Looking back at the year, I like to try and pick my three favorite books. I actually had a few 5-star books and a lot of 4-star books, so it was hard to narrow it down. These are three books I would love to have on my physical bookshelf and would love to already read again. last year's favorite books


The Healthy Mind Cookbook: a review

I love Pinterest and I love Google for finding recipes, but sometimes it's nice to just be totally unplugged and not need the internet or a device to find a new recipe. Plus, there's just something special about flipping through the pages in a cookbook, looking at the gorgeous photos (and wishing your own food could turn out half as pretty).

For my most recent Blogging for Books read I picked another cookbook. The Healthy Mind Cookbook appealed to me right away, but I was hesitant. My first thoughts were, who is this lady and what does she really know about food and our brain? Not to mention, the last cookbook I reviewed was a bit of a flop. It was beautiful, but just not realistic for recipes I would make on an average day. After reading good reviews on this one I took a chance and requested it. As soon as it arrived I knew I was in for a treat! The book's tagline is big-flavor recipes to enhance brain function, mood, memory, and mental clarity.

The quality is amazing-- everything from the photos to the format, to the variety in the recipes. The first few chapters of the book are full of so. much. information. And it's great because it's not a bunch of stuff that is totally over my head. There's a glossary (which they call the culinary pharmacy) of different foods and the benefits they have.

I'll be honest, at first I was a little turned off by the recipes. I worried they were going to be full of obscure ingredients-- or too many ingredients. I like easy when it comes to cooking. If you see the below list for a baked falafel recipe there are 17 ingredients listed. After taking a closer look I realized that the majority of the items listed were spices I already have. Lemons, chickpeas, garlic, and a red pepper are four pretty ordinary things. The only ingredient I wasn't able to find was tahini- and that's probably the only ingredient that I would purchase and maybe only use for this recipe.

I think my favorite feature of this cookbook is the 'cooks notes' section at the end of some of the recipes (above left photo). As a total novice when it comes to the kitchen I need even the most basic tips. I haven't had a chance to make any of the recipes yet, but along with the baked falafel there were about a dozen I can't wait to try out and will probably post about as we move into the new year.

This was provided to me by Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. Based on my first impressions, and all of the information in the book, this is definitely one I would consider buying on my own for a friend or family member. Are you a fan of cookbooks or do you prefer to use Pinterest?

A Little Christmas q&a

I can't remember the last time I did any sort of tag post on the blog, so when I saw this festive one Meg created I knew I wanted to make a post about it. How crazy is it that Christmas is less than two weeks away? Linking up with Katie for her Christmas linkup!

1. What is your favorite Christmas tradition? I've always loved decorating Christmas cookies, and breakfast on Christmas morning at my parent's house. And Christmas Eve pajamas.

2. Where do you spend Christmas? This is something that depends on the year and whether or not we'll be traveling since our families live in different states.

3. What is your favorite Christmas song? Angels we have heard on high

4. Do you decorate before or after Thanksgiving? Usually after, but I am 100% for decorating on November 1 (sorry Thanksgiving!)

5. Tinsel or garland? Either, I guess? I think my husband is more of a fan of tinsel, but I prefer garland.

6. Do you own an ugly Christmas sweater? Not really-- though I do have a red plaidish one that is probably ugly to a lot of people ;)

7. What is one Christmas food you cannot live without? Probably all of the desserts. Cookies, fudge, caramels, etc....

8. Peppermint or gingerbread? Before this year I would have easily said peppermint, but the Gingerbread loaf from Starbucks is one of the most delicious things I've ever tasted!

9. Have you ever tried a fruit cake? It's possible at some point, but I definitely had to google 'fruit cake' for some clarification.

10. What is one thing you asked for this Christmas? I would love a hard copy of The Goldfinch. 

11. If you could be any Christmas movie character, who would you be? So I kind of feel like I have to say Kathleen Kelly from You've Got Mail because I can't stop watching that movie and I love New York and I would love to own a bookstore (even if it does close...), but I'm not sure if that technically counts as a Christmas movie so I'll go with Amanda from The Holiday.

Are you ready for the holidays? What are some of your favorite holiday memories or traditions?

Pass or Purchase Again? [vol 5]

It's time for another empties post, and probably the last one of the year! This was a good mix of some favorites-- both skin care and makeup! Sorry for the less than stellar photo above. I took it on my phone and thought it was fine until I uploaded it and hated it-- hence all the filtering. As you can probably guess, I had thrown everything away by the time I realized I needed a new picture, so I'm just rolling with this one.

UD de-slick makeup setting spray | I so love this stuff! It feels so nice on the skin, and I truly do think it makes my makeup last longer. Instead of repurchasing this version I got the chill during an Ulta sale a while back and I love it just as much-- so this is a definite repurchased item for me!

Dove dry shampoo | This took me so long to use up-- which is rare for dry shampoos (I feel like Batiste cans never last very long). I don't remember not liking this product, it had the same issue with a really, really strong scent, and it was only a few dollars (maybe $4?), but I'll probably pass.

Bath & Body Works orange ginger body scrub | if you like ginger scents, this stuff smells a-mazing, and has a wonderful scent throw, after you use it your entire bathroom will smell good. Despite the high fragrance, it didn't seem to irritate my skin at all. While I think it has natural ingredients, the perfume and fragrances are a little bit much and I couldn't help but feel like it probably isn't all that great for my skin? I have zero knowledge to back this up, so I could be totally wrong but for now I will pass.

Smashbox studio skin 15 hour hydrating foundation | BEST FOUNDATION EVER. I'm still obsessed with this foundation and will probably repurchase a million more bottles. It's the best coverage without being cakey or heavy and it lasts on my skin all day, and even when my skin is slightly dry it manages to give it a little life. The one tiny downside is that the shade I wear 2.1, is a tad too dark if I don't self tan- I tried the next lighter shade and it was way too light, so I wish there was more of a color range.

Lancome hypnose drama mascara | While this isn't my favorite of Lancome's mascaras, I really enjoyed this, and was surprised at how long the mini tube lasted! After finishing this one I've been using doll lashes, and I like it, but I definitely miss the drama of hypnose drama & will probably go back to the original hypnose after I current this tube. But these mascaras are always a repurchase for me.

Clairns gentle foaming cleanser | I can't remember how I stumbled upon this cleanser, but I am a big fan. When I went to repurchase it I thought I had the wrong product when I read 'foaming' in the name because it doesn't really strike me as foaming? It is extremely gentle, yet I feel like it really does cleanse my skin using it on its own or with my Clarisonic. I'm not crazy about the packaging because it seems like too much product always comes out and is wasted which isn't ideal, especially for a rather pricey product.

St. Tropez bronzing mousse | Love this stuff, and made sure to repurchase a second bottle before I ran out. I do wish it was slightly darker, but I try and apply it when I'll be able to leave it on for as long as possible before rinsing off the color.

