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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Three Years

It's hard to believe it's been three years since we got married! Sometimes it feels like the blink of an eye and other times it feels like forever. I've learned so much over these three years...

I've learned that marriages are about losing. Losing an argument. Losing control. Losing your pride.

I've learned that marriages are about compassion. Compassion for things you can't empathize with.

I've learned marriages are about grace. Giving grace to someone even if they don't deserve it.

I've learned that marriages take work. They aren't easy and they require constant work.

I've learned that marriages can reshape who you are in a good way.

But most importantly, I've learned what it means to have a constant advocate, caregiver, protector, stress-reliever, guardian, encourager and lover.

Happy Anniversary, M!


Friday, April 7, 2017

Living Room Update

Do we really need to go into depth psychoanalyzing why I keep changing and redecorating my living room? I think not. Honestly, I like to change things up and rearrange furniture or move decor items around a lot to keep things fresh. Well, it's hard to rearrange furniture in our current living room given the set up but I can still swap out the decor items. Here's where we are now:



Yes I have two animal pillows in my living room. It's hard to see the detail on the elephant one (from WalMart!!) but it's got gold accents. The other thing I do quite frequently is switch out my throw pillow covers. Both of those gray/gray check pillows are Ikea pillow forms with Ikea pillow covers. I've had them forever and love them!

The white wall things...because I have no idea what to call them...are actually rubber stair treads we got from Lowe's that I spray painted white and then distressed with M's electric sander.

And as a reminder, here's where we've been in the living room area in the past.


Will I ever get tired of gray? Maybe. But I don't see it happening any time soon. 



Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The March Edit: Hits and Misses

I'm starting this recurring monthly post about things I've tried and liked or tried and didn't like in a particular month. I'm kicking off this series with some fave beauty and lifestyle stuff and some of the ones that I didn't like so much!

Hits


Links//Foundation//Undereye Setting Powder//Laptop Bag//Burt's Bees Facial Wipes//Tank Top

This foundation is my new favorite. It works really well with my dry skin and stays on all day. Also, it's nowhere near as expensive as the Born This Way one I was using. I've been using this for a couple of weeks and I'm very impressed!

I got this undereye powder as part of a free gift with purchase when I bought some products from e.l.f. cosmetics and I really love it. It's not too drying to make my undereyes look crepe-y but it also keeps my concealer in place all day. I'll definitely purchase this when I run out.

This laptop bag is seriously adorable. I love it so much! It's slimline and lightweight but protective and so cute! It comes in other patterns but this big rose floral is very springy and fun!

I was on the lookout for a new face/makeup wipe and tried a bunch of them. These Burt's Bees ones are a hit! They are good for my sensitive skin and the cloth is soft. I'll be repurchasing these for certain.

These Old Navy tank tops are my new fave for layering. I'll admit that I gave up on Old Navy for a while because I wasn't happy with the quality of their stuff. But these tanks are soft and drapey but not clingy. They don't wrinkle easily and look expensive. I purchased a gray one and then loved it so much I went back online and purchased in navy and this peachy color. LOVE!

Misses



I tried these Croc d'Orsay flats thinking they'd be the best of both worlds...Croc comfort and a cute style. And while they are adorable they are not comfortable. I don't have wide feet but these things are SO. TIGHT. around the strap. Like uncomfortable. I might wear these a couple more times to see if they'll stretch but otherwise these are a dud.

In my hunt for facial/makeup wipes I tried these and while the formula itself isn't bad the wipes feel like sandpaper. There's no way I would keep using them on my skin.

I was trying to find a cheaper alternative to my beloved It's a 10 light spray and I failed miserably at this one by IT. This product is very sticky and made my hair feel heavy, dirty and greasy. I used this twice and gave it away to someone with very thick hair. It could be that because my hair is fine it just was too much and could work for someone else but for me? No thanks.

I got this e.l.f. volumizing mascara as part of a free gift with purchase and I used it once. I'm glad I didn't "pay" for it because the formula is very, very dry. If you like a dry mascara this one is nice for a natural look but it didn't work for me.

Finally, I love my regular Batiste dry shampoo. It's the best I've ever used...hands down. But I wanted to try this one specifically for blondes to see if it could brighten my roots in between hair appointments. UM. It did not brighten. What it DID do was leave a yellowy/golden cast on my scalp...so much so that my sister (who is a hair dresser) was like, "did you put bronzer on your scalp?" Nope! I'll stick to my regular Batiste dry shampoo from now on.

