March 30, 2017

Three on Thursday

Typically I like to use this series to share three things I'm currently loving or want to recommend. 



Travelers Notebooks
I've been planning for over a year now and if there's one thing I've learned, it's that my style is much different than when I started. Initially I was using a spiral bound hplanner. 6 months later I moved on to using both an A5 and personal sized ring bound planner. Last week I caved, after several weeks of secret desire, and bought an A6 Chic Sparrow. I think it's beautiful. And that leather smell - to die for. For now, I'm still in the process of figuring out how I want to set it up but I absolutely see the value in this style of planning. I even named it. Jack, of course. 



Desk or Not to Desk
Ok, this one is more something I'm debating. When I moved into my current apartment I was super excited because I was going to have an office. Here we are 3 months later I rarely even use the room. For one, I sit at a desk/computer all day long. The last thing I want to do when I get home is sit at my desk/laptop. I used to do this and didn't think anything of it. Now, it makes me sick. As such, having a physical desk is kind of pointless, especially since I have a laptop. It's not as if I'm sitting down and writing out checks for bills. Although I have things that do require a "desk space", they're not used daily. I guess what I'm saying is: what are your thoughts on doing away with an office? Do you have one, want one? 


TŪL pens
These pens are absolute perfection. For one, they come in black and blue ink. They're a 0.7mm gel and they write like a dream. I bought the "pearl collection" because they come in gold, rose gold, and silver. They make a ball point version as well, but I don't care for those. All gel all the time. These are the pens I don't let anyone borrow.



And now I turn it to you:

Do you use a Travelers Notebook? If so, share all your tips/tricks/secrets! Let me know your thoughts on doing away with an office. I'm curious to hear other opinions. 



March 29, 2017

4 Things I've Stopped Doing

I'm a big supporter of reevaluation. In all aspects of life. If something isn't working for you - change it. If you're not happy with something - change it. I strongly believe that we make our own luck, and as such are the creators of our own lives. Things don't just happen to us. We bring them about by a series of thoughts and decisions. 

Here are four things I've stopped doing to either effectuate change or because they no longer serve me. 




Using iTunes
We are fully immersed in a digital world. Everything is digital. Photos. Music. Shopping. And I for one use it to make my life easier as much as I possibly can. Still, there are some tech advances that are now a hindrance and iTunes, for me, is one of them. I use Spotify exclusively and I can't tell you the last time I synced a playlist to a phone. Probably 2011-ish?


Buying stickers
Did you just gasp? I know. I can hardly believe I'm even saying it because I'm a planner girl to my core. The thing is, when I started last fall I went a little very overboard in buying stickers and now I have a TON that aren't being used. I've RAK'd a lot of stuff but it really just ends up being a waste of money and I'm not having that anymore either. There is one sticker shop I buy from monthly, and this is fine. All the rest, I'm shopping what I have.


Taking pictures
This is both true and untrue. I still take a lot of photos but I'm more selective now. I used to take pictures of everything I saw/liked/thought was funny/wanted to share. It made for tons of pics that were taking up space in my phone or on my hard drive, all to never be looked at again. Then I decide to clean up my photos and I have all this nonsense to go through. Honestly, I have a ton of pics on my phone (1,379 as of this drafting) and some are from Cancun (September 2016) that I haven't even gone through because  THERE ARE SO MANY. Point is, I'm a lot more selective about what I'm taking pictures of so that I don't have to clean up later on.


Shopping at Target
Blasphemy, I know. This isn't to say that I don't still shop at Target, it's just that I no longer hit up Target every single weekend. There was a time (circa 2010) when I would get really bored on Sunday afternoons so I'd head to Target and walk the entire store just to get out of the house. Of course I would spend no less than $40 every trip on who-knows-what. A book here, clearance top there... it added up quick and going every Sunday really started screwing with me financially. Once I realized what I was doing I quit Target cold turkey and haven't looked back. 


What about you? Have you cut something, or someone, out of your life because it no longer serves you? 












March 24, 2017

Caring for Curls

If there's one thing I get complimented on the most, it's my hair. When I was in middle school a few people actually asked me if it was a perm. I'm pretty sure that's the only time in my entire life I've ever been offended. You wish a perm came out looking like this!

Even though it ain't no thang to me, I do realize most people are kind of impressed or amazed or whatever'd by my hair. It is pretty awesome. Post compliment I'm always asked what I do to it to "make it look like this". Honestly, nothing. But, I am going to share my hair care routine. 



