Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Summer to Fall Transition Pieces

Summer to Fall Transition Pieces
I don't know about y'all, but I love this season of life. I love the way a new school years brings so much excitement and anticipation and it always feels like anything could happen. As our minds turn from summer to fall, I always notice a shift from pastels and seersucker to richer, warmer colors and thicker materials and it makes me SO excited to break out the fall pieces I've been collecting, however, if you live in the South like I do, we've still got a ways to go. I thought I'd share some of the things I've been wearing non-stop or things I have my eye on to help make the switch while still keeping layers light and cool.
I own this pair of Old Navy rockstar jeans, they're a recent purchase, and I just love them. I wore them Friday through Sunday this weekend and had no complaints. They're a mid rise, which is perfect for tucking a bit of shirts into but always for hiding any post-brunch food baby and the wash looks even better in person. They're on sale for $14.99 now (Labor Day) and I'd highly suggest picking up a pair because they are the perfect amount of relaxed and will go with anything, now through winter.
Also a great Old Navy find, this swing dress. Something about navy and white stripes says fall to me and this dress is SO comfortable. I rarely wear dresses casually, but this one has the perfect amount of swing in the bottom so as not to be uncomfortably tight during the day, is a great length with flats, and is super breathable. I've worn it multiple times already with my Jack Rogers but I think it'd look just as cute with a vest (like this navy J.Crew one that I love) and riding boots.
Nude flats are a must for me during fall because as it gets chillier I want to cover up my toes, but I also want to keep my outfits light. I have a pair from Target now, but I'm pinching my pennies for this Kate Middleton endorsed pair.
I don't own this shirt yet, but I saw it on Nordstrom's homepage the other day and it seems like the perfect fall piece. I love that wine color for fall, plus all the other colors it comes in, and the drapeyness screams Louisiana fall because it's still hot on Christmas day most years. I'll update this post if I purchase it, because it seems like a winner. I think it'd also be great for business casual work outfits too!
Also on my wishlist? Rayban Erikas. Myles broke my $12 dupes for these the other day, which I was in love with, so I'm thinking an upgrade might be in order. I promised myself I would never buy expensive sunglasses until I managed to keep a pair intact for 2+ years, so it's right on time.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST, my favorite Nordstrom sale purchase and the thing I'll be wearing all fall long, this green corduroy skirt. I am loving the corduroy/suede trend that's coming back, but nothing I was seeing really caught my eye until this baby. It's A-line, which is my favorite, and it's SO soft and stretchy. I can't wait to pair it with a light white blouse in October, but then a sweater and boots in December. 10/10 recommend.




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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Drugstore Favorites

These past few days I've been sick with a sinus infection, which means that along with being stuck on the couch getting ahead on my reading assignments, I've spent a lot of time roaming the aisles in my local CVS while waiting on the pharmacy. It got me thinking about my favorite drugstore finds, some new, some that I've repurchased again and again. Obviously I think there are some instances where you get what you pay for, but these days, drugstore brands have improved their formulas so much that it's almost ridiculous to pay Sephora prices. However, if you want to know what I will pay a little more for, aka the best bronzer/contour EVER, you can read up on that in this The Balm Haul + Review. These are my drugstore favorites split into skincare, hair care, and makeup.
Drugstore Favorites

Skincare

Simple Replenishing Moisturizer 

I wanted to try a cheaper alternative to my beloved Clinique moisturizer and I'm really happy with this one. It's a little thinner, which is good during the summer because it isn't overly hydrating, but it feels great on my skin and my sensitive skin loves it.

Soft Soap Coconut Scrub 

This stuff smells SO good. I just use it with a loofah and it works well to cleanse and exfoliate my skin without being too sandpaper-y. I've repurchased twice, so 10/10.

Hair Care

L'Oreal Volume Filler Shampoo & Conditioner 

I have very fine hair that either looks dry and frizzy or flat and shiny. I just wanted to find a mix of the two, shiny and voluminous, and this pair is so great! It gives my hair a nice texture without making it look like straw and it doesn't weigh it down, plus, it's affordable. I never really got into buying fancy shampoos and conditioners, but after spending lots of money trying them all, these are my favorite.

Not Your Mother's Clean Freak Dry Shampoo

I can't live a day without this stuff. When my hair is too shiny or needs a bit of help with volume I go to town with this stuff and it works great. No more of those terrible white/gray patches and I find it lasts pretty well, plus I love that you get a decent sized bottle. 

