January 2018 | An Overview

Well, there you have it. One month of 2018 is already finished!

Has anyone looked back on this past month and seen just how many things were on the calendar, only to wonder why it seemed to fly by so quickly as if nothing even happened in the first place? For the record, I think that was my longest sentence I’ve ever written, but it is exactly how I feel summarized into one too many words. My month started freezing cold and ended just the same, which is shocking because this weather has ranged from negative temperatures to mid-50’s. I really wanted to believe that we were over this frigid cold, but here I sit bundled up writing this post, trying not to get frost bite.

The first week of the month was a whirlwind in itself. January 1st brought an experience at the NHL Winter Classic, capping off a weekend trip to New York City. I returned home that night and pushed ahead to January 2nd – my first day back to work after winter break, as well as my 25th birthday. I ended that first week celebrating our first snow day in honor of extremely, dangerously low, freezing cold temperatures. Not too shabby for the first week of the year, am I right?

It was that first weekend that the Buffalo Bills were playing a playoff game for the first time in 17 years – a perfect day to celebrate my birthday with family. It was also that weekend, however, that the “plague” hit literally every single person I know. My grandparents went down for the count, my students went down for the count, my coworkers, my family, even me. That was the first weekend of the month and I kid you not, I still have a lingering cough and a slightly stuffy nose. This entire flu epidemic is nothing short of horrifying and watching people go down like flies doesn’t make this any easier. [PSA: everyone, wash your hands!!]. It’s so hard watching those around you become sick and not be able to fix it or make things better for them.

The following weekend, a brand new baby girl was born into my family, adding to my ever-growing list of cousins. I moved my brother back Ohio on MLK Day, another much appreciated day off of work. I celebrated my boyfriend’s 27th birthday. I completed some trainings for work, went to winter festivals, and spent time with those near and dear to my heart. I explored new local restaurants, coffee shops and bars. I began the search for some new real estate, and explored new recipes to use with my KitchenAid mixer. Today, I end the month celebrating my grandmother’s birthday, while also remembering my grandfather on the 11th anniversary of his passing.

All in all, January was a great month, and if it is any indication as to how the rest of the year will be, I am excited to see what the rest of 2018 has in store.

What are some memorable things you did this month? xoxo.

 

Makeup haul | Clearance finds

I mean.. who doesn’t love shopping in the clearance section?

Yesterday I ventured to Target for the first time in what seemed like forever. I hadn’t gone in for anything specific; it was more of a *hey Target is across the parking lot, I think I need to go* moment. The store was super busy and I had absolutely no business being there but, boy, am I glad I went in, because my boyfriend and I snagged some great finds!

If there is one trick to Target shopping, it is checking out the end caps of aisles throughout the store. For those of you who are not familiar, these random end caps are filled to the brim with clearance items, different from the clearance section in the back of the clothing department that everyone knows about. These end caps house anything from makeup to home goods to towels to snacks – you name it, chances are, they’ve got it. If there is another trick specifically to shopping the end caps, it would be to check everything. There are times in which these items are either open, used, or damaged, especially when it comes to makeup. It takes time to go through the heaps and heaps of merchandise, but if you take your time, you can find some hidden gems.

Patience is a virtue, my friends. Patience is a virtue.

My clearance haul from my most recent trip to Target is not one of large quantity, but the savings are remarkable! I picked up five items for roughly $18.00, saving more than $25.00 after all discounts were applied! How could you go wrong with that?! If you’re interested in seeing the items I picked up, continue reading through the description of each item below!

