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Friday, March 29, 2013

Makeup Look of the Day

Here's another makeup look for you guys--in honor of Chicago finally having its first tolerable spring day (54 degrees yesterday)! I love busting out the green eyeshadows this time of year.


Here's what I used to create this look:

Face: Laura Geller Spackle Under Makeup Primer, Make Up For Ever Foundation in 120; Benefit Erase Paste; Laura Mercier Secret Concealer in #3

Eyes: Urban Decay Primer Potion, CoverGirl Eyshadows in Kelly Green and Pink Chiffon, Sephora Nano Eyeliner in Pure White, Make Up For Ever Aqua Liner in Black 0L, Maybelline Falsies Mascara

Brows: Cargo Eyeshadow Palette in Warm Neutral, CoverGirl clear mascara

Cheeks: Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush in Orchid Hush

Lips: Body Shop Jolly Orange Lip Balm

Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Beauty: My Current Favorite Makeup Products

It's no secret, I love to try out new makeup products. Once I find some that I love, I keep them in my daily makeup rotation. These are products that I currently use everyday during the week. You'll see that it's a mix of drugstore finds and more expensive brands. Not every makeup product has to be expensive to work great! I like to play up my eyes a little more on the weekend but I typically stick to these products below. 

I figured I'd try this out since it was on sale and I'm SO happy I did. I love the pop of color it gives my cheeks and the texture is smooth and creamy. I love how it blends in my skin and it lasts all day. One of my favorite drug store finds! 

I love BB creams ever since Adrianne introduced me to how amazing they are. Super light, moisturizing and I don't feel like I have anything on my face. I love it. Perfect for the spring, summer, fall and whenever you don't need as much coverage. 

I love this foundation when I need more coverage. In the winter I tend to wear more foundation and this is still light but has the perfect amount of coverage. It matches my skin tone perfectly too! 

Adrianne got me this mascara for Christmas and I completely understand the hype now. I never have clumpy lashes anymore and they transform my straight sad lashes into curled beautiful ones. I love this stuff!

I got this with a Tarte blush in a travel pack and fell in love. It's not orange at all and gives me a perfect sun kissed glow. I'm running low and am not happy about that! Time for a Sephora or Ulta run! 

My mom bought me this after we saw a woman who worked at the Lancome counter wearing it. Her makeup looked phenomenal and she raved about the product. It's pricey, but lasts FOREVER. I haven't had to sharpen it yet! 

My future mother in law got me this for Christmas and I've been obsessed with it. It's so fun to play around with all of the different colors and I love how neutral they all are. You can use this for day and night. Worth every penny! 

I've recently blogged about my obsession for this cheap drugstore find. It's an amazing product that I can't rave enough about.

Have you used any of my favorite beauty products I listed above? What are some of your favorites?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

What’s in my purse?

As you’ve probably gauged by now, I’m a huge beauty junkie. I thought it’d be fun to share some of the products that I am currently carrying in my purse.

  1. Makeup carry-all: to keep all the stuff in the picture in one place!
  2. Eye drops: for my dry eyes and contact lenses
  3. Clinique concealer: for the unexpected breakout or touch-ups
  4. Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer: great for quick on-the-go application and touch-ups
  5. Nail file
  6. A few different lip moisturizers: Jouer Lip Perfector, LipFusion Lip Balm, Carmex and Burt’s Bees Lip Balm 
  7. Yes to Cucumbers Makeup Wipes
  8. A few different lip colors: SkinnyGirl Lip Gloss, Stila Lip Glaze in Action, MAC Lip Glass, Clinique Lip Gloss in Air Kiss, NYX Liquid Lipstick, L’Oreal Lip Gloss in Tangerine, OCC Lip Tar in Femme
  9. Q-Tips: Perfect for cleaning up makeup mistakes or applying lip products
  10. Gum: a must!
  11. Hand sanitizer
  12. Tissues
  13. Mirror
  14. Jergens hand lotion
  15. Comb
  16. Travel-sized mouthwash, floss and toothpaste: I’m a nut about keeping my teeth clean!
  17. My adorable cat Jolie who kept her paws off these products just long enough for me to take this picture (I don't actually keep her in my purse.)
Now it’s your turn! What beauty products do you carry in your purse? Share in the comments or link us to your blog!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Fitness: Why Rest and Recovery Days are so Important

