This or That!

Let’s talk about this or that!

Sometimes I find things that I absolutely LOVE! But maybe they’re out of my budget or more than I’m looking to spend on a specific item. I love taking that opportunity to search and see what’s out there. Especially if an item is on trend for the season, chances are that many are making variations of certain pieces!

This jacket is a perfect example! While shopping at Talbots with my mom I spotted this jacket and LOVED the pom-pom detail with the lightweight versatility of the jacket! BUT I was not loving the price tag to say the least! Just a little research and I found a fantastic dupe for WAY cheaper!

The same is going to go for these ADORABLE shoes!!! I love wedges like this in the summer because the platform heel makes them so comfortable to walk-in yet I have the height of a stiletto! These are SO similar and both adorable! I even love the scalloped edge on the Steve Madden’s a little better, just a cute little touch! Obviously the color is different, but out of what I found I liked these two the best!

Also linking below some of my FAVORITE items that are currently on sale right now! You can click the thumbnails on the photo below and it’s going to take you directly to the sites offering the deals. I personally love getting these alerts and of course I’ll always share them here!

So what do you think?! Do you love a good dupe or what?? I know there are always going to be certain situations where the dupe doesn’t stand up to the original but sometimes it’s totally worth giving it a shot right?? Let me know what you think!

In the comments leave me a few brands you love to try to snag on sale!

Xo

Julep Beauty Haul

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Eh, make-up less this morning… a true #iwokeuplikethis. Even the messy mane… but it’s for good reason. I want to talk about my skin and how happy I am with it right now. Full disclosure that I still have areas to work on like my under eye circles and my pores still have a ways to go – BUT… progress has been amazing!

Julep – I am SO excited about these products and for a few reasons, starting with the fact that ingredients list did N O T scare me! I hate it when I buy products and have zero clue how to decipher the ingredients list. You know what I’m talking about…. the list of ingredients that you can’t even begin to pronounce! Usually those long and intimidating ingredient lists boast a strong chemical scent too. Some strong enough to even burn your eyes! Not for me! This has been a big part of why I’m drawn to this newly found Korean Skincare brand!

Let’s just dive right in…

Let me tell you first about one of my favorites so far… it really does feel like ‘What My Skin Needs’, so it’s name is fitting of course! It’s described as a restorative skin milk and feels absolutely fabulous when I apply it. But what’s in it?!

Key Ingredients:

Jojoba Oil heals skin and locks in hydration.
Argan Oil repairs and replenishes skin with essential fatty acids.
Coconut Oil calms skin with natural anti-inflammatory properties.
Olive Oil keeps skin soft and supple.
Squalane (plant derived) absorbs rapidly and helps skin soak up the entire oil blend.

Full Ingredient List:

WATER, SQUALANE, CAPRYLIC/CAPRIC TRIGLYCERIDE, SIMMONDSIA CHINENSIS (JOJOBA) SEED OIL, GLYCERIN, CARTHAMUS TINCTORIUS (SAFFLOWER) SEED OIL, ARGANIA SPINOSA (ARGAN) KERNEL OIL, HYDROGENATED LECITHIN, GLUCONOLACTONE, COCOS NUCIFERA (COCONUT) OIL, OLEA EUROPAEA (OLIVE) FRUIT OIL, CAPRYLOYL GLYCERIN/SEBACIC ACID COPOLYMER, DIHEPTYL SUCCINATE, RICINUS COMMUNIS (CASTOR) SEED OIL, XANTHAN GUM, CITRIC ACID

Literally the only thing here that I needed to look up was caprylic/capric triglyceride it’s derived from coconut oil and glycerine. Commonly found in beauty products.

My skin is more oily than dry and I’ve always thought that it would not even be possible for me to use oils because they’d make my skin, especially my t-zone even more oily! Which has been such a struggle because I love using oils! So as I researched more and more about the products and the misconception with oils making you oily… of course after reading the benefits I had to try them out for myself. I am FIRST to admit that I’ll try anything and I’m always on the look for what works for me and when I find things that work, that sets the standard! Anything else then has to exceed the current expectation.

