Friday, December 28, 2012

Best of 2012

2012 was quite the rocky year. I had some not-so-easy things to deal with, but I've also had some pretty amazing things happen. It's easy to sit around and think about all that went wrong in the past year and look forward to leaving them behind in the New Year, but the fact of the matter is, we live in a broken world and next year isn't guaranteed to be any better. It's important to look past the bad and focus on all the good that has happened. So that's just what I'm doing!

Best of 2012

I had the opportunity to spend most of 2012 with my little loves. They taught me more about myself than anyone ever has. They taught me to love, laugh, and live life like a big kid. While I like to think that I made an impact on their little lives, the truth is they made a huge impact on mine. My heart will always be full of love for my babies.

My first blog post e.v.e.r. was posted in April of 2012. I've had such a great time learning the ins and outs of Bloggerville and meeting so many wonderful women! Blogging has made me remember how therapeutic writing can be; and yes, writing about Essie nail polish is therapeutic to me...don't judge! It has also allowed me to realize that learning about skin care and make up is truly a passion of mine and something I would love to pursue at some point in life.

My mom, Justin, and I were able to take a week long vacation to Mackinaw City/Mackinac Island. Beside the fact that we had to stay in the cabin from hell for a couple of nights (which is funny now that I've had time to heal from the torture) it was one of the best weeks. A roadtrip Up North was always one of my favorite vacations growing up, so it was a lot of fun sharing that experience with J.

For a whole weekend in August, my high school girlfriends and I were able to spend time together. That's pretty much unheard of these days! The "real world" has taken us all in our own directions, and it was so much fun to be able to get together and pretend like it was the way it used to be. I'm so happy to have these girls in my life! No matter where life takes us, we'll always be the best of friends.

By far, the best thing to happen to me this year was getting engaged to the love of my life! I am so blessed to have such a wonderful man in my life who loves me like he does. I can't wait to get hitched September 1st, 2013 and start our life together!

Here's to all of the wonderful things that happened in 2012 and all that will come in 2013. Happy New Years, lovelies!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Goodies

Long time, no see! I hope you all had the most amazing Christmas, surrounded by those you love! Christmas is hands down my favorite time of the year, and I'm sad that it came and went, but you better believe our Christmas decorations will be up until the New Year!

I wasn't going to write a post about what I got for Christmas, but I really made out this year so I need to share some of them with you! If you follow me on Instagram, you've already seen my favorite things, but for those of you who don't....enjoy!

J and I exchanged presents on Saturday, which is totally normal because I'm the most impatient person e.v.e.r. He did really great picking out presents for me this year, but my favorite by far, is this wedding countdown calendar he made for me....

Every month starts off with a countdown to our September 1st wedding. There are hilarious pictures sprinkled throughout and the boy did well with my favorite chevron pattern as the background. It's obvious that he put a lot of thought into this present which is why it means so much to me. And what a great way to keep track of wedding planning memories!

Sunday was our family Christmas party for my Dad's side of the family. That's when my Dad gave me another one of my favorite presents...

....A KEURIG! I've been wanting a Keurig for a loooooong time, and I finally have one of my own! I'm obsessed! I can't stop making coffee, hot chocolate, chai tea, and hot apple cider. I'm going to need to seek professional help sooner than later.

On Christmas morning, I opened presents from my Mom. A few days before Christmas, my Mom put this ginormous present in front of the tree, and I spent hours trying to figure out what it was. The moment I opened the present, I instantly fell in love...

It is a gorgeous full-length mirror that opens up into a ton of jewelry storage! Seriously, the perfect present for me! J bought me a beautiful jewelry holder that hangs on the wall for my birthday last year, and with my ever growing jewelry collection, I was having to store some of my jewelry in plastic tackle boxes in a drawer. Now, I have plenty of space to organize and display my jewelry! I'm going to fill up that mirror quick!

What were some of your favorite Christmas goodies?

Friday, December 21, 2012

It's Fridayyyyy!

.....and that means TWO WHOLE WEEKS OF NO WORK!!!!

 Today marks the first day of our two week Winter Break. The fact that I won't be getting paid for the next two weeks doesn't faze me one bit. I am beyond ready for a break from work!

Speaking of work.... I've been so MIA from Bloggerville lately and I blame it entirely on work. It's not that I'm super busy, because I'm not. I'm convinced that my new job is a life-sucker. When 4:30 rolls around, all I want to do is get in a quick workout, curl up on the couch, and do absolutely nothing for the rest of the evening. I'm hoping that over Christmas Break, I can bring back my motivation to blog and actually keep up with what's going on in everyone else's life! I don't think that will be too hard. Sleeping in and reading blogs in bed with a cup of coffee is something I could definitely get used to.

