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!

My Fitbit (Yes, it’s totally worth it!)

Near the end of the summer, I invested in a Fitbit Flex after a friend of mine purchased one herself. I had toyed around with the idea of getting one for a bit (no pun intended), but wasn’t sure if it was going to be worth investing in. How could a such a watch-like item really help my fitness routine? I knew a few other people that had a Fitbit and my dad also got an activity tracker during the spring when he started losing weight, so I knew I wouldn’t be alone in counting my steps per day.

At the time I decided to buy a Fitbit it was back to school time and I happened to get a deal on my Flex for $80 at Sports Authority, which usually runs around $100, plus I had a gift card from Christmas I hadn’t used which gave me another discount. I ended up purchasing the service plan for the Flex since I was getting a discount, just in case. I got mine in black since I had seen some other that look dirty after they get some wear and tear over time, and I’m super happy that I did. After a few days, I had some issues with my Flex syncing the silent alarms. I called Fitbit’s support number, and after a few conversations they sent me a new Flex, no problem. I thought that was some of the best customer service I could ever get. Fast forward a few days, the new Flex had arrived at my door, but my syncing issue had also resolved. I ended up keeping the Flex, but gave it to my boyfriend since we workout together and he was also interested in tracking his sleeping patterns, as he works nights.

My main motivation behind finally getting a Fitbit was to see if my workouts were actually doing what I wanted. I wanted to know if I was hitting the steps I needed per day, if I was burning enough calories versus my calories in. I’m the type of person who likes clear directions, instructions in front of me, and solid answers to my curiosity. I paired up my Flex with the MyFitnessPal app on my phone, and started my first Workweek Hustle with a few friends. I went about with my gym routines that week, and was upset when I saw I wasn’t hitting the goals I thought I had been this whole time. For the past three years, I had become a total gym-body, weight training, cardio, and recipes included, but it wasn’t quite enough. I wasn’t burning enough calories compared to what I was outputting and I wasn’t as active with my steps as I thought. Working a 9-to-5 can already make it difficult to get out and be active, but seeing the numbers really put it into perspective.

The next Workweek Hustle came, and I decided to add an extra 10 to 15 minutes onto my runs. The days I planned to do weigh training, I would get up in the morning and do a quick 1.5 mile run, about 14 minutes of my day, to get an extra 2,000 steps in to my days. I parked further away from the store when running errands and I tried to do a few more activities around the house, lawn mowing is perfect! Guess what, I won that Workweek Hustle! I was so happy, especially since I was going up against friends who are more active runners than I. In fact, I really dislike running, but I’m so proud of myself for being able to now run the length of a 5K that I do it anyway.

I’ve had my Fitbit now for a little over two months, and I’m still loving it! I completely recommend it, or your favorite fitness tracker, to all of the fitness freaks out there! I don’t always track my calories in, just because it can be come repetitive and time consuming, but I have a rough idea of how many calories I eat everyday so I’m not worried. The one downfall for me since I do weigh training almost more than I do cardio is that I didn’t take that into consideration when I was purchasing a FitBit. I kind of jumped the gun before doing all of my research on what options were in the FitBit family. Realizing that, if I have to repurchase a Fitbit in the future I’ll probably get the Fitbit Charge HR so I can track my activity levels when doing squats, dead lifts, and all that fun stuff.

If you’re starting to get into fitness, perhaps to lose weight or get into shape, I feel a Fitbit would really help you to understand how many calories you’re burning versus eating in order to lose weight. It’s also fun to compete with your friends to get your steps in. Leave your experiences with your Fitbit or activity tracker in the comments – I’d love to know how others feel!

January Fitness Update

January is a popular time of year for people to get back into their fitness goals as well as for people to make New Year’s Resolutions to get involved with fitness or lose weight.  January is also the time when I re-evaluate my fitness goals and start preparing for the spring cutting season.  I know spring seams far away, but by the time it arrives the hope is that I have built up enough muscle to be able to cut and still maintain my strength levels.

A few weeks before Christmas, Jake and I started a new lifting routine which includes a basic three-day split.  I decided to invest in a pair of lifting straps at the advice of a coworker to improve my grip strength and overall improve my dead lifts.  For the past two years, I’ve used gloves for lifting but it’s not my hands that need the help anymore as I’ve built up some pretty good calluses.  Ladies, do not be afraid of getting calluses from weight lifting.  Mine aren’t even noticeable to the eye and most days no one is holding my hands to feel them.  In addition to our three-day split, my goal is run or do some form of cardio twice a week.  I don’t put a lot of emphasis on cardio during fall or winter, but moving into spring I like to keep it consistent.  I’ve never been one for doing ab exercises (I hate them), but this year I’d like to make it one of my goals.  Jake and I will probably add ab exercises onto leg day because generally that is our fastest moving day.  This weekend I’d like to find a basic everyday ab exercise that I can do in the mornings or evenings on a yoga mat, nothing intense likes those ad challenges I see rolling around on Pinterest.  Remember abs are made in the kitchen, not at the gym.

During the fall and winter months, I spoil myself with Pumpkin Spice Lattes, pumpkin cookies, holiday parties, and all weight lifting at the gym.  Right now at the turn of the year, I have decided to start tracking what I eat and count my calorie intake.  I have used the app My Fitness Pal in the past and I really enjoy it.  Not only does it allow my to track my calories, but I can also see the breakdown of the nutrition in the food.  The app can keep track of your exercises and how many calories you burn which are then negated from your daily caloric intake.  The one downside to the app is that it doesn’t know how many calories are burned during strength exercises.  One of my best tips to eating healthy is to meal plan.  I like to prepare my lunch and dinners every week, cooking on Sunday’s and packing everything in containers for busy weekdays.  I just ordered a weekly whiteboard so that I can better organize meals for myself and for when Jake comes over.  I love lists and organizing my thoughts and I have been wanting a whiteboard for over a year now.

