Tuesday, August 23, 2016

What I Eat in a Day: Work Day

I thought it would be fun to share some samples of what I eat in a day.  I always love to see these types of posts because it gives me ideas on different things I can try to spice up my eating life.  Today I'm sharing a typical day of meals for a work day for me.

Breakfast:

I'm usually eating breakfast super early and just don't have the time or energy to make anything fancy.  Most days I like to stick to cereal.  Yesterday, I had this yummy Almonds & Oats cereal with about a half cup of Unsweetened Original Almond Milk.  I'm both diabetic and lactose intolerant so this is a staple in our fridge.  I also use a digital food scale to measure the amount I eat so I know how much insulin to take.  Measuring my food also helps me to control portions.  This is one serving of cereal, according to the box.



After my cereal, I like to make a cup of coffee and sit down to put on my makeup while I sip it.  Since I'm diabetic, I stick to sucralose and sugar free creamer.  Hazelnut is my favorite!

Morning Snack:

That cereal doesn't keep me full the entire morning (at this point, it had already been four hours since breakfast) so I like to have a healthy snack around.  Yesterday I had a banana.

Lunch:

These days I'm trying to keep my lunches both healthy and yummy.  I had carrots, grapes, and a ham and cheese sandwich on a hamburger bun.  

Pre-workout Snack:

I get home from work pretty early most days and then I like to work out.  That puts a good bit of time between lunch and dinner so I try to have a healthy snack.  What I eat depends on what kind of workout I do.  I was doing strength training this day so I had a smaller snack of a mandarin and some unsalted peanuts and raisins.  On cardio days I have to eat something that will keep my blood sugar from plummeting during my workout.

Dinner:

After my workout, I usually shower and then eat dinner.  Yesterday's entree was leftovers from the night before: chicken thighs, artichokes, carrots, and white rice seasoned with a bit of fat free Italian dressing and pesto.  The original recipe is here but we modify it a bit to suit us and depending on what vegetables we have around the house.



Since there wasn't that much veggies in the entree, I also had a side salad.  It started with a handful of spinach leaves.  Then I added just a tiny bit of shredded cheese, some chipped carrots and broccoli, and mild banana pepper rings.  For dressing, I'm trying out the Athenos Greek Yogurt Ranch Dressing.  It has way less calories than regular ranch.  I also do the thing where you pour the dressing in a small dish and then dip your fork in instead of dumping all the dressing on top of the salad.  I'm not sure about this ranch though.  It tastes different than the Hidden Valley Ranch I usually eat but I still think it's good and tastes way better than most light ranch dressings.

Dessert:

Then there is my weakness: dessert!  I'm trying really hard to lose the weight my doctor told me I need to lose and skipping dessert is so hard for me!  I have the willpower to pass on almost any foods out there: fried foods, cookies, brownies, chips, soda... but ice cream has always been my weakness.  And not even necessarily ice cream, but all frozen desserts.  When I found these Outshine bars are made with real fruit and are only 60 calories, I thought they were worth a try.  They are really good and satisfy my desire for daily dessert.  Eventually I would like to try making my own frozen fruit bars so I ordered some dishwasher safe popsicle molds from Amazon but they won't be here for a couple of days.

And that's it!  I'd love to hear what you all eat in a day too!  I love getting ideas on new things to try.  Leave me a comment on the blog, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!  All my social media links are at the top right of my blog page.  ๐Ÿ˜€

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Healthier Lifestyle Tips


My Back Story
Why I am even writing about eating right and exercising today?  In general, that's a topic that has never really interested me at all.  Here's my back story.  A year ago, I changed jobs.  I love my new job and I wouldn't change that, but with the new job came new habits and not so healthy ones at that.  Before going to work for IT, I was a teacher for nine years.  Teaching kept me active all during the work day.  I was constantly on my feet and moving.  I also ate healthy because I packed my lunch every day and the only thing I could eat was what I packed.  Now I have a job where I sit in meetings for hours at a time, then sit at my computer for hours at a time.  I also have time to go out to lunch (pretty much) as often as I want for as long as I want.  And I work with a group of people that I love but who I also enjoy socializing with at those lunches.  Fast forward a year into this job: My ankles started swelling up for no apparent reason.  Sometimes they would get so swollen that they would be pretty painful but then it would go away on its own.  While I was in Europe, they got particularly bad, especially my left ankle.  When I got back from the trip, I went in to see my doctor and she confirmed what I already thought.  The problems I was having with my ankles were being caused by them retaining water from all those fattening and sodium filled lunches out.  Those lunches out and a new sloth like lifestyle also helped me to gain ten pounds in the last year, which didn't help my ankles that are now supporting the extra weight.  My doctor and I both agreed that the best thing I could do would be to start eating better, and exercising more, and be sure to take breaks from sitting during the day to get up and move.  That was a month ago and I've really made some changes to my lifestyle in the last month to start living a healthier life.  I know there are people out there just like me, who are looking for the motivation to get started on a healthier path so I thought I would share some tips that worked for me.