I’ll share my expectation for Julep or specifically what I am currently looking for: I need a skincare routine that is hydrating but not too oily. I’m looking for exfoliation that doesn’t damage my skin. I really want to reduce the appearance of pores while not further irritating my extremely sensitive skin. I do not want a product packed with more chemicals than your run of the mill paint thinner either…. seriously some products are just scary. I want it to smell nice, feel great on my skin and provide results!

So far, after weeks of use – twice daily… I am completely shook. I noticed results pretty much IMMEDIATELY to be honest. The little cute kaolin clay konjac sponge is seriously AHHH MAZZE ING. I am already looking forward to using it again the second I’m done washing my face with it… I haven’t used the green tea or the charcoal versions yet, but I can’t wait!! Using this with the hydrating cleansing oil that not only cleanses my face but whisks away even my most stubborn make-up… it just blows my mind. I get SO annoyed when a cleanser cannot remove my make-up… because I am really not looking for a million steps. This product found me at the perfect time!

The ‘What Your Skin Needs’ facial milk freaked me out at first, let’s be honest… being a ‘milk’. But I was blown away by how amazing it felt on my skin and as I said before, it’s now a favorite! It is not super heavy and absorbs quickly so it’s not even a problem using it before applying my make up. I mix it at night with a few drops of the ‘Boost Your Radiance’ rosehip seed facial oil, yes – me, oily girl is putting oils on my face. I know, I know! I also follow it with the ‘Night Shift’ facial mask… and when I wake up my skin feels smooth and refreshed!

Seriously in all honestly I’m amazed…. My skin has NEVER looked better and for the price?! Staappp. I bought this adorable starter kit at Ulta for $49 bucks!! I also got the ‘Love Your Bare Face’ detoxifying stick, the rosehip seed facial oil and the ‘With a Twist’ mascara which I’m not super loving… but I’m working with it! I just wish it provided more of a wow factor with volume! I have length I need the spunk!!

Ok, ok! So overall – seriously you need to give this Korean Skincare a chance! No gimmicks, no scary ingredients! I personally feel like trying out skincare and make-up is like shopping for shoes, you have to find something that really works for you! Your personal complexion and how your skin reacts could be a completely different story but when I say I’m L I V I N G for these right now… I am. I cannot believe how my skin is reacting to the oils… I was prepared to turn into an absolute grease monster, but no! Just dewey and a subtle glow, which I’m loving! I’ll include a no make-up selfie below!

The texture of my skin, my facial scaring, dryness, combination to oily skin and overall hydration has significantly improved! Even applying my make-up I notice that I’m using less and less product overall! I still have some areas I want to work on, but hey – I still have plenty of Julep products I have yet to try!

Thank you so much for the suggestion and keep them coming So happy with my latest product tests and it’s so good to find products that produce results!! I hope you’ll give these a try and remember that if you purchase from Ulta you can return it if you end up hating it!

Are you happy with your skincare?? What are you using? Let me know in the comments, tell me about your current routine!

Check out their full lines of make-up, skincare and even nails here or at your local Ulta.

Xo

 

L’ANGE Hair Products what to think?!

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Mantras and staying true to that New Years Resolution!

Anyone else have a resolution to leave a few bad habits behind in 2017?! How are you doing?? Care to talk about it maybe via first quarter check-in?? Were a few of those habits maybe… self-destructive confidence, being too much of a people pleaser or maybe just being afraid to be 110% YOU!? Girl… all three were on my list and I am proud to say that I am in a better place today than I think I’ve been in 10 years or more. I have plenty of work still ahead and old habits are hard to leave behind, but I’m here to say that I am SO glad to have stuck to it this year. I’m holding myself accountable this year… no restarting again next year… Here’s what I’ve been focusing on and what’s giving me reason to celebrate:

Self-Love and Confidence: This is HUGE. Having unhealthy conversations with yourself or talking poorly about yourself are just going to alter how you see yourself. It places a huge negative weight on you constantly and drags you down a path of destructive physical and mental tendencies. We all know the bad stuff is easier to believe sometimes so when you get here… ladies it’s tough to bounce back.