Even if you're not training for a race it's easy to get obsessed with working out. When you start to see results you want to keep going and it's easy to overdo it. Working out too much does more harm than good for your body. It sounds crazy since exercise is so good for you, but if you workout too much you don't give your body a chance to adjust and repair. Every time we workout our body breaks down our muscles so they get stronger the next time. If you don't incorporate rest days your body can't repair these muscles and instead they become fatigued and overworked, eventually leading to burnout. 

You want to start an exercise program you can maintain for the long term. The moment you stop or lower your activity level, the pounds will start to creep on. Working out 5-7 days a week? That might not be realistic over the long term. Everyone is different but most people do best with 3-5 days a week of activity with active recovery and rest days in between. 

I've found that 4-5 days a week of moderate to intense workouts work best for me and my schedule. I try to do 3-4 days with some form of cardio and 2-3 days of weight training. This combination might not work best for you so play around with numbers and see how your body responds. I need at least two rest days a week to get the most out of my workouts and can't do too much cardio or I'm always hungry and my energy is drained. 

On my rest days I make sure to still move and stretch since I sit at a desk all day for my day job. I'll walk for 30 minutes on the treadmill during lunch or make sure to do some yoga poses when I get home after work. I really try to listen to my body. Somedays I really need to just do nothing and be lazy and that's okay too. You have to treat your body right or overtime you'll completely burn out and have to start from scratch. 

So, as much as you might want to keep going, make sure to take some time off and let your body rest. You'll be doing yourself a ton of good and it will keep you strong in the long term.

How many rest and active recovery days do you schedule each week? What types of workouts do you schedule in your routine? 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Seven Pieces: Lots of Possibilities

I recently went shopping and picked up some clothes from Old Navy and Target. I’ll be traveling to Florida next month and I wanted some new spring/summer items for my wardrobe. Here’s what I got:

From Target:
  • Chartreuse Pencil Skirt, $22.99
  • Cobalt Blue Hi Low Foldover Maxi Skirt, $17.99 (got for $15.99)
  • Mossimo White Denim Jacket, $29.99
  • Coral Eyelet ¾ Sleeve Shirt, $13 (clearance)

From Old Navy:
  • Green Eyelet Tube Dress, $34.94 (got for 30% off)
  • White Cropped Rib-Knit Cardi, $15 (got for $10)
  • Rockstar Zip-Pocket Skinny Pants, $34.94

(There were a few other things I got, like a t-shirt, socks and nylons, but I’ll leave those out for the purpose of this post!)

One thing I am guilty of, as I’m sure we all are, is getting bored with the clothes I have. I’ll fall in love with a piece, buy it, then a few months later feel like I’ve got nothing to wear. So, with the new things I bought I challenged myself to combine everything in creative ways to see how many outfits I could come up with. See below for the results. The ONLY thing I added is a black tank top that I already own. 

As you can see, there are TONS of combinations. And think of how many more combinations I could come up with just by using the other things already in my closet. I could multiply the possibilities just by adding things that everyone owns, like jeans or a white tank top. I didn’t even add shoes or accessories! Each of these looks can be dressed up or down by wearing flats or heels or dressy or casual jewelry. This little exercise has really inspired me to be more creative with my wardrobe and try to use the pieces I already have in new and fun ways.

