Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2014 Resolutions

I don't necessarily love the idea of resolutions. If you want to change something in your life, why not do it right then and there. There's no need to wait for a new year to change it. Just do it. That's my motto, but there's nothing wrong with having a little fun for New Year's Eve and reflecting on what a wonderful year you've had and what you'd like to do better the next year.

Wishing you all a very HAPPY NEW YEAR! 2013 was amazing, but let's hope 2014 is even better!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Best of 2013


I've gotta say 2013 has been pretty good to me. I'm sad to see it come to a close, but I'm ready to take on whatever 2014 has in store for me! It's going to bring adventures in Paris, hopefully another half-marathon, and lots of hurling. So without further ado, here is the Best of 2013 according to me:
(warning: this is the longest blog post ever)

Skincare: 

La Roche Posay Gel Cleanser
I came across an end cap at my Target featuring La Roche Posay and was super pumped because I'd always wanted to try it. It was pretty hard to come by in the States until recently and snatched it up the moment I saw it. It's super gentle, smells clean and fresh, and has made my skin so smooth and soft. Definitely a top pick for 2013.

Korres Rose Sleeping Mask + Vitamin C
This has been a longtime favorite of mine and I'm pretty sure I've purchased at least 3 of those glorious little pots. It lasts forever and is a miracle worker on dark spots and hyperpigmentation. Bonus points because it smells lovely.

Coconut Oil
I've been using coconut oil as my daily/nighttime moisturizer and my skin thanks me for it. It smells like macaroons and, as I've said before, is a multi-purpose product.

Neutrogena Hand Cream
This is another multi-purpose product as it doubles as an ultra-moisturizing hand cream as well as an amazing lip balm. If you've never tried it out I highly recommend it.

Neutrogena Moisture Wrap Body Lotion
I've had this lotion for quite some time, but rediscovered it this year. Netrogena is my favorite skin care line because they create gentle, but hard working products. It's does wonders for dry elbows and legs.

Makeup:
Josie Maran Coconut Water Cheek Gelee in Poppy Paradise
I've spoken about this before, too. It's such a light and natural blush that gives an effortless flush. It's easy to swipe on without a brush and I will have to repurchase this quite soon because I've flown through it.

Wet & Wild Mellow Wine Blush
This blush is my favorite for fall and winter time. It's a nice, soft peachy color with a bit of shimmer. It's not quite "mellow wine" as the name suggests, but I love it for a winter flush.

L'Oreal Voluminous Eyeliner
I love this soft kohl liner because I've started to line my waterline on a daily basis. It's easy to flick out for a simple cat eye. I think this will always be my favorite liner. I've tried so many, but I've never loved anything more than this!

Wet & Wild Eyebrow Pencil
I'd never filled in my brows until this year and I've finally seen the light. It's not necessarily the best thing ever because now I've added a step in my makeup application, but boy, does it make a difference! Eyebrows really frame your face! I have such light brows that I'd never realized it would make me look complete.

Revlon Kissable Balm Stain in Honey
I'm not much of a lip product person, unless we're talking chapstick, but I really love this stain. It's natural enough to keep me feeling comfortable, but it adds a hint of something special if I want to dress up an outfit.

Maybelline Colossal Lashes
I'm fickle with mascara, but I've been sticking with this one during 2013. It gives my lashes a nice curl and it's a good middle ground between falsies and au natural.

Maybelline Color Tattoo Eyeshadows in Tough as Taupe, Barely Branded, and Bad to the Bronze
These shadows were a hit for 2013 and there's no doubt I jumped on the bandwagon like everyone else. I love the combination of the above shadows, but the great thing is that they can all stand alone as well. I'm pretty easy to please when it comes to eyeshadows, but I think these are pretty great.

Benefit Sunbeam Highlighter
I don't use highlighter on a daily basis, but when I do, I reach for Sunbeam because it is a golden shimmer that adds some warmth to my face. Love it and will keep it going in 2014 as well.

Neutrogena Blemish Concealer
Perfection. There's just not much else I can say about this concealer. For a brief (very, very brief) period in 2013 I thought I'd found a new love, but I came running back to my favorite concealer and will continue to love this forever.

Hair:

OSiS Texture Powder
I received this product in an Influenster VoxBox and was very skeptical about it at first, but after numerous weeks of playing around with it I decided I can't live without it. It adds volume to my flat hair and I'll always need products like that.

Tigi Catwalk Sea Spray (not pictured)
I've repurchased too many bottles of this, but I #cantstopwontstop. It smells like a lovely spa hair salon and I am convinced this is what adds texture to my hair because without it I swear I have nothing but slick strands that won't even hold in a clip.

Pantene Aqua Light Shampoo and Conditioner
I'm fickle with shampoos and conditioners, but I've repurchased this three times. If that doesn't mean something, then you obviously don't know me!! It's lightweight, smells nice, and keeps my locks looking fabulous.

Pantene Hair BB Cream
Before this product I always wondered if my hair needed something extra. I'd always get a bit of frizz after blowdrying and couldn't fix it with anything. This is my savior product. It claims to have 10 benefits including heat protecting and strengthening characteristics. So if it even does these two things then I've gotten my moneys worth. And I have.

