Winter Reading List – Update

Happy Monday!

I was able to finish off my winter reads pretty early this time around. It probably had a lot to do with colder weather (who doesn’t love snuggling up with a good book in winter?!), shorter books, and more time. Here are my thoughts on each book I’ve recently read. Be on the look out for my next round of books I want to read up!

“I Thought It Was Just Me” – Brene Brown – Brene Brown doesn’t disappoint. She is a true inspiration. Her research on shame is depicted in this book and she truly makes it easy to relate to. Her choice of words and personal stories make it an interesting, yet educational read. I went in to this book not having much of an understanding of shame and leave this book with a good grasp on how to develop shame resilience.

“Jamaica” – Insight Guides – This was a helpful reference guide for my recent Jamaican vacation. I loved that a map was included and that each section of the book went through different areas of the island. It included must-sees, food/drink recommendations, and attraction guides. I even took it on vacation to brush up on while waiting for our plane to take off. It was definitely one of the better guides I had researched.

“Seriously… I’m Kidding” – Ellen Degeneres – If you are looking for a quick and upbeat read, look no further. It took me only a couple of hours within a couple of sittings to finish this book. Ellen is so funny and so light-hearted that it is so easy to pick it up at any time.

XOXO

Tea Cup Candle

I have been eyeing up this DIY for awhile now and finally put aside a little time to do it… I am seriously IN LOVE with how it turned out! My in-laws are moving back home from being out of state for several years and I thought this would be a great little house warming gift because my mother-in-law is super into shabby chic. Actually, I like these so much I’m considering making a bunch more and giving them out for Christmas gifts this year.

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I think you’ll really love this DIY, too. It’s inexpensive, not at all time-consuming, and would be easy to customize. I got the majority of the items at the dollar store, with the exception of the tea cup. I got that from a resale shop. Altogether this DIY cost me under $5 and took around 30 minutes from start to finish, plus dry time.

Materials:
-Tea Cup
-Candle
-Oven Mitts
-Funnel
-Glass Bowl
-Boiling Pot

Directions:
-Fill pot half full with water and bring to a soft boil.
-Remove wick from candle. Place wick upright in the center of the tea cup.
-Cut candle into smaller pieces and place pieces in the glass bowl.
-Boil wax until it turns to clear liquid.
-Use oven mitts to safely remove glass bowl and funnel to pour wax into tea cup.
-Let stand for several hours to cool and settle.

Ipsy Review – February 2017

If you are unfamiliar with Ipsy, it is a ten dollar a month beauty subscription service. You can sign up here to get five deluxe or full size samples sent to you in a unique beauty bag every month. I have been a member for well over a year now and can say that it is so fun to play around with a set of new and customized products. It’s a perfect way to build your makeup, haircare, and skincare collection.

Here is what I got this month!!!

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NYX “Butter Lipstick” – Lippies are my favorite!!! I got the shade Lifeguard, which is not a full on red but more of a deep magenta. The satin finish on this is amazing. It is super moisturizing and comfortable on the lips. I will definitely be on the look out for more of these babies in different shades.

Luxie “Rose Gold Blush Brush #514” – When I started getting back into makeup a couple of years ago, I bought myself a (cheap) brush set off of amazon. Since then, I have been upgrading brush by brush so I was super excited to get this! I love Luxie because it is a cruelty-free brand and is great quality. This brush has synthetic bristles and is in a small dome shape. It is meant for blush, which for me works perfectly.

BeFine “Gentle Face Cleanser” – This cleanser, while a good product, wasn’t my favorite. I do like that it is vegan with all natural ingredients and has a nice minty scent. However, my preference is to use a face wash that has scrubby beads in order to really feel like my skin is getting cleansed. This is more of a smooth texture so I likely won’t be using it regularly, but do love the brand. (Here is a tip: Keep products you won’t use in a small basket in your bathroom to put out for when you have guests over!)

