Friday, December 14, 2018

my winter skincare routine!

I've gotten a few comments or questions about my skincare routine lately so I thought I would do a quick run down of the steps I'm taking each day. In addition I have switched it up a bit with some new products and with winter in mind - I always use more product in the winter to keep the dryness away.  All of these products here have been carefully selected - you may know already that I am STRONGLY committed to safe beauty but it also has to be EFFECTIVE. I am prone to breakouts and at 40 years old I am also working to combat the signs of aging. So skincare has to REALLY prove itself before it officially gets into the rotation.  On top of that I always want to use a product for AT LEAST a few weeks, if not more, before I tell the world "YES, I like this."  While I can usually tell right away if I like a product or not, I will admit there have been a few I have tried and liked and then been let down. So these are ONES.

above: MORNING ROUTINE (from left to right)
Step 1. I always wash with this acne fighting Countercontrol Wash. It smells amazing and is gently exfoliating.  It leaves my skin fresh and clean and I always like to know that I have a little acne fighting on my side to start the day. If you've dealt with adult acne, you know how nerve-wracking it can be (when will I break out again!?!) so I always like to be on the offense. 
Step 2. I've been using the CE Ferulic by Skinceuticals for years now and while it's pricey - you only need a very tiny bit and I find a bottle lasts a very long time.  Vitamin C works both to repair past damage to your skin and prevent new damage.  I can't recommend this enough. 
Step 3. I've been playing around with adding either Tidal by Sunday Riley or B-Hydra by Drunk Elephant as a step three. Both I have mini samples of and I'm still deciding which I like best. I will report back - so far I'm enjoying both, but nothing has made the final cut yet.
Step 4. I recently switched to this eye cream simply because I ran out of what I was using regularly and I had this Countermatch Eye Rescue Cream on hand. I was just going to use it for a bit and reader my usual, but I really fell in love with this. Again, you only need half or a quarter of a pump, it's very concentrated and it's incredibly hydrating and people rave about it helping with dark circles (I don't often suffer from dark circles, but I know those that do are super frustrated by it).
Step 5. I've been using this Rejuvenating Serum again, for years! It makes my face feel incredibly smooth and is great for fighting wrinkles and dryness (which can cause wrinkles to worsen).
Step 6. I skip a day cream in the summer, but when fall and winter roll around I always reincorporate it. Last winter I used a product that felt too heavy this year. So I tried this instead on a whim and LOVED it.  The Countermatch Daily Adaptive Moisturizer adapts to your skins needs making it the perfect daily moisturizer.  It's newer to the Beautycounter line and I simply just hadn't tried it yet! I'm so glad I did because it's lightweight but leaves my skin soft and supple - and ready for makeup!

above: MY EVENING ROUTINE (from left to right)
Step 1. I just LOVE using this Nourishing Cream Exfoliator with the Foreo LUNA (which kind of vibrates and DEEP cleans your skin). It's my GO-TO duo for when my skin needs an extra deep clean. To be honest, I wish I did it every night, but I get lazy. ;)
Step 2. I am using the Overnight Peel pretty much every night. I started at 2x a week and worked up from there. If you don't use a lot of chemical exfoliators you will need to start small. But this one is effective while not being irritating at all. If there is one FAVORITE in the bunch, it's this PEEL. Seriously, read the reviews. Everyone is nuts for it, including me. (it's also available in a travel size for a limited time here!)
Step 3. Again, to combat acne I am sure to use this All Over Treatment every night as well. This product smells amazing and you just need one pump to cover your entire face. So far I am really loving this new acne line, my son uses it as well and if you wanted to try it out for the first time it's available in a travel size set for a limited time. 
Step 4 & Step 5. I use the eye cream and serum from the morning routine again.
Step 6. The final step is the Nourishing Night Cream. This is another product I have been using for a while and I really like it. It's simple and it works. What more can you ask for? My skin still feels soft in the morning when I wake up, which I always take for a good sign.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Amazon try-on haul 2!

