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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Best Cruelty-Free Drugstore Eyebrow Mascara

Eyebrow mascara - so necessary, so forgotten, so orange! I'm sure you all know the struggle with finding eyebrow products at the drugstore. You want to find the right formula, color, staying power, all that jazz. And when you go cruelty-free your options are even fewer. 

Well I have decided to take the guesswork out of the situation. Well, for eyebrow mascara at least. Below are 3 drugstore and cruelty-free versions that I've tried and my thoughts on them all. 

Now they're all good and I would use any of them again, but there's definitely a winner here for me. I decided to judge these all with points (because numbers!) 1-3, 1 (no good), 2 (good), 3 (great). I'll judge on Brush, Color, and Fill. Each mascara has the potential to get 9 points. And off we go!

NYX Tinted Brow Mascara

The brush on this mascara is a little big and wide so it takes a minute to get used to, so brush is a 2. The color is also medium, not too warm but not really cool either and it's a little dark for me (but the blonde is way too light), 2. The fill is decent, but I do find that I get more bald patches (attractive I know) with this more than the others, probably due to the wider brush, score is a 2. So overall we have an average mascara and a total score of 6. 

Milani Easy Brow Tinted Fiber Gel

The brush on this mascara is medium-sized and the bristles are close together so application is easy to control. Although, the tip of this brush did clump up pretty intensely towards the end which was frustrating, I'll still give it a 3 though. The color was my biggest issue with this one, it too warm. I still wore it (cause I'm stubborn like that) so it's not terrible, but not what I'm looking for, so I'll give it a 1. The fill was pretty great on this one as it has fibers in it, so it also gives your brows some fullness, 3. This little guy gets a total of 7.

Essence Make Me Brow

My first ever brow mascara... ahh first loves. Ok anyway... love the brush on this one, it's tiny so even if you have no brows you would have control with this. It also has very packed bristles which again applies product evenly; a 3 for this one. The color is perfectly cool-toned, which I love so another 3. Finally, the fill is really good on this one too as it also has those fibers. Apparently fibers = good brows. So again, I'm going with a 3.

So we obviously have a winner with the Essence Make Me Brow! And the best news is it's the most affordable at about $3. Yes please. 

So what's your brow routine? Any favorite products? 
Let me know if you'd like to see an updated brow routine as well, I think they've been looking pretty good!

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Confidence Chat - Don't Call Me Pretty

I hate compliments! Crazy right? Or is it?

But why?

This may sound weird but the worst thing someone can say to me on a dating app is "you're pretty" or beautiful, hot, sexy... whatever. I don't like it. I will literally stop talking to someone if they say it.

At first I thought this was localized to dating apps, but I think this response is indicitive of a bigger issue. I can't accept compliments. I just don't know how to react. I get very uncomfortable.

If someone compliments me on my clothes, hair, makeup, or work I deflect. I usually say thank you and then add something like "oh it was nothing really" or "this is my lazy day hair". Again, why do I do this?

Is it a confidence issue?

I'm pretty confident with myself. I think I'm pretty and work hard or there are days where I'm totally feeling my outfit/makeup/hair. I'm pretty awesome. And I like compliments, I remember wanting more of them from my ex when I was married. That's another Oprah, but really who doesn't want to be told their smart, beautiful, funny, vivacious, etc...?

So why then can't I accept a compliment?

I think it's a few different things really. But  the most important step to fix this, is self-talk. As I'm sure you've heard; the way you talk to yourself has a HUGE impact on how your see yourself and your confidence and outlook on life. So if I question every compliment, whether it's on looks, skills, or my work, what am I doing to myself?

New Life Goals

I'm putting this goal out there because a) I can't be the only one with this issue, and b) this doesn't seem good for my wellbeing. 

I, Amber, am going to graciously accept compliments from this day forward. And because I am who I am, I have a list of steps for this goal.

  • Thank the complimentor
  • Assume they are being sincere
  • Take the compliment to heart and hold onto it for a minute
  • Remember to offer compliments to others (at a separate time)
I will NOT:
  • Look down/away when someone is complimenting me
  • Immediately assume they are being insincere
  • Deflect and turn the focus onto someone else
  • Diminish the compliment in my head
I even found a few articles on accepting compliments:

Our Pledge

Let me know in the comments if you also cringe when receiving a compliment. Let's make this pledge together to be badass women and men and own our awesome-ness! Let's accept those compliments people!