  • Sonia Kashuk Shine Luxe Sheer Lip Colour in the shade #29 Sheer Pink Grapefruit. Originally, this product was priced at $10.99. I got it on the second markdown for $3.28 [after the first markdown, it was priced at $5.48].
  • Sonia Kashuk Eye Palette in the shade #10 Perfectly Neutral. Originally, this product was priced at $14.99. I got it on the second markdown for $7.14 [after the first markdown, it was priced at $10.00].
  • NYX Intense Butter Gloss in the shade IBLG17 Apple Dumpling. Originally, this product was priced at $6.49. I got it on the second markdown for $1.94 [after the first markdown, it was priced at $3.24].
  • Defy & Inspire Wear Resistant Nail Lacquer in the shade Pack Your Bags. Originally, this product was priced at $7.49. I got it on the first markdown at $3.74.
  • e.l.f. Expert Liquid Eyeliner in the shade Jet Black. Originally, this product was priced at $2.00. I got it on sale for $1.00.

In regards to Sonia Kashuk, there has been a lot of speculation as to what the heck is going on with her Target brand. Heck, even Sonia Kashuk in general. Her social media accounts have been mysteriously shutting down and she posted on her Instagram that she is stepping down as creative director of the brand. With that being said, if you’ve been in a Target recently, it’s no surprise that the entire line has been completely clearanced for quite some time. I’ve been trying for a while to determine why this is has happened, but the only common thing that I’ve been seeing is that her color cosmetics will no longer be carried in Target, but her makeup bags and brush sets will still be available. I, however, am skeptical about her brush sets still being available because at the Target I went to, what was remaining [not much] of her makeup and brush sets were all clearanced completely down. I have enjoyed some of her products for quite some time, so I was sad to see it go. But, on the other hand, I am happy that I was able to pick up a couple of my faves for an extremely reasonable price.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Did I really need two more lip products? Absolutely not. But with those prices, who can even compare? The Sonia Kashuk lip product more of a sheer, tinted balm, whereas the NYX lip product is extremely opaque, yet glossy. Yes, I am hoping that by describing these products, I will be justified with picking these products up. But, probably not.

The possibility of venturing to the my Target, aka the one closest to my home, within the next couple days to see what else I can snag [especially from Sonia Kashuk] is extremely high, so stay tuned. Maybe another mini-haul will be coming. xoxo.

Things I’m currently obsessed with | January Edition

Holy freaking cow, today’s already January 26th. If 2018 keeps up at this pace, we will be celebrating 2019 before we know it!

I would have to say that 26 days into the month is a decently good time frame to have accumulated some monthly obsessions, right? I mean, geez, we only have 5 more days left to January, how much longer could we wait? Almost every single one of my favorites this month comes directly out of Christmas, whether it be gifts I got, or things I purchased with gifted Christmas funds. I guess this only makes sense, as I haven’t really had the need to venture too far out of the house or buy anything other than the necessary groceries and coffees.

  • KitchenAid Artisan 5-Quart Stand Mixer. I have wished for an ice blue KitchenAid mixer to be mine for the longest time, and this wish came true when my parents gifted it to me for my birthday! I feel as though this gift skyrocketed me into officially being an adult [minus the fact that I turned 25] because, I mean, usually people that have their lives together have a KitchenAid mixer resting atop their counters, right? So far, I have made a handful of batches of cookies, some dips to snack on during football games, and even some cornbread! It has also become a new favorite hobby of mine to look up things that I can make with my new kitchen appliance, as well as attachments that I will want to purchase in the future to add to this incredible gift. Plus, I am hoping and praying that I will find more inspiration to do more cooking, not just baking.
  • Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Before you judge me, hear me out a little here. I wanted to start a new series on Hulu that had a multitude of seasons, could make me laugh, and could hopefully keep my attention. Lo and behold, I stumbled upon KUWTK and thought to myself, *hey, why not?* While this show is adding absolutely no value to my life, it definitely makes me laugh over and over again. Plus, seeing how this family has transformed from Season 1 to the present is pretty shocking, yet also funny, knowing that these people endlessly deny every plastic surgery rumor thrown at them. I watch this show and wonder if I would have the same problems if I was as rich and famous as this family, such as having a coronary over losing a diamond earring in the ocean that you can more-than afford to replace. Again, no value is being added to my life, and brain cells are probably being killed as we speak. But it has been a favorite this month, that’s for sure.
  • American Tourister Pop 21-in Spinner. Prior to getting this suitcase for Christmas, I had never had my own piece of luggage. I always traveled with duffel bags because I rarely fly; almost always I vacation by car, train, or bus. With our trip to New York City for New Years Eve happening a week after Christmas, this was the perfect gift. This luggage is the perfect carry-on size, but yet fits everything you need and more. I was able to pack for my entire trip in my carry on. Mind you, my clothes were all extremely warm and thick, and I packed multiple layers, snow pants, you name it – it all fit in this bag. Another perk of this luggage is the fact that it has the multidirectional spinner wheels. I was trucking it through the Buffalo airport and JFK with no struggle whatsoever. I know multidirectional spinner wheels have been a thing for quite some time, but I had never used this luggage for myself before, so I got a major thrill out of it. I now can’t wait to travel more just so I have an excuse to use my fancy new luggage again!
  • Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel. This is by far the weirdest, yet most satisfying, beauty product I have ever used. The texture of this face moisturizer is one that is hard to describe unless you are able to get your hands on it yourself. I would say that upon touch, it feels as if you are sticking your hand into a light puddle, but once you apply it to your face, it feels like a soft, hydrating, creamy moisturizer. The major benefit of this product is that it leaves your skin looking super hydrated without looking greasy; you are left with a healthy glow. This product is also oil-free, making it perfect to apply before you start your morning makeup routine with confidence that it will last the entire day. I got this product for $19.99 in the skincare aisle at Target.