First of all, my curl type is considered 3b/c, or curly with spiral/coils. Basically, that means I have tight, corkscrew curls. 


First, let's start from the beginning. 

When I was a kid my hair was always tied up in those  hairbands with the balls on both ends. I had my first haircut, via Mom, when I was 12. From then on, controlling frizz was my main concern. As the years have passed I've learned what works {mousse} and what doesn't {anything that says no-frizz}. In February of 2016 I had my first professional haircut. 

When She asked what I used in my hair I thought she was going to keel over. At that time my routine was to use curl focused products like the Pantene or Tresemme curl lines. I'd start with the shampoo and then follow up with the conditioner. To style I'd then run the line's mousse through moderately wet hair and then let it air dry. Easy, maintained, flawless. Apparently this is all absolutely horrible for curly hair. Surprisingly, my hair was very healthy {cause I baby it!}. This was when I learned about sulfates and how they're not good and I should start moving to more natural products. As I go to a Deva trained stylist, she naturally suggests Deva products. Now that I've been schooled, here's how it goes.

DAY ONE: The Complete Process

Day one is the day that takes the longest. This is the day when my hair gets washed, conditioned, and styled. I start with a half dollar sized amount of my Low-Poo Original cleanser. The low poo means that it doesn't create all the suds like other shampoos too.  Suds = sulfates = bad for curls. Instead, it almost looks as if there's nothing in my hair. 



After I've cleansed I move on to the One Condition Original daily cream conditioner. This conditioner is 100% paraben, sulfate, and silicone free. The first time I used it I was sure I didn't use enough because my hair didn't have that slippery feeling with my old products. That slippery feeling is because of the additives, like silicone, and it's not something you want. I stick to only using a half-dollar amount even though my instinct is to use more. Once it's in I use a wide tooth comb to gently rake through my tangles. I do this until I can run my fingers through mostly without issue. Curly hair will tangle no. matter. what. Then I clip it up and finish my shower. 



At this point my hair is soaking wet. There is a right/wrong way to dry hair. When you see someone take the towel and shake it through their hair - wrong. This causes breakage and damages the hair shaft. What you should be doing is taking a microfiber towel, or cotton t-shirt, flipping your hair over, and scrunching from the bottom up. The idea isn't to dry my hair, but to squeeze out excess water. 

Once the extra water is gone I add in a generous amount of Styling Cream. Deva also offers a styling gel but this is what my stylist first used and I personally love the way it smells and its ease of use. Once the styling cream is in I blow-dry my hair upside down, alternating between warm and hot heat. Drying upside down adds some extra volume to my roots when I shake it out. After I'm dry {this is the part that takes the longest}, I "shake out" my curls. Basically, this means I take my hand into my roots and give it a slight shake which adds overall volume. 





And just like that, perfectly styled hair. 

At the end of the day I pineapple my hair. This is that "top knot" the rest of you thought was oh so trendy last year. 😐 Seriously. I've been rocking that since 1996. Putting my hair up like this guarantees that I'm not pulling on my curls while sleeping. It's also the best way to move on to second day hair with minimal effort.


DAY TWO: The Refurb

It's possible that day two hair can be better than day one. In the morning I take down the pineapple, wet my hands, and scrunch my hair from the bottom. This essentially "reactivates" the styling cream. From here I usually leave my hair down for the day.


DAY THREE: Messy hair, don't care

Day three is one of my favorites because it's a built-in lazy day. Typically, my hair stays in its pineapple from the second night. I fix any flyaways with argan oil and let it be. Once a week at the end of day three I will use Heaven in Hair, which is an intense moisture mask, and let it do its thing for 20+ minutes. I rinse it out, wide tooth comb it and then blow-dry it halfway with zero product. I let it air dry the rest of the time and then pineapple once completely dry. 



If I'm super lucky, I can get a day 4 out of my hair. This is only used in extreme circumstances {read: ultimate laziness} and rare, but it can happen....

Day 4 hair

And that's how I handle my curls.  There's no secret and it's all very simple. My old routine required less steps but I'm willing to put in the extra effort knowing that I'm actually taking care of my curls. Plus, if I can get 3-day hair for 30 minutes of work, I'm all for it. 

Do you have a hair care routine? What do you do/use?





