Happy Friday!!

As a relatively new blogger, I am just now understanding the value in “link-ups”! A little extra traffic and a lot of new friends!

So, let’s celebrate this Friday with a quick post and link-up with one of my new favorite gals…Holly from Hey, Hollywood!

…is perpetually doing 15 things at once. Even on the couch…books, magazines laptop, cell phone, Vampire Diaries. And I’m conquering them all. At. The. Same. Time.

…bakes better than I cook.

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…takes selfies, daily. I agree with Claire & Clueless. Mirrors lie. Plus, I don’t believe in selfie shaming…as a matter of fact I make it my mission to LIKE every selfie I might come across.

1937643_10102020681894229_301832827_o(selfie from this week)

….would rather be at the beach, always.

…reads the same book 89 times. Especially this one…

…jumps, no leaps , to the worst possible scenario/conclusion in any given situation. My husbands isn’t answering the phone? He’s dead. My friend isn’t responding to my text? She hates me. I gained 3 lbs this weekend? This is the beginning of my uncontrollable obesity spiral. It’s exhausting.

…believes cleaning & laundry to be extremely affordable therapy.

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…hates running but love, looove, loooooveeesss the endorphins.

…goes to Sephora just to be amongst all of the finest products in beauty. Beauty nerd.

…puts on perfume before bed.

…is the kind of gal who attracts weird people, strange experiences and there is always an accident or illness looming close by!

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(me, in a sling, on our honeymoon)

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!!

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It’s about that time….when I get antsy for spring. I’m sick of jeans and boots and the whole ORDEAL of getting dressed for a winter day and quite frankly, I could use a tan. I look ill.

I long for flip flops, open windows, patio hopping, Summer Shandy, golf outings with my man and, of course, the smell of fresh cut grass everywhere.

Of course, days like today (it was 60 degrees!) only encourage my spring-time daydreams. But, a look at the 10-day forecast as confirmed my suspicions…we have a ways to go.

So, those of you who are winter whining as well…please bare with me…as all of the things I am “loving lately” are very spring/summer like! And those of you who live in a perpetually summer-like climate…just know, I’m bitter.

1. Favorite Lip Color

Perfect Spring Lip Color

Revlon’s Just Bitten Lip Stain is my favorite drugstore find and “Smitten” my favorite shade (pictured above).

It stays on ALL DAY. I mean….all day, you will literally have to remove it at the end of the day if you want it off! 🙂

I just freshen it up with some gloss or chap-stick throughout the day and the color remains fresh and vibrant.

2. Lauren Conrad’s Spring Collection

Lauren Conrad Spring Collection

As if the clothes were not perfect amounts of feminine and fashionable…but then she has to go put a tennis court in the photo shoot…with PINK TENNIS BALLS.

I adore her...and as expected this collection is superb!

3. Favorite Band

American Authors Believer

If you haven’t heard Best Day of My Life yet…then you obviously don’t know what happiness feels like! 😉 Perfect song to wake up to in the morning!

The good news…American Authors is not a one hit wonder!

Their EP is filled with the same uplifting, fast paced songs and their first full length album is expected on March 4th!

Here is my current favorite of theirs! “Believer”

4. Embracing my Face!

No Makeup Look

Due to a some ridiculous eye issues (that just won’t quit) I have been forced to go out into the world bare-eyed.

To be embarrassingly honest…at first, I didn’t want to leave the house. But now….I think I’m starting to like it! As a matter of fact…I think I am going to be sporting the “less is more” look A LOT this spring/summer.

There is something appealing about a fresh faced look…there is also something appealing about the time it saves me in the morning!!

So, be looking for a lot more makeup tutorials for this kind of look!

5. Predicting this to be my go-to summer drink!

Moscato Strawberry Lemonade

The VERY FIRST day it is warm enough…my friends and I will be sitting on my patio drinking this!

My mouth is quite literally watering at the idea of it…and of course the idea of sunshine…REAL, WARM sunshine!