1. Start tracking your activity with a fitness tracker, pedometer, or even use your smart phone.
Having some way to set a goal and then monitor your progress is a great way to stay motivated.  This was really important for me because I'm the type of person that needs a report card and enjoys data.  I'm currently using the Fitbit Alta and I love it.  However, if you don't want to make that kind of an investment (over $100 for most trackers), there are other options.  You can buy a pedometer for under $10 at Walmart or Amazon.  Or most smart phones (iPhone, Android, Windows) come with free health software that can do the same thing.  For me, a tracker was the best option, as I always wear a watch.  It encourages me to make little changes like parking farther away or taking the stairs.  But each of those little steps add up to big changes.



2. Invest in some workout clothes you like.
If you are short on money, then of course any clothes will do.  You could shop garage sales, find your favorite band shirts at Goodwill, or ask around for hand me downs.  For me, I didn't even own shorts that I could fit into any more (stupid extra weight!) and it was way too hot here in Florida in July for pants or capris, even inside.  I bought several different styles but found that my favorite pieces were inexpensive loose fit Bermuda shorts ($6.86) and loose fit tank tops ($4.96) from Walmart.  I love that the shorts are long enough that they protect my thighs from rubbing together and they have deep pockets.  They come in fun colors as well as neutrals so you can mix and match.  I also love the loose fit tanks.  They have colored ones with great graphic messages and also plain ones in black and grey that go great with those fun colored shorts.  I also was in need of sports bras.  I picked up some great ones from Target but they were pretty pricey.  The two shown in the image above are both from Burlington and work every bit as much as the ones from Target but cost less than half the price.  For me, having workout clothes that I liked wearing and thought were cute helped to motivate me to change into them.  Step 1, right?



3. Invest in proper footwear.
You might already own sneakers that are perfect for working out but for me, I didn't own a pair of athletic shoes at all.  Yup, not one.  And I have wide feet which make it hard to find sneakers that are comfortable.  But I found that Nike offers a couple of pairs of running shoes in wide sizes, including the Revolution.  I have the Revolution 2 and 3.  I like the 3 better because it's a bit lighter and sleeker but I find both work great for workouts and they weren't too terribly expensive compared to most athletic shoes.



4. Find exercise that you like to do.
When I used to think of exercise, I always thought of running and sit ups.  I hate running and I hate sit ups so I thought I hated working out.  But I really just had to find something I enjoyed.  I started with just walking but found that it's just too hot in Florida at this time of year.  I had two Workouts for Dummies videos laying around the house so I moved on to those and found that I actually really like them!  One is a basic aerobics video (Fat Burning Workout for Dummies) and the other consists of 4 short 15 minutes targeted strength workouts for specific areas (15 Minute Workouts for Dummies).  And it turns out I actually enjoy aerobics!  Which led me to find JessicaSmithTV on YouTube.  She has great aerobics workouts like these [1] [2] [3] and also anything else you could imagine: yoga, pilates, kickboxing, and strength training.  I've watched quite a few of her videos and I feel like I've only scratched the surface.  I love her positive energy and variety of videos.
   

5. Eat better.
I know that sounds like such a general thing but I know that I really need to just stop making bad choices about what I eat.  First of all, I need to stop going out to lunch so often.  There was one week where I went out for lunch four times.  And I never tried to order the healthier options.  All the carbs and fried foods right here, please.  I need to focus instead on packing my lunch more often, eating more fruits and vegetables, and making better snacking choices.  Lately I've been trying to snack on things like bananas, raisins, nuts, and veggies instead of vending machine junk.  And I need to cut back on the ice cream.  There was quite awhile this summer, where I was having one sundae cone per day... which over a week's time adds up to an entire day's worth of calories!  And I know I can still go out to lunch every so often but I need to make better choices about what I pick when I do eat at a restaurant.  For example, my favorite Tijuana Flats meal is the beef & beans nachos with additional queso, which is over 2,200 calories.  If I just got two chicken tacos with salsa instead, I could cut out about 1,800 calories and still enjoy a delicious meal with friends.