Ex: Pointing out EVERY NEGATIVE thing you or someone else thinks about… Mentally demeaning yourself with thoughts or assumptions… You might hold onto negative things someone has said about you or situations and repeating them over and over.

People Pleaser: Everyone loves a yes-(wo)man right?! The one who seems to effortlessly pile anything and everything on her plate, no matter if it has anything to do with her or not. The one who can slap a smile on regardless of how shitty she’s being treated! Ladies this is the unhealthiest way to go about it… be a ‘people pleaser-ish’, know when to speak up, say no and put yourself first. There’s nothing wrong with assessing your situation, adjusting your sails and and continuing on utilizing a healthier solution.

Ex: Always backing down… apologizing when there’s no reason to… Going out of your way to please people even if it damages your own situation or negatively impacts you… you never say no and are usually find yourself in one-sided relationships.

Being True to YOU: This one is unique to you obviously… but the behaviors are usually pretty common. Ever wanted to do something, anything but you didn’t because you were afraid of what someone would say? Or maybe you’ve been ridiculed for something in the past and you have a complex about not following ‘the‘ crowd. Maybe you have BIG dreams and think they are impossible because they’re different than the norm…..? The need for approval is out of control and changing the way we think in a horrible way.

Ex: You’ve been amongst others who tear someone else apart for… anything. You feel the need to stay ‘safe’. Maybe lacking in the self-love department keeps you from trying new things. It’s ok to consider opinions of others in some situations, but the opinions of those who matter… should not keep you from doing something that is important to you.

These three things, which I’ll now refer to my heavy hitters, were way ahead of losing weight on my New Years resolutions list and the reason that I stuck with these three together is because they’re connected. At least to me anyway… they seem to collectively cloud my positivity and where I find one, the other two aren’t far behind. So early January I decided I needed a reboot, a serious one. I even stopped drinking… because I wanted only clear thoughts, strong will and my mission heavy on my mind. I got to work:

First, I re-read a book that ignites a serious call to action on my part…. Daring Greatly by Dr. Brene Brown. I’ve probably read it 3-4 times at least and am on my second copy as I couldn’t even find the first. It gave me the confidence boost I needed! Because it’s so easy when you’re feeling low to overlook these heavy hitters and place blame solely on you. It is easiest for you look past the environment you may be in, your habits and changing anything about yourself or the way you think would mean to subject yourself to social torture right?! No… it’s just putting a band-aid on a bomb.

I looked back on the last few years and I found a pretty distinct cycle that was very interesting! Starting with the bandaid, I hit the ground running until a bump in the road knocks me back into the same routine of avoiding conflict, yes man’ing and continuing to move forward with my head down and blinders on refusing to face reality. Until I reach the brink of boiling point… where I applied the band-aid again wondering why the hell I was in the same place… AGAIN.

Sound familiar? While our situations could be completely different… I think this cycle is present with everyone. I think the cycle itself is normal… I just want to lengthen the cycle, make it more constructive and learn from it each time as nobody should be a fan of bad history repeating itself.

Now that I’m equipped with the why… and the courage I was still seeking the how. Which has been tricky because I like things to be more organic or feel as they happen on their own. It’s a natural way to avoiding conflict I know… but it’s also how I’m wired and I’m trying to be ME remember. It was necessary to find a healthier version of a people pleaser, a place of balance. So this part of your how may vary.

I decided to employ these NEW habits… they went a long with the heavy hitter bad ones to make it more simple.

Self-Love and Confidence: Every negative is to be followed with two positives.

People Pleaser: You can’t play ball unless the ball comes back.

Being True to YOU: Anxiety requires action.

I actually laughed as I wrote these out because they just look so simple and I’m sure to some, independently they may already be a given part of their day-to-day. But to me… these were my starting point. Yours can be completely different… but keep it short and sweet, simple. Something you can quickly say to yourself. Your mantras…

Starting with self-love and confidence which has felt so good! You never realize how many times in a day you’re negative towards yourself until you make the conscious effort to following every negative with two positives. I learned this little tip at an adult learning seminar a few years ago and at the time I thought it could probably only be relevant in peer-to-peer situations… but you can’t be reliant on someone else when making these kind of changes. Of course the affirmation is nice from another individual, but it is necessary to learn how to love yourself first no matter how awkward you might feel. Talk yourself up!

