Tuesday, March 5, 2013

LIFE: Chicago & F21/Inglot Haul

Matt and I work such conflicting schedules that we don't often see each other for more than an hour or two a day. When tax time came around this year we decided we wanted to spend some of our return on a mini vacation, so we jumped on the train and headed to Chicago for the weekend.

Because we've been to Chicago so many times we ended up skipping a lot of the touristy type attractions like Navy Pier and Shedd Aquarium and opted for a more low key weekend of shopping and eating.

We tried to avoid shops we have in our hometown and focus on stores specific to Chicago. My most exciting purchases were at an Inglot counter in Macy's. Here's a look at what I bought.

If you aren't familiar with Inglot, they are a high end cosmetics company based in Europe. They sell insanely pigmented, awesome quality makeup for a fraction of the cost of other high end brands. My favorite part about Inglot Cosmetics is their "Freedom System." You buy an empty palette, of which they offer a variety of sizes, and hand select the products you want to fill them with. While I was shopping they gave me a small magnetic board which allowed me to see exactly how certain shadows would look together in a palette. After spending at least 45 minutes putting together different configurations of shadows, I ended up with two eyeshadow palettes.

I wear some sort of neutral eye just about every day so I wanted to make a palette that I knew I'd get a lot of use out of. The empty trio was $8 and then the shadow pans were $6 a piece, making this trio $26. (Just as a comparison, MAC eyeshadow pans are $12 each so these shadows alone would have been $36 if they had been purchased at MAC.)

The second palette I made was inspired by a display I saw while we were there. I realized that because I tend to do more of a neutral eye every day, I don't have many other colors to work with should I want to venture out of my "norm." This quad took me far longer to assemble than the trio I made because I wanted to really experiment with each blue they offered and see which ones would make the most complete look. Here's the look I came up with for this palette.

Another store I wanted to make sure we visited was Forever21. While we do have one at our mall at home, they don't have a very good selection and I find the staff to be rude and unaccommodating. I ended up finding a couple super cute shirts.

The first top I picked out is a red racer back tank top. I was drawn to it because of the adorable heart pattern. It'll be a great addition to my Summer wardrobe, and it's perfect to layer under a cardigan for work in the mean time. It was $10.80.

The second top I picked out is coral with lace detailing on the shoulders and upper back. (I apologize that it's showing up pink in one photo and orangey in the other. The lighting in our hotel room wasn't great.) It may be a bit too warm for Summer but it'll be a great transitional piece from Winter to Spring. I love, love, love the lace! It was $13.80.

Forever 21 has such great deals on accessories! I've been really into headbands lately and when I found these braided beauties for $1.80 each, I scooped up one of every color. I thought they'd be perfect for days I don't want to put a lot of effort into my hair.

I also picked up two sets of bows. They were also $1.80 each. I got one black and white set and one floral print set. I'm not sure how much use I'll get out of these, but they were cheap and they're incredibly cute!

Surprisingly, I only got one piece of jewelery; a pair of heart shaped earrings. I thought they'd go perfectly with the heart top I picked out. They were a steal at only $1.50. I've actually been wearing them almost every day. So cute!

 I got a couple of miscellaneous items as well. All of the following items were impulse buys. Darn check out lane...gets me every time!

 My first miscellaneous purchase was this knit scarf. It was INCREDIBLY cold in Chicago while we were there and I forgot to bring a scarf so when I saw this scarf clearanced out in a bin by the registers I decided to grab one. I absolutely love the heather gray/taupey color and it was so warm! I'm not sure exactly how much it cost, but I want to say I paid about $3.

I have been experimenting with different eyeliners to figure out which types, and also brands, that I prefer. I found this gel liner for $1.50 so I decided to give it a whirl. To be completely honest, I wasn't at all impressed. It smudged far too easily. But I guess you can't complain when you pay less than $2!

 The final thing I got at F21 were these Hydrating Makeup Cleansing Tissues. There are 30 in each pack and there were two packs taped together for $2.80. They aren't the best quality makeup removing wipes I've ever tried but with a couple, they get the job done.

Of course no post about Chicago would be complete without a couple of Bears devoted pictures, so here ya go!

                                                                          DA BEARS.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

LIFE: Update.

Holy hiatus Batman! It has been almost 8 months since the last time we talked and I cannot even begin to express how much I have missed you all. I wish I had some really cool story to explain my unnecessarily long absence, but I don't.