If you missed my FIRST try on session with Amazon finds you can find that post here.... it's one of the most popular posts I put together last fall.  There are so many amazing pieces in that post at such great prices - many of the pieces have come to be some of my standbys for sure!  Today I am rounding up some more gems I have found at Amazon lately... and I have to say, once again I am blown away by the prices and the quality of these pieces.  It's always difficult to shop without seeing an item in person - and often even more so on Amazon - but when these items arrived I literally gasped.  These sweaters are soft and warm and the cuts and colors are JUST right. Amazon delivered big time on these pieces... now to decide which ones to keep!

I styled up each piece like I would wear it in real life, often times that gives me a better idea of if I should keep it or not.  And like I have mentioned with try-on sessions in the past - I don't keep everything. Usually an item will get sent back if I feel like I wouldn't wear it enough or if I feel like I already own something similar. I never try on the DUDS for you guys... I mean, why bother! These are the pieces I like/love/want.

above: This cowl neck sweater is GORGEOUS in person. WOW! It's available in FIVE different colors and I am LOVING this camel color. I wouldn't mind going back for the grey color either. It's got really great drape to it and is itch-free. I am wearing a size XS here so you can see it runs a little big.  I love it paired with black jeans and flats for an easy everyday look for the winter. 

above: In the athleisure department this oversized v-neck sweatshirt is a big win!  It's super soft and little oversized (I am wearing a small here) and available in SEVEN colors.  I love the deep v-neck and long tunic length for pairing with leggings for everyday wear, throwing on over your workout clothes or for just general lounging.  Here I paired it with the leggings I can't stop talking about and my favorite run around town sneakers

above: Next up is this SUPER soft cotton crewneck sweater. I just LOVE this one.  It's available in a whopping NINE colors... and I am wearing a size small here, so it's true to size.  This is the perfect everyday sweater, I love the grey paired with white jeans and loafers here, but the sky is the limit with styling this one is so versatile. 

above: This zipper cardigan is by far one of my favorites of the bunch. It's just GORGEOUS in person and I love the 'apres ski' vibe for winter.  This is the army green color, but it's also available in black too.  I am wearing a size small here and am in serious love with this cardigan! It's so easy to pair with jeans, a chambray shirt and wedge winter boots (similar).

above: This circular cardigan in sweatshirt material is PERFECT for around the house or post workout. I always like an extra layer after working out and this is machine washable and super soft.  This one is available in FIVE colors and I am wearing a size small here. I love it layered over a workout tank (similar) and leggings with sneakers

above: Okay friends, this one is by far my most FAVORITE of the bunch. This chunky knit cotton sweater is just stunning in person and SO soft and cozy too. It's available in NINE colors and from the looks of it, it is selling out QUICK - so snag one now if you are loving it!  This is the dark green color, but to be honest I could take one of each color... it's THAT good. And it's UNDER $30 too! I am wearing a size small here - seriously, run! Sizes are going quick. I love it paired with a pair of high waist jeans (these are under $70 and true to size) and leopard flats (similar).

Okay friends... which pieces or looks are your favorite here?! Don't forget to check out my other Amazon try-on post here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

holiday gift guide 2018: athleisure!

Athleisure is one of my FAVORITE trends right now... I mean, did I just roll out of bed, did I just work out... either way I am somehow still look cute and stylish.  Athleisure is the gift that keeps on giving. :) These are really great gifts to give this season because one, they are just so dang trendy and fun and two, because every gal will LOVE such practical gifts that still manage to be cute!