This simple action and really practicing it has significantly increased my level of confidence. I think about some of the most confident people I know, they do this naturally… I’m just working at it. Just as some people are naturally physically fit and athletic… I have to work at it! It has brought so much happiness and it’s becoming so organic that now it just happens. Something like a negative… followed by a ‘no, you’re…’.

Now people pleasing… this one hoonnn-eyyy!! It has plagued me for years and I really had to do some research on this one. The common suggestion was of course to ease yourself into more assertive behaviors first in safer situations with less at stake. Situations that aren’t going to ruin relationships or anything, but a healthy way to break the cycle. This gave me a rush of reality that I needed first of all! In these situations I realized that while I assumed one and only one possible outcome (over thinkers say ‘yea’), it actually evoked warm and fuzzies. I could see where over time this would cultivate more respectful relationships and also a healthier level of respect for myself.

In all the research I did, I realized there would be a time where the ‘ball wouldn’t come back’… meaning that some relationships would in fact be cut off. But I have to have the confidence to throw it, respectfully. Without practicing all this together as part of an entire overhaul resolution I wouldn’t have been able to conquer these heavy hitters together, especially this one. But because I am cohesively and consciously attempting to remedy these habits, they’re organically coming along together. Giving me the boost needed to do difficult things with confidence and the ability to continue seeing the big picture. This is the organic, natural outcome that I’ve been seeking.

It’s made the third of the heavy hitters, being mySELF, easier. It’s brought back a few lost quirks, a couple forgotten tendencies and a new found love for who I am. The reason my mantra here was ‘anxiety requires action’ was because I knew that my fears were not realistic. Think about it… anxiety or over thinking can keep you from doing something, right?! And then maybe you get ballsy and just do it… you go ‘that wasn’t so bad’! Through repetition I’m forcing myself to act instead of worry. Like with this post… I’ll post it without even re-reading it… because I’ll find every excuse not to post. Requiring action just means to do it. Regardless of the annoying errors in grammar or whatever, you’ll appreciate the post more than the draft… I hope.

Now don’t read through this as it’s been a life crisis… I respectfully wanted to make a change within myself. No crisis… just realizing that I’m in my early 30’s and seek change in certain areas within own my life and any change should start by taking a good hard look at yourself first! I hear so many people chanting for change, you know you see it too! Many condescendingly preach and judge from their perch, yet they refuse to even peek into their own corner. My corner… that’s what I can change, my corner is what I can control and where I start if I hope to evoke any sort of big change or influence throughout my lifetime.

In the short time I’ve been consistent with this blog, I’ve recieved messages and feedback from those who enjoy what I write and the transparency I have. This means so much, but even if I hadn’t heard a word… I’d still be here! Because I know if I’m thinking anything… someone else does too! No matter if it’s about products, fashion, LIFE… Maybe having similar struggles and the eagerness to bring about change… for you and for myself I share this. Confidently continue on… no matter your resolutions, if they’re not about personal growth or changes, these principles would still apply. You’d still need those mantras to keep you on track! It’s about believing in yourself, loving and OWNING who you are… having confidence is KEY.

See great in yourself, believe in yourself, be kind to yourself… and in doing so, you’ll find it makes it much easier to do the same for someone else.

Xo

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Mommin’ ain’t easy….

Don’t let the title fool you… this will not be a post about how hard the responsibilities or the actual day-to-day life of a mother. It’s about time… and how it knows no patience and moves quicker than I can sometimes handle.

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Nathan is my youngest of two, today is HIS day… his eleventh birthday! I could not be more proud of the character, the personality and the brilliance of my ‘little’ Nate. He is so sweet, so kind and caring! When I think about all the awesome wrapped up in such an adorable boy… I am so thankful and again just incredibly proud!

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The older my boys get I miss the baby giggles, rocking them to sleep, the cute stages of growth and discovery… and before you say it, I also miss crying and the late night diaper changes. I miss all of the dependency on mom and dad. They’re getting SO big and while they still need mom and dad, maybe more than ever, it’s different.