Well, there you have it. My March hits and misses. I really enjoyed this post so I hope to do these monthly! Let me know if you had any experiences with any of the products mentioned above.


Monday, March 27, 2017

My Ancestry DNA Ethnicity Results

NERD ALERT! :)

I'm really into learning about my family's ancestry and tracing our roots and heritage. I've got a pretty complete family tree dating back to the 1500s in Switzerland on my paternal side and to the 1600s in England and the 1700s in Ireland on my maternal side. My paternal family has been located in South Carolina since 1736.

I started my interest in my ancestry/heritage by creating an account and a family tree on Ancestry.com. I actually found a lot of information there to begin with and blogged a bit about some of the interesting findings here.

However,  I was really interested in what my actual DNA composition was made up of since I have a variety of leads from each side of the family. Well, the results were not THAT surprising...except for what I'm calling the wildcard...more on that later.

First up, my percentage breakdown for the expected (aka non-surprising) part of the results.



Okay, I figured GB and Europe. Here's a map breakdown which explains it a bit better. 


Great Britain also includes Scotland, so that makes sense. My mom's maiden name is a Scottish name and we'd always been told that her side of the family is Scot-Irish. So "Great Britain" accounts for the Scottish side. Europe West accounts for France, Germany, Switzerland, etc. so that also makes sense because I've traced my paternal lineage to Switzerland and Germany. Then there's the fairly self-explanatory Irish and Scandinavian heritage. 

The cool thing about these results is that Ancestry.com gives you a ton of historical data and background to help figure out why you could be showing DNA from a particular area. For me, I easily figured out the Scandinavian portion since I didn't knowingly have any lineage in that area. The Vikings and other tribal types from Scandinavia conquered and settled in parts of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales,  so many of my ancestors might have been descendants from those people. That also can help explain the Finland/NW Russia and Iberian Peninsula trace regions.  People from these native portions could have immigrated to other parts of the world and intermarried but the DNA still remains. For example, many Germanic tribes like the Visigoths pushed into the Iberian peninsula areas and conquered kingdoms to the north into Scandinavia. 

Are you ready for the wildcard? You may have noticed that I'm 98% of European descent but there's another 2% that's missing. Well, it's actually Asian. South Asia to be specific. Here's the full breakdown. 


And the map that shows the general area. This includes countries like India, Myanmar, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. 



Okay, so obviously I do not LOOK South Asian AT ALL. But I find it very interesting that there are still markers in my DNA from this area. The best I can figure is it must come from the Great Britain portion since India use to be a British territory. Perhaps there was some intermarrying? It's just so fascinating! Who would have thought?!

I was slightly disappointed that some of my Jewish and Native American ancestry didn't come through nor was any portion of my DNA African. Given that many of my paternal ancestors were slave owners I figured that there might have been some. BUT, that's not to say it isn't a part of my heritage, it just didn't manifest into my own unique DNA. So how will I know? Well, I plan to purchase this test as a gift for my sister, father and mother. (Surprise! If you're reading this, family!)  I'd like to see how my results compare to theirs and what theirs might show that mine didn't. Stay tuned! 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Bathroom Update: Painting the Vanity



One of the projects M and I both wanted to tackle was painting our bathroom vanities. It was something we desperately wanted but we were unsure how time consuming of a project it might be...so we kept putting it off.

Well, we bit the bullet and started in the master bathroom this weekend. I'll be honest, I had to work half a day on Friday so M actually ended up doing most of the work with this project. But that is a good indication of how easy it really was!

The entire project took less than a day and we are thrilled with the results!

Our first step was to sand the 11 year old builder-grade oak cabinets. M did the larger parts with a electric palm sander but chose to use regular old sandpaper for the cabinet faces and drawers. Because of the molding on these it was easier for him to use sandpaper. He sanded them all enough to knock the sheen off and rough up the surface a bit for painting. I'd say it took him about 2 hours total to sand everything. He removed the drawers and doors and sanded them all outside because, well, it's kind of messy.

