Friday Favorites | 12.18.15

I thought I’d start doing Friday Favorites posts when I have products to share with from the previous week. On YouTube, I’m subscribed to LipglossLeslie who does these videos weekly and they’re some of my favorite to watch. These posts also shows what I like do and wear throughout the work week in terms of makeup, clothes, and lifestyle updates.

Makeup

Brownie Points

ELF Smudge Pot – Brownie Points

ELF Smudge Pot Brownie Points

I’ve had the ELF Smudge Pot in Crusin’ Chic for a while and it’s the best cream shadow I own! It’s very similar in color to the Maybelline Color Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze, but better. I purchased a new Bad to Bronze this past spring and it’s already too dry for my liking. The ELF Smudge Pots don’t dry out – they’re creamy, pigmented, and are great for one shadow looks and bases for more dramatic looks. brownie points label

I purchased Brownie Points because LipglossLeslie talked so highly about it, and it’s just as good as she said. It’s slightly darker and more bronze than Crusin’ Chic and works great as a base for a smokey eye. All I did was pop a transition shade in the crease, add some smokey liner, and use an inner corner highlight.
Definitely wearing that smokey eye to our upcoming Winter Solstice Party! I’m even thinking about going back to Target to get the Wine Not color, which would be great for a Christmas look!

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream Cannes

NYX matte lip cream

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream Cannes

I picked this up at Ulta while I taking advantage of my 20% off coupon that’s offered during the holidays. I had always heard great things about these lip products, and I’m so happy I finally picked one up. I definitely want to go back and get a whole bunch more! The formula isn’t drying, even after the product sets down to a nearly matte finish. I own the liquid to matte lipsticks from Milani and ColourPop, and I’m not crazy about either especially the ColourPop formula – they’re just too dry. The NYX isn’t. And the color is a great everyday, terra cotta shade that I can easily wear to work or on an evening out.

 

Simple Eye Looks
Since I get up pretty early to be into work around 8 a.m., I usually keep the makeup pretty fast and simple. I don’t usually like doing simple eye looks as much, but this week I’ve really been into it. I’ve been using bronze and taupe shades to make everything easy, but still put-together for work. I dug out MAC’s Satin Taupe which was one of the first MAC shadows I ever purchased, and I still love it!

 

Outfit of the Week

HM sweater

Sweater – H&M, Necklace – Call It Spring

I think it would be fun to share my favorite outfit of the week if I’m able to get a good photo of it! I recently started a new job and had to switch to a business casual dress code, so I’m still learning on what clothes work for my style and that I can wear to work. This week my favorite outfit were simple black pants, a green sweater, low wedges, and a statement necklace. The pants are from OldNavy.com, petite section and sweater is this from H&M in an amazing jade green color that I always get compliments on it. The low wedges are Nine West Irina Wedge Pump add a bit of
sophistication to the outfit and I got the necklacerose gold necklace from Call It Spring two summers ago.

 

 

Cookies!
There’s not many times of the year when I rave about how much I’m enjoying cookies, but Christmas and holidays are an exception to the rule! It’s a tradition for many families to make cookies in celebration of their holiday this season. This past week I made two cookie recipes that I want to share in case anyone is looking for a new recipe to try this weekend! First, Jake and I made eggnog cookies last weekend; eggnog being one of Jake’s favorites this time of year. They’re soft and chewy, a little sweet so be careful with how many you have in one sitting. Then there was a cookie exchange at work and I brought cranberry and white chocolate chip cookies. These were amazing and highly recommend them! I found the recipe on Pinterest, and she suggests adding white chocolate chips to the tops of the cookies as soon as they’re out of the oven to make them look even tastier!

Life Update – Where Have I Been?

Not going to lie, I totally fell off my New Year’s Resolution of writing in my blog at least once a week. For a while, I was writing two posts a week. Then life happened and I just stopped writing. I’ve been a lot more busy than I anticipated I would be this time of year.  I work full-time at a 9 to 5 working on a computer all day, so coming home to just sit on my computer is not usually at the top of my list. I also spend a good amount of time commuting to and from work, which can get my gears grinding if traffic is really bad. I also work part-time on Saturday’s when a lot of people go out with friends or get their errands done. This leaves only Sunday to myself, which is usually my lazy, Netflix day.

In addition to my work responsibilities, I am fully committed to my fitness and healthy lifestyle often making it to the gym five days a week and preparing nearly all of my meals to keep to my diet. To many this is silly and I could easily stray away from this to make my meals quicker and leave more time for social life or just relaxation, but I am committed to bikini season which is less than two months away! I also have a boyfriend, who is often with me while I’m at the gym, but sometimes we venture out for date night. Date night does not consist of me typing at my blog or playing around on my phone since it’s time I like to cherish, since our schedules are sometimes conflicting.