Perfume:

Marc Jacobs Daisy
I can't say this has been a favorite of 2013 because I just received it for Christmas, but I can say that I've been pining for it since about May. So it made the list because every time I'd step into Sephora or Ulta I'd run to the perfumes and spray myself with this. I love it and it will definitely be a favorite for 2014, as well.

Versace Bright Crystal
This is my favorite fancy perfume. If I'm going out on a date night, attending a special event, or just feeling fancy, this is what I reach for. I'm not even going to attempt to explain what it smells like, but if you're interested I have a post dedicated to my perfume collection.

Philosophy Falling in Love
I especially love this perfume for winter and spring. I know that isn't usually a pairing that people put together. It's often spring/summer and fall winter, but this scent has warm vanilla notes perfect for winter and a splash of berry essential for spring. I also love this perfume because my mom gave this to me as a gift and said that it smelled like me! How nice it that, having someone smell something lovely and think that it matches my scent preferences.

Books:

The Divergent Series by Veronica Roth
If you like the Hunger Games series, you'll love Divergent. It's a dystopian survival book set in Chicago (which I love because who doesn't love the Midwest?!). I read all three of these books in 2013 and they have moved near the top of my favorite books of all time list.

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
I don't often reach for self-help books, but this was recommended to me and I quickly learned that it was far from self-help. It's more like a memoir encouraging everyone to be happier. It's one of the first books that I still think about in depth months after I finished reading it. I'll hopefully do my own Happiness Project sometime soon. Perhaps starting in January, as the author did. I think everyone can be happier and this uplifting account of Rubin's journey to more happiness was inspiring.

Strength in What Remains by Tracy Kidder (not pictured)
I read this book for my Literary Journalism class this semester. I'm as surprised as you are that a book I was forced to read made my favorite books of the year list. I know. It's unheard of! But it's true. I love this book, I love the message, and I fell in love with Deo and his unbelievable story of hope and strength. It's a must read.

Movies:


Monsters University
I'm a big fan of Pixar and really any animated film. I loved Monsters Inc. so I'm definitely glad they came back to revisit some of my favorite characters.

Secret life of Walter Mitty
This was my family's Christmas Day movie of the year and I'm so glad we chose this one. Much better than sobbing through Les Mis last Christmas (although I love Les Mis and would gladly sob through it every day). It's uplifting, inspiring, and an all around great movie.

Frozen
I would have to say this is probably my all time favorite of 2013. I loved the songs, the animation, the story, the characters (read: Kristof), and, of course, the adorable snowman Olaf. GO SEE IT. You will not regret it.

About Time
There's always gotta be a favorite chick flick of the year and this was mine. I love Rachel McAdams and she did a fabulous job, as always. It wasn't a super lovey dovey movie, my boyfriend came along and enjoyed it, as well. Sort of sci-fi slash romantic comedy makes a great date night movie.

Television Shows:

Downton Abbey
This is the best show ever. That is all I need to say, but I'll say more. The cast is splendid, the story line is intriguing episode after episode, and I've become completely invested in the lives of the family and the help. After some devastating happenings in the past few series, I'm happy to say Series 4 ended with happiness. There's always a bit of drama, but this season was spectacular and I didn't end up bawling by the end of the Christmas special. Can't wait until September for Series 5.
Breaking Bad
I suppose there can't be a Best of Television 2013 without mentioning Breaking Bad. The writing is unparalleled and the ending was INSANE. If you haven't seen it, the entire series is on Netflix and I'd recommend a binge watching weekend.

Honorable Mention:
Orange is the New Black
This show is a Netflix original series and I watched the entire first season in about a week. I know it's not as impressive as a weekend, but I had school and other shows to watch. I am looking forward to season 2 in the coming year. Watching Piper venture into the unknown world of prison made for quite an interesting program. The character development was great and every episode built on the last.

Best 20113 Memories
- Feeding giraffes at the zoo for my 21st birthday
- Daily runs by the Mississippi River
- Ran my first half marathon. Planning for my second in May!
- Became obsessed with Pilates (so obsessed that I'm going to be training to become a certified Pilates instructor in 2014!)
-NACBs Camogie in Cleveland
-Meeting the Mayor of Galway County at Milwaukee Irish Fest
1: Councellor Liam Carroll Mayor of Galway, 2: My best friend and I enjoying a Christmassy night, 3: Getting ready for a thrown in for the MHC U7s, 4: At the starting line for my first half-marathon, 5: KT Tape models at NACBs in Cleveland, 6: Fall Family Fun Day in October

1: MHC Opening Day 2013, 2: Bran-pants sleeping like a cutie pie, 3: Being silly with my silly guy, 4: Getting ready to feed giraffes

Monday, November 25, 2013

Holiday Gift Guide for College Girls: $25 dollars or less

Beautifully natural cheek color with all day staying power. This product is natural and comes in 6 shades. Perfect for any beauty lover out there.

I'm in love with Daisy by Marc Jacobs. It's a fresh scent and isn't overpowering for daily wear. It's quite subtle so many different girls could enjoy wearing it. Not as floral as you might think!

Paltrow has a clean and healthy diet laid out in her cook book. So many deliciously clean foods that will leave anyone feeling energized for the new year.