6. Drink more water and less everything else. 
This is something I see with a lot of my coworkers and something that was a problem for me in the past as well.  It's really easy to drink a couple of cokes or a couple of beers and not realize that you've added in hundreds of extra calories and tons of extra sodium.  And even diet soda seems to have an addicting effect where you just want more.  A few years ago I switched from Diet Dr Pepper to drinking ice water and I noticed that my thirst seemed to be quenched better.  I'm currently working on cutting back on the amount of coffee that I drink.



7. Find a time of day to exercise that works for you.
I know for a lot of people, their preferred time to exercise is early in the morning, before work.  That will never work for me.  As am employee of a school district, my report time is early and my commute fairly long.  I already get up at 5:00 AM and I will never be motivated enough to wake up at 4:00 AM to work out.  For me, I've found the best time is after work but before dinner, so I'm usually getting started around 3:30 or 4:30 PM.  Now that does mean that on some days when I have busy evenings, I don't get a chance to work out.  But for most days that is the perfect time for me.  I can shower right after and then eat dinner and still have a bit of time to relax.  I was already a night time showerer anyway, so maybe that's why that time suits me better.



8. Find a support system.
It's always easier to stay committed to something when you have people helping to hold you accountable.  For me, it's been my husband and good friend M.  We all three have Fitbits so we added each other as friends and now we can check in on each other's progress.  And my husband has been really supportive about rearranging our schedule in the evenings so I can get my work out in.  He also gives up the television every evening for as long as I feel like working out.  The phrase, "How many steps did you get today?" has also become a topic of conversation every evening in our home.



9. Get plenty of sleep.
Getting a good night's sleep will give you more energy for your workouts but will also help stave off the cravings for extra calories in junk.  And if you're doing strength exercises, sleep is a great way for your body to recover and repair those muscles.  If you've been eating well and exercising but can't seem to lose weight, good sleep might be the missing piece.  If you want some hard data on your sleep, the Fitbit tracks it or you could also try downloading an app for your smart phone.  I wore my Fitbit to bed for a few weeks but found it uncomfortable to sleep while wearing it.  What I learned was that I am a light sleeper and need to go to bed earlier because I don't get a lot of deep sleep.  Kind of already knew that though.


10. Don't sit for extended periods of time.
There is a lot of research out there (check out this infographic) that shows that sitting for prolonged periods of time is incredibly bad for your health in general.  So bad, that even 30 minutes of exercise a day can't combat the problems that sitting causes.  And how many of us spend our whole day at work doing just that?  My doctor told me that I should get up and walk for a few minutes every 20 to 30 minutes in order to prevent the swelling in my ankles, as well as eliminate the lower back pain I've been having and prevent future diseases.  To be honest, I definitely feel much better when I get up often throughout the day and go for a short walk.  And a quick brisk walk does much more to wake me up than a cup of coffee!

I still haven't lost any weight, but I know that I'm feeling one hundred times better than I was before.  My ankles aren't nearly as swollen and the lower back pain I was having a few months ago is completely gone, as long as I make sure to get up every 30 minutes or so and move.  I also know that losing weight takes time and just as I slowly gained the weight, I know I'll slowly lose it.  In the meantime, I'm happy with the small progress that I'm making each day.  Workouts that used to leave me exhausted and sore for days now leave me feeling energized and great afterward.  I feel proud of myself each time I make the effort to get up and move, sweat, and get one step closer to my goal of not only losing the extra pounds, but also making healthier choices that will lead to a longer, healthier life.

**Disclaimers: #1: I am not a health care professional.  Take this advice at your own risk and always remember to consult your doctor before making changes in diet and exercise programs.  #2: I am not sponsored by any company.  All products mentioned were purchased with my own money and all opinions are my own honest, unbiased opinions. 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Shop My Stash Drawer


Hey friends!  I've been crazy busy with work lately and I know I'm about to go into at least two more crazy weeks so I made it a point this weekend to empty out my shop my stash drawer and refill it with makeup that was easy and fuss free so I can out the door quick.  Low maintenance has been the name of the game lately for me.




