Weekending + Holiday Beauty Wantlist

Happy Monday! Let’s start off this week with a positive attitude, mmk? πŸ™‚

I may have an important paper due tomorrow, but it won’t get me down! I have a lot of fun things I’m looking forward to this week: Friendsgiving, dinner at a new restaurant downtown, a 5k, and going out with some of my lovely co-workers on Friday night! In addition, I had the most heart-warming, feel-good weekend just doing things I love πŸ™‚

IMG_0485-Ryan and I went for a short wine-tasting and then picked up our very first Christmas tree together on Saturday! We got a pretty good deal–$99 for a pre-lit 6.5 ft tree. I cried for a couple of seconds because I’m a sappy-face for it being our first Christmas under the same roof πŸ™‚ This is Yoshi’s first Christmas too, and I have plenty more things like stockings and lights to pick up before this girl can call her decorating done!

-Slow-cooking: I went to the grocery on Friday night and got enough ingredients to make three different recipes in my slow cooker for the week. First up: barley-spiked winter casserole. It’s got carroway seeds, carrots, parsnips, and a lot of celery root in it. Add a can of tomatoes, veggie broth, mix in some barley, and top with parsley and you’ve got a bowl of yum perfect for a cold winter’s night! We ate the whole crockpot serving (5.5 qts) in 24 hours!

-Baking: I whipped up some gingersnaps, snickerdoodles (yet to bake), and chocolate chip cookies yesterday. I won’t go into details about how it was my ugliest looking batch of chocolate chip cookies to date, but at least they tasted good!

-SNOW! We woke up to about 6 inches of snow this morning. It was simply beautiful. The sun hadn’t come up yet, but the snow was so bright it let off this brilliant blue hue to our backyard! Fall is my favorite season, snow or no snow. And there’s absolutely no reason to complain about it snowing “already,” its the middle of November! (3 weeks till vacay…)

A Holiday Beauty Wantlist

Holiday Beauty WishlistYves Saint Laurent Touch Γ‰clat in Luminous Radiance or Luminous Ivory ($41) – this is definitely a luxury item I don’t need, but I’ve been eyeballing it for a year. Can I really justify $41 for it? Probably not. I’m not sure which color would look better on me. Luminous Radiance would be better suited for me since its for fair to light complexions with pink undertones (bingo), but both swatches look like variations of my skintone.

Fresh Lotus Eye Gel ($48) – if there was such a thing as a love affair with beauty products, I’d be married to “Fresh” brand. I haven’t tried a single one of their products I haven’t loved. I ordered the Dare to Bare Sugar Lip Ritual set last week, but my Sephora order is currently in their backlog due to an overwhelming response to their 20% off sale. Out of all the flaws and features of my face, I am most self-conscious about my eyes. I am plagued with baggy eyes and fine lines, and as I get closer to 30, I am much more aware of wrinkle-formation. This gel promises to alleviate “puffiness, dark circles, and signs of fatigue.” Sign me up!

Dior Addict Lip Glow ($33) – this is a “nice to have,” not “need to have.” Mostly, I’m just curious about all the hype surrounding this cult-favorite. Some swear by it, others claim its not worth the hype. I’m too much of a germaphobe to test it out in store, especially when…

tester-lipsticksEnough said.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Powder Duo in Blonde ($23) – now here is a cult-favorite worth the hype! This company makes the most beautiful brow-products for every hair color and skin tone! I just can’t justify spending $23 on colors I probably have in my eyeshadow collection! Haha

Pixi Ultimate Beauty Kit – 2nd Edition ($34) – after regularly using the Plum Quartz mineral palette I bought on my birthday (it’s a staple in my daily makeup bag!), I have faith that the rest of the eyeshadows are just as good of quality! I like the mix of cool tones and warm tones, and am curious as to the effectiveness of the blushes and highlighters! I also love that Pixi’s brand is so accessible as they carry it in most (all?) Targets!

