July Beauty HAULS

Good morning everyone! Only 2 more days till it’s Friday πŸ˜‰

As the title indicates, I picked up a few new beauty items in July. I’m a bit on beauty-overload right now, which shouldn’t be a bad thing. But if I’m being completely honest, I bought way more than what is pictured below (if you believe “more” is possible), I just took back a lot of things out of guilt. Rightfully so! What’s the point in not buying any new clothes for a year if you’re just going to transfer that spending habit to something equally dangerous?!

I have so many options right now, I have a whole “giveaway” bag I’ve been collecting new, unused items in. I think I’m hitting the pause button on beauty purchases for a while, if this blog doesn’t change it’s title to “No New Beauty Items for a Year” altogether come September (kidding!…maybe).

Ulta Haul #1

IMG_1375Total: $65.93 ($6 off w/ Ulta Points)

IMG_1354Nevo Intense Therapy Leave-In Treatment – $18
L’Oreal Oleo Therapy Deep Recovery Hair Mask – $8.99
John Frieda Luxurious Volume Root Booster Blow Dry Lotion – $7.49

IMG_1348Nevo Beach Bag – Free w/ any Nevo Purchase

IMG_1356Eos Travel Size Everyday Hand Lotion in Original$1.99
Eos Online Only Smooth Stick in Vanilla Bean$3.49
Eos Lemon Drop Smooth Sphere Lip Balm SPF 15 in Lemon (I ❀ LEMON!) – $3.49
Eos Travel Size Everyday Hand Lotion in Berry Blossom $1.99
Eos Water Bottle – Free w/ any $10 Eos purchase

IMG_1358L’Oreal Revitalift Wet Cleansing Towelettes – $3.50 (half off)
Full-size Dr. Brandt BB Matte w/ Signature Shinerase in Light/MediumFree w/ any $40 Ulta.com purchase

IMG_1365Ulta Weightless Lipstick in 256 Lilac Kisses$3 (sale from $8)
NYX Macaron Lippies in Chambord $3 (half off)
NYX Butter Lipstick in Snow Cap$5.99
The Body Shop Strawberry Born Lippy Stick Lip Balm – $6

IMG_1366Ulta Eyeliner in Cobalt, Golden Eyes, Teal Blue, Jade, and Primrose$1 ea (sale from $8) [the lipstick cap was to keep them from rolling away ha]

Ulta Haul #2

IMG_1325Total: $89 (perfume only; everything else was free)

Versace Perfume in Bright Crystal (free gold Versace tote not pictured) – $89
Versace Fragrance Sampler – Free w/ Versace fragrance purchase
Fragrance Sampler Pack – Free w/ any Ulta purchase

IMG_133416 piece Pink Beauty Bag – Free w/ any $60 Ulta.com purchase (these packs are always a fabulous value–Too Faced, Murad, Urban Decay, John Frieda, etc.)

Sephora Haul

IMG_1407 IMG_1409Total: $40

Sephora Favorites Summer Crushes (two-sided) – $40
Free Samples Not Pictured

IMG_1411I am obsessed w/ these Sephora sampler packs. They are such an amazing value, as the “sample” sizes they offered are all deluxe-sized. What can I say? I’m a sample hoarder!

What beauty items are on your hit list this summer?!

XO Ali

OOTD Catch-Up

I have not forgotten about my “No Outfit Repeats” challenge, I’ve just been forgetful to take pictures. I have been logging them in my app, however, so here are my outfits for the last couple weeks πŸ™‚

IMG_8807Maxi-dress: Forever 21 | Cardigan: Mossimo (Target) | Sandals: Aeropostale

IMG_8808Dress: Old Navy | Nude pumps: Steve Madden (DSW)

IMG_8809Floral Dress: Target | Mint Heels: Nine West (Macy’s)

IMG_8810Leopard-print sweater: Forever 21 | Black pumps: Target | Khaki-green pants: H&M

IMG_8811Cream/teal/yellow dress: H&M | Booties: DSW | Navy/yellow dot cardigan: H&M

IMG_8812Navy cardigan: H&M | White/navy/pink print-dress: H&M | Navy loafers: DSW

IMG_8813Mint/pink argyle sweater: Forever 21 | Bow-heels: DSW | Khaki skinnies: H&M