What are some things you’ve been loving this month? xoxo.

Writer’s block really sucks: A memoir

I didn’t really believe that writer’s block was actually a thing until I started up this blog site. Now, don’t get me wrong here, I’ve had times throughout high school and especially college where I have struggled to finish some papers and assignments. The inspiration really was lacking and the words just didn’t seem to flow off the tips of my fingers. However, at the end of the day, these papers always ended up being done to a decent capacity due to the fact that I was forced to pick a topic to write about, and I almost always had research based sites [and Google] at my side to help me in times of trouble.

The difference here is as simple as this; what the heck do you write about when there is no set topic and your inspiration is at an all time low? Now you’re probably thinking *dude, you’re literally writing a blog post as we speak* and I would agree and tell you that you are not entirely wrong. However, this isn’t really much of a blog post, but more of a “let me sit here and complain to you for a few minutes today.”

I blame this little stint of writer’s block almost entirely on the lack of exciting events in my life as of late. I feel as if I have been in a bit of a slump, something I feel like most of us experience around this time of the winter season. The sky really doesn’t change beyond the ugly grey color. It’s cold and, quite frankly, leaving a cocoon of blankets seems to be entirely out of the question. So, yes, you would think that this lack of leaving the house would be a great time to catch up and write new things for the blog because, hey, what else am I doing? Well let me tell you something, if that’s what you’re thinking, you’re totally wrong. What I have found myself struggling with the most is finding inspiration regarding things to write about. I don’t want to seem too repetitive in regards to content, but I also don’t want to lack originality. While Google still may come in handy like it did during those moments of struggle in college, and there might be millions of pins on Pinterest to inspire blog posts, are they really my own? Not really. While the words would still be my own, the topics wouldn’t.

So, with that being said, if you have found this blog to be boring and are wondering why I haven’t been uploading content as frequently as I probably should, I want to commend you for still sticking with me through this little slump of mine. My goal over the next few days is to dig deep and find the inspiration I need to get content flowing at a faster pace, and with a lot higher quality. Here’s to the road ahead. xoxo.

Happy birthday to my rock

Happy 27th birthday to my love.

I am so blessed and thankful to have a love like yours; someone who pushes me to be the best version of myself, supports all of my wildest dreams, and loves me at both my best and my worst. You have so much to be admired; your work ethic, your love for your family, your determination to succeed at everything you do. I am forever indebted to you and will never be able to make up to you all that you have done for me throughout these years.

