Favorites | December 2015

Merry Christmas everyone! Not only has another month gone by, but it’s nearing the end of another year. I hope everyone’s Christmas and holiday season has been wonderful, full of joy, and that the New Year brings many new adventures. After this month, we all start with a new year that can be anything we want. More about New Year’s Resolutions later – let’s get into what I’ve been loving in the final month of 2015!

Beauty

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream Cannes $5.99

NYX matte lip cream This is a product I mentioned in a previous Friday Favorites and wanted to give it another shout out. It’s the perfect everyday terra cotta color that I can wear to work, on a date, or to dinner and I don’t have to worry about it wearing off too fast or moving around. It’s definitely not a stay all day liquid-to-matte lip color, but I like a lot more than others I’ve tried out. More of these are on my list of items to try int 2016!

Urban Decay Naked Concealer Light Neutral $28

UD Concealer close up

Ulta puts out a 20% off coupon leading up the holidays, and this was my splurge thanks to that coupon. I had heard amazing things about this concealer and had tried it on at Sephora and Ulta many times before purchasing it. Overall, this is a great concealer. I love the packaging, the applicator is doe foot with a stopper at the top which keeps too much from coming out. The consistency is thin, and seamless yet it provides amazing coverage. I use mine on my under eye and it covers discoloration and provides brightening at the same time. Sometimes I skip using my color correcting concealer when I’ve been using this concealer, and I feel like I still get great coverage of any discolorationconcealer comparison

I’m really loving this concealer and I’m happy I purchased it, but I do want to mention a product in my collection that reminds me of the Urband Decay concealer. Back in summer, I purchased the Maybelline Super Stay Better Skin Concealer and I fell in love with the consistency and how it performed on my under eye. My Maybelline concealer is thinner than the Urban Decay, but I would still say say it’s similar to the Urban Decay concealer in how it performs, and even it’s packaging with a similar round container and doe foot applicator. The pictures make it seem that the Urban Decay concealer is light, and it is at first, but it oxidizes to about the same shade as the Maybelline concealer. The Maybelline stopper isn’t as good as the Urban Decay concealer, however, and it can get a little messy. If you’re on a budget and have been looking for a new concealer, I recommend trying either (or both!) of these out!

Rimmel Stay Matte Powder $4.99
A few posts ago I wrote about my favorite base products, including my favorite face powders, but this Rimmel powder wasn’t included. I was digging through my foundation/powder makeup drawer and remember this little jem of a product and I’ve been loving it! matte powder

It’s also working great at keeping my shine down throughout the day. I think the trick with this powder is to use a stippling or duo fiber brush to apply it, something I use for all my face powders.power and brush I use the Sigma F15 Duo Fibre Powder/Blush brush, which is also great for highly pigmented blushes, to dust the Rimmel Stay Matte throughout my T-zone before setting in place with the Urban Decay All Nighter.

Fashion

Booties | I purchase a pair of Franco Sarto booties from TJMaxx back in October when I was on the search for the perfect brown bootie. They were priced at $60 which I thought was high for a TJMaxx deal and originally decided against the purchase. Then I couldn’t stop thinking about them, and shamefully turned my car around to go back to the store and purchase them. Best decision ever! These became my go-to shoe that I can wear with practically all my outfits. I can even pull off wearing them to work when I wear khakis.

The heel on these are just high enough for some added height, but not too high to make them uncomfortable for all day wear. I brought them out of town for a North Shore getaway right after purchasing them, and had no problems breaking them in or wearing them all day. I always get compliments on them and I also have a good story about how I almost never purchased them to go with the compliment. I’ll work on adding a photo of them later!

Lifestyle

Polar Seltzer | I have to take a minute to talk about how addicted I am to carbonated and flavored water. I haven’t drank pop or soda in years. Aside from water, I usually have coffee and tea throughout the day. At my previous, everyone in the office was drinking Polar Seltzer bottled water, and was curious to try it out. Mistake. I’m addicted to it and so is Jake. We were going through the one liter bottles that are sold at a local grocery store so fast that it was breaking our budget (and probably our teeth). Then one day the store was selling it 12 ounce cans which is much more cost efficient and helps keep my seltzer drinking to a minimum. My favorite flavors are Ruby Red Grapefruit and Georgia Peach. A lot of people try to give up pop or sugary drinks around the New Year and seltzer water may be a way to help. Check them out if they’re near you! If you’re worried about how carbonated water will impact your teeth, I’ve heard drinking it through a straw helps a bit – do as I say, not as I do!

