Smithsonian National Zoo (dc travel)

Admittedly, I've never been a big zoo person. I'm not the biggest animal person so that might be why- I definitely prefer the aquarium, but there's one major thing I love about the National Zoo in DC: it's free! I'd bet that a zoo isn't the first place people think to visit while they're in DC, but if you're looking for something else to do, it's definitely worth checking out. 

recent sephora purchases (& smashbox cc cream first impression)

cc cream, smashbox, sephora

I was excited when Sephora's chic week fell in line with my birthday month so I had an extra excuse to order something to get my free birthday gift. To be honest I wasn't even that thrilled with this year's gift because I already know I won't use the mascara, but a free gift is a nice incentive none the less & the lipstick is pretty nice.

I had been putting off buying another Shadow Insurance for a couple of months now-- $20 on something so boring seems like a drag, but with summer coming I definitely need a good base for my oily eyelids & this is the best primer I've come across.

Speaking of being oily, I also picked up the Urban Decay De-Slick Oil Control Makeup Setting Spray. For some reason this sounds better than powdering my face, but I'm definitely skeptical of how well it will work... results are still to be determined!

I had actually planned on getting the Tarte BB Tinted Moisturizer but after being unable to make up my mind, when I went to order it my shade was sold out! I took that as a sign I should try something else and went with the Smashbox CC Cream. I've always been a big fan of Smashbox foundations, so I was hoping I would have good luck with this CC cream...


Easy French Toast Sticks Recipe

french toast sticks + easy recipe

I had actually planned on posting about something totally different today but I made this french toast on Sunday and it was so good I wanted to get the recipe up right away!


Thankful Thursday (Easter Reflections)

Easter has always been one of my favorite holidays. I have so many happy memories that I associate with this time of the year. Easter egg hunts, dying Easter eggs, my mom's coconut bunny cake, fun Easter baskets, vacations in Florida. While none of those things are the reason for Easter, they're fun traditions that hold really happy memories for me. So you can imagine my surprise (read horror) when my husband mentioned that he had never had an Easter basket, dyed eggs, or had a proper Easter egg hunt!


life lately according to iPhone photos

[Eleanor @ the FDR Memorial; delicious Mexican food; world's biggest milkshake in Annapolis; extra drizzle on my iced coffee; fishtail Friday; downtown Annapolis; cotton candy italian ice = amazing; enjoying hot tamales near the Lincoln Memorial] 

 [sunset at the Washington monument a few days before the cherry blossoms; the Capitol; my radishes sprouted; delicious meatball panini and pizza at Italian Pizza Kitchen; spring flowers; Yoshino cherry blossoms; fresh flowers; working on my snail mail]

How is there only a week and a half left of April? It's crazy to think that this time last year I was in my last semester of grad school and one month away from my wedding!

a few days with the cherry blossoms

If you read my post from earlier in the week you'll know my parents were in town for a visit last week. It ended up being the perfect timing because the cherry blossoms were just about in full bloom. I think most people can agree when I say the weather over the past 4-5 months has gone from snow to ice to rain to wind and back again with very few nice days in-between so it felt like a huge blessing that we got so many days of sunshine in a row!


monument tour (DC travel post one)

carly blogs here

If you've ever been to Washington, DC you'll know it can be a little overwhelming trying to figure out how to fit in everything that you want to do! I'm nowhere close to an expert on DC but I thought I would dedicate a few posts to a few of my favorite museums, monuments, and other not-to-miss places!


the world won't stop turning if you turn off your phone.

Happy Monday! We finally reached proper spring temperatures last week & over the weekend and I can't even put into words the amount of difference it made in everything! I truly believe everyone was in a better mood and had a little extra skip in their step. My parents were in town last week for a visit and my heart couldn't have been happier. I was so happy their trip fell in line with the cherry blossoms being in full bloom-- combined with the perfect weather, it was truly blissful & I'm so thankful.

I posted in the beginning of the week and was on twitter and my email a little bit, but for the most part I was away from my "devices" and I hate to admit it but it almost gave me a little bit of anxiety! What if I was missing out on something?

We all know the truth is that it's good to be unplugged sometimes. So good.

I watched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty over the weekend as well, and was once again reminded of the importance of living in the moment.

