Friday, February 26, 2016

Wandering the Web: have an awesome weekend!

Fri-YAY. I am SO ready to get this weekend started. Tomorrow is supposed to be in the 60s, and I only have to work for a few hours so I plan to get out for a nice jog/walk in the afternoon sun. I let the snowy days of early February get the best of me and stopped working out for a couple weeks, but I've exercised six out of the last seven days and I feel so great and ready to keep the momentum going. It's amazing what consistent workouts can do for your mood :)

I hope you all have an extra-wonderful weekend, and here's what I'm reading this week:

1. Bourbon caramel popcorn sounds like the perfect Oscars viewing party snack. (Feast + West)

2. A 29-year-old man takes lessons in Snapchat from his 13-year-old sister. Hi-larious. (Buzzfeed)

3. In love with all the strappy sports bras at Forever 21 right now. (Forever 21)

4. Lauren Vandiver always creates the best colorful outfits. (VandiFair)

5. A tip to help ensure you work out — I actually do this and it works so well for me. (Because I'm Addicted)

6. I really want to try eating like Chrissy Teigen now... (Refinery29)

7. How cute is this yoga outfit? (Carrie Bradshaw Lied)

8. What do you think of Facebook's new emoji reactions? (USA Today)

Thursday, February 25, 2016

6 movies to see this spring

February is such a dreary month. The excitement of the new year and new resolutions is waning, winter has taken its toll and it feels like spring is just around the corner, but taking its sweet time in walking around it. Know what I mean?

To pass the time — and avoid going totally stir-crazy — I love going out to see new movies. It's the perfect thing to do when it's too cold to hang outside but you just can't take another night of Netflix and chill. So, here are my top movie picks coming out in the next few months:

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

product review: sheet masks

My first time trying out sheet masking at home.

Happy Tuesday everyone! Today I wanted to share my first experiment with sheet masks, which seem to be all the rage lately. (Just ask Adele.) If you remember, for Valentine's Day I shared a bunch of goodies to pamper yourself and my plans to do at-home facials with Adam. Lucky for me, it didn't take much to convince him to try a sheet mask with me — all I had to do was promise not to share photos of him wearing it ;) So, we went to Sephora to choose our own personal spa treatments.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Wandering the Web: have a fun weekend!

A beautiful resort getaway, a funny new Instagram account and the most popular earrings of spring

Finally, Friday is here again. Honestly, this week felt like it went by pretty quickly, which is always great. The temperature has been warming up majorly around here (hello, 60 degrees in February!), and I'm very excited to take advantage this weekend. I'm planning to head outside for a few walks and then catch a movie with Adam. He's dying to see Deadpool and I've heard only good thing about it, so I'm getting excited too. Have you seen it yet?

I hope you have a good one, and here are some fun links from the week...

1. I've been seeing these earrings everywhere lately and loving them. (Baublebar)

2. Caitlin's recap of her trip to St. Lucia makes me want to pack up and head to the beach. (Southern Curls & Pearls)

3. Tips on how to undress a woman made me laugh. (Maxim)

4. The (almost) whole cast of Friends reunited for a tribute to director James Burrows, and Ross hasn't changed at all. (Buzzfeed)

5. Hallie's weekly post, Link Love, is one of my favorite reads each week. (Corals + Cognacs)

6. I'm really loving the ombre lip trend right now. Thinking I'll test it out with this white matte pencil first. (NYX and Sephora)

7. Love love love this anti-bullying campaign. (Refinery29)

8. Follow this Instagram account if you need a good laugh. (Instagram)

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Dining in NYC

My short dining experience in NYC: highs and lows

One of my favorite luxuries in life is eating out. Testing exotic foods and trying out new dishes I've never had before. (Now there's a sentence my 15-year-old, Pop-Tart and Twizzler-eating self would never have uttered!) As I've grown up and ditched my picky eating habits, I've learned to love so many new foods (all the foods, really). So, naturally, I was very excited to try out some New York restaurants when I visited the city back in January.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

best of the red carpet: Grammys

My favorite looks from the 2016 Grammys red carpet

I have to say, there weren't too many styles on the Grammys red carpet that caused me to stop and take a second look. Don't get me wrong, everyone looked beautiful and stunning as per usual. But I just didn't have my usual oh-my-gosh-do-you-see-what-she's-wearing moment. Here are the looks that I did love though:

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

book review: 'The Millionaire Fastlane'

The problem with this millionaire's guide to money

The past few months have been a time of transition and reflection in my life, especially in the career department. I don't want to go into detail on that quite yet (I promise I will in the future), but it did lead me to buy this book by MJ DeMarco for my first read of 2016. I read Millionaire Fastlane with the expectation that it would give me a lot of insider tips on starting a business and firsthand stories from a successful entrepreneur. To some extent, it did succeed in those aspects. But overall, I probably would not recommend this book.