Bath & Body Works Candle – Frosted Cranberry $22.50

candleThis past fall was the first year I purchased Bath & Body Works three-wick candles, falling to the peer pressure from social media all around me. I enjoyed the scents so much I went back for the holiday seasonal candles, and this Frosted Cranberry has been my favorite of the bunch. I would only purchase these candles when they’re on sale since they’re $22.50 each, and in my opinion burn down pretty fast. I got the fall candles two for $22 and the holiday ones with a coupon for $10 off when they were priced down to $12. If you can still get your hands on this candle and scent, I would recommend it! Check for coupons – Bath & Body Works usually offers some good ones!

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!

Duluth & Making the Move

I’m back! Duluth was awesome! Although I wish the weather would have been better and we could have stayed a bit longer on Sunday. We got up there Friday and the weather was beautiful that afternoon! I hadn’t been to Duluth in about 10 years so I was happy to be there and taking as many pictures as I could. That night we took it easy, only going out for dinner and quick drink.

Saturday we got up and almost missed our runners because we had the start time of the race wrong. The weather was less than idea, cold and rainy, but we still managed to get out and see the runners. We spent a bit of time at the local mall before going out for the evening when the weather cleared up for a good photo session. I was definitely in a vacation mood enjoying some drinks and unhealthy bar food.

IMG_3359IMG_3387

I’m starting my move this weekend and I’m sure I’ll be very busy up until my vacation to San Francisco. I’m only doing a partial move this weekend with most of my belongings that I need to go to work and get ready everyday. In three weeks I’ll finish moving my large furniture items and finish up with deciding on what to keep and what to donate. Since I’m moving in with Jake who has a houseful of belongings already, we’re going to have to work out what to keep and how to organize everything together. We also have a few small house repairs to take care of and some painting to do. The most exciting of the house items is my new IKEA Alex drawer that I purchased this week! I can’t wait to put that thing together and organize the crap out of my makeup collection. Seriously, IKEA’s marketing department must love whoever posted that first makeup collection with their Alex drawers.

I’m working on some new blog posts ideas and continue writing every now and then when I have some time. Next weekend is the Fourth of July, a three-day weekend for me and I’ll spending time at my friend’s cabin roughing it in a tent for a few days. I hoping to still get another blog post up before next weekend, and especially before the San Francisco trip in two weeks!

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.

November

It’s so weird, that right after Halloween everything seems to change.  All the leaves are off the trees, daylight savings times end which means evening activities become less occurring, and the weather gets cooler and cooler.  I’m not going to lie, I’m sad that October is over because now the real cold weather moves in.  Long gone are the beautiful fall days with the many colors of fall.  All the trees are bare and there was frozen water among some trees.  A jacket, at least, is required every time I leave my apartment, along with mittens and a beanie.  Boots have become my main shoe of choice and Jake and I are in full mode bulking season at the gym.

Halloween happened to fall on a Friday this year, which turned out to be quite nice for me.  I work Monday through Friday, so getting to celebrate Halloween to the fullest made me very happy.  This year I went as Little Red Riding Hood and Jake was the Big Bad Wolf.  My job had a small Halloween party, making me incredibly lucky since I can wear my costume to work.  Not many people get that privilege so I consider myself very lucky on Halloween.  It is my favorite holiday!  Today, November 1, feels so much different already.  It was quiet in my apartment building and everyone seemed relaxed.  I say around in my yoga pants all day, bare faced, loving the feeling of a weekend off.  I cleaned my entire apartment and made Crock Pot breakfast potatoes for the week.

The weather is already looking to be more dreary and cold.  It hardly rained a drop in October, something that made this fall amazing, and this week it’s looking to rain (even snow!) three out of the seven days.  Minnesota is winter from about mid November to March, making November bitter-sweet for me.  I don’t hate winter.  I actually quite dislike summer, but Minnesota winters can be too much.  I want a simple winter where you get two or three heavy snow falls throughout the entire season, not one a month.  I’m definitely that person watching national news during the winter months laughing at the east coasts inability to handle a few inches of snow.  Short days don’t help the cause much.  Going to work and leaving work in the dark is terrible.  I get the concept of daylight savings time, but really it’s terrible in states where winter is six months long.

But have no fear, there are many things to look forward to in the next few months.  November is my birthday month, turning 25 might I add.  I’m excited for my birthday month because of all the shopping perks I get this month.  Turning 25 is a bit jarring, however, because you are no longer in your early twenties, but your mid-twenties.  November is also host to Thanksgiving, which I would guess is many Americans favorite holiday. I was actual born on Thanksgiving, so the holiday holds special meaning to me.  The Christmas season draws closer which means decorating and presents.  I work in commerce and retail so the holiday season is stressful, but that doesn’t mean I can’t love the rush of all of it.  I’ve already started my list of gifts for my family and Jake!  In January, Jake and I have a trip booked to Iceland together.  It’s our first real trip together and I couldn’t be more excited!