IMG_8814Pink halter-dress: Old Navy | Beige cardigan: Forever 21 | Booties: DSW

IMG_8815Green cardi: Target | Bird-print skirt: Forever 21 | Navy flats: Target

I’m over a month into my challenge without having worn anything twice, but I’m starting to run out of options when it comes to work! We’ll see how much longer I can go…

XO Ali

Cynthia Rowley Beauty Review

When the gorgeous Jacqueline from A Vibrant Day announced she was having a Cynthia Rowley beauty giveaway a couple weeks ago, I knew it was fate πŸ™‚ Man, I have been lusting after this set for months, especially after falling in love with my silver eyeliner I received in one of my spring Birchbox boxes. Somehow, I managed to win!!! AHHH

IMG_1382 IMG_1384The Cynthia Rowley set included:

  • Eye Shadow Palette – No. 2
  • Mini Creamy Lip Stain in Valentine
  • Mini Eyeliner in Black
  • Neoprene Confetti Bag
  • Full-size Eyeliner in Sky Blue (extra!)

IMG_1387 IMG_1389 IMG_1393She also threw in some fun extras!

  • A 5×7 in. painting by Terrance Wright
  • Benefit mini-Porefessional primer
  • Besame Sweetheart Balm
  • A sweet little thank you note for entering her giveaway

She’s seriously the best. Go show her some love on her page πŸ™‚

IMG_1396Color swatch from L-R: Cotton Candy, Licorice, Confetti, Cloud, Marshmallow, Black Eyeliner, Sky Blue Eyeliner, Valentine Lip Stain

IMG_1402I used Marshmallow all over as a base coat, then applied Confetti on the lid, blending in Cotton Candy into the outer corner. I used Licorice in both the crease and as a lower-lash liner, finishing with Sky Blue eyeliner on the top lid πŸ™‚

Happy Monday, everyone!

And thanks again to Jacqueline and A Vibrant Day!

Sunset45 “Little Luxuries Box” Review: June vs. July

After reading about the up and coming beauty/fashion subscription box recommended by For Vanity’s Sake back in May, I knew I had to (cheat) subscribe.

This “Little Luxuries Box” is by a company called “Sunset 45.” It’s $30/month plus $5 for shipping.Β  There are two types of box to choose from:

  • The Classic Box – “Select our Classics box for timeless pieces that you can wear season after season. The perfect accessories and beauty items for girls who appreciate understated luxury,” or
  • The Lavish Box – “Stay on top of the season with runway-ready fashion and beauty accessories. Our Lavish box is full of decadent adornments for girls who set trends and define taste.”

Yes, I know that this is actually a form of “cheating” for my challenge, as I’m not supposed to buy any new accessories, in addition to clothes, for the whole year. But the box was just too good a deal to pass up. At least initially (more on that later).

New Tribal” June Lavish Box

Each month has its own theme. When I received my first box in June, I almost fell out of my chair. It was above and beyond my expectation:

Statement Necklace – this necklace is no joke. It is heavy. Probably a 1/2-1 pound if I could guess. But the quality is immediately noticeable, and with it’s bright jewels, it could seriously steal the attention of anyone in the room when presented against a royal blue top.

Full-size OPI polish in “Dating a Royal” – retailing at $9 a pop, I was not expecting them to include a full-size polish!

Full-size NYX Butter Gloss in “Peach Cobbler” – again, full-size? Even at $5 per gloss I was impressed.

7th Heaven “Million Year Mud” Mask – I have not tried this mask yet, but look for it in a future review πŸ™‚

Statement Earrings – I wore these with some polka-dot orange skinnies and a navy tank-top to my best’s rehearsal, and got several compliments on them!

Hello Waffle Blush in “At Least I’ll Look Pretty” – goes on smooth, leaves a soft, glowing finish.

*Bonus* Sabine Pearl Earrings – as a thank you for signing up for their kickoff, they sent me a handwritten note and a pair of extra earrings they had from their May box! How lovely is that?!