Elizabeth Mott “Whatup Beaches Bronzer” – I LOVE this bronzer!!! It is so soft and silky with the perfect matte formula and the shade is on point. My only complaint is the tiny little pan it came in, but I am debating getting this in a full size because I love it that much.

 Winky Lux “Diamond Complexion Powder” – And last but not least a… diamond powder?! Apparently this powder has finely crushed diamonds in it and while I am skeptical at that, I do like this a lot. I have been using it to set my under eye concealer and that’s been working out great. It gives a little extra coverage than my normal loose translucent powder.

Smashbox Mascara Showdown

A girl can never have too many mascaras, am I right?! This seems to be a very personal make up item for women and I would agree. Some like clumps, others like length, some want curls, and most just want to find the perfect product to smother the lashes in coats and coats of amazing goodness.

I’ve tried each of these Smashbox mascaras, and here are my thoughts…

If you like clumps, go for the X-Rated. If you dig length, try out the Full Exposure. For my own personal preference, I like the Full Exposure more but I can see why others may like the X-Rated. For me, the Full Exposure does a great job lifting, lengthening, and curling my lashes while the X-Rated falls a bit short.

Either way, I judge my mascara both on how they wear and how they come off. (I don’t miss my high school days of cheaping out on a mascara and tugging at my lashes each night.) I think it is just as important to find a mascara that won’t rip out your lashes and each of these are great for that… they come off with ease. I personally like to soak a cotton round in miceller water, press it against my lashes for a good few seconds, and gently rub the product away.

Do you have a preference between the two?!

Montego Bay, Jamaica

My hubby and I just came back from a tropical paradise vacation in Montego Bay, Jamaica!!! Neither of us had ever been to the island and neither of us had ever taken time away from the Wisconsin winter to visit the beach… so we thought what better time than the present?! It was worth every penny.

We stayed at an all inclusive resort, Sunscape Splash. This was perfect for us because it was on the lower end of the budget but was a serious bang for our buck. It was an incredible resort for a four night trip.

Our first morning waking up in Montego Bay we decided we needed a little adventure. We booked a taxi from our resort to The Hip Strip, which was an adventure indeed. The Hip Strip is a busy street filled with shops, vendors, food, and tours. This was the perfect souvenir stop and we had fun experiencing the hubbub of downtown.

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Toward the end of The Hip Strip is Margaritaville. This place was a blast! The view was incredible, the drinks were yummy, and the energy was unreal even in the mid-morning. While it was a bit on the touristy side, my husband and I were able to find a little spot all to ourselves to enjoy our surroundings. The water was a gorgeous aqua color when the sun came out and the view of the mountains instantly stole my heart.

Another adventure, and definitely the stand out of our trip, was an excursion to Chukka Good Hope. This was unlike anything either of us had ever experienced. First of all, the ride there was an experience in and of itself. We had a bus driver who pointed out sights throughout the two hour trip to Falmouth all the while playing Bob Marley and making me slightly nervous driving up through the mountains on tiny unpaved roads. I don’t know about you, but I love learning the ins and outs of an area I visit so this was a highlight of the trip for one. Once we got to Good Hope, that’s when the real fun began. It was one flat rate to build your own adventure throughout the day. We opted for dune buggies, floating down the Martha Brae river, a tour of the estate, lunch, and rum tasting. My personal favorite was the estate tour because of the view. I’ve never been to a jungle, mountain-filled area so this blew my mind.

 

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It was such a great trip. We really needed some time away and everything about our time in Jamaica was just easy. Along with these few adventures, we definitely spent a fair amount of time soaking up the sun at the resort with tropical drinks in our hands. It was nice to get out and have some fun but also sit back and relax.

We decided that some day we will go back to Jamaica to check out Negril and Ocho Rios, since those areas seem to offer different things. Prior to our trip we had heard mixed reviews about Montego Bay, but our trip was amazing. Not a single complaint. So if you are looking for some adventure with beautiful surroundings I would highly recommend a trip to Montego Bay, Jamaica!!!

