Christmas Home Tour 2016

December 3, 2016

Welcome back, Christmas! The most wonderful time of the year is here, and this year's decorations are probably my favorite yet. Similar to last year, I decided to keep a very traditional theme with red and green, but did all red ornaments on the tree and tried to add a few more touches of red around the house.

Can the world collectively decide to have the whole month of December off from work and enjoy the season, please? I just want to sit in the living room bundled in a blanket with Hallmark movies all day every day. 

I told myself this year (as I do every year) that I wasn't going to pull out every single decoration I own, and I would scale it back a little <-- Hahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!! Of course, every few days, I go pull something else out of the Christmas Closet. #CantStopWontStop

On a side note, have you seen the blogger Holiday Housewalk this year? So much inspiration!!! Here are a few of my favorites...

My sweet friend gave me this little doggie ornament, and it's the perfect plaid for Miss Bailee's stocking. 

The tree is usually tucked away in the corner of the living room, but this year I totally rearranged the furniture so it could be right in the middle of the house. I love that you can see it from every room. The only problem is that I had to get more ornaments. Minor details. :)

Bailee likes the new furniture arrangement too...she's been lounging in these chairs nonstop!

In the entry, I added my Skiing Santa and a red berry wreath to the console table. 

The garland on our staircase has been more neutral colors in previous years, but this year I added extra greenery, red berries, and red ribbon.

Hope you enjoyed! For more ideas, take a look at my previous Christmas posts: 2015 / 2014

Have a very Merry Christmas season!


Beauty Talk: Under-eye Concealer

June 6, 2016

What is the #1 thing that can instantly age you? Having your concealer crease into fine lines. It draws attention to those laugh lines like no other. So, how do you keep under-eye concealer from creasing? Find the right product for your skin type!

My skin is more on the combination-oily side, and I have tried priming under the eye, setting with powder, "baking", setting with a setting spray...everything! It doesn't seem to matter which trick I use; if the product doesn't mesh with my skin type it won't work.

So let me save you some time. Here's a list of my favorites and fails that will work for any skin type...obviously my favorites are those for combo and oily skin. :)

Best for combination + Oily Skin
Urban Decay Naked Skin Complete Coverage / Great coverage, sets quickly, and doesn't crease.
Covergirl Ready Set Gorgeous / Light and blendable coverage, works best with a setting powder, but has a natural finish that lasts all day.
Mac Pro Longwear / Definitely a favorite for most beauty bloggers, and I can see why! It sets and doesn't move! If they would just change the packaging...
Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser (neutralizer tone) / Works well to balance dark circles, and works best when blended with a brush. 

Best for Dry + NORMAL Skin
Tarte Maracujá Creaseless / Creased like crazy!!! If you have drier skin it might be a great option because it is very hydrating.
It Cosmetics Eyelift In A Tube / Very easy application with great results when using the brightener and concealer that come together, but after a few hours it started to settle in my fine lines.
Nars Creamy Radient / I was borderline on this product for my skin type. It has a natural finish, but did crease on me. It would be great for normal skin types!
Maybelline Fit Me / Very similar to the Nars, but less than half the price.


Summer Chicken Salad

May 16, 2016

Summer means picnics. Picnics mean yummy chicken salad! I feel like there are two kinds of people when it comes to chicken salad: those that like it with everything but the kitchen sink thrown in (you know what I'm talking about...grapes, pecans, apples, almonds, celery, onion, everything else) and those that don't.

I personally like it with everything thrown in; it gives so much more flavor to plain old chicken salad! The problem is that most of those around me don't. I decided to make a yummy flavorful chicken salad without all the extras, and it is finger lickin' good!

Summer Chicken Salad

2 Tbsp chicken broth (I like this one
1 tsp sea salt
1 to 1.5 lbs chicken breast
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1 cup mayonnaise
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 tsp dill
1 tsp ground pepper

1. Fill a large pot with enough water to cover the chicken, add in chicken broth mix and sea salt. Boil until chicken is fully cooked. The broth helps add a little extra flavor to the chicken while it cooks.
2. In a separate bowl, combine dijon mustard, mayonnaise, and lemon juice; stir until blended. 
3. Shred chicken (I recently discovered the easiest way is in a stand-up mixer).
4. Add to bowl remaining seasonings and mix well. Gently stir in shredded chicken and chill. 