If you have ladies that are tough to buy for or fitness fanatics or even busy moms... these gifts will be JUST what they want this year. MANY of these pieces are my personal favorites.  I own and LOVE these super affordable black leggings (they run true to size!) and these space dyed grey leggings are seriously SO soft and comfortable to work out in - I reach for them constantly. I'm obsessed with my own BKR water bottle and will definitely be gifting these this year and my tween daughter LOVES her gold SWELL water bottle for sports and for keeping in her backpack.  I love a good bath soak after a hard workout - these coconut bath salts would be great - and of course every gal needs a cute bag to carry all her gear... this camo tote or this black quilted tote are both super fun!  I always need an extra layer to get me to and from workouts and this lace up crop top sweatshirtpink turtleneck sweatshirt or cream funnel neck pullover are gorgeous options. Graphic tees and tanks are ALL the rage for fitness these days for the YOGA enthusiast this YOGA tank is the cutest, this shine light tank is perfect for tweens, teens or college gals and the I AM FUN tee just makes me laugh.  For stocking stuffers a pair of wireless earbuds is always a good idea, a rainbow pom pom beanie (under $20!) is inexpensive and oh so cute and this namaste in bed mug is perfect for those days where you just aren't feeling it.  Two more I just HAVE to mention are these Adidas NMD sneakers that my kids are nuts for (if you want to know what's hip these days, wink-wink!) and this glossy puffer coat (under $40!) is SO hip and fun.  There is truly something here for everyone!

Monday, December 10, 2018

my everyday style: the trick to the easiest party outfit this holiday season!

This post is sponsored by Macy's and ShopStyle. All opinions are my own.
Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog.

Holiday party season is in FULL effect... leaving me, and likely you, constantly asking what I am going to wear to that holiday party!? Do I go casual, do I dress it up a bit, do I go all out? It's only the holiday season once a year... I want to make sure I do it RIGHT!  I've found that the trick to finding a holiday outfit easy and quick is to have a few key pieces on hand to make any look special.  A little bit of bling, faux fur or velvet goes a long way and can instantly dress up the items you already own in your closet.

Right now Macy's has their epic Friends and Family Event where you can stock up on all your holiday party pieces at 30% off with code: FRIEND until December 10. Whether you are looking for a party dress, those perfect party-ready heels or a faux fur coat to wrap up the entire look - they have you covered.  I've got a few holiday parties on the horizon in the coming weeks and I always love to look festive but remain comfortable.  With that in mind I love pairing a simple striped tee with velvet leggings and then make the look extra festive with some faux fur and fancy heels.  I absolutely can't wait to step out in this super fabulous holiday look this party season! Macy's is your one stop shop for holiday party looks, gifting and home decor for the holidays.

Outfit Details:
Faux Fur Coat (similar or similar)
Striped Top (similar or similar)
Bow Heels (excluded from the promo, but similar or similar that are ON SALE)

Friday, December 7, 2018

holiday gifting for the whole family with vineyard vines!

This post is sponsored by vineyard vines and ShopStyle. All opinions are my own.
Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog!

I am SO CLOSE to finishing my holiday shopping I can almost taste it - the finish line is in sight friends. How is your holiday shopping going? It's crazy that we are already one full week into December. I still need to snag a few key gifts and some of those include gifts for my kids - those teens and tweens can be SO difficult shop for this time of year.

There is one store, hands down, that my kids go nuts for year round and that store is vineyard vines! It's not easy to please teens and tweens but every time we stop in a vineyard vines both of my kids love their easy to wear and comfortable pieces - and as a mom I love a clothing line that can stand up to multiple wears and multiple washes and still looks great. The quality at Vineyard Vines just can't be beat.

Lucky us, the vineyard vines HUGE 25% Off Everything Event + 50% off sale items kicks off today! (Make sure to use code: GIFTS18 to get the discount) Lucky us! With 25% off store-wide you are SURE to find that perfect something for everyone on your list. I know my daughter would love this whale ornament or girls pink fleece jacket, what little lady wouldn't?  My son loves their sherpa vests and any and all of their t-shirts.  This women's flannel plaid sleep shirt or plaid cosmetic case set would make great gifts for babysitters, teachers or any teenage gals. And for the dads, college guys or brothers in your list this men's half zip sweatshirt is so warm and soft - any guy would love it.  The sale runs online and in stores until December 10 - so shop quick for the best selection! If you still need a few ideas... be sure to check out their Gift Guide full of tons of gifts at all price points.  Here are my top picks for gifts this season with vineyard vines!


also, check out this cool limited edition demerbox - wouldn't this be fun for the beach loving guy or gal on your list this year!?!?

Thursday, December 6, 2018

my everyday style: 6 ways to style my newest obsession!