To see my previous past or purchase posts visit here. What products have you used up recently? Do you like trying out new things or are you more likely to stick with what you know and already love?

Show Us Your Books | late fall edition

I've been meaning to talk about these books for a couple of months now, but am happy to finally get to linkup with Steph and Jana again. For most of these mini reviews I skipped over the synopsis, but if you click on the book title it will take you to the Goodreads page.

After You | This book wasn't what I was expecting, even though I didn't know what to expect if that makes any sense at all. Me Before You was one of my favorite books ever, so knowing the sequel had a lot to live up to made me a bit nervous.

The story reunites you with Louisa, while bringing back some of the other characters from Me Before You, but focuses on new relationships in Louisa's life as she's still trying to sort out what she wants to do and how to actually live her life. I really enjoyed the bits of Me Before You that were sprinkled throughout the book, but appreciated how well the book read as a stand alone book for someone who might not have previously read Me Before You. There were a couple of events in the book that I thought were a pretty big deal, that brushed over in a few pages, which was a let down, but overall this was another Moyes winner.

Necessary Lies | This book was on my to-read list forever and one day I randomly found it in the bargain book section of b&n and knew I had to pick it up. I've heard Joey, and a few others rave about the author and the book definitely lived up to all of my expectations! The story was so much deeper and complex than I realized-- until the very end. It was so sad, but so well written, and I found myself thinking about the book days after I had finished it.

The Longest Night | This book was provided to me via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. There were times I felt like this should have been called The Longest Book, because I thought it would never end. But really it wasn't that bad, it was just long and a bit slow for my taste. The story is based on true events from a nuclear accident that happened in Idaho in the 1960's. There is a lot of great character development that explores Nat's life as a stay at home mom with two young children in a new town, as well as the story of Paul (her husband) and his experience working at the nuclear reactor.

What Happened to Goodbye | This was a Sarah Dessen book I hadn't read that was available from the library. After not loving Saint Anything as much as I hoped, I don't know what made me want to read something else in the same genre, but I really liked this story. It's pretty predictable with the same girl meets boy formula, but I enjoyed the setting and loved all of the characters.

The Knockoff | Very rarely will I not finish a book, but I just could not get through this one and was kind of happy when my library loan was up and I had an excuse not to finish it. I didn't care for the characters and I found it so hard to believe that in this day and age, even someone in their 40's, working in the media world could be so clueless to social media. May have been very good in the end, I just didn't make it that far.

I'm going to end this post here to keep it from being way too long. I've read a couple of other really good books since reading these and will be back with their reviews in the next couple of weeks. There's nothing like the last minute to get me reading as many books as possible to try and at least come close to making my end of the year goal (50 books).


Sephora First Impressions

Despite all of the things I would have loved during the Sephora VIB sale, I stuck to what was on my list (for the most part). I can't really give a full review on anything as I haven't used these products enough yet, but I thought I'd share some first impressions.

Affiliate links are used in this post and I will earn a small commission based on clicks and/or purchases. 

Nars Madly Blush | I've wanted this forever-- last year it was sold out everywhere, and I was convinced it was going to be discontinued so I kind of forgot about it. When I swatched it on my hand I was a little worried because there is SO MUCH shimmer! I did a double-take, and thought maybe they sent me the wrong shade, but on the cheeks the shimmer isn't an issue and the color is perfect, and warms up my face in the best way possible. Up until recently I was pretty much sticking to just bronzer and highlight and now I've switched back to just blush.

GlamGlow Thirstymud Hydrating Mask | Oh this stuff smells so good! My skin is every kind of sensitive so I'm really cautious about what I put on my face. Right away I liked that this mask can be left on over night-- to me that means, if I forget to rinse it off right away it's not going to start burning my skin or something else awful. The directions say you can just wipe off the mask with a towel and rub it into the skin if you don't want to rinse off with water. I can't speak to the effectiveness yet as I've only used it one time, but it felt really comfortable on the skin and left my face feeling soft and hydrated.

Sephora Crystal Nail File & Instant Polish Remover | Both of these were recommendations from Nadia! At first I was convinced the nail polish remover couldn't work that well, but it really makes for the easiest nail polish removal! My nails haven't been long enough to need a file (yet), but it comes in a nice little case & I can't wait to try it out.

Formula X Base Coat | Despite the little how to section on the Sephora website suggesting you wear this stuff alone to strengthen your nails, I do not recommend that. It peeled like crazy, and I was hoping it was just because I didn't put an actual polish over it. I haven't tried it again yet, but if it does the same thing it will probably be going back.

Living Proof Dry Shampoo | This was a last minute addition to my cart after reading Heather's post. As much as I love the Batiste dry shampoos sometimes the scent is just too strong and I don't like using it for that reason. I have to say that this dry shampoo has the best (and lightest) scent of any dry shampoo I've tried! As far as its effectiveness, it definitely works, though the verdict is still out, as to whether it's better than what you can find at the drugstore.

Shiseido Eyelash Curler | My current lash curler is old and pretty gross, so I figured it was time for a new one. I think my old one was Tweezerman, and to be honest this one seems exactly the same, so I have no complaints, but it doesn't do anything crazy or amazing.

Replica Beach Walk & Lazy Sunday Morning Rollerball | I had planned on purchasing lazy sunday morning, but then I saw this little duo and thought it was too good of a deal to pass up while I had 20% off. I already have a beach walk rollerball, but I use it all of the time, so I definitely don't mind having a backup. The staying power of both of these scents are amazing on top of how good they smell!


The Legacy of Us: a review

I had a good feeling about this book right from the first sentence when Liz mentioned watching House Hunters International and then searching for her own properties all over the world. Who doesn't watch House Hunters and do that? But really, this book wasn't quite what I was expecting, it's a bit of historical fiction mixed in with a bit of young adult or more new adult I guess you would say.

The Legacy of Us introduces you to four generations-- the main storyline being Liz. I liked her character but couldn't stand her at the same time-- there were multiple times where I was literally yelling nooooo at the book, not wanting her to make certain choices. She's your typical twenty-something trying to figure out life, family, relationships, and everything in-between. Her grandmother suddenly passes away and leaves her a necklace and her diary-- leaving Liz the opportunity to uncover some of her grandmother's secrets.

There was also the story of Liz's great-grandmother Gabriella that you hear through the diary of her Grandmother (Ella/Nan). I thought this was so well done- something switching between people and story-lines is confusing or boring, but that wasn't the case here.

The ending was slightly predictable and cheesy, but in a good way. The story really was complex with a lot of different layers and elements, but at the same time it wasn't a heavy read.