Makeup

Real Techniques Brushes

These are the first brushes I used since the good old triangle sponge days and I've never looked back. They've held up to regular cleaning for 3 years and they're still very soft and smooth. I love the different sets and combinations you can get, but also the single brushes, because you can build up a collection tailored just to what you need. I have the core face set, as well as some singles, and I use them almost every day. LOVE.

Maybelline Brow Drama in Soft Brown

I'll admit, when I first bought this stuff I was really nervous. It looks like mascara for your brows and I didn't want that crunchy eyebrow look. However, after getting the technique down (use a very light hand), I love the way it holds my brows in place and gives them a little extra volume. I use this first and then fill in whatever looks spare with my brow pencil and VOILA!

Milani Rose Blush in Tea Rose

As much as I love the coral tones in my Balm blush, I sometimes like a more natural baby pink for when I'm having a no makeup makeup day. This one is very smooth and light and looks very natural. I think the one would look great on every skin tone and it's super affordable!

Ardell Brow Pencil in Soft Taupe/Brown

I got this pencil because it looked very similar to the Anastasia Brow Wiz which I'd heard tons about. The nib is rectangular shaped, instead of like a pencil tip, which allows me to straighten the bottom and side of my brows. I love that it's a grey toned pencil instead of the warm tones I've found in other drugstore brow products and it doesn't budge throughout the day.

Maybelline True Match LUMI in W1-2

I was really pissed when I went to buy this stuff and saw that they didn't sell it in Cool 1 or 2. That's my usual color and I really don't understand why they're lightest cool shade is a 3, but anyhow... I brought this home in Warm 1-2 and it actually works really well to even out the redness in my skin. I like the silky look this leaves - I wouldn't say it's truly luminous - but it does stay all day and it's definitely not matte, so so far I like it.

Maybelline Lash Sensational Waterproof in Brown

I have a love hate relationship with mascara, so once I find a good one I stick with it. I used The Falsies for over a year, and then tried this one and now this is my go to. I already have long lashes, but this one adds even more length, plus volume. It's very wet when you first buy it, so I'd let it dry out a bit so as not to mark up you eyelids, but once it's dried out a little it's great and doesn't chip throughout the day!

Obviously there are probably SO many more great drugstore finds out there, but these are ones I'd found to be tried and true, so you don't have to worry when you purchase them! Any drugstore recommendations I should try?
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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Fitness Files #2 - Easy Ways to Eat Healthier One Step at a Time

As you can probably tell from this 5 easy meals to make in your apartment post, my journey towards cooking healthier meals has been a long one (; I think that's something that goes along with college when you have no budget, no kitchen, and no time, but now that I've got a little bit more of all 3 on my hands, I'm really trying to do better when it comes to what I put in my body. I wish I could shop at whole foods and drink pressed juices all day, but since I can't, here are a few of the substitutions I've made to be a little healthier a little at a time.

And that's all folks! In the end, I just try to make one healthier choice at a time, so instead of ice cream I might have fro yo, or I still eat rice and gravy but with brown rice instead of white, etc. Eating better isn't about eating less and crash diets never work, so making better choices a little at a time is much easier and I don't feel like I'm being deprived of anything!

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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

My Birthday Wishlist

Every year, about this time, I try to do a blog post on my birthday wishlist. It's nice because my out of town relatives, or those who want to pick something I've already asked for, can simply click the link and purchase whatever they want, but I can also look back year after year and see what's changed, what I still want/love, etc. This year, my list is relatively small, mostly because I've been very lucky to be able to purchase a lot of the things I've been loving, but also because a few of these things are big ticket items, which means less of them, but I'm okay with that because they're all investments. Obviously I will love all the gifts, sweet messages, and cards that I get for my birthday, these are just the things I've spotted on my own! On to the good stuff...
Birthday Wishlist
*click anywhere on the picture to see where these items are from*
Pearl earrings and I can't seem to get along lately. I've dropped a pair down the sink and had a reaction to another pair all in the last 6 months. Regardless, this has made me want to invest in a nicer, real pair, that I can keep for years to come and wear without a worry. Not to say that the one I dropped down the drain was unreal or cheap...I'm still trying to live that down. 