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From day one, he’s been exceptional. The day he was born was a b l u r… so fast and unexpected! I woke Chris up in the middle of the night because I was having strong and steady contractions. We were very cautious because it was still early… Nate wasn’t due for a few more weeks and with Christopher I had issues with pre-term contractions. Not Braxton hicks… but pre-term labor. So we decided to go into the hospital at the advice of our midwife because with Christopher I had to be given medication to stop the progress of labor… so this made us extra careful with Nate – I was already high-risk. Chris and I had suffered the loss of a unique ectopic pregnancy just before we became pregnant with Nathan.

We started to load up the car with everything (lesson learned from the first born… always be ready) and asked our friends to watch over Christopher, as we figured we would be back home before he would even wake up! As we loaded everything up, the pain got so severe I had to just get in the car and sit down… it was intense. My face even started going numb… at which point Chris turned our minivan into an ambulance and quickly got us to the hospital, running 3-4 toll booths on our hour+ drive. We get there and are quickly informed that Nathan’s on the way… no stopping him now! But there’s a problem… he’s been upside down and backwards for weeks now and they want to turn him, manually.

I’ll save most of the gruesome details but turning him did NOT work and was the MOST painful thing I have ever experienced… even more painful than childbirth. So emergency c-section it was! I remember being so excited and yet SO scared at the same time… Nathan’s heart rate had begun to slow so everything moved FAST.

Chris is the absolute best man ever for many reasons… but he is specifically my knight in shining armor when it comes to keeping me calm and melting my fears away. The second he was whisked into the operating room I was ok! And before we knew it, Nathan was born. March 12, 2007. He was a little premature but the doctors were confident that his lungs were strong and just wanted a few days to monitor him in the hospital so we stayed a little longer. This also worked out because he was tounge-tied too, so we remedied that during those extra days too. We went home with our healthy little boy 6 days later.

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Since the day he was born, he’s smiled and laughed his way to who he is and where he is today. He continues to amaze Chris and I every step of the way! We’re excited to see the man he’s growing into, but still just reminisce about him being the cute, cuddly little baby boy who brightened so many of our days. I feel like I’ve only blinked since he was born and today he’s 11?? This is what makes being a mom so hard is you feel like you’re rushing, busy, you’re doing this, doing that… practice here or there. Somedays you turn around and time has left you standing there in yesterdays makeup, holding a pair of pants that your child can’t even wear anymore asking yourself where did the time go?!

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I started my journey as a mother a lot earlier than most considering Christopher was born when I was just 18 years old. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and I know why my boys came into my life when they did… I’m so thankful! Many of my childhood friends are just now starting their journey as parents and it brings back so many memories of my ‘babies’ that are now as tall or taller than me. I continuously reflect on the wonderful memories we have made since they were small… which is wonderful, but also hard. It’s hard to face the reality of how quickly time moves on! Some moments you pray with a passion that they’ll just hurry up and pass you by and then others you want to last a lifetime. Looking back, they all only last a moment… a second and then you blink and find yourself in another phase, another moment.

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I just wish I had a clicker… you know a remote. I’d love to be able to select chapters to relive, go back and visit whenever I wanted. Today I’d go back to the day Nathan was born, the nights I spent in the rocker with a hungry boy fighting to stay awake, the day he first learned how to giggle, the day he discovered his feet, that time he threw up all over me, his carseat and his brother in Target, his first steps, first day of school, when he first rode a bike… you get the picture. I’d relive it all… the good, the bad and the ugly because all of it led us here to the eleventh year and taught us so much along the way.

To my Nate: You change the world little by little every day and I know your impact is only going to grow, just as you do. Be fearless in everything you do because your heart is going to lead the way… be braver than brave. Continue to be kind and use your heart for good, listen to it… it’s always true. Know that you can be ANYTHING you want to be…. I know you want to be a Marine Biologist… and maybe you will… but know that you can do ANYTHING, be ANYTHING and do not ever let anyone tell you different. Your dad and I love you more than you’ll ever know and support you always.

Xo

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