I was absolutely smitten by Sunset 45 at this point. All of their jewelry items either came in pretty velvet pouches, or black ribbon-tied boxes. The “luxury” that they were trying to communicate was pretty spot-on. I just wish July’s box could have been better…

Starry Eyes” July Lavish Box

Ardell Natural Lashes – While the idea is fitting for the theme, I just can’t wear fake eyelashes. I’ve heard good things about “natural” looking lashes, but this particular set isn’t what I’d call “natural.” They’re too thick and would make me look like…well, I’ll just say bad. I look silly in false eyelashes. These will probably be given away πŸ™‚

Rose Gold Star-Cluster Earrings – I actually don’t mind these rose-gold earrings. They are certainly a statement piece, so I would have to wear something really basic with them, but I’ll be trying them on in the future!

Blue Half-Circle Rhinestone Earrings – these earrings look cheap and outdated. I feel like this is something I would have worn in late middle or early high-school, but if I wanted a set like them, I could probably pick them up at Claire’s for a couple bucks. Not a fan.

Rose Gold Starry Bracelet – I’m kind of torn on this piece. I hated it at first, but it’s slowly growing on me. I’m still not sure if I’ll keep it. It isn’t very comfortable and can cheapen up an outfit pretty quickly if you don’t thoughtfully plan it out. It doesn’t look very “luxurious,” in my opinion.

Star-burst Drop Earrings – this is actually my favorite piece in the set. I really, really like these earrings. Another great statement piece.

That’s it. Three pairs of earrings, a (cheap-looking) bracelet, and some fake eyelashes. This was really a let down after my June box. I was hoping for some more beauty products after getting the full-size products in “New Tribal,” but the false eyelashes won’t even work on me. I guess this is a chance you take with subscription boxes. Some you love, and some you hate. I will have to see how August’s box looks before I decide whether to continue my subscription (and recommendation) of the brand. Stay tuned!


The Ultimate Birthday Wishlist

The Ultimate Birthday Wishlist

The Ultimate Birthday Wishlist by myclosetisfull

Sigh…my birthday isn’t until September 1st, but it’s never too early to dream, right? These are several items that have been building in my “wants” queue for some time now…

Some are luxury items that I wouldn’t be able to afford unless I should save some $$, and some are everyday purchases.

NOOK GlowLight, Barnes and Nobles $119 – I guess I’m a hypocrite. For years, I have stated that I would NEVER want an e-reader, because I love the feel and smell of a real book, not to mention that feeling when you close it after you’ve finished. But I just can’t deny the convenience of it when traveling and I’m toting around 4 books bc I don’t know which one I’ll feel like reading. Plus, you can also read in the dark, cha!

Lacey Bralette, any color/brand (this one is from Charlotte Russe, $5 clearance) – they’re so freakin’ cute and comfy, and perfect for wearing around the apartment when it’s too warm, or under a loose tank top for some fun in the sun.

Cynthia Rowley Sunglasses in “Honey Tortoise,” rowleyeyewear.com $109 – I have said it before and I’ll say it again. I LOVE Cynthia Rowley’s accessories. These sunglasses have been on my hit-list since spring. I desperately need new sunglasses to replace my cheap ones that are all falling apart (and I can’t replace until after my challenge is over!)

Tarte Amazonian Butter 5-pc Lipstick Set, online only @ ulta.com $33 I own only one of their Amazonian Butter lipsticks in “watermelon,” and I love the smooth, buttery texture. It doesn’t dry my lips out, and the bright pop of color is perfect for summer! These 5 colors I am crushing on so hard…

Topshop Pink Purse, topshop.com $76ahhh words cannot describe my lust for this bag. Most of these items are wants, while this is one I actually need. Even my boyfriend has pointed out the sad state of my only remaining ‘everyday’ purse. It is FALLING APART. I have really been gravitating towards feminine pinks, creams, and golds lately, and this purse is the perfect size for my everyday-need. Come to me, purse. Come.

Boat shoes, size 8.5 asos.com $29 I accidentally stumbled upon these while looking for Sperry’s for another list. I thought they were cute, affordable, and they’re nautical, duh! What’s not to love?

“Alison” necklace, mynamenecklace.com $55 – Ever since “Sex and the City” aired, many a girls wanted to have their very own “Carrie” necklace, and I am no exception.

Vegan Cuts Subscription Box, vegancuts.com $25/mo or less – subscription boxes will be the downfall of me. I am new to food boxes, having just ordered my first (free) sample box from LoveWithFood due in August. However, this brand, as the name indicates, is vegan-friendly! Though I am not a vegan, I am a vegetarian, and sometimes there are meat-products in the most unlikely culprits. This box comes monthly w/ 7-10 vegan (and mostly gluten-free) snacks. It costs less as you buy more. For a six-month subscription, you can pay $115 vs $150 (6 mos. x $25/mo)! They also have a beauty box, but I’m trying to trim down my beauty purchases due to the amount of money spent and the sheer size of my beauty/sample collection.

