Friday, January 30, 2015

What's in my Trash?! #14

It's another one of those months where empties are really piling up to an alarming amount so there are six extra bonuses again that I will be sharing this month! And even after doing that I STILL have an excess of empties that will roll over to February. I finished a few full size items lately which is very impressive, including somethings that I absolutely hated so I did an extra special jig when I realized I had come to the end of some things. Anyways let's just get right into it!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

New Years Goals Update!

It's the end of the month and while I didn't do resolutions this year, let's have a quick check in on how all of my goals are doing! At this point I actually want to add an additional goal to the list too which I will do at the end of the recap. The first month is always the easiest since I have a lot of motivation to get things right. This year was no different, but I'm going to continue blogging about the mini projects I take on to achieve these goals throughout the year in an attempt to keep the momentum going. Scheduling these posts in my blog planner will definitely help with that!
  • Walk 5000 steps a day. So the story with this one is I have a fitbit and I was going to rely on that to count my step but basically the first weekend of January I left it in a hotel room and at this point I haven't been able to meet up with my friend to get it back from her. So this goal, not off to a good start but I'm making an effort next weekend to pick it up because I definitely want it before I go on my trip!
  • Cut down on the amount of subscription boxes. This one has been a grand success, now the hard part is sticking to it! I have a post up talking about all my subbies and what actually stayed. I'm proud to say I'm down to just 2-3 boxes that come very infrequently. I hope to eventually cut it down to have even less boxes I purchase occasionally. 
  • Finalize the perfect morning and night skincare routine. This one is a hard one to make progress on, I'm thinking it will be able half way through the year before I can get to this. The reality of it is that I have SO many products that I received from subscription boxes that I just have to use them up before I can create a set routine. I guess you can kind of say I've started working on this since going through the products I'm able to make lists of what ingredients or brand work or don't work well for my skin. Even my night routine which I thought was pretty set has gotten a slight shake up with some new products.
  • Spend at least three hours a day without a cell phone. I'm half achieving this. I'm getting good at looking at the lock screen but not actually unlocking the phone and twiddling around. Next step is to completely lock it up in the drawer and ignore it.
  • Get and maintain a blog planner. I'm on point with this one and even though I just bought my little two year planner I'm seriously considering an upgrade to a Plum Paper Planner to start organizing my entire life. I have a habit of just jotting things down in various places so if I could stick to it, I think having one universal planner for notes and to do's would be handy. I must say though I need to get into a habit of taking the planner with me. Normally I just leave it in a drawer on my night stand which slightly defeats the purpose of the planner, so in February this guy is finding a home in my purse!
  • Start embracing more minimalist tendencies. I spent most of January really taking inventory of all my junk and I wrote several posts on my 'Journey to Minimalism'. It was focused heavily on products this month, but eventually I'm going to start weeding through things such as books, clothes, shoes, jewelry, etc. and I'll be sure to capture this all the blog. The goal is to eventually be able to pack all my possessions into one car!
  • Develop a personal sense of style. This one didn't get touched at all. I think it's time to revive the Pinterest board and start piecing together what I want. I just hate shopping for clothes so much, the whole trying on process irritates me, so this will definitely need a lot of help to take off.
And finally the new goal I want to add to the list: 
  • Drink more water. I used to be really good at this but when my office moved, I stopped bringing a water bottle to work and was instead drinking water from a coffee cup. I wasn't remembering to get up enough to fill up the cup so throughout the day I would drink typically two coffee cups of water and that's it! Now I'm bringing a 24oz water bottle to work every day and my goal is to drink four bottlefuls or basically one bottle every two hours.
It's the end of January, how is everyone else doing with their goals/resolutions?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

What's on my Nightstand? Bedtime Essentials!

I always enjoy taking a peek into people's personal lives by way of bags, makeup collections and such so I thought why not share what I keep on my nightstand! I'm not going to go full into what is in the drawers and baskets but I will go through the essentials that are on the actual table top part of it. In the drawer is just stuff like remotes, electronics and cables and then I have a basket (not shown) filled with excess products that (shockingly) don't fit in my Alex drawers.

