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!!