Kirby Triple Deluxe for Nintendo 3DS, amazon.com <$30Β – Nerd alert: I love my 3DS. Because it’s a portable game-system, I can take it anywhere. My love for Kirby goes back to the days of the N64 and playing Super Smash Bros. with my brother when we were kids. I know I’ll have fun playing any of his games, and the fact that I can take it with me (vs. having to be at home to play my WiiU) is a huge plus. HYUH!

Molecule 01, barneys.com $135 – Ah, the legendary perfume has made it’s way onto my list. Molecule 01 is only fragrance I would ever pay this much for without ever having tried it. If you’ve never read about it before, it’s made with just one fragrant chemical: the Iso E Super. It’s literally a scientific wonder that smells different on each user. Read the description on their website: “The velvety woody note is highly sensitive to body chemistry and twists and turns as it evolves, enticing the wearer with an almost pheromone-like fascination.” Yes, please.

Olivia Burton Rose-Gold Plated Watch, oliviaburton.com $128 – I love this watch. Love. Love. Love. I didn’t even realize it was the same one from my spring pastels wishlist when I added it. This only affirms that I have to have it when my shopping hiatus is over.

Tiffany Infinity Band Ring, tiffany.com $175 – because what girl doesn’t want a little blue box? It’s timeless, stunning, and the perfect ring to match any occasion.

IKEA 36 x 77 Wall-Mounted Mirror, ikea.com $100 – my long mirror is one of those flimsy-hanging-on-the-back-door-even-though-I-broke-my-first-one mirrors. I need a real mirror. Like the kind that doesn’t warp you to make you crazy disproportionate. The kind that you have to bolt to the wall. That’s a real mirror, meow.

Cynthia Rowley Eye Liner in Sky Blue, cynthiarowley.com $16 – I shared an instagram selfie last week wearing my silver eyeliner, and I loved it so much that I decided I have to have the blue as well. I’ve seen so many gorgeous bloggers sporting it, and it must. be. mine.

Waffle Maker, any $25-30 – this is kind of a silly one. I have this vision of me waking up on Saturday mornings with my pup and making waffles for me and Ryan, us laughing, there being candlelight (even though it’s 9 a.m. in my vision) and Yoshi curled up at my feet. But really, I love carbs, and waffles are awesome.

Deborah Lippmann Nail Polish in “Candy Shop” and “Stronger,” deborahlippmann.com $20/ea – Hello sparkles! I am currently awaiting on “Mermaid’s Dream” to come in the mail…but I already know I’m going to love it. I want “Candy Shop” too, because it’s pink, sparkly, and it’s unlike any other polish I have. Same goes for “Stronger.”

Liebster Award + Fashionista Award

Hello everyone! My goodness, I’ve been nominated for my very first 2 awards in the last week: The Liebster Award and The Fashionista Award.

liebster-awardI was nominated for the Liebster Award by the very beautiful and chic HUIMINXOXO. Thanks love! πŸ™‚ The requirements for this award include:

  • Each nominee must link back to the person who nominated them
  • Answer 11 questions given to you by the nominator
  • Nominate 11 (I just picked my top 3) other bloggers for this award who have less than 200 followers, but you can’t nominate the person who picked you
  • Create 11 questions for your nominees to answer
  • Let the nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them

Questions for me:

1. Name three things you love about yourself.

1. At any point in time, I can break out into 15 full or partial K-pop dances.
2. If someone asks me to keep a secret, I will not tell it. To anyone.
3. Although I absolutely hate it, I’m really good at giving speeches or interviewing.

2. How do you decide your outfits?

My outfits choose me…jk. Well currently, I am picking my outfit based on what I haven’t worn in the last few weeks. I’m trying to wear as many items as I can before I repeat any of them. This mini-challenge started on July 23rd and so far I’m 100% successful!

3. If there is one thing you could tell your younger self from five years ago, what would it be?

“You deserve better.” Enough said.