Welp, this girl needs to do a little bit of present wrapping before my Mom's birthday dinner tonight, so I'll leave you all with this....

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

OHP: Christmas Edition

It's the most wonderful day of the week! No matter how many times I participate in this lovely link-up, I never get bored....likely due to my Pinterest obsession! So whatcha waiting for? Join in on all the fun and share your weekly pins!

Monday, December 17, 2012

DIY: Glitter Starbucks Tumbler


I had quite a few people ask me about this picture when I posted it to Instagram a while ago. Welp, if you want to know how to get your very own glittered Starbucks tumbler, today is your lucky day!

It is a really easy DIY project. All you need is:

  • A Starbucks tumbler with a removable center. Unless you already have a Starbucks tumbler with a removable center, you're going to have to find one online because Starbucks no longer makes this type of tumbler. I found mine on Amazon.
  • Mod Podge
  • A paint brush
  • Glitter in the color of your choice

Here's how you do it:
  • Take the tumbler apart and set the inside cup to the side -- you won't be doing anything to it.
  • With a paint brush, spread mod podge on the inside out the outer cup. Make sure you cover it completely.
  • Pour glitter inside the cup. Cover the top with a piece of paper or cardboard and shake until the glitter has covered the entire inside of the tumble. Let dry for at least two hours.
  • Repeat the mod podge and glitter process two more times, allowing each layer to dry for at least two hours.
Once the mod podge is completely dry (I let mine dry overnight) put the tumbler back together and VOILA!  You have yourself a glitterfied Starbucks tumbler that everyone will love!

Happy Monday, lovelies!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

At-Home Gel Manicure

I've been itching for a perfect and shiny shellac manicure for a couple weeks, but let's be honest, homegirl can't afford to spend $30 on a manicure right now. With Christmas right around the corner, wedding expenses, and my regular bills, my wallet is feeling a little empty these days.

So of course, I took to my best friend, Google, to find myself a low cost, at-home gel manicure system. I've seen the gel manicure kits that you can buy at drugstores, but even those are a little too pricey for my current budget. But no worries, Google never lets me down. It took me right to one of my new favorite blogs The Sweetest Thing. I may or may not have read post upon post this weekend. The girl behind this blog, Emily, posted detailed step-by-step instructions on how to achieve the perfect at-home gel manicure. Score!

Reasons why I knew I needed to try this:
1) I only needed to buy one product in order to get the perfect gel manicure.
2) I could use regular nail polish that I already had -- no need to splurge on special gel nail color!
3) She recommended my all time favorite top coat! Girl after my own heart...

All you need for this at-home gel manicure is Gelous Advance Nail Gel Coat ($5.99 at Sally's Beauty Supply), any nail color of your choice, a clear top coat ( I use Out The Door Top Coat, which you can find at Sally's Beauty Supply), and a nail buffer.

First things first, remove any nail polish from your nails for a clean canvas. Use a file to shape your nails and clean up any rough edges. Next, buff your nails until they are smooth using a nail buffer. Then remove any nail dust, dirt, or oil from your nail by swiping a cotton ball soaked in acetone (or any nail polish remover) over your nails. Now you're ready to apply your gel manicure. Follow these simple steps:

1) Apply two thin layers of the Gelous Nail Gel to your nails, allowing a couple minutes in between to dry a little bit. After applying your second coat, allow the gel to set. I waited about 3 minutes.
2) Next, apply a layer of your nail color and allow to dry (about 5 minutes)
3) Apply another layer of Gelous Nail Gel on top of your nail color and allow it to set for about 2 minutes so that it's semi-dry. Make sure that the ends of your nails are sealed by swiping the brush over top. This will ensure you won't see a single chip for the entire duration of your gel manicure.
4) Apply a second layer of nail color.
5) Finish it off with your choice of top coat. Stick with a fast drying top coat with high shine for the best results.

TA-DA! A gel manicure for the fraction of the cost! Since I had every product but the Gelous Nail Gel Coat already, I only spent $5.99 for this at-home gel manicure. Can you beat that?

I'm in love with this process. It was so easy, so cheap, and so far, it's holding up really well! I put my gel manicure through the test of all tests....peeling tape off of my desk. This annoying task would be a death sentence for any manicure, but my gel manicure got the job done without a single chip or break!

Try it out! I know you won't be disappointed!