After the sanding was done we headed to Lowe's and picked out our paint. I knew I wanted a blue-tinged dark gray. I like the look of dark vanities with white tops so we figured a darker gray would contrast nicely with the white top and hide any stains well. We ended up going with Valspar Reserve paint in Muskeg Gray. We purchased a couple of chip brushes and some small high-density foam paint rollers specifically for cabinetry and went to town. I started by painting in the door molding and the edges with the brushes and then finished with rolling the wide, flat parts. Overall we did two coats  of paint on everything and it looks great! We ended up painting inside the house in the kitchen area because it was really windy and getting chilly out.

I've never painted anything in the house before and the house not smell like paint. Actually unless you saw the painting stuff in the house, you wouldn't even know it. I smelled NOTHING. No paint fumes, no paint smell. Honestly, I loved that. I didn't pick this paint because of the low odor and no VOCs, but I would definitely pick it again because I loved walking into a house that didn't smelled like paint!

We opted for a semi-gloss since it's a bathroom and this is the most chip and stain resistant. I love it. The final product is a bit more of a babyish gray than I thought but I don't mind it at all. We purchased a gallon of this paint and plan to use it to paint the guest bathroom vanity as well. I'm so happy we chose to do this and it feels like I'm walking into a different bathroom!

Slowly but surely, my house is becoming void of color and much more neutral...i.e. gray and white. And I don't hate it one bit! Here are the before and afters! (Also I know my grays don't all match. I need to get a different rug...maybe a pop of color to tie it all in.)

BEFORE


AFTER




Tuesday, March 14, 2017

We Need Suggestions! Warm Weather Vacation Destinations

Our honeymoon in Ocho Rios, Jamaica


Calling all travelers!

M and I are starting to look at locations for our vacation next year (2018) and this time we want to opt for a warm weather locale. Our last big trip was in August and we did a cooler weather place (Banff) so this time we're switching it up.

I'm not opposed to the Caribbean or an international place but I'm also okay with something tropicalish in the states. Our requirements are that it's not a super-long flight from our area (Charlotte, NC)...meaning...less than 3 hours...and it's somewhat affordable. We definitely don't need to be in the center of a town full of nightlife as we prefer a more relaxed environment.

So, now, travel friends, where are some warm weather destinations you've enjoyed? Any recommendations?

Monday, March 6, 2017

Spring To-Do List


It's starting to feel like spring in the Carolinas and that means there a springy to-do list on my radar. Below are the things I'd like to accomplish between now and the end of May. (But really, who am I fooling... it has felt like spring here since mid-February and will probably feel like summer in mid-May.)

  • Plan and plant my garden. I will probably do my starters this weekend. So far I've planned for parsley, cilantro, snap beans, summer squash and maybe tomatoes. I'm still not sure about tomatoes because they are intimidating to me! 
  • Plant flowers in the front flower beds. Last year I bought a few tiny impatiens and they took off! I loved them so much that I want to buy more and line the entire front flowerbed with them. They grow quickly and love the afternoon sun on that side of the house. 
  • Repaint the kitchen cabinets. We painted them white a little over a year ago, but we used the wrong paint. So now, we want to go back over the cabinets with another white paint and reseal them. This is more in preparation for selling our house next year than because it looks bad. 
  • Replace the sliding glass door. This thing is the bane of my existence. It sticks all the time and I have to pull with all of my strength to open or close it. I've broken way too many nails on this dang door and I can't wait to be done with it! 
  • Put out my anniversary wreath. More on that here.
  • Plan a fun anniversary outing. Our 3 year anniversary is April 12 so I want to plan something fun for us to do. 
  • Declutter. I'm looking at you, linen closet and kitchen junk drawer. So far this "spring" I've already decluttered the kitchen pantry and my closets. :) 

What about you? Do you have a to-do list or goals for this spring?

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Bridesmaid Dress Hunt



I mentioned a while back that my sister recently got engaged and we're all into full-blown planning mode. When she set a date of 6.17.17 (aka this year) we launched into full-blown plannic mode. (Get it? Planning + Panic = Plannic)

Really, the panicking isn't from me since I'm a planning freak and event planning is my jam. Nevertheless there are always a few to-dos that give me a bit of heartburn. The major one being bridesmaid dress hunting (for the weddings in which I'm a bridesmaid). I've been in quite a few weddings...heck I've even had one of my own...but nothing drives me quite as bonkers as looking for a bridesmaid dress.

So, instead of the normal go to the bridal store and try on various sizes (most of them not the correct size) of various colored dresses, I decided to try my luck at looking online. I found a number of great dress sites with decently priced dresses. My sister's bridesmaid dress requirements are pretty simple: blush pink (any shade/tone) and long. That's it!