4. Ice cream or cake?

Cake…I think. I have to be in the mood for ice-cream, but I can always eat anything bread-y, and I love cupcakes!

5. What are some of your favorite brands?

H&M, Cynthia Rowley (I only own her makeup πŸ˜₯ but she’s got the most lovely accessories), VS Pink. Being unable to buy new clothes for the last year has really taken its toll on some of my cheaper clothes. This has made me fall out of love with brands like Forever 21, and want to invest in better quality items.

6. Describe yourself in 140 words (or less).

My name is Ali and I am a 25 year old CPA living in Ohio, USA. I am obsessed with corgis, k-pop, fashion, makeup, dancing, subscription boxes, Lana Del Rey, making lists, wearing heels, vegetarianism, running, beer, playing anything to do w/ the Mario Bros., traveling, fall, birthdays, nautical things, shopping, Sailor Moon, sunflowers, trying new things, pasta, financial news, etc.

I have a 4 month old corgi named Yoshi, a boyfriend of 2+ years named Ryan, a best friend named Cassie, my best man friend Dave, and many more important people who won’t fit into the 140 characters provided!

7. If you could only travel to 3 countries, each for a month, where would you go?

France, Japan, U.K., South Korea (I couldn’t pick just 3! 4 is hard enough…)

8. What is the most exotic food you have ever eaten?

I had escargot (snails) on a French field trip in high school…I tried it for the experience and it was just as disgusting as I thought it would be. It crunched, and then slid all the way down…

9. What is your favorite holiday?

Probably Thanksgiving. Something about the Macy’s Day Parade, eating an obscene amount of food, and finding great deals online (start of Christmas shopping) is just too good. Christmas always goes too fast…Thanksgiving always feels like it lasts the whole 4-day weekend.

10. Why did you start blogging?

I started this blog, partly as a creative outlet, but mostly because I knew my shopping habits needed a wake-up call. I thought that if I tried to give up shopping for a year (only 2 month left!), I wouldn’t be successful unless I put it in print. I needed something to keep me honest and track my progress. It has really exceeded my expectations and the amount of love and support you guys provide keeps me going πŸ™‚

11. How do you find new blogs to follow?

I have certain tags I follow on WordPress: “fashion” (you meet all kinds of different people!), “bbloggers,” and “fashion challenge” just to name a few. Also, if people comment, I like to check out their blog.

My 3 nominees:

  1. MissLivvLoves – I look forward to every post by this muse. She truly looks on the brighter side of things, and always has words of positivity, encouragement, and also has a wardrobe full of the prettiest items! Go check out her blog!
  2. UrbanNesting – Kelsey’s blog specializes in design, DIY, food, you name it! She’s also a fellow runner and I enjoy reading about her training πŸ™‚
  3. AnchorTales – This up-and-coming blogger dabbles in a little bit of everything! Crafting, beauty, and the struggles of being a Navy girlfriend are just the surface of some of the topics she covers. Don’t expect her to post in the next week though, as a little Instagram post told me her beau is in town πŸ™‚

Questions for my nominees:

  1. What’s something that you are proud of accomplishing?
  2. If you travel to one place, where would it be?
  3. Who is a hero in your life?
  4. Why did you start blogging?
  5. Nail polish or lipstick?
  6. What is the best food you have ever eaten?
  7. If you could meet anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
  8. Cats or dogs?
  9. What is your favorite store and what do you buy when you go there?
  10. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
  11. How do you spend your free time?

20140625-095012-35412972I was nominated for the Fashionista Award by the beauty behind A Vibrant Day. Thanks dear! The rules behind this award are:

  • Reference the blogger who nominated you
  • Answer 10 questions asked of you by the nominator
  • Link back to the award creator and nominate 10 others (I picked 3) for the award
  • Inform the 10 nominees and have them comment on the creator’s page to enter to win the award (this is kind of optional in my opinion) awarded monthly by votes
  • Give 10 questions for your nominees to answer

Questions for me:

1. What motivated you to start blogging?

See above answer to #10 ^^

2. What is your favorite movie(s)?

Crash, Sleeping Beauty, and Never Been Kissed (the only chick-flick I really like)

3. What is your dream career?

To open my own pet-store. I’d love to have a nonprofit mix between a shelter on one side, and then a store where they can buy goodies for the pups, get them groomed, take classes, etc. on the other side.