Clinique Chubby Stick Intense Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm in Grandest Grape ($17) – a perfect cranberry color to add to my fall lippies collection! My best and I swatch the chubby sticks every time we go into Sephora. Maybe one of these days I’ll pick this up and actually buy it! It’s also a full-size part of this Holiday Gift Set which only retails for $22 more than the lip balm itself!

Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask ($26) – this product has been lingering in my Sephora basket since it came out last winter, but it’s just always one I parted with to narrow down my collection. I have terribly dry lips and I will try almost anything to find a good treatment and moisturizer for them in the winter-time! The complaints about the packaging breaking easily has been enough to keep me at bay, but some day this will be in my lip drawer.

Pixi Glow Tonic ($29) – this glow tonic is at the top of my list, and the next time I am in Target, I will probably pick up a bottle (if its in stock). It isn’t cheap, but this keeps popping up on my instagram feed, and maybe it’s the name, but I. need. it. Ginseng and aloe? Nothing like a little extra glow to add to your winter complexion πŸ™‚

NARS Virtual Domination Cheek Palette ($65) – this is second to top on my wish list. I can’t see myself ever shelling out $65 on blushes for myself, but I am seriously mesmerized by this palette. I love NARS because they are so brazen with their product names. A single 0.16 oz NARS blush retails for $30, so this set with 3-0.15 oz blushes (Sex Fantasy, Deep Throat, and Final Cut), a 0.15 oz highlighting blush powder (Miss Liberty), and 0.35 oz bronzer (Laguna) is an amazing deal! Any friends out there reading this? This is what I want, ha πŸ™‚ Their lip pencil collection is a pretty good deal, but I’ve got a million and one lippies I still need to go through!

Sonia Kashuk Holiday Limited Edition All That Jazz 10 Piece Brush Set ($34.99) – is that a mouthful or what? But seriously, these brushes are gorgeous. I have more than enough eye brushes, but what I don’t have are many brushes for the face. My current face brush collection includes: an all-over powder brush & a contouring blush brush. That’s it! This set has plenty of contouring pieces and the gold and black frame with white bristles just scream luxury!

I haven’t forgotten about my 30 day challenge, just haven’t got around to shooting yet. Look for some updates soon! πŸ™‚

What’s on your holiday wishlist?! Comment below and let me know πŸ™‚

XO Ali

Fall 30×30: Outfit #2

I have to admit, it’s nice being up early this week without studying my brains out for a midterm like I spent all of last week for my Early Rising challenge.

Without further ado, here is outfit #2 (rhyme not intended) of my Fall 30×30 challenge. Anyone else want to jump on board and do the challenge with me?! πŸ˜€ It’s not too late!

IMG_2163dYellow boyfriend cardigan: Target | Chambray button-down: Forever 21 | Navy skirt: Target | Brown lace-up boots: Target

IMG_2168c IMG_2177c IMG_2185cHave a wonderful day my lovelies πŸ™‚

XO Ali

Fall 30×30 Challenge

Happy Monday morning, everyone πŸ™‚

This weekend we were blessed with some amazing weather considering its November. This has allowed me to get out and shoot some outfits to kick off my first ever Fall 30×30 challenge! I have to admin, I’m not a huge fan of capsule wardrobes where all your pieces can be mixed and matched with everything else in your closet, as I just like to have variation and a few interesting pieces on hand to spruce things up! However, I’ve seen these seasonal challenges floating around the blogger community for some time, and thought it was time to see what I’m capable of producing.

The challenge: 30 pieces for 30 looks. The goal is to pick out exactly 30 pieces from your wardrobe (I am defining wardrobe as: tops, bottoms, shoes, and dresses; excluding accessories like purses and jewelry, as that is what I will be using to differentiate my looks) to wear for 30 looks. I decided not to do 30 days, because my work wear has to be more modest than short skirts and more formal than chambray.

I am hoping to get some more good weather on the weekends because that is my only opportunity to shoot in the daylight. With Daylight Savings Time over, it is now dark by the time I get home from work.