Let's start with my clear plastic container, which houses the items I've been using every day without switching it up at all.  Although, it seems that my Benefit Erase Paste was photographed in the wrong place.  It definitely belongs here with the things I use every day.  I have pretty much used it every day since I got it back in December of 2015.

maybelline lash discovery waterproof mascara in very black - Love this for lower lashes!  The tiny brush does a great job of grabbing all those little lashes and making them darker and more defined without clumping them up.

maybelline colossal volum' express waterproof mascara in classic black - I love this mascara for my top lashes.  It holds a curl and gives length and thickness without being clumpy.  I'm personally not a fan of clumpy lashes.

elf lash curler - I'm not sure if elf still sells this exact lash curler but I love that the base is wide enough to fit all my lashes in without pinching the outer edges.

elf instant lift brow pencil in neutral brown - This brow pencil is the perfect color for me: not too warm and not too cool.  It's a quick and easy fill in for me and I love that the attached spoolie makes it even quicker - no digging for a separate brush.

elf clear brow and lash mascara - Again, quick and easy, but this gel also has just the right amount of hold.  And it's only $2!

mascara wands - Just a little something I like to keep around to brush out any clumps and separate my lashes after I apply mascara.

wet n wild fergie take on the day eyeshadow primer - This primer has been discontinued but I think wet n wild has pretty much the same product in different packaging now.  It's not as good as milani's eyeshadow primer in my opinion but it works okay and I'm just trying to use it up.

wet n wild color icon eyeshadow single in brulee - I reach for this shadow nearly every day as an eyebrow highlight.  I love that it's matte and for me it's really close to my skin tone.

cover girl simply powder foundation in ivory - I just love this powder!  It has great coverage without being too cakey looking.  I really like it on its own when my skin is clear or at times like now when it's not, it works great used sparingly as a setting powder over foundation and concealer.



Next we'll move on to the white plastic tray where I keep the items that I tend to swap out.  We'll go section by section, starting with lip products.



This little section has lots of sheer lipsticks.  These are the ones I've been reaching for the most.  Not pictured however, is maybelline baby lips in cherry me.  This one has been living in my purse because I've ended up using it almost every day, no matter what I start the day with.  I love that it adds just enough color, it's really moisturizing, and you don't need a mirror to apply it.

essence lip liner in cute pink - This is a nice neutral pink lip liner that works well under lots of other lip colors.  I pulled it out specifically to use with the neutrogena lippie.
neutrogena moisture smooth color stick in juicy papaya - This lippie is really moisturizing and comfortable and has just the right peachy pink color to match just about any other makeup you're wearing.
maybelline baby lips in pink glow - I loved my maybelline cherry me so much, I thought I might enjoy this too.  I'm still sort of trying it out so I pulled it out to remind me to use it more.
cover girl smoochies in #doubledare - This is another newer lip item for me.  I love that it has a beautiful peachy color.  Usually I find peach lip colors on me look bad but this one is sheer enough that I feel like I can pull it off while still getting enough of the peach color.  I would love to try more of these smoochies but I'm just so sure that I don't need them.  LOL
essence sheer & shine lipstick in 09  i feel pretty - This is a sheer lipstick in a purpley pink color.  It's just really fun and pretty.
essence sheer & shine lipstick in 03 bff - This is another sheer lipstick in a your lips but better shade.  It's just the most perfect color to really brighten up your face, even if you aren't wearing much other makeup.  I think it goes well with pretty much any other makeup and it's one of my current favorites.



I love lip products so there is actually a second compartment with more lippies in it.

milani color statement lipstick in pretty natural - This is my favorite lipstick ever!  If I have an important meeting and I want to look my best, I always pull for this.
essence long lasting lipstick in natural beauty - This is a great natural lipstick.  For me, it's very similar to my natural lip color so it's hard to tell if I'm even wearing anything.  It does a great job of smoothing and evening out.
sonia kashuk shine luxe sheer lipstick in sheer mauve - Luxurious shine and hydration are two great perks of this sheer lip color.  It's another that's close to my natural lips but with more shine and moisture.