The Legacy of Us is Kristin Contino's first novel, making it perfect for a certain category in the SCWBC in case anyone is still looking... A huge thank you to BookSparks for sending me this book to read and review!

What have you read recently?

Life Lately I

So these type of posts usually aren't my favorite to write, but I know sometimes people enjoy reading more lifestyle blog posts so I thought I'd share a few highlights from the weekend. (plus, it's an excuse to linkup with Biana for weekending!)

We finally got around to seeing The Martian! I liked the cast and would recommend it, but as usual I definitely prefer the book to the movie. We also watched the movie Run All Night-- it's one of those unrealistic Liam Nielson movies, but it was actually pretty entertaining and a good action/suspensefulish flick.

We visited my favorite store (Home Goods) and picked up this picture for $16.99! I kind of wish it featured a poodle and the Chrysler building, but it's still New York and I love it.

When I was commenting on one of Alanna's recent blog posts, one of the little suggestion links for her older posts was about best DC brunches so I naturally had to check it out. Copperwood Tavern was one of her suggestions, so we checked it out on Sunday and it was so good! I had the waffle, which is usually my standard breakfast/brunch order and it was delicious. My husband had a breakfast sandwich and his food was equally good. It definitely seemed to be very family friendly and had a nice relaxed feel to it.

After brunch we stopped by the Renwick Gallery-- it recently reopened after being closed for renovations. We had been once a few years ago before it closed, but we both really loved the current exhibit, Wonder. It was cool because the artwork was abstract to an extent, but when you read what the inspiration was behind the pieces they totally made sense. Maya Lin used marbles to demonstrate the Chesapeake Bay. My favorite was the rainbow threads-- it was so cool in person, it really did look like light rays not string! Wonder is on display through July so I definitely recommend in for anyone visiting DC-- it's right by the White House and doesn't take a lot of time to go through.

Andddd we are officially half way through November-- just one more weekend left before Thanksgiving! I hope you guys all had a great weekend and have an extra large coffee for the start of a new week.

Carly / cbh

'Tis the Season...

...for holiday gift sets! I'll be the first to admit I can easily get sucked in my cute packaging, but a lot of the time you can get a pretty good deal on trying out different products. I've been keeping a list of sets with products I love and products I'd love to try myself. Linking up with Joey for Stuff & Things!

Smashbox L.A. Glow Prime/Bronze/Highlight $42 | An $86 value when you consider the price of the full-size blush & bronzer-- two products I personally love. The water primer & highlight stick are travel sized.

butter London Glitz & Glam Nail Set ($29) | I loooove butter nail polishes-- this little set includes all hail the queen, one of my favorite nail colors ever. This is a great gifting piece because the colors are all on the neutral side. The polishes included are .2 oz vs the full-size at .6 oz ($15 each).

Lancome Noel Eye Set ($38) | Speaking of things I love, Lancome mascaras are my #1! (actually my only one...) Here's the thing, you can pretty often get deluxe mascara samples as free gifts or as point perks from Sephora, but this includes a full-size grandoise mascara & full-size liquid liner. Plus, the eye makeup remover & lash primer are both amazing! Definitely worth the value in my opinion.

Bite Mix & Mingle ($14) | I have two of these from last year, one in nudes/neutrals and the other in a dark red and poppy. These are small, but I'm a person that never (ever) finishes a tube of lipstick.

Bite Beauty Discover Set ($55) | Speaking of Bite, if you want a bit more of a splurge this set looks amazing, and is actually a really great value. You get a full-size lip gloss ($22), lip stick ($24), and lip pencil ($24) + 3 minis and a mirror.

Sephora Collection Canister Brush Set ($34) | Powder, foundation, blush, concealer, and all-over shadow brush-- what more do you need? Maybe something for bronzer... haha but this really has just about everything, it's pretty, and it comes in a convenient little canister.

Are you a sucker for gift/value sets like me? Makeup has really been on my mind with the Sephora VIB sale this weekend.


Jackaby: a review

I finally got around to finishing a book for the Literary Ladies Book Club almost in time to link up with them! As soon as I saw the book announced, and saw it was only like $3.99 on Amazon (it's a bit more now, but still worth a read if you like the genre) I downloaded it so I didn't have any excuse not to read it-- I just got a bit sidetracked, so I'm sharing my thoughts on Jackaby a few days late of the linkup.

Going into the book about all I knew was that it was compared to Sherlock & Doctor Who. Jackaby's character definitely did resemble what I know about Sherlock Holmes-- definitely a very unique and witty-- yet likable character. If I had to compare it to other books it also reminded me slightly of The Cuckcoo's Calling in the format of the relationship of Jackaby and Abigail Rook.

It's clever and mysterious and keeps you wondering how it's all going to tie together. I liked that it wasn't ever too gruesome or dark-- admittedly, I don't usually care for fantasy, but the supernatural element to this book didn't bother me because it wasn't that serious. Think Casper the friendly ghost. I'm not sure if it's technically considered a YA novel, but I think it would read well for middle grades too.

If you're a fan of mystery with a bit of fantasy thrown in, and you like YA literature I would give this a read. I love that the girls picked this book, because it got me to read something I would have probably never gravitated towards otherwise!

In other book news, the Semi-Charmed Winter Book Challenge has officially started. I have most of my list picked out, and am currently experiencing that thing where all of your library books on hold become available at the same time and you go into a slight panic trying to figure out how you'll read them all  in 21 days. Anyway, if you're interested in seeing my list I have it HERE-- make sure to check out Megan's blog if you want to join in- it runs through January!

This year I've also been working towards an Authors A-Z challenge. In January it seemed totally possible, but with just under two months of the year left I'm not very close. I got the letters I thought would be tricky-- Q & Z, but am somehow still missing letters I thought would be pretty easy!

I hope everyone has a great weekend! I'm looking forward to one more day of 70+ temperatures, which makes my heart so happy! TGIF!

Recent Favorites (fall 2015)

Hooray for November! I know winter doesn't officially start until nearly Christmas, but once the time changes and it gets dark, it's basically winter in my mind. This year I'm determined to make the most of November and December and enjoy all of the holiday things that are to come. Anyway, on to a few favorites....


BIGLAW: a review

You know when you read a book and then the day or so after you finish it you find yourself thinking about the characters, and then you get sad when you remember you finished the book? That was how I felt about BigLaw by Lindsay Cameron. There was a pretty big gap in when I started the book, and read the first few chapters, and then eventually finished the book in one setting. It wasn't because I wasn't into it at the beginning, for whatever reason I just didn't find the time to pick it up again right away. A huge thank you to BookSparks for providing me with the book to review as a part of the Fall Reading Challenge. 

You can read the full synopsis on Goodreads, but basically it's about a woman working in one of the huge New York law firms. It reminded me a little bit of Suits, but more realistic. I definitely kept picturing Lewis Litt as one of the characters in the book. The story follows Mackenzie as she navigates working for demanding partners, keeping up friendships and her relationship, and competitiveness in the firm.   

