Tuesday, December 31, 2013

TAG! | The Sweater Weather Tag

Callanwolde (our wedding venue) in the Fall
 I meant to do this tag a few months ago, but figured I could still get away with doing it now if I change up the questions that are fall-centric to something that pertains more to winter.  After all, here in Atlanta, "sweater weather" is more of a winter thing since it doesn't get that cold in the fall!

1. Favorite candle scent?
This winter I've really been enjoying Entenmann's 3 Wick Candle in Butter Pound Cake.  It's sweet and warm without being overly saccharine or overwhelming.  I picked it up at CVS for $7.99 USD. 
2. Coffee, Tea, or Hot Chocolate?
I drink coffee every morning, regardless of the season, but when it's chilly out, I love to make decaf in the evening and sip it whilst catching up on blog reading and TV watching.  I also LOVE hot cocoa but I only have it every so often so it still feels like a treat.

3. Do you switch up your makeup routine for the season?
I'll throw in a more berry or red toned blush (NARS Sin, Tarte Natural Beauty) and I like to mix up my usual lipsticks with deeper tones.  
Wearing Make Up For Ever Aqua Rouge #14 Light Rosewood
4. Favorite Thanksgiving cold weather food?   
SOUP!  I really love making my version of The Olive Garden's Zuppe Tuscana when the temperatures drop.  It contains kale (or collards, depending on my mood!), sausage, and potatoes and is extra tasty with a slice of toasted sourdough for dipping.

5. Hats or scarves?
Scarves!  I love them.  Throw one on over a plain shirt and boom - insta pizzaz.

6. Most worn sweater?
I have a seriously fluffy oversized pink sweater that I love!  It's definitely not what I'd call figure flattering, but it's SO cozy and soft that I really don't care! 

7. Must have Fall nail polish?
Revlon Plum Seduction because it's a brighter version of the deeper berry colors so popular in the colder months.  I also love Revlon's Raven Red, which is a brownish red bordeaux creme.

8. Football games or jumping in a pile of leaves snow?
How about hockey games??  I'd watch hockey over football any day.  I didn't tell y'all, but I'm a secret Canadian at heart. ;)

9. Skinny jeans or leggings?
Leggings.  I wore a black pair to the P!nk concert and I've literally never been more comfortable at an event!  It was awesome!

10. Boots or Uggs?
Boots!  I love boots.  

11. What is your #1 favorite thing about Fall Winter?
I love the cozy factor!  How you're bundled up in soft, warm clothes, sipping hot bevs, and ya know, NOT SWEATING.  Love me some not sweating!

12. Do you have a song that gets you in the Fall Winter mood or just a song you're loving at the moment?
Christmas music!  I occasionally listen to Christmas music during the summer just to reminisce about the coziest time of year.  I love Christmas music!

13. What is the Fall Winter weather like where you currently live?
Not too bad, really.  We very rarely have any snow (though we did have a major ice storm in 2011 that shut down the city for almost a week solid!  That was kind of amazing since I've never seen anything like it!) and it's not too unbearably cold.  We had weather in the teens for a week or two a few years ago and that was REALLY unpleasant.  We just don't have the apparel for weather that cold here so going to work in my unlined "business trousers" wasn't that fun!  We have lots of yankees here who love the southern "winter" and think it's hilarious that anyone finds it cold.  It's not that unusual to see someone wearing shorts in December.  That's how you spot a northerner! 

This is my last post of 2014!  Wow!  Where did the year go?!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

NAILS! | Top 5 Nail Polish Picks of 2013

I thought it would be fun to share my top 5 favorite nail polishes of the year!  
butter London Kerfuffle Nail Lacquer: A gorgeous light pinky peach.
OPI Eurso Euro Nail Lacquer: A fabulous cobalt blue creme.
Revlon Chili Top Speed Fast Dry Nail Enamel: A bold warm red with a beautiful high shine finish.
Zoya Blu Professional Lacquer: A lovely creamy cool light blue.
ACI Yellow Stopper Top Coat: A violet tinted clear polish that makes even stained nails look stunning.
What were your favorite polishes of 2013?

Sunday, December 22, 2013

TAG! | 50 Random Facts

I've seen this tag on several friends' blogs and I loved reading their facts so much, I decided to spend my rainy Sunday morning doing this tag!  If you're reading this, I tag you!  If you've already done it, let me know in the comments!  In the words of Al Bundy, "Let's rock."

