When doesn’t Ulta Beauty drain my bank account?. . a memoir

I will start off this post by saying that technically I didn’t go into Ulta to shop for myself. However, some of the deals on Black Friday were a teensy bit too good for me to pass up and naturally, I had to make a purchase.

It is no secret to anyone on this blog that I have a new-found love for makeup. While I rarely wear makeup Monday thru Friday thanks to my often increased levels of sweat at my job, I am no stranger to it on the weekends, or even to evening events, dates, whenever I want to feel good about myself, etc.

Fast forward to the information that actually matters.. my Ulta shopping haul. I will make it known right here and now that until I got to the cashwrap and saw the massive display of Morphe Cosmetics, I only had one thing in my shopping bag. But, thanks to some peer pressure from my boyfriend to “treat myself on your first Black Friday,” here we are with enough makeup to do a mini-store haul.

Item #1: Smashbox Studio to Go Eyes 

This $10 bundle was way too good to pass up, mostly because never in my life have I tried anything from Smashbox, but also because getting a $27 value for $10 is incredible. In this mini bundle, you receive a 0.06oz Photo Op Eye Shadow Single in the shade Nude, as well as a 0.02oz Deluxe Size Always on Gel Liner in Fishnet (black). Since I bought this bundle, I have worn this on my eyes every single day. The shadow goes on so smoothly and is so pigmented, and the liner is absolutely to die for – they weren’t kidding when they said it was weightless. I am looking forward to purchasing, for sure, the gel liner in full-size once this mini runs out!

Item #2 : NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream 3 Piece Set

NYX SOFT MATTE LIP CREAM IS MY FAVORITE LIP PRODUCT TO DATE. Did I need the unnecessary caps lock? Yes, yes I did because I need to get the point across to you that not only is this product super affordable, but it stays on all day, feels weightless as ever, and the colors are so pigmented that you feel as if you are wearing a high-end lip product. This bundle was $12, saving $6 from its’ $18 value. Ulta had a wide array of trios available, but my eye went directly to the one I purchased as every single shade of these 0.27oz lippies were new! Austin (a pink shade), Los Angeles (a brown shade), and Warsaw (a purple shade), are all everyday-appropriate and products that I will for sure grab for when I go to complete my look.

Item #3 and #4: Morphe 25A Copper Spice and 25B Bronzed Mocha Eyeshadow Palettes 

I combined these two items together solely for the fact that what I say about one will directly mimic the other. The Jaclyn Hill Eyeshadow Palette was the first product I’ve ever purchased from this brand and, I swear to you on my life, that I have never reached for another eyeshadow palette ever again. Every other palette I own has been pushed aside or tucked away in makeup storage due to their sub-par quality as compared to Morphe’s pigment, bendability, and creamy color. So, much to my [pleasant] surprise, when I saw Morphe at the cashwrap, it all went down. I picked up these two eyeshadow palettes for a discounted price of $12 a piece. I fell head-over-heels in love with these palettes. The 25A Copper Spice Eyeshadow Palette (top photo) ranges from deep browns and spicy cream shades to fiery metallic and shimmery taupe shades. This palette is perfect for either an extremely neutral to an all out smoky look. The 25B Bronzed Mocha Eyeshadow Palette (bottom photo) ranges from glimmering bronze shades to rich mocha and burgundy shades while having the perfect balance of matte and shimmer. This wide range allows for looks that fit perfectly for any occasion or any lifestyle.

What are some of your most-recent makeup finds? xoxo.

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Find the products mentioned below:

  • Smashbox Studio to Go Eyes: http://www.ulta.com/studio-go-eyes?productId=xlsImpprod17191209
  • NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream 3 Piece Set: http://www.ulta.com/soft-matte-lip-cream-set?productId=xlsImpprod17031155#
  • Morphe 25A Copper Spice Eyeshadow Palette: http://www.ulta.com/25a-copper-spice-eyeshadow-palette?productId=xlsImpprod17081137
  • Morphe 25B Bronzed Mocha Eyeshadow Palette: http://www.ulta.com/25b-bronzed-mocha-eyeshadow-palette?productId=xlsImpprod17081139

 

Sweet tooth Tuesday?!