My biggest want this year is a Louis Vuitton MM agenda. It's an organizer's dream, with personalized planner/notebook inserts that you can pick and choose each year and a canvas cover that gets better looking as it ages. It's expensive as heck, so I've been stalking tons of gently used ones on Ebay, but MY GOODNESS it's gorgeous. I totally feel like LV is worth investing in because it only gains value year by year and those things could outlive us all, so there's my rationalization.   

My most adult ask is a Ninja blender and food processor. I'm really getting into cooking and eating healthier and I'd love to be able to make smoothies in the morning, but also make homemade hummus and cookie dough (that's less sugary, I swear). I love that it's relatively small, since we have no extra counter space to spare, and it's a great brand for relatively cheap. I'm sold.  

I have been wanting this J.Crew vest for AGES. I love the navy color, which, surprisingly, I don't already have, and the clean lines of those pockets...I'm obsessed. I have another J.Crew vest in a similar style already and it's great quality, very warm, but very thin and easy to layer. This one's been on my wishlist since it came out, so fingers crossed. 

I'm not even going to lie about those nude flats, they're a major splurge. They're L.K. Bennett, aka Kate Middleton's shoe brand of choice, so you know they're good, and nude flats never go out of style right?? 

Last but not least, I've been wanting a record player for years now. I've recently been collecting old records from both record stores and my grandfather's collection and I am so ready to put on a record while Myles and I cook dinner or just play it around the house on Saturday mornings. I love the sound of the old pops and clicks that you just don't get on perfect Spotify tracks nowadays. I researched this player, read all the reviews, and it's got 5 stars. With record players being such a trendy thing nowadays, I think it's important to find one that's actually high quality, not just cute, but this one happens to be both!

So that's it for me folks! I guess I'll have to let you know what I got bright and early on September 10 (my bday is 9/9), but for now, have a great day! 
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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Fitness Files #1

Fitness Files 1
*click anywhere on the photo to find out where any item is from*
I'm starting a new series today, aptly named "Fitness Files" as I've been going to the gym pretty consistently for about 3 months now, and in the biggest twist of fate ever, I love it! I'll go more into my workout routine in a later post, but today I thought I'd share my current favorite workout wear, protein, gear, etc in case you guys are trying to make the change to a healthier lifestyle too! Obviously I'm no expert, but here are a few bits that have worked for me...

Wearing
I'm LOVING the selection at Old Navy and Gap right now. I never thought I'd look to those brands and stray from my tried and true Nike, but I'm seriously impressed. I have about 6 sports bras from both and love all of them. I like that you can choose between high and low impact and they come in lots of cute patterns and colors too.  
My favorite workout tops are the racer back dry fit tanks from Old Navy. I knew I liked that style because I already had a similar, but more expensive Nike one, and I love these just as much. They are so light and flowy and work well for running, tennis, weights, etc. 
I ended up purchasing the Nike Lunar Glide 6's after researching tons, but now they only sell the 7 and 8's in stores. I am so impressed with the comfort and lightness of them, because they look like tankers compared to my Free Run 5.0's. I kept having pains in my knees and ankles after playing racquetball/tennis/running, etc in my Free Runs and the support in these is just SO much better. I really like the ankle support, because as mentioned, I play tennis 2-3 times a week and really REALLY do not want to roll or sprain and ankle.
All through high school and college I wore the Nike Tempo shorts, as I'm sure everyone did. One of mine finally shredded in the wash after about 4 years and I had to stock up on a few more. I love the cut of the Modern Tempo's, but it's still the same old material and comfort of the oldies but goodies...no complaints here.

Lifting
I really wanted kettle bells to work out with on days I can't make it to the gym and this set is great because you get three weights, which means you have endless options. Price wise, they run about the same price as 1 1/2 single kettle bells, so basically you get twice the product for the same price as other brands. I really think the options are endless with these, and I love that I can use the 15 with my legs, 5 and 10 with my arms, and do squats with increasing weight, and not be limited to just one weight. 

 Drinking
NEVER did I think I'd be a person who drank protein shakes. I mean, no way. But, I read up on the brand Ideal Fit, was really impressed with their ingredients and their flavors, and thought, "Hey, I'll try it." So far, it doesn't taste as much like a milkshake as I'd hoped, but it does as it should and it's definitely bearable, not to mention serves as a good base to mix in fruit, peanut butter, almond milk, etc. 

So that's it! It's definitely been a process, learning what exercises and brands work for me, figuring out a routine, cooking and eating better, etc, but I'm so glad I'm making changes and actually enjoying them! Looking forward to the next FF when I'll tell you all about my workout routine!
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