So confession time: I'm super obsessed with black leggings lately. Like it might be overboard at this point. If you follow me on Instagram you know I have been raving about a CERTAIN pair of leggings lately... like, I pretty much wear them everyday, or wish! I've always been a little hesitant about the "athleisure" trend but lately it's DEFINITELY my jam. With all this cold and gloomy weather I just want to be comfortable but still look cute. I've realized these leggings give the best of both worlds - cute, comfortable and SUPER flattering!

If you are really feeling the black legging look lately here is a quick run down of the pairs I am loving now... by they way, these are all SUPER affordable too! No $100 leggings here...

THIS pair is for working out or weekend errands. They are a GREAT price, super slimming and never see through. Plus, they don't fall down during workouts (what's up with leggings always needing to be yanked up while working out?).  This pair has been on the blog before here. (this pair runs true to size, I wear a small)

THIS pair is the pair I sleep in and lounge around the house in pretty much every night. They are insanely soft and stretchy and UNDER $20. I mean, I just had to buy three pairs, right!?! But seriously, if you need a lounge legging that doubles for sleep and dropping the kids at school, this is the pair for you.  This pair has been on the blog before here. (this pair runs true to size, I wear a small)

And finally THIS is the pair I am wearing in each of the photos in this post. They are perfect for both lounging AND dressing up for an outfit.  They are perfect for winter because they are quite warm and since I'm either out and about in a huge coat (can't see my outfit anyway) OR home in slippers - I am comfortable and still cute! I wore this on the plane and all over Disney when we were there over Thanksgiving. And if anything passes the Disney test, it's a real winner. (this pair runs true to size, I wear a small)

(above) Outfit 1
Leggings with a long cardigan (I'm wearing a 4 here for reference) are such a no-brainer.  It's comfortable, it's warm, it's cute. Here I paired the leggings with a simple blouse and flats (similar). This is perfect for running errands, a casual day at work or for weekend wear. 

(above) Outfit 2
This look is my go-to winter errands look right now. A cozy half zip fleece and leggings are perfect layers for in and out of the car (hot, cold, hot, cold!) a million times. I like to pair a lightweight sweater under the fleece, but if the weather is warmer where you live a tee or tank will work too!  Then the sneakers that are also Disney approved and so comfy!

(above) Outfit 3
Another more dressed up look... this is one of my favorites! These leggings paired with a chambray top and a cape/shawl is the perfect pulled-together-mom-on-the-go look. Paired with loafers this look is classic and beautiful while still being crazy comfortable. My ideal outfit! 

(above) Outfit 4
When in doubt... wear leggings with an oversized sweater and ankle boots (shop similar ankle boots here). This winter look is cozy, comfortable and most importantly super easy to layer a coat over.  Because, ugh, winter.

(above) Outfit 5
Here I have another legging and cardigan (shop similar cardigans here) combination because I could literally wear this everyday and I could also pull together about 50 variations of this look.  It's the outfit I wear when I just don't know what to wear and I always love it. I love this simple henley for layering and these flats have been the stand-by in my closet forever and I still wear them all the time.

(above) Outfit 6
This is another athleisure-ish look with leggings and classic sneaks. This splatter paint sweatshirt (shop more unique sweatshirts here) is super fun and I can not resist a cozy and soft sweatshirt. This is my ideal weekend outfit... Starbucks runs, reading on the sofa, running a few errands. I could live in this outfit. 

Which is your favorite look? I would love to know! And you can shop more SPANX leggings here.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

my everyday style: cookies and pjs!

There are two things that I can NOT get enough of during the holidays: Christmas pjs and COOKIES.  You guys... I'm not even a cookie person 11 months out of the year... but the holiday season rolls around and I am straight up Cookie Monster. Haha! Anyone else? Give me a sugar cookie, a gingerbread cookie, thumbprints, chocolate crinkle cookies, those ones with all the powdered sugar on them - heck, even a regular old chocolate chip cookie, and I'm happy. Tell me... what is your favorite holiday cookie? I would love it if you shared a recipe in the comments below... seriously, please do!  Our holiday tradition is to have a few cookies and treats while decorating the Christmas tree - you know, just the standard elf fare.  And note... while I LOVE homemade cookies and love the process of making them too, these cookies I special ordered from a local shop. No judgement here if your holiday cookies are store bought. Cookies are cookies, friends.