I started this blog during a very difficult time in my life. I had just lost my job and I was severely depressed about my inability to provide for my family. Writing became my outlet and I made a lot of really great friends, so thank you all for your support during that extremely turbulent patch.

All of that being said, a lot has changed since my last post...I am happy to report that I found a new job! Yay, financial stability! I have been in my new position for about 3 months and aside from some scheduling confusion, I love it! I'm even more happy to report that Matt, too, has a new job! He is so happy in his new position and he has made so many great friends that I genuinely believe he'll have for a lifetime. Along with a new found sense of purpose and responsibility, the eased tension of financial burden has helped our marriage tenfold. I've always heard that finances are the #1 cause of divorce and I now know how true that is. Matt and I struggled so much when I wasn't working. That coupled with the fact that we were still in our first year of marriage, made 2012 nearly unbearable. As hard as it was, it made me appreciate my life, my family, my friends and mostly my husband so, so much more than I would have otherwise. I've learned to stop taking people for granted. I've learned who my true friends are. I've learned that it's okay to lean on your loved ones. I've learned that money can't buy happiness.

Another insanely exciting addition to my life was the birth of my godson, Gavin. My best friend Amanda gave birth the first week of November. Gavin spent the first week or so of his life in the NICU but now he's a happy and entirely healthy 3 month old. I fall more and more in love with him every time I see him. I mean...just LOOK at that face! <3

If you read my "22 Things Before 23" post, you may remember me mentioning wanting to re-enroll in college this year. I am currently in the process of filing my FAFSA and applying for two colleges for social work! Unfortunately the school I really want to go to is about an hour from where we're currently living. While it's not that far, it would require us to relocate and I'd have to find a new job. I'm praying everything works out. I'll keep you guys in the loop, if you're interested.

Finally, I have been working on loosing weight. I considered starting a separate blog to discuss this topic but I've ultimately decided it would be easier to keep everything in one dedicated space. I'm thinking of starting a series called "Fitness Fridays" where I can fill you guys in on how my my weight loss journey is progressing, share recipes, struggles and triumphs. With this new format, people who are strictly interested in health/fitness/wellness type posts can check back on a set day every week and find that content specifically. Likewise, people who aren't interested in this topic will know when to avoid my page. What do you think? Would you be interested in "Fitness Fridays?"

I have a lot of exciting content coming so check back again soon for new posts. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sticking with me. I'm back BABY!!


Sunday, June 24, 2012

TAG: 10 Little Secrets Tag

1. What is one product that makes you feel like a million dollars?
Mascara in general is a bit of a vice for me, but the Organic Wear mascara from Physician's Formula is definitely a product that makes me feel like a million bucks! Even if I decide against wearing a full face of makeup, I don't feel totally undone if I'm wearing this mascara. It lengthens my lashes so well. Love, love, love! 

2. What is your skincare secret?/A passed down skin care tip?
I am probably one of the worst people to ask this question to because I do a HORRIBLE job of taking care of my skin! Most frequently, I will take my makeup off with a remover wipe and then go to bed without washing my face. OOPS!

3. Share your hair care secret?
I have had a few bad haircuts in my lifetime...and when I say a few, I mean most of the cuts I've ever had have been horrible. I have always had a hard time walking into a salon and telling someone exactly what I want so I would say "Oh sure, do whatever you think would look good!" I know, I know. I only have myself to blame. Anyways, after a particularly negative experience, I just quit going to the salon all together. I went several years without so much as a trim. When I finally mustered up the courage to go back they had to take a significant amount of hair because my ends were so damaged. I had to learn the hard way that regular haircuts are the most effective way to get your hair to grow and look healthy. Bottom line? If you've had a bad haircut, don't shy away from salons all together; get back in the saddle. Just be more direct about what you want and if it's not what you hoped for, don't be afraid to ask them to fix it! You're paying for the service. You may as well have what you envisioned.

4. What is your biggest diet rule?
Personally, I don't believe in dieting. As soon as you stop "dieting" and revert back to your old eating habits, you're going to gain the weight back ten fold. So when I am trying to loose weight, I never restrict myself from eating things that I love. The idea is that if allow yourself to eat enough to satisfy the craving, you won't have a full on meltdown and over indulge. This isn't to say that you should eat junk all the time, but everything in moderation is acceptable.