First of all my nightstand is from Ikea, its is from the Hemnes collection which is the same as my bed frame and little drawer unit I have (fun fact). My bedside lamp is also from Ikea, just one of the basic lamp and shade sets from years ago so at this point I don't think they have my exact shade anymore. One thing that is usually on my nightstand that I didn't show is my laptop, it doesn't fit perfectly on it (hangs off the edge quite a bit) so I'm trying to get into the habit of not keeping it there.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The "Not Quite Empty" Empties #NYG

Today I have something a little different to bring today. I'm all for using everything to the last drop, clearly, you can just feel the joy radiating from my empties posts, but every once in awhile I come across a product that is just so disagreeable for me I can't even force myself to finish it up. This is almost like an ultimate unfavorites post here, and there's some spoilers for my Project Second Chance in here, but it just had to happen. It's really hard to find a product that just offends me so much that I will admit defeat to it because it really pains me to even waste a product. Sometimes I can find homes for items that don't work with me but these are the things I would feel bad dropping on anyone else so they just had to find a new home in the trash can. FYI these products will not be appearing in my "Empties" because they aren't actually empties, so this will be the last you will see of them!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Nails of the Week #27: Shades of Blue

So story time again! When I started out painting my nails this is not what I intended on doing. I wanted to just the blue and they use a matte coat but basically what happened was I got the blue down, realized I was running ridiculously late and had to just dash out the house. I managed to chip the tips on a few nails and instead of just starting over, I decided to slightly mimic my NYE nails as a quick fix to cover up the chips. I'm actually quite in love with the second polish I used and I think my next mani will be just that color, perhaps matte?? I'm clearly obsessed with the matte nails right now.

Anyways so the exact colors are both Essie polishes, the base being Hide & Go Chic which is a beautiful basic blue. Would you say it is a royal blue? On the tips in the same single stroke motions of varying lengths is Dive Bar which is this great dark blue with blue and emerald sparkles. I can just imagine how gorgeous this would be all over the nails. From far away you can hardly even tell it is two colors but close up you can see the almost dripping paint effect that I created with it. Sometimes mistakes make the best manicures and it definitely made me realize what a gorgeous color Dive Bar is and I'm kicking myself for never picking it up!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Nail & Hand Care Routine

This should have been in my New Years Goals, but I think it's high time I step up my nail and hand care game. Not only are hands the one of the first things to show signs of aging, but I'm clearly very into nail polish so I thought it was high time I started taking better care of them all. I have a bunch of cuticle oils and hand creams, but I was never in the habit to use it. I've finally built a routine for myself to encourage better care of my hands and I'm excited to share it with you all! I'm including the extra steps that I do just once a week as well as the daily habits.

I've spent the past month researching items and figuring out the exact problems I wanted to address. Of course there is the overall goal of keeping my hands hydrated but there were also some specific issues I wanted to work through:

-Cuticles. I naturally have nicely shaped nail beds but I wasn't satisfied with just pushing back my cuticles, I wanted a way to actually clean it up.
-Peeling nails. I love glitter which is damaging to the surfaces so I wanted a solution to that.
-Dry edges. This is the year of dryness for me, I'm fighting horribly itchy chapped lips and peeling finger tips which has never been an issue in the past!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Journey to Minimalism: Facial Cleansers #NYG

In this edition of #NYG, I am going continue my quest for minimalism and it is time to sort through my facial cleansers! Similar to my face mask debacle, I have a ridiculous amount of cleansers. It has to be the one product that I really love testing out and I can easily use a different cleanser every single day of the week. I'm finally realizing the benefits of sticking with the same products though so it is really time to use up the average and just stick with the good stuff. This will be broken down between morning and night cleansing since those are different. I'm usually not as fussy in the morning and it's the nighttime where I do the two steps in cleansing to make sure I really get rid of all that makeup. Also I'm looking at the pictures and noticing how nice my nails look! Since I'm not doing a NotW on this color (I've already kind of done it before) I'm going to say here that it is two coats of Essie's Sand Tropez and then the OPI Matte Top Coat over it! It looks so pretty and polished, I think matte nails are going to be my new obsession!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