Obviously, Amazon was a big help with this. All you have to do is type in "long blush dress" and you get hundreds of options. I also found sites like JJ's House and UW Dress have decently priced options in a variety of sizes and styles.

I am looking at a pale/blush/dusty pink color, halter/v-neck neckline and A-Line silhouette. So, I'm calling on all my blogger contacts...what are some places you've gone to find bridesmaid/prom/special occasion dresses? Websites? Brick and mortar shops? I'm all ears!


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Career Update



Just popping in quickly to share about a new life update!

I got a new job! I accepted a position as a Director of Communications for a church and will start next Monday. (2/27) I'm sad to leave the people at my current job of 5ish years but excited for the next opportunity.

What does a Director of Communications at a church do? Well, I'm glad you asked. They are mainly responsible for overseeing all communications from the church including newsletters, emails, social media, website, printed materials (bulletins), graphics, videos, etc. They are also responsible for creating a strategy and process for how information gets communicated and from which vehicles. So creativity, writing and process. Some of my favorite things! :) Basically it's my dream job minus animals. If it somehow included animals it would be a dream job. I'm really, really excited and can't wait to start!

I even got the opportunity to go and pick out new office furniture at Ikea with my new boss. There's something about a new office/new furniture that makes me so excited. I can't wait! Once I get in and settled I might do an office post with pics of my new office! Maybe that's not exciting to anyone else, but it is to me. HAHA.

Have a wonderful Tuesday!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

My Favorite e.l.f. Cosmetics

e.l.f. (eyes lips face) cosmetics is one of my favorite brands. They aren't new by any means, but I never really purchased anything from this brand before. This is definitely considered a drug store brand but in most cases, the products themselves remind you of something much more expensive. Beauty vloggers all over YouTube have been astonished at how well e.l.f. products do compared to high-end and pricey dupes.

This isn't a sponsored post...I just really like e.l.f. and figured I'd share a few of my faves with the blogosphere.


//1 e.l.f. blush in Tickled Pink
I'm a big fan of this blush. This particular shade is matte (no shimmer) and I love that. I've grown awa from bluish pinks to the warmer corally pinks which I think compliments my VERY fair skin much better and warms it up a bit.

//2 e.l.f. eyebrow kit in Ash
I've never really done much with my eyebrows since my hair is so light and sparse, but this brow cream and powder really help me emphasize my brows but the color isn't too dark for them. This is something I consistently struggle with is a true "blonde brow" cream/powder and this e.l.f. version matches very well!

//3 e.l.f. Daily Hydration Moisturizer
This stuff is the bomb diggety. (do the youngins still say that?) It's heavy enough for my dry winter skin but also lightweight enough for warm weather wear. It absorbs quickly, smells great, and very affordable. This is my third order of this moisturizer!

//4 e.l.f. Eye Liner
This thing says it's "Mineral Eye Liner" but honestly idk what that really means. This eyeliner is nice and opaque and has legitimate staying power. The downside is it only comes in black. PLEASE MAKE MORE COLORS, e.l.f.!! For the price, you can't beat it!

//5 e.l.f. Illuminating Eye Cream
I've not been one to take care of my eyes and it's showing as I get older. So this illuminating eye cream is just creamy/thick enough to absorb but not so thin it absorbs in seconds. I have no idea if it is making my eyes illuminated, but it definitely moisturizes and keeps things "supple". HAHA.

//6 e.l.f. Blush Brush
This is the best blush brush I've ever used, hands down. It deposits color evenly and well. And for the price point, it's a great deal!

Have you tried any e.l.f. products? Do you have any faves? Please share!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Skills I Have That Don't Belong on a Resume

I'd consider myself a jill-of-many-trades. And though resumes should make you appear well-rounded and interesting, there are just some skills that have no place on a professional resume. But they do have a place on a lifestyle blog, right?

Skills I Have That Don't Belong on a Resume

Accents

IFC hello england british comedy bang bang

Mostly a British one, a Spanish one, Russian and also deeply Southern.

Outfit Planning

Saturday Night Live snl mom amy poehler tina fey

People have asked me to help them plan and put together outfits and I've ventured into it for my mom as well. Read about that here.