Spring makes me so happy and I have so much on my mind and so much to share on the blog-- but so much organizing to do in the meantime! Just as the past three months, April is already flying by way too quickly for my liking!

I guess the point of this post was to say that I want to do a better job appreciating every moment.
And that I'm attempting on being a more organized blogger.

So tell me.... what are you looking forward to over the next few weeks/months? Also, what types of posts are your favorite to read?

Must-have drug store beauty favorites (miss in the midwest)

I'm so excited to have my first ever guest blogger today: Karly from Miss in the Midwest! I've been a reader of her blog for a few months now and I love reading every single post! She has an amazing lifestyle blog focusing on everything from beauty favorites,  amazing recipes, to gorgeous outfit posts and more. Recently she's been sharing bits of decorating her new apartment & has some fun furniture DIYs coming up!

Hi, all! You’ve got Karly with a K today from Miss in the Midwest. I want to give a big thank you to Carly for allowing me to take over her site today!

Now, let’s get down to business, shall we? High-end makeup and beauty products are beautiful things, but they quickly can burn a hole in our pockets. Drugstore beauty items have come a long way in recent years, so I’ve rounded up a few of my must-have drugstore products that are equally as good (if not better!) than their more expensive counterparts.

  1. Garnier Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector BB Cream – I only started experimenting with BB creams last summer, and I quickly fell in love with this particular formula. It’s light, non-greasy (I use the oil-free formula), and it provides just enough coverage when I want a “no makeup” makeup look. Plus, it’s also never irritated my sensitive skin or caused breakouts. 
  2. NYX Powder Blush – It’s difficult to find matte drugstore blushes, but NYX eliminates that issue. They have a variety of shades to choose from, and for only $4-5 apiece, you can afford to buy several! One of my all-time favorite colors is Dusty Rose.
  3. CoverGirl Clump Crusher Mascara – As I’ve mentioned several times before on my blog, I am a loyal user of CoverGirl mascaras. The original LashBlast Volume mascara (the one in the orange tube) is always in my makeup bag, but the Clump Crusher formula almost has put the original to shame. It’s lengthening, volumizing, and it really never clumps! 
  4. Revlon Lipstick – Revlon has long been known for their lipsticks, and if you’ve used them, you know why this is one of my favorite products. Again, there are SO many colors to choose from, which eliminates the issue of finding the right shade(s) to complement your skin tone. All the formulas also are longwearing and hydrating on the lips. 
  5. Ardell Accent Lashes #301 – I don’t like the feeling of a whole strip of fake lashes on my eye, probably due to my small and slightly hooded eyelids, so I now solely use half lashes. I used these particular ones on my wedding day, and they provided just the right amount of drama and volume to my lashes while still appearing natural. These also are perfect if you like to wear winged eyeliner to accentuate the outer corner of the eye. 
  6. Revlon Colorstay Nail Polish – This is hands down the best drugstore nail polish I’ve ever used. I even like it more than some of my higher-end polishes, such as O.P.I. The brush is wider than brushes on most polishes, which makes it easier to get an even coat on your nails. This polish also typically lasts up to a week* on my nails without any chipping. 
  7. Maybelline Clean Express Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover – For anybody that uses Clinique’s Take the Day Off makeup remover, I find this to be a similar product. It gets all my eye makeup off, waterproof or not, and it isn’t overly oily or “liquidy” as some other eye makeup removers can be. And, it doesn’t sting the eyes, which always is a bonus. 
  8. Almay Oil-Free Makeup Remover Towelettes – These have been a staple in my makeup collection for years. These literally never dry out – it doesn’t matter how long it takes you to get through a pack, and it doesn’t dry out midway through taking off your makeup like some other wipes do. They also are non-irritating and oil-free, which makes them perfect for others who have sensitive skin, just like me! 

I hope this helps you decide what products to splurge and save on next time you head to the store. Be sure to head over to Miss in the Midwest for more weekly beauty talk!


Another huge thank you to Karly for writing this post for my blog today! I am definitely going to be on the lookout for that Maybelline makeup remover! Make sure you stop by her blog & follow her on bloglovin, twitter, and facebook


Josie Maran Spread the Love Set

A few posts back I mentioned that my mom sent me an early birthday gift- the Josie Maran Spread the Love Set. My birthday isn't until the end of the month, but at the risk of the set going out of stock, my mom sent it early.