1. My parents are from Michigan and Indiana, so even though I was born and raised in Atlanta, GA, I don't have a southern accent.  People always think I'm from the Midwest or Southwest due to my lack of a southern drawl.  But I can fake one like it's no problem!
2.  I do love the word "y'all" and use it like it's a completely acceptable term.  You + all = y'all.  Makes perfect sense to me.
3.  I've always struggled with and hated math.
4.  My favorite place I've ever visited on vacation is Puerto Rico.  NICEST PEOPLE EVER, the food is unbeatable, and there are horses just roaming free.  In neighborhoods.  It is crazy!  I went with my friend Emily in 2008.  Jason and I are going for our honeymoon and I am so excited!
Puerto Rico, 2008.  Emily and I just pulled over to the side of the road and snapped this pic!
5.  The furthest (farthest?) west I've been in the United States is St. Louis on a trip with Emily.  We got to go up into the Arch and everyone we met was so ridiculously nice.  That's a city of really nice people.
6.  I am handy and resourceful.  I am a low level household MacGyver.  I can fix a toilet or a drawer that won't slide open properly and I'm really good at hanging pictures perfectly centered without a measuring tape.
7.  I might love blush and lipstick and oohing and ahhing over shiny, pretty things, but I am a true tomboy at heart.  I like doing things myself without any help.  I like going to the shooting range.  I like having biceps.  I like action movies and car chase scenes.  I like riding horses and always try to get them to run.  It's the best feeling!  I still want to climb trees but rarely find myself in a situation where I could do it without someone assuming I was drunk and/or nutty.  Michonne from The Walking Dead is my hero.
8.  Like Stephanie Eva, I HATE crying and do everything I can to avoid it.  If a book or movie is described as "touching", "heart breaking", "soul enhancing", etc., etc., I AVOID it like the plague.
9.  I love ballet.  Did it for a brief stint as a child but gave it up because I wanted to roller skate and climb trees instead.  I also did gymnastics in high school.
Ballet, 1990 / Gymnastics, 1998
10.  I LOVE Oldies.  I grew up listening to Fox 97 on the radio, which was a really fantastic oldies station.  In fact, most of my friends did, too.  It was perfectly normal to make a mix tape that contained Aretha Franklin's "Chain of Fools", Nirvana's "Pennyroyal Tea", Paul Revere and the Raiders' "Kicks", and Silverchair's "Tomorrow".
11.  I still know all the words to "The Next Episode" by Dr. Dre and my fiance Jason really enjoys it when I sing {and dance} along to the Snoop Dogg part about stepping into this "mf-er just a' swingin' my hair."
12.  I do stupid dances all the time.
13.  Believe it or not, I am a little shy when I first meet people.  It's not until I feel like I know them better that I unleash the zany train.
14.  I love feeding birds and watching them eat off our back porch.  It is SO enjoyable and relaxing!
15.  I've been dating Jason since October 2008, and we've been engaged since June 2011.
16.  We are getting hitched at the end of April 2014 and we're both trying to keep the planning as stress-free as possible, but it's AMAZING what comes up.  You think you check off one vendor and you're golden, but then you think of 5-18 other little things that you'd previously forgotten about.  I am much more excited to be married to my uber best friend than I am about the wedding day itself.
17.  My favorite childhood movies: The Little Mermaid, E.T., and Home Alone.
18.  I am obsessed with Isotoner satin ballet slippers.  HAVE YOU TRIED THEM?!  Comfort beyond measure and they never make my feet sweat.  Oh and they're adorable.  I have bunches of them, including a black pair for under my desk at work for when my regular shoes start getting on my nerves.
19.  I'll be wearing a pink pair of Isotoners for my wedding.  After all, no one is going to see my feet anyways!  Might as well be comfy!
Image credit: Totes-Isotoner
20.  Good lord, we're only at 20?!  I like root beer to an insane level.
21.  I have a list of adorable names for pets we don't have {yet}.
22.  I love mockingbirds.  They are smart and fierce.  They are my spirit animal! ;)
23.  I will always associate the number 23 with Michael Jordan.
24.  Going to Paris has been my dream forever.  I could look at pictures of Paris all day long and never get bored and the language is so beautiful.  Je parle un peu de Français.  Someday I will manger the hell out of some eclairs at a café in the 6th arrondissement.  
Image credit: Wikipedia
25.  I have to have a lip balm on my person at all times or else I get all Napoleon Dynamite, whining that my lips hurt real bad.
26.  Jason took me to Discovery Cove in FL where we got to swim with dolphins, which was a lifelong dream of mine.  He also proposed there, having a dolphin bring me a buoy that said, "Kristen, will you marry me?"
27.  By nature, I am a night owl, but I am trying very hard to become a morning person.  The few times I've gotten up early, I've LOVED getting so much done and being EARLY for work.
28.  I hate when people show up more than 10 minutes earlier than they said they would.  And then I have to hurry to be ready at the agreed upon time.
29.  I love to read.  My record was reading 72 books in 2010.
30.  The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio is one of my all-time favorite books.
31.  The first beauty blogs I read religiously were Temptalia and Makeup & Beauty Blog.  I still read them religiously!
32.  I can't believe how many amazing women I've met through this blog over the course of the past year.  It's been an true journey in positivity for me to count you all as friends.  Hearts!
33.  My favorite TV shows this year have been Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, and Interior Therapy with Jeff Lewis.
34.  I sometimes need a break from heavy drama and, ya know, meth-making and zombie slaying, so I also enjoy a certain amount of brain candy by reading books from my childhood (The Babysitter's Club, Ramona Quimby, Sweet Valley Twins, The Fabulous Five) and watching goo TV like Say Yes to the Dress Bridesmaids and House Hunters International.
35.  Also filed under brain candy?  The Bachelor/Bachelorette.  My childhood friend Blair from STFU, Parents (here's her interview on Good Morning America) watches these programs and convinced me to.  I may or may not have gotten Jason to watch the last two seasons.  They're so unbelievably corny and uncomfortable, that they're a true serving of mental cotton candy.
36.  My best Halloween costume ever was when my mom made me the most badass Rainbow Brite costume (with a yarn wig) when I was 5.
37.  I love coffee.
38.  We're getting a cat after we get married and I am PUMPED!  I also have wanted a dog for eons but we're waiting until we have a backyard for him/her to run in.  I don't consider myself to be a "cat person" or a "dog person", just an "animal person".
39.  If it's not comfortable, I'm not wearing it.
40.  I love sipping hot coffee and hot chocolate when it's chilly outside.  Festive!
41.  Taking a hot shower before bed is my zen moment.
42.  I drive a stick shift and I love it!  Unless I'm sitting in bumper to bumper traffic, creeping along at 2 MPH.  Then it's not exactly super fun times.
My car! Picture taken right before I bought it!  And got floor mats.
43.  My lucky number is 24.
44.  The best thing I can cook is kale, sausage, and potato soup.  It's super yummy!
45.  Peonies are my favorite flower.
46.  I just tried my first ever mango lassi and I am in LOVE.  I also have a huge fondness for Indian food.
47.  I've always wanted to try a Turducken.  I love the word turducken.
48.  I hate pictures of myself straight-on.  My smile is super crooked.  That's why almost all of my blog pics are from a side angle, in case y'all haven't noticed!  It's like one side of my mouth just can't put in the same amount of effort as the other.
Straight-on crooked smile circa 2013 / 1987
49.  I've been working at my job for 8.5 years, which shocks me.  It's such a great place to work that it feels like I've been there maybe 3-4 years.  That's definitely a good sign!
50.  I love artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, olives, mushrooms, and sprouts.  Basically the veggies other people hate, I'm a big fan of!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