How do you stretch your wardrobe?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Vitamins: What You Need and Why

I start my day off the same way each morning. I slowly get out of bed (hello snooze!) and after getting ready (unless it's the weekend and I'm not going anywhere) I make my way down to the kitchen to make my breakfast and take my vitamins. I take a lot of them, but it is what works for me. You may not need nearly as much as I do, but since I don't eat meat I need to supplement a little more. I also take some extras like fish oil and vitamin E for my skin, hair and nails so those could be considered extras too.
Let's take a look and what I take every morning:
1. Vitamin B: Good for overall health. This one vitamin does a ton of amazing things.
2. Vitamin B12: Since I don't eat meat I'm vitamin B12 deficient. This helps ensure I get all the nutrients I need.
3. Vitamin C: Need an extra punch for your immune system? Take vitamin C. It will help you stay healthy during cold and flu season and will ensure your immune system is working at its best.
4. Vitamin D: If I lived somewhere sunny I wouldn't need to take this supplement as the best way to get it is via natural sunlight. However, living in grey Chicago (especially in the winter) calls for an extra dose of this stuff. Feeling a little blue? Take a vitamin D and see how much better you feel. It's crazy but it works!
5. Vitamin E: Want healthy hair, skin and nails? I urge you to give vitamin E a try. It works wonders!
6. Calcium Magnesium: As I'm getting older calcium is extremely important to keep my bones strong. It's never too early to start taking this!
7. Fish Oil: helps lower fat that's stored in your body, can help battle depression, keep your joints healthy and lower your blood pressure. This stuff is awesome.
8. Probiotics: These babies help keep good bacteria in your gut and clean out the bad stuff. They keep you regular (TMI ... sorry). I can tell a HUGE difference when I don't take them. They are magic and I'm so glad I started taking these on a regular basis.
Seems like a lot, doesn't it? Like I said, depending on your diet and nutritional needs you may not need all of these. These are just what work for me. Make sure to check with a doctor before adding any supplements to your diet.
Do you take any of the above? Are there other vitamins you take on a regular basis?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Makeup Look of the Day

If you’re searching for a look to wear to work or out to a social function, here’s one to try:

If you want to recreate the look, here’s what I used:
  • Face: Smashbox StudioSkin Foundation in 1.1; Benefit Erase Paste; Laura Mercier Secret Concealer in #3
  • Eyes: Urban Decay Primer Potion; Avon Big Color Eye Pencil in Blue Smoke; Urban Decay Naked Palette (Half Baked); ELF Studio Endless Eyes Pro Mini Eyeshadow Palette – Limited Edition (Dark Blue); Fresh Supernova Mascara
  • Brows: Avon Eyebrow Pencil in Light Golden Brown; CoverGirl Clear Mascara
  • Cheeks: MAC Blush in Garb
  • Lips: LipFusion Balm

Got a makeup look you love? Share it with us!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Quick Tips to Keep Organized While Planning a Wedding (or any event for that matter)

Staying organized while planning a wedding (or any event for that matter) is crucial. Not only for your sanity and stress level, but for the safety of those around you. I've always been an organized person, but planning one of the biggest events of my life has caused me to be a little more organized than usual. Here are some quick tips I've found to be useful along the way that can be applied to many more life events than just weddings.

1.  Make a planning binder. This will ensure all of your vendor contracts, contact lists, lists of lists, etc. will be easily accessible in one place. Separate each section with a new tab and keep everything clearly labeled. Yes, it will be a lot of work upfront but once you get organized you'll be able to rest easy. I've divided mine by vendor (including vendor contacts, our contracts and other important info), a to-do list that I keep updated every time a task is complete, budget (very important), guest list, and family and friend contact sheets. Organize it in a way that make sense to you (and whoever else has to use it) and you'll be amazed how much your stress level will plummet once you know you've got it all in one place. 

2. Put everything in Google Docs. Yes, seriously. You know that binder I just talked about? What if you leave it somewhere? What if you update a document and forget to reprint the new copy? All of your  planning documents will be available anywhere and you can access them from any device and share them with anyone. The documents will be updated automatically (by you and anyone you share them with) so you'll always have access to the latest copy without having to carry around a flash drive. 

