Thursday, April 16, 2015

Recent Purchases

This is just a roundup of a few products I picked up over the winter months and wanted to share. Some of them were instant gems-- others not so much.

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Treatment Concealer in light: By now you've probably seen everyone talk about this product, but I wanted to mention it because I actually don't love it... I got the shade light and I think I should have picked up the brightener shade instead. The color itself is fine but it doesn't really give me any coverage nor does it really have a brightening effect so it feels kind of pointless most of the time I use it. I think I'm just used to a thicker concealer.

Physicians Formula Argan Wear Blush in natural: I picked up this blush 100% for the packaging and ended up keeping it because it had such great pigmentation. Sometimes I find that drugstore blushes don't wear as well or last as long, but this blush lasts all day. Two things to note...there is a faint fragrance & there is a crazy gold glitter overspray. Thankfully you can just wipe off the glitter and you're left with a matte blush, and the fragrance doesn't linger or seem to irritate my skin.

physicians formula argan wear blush

L'Oreal Infallible Eyeshadow in iced latte: If you're unfamiliar with these shadows they're a really shimmery pressed eye shadow. They're one of the best drugstore products in my opinion and after hearing Mia talk about iced latte a million times I finally broke down and picked it up. It's definitely going to add a lot of shimmer to your lids but it's so pretty and brightening.

L'Oreal Brow Stylist Plumper Brow Gel in dark: I wasn't the biggest fan of this product but I really just don't think brow gels are for me. I'm not sure if it's the texture of my brows or what, but any time I try a gel it feels too crunchy(??) or weird on my brows. I have long brow hairs so it did help them stay in place, but it didn't seem to add much of a tint despite it being dark brown. If you're someone who likes brow gels, this might be a really good drugstore alternative to try!

Anastasia Brow Powder Duo in dark brown: I saved the best for last... I love this brow powder! When I got this I tested it out on one brow first and my husband literally thought I had plucked one of my brows really thin-- it was just my normal brow without the powder. I've had quite a few brow fails over the past few years trying to figure out the best way to fill them in and this is my new favorite brow product ever. I use an angled brush and apply the darker color over my entire brow and then sometimes I'll mix in the lighter shade towards the front of my brow to avoid any harshness. What are your favorite brow products?

What are some beauty products you've tried out recently? Any new favorites?

Friday, April 10, 2015

Four Hits & One Miss

Another week of the year has quickly passed us by! I'm so thankful the weekend is here and am looking forward to enjoying some of the cherry blossoms this weekend. Spring is my favorite season-- especially spring in DC. I've had a few good finds recently so I thought I would share them in today's post!

1. I have a ton of bathing suits pinned on my wishlist board, and this is one I never would have picked had I only seen it online, but I saw it walking through Lord & Taylor a couple of weeks ago and loved it. My only hope is that the orange color doesn't bleed onto the cream crochet.

2. I had to return a shirt at Forever 21 (on a Saturday when the line was practically weaved throughout the entire store) and didn't want to be left with a store credit so I quickly picked up these shorts and was amazed at how nicely they fit-- and they actually seem like quite nice quality for F21. The good thing about being short is that they still come down to just about my fingertips, so they're not inappropriately short. Now just to get my legs into shorts shape!

3. I've had my eye on this Bauble Bar necklace for the past few months so when I saw it was on sale + an additional 20% off I scooped it up right away. It's hard to tell from the photo, but there's a really tiny crescent moon on the chain.

4. I was searching high and low for the perfect summer chambray and finally Target came through with the perfect option! I wanted one that was more relaxed, but all of the ones I tried were way too baggy through the body.

and the miss....

5. I'm not a huge Body Shop fan, but I've wanted to try their Vineyard Peach Scrub for ages-- how good does that sound like it would smell? When I was running low on my other scrub and they were having a sale I ordered it only to be so disappointed! It kind of smelled like peach, but more like cardboard. Aside from the scent, I didn't think it was all that great anyway, but I figured I would use it up since I had it.... that was until I dropped the entire thing, upside down, and over half of it literally went down the drain. I was upset and a little relieved all at the same time.

Have you discovered any new favorites while shopping recently? Any great scrub recommendations?

Also, I ended up taking actual pictures of everything but didn't end up having time to upload them before I wanted this post to go up- this week has been a little crazy. I hope everyone has a great weekend!