5. Any workout tips?
Don't kill yourself. Everything will come with time. Obviously, if you're working out for the first time, you probably aren't going to be able to run 10 miles or lift 100lbs. It doesn't mean that you won't ever get there...just that you aren't there yet. That being said, don't be afraid to test your limits and challenge yourself. Just let your body guide you in the right direction. Rest when you need to, etc.
6. Which perfume is your secret weapon?
I absolutely swear by "Be Delicious" by DKNY. I have been wearing it for 4 years and I have yet to find a scent that even comes close! I'm not really into floral scents so this perfume works perfectly for me.

7. A clothing item of yours which always turns heads?
I am not they type of person to push boundaries with my wardrobe. I wear a lot of muted colors and jeans. Lame answer, I know. I'm sorry!

8. What is your most treasured piece of jewelery?
Lindsay, my older sister, studied abroad in college. She brought me back the most beautiful earrings from Scotland. They are heart shaped and they have the Celtic symbol at the top. Sadly, I took them off absentmindedly one evening and the dog got a hold of them. Now they're misshaped and the clasps are broken so I have to take them to the jeweler so see if they can be fixed. :(

9. Who is your style crush?
Lauren Conrad. Her style is so flawless! Anything you see her wearing, I would probably wear myself. Her line for Kohl's is gorg.

10. Tell us something we don't know about you.
I LOVEEE Joan Rivers. I think she is wildly hilarious and I am dying to see a live show. If you have never seen her stand up videos, definitely look them up online. She is the ultimate diva!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

TAG: My Makeup Story

1. How old were you when you started wearing makeup?
I have been wearing makeup since I was in middle school (probably 7th or 8th grade)...But I've only been wearing it correctly for about 6 months. I never took the time to learn technique or form. It never seemed important to me, which is funny considering how much of my time is devoted to it now through blogging, etc.

2. How did you get into makeup?
My interest in makeup came from watching my older sister over the past couple of years. The whole time she was away at college I would look at pictures she posted on her Facebook page and think how gorgeous she always looked. When she graduated and moved back home 2 years ago, I started asking questions and picking up tips here and there from her. Then, about 6 months ago, she turned me onto the beauty community online.

3. What are some of your favorite brands? 
I recently started purchasing MAC products, and love them! I also really love NARS blushes, though I don't own any of my own. For drug store makeup, I LOVE NYX. In fact, I'd have to say that NYX is my all time favorite makeup brand. I've mentioned them on my blog several times before and my feelings have definitely not changed. They offer great, great products at awesome prices and I have loved just about everything I've tried from them.

4. What does makeup mean to you?
Makeup means freedom of expression and the ability to become whoever you want. At least at a surface level.

5. If you could only wear 4 products on your face what would they be?
Foundation--because you can always double it up over problem areas in place of concealer.
Blush--because I'm very fair toned and I need color.
Mascara--because I have really long lashes but they're blonde so they're hard to see without mascara. Also, I feel like mascara can really make or break a look.
Lipgloss--because you always need something on your lips and if you find something with good pigmentation you don't need lipstick.

6. What is your favorite thing about makeup?
To me, makeup is an art form. It's a way to express yourself or how you're feeling. I love that you can literally transform your face.

7. What do you think about drugstore makeup vs high end makeup?
I don't own a lot of high end makeup. Not because I don't want to, but because I can't justify spending the money on it at this phase in my life. The majority of the makeup I own is from the drugstore and I love it. I also feel like with either type, you're going to have hits and misses. You just have to find what works for you and go with it.

8. What is one tip of advice you can give to a beginner?
Take your time and don't get frustrated if a look you're trying to recreate doesn't come out perfectly on your first try. Just like anything else you've had to learn in your life, this takes time and patience but you'll get there!

9. What is one makeup trend you never understood?
Lipstick shades 100x lighter than your natural skin tone. No, that is not a nude lip, ma'am. You look like you died...twice.

10. What do you think about the beauty community on YouTube/Blogger?
I think that it's a great place to meet new people and learn about new products, as well as  new techniques. However, like I've mentioned 100x before, there is a lot of hate and cyber bullying that occurs and I think that's truly sad. If you don't like someone, don't watch their videos or read their blog...pretty simple! Overall, I attribute a lot of what I've learned to watching videos--so I think it's great.