3. Create a inspiration board in Pinterest. This will be the easiest way to organize all your ideas in one place. You can find ideas from others and re-pin these to your boards. You can also create pins from blogs, websites and other sources of inspiration so you can easily access these all in one place. When I started planning the wedding I just had one general wedding board on my Pinterest page. That quickly changed and I now have different pages for the cake, flowers, wedding makeup, reception decor, etc. It is an easy way to check back at what inspired me to keep me on track with all of the planning. 

4. Over communicate. NEVER and I mean never assume that you're on the same page with anyone (including the bridal party) when planning. You'd hate to think you told someone one thing and in reality they heard something different. Is something really important to you? Make sure everyone helping out knows! I'd rather get 500 reminders about something than hear it once and forget it. I know other people that want to help feel the same! Don't feel bad about being clear about what you want, it's your day and it should go how you want it to.

5. Hire a planner. Or in my case find an amazing family friend (with tons of party planning experience) to keep you totally organized and stress-free on your big day. Luckily for me one of my mom's close friends organizes several events year round and has generously offered her time and expertise to keep the event coordinated and on schedule. I can't wait to hand these documents, binders, boards, etc. over to her on the big day so she can handle all issues that come up. I can't tell you how much better I feel knowing someone I trust is looking after things so I don't have to worry about it. 

Bonus: Just remember it's just one day! The wedding and your life together is the most important thing. Will things go wrong even with amazing organization and coordination? Unfortunately, yes. But before you freak out -- just remember, at the end of the day you get to marry the love of your life and that's ALL that matters. No one will notice the little mishaps anyways and they will just be funny stories to share later on. No go, get organized and enjoy this time with the one you love! 

Do you have any good organizational tips? Share them with us in the comments! 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Accessories: Five Bags for Spring

Spring arrives THIS WEEK! So exciting! I can’t wait warmer weather and spring fashion. In order to help you get your wardrobe ready, check out my purse picks for this season:

Jolica HT065, $99

Kate Spade Rumor Straw Bow Tote, $143

Nine West Zipster Crossbody, $49.99

Pistachio Green Tote Bag, Spring Handbag,  Mint Green, Linen and Leather Handbag for Women
Pistachio Green Tote Bag, $135

Product Image
Dooney & Burke Retro Leather Satchel Handbag, $298

What purse will you be sporting this spring?

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Simple Springtime Salad Recipe

I can't get into salads when it's cold out. Something about the winter makes me crave all warm comfort foods and salads and smoothies don't sound as appealing to me. Now that spring is right around the corner, I've been craving salads like crazy. I made this one the other day for a dinner party and it was a huge hit. Jay and I liked it so much that we made it again as part of our dinner last week. 

It's so simple and easy to put together, yet is full of flavor and will make you want to go back for seconds (or thirds). 

What you need:
1/2 cup chopped walnuts 
3/4 cup crumbled goat cheese 
1 large green apple 
1 bag baby spinach 
dressing of choice (we used pear and gorgonzola dressing and it was fantastic on this salad!)

What to do:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spread walnuts on a pan with parchment paper (easy cleanup!)
  2. Bake for 5-7 minutes until they are lightly toasted. Make sure to not let them burn! 
  3. I bought a log of goat cheese at the store so I sliced mine up in small little crumbles 
  4. Chop up your green apple into small cubes 
  5. Start with a generous layer of baby spinach and top it with a handful of apple cubes, goat cheese and walnuts. Start layer over again until you've used all of your ingredients. I find that this layering technique insures you'll get an equal amount of each topping in your bowl.
  6. Dish up and top with some dressing
  7. Enjoy! 

Can you enjoy salads in the winter or do you prefer to eat them when it's warmer out? What's a salad recipe that you love?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Beauty Rituals in Under Five Minutes

You don’t have to spend hours grooming in order to take care of yourself. A few minutes here and there is all you need. Try out these tips—they can all be done in under five minutes!

Baby your skin: If you’re sitting on the couch watching television, grab a bottle of lotion and an eye cream. Gently pat the cream around your eye area and let it sink in. You could even put it in the fridge first to cool it off. Massage the lotion into your hands and feet. There’s never really a convenient time to put lotion on your feet—why not do it when you’re just sitting around?

