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

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!!!

Ipsy Review – January 2017

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Pacifica – Blushious Blush – Besides lippies, blushes are my favorite item to find in my bag! I got the color Wildrose and while it isn’t a shade I would normally go for, I do like it, for winter especially. There is a really pretty sheen that makes this blush super unique.

Purlisse – Blue Lotus Mud Mask – Nothing beats a good mud mask. I plan to save this sample for traveling, when my skin typically needs a little bit more love. The size makes it really travel friendly and I have loved this brand in the past so look forward to trying it out.

It Cosmetics – Bye Bye Undereye Concealer – This concealer is supposed to illuminate your under eyes and double as an anti-aging product. I can totally see what they were going for, but for me personally it didn’t quite work out. I found that it actually brought more attention to my under eyes in a non-flattering way. I’ll stick with the regular Bye Bye Undereye concealer because the coverage is still amazing.

Temptu – Matte Primer – I have been enjoying this primer quite a bit! It’s great for everyday priming around the perimeter of my face, though I do go in with a separate pore-filling primer to take care of my stubborn t-zone area. The only thing I don’t really care for with this product is the smell, which is chemically.

theBalm – Matte Bronzer – Talk about an item I was excited to see! This is a cult favorite and I got the shade Bahama Mama. It is on the cooler tone side and pretty dark for my skin currently, but I think it will work well for me in the summer months… ohhhh summer 🙂 .

 

This month was a definite hit for me!!! Recently I have only been excited for one or two items in my bag, but January was good to me. I see myself using all of the items except the concealer, which I plan to pass along to a friend. Click here to sign up for Ipsy, it’s something I look forward to each and every month, XOXO.

A Day in Chicago

I recently visited a friend in Chicago and had a great time experiencing what the city has to offer!

One of our first stops was to The Bean, which is a beautiful and interactive sculpture piece located in Millennium Park. It was a fun start to our day and a super unique photo op spot. Half Acre is a microbrewery that also made the list that day. Talk about a low key and high energy to stop for a cold one! The beer was fun to sample, as was the food. To round off our time we made our way down to Wrigleyville. Regardless of who you root for, if you haven’t been to Wrigley field you have to go! I had been there before so knew what to expect, though The Cubs played that day and it was the game that got them in to The World Series, so the energy was unreal.

This doesn’t even scratch the surface of things to do in Chicago, but it’s a good start. Tell me… what is your favorite thing to do in The Windy City?

Winter Reads

I’m working on reading through the books that have made a nice little collection on my shelf… Here are the ones I’d love to finish up this winter. The list includes three of my favorite types of books: mental health research, travel, and biographies.

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“I Thought It Was Just Me” – Brene Brown

I truly enjoyed my recent read, The Gifts of Imperfection, by Brene Brown and find her work to be truly fascinating. I’m hopeful this will be just as inspiring.

“Jamaica” – Insight Guides

Our next trip is officially booked and this little baby will be a must finish before we leave! I love reading up on different places before I visit them and have loved what I’ve found in this book so far.

“Seriously… I’m Kidding” – Ellen Degeneres

…because who doesn’t love Ellen?!

 

Fall Reading List – Update

Voluntary Madness: This book is based on a true story of a woman faking her way into three admissions to three different psychiatric facilities. She tells her experience going through each stay. I got about a third of the way through this one and I honestly don’t plan to finish it at this time. For me, the tone was a bit too cynical. Since I work in mental health it was an interesting read but it brought me down a bit. I may pick this one back up in the future, but right now want to take a break from it.

The Gifts of Imperfection: Probably the best book I’ve read all year!!! Brene Brown is a true inspiration. She speaks in a way that is so true to life… honest, genuine, confident, and proud. This book depicts some of her work with resiliency and what really lies behind the idea of imperfection. Her descriptions of the work is so easily applicable to life that it is astounding. I would recommend this one to anyone looking for some life direction, a little motivation, or a pick-me-up. I can’t wait to delve into some of her other works.

Key West in History: I don’t know about you, but I love reading up on places that I have traveled or will travel to. The tough part is finding a book that is the right amount informational but not boring. This book filled that criteria really well! It was informative without being dry and I think that if you’ve been to Key West or plan to go that it is a must read, XOXO.

Walmart Beauty Box – Fall 2016

Who else loves seasonal beauty subscriptions?! I think I’ve been subscribed to this service for a year now, though have only showcased one other box on my blog, and definitely think this is the best Walmart Beauty Box I’ve gotten so far!

Like I’ve mentioned before, Walmart offers this seasonal box for $5 per month, which is charged and received around the start of every new season, so 4 times per year. About 6-8 samples are sent in each shipment and if you are interested you can click here to sign up. I like to use the Walmart Beauty Box to stock up on mini-sized items… super helpful for travel and you get more bang for your buck this way!!!

Here is what I got this month…

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Brush cleaning cloths, biotin gummies, charcoal pore strips, bath salts, dry shampoo, toothpaste, a shower mask, lotion, and a body cream. Does it get any better than this?! I literally can’t decide what I’m most excited for but have to say that Batiste, Clean & Clear, and Village Naturals products probably top the list.

If you do end up signing up for this service, I like to warn my followers to not expect many makeup products or trendy names because I know (for me at least) that’s common to look forward to in a beauty subscription. You can expect items that are more geared toward drugstore essentials. It’s a great box and I would totally recommend giving it a shot, especially if you don’t want to pay the hefty price that other boxes require, XOXO.