Don't get me wrong, there were a lot of great points in this book, and it really did make me think. There was at least one section that I had to share with Adam, and we had a really insightful conversation about the author's points. DeMarco shares his wisdom and talks in detail about how he became a millionaire and retired to live the life he wants long before reaching age 50.

The problem with this book — and DeMarco fully admits this several times — is that he is not a writer. And it's clear. Millionaire Fastlane is 336 pages, but it should really be about 200 if you cut out all the material that DeMarco repeats. He takes a smart message and pounds it into your head two, three sometimes five times until you just get tired of reading the same rewritten sentence. It took me more than a month to read this book for that very reason. I hate repetition, and this book is full of it.

That being said, DeMarco is (obviously) a smart guy. He started his own website and company, going from a 26-year-old living on his mom's couch and bouncing from part-time job to part-time job to creating the leading website in his industry (limos) and selling it for A LOT of money. And that's just his first endeavor. His story is an interesting one, and he clearly knows his stuff about both money and business. But I think there are probably dozens of other books with the same messages that can get the point across faster and more effectively. I'd suggest you look for one of those instead.

P.S. My reviews of Luckiest Girl Alive, Leave Your Mark and Saint Anything

Friday, February 12, 2016

Wandering the Web: happy Valentine's Day

A beauty tip for winter, major closet envy and an essay about breasts.

What are you up to this weekend? Got a hot Valentine's Day date? I'm planning to stay in and test out a few new beauty products, read this book, and maybe watch the movie Her, which I still have not seen somehow. However you're spending the weekend, I hop you have a great one, and here are some things I liked this week:

1. The most intense closet envy I've ever felt. (Damsel in Dior)

2. A great beauty tip for the driest time of the year. (The Everygirl)

3. If you live in the Des Moines area, do yourself a favor and treat yourself to the best dessert of your life. (Thelma's Cookies)

4. Honest Valentine's Day cards made me laugh. (Bored Panda)

5. "Breasts: The Odd Couple." (Cup of Jo)

6. I feel like this movie is going to be my guilty pleasure screening this spring... (Refinery 29)

7. Seeing everyone go on tropical vacations has me seriously craving summer and swimsuits. (Aerie)

8. Loving this Galentine's Day gift guide. (Alicia Tenise)

Thursday, February 11, 2016

3 non-lame ways to celebrate Valentine's Day

Ask anyone and you'll find there are infinite ways to celebrate Valentine's Day. Some couples like getting dressed up and going back to the restaurant where they had their first date. Others might exchange special homemade gifts, and some people choose to take a special weekend getaway. For those of you who'd rather mix it up this year and don't want to go the traditional flowers-and-chocolate route of Valentine's Day, here are three non-lame ways to celebrate this weekend.

1. Cook something new together. Instead of fighting the crowds that will inevitably fill up your favorite restaurants, try teaming up to cook a new dish that you've been wanting to try. Maybe it's a complicated entree or a delicious dessert you pinned months ago. You'll remember the experience of making dinner together more than eating out.

2. Stay in and have a movie marathon. Since neither Adam or myself are much into Valentine's Day, this was how we spent the day last year. We watched Crazy, Stupid Love (a favorite of both of ours) and spent the day lazing around together. You don't need to put on a big show to celebrate your relationship; sometimes just being together and in the moment is all it really takes.

3. Have a two-person game night. You can do this one at home or out on the town if you prefer. Play cards, board games or go to an arcade or a bowling alley. A little friendly competition is always fun, and it can be a great way to remember the early days of your relationship. You could even make it a little interesting and make bets!

And bonus #4: spa night with these goodies!

How are you spending Valentine's Day this weekend? Do you have any traditions, or do you like to go the unorthodox route? 

P.S. 8 ways to treat yourself this weekend and how to keep the sparks alive

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Valentine's Day goodies: treat yo'self

8 gifts perfect for celebrating you this Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is this weekend (but you already knew that), and what better way to celebrate the Day of Couples than by treating yourself to a little something special? I'm not much into Valentine's Day, and as you might recall from last year, I believe in self-indulgences. Like a special face mask or a pretty new nail polish.

Whenever I tell people I don't like Valentine's Day, they usually say something along the lines of "But you have a boyfriend!" Like as long as you're in a relationship there is no reason to not love this holiday. *Rolls eyes.* I don't know about you guys, but I feel no different about this holiday than I did three years ago when I was spending it alone with some rom coms and a giant bowl of popcorn. (Which still sounds like heaven in my book.) Adam and I are going to take our normal Love Day route and stay in, watch movies and share a little much-needed R&R. Manicures and facials included (for me at least ;).