First look:

IMG_2098cSouthwestern-print sweater: Forever 21 | Burgundy matelot shorts: Forever 21 | Black fringe booties: Target | Hat: gojane.com

IMG_2148cIMG_2115cIMG_2130cIMG_2154cWhat do you guys think? Do you like capsule wardrobes? Let me know in the comments below and hit the “Follow Me” button if you want to see more looks πŸ™‚

XO Ali

My Year Without Clothes Shopping Part 4: Shopping Again

You may or may not be wondering why I have not yet updated what I have purchased so far!! The answer to that is…well…I’m still purchasing, and still returning. Haha

The day my challenge was over (Saturday, September 6th), my best and I made a day of shopping! We went to H&M, Charlotte Russe, Forever 21, 2 different Victoria’s Secrets, American Eagle, and a few other places as well. I was so good…all in all buying about $120 worth of stuff at H&M and a $30 purse at Charlotte Russe (I felt very aged at that store…they have changed their branding so much that it seems to appeal to more early teen girls). I know that is still a lot of money, but it is nothing to what I thought I might spend!

I had been extremely picky in my selections, not letting myself spend, for example, $20 on a tank top or $30 on a pair of shorts, especially with fall coming up. I looked for unique items missing in my wardrobe, instead of getting duplicates that would just get lost.

I wish I could say I was still that good today. This past week has proven a lot of temptation and little resistance in my attitude. I spent hours at Target dropping a ton more money, though mostly on items that I am missing. However, I have also bought a pair of shoes on Amazon, a couple items on Modcloth, a medium order on Forever 21, and another large order from Target… 😦 I am currently wading through this massive sea of guilt and deciding which items I will be taking back. I guess this part is to be continued…

For now, I will show off some items I DID keep and have been LOVING! Items marked with an asterisk* are new:

IMG_9422*Pink top: H&M | *Black/gold leaf necklace: H&M | Black pants: H&M | Black heels: Targets

IMG_9479*Magenta cardigan: Target | *Gray/yellow/pink dress: Target | *Blush-pink rhinestone flats: Target

IMG_9493*Blue floral blouse: Target | *White skinnies: Target | Braided sandals: Aeropostale

IMG_9520*Gray/pink/black floral dress: Target | Black cardigan: Forever 21 | Black heels: Target

My Rules For Shopping Moving Forward:

1. Limit online shopping, especially when unsure of size and/or final sale items.
2. Just because it’s a sale, doesn’t mean you have to have it. If you wouldn’t pay full price for the item, there’s a chance you might just be buying it because it’s on sale, not because you love it.
3. Don’t be fooled into spending a minimum amount to get a “free” item. Victoria’s Secret is notorious for their “free” bags and towels…with a $75 purchase!
4. Establish a monthly budget and stick to it. As simple as it sounds, this is the hardest and is still in the works.
5. Before buying an item, ask these key questions:
-Is this item unique or do I already have something similar?
-Will I get a lot of wear out of it?
-Will I still love this item a year from now?
-If I wait, can I get a better deal on this item (if so, make note of the size and price)?
-Can you afford it?

Well, that concludes this little summarized series on things I have learned over the course of the last year not shopping. Hopefully I can truly apply these lessons and strengthen my control over my shopping addiction πŸ™‚ If you have read all of these parts, thank you for your diligence and support. If not, thanks for stopping by and if you like my blog, please press the “follow” button!

XO Ali

Birthday Guilt-Free Beauty Haul

It was my birthday and I was in Target, so naturally, purchases are guilt-free! Especially these beauty goodies…

10I’ve been monitoring Pixi by Petra and Sonia Kashuk for about a month or two now, as I knew Target carried both brands and they were rather new to me. Pixi does not do any testing on animals, nor do they use any suppliers that follow those practices. I also love the simplicity of the brand and packaging. They don’t try to overdo it and the product is still lovely. Sonia Kashuk, on the other hand, popped onto my radar when I saw the brand won multiple spots out of 31 winners on the CEW Insiders 2014 Beauty Awards. Out of 5 submitted products, they placed 3 winners, and were a finalist for a 4th in the entire beauty industry! Was I missing out on something right under my nose??