As some of you may remember, I wrote up a blog post about some treats I found on Pinterest that I was debating making for Thanksgiving. Well, this newest blog post is to reveal which recipe I picked, lay it out for you, and let you hear about the results!

With an over-abundance of pies and cookies, I decided on making the Fall Oreo Acorn Balls. Easy enough for someone like me who has slim-to-no talent in the kitchen, cute and festive enough for the holiday, and tasty enough for anyone of any age to enjoy. So, once I narrowed my choice down, I headed on over to the supermarket, picked up my ingredients, and headed straight to the kitchen to start “baking.”

The process at times seemed extremely tedious, as my OCD wanted every “acorn” to look as identical as possible, and be covered in the same amount of chocolate and sprinkles, etc. However, the turn out was amazing! They looked adorable, tasted great, and seemed to be a huge hit!

If you’re interested in trying this recipe, today is your lucky day, because you will find the recipe below! Everything that I did differently from the original recipe is highlighted with italics text.

Fall Oreo Acorn Balls 

Yield: 30-40 balls

Total Time: 3 hours

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of peanut butter Oreos (15.25oz), pulsed in a food processor
  • 1 package of regular cream cheese (8oz), softened
  • Nestle milk chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp. Crisco vegetable shortening
  • Brown sprinkles
  • Pretzel sticks, broken into small pieces

Directions:

  1. Allow the cream cheese to come to room temperature.
  2. Put half of the Oreos in the food processor and pulse until you have Oreo crumbs. Add the other half of the Oreos into the food processor and pulse again, until all the Oreos are fine crumbs.
  3. Once the cream cheese is soft, mix the Oreos and cream cheese together, making sure the mixture is very well blended.
  4. Use a tablespoon to measure the Oreo mixture and form it into acorn shapes. I used a bit more than 1 tbsp. for each acorn – to make an acorn, I formed the mixture into an elongated oval, pinching one end to make it slightly tapered and flattening the other.
  5. Place the acorns on a baking sheet lined with wax paper and place them in the freezer for 1 hour. I left mine overnight. 
  6. After the acorns are hard, begin to melt the Nestle chocolate chips with the Crisco in a double broiler. You will need a double broiler to keep the chocolate warm while dipping all of the acorns.
  7. Once pencil sticks are broken into small pieces, push/twist into the hardened Oreo ball. You will then be able to dip the Oreo ball into the chocolate while holding onto the pretzel stick “stem.”
  8. To dip, place 1 acorn in the saucepan with melted chocolate. Use a spoon to spoon chocolate on top of the acorn, if needed. To remove the acorn use a fork to lift it out of the chocolate. Move the acorn to another baking sheet lined with wax paper.
  9. Cover the top portion of the acorn with sprinkles.
  10. Continue this process until all of the acorns are dipped. Allow them to harden at room temperature.
  11. After they set, serve and enjoy!
  12. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

What were some of your favorite Thanksgiving desserts? xoxo.

Shop ’till you drop | Holiday 2017

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving holiday and spent time with those that you love and appreciate the most!

As I am sure you’ve caught onto, I took a couple-day hiatus from the blog to celebrate the holiday along with some birthdays and an over-abundance of Black Friday shopping! In honor of Cyber Monday, aka the continuation of Black Friday, stick around for an overview of my first Black Friday experience!

It was my first Black Friday as a non-retail employee, so I was super-stoked to partake in this event. This adrenaline, and a few cups of coffee, pushed me [and my boyfriend] to get every single person on our shopping list complete, aka our Christmas shopping is done – and it’s not even December! It took around 10ish hours, but man, we did it [as pictured below].

While I can’t list a legitimate “haul” for the sake of friends and family reading the list and seeing their gifts laid out to the public, I can tell you where our journey began and ended.