6. A Little “Thinspiration”

Swimsuits

I can’t stop…shopping for swimsuits!

I declared to friends and family that I want to be 127 lbs by my 27th birthday.

I will not divulge exactly how many lbs are needing to be lost between now and then….but it is certainly a reasonable goal. In an effort to keep my eye on the prize I have been starting…and ending my day…with a little online swimsuit shopping. Not sure if its helping me lose the weight or just all of my money…but, time will tell!

You can find these swimsuits here & here!

 

 

 

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StopABreakout

At what age, exactly, can I expect to stop breaking out?

I mean at age 26 (almost 27) I am experiencing…blemishes & breakouts AND the undeniable signs of aging…it’s cruel, really, it is.

Because breakouts appear to be an inevitable part of my life I have developed a quick way to stop my breakouts as quickly as possible!

We all know what steps are involved in caring for our skin but..then we get busy, and things like that get pushed aside. When my skin starts rebelling I reference this checklist!

CheckList

Without fail, every time I reference this list I find the culprit!

Did I miss anything??

What are your secrets to stopping a breakout?

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It’s strange and so very sad….that people exit this world without hardly making a ripple.

Husbands and wives, and moms and dads, and teenagers and infants are all laid to rest…leaving those who love them with the overwhelming idea of existing without them. Meanwhile, the rest of us are laughing, or fighting, or frantically finishing a project at work – our life, happening, while someone else’s has simultaneously ended.

The world has lost one of it’s best, my world has lost one of it’s best. And it deserves a ripple.

Val Mitchell was all sorts of beautiful. Enormous amounts of funny, charming, wise, compassionate, forgiving, patient and warm. So warm.

She is one of the very few people I encountered on this planet who could make me feel calm, sitting next to her was certainty that, at least while you were with her, life would be good and it would be full.

I loved her from the very moment I met her.

So, tonight, I will cry myself to sleep (though I know she will hate that) and tomorrow I’ll begin the journey of existing in a world she no longer physically walks. And I hope any of you, stranger or friend, who come across this, will pause for a moment to recognize the loss and that pain that accompanies it.

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Naked 3 Inspiration

I’m in LOVE with all things NAKED!

Damn Urban Decay for making something so wonderful and naming it something so awkward.

In all seriousness, UD really outdid themselves with the Naked 3 Palett. The colors, the presentation and the brush (double ended) are all equal parts unique and yet on trend. That really should be UD’s motto if you ask me!

This is my current “go-to” look from the palett. It’s neutral and yet a little bit glam!

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Naked 3 3

 

 Be sure to start with a great eye shadow primer first!! These colors deserve some preparation!

1. Start with “Trick” on your inner half of your lid. This color is literally happiness in a shadow!!! I love it!

2. Next, add “Burnout” on the outer half of your lid.

3. Apply just a bit of “Strange” on your brow bone.

4. Blend “Nooner” into your outer/upper (whatever you wanna call it) crease, blend it right below the brow bone!

5. Tap “Dust” into the inner corners of your lids to give them a nice lustrous shine!

6. Carefully apply “Blackheart” into the outer corner and inner crease creating that angle off the eye. You are going to want to build on this color, start with a little, tapping off any extra and work from there! Much easier to add than to subtract!!

Finish off the look with your favorite liner and mascara.

I used the “Black” shade in the Lorac Pro Palett as a base for my liner and then topped it off with Urban Decay’s 24/7 Glide on Eye Pencil in “Zero”. And then of course finished the lashes with Benefit’s They’re Real!

Create a dewy finish on your face and you’re all set!!

Hope you love it!

5 Beauty tricks to try today

Happy Friday!!

Tonight, while I was completing one of my (rather strange) beauty rituals…I tried to remember where I came up with it! I decided this one stemmed from a trick my mother taught me -gotta love moms! It dawned on me that several of my absolute favorite little beauty tricks were either passed down to me or learned by some trial and A LOT of error.

