Iconic words by Barbara Bush

Former First Lady Barbara Bush passed away yesterday, on April 17th 2018, at age 92.

I could go on for hours about how much I love this woman – her passion, her love, her sense of humor – but I will keep it short and sweet for the sake of this blog. Truly an iconic woman, my favorite trait of Mrs. Bush was her passion for family literacy. She truly believed that families could learn together, and strived to eliminate illiteracy in families across the United States by promoting the benefits of family literacy through the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy.

Also irreplaceable is the love that her and her husband, President George H.W. Bush shared. She met him when she was sixteen years old, and they were engaged to be married eighteen months later – a marriage that lasted up until her last day on this Earth. Between the two came six children, fourteen grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. Her family’s legacy is one that is indescribable, but one that can be seen by all.

I want to end this post with a quote taken directly from her iconic, and highly criticized, Wellesley College Commencement Speech given back in 1990. She addressed the graduating class, stressing the importance of family and cherishing connections with other people – something that I feel so strongly for. Her words have never been forgotten.

“The third choice that must not be missed is to cherish your human connections: your relationships with family and friends. For several years, you’ve had impressed upon you the importance to your career of dedication and hard work, and, of course, that’s true. But as important as your obligations as a doctor, lawyer, or business leader will be, you are a human being first and those human connections — with spouses, with children, with friends — are the most important investments you will ever make. 

At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a child, a friend, or a parent.” 

May she rest in peace. xoxo.

Will we ever see sun?

This weekend was supposed to be jam packed with a multitude of activities, most of which I was looking forward to after the last couple weeks I’ve had. But, the fate of my plans was decided by the ice storm that decided to make its presence in Western New York mid-April because, why the hell not? Right?

Friday’s plans went smoothly – my boyfriend, my parents, and I went to the Seneca Niagara Casino for dinner and to see Piff the Magic Dragon. For those that don’t know, he is a magician and comedian from the United Kingdom. He appeared on America’s Got Talent in 2015, which is where my family grew to know and love him. We found out he was doing two shows in Niagara Falls when my dad was in Vegas, staying at the hotel in which his stage show is located. His Vegas shows were all sold out at the time my dad was there, and upon looking, learned he was coming here. Dinner and the show did not disappoint and was undoubtedly the highlight of my weekend!

Saturday and Sunday’s plans did not follow suit. All week there was news of an ice storm looming over our heads, something that I totally did not want to believe to be true. But, sure enough, right at 2:00PM on Saturday, the ice storm began, right on time might I add. The entire thing was wild to me because for one, the weather where my brother lives 3 hours away in Ohio was above 80 degrees, and across the state it was the same – patio beer, shorts and sandals weather. But, we have to remember Buffalo does what Buffalo wants, and Buffalo clearly wants winter to stick around forever. Because of this ice storm, travel bans were set in place and I did not leave my house once the remainder of the weekend. Would it have been great to follow through with original plans of going out with friends on Saturday night, and to a culinary fair at Erie County Community College on Sunday? Oh, absolutely. These are things I was looking forward to for weeks.

However, my totally unexpected weekend in did feel great. I slept in past my usual weekend wake up of 8:30AM, stayed in pajamas, caught up on some shows, did some online shopping, and just relaxed. When I tell you I didn’t even make an attempt to leave the house this weekend, it is not a lie. I didn’t even do so much as open the door to my house. I will say that staying in and doing nothing is totally not my style, but it felt great to just unwind and spend time with my parents and do absolutely nothing. Plus, it totally has kick-started me to gearing up for the week ahead.

Did the weather put a damper on your weekend plans? xoxo.

 

World baton twirling day

Last year on this day, I penned a post dedicated to a sport that has not only given me lifelong friends, but taught me lifelong lessons. Baton twirling had such a positive impact on me growing up and, essentially, helped shape me into the [kind-of] woman I am today. I’ve not only had the pleasure to compete at local, state, and national contests, but I’ve had the pleasure of coming out of these contests on top. While winning doesn’t mean everything, as I feel your greatest life lessons come from “failure,” it feels great to say I am a New York State or National Champion. The friendships I’ve formed and the I’ve memories made throughout my 13 years of twirling are completely irreplaceable and will never be forgotten.

So, in honor of World Baton Twirling Day, I will share the post I wrote last year. Enjoy, xoxo.