P.S. Last year's Valentine's Day gift guide and outfits two ways

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

my winter reading list

6 books to read this spring

I used to read constantly when I was growing up. I've always been that girl with a book in her purse, reading on the bus, at my siblings' band concerts (oops, sorry guys!) or even in line at the store. Just call me Rory! But sometime during college reading for fun kind of fell to the wayside. When you're reading textbooks and required articles 24/7, the last thing you want to do is read, even if it's a book of your choice. I've been trying to pick up the habit again, and I have plenty of books on my reading list to choose from. Here are just a few I'm excited to read this year:

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
As you might know if you've been following my blog for a while, I love reading books written by real-life, inspiring women (Aliza Licht, Amy Poehler, Sophia Amoruso). Mindy Kaling is pretty fantastic, and I can't wait to see what kind of inspirational wisdom she dropped in her latest book.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
I heard about this beautiful story from one of my favorite bloggers, Joanna from Cup of Jo. It's written by her late brother-in-law, and he wrote this memoir during his last year of life. He writes about death in the poignant way of someone who knows he has little time left. It sounds beautiful, and I can't wait to read it.

The Fever by Megan Abbott
I've been reading a lot of non-fiction lately, and I feel like I really need a detox. This mystery seemed like the perfect solution, as I've been loving the thriller genre ever since reading Gone Girl a couple years ago. The Fever has great reviews, and it's next on my list.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
I've been reading reviews and articles about this one for a long time now, and I think this winter would be the perfect time to join in. I might even learn a few things in time for spring cleaning!

China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan
I read the first book in this series last spring and had mixed feelings about it, which is why I didn't rush to order this one when it came out. But now that it's been almost a year, I think I'm ready to catch up with the characters and see what this book is all about.

Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann
Of course I had to put one classic on this list. I've never read Valley of the Dolls before, and I feel like it's necessary for anyone interested in books and pop culture, which I am.

What are you reading right now? Do you keep a list of books to read, too? I'd love to know...

P.S. My summer reading list, reviews of Luckiest Girl Alive and Leave Your Mark 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Wandering the Web: ready for some football

Beauty trends, shopping realities and signs you are an older millennial.

Happy Friday! Anyone else excited for the Super Bowl this Sunday? I'm not a fan of either team, but that's never stopped me before! I'm planning to make a lot of unhealthy food, watch what Coldplay can do for the halftime show, and see which brands have the best commercials. Do any of you have big plans for the game? Or just the weekend in general? Whatever you're doing, I hope you have a great one.

1. Loving these ideas for alternative Valentine's Day plans. (Cup of Jo)

2. How to stand in heels. (Who What Wear)

3. Signs you're an older millennial. (Buzzfeed)

4. My latest beauty obsession: learning how to wear brown lipstick. (Bustle)

5. How returns really affect the retail industry. (The Washington Post)

6. Did you tune in to Grease: Live on Sunday night? (Vulture)

7. My favorite facial cleansing brush just got a new design update and I want it! (Refinery29)

8. Spending my free time trying to master different smokey eye techniques. (Lulu's)

Thursday, February 4, 2016

spring wish list

Muted neutrals and electric brights for spring 2016.

I have to say, this might be my favorite wish list yet. I am so ready for spring and all the pastels and colors that go along with it. Fall has come and gone, and winter is taking too long... I'm ready to move on to blushes and nudes, textures and airy fabrics, and bright summery nail colors. I've been wearing a lot of muted colors like blush and beige, especially in my makeup (nude lipstick, anyone?), and I'm excited to transition them into spring for a fresh feminine style.

Some of my top favorites on this list include the pink mirrored sunnies, the rose gold watch (only $20!) and this white moto jacket from the Cupcakes and Cashmere collection. I love the juxtaposition of a leather jacket for spring. Pair it with a printed sundress and you've got yourself a match made in sartorial heaven.

What's on your shopping list this spring? Do you prefer muted neutrals and pastels or bolder brights? 

P.S. Last year's spring wish list, last summer's wish list and my favorite nail colors 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Instagram roundup No. 12

My favorite Instagram memories from January 2016.

Sorry not sorry, but this Instagram recap is just a tad New York-heavy because, let's be honest, it's the most interesting thing I've done in a while. So let's jump in! I feel like January 2016 can be summed up in one word: snow. Though it hasn't actually snowed that much, the times that it has have been big ones. As I write this, the ground is pretty and snow-covered (and I am happily curled up on the couch with two puppies and a cup of coffee.)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

NYC trip: Jonas Blizzard

Jonas Blizzard 2016 NYC

As I was preparing for my first trip to New York two weekends ago, I decided to buy some new Nikes for all the walking we'd be doing. Sensible right? And I was going to wear my favorite faux leather jacket because it's my cutest one and the temps were supposed to be in the 30s, while I'd been getting used to hovering around zero here in Des Moines. It would be a heat wave!

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