Hilarious movie for any girl in her 20s. I loved it, but the idea here is that movies are great gifts. Doesn't have to be this one in particular.

This one is for the athletic girl in your life. She can be feminine, but still tough. Doesn't matter if she wears mascara while she plays, she still kicks butt!

If you know anyone as in love with Pilates as I am, then she needs this. It provides the resistance necessary for a killer workout.

What girl doesn't love a delightfully summery candle. Perhaps not an appropriate scent for a holiday gift guide, but it's a heavenly scent, regardless.

Get her a shirt with a quote from her favorite movie! This one happens to be from mine (You've Got Mail!). 

I am not alone in my obsession with coffee and tea. If she's in college, she needs this more than you know. Who doesn't need that afternoon pick me up to pound through homework and study for those exams?

Thanksgiving Outfit Idea

Earrings - Etsy, Jacket - Target, Booties - JustFab, Sweater - J. Crew Factory, Leggings - Zara
This chic Thanksgiving Day outfit idea is perfect for whatever events you have planned. It's appropriate for a family gathering, but still chic for if you're more of a "Friendsgiving" kind of gal. You can step right into Black Friday shopping, too. Just be sure you've got a coffee in hand after a day of gobbling up that delicious turkey!
Unfortunately, I will not be wearing this exact outfit on Thanksgiving, but I'll do my best to recreate this look with pieces already in my closet.

What will you be wearing this Thanksgiving?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Thankful





It's so very human to take the good things in life for granted. I wish I could say I think about the things I'm thankful for daily, but I'm with the majority on this one. I complain about school work, I whine about the weather, and I'm often upset or worried about things that don't matter. Thanksgiving is a time to really appreciate what you have and spend time with the people you love. I know the holidays are a time when everyone gets extra mushy about what they love, but we should try to continue those joyful exchanges throughout the year. We can be thankful for our families and our friends without it being Thanksgiving. Regardless, I'm incredibly thankful for the blessed life I live. I have a strong family with loving parents who I can count on and a supportive, encouraging brother who continues to be a role model for me. I attend a university where I'm growing my knowledge every day and learning about the world. I have close friends who I care about deeply and know they'll always be there for me. I have a boyfriend that loves and respects me. I have my health, and so does my family. I have a fluffy, goofy pup that makes me smile. The list could go on. I'm so blessed and I will no longer take that for granted. Take a moment to think about what you're thankful for and HAVE A HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Response to an "Existential Bummer"

"Existential Bummer"


Filmmaker Jason Silva's words inspire me. Some days I go through the motions and forget to stop and appreciate the beauty that surrounds me. I forget to smile at strangers or take a minute to realize the seasons are changing before my eyes. One day I will be gone. Everything will be gone.

As Silva says, I think we've all felt nostalgic for something over something we haven't lost yet. Days we haven't lived, places we haven't been, time we haven't yet spent. I find myself worrying about things that may never happen while I could be out making something more of my life. I want to vow to live life a little harder. Say yes more often. Follow my dreams even if I am uncertain of where they'll lead me. Love without reservations. I will recognize the transience, but I'll hold onto the love and make it last. "I do not accept the ephemeral nature of this moment. I'm going to extend it forever, or at least I'm going to try." 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Empty Products #3

I'd say this Empties Review consists of my most used products. Many of them I'm sad to see go, but that just means there's an opportunity to try something new, or repurchase the item and have a brand new bottle of it! I love Empties because they make me feel so accomplished, regardless of if I'm sad about finishing it or not.


Boscia Purifying Cleansing Gel
I've used this cleanser since my freshman year of college and I've loved it. It was extremely gentle for my sensitive skin and it smelled quite nice, like herbs. This bottle was the second I'd purchased and it lasted forever. Granted, I don't use ten pumps every night, but I did use this every day and I think it lasted me a year, not kidding. I didn't repurchase this product, but I will go back to this in the future. It was just time for me to try something new. I'm using La Roche Posay Gel Cleanser at the moment. It's quite nice. Haven't decided which one I like more.

Twilight Woods Bath and Body Works Lotion
This is a classic Bath and Body Works scent for me. It will always remind me of reading Shiver and thinking about the wolves in Mercy Falls. It's a nice Autumn/winter scent and I'm sad it is gone. The rest of my lotions at my house aren't suited for winter. I love them, but they're very summery.

Coconut Lime Breeze Bath and Body Works Shower Gel
I got this product for free using one of the coupons from Bath and Body Works. I believe it's the same as Coconut Lime Verbena? Who knows! It smelled nice, though the bottle didn't last me very long. I did not repurchase this because I'm not loyal to any certain shower gels.

Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin Bath and Body Works Lotion
I'd had this lotion since last fall and only used it in emergency situations because it was in my backpack. I took it out of my backpack and started using it for an everyday moisturizer back in October. I love this scent because it's not too strong, but it's definitely pumpkiny and spicy. Good fall scent, but I did not repurchase this. I have so many lotions to get through!

Pssst Instant Dry Shampoo
I raved about this a few months ago, but I have a really hard time committing to a dry shampoo. I no longer like this dry shampoo and have moved onto other products. Maybe someday I'll find a favorite, but I haven't found it yet. I don't even like the one I am using currently.