Let's move over to the center, where my blushes are currently living.  I just now realized that out of these five blushes, it's only two different brands!  I guess I know what I like.

milani powder blush in romantic rose - This is the perfect natural matte color.  I wear it so often, I'm wearing down the rose pattern.  If you don't have this blush, you need it in your life.
essence silky touch blush in babydoll - A great natural pink blush with just a bit of a satin finish.  Great for days when I feel like my skin is looking just a bit dull.  I haven't had time for highlight lately so this is like a two in one.
essence silky touch blush in autumn peach - Same idea, but a lovely peachy shade.
milani minerals blush in mai tai - I know, I know, this blush has been discontinued for ages.  However, it may just be the most perfect matte coral blush on earth and I refuse to stop using it until it gets gross.  I know there are other people that still have this kicking around too!
essence blush up! powder blush in heat wave - Similar to mai tai, but with more orange.  A great warm coral for summer!  You can't really tell in the photo but it's an ombre blush that goes from bright orange to bright pink so you can control the tone of the blush depending on your mood that day.  Feeling more orange or pink?



Now we're moving on to face products.  Seriously, my skin has been awful this last week.  I think it's my fault too.  I didn't even think about it, but I worked out like four times this week with a full face of makeup on.  As in sweating like a pig worked out.  I shower right after but I'm sure sweat and dirt and makeup mixing into my skin and then me wiping it all on a towel probably contributed to this acne.  I've learned my lesson and now I've started washing my face with an Olay Daily Facial cloth before exercising so hopefully my skin will start to clear up soon.  Until then, I've pulled out several concealers and foundations to at least fake some clear skin.

revlon colorstay whipped creme foundation in ivory - I haven't used this one in quite awhile so I pulled it back out to make some use of it.  But now I'm thinking that maybe that jar that you dip your hands into might not be the best idea for my currently unhappy skin.  Maybe I should try the classic colorstay, now that it comes in a pump bottle?  Or I guess maybe I should pull out my elf acne fighting foundation.
benefit erase paste in no 1 fair - As I mentioned before, I love this.  I have horrible dark undereye circles and this stuff covers them incredibly well and also lasts all day long.  Worth every penny!
elf hd concealer in fair - When I have blemishes, I reach for this concealer over any other.  It blends out over zits incredibly well.  My only complaint is that it's too dark!  I've even tried mixing it with white foundation corrector and it helps but I can only wear it with certain foundations.
maybelline better skin concealer in ivory - I pulled out this concealer because it's lighter than the elf hd one.  I don't really remember how I felt about it so I figured I'd give it another try.
covergirl clean matte bb cream in fair - I love this stuff for when my skin is more clear!  It gives a bit of coverage (like a light coverage foundation) and it's so easy to apply.  I love it paired with a powder foundation.
rimmel match perfection concealer in fair - I used this concealer a lot a while back and I remember really liking it but I haven't used it in quite a while.  It's also lighter than the elf hd so I thought now would be a great time to give it some more love.
loreal infallible pro matte foundation in shell beige - This foundation is great!  The shade is just a tad too dark for me but the shade lighter is too light.  However, it matches the elf hd concealer really well and offers great coverage so they are a go to pairing for me when my skin isn't so great.


We're in the final stretch here: eye shadows and liners!  I have two photos here because this one palette is sort of covering everything under it.  ๐Ÿ˜†

Too Faced Pixie Pin-Ups Palette - Hubby bought this palette for me years ago for Christmas and I always forget how much I love it.  The shadows are great quality and really easy to wear colors.  I just wish the packaging wasn't so bulky: There's only six shadows in it but it takes up a ton of space!



essence waterproof eyeliner pen - Great liquid liner pen!  Love this and highly recommend it.
rimmel scandaleyes eyeliner pencil in nude - I like to wear this on the waterline on days where I look extra tired for a brightening effect.
essence gel liner pencil in black blaze - When I'm short on time, I skip other liners and just use this to tightline.  Lasts great there.
hard candy baked eyeshadow duo in peace - I haven't used this for awhile but I know it's a great quick eye look, if you don't mind super shimmery shadows.
l'oreal infallible eyeshadow in endless pearl - This is a perfect matte cream shade.  I apply it with my finger and just throw a darker shade in the crease and I'm on my way!
essence eyeshadows in all i need; keep calm and berry on; triple choc - These shadows are fairly new to me and I'm really loving them!  I use triple choc often as a crease color.  It's dark enough to give some definition but not so dark that you have to be super careful.
covergirl trunaked eyeshadow palette in nudes - This palette is great!  Everything you need is right here and you can go anywhere from incredibly natural to more dramatic.
avon 8-in-1 eye palette in neutral tones - This palette however, can't stand on its own in my opinion.  That's when I pull in triple choc.  But if you like light shadows, there's a variety of tones and textures in this little palette.  I like it for when I'm feeling into natural looks but it's not my absolute favorite.
nyc smooth skin bronzing face powder in sunny - I've seriously had this bronzer forever.  It's not my favorite for bronzer (I feel like it's a bit too orange for me) but it makes a good light contour for eyes or a great transition shade to help blend out.