Color-Coordination



From my book-shelf to my closet, things are in ROY G BIV order. It makes me less anxious and calms my eyes. Also when I buy a new pack of crayons (don't you??) I dump all the crayons out and put them in ROY G BIV order with the black/white/gray/brown neutrals at the back of the box.

Furniture Rearranging



I'm pretty good at rearranging furniture and home decor to get different looks. I do this quite frequently. I think some people calling it "shopping their home".

Budget Clothes Shopping


I never pay full price for clothing and accessories. My pride and joy is using multiple discounts to purchase Kate Spade merchandise. :)

Relating to Anyone About Anything



In my short 32 years of life I've worked in a variety of industries, done a variety of hobbies/activities and have a variety of friends. What this translates to is my ability to relate to pretty much anyone over a particular subject. Marketing? Check. Animals/veterinary stuff? Check. Military stuff? Check. Church stuff? Check. Nerdy things? Yep. Food? Absolutely. Football? Yup.

Tebahpla



I can recite the letters of the alphabet backwards from memory. I learned it when I was 3 and still remember it. This is useful never unless I'm trying to pass a field sobriety test maybe? IDK.

These are my useful but not professionally useful skills that don't belong on a resume. What are some of yours?

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Things That Make Me Roll My Eyes

One of my favorite and most frequently used emojis (besides crying laughing) is the eye roll emoji. Why? Because life makes me roll my eyes sometimes...

Things That Make Me Roll My Eyes

eating tea eye roll rhoa real housewives of atlanta

When people eat 3 lettuce leaves and 2 strawberries for lunch and then complain 2 hours later when they are starving and raiding the vending machines. Like what?

music music video britney spears laughing awkward

When I see people rinsing off clean dishes and cutlery before using them. What is wrong with you?

tired ryan reynolds ugh sassy eye roll

When someone complains all day because they are hungover and then drinks again the next night. No ma'am!

the office eye roll over it stanley hudson leslie david baker

When some teen in a jacked up car tries to rev his engine at a stoplight. STAHP. You're in a Suzuki...k thanks.

reactions classic annoyed arrested development eye roll

When you brand drop luxury items you own (bags, shoes, suits, cars, etc.) just to get attention.

reactions classic annoyed arrested development eye roll

(Yes I'm using this one again because it's awesome!) When the boss tries to be inclusive and invites people to a meeting just to not offend them...but not because they need to be there. Bye.



When someone comes to my desk to tell me how annoying it is when they are constantly being interrupted at their desk. SO THEY COME TO MINE TO COMPLAIN. No ma'am!

What are some things that make you roll your eyes?


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Care Deeply/Care Little


There are some things in life I care very deeply for. I am passionate about those things. Other things, while important to some, are things I care very little for.

Care Deeply/Care Little


  • Animal welfare/hunting for sport
  • Animal adoption/buying pets from breeders and pet stores
  • Human trafficking/political parties
  • Public schools/private schools
  • Bringing back the arts to public education curriculums/standardized testing
  • Music/math
  • Jesus/any political candidate
  • Being frugal/luxury items (well except for Kate Spade...aka my kryptonite!)
  • Emotional intelligence/extreme insecurity in adults
  • Chocolate/coffee
  • Native American discrimination/the gender equality debate in society
  • Foreign policy/war
  • Someone's actions/someone's past
  • McDonald's double cheeseburger, no pickle, no onions/anything from Burger King
  • Rule abiders/rule breakers
  • Bananas/banana flavor

What about you? Do you have any similarities to my list above?

Monday, January 30, 2017

The Not-So-Secret Famous Guacamole Recipe



Have you ever been to Chipotle?

Well if your answer is no, you should do yourself a favor and try out your local one. If your answer is yes, PLEASE tell me you've had the guacamole before.

Hopefully you have. But if you haven't you can now make their famous (AND DELICIOUS) guacamole at home. Adapted from their recipe here.

Ingredients:
2 ripe avocados
2 tsp lime juice
2 tbsp cilantro (chopped)
1/4 cup red onion (finely chopped)
1/2 jalapeƱo, including seeds (finely chopped)
1/4 tsp kosher salt

I used a jar of jalapeno slices and ended up using about 4 slices to get the perfect amount of heat for us. But we are wimps when it comes to that, so you may want to play around with quantities. I also used 3 avocados because...well...I like avocados.

Directions:
Scoop pitted avocados into a bowl and coat with lime juice.

Mash with a fork until creamy.