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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

March Favorites 2017

March is over. I want to say it went by quickly, but damn that was a long month. I felt like I packed a ton into the month both good and bad, and I'm ready to move onto April. But first, let's talk about the products I loved this month and a few that I didn't.


Issue No. 8

I have written for the DSM blog a few times now (see here!) but I'd never done any type of fashion/modeling before. So it was a scary to be in their Blog Community Style section. But I did it and I'm so proud of myself. Talk about stepping outside my comfort zone.

Super Shock Eyeshadow - DGAF

I bought a few of these eyeshadows this month and I've been liking all of them, but DGAF is my favorite color. It's a pretty rose-gold with glitter that make blue eyes pop! I just love how when I wear it I look like I tried... but it's so easy. And they're only $5 each, I definitely will ba adding more to my collection.

Highlighter - Smoke N Whistles

I wasn't really into highlighters before... I know blasephomy. But this highlighter changed my mind! Turns out I just hadn't found the right one yet. This highlighter is a creamy champagne golden color and I'm in love. It adds the perfect glow to my cheekbones without any glitter. I am a convert for sure!

Total Control Drop Foundation

I have been using this foundation every day since I got it. I just love the light coverage (you could build it up if you wanted) that looks so natural on my skin. It's not too dewy or too matte, but makes me look healthy. And it lasts really well, which is awesome. I do still get shiny on my forehead and nose after a few hours of wear, but that's normal for me. I just love that it looks like my-skin-but-better, which is what I'm really after anyway.

Black Vanilla Moisture and Shine Leave-In

For years I've been obsessed with the It's a 10 Miracle Leave-In Product (although somehow I haven't written about it much). Regardless, I've been trying to find a comprable drugstore version because the It's a 10 is a bit pricey. Up until now this really was the best option for detangling, heat protection, styling, etc... oh and it smells amazing.

But finally I've found a similar product and it's about 1/2 the price! This leave-in spray makes my hair silky smooth, protects from heat, adds shine, and it also smells amazing! OMG, I'd buy it just for that smell. But it's definitely worth a shot, I might even like it more than It's a 10... eek can't believe I said that.


MegaLast Liquid Catsuit - Coral Corruption

I've only tried a few liquid lipsticks in my day and although I don't love them, there are a few I can wear (Milani Amore Matte Metallic Lip Cream is a good'n). This one on the other hand... I don't even know where to start. It went on thick and dried very quickly. But then it kept on drying, seperated, and gathered to the edges of my lips. It's just yucky and I didn't appreciate it on my mouth. A no-go for me. 

Eye Booster Instant Doll Lash Extension Kit

I'm always on the search for a great mascara, but since I have dry eyes I don't often find one that works for me. It saddens me to say this one didn't make the cut. It's a 2 step system with fibers and I 1st have to say that it will give you amazing lashes! They look fake, it's crazy. But then the disappointments start. The mascara formula is really thick and gunks up on the brush and around the opening of the tube. It makes it really hard to apply without making a mess. The fibers are fine, they did bother my eyes a bit but that happens with most fibers. Finally, the mascara was definitely not smudge proof, it ended up on my lids and under my eyes. So I'll be sticking with my Elizabeth Mott mascara.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

4 Must Have Spring Shoe Styles

Spring is finally here! It's official and I've never been more excited... no seriously I'm usually a fall girl. I don't know what's up with me this year, but I've been dreaming of all the spring and summer things.

And of course one fun thing about the changing of seasons, are the new clothes! I've bought some new shoes for the season that I think for will great for just about anything spring can throw at my feet.

Here's what types of shoes I think everyone needs this year! I mean really what do I know? But let's pretend anyway, because they are some great shoes! All from DSW by the way, which is my number 1 store for shoe shopping (their clearance section rocks my face).


Yep, I'm still into loafers and since I can't afford the amazing Gucci ones, I've gone for 2 more affordable options. These black Coach ones (DSW only has in-store, similar here) are the sofest leather that has ever graced my feet. No breaking in required! I also love the extra touch of the gold hardware. 

