The Beginning. 

Growing up I did dance, swimming, and soccer for a few years but I was never dedicated or motivated to really care.

I ran track in middle school and it started off as being something I did because all of my friends were doing it-- I still kind of remember the moment I realized I had a little bit of speed, when playfully racing a friend at one of our first practices.

As it turned out I was actually pretty decent at sprinting and would go on to run the 70m and 100m and usually place. I was never the fastest girl on the team, but I was up there.

Entering high school I continued sprinting running the 100m, 200m, 4x100 and 4x200. For a while I was on the a team with our 4x100 relay team, which was great, but the truth was I just couldn't keep up-- I really just wasn't good enough, and once again I just wasn't competitive enough to really care.

It's funny how specific moments stick out in your mind. I can pretty vaguely remember the moment when my coach decided to tell me they were going to move me back to the b team-- it was the same moment my mom showed up at the track with my new inhaler (I could never breathe and had recently been told I had exercise-induced asthma). I'm sure I cared more than I ever let on, but truly I wasn't competitive, and after 10th grade I quit track all together.

Looking back, I wish I would have stuck with it-- 11th grade was the start of a difficult time for me, as I think so many people have self-esteem issues when they're 15/16 years old, but that's another story for another day.

Needless to say after 10th grade I wasn't active at all. In college we were required to take three gym courses, I took tennis, tap dance, and an intensive cardio class-- all three were surprisingly difficult. I went on "runs" with friends, but they were never very serious and I'm sure I could never keep up.


If you've been following my blog for a while you might know I started the Couch 2 5k program twice. Due to different life happenings, something always came up and I was never able to see the program all the way through.

While I was using it, it really seemed to work-- it was hard- but it worked. There were weeks I was so embarrassingly excited about my minimal achievements. The furthest I got was up to jogging 5 minutes without stopping-- I know that doesn't sound very impressive, but when I started I could hardly run for 60 seconds without stopping.

As far as exercising goes, it has never been that easy because, 1). I'm out of shape and 2). the whole asthma component. Plus, I'm not good at pacing myself. Even though it has been years since I was on a track, whenever I run I want to go full speed ahead-- that clearly doesn't work when you're trying to run for distance!

So here we are at the end of September, and I'm ready to start again. I guess I would classify myself as a wannabe runner.

I'm so excited that Tracy and Alyssa created this linkup each month to help hold me accountable.


Matte on my Mind (mini review of Sonia Kashuk Velvety Matte Lip Crayon)

I've dabbled in matte foundations, bronzers, and a few eyeshadows, but matte lips were something that never appealed to me... until now.

Nars Pure Matte Lipstick & Nars Velvet Matte Lipstick: The Nars Velvet Matte Lipstick is really the first Matte lipstick I remember hearing about and it's rated pretty highly. However, the packaging of the Pure Matte Lipstick is definitely a bit more appealing to me as you can just twist up the product. However, as someone with small lips the point of the Velvet Matte lipstick would probably be a better option for me.  Both products come in 14 shades varying from nudes to deep pinks and reds.

Bite Beauty Matte Creme Lip Crayon: Bite Beauty has been pretty high on my list of brands I want to try and I really love the size of this product. I have small lips, so a smaller pencil makes it easier to be more precise. Sephora offers 12 different shades, but you can also choose from three shades at J. Crew. For fall I'm loving brandy, a deep raspberry color.

Clinique Long Last Soft Matte Lipstick: I tend to have pretty good luck when it comes to Clinique and I think they're a great mid-range brand. Considering how much I love the chubby lip pencils, I would definitely be willing to try out this line of matte lipsticks for $16. From what I can tell pink chocolate is my shade of choice- a nice brown pink.

The drugstore is usually pretty on point with its lip products, so I'm interested to see how the matte lip products compare to the higher end brands.

NYX Matte Lip Cream: I'm still completely obsessed with frappuccino & I love the butter glosses so I definitely see myself giving these a try in the near future.

Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm: I'm a big fan of the glossy version of these, and I tend to have pretty good luck with Revlon lip products in general, so I definitely want to give these a try.

Sonia Kashuk Velvety Matte Lip Crayon: As far as packaging goes this is most similar to the Nars Velvet Matte Lipstick, I mean even the name is pretty similar.

I picked one up at Target recently in the shade blossomy nude*, and while I wasn't a fan of the color the overall feel of the lip crayon was pretty impressive. The product went on smooth and actually felt quite moisturizing. It did feather a bit, so I need to use a lipliner when wearing it just to be on the safe side.

I wasn't crazy about the packaging, I could see the top coming off in your bag since it doesn't click or snap on. It's also a little bit of a hassle that you have to sharpen the product, the other lip crayons I've used twist up, which is obviously more convenient.

If I was a bigger fan of the color, the pros would outweigh the cons, but since SK is only available at Target and you can't return opened cosmetics, I probably won't try another one.

*I thought it would be more nude and less pink

Shop the products:

Are you a fan of matte lips? What are your favorite matte lip products?

One last thing! I'm sharing my bookshelf on Sarah's blog today! I'd love if you stopped by :) 

Recent Reads & Reviews

I apologize for this post being so incredibly late. I had the entire thing done by the end of August but was waiting to finish The Rosie Project so I could add in the review... I never ended up finishing the book, and I had already made the graphic so I didn't want to post until I was done. I haven't read at all this month, so I never finished the book & decided I would just share this post anyway. (sorry, longest ramble ever!)

When The World Was Young was set in NYC in the 1940s & 1950s which is what initially drew me into the book. I really enjoyed this book up until the very end-- I felt like Gaffney ran out of time or lost interest when she got to the end of the book. There were so many big changes & twists in the second half of the book and they were all crammed into a couple of chapters at the end- or simply not mentioned at all. It almost felt like two different books because the first half of the book is full of so much development and description. Overall, it was a lovely story but I was disappointed it seemed so incomplete in its final chapters (3 stars) (c/o netgalley)

I'm going to be honest, I loved Me Before You so much that I was a little disappointed with the first half of this book. I found it to be a tad slow and dragged out, but once I got about halfway through I was completely hooked and read the entire thing in a single day. The story follows Jess, a single mom, who has has a difficult life- she always sees things on the bright side and has a positive outlook in life, despite being dealt not the best hand. Both of her kids are bullied and I loved how one of them end up using blogging as a positive outlet. The bit about her love interest is predictable, but still well written and I was definitely attached to them and rooting for them to get together throughout the entire story. It isn't as good as Me Before You, but still one of my favorites this year. (4 stars) (c/o netgalley)

After seeing this book on almost every single summer reading list I felt like I needed to read it before the summer was over. I don't know if I had my expectations set too high or what the problem was but I really was not impressed with this book. I actually forgot I even read it until I went back to look at what books to add to this post! The one redeeming factor for me was that I actually read it while on a family vacation, so that was a little fun. Otherwise, I felt like there were too many characters and story lines going on at once and not enough time to really fully develop any of them. One of the saddest things about reading a book is when I don't connect or like any of the characters and that's exactly how I felt while reading this. I honestly didn't care what happened to any of them. Every once in a while there would be a good one-line of dialogue that was thought provoking, insightful, or funny, but other than that I was bored. (2 stars) 

After hearing so much talk about this book that I figured it was worth requesting from the library-- I didn't think it was worth all of the hype. I liked the story quite a bit, but I didn't care for the writing style at all. The ending caught me completely by surprise, which is always nice- but that wasn't enough to sway me to like the book overall. This is a book people either seem to really love or really dislike. I gave it 2 stars but it's all a matter of taste! (2 stars)

This was my first Rainbow Rowell book and it didn't disappoint! It switches between email correspondence between two girls and the narrator Lincoln. I wasn't really a fan of Lincoln through most of the book, but I loved the relationship between Jennifer and Beth-- reading the emails between them felt so REAL, Rowell did an amazing job giving them both their own voice and making it feel like a conversation you would literally have while emailing your BFF. The story takes place right before/during Y2K and I'm with Kristen on loving all the 2000s references. (3.5 stars)

Quirky is the one word that comes to mind when I think back to this book. I tend not to care much for books that have male narrators and I read this right after Attachments, so I was on the fence about that...(that's as far as I got! I liked it enough to finish it once I get back into the swing of reading)

ICYMI: I shared the BookSparks books I read these past two months in this post.