Wow, that's it!  If you made it through and read this entire post, then you have earned a high five and a round of applause!  ๐Ÿ– ๐Ÿ‘

Friday, July 22, 2016

Fitness Haul


My husband and I had an fantastic trip to Europe this month.  It was packed full of amazing food, experiences, and tons of sightseeing.  The great thing about this particular trip was that our hotels were right in the middle of the cities we were visiting which meant instead of spending tons of time on a coach, we were able to walk to most everywhere.  This also led me to realize how out of shape having a desk job for the last year has made me.  I don't want to wake up one day five years from now and find that I'm too out of shape to do these trips any more.  There was definitely someone on our trip from another group that was barely able to keep up with the group while doing all that walking.  So I'm making a commitment to try to be more fit, even if that means just walking more, which is still a big improvement from the activity I'm doing now, which is nothing.  To kick start my fitness effort, I bought a few key items to help motivate me to make more of an effort to #getupandmove.



1. sports bra: [exact] I actually first bought this sports bra at Target in the pink shade and then loved it so much I went back for the black as well, which is what you see pictured.  I wanted something that was comfortable but still had the same support and shape that a normal bra would offer without the weird uni-chest thing that a lot of sports bras do.  After wearing the pink one during my trip on the flight over the ocean (turned out to be almost a 48 hour long day), I knew this bra was a winner.  And I can tell you from experience that it gives great support if you have to run as fast as possible through Washington Dulles Airport to get from security to your gate in time for your flight.  ๐Ÿ˜

2. mossimo loose tank top: [similar] You can find this exact top in different colors at Target, but I got mine at Bealls Outlet for $3.99.  While we were on our trip, I was really wishing I had a loose tank top to wear to sleep in, as our hotels were quite warm.  This will serve double duty as sleep wear or work out wear.  I think it would also be perfect for a round of golf!



3. fitbit alta in plum: [exact] I bought my fitbit at Target and didn't realize that at the time, with the alta model, there was a promotion for a $20 Target gift card for your next trip to Target.  If you can't tell, I shop at Target a ton, so that was a great way to feel like I got it for a good price.  This is the main thing that I think is really going to encourage me to move more, especially at work.  I love that you can set reminders to walk every hour that you haven't walked 250 steps or more.  I know I won't make my goal every day, but at least it will be a good reminder.  I also love that this fitbit version can track your sleep and give you information about your sleep patterns.  I'm really curious to see if I can get a more restful night of sleep if I can understand why I seem to always wake up tired, even after a full eight hours.


  

4. lounge pants with pockets: I picked up these lounge pants with pockets at Vanity Fair Outlet for a measly $3.  I love that they have a thick elastic waist band and the large front pockets (my cell phone can fit inside) as well as the smaller zip pocket.  The zip pockets would be great for a house key, garage door opener, or lip balm.  Just perfect for if I want to go for a walk around the neighborhood without having to haul a purse or bag with me.  But really I bought these as lounge wear because they were so cheap and I tend to run through lounge pants fast.  They always seem to wear out at the seam where my thighs rub together.  ๐Ÿ˜ฃ

5. nike revolution 2 running shoes: [exact] Let's be honest, I don't actually plan on doing any running in these shoes.  But I knew I needed a pair of walking shoes and the options are pretty small when you have to buy shoes in a wide size.  I basically had four options at the outlet mall and these were the cutest pair and also they were on clearance for $39.99 at the Nike Outlet.  The only other pair of athletic shoes I have are my Keds Champions, which I absolutely love, but they don't offer a lot of support when walking on cobblestone roads or dirt paths.