Naturalizer has come out with some really cute and comfy designs recently. Since I have feet issues sometimes, I need that extra support and cushion, which these have. I also love the nude color that help elongate my legs. Plus the perferation at the backs makes them extra spring-y. (Buy here)

Nude Heels

Another trend that I'm late to adopting, but am still excited about none-the-less. I loved these Audrey Brooke (buy here) ones because they have a block heel that's not too high. But they are still classy, sexy, and pretty comfortable. I can't wait to bust these out for some kind of occasion!

Leopard Flats

Ok let's be honest, leopard print shoes are a year-round staple for me. But I did purchase a fresh pair recently as my others were looking pretty ragged. These from Dr. Scholls (buy here) are super comfy and the pointed toe keeps it classy. I love them and have already worn them with everything!

Ankle Boots

I've been looking for a good pair of black ankle boots for almost a year. I finally found this pair on clearance and fell in love! I got these Sam Edelman's for $50! (so sorry DSW doesn't have them anymore but I found them on Amazon here) I couldn't say no. Now they are not the most cushy of boots, so I think I'm going to buy some gel inserts. But the leather is so nice and the block heel is the perfect height. I'm obsessed and can't wait to wear them all year. 

Well that's my list of shoes I think everyone should have this year for spring! What shoes will you wear this season? I'd love to know if there are any others I need to pick up - let's enable each other!

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Asos Spring Wishlist

Asos Sprint Wishlist

Spring is here! I've been waiting patiently for sunny days, sandals, pretty tops, and bright colors. Ok, not-so-patiently waiting, but I'm excited this year to go spring shopping. 

You might know (if not read here) that I recently lost some weight doing the Whole30 Plan. Because of that and the muscles yoga has given me, I'm excited for warm weather clothes (this is a big deal, cuz it never happens!). 

Here are the trends I'm feeling this month that inspired my mini Asos wishilist up there:

Distressed Denim

I want all the denim and I want it distressed. In the last few years this has been big and I didn't think I could pull it off. Well now, to the hell with it! I want distressed jeans, skirts, and jackets. It just adds so much attitude to an outfit, which my wardrobe needs. I am a sassy lady and I need some clothes that show that.


I am obsessed with everything embroidered. I love the idea of simple, classic pieces amped up! I especially love the sweater above as the floral pattern is beautiful and the placement so unexpected. I tell you, my next purchase will be embroidered.

Pretty in Lace

I'm totally into lace this year (my last 2 purchases were lace tops). For spring/summer I love the idea of an easy top with some structure and lace details! No flowy peasant tops for this gal, they are the enemy of the big-boobed. But a nice structured top that's still cool and light, now that hits the spot.

What spring trends are you into? Any great pieces or shops I should know about?

Don't forget to follow me on Instagram and Twitter - I say fund things!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

ColourPop Haul and Review - Metallic Eyeshadows and More!

I have heard about the affordable cruelty-free brand, ColourPop and only just got around to trying them! Geez, late to the band wagon much?!? Oh well I'm here now and I've got swatches and thoughts.

I bought 4 metallic Super-Shock eyeshadows (they have other options than metallic, but...glitter!), a highlighter, and an eyebrow pencil. The texture of the shadows and highlighter is crazy! It's some cream/powder mix of boingy-ness (that's right kids, boingy-ness). The texture is really hard to describe but really cool. 

I went for neutrals, of course, with that metallic sheen. I've really been into that look lately. They are more glittery than I thought they'd be, so if you're not much into glitter, I'd suggest trying their matte shades. 

I would say the longevity on these is pretty good, usually the color stays on through a 10-hour day. However, there may be some creasing in that time, so if you've got the oily eyelids troubles I would suggest a primer. Otherwise I didn't notice any fallout; amazing considering all the glitter involved. And the shadows are very pigmented! I suggest putting down a base on the lids with a flat shadow brush, then go to town with your fingers. And finally blend the edges with a fluffy brush!

See below for descriptions and my review of each product:

Smoke N Whistles

"We dunno about the smoke but you'll definitely get some whistles in this cool-toned pink champagne with silver highlights"

This highlighter is the absolute perfect color for my skintone. It's a champagne that's not too pink or yellow, it's just right. I've been applying it with a dampened or dry Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge on the high points of my face, and love it!!! This product can be made as subtle or strong as you like. Which I like, cuz some days I want to glow like the sun, but others I just want to look alive.