UnBoxing Match! January 2015 Ipsy vs. Birchbox vs. Beauty Box 5

I can't believe it, the end of UnBoxing Match posts are coming! This will be the second to last one and then from March on it will be a purely Birchbox focused post. I will be nice I will go more in depth about the samples I receive there and start a running Birchbox Points tally in my quest for a ridiculously cheap (possibly free!) Clarisonic!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with these services, Ipsy and Birchbox are two custom beauty subscription boxes that come monthly. Both of these cost $10 a month and each arrive with 4-6 different goodies ranging from sad little foil packets to full size products! Beauty Box 5 costs a little more at $12 and delivers the same amount of goodies. I would say that typically Birchbox consistently delivers high-end skincare and hair care products with a sprinkling of makeup while Ipsy goes more for the mid-range items and is normally a lot of makeup items and Beauty Box 5 is mostly drugstore with an even mix of products.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Peek Into My Blog Planner! #NYG

What one of my goals should have been was to improve my handwriting! We live in such a digital age these days I don't even remember the last time I picked up a pen and wrote with it. Even through college I did the bulk of my note taking and writing on a laptop. It's sad to think that one day handwriting will be a lost art. Anyways, moaning aside, as part of my New Years series that I always attempt to do at the beginning of the year, I thought we could take a look at how I am achieving one of my goals! Today I'm going to walk you guys through my blog planner, so there's a reason for my earlier laments, I have VERY messy handwriting and it will be a miracle if any of you can decipher what I had written. If you can you will be treated to a nice sneak peek into the editorial calendar for the rest of the month as well as some insight into February that I've already started planning!

So I'm going to start off with saying this may not be my permanent planner simply because I just snagged a cheap one off Amazon real quick so I can start the year off with it instead of taking time to research planners. I decided pretty late in December that I wanted to start using a planner and I didn't want not having one right away to cause a delay. I grabbed this monthly planner off Amazon which at the time came out to be around $5 with free shipping. I had decided early on I wanted a monthly planner rather than a weekly planner just so I can open it up and be able to plan out a whole month of posts on just one page. It seemed silly to have a weekly section that I wouldn't use. That in itself was a difficult feat because as you can imagine most people want the weekly planners so they can plan out their days in more detail.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Nails of the Week #26: Fun with Stencils!

I swear after every title I put an exclamation point. Anyhoo...today is a monumental day, we are officially caught up on these nails! What does this mean you ask, this is the manicure I did YESTERDAY so this is literally the nails of the week for me! With the help of some new tools I'm finally experimenting with some new nail art techniques and this week I'm bringing you a fun one with the help of some sticker stencils. My color choice could have been better, originally I picked up a nice dark green but at the last minute I decided to swap it out for this slightly pearlescent dark blue since it was a polish I've never used before...bad move.

The base is Essie in Chinchilly one of my favorite purple greys. Then I used the middle slightly swooped sticker (you'll know what I'm talking about in the pictures) and stuck that so there would be a triangle at the tip. Then I used Zoya in Neve which is the blue I was talking about above and I finished with my handy Color Club Nail Art Duo in White for the dots because it just looked incomplete if I left it alone. I definitely need work placing the stickers better but I already have a great idea for my next one using the chevron sticker but it has a more resort collection of color so I'm waiting for the time to be right!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Friday 5 Faves

I kind of want to start doing these things on a semi regular basis. I don't think I can possibly do it weekly because the pressure of coming up with five favorite things every week is just too much. Thanks to my handy dandy new blog planner (editorial calendar if we want to be fancy), I think it's completely possible to schedule one of these guys in possibly once a month? Anyways, happy Friday to you all, pull up a comfy seat and let's chat about some things that I have been obsessing over this week. Five things to be exact.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Journey to Minimalism: Face Masks #NYG