I may totally be biased, but I think we make a pretty good team. Whether it is staying in on the couch, a trip to Wegmans, or an adventure outside of our comfort zone, we make each other laugh endlessly – making the most fun out of every situation. You are always down to try new things and find new places to explore, and put up with my extreme need to constantly redecorate the apartment and failure to successfully cook a decent meal.

You are my best friend. My biggest fan. My shoulder to cry on. The second parent to our guinea pig. The love of my life.

Here’s to your 27th year. Based off of beginning our apartment search for June, I already know it’s going to be one to remember. xoxo.

Life changes like the seasons

I was scrolling through Facebook the other day when I saw the above post.

While I would assume most people would scroll by without reading, or read it and think, *wow how corny is that?* I, for one, really enjoyed this post for a multitude of reasons.

It’s no surprise that life cycles through phases of transformation and change. These cycles are inevitable and cannot be avoided. However, they can be extremely manageable and beneficial for our own personal lives and our outlook on the life ahead of us. Just as the seasons change, the seasons of our life are changing as a result of choices and decisions that we make on a daily basis.

While life is all about change, the seasons of life are temporary. Just as the raindrops that fall over our head, or the thunder booming outside, none of these events will last forever. These events are temporary in nature, just as the seasons of life are temporary from a psychological standpoint. While sometimes that is hard to understand, it is an important concept to grasp. What may be a negative event today will one day be considered old news. Negativity doesn’t last forever; there is always a positive flicker of light to walk toward at the end of the road.

When I look at the above poem, I look forward to the spring. On a personal level, this winter hasn’t been the greatest winter I’ve had. It hasn’t been the worst, but there have been some things going on that make me excited for the new chapter that will come once spring arrives. When it’s winter, I tend to stay in more due to horrible weather, hating being cold, and not wanting to pile on multiple layers when just having to do something so small as pump gas. Plus, the transition from winter to spring is one of my favorite ones. The grayness of winter transitioning into the pastel hues that scream spring, to me, there is nothing that can replace that feeling. Everything is brighter and lighter. People seem happier. There is a shift in the outlook of life when you can shed the winter layers and let yourself and your body breathe. The change in the air without a doubt brings a change in overall attitude. At least for me, that is.

If you look back at the above post, who doesn’t want to eliminate selfishness, indifference, gossip and grumbling? And who doesn’t want to add peace of mind, heart, and soul into their life? A life spent with family, friends, and each other is a life well spent. A life filled with love, faith, kindness and patience is a life that every person should want. And if you don’t want those things, why? What is preventing you from living your best, most inspiring life? What is preventing you from being timely, helping others, or being of service? What is stopping you from being your best you? We should all strive to live a fulfilling life, regardless of our beliefs or the seasons.

A change in seasons is something that we all could use. Whether you’ve had a rough week or a rough year, change will come your way. xoxo.

Self love is the best love

About a week or so ago, I found a post on Pinterest regarding self love. Over time, I’ve come to believe that perhaps our greatest life lesson is learning how to fully accept and love ourselves. This importance is relevant in today’s world, especially during a time when it seems like there is an overabundance of pressure on people to be perfect. It seems as if the act of comparing ourselves to others is at an all time high. While I understand the pressure and the desire to fit a mold or a stereotype, my question is why do we do it? Why do we feel this desire to fit a mold that is someone else’s? Why do we dwell on the things we aren’t versus the things that we are? Most importantly, why do we think that “perfect” is a universal mold or concept? Why do we not see the best version of ourselves as perfect, or something that we desire to be?

What I liked the most about this pin is that it outlined things to do for yourself for 31 days straight, aka one month, to journey toward self love and acceptance. So, what I want to do today is share these 31 days of self love with you in hopes that you will find yourself walking down a road of positivity.