I ♡ This

"Our fearless leader loves this taupe with a silver sparkle SO MUCH that we naturally had to name it "I Heart This"!"

This cool-toned taupe is pretty all over the lid for a light makeup day. It add just the right amount of sparkle to the eyes.


"You'll be looking rich in this metallic bronze with pink and gold glitter"

Hello bronze goddess!! This is a nice bronze tone that isn't too warm, it's neutral and the gold glitter keeps things interesting.


"Everyone is definitely gonna give a f*ck when you wear this medium-toned rusty brown topped with multi-dimensional gold glitter"

A beautiful rose-gold/warm-toned color that makes blue eyes POP! Probably my favorite shade out of the bunch. All you need is some of this on the lids, loads of mascara and your eyes are ready to smoulder with the best of them. 


"Pop this pearlized true cranberry on your eyes and you may notice some attractive men drifting your way"

This is the only one of the colors that I haven't tried yet. And it's not because it's not gorgeous, it is! But I feel it's such an amazing special color that I need a special occasion to use it (anyone else do this?). I'll be going out dancing this weekend though, so maybe I should give it a try. 

Dope Taupe

I've been skeptical about these micro brow pencils, I have bushy brows and no use for drawing on individual hairs. And, let's be honest, I want the quickest way possible to fill in my brows... so I thought I'd give this affordable pencil a shot to see if I was terribly wrong. 

I wasn't wrong. These types of pencils aren't for me. But for what it is I can see the usefulness. The spooly is really nice, so that's a plus in my book. 

TBH, the biggest drawback for me was the color. It's way too warm for me. When I hear taupe, I think cool-toned. But this is more of a reddish-brown than I'd like. It still works and I've been using it, but once it's out I'll be going back to using an eyeshadow (from It Cosmetics Naturally Pretty Palette) or tryout a new, thicker pencil.

Final ColourPop Review

I've been impressed! The color selection is awesome and there are a multitude of choices for finish, color, and formula. All at a really affordable price, $5-$6 each. Can't beat that! I think next, I'll branch out and try more of their eyeshadow options (matte?), and I really want to try some of their lip products. Let me know if there's anything from ColourPop that you love.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Trunk Club Review and Try On

So I'll admit it, fashion and style are not my strengths. I like them and strive to have a wardrobe I love and that's inspiring and exciting, but I'm definitely not there yet. To help me toward my goal, I enlisted the help of a stylist via Trunk Club.

The Low Down

Trunk Club is a subscription service where you get a box monthly full of clothes/accessories/shoes (10 items total). It is connected with Nordstrom so all the brands can be found through the main store as well. The cost is $25 a month (unless you have a Nordstrom Debit/Credit Card, then it's free!). The process is:
  1. Talk with your stylist
  2. Get a preview of your trunk - Choose any items you want to remove (the stylist will provide backups that you don't get an opinion on)
  3. Receive your trunk
  4. Try on clothes for 5 days
  5. Choose which items to keep and return, note online - Include good notes so your stylist can provide great options in the next trunk
  6. Schedule a UPS Pickup for returns

My Experience with Trunk Club

First, you signup and enter all your sizes, likes, attach a Pinterest board, etc... Then your stylist will contact you to ask more specific questions and get a feel for you style. My stylist, Ali was really nice and asked a lot of questions that helped me figure out my style. We chatted back and forth for a few days and I sent her a Pinterest board I liked.

She sent me the preview of the trunk and I nixed two items that I just didn't think would work for me. I provided detailed feedback so Ali would know why I didn't want them. Next, she sent me my trunk and it arrived about 3 days after she sent it. FYI, I found out you have so sign for the trunk so I had to piack mine up at the UPS store.

Then I got to trying all the clothes on. I would like to say that this part was a blast! I loved getting to try everything on with my own clothes and practices my model moves. Take a look at what I thought of my trunk below:

Dresses are for Ladies

Although I'm not really a "dress lady" I asked Ali to send me some dresses as I am trying to find some that I like for those special occasions.

