, I can tell what I’ve wore and what I haven’t. This makes it easy to decide what I need to maybe toss out or if I should try it on to see if still fits, etc.

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3/12: Organize bathrooms // Purge bathroom cabinets
We have two bathrooms in our house, but the master bathroom cabinets took the longest. In our guest bathroom, we use the cabinet mostly for storage, so it was pretty easy. I went through our master bathroom and went through all of our products and got them organized. I still have plenty of hair products even after throwing out old half empty ones that needed to go. I’m realizing that I have a beauty product buying problem. I have plenty to go through and will need to learn to use up what I have before buying more. Wish me luck, it’s going to be hard! …Maybe I need to put myself on a beauty spending freeze in the future?

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3/13: Purge medicine cabinets
This task was pretty simple, since a while back, I had already purchased some little office organizing drawers to keep medications and first aid supplies in. I mostly went through all of our medicines and tossed the expired ones. I put like things together and got everything back in the cabinet in an orderly fashion. Now we can find what we need when someone’s under the weather!

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3/14: Week 2 Progress Recap // Purge books
Tada! Week two is now done! Today, I purged our books, which was not as hard as I thought it would be, but I still had to resist the urge to begin cataloging all of our books and creating my own version of a Dewey decimal system… I love our books and I feel like when you get rid of a book, you get rid of a friend sometimes. But decided to I step back and try to think with each book I picked up, a) Have I read this and was it good? b) Would I read it again or do I want to read it? Is it useful for future reference? c) I don’t want to read this and I don’t see a future use for it… That kind of thinking helped pull things into perspective a little better. After going through all of our books, I put them into general categories. Now, we have two boxes full of books we can give away!

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So this week was a success, thankfully! How did your week go?