It's not a secret. I love face masks. But then it really dawned on me, do I really use that many? If I had it my way everyday would be a spa day and I can use a different mask. If I was able to do that then my ridiculous mask collection could be justified but sadly that is not the case. I forced myself to really look at all my masks, sort them into different groups based on what they do, and pick just the winners in each category. I must say I tried to do one per category but in some cases it was just too hard! What I'm trying to do here is to then focus on the "losers" of the categories and finish them up and maintain just a small mask collection. I'm not going to go into too much detail about each mask but awhile ago I did a post the highlighted my entire mask collection at the time. Obviously I have some new ones and there are others that I used up but it will give you a general idea on my thoughts there!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Versatile Blogger Award

So that drugstore makeup finds post that was suppose to go up today, thrown out the window. I was so thrilled to learn that Asja over at Beauty Ignited nominated me for the The Versatile Blogger Award and I just had to get my post up ASAP! Go check her out, she's awesome and I love reading her empties series the best, plus her makeup collection show case posts had inspired me to do some too! Thank you so much for the nomination Asja!!

Nominees To Do List:
1. Thank the person who nominated you and post the award on your blog
2. Share 7 things about yourself
3. Nominate 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award

7 Things About Me
1. I tend to let things pile up all week but every Sunday I can't go to sleep until everything is spotless and fitted neatly back into its proper place.

2. Since I was 3 years old I've always had at least one guinea pig. There was one point in which I had five little piggies at once but now I'm down to just one and I don't think I ever want to live my life without one of these chubby little snuggle bugs ever.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Subscription & Mystery Box Roundup #NYG

Welcome to the first installment of tracking my New Years Goals (#NYG)! I decided to do away with resolutions this year and go for a set of goals that have a tangible end point. Being able to complete something is much more motivating for myself, and of course I need to document it all along the way. A few of these goals will definitely be hard to share in words, but I will attempt to touch on all of them in the next few months as well as supply some progress reports!

One of my goals this year is to reduce the amount of subscription boxes coming at me every month. I'm like anybody out there who just loves getting mail and a monthly subscription box is the perfect answer to a guaranteed treat in the mail box. It's gotten to the point where I have more than enough products to go through, and despite the fantastic deals, I can't justify the cost anymore. I did a serious sit down where I went through every subscription box or mystery bag I have ever ordered and sorted them into four different categories: Keep, Probation, Occasional, Ditch.

Keep. These are my must haves that I will keep my subscription to no matter what.
Probation. These are either newer subscriptions that I haven't exactly fallen in love with but I'm keeping for now to make a judgement.
Occasional. These are the ones that I will make one time purchases of based on spoilers but I won't be keeping a running subscription on.
Ditch. These are the ones that are getting the axed and under no means of torture or blackmail will I ever (most likely) subscribe to again.

Obviously the goal is to a lengthy list under Ditch and a much smaller list on the other three categories. I've tried many different boxes and I'm listing them all, even one time purchase boxes, so let's just see what it has come to! Warning this is going to be a long one!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Nails of the Week #25: My NYE Manicure!

I know I know, it's been nearly two weeks since new years but in my defense I was busy putting out a lot of time sensitive content! Anyways, I know I have said it a lot but this has got to be my favorite manicure yet! It's glitzy and fun, plus real easy to do (no tools needed!) and I'm already trying to figure out different color combinations to make this an acceptable look year round! You can say I was inspired by MissJenFabulous' tutorial here, basically followed the idea but I replaced loose glitter with just a glitter top coat. Anyways let's get into the specific colors I used and the detailed pictures!