This is a skirt top combo - cute pattern and pretty color but I just didn't think it was very flattering on me.

Wow, this is very girlie! I did think the cut was flattering but I didn't feel like myself in it at all. 

Pants are for Bosses

Much more my taste. I like high-waisted skinny/slim pants to highlight my curvy figure.

I really like these green pants, they're casual and comfy and flattering, but they were about $230 and didn't seem like anything special enough for that price tag. 

I also received this top (sorry for the black bra underneath) and I wasn't feeling the fabric, color or fit.

These high-wasted pinstripe trousers were awesome. I really liked the style and fit and thought they flattered my waist. But they were a little too tight and I hate being uncomfortable, so unfortunately they had to go back.

Flowy Feminine Tops

I for sure need some more fun, feminine tops in my wardrobe so I was excited to try all of these tops. 

One of my favorites in the trunk - stripes and small bell sleeves kept it from being too over-the-top. But damnit, it was too big! I will be searching Nordstrom for a smaller size.

I wasn't sure about this shirt in the box, but on I loved it! Again, there was a small issue with fit - if I even breathed too deep my stomach would pop out from under the hem. It was just too short in the front. But I love it, so now I'm on the hunt for something similar but longer. Suggestions?!?

The pattern on this top is beautiful, but other than that I had nothing good to say. It's a very boxy cut with really wide bell sleeves - how wide am I supposed to look? It was also too big and had buttons down the from with a gap that showed bra and belly (not my look).

I was surprised at how flattering this color was for me, but the shape, again was not. Another boxy cut with huge (I think I could've flown!) sleeves. It was all just too much for me.

And the Jacket

As far as bomber jackets go, this is actually a flattering one, and the lace detail on the back is pretty cool. I'm not sure though that I'd get much use out of it as the fabric was canvas and the back open lace - I'd be hot and freezing at the same time. Also the color kind of washed me out. 

Final Thoughts

As you can probably tell, I didn't end up keeping anything. But I still feel like this is a valuable experience and I'll definitely try another trunk. There were some promosing pieces and I tried some things I would never have in store. I thought I'd love the bell-sleeved tops and I've learned I need to try for a more slimming cut. Also, I never thought I'd look good in paper-bag waisted pants and I really liked them. 

So overall I would recommend giving Trunk Club a try if you, like me, need some style help. If you've tried this or similar services, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

4 Tips for Beautiful Pink Smokey Eyes

|| Originally Published at Dever Style Magazine ||
|| Photos by Krysta Dettman from Krysta's Kaptures ||

Okay, okay I know that Valentine's Day is over! But I can't help it, I'm still be drawn to pinks and reds, and all those colors that remind me that spring and summer exist. And that they might come back! In that ever hopeful mindset, I was inspired to do a pink smokey eye. Pink isn'tonly for your cheeks or lips any more! Below are a few tips to pull of a smokey pink eye that doesn't make you look like you have pink eye; because that look just isn't good on anyone.

Tip #1 - Start with brown
I put a light brown in the crease and a darker brown in the corner to be exact. This will do leaps and bounds to ground the pink and keep it from being too floating-in-fairy-dust looking.

Tip #2 - Layer
Pink can sometimes be hard to see and may not show up well on your lids. I start with a light pink base color and then on top of that I pack on a ton (I mean a ton!) of a glittery pink shade with a brush and then my finger

Tip #3 - Liner and Lashes
A dark liner (I used black here) does a lot to define your eyes and break up the pink. A bit of the brown on the lower lash line also helps. And a little (or a lot) of lash never hurt anything! I added them for that extra va-va-voom!
I don't know about you all, but lashes are the bane of my existence, they never seem to go where I want, stick right, or stay put. It can be super frustrating. But the best solution I've found is to cut them just a little shorter that I normally would and place them at the outer 2/3 of my eyes. That way I don't have that annoying bit in the corner. Patience and a small mirror are also required!

Tip #4 - Don't forget the rest of your face!
With such a bold eye, I always like to make sure I have enough blush on to balance things out. Without it, I can look super pale and a bit unhealthy. I usually try to avoid a pink blush too, I'll use a rose or more natural color.

And finally, frost that face with some highlighter! I love using it on the cheekbones, inner corners of my eyes, cupids bow and a bit on the tip of my nose. I really think highlighter can pull together a look like this.