4. Top wish list items at the moment?

Coming soon. I have created a drool-worthy (at least to me!) birthday wish list I’ll post in the next few days

5. Favorite television shows?

Breaking Bad, Archer, Grey’s Anatomy, Revenge, Gossip Girl, Big Brother, Sailor Moon. I used to not watch a lot of TV. Then Netflix happened…

6. What store do you find yourself shopping in the most?

Target. They have everything. Or Amazon.com, if online retailers count. They have everything, but really this time.

7. Favorite fashion designers?

I don’t follow the modern trends as much as I used to. I’d name a lot of famous designers, but it’d be lie since I have no clue what their collections look like at the moment. I do like Cynthia Rowley’s watches & sunglasses though.

8. Describe your dream vacation?

All-inclusive. White sand. Clear water. Alcohol.

9. What are the goals for your blog?

To have a $0 new purchases balance as of September 6, 2014. I’m a bit in the negative right now as I haven’t sold as much as I’ve bought (by about $40) 😦

10. If you had the opportunity to interview a celebrity, who would it be?

This is a tough one. Probably a k-pop star. They work SO hard and their beauty is unmatched.

My 3 nominees:

  1. HUIMINXOXO – this gorgeous girl mostly blogs about fashion (my fave!), with OOTD posts showcasing her feminine style. She also blogs about her traveling adventures and food, yum! She also nominated me for the above Liebster Award πŸ™‚ Go give her blog the lovin’ it deserves!
  2. For Vanity’s Sake – where do I even start with this girl? Jules is one of the first bloggers I started following religiously. She covers everything beauty and fashion-related, hosts giveaways, showcases the most brilliant accessories and eye-makeup, and interacts with all her followers. Go check her blog out!
  3. LayeredIndulgence – this blogger actually found me! I’ve seen her pull off a variety of styles: edgy, modern, feminine, festival, she’s definitely not afraid to try new things! Make sure to go tell her hello!

Questions for my nominees:

  1. What is the one piece of clothing you own that you cannot live without?
  2. What’s in your beauty bag right now?
  3. This one may be difficult–what’s your favorite look you’ve done on your blog? Make sure to share a link so we can see it πŸ™‚
  4. How would you define your style?
  5. Shiny or matte?
  6. Top 5 items (fashion or beauty) on your wishlist right now?
  7. Why did you start blogging?
  8. I can’t live without my…
  9. On the weekends, you can frequently be spotted…
  10. What is your favorite physical store to shop in for fashion pieces?

If you have read through this entire wordy-post, good for you! You deserve your own award for your patience and resolve!

XOXO and thank you for helping my blog grow πŸ™‚

OOTD Challenge + eShakti Giveaway Winners!

Gooooood afternoon everyone! I have a lot of posts coming up that I am super excited about, but I have some catching up to do first πŸ™‚

As a few of you may have read, I have developed a few challenges for myself relating to this blog:

  • The main reason I started this blog was to document my journey of a year w/o buying any new clothes (see theΒ About section)
  • I am currently making it more difficult for myself by seeing how long I can go without repeat-wearing an article of clothing (shoes don’t count since I don’t have a ton)! I started this mini challenge on June 23rd, so I’m almost a month in!

Here’s 5 more OOTD’s worth sharing:

IMG_8483Greige cardi w/ black trim: H&M | Black dress: Target | Black heels: Target

IMG_8500Black cardi: Forever 21 | Teal dress: Target | Yellow belt: Forever 21 | Black flats & Yellow Earrings: Target

IMG_8653Navy/white striped top: Old Navy | Yellow shorts: Forever 21 | Boat shoes: Sperry’s

IMG_8642My favorite look so far! πŸ™‚

Pink cardi: Maurice’s | White bow-tie blouse & Pearl Headband: Forever 21 | Gray skinnies: Reitman’s | Black flats: Target

IMG_8651Purple sweater: H&M | Houndstooth-skirt w/ leather waist: Forever 21 | Black heels: Target

My next order of business is to announce the 2 winners for my very first giveaway! I was lucky enough to partner up with the online retailer, eShakti.com, who provided my followers w/ a chance to win one of two $25 gift cards to use on their website! The two lucky winners are:

  1. Michele E.
  2. Martina W.

These winners were picked by random draw through Rafflecopter’s website, using random.org. Thank you so much to everyone who participated. And special congrats to the two winners! πŸ˜€

I highly recommend using Rafflecopter for your giveaways, as it is free and very easy to use.