March 22, 2017

Snapped Vol. 2

It's time for another Snap Recap. I'll be honest, I'm pretty sure I use Snapchat every day. It's become one of my favorite social media platforms, beaten only by Instagram. Here's a look at what I've been snapping lately.



I stopped into Insomnia to buy a friend a cookie. Of course I bought one for me as well. I'm nice, not stupid. I haven't been in this location since.... August? It was like going home.



The struggle is fucking real.



My friend sent me this snap. It took me a minute to get what she was showing me. Who the hell approved this color name!?





I sliced my finger open at work trying to open a banana with a pair of scissors. Yeah. Read that sentence again and tell me if the dumbest shit doesn't happen to me. The stems are trimmed so low there's nothing to grab to peel the banana. I took scissors to it, like I always do, but this banana apparently didn't want to be eaten. I won.

This kid. She's smart, witty, sassy, sweet, funny, adorable, and the best little friend I could ever ask for. She's always down to be a complete goofball with me.

A friend ragged on me for having never tried this. Fun fact about me: I hate Pepsi. I have been and always will be a coke girl. The liquid, not the powder. I saw this a few days later in Target and grabbed it. It tastes like imitation Sprite {Coke product} and it made my stomach hurt.




Starbucks and flower crowns. What more could you want in life!?



I've been doing as much OT as possible at work and aside from the money I still don't hate going in at 4am.
And that's my life lately in snaps. I feel like I've been doing everything and nothing. What have you been up to?



March 20, 2017

Trading Spaces: The Living Room

Ever since I was a kid I've enjoyed seeing the way people decorate their spaces. Whether I was "doing my room" or Barbie's dream house, I always wanted things to coordinate and showcase my personality. As an adult that joy turned into a weird quirk - I love when people leave their blinds or curtains drawn and I can see into the house. It gives me a peek into their lives and based on what I can see in that short amount of time it makes me wonder about the rest of the house. 

As for me, I have what Alyssa aptly names "analysis paralysis" when it comes to making decor decisions. If I have too many options I want to do everything and therefore will never make a decision. Fortunately, that wasn't entirely the case this time around. 

Now that I'm finally all moved in and arranging everything I wanted to check in with some progress. When I last left off I was showing you the inspiration I was going after for the living room. I feel like I created my board and then went in a completely different direction... typical.

Here's how the room looked to begin with and my board







Here's what I actually ended up doing. Excuse the crappy quality of this photo. It was hard to get because of the natural light.



After choosing Sherwin Williams colors I ended up going to Home Depot and spontaneously choosing Downy Gray. It's a blue gray and I absolutely love it. It's neutral without being plain.

I had the TV wall mounted and although what I really wanted was a fireplace unit I decided shelving was a better option for me. The TV stand is from Wayfair. I was about to stop looking when I saw this and knew it was perfect. My only complaint is that I wish it were a bit higher. I still need to paint and put up the wire covers.

The console table is from Zulily. I debated getting one with a drawer but then realized it would just be a place to collect more crap. I use the basket to hold the things that would have been in the drawer -  a mini flashlight, tea lights, a bottle opener, etc.}. I'm using the pineapple I made for my keys and a few picture frames to keep it neat but not bare.

The gallery wall is one of my favorite parts of the room. I scoured the web for free printables and I love this because I can swap out the images at any time.

I also made better use of my coffee table by using the bottom shelf to hold a few books and other items. Eventually I'll replace this with either a storage one or something else.









The living room isn't tiny but because of the adjoining rooms, it appears more doorway than wall. I hung the mirror {from Home Goods} opposite the windows to make the room appear bigger and to help bounce the natural light since there is only a ceiling light on one side of the room.

I wanted to go on a spending spree buying everything at once... ok, that's pretty much what I did. But I did choose consciously in an effort to only buy and display items I truly wanted.

I think this room captures everything I was going for. It's cozy and inviting. When I sank down onto the couch the other night I felt right at home.


March 17, 2017

K.I.S.

I have a coworker/friend who defies aging. When I first met her I thought she was maybe a few years older than me. As in 3. Turns out she's 15 years older than me. #goals

Naturally we talk skincare routines every now and then and she always hounds me about washing my face. I know it's a bad habit but I just don't see it being something I'll change... like Steph and making the bed. Since I wanted an opinion I trust I hit up Kathy for suggestions on a good night cream. After some back and forth she reminded me of the if it ain't broke... mantra and suggested I continue doing what I'm doing.