  • Tim Hortons: Niagara Falls, NY
  • Target: Niagara Falls, NY
  • Walmart: Niagara Falls, NY
  • Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls: Niagara Falls, NY
  • *home to sleep for 3 hours*
  • Tim Hortons: Niagara Falls, NY
  • PetSmart: Amherst, NY
  • Best Buy: Amherst, NY
  • Starbucks: Amherst, NY
  • Target: Amherst, NY
  • Ulta Beauty: Amherst, NY
  • Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls: Niagara Falls, NY
  • *home to pass the frick out!*

Overall, some things I took from this experience are: if you don’t go to a department store right when they open, everything will be sold out; there were not nearly as many people as I expected there to be; some things totally are not worth getting on Black Friday – you have to look for the deals; large coffees will become the love of your life; people go wild for cat litter on Black Friday; you will see a million people you know; you won’t spend as much money as you think you will!

Did you have a great Black Friday experience? What are some deals that you absolutely could not pass up? xoxo.

 

What I’m thankful for | Family +friends

I have been blessed with the largest, loudest, craziest, kindest, perfect family.

I am thankful for the fact that my family is so close; that it is not out of the ordinary to “pop in” to an uncle’s house or my grandparent’s house on any given day at any given time. I am thankful that I live exactly 3 minutes away from both sets of grandparents. I am thankful that my family has my back through everything.

I am thankful for my parents, who raised me to be a strong, independent, take-no-shit kinda girl. I am thankful for my brother, who inspires me every single day to be a better person. I am thankful for my grandparents, for loving me unconditionally and supporting everything I do. I am thankful for my aunts, uncles, cousins, and beyond, without whom, my family would not be loud, or crazy, or large. I am thankful for my boyfriend’s family, who has welcomed me into their [even larger] family with open arms and a loving heart.

I am thankful for the friends that have turned into family. The best friend that I cannot live without. A boyfriend who brings out the best in me and supports every single [insane] thing I do. I am thankful for new friends, who are becoming my ride or dies, my go-to’s.

I am thankful for every single person in my life that has come and gone. If you’re still here, thank you for still being here. If you’re not, thank you for helping me to learn important life lessons and figure out what I deserve.

Spend time with the ones you love this holiday season. And be forever grateful. xoxo.

What I’m thankful for | Education

While this is often the source of most of my complaints, it is one thing that I am the most thankful for: education.

It has taken me 24 years, 10 months, and 19 days to figure out that education is the most important and most valuable thing you can have in your life. Money, houses, cars, they don’t mean a single thing. It is the knowledge, character, and success that comes from education. It has taken me this long to also appreciate the success and preparedness that goes along with receiving a quality education.

A little fun fact that you might not know about me, is that I am a Catholic school girl. Pre-K through 12th grade, I donned a uniform every single day of my life. During these years, mostly high school, I didn’t know how to appreciate how much of a blessing Catholic schooling was. I was extremely well-prepared for college. I [would like to think I] am a well-rounded individual. I was challenged academically and pushed forward to success, even at an early age. I didn’t really realize the toll that this expense took on my family and that sending my brother and I to Catholic school for all those years was actually a huge deal. A deal now that I wonder about for my future children.. *How will I be able to afford this? Can I support this? Is this even possible? Why am I thinking about kids? I’m only 24 jeez slow down.*

Again in these 24 years, 10 months, and 19 days, I have learned about the importance of not only furthering your education but furthering your education in the right institutions. There is an extreme difference between a low quality and high quality institution, both support-wise and emotional-stability-wise.  Another little fun fact? I have gone to three colleges. I graduated with my Bachelor’s from one. Tried grad school at the other. And am about to graduate with a Master’s from the next.

That school in the middle? Hated it. I felt extremely uncomfortable being there. I didn’t feel supported. I didn’t feel as if I was learning adequate information, let alone adequate information that would actually pertain to my future. I felt lost, uninspired, and unmotivated. But what was even scarier? Coming to terms and accepting the fact that I needed to move on.. an opportunity that, again, I am thankful to have had. If I had never chosen to better myself and better my education and better my future, where would I be today?