Life’s Most Important Lessons, Learned Through Baton Twirling

According to all sorts of social media, today is World Baton Twirling Day. This is a part of my life that some of you may know about, while others might not.

The first time I ever picked up a baton, I was 5 years old. Back then, I cannot imagine my parents would have imagined all I had accomplished through this sport, because I certainly didn’t. Many parents place their children in a studio with the goal of going to class every week, making friends, and performing in an end-of-year recital. I was so fortunate to accomplish this, in addition to having many local, state, and national championships under my belt.

Here I am at 24 years old and my twirling career is now 6 years in the past. Some days, I find it hard to believe it has been that long, because the memories seemed as if they happened last week.

I learned countless tricks over my 13 year ‘career,’ but it’s the other stuff that I cherish more. This sport shaped me into the person I am today, and I cannot thank my parents, my coach, or my teammates enough.

Lesson 1: Hard work pays off. I logged more hours into baton twirling than most people do their routine 9-5 jobs. Endless practices at the studio, local school gyms, parking lots, driveways, sidewalks. There were so many tricks that seemed impossible, but through dedication and hard work, you could get it. Always work hard. Work hard for that promotion. Work hard for that degree. Work hard for fighting for your beliefs. With hard work comes success. It is possible for anyone and everyone.

Lesson 2: Teamwork. I was able to not only twirl solo, but in a group as well. Whether it was a recital team or a national team, from a young age, you learn every member mattered. You learned really fast that you have to put your trust in others to get the success you want. If you don’t trust those around you, you won’t get the payoff. It was almost easy to trust each other, as we spent days on end together practicing – reaching for the same goal. I was fortunate enough to be on a team with lifelong friends who, together, we won countless local, state, and national championships. None of this could have happened without our solid relationship.

Lesson 3: You will fail, and it will be okay. The most obvious form of failure in twirling is the drop. In this sport, I learned that you will not always be perfect. You won’t always have an all-catch. You won’t always win first place. But what you will have is a new perspective. I learned that if at first you don’t succeed, you pick yourself back up, and try again. I was my biggest motivator – it was all in my hands. How you carry yourself and pick yourself back up pushes you to work harder and harder. This is something I have carried on with me through every single aspect of my life.

Lesson 4: Respect. From a young age, I learned how to congratulate others that placed ahead of me. I’ve learned to appreciate talent when I see it. I knew I was not the best in the world, but I knew how to treat the ones who were. I also learned how to respect myself. Being a sore loser will get you nowhere in life – it is all about the effort. There are times you will put in your best performance and not get the top spot. The important thing is that you put your best effort into every single thing you do – when you do, you will walk away feeling like a winner regardless of the place.

I can’t wait to one day have a child of my own and have them become a member of the twirling world [if they want to be, of course]. It is so much more than holding a metal stick with two white, rubber ends. xoxo.

Just another manic Monday

Happy Monday, everyone!

I don’t know about any of you out there, but this Monday is my first day back to work after spring break. Do I want to be at work today? To be completely honest, no. The last few days have been totally unplanned and unexpected, and not for the better. I had this vision of spending my last few days of break relaxing and, really, it was anything but. So, the thought of my alarm going off this morning and having to make the trek to work was something that I wasn’t particularly looking forward to.

Another thing I really need to acknowledge is this weather. Where the hell is spring, and why hasn’t it arrived yet? I am so sick of waking up to snow on the most random days of the week. I mean, the whole idea of having to switch back and forth between spring jackets, to vests, back to my knee-length North Face is a concept that I am completely sick of and ready to move on from. I had these high hopes during my past week off to start preparing for my big move by packing up all of my winter stuff but, because Buffalo is so awesome with weather, the joke was on me – I needed all of these clothes readily available.

I don’t know. Did I really have a point to this post? Other than to have a reason to complain and whine and carry on, no not really. I’m just ready for some sunshine and some relaxation.

I wonder which will come first? xoxo.

March 2018 | An overview

When switching over our calendar from March to April yesterday [yes, I am a little behind], I realized that I have been slacking on recapping my months recently on the blog. Sure, these posts can get extremely repetitive, but in addition to looking forward to the months ahead, I enjoy looking back on the month we’ve recently put behind us. March was packed, as I am sure you can tell from our calendar.