Happy Tuesday!!!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Etsy Gift Guide

Every year, I want to pull my hair out over buying the perfect Christmas presents for my family and friends. Please, tell me I'm not the only one who stresses over this?! I'm always on the hunt for something unique. I love buying presents that I know people haven't seen on the shelves of every other store in the mall. That's why I always turn to Etsy. While spending hours some time on Etsy, I came across some items that would make the perfect gift for anyone this holiday season.

This chunky knitted bow scarf from ThreeBirdNest is on my Christmas wish list! I am head-over-heels in love with it. Cute, warm, unique....what more could you want? I'm actually in love with everything in the ThreeBirdNest shop, so if you're in need of something special for your sister or best friend, go check it out!

Looking for a unique idea for a newlywed or an old friend? How about a recipe box, like this one from sewindieshop. I love the idea of giving someone the gift of a recipe box or book with a few of your favorite recipes inside. This is also a great gift for a me!

Ladies, we all know how hard it is buying a present for our better half. You ask them what they want and their answer is always "I don't know." Well, how about some beer soap. What man would not want to lather up with a bar of soap made with beer?! Etsy offers a ton of different shops that sell beer soap, but this particular 6 pack comes from peculiarpotions. You'll never have to beg the man in your life to take a shower ever again....

I am in love with these coffee sleeves by BabyofftheHook! These would make the perfect stocking stuffer for the coffee lover in your life.

Do you know someone who loves to entertain? How about a set of monogrammed plates from NOLASalvageCreations? Any hostess with the mostess would love to show off these beauties! This would also be a great idea for a bride-to-be with her future last initial. I personally would die over these monogrammed 'B' plates for when I become Mrs. Barber.

What are your go-to Etsy shops for gift giving?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday's Letters

You guys, this week has been exhausting, mentally and emotionally. You have no idea how thankful I am that it is Friday and I get a break from work. This week was the first week since I've started my new job that I've been completely honest with myself, and that has been emotionally draining. And to top it all off, yesterday on my way out of work, I ran into one of my toddlers from my previous job and his mom (his sister goes to school where I currently work). I haven't seen my baby since my last day at Time for Tots and it was so great to see him. You know I held him the entire time I was talking with his mom, and lots of kisses were given! (I'm so thankful that all of the mothers of my toddlers didn't think my obsession with their children was creepy.) While it made my soul so happy to see him, it left me in tears and just reinforced my thoughts and feelings from the week. Let me explain a little bit of what's been going on internally this week with some letters...

Dear Work, I had a hard time transitioning into this new experience and honestly, I still am having a hard time. I thought I would enjoy my new position, but the truth is, I'm not. You'll never compare to my previous job at Time for Tots. Sitting at a desk and "building a relationship" with families over the phone or through letters will never be as fulfilling as establishing a true relationship face-to-face like I was able to with my Time for Tots families. I'm not the least bit worried or upset that my position may be cut when the program switches grantees. I may or may not be thinking about not renewing my contract once August rolls around.... Dear Supervisor, I almost walked out of the meeting when you finally admitted to the other site directors that I'm pretty much a glorified assistant who gets all of your overflow work. Dear Director, I'm flattered that you think so highly of me, but I cannot believe that you picked the new girl to be part of the assessment team for the programs annual self-assessment. You may have forgotten that I've only been here for a month and a half and I'm still learning about the program. The fact that I have to assess a program I hardly know makes me sick to my stomach. Don't blame me if you don't get the findings you want! Dear Time for Tots, Come back? Please?? It's heartbreaking to have a passion for a program that doesn't exist anymore. Dear Self, Keep your head up. Even though you may not be happy with the way things are going, you're still needed at work.The homeless families and their kiddos who came with you to the new school from Time for Tots need your love and support, because it's apparent that no one else really cares about them.

I apologize for the Debbie Downer letters. Just one of those "gotta get it off my chest" moments.

Have a great weekend, lovelies!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Oh How Pinteresting

I only have one thing to say: Pinning is Winning, y'all. Let's get started!

Happy Hump Day, everyone! It's all down hill from here...thankfully! Don't forget to follow me on Pinterest to check out the rest of my pins. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

My Latest Obsessions

It's been too long since I've last shared my latest obsessions with you all. I mean, isn't that what my blog is all about according to my little tag line? So let's get to it, shall we?