Korres Wild Rose + Vitamin C Brightening Sleeping Facial
This is a staple in my skin care routine. I believe this was my second pot and it lasted me about 6 months. I don't slather this stuff on because it is expensive, but also because it is so thick and rich. You really don't need more than a pea sized amount to cover most of your face. I've already repurchased this, and I've repurposed this pot as a small portable container for coconut oil. I have a giant tub of it, but it is not practical to travel with!

LUSH Fair Trade Foot Lotion
I am very sad that this lotion is all gone. For one, it is very expensive, but, most importantly, it relieved my sad injured feet. It has a subtle minty scent, but doesn't linger for too long. I love love love this and recommend it to any athletes out there, or anyone in the service industry where you may be on your feet for hours at a time.

Evian Facial Mist
I love facial mists and this one is nice because it is just water. It doesn't have any fancy ingredients, it's just water for hydration during the day. Loved it, but didn't repurchase.

Neutrogena Skin Clearing Blemish Concealer
If you know me, this is my holy grail concealer and repurchased it already. Actually I even have a back up to the one I repurchased just so I'll never have to be without it. I don't know what I'd do. It's amazing and I don't even know why I like it so much.

Bioderma
Now this is the most depressing of my Empties. I love Bioderma and this bottle lasted me almost an entire year. It's gentle, doesn't have a fragrance, and is great for getting off tough makeup. I did not repurchase this because it is so expensive to get in the U.S. I'll be stocking up when I go to Paris in January, though. So don't worry. It'll be showing up again.


Pumpkin Spice Yankee Candle
Great fall candle scent. I believe this was cheaper than Bath and Body Works candles and it lasted just as long. I didn't repurchase, but would consider it. Maybe next year.

Market Peach Bath and Body Works
This is one of the best Bath and Body Works candles, in my opinion. I'm not missing it right now because there are so many lovely fall candles, but I'll be looking for this again in the spring.

Blueberry Pumpkin Patch Bath and Body Works
I only wish I would have purchased a bigger candle. It smells so good and it made my whole apartment smell warm and cozy. Like I was baking something nummy! Anyway, I'll be looking for this next fall.

What should I try next?

Thursday, October 31, 2013

October Favorites 2013

October is done and there are so many products I've been loving. This month was wonderful and I got to spend a lot of time with my family (2 weekends in a row!). Even though it was crazy and full of all of the October fun I picked out my top 10 favorite things to share with you! I'm excited to see what November will bring, like eating turkey and pumpkin pie and playing in the leaves! 
Paleo Pumpkin Bread
I made this paleo pumpkin bread twice in October. Such a tasty treat and it made me feel so festive. I was skeptical about a paleo version of one of my favorite recipes because sometimes they can go terribly wrong. To my surprise, this was delicious and I posted about it here.

Bath and Body Works Pumpkin Cupcake Candle
I am a sucker for pumpkin candles and an even bigger sucker for the 2 for $22 candle sales at BBW. I picked up this candle to finish out the fall season because it smells like I'm baking actual cupcakes every time I light it. I know Leaves is a cult favorite (and a favorite of mine that I'm hoarding until November), but Pumpkin Cupcake is a close second.

Beast Mode Water Bottle from Blogilates
I got this water bottle back in September when I ordered my Pilates Power Ring from blogilates.com. I love that it comes with a shaker ball so I can break up my chia seed drinks with ease. I love the "Beast Mode" and I love the color. This bottle has come everywhere with me this month from the gym to class and all the way home to Wisconsin. It's a must have item for me. Also, it's a plus that I'm drinking more water because of it.

SuperFeet Inserts
I can't believe it took me so long to buy proper inserts for my shoes. If you've read any of my previous posts, you'll know I have plantar fasciitis and without proper support in my shoes I'm not making it any easier on my feet. I'd previously ordered SuperFeet inserts for my hockey skates, but they have a special heel cup made for sports where you may be leaning forward. I needed to buy regular inserts that can fit into all of my shoes. I won't go anywhere without these now. I highly recommend them to anyone who has foot problems.

Korres Pomegranate Lip Balm
I'm pretty sure this has made it into multiple favorites posts from me, but there's a reason. It's so easy to apply, it smells pretty good, and the color is effortless and lasts quite a while for a balm. This is an every day product that sits on my desk because I always want it on hand. 

Revlon Kissable Balm Stain in Honey
As we move into colder months, I've been trying to wear more lip products because I feel like summer is just my time to be free of complicated makeup application. Yes, to me, lip products are complicated. That being said, I love this color. It's a "my lips but better" shade and it has a pretty good staying power. The balm stains are not drying and last pretty well even through eating and drinking.

Pantene Hair BB Cream
I'd have to say this is my number one favorite out of anything I've chosen for this month. It's a miracle worker. It also smells amazing, like classic Pantene product smell. I try hard to not have to blow dry my hair every time I wash it, but sometimes a girl on the run needs to dry her hair quickly so it doesn't freeze when she walks outside. Unfortunately, when I do dry my hair, the front finer hairs get all frizzy. This product has solved that problem and my hair is shiny and soft all day long. Amazing. I love it.