We started the first weekend of the month on somewhat of a whirlwind. Thursday, we signed the papers for our new place, making my boyfriend and I officially roomies for literally the remainder of our life. We had bad weather expected to come throughout the night, but while we were signing our papers, the weather was perfectly clear and I didn’t really understand why schools and businesses were already closing when there was nothing significant happening outside. Boy, was I wrong. Overnight we got walloped with a giant snow storm. The closing lists on the news broke over 600 schools and businesses, my car was completely snowed in on the street, we couldn’t see out of the window. I was soon thankful for my snow day and not having to leave the house at all for over 24 hours! Two days later, my boyfriend went to pick his brother up and bring him home after his time as a Marine. So, with the crazy weather, as I am sure you assume, I was a ball of stress from the time he left until the time they got home safely, as I didn’t want them to experience any trouble in their travels.

That same week, I celebrated my one year anniversary at work, and then March Madness began. The NCAA Tournament is something that we look forward to every year. Not only is it something to do, but it is beyond exciting to watch day in and day out. And, boy, this year did not disappoint! Upset after upset, local teams getting in, you name it. This year’s tournament really was madness! *Also, shoutout to me, because I won our bracket pool. Thank you, thank you very much.* 

Before you knew it, we were already approaching St. Patrick’s Day weekend. Parade weekend in Buffalo is one of the craziest weekends of the year. It seems like every single person in the city comes out of the woodwork for this one event, and it’s always a blast! I mean, we are one of the top rated cities in the country when it comes to St. Paddy’s Day! After meeting up with my parents, watching the parade, going to some bars, and eating some food, I was beyond exhausted and ready to crawl into bed and prepare myself for work the next morning. That same week, I celebrated my friend’s first heavenly birthday with a memorial mass and bench dedication at my old high school, as well as a dinner following the event. It was great to see everyone again and was great to reminisce on the good times in a time of despair.

My brother came home from college for Spring Break, which was totally refreshing after a week full of a rollercoaster of emotions. We spent as much of the week as we could as a family, doing things like going to the Broadway Market on Palm Sunday, going out to some of his favorite places for dinner, going to the Science Museum, the mall, fish fries – you name it, we did it. Before you knew it, the week was over and we were in Buffalo celebrating the wedding of my cousin on the last day of the month. It was his last night home, so it was somewhat perfect timing that we were all able to spend time together. The following day was the first of April, aka Easter Sunday, and he was back to Ohio after brunch to finish off the remainder of his first year of college.

Here we are, already into our first week of April, and as always, I am wondering where the heck time is flying off to.

What are some highlights you have from the month of March? xoxo.

What happens on spring break, stays on spring break | New home

I took a mini poll yesterday on my Instagram asking my followers to like this photo if they wanted me to dive into some details about my insane, unplanned shopping spree yesterday. Whether this picture got one like or one million, I totally planned on doing this not-so-mini haul so that you all could judge me and publically shun me for going way too overboard. I mean, honestly, a week off of work, a new home to decorate, money in my pocket – what did we expect to happen?

*spoiler alert: I got way more than what’s shown in my featured photo*

What’s going to happen here is I am going to break down my day exactly as it occurred – I will explain each piece, why I wanted them [or felt I needed them], the price, and what store they came from. I am going to try to do my absolute best to keep them not only in order of stores visited, but in order of what I found first, second, third, etc. This post is going to be extremely long, so go ahead and make a cup of coffee, grab a snack, and fasten your seatbelts; you and I are going to be in for a wild ride!

Rae Dunn Mugs – $4.00 each – TJ Maxx

I have a vision to put a little coffee bar/corner in our new place, so having a set of mugs that can be displayed and match perfectly was a must for me. I’ve had my eye on the entire Rae Dunn brand for a while, and when I caught wind some time ago that pieces were often sold at discount stores like TJ Maxx, I got excited to begin this search. Now, I will be completely honest with you, I did not go into TJ Maxx with the purpose of finding anything, or even having Rae Dunn in mind. It kind of just happened. I decided on two mugs with larger font, and two mugs with the smaller font so that while they were different, they were still basically the same. Plus, I’ve seen these mugs online for $10.00+ so naturally, at this low price, I had to buy more than two, right?