I hope this excites you all to try pink on your eyes, and good luck to those who try!

Below are the products I used for this look:

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Makeup Clearout & Final Reviews

It's so funny, you know I think I'm good at keeping a minimal makeup collection. But even I occasinally hang on to products that I don't like, have used up, or are just plain old! I usually have good intentions; like I'll write about this someday... so now I'm making an honest person of myself.

Below are the products I've used up or am getting rid of and my final thoughts on each of them. Settle in, let's get chatting!

All The Makeup

NYX HD Concealer

Fair and Yellow

I spoke about these here. I do like these as a drugstore option for concealer, they blend well and don't cake up. But they have more of medium coverage so I find that I need a second (usually peach concealer) for my under-eye circles, which isn't a big deal, but worth mentioning. Overall a great concealer for a good price!

Too Faced Absolutely Flawless Concealer


See my original review here. With this concealer a little goes a long way, which is why I've had it longer than I probably should have (gross!). This is a thicker concealer that takes a little work - I warm it up with my fingers and pat, pat, pat it in. It's got a pretty high coverage and lasts a decent amount of time. Not my favorite but not bad.

Ellen Tracy Thick Stick 

(Not cruelty-free, similar here)

I picked this up from Marshall's on a whim, and as I've spoke about here I'm not a huge fan of lipsticks. So even though this color is nice, it's not for me. Also, I don't feel the staying power is as great as some other lipsticks on the market these days.

Wet n' Wild Megalast Lip Color

Dollouse Pink

Again, I tried this on in the above post and the color is not right for me. Also I felt like this lipstick sat on top of my lips funny and looked a little too painted on. So, onto the next lipstck adventure!

ELF Smudge Pot Cream Eyeshadow

I wrote about my disappointment here, but held onto the product for some unknown reason. Now it's time to let it go as I should have before. 

Wet n Wild Color Icon Glitter Single


Some days you just want to be glittery... but don't choose this for the job. It's hard to get the product out of the pan and onto the lid. I just want a gilded eyelid, is that too much to ask?!?


First a little caveat to my mascara reviews. I have extremely dry eyes; which means loads of eye drops and squinting. This unfortunately means I'm super tough on mascara as it usually ends up under my eyes... not good. So the below reviews are not on longevity or smudgey-ness (which they all fail) but the other properties of mascara.

Essence Lash Princess Volume Mascara

I loved the volume this mascara provided. My lashes started out beautifully full and long and black. I also really liked the shape of the brush, I had lots of control and was able to get into the corners of my lashes. 

Too Faced Better Than Sex


I'll just come right out and say it... skip this and get the original Better Than Sex (in the pink tube). The original is a million times better in volume, length, longevity, and staying power. Don't know how they ended up so different, but they did.

Ulta Super-Stretch Mascara 

(product no longer available)

This mascara did last longer than the non-fiber ones did, that's a plus. But the look it gave was super natural. And I need lashes you can see from space, so this just didn't wow me. Though it looks like they've reformulated and created some new options for Ulta. Shopping spree?

Want more product reviews? Get notified of new posts on Bloglovin'

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Whole 30 Challenge Accepted

After this New Year's I was feeling rundown, fat, sluggish, and just ughhh.... I also was completey uninspired with cooking and recipes. I decided I needed to make a change. I was on Pinterest searching for Paleo recipes to see if it was a diet I could do, when I came across the Whole30 plan.

It seemed interesting and doable! For 30 days you follow the plan and stay away from the food groups below and try to eat healthy, non-processed foods (whole foods).

Getting Started with Whole30

I used the following website to get started  - Whole30 Meal Plan. There is a book and and more in depth directions but I was going for simple here.

On Whole30 you stay away from:
  • Sugar
  • Dairy
  • Legumes (peanuts, beans, etc...)
  • Alcohol
  • Grains
  • Processed Foods
When I started I thought it was going to be so hard! I mean no peanut butter or frozen meals for lunches? But I found some recipes and started thinking about new foods I could eat that would be quick and simple. 