  • Day One: What is your biggest struggle with loving yourself?
  • Day Two: Get rid of a limiting belief that you have about yourself or your abilities.
  • Day Three: What good habit do you want to begin this month?
  • Day Four: What is a compliment that you struggle to accept about yourself?
  • Day Five: What is something you need to start saying “yes” to?
  • Day Six: What do you need to forgive yourself for?
  • Day Seven: Name a thing you love about your body and your personality.
  • Day Eight: Where in your life do you need to slow down and take your time?
  • Day Nine: What’s something in your life that you need to get rid of?
  • Day Ten: How can you set better boundaries in your life?
  • Day Eleven: How would you describe yourself, in a loving way, to a stranger?
  • Day Twelve: What things make you feel happy to be alive?
  • Day Thirteen: Take a selfie. Just as you are. Find one thing to love about it.
  • Day Fourteen: What would your younger self be proud of you for today?
  • Day Fifteen: What are you afraid to ask for? What do you need to speak up about?
  • Day Sixteen: What is the most loving thing you’ve ever done for yourself?
  • Day Seventeen: When was the last time you indulged yourself and how?
  • Day Eighteen: What’s one change you can make to increase your happiness?
  • Day Nineteen: How are you making the world a better place?
  • Day Twenty: How can you give yourself a break today? [Mentally, physically, or emotionally].
  • Day Twenty-One: What’s something you’re working on believing that you deserve?
  • Day Twenty-Two: What things make you feel bad, but you find yourself doing them anyway?
  • Day Twenty-Three: What does your support system look like? How can you make it stronger?
  • Day Twenty-Four: What’s something you wish someone would say to you?
  • Day Twenty-Five: What things are you really good at?
  • Day Twenty-Six: What parts of yourself are you ashamed of? What does your shadow self look like?
  • Day Twenty-Seven: What’s one choice you can make right now that your future self will thank you for?
  • Day Twenty-Eight: Who are your role models and what qualities do you share with them?
  • Day Twenty-Nine: What words or beliefs do you [want to] live your life by?
  • Day Thirty: What labels [negative and positive] do you assign yourself?
  • Day Thirty-One: Going forward, how can you commit to loving yourself everyday?

Self love is the best love. There’s no better day to start than today. xoxo.

Ride or dies | Beauty

One thing I’ve been really into reading lately revolves around everyone’s morning beauty routines. I find that posts like this are so informative, and help me, in a sense, to get to know the person I am reading about. It is these posts that introduce me to new products and get me looking into whether or not some of these beauty items are ones that I should try sometime in the near future.

Working where I do, I do not put much makeup on. Some days, not any at all. But, the days that I do decide to put some makeup on, it is very, very minimal at best. I don’t really get into a full face of “glam” unless it is the weekend, or there is somewhere that I have to be that requires me to look significantly better than a dead fish. When it comes to the makeup I use, my everyday routine consists of using products that have been around for some time. These products are probably ones that you have heard of or used before, but I can’t find myself stepping outside of my “comfort zone” because I know what works for me, so why change it?!