First of all the base coat is my trusty Rimmel Lasting Pro Finish in Black Satin. The only black polish I own ever since a college housemate borrowed my OPI one and never returned it...I'm not complaining too much though since this stuff is wildly opaque in two coats and the brush is so large and flat about two swipes covers the nail. I am sad that this line was discontinued though so fingers crossed this bottle never runs out. The white streaks are Sephora by OPI in White Hot. Not the best white and I'll definitely stick with Essie or OPI once this bottle is done with. The shiny glittery streaks is my all time favorite mixed metal chrome: Formula X in Alchemy. I won't even waste time raving about this guy you can just click here for my dedicated NotW on this color for some drool worthy photos of this gorgeous color. Finally to make it girly and picking up the slight pinky rose gold quality of Alchemy, I used Essie in A Cut Above, a nice chromey pink glitter as a top coat to really signal the party in my nails. I'm so obsessed with this exact look and color combination that it will definitely be my go to look for any sort of celebration occasion! It's so easy too since I didn't use any tools, all streaks were used by simply starting at various lengths and dragging the brush!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Trip to Seattle & Iceland! Vlogs, Pictures + More!

Now that it's been almost a year I finally decided it was time to organize all my pictures and video clips for my Seattle and Iceland trip back in April! I know I'm a huge slacker, but basically I came back from the trip and that was when everything went crazy in my life so it's taken a long time for me to be in the mood/find time to do this. I was also dreading the video editing because I thought it would take forever. A few weeks ago I rediscovered my folder that had all this stuff in it and was watching some of the video clips and dying of laughter over them, and then the next day I was inspired to do something about it! This was my first experience vlogging, and my first experience really editing together a video. I split it into two parts. Part one is Seattle where we spent a day and a half there, and part two is Iceland where we were there for four days. It was a great experience and it was really fun reliving it all, I'm so glad I captured this trip on film! The videos are too long for me to embed so here are the links!


I had so much fun editing this is inspiring me to possibly start doing some more videos. I'm definitely interested in bringing the camera along on more trips so hopefully that can happen soon!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Review: Dr Song 20% Salicylic Acid Peel

It's no secret I suffer from acne problems. I've tried literally everything from aggressive skincare routines to medication. At this point it is fairly under control but I'm always looking for the answer to get smooth skin and something to help lighten my acne scars. When I was contacted with the opportunity to try out Dr. Song 20% Salicylic Acid Gel Peel I was eager to try out something different to see if that would work for me. The idea of a chemical peel is a little frightening so let me start out with some background information before I get to my own thoughts and experiences.

Salicylic Acid is a commonly known chemical used to treat acne. It is derived from willow bark and as a fun fact, it is a main constitute of Aspirin! All those myths about crushing up Aspirin to dot onto pimples has scientific backing to it. It is highly fat soluble so it is attracted to and breaks down lipids and oils. It has the ability to get right into pores so that is what makes it such a great acne fighting ingredient. It works to clear and prevent blackheads, pimples and cystic acne and there are also studies that show it is beneficial in reducing acne scarring.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

InstaNatural Haul & Review!

If you've been following me for awhile now you will know that I have a slightly sick obsession with masks, whether it's a hair, face or even foot mask I will try it. I just love the idea of packing on something that will really deliver a punch of nutrients. It's actually a habit to use face masks daily and everytime I wash my hair (just twice a week) I usually use a hair mask instead of a conditioner. So therefore I was thrilled when I was contacted by InstaNaturals to review their Argan Oil Hair Mask, and as an added bonus they asked if I was interested in reviewing two more of their products! Obviously I jumped at the chance and finally now I am ready to share my haul and review of these products now that I have thoroughly tested them out for about three weeks.

Here's a little background information on the company itself: 

InstaNatural is a leading online and global distributor of more than a dozen nature inspired beauty and cosmetics products. Our products are one of the top sellers on Amazon and can also be found in leading spas, salons and aesthetic centers in the US, as well as internationally in UAE, UK and Canada (coming soon). We are constantly in search of wonderful natural and organic ingredients from the around the globe, so we can bring you the absolute best products, no matter the cost. In addition, we strongly believe in treating our customers the way we would want to be treated. This is why our lifetime satisfaction guarantee and our customer service is unlike any other company in the industry.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Project Second Chance Results & New Round

This has been an interesting project, I must say there is a reason why I don't use these products and I'm finding it really hard to reach for them. Nevertheless I have persevered and here is the round up for the products I've used this past month and where we stand now.