Rae Dunn Serving Platter – $12.00 – TJ Maxx

Now, did I really need a serving dish? Probably not. I picked this platter up and put it down probably six times, and was undoubtedly making the other shoppers angry because I was practically staked out in front of the display where this was homed. I had a few ask me to move a few times, I’m not going to lie, but I really couldn’t decide. I did so much as text my mom [adulting. . am I right?] to ask her if I really needed this, or if it was a stupid purchase. With her support, I decided, the hell with it, and I got it anyway. When I got back to my car, I was looking for this exact piece online, and it made me even happier with my decision when I found out that it’s up for sale on Mercari for $61.00! I’ve been nonstop thinking of how or if I want to display this piece in our kitchen, so stay tuned for updates like that, or how we even decide to use this.

Inspirational Sign – $3.00 – TJ Maxx

I would have paid the sticker price of $8.00 for this piece, but luck was on my side, because it was on clearance for an even lower price of $3.00! I am somewhat convinced it was on clearance because there is an extremely small chip in the back, but its the back, so who the hell cares? What I liked almost the most about this piece is that it is extremely heavy. By no means does it feel cheap or look cheap. Again, I don’t really have a plan for where this piece will go, but it’s one I really couldn’t pass up, even with my boyfriend’s hatred for inspirational signs. It’s made me not able to justify paying high prices for pieces like this, because TJ Maxx had such cute ones for all under $10.00!

25 Non-Slip/Velour Hangers – $5.00 each – TJ Maxx

Yes, you read that right. I got 50 non-slip hangers for $10.00! I don’t really know if I will need 50 hangers, but I totally couldn’t justify passing these up for the price. Plus, too many is better than not enough, right? *I don’t really have much else to say about these because, come on, they’re hangers!*

TableCraft Stainless Steel Box Grater – $3.00 – TJ Maxx

Again, another boring purchase, but something that we didn’t already have and I don’t know if we will ever really need. It’s extremely small which made me want it even more because mini versions of big products get me every single time. They’re just so much cuter and I need them all. I’m sorry I’m like this.

Fieldcrest Shower Curtain – $8.98 – Target

For the record, I went into Target for a shipping envelope. Naturally, I came out with more than I wanted or needed, but I got it anyway. I found this white pleated shower curtain in the clearance section on my way to the cash registers to check out [damn you, Target. . I was so close]. This product was originally priced at $29.99 and I got it for under $9.00. I mean, come on. The Target spell got me and I got a shower curtain that we don’t really need, but now we have it anyway. Plus it’s white which makes it even better because white is good for the soul.

Hearth and Hand with Magnolia Stoneware Sugar Cellar Cream and Sugar Canisters – $5.99 each – Target

Another addition to my coffee bar vision. I didn’t want a giant cream or sugar canister because I am the only one who uses cream and sugar in my coffee, and I know that the cream canister won’t always be practically used. I thought these were reasonably priced, good size, and aesthetically pleasing, so I went ahead and bought them. Did I really think I was going to make it out of Target with just the shipping envelope I needed?

Chesapeake Bay Mind & Body Candle: reflection + clarity sea salt sage – $5.99 – Target

As I previously mentioned on the blog, I bought a shelf for our bedroom that perfectly matched our bedding. I picked up this candle because I was on the hunt for things to put on this shelf that matched, looked cute, and weren’t too heavy. I hit the nail right on the head with this one. This candle is small, the perfect shade of blue to match our bedding, and will look great plopped atop the shelf I previously bought at Kohl’s. Again, not necessary, but at this point I was caught up in my spending spree and could not be controlled.

Rae Dunn Large Canisters – $14.00 each – Marshalls 

This is where things started to get out of control. I had a plan to meet my mother for lunch, but after my morning spending, I found myself with another hour to kill and didn’t really want to drive back home to go back in the same direction an hour later. So, off I headed to Marshalls to waste some time and wander around the outlet mall for a bit. Well, I did very little wandering and didn’t venture into the rest of the mall because I lost total control of my mind and body in Marshalls when I saw two entire walls of Rae Dunn merchandise. The first two pieces I picked up were these large canisters – one for flour, the other for cookies. What I like most about these pieces is that they are taller than they are wide, so they won’t take up a lot of space, which is ideal! When I found the cookie jar, I actually let out a giant gasp in the middle of the store. People started to stare but I didn’t care. Not only was it perfectly labeled “STASH.” but it got more perfect when the blue trim around the bottom of the cookie jar perfectly matched my ice blue KitchenAid Mixer. It was too aesthetically pleasing for me to handle and I put them in my cart so fast that I am flabbergasted that they made it home safely in one piece. I ended up finding the STASH. cookie jar/canister on Mercari for $21.00 and the flour jar on Mercari for $45.00, so thanks Marshalls. You’re the real MVP.