Coconut Oil
Gotta love coconut oil. It's a triple threat! Makeup remover? Check. Moisturizer? Check. Serum? Check. Coconut oil is great for your skin and even has SPF properties. I wouldn't use it as a sunblock, but any bit can help. I use this morning and night as a moisturizer. And occasionally, I'll use it as a cleansing balm to remove eye and face makeup.
  
Twilight Woods Body Lotion from Bath and Body Works
I've used up two travel size Twilight Woods lotions this month. It takes me back to when I was reading the book Shiver by Maggie Steivater. I love the woodsy warm scent for fall.

Super Random Favorite:
Sriracha
What can I say? Who doesn't love Sriracha? I've been splashing it on everything recently. It's amazing and I don't think any pantry is complete without it.

Song
I haven't always been a Katy Perry fan, but her new album, Prism, just hit it out of the park for me. I absolutely love Roar. It's so empowering and fun. But my favorite is "This Moment." You can listen to it right here!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

8 Things Every Happy Woman Should Have

After reading this article about the things happy women should have, it got me thinking about my own happiness (and reminded me of The Happiness Project book I read awhile back). I think being happy is different for everyone, but I wanted to share my answers. Maybe someday I'll look back and everything will have changed for me, but I'm hoping a lot will stay the same. 


 What are your 8 Things?


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Paleo Pumpkin Bread

It's not completely fall yet, but I've finally accepted that it's on the way. The fall candles are flickering, there's that little nip in the air around 5 p.m. and inevitably the leaves are changing color once again. Every year around this time I go on a baking kick. Last year it was pumpkin muffins with cream cheese frosting (delicious, by the way). This year I wanted pumpkin bread. And I wanted it paleo style!

So, of course, I scoured Pinterest for the best paleo pumpkin recipes with quite a bit of luck. I guess I'm not alone in my love of fall treats within the paleo community. The recipe is simple and it makes beautiful, moist, and delicious bread. 

A blender is what a college student uses because she doesn't own a food processor.
Same thing right?

Ok, so it turned out as more of a bar, but again, I'm working with the tools on hand.
Didn't have a fancy loaf pan!

The ingredients are simple and easy. I was quite skeptical at first, but when I tasted the batter I knew I was in for a treat. The ingredients are as follows:

Almond flour
Sea salt
Baking soda
Cinnamon
Nutmeg
Cloves
Honey
Stevia **I used regular sugar**
Eggs

Additions to original ingredients
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips

The original recipe with measurements and instructions I followed can be found at Elana's Pantry. Thanks for the recipe Elana! I will be keeping this one handy for the rest of fall!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

5 Steps to Healthier and Glow-ier Skin

Sources:1, 2, 3, 4

I can't be the only one searching for the one skin care product that will change my life. And I mean singing-to-the-heavens-kissing-the-ground holy grail magical product. One product to top them all. Sadly, the world doesn't work that way and we're stuck roaming the skin care aisles (which I actually like doing so I'm not sure why this sounds like I'm complaining...) never knowing if the next product will be the best thing in our entire lives. 

Although I've tried every skin care product in those aisles, I've found that the most simple, natural products work the best for my skin. It's gentle, it's safe for any skin type, and it's actually cheaper than any fancy cream I've ever tried. My five steps for healthier skin are simple and effective. Follow these steps for healthy, glowing, and radiant skin.
A glowy skin selfie taken on a random Saturday
1. Cleanse Morning and Night
This step is super simple. Taking a few minutes to cleanse your face of impurities and clean off the makeup and grime from the day is a step that cannot be skipped. Many people are too tired before bed and just wait until their morning shower to clean off the makeup, but the two minutes before bed can save your skin (and your eyelashes if you're a mascara lover!).

2. Drink Lots of Water
Another easy step! Always have water on hand. If you have it with you, and make it a habit, drinking water is one of the easiest ways to make your skin glow. There are also loads of cute water bottles in every store that make toting water around look like a fashion statement. There's no excuse for not drinking water. It's easy, it's free, and it's for your health! Not only will your skin thank you, but your entire body will be healthier because of it.

3. Moisturize with Coconut Oil
Coconut oil can be found in most supermarkets for about $10 per 15oz container. Pretty good for how long a container will last you! A little bit of oil goes a long way. Coconut oil is naturally antibacterial and antifungal, it's an excellent moisturizer because the fatty acids can penetrate the skin, and it smells like cookies. Doesn't get much better than that! (Here's a bonus makeup tip: Using your finger, swipe a tiny bit on your cheek bones after you apply your makeup as a highlighter!)

4. Apple Cider Vinegar and ACV Tablets
Believe me, I know apple cider vinegar isn't the most appealing sounding skin care remedy, but it's really worth it. Used as a toner, apple cider vinegar can clear acne scarring, sun damage, and hyperpigmentation. It's also helpful in maintaining a healthy alkaline pH level, "research shows that higher acid levels (lower pH level) leads to a lack of energy and high incidences of infection" (MindBodyGreen.com). Apple cider vinegar's benefits play out in more areas than just your face! If you're a wimp and don't want to stink up your face with vinegar, like me, then you can opt for the still effective apple cider vinegar tablets instead.

5. Don't touch!
Another very easy, and very important step in healthy skin, is not touching it! The oils, dirt, and germs from your hands can be very easily transported to your face and into your pores causing breakouts and redness. If you keep your hands away from your face, and resist the urge to pick at breakouts, your skin will thank you!