Fold in remaining ingredients and mix well.

Add more salt. (I like a salty guac..)

Enjoy!




Friday, January 20, 2017

How to Wear Pantone's Greenery (Pantone's 2017 Color of the Year)

I'm really digging this year's Pantone color "Greenery". It's calming, yet fresh. I absolutely love the idea of incorporating punches of this green into home decor. I also know that green is a somewhat difficult color to wear. This green has a lot of yellow and a little bit of blue, making it flattering for most...but not all. Even if this color is a little warm for me to wear I can still make it work by pairing it with a cooler color or incorporating it in accessories or a manicure!


how to wear pantone  greenery

how to wear pantone greenery by aprilanne147 featuring pearl jewelry

I really love this green paired with navy. Well, y'all know I pink puffy heart love navy blue but this green really is a great color to pair with navy. Of course you can always wear black but I find this navy helps pick up on some of the faint blue tones in the green hue. 

Wearing a green dress with a cooler toned cardigan over it (near the face) would help someone with a cooler complexion be able to pull off this color. This cool pink cardigan in the example above fits the bill. But you could also pair with a navy cardigan/jacket, a charcoal gray or even a more emerald green completer piece for a tone-on-tone look. Personally I love the pink and green and might even try this with a darker pink one as well! 

You really can't go wrong with boyfriend jeans and leather accessories if you try this hue in a comfy t shirt. Really, jeans go with anything. But I'd stay away from black accessories and stick with brown. Think of it as pairing colors based on how they occur in nature. Brown and green are seen the most often together versus black and green. (Tree trunks and tree leaves) 

If you're nervous about this shade of green you can always experiment with some fun accessories in this year's freshest color! 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

This is 32



Tomorrow,  I'll turn 32. Yes, you read that correctly, THIRTY TWO YEARS OF AGE. How did I even get here? I still perpetually think of myself as 25 and slightly older than college aged. Now I'm almost a decade older than college graduates.

Everyone says each subsequent decade is better than the rest. They say your 30s are better than your 20s and your 40s are better than your 30s. So far, my 30s have been pretty good. But there are definitely a few things I've noticed that have changed as I've aged into my third decade of life. Here are my reflections on 32.

At 32 I've started to get better at not giving a flying frisbee what people think. 

Example: The fact that I put the a powered cleaning scrub brush, fake tree, calligraphy book and air fryer on my Amazon wish (and thus birthday list). IDGAF. Yes, it's weird and not normal birthday stuff but I really don't care.

Yesterday I snapped a couple of friends and asked if it was "basic" of me to want to go to the Cheesecake Factory with M on my birthday. And then I realized, I really don't care. So what if they are a chain? Their food is good, their cheesecakes delicious and I have a gift card and coupon. BOOM. Last year, I had a My Little Pony birthday at 31 and I don't care. Truly I don't. It makes me happy and that's all that matters.

I wish I could say I've truly stopped caring what people think but that's not the case. But I do have a sneaking suspicion that since I've moved the needle so much in that direction in the last 2 years that by the time I'm 40 I'll be there. :)

At 32, I've started to care less about the "rat race" and more about my passion. 

I've begun to look at my life/career less like advancing to the next level and trying to gain status and more if I'm passionate about what I do and who I am. Am I passionate about my job/career? Am I passionate about my marriage? Am I passionate about the causes I support and volunteering? Am I passionate about my spirituality and my relationship with God? I'm slowly starting to weed out things that no longer fall in line with my passions in life. If that means finding other causes to support or volunteering elsewhere in order to follow my passion, I'll make the change.

At 32, I don't really make a huge deal out of birthdays. 

I've kind of always leaned this way but the older you get it becomes more true. Yes, my close friends and family celebrate my birthday with me. But that's really it. My day is special to me and those who know me well but everyone has a birthday. I don't celebrate my birthday month or birthday week or anything like that. I'd much rather choose to go to dinner or lunch with a few close friends than a big blowout party.

At 32, I've started moving away from some of my "ride or dies".

I don't wear cardigans as much as I used to. I just got tired of them. I've also purged my collection somewhat and stick to a few colors and fits. I've learned with those that quality trumps quantity.

I haven't shopped for clothes at Target in probably a year. Now, I will shop the heck out of some home stuff, shoes and bath stuff but as for actual clothing? No thank you. The same with Old Navy. I haven't shopped at Old Navy for many months especially since the last few things I bought were of poor quality/fit.