I enjoyed every bit of it, but it was completely predictable from pretty early on. There was a lot of obvious foreshadowing, but that didn't take away from the suspense of how everything would play out in the end. The book really kept up at a great pace that kept you wanting to know more. Lindsay Cameron is a former lawyer, so I imagine a lot of the characters and things that happened were from her personal experience. I really enjoyed her voice and would love to see something else from her in the future!

What have you read recently? Any new recommendations? 

[Linking up with Joey for Stuff & Things]

Thoughts on Blue Apron 21 Meals Later

I can't even begin to tell you how long ago I meant to write this post. A lot of the time, not having photos is what holds me up, but I had plenty of food photos from our Blue Apron meals, I just couldn't sort out how I wanted to talk about everything I guess. But here I am, finally sharing our experience using Blue Apron for 7 weeks.

Dear Blog, I miss you.

TGIF! I really miss this little space of mine and I miss reading other blogs, but will hopefully catch up soon. As expected October is flying by and I'm dreading the cooler temperatures and nighttime coming so much earlier. There is one thing I'm looking forward to, and am already trying to find on the DVR.... Snow Bride! And other holiday movies. 

[above photos] 
My nails were the longest they have EVER been... and then one broke and that was the end of that. I finally splurged on the original Naked palette after seeing Nadia's post on this look. So far sin, half baked, and naked are my favorite shades! I finally had to repurchase my foundation. I had been switching between the studio skin and NARS sheer glow (which I also love), but this one still looks the same after 12 hours. 
One day when walking across town, the quickest route took me right past the White House so I took a quick snap. Even though I don't find the White House that impressive anymore, it was a nice reminder to just stop and appreciate things in life, you know? Like it being normal to just quickly pass by the White House while rushing to lunch... The National Gallery of Art is probably my favorite museum in all of DC. It's one of my happy places and I think I could go every single day and never get bored (and the gift shops are epic!). Despite not knowing a ton about art, I love the architecture and browsing the American galleries (the  French Impressionism is a close second) and. Allies Day, May 1917 (shown below) is probably my favorite painting of all. 
 [photos below] 

That about wraps up some pretty random thoughts/favorites today! I hope you guys all had a good week and have a wonderful weekend.


Merry October II

I'm sure I'll be the millionth person to say this today but I really can't believe it's already October. Part of me feels like I was just writing this post from last year. I'm not looking forward to the weather being in the 50s this weekend, but hopefully it's just a cold spell. Just a few random things that have been on my radar that I thought I'd share in this post. And randomly, two books that always make me think of this month Anne of Green Gables and Attachments. Highly recommend both! Linking up with Joey for Stuff & Things.

1. Athleta Petite Length Tights/Leggings: I got these in the spring for my birthday and then it got too hot so I never really had a chance to wear them until recently, but they are the most amazing leggings + they're petite length so no weird scrunching at the bottom! I have a pair of the relay tight (here) and I think the other pair are the cozy drifter (similar), but I got them on a major sale and I don't think they make them anymore which is a shame because I love the pocket placing. Athleta is part of the Gap/Banana/Old Navy company so definitely watch special promos or check the sale section for new markdowns.

2. Old Navy Flannel Boyfriend Shirt: this is a shirt that I kind of want to buy a second one just in case something happens to the first. It's definitely oversized and probably not very flattering, but it's so comfortable-- I may have wore it twice in one week already.

3. We went apple picking over the weekend, so I'm freshly stocked with apples to make pies and crisps and cobblers and all of my favorite fall desserts.

4. I have still been (on and off) obsessively watching Gossip Girl, so I'm loving this Trendy Sparrow mug I got a few weeks (or months?) ago when she was having a sale. (reviewed a window opens in this post)

5. YSL Black Opium: I received this from Influenster to review and was so excited because I love a few of the YSL colognes, but this perfume is not for me! It's WAY too sweet & strong-- so I will be giving it to a friend to hopefully enjoy. It oddly reminds me of Bath & Body Works warm vanilla sugar, which is another scent that instantly gives me a headache. The fragrance notes are coffee accord, orange blossom, cedar wood essence, and patchouli essence. Also, wasn't crazy about the bottle design-- just not my style, I guess.

What have you been binge watching lately? Have you tried the new Black Opium fragrance by YSL? Are you a fan of apple things or do you prefer pumpkin? 

Reading Lately

I keep wanting to revive this little space of mine, but then things happen and posts sit half finished in my drafts for weeks. I finished up the BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge and am so grateful for the amazing books I was able to read-- including Anchored and A Window Opens on this list-- both were sent to me to read & review. I attempted (and failed) a few other reading challenges this summer, but had so much fun picking out categories and seeing what other bloggers were also reading. I'm currently at 29 books out of 50 for my goal this year... so I feel like it's still possible! Especially as we go into winter where I'll never feel like leaving the house. Anyway, here are a few recent reads...

Anchored // This book was one of my favorites from the summer, and it was completely unexpected! I received it from BookSparks, but aside from that I hadn't heard anything about it. I still haven't heard very much about it, which is such a shame because it was such a good read. The story follows a news anchor, and as someone who pretty regularly watches the evening news, it was interesting to see all of the behind the scenes things (though I obviously have no idea how accurate they are). While I didn't agree with all of Barbara's decisions, I found the characters likable and was not ready for the story to end when the book was over. If you're into chicklit, definitely add this one to your tbr list!

Saint Anything // I'll start by saying I've always been a huge Sarah Dessen fan. I also will start by saying the first time I tried to read Saint Anything I had re-read This Lullaby like a week before, and that is one of my favorite books ever. I think having that one so fresh in my mind made me have a hard time getting into Saint Anything. Three months later or so I picked it up again and finished it and still felt kind of underwhelemed. The story is about a girl, Sydney, who is trying to navigate life after her brother goes to jail for severely injuring someone after hitting him in his car.

There were parts of the story that I liked, but overall it was too much of the same with no forward progress. I still don't see the point of Sydney's brother's friend, Ames. I think he could have easily been removed from the storyline and there would have still been more than enough going on. I did love the Chathams, and loved their friendship with Sydney-- and there were a few swoon-worthy moments. If you like YA, I think it's definitely worth a read, I just didn't love it as much as a few of her other books.

A Window Opens // I adored this book. The plot wasn't anything new, and it was on the predictable side, but everything happened at the perfect pace to keep you wondering what was going to happen next. As much as I'd categorize it as a light read, there are a few heavy issues that Egan discusses at the same time.