I love it on a pretzel bun with sliced tomatoes and some almond slices, but if that's too much "extra stuff" it's just as good on sliced bread or a cracker.

If you try it for your next picnic or cookout let me know how it goes! 

Golden Bronze Eye

May 11, 2016

For summer I love a bronzy eye look. The Lorac Unzipped palette is perfect for this. There is a mix of both golden and rosy bronze colors that create a beautiful look.

For a step by step, keep reading!

Golden Bronze Eye
1. Apply Unattainable all over the lower lid.
2. Apply Undiscovered on the inner corner, and blend to the crease.
3. Apply Uncensored on the outer "v" of the lid and blend to just below the crease. Using a crease brush, go over the area to softly blend out. 
4. Apply eyeliner (see this post for my current favorite).
5. Apply Uncensored on a small pencil brush to the lower lid blending lightly toward the inner corner.
6. Add mascara to the upper and lower lashes to complete the look.


Birchbox: March 2016

April 16, 2016

April is already half way over. Summer is just around the corner! Ah!

I've had a full month to test out my last let's dive in and review.

I'm always hesitant with shadow crayons - they have a tendency to crease on me or lack in staying power, but this is one of the exceptions! I also love the ease of application. It can be used as a thick liner or a full shadow. The color is called "Aspen Pine" and is a beautiful deep green. 

Wilma Schumann Skincare Hydrating Collagen Eye Pads
Okay...I'm still on the fence about these eye pads. The concept is great - apply, let it sit, then peel off to reveal hydrated skin. There was only one use in my birchbox, so it's a far cry to say that it worked. It felt nice, but I just don't think I would purchase due to price and the fact that I could just use a thick eye cream.

Kiehl's Ultra Facial Oil-Free Cleanser
This is one product I was really happy to see in the box. I haven't tried many Kiehl's products before, but after using this cleanser for a few weeks I would definitely try others from this line. It only takes a little, but works great!

Smashbox Cosmetics Photo Finish Primer Oil
Not for oily skin. No! I also don't understand the difference in a "primer oil" and a "face oil" that moisturizes. I gave it a go, despite my better judgement, and mid-day was an oily mess. If you have dry skin this could be great. If you're like me with combo/oily skin I don't recommend.

PARLOR by Jeff Chastain Moisturizing Sea Salt Spray
I feel like sea salt sprays are full of empty promises most of the time. There have been very few to work on my fine hair. Add this to the list. It just didn't work for me.

Two good products out of five is still a win! Want to get your own Birchbox each month? Sign up here!

Spring Decorating in 5 Easy Steps

March 22, 2016

The weather has been teasing us into thinking spring is here. 70's one day, 50's the next...but that hasn't kept me from thinking about how to shake the winter (especially when trees are blooming and flowers are coming to life)!

Need some inspiration? Keep reading...

1. Change your artwork. Chalkboard prints are a great way to customize your walls - love this floral wildflower art version.

2. Decorate with terra cotta vases and fresh flowers. Group several together on your kitchen table as a centerpiece; or set them on your mantle.

3. Brighten up your table setting. These Kaleidoscope melamine dishes are perfect!

4. Update your throw pillows. I love the bright colors on these Birch Lane linen pillows.

5. Hang a spring wreath on your front door, or over a fireplace.

How do you get ready for spring? 

February Birchbox

March 12, 2016

The February Birchbox was a mix of great products and a couple that won't get much use - a so/so box for me. Inside was an eye cream (which I was out of, so I was actually really happy about that) and a hair mask that I was excited to try, but with the rest I felt like I might have to force myself to use.

The lipstick in my box was Matte Velvet Lipstix by POP Beauty. A bright red, which in theory is pretty but I never wear red lipstick (aside from a really special occasion...or Christmas); so that wasn't my favorite. It felt nice on, but the color was a dud for me.

Whish Body Butter has been in previous boxes, so I knew it would be good. It didn't disappoint, but I have a hard time paying that much for body lotion... 

Hair masks are always so heavy on my hair, so I typically stay away from them; however, the Corioliss Argan Conditioning Mask was really nice. There was enough for two uses in the tube, and it left my hair soft without weighing it down. 