And pajamas are basically a staple around here no matter the time of day (wink, wink) this time of year. I will make my pjs into full on outfits on the weekend - seriously, no shame! On any given day you can find me in a cozy pants and oversized cardigan hanging around the house.  This pair of thermal pajama pants have been a favorite of mine for a long time... every year they come out with new patterns and they are so affordable that each year I snag a new pair! I find they run a little big, so if you are between sizes I would recommend sizing down. But seriously - go snag a pair! Sizes and patterns will sell out!

Outfit Details:

Home Decor Details:
Stockings are available HERE
Similar Santa Mugs can be found HERE
Sideboard is IKEA
Chairs are Home Goods (these or these are similar)
Cookies are by GR Cookies and Cupcakes by Design (I just messaged them a inspiration photo and they made them just how I wanted!)

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

under $25 gifts & stocking stuffers!

I recently polled you gals on Instagram for what holiday content you wanted to see (in addition to what has already been here on the blog) and by far the most overwhelming response was under $25 gifts and stocking stuffers.  These are the gifts for teachers, babysitters, girlfriends at the annual gift exchange, stocking stuffers for the ladies in our lives and in general BUDGET friendly pieces that also double as AWESOME GIFTS.  I would be the very glad recipient of any of these thoughtful gifts.

First we have the absolute NO BRAINERS.  A warm pom pom hat, a cozy scarf, a beautiful monogram ornamentsoft as "butter" socks and a monogramed journal all make for easy gifts on a budget. They are a little cliche... but only because EVERYONE loves them.  Seriously. You just can't go wrong with a simple but lovely and CLASSIC gift.  If you are looking to go a little more unique how about my favorite detox bath salts, a really cool magnetic hourglassfresh delivered succulents (um, yes please!), a milk chocolate bars with baby champagne bears (sure to delight!), a glitter snow globe or a 4 pack of face masks.  For the beauty lovers I absolutely adore this glitter cosmetic case,  these gold/rhinestone hair ties are just gorgeous, I love the idea of a little perfume roller to try a new scent, everyone loves Kiehl's "dream team" set or my favorite peppermint lip conditioner is perfect for winter.

If you are looking for teacher gifts these detox bath salts would be perfect with a gift card and a note to "DETOX" over break (wink, wink). Teachers LOVE gift cards or classroom donations made on their behalf (I've heard through the grapevine from multiple sources).  A beautiful scarfpom pom hat or fingerless gloves are perfect for those teachers that have recess duty... a simple note thanking them and reminding them to stay warm would be a great gift. For teachers I also love giving a simple candle (you could break this candle set up into three individual gifts) or a mug with a gift card alongside it.

If you need more gift ideas - don't forget to check out my women's gift guide, men's gift guide and kids/tweens/teens gift guides!

Monday, December 3, 2018

my everyday style: fair isle for a snowy day!

There is NOTHING like breaking out the fair isle for winter... especially on a super snowy day! Whether you go for a fun pop of color with your fair isle or more neutral tones - it's the perfect winter  piece to have on hand. I just LOVE this bright red pop of color on a snowy or dreary winter day and this sweater is super warm and cozy too. Plus, fair isle is just so dang festive this time of year it puts you right in the holiday spirit.

This BRIGHT RED fair isle sweater is perfect for holiday parties, Christmas Eve or Christmas Day or just for any day in December that you are feeling extra festive. I loved pairing it with black jeans and loafers for a more dressy look. But I've also worn it with blue jeans and snow boots this season too and loved that look too. I would also love to pair it with a black pencil skirt or sequined skirt for a fun holiday party look. It really can be dressed up or down so easily. 

Outfit Details:

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Instagram lately!