NYX Matte Bronzer in Medium. Okay, so I know I just bought this bronzer on Sunday, but it's already at the top of my latest obsessions list. I'm always looking for the next best bronzer that I don't have to fork over an arm and a leg for, and this is it! I'm loving the matte finish to this bronzer. I hate sparkly/shimmery shit in my bronzer. I don't want to look like a fricken vampire from Twilight when I walk out of the house. Let me also mention that this bronzer lasts all day; I worked out after working eight and a half hours and my bronzer looked just as great as it did when I first put it on. I'm pretty sure it would leave you glowing after surviving a nuclear bomb, that's how amazing this stuff is. But the best part? Ladies, brace yourself. I bought this bad boy at Ulta for $8.99! Do yourself a favor and put down that $34 NARS bronzer that everyone and their moms are raving about and run over to the NYX display. You can thank me later...

Olay Regenerist Microdermabrasion and Peel System. Soon after Justin and I got engaged, my mom did what any good mom does and bought me a couple bridal magazine. While perusing the amazing, but overpriced, wedding decor and dresses, I came across a great article about all things beauty a bride-to-be should be doing to prepare for the big day. One thing the article suggested was for brides-to-be to jump on facial peels and scrubs to perfect the even and glowing bridal complexion. Now, a girl like myself can't afford to splurge on professional facial peels, so after a lot of research, I found Olay's at-home system. I can't rave enough about this product. It's gentle enough for my super sensitive skin and has done wonders at evening my skin tone and minimizing pores. Even my makeup goes on smoother! The price tag is very reasonable as well. At around $25, you can't really beat it! But be careful about overusing this product! You really don't want to use it more than once a week.

Sephora Purifying Brush Shampoo. The last time I had cleaned my makeup brushes prior to purchasing this brush shampoo was..... never. I know, I know, it's so important to clean your brushes, but I'm lazy people! So I finally grew up and bought Sephora's purifying brush shampoo. I had forgotten what clean brushes felt like! Not sure you're going to like this brush shampoo? No problem! Sephora sells a 2oz bottle for $6, so if you don't like it, it's not a huge deal!

Li Lash Eyelash Conditioning Serum. My natural eyelashes are light, short, and thin...something every girl wants....NOT. A couple months ago, I finally took the plunge and bought an eyelash serum. I did a lot of research and Li Lash had the best reviews, so I bought a tube off eBay (because I'm too cheap to buy it straight from the company). I had every intention of dedicating an entire post to Li Lash with before and after pictures, but since I'm really great at remembering to take pictures (not) that idea went out the window. I'm not lying in the least bit when I say that this eyelash serum is worth every penny. I've been using it since September and I can tell a significant difference in the length of my eyelashes. Even Justin commented on them! You know it's really working when a man comments on the length of your eyelashes.

elf 32 pc. Warm Eyeshadow Palette. This eyeshadow palette just reinforces my love for elf products. I tend to stick with warm, neutral colors for my eyeshadow and this palette gives me enough options for days! Shall I mention this bad boy only cost me $5?

Have you tried any of my latest obsessions?

Happy Tuesday, lovelies!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Mexican, A Venue, Sore Muscles, And More....

Friday night started off with this text conversation...

Los Tres Amigos. My favorite Mexican restaurant. The food is delicious, the prices are low....what else would you want? The best part of our dinner date... I got to load up on that amazing liquid gold that most know as queso. Ladies, I could drink queso out of a straw. J is trained so well that he knows to go easy on the chips and queso so I can stuff my face. That's true commitment right there!

J and I took a tour of our (if everything goes as planned) reception venue!
Hopefully we can get things official soon because I've been stressing over a venue. Then the real wedding planning can begin!

It's very rare that Justin and I do anything productive on the weekends. Weekends for us usually consist of napping and football, but we actually worked out on Saturday. I know, I was shocked too, but we gotta get these bods in tip-top wedding shape! After expressing my concern about keeping future thunder thighs away and toning up my legs and butt, Justin thought it would be a great idea to show me the Super 7 workout. When he told me it was 7 squat exercises in 7 minutes, I was laughing on the inside. It couldn't be that hard....
....oh it's hard! Jillian Michael's has nothing on the Super 7.
I walked around like a 90-year-old grandma all day Sunday. I seriously almost crawled up the stairs of my apartment. On the upside, my butt and thighs should be cellulite free!

The church that Justin and I go to is (thankfully, a blessing from the Big Man above) right down the street from an Ulta. So of course, I asked Justin if we could swing by Ulta on our way home. I told him he didn't have to come in with me, making it seem like I was being nice and saving him from the pain of being around so much femininity, when really I just didn't want him to see how much I was going to spend.
 And I didn't even let myself check out the good stuff. Has anyone tried the NYX bronzer? I've heard only great things, and when I saw the price tag, I knew it was just calling my name. 

How was your weekend?