Rae Dunn Box Sign/Desk Paperweight – $4.99 – Marshalls

Did I need another inspirational sign? Nope. Did I get this anyway? You bet! Plus, it’s double sided so you’re really getting two things for the price of one, making this box sign it’s own special bargain. I ended up finding this exact piece on Amazon for around $18.00 so, again, I felt better with my purchases after I learned how much I was actually saving in the process of overspending.

Rae Dunn Think Canister – $4.99 – Marshalls

I am pretty sure this piece is supposed to be used on a work desk to store pens, scissors, etc., but I have plans of using this as a mini vase for either some flowers or succulents! I went back and forth with whether or not I should get this piece, but I went for it because, quite frankly, I was already deep into a hole that I dug myself and there wasn’t really any turning back now. I found the exact piece on Mercari for $21.00 and, you guessed it, that’s another bargain in the books! My sweat levels at this point went down a bit by justifying the fact I really did save money, and maybe I didn’t really have a shopping problem.

Isaac Jacobs 4×6 Picture Frame – $3.00 – Marshalls

I want to start off this snippet by saying whoever works at Marshalls and put the sticky price tag on the front of this frame – you suck! This is another piece I picked up to maybe place on our new bedroom shelf, or an end table somewhere in our place. I’ve seen similar frames to this one at Target for $15.00+ which I think is extremely high, so when I saw it at this low price, I decided to grab it.

So, there you have it. That’s everything I managed to tell myself I needed yesterday. If you made it to the end of this post while still keeping full-sanity, congratulations! You are a trooper! If you’re any good at math and were somehow keeping track during this post, you’d know that I spent just over $100.00 for everything featured in this post. So, yes, $100.00 isn’t the cheapest shopping haul in the world, however, for 18 items, [some of them extremely, extremely, discounted], I would say my day filled of shopping yesterday was nothing short of a success!

If you like what you see, or even if you don’t – let me know your feelings! I love having conversations about home goods – hence me repeatedly texting my mother in the middle of the store asking if I really need these things or not, etc. –  so I’d love to know what you have to say! Do you think I need more? Less? Do we have the same taste?

Until next time, my friends. xoxo.

 

 

Acceptance

Today, April 2nd, is not only the second day of Autism Awareness Month, but is World Autism Awareness Day!

World Autism Awareness Day is celebrated annually on April 2nd, encouraging nations to take measures to raise acceptance about people with autism around the world. April 2nd is also a day to campaign “Light it Up Blue” – honoring people with autism by lighting up thousands of buildings and monuments the color blue. Awareness is also spread by wearing the color blue to start a conversation towards helping individuals with autism.

Autism refers to a range of conditions characterized by deficits or challenges in social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, and unique strengths and differences. The most obvious signs appear between ages 2 and 3, but in some cases, autism can be diagnosed as early as 18 months of age. Autism is considered a spectrum disorder in that it reflects the vast variation in strengths and challenges that these individuals possess, hence the significance of the puzzle piece “logo” – no two individuals with autism are alike.

Autism effects 1 in 68 children in the United States. This includes 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls. Around one third of individuals with autism remain nonverbal, and one third of individuals with autism also have an intellectual disability. Medical and mental health issues that are often accompanied by an autism diagnosis are gastrointestinal disorders, seizures, sleep disturbances, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, and phobias.

I could bore you with the facts all day. But, essentially, it isn’t the facts that matter –  its the acceptance. I have the privilege and the blessing to work in a school for children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, so this month and this day have a high significance for me. There are many sides to autism – hence the spectrum – that you don’t always see in the mainstream media. More often than not, you see the kiddos with autism that are higher functioning – they have a special talent, or academic understanding way beyond their peers. Heck, sometimes way beyond me! While these kiddos are remarkable, they are at one end of the spectrum. The other end, that’s the one we don’t always talk about. That’s the end we don’t always accept

I don’t work in a school with those kids you see on television. The children I work with are at the other end – the end where they are nonverbal; the end where they’re in their double digits and aren’t potty trained; the end where they can’t feed themselves or even take care of basic hygiene needs on their own. I experience the end where aggressive meltdowns are had over a microscopic change in daily routine, biting happens out of excitement, disrobing happens more times than not, and uncontrollable laughter is heard during lockdown drills. These are the children that oftentimes don’t get a chance. These are the children that you see on an iPad at a restaurant, having a meltdown in the middle of the grocery store, or “running wild” at birthday parties. These are the children that are often blamed as being the result of bad parenting. These are the children that aren’t accepted.

