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!

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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!

Unboxing! Birchbox – June 2015

I got my June Birchbox last week and thought I’d share what I got in my box this month! I had been subscribed to Birchbox for over a year and left them to try some other subscription services, but I decided to go back to Birchbox for the quality and variety of products. I absolutely LOVE getting my Birchbox in the mail every month, especially since we’re still on a budget! It makes me feel like I’ve splurged, but I’ve not broken the bank, plus I get to try new products without having to pay the full price. Birchbox is one of the most affordable subscription product services out there. For $10 a month, you get 5 products, sometimes they’re full size and sometimes you get surprise lifestyle extra in your box!

So let’s dig in!

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I love how they decorate their boxes with the month’s theme! They’ve made their boxes more colorful and always have beautiful typography.

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Here’s a breakdown of everything that came in my box this month. This is one of my favorite parts of Birchbox! With some of the other subscription services I’ve tried, they didn’t always include a card or any description of the products. Birchbox always has a description of each product and they list the price for the full size product, which helps you both know how to use the product and decide if it’s worth investing in the full sized product.

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Products

1. Skyn Iceland | Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels • These felt soooo nice and relaxing! They de-puffed my eyes and were so cooling. They also peeled off really easily without irritating my sensitive skin. I’m pretty tempted to invest the $30 for the full size to have on hand when I need a relaxing spa night now and then, or need a quick cool down for extra puffy eye mornings!

2. Emi Jay | Hair Tie • I love these kinds of hair ties! They are never tight and don’t leave any dents  or bumps in your hair.

3. Beauty Protector | Protect & Detangle • This leave in hair protecting product works great and doesn’t weigh down your hair. Plus, it smells A-MAZING! I absolutely love this stuff! This is easily my favorite product in the box this month!

4. Marcelle | Waterproof Eyeliner • I can attest that it is INDEED waterproof! After washing my face, I had to use both an eye makeup remover AND a cleansing cloth to rub it off. I tend to wear more neutral/natural colors on my eyes for eyeliner, so I think I would only wear this on a fun date night or girls night out…

5. COOLA | Classic SPF 30 Cucumber Moisturizer for Face • I’ve used COOLA products in the past and they’re great for sun protection. With it being summer, I’m looking forward to using this under my makeup to help me not burn.

6. Marcelle | BB Cream Golden Glow • I originally thought that this BB cream might be too dark for my fair skin, but I wore it alone on an easy makeup day and it provided a little coverage, blended into my skin tone pretty well, and gave a little bit of a bronze glow. I was afraid it might be too greasy, but my skin stayed comfortably dewy (which is not easy to do, especially on my complexion!). The only thing I wasn’t crazy about was the scent…

June’s products full-sized price value: $134.95

Overall, I was pretty pleased with this month’s box! I’m looking forward to next month’s box!

Do you get Birchbox or another subscription beauty box?
Tell me your favorites or what you got in your box below!

#Birchbox

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
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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?

What’s In My Bag?

In the spirit of spring cleaning and because I wanted to swap the purse I’ve been carrying around all winter, I thought I’d do a “What’s In My Bag?” post. I love watching these kinds of posts on YouTube because I just find it interesting to know what people carry around with them, what products they use, or what they carry their stuff in. Plus, I’m just nosey… 😉

I needed to clean out my purse, since I couldn’t remember the last time I had done that, but I also am reminded every time I go to the grocery store that I need to carry a bigger purse so I can take my Target grocery/shopping bags with me. (You can save $.05 for every bag you bring for your items, instead of using plastic bags. You don’t have to only use bags you bought from Target, but if you can’t find or don’t have bags, you can buy them for $.99/ea. Plus, if you’re environmentally conscious, it helps with that too…) But even after changing purses, I’m not sure I’ll be able to carry my grocery bags without some reshuffling before my next grocery trip… Since I’m saving up for a designer handbag, the purses I use now are pretty inexpensive, but still great bags! I tend to buy my purses from Target (do you see a theme? I heart Target!) because they have great designs and are affordable. NavyPurse All winter, I’ve been carrying this nifty navy purse that I bought from Target for about $30-40. I like that it has three outside pockets and is open in the center. I like to keep my keys, my phone, pens, and other items that I need to be able to find quickly. NavyPursePocket1 I like to keep my keys and phone (not pictured) accessible in the front pocket. I also like to keep my pens and pencils accessible…and apparently chocolate! I love Sharpie pens, they just have a nice smooth flow of ink and come in a range of colors, plus they don’t bleed through the page. Chuao chocolate is so good! If you haven’t tried it yet, you should. They offer so many unique flavors! Each bar is a little pricey, but the chocolate is high quality, rich, and surprisingly, not high in calories. 😉 NavyPursePocket2 NavyPursePocket3 In the other two pockets, I like to keep my headphones, charger cord, mobile charger, and memory stick easy to reach, especially when I’m in the car and need to charge my phone. My mobile charger is handy for times when I can’t get to an outlet or my car. For whatever reason, I’ve also been carrying around a tape measure. Hey, never hurts to have some tools on hand! NavyPurseTop NavyPurseCenter The center section of my purse holds pretty much everything I could need while out and about:

  1. Blogging notebook for jotting down ideas on the go.
  2. Coupon wallet/folder. This is what I keep all of my coupons in, however I don’t take this to the register with me, since it would take too long to hunt for all the coupons I’d use. These folders are perfect for couponing, they’re cute, durable, and they don’t cost much!
  3. My GorillaPod was a gift from my mother-in-law and it’s helpful for taking steady photos with your phone or camera. It’s a flexible tripod that can wrap around or attach to numerous surfaces while still providing grip to help stabilize your shot.
  4. A lady “always” needs necessities for that time of the month…
  5. Trident gum. I like this container because you don’t have to worry about a wrapper, plus if you want to share with people, there’s a lot more gum in one of these containers than a little packet.
  6. Planner. Find out how I use my planner here.
  7. Password log. I don’t always keep this with me, but it depends on what I’m doing or where I’m going as to whether I need it or not. I know that there are password apps that store your passwords and protect them, however I’m old school and I like to keep our passwords in a booklet.
  8. More gum… I like Orbit, but these packets tend to spill in my purse or get lost.
  9. Granola bars for when I need a boost of energy or I need a snack. Lately I’ve been enjoying Special K bars and the Simply Balanced nut granola bars. They’re good for you and they taste  good!
  10. My wallet. I keep all of my cards, sometimes cash, business cards, gift cards, and always at least one giant paperclip for my coupons. I love that this wallet zips closed so nothing falls out.
  11. Sunglasses case. I keep my sunnies and some lens cleaner in this nifty little case.
  12. This metallic pouch is where I keep all of my little beauty things that could get lost in the bottom of my bag. I’ll show what’s in this pouch in further detail below…
  13. Hand cream. I like to use Bath & Body Works hand creams both for the fragrance and because they soak deep into the skin quickly. My hands tend to dry out easily since I wash my hands a lot, so having lotion on hand is a must for me.
  14. Apparently I need to carry two of a lot of things… I like to always have hand sanitizer in my bag. You never know when there might be gunk you could get on your hands, plus these smell so good! Both of these are also from Bath & Body Works.
  15. Tums Smoothies. This is a nifty travel size that I bought before a trip and I just keep in my purse now and refill it as needed.
  16. I guess I need chocolate on hand at all times… I mentioned these in my February Favorites post. They’re so yummy!
  17. This is the one shopping bag I can fit in my purse right now. I got this at Pier 1 a while back up at the register. I like that this bag folds up to this little size and fits in a little pouch so it stays neat and compact.

TanPurse I decided to switch to a tan purse for spring. This purse is a little bigger, but does not have pockets to help contain like items. So, I decided to add a few more pouches to help keep items together and make them easier to find. Since I’ve been subscribed to Ipsy, I’ve collected a few little makeup bags that have come in handy for organizing my purse items. SilverPouch

  1. Tissues. These are always a good thing to have on hand…
  2. I like to keep these Colgate Wisps in my bag in case I need to brush my teeth while I’m out. You know when you go out to eat and sometimes you feel like you just need to brush your teeth right after? These are perfect for those times.
  3. Dental floss. See above… Dental floss is never a bad idea.
  4. Band-Aid Friction Block Stick. I love this little dude! It looks like a little deodorant stick, but it’s for your feet. It helps prevent blisters from forming when you rub it on areas that you tend to get blisters or when your shoes feel a little tight. This item has saved my feet on long days or late nights when I’m wearing heels!
  5. Nail file. You never know when you might break a nail…
  6. Soap. This is a little nifty packet of lavender soap leaves that I picked up from Pier 1. They’re nice to have when I find myself in a public restroom that’s run out of soap in the dispenser. You can just take out a little sheet of soap, run some water over it in your hands and it foams up!
  7. Powder. I always keep an extra compact of powder in my purse for any necessary touchups I may need while I’m out and about. This is Neutrogena’s Shine Control Powder.
  8. Oil blotting sheets. These are also helpful for touching up your makeup, especially in Oklahoma summers. I like these Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing sheets. The Body Shop also has some nice tea tree oil sheets that work well too!
  9. Lip gloss. Always. Currently I’m carrying around Rimmel’s Show Off Lip Laquer in 101 Celestial. It’s a nice nude/pink shade that has been going with any makeup look I happen to be wearing. The formula is moisturizing and stays on like a lip stain.
  10. Bandaids. It never hurts to have some bandaids… PenPouch ElectronicPouch

I added these two pouches to my bag, since I don’t have any exterior pockets or additional pockets on the inside of my purse. The first pouch holds all of my pens and pencils. The second pouch corrals all of my electronic accessories and tools.

So that’s pretty much it! What essentials do you carry in your purse or bag?

What kind of purse do you like to carry?

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?