I’d like to do these fitness updates every three to four months, during the change of the seasons and fitness routines.  Moving into spring, my diet will become more strict with less carbs and high amounts of vegetables and protein.  The most important part of my fitness routine is making sure I’m keeping hydrated: drink all the water.  Start with a glass right after to step out of bed and add an additional glass or two if you exercise that day.

My New Favorite Tank

I have a new favorite gym shirt, well tank top. I was out doing some Christmas shopping and catching up with a good friend when I stopped into Old Navy.  Old Navy isn’t my favorite store, the clothing doesn’t fit me the best.  But I was trying to kill time waiting for my friend and there was a 60% off sign in the window.  I’m not usually one for buying active wear that is cute or trendy because that’s not what going to the gym or being active should be about.  I get it though, having cute clothes to wear even to the gym is a part of the fun.  I went right to the active wear section of Old Navy hoping I would find an active top I could bring to Iceland in two weeks, the kind that wicks moisture away, but I didn’t want to pay a lot because I’ll likely never wear it to work out in.  I was distracted by a super cute tank top with the words “Drop, squat, & hustle.”  I love this tank top.  It’s the best.

Drop, squat & hustle

Squats are my favorite exercise, even more, leg day is my favorite day at the gym.  I’m really good at squats and my legs are where most of my strength lies.  Most of the time people moan and groan about leg day, but not me.  I’m very proud to say that my current personal record for squats is 155 pounds, 40 pounds more than what I weigh.  I just found out that a co-worker of mine also lifts and her personal record is 260 pounds! I’m completely jealous of her and it’s all the more motivation I need to work towards my personal record going even higher in 2015.

This tank top is great and all, but there is one little problem with it: I can’t wear it to do squats in. Once you get past squatting a barbell, 45 pounds, performing squats in anything less than a shirt is uncomfortable.  I’m getting to the point now where I have to put a towel on the bar otherwise it presses too hard into my skin.  My gym does have barbell pads, but they are so thick I fear the bar would slip right off my back.  Moving forward, I may invest my own barbell pad thinner than the ones at my gym as Jake and I keep adding more weight on to our lifts.  I also may invest in grips or straps for my dead lifts, especially straight leg dead lifts, as my grip strength has yet to improve even after two years.  Any suggestions on helping my lifts or accessories that I could use to improve my lifts are welcome!

Caught in the Cold

I’m at home sick today which is a rare occurrence for me.  Generally speaking, I don’t get colds and if I do they don’t turn out to be that bad. Because I was up most of the night not being able to get sleep because of the congestion and sore throat, I decided to take a sick day to rest up, drink fluids, and cat nap.  A couple of people at work were sick last week, so I started to take action to keep the sickness at bay.  Didn’t completely work, but I still feel like my methods are good to know.

It’s been a good two years since I’ve been sick with a full on cold, and I attribute it to my healthy lifestyle including going the gym, eating right, and taking vitamins.  Last week, I started drinking vitamin supplements, more than what I usually take.  On a day-to-day basis I take vitamin C, multi-vitamins, and fish oil.  I know some people are a little skeptical on vitamin supplements, but I’ve seen an improvement in my health because of them.  Vitamin C was for my immune system, after I contracted a terrible cold two years ago, and I believe it’s helped that plus my skin and hair.  Multi-vitamin is simply that, to fill in the gaps of my daily diet.  Fish oil has helped my knees and joints especially ever since I began running about a year and half ago.  When those around me get sick, like at work, or when I start feeling under the weather I start taking Emergen-C, Airborne, or something along those lines.  Last week the CVS brand was on sale for buy one get one free, so I stocked up for home and work.  My Blender Bottle is perfect for mixing it up too.

I’m keeping up my fluids, which includes the vitamin drink, water, and my previously blogged about Lipton Decaffeinated Honey Lemon Green Tea.  Jake came down with a cold too so I brewed him a cup and he loved it.  The only medicine I’m taking for the sinus pressure, is a non-drowsy nasal decongestant, such as Sudafed.  It keeps the congestion and sinus pressure down, as well as helps drains any fluid build up.  A lot of people think that when they have a cold for longer than a few days that they have a sinus infection that requires a doctor visit.  Doctor’s often prescribe an antibiotic because it makes the patient feel at ease, but most of the time it’s prescribed for a viral infection that is completely unaffected by antibiotics.  Antibiotics are only needed if it’s a bacterial infection, which requires a blood draw to confirm.  I’m not a doctor so I can’t tell anyone what the right thing to do is, but it really bothers me that people rely on antibiotics for something as simple as a cold.

As crazy as this sounds, going to the gym is still in my routine when I catch a cold.  As long as you don’t do more than your normal routine and your cold is from the neck up going to gym is perfectly acceptable.  I’m extra careful when I go to gym with a cold, making sure I wash my hands before and after my workout, avoid touching my face, and wiping down all of the equipment I use.  After the workout I sit in the sauna for a few minutes then head back home and get right back into bed.  Monday was when I started feeling under the weather, so I went for a quick run and it made my sinuses feel less congested.  I swear by going the gym, I really do.  Even if it’s just for being active, I wish everyone at least gave it a try for eight weeks.  That’s about how long it takes to see results.  Gym time has changed my life.  I really love it.

It’s getting to be that time of year when colds are inevitable as people start to stay inside more.  I also know it’s difficult for some people to get out of school or work, but staying home is really the best medicine for getting well.  If you can take the pay cut for the day or get an excused absence from school, take the personal time and be the healthiest person you can be.