Then last week I had to be around because my dad had some surgery (he’s doing well) and that also meant I had to be around this weekend to drive him to the store and help him out as needed. In between all of these, I spent a weekend out with a good friend, hitting up bars like I used to in my college years. Jake and I went to a movie, in a theater, something that I haven’t done in years. It was actually the first time Jake and I went to a new release in theaters. We saw Furious 7, not an Oscar winner, but still very fun to watch! Would recommend if you’ve seen any of the other Fast and the Furious movies.

Long story short, I’ve just been busy with real life, and that’s not a bad thing. We spend so much time invested in Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, other social websites and virtual reality, that we forget to live life outside of all the technology. The computer will still be there after all the craziness calms down and I can always come back to writing.

Major Budgeting

Well unfortunately, I was in a car accident this past week.  I am a-OK, minor sores from the seat belt and jolt, but I am alive and well.  The car on the other hand, is not doing too great.  The car went into the ditch and is well totaled, but what can you do.  I saw the accident happening before I could do anything so I relaxed, grabbed the wheel, and closed my eyes.  I was the most worried about what my mom would think as it was her car.  Sadly, she passed away about a year and half ago and I know she would be happy I’m in one piece, but I did feel bad for a minute.  These things happen and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.  I’m thankful to be alive, unharmed, and have the means to purchase a new car so I can continue to work and make up for what has been lost.

So now that I’ve purchased a new car and I’m back to a major budget, what do I do with my healthy eating habits?  I’m currently on Pinterest looking for some healthy, vegetarian friendly meals.  I purchased a new programmable Crock Pot a few weekends ago and I’d love to use it more for weekly evening meals since it turns over to warm after a set time.  And with slower cooker meals, there’s always left overs for lunch.  Lunch meals are always my main point of concern because I’m the most hungry then.  My dinners tend to be lighter and packed with smaller portions of healthy options, such as cottage cheese, frozen veggies on the side, pretzels, and small leftover.  Often, I run after work and I’m not home until about 6:30 p.m., eating around 7:00 p.m.  I know that doesn’t sound very late, but I’m usually settled around 9:00 p.m. and in bed by 10:25 p.m., right after the weather reports.  Now I want to budget all my meals and say goodbye to any social life for a few weeks.

I have shopped at Aldi’s many times in the past two years, and I honestly enjoy it quite a bit.  I’ve read reviews online that talk pretty poorly of the store, but if you go in with a level head and keep your eye on the good stuff, you can come out with a lower grocery bill.  I will admit, that if you purchase the more processed, sugar, or carb foods your bill will be lower than what I generally pay, but don’t get pulled in by it.  You can get healthy food options at a fair price at Aldi’s.  For me it’s worth it to go and get the basics: eggs, almond milk (unsweetened even!), cottage cheese, quick oats, salad, brown rice, frozen veggies, and fresh fruits and veggies when they’re in season.  You’ll have to “splurge” a bit on frozen salmon, shrimp, or chicken breast (for Jake), but it’s a few dollars cheaper than the big box grocery stores; still worth it!  I can’t speak for the fresh meats as I don’t buy them, but do check it out and see if the price is worth buying.  It can be difficult to purchase the more specifics foods, like certain vegetables, quinoa, healthy dips, vegetable broth at time, and canned soups.  A lot of stock at Aldi is dependent on their weekly shipments and often, popular food sell fast.  The best time to go is right away when the store opens, even if it’s a weekend.  Because the store is smaller than most, you’ll be through within a half an hour for week of groceries.

Learning the skill of basic cooking will go far when you’re on a budget.  I couldn’t do more than scrambled eggs when I moved out, but my ability to look at a recipe and feel confident in making the recipe and have it turn out tasty has gone through the roof.  Even Jake has taken a notice to my cooking skills, and he worked in a restaurant kitchen year ago.  I’d like give my cooking skills a go with hosting a small gathering in the coming year, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

For now, I’m budgeting, meal planning, and keeping my neck and hip relaxed with a heating pad.  Please don’t be fooled by all of this talk of healthy eating and gym time, I do indulge in chocolate or sweets if I crave them, but I do try very hard to eat as healthy as possible.  I’ll be sure to update in a few weeks on my budget and meals.  Remember cutting season is nearly upon us!  And with it, spring which brings safer driving conditions.  Everyone be safe!