Have a lovely week! XO


Weddings Pt. 2: My Best Friend’s Wedding

I was lucky enough to serve as the Maid-of-Honor when my best friend, Cassandra, tied the knot on June 21st. I could really go hours and hours about how important she is to me, and how we’ve known each other for 12 years, and how weepy I was during my MoH speech, but instead, I’ll just spam you with pictures πŸ™‚ Most of these pictures were taken on my Canon by my very wonderful friend, David.

IMG_0811 IMG_0845The rehearsal dinner was at the groom’s parents’ home. His very sweet mother prepared an awesome assortment of fruits, veggies, burgers (even veggie burgers for me!), salads, pasta/potato salads, chips, desserts, etc. It was very laid back, just like the couple. They both share a love for baseball, and actually got engaged at a baseball game. You’ll see a lot of baseball-esque items/references throughout.

At the end of the dinner they presented gifts to the wedding party:

  • special brooches for the mothers and grandmothers to wear on the wedding day
  • personalized flask sets in a cigar box with the groomsmen’s initials for the guys
  • chocolate-dipped bottles of champagne w/ custom brooches and vintage scarves for the bridesmaids
  • a baseball w/ the ring bearer’s initials for him & baskets/headbands/jewelry sets for the 2 flower girls

Cassie surprised me at the end of the dinner w/ a special gift for helping her w/ the wedding planning process (bc duh, what kind of best friend would I be if I didn’t help?!): a set of real pink pearl earrings and a matching necklace. I was shocked and ecstatic, because pink pearls are my favorite!

IMG_0829 IMG_0834 IMG_0840bThe night before the wedding, 3/4 of the bridesmaids stayed with the bride. We talked about everything under the sun–dating memories, first kisses, etc etc. I’d also be lying if I said we didn’t polish off all 3 of our bottles of our champagne πŸ™‚ Add some sparklers to that, and we had a wonderful time celebrating our friend’s soon-to-be marriage.

IMG_8283The morning of the wedding we got up early, picked up Panera for everyone, and began setting up for the ceremony/reception. It was an outdoor ceremony w/ a reception inside the adjacent party barn. I couldn’t have decorated it better myself. Cassie got a ton of vintage tins from her grandmother, mason jars, citronella candles, carnations, baby’s breath, tulle and burlap. It all came together beautifully. We then started getting ready, took some preliminary pictures, had a toast among the girls, and then the ceremony commenced:

After the ceremony, we took a few more photos (now that the bride and groom could finally see each other!) and made our entrance to the reception.

IMG_1122Isn’t she gorgeous? πŸ™‚

IMG_1077 IMG_1044The reception:

I didn’t want to take credit for the photographer’s photos, so you will see his watermark on his photos. Somehow I managed to catch the bouquet, even though I wasn’t going to try and Cassie didn’t throw it in anywhere near my direction. I just stuck my arm out…tall-people perks πŸ˜€

I’m so blessed to have been a part of their special day. I love you, Cassie!

Weddings Pt. 1: Summer Wedding Prep!

I thought summer would be a perfect opportunity to do a mini wedding-series. As mentioned in a couple previous posts, my best friend got married on June 21st πŸ™‚ I will post a bunch of pictures of her big day in Part 2!

We all have our fair share of weddings we attend, especially during the summertime. At one point in college, I was in 3/4 weddings I attended in one summer:

Tip #1: Skip the tanning bed. I wish I had that summer in college ^^ Jergen’s Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer (~$9) is all you need. I’ve seen my share of tanning beds and lotions, but it’s taken me until last year to finally accept and love my naturally pale skin: “fair,” as the beauty world describes it. I burn easily and tan rarely.

IMG_1221I am finally comfortable in my own skin (as everyone should be!), but this lotion gives me a “just-back-from-a-weekend-at-the-beach” glow. As with all tanning lotions, proper application is key. I put on 2 applications, 3 days apart, the week of the wedding. The best time to apply is after you have dried off from a fresh shower, taking particular care around the elbows and knees. The skin will be dried out and ready to absorb the moisturizer, so it shouldn’t run or create the dreaded “orange-streak.” Thorough hand-washing is an absolute must once finished. I let the moisturizer set for about 15 minutes before dressing. The scent is also quite lovely (this has been an improvement over the years).