The eye cream was the Sahajan Restorative. The color was just weird, but it blended into the skin and did not appear to be tinted. It is made of natural ingredients (love that) and the scent is earthy but mild. I didn't feel like it got enough use to see a difference in my under eye area, but I liked how it felt on the skin. 

Liquid blushes or tints scare me a little bit...mostly because I'm afraid of getting way too much or that it will be too bright to blend. The Arrow Revive Cooling Cheek Tint was a bright pink, so I used it sparingly. I found that squeezing a little on the back of my hand first worked best. This allowed me to pick up just enough product with a stippling brush. I didn't quite understand the cooling part though.

I love getting to try these samples each month; a lot of my beauty drawer gets re-stocked with Birchbox products. :) They're also great to keep on hand for travel. 

Want to try it? Click here for your invite, and stay tuned for next month's box...I just got it today so I'll be testing soon, and there are some great products inside!

Current Winter Wish List

January 18, 2016

All I want to do lately is curl up in comfy lounge clothes by a fire...and shop online. Here are my current favorites (and some great prices!!).

one / two / three / four

I'm all about the loose fitting tops this winter. It may not be the most flattering; in fact, it might look like I'm wearing a blanket. You know what though? I think I'm okay with that at the moment. Don't judge! :)

Liner Love

January 11, 2016

Do you ever watch make-up tutorials and see people use a felt tip liner to create a perfectly straight line in one stroke of the pen? Well, that's not me. However, I do love using a felt tip pen for my liner because I think it can be fast (once you learn how to do it) and they have fantastic staying-power. 

I've used a few different types of liner, but recently compared two very similar products and narrowed it down to my favorite...and it's really affordable!!!

I was using the L'Oreal Paris Lineur Intense, and it was good - I had no complaints. It was easy to use, the color was a dark shiny black, but I was browsing the cosmetics one day and happened upon the Maybelline Line Stiletto. I used to be a really big fan of the Maybelline Lash Stiletto mascara back in the day, so when I saw that they had a liner I decided to see how it compared. 

It proved to be very similar (I really couldn't tell much of a all), but the Maybelline Line Stiletto had a finer tip...just by a hair. Even though it's not that noticeable that was a +1 in my opinion. 

The application is pretty much identical, but you can see in the picture above that when I rubbed over the lines with my finger the Maybelline Line Stiletto stayed in place a little bit better (the line on the bottom). That's another +1! 

Overall, these are two great options, but I decided to stick with the Maybelline! To apply I usually use short strokes to line the upper lash line, then take a liner brush (my favorite is the M225 Angle Liner by Morphe) and go over the line while it's still wet. This helps smooth any "shakes" from my unprofessional application!

I'm always looking for easy ways to apply liquid or gel liner; if you have any tips for getting a smooth application, please share!

New Year: Simplicity

January 4, 2016

It's been a tradition for me to select a verse as a "new year's goal", and this year I'm keeping with the tradition but I am also going to choose a word to focus on. 

Be still, and know that I am God...
- Psalm 46:10

Sometimes I feel like life gets in the way. That probably means something different to everyone, but for me that means that I get wrapped up in daily tasks, to-do lists, wants, work, etc. That usually ends in my mind going a million miles a minute. Worry starts - sometimes big and sometimes small worries. I went into more detail a while back (here), but this year I'm making more of an effort to truly focus on being "still" and trusting that God will take care of life.


That brings me to my word for 2016. There seems to be a lot of stuff in life, and I'm not just talking about material things. At times it feels like as soon as you catch up you fall behind again. Or just when you organize/simplify one area in your life (or one room in your house) you take a deep refreshing breath and realize there's so much more to do!

This year I want to simplify. That might mean donating un-used items to someone that could use them, donating clothes that I don't wear anymore (or can't fit into...let's be honest). Maybe that means taking more weekend trips to see new places, and not worrying if the laundry didn't get done or if the house isn't spotless! It could mean to just live and enjoy life in the moment without constantly trying to accomplish the next item on the list. 

Everyone approaches stress (or what causes stress) differently. But I think that everyone can relate to needing a little more simplicity in life. 

Happy New Year!