Healthy Go-To Recipes

I have a few recipes I wanted to share that have been my go-to for lunches and dinners that are also healthy.  Most of these can be made in advance for lunches or in a slow cookers for making meals during the day.  Side note, I just got a new Crock Pot which is programmable so that it turns to warm after a set time of cooking.  It’s awesome!  I suggest it for anyone into cooking or prepping meals.

Protein Shake
This is current breakfast for most mornings.  It’s easy to make and I can bring it to work with me making breakfast later so that I’m fuller longer.  I use my Blender Bottle to make my shake with reduce sugar vanilla almond milk, which comes to 30 calories per 8 ounces.  I usually add a little water, around 3 ounces, along with my protein.  I usually buy the EAS Whey Vanilla Protein Powder which runs at 150 calories per serving, which for this powder is two scoops.  Add it all in the bottle, shake, and head out for the day!

Mediterranean Chickpea or Quinoa Salad
I love this for lunches, especially in the summer when it’s hot outside and in the house.  Lately, I’ve been loving this with chickpeas over quinoa, not for any particular reason.  This recipes is also flexible to each their own, I replace olives with kalamata olives which I find fitting more for the recipe.

Salmon with broccoli and brown rice
I know at most workplaces reheating fish in the lunchroom is a sin, but it’s healthy for you and filling.  Add a side of broccoli and brown rice or sweet potatoes and you will be filled through the afternoon to dinner.  Likewise, this is an easy meal to cook up in the evening if you have a gym date before dinner.  Salmon and fish cooks pretty quickly and you can steam frozen broccoli in four minutes in the microwave.  To cook salmon, I thaw it before placing the slice in foil topping it with dill weed and lemon pepper, roll up the foil, and bake for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees.  So easy! There’s tons of recipes on Pinterest you can make to jazz up your salmon, just be careful because some can come with a lot of added calories.

Fall Vegetable Crock Pot Barley Soup
I posted this a while back because it’s my favorite soup recipe that I’ve tried so far.   It’s very flavorful, easy to make in the Crock Pot, and the ingredients can be added or removed as you prefer.  Don’t add too much barley though or the soup will get too thick, same goes for the sweet potato as it can add a lot of sugar and unneeded calories.  Thyme has quickly become one of my favorite herbs for almost any recipe.

Salads
This is simple and to the point, salads with darker green leaves with generous amounts of vegetables on top and a light amount of dressing is about as healthy as you can get come spring.  I love adding cucumbers, carrots, and hard boiled eggs on my salads and in the spring I love chopped strawberries and pears as toppings.  For a change in texture, soy nuts and pumpkin seeds add a nice crunch to the mix.  For dressing, always choose a vinaigrette like balsamic or raspberry.

Edamame
I keep frozen edamame in my freezer at all times probably getting the best value for your dollar at Costco.  I steam mine with lemon pepper and then add a side of cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, or even a small salad.  Again, low calories, low carb, and filling.

Good luck with your cooking and fitness goals!

Gardening Goals

Last spring, I planted my first seeds in a garden hoping to have an abundance of lettuce for salads in fall.  Unfortunately, I was only able to make one salad with those seeds.  My mom always grew flowers and vegetables in her garden when I was growing up, but I never took a liking to it and did not learn her ways.   In the past few years, my interest in gardening has slowly grown along with my interest in cooking and healthy eating.  This spring I’m hoping to make a small vegetable garden on the side of our house to make at least two salads come fall.

Jake’s house is small, but the backyard is quite spacious.  Both sides of the house have space for a garden and flowers to grow.  Last year, I took over just a small patch, but this year I’d like to create a proper vegetable garden surrounded by chicken wire to prevent rabbits, squirrels, or other animals from picking over the leaves.  The vegetables that I plan to grow are not yet determined because I need to do some research on what’s easiest to grow and how much sunlight they will need.  I would like to grow lettuce again, along with cucumbers and strawberries.  I remember cucumbers being quite easy to grow and also that in nature they grow with thorns on them for protection.  I would also like to plant some flowers leading up to the house even though I use to dread watering them when I was growing up.

If this works out, I’m hoping that one day I will be able to have a full functioning garden to provide for my healthy meals.  Buying lettuce every week seems an odd concept to me as it’s literally just leaves growing from the ground.  Last year I grew butter lettuce, planting four spaces with seeds, but only one head grew large enough to harvest.  Two of the spaces didn’t grow at all and the smaller space grew only a few inches above ground.  Also, last year I planted my seeds in a pot and this year I’d like to turn the soil and plant the seeds directly into the ground.  Planting in the ground poses a greater risk due to animals, but I think the trade off will be better fertilization and watering.

I’m looking for some good blogs or websites for beginner gardeners that would be able to help me along my gardening journey.  Please leave suggestions for me in terms of blogs or even what is best to grow.