L'Oreal True Match Foundation. Guess what, it didn't break me out! So that mystery is cracked. It's a great color match for me, but not so much for my oily skin. I get really oily from this stuff and even my trusty Stay Matte can't keep me matte.
POP Beauty Nail Polish in Pink Popsicle. Still no good with this polish. The formula is just too thick so it drags like crazy over my nails and it's impossible to get a nice even coat of it.

Monday, January 5, 2015

2014 MVP: Most Valuable Products

Here it is, as 2015 is just beginning I come to you with my best of 2014 list. I have scoured all my favorite posts as well as empties to pick out those special products that just kept popping up on either list. I didn't cover every category because let's be honest, there are some things I don't use enough to have a real favorite. I also feel like I hopped on the whole highlighter train too late in the year to really proclaim one item the best of the whole year. These will be items that I have used basically from start to finish through the year or at least a good portion of a year. If you're interested you can check out my list for 2013 too! Okay I'll stop rambling now and just get into the list!

Friday, January 2, 2015

December 2014 Favorites + Unfavorites!

This month I'm going to refrain from gushing about the Rimmel Stay Matte powder even though it is the third month in a row I am using and absolutely obsessed with it. Most people stay away from powders during winter but I still use them because my skin is shiny enough to make it work. I debated for awhile whether or not to do a December favorites simply because in a few days I will put up my 2014 MVP, but then I decided to go for it since there's a lot of things I loved this month that aren't going into the round up so there really isn't a lot overlap here.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Years Goals!

Last year I did resolutions, that didn't turn out so well for me. I did get a little cleaner but about halfway through the year I completely threw the budgeting out the window, as well as the following the news, reading more, and Excel...never even happened. This year I want to try something a little different since I am such a list oriented person. Instead of striving for resolutions, I want to make some goals to accomplish this year. Typically if there is an endpoint for me I am more motivated to go for it so let's try this out!
  • Walk 5000 steps a day. I know the norm is 10,000 but the reality is I work at a job where I'm at a desk 8 hours a day with limited opportunity to get up and walk. I'm averaging around 3000 steps a day so I think a goal of 5000 should be easily achievable and I can build up from there.
  • Cut down on the amount of subscription boxes. It's getting out of control and I have no need for so much product, I can't even give it away fast enough! I'm going to sit down and do a serious evaluation of everything and just pick one or two to keep.
  • Finalize the perfect morning and night skincare routine. My routine is getting kind of wild since I'm working on going through so many different samples so it's my goal to be done with all that soon and have my final routine down so my skin really can benefit for the long term effects of using the same stuff.
  • Spend at least three hours a day without a cell phone. I constantly find myself reaching for my phone to check Instagram way too often so it's time to start putting that phone in the drawer for a few hours a day.
  • Get and maintain a blog planner. I have so many ideas for blog posts but often I don't write them down. I want to get a monthly planner for my blog so I can fill out the days with a posting schedule as well as have one place where I can write down all my ideas and notes. Starting it will be easy, maintaining it is going to be the hard part!
  • Start embracing more minimalist tendencies. I have a serious problem of buying these because they are just a good deal, and I also have a serious problem of hoarding certain items. Starting first with skincare it's really time to cut down the amount of products I have and just only buy the ones that I truly love instead of experimenting all the time.
  • Develop a personal sense of style. I'm the most boring person when it comes to clothing so I've decided that 2015 is the year where I want to change that and really start developing a good wardrobe.
So that's all I can think of right now! Most of these goals ended up very makeup/blog oriented but apparently that's where my priorities lie. Check back at the end of the month for an update on how it's been going! What are some of your New Years goals (or resolutions) this year?