Makeup Products I Use Everyday

  • Soap and Glory One Heck of a Blot Instant Perfecting Power Primer. This product runs for $14.00 at the drugstore. When it comes to primers, I find myself bouncing back and forth between this product and Benefit’s POREfessional Face Primer While I really enjoy Benefit’s primer, I can’t always justify spending the $31.00 when Soap and Glory’s primer works just as well for me for more than half the price. Plus, I love that Soap and Glory is now sold at Target too!
  • Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation in the shade 115 Ivory. This product runs for $7.99 at the drugstore. I am not going to lie to you, I only started wearing foundation about a year ago. I purchased it because I had a wedding coming up and also had a coupon to use for Ulta. I am also not going to lie to you when I say that this is the only foundation I have ever bought and used. The only thing that has changed is the shade depending on my skin tone from summer to winter. While I do realize that there is so much more out there in the world of foundation, I really have that, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” attitude. It does its’ job and [major perk], it doesn’t wear off throughout the day, all while being an affordable price.
  • Maybelline Fit Me Concealer in the shade 15 Light. This product runs for $6.99 at the drugstore. Again, this is the first and only concealer I have ever purchased. Also again, the only thing that has changed about my concealer is the shade depending on my skin tone from summer to winter. I purchased this because it came from the same line as the foundation and I figured, “hey, why not?”
  • NYX Matte Liquid Liner in the shade Black. This product runs for $6.99 at the drugstore. Unlike my foundation and concealer, I have tried a handful of eyeliners over time. Most recently, this has been my go-to; I find myself reaching for this every single morning. It is easy to apply and stays put all day. And the shade is an absolute opaque black that looks great on “naked” eyelids, as well as eyelids that are covered with every color of the rainbow.
  • Lancôme Hypnose Drama Instant Full Volume Mascara in the shade Excessive Black. This product runs for $27.50 at Ulta. I most recently started using this product, just within this past week to be exact. My grandma uses Lancôme mascara and the beauty tech gave her the wrong formula so, it found its’ way into my hands. I rarely buy any luxury makeup items as I struggle with justifying paying the price for something that you can get for significantly cheaper, so I will be honest with you when I say that I wish I didn’t love this product so much because I will be purchasing this again. I was not blessed with the longest eyelashes and this mascara elongates my lashes so much that it looks like I have a pair of fake eyelashes on, or even eyelash extensions. I am absolutely obsessed.
  • e.l.f. Cosmetics Perfect Finish HD Powder in the shade Sheer. This product runs for $6.00 at the drugstore. I am currently in the process of finding a good finishing powder and have most recently landed upon this one. I don’t really love it that much, but I don’t hate it either. It is just what I have been reaching for within this past month or so because it is the product I have handy at the moment. There is some flashback with this powder as well, not that I really take flash photos. But for those of you that do, beware.
  • Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer in the shade Light Bronzer. This product runs for $14.99 at the drugstore. I will scream from the rooftops with every ounce of my being the amount of love I have for this product. First off, the smell. You get one whiff and it smells like summer and the beach and warmer weather and being on a secluded island. The product itself works wonders. It gives you the perfect sunkissed glow without looking orange or like you spent 8 hours getting a spray tan. I most recently hit pan on my most recent compact, and I am looking forward to buying this product again in the future!
  • L’Oréal Brow Stylist Definer in the shade Brunette. This product runs for $8.99 at the drugstore. I most recently bought my first eyebrow pencil when I had a waxing experience gone wrong. It does its’ job and makes it look as if I do not have a gaping hole in my eyebrow. So, I am thankful for that.
  • Kiehl’s Lip Balm #1. This product runs for $7.00 at Sephora. I struggle so bad in the winter months when it comes to chapped lips. They get so bad that they get to the point of bleeding and being extremely painful. After years of trying different things, this is the one that has finally worked for me! I apply it multiple times throughout the day and it is a miracle worker. Seriously, it never leaves my purse!

Makeup Tools I Use Everyday

  • Morphe Flawless Beauty Sponge. This product runs for $7.00 at Ulta. I don’t really have a favorite when it comes to beauty sponges. My most recent purchase is Morphe’s and I really enjoy it! I didn’t get my hands on one until Morphe started being sold at Ulta. Plus for $7.00, you can’t beat the price! I have tried the whole foundation brush thing, but I can’t seem to get into it. I really love the way my makeup looks when I use this beauty sponge, so for now, I will stick with it.
  • it Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Wand Ball Powder Brush #8. This product runs for $48.00 at Ulta. This brush was given to me, I did not purchase it on my own. I can’t really seem to justify spending $48.00 on makeup, let alone a makeup brush, but because I have this brush, I use it everyday. Truthfully, I wouldn’t recommend spending the money on a brush when there are much cheaper options available that work just as well!
  • it Cosmetics Airbrush Essential Bronzer Brush #114. This product runs for $26.00 at Ulta. Same as with the ball powder brush, this product was given to me as a gift. I really like using this product, as it blends my bronzer in perfectly. However, again, I would not recommend spending a ton of money on a brush when there are cheaper options available!

What are some products that you reach for every single day and cannot live without? xoxo.