I figured my lovely readers might be looking for a winter pick-me-up for their beauty routine so I wanted to share my 5 favorite beauty tricks and tips. I like to consider today’s post a Part I, because I predict I will have lots more of these to share!

1. Vaseline for Eyes and Lips

I feel like I could write an entire blog post dedicated to all of the amazing uses for Vaseline…but I’ll save that for another time.

I want to talk about eye makeup remover…have you checked the ingredients of yours lately? Almost every eye makeup remover out there has at least one ingredient considered harmful to the skin, depending on your skin type and sensitivity you might be experiencing some adverse reactions to the product you are using. The delicate skin around our eyes is SO sensitive especially this time of year (it is dry ya’ll!) that I like to be as gentle with it as possible. Two years ago I realized that I was spending $18.00 for my 4 oz. of eye makeup remover and I wasn’t even loving the results. My mother touted that she has always relied on Vaseline to remove her eye makeup. If you knew my mother you would take any beauty advice she has to offer (gals got skills!) and so I went out and purchased 13 oz of Vaseline for $2.36.

You guys…its great. Takes a minute to get used to the texture but it removes even the toughest eye makeup gently and easily! I leave some leftover on my eyes so that it can work its moisture magic in combination with my eye cream. And…while this isn’t proven…I swear it helps my eye lashes grow long, lush and healthy!!

(Update! Please see comment section for a little more clarification on how to use this!)

I also smear Vaseline on my lips multiple times a day. These days…chapsticks and lip balms are cheap and unaffective or hydrating and unaffordable. I love putting Vaseline on top of a lipstick to give it a glossy shine!

2. My ‘They’re Real by Benefit’ mascara Hack.

It is not a secret that I worship this mascara…so I feel awfully guilty about providing a little hack to save yourself some money…but when a mascara is $28.00 this kind of stuff happens!!

I can’t be the first one to notice that this stuff seems to last HALF as long as my other tubes do and it sucks because it is just SO good. Essentially, I use this hack to make it last just a little bit longer. I truly believe that 75% of it’s magic exists in the brush!

So, first things first, you need to get your hands on a tube of this treasure and then, you need to go to any drug store and get your hands on the Maybelline Great Lash Lots of Lashes. This is THE BEST drugstore brand mascara. I promise you.

Basically, I dip the “They’re Real” brush in this formula on days/nights in which I don’t need my makeup to look it’s very best. Work, grocery shopping, church, etc. No one cares if my eye lashes are flawless. Nights out, date nights, important meetings, pictures, etc. I use the real stuff.

Truly, I can barely tell on the days I use the hack! And I can go much longer in between handing over my life savings for Benefit’s mascara!

Benefit They're Real

3. Ice Cube facials

I know I mentioned this technique before but I wanted to reiterate the magic of a quick, maybe slightly painful, but definitely refreshing ice cube facial.

This past Monday I woke up with the puffiest of eyes and cheeks. Unfortunately, Mr. Grade and I got into a little newlywed argument on Sunday evening. By bed time all was good in the world but the damage had been done….Monday morning I looked like I was stung by a bee.

So, I went downstairs, grabbed three of the biggest cubes I could find and rubbed each of them along my face until they were nothing but drops of water. Ta-da! I was refreshed and as good as new! Yes, the process is mildly uncomfortable, but not nearly as uncomfortable as people asking me all day, “do you feel alright?”

4. Baby Gel + Hempz = Silky Soft Skin

moisture tricks

After trying a Pinterest FAIL – trying to shave with Baby Gel, gross – I decided to find another use for my recently purchased Gel. I began applying immediately after taking a shower or bath, while my skin was still very damp! Putting this stuff on dry skin is not a pleasant experience.

After that I went about my usual “get ready” routine and wait for the gel to really lock in the moisture and soak into the skin. And then, I finish it up with a healthy portion of Hempz lotion all over.

My skin stays soft and healthy all day long! No random, dry, end of day flaking.

Not to mention…I smell like a dream!