Luckiest Girl Alive // I was so excited to finally read this after seeing it on Reese Witherspoon's instagram, plus hearing so many of you guys talk about it. It had been compared to Gone Girl so I was expecting the same element of mystery or suspense, but it was never there for me. It was sad. I felt like it was 300+ pages of awful things that had happened to someone. Aside from that I can't quite put my finger on what I didn't like about it, but from the beginning I almost put it down probably a dozen times because I just didn't care what happened in the end. I actually might have blocked the entire book from my memory I disliked it that much, haha. This was definitely the biggest let down I've read in a long time-- but tons of people love it!

The Storied Life of AJ Firky // This one was another amazing Kristen recommendation that I LOVED, and was easily one of my favorite books ever. It has a very different, almost quirky element to it, and I could almost see it done as a Wes Anderson film.  My description would never do it justice, so just check out the synopsis and reviews on Goodreads. I would recommend this to anyone who loves books and reading.

What have you read lately? Did anyone else dislike Luckiest Girl Alive as much as I did?

Pass or Purchase Again? [vol 4]

Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes: I don't know if these just enable me to be lazy about washing my face, but I think using them is at least better than going to sleep with my makeup on? I like these because they don't irritate my face at all. No redness or irritation, which is a huge plus for me after a previous bad face wipe experience. Ulta has double packs of these, which were recently bogo50% off so I got 4 packs for like $13!

L'Oreal EverSleek Reparative Smoothing Conditioner: It's crazy I finally used up this conditioner because I did not care for it and I thought it was never going to end! Now I don't have color treated hair, and it's not really excessively damaged, but I guess I thought if I used this maybe it would prevent damage too? It was just way too thick/heavy for my hair. Will definitely pass in the future.

Origins A Perfect World Toner: I picked up this toner after a previous toner I was using was making my skin so dry. This one is alcohol free (along with a bunch of other stuff), and I did really like it-- it had a light, pleasant scent, didn't dry out my skin, or cause any redness or irritation. However for a tiny little bottle it's expensive and it wasn't that great so I won't be picking this up in the future, but it was a really great product.

Almay Oil-free Eye Makeup Remover Pads: I'm not sure these are the most cost effective solution to removing my eye makeup remover, but they're really gentle, non-greasy, and they work. I had picked up the Neutrogena Eye Makeup Remover that I've used in the past, but I can't use it because it makes my eyes blurry which totally freaks me out even though it goes away after a few minutes. These Almay pads are my current budget friendly item since the Lancome one is so expensive. I also stocked up on these when they were bogo50%.

Mary Kay Eye Makeup Remover: This is one of the only Mary Kay products I've ever tried, it was a gift from my mom, and I did really like it, but not enough to seek it out to purchase on my own. I liked it more than the Clinique eye makeup removers, but less than Lancome.

Lancome Hypnose Mascara: I've talked about this a million times, but if you're new around here this is my favorite mascara of all time and always a repurchase. Those this time I did pick up the doll lash version.

Have you recently used up any products you're loving?

Favorite Fall Nail Colors

It's official. I'm ready for all things fall. If only we could go fall-spring-summer and skip over winter, right? As much as I think you really can wear whatever color nail polish you want, whenever you want, these colors all scream fall to me-- and I think they're some of my all time favorite shades to wear on my nails.


The Nail Polish Purge

After going through my makeup I decided it was time to go through my nail polish as well. I didn't paint my nails very often this summer-- other times I always have polish on my nails, but I've always justified my nail polish collection because I don't get my nails done at the salon. So I'm saving money, right? ;)


beignets for two please!

My husband and I recently returned from a trip to New Orleans and I'm convinced it needs to be on everyone's vacation list. We had both visited once before (separately), but this was the first time either of us were there just for fun. New Orleans has something for everyone-- so much history, so much good food, beautiful parks, gardens, and nature options. Then there's also the obvious never-ending nightlife options, though I'll be honest, we avoided Bourbon Street as much as possible.


Show Us Your Books: August

I have more books on the blog today! I recently read two books that I loved, and one that was just so-so. I didn't really add in too much of the description and tried to avoid any spoilers. Let me know if you've read any of these books and your thoughts on them! 

Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid
I was provided a copy of this book from BookSparks as part of their summer reading challenge. So this book is written in such a cool way-- each chapter flips back and forth between two "realities" based on a decision Hannah makes in the beginning of the book. Towards the end it got a little bit blurry for me to remember which storyline was which, but I kind of felt like that was the point? Or maybe not, and it was nearing 2am and I had read the book in one sitting...

Anyway, it was a bit slow during the first half, but picked up with some added excitement and drama. It's a book about the choices we make, but also so much about friendship. I found the bits about Hannah's love interest(s) to be cute, but not all that engaging-- however, I loved the friendship she had with her BFF.

The Martain by Andy Weir
It took me forever to read this book because from what I knew about it, it didn't sound like something I would gravitate towards. But seeing it on so many best of lists and hearing Kristen talk so highly about it, I decided to give it a go.

I LOVED it. Like, still can't believe how much I loved it, loved it. It's science-fiction, as someone is living on Mars for over a year, but it doesn't read like sci-fi at all, you literally feel like it could be happening right now. At the beginning of the book I was intrigued but a little concerned it was going to be like the movie Cast Away, where it's just one person and no other interactions for the entire book-- but it flips between other settings, and honestly if it would have just been Mark stuck on Mars for the entire book I probably still would have loved it. If you're on the fence about this, definitely give it a read!

Summer Secrets by Jane Green
This was another book courtesy of BookSparks, and despite not loving the last Jane Green book I read, I was excited to give this one a try... the book is about a woman who struggles with alcohol-- having a huge impact on multiple relationships throughout her life.

This was a book I just didn't really care for-- it could be partly because I read it right after The Martian, which I loved, but I also just didn't feel any kind of connection with the main character. Without giving too much away, I also wish different parts of the story wouldn't have been so rushed. Instead of there being a time lapse where she ends up with the guy, I wanted more about how that came to be.

Make sure to stop by the Show Us Your Books linkup to see what other people have been reading recently. And in case you missed it.... the book you should still add to your summer reading list.

My Pre-Fall Lust List

I still feel so conflicted because I don't want summer to end, but at the same time I'm ready for fall fashion, hot drinks, all things apple, etc. A few weeks ago I added a little fall wish list to my sidebar, but thought I would share everything on it a little more in-depth today. The main things I have my eye on are boots and jackets with a very few makeup items thrown in as well. I apologize in advance for talking so much about fall in the beginning of August, but it really will be here before we know it.
1. Bite Beauty Opal Lipgloss: It's no secret that I've been loving lipgloss again and this one looks so perfect to put over some of the darker or berry lipsticks I have.

2. These really cute Lucky Brand booties are a more affordable option for the Rag & Bone ones below I'm obsessed with (again).