As we all know I suck at washing my face. So let's pretend this is an ideal day and I've done that. I use a gentle cleanser that doesn't leave my face feeling completely dried out and stripped of all it's natural goodness. I really like Neutrogena's Healthy Skin Boosters.

If it's a day when I feel I need to exfoliate I swear by St. Ives Blemish Control Apricot Scrub. I've been using this stuff since I was in high school. I've never had problem skin and whether true or not, I attribute it to this scrub. This scrub is a bit more coarse so I try to only use it once a week. My gentler option {read: I don't feel like I'm scrubbing at all} is Neutrogena Healthy Skin Boosters Daily Scrub



Once my face is so fresh and so clean clean I spritz all over with Dickson's Witch Hazel Pore Perfecting Toner. For one, this feels great on my skin and I absolutely love the smell of witch hazel. It's so clean! Once it's mostly soaked in, it's time for my eye cream. 

I only started using this last fall so eye creams are still new to me. Currently I'm using IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Eye Cream. Although I like it enough I most likely won't be purchasing this brand again due to its price point, so any suggestions are welcome! 



From here it's on to my moisturizer. I like to work smarter, not harder so I mix my foundation in with my moisturizer. To moisturize I use Neutrogena's Oil-Free Moisture with broad spectrum SPF. I like this one because it's light and it works year round. I don't have the patience for seasonal products. For foundation I stick with Covergirl Ready, Set Gorgeous in classic tan. I tried this after they discontinued one I was previously using and I absolutely loved it. It's smooth, provides great coverage, and goes on super easy. Plus, there's no caking.



If I'm doing a "full face" I'll follow this with an earth tone shadow, waterline eyeliner, brow pencil, and mascara. Add a bit of bronzer and I'm done for the day. If I'm being lazy, it's just the brow pencil and mascara. As a side note: those are the only two makeup "tools" I truly won't go without. Brows are the windows to the face, people! 

At the end of the day I typically do not remove my makeup or wash my face. I know... eew.. clogged pores, yadda yadda. Look, I know I'm lazy about it. I hate doing it. I own it. #notentirelyperfect

BUT....

Sometimes I have my adult life together and I take off my makeup and do an evening routine. When this miracle happens I like to use either Clinique's Take The Day Off Makeup Remover or Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm or Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes. I will say there is a much greater chance of me using the wipes on a daily basis but the balm works miracles for getting off my Benefit mascara. 

Once the makeup is gone it's back to the morning routine with my cleanser {I typically won't scrub at night}, toner, and eye cream. Then I use Neutrogena's Light Night Cream to seal it all in.    




And if that wasn't simple enough for you. Here's a video about how simple it truly can be. This girl and I.... makeup soulmates.







March 16, 2017

Thursday Three Vol. 2

I'm pretty keen on this linkup. It's short, sweet, and it doesn't require too much thought at the end of the week. We call that a win over here. 

Anyway....


Sushi donuts

Apparently sushi donuts are a thing. Honestly, I'm not mad about it. For one, look how damn delicious they look! Unfortunately it's only in Cali but I'm all about traveling for food!



Jet.com

Jet isn't new to me and I've been a loyal customer for almost two years {I think?} but it's a site that I absolutely love. For one, it works with eBates {you NEED to be using it. yes, that's a referral link. Money for you AND money for me}, and two, the more you buy, the more you save. Jet works like this. You put paper towels in your cart. They cost $5.65. But wait, you also need a case of water. That costs $3.15. Because you added the case of water, you're going to lower your overall total by $0.20. Keep it up and you're saving a few dollars simply by purchasing things you were already intending to buy. Plus, Jet just started offering a fresh section {Amazon is their only real competitor IMO}.

Scotch Thermal Laminator

While making a holiday wish list last year I added that I wanted a laminator. My planner bestie is awesome and she bought me one. Specifically the Scotch 16" Thermal Laminator. In true slacker form I only just opened it last week {perfectionist problems} and now I'm on a mission to laminate EVERYTHING!

That's it for this week. A little food, a little shopping, and a whole lot of crafting! What things have been on your radar lately?













March 08, 2017

When Breaking Up is Easy

Since the beginning of the year I've been in major purge mode. I haven't been adhering to any strict schedules but I've been making a conscious effort to free up space, both physical and mental.