REVIEW! | Jordana Easyliner for Eyes (Eggplant, Seagreen, Bliss, Mint)

You know how sometimes things just don't work out?  Well, that was the case with me and the Jordana Easyliner for Eyes, a much raved about product amongst the beauty community.  These just do not get along with my lids!

Jordana Easyliner for Eyes comes in 13 colors.  I picked out 4 that looked extra groovy: Mint, Bliss, Seagreen, and Eggplant.  Eggplant, a matte plum, and Seagreen, a lightly shimmering deep teal, swatched better than the lighter liners, as you can see below.
On my eye lids, these were made of fail!  They lasted 3-4 hours on primed lids and then disappeared like carpetbaggers in the night.  Entire parts of the line would be missing in action, and what was left was faded and smudged.  I tried several different methods to prolong the wear including primer, wearing them over shadow, translucent setting powder, etc., and experienced the same disappearing act every time.  I do have oily lids, but have never had this much of an issue with liners in the past.  Typically liners last all day on me when paired with an eyeshadow primer.  The Easyliners would hardly adhere to my waterline to begin with, so the 1 hour wear time didn't surprise me.
Granted, these retail for $1.99 USD at drugstores, so some may feel like "Well, you get what you pay for".  I've found that's not always the case and have had plenty of budget-friendly products completely outshine their budget-busting counterparts.  And besides, who wants to throw away even $2.00 that could be better spent on, say...a Nivea Lip Butter?  ;)

My personal experience with these was not rave-worthy, but I will compliment them on 2 things:
1. Great packaging: I love anything where the color of the tube is the color of the product - makes these easy to spot amongst a bevy of liners in your makeup bag or tray.  The retractable liner is nicely done and easy to use.
2. The color range!  13 colors is very exciting and diverse for a drugstore brand.  Usually drugstore brands only offer the standard issue shades of black, brown, and taupe.