What are your tips for glowing healthy skin? Please share! I'd love to hear what has helped with your routines.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Dry Shampoo Battle

Happy October! It's going to be a lovely month full of pumpkin chai lattes, sweaters, and fall festivities. I thought I'd start off the month with a Dry Shampoo Battle seeing as school is in full swing and many of us have early classes to run off to or workouts between classes that make hair scream for some dry shampoo love. Now, I haven't always been a dry shampoo lover, I'm a recent convert. But, let me just tell you, it is the most wonderful thing to happen to my hair. I am not washing my hair as much so I can tell it's a lot healthier than it was even a few months ago.

Most dry shampoos do the job and there's really no way you can go wrong. This product works its magic whether it's $3.00 or $30.00. That being said, I know some of the pricier dry shampoos can be two-in-one products with a bit more magic fairy dust mixed in. For me, the drugstore versions work just fine. I've really been loving Pssst Instant Dry Shampoo recently and have featured it in favorites posts in the past (see here) and have also loved Batiste Dry Shampoo, as well. Others worth mentioning, for not so good reasons, are the Umberto Dry Shampoo and Dove Invigorating Dry Shampoo.

Today's battle is between Batiste and Pssst. I will test based on how well the product works, the white cast from the spray, and the scent.

Batiste Floral and Flirty Blush

Does it do the job?
Overall, yes. The product banishes grease and you're left looking fresh. Perhaps not "just out of the shower" fresh, but fresh nonetheless. 

White cast?
It's no secret that Batiste Dry Shampoos have a white cast. That is why they've formulated a version for dark hair. It is quite noticeable even in my blonde hair, but is easily fixed with a quick fingers through the hair motion to mix it up.

Scent?
Quite strong. I would not spray this if there are others in the vicinity. It does have a nice floral scent, but it is not my favorite of the Batiste fragrances.

Pssst Instant Dry Shampoo

Does it do the job?
Yes. I believe, of the dry shampoos I've tried, this works best for my hair texture and length. It leaves my hair looking "clean," even when I know it's third day hair. Shhh!

White cast?
This product does have a white cast, but does not have as severe ghostly matte shade as Batiste. It is also quite easily remedied with a quick shake of your hands through your hair.

Scent?
This has a classic dry shampoo scent, but it dissipates very quickly. It is strong, but does not stay in your hair. Your hair will smell like your shampoo or your perfume if you have used it.

My winner in this battle is the Pssst Instant Dry Shampoo because the scent and the white cast issues were not as severe in this product. Both worked quite well and would serve their purpose.

What is your favorite dry shampoo?

Sunday, September 29, 2013

September Favorites 2013


September brought the official end to summer and the air has a crispness to it that can only mean fall is here. I can't believe it's already October because it seems like just yesterday I was starting classes and moving back into my apartment. Time always just flies by me, but I'm ok with that because if it moves quickly this semester, the sooner I'll be in Paris! Anyway, enough rambling. Here are my September Favorites.

Almay Color + Care Liquid Lip Balm - This stuff is amazing. I've posted about these balms recently and did a full review, but they needed a spotlight in my favorites post this month. They're creamy and smell like cotton candy and they provide moisture along with a hint of shine.

Revlon Raspberry Pie Lip Butter - I'm not usually one for dramatic lips, but I love Raspberry Pie for fall. I think this will be a staple for me in the coming months. In my Autumn Tag post, this was deemed my favorite fall lip color.

Pureology Sea Kissed Highlight Stylist Spray - I'm a big fan of salt sprays because of my lifeless flat hair so I find great pleasure in testing out new sprays. I'll always love my Catwalk by TIGI Beach Spray, but sometimes you need to branch out! This does wonders for my hair, and although my hair is not color treated, I think the highlights I developed over the summer will appreciate the more moisturizing salt spray rather than the grittier TIGI Beach Spray.

Philosophy Falling in Love Perfume - I didn't wear this fragrance too much over the summer, but the moment I pulled out my fall scarves I smelled this perfume left over from winter and spring. I immediately pulled it out and began wearing it daily. It smells like vanilla and berries and I love it.

Benefit Brow Zings - All summer I left my brows natural and didn't fill them in. I feel like summer is a time to let go of beauty regimes and just enjoy the weather and the sun. Once school started up I felt like my face was missing something. That something was brows! I have very light brows that are almost unnoticable without the Benefit Brow Zings. The colors in the duo are perfect and I switch off between using the brow wax and using solely the powder. Both are great and it really pulls together any look.
Bath and Body Works Sweet Clementine Hand Cream - This smells incredibly fresh and I love citrus scents for early fall when I'm not quite ready for pumpkin scents.

Blueberry Pumpkin Candle - Although, when I am looking for a pumpkin scent, this is it. A combination of my two favorite scents is heavenly. Just go smell it. Believe me it is amazing.

Almay Intense I-Color Eyeliner in Brown Topaz - I've had this eyeliner for so long, but it never gets old. I'm an eyeliner hoarder, so in my makeup collection eyeliners often get neglected and forgotten. Not this guy. The brown coppery shade has a beautiful shimmer to it and compliments my blue eyes.