I am thankful to have been raised going to Catholic school, an opportunity many do not have. I am thankful to be able to go to college, a blessing that some people unfortunately do not have. I am thankful that I have had these opportunities, and I wish that everyone else could say the same.

Education is something that I will fight for every day of my life. I believe that quality education paves the way for our future leaders, doctors, lawyers, teachers, you name it. Every kid deserves a shot at high quality education. Every kid deserves a shot at graduation. Every kid deserves a shot at success.

Education.. I thank you. xoxo.

Thankful | Holiday 2017

For the next few days leading up to Thanksgiving, my blog posts will revolve around things that I am thankful for.

I hope that by doing this, you will reflect on all that you are thankful for, as well. It could be something as large as the love of your life, or as small as your new candle from Bath and Body Works [totally guilty for this one!].

In return for you listening to me sharing my blessings and thanks, I’d love to hear from you and I’d love to know what you are thankful for this holiday season. xoxo.

How is it already Friday?! | TGIF

It is literally the third Friday in November.

Another week has come and gone. We are six days away from Thanksgiving. One week away from Black Friday. Two Fridays away from the first day of December. And all I can think is.. HOW.

I swear, these weeks keep going by faster and faster. While they may seem to drag for me most of the time, I always get to Friday and I think to myself, *whoa can my life slow down?*

I feel as if I am totally not ready to turn 25 in just short of 7 weeks. I feel as if I am totally not ready to graduate with a Master’s Degree in just about a month. I feel as if I am still a junior in high school anticipating graduating and moving off to college and starting my life. But then, another Friday rolls around and I realize that life is moving faster than I can even handle.

Last night, I was inducted into the Alpha Alpha Beta chapter of the Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education. If you know me, you know that there is nothing I hate more than “bragging” about myself and my accomplishments. However, at almost-25, I am finally shouting from the rooftops that I am so damn proud of myself. I am about to graduate with a Master’s Degree and a 3.9 GPA. All while balancing this crazy life going on around me. So much has changed this year, for better and for worse, and I really don’t know how I pulled this one off.

This Friday feels good. And I thank God for getting me here. xoxo.

7 more days | Holiday 2017

Guys, we are one week away from Thanksgiving. One week. 

Does anybody love over-stuffing themselves on Thanksgiving as much as I do? Honestly, probably not.

This is one of the meals that I spend 365 days preparing myself for. Mostly, because “Thanksgiving food” is not really eaten in our house except for on Thanksgiving. Also because sitting down to enjoy a nice Thanksgiving meal gets me so stoked for Christmas – I know once this meal is over, Christmas is just around the corner.

One thing that I am the most excited about for this upcoming week is the fact that I do not work retail anymore. This will be my first real Thanksgiving in six years, six. I have never, not worked on Thursday night [aka Thanksgiving] for six years. I have always had to rush through my meal, try to cram in a little nap and go off to work an overnight shift in a way-too-busy mall. This year, I will get to sit down, take my time, and cherish it with those that I love and adore the most. I have been excited about this since way back in March when I started at my new job, and there is not one person who will bring me down from this high.

Another thing I am excited for? Black Friday shopping! As previously stated, for the past six years I have always been working, and before that I was always “too young,” so I have never been Black Friday shopping.. ever. I was either still working or too exhausted from the endless hours of work put behind me to be out in the crowd for the entirety of Friday, but this is another Thanksgiving luxury I will be taking advantage of this year. Will I be going Thanksgiving night like all those people I used to curse under my breath? No, absolutely not. I will absolutely save my energy and shop-until-I-drop stamina for Friday. [If you see me out at midnight, that is technically no longer Thanksgiving.. for all those wondering].

One thing I will say, though, is that if you are one of the many that venture out on Thanksgiving night, please, please be kind and courteous to your sales associates. They have to sacrifice their time and their energy on a day in which they should be enjoying time with their loved ones and those they are the most thankful for. Black Friday [aka Thanksgiving night until Saturday morning] is one of the hardest shifts these employees will have to work all year – your two seconds of kindness could make a magnificent difference. This is one thing that always used to drive me absolute bonkers. While it didn’t necessarily bother me that people were out shopping, it did bother me when they did not treat me with respect or even give me the smallest holiday greeting.