When I tell people what I do, I am often met with some response revolving around how I must be a special person, or how I am changing the lives of these kids. While I appreciate the comments, essentially, it goes way deeper than that. I’m not the ones changing the lives’ of these kids – they’re changing mine. I assume that you are now thinking, *What? How is that even possible?* Well, let me tell you. It is. Without these kiddos, I would not understand the true meaning of patience, understanding, or unconditional love. In one short year, they have changed me into what I believe is a more well-rounded, patient individual. My job is hard. There are days that I leave and sit in my car replaying my day, picturing everything that went wrong, wondering why I am even doing what I do. But then, the next day comes, it’s a clean slate. That next day, you have the pleasure of working with a child and they score 100% on following 2-step directions for the first time, or have a party for a child who has kept dry pants all day, or hear a child successfully say his own name. Heck, even telling a mom her child pooped in school for the first time ever in his school career – these are the moments that matter.

Acceptance begins when you stop believing that every kid you see crying in the store is a brat. Acceptance begins when you understand that not every kiddo has the ability to express when they are feeling sick, or hungry, or need to use the bathroom. Acceptance begins when you have patience and understanding of the world around you. Acceptance begins when you become aware that not everything is as it seems.

On April 28th, I will be participating in my school’s annual Autism Walk. If you would like to support this school and my students, the donation link to my page is here.

xoxo.

Faves and flops | Beauty edition

In the past couple months, I’ve dove into everything from ride or dies to clearance finds to hyped up beauty products. I’m always down to try something new when it comes to beauty products, so naturally, in my search of finding products to add to my daily morning routine, I will find products that I am not a huge fan of. It’s a rarity that I shop high end makeup. If we’re being completely honest, the amount of high end beauty products that I own are less than five. With that being said, I feel like I am more likely to run into more products that are more of a flop than anything because, really, you get what you pay for.

Rimmel Stay Matte Long Lasting Pressed Powder: 003 Natural 

I wanted so badly to like this powder. I tried the transition from loose powder to pressed and I had some success with e.l.f in this domain with their $6.00 Perfect Finish HD Powder. One thing, though, that I didn’t like about the e.l.f. product is that it gave off a white cast in the rare occasion that I found myself in the presence of flash photography. With that being said, I tried the shift to the Rimmel pressed powder because it had a slight, natural, tint to it. And for $3.99 at Target I figured I’d give it a try in hopes that it would be a cheap success. I really liked this product initially, but as I used it more and more, it became increasingly difficult to get product out of the compact and onto my powder brush. I eventually hit pan in the center of the compact, but the outer ridges were completely hard and impossible to work with. I went so far as try to scrape a top layer off, but I am telling you.. this product would not budge, thus turning this product into a flop, and one that I would not purchase again.

Sonia Kashuk Eye Palette: 10 Perfectly Neutral

I picked this item up in clearance at Target back in January for $7.14. While you can’t get these products online anymore [maybe there’s still some floating around in clearance??] due to the whole Sonia Kashuk rebrand that occurred recently, its okay. Because, really, you aren’t missing out. The only shade I enjoy in this palette is the white shade that happens to be hidden by the clearance tag in my original post. I reach for it as an all-over lid shade to set my concealer/eyeshadow primer. The other five shades, though, are a total pass for me. They have little to no pigment, and the product is hard to pick up. I’ve tried going in with a makeup brush, I’ve tried going in with my finger, I’ve tried wetting the brush, everything. This product simply does not work unless you are going for a super-natural, totally un-pigmented look. I can’t imagine paying the original price of $14.49 for this product, but because I got it for nearly half off, I am not too upset by this flop.

NYX Professional Makeup Total Control Drop Foundation: Light Ivory

I tried this product a long time ago. Long meaning it was the second foundation I ever purchased almost two years ago, and I didn’t really love or hate it. Overall, it was just meh to me and I didn’t think twice about it and moved on to the next product I wanted to try. Within the last six months or so, I went back to this product, repurchased it, and tried it again, as I didn’t really know why I had no feelings on it. For $13.99 I do not think this product is worth it. While it gives you the ability to go from sheer to full coverage, by the time you get the look you want, you’ve either used half the bottle or your face feels like it weighs 800-pounds. I also found it somewhat difficult to blend out and more times than not, my skin was left looking uneven and patchy in places. And the whole dripping thing? I found it to be more of a hassle than anything. I will say, though, that the color match was outstanding for me but overall, I wouldn’t go for this again.