[linking up for friday favorites, oh hey friday, TGIF hop, Little Friday, and High Five for Friday]

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Spring Wish List

Happy Wednesday! I thought I would put together a little spring wish list that could double as a birthday wish list. My birthday is at the end of the month and my mom has been asking me for the past three+ months what I want so I wanted so I figured this was the perfect excuse to put together a little wish list.

Champagne & Strawberry Embroidered Shift Dress: There are actually like a dozen dresses from SMU that I would love to appear in my closet, but I love the colors and detailing in this one.

MUFE Pro Sculpting Duo in Golden: This bronzing duo seems to be getting a lot of hype since it was released. It's a gorgeous bronze and highlight that can be used separately or mixed together- so pretty for summer!

Smashbox Crush on Blush Palette: The Smashbox Blush Rush in chiffon is my favorite blush of all time, so a little palette with four other blushes plus a bronzer and highlight looks amazing.

Steve Madden Picnicc Sandal: I usually try and stay away from ankle straps because I really don't need anything cutting my legs, but these are nude so I don't think they would be too bad-- plus I love the low wedge!

MAC lipstick in crosswires, fanfare, see sheer, creme in your coffee, or shy girl.

Smashbox Be Legendary Lip Gloss in Pink Lady: I recently rediscovered an old Smashbox lip gloss (that they don't make anymore) and it is so good, I can only imagine these are just as good- if not better. I've been on a lip gloss kick in general lately and have about 8 on my to try list!

Jack Rogers Lauren Sandals: I've never considered myself a Jack Rogers girl but I can't stop thinking about how versatile these sandals would be this summer...

Beach Walk Rollerball: This was in my favorites post last month- it smells amazing and I've been dreaming of it ever since I used up my sample.

Athleta Metro Legging or Relay Tight: I've been on the hunt for a pair of running tights that come in petite lengths. I don't want a capri length, but I also don't want like 5 extra inches of material bunched up at my ankles. Any other suggestions? 

What's on your radar for spring?

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The One With the Map

make your own map here
A couple of weeks ago Kristen wrote a post about the states she's visited and it got me thinking about my own US travels. As I got to the end of filling in the states I've visited, I kept thinking this can't be it-- there's no way I really haven't been to more places! It's true, the furthest west I've been is Iowa City! I didn't count states I've driven though or airport cities, and I'm pretty sure I visited Texas and/or Oklahoma when I was a baby, but I didn't count those either.

After the visual of seeing where I haven't been I really had to stop and remind myself how blessed I am to have been to so many places. When we constantly see people talking about travel it's easy to compare, but reality is there are so many people who never travel anywhere- either by choice or circumstance.

These places at the top of my new-places-to-visit list....

The Northeast (Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine) | This is probably the most realistic for our next adventure somewhere new because it's technically in driving distance.

Seattle and/or Portland | Or San Francisco-- really anywhere in the Northwest. Where would you recommend of the three?

San Diego | My husband has been and he swears I would love it. Beach and pleasant weather year-round? I'm pretty sure I would love it too.

Mount Rushmore (South Dakota) | While I don't foresee us ever really being in the area to see Mount Rushmore, it's a place I would love to visit one day.

Hawaii | This is one that I'm not sure will ever happen because it's so far away. We're much closer to the Caribbean (or Mexico) so thinking of traveling somewhere tropical usually means one of those two places-- closer (shorter flight!) and less expensive will probably always win, but if it was ever an option I would love to visit Hawaii.

Are you a big traveler? Do you stick to places you know and love, or do you prefer to explore new places?

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

March Favorites 2015

It's already the end of month so I'm linking up with Mia and Kelli to share a few things I've been loving recently.

I'm a new tea drinker, and I think this green ginger tea might be my all-time favorite so far. On the subject of tea, I finally purchased a kettle we found at Home Goods, so that has also been a favorite.

In case you missed this foundation post, I'm still loving the Smashbox Studio Skin Foundation. I've recently been applying it with my fingers instead of a brush (#lazy) and I love the lighter coverage it gives.

The Smith's Strawberry Lip Balm made an appearance in my March and November favorites last year, but I'm mentioning it again because it's that good. My lips were insanely chapped all winter, and aside from regular vaseline this lip balm was the only thing that gave them any relief. I tried the rose & mandarin version and didn't like it nearly as much as the strawberry.