I'd rather do my own at-home gel manicure than pay for one in a salon. This is coming from the girl that had them every month for years!

My 32nd year of life might be even better than the last. I just know that I'm thankful to be where I am in this season of life and I'm excited for what's in store for the future!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Show Us Your Books: What I Read In December

M got me a Kindle Paperwhite for Christmas and let's just say it has DRAMATICALLY increased my readership since then. I think I read more books between Christmas and New Year's Day than I read in the last few months. I'm linking up today with Steph and Jana!

The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland by Rebekah Crane
view on Goodreads
Not normally a fan of teen books I found myself quickly engrossed in the teenage saga of this book. A group of 16-18 year olds meet each other at a camp for...well...crazy kids. Some of the kids come from rough backgrounds and some show signs of mental illness. But they all have such intriguing stories and backgrounds that I couldn't help but continue on! The main character's "story" slowly comes to light throughout the book and it's really good. Four out of five salted caramels. 

The Mind Readers by Lori Brighton
view on Goodreads
I really loved this series, despite it being a young adult series. Here's an average girl who has always had the ability to read minds, but she soon discovers her "powers" aren't quite what she thought and she's now a target for a lot of powerful people. Allegiances switch back and forth and you never know who to trust. Family secrets are revealed and lives permanently altered.  I couldn't put this series down! Highly recommend! Five out of five salted caramels.

The Mind Thieves (book 2)
view on Goodreads
The Mind Games (book 3)
view on Goodreads
The Mind Keepers (book 4)
view on Goodreads 

Fate of Perfection by K.F. Breene
view on Goodreads
I was not a fan of this series. It was like Hunger Games meets Star Trek but not in a good way. I made it through about 1/4 of the book and stopped. No thank you. One salted caramel. 

Life According to Steph



Monday, January 9, 2017

Golden Globes Fashion - Best & Worst Dressed

The Golden Globes were last night...which means it's time for a best and worst dressed recap on TSF. Ready? Okay!

BEST DRESSED

Lily Collins
Yasss Kween! I've never seen an illusion neckline look so...well...so real. It blends with her skin perfectly. She is a bombshell in this blushy pink color and the red lip is the icing on the cake. Brava! 



Rachel Bloom
You'll see that this season was one for black dresses with plunging necklines. I loved that Rachel wore a plunging neckline and she actually has a fuller chest. A lot of women who wear these have smaller chests so Rachel is showing how to do it well for the big-busted ladies. I'm also a sucker for scattered patterns like the floral accents in her dress. 


Viola Davis
I love, love, LOVE this color on her. And I love that it is straight up sequins. Not many people can pull off banana yellow sequins but she's got it in the bag. The one-shoulder cut accentuates her toned arms and shoulders. LOVE! 


Mandy Moore
I think this dress is actually navy but it follows the trend of dark, deep-V necked dresses. I love the addition of the "cape" on the back and her hair and makeup are perfect. She looks her age...not too young or too old...which she has a tendency to do on the red carpet. 


Kristen Bell
I picked her simply because this was an unusual silhouette for the red carpet. I've not seen a squared off plunging V-neck and I really liked it. The banding around the V gives the dress interest. She nailed it! 

WORST DRESSED


Hailee Steinfeld
Girl, wut dis is? I'm digging the color and the illusion neckline but it's just too much. The cutout V chest and the weird unconnected sleeves are too much. Remove the sleeves and I wouldn't hate so much but I really hate the entire look. 


SJP
I really have no words. This is ombre hair gone bad. This is eyeliner gone bad. This is trying to be avant garde gone bad. Her hair is severe (Queen Elizabeth I style) and the eye makeup is much too dark. She needs lips and this looks like a prom version of an Elizabethan style gown. PEOPLE STOP WITH THE WEIRD SLEEVES ALREADY.


Riley Keough
Um, I don't hate the top 1/4 of the dress. The neckline is interesting and cool but the middle part around her waist doesn't fit very well and makes her look boxy. She needs it to be more cinched to balance out the wide shoulders. This one was totally a fit choice. 


Nicole Kidman
Girl, what? First, I'm sorry, this dress is too young for her. The sleeves are ridiculous (again with the sleeves people?) I don't hate the color on her because the gray is pretty but I would have liked it much better were it not transparent and see-through in certain parts. Oh and if it didn't have sleeves.