Facebook App
I talked about this previously so I won't go into detail again but deleting this app from my phone has saved me LOTS of mindless scrolling and constant notification clearing.



Facebook Pages
I have been maintaining a Facebook page for my blog pretty much since its inception back in 2011. A few weeks ago I was in the process of scheduling some posts to publish to my blog's page when I realized I hated doing this and it was really more of a hassle than anything. I deleted the page and haven't thought twice about it. 

Phone Apps
I'll be the first one to admit I have a lot of apps on my phone. As of this drafting, there are 141 {including ones like "messages" and "phone"}. What the hell do I need 141 apps for?!  Some of them I use maybe once or twice a year {Delta or Jet Blue} and those I keep until the trip happens, then delete them, but the others? There were many that were there "just in case" and I made sure to remove them.

Sling
I was so excited to be able to cut the cable cord when I moved. Sling offered all my favorite channels for a fraction of cable prices. Auto win, right? Not exactly. The first 2 months were great. At the beginning of February, shit hit the fan. Out of nowhere channels started freezing and the streaming quality was horrendous. I wasn't able to watch anything without the show/channel freezing, literally, every 10 seconds. I did troubleshooting with several people, all to no avail. Then, when I call to cancel and request a  refund I'm told they can only refund me $9 (a week's worth of service) because I was "using the service, even if it wasn't working properly". So here's my PSA: avoid Sling at all costs. The service is garbage and their customer service is even worse.  

Contacts
I had so many contacts in my phone. I would guess that I actually interacted and spoke to less than half of them. Recently I sat down with both my email contacts (3 accounts) and my phone and synced everything up and then got delete happy. That college classmate that I stopped speaking to after we graduated... gone. Former friends that have drifted apart.... gone. If I absolutely need to speak to them for whatever reason I can always look them up on Facebook.

Money Challenges
It may sound counterproductive to quit a savings challenge, but for me, it became a headache and wasn't helping me. A few years ago I found out about the 52-Week Challenge. By the end of the year you should have saved a little over $1,300. I found one that worked for me and got to it. I also found one to save $1,000 from January to October.

As great as these challenges are, they truly don't work for me. In an effort to save more I was actually hurting myself because I was trying to save in too many places. When you have 5 different savings accounts, it gets a bit overwhelming. Now, I save my "regular amount" into my highest yielding savings account for an emergency fund and I save half that into a second account as "fun money" for vacations, shopping, etc. Once I decided to stop doing them I instantly felt the pressure removed.

I can't lie, I'm mildly addicted to removing things that no longer serve me, whether it's apps,  stuff, programs, or people. If it isn't helping me, it's getting deleted.


How do you handle your life purges?


March 06, 2017

February Happenings

I can't even keep track of my own life anymore so.... photo dump time!

At the beginning of the month I signed up for a Yelp fitness event at Jane Do in Jersey City. We got  a 45 minute HIIT workout that seriously kicked my butt.



A week or so later NJ got hit with its one and only snowstorm of the season. I took a personal day. it was well spent.



I've been trying to eat better and have been visiting Whole Foods a lot. My wallet isn't too keen on it but it's so damn good.


Dani and I have been sampling the local eats and brews lately. Good stuff all around. Our height difference here makes me giggle. 


Gotta offset those brussel sprouts....

I got an email informing me that my student loan payment was increasing. Part of me wanted to throw a tantrum but instead I immediately calculated how much it was increasing and started thinking about my finances. I'm telling you, this responsible adult thing... Naturally I threw my tantrum on Twitter. 



I found that sign in Home Goods... clearly I should have bought it. 

I spent the holiday weekend outdoors as much as possible. It felt like nothing got done around the house but the feeling of hitting the trails outside and not feeling like I had teleported to the Arctic was a very welcome feeling.


Last week my friend told me I looked really pretty. I said thanks and shrugged it off. That night The Guy said the same thing. Again, I said thanks and shrugged it off. Then, while going through my phone to get the pics for this post I found this snap from that day. And dammit if I don't look pretty!


I headed home at the end of the month for the Cayuga Wine Trail Mardi Gras event. I was the DD but I got my drinks... tastes in early and then stopped halfway through. I even found myself a craft beer spot and made a detour. 



Two bird weekends are my favorite!  Wine tour and new tattoos! These two make #9 and #10. 



We're only three months in but so far 2017 has been very good to me.