Recipes - Making it Work

For breakfast I was already eating according to the plan, but I added veggies to help me stay fuller longer and keep me from snacking.
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs
  • Fruit (usually berries or a banana)
  • Chopped veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots)
For lunches, I mainly ate salads. I bought lots of premade ones from Trader Joes of King Soopers. Usually the ones with kale and brussels sprouts! Then I added veggies, protein, and dressing. I did cheat on dressing as I didn't make my own; but I found some vinegarettes with no sugar added and natural ingredients so I felt pretty good.
  • Pre-washed salad greens
  • Other veggies (tomatoes, carrots, zucchini, etc...)
  • Protein (smoked salmon, rotisserie chicken, deli meat)
Finally, for dinners, I tried a few recipes from Pinterest but they were pretty complicated and I just don't have time for that. I did find one recipe for Paleo nachos that I pretty much lived off of. Or I just had protein and veggies.

Paleo Nachos

  • Preheat oven to 425F degrees 
  • Slice 1 sweet potato thinly into chips, slice 1 jalepeno into rounds, and chop a handful of mushrooms
  • Lay sweet potatoes out flat in 1 layer, and on second try lay out 1 layer of mushrooms and jalepenos. Coat all with olive oil and salt
  • Roast for 10 minutes, flip and roast for 10 more
  • Either make or purchase guacamole (Whole Foods' version is by far the best)
  • Heat up and shred 2-3oz. of rotisserie chicken
  • Chop onion and tomato
  • Build your nachos, yum!

Other Paleo Meals

  • Protein: rotisserie chicken, grass-fed beef burgers, smoked salmon. sausages (natural and without sugar)
  • Vegetables: Roasted squash, brussel sprouts or okra, frozen veggies, or salad

Whole30 Results

Now to the good stuff after a month of this, how did it turn out!? Well I'd say it was a success, as you can see by the pictures and measurements below. I ended up losing a total of 7 pounds and about 2 inches around my middle.

Oh and don't mind the crazy yoga bun, I took these pictures each day before a yoga workout! :)

I lost the most inches around my mid-section (awesome, that was my problem area!), but the funny thing is I didn't lose around my arms and I actually gained a half an inch around my thighs! This is because I also started a more intense yoga routine, so I'm gaining muscles. I'm so excited, I love when I can see my muscles!

What I Learned

I went into this diet really skeptical. I've never dieted before and I wasn't sure I would be able to do it. But after a few days I got into the swing of things and really started to pay attention to when I was hungry and why and how I was feeling. 

Overall I learned:
  • I didn't really miss a lot of the food I thought I would (i.e. bread, dairy, or sugar)
  • I really missed some foods I wouldn't have thought of (i.e. beans, alcohol, peanut butter)
  • There is sugar in everything! It's in sausage, canned foods, frozen foods, dressing, etc... 
  • Which leads me to label reading - very important!!
  • I love veggies, which somehow I forgot
Now that it's over I plan on eating Whole30 for most breakfasts and lunches. Then for dinner I can be more lenient and also I can enjoy going out to eat again. I don't, however, plan on returning to my old eating habits!

I would say Whole30 has been a success for me and I'm excited for the future and continuing my journey to healthiness!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

So I Started Dating, Now What?

Last we left off with the story (read more here) of my return to the dating world... I hadn't returned. I took one look at online dating and said, "No Thank You!" 

Focusing on Myself

Then I decided I need to focus more on myself, and I did that. Probably the best decision I made! I really learned that I can have a life without a man. I reconnected with old and current friends, reinforced relationships with my family, and I think most importantly with myself. 

I think in all relationships we make compromises; sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. After 8 years with my ex, I had compromised a lot and I forgot the things I liked because for so long it was what we liked. So now I'm back! I'm me and I'm perfectly happy with being by myself. So now of course, let's add someone else. 

Dating - There's an App for That!

So I did it people, I downloaded the Bumble App (iTunes, Google Play Store) and got matching! The cool thing about this app, which is a lot like Tinder, is that women make first contact. *There is also same sex and BFF matching, but I'm not sure how that works with who makes contact.*

I won't say it's been all peaches, because it hasn't. It's a numbers game; from 40 right swipes, I may only be matched with 5, and from that 5 only 2 may answer my message, and then 1 or none of them might actually be able to converse. Tough odds people!