Friday, January 6, 2017

New Beauty Faves



The last few months I've been trying some new beauty products and really have enjoyed all of them. Actually there's nothing I've started using that I'd consider a dud. All of these products are going to become part of my permanent routine!

1. Born This Way Foundation by Too Faced
Yes, this is my actual shade "Snow" in the picture. This thing is awesome. It covers AND keeps my face fresh and sort of dewy. My skin is incredibly dry and for the most part this fits the bill during the winter months. I've only tried it in cool/cold weather so I'll be interested to see how it works in the summer.

2. Hypnose Mascara by Lancome
I'm a mascara junkie and am always trying new kinds. I bought this as a trial size and quickly bought a full one once I started using it. It gives definition and volume and doesn't flake away like my other beloved Maybelline Great Lash did. Plus it doesn't seem to dry out as quickly either. I really am a huge fan of this.

3. Miracle Complexion Sponge by Real Techniques
Now, I'd NEVER used a damp sponge like this for foundation application, EVER. I'd only ever used my fingers or a brush. This has revolutionized how my foundation looks. The brush was kind of harsh on my face and I couldn't get decent coverage with just my fingers so this sponge literally changes everything. I'd researched the Beauty Blender but went with this one because it's WAY cheaper. And all the Youtube reviews I watched said it was comparable to the BB so why not save a few dollars, right? This is my new best friend.

4. Color Statement Lipstick by Milani
My shade is 42 Rose Femme and this lipstick is great. The staying power is excellent. It stays on on while eating and drinking and I only reapply once after the initial application. It's moisturizing at first and then dries a little but it's not an uncomfortable dry like some lipsticks. Its actually appears pretty matte after it dries and isn't shimmery or satiny. (at least this particular shade) On me it's much more brown but on someone with darker skin it's probably more pink. I get a lot of compliments when I wear this lip color so it's now in permanent rotation.

5. Wonder Stick by NYX
NYX has knocked it out of the park with a non-orange HAC stick. My shade (Light) has a nice taupey brown color for the contour which is perfect. For me, most bronzers are too red or orange so this is just right. The consistency is creamy, like a lipstick, so it's great for dry skin and to blend out with my sponge. I use the contour side more than the highlight (for everyday) but the price point is so good on this I don't mind replacing it without having to use up both sides. A+++!

Have you discovered any new favorite products lately?

Monday, January 2, 2017

Life Updates and Happy New Year!

I woke up this morning to a cold and rainy Monday. Not exactly so appealing to lure me out of bed and back to work...alas...I did it anyway. Here are some updates on life and blog and a little in between.

BLOG. This year, I want to focus more on growing my blog. I've been blogging for a LONG time (8 years) and I'm nowhere near where I want to be in terms of growth but I know the only solution for that is to work at it. So, here's my promise to be better at blogging, work to develop new and interesting content and network with other bloggers.

LOVE. My younger sister got engaged on New Year's Eve (well technically New Year's Day since it was after midnight) and it was so exciting! I can't wait to help her plan her wedding and celebrate with her and her beau. Aren't they cute?




Also, this is how she chose to "announce" it to the world via social media. With a Bojangles biscuit. For those of you not familiar with Bojangles, it's a Southern biscuit chain that will rock your socks off and Ashton (my sister) is a big fan. So, we get the Bojangles biscuit engagement photo.



HEALTH. I mentioned before that there was a big health diagnosis in my immediate family this past year and that's kind of been all-consuming for the past few months. My mom has completed her radiation and chemo treatments and goes back at the end of this month to Duke to see if/how it worked and to sort of get the treatment plan moving forward. So far she's had 42 chemo treatments, 33 radiation treatments and 2 brain surgeries. She's a warrior!

Oh and I'll be running a 5k in April to benefit the National Brain Tumor Society in honor of my mom. If you're local and would like to join the race, click here to learn more. If you're interested in donating to the Charlotte Brain Tumor Walk, click here and select "donate now".

HOME. M and I have decided that 2017 will be the year we work on our house. We're hoping to be able to put it on the market in 2018 so this year will be the "sweat equity" year of painting, minor home updates and other small changes to help us get a great selling price. So, expect to see a lot more "Our New Home" posts (even though it isn't a new house anymore) coming your way!

I'll leave you with a NYE pic of M and I. I wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous new year!


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