Care for your nails: Have you ever noticed how unkempt your hands look when you haven’t done your nails? Keep a nail file and manicure stick in your purse and pull them out when you have a few minutes. You can push back your cuticles and shape your nails so that your hands don’t look so messy!

Trim your brows: Grab a brow comb and a small pair of scissors. Comb the hairs upward and trim the ones that reach above your brows. You can also brush them down and trim a little, but be careful not to trim too much and throw off your natural shape.

Dress yourself up: No need to buy a fancy outfit or spend hours on your hair or makeup. Pick out a few key accessories and put them on. This might not be a beauty ritual, but accessories will definitely help you look put together!

Try a messy updo: Use a paddle brush to gently backcomb your hair at the roots. Pin back your bangs and place your hair in a low ponytail or haphazardly pin your hair at the nape of your neck. Mist with hairspray. Super simple.

Got any quick beauty rituals to share?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Beauty: My Secret Beauty Weapon That I Found in My Kitchen

Yes, you read the title correctly, my biggest beauty secret was found in my kitchen. What is it you ask? Coconut oil! I know I've raved about the stuff before, but I'm telling you this stuff is liquid gold.

As you know, I have used it as a hair mask and have gotten amazing results. My favorite way to use it is as a moisturizer. For my body and FACE! Yes, I put oil on my face. Call me crazy, but I promise it won't make you break out. In fact, since using it on my face my skin has never been clearer. It has helped shrink the size of my pores and I've seen a decrease in the amount of blackheads on my nose and chin. It really helps moisturize my dry skin without leaving an oily mess.
I massage it into my skin before bed and love how silky smooth my skin is in the morning when I wake up. Another bonus is it smells amazing. Who wouldn't love smelling like a tropical vacation?
I told you, this stuff is awesome. Here are just a few more beauty uses of this magic in a jar:
1. As a natural makeup remover
2. Use it to clear up rashes and razor burn
3. It helps speed up recovery of scars (I've tested this theory on a burn I got from the stove and it worked wonders!)
4. Have super dry lips? Lather some of this stuff on and you'll be amazed how smooth your lips will feel.
5. Natural deodorant. I haven't tested this theory yet, but I've heard it's great as a deodorant too! Who would have known.
The possibilities are endless and there are a ton more ways to use this stuff! I can't rave about it enough. Run, don't walk to the store and pick yourself up a jar of this stuff. You won't be disappointed!
What are some ways you use coconut oil outside of the kitchen? You'll have to let us know if you give this a try for any of your beauty routines!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Warrior Dash Training Update

Back in January, I posted about my plans to participate in the Warrior Dash this June. Since that time I’ve been hitting the gym at least four to five times per week, if not more. Here’s a quick update on my progress:

Running: Running still continues to be a challenge for me, but I am improving. I’m noticing that first mile I run is getting a little bit easier and I’m definitely able to run farther than when I started. I have a long way to go to meet my goals, but I’m happy with my progress so far. 

Strength Training: The majority of my training over the past month and a half has been weightlifting. I’ve been working out various muscle groups on different days—biceps, triceps, shoulders, chest, back, core/abs and legs/butt. I’m noticing more muscle definition and have been able to increase the amount of weight I lift in some areas. I’ve also noticed that my stomach (normally a trouble spot for me) is getting a little more toned and in shape. It’s so encouraging seeing some results! 

Circuit Training: This is something I definitely need to do more of! I’ve done a little, which has consisted of a few rounds of running, pull-ups, walking lunges and burpees. I’m hoping to do more over the next few weeks. 

Stretching: With adding more running to my workout routine, I’ve noticed that my legs are a little tighter. Also, because I’ve been strength training more, I’m experiencing more sore muscles. This is a good thing because I know I’m working hard, but it’s deterred me from having some really effective stretching sessions. I’ve been stretching, but I’ll need to do it more frequently.

Are you training for any races this year? Let us know!