Have your reading habits changed now that fall has hit? What have you read recently? Any recommendations?


Fragrance Collection

Perfumes are my favorite-- and I kind of wish they weren't because they tend to be on the expensive side. I also do this thing where I don't like to use my favorites very often because I want to save them-- but then I realize life is too short! 

As you'll quickly be able to tell I prefer floral scents, so if that's not your thing you probably won't care for any of these scents. I have a hard time choosing a favorite, but Coco Mademoiselle and English Pear & Freesia are probably tied for my top two. Both were gifts from my husband, I wore Coco Mademoiselle on my wedding day so that will always be special and English Pear & Freesia just smells so good! 

I got the Michael Kors as a deluxe sample from Sephora and was obsessed with the scent. It's definitely the least floral of the bunch.

Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet is my most recent fragrance. It was a gift from my aunt after one of my other cousins wasn't a fan of the scent. It's an eau de toliette spray, so it's not very long lasting, but it just means I can spritz it on all over for a nice, light floral scent. This is definitely a fragrance that smells much different on my actual skin as opposed to just smelling it in the bottle.

Gucci Envy Me was the first fragrance my husband picked out for me, and after this picture it went into retirement in my perfume bottle box.

Are you a fan of floral scents? What are your favorite fragrances?

A Post About Skincare

I've struggled with my skin basically my entire life. I think I've had about five thousand visits to the dermatologist but I never really found a product, medication, or routine that seemed to really make a difference. With that being said, as long as my skin isn't a major disaster, I'm generally pretty happy and it doesn't bother me as much as you'd think.

This spring I did a little experimenting with limiting dairy in my diet because I thought it was having negative impacts on my skin. At first I thought it made a difference but after a few weeks I realized it really didn't have an impact at all. The change I was seeing was due to the change in the seasons, and the fact that I was finally getting a little bit of sunlight after what felt like eight months of winter!

My skin type has always been oily, acne-prone, and sensitive. In the past year my skin has been far less oily and I really think a lot of these things have helped with that. My forehead is still really oily, especially in warm weather, but it's no longer a major concern for me.

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser: I have to thank Katie for the CeraVe recommendation. Back in January my skin was probably the worst it had ever been-- I had been using way too much benzoyl peroxide, and not moisturizing, so my skin was so horribly dry it was a mess. This is for dry to normal skin, so I thought about switching to something else once my skin was out of the dry phase, but I like it so much I've been using it ever since. This is also the cleanser I use with my clarisonic.

Aveeno Ultra-Calming Moisturizer: This is another product I picked up during that dry phase. At first I wasn't sure how much it actually helped with reducing redness (which is its main claim), but I think it does help over time and I like how gentle and lightweight it is, and it contains SPF.

Clinique Dramatically Different Gel: This is another favorite moisturizer that I can't say enough good things about. It's light weight and very gentle on the skin. In the past I've used moisturizers that feel like they just sit on top of your skin- this one sinks right in, so you don't have to wait forever to start applying your makeup in case you're in a rush.

Neutrogena On-the-Spot: I've talked about this a few times on the blog before, but this is really the best spot treatment I've ever used and I've tried everything from Proactiv to Clinique to Philosophy. It has just the right amount of benzoyl peroxide to be effective without being harsh on your skin-- and it blends into your skin so you can wear it under your makeup. For me, benzoyl peroxide works really well on any hormonal or under the skin acne.