I am now going to save this post by ending it on a positive note with makeup products that I have totally fallen in love with lately, and are making their way to becoming some of my ride or dies in my beauty routine.

Sonia Kashuk Makeup Blender Sponge: Marble

I will start off this little snippet by saying, I hate buying makeup blending sponges. More times than not, these products are so expensive, and I tend to overuse them past the point of when I should probably be buying a new one for sanitary purposes. So, recently, the time had come and I couldn’t fathom doing my makeup another day with my old, overused blending sponge. Off to Target I went where I picked up a beauty sponge by Sonia Kashuk for $7.00. Now, I have only been wearing foundation consistently for a year-and-a-half-ish, so I am no pro when it comes to the best beauty sponges in the world. However, this makeup blender is amazing. It is so soft, while still remaining perfectly firm, and applies makeup beautifully. I find myself not having to use as much product, as this sponge distributes any amount of makeup evenly, and leaves you with a lighter, natural-feeling face. I am so happy I chose this one from the wall of beauty sponges because it does not disappoint [or break the bank]!

Wet n Wild MegaSlicks Lip Gloss

Hoooooly cow, guys. This is the best lip gloss in the world! I ran into RiteAid to print some pictures and decided to look through their makeup selection because, honestly, I never go to RiteAid [or Walgreens for that matter] even though there are at least 5 within a short distance from my house. I always wondered where beauty gurus found all these Wet n Wild products because my local Target has the crappiest selection for Wet n Wild in the entire universe. I ended up picking up two of these lip glosses, as they were buy one get one 50% off, and for a starting price of $2.49, that means I got two lip glosses for under $4.00! I got the shades Rose Gold and Bronze Berry. I am totally not a gloss girl – I hate the sticky feeling, and the hassle that comes with your hair always somehow getting stuck to your lips. This formula, though, is above the rest. It is comfortable, not sticky, and adds the perfect amount of a juicy shine. The berry shade I apply when I want more of a dressy, statement lip without being too bold and in your face. The rose gold shade, however, I wear every. single. day. I am not even exaggerating, I have already done some damage to this tube and will have to be buying a replacement sooner or later. It is the perfect shade, it goes with everything, and adds the perfect amount of shine and color while still remaining semi-neutral. I am a new fan of this brand and can’t wait to get my hands on more of their products in the future!

Ardell Deluxe Pack Eyelash Kit: 110 Black

Being the wannabe beauty guru that I am, I have worn fake eyelashes twice in my lifetime. Both occasions, falling on the weeks of dance rehearsals/recitals. I have decently long eyelashes, so I never really understood why I would add more lashes on top of it. Plus, who wants to wear a dramatic lash to the grocery store? It just didn’t seem logical to me. I, however, was looking into trying new things and branching out my beauty collection, so I got this eyelash kit from Target for $5.99. I figured the price was right, and the lashes didn’t look too dramatic to try out for everyday use here and there. I have worn them once and I can say, I really like them! While I still can’t see myself applying fake lashes everyday of my life, they are extremely comfortable, easy to apply, and look more natural than most fake lashes out there. And, I love that it comes with an application tool because the first two times I ever tried applying fake lashes, I didn’t have a tool or a clue on how do successfully do this. So, for all you beginners out there, look no further! This kit is for you!

Covergirl Clean Professional Loose Powder for Normal Skin: 105 Translucent Fair 

After my total fail with the Rimmel pressed powder mentioned above, I went back to my tried and true loose powder from Covergirl. My mom uses this product, so when I first started exploring with makeup, this is a product that I knew I had to get for myself since it was so consistent in her beauty routine. For less than $6.00 this is a product I believe should totally be a staple in your beauty routine. It gives you a smooth, airbrushed finished while still remaining lightweight and fresh-feeling. For me, it goes so far as to reduce any shine that may pop through as the day goes on, and evens out my skin tone. So, for now, I am back to my #1 and can’t see myself straying away or trying new things for a while now [or at least until this product runs out completely].

What are some of your beauty faves and flops? xoxo