Bare Minerals Round the Clock Waterproof Eyeliner in 5PM (Plum) - I recently purchased this dark purple eyeliner because I'd run out of my favorite CoverGirl purple shade. This matte waterproof liner is smudge resistant and is a nice departure from normal black and brown shades. I like the smooth application and the staying power.
From top to bottom: Almay Color + Care Liquid Lip Balm in Nudetrients, Almay Color + Care Liquid Lip Balm in Cantaloupe, Revlon Lip Butter in Raspberry Pie, Bare Minerals Round the Clock Waterproof Eyeliner in 5PM, Almay Intense I-Color Eyeliner in Brown Topaz
What are your September Favorites?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Autumn Tag



Last year's Fall Family Fun Day
Although it's sad for me to admit that Autumn is quickly approaching, I have to admit there is one tiny (VERY tiny) part of me that is excited for what Fall brings. Sweaters, chunky scarves, hot tea, cuddles, favorite TV show season premiers, colorful leaves, and Halloween candy! I'm so very sad to see summer go, but that's life. I decided it'd be fun to do this Autumn tag I've seen floating around blog land. Here goes nothing...

Favorite Thing About Autumn
I'd have to say my favorite thing about Autumn is that my favorite television shows come back on air! I'm most excited for Downton Abbey, but the end of Breaking Bad should be intense. I'm also looking forward to less dramatic television, like Modern Family, Parks and Recreation, and New Girl.

Favorite Drink
I think it depends on the day for me. I love tea, so I might say a Hot Cinnamon Spice tea from Caribou, or my Pumpkin Spice tea from Target. I also love Pumpkin Chai Lattes from Caribou if I'm feeling fancy. If I wanted a serious classically fall drink I'd go for a hot apple cider.

Favorite Scent/Candle
My favorite candle is Leaves from Bath and Body Works. It smells like you're making home made cider and baking fall treats in your house. I've also been a fan of their new Blueberry Pumpkin Patch candle, as well. I have Pumpkin Spice candle from Yankee Candle that is equally delicious smelling.

Best Lipstick
If you know me, you'll know that I rarely ever wear anything but lip balm on my lips. On my latest Target excursion I grabbed Revlon Lip Butter in Raspberry Pie and I surprisingly love it. It's a departure from anything I've ever worn before, but I really enjoy it. I wear it as more of a stain than anything, but it's a gorgeous color.

Best Go-To Moisturizer
I'm a Neutrogena Visibly Even lover. It's my go-to everyday moisturizer for any season. 'Nuff said.

Favorite Go-To Color on the Eyes
Again, I keep it pretty simple for my eyes, but I love bronzey/champagne colors for the Fall. My favorites are Maybelline Bad to the Bronze and L'Oreal Amber Rush.

Favorite Music
This Fall Sara Bareilles' new album, The Blessed Unrest, has been playing non-stop on my iPod.

Favorite Treat
I am still on my Paleo diet, so I haven't yet made any Paleo-friendly fall treats. I'm hoping to experiment with a Paleo Pumpkin Bread next week. I'll be sure to post about it if it is tasty. If I wasn't Paleo right now, I'd be eating pounds of pumpkin muffins.

Favorite Place to Be
I think anywhere is beautiful in Fall. The leaves are changing, it's still nice outside, and the weather is perfect for outdoor activities. I'll be most looking forward to my annual apple orchard and pumpkin patch trip!

What are your Fall essentials?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Outfit Inspired by Little Black Dress by Sara Bareilles

I've got my little black dress on
And if I put on my favorite song
I'm gonna dance until you're all gone

Necklace - Urban Outfitters, Earrings - Claire's, Dress - Tobi, Clutch - Anthropologie, Heels - DSW
This song is all about forgetting your problems, putting on a dress that makes you feel hot, and dancing the night away. This outfit was really fun to put together because it would be so outside of my comfort zone if I were to actually try this on. I think it's the perfect ensemble for dancing because the dress is form fitting and no matter what you'll be looking your best! As long as you "put on your favorite song" and your little black dress you can dance away boy problems and enjoy the night with your girls.

If you haven't heard this song, I definitely recommend it. It's been my anthem the past few days! On repeat for sure! Check it out!


What is your favorite song of the moment? What song should inspire my next look?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Favorite Workouts and Workout Outfits

As a former college hockey player and a competitive hurler I've always been a fan of getting my workouts in while practicing for a sport. It's easy to motivate myself when I've got a team to play for and teammates who are counting on me to do my part like I'm counting on them. Team sports create a dynamic unlike anything else and you really begin to trust your teammates when you practice and work hard together. Unfortunately, I'm no longer a college hockey player and the hurling season has ended, so I've had to redesign my workout plan for fall. It comes with the seasonal change and I think it's good to create muscle confusion by doing different workouts. I've started to focus on flexibility because it is important for the health of your muscles and endurance. I can't wait to see how this program goes.


I've alway been a fan of yoga and the P90 Yoga X is a great 90 minutes of hardcore stretching and strength training. Tony is a motivating instructor and pushes you to move through the more advanced poses. I'd love to take yoga in a studio, but as a student I just don't have the funds for that right now. There are fitness classes I can take at my university's recreation facilities, but some of the times don't work out with my class schedule. 