Monday, May 14, 2012

LIFE: 22 Things Before 23

I came across this idea from a fellow blogger named Courtney. You can check out her blog here. (:

Basically, you make a list of things you want to accomplish, or things you'd like to do, before your next birthday. My birthday just passed (May 7th) so I'm posting this a bit later than I intended to, but now is just as good as ever to concoct a "mini bucket list." So, here goes.

1. Go to Disney World. (Is this cheating? We're going on May 30th.)
2. Go to Cedar Point.
3. Re-Enroll in college.
4. Surprise Matt with a weekend getaway, even if it's close to home.
5. Find a good job that I'm happy doing.
6. Start house hunting.
7. Get Zoe fully settled in.
8. Truly surprise my sister, Lindsay, with a really cool gift. (She is a tough person to buy for and an even tougher person to surprise.)
9. Learn to shoot a gun.
10. Make a new recipe a day for one month.
11. Get a tattoo.
12. Get my nose repierced.
13. Visit Jessica in Portland.
14. Watch all of the Twilight movies in a row. (Don't judge me.)
15. Read 10 new books.
16. Go swimming at night time.
17. Learn how to fold a fitted sheet.
18. Go camping with Matt and Lindsay. Zoe can come, too. (:
19. Blindly pick a spot on the map and go there.
20. Go to a Notre Dame football game.
21. Go on a picnic with my husband. <3
22. Write something meaningful in wet cement.

I know that this is a totally random post but I thought the concept was really fun. There are so many more things I wanted to put on my list...perhaps I'll start an actual bucket list? 

If you guys do the birthday tag, link your blog below. I'd love to check them out!


Sunday, May 6, 2012

RANDOM:Social Media

Just stopping in to post my social media links! 

Unfortunately, my Facebook is private but feel free to follow me on Twitter or Instagram! I've been debating getting a Tumblr. If I do, I'll be sure to update this post! 


Keep an eye out for April Favorites, coming soon! 


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

LIFE:Puppy Love

EVERY time I log into Blogger, I feel guilty for the amount of time that's elapsed since my last post. But I feel like this excuse is a good one. ;)

I have serious baby fever. There it is, I said it. It's not something I really like to talk about because everyone seems to have their own opinion on my life and I don't like to stir the pot. And while I know that many of the people in my life would be nothing but loving and supportive if I got pregnant tomorrow, there are people that would feel the need to list the 100 reasons why Matt and I are not ready to be parents. (Let me just say that many people who have had children younger than me, have turned out to be wonderful parents. Also, you don't need to OWN a home to be a Mommy. Okay, end rant.)

Matt and I have talked extensively about having children and we've decided, together, that we will have kids when the timing is right for us. It's important to us to be financially stable before we bring a child into the mix. We'd like to build up a bit of a savings account, or safety net, which is hard to do at the moment because I'm not working, maybe travel a bit more...just enjoy being newlyweds. Children are definitely in our future, maybe just not the immediate one. (This is proving to be insanely hard for me because everyone I know is having babies!!)

For months I've been drooling over pictures of puppies online and trying to convince Matt to let me fill my ridiculous baby void with a dog. It just so happened that some good friends of ours recently adopted a Puggle/English Bulldog mix that they could not longer care for. We agreed to puppy sit for a couple of days to make sure that she was compatible with us, as well as Boston, our other fur baby. We took her to the dog park and stayed up crazy late at night playing with her. When it came time for her to go home, Matt and I were both absolutely smitten. We spent the next couple of days talking about the pros and cons of adopting another animal and ultimately decided that we couldn't live without her. The following Sunday, 5 days after she went home, we picked her up and brought her back to our house to live permanently! Because she is only 4 months old, she is insanely curious and rambunctious. Having a puppy is full time job but I wouldn't trade it for anything! So, without further ado, meet our newest family member. <3

Is she the cutest, or what?! We actually need some help naming her. She is 4 months old and her previous owners named her Bailey. While Matt and I both think that name is very cute, she doesn't respond to it at all. It doesn't seem as though she knows her name so if we want to change it, now would be the opportune time. We're on the fence. It's either Bailey or Zoe. Which do you like better? Please leave your vote in the comment section below!

Thank you guys so much for being so patient with me as Matt and I adjust to this new phase of our life. I promise to try to post more frequently.