You guys it's December in like TWO DAYS. WHAT!?!? December is such a fun month... busy, yes... but there is always an excuse to eat a cookie, blast Christmas tunes, watch a Christmas movie or just sit and watch the lights on the tree or the snow fall.  It's a lot of busy-ness together with amazing moments to just relax and unwind.  Winter is tough for me with the lack of sunshine and the cold temps, so I am always looking for a way to make the season more comforting. Whether it's cozy-ing up in the softest sweaters, scarves and warm socks or snuggling up with a book by the fire (even though there are a million chores to do!) - I try to treat myself in small ways this time of year.

Here is a round up of some of my winter ready outfits from Instagram lately - if you don't already follow me there, make sure you come join in on the fun!  I hope these outfits give you some good ideas as we head into the holidays and winter!

above: Black and grey can be such comforting colors to wear this time of year... for me at least! They feel like a warm hug. I wear this pair of black jeans constantly. They are def a favorite and this grey sweater is so beautiful paired with a grey scarf. (shop the pieces: black jeans, grey sweater, similar scarf, black flats)

above: Even though I love neutrals, who can resist a pop of color this time of year in honor of the holidays? This cozy fleece is perfectly layered over tees and sweaters this time of year.  And duck boots are perfect for wet and slushy weather. (shop the pieces: hat, striped top, half zip fleece, similar jeans, duck boots)

above: Pale pink is always a win in my book this time of year... it pairs well with snow ;) and my UGG boots and a hat are always at the ready for these super cold days. (shop the pieces: sweater, hat, jeans, UGG boots)

above: There is nothing like a pop of plaid to get you in the holiday spirit.  And I know I've said it a million times, but I will say it again... SOREL boots are the BEST for snowy days. Your feet will stay WARM and dry on the coldest and snowiest days. It's like magic! (shop the pieces: sweater, plaid scarf, jeans, SOREL boots)

above: I turn into a FAIR ISLE addict this time of year. They are SO pretty and festive! I want to buy them all.  But this red one has been my favorite all season... it's perfect for holiday parties or just everyday wear! (shop the pieces: sweater, similar hat, wedge booties, jeans)

above: Ever find a sweater that is like THE sweater for the season!?!? This black one has been the one I am always reaching for... it's soft and stretchy and comes in a million colors! It's perfect with jeans and flats for a pulled together yet comfortable look. (shop the pieces: sweater, jeans, flats, hat)

above: Weekends have been super casual and laid back for us so far this winter. I usually pop on a fleece and some sneakers for errands or dinner out. This fleece is the COZIEST. (shop the pieces: fleece, hat, sneakers, jeans)

above: This GORGEOUS monogram mug is my new favorite! It's the PERFECT holiday gift too... pack it with socks, candy, gift cards or lip glosses to personalize it for your loved one. (shop the mug)

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

my everyday style: a plaid shawl two ways!

Winter decided to show up QUITE early this year (big, no thank you!) with lots of snow here in the Midwest lately. Tell me, are you a fan of snow or not? I'm a fan of year round summer - but since that doesn't exist here, I guess I'll deal. ;)

I was so glad I had already stocked up on some cozy scarves and a new winter coat to brave the elements.  I recently snagged this glen plaid wool shawl (30% off today!) that is just gorgeous! It's perfect layered over tees or sweaters and it also coverts into a scarf quite easily as well... today I'm showing you BOTH ways to wear it!  And this coat is one I instantly fell in love with and I've been wearing it a ton too... I love that it's a little roomy to allow for sweaters underneath and the color goes so well with anything in my closet.  I always love a classic and simple sweater for everyday wear - this black mock neck (30% off today!) is so warm and cozy and I like the slightly fitted feel (I'm wearing an XS, size up for a more relaxed fit).  I always get SO many questions about these Sorel boots... if you live in the Midwest, Sorels are a must. They are SO warm, 100% waterproof and while they are a little bit of a splurge they last FOREVER so it's well worth the investment. I have quite a few pairs of winter boots, but of all of them... Sorel is by far the warmest.

Outfit Details:
Shawl/Scarf (30% off today!)
Coat - also available in red or black!
Sweater (30% off today!)
Boots (these are similar and beautiful and THESE are on my wishlist!)


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