 3. So between the time I started and finished this post, this dress completely sold out. I'm not that surprised because it was under $15 and I am obsessed with the burgundy/wine color. It could be a disaster, but I decided to give this dress a try instead-- the rust color is another I'm loving for fall.

4. Blush is really the only makeup product that I'd like to add to my makeup collection. I've had my eye on MAC's make you mine for a couple of months now. It's a really pretty warm copper color with a satin finish.

5. I go back and forth on how I feel about jean jackets. I have a hard time finding jeans that fit and an even harder time finding jackets that fit, so finding the right jean jacket seems like a nearly impossible task. Combined with finding the perfect finish and detailing. But I'm actually really loving this one from J Crew! I like that it has a bit of stretch to it and I like that the wash isn't too light or too dark.

6. The infamous Rag & Bone booties-- I love them in black and the tan suede, and even though they will probably never make them into my closet, I love them too much not to share in this fall list.

7. I would have scrolled right past this jacket had I not seen it on an instagram account during the Nordstrom sale. It's actually a deep green color-- again something I would have never gravitated towards, but I could not stop thinking about it after I saw it. And it sat in my shopping cart during the entire sale-- I never gave in and ordered it because I don't *need* it, but I still think it's a great piece and love that the green could go with black, brown, denim, etc.

8. These knit blazers come in an assortment of colors and are the perfect piece to add to a pair of jeans and a tee to elevate the look a little bit.

9. Rounding out the list with another jacket. I'm loving everything about this cocoon jacket but I would probably never buy something for almost $50 from Forever 21. With that being said, assuming my size doesn't sell out, it's definitely something I would try out during a sale or with a coupon code.

What do you guys have on your radar for fall?

Take Me to Wine Country

It's so sad to me that summer has already reached its final month. Where did June and July go? As ready as I am for boots and sweaters again, I wish warmer weather could stick around a little bit longer (or forever). I shouldn't write summer off quite yet because there are still a couple of weeks left and Eight Hundred Grapes is definitely a book you should still add to your summer reading list.

What's Happening on My Desk

So its been a while, but I was reorganizing my desk/makeup situation last week and thought I would take a few pictures to show my finished project. I've gone through a bunch of different storage options while trying to figure out the most practical and functional way to store my makeup items and this is what I'm currently working with (when I don't leave my makeup shoved into my travel makeup bag).


My New Roots: a review

I was extremely excited to try out a cookbook from Blogging for Books, who sent me this book in exchange for an honest review. I was even more excited when I saw My New Roots was available. I love root vegetables-- they're my absolute favorite, and something I rarely cook with at home because I don't know very many recipes that incorporate them.

Favorites [June 2015]

I meant to have this post done in time to link up with Mia and Kelli last week, but that obviously didn't happen so here it is a few days late!

I was starting to run low on my Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation and wanted to try something a little bit different for summer so I went with the Nars Sheer Glow and I am obsessed. I have it in the color punjab, which is a little bit lighter than the Smashbox foundation (2.2), but it's still yellow/warm enough to not make me feel washed out. In the past I've used the sheer matte foundation and didn't love it, but sheer glow is a million times better. It gives light to medium coverage and makes you skin look healthy without looking shiny.

I have two seriously old NYX lip butters somewhere around the house, but it had been a while since I picked up a new one so when they were BOGO 50% off at Ulta I picked up two more. Maple Blondie is a new favorite lip product. It's a nice light pink that applies really evenly. The other shade I got was Peach Cobbler and the color is nice but it's really patchy and difficult to apply so I don't see myself using it very often.

Speaking of old products, I hadn't reached for my Pixie Brillance Balm in months, but I'm so glad I picked it up again because it's one of the best lip balms I've ever used. I have the shade unique pink which adjusts to your pH balance to give you the perfect pink-- I love the color it makes my lips and it feels extremely hydrating on the lips. The one downside is the cap always comes off, so it's not a great lip product to keep in your bag.

Next is the L'Oreal Infallible Eye Shadow in iced latte-- this is somewhat of a loose pigment so it's slightly more work then just a regular pressed shadow which is why I don't use it more often, but every single time I use it I love how it looks and I always get compliments on my eyes. (see a swatch here, it has some serious shimmer!)

The last makeup product is the highlight color in the MUFE Sculpting Dup #2-- I like the bronzer too, but I LOVE the highlight color. It makes you glow without being glittery or shimmery, so it gives off a natural highlight-- though it is really gold. I usually just use my fingers to apply it and blend it in!

In a last minute failed attempt to find a swimsuit at Target before going to the beach a few weeks ago I came across this cute coverup. I couldn't find any trace of it online, but you might still be able to find it at your Target store.

What have you been loving so far this summer?

Recent Reads: spring edition

This post is long overdue and could also be titled how not to judge a book by its cover because I didn't include photos of any of the books other than The Year My Mother Came Back, which I was fortunate enough to read poolside while we were in New Orleans a couple of weeks ago thanks to BookSparks. I received Among Ten Thousand Things from Netgalley in exchange for a review, the other books were either purchased by me or from the library.

I meant to have the post up over a month ago, but considering I'm calling this my spring edition I figured I better get it up before the official start to summer in just a few days.

The Year My Mother Came Back by Alice Eve Cohen (sent to me c/o Booksparks for review)
"Thirty years after her death, Alice Eve Cohen’s mother appears to her, seemingly in the flesh, and continues to do so during the hardest year Alice has had to face: the year her youngest daughter needs a harrowing surgery, her eldest daughter decides to reunite with her birth mother, and Alice herself receives a daunting diagnosis. As it turns out, it’s entirely possible for the people we’ve lost to come back to us when we need them the most. Although letting her mother back into her life is not an easy thing, Alice approaches it with humor, intelligence, and honesty. What she learns is that she must revisit her childhood and allow herself to be a daughter once more in order to take care of her own girls. Understanding and forgiving her mother’s parenting transgressions leads her to accept her own and to realize that she doesn’t have to be perfect to be a good mother."

I'm a huge fan of memoirs so I was excited to see this as one of the books for the summer reading challenge. It's a heartwarming story that will break your heart a little bit at times. I found it easy to read and it definitely made me reflect on different things in my life. My one small complaint is that it was hard to follow at times because it switched back and forth between different periods of Alice's life. I loved that the story focused on Alice's relationship with her mother as well as her own relationship with her daughters.



Pass or Purchase Again? [vol 3]

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a good weekend-- we've hit what finally feels like some summer temperatures, but I'm enjoying the heat. I've accumulated a few more empties so I thought I would share them in today's post. I have a few book related posts and a New Orleans recap in the works that will hopefully be up in the next couple of weeks!

The Body Shop Peach Body Scrub: This was in a disappointing product post, and I actually spilled half of it when I first got it. I used the rest of it up and it actually wasn't that bad. The scent was disappointing, but it was gentle on the skin which was a plus. Will pass.