I find that charcoal or sulphur masks work the best for my skin type. Most of them double as an overnight spot treatment which is a nice bonus. The Mario Badescu Drying Mask and the Origins Clear Improvement Mask are two of my favorites.

My Clarisonic Mia 2 is also essential to my skin care routine. I've had it for a year and a half now, and I've gone through periods of not using it as much, and my skin definitely appears happier and healthier when I use it regularly. The Mia 2 has two speeds, but I really can't tell a difference between the two. Because I have sensitive skin I use the sensitive skin brush heads, and I use it 2-4 times a week.

My skin is not perfect, and as you would expect, when I'm eating better, drinking water, and exercising, my skin is in a lot better shape. I'm always on the hunt for a new product, but these are a few that I find work well for my skin.

What are your favorite skin care products? Do you use a Clarisonic? 

Dumbarton Oaks (Washington DC Travel Post)

I have to start this by saying that my pictures do not do the beauty of the Dumbarton Oaks Gardens any justice. You will seriously feel like you were transported back into a magical time inside of a secret garden. This is easily one of my favorite places to visit in all of DC.  

This is a location that is a bit tucked away in Georgetown. When I think of Georgetown I think of crowded sidewalks, the waterfront, shops, and restaurants. It's not in that part of Georgetown but off R St. NW. It's a beautiful walk from the main area as you get to pass by so many beautiful homes. 

August Favorites

I hope you guys all had a wonderful long weekend! We spent Labor Day weekend in New York and had an amazing time. It is easily my favorite city in the US, and no matter how many times I visit, the first sighting of the skyline, and again for the statue of liberty will never get old. (A few pictures here, here, and here.)

Anyway, I'm sharing my monthly favorites with Mia and Kelli today! Make sure you check out the linkup to see what everyone else has been loving lately.

NYX Frappucino Lipstick: I've had this for quite some time and have never really used it for some reason. I've been going through all of my makeup and tossing older items and I decided to try this and was IN LOVE. First of all, it's the perfect nude for my skin tone and is definitely a my lips but better color. The formula is also amazing, it's really pigmented and creamy. I believe NYX now has their butter lipstick & matte lipstick line so I don't think the round lipsticks are as easy to come by, but I would image the butter line is similar, and I definitely want to try more.

I think I was the last person ever to try these hair ties, and they are worth all of the hype in my opinion. My mom gave me one while we were on vacation and I'm still using it because it's the only hair tie I own that will actually hold all of my hair without it either feeling way too tight or sliding right out!

I'm pretty picky when it comes to conditioner for my hair, but I love when I find a really great drugstore product. The L'Oreal OleoTherapy conditioner is really nice and an amazing value. In the past I've found other L'Oreal conditioners to be too heavy, but this one is really nice and light while leaving my hair soft.

For months I had wanted to try something from the Alba line at Target, but it's a brand I didn't hear much about and I didn't want to be stuck with something I couldn't return if I didn't like it. On a whim one day I picked up the acnedote face & body scrub, because I had some annoying bumps on the back of my arms. There were scrubs from Sephora and Ulta I wanted to try but they were $30+ so I figured I'd take a chance and I was pleasantly surprised!

The scrub has a very pleasant peppermint scent to it, and is lightly coarse. Appearance wise it reminds me of coffee grains, which could be kind of weird, but it doesn't bother me. I swear after using it one time the back of my arms looked and felt better. I haven't used it on my face, but I love it for my arms, neck, and back. It does contain salicylic acid so it might dry you out, just something to be aware of.

I hate lotion, as in I never wear it, and didn't even own any proper lotion until I got this Vaseline Spray & Go in aloe fresh a few weeks ago. It has the nicest scent, plus goes on really nice and quickly absorbs into your skin. My skin tends to be easily irritated, so the fact that this didn't bother my skin at all is impressive as well!

Have you tried any of the products? What are some of your recent favorites?
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