Beauty Haul

Pixi Mesmerizing Mineral Palette in Plum Quartz – I fell in love with this $12 palette through Pixi’s instagram page.

IMG_2149As you can see, there is quite a bit of color payoff, which is one of the reasons I had to have it. Plums, pinks, and browns are perfect fall colors, though I like to wear them year-round with my fair skin-tone. I can’t wait to experiment more with Plum Quartz!

IMG_7343(Left to right: Pixi Radiant Rose, SK Bronzer, SK Blush, SK Bronzer/Blush blended, SK Sheer Pink Lust, SK Illuminator [thick swatch], Elf Pink Balm, L’Oreal Paris Doutzen Lipstick)

Pixi Tinted Brilliance Balm in Radiant Rose – this pretty rose hue goes on lighter than the stock swatch indicates. It glides on creamy and has quite a lot of color payoff for being marketed as a “balm.” It’s rather pricey at $14 a tube, but I would definitely try Pixi’s other colors if they were to go on sale after loving this product this much.

Sonia Kashuk Chic Luminosity Bronzer/Blush Duo in Glisten – to the naked eye (and in Target’s harsh florescent light), it was difficult to really tell the difference between the three different $12.99 options–Glow, Glisten, and Glimmer–so I picked the middle option. This was a CEW Winner, and with its two-in-one compact, it’s easy to carry around and mixes like a dream to offer that perfect summer glow.

Sonia Kashuk Shine Luxe Lip Color in Sheer Pink Lust ($10.99) – this was another CEW winner, so I picked up a handsome nudey-pink color to fill in a gap I had in my lippy drawer. I didn’t realize it mimics the texture of a gloss (which I usually avoid), but it was wearable for a few hours before I ended up wiping it off. I won’t knock the product, as I know my comfort level was a bit off.

Sonia Kashuk Perfecting Translucent Illuminator ($14.99) – I own and have sampled plenty of BB and CC creams, but I wanted a cream that just brightens skin tone without feeling like you’re caking on the makeup. I am very pleased at how blendable it was, though the smell is somewhat offputting. The cream is a glistening gold and melts with your skin, so as not to leave harsh toning effects. I swatched a thick layer to show how it comes out of the tube.

e.l.f. Lip Balm in Pink – e.l.f. is another one of those brands that I always overlooked, but after seeing so many positive reviews on beauty blogs, and for how dang cheap the brand was, I figured ‘what could it hurt?’ I have not yet applied this $3 balm to my lips, but the color for the price is about expected.

e.l.f. Lip Exfoliator – if you like brown sugar at all, stop what you are doing and spend the $2 it takes to buy this beauty product. It scrubs your lips as you apply it back and forth, and leaves a soft, waxy texture that you can leave on to keep them moistened. I like to rinse it off, however, and apply lipstick immediately afterwards for a soft, hydrated lip full of color.

L’Oreal Paris Colour Riche Lipstick in Doutzen’s Nude – this was the biggest let down of the beauty haul, at least by first reactions alone. This lipstick went on so wet, and was nearly impossible to get an even coat. The color itself is supposed to be light, but I thought it was almost like a sheer gloss.

What beauty products are you looking to binge-buy soon?!

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway by clicking on the link below! πŸ™‚

img_1671-3XO

100th Post: My Favorite Looks

I can’t believe this is my 100th post! I was looking back through all my posts since the beginning, and I definitely picked up the pace in 2014. I will work my hardest on providing more interesting and insightful posts for your viewing. Thank you so much for following along ❀

It’s awards season, and it’s time for the selection of my favorite looks I’ve posted for the past year! I thought it’d be fun to list a variety of outfits throughout the no-new-clothes challenge, especially for new readers πŸ™‚ There were some hits and some serious misses, but I’ve pulled together a few of my favorite outfits (and linked them up to their original posts).

Best in Show

IMG_6467Original Post Here

Yellow lace dress: Target | Green cardi w/ black trim: H&M | Black fringe booties: Target | Chain necklace: Forever 21

I absolutely love this outfit. I started really experimenting with colors here. I would usually pick one focal piece and find accessories or neutral tones to compliment it, but this outfit just came together and is hands down my favorite outfit I’ve recorded over the year. My eclectic college fashion is shining through in this dress + boots combo.