Hunter Boots

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I just have to showcase my favorite Christmas gift from a few months ago… New Hunter rain boots!!! Gaaaah I love these 🙂 . I had a pair of knock offs several years back that only lasted a few seasons. When they went, I had my heart set on these babies, because I have heard nothing but good things.

Well, I am here to tell you that Hunter boots live up to the name. They are an investment piece, that is for sure. Instead of spending your money on other cheaper pairs, I’d recommend saving up for Hunters. These babies are meant to last. And don’t spend full price. I’ve found that they run sales constantly. Sign up for emails and they will send you a coupon. Wait for a change in season, I can pretty much guarantee you will find sales. Really do your research.

They are comfortable and oh-so cute!!! You need these boots in your life, XOXO.

Jumilla Blend

This is a beautiful Spanish red blend with the following breakdown of grape varietals: Monastrell %75, Grenache 15%, and Syrah 10%. The Monatstrell grape is of the Valencia Region and this particular wine is made in the Jumilla district, which is essentially South-Eastern Spain and closer inland than to the Mediterranean. The blend is dark, leggy, and on the heavier side. It is slightly spicy and well-balanced. I loved drinking a glass of this wine during the workweek as a nice way to wind down after a long day, XOXO.

Sinful Colors “Strawberry Milk” Kandee Johnson Collection

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Have you seen that Kandee Johnson released a nail polish collection?! She is a favorite beauty YouTuber of mine and that being said, I just HAD to try out one of her new polishes.

I did watch her review of the line prior to shopping and decided to only pick up one to start for two  reasons… I typically prefer gel polishes because they last longer and I didn’t know how much I’d love the matte finish. I opted for the shade “Strawberry Milk” because, for me, it’s hard to find a true opaque light pink and I wanted to put this one to the test. Well it did not disappoint! The photo above showcases the matte finish, though I did slap a top coat on top afterwards to make it shinier… pure preference. And for under $2 a bottle you can’t go wrong!

She has a few other colors in the line I’d like to try out and if I do, I’ll of course share my thoughts with you. Overall a great product, XOXO.

Clinique Beyond Perfecting Foundation

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Welcome to another foundation review! This time I’ll be laying out the pros and cons to the Clinique Beyond Perfecting 2 in 1 Foundation and Concealer. Let’s jump right into it…

Pros:
-Full coverage
-Matte finish
-20 available shades
-Doesn’t settle into lines

Cons:
-Heavy formula
-Looks somewhat cakey
-Oxidizes
-Messy applicator

After weighing out the pros and cons, I will say that I do like this foundation, but don’t like it enough to wear it every day of the week. I have oily, acne prone skin so a huge pro is the matte finish but a huge con is that this formula feels very heavy on my skin. For me it’s a better fit in winter in regards to the formula, however it does oxidize quite a bit so that’s not great either. I do enjoy the coverage it gives me because, after all, it does double as a foundation and a concealer. It definitely covers up any imperfections in my skin, blemishes, and scars while also not settling into fine lines or wrinkles. The price point isn’t too bad at $27, though once I run out I likely won’t purchase it again. I don’t hate it but it isn’t worthy of a rebuy in my opinion.

Coconut Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

These are my signature, go-to cookies that are a true crowd pleaser. Everyone I have made these rave about them. They are so easy and so yummy. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1 cup oats
3/4 cup flour
1/2 shredded coconut
1/2 golden raisins
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 stick unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:
Heat oven to 350*. Combine oats, flour, shredded coconut, raisins, pumpkin pie spice, and baking soda in a bowl. Beat butter and sugar together in separate bowl… Add egg and vanilla until just mixed. Stir in dry ingredient mixture. Take heaping tablespoon amounts and drop onto nonstick pan. Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown. Makes about two dozen cookies, depending on size.