Update: I actually wrote the bulk of this post last week but during the summer I work four ten hour days so the work week is busy!  I'm just now getting around to posting it and I thought it was worth mentioning my experience one week in with my fitbit.  I've met my steps goal every day except Sunday.  It's really been good to have something to motivate me and even my husband has gotten on board!  He's currently using the fitbit charge hr and he loves it.  I definitely recommend a fitbit or similar tracker if you need something to motivate you as well!  ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Saturday, July 16, 2016

FOTD: Europe Haul


face:
- covergirl clean matte bb cream for oily skin in fair
- benefit erase paste in no 2 fair
- elf hd concealer in fair (lightened with manic panic dream tone foundation in virgin)
- covergirl dimply powder foundation in ivory
- essence matt touch blush in berry me up
- hard candy so baked bronzer in hula hula
- bitzy mechanical brow pencil in brunette
- essence eyebrow fixing pencil wax
- elf makeup mist & set

eyes:
- milani eyeshadow primer
- essence single shadow in all i need (lid)
- bitzy custom eyeshadow single in au naturale (brow highlight)
- nyc smooth skin bronzing face powder in sunny (as a transition shade in crease)
- essence single shadow in triple choc (crease)
- essence single shadow in keep calm and berry on (lower lashline & smudged over top lash liner)
- bitzy eyeshadow in pink icing (inner corner)
- essence waterproof gel eye pencil in black blaze (tightline)
- bitzy mechanical eye pencil in french roast (top lashline)
- maybelline lash discovery waterproof mascara in very black (lower lashes)
- maybelline colossal volum' express waterproof mascara in classic black (top lashes)

lips:
- s.he stylezone lipstick aqua shine in 020

headband:
from Target [very similar]

Sunday, June 26, 2016

GRWM: Makeup I'm Packing for Europe



Makeup Products Mentioned in the Video:
(* denotes product used in my FOTD)
- hard candy sheer envy face primer*
- loreal infallible pro-matte foundation in 102 shell beige*
- elf hd lifting concealer in fair*
- benefit erase paste in no 1. fair*
- cover girl simply powder foundation in ivory*
- elf instant lift eyebrow pencil in taupe*
- elf clear brow & lash mascara*
- wet n wild fergie eyeshadow primer*
- bitzy custom compact shadows
     - aรบ naturale*
     - beach bronze*
     - high spirited*
     - bonfire attire
- essence gel eye pencil waterproof in black blaze*
- maybelline lash discovery waterproof mascara in very black*
- maybelline colossal volum' express waterproof mascara in classic black*
- essence sheer & shine lipstick in 03 bff*
- blistex lip vibrance spf 15 tinted lip balm
- blistex lip balm spf 30
- hawaiian tropic lip balm spf 45

Friday, June 24, 2016

Bitzy Custom Compact Eyeshadows


Early this week, I popped into Sally Beauty Supply to repurchase my current favorite heat protectant spray.  While I was there, I checked out the product line Bitzy, which replaced the Sally Girl line.  I immediately noticed the custom compact eyeshadows (they were on sale for $1.49 each!) and accompanying quad palettes and knew I wanted to try some out in hopes of them working out for my upcoming trip to Germany, Czech Republic, and Poland next week.  I ended up liking the four I bought so much that I went back the next day and bought eight more [on Instagram]!  Now I've had a few days to play with them and I have some thoughts on these affordable shadows.



First, let's talk about the compacts.  I picked up two of those.  These were the only two designs my Sally Beauty had in stock but I see on their website that they seem to have pink compacts as well.  When I purchased them, they had a protective cover on the front and also a plastic sleeve inside to protect the magnetic section of the palette.  As you can see from the very top photo, the palette comes with an applicator and four round sections for the shadows to fit into.  Let's just get it out of the way: I think the applicator is useless.  It's incredibly scratchy and I wouldn't use it to apply shadow for fear of it irritating the sensitive skin around my eyes.  A double sided sponge tip would have been a better choice.  The sponge tip that comes with Cover Girl quads fits nicely into that center compartment though.  It's also worth noting that if you already have a Unii palette, Z palette, or other magnetic palette, it's not necessary to buy the coordinating quad palettes.  These shadows magnetize beautifully to any palette of the sort.

I was curious if it was possible to remove the top so that you could use this palette to hold any size or shape of product you wanted.  The top part easily pops out.  However, the thin sheet of magnet that holds the shadows in is not actually attached to the compact.  The top section holds it in.  So if you wanted to use this palette for that purpose, you would need to  secure the magnetic sheet with glue or double sided tape.



And now let's get to the most fun part: the eyeshadows!  First, let's talk about the packaging.