I'm pretty new to the Josie Maran line, but the few products I've tried so far I've really loved. The coconut watercolor cheek gelee, has to be one of my favorite blushes ever. I have the berry bliss shade and definitely have my eye on a few of the other colors for summer.

Nourishing Argan Oil Cleanser: I was probably most interested in trying this product because I've never used a cleansing oil. At first, it felt totally weird rubbing oil onto my dry skin, but it actually feels really good. The scent is a little bit interesting-- I can't figure out what it is!

I like that it's non-greasy, leaves me skin feeling soft & hydrated & doesn't irritate my skin at all. I'm not sure I would go as far as to say this will remove all of your makeup. It helps break it down, but I still use my regular face wash after the cleansing oil.

Will I purchase the full-size? This is one of those products that I probably won't spend my own money on, but if it was gifted to me I would gladly use it. Because this is my first go at cleansing oils, I'll probably see what else is out there first.

100% Pure Argan Oil: I've only used this on my hair-- it seems to work well keeping my ends from drying out, and it's definitely light-weight which is nice, but other than that it doesn't seem like a miracle product for me. I think I'll eventually try it out on my skin as a moisturizer, I just haven't worked up the courage yet.

Will I purchase the full-size? Not right away. I definitely need an oil for my hair-- especially with summer coming up, but I'll do a little more research before splurging on a full-size bottle.

Argan Oil Hair Serum: This is actually my second little bottle of this and I'm actually glad to have another small size for traveling! To be totally honest I can't tell much of a difference between using this and the 100% argan oil in my hair. This serum also has vitamin e, avocado oil, and jojoba oil, which are supposed to help moisturize and nourish the hair/scalp.

Will I purchase the full-size? Probably. Unless it turns out I love the 100% argan oil, I do think I prefer the serum for my hair.

Whipped Argan Oil Ultra-Hydrating Body Butter in Vanilla Apricot: Admittedly, I'm not a big body butter person, but oh-my-gosh, this stuff smells incredible! I've used a little bit of it so far and it absorbs right into the skin, which is a huge plus for me! I can't stand anything that leaves me feeling greasy.

Will I purchase the full-size? No. But only because I wouldn't use it and it's on the pricey side. If you're a big body butter person definitely try this out though!

Argan Color Stick in peony: This is one of those cheek to lip convertible products, that I love on my cheeks but would probably never use on my lips. It gives a hint of color-- that is buildable if you want something more dramatic, but this is the perfect blush to give you a flush of natural color. It's easily blendable & a very forgiving product.

Will I purchase the full-size? Yes! I'm a huge fan of cream blushes & I love the convenience of this being in a stick form. I have my eye on the spice shade!

If you're interested in trying out a few of the Josie Maran products I would definitely recommend this set. For $38 it really is a great deal.

What are your favorite Josie Maran products?
Also, what cleansing oils would you recommend?
Hair oils? 


Welcoming April

circa 2010
April has always been one of my favorite months the year. When I was younger and still in school it signaled the beginning of the end, aka the official countdown to summer. It's also when the weather finally starts to turn, the days get longer, and life comes back to the frozen tundra. I love that Easter falls in April this year because it's my favorite holiday (followed closely by the Fourth of July), so combined with my birthday at the end of the month, it gives me one more thing to be excited about this month!

April also means cherry blossoms this year in DC. Their peak range varies from year to year but this year peak bloom is April 8-12. I assure you my blog will have an overload of cherry blossom photos coming soon.

This month I'm hoping to start a small DC themed travel series on my blog every Tuesday.  I'm planning to share a few of my favorite places and some tips and recommendations.

I'm also challenging myself to 25 letters in 30 days. I kind of made that up, but I love snail mail and definitely don't make it a priority enough. I have drawers full of stationary so it's time to put it to use and get intentional about taking a few minutes out of (almost) each day to send someone a little love.

Of course I have some DIY, reading, and writing goals as well but to be honest those aren't as well thought out yet.

What are you looking forward to in April?
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