My Rating: D
Where to Buy: Drugstores, Jordana

Have you had a bargain product knock the socks off of a high-end one?  What was your last purchase that didn't thrill you?  Share!
In other news, Happy Saturday!  We're going to see P!nk's The Truth About Love Tour tonight and I'm so excited!  What's on your agenda this weekend?  Bring on the acrobatics and dancing lips!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Nivea Lip Butter - Review & Photos

How have I never officially reviewed Nivea Lip Butter when it's one of my lip balm all-stars?!  I was watching the 6th straight episode of The Walking Dead season 3 (Shout out to Daryl Dixon!) with Jason last night and noticed I had not one, but two tins of Nivea Lip Butter perched within reach.  I always have one nearby in the living room, in addition to a tin in my bathroom, one on my bedside table, and one in my desk drawer at work.  I realized I'd never fully reviewed them, and I thought that needed to change since they are such a favorite for me!

Nivea Lip Butters are supremely hydrating, silky-smooth tins of joy that are in my Top 5 Balms of All-Time.  They contain shea butter and almond oil and there's no tackiness to speak of.  They're available in 4 flavors: Raspberry Rosé, Caramel Cream, Vanilla & Macadamia, and Smooth.  The first 3 smell divine and are very lightly flavored, and Smooth is scent and flavor-free.  Though there is no SPF information listed on the tins or on the US Nivea site, Titanium Dioxide is listed as an ingredient and you will see a very slight white cast on the lips when heavily applied.
I find all 4 to be immensely hydrating and comforting on the lips.  Don't tell my Jack Black balms, but I actually prefer these because they are even smoother!  I especially love to load up on the buttah (el mantequilla, if you will!) at night after exfoliating so I awaken to optimally moisturized lips.
While some may dislike the fact that these are in tins, I see it as an asset because they fit nicely in tiny purse pockets and don't roll off my bedside table or bathroom counter top.  I always carry one of these pups in my purse and the tins have always remained securely closed.
I've been using these lovelies every day since March and I'm nowhere near hitting pan because a little goes a long way and you don't need to reapply them every 10 minutes.  If you love silky, hydrating balms, there's no way you won't love these!  And at $2.99 USD a pop, these make crazy good stocking stuffers for anyone on your list!

My Rating: A+ (Favorite!)
Where to Buy: Drugstores (US), ULTA

Thursday, December 5, 2013

TAG! | 5 Products I'd Pick in a Pinch

I've seen the 5 Makeup Products I’d Pick in a Pinch tag on a few of my friends' blogs and thought it would be fun to do!  I've been under the weather lately so doing this tag is a great way for me to shake off the mental rust and get back in the blogging game.  

Originally, I ended up with 7 products so I narrowed it down to 5 by dropping two of my favorite makeup products: eyeshadow and concealer.  Gasp!  I decided to focus more on a bolder lip look since it adds more impact with fewer products.  It's a look I've been loving lately as a general time-saving practice on chilly winter mornings when my cup o' sleep feels half empty!  I also must credit Rema from The Burgundy Book for being my bold lip muse.  She always manages to look simply smashing in mascara and kapow lip color!
1. Foundation: For me, a solid canvas it the start I crave to any makeup look.  I have a few foundation loves, but this Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation (I wear shade SB 5.5) is a beautiful full-coverage option that feels light and breathable while covering errrthing.  It even allows me to comfortably skip concealer!

2. Bronzer: I get quite pale in the winter and really need a bronzer to bring some life back to my face.  I adore Too Faced's Chocolate Soliel Bronzer because it's sparkle-free and gives me believable color.  Oh and it smells like chocolate due to the cocoa powder in the product.  There's nothing like calorie-free choco-mania in the morning.

3. Blush: Being a blushaholic at heart, I certainly couldn't skip what I feel is one of the most important items that take me from looking zombie-like to alive and well.  I picked Tarte's Exposed, a gorgeous tawny pink, because it matches anything you throw at it and is flattering across the board.  This is probably my #1 favorite blush and I have Alison from 10amBeauty to thank for this discovery!  

4.  Mascara: The easiest way to open up your eyes is with a black mascara.  I am very partial to MAC's Zoom Fast Black Lash because it's one of the few mascaras that gives me lashes to write home about.  It's a wet formula, which I usually don't get overly thrilled about, but for some reason this one works perfectly to lengtehn my lashes and give me a little bit of volume without any clumps.  

5. Lip color: Maybelline's Color Elixir Liquid Lip Balm in Hibiscus Haven is the bright pop of pink needed to take my 5 product face from meh to 'mazing!  ;)  I really can skip the 4-step eyes with this and still get the polished look I like.  I have two Color Elixirs and both are FANTASTIC.  Cushiony, gel-like balms with great color payoff that last 5-6 hours.  These have exceeded my expectations and are better than their high-end counterparts.  
So that's it!  Those are my 5 products I'd pick in a pinch (or on a sleep-deprived morning when I'm short on time)!  

What are your 5 products?  If you decide to do this tag, let me 
know in the comments so I can check out your picks!