Tip #2: Need to brighten that smile? Crest 3D Whitestrips in Glamorous White($54.99) have you covered. The case comes with 14 upper and 14 lower strips. I have pretty sensitive teeth, but these are the least uncomfortable strips I have tried. I use them every other day about 2-3 weeks leading up to the wedding, usually only utilizing about 7 upper and 7 lower in total. I save the rest for the next occasion. I always notice a difference in the whiteness of my teeth, and they are enamel safe! If you can snag these at Ulta w/ one of their 20% off coupons like I did, you only have to pay $43.99 (a savings of $11!)

IMG_1225Tip #3: Get a mani/pedi! It may be someone else’s big day, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pamper yourself. After all, you’re going to be standing/dancing a lot, you deserve it! πŸ™‚

nailsI typically always end up with an acrylic French Manicure when I’m in a wedding. I don’t take good enough care of my nails to get anything that’s not semi-permanently affixed to them. They are timeless, super low-maintenance, and they LAST. You can keep getting them buffed and refilled, but I usually just let them grow out for 2-3 weeks and then remove them with some variation of screaming and acetone πŸ™‚

IMG_8270Three weeks ago was the first pedicure I’ve ever had. I have been terrified of someone messing with my feet, but took the plunge. Damn. It was worth every second. What have I been missing out on? The massage-chair alone was worth it! I got a gel pedicure and it has been 3 weeks, and it is just starting to chip. And I am not nice to my feet. I can’t believe how long it has lasted…

IMG_8271IMG_8274(Pardon the grotesque picture of my feet. This was the only pic I took after my pedi and I had all my weight leaning on my little sausage toes to get the shot…)

Tip #4: Do an at-home facial (and save some $!). I have a lot of different samples from Sephora (it’s never a good idea to switch up your beauty routine the day of a big event…you never know how your skin will react), and I’ve discovered a love for GlamGlow. GlamGlow Supermud Clearing Treatment retails for ~$70, which I just can’t justify spending on one product. However, I have several sample packets of it and I really enjoy using it! You can apply it all over your face, but I have dry skin, so I just use it on my nose to clear up my pores.

IMG_8148When applying, it’s a thick and gunky dark gray paste, which dries into a hardened light gray finish. The oily spots will absorb the mud, so you’ll get dark spots wherever you have enlarged or oily pores. It’s kind of really cool and disgusting at the same time (Google search it!). However, it is a pore-shrinking miracle. My pores are virtually invisible when I rinse off the mask, and that lasts for more than a week before I can even see the smallest pore again.

Tip #5: If you are in the wedding, see what the bride is willing to negotiate with. I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum: I’ve had to buy a $193 black dress for the bride’s big day, and I’ve been in a wedding where the bride paid for my dress. I would never ask the bride to pay for the dress (as they are likely already shelling out $1,000’s for the wedding), but often times they will let you wear whatever shoes you want, so long as they fall in a certain color family (silver, black, nude, etc.). Remember to be polite, but if you can’t afford to pay for a $150 dress and a custom spray-painted pair of shoes, speak up. You’re loved enough to be in the wedding, but you shouldn’t have to break the bank as a condition.

Most friends will understand, but if they don’t, don’t be afraid to politely decline their invitation.

Tip #6: Customize your gift! This is the fun part. Most registry items will be purchased by the date of the wedding, so don’t forget to plan in advance. I like to do a little half and half–half something from their registry and half something personalized. When my best friend got married three weeks ago, I wanted to get her something that would associate memories of our time living together. While Cassie was the primary cook of our apartment, I adored baking. I’m much better at making cookies than I am at a home-made meal.

IMG_8472For her and her husband’s gift, I got them a bunch of baking supplies off their registry, and then went out and bought some baking staples: flour, brown sugar, powdered sugar, and granulated sugar. I organized them all in a craft-crate I bought from Michael’s, that can also be used as a storage tool for long-term veggies like potatoes and onions. The gingham print ribbon in their wedding colors was icing on the cake πŸ˜‰ Make it fun!

I hope these tips have helped you gain some ideas on looking your best, feeling your best, and being prepared. What other suggestions would you make? What are some memories you’ve had of being in a wedding?

Comment below! XO

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