I don’t really know where I was going with this post, just mainly going through all the thoughts that have been spiraling in my head for the last chunk of time. Mostly of Thanksgiving, definitely of mashed potatoes.

What are your favorite Thanksgiving traditions? xoxo.

 

What’s in my bag? | Volume II

All bag carriers, unite!

I know, I know. You’re probably all thinking, *really, another bag haul.. didn’t she just do this?* The answer: a month ago, yes. But a lot changes in a month [bag included], and I figured it was time for you to see the unnecessary crap I am carrying in my bag this month! So stick around – it’s gonna be a great time!

The bag:

YALUXE Women’s Vintage Style Soft Leather Work Tote Large Shoulder Bag | I got this handbag as a gift from my honey on our anniversary. I told him I had wanted a larger bag to carry all my things in for work that looked a little more professional, but wasn’t too expensive, as it gets shoved in a locker everyday. Low and behold, this bag has become the best thing ever. It holds everything I need, it’s stylish, comfortable. It’s great. Find it here.

What’s in it:

  • Kate Spade Cameron Street Lacey wallet | A repeat from last month, but this wallet is my ride or die.
  • Vera Bradley Breakaway Lanyard | Again, a repeat from last month, but how would I get myself into work without it?!
  •  Bath and Body Works Aromatherapy Body Lotion in the scent Comfort | Hand creams are my absolute best friend when the weather gets cold and my hands get dry. I had a coupon for a free item *score* and was able to pick up this hand lotion a few weeks ago. Let me tell you, the name does not lie. The vanilla and patchouli mashup makes you feel as if you are wearing a giant sweater and getting the biggest hug. And your hands are left feeling so soft. Totally a 10/10 recommendation.
  • Kiehl’s Facial Fuel No-Shine Moisturizing Lip Balm | Shoutout to my Nana for this one, because she bought me two of these and they are my new obsession. For the last few weeks I have been battling a horrendous sinus/cold sickness, leaving my lips extra chapped due to not being able to breathe through my nose. This has been my lifesaver. Especially at night before I go to bed, it gives me that extra protection.
  • Gloves | For when the cold weather is really too much for me to handle at 8:45am when I am getting students off the bus.
  • Dayquil/Nyquil Combo Tablets | To assist with my aforementioned germiness.
  • e.l.f. Mattifying Setting Powder in the shade Translucent | A repeat from last month, this product has become my ride or die and has helped make me get some life back into my face mid-day.
  • Belvita Breakfast Biscuits | These have been my go-to when I don’t have enough time to make myself breakfast in the morning. I kid you not, literally every single flavor is so good that I never have a consistent one. But, also come in handy when I am left wishing I had an afternoon snack. A little snap of the fingers and *poof* my prayers are answered.
  •  Vaseline | To help with my super-chapped, red nose. Thanks, Kleenex.
  • A pen | For those moments I really need one.
  • Checkbook | To make me feel like I am a functioning adult.
  • Orbit gum | I should really buy stock with them.
  • Vera Bradley Soft Eyeglasses Case | To, you know, hold those things that make me able to see.
  • Asthma inhaler | For those moments that you take my breath away.
  • Keys | To be able to go into my house and lay in my bed, or go into my car and get the heck away.
  • iPhone | Duh.

What are some things you can’t leave the house with? xoxo.

Tuesday motivation.

Hello, Tuesday.

Monday was good, but Tuesday will be even better.

On this Tuesday, I challenge you.

I challenge you to recognize what you’ve accomplished in life.

I challenge you to reward yourself.

I challenge you to love yourself.

I challenge you to stop comparing yourself to others.

I challenge you to appreciate progress – no matter how little or how large.

But most importantly, I challenge you to always keep going.

There is no better time to transform your mindset and to feel better about yourself than right now. 

Take the time, get it done.

xoxo.