Urban Decay De-slick Setting Spray: I loooove this spray and repurchased it before I ran out, just so I had a backup on hand. My skin isn't that oily anymore, but I still enjoy this version because you can use it before you apply your makeup as well as a setting spray and some days I'm too lazy to take the time to apply a primer but I'll spritz a little of this on after my moisturizer and before my foundation and I feel like it gives me a nice smooth surface.

Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray: I liked this-- I really couldn't tell a difference between this and de-slick, and it was nice to have the mini bottle for traveling. When I run out of my next bottle of de-slick I think I'm going to try the chill hydrating and cooling version.

MAC Brush Cleaner: I love this stuff-- it makes a world of difference when it comes to washing foundation brushes. Will repurchase!

Clinique Dramatically Different Lotion+: This was a great winter moisturizer when my skin was super dry. I don't know that there's anything special about it, but it's non-irritating and non-greasy so I'm a fan. I repurchased the gel version for the summer.

Josie Maran Cleansing Oil: You might remember this stuff from my best of 2014 post, so you'll be surprised to hear I'm NOT repurchasing it again. I have a love/hate relationship with it-- love the product hate the packaging. This is the second bottle I've had that leaks and not only is it wasteful (it's expensive!) it's an oil so it's a huge mess. If it ever gets repackaged I will definitely

Benefit Hoola Bronzer: LOVE this bronzer. As you can see from below, it's not totally gone but it's so old it's time for it to hit the bucket. I have a few other bronzers I'm using and loving right now so I don't need another one, but this will be an eventual repurchase.

What products have you used up recently?

Loving Lately + a giveaway

Sole Society Finds: Remember the shoes from this post? I decided to finally order them before they ran out of my size and I'm so glad I did because now I can't find them anymore (here in purple + on sale!) At first I was worried they were a bit too pointy in person, but I love that it makes them a bit more dressy! When ordering the shoes I found this clutch/crossbody and it's exactly the summer bag I've been looking for!

BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge: I was so excited to take part in this challenge again this summer. Last summer I discovered one of my favorite books of the entire year (Ghosting) and can't wait to get into a few of the debut books for this year.

Tocca Hand Cream in cleopatra: I've had this for a couple of years but just started using it again now that winter is over and a lighter hand cream will work. The fragrance is cucumber and grapefruit-- really light and refreshing.

L'Oreal Nail Color in butterfly kisses: I always rave about these polishes and this color is my new favorite. I got it on sale at Target a couple of months ago and it's a perfect purple/pink color that is more cool toned.

Covergirl Outlast Stay Brilliant Nail Color in mint mojito: This is another shade I got for like $2 or $3 at Target and have been really impressed with the color and how well it wears!

Friends (the early seasons): I can't even tell you how much and how hard I've laughed watching season 2 of Friends recently.

And this just about wraps up May! I can't believe we're just a few days away from June. Below is a giveaway I'm co-hosting with a few other bloggers for a gift card to Target!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I picked up this Sonia Kashuk cosmetic case a few days ago and I love it. What have been your recent Target finds?

Dior Addict Fluid Stick: worth the splurge?

dior addict fluid stick, tiny pink
Apparently May is the month of lipgloss for me because I'm back with another lipgloss review! I randomly came across these lip products, and then of course did a bunch of googling before deciding to try one of the Dior Addict Fluid Sticks.

I really love lipsticks and lip crayons and liquid lipsticks, but I think the reason I started swaying back towards lipgloss is because it's so much easier. And even though I love the matte lip trend, having a glossy lip is more flattering on me because I have such small lips.

I picked up tiny pink from Sephora in the beginning of April and admittedly chose this shade over the other pink shades because I liked the name better. It's a light-medium pink with a creamy gloss finish-- no shimmer or glitter included.

It's described as a lip product that gives the finish of a gloss with the color of a lipstick-- but the coverage is somewhere in the middle. It's probably the nicest feeling product I've ever used on my lips-- it feels really hydrating and moisturizing and almost butter-like on the lips.

I was really happy with the amount of color it leaves on the lips and my favorite thing is that the color doesn't spread or bleed so I don't need to worry about a lipliner or being extra cautious when I'm applying it.

Do I think it was worth the splurge? Yes. 
Would I buy another color? Probably a red or darker shade for fall/winter. 
Would I buy every color? No. 

I was looking through my lip products to see what other product I have that's similar and the L'Oreal Color Riche Extraordinaire Lip Colors were the closest option.

These products are not dupes, I would say the L'Oreal lip product is actually more of a liquid lipstick with opaque coverage.

dior addict fluid stick, tiny pink
left swatch: tiny pink; right swatch: rose symphony
The L'Oreal Color Riche Extraordinaire Lip Colors retail for $9.99 and come in a variety of shades from pinks to reds to nudes to purples. The color pictured is rose symphony and I also have scarlet concerto (a deep red).

As you can tell from the wand, packaging, and swatch-- they look pretty similar! The L'Oreal has a little bit of glitter in it- though I don't find it obvious once it's applied to the lips. It also feels moisturizing and soft on the lips and gives great color.

I like both products, but I prefer the fluid stick because it sits better on the lips. I find the L'Oreal lip color to spread after its applied and it doesn't really lock into place like the fluid stick.

Have you tried either of these products?
What's your biggest splurge when it comes to lip products? 

Pass or Purchase Again? [vol 2]

Batiste Dry Shampoo: This is pretty standard in terms of dry shampoo- sometimes it takes a while to blend the powder into my hair, but overall it's a staple product. This would have been a purchase again product (and it probably will be one day), but I couldn't find it at Target and picked up the Dove dry shampoo instead!

Clinique Take Off The Day Makeup Remover: This was my second or third time using this remover and I remember liking it so much more in the past. It's just okay- I think it's pretty similar to the Neutrogena eye makeup remover, so I definitely wouldn't spend the money on this again. pass.

St. Tropez Skin Polish: This exfoliater came with the St. Tropez Starter Kit and I'm not sure if you can even buy the scrubs on its own, but I really liked it. It was gentle, effective, and non-irritating. I've moved on to trying other scrubs so, pass.

Smashbox Photo Finish Face Primer light: This wasn't totally empty but it was over two years old so it was time to toss it. I haven't used it in a long time, but it is what I used in my wedding. If you're looking for a primer and have oily skin this one works really nicely. I now prefer to just use this setting spray or the Smashbox Pore Minimizing primer.

Origins Ginger Burst Savory Body Wash: If you're a fan of ginger you would love this body wash. It came in a kit I got for Christmas and it's a product that I loved, and would love to receive as a gift, but probably wouldn't spend the money on it myself. Aside from the scent it works just as nicely as my trusty Dove body wash.