5. Baby Powder as Dry Shampoo

Once my hair reached a certain length it became painfully obvious that I did not have the time nor resources to wash it, dry it and style it every single morning. And so, I turned to dry shampoo.

I talked a bit about finding one of my favorite in a previous post…unfortunately, I was having a hard time finding it for less than $26.00 and using it much too quickly.

So, I turned to baby powder! If your hair isn’t blonde….don’t use it. Sorry!

But, if you are blonde, use a big puffy powder or bronzer brush to apply to your roots. Soaks up the oil AND makes your hair smell fresh and clean!

I love it because it doesn’t leave a heavy, sticky feeling that some dry shampoos leave behind. Plus, I’ve been using the same $3.00 bottle for months!

I hope you guys all get the chance to try these out…maybe this weekend?? 🙂

And please, please, PLEASE share some of your favorite beauty tricks in the comments! Love a good beauty tip!

Blog photo

I need to tell you something…

I’m not a real big fan of New Year’s Resolutions.

Sometimes…I feel like people use the new year as an excuse to put off a goal, a change or a decision that really should be made immediately. It becomes a “New Years Resolution” and you sit on it until January 1st. And then, you expect the new years magic to take it and make it happen…and when it doesn’t (because, spoiler alert, there is no “New Years Magic”) said resolution sits in resolution purgatory and you become sad.

See where I’m going with this?

So, I suppose my purpose for writing this post now is…that people are looking for stuff like this; but please remember that recognizing the need for a change, an improvement, something new…etc. should spur immediate action!

While I am not, by any means, a goal reaching expert…I’ve set and failed to reach hundreds of them! But, I have found, that those I have reached have all shared the same tactics. So, here’s a few suggestions on setting and reaching your goals!

1. Tie your wish, desire, want, etc. to a tangible & measurable goal. 

There is a huge, HUGE difference between I want to be healthier vs. “I want to lose 15 lbs.” or “I want to stop drinking pop.” or “I want to spend 3 days a week in the gym.” Wishing for success is useless until you tie it to a goal, “I will get a degree.” “I will find a new job.” “I will devote 3 more hours per week to my current position.”

See where I am going with this? It is impossible to resolve to “be healthier” what does that even mean? You owe it to yourself to define your goals and your visions instead of throwing out an ambiguous desire!!

2. Write it down. 

Type it up, script it out, tape it to your mirror, stick it on your fridge, go out and buy yourself some puff paint and craft it onto an old t-shirt for all I care! Just get it down…were you can see it -preferably every day! And then….read it every day! Take a quick second to remind yourself of what you want and how you’re getting it.

A daily reminder will prevent you from falling out of touch with your goal as well as remind you of why you might be making certain sacrifices or enduring something difficult.

3. Create a vision board. 

Vision boards rock. Truly, they do.

There are SO MANY creative and fun ways to express your vision -and that board will serve as a constant (&inspiring) reminder of what you hope to accomplish. I have multiple…mostly because they are just so damn fun to make! 🙂

If you need some inspiration::I have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to vision boards.

Just a note- the irony of the fact that I have a “vision board” dedicated to vision boards is not lost on me.

4. Make changes. 

Setting a goal is not and should not be permanent.

We’re humans…we change our minds, we discover and learn and sometimes we find that our goal might need a few adjustments! When you feel like your journey to change might need a little change that does not indicate failure!

Just be sure you are making the change for the right reason! Don’t switch things up because something became “too hard” or “took too long.”

5. Don’t obsess. 

Having a vision and a goal in which you truly desire will sometimes require sacrifice, extreme effort and willpower; but this does not give you the right to “obsess”.

Can’t tell if you’re obsessing? Ask your significant other, your best friend and maybe your co-workers.

This is supposed to be fun, an adventure and an incredible journey. NOT the opportunity for you to beat yourself up over wasted time or setbacks.