Best Use of a Bow Tie (Tied…No Pun Intended)

20140210-211946.jpgOriginal Post Here

Cream-colored sweater: Forever 21 | Burgundy bow-tie shirt: Forever 21 | Gray skinnies: Delia’s | Burgundy suede wedges: Forever 21

IMG_8642Original Post Here

Pink cardigan: Maurice’s | White bow-tie shirt: Forever 21 | Gray jeggings: Reitman’s | Black flats: Target


Β Best Accessorized Outfit: Leopard + Red

20140203-223125.jpgOriginal Post Here

Leopard-print sweater: Forever 21 | Lips: Revlon Lip Butter in Candy Apple | Gold nail: Ruby Wing Color Changing Polish

20140203-223202.jpgBracelet: Ann Taylor


Best Costume/Dress-Up: Park Bom

IMG_5195Original Post Here

Black faux leather jacket: Target | Cherry blossom dress: Forever 21 | Gold wedge sneakers: Amazon | Wig: eBay | Circle lenses: Pinky Paradise

20131105-185555.jpgMy favorite part about this outfit is a tie between the dress (I’m obsessed with cherry blossoms) or the circle lenses (hello, big eyes!).


Best Surprise Combo: Yellow + Gray

IMG_5085Original Post Here

Gray cardigan: Target | Yellow blouse w/ eyelet collar: Forever 21 | Black skirt: Forever 21 | Black heels: Target

This particular outfit was very influenced by Louis Vuitton (see post). I have since sold the blouse because it was 3 sizes too big, and this is the only way I could disguise it (not versatile enough).


Best Rediscovered Item: Floral Studded Blouse

outfitOriginal Post Here

Floral/stud blouse: Forever 21 | Salmon-colored honeycomb sweater: I | Black skinnies: H&M | Burgundy suede wedges: Forever 21


Best New Item: Black Sheep Sweater

IMG_6554Original Post Here

Black Sheep Sweater: Forever 21 | Black skinnies: H&M | Black heels: Target | Pearl Headband: Forever 21

I have an upcoming post on any new items I acquired during my no-new-clothes challenge (sounds counter-intuitive) using funds I made selling clothes, and this piece tops the list out as my favorite.


Best Baby/Bridal Shower Outfit

IMG_6484Original Post Here

Royal blue/mint peplum dress: Forever 21 | Mint belt: Forever 21 | Mint watch: Charlotte Russe | Mint shoes: Macy’s (Nine West)


Best in Sports Luxe

20140202-212905.jpgOriginal Post Here

Neon yellow jacket: Brooks | Track pants: Adidas | Polka dot shoes: Keds

Okay, this is probably more sports than luxe, but it was the only picture I managed to capture of any kind of workout gear, and it really has become a comfortable staple. My favorite place to wear it? The airport on my way home (I like to dress up for the airport on my way to places, ha).


Best Feminine Look: This Dress

IMG_7620Original Post Here

Greige cardi: Forever 21 | Salmon-colored dress: H&M | Braided sandals: Aeropostale

Between the chiffon outer layer, the ruffles, and the pretty spring-color, this dress always makes me feel so feminine and pretty. It’s perfect to wear to work with a cardigan, or to wear out shopping on a hot summer day.


Best Modern-Day Professional Look

IMG_6650 Original Post Here

Green cardi w/ black trim: H&M | Purple cutout tank: Forever 21 | Black pencil skirt: Charlotte Russe | Black heels: Target

This look, complete with a relaxed sock bun, is one of my favorite modern-day professional looks. The contrast between the bright green and the purple is blended together with matching earrings from Old Navy. The black trim on the cardigan pulls in the skirt and your basic set of black work pumps.

There are many other looks I liked and wanted to post, but I narrowed it down to these few.

What do you think of my selection? Do you agree/disagree? I’d love to have some feedback as well as some inspiration for what you would like to see in the future!

XO