Lancome Hypnose Mascara: If you've been around my blog this will be an obvious one for you! Lancome mascaras are my absolute favorite and hypnose is my favorite formula- I find that I do like it a little bit better after it's slightly dried out, but it does amazing things for your lashes! purchase again.

Have you tried any of these products? What products have you used up recently? See my last past or purchase post.

Burgers and Baubles

It has been a while since I've talked about a recipe on the blog, but black bean burgers are my new jam thanks to Kristen. I had never tried one before, let alone try to make one, but her post made them sound delicious. When I mentioned them to my husband he was not thrilled with the idea...

I made them anyway and just didn't call them a black bean burger... not only did he love them, he thought I had used sausage in them! (to be fair we had picked up sausage at the store that week to try a recipe Biana mentioned.) They were so good I almost didn't want to share the second one with him.

Kristen had given me a bunch of amazing tips before I made them and I ended up combining the recipe she used and one from Skinnytaste-- which is super easy. I was a little concerned because I don't have a food processor, but I just chopped up the ingredients really small and used a potato masher to mash the beans and it worked perfectly. We eat them with lettuce on pita bread-- delicious! Feta is also good-- and extra siracha if you prefer a little spice!

I've made them probably half a dozen times and aside from how delicious they are, my favorite thing is that you can freeze half the batch (or double it) and have them later in the week. It's the perfect (and easiest) lunch or dinner recipe when you don't want to put in a ton of work to making something.

**they taste better than they look-- iphone 4 camera problems!

Now to totally switch subjects.... after five Rocksboxes I finally decided to cancel my subscription but I thought I would still share my last two boxes.

I switched it up to bracelets for this box and kind of regretted it because I wasn't a big fan of the Gorjana cuff I received. I mentioned that most bracelets are too big for my wrists so I appreciated that my stylist sent me one that I could kind of form to my wrist. My husband, who isn't very opinionated when it comes to jewelry, even mentioned how weird it looked on because it was still too loose- like falling off loose. Didn't wear it at all.

The Perry Street yellow & blue statement necklace was really fun and I loved the shape and design of it, but it didn't seem to be very well made. A few of the stones weren't glued in very well-- not sure if they had previously fallen out and it had been repaired poorly, or if it was just not made well to begin with. Didn't wear this one either.

The Vanessa Mooney necklace was my absolute favorite though, and I'm still kind of kicking myself for not keeping it. As you can tell it's really simple with gorgeous details and it was shorter- so it fell right between my collar bones.

I was really excited to receive both a Loren Hope and House of Harlow necklace in this box-- along with another delicate Gorjana piece. I did really like the House of Harlow necklace but I didn't love that it was actually this felt like material so I could see it getting damaged really easily.

The Loren Hope necklace was really nice-- and as much as I'm loving blues right now I just didn't have very many things to wear with it so I think I only wore it once. The Gorjana necklace went with just about everything and I actually liked it better than the previous Gorjana pieces I received here and here.

Where is your favorite place to shop for jewelry? If you've subscribed to Rocksbox what do you do with all of the boxes? I'm not sure if I should just recycle or keep them for something.

Latest Lipgloss Obsession

bare minerals moxie lipgloss review

I don't know why my problem is with wanting to constantly buy eye shadow palettes when I don't even wear eye shadow all that often. During the Sephora VIB sale I caved and ordered the Stila 'eyes are the window' palette in soul after hearing so many good reviews. Sadly it arrived broken, but before exchanging it I swatched some of the colors and wasn't overly impressed. I took it as a sign I didn't really need it and just returned it instead.

Giving me the perfect excuse to get this cute little bareMinerals Moxie lipgloss trio. I had previously picked up spark plug per Katie's recommendation and was so in love with it that I wanted to try another shade right away. The next day Abby posted a face of the day & right away I noticed her lipgloss-- it was a moxie gloss... so that was the last little bit of convincing I needed.

spark plug: described as a dusty pink, but I found it to be more of a really brown or a really light brick color. I was a little bit scared by the amount of shimmer in it in the tube, but it doesn't show up very much on the lips and just gives the illusion of bigger lips. ($18 at Sephora or Ulta)

bare minerals moxie lipgloss set

The idea behind the bareMinerals GLOSS on the go double-ended lipgloss set is that one color is for daytime and the other is for night, as you can tell from the swatches I think they're all pretty appropriate for any time of the day. They aren't an opaque lip product so you really just get a wash of the color with an amazing shine that stays on your lips longer than most other lipgloss I've tried.

They all have a minty-vanilla scent that reminds me of the holidays-- in a good way, and they do give your lips a little bit of a tingling sensation, which makes you feel like maybe your lips are becoming more plump or pillowy, but really I think it's just the shine that gives the illusion of a fuller lip.

These are slightly tacky/sticky but they're super moisturizing and are longwearing compared to other lipglosses I've tried.

Are you a fan of the Moxie glosses? What's your go-to gloss?

Running Dreams

How is April already almost over??! In case you haven't noticed I'm really behind on all things blogging-- including reading all of my favorite blogs, and replying to comments, but I plan on catching up one of these days. I wanted to make sure I put something together for Training For Tuesday (even though I'm three days late) so I could look back on my progress eventually.

At the end of March I talked about my first two weeks starting couch to 5k for the third or fourth time and overall felt pretty positive. Week 3 was a little bit more rough-- with April being much busier, with a lot of rainy weather, and a change in my work schedule, my running got quite off track.

I have never been able to run distance.

I really don't think I could run for more than 60 seconds without stopping when I first started c25k.

c25k week 5 day 2 has you run 8 minutes (or 3/4 of a mile)-- they must know what they're talking about because I was running as hard as I could and was just over 3/4 of a mile right at 8 minutes.

For the second 8 minute run I decided to try and go a little bit slower, so I could speed up during the last minute-- this didn't help my overall time because again, I was just about 3/4 of a mile at 8 minutes.
16 minutes of run time & 10 minutes of walking
Being able to run for 8 minutes without stopping is a huge accomplishment for me, but I was still disappointed.

Wanting to run a mile in 8 minutes after training inconsistently for 7 or 8 weeks is unrealistic-- I know this, but it still disappointed me.

I really had to stop myself because I'm not training to run a mile, I'm training for a 5k, and even if I am able to get that 10 minute mile I want, I'm not going to be able to run over three of them in a row just like that.

The next c25k run is a 2 mile run without stopping, I'm not very confident that I'll be able to run for the whole time but I think it will be a good measure of where I am.

I wish it was easier to focus on where I have improved-- instead it seems easier to see what I'm still not able to do.

What training/exercise goals do you have for May?

A huge thank you to Tracy and Alyssa for all of their encouragement and running wisdom on the days where I want to give up because I feel like I'm not getting any better. Make sure you check out their blogs and linkup for Training for Tuesday!
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