This past October I decided that I would reach my goal weight within the year. That meant 20 more lbs to lose. I created a plan and stuck to it rigidly for 3 weeks with amazing results but far too many sacrifices! And then, one Thursday evening while out with my husband I drank a beer and shared his nachos with him. We were having a lovely evening…until I started mentally calculating every calorie I started consuming….and then I threw a legit fit. After crying, pouting and destroying the evening I realized I was going to have to find a way to approach this with a little less obsession.

Creating the life you want…it’s not an easy thing, but making changes and moving forward should always be, at the least, exciting and fulfilling. Consistent misery, out of control obsession and a lack of life should never be a part of the equation!

You should be having a little fun with it!

Ugh. I promised myself that I would NOT get sucked into the holiday vortex and neglect my updates…unfortunately, it appears that I have done exactly that!

The good news is…plenty of new readers have still been happening upon the site and deciding to subscribe to my updates! Subscribers make me giddy!

If you are a new subscriber…I promise you’ll be hearing from me much more than you have lately!

The other piece of good news is…while I may have been neglecting updates…I was certainly NOT neglecting my blog! I have been working incessantly on the back end of things so that I can improve my content, photos and the overall experience for my readers! I think you guys will like what you see in 2014!

So, just to catch you all up to speed – a quick picture update on life!

-Here are the highlights-

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I’ve been attempting to use my own organization tips and closet clean-up to help my mother avoid becoming a hoarder. It’s still a work in progress. 🙂

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For the first time in our 5 years together my husband has hair.

This means….at least once a day he asks how his hair looks, he takes even LONGER to get ready and he pouts consistently about not being able to wear his sunglasses on his head or a hat when it is cold.

I love it though…so it’s staying.

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I struggled with my diet…

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We celebrated my best friend’s birthday with a surprise party!

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I laughed a lot. This kid contributed to a lot of that laughter.

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Did I mention I struggled with my diet….? 🙂

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Andrew I celebrated our first Thanksgiving as a married couple!

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AND for the first time ever…I beat him in darts!! 🙂

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Nebraska lost to Iowa. 🙂

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Andrew and I enjoyed another nerf gun war!

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I put a Christmas tree in the bedroom. Best decision ever!

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I had the best Christmas ever.

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And I got a Kate Spade purse!!!! 🙂

Now that you’re all caught up…I promise not to abandon you again!

Happy Monday!

holiday playlistSomething about this frigid, windy night has me MORE than ready for Christmas!

I have been so busy with work, projects and spending time with my husband (seriously, I’ll never get tired of that guy! <3) that I haven’t had a chance to update lately.

Some very exciting changes are happening with the blog…I can’t wait to share more soon!

In the meantime…in the hopes of getting all of my readers into the holiday spirit…here is a perfect holiday playlist!

A little mix of everything!

There is this pesky rumor going around that women are difficult to please and incredibly hard to shop for.

Not true.

When picking out a gift for any of the women in my life I like to make sure the item falls under one of the following categories:

Expensive
Unique
Cozy
Scented
Just Plain Cute

If it falls under one of those categories…you’ve probably got yourself a great gift!

Here are some of my favorite picks for gift giving this season!

Gift Guide for HER!
Chicks love candles, it’s in our DNA. And this candle…is the queen of candles! I prefer but Rose but all of the scents are incredible!
It’s adorable. It’s from Anthro. What else can I say?
For the hostess in your life…this gift is perfect!
This is the perfect “going out” accessory! I am of the belief that every gal should have an “iPhone purse”! And this one is adorable!
The perfect accessory!
More than meets that “cozy” category I mentioned earlier.
7. Knee Highs. $22.00
Cozy & cute! I’m obsessed with knee highs, put ’em on over a pair of leggings will a pair of boots and they can make any outfit that much better!
8. Polka Dotted Pot Holders. $14.00
Another great hostess gift and an excellent addition to a holiday party!
9. Fiona Apron. $34.00
Nothing makes me feel like whipping up an excellent meal more than putting on an adorable apron. Anthro has the best, and this one is classy and pretty enough to be worn by the hostess all night!