Getting Comfortable

But I've chatted with some nice and funny men on the app, if even for a few messages. And it's given me more and more confidence and understanding of who I'm looking for. 

It's like online shopping almost, but for men. I'm not sure it's the most conducive to a relationship. But there's always the opportunity to meet someone that you never would have in real life. I don't know about you other single ladies, but I don't have friends loaded to the gills with single male friends. So there's not a whole lot of option to be introduced to someone. This does solve that issue.

It took me a while to get over the whole meat market aspect of Bumble and other such apps. But the more I do it, the more comfortable I feel with the whole idea.

What Next?

As I've said, it's been almost 10 years since I've dated and wow have things changed! So I'm dipping my foot in to see what's up. But I have so many questions still of how this whole thing works!

I've been on a few dates with a guy; he's fun and sweet and it's been a good time. But now what? Do I still Bumble? Because even though we're not exclusive or anything, it feels hinky. What's okay to talk about when? I'm divorced, that's a thing and I tell people that, but when they ask about my marriage I get really uncomfortable... it just seems to early for that. And finally, sex?!? It was so easy when I was married, nothing was new or scary... it just was. Not that that's what I want, but we're laying it all out here.

So even though I obviously have a million questions. I'm enjoying myself and trying to remind myself that I'm having fun and that's what matters. And I don't need to worry so damn much, it's all going to be okay. 

So if you're new to the new world of dating or Bumble, here are a few tips I have.

A few things I learned about Bumble:

  • Have some pics of you smiling (this is a huge issue for me!) and enjoying life
  • Be original in your message - no one likes Hi! or How's it going? and you can be crazy with this, my 1st message is a thought provoking question. Half the guys think I'm nuts, but it's all good.
  • Be yourself - If you only want tall men or non-smokers, etc... say that! If you have a dry sense of humor, show it. You don't need to poor your heart out in 90 characters, but do give a glimpse into you.
  • Be picky but open - Know what you're looking for, but if someone is missing 1 quality or feature, given them a chance, you never know!
Have fun ladies, being single can actually be exciting if you let it!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

2 Exciting Cruelty-free Drugstore Foudations

I've been on the search for an amazing foundation, as I'm sure we all have at one time or another. I'm looking for one with light-to-medium coverage, that's a natural finish, and for all-that-is-holy doesn't look cakey. And damnit everything seems to look cakey on me. I'd spent hours in Sephora swatching my hand and found nothing that seemes interesting. It wasn't until I was at Ulta with my mom that I found 2 options that caught my eye.

On a whim I bought them both and I'm so glad I did! These 2 foundations have impressed so much more than the dozen I tested from high-end brands. 

Okay no more gushing, here are my 2 new favorite foundations!

The Everyday Foundation

This is an extremely lightweight foundation that evens out my skintone and provides just enough coverage to make me do a happy dance. Also great pluses; it contains SPF 50 (which is awesome!) and it doesn't look cakey! Also, it seems to last a good 6-8 hours on my skin, which is a rarity indeed. Score! For only around $11, I think this stuff is awesome for everyday wear. 

To use: I use mostly the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush (which I wrote about here), I just dip it in the cushion and away I go! 

The Custom Coverage Foundation

A few years ago I wrote about the Cover FX Cusom Cover Drops which I really liked but I found it hard to justify buying the foundation plus a good medium to mix it with... talk about pricey! So I was very excited to learn that NYX just launched a similar product for around $14 - which is a little expensive for the drugstore. But it's worth it, trust me. 

You can customize your coverage by using more or less drops. It blends and spreads out pretty damn amazingly across your face and provides a nice natural/satin finish. The staying power on this is about the same as the Physician's Formula, though I do find that I get a little extra shiny while wearing this. Nothing some powder can't fix. 

To use: I would suggest a Beauty Blender or Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge (That's what I have been using) for a flawless finish. I dot the drops right on the sponge and then dab it all over my face before I blend it in. I use 3 drops for a medium coverage and 4-5 for high coverage. 

Half of me wants to say shit, I wasted my time with all these other products and testing! But the other half of me says yay! If I hadn't tested all those other foundations I wouldn't have recognized the gold on face!

I hope you all find your dream foundations too! And I'd love to hear what you're loving currently in the comments below.