Each shadow comes in a small cardboard box and resides in a plastic sleeve that protects the shadow.  However, I did find that quite a few of my shadows had some damage to the metal pan that caused it to have dents either in the pan or in the actual shadows.  They're still usable but it's something to look out for if you're shopping for these.  The name of the shade is written on the top left of the box.  However, it is not written anywhere on the actual pan of the shadow.  So if you take the shadow out of the box to put it in a compact, you will no longer have the name of the shade anywhere.  While not a deal breaker, that's definitely something I thought was worth noting.



To remedy this, I used a thin permanent marker to write the name of each shade on the bottom of the pan and then covered it with a bit of clear nail polish to keep the marker from transferring to the compact.  (I've noticed that is a problem with some of the items in my Unii palette and now my pretty palette has marker all over the bottom.)  



Now that you know what to expect from the packaging, let's talk about the most fun part, the shadows!  I purchased twelve total shadows and have them divided into three "quads".



This is the quad that I decided to bring with me to Europe.  These four shades are all right up my alley.  They are neutral and easy to work with.  We'll go left to right.

Aรบ Naturale - cream, matte finish
High Spirited - light pink, metallic finish
Beach Bronze - light tan, satin finish
Bonfire Attire - plummy brown, satin finish

I just love this quad!  Aรบ Naturale is the perfect highlight shade for me and I also love it as a natural looking all over lid shade to cancel out veining and imperfections.  I love wearing it all over with Beach Bronze in the crease as a very natural eye look.  Beach Bronze would also make a good transition shade.  I love the way High Spirited looks in the inner corner of the eyes to brighten things up and it would also make a good lid shade but beware that it's super frosty looking.  I think Bonfire Attire would make a great crease shade if you wanted a bit more contrast.  I also think it would make a nice one shadow look.



In this swatch photo, it's kind of hard to see Aรบ Naturale but don't be fooled: it's quite pigmented but it's hard to see because it blends in with my skin so well.  I think all of these shadows are great and worth looking into if you're into these kinds of colors and finishes.



Next up, we have the second quad.  Neutrals and some plummy tones.

Cloud Nine - white, shimmer finish
Subtle Flare - light mauve, satin finish
Caramel Latte - light tan, satin finish
Beauty Mark - plum, satin finish



These shadows I have some mixed feelings about.  Cloud Nine is awesome, especially as an inner corner color.  It's quite pigmented, though less frosty than High Spirited and more of a pure white.  Subtle Flare is most definitely subtle and by that I mean that it barely shows up.  I would recommend passing on that one, as there is just no color payoff.  Caramel Latte came off looking very similar to Beach Bronze in my opinion but a little lighter.  I think you probably don't need both of them so I wold recommend Beach Bronze if you're trying to decide between the two.  Beauty Mark is a real star in this palette.  It's pigmented and really pretty.  I love the way it looks with my green eyes.



The last quad is not really a quad but more like the four shades that didn't really go with anything else.  They are currently residing in my small Z palette.  It's worth mentioning that this small Z palette can hold nine of these shadow pans.

Freshly Minted - bright mint green, matte finish
Moonstone - white, glitter finish
Fashionista - light purple, metallic finish
Pure Silver - blue toned silver, metallic finish



These are the shades that I am least likely to use.  Freshly Minted is actually pretty good but I just don't think I'll use that color much because it's so bold.  But I wanted another matte from this collection and that was the only matte besides Aรบ Naturale.  I actually wish they had more mattes, as I really like the mattes from this line!  This one would be good if you like more bold colors.  Moonstone is the absolute worst out of the shades that I bought.  There is virtually no color payoff at all.  What you do get is a bunch of fine glitter particles that will fall out all over your face and never seem to go away.  I was really disappointed in this shade and would recommend you to pass on it.  Fashionista and Pure Silver and nice for what they are but I feel like they are just not unique at all.  I have an entire palette from Coastal Scents full of shades that are really similar to these.  However, for what they are, they are nice and pretty if you're looking for shades like that.

Overall, these shadows are a bit hit and miss but I feel like for the most part, they were quite good.  I'm really happy I bought them and I'm looking forward to having my personalized quad of eyeshadows for my trip.  I'm hoping my Sally Beauty will stock more of these shadows soon too, as they have a lot more listed on their website that I was interested in but couldn't find at my local store.  For $1.69 regular price each, these palettes and shadows are a great way to explore some different colors without a big risk.  I would recommend them for sure!