I've mentioned Blogilates multiple times before, and I never get tired of working out with Cassey! The workouts are interesting and she plays popular top 40s hits to keep you motivated. She is also a certified Pilates instructor and I aspire to be like her someday. I'm hoping to start my Pilates instructor training soon so I'll be taking notes on her workouts! She's inspirational, upbeat, bubbly, and full of encouraging words as she kicks your butt during the workout. The 1000s workout is super challenging and you feel extremely accomplished when you've finished.

I couldn't cover a workout post without discussing running. I've been a runner for a long time now. I'll have on and off days, but I'll always consider myself a runner. I took a break for a few weeks this summer to help heal my feet, but I'm looking forward to getting back on a running schedule to train for my next half-marathon! Above are some of my favorite songs to listen to while running. I know a lot of people like a full playlist of pump-up songs, but I like to mix in a bit of a chill vibe because then my brain calms down and I stay in the zone.

Yoga/Pilates Fall Workout Outfit
Sports Bra -Target , Top- Target, Pants- Target, Yoga mat- Blogilates
Although it is now fall, I still love the pop of pink in this outfit. The yoga shorts I would have worn during the summer have been swapped out for yoga pants and the tank top has been exchanged for a long sleeve. This is still flowy enough outfit that it will keep you cool even in a warm studio class.

Fall Running Gear
Top- Sports Authority, Shoes- Kohl's, Water Bottle- Blogilates, Shorts- Sports Authority
This would be a perfect ensemble for a crisp fall day. I don't like to wear running tights until it's absolutely necessary so I'll be sporting shorts until November! I like wearing bright colors when I run (like those highlighter neon yellow shorts!) because it keeps me visible to cars in the fall dusk days when it can be harder to see runners on the road. 

What workouts have you incorporated into your routine lately? 
What have your workout fashion trends been like?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Almay Color + Care Liquid Lip Balm Review

I've seen a few of my favorite beauty gurus on YouTube pick these up in recent hauls, but I really haven't really heard much about these new lip products review wise. Curiosity got the worst of me and I grabbed one on a Target run. 
In the shades Cantaloupe and Nudetrients
I'm so happy I did because it has become a staple in my everyday makeup bag. And this is coming from a girl who never wears lip gloss. This does have the consistency of lip gloss, but it doesn't seem as sticky to me. They smell like cotton candy and taste delicious.
Here is my pathetic attempt to show a swatch of the colors. I know this photo doesn't do them any justice, but trust me on this one, they're great and I love them.

Color: The color payoff on these isn't great, but it does give a pretty shimmer to the lips. I haven't tried any of the darker shades because I'm afraid they'll look too dramatic on me, so perhaps the color payoff on those could be better. I didn't choose these for the color, I just liked the idea of a liquid lip balm with a bit of shimmer.
Scent: Delicious. Like cotton candy. Buy it if only for this one reason. You won't be disappointed. 
Consistency: Like any normal lip balm. Definitely not sticky like most lip gloss. It's comfortable on the lips and does not feel like I'm wearing anything but a bit of balm. It's super moisturizing so that will be a definite plus as we head into fall/winter time.
Wear time: This isn't a long wear product, nor is it advertised as one. I apply this in the morning, after meals, and any other time I feel like touching up. I think without touch ups this would only last about an hour or two.

Overall I love this product and will most likely be purchasing more of them in the future.

Monday, September 9, 2013

NACBs Milwaukee Hurling Club

Labor Day Weekend always brings an end to the Milwaukee Hurling Club's season, but we don't bow out quietly! This year at the North American County Boards in Cleveland Ohio three MHC teams (Men's Jr B Elite, Men's Jr C, and Women's Jr Camogie) packed their bags and headed east for a weekend of competition and hurling.

Matches were hard fought and the Jr C team came out ahead winning the national title! Way to go boys! Everyone at the MHC was proud to be a part of this national championship.


The shot below is of the "catch of the year" as we've all been calling it. Liam O'Neill, the President of the GAA, said it's the best catch he's ever seen in a hurling match. And if you can imagine, he's seen a lot of hurling. As he was presenting the trophy to the Jr C team he also said something I'll never forget, "Hurling is for anyone who wants to be a part of it." That's the MHC model. We are a family and we work hard together. If you want to be a part of it we'll welcome you with open arms.


Congratulations once again to the Jr C team! You all deserve it!


The Jr Camogie squad is where I played during the weekend full of hurling. Our first match was against Atlanta. They were a skilled batch of hurlers and they controlled the ball most of the game.


I always have a blast playing with my camogie girls, it's just a shame we couldn't pull out a win this year. Watch out NACBs 2014 the MHC Camogie girls are coming for you!


The girls were fast and furious and we had a hard time keeping up with them. We also need to work a lot on our block downs. They kept winning the ball by blocking it down in front of them. They knew where they had directed the ball so they could beat us to it every time.


These girls are some of my favorite people in the whole world. Here we are as KT tape models. We're going to have a contract someday because we all use it for different injuries! The KT tape camogie quad!


I can't wait to see what next year brings. I'm sad to see this summer end, but I'm glad I got to finish it out with the Milwaukee Hurling Club battling it out for a national championship!


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