I love perfume samples, but rarely remember to use them, so I made it a habit to start using them up this month. I'm in love with Beach Walk- as I'm sure you can imagine, it smells like the beach in the best way possible. I've loved the Daisy Dream perfume bottle ever since it came out, but using the sample of the fragrance sold me on it even more- I would love a full-size of either of these fragrances!

Season 2 of Fixer Upper was just as good as the first and it's definitely one of my favorite shows to watch weekly. I can almost guarantee it will make you want to move to Texas so you can visit Magnolia Farms and have Chip and Joanne design your dream house.

I loved so many blog posts this past month but one that stood out was Lindsay's post on writing what you want when it comes to blogging and how important it is to not let other people make you feel like your posts aren't good enough or deep enough to be considered good blog posts. She also has a ton of really great beauty posts!

What have you been loving this month? Any new or old favorites?

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Let's Really Run a 5k

I think this is my third, or fourth, attempt at c25k (couch to 5k) and I'm determined to stick with it until the end this time. As soon as winter was behind us (or so I thought) I started C25k again, as it turned out, spring never really showed up and the weather has still been pretty cold and rainy. I feel like I can't complain because it's better than snow/ice/freezing rain every other day, but it's still really cold. This week finally looks like we might get some 60 degree days and sunshine!

Week One (60 seconds jogging | 90 seconds walking x8)
I was surprised with how easy this was for me-- and by easy I mean I was able to run each segment of the running portion. The first time I tried this program I couldn't even run all of the running portions.

Week Two (90 seconds jogging | 2 minutes walking x6)
The weather was not so great this week-- it was cold, but it was still pretty good and I managed (just barely sometimes) to run during all of the designated jogging times. The third day of this week was definitely the hardest.

My goals for April are pretty simple-- to continue and keep on track with c25k and to incorporate some yoga and hopefully we'll finally be able to get in a few good bike rides. I was previously looking into an April or May 5k, but now I think I'm shooting for the beginning of June depending on how the next couple of weeks go.

What training/exercise goals do you have for April? Link up with Tracy and Alyssa to share your plans.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Better Than Before: a review

So remember when my goal for 2015 was simply to be better? I had heard about Gretchen Rubin's new book Better Than Before a few months ago and I think I entered a Goodreads giveaway or two and then I kind of forgot about it. When I was browsing the Blogging For Books website and saw it pop up, I immediately requested it to review. I was a big fan of Rubin's The Happiness Project so I imagined I would enjoy Better Than Before just as much, if not more.

To sum up what the book is about very shortly it's about how habits impact our lives and the importance of finding habits that suit each of us.

I don't know how many times I read a blog post or see an instagram photo of someone eating a million healthy things and think to myself: "why can't I just get into that habit?" Or how does this person manage to get up two hours early every morning when I struggle to roll out of bed no matter how hard I try?

"There's no magic formula-- not for ourselves, and not for the people around us. We won't make ourselves more creative or productive by copying other people's habits...we must know our own nature, and what habits serve us best." 

The book definitely reads more as research full of her facts and findings, but as someone who could possibly read social science research articles all day long, I loved that component to the book. Rubin takes her thoughts and questions and fleshes them out using real world examples that almost anyone can find a way to relate. On that same note, I felt like certain topics were too examined and I lost a little bit of interest during those points.

One chapter that stood out to me the most was on loopholes (nothing stays in vegas | loophole-spotting). As I was reading it I kept thinking oh man this is totally me. She mentions the tomorrow loophole, where we completely forgo what we're trying to achieve because we'll start tomorrow. Something like, tomorrow I'll start a budget so today I might as well buy everything, kind of thinking. Or, tomorrow I'm going to cut back on desserts so I might as well eat this entire box of cookies today. She goes on through the chapter mentioning many other loopholes that I could just as easily relate to in some way.

Overall, I don't know that reading this book will completely solve your problems when it comes to forming better habits, but I can almost guarantee it will give you better insight into why you make the choices you make when it comes to mastering habits.

"Perfection may be an impossible goal, but habits help us to do better. Making headway toward a good habit, doing better than before, saves us from facing the end of another year with the mournful wish, once again, that we'd done things differently." 

Have you read any of Rubin's books? Are you a fan of personal development/self help books?

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review, my opinions are my own.