September 8, 2014


It's been awhile since I've done a "favorite things" post ... just under 5 years. Time flies when you're having fun!

I have good genes in the skin department (not so much in the body type department, but that's another post) but time is not my friend when it comes to aging so I invest skin care. I've tried all kinds of lotions, potions and serums thanks to Birchbox but keep going back to two mainstays - Philosophy and Meaningful Beauty. I'm currently using MB and say what you will about Ms. Crawford, she has amazing skin. I like that I can mix-and-match my auto ship order to try new products ... the only thing that stays constant is cleanser ... otherwise, I might have a firming serum with intensive night cream one day and a glowing serum with regular moisturizer the next. I use the weather and the way my skin looks/feels to determine what I need daily. Or more likely than not it depends on what I remember to do that day.

I don't always use a daily moisturizer on weekdays because I use a BB cream for foundation. Moisturizer in addition tends to be too much (aka oily) unless it's we're in the middle of a deep freeze here in the arctic (aka January - March). I am loving Bobbi Brown BB cream ... just right coverage, good skin color match and all important SPF. 

Dry shampoos are all the rage and I am on the bandwagon. Go ahead and judge but I wash my hair every other day - every day would dry it out and day two hair has a good texture for holding curl or a low key updo. I've tried a couple of expensive dry shampoos (thank you again Birchbox) and have found that drug store brands - Suave or Tresemme - work just as well and are much easier on the wallet.

My hair is an enigma ... fine but lots of it, dry on day one and oily by end of day two. I'm constantly changing hairstyles - cut it short and flip up the ends then grow it long so I can put it up. I envy women who have a "signature" style that suits them and doesn't change much. I'm never satisfied. Ugh! I stumbled upon Wen Replenish Mist last summer and found it to be a great boost to my day one hair - use in the am to condition and add texture and use in the pm before bed to prep for day two. It's also a good light skin moisturizer, especially in the winter months. I spritz on (when I think of it) just out of the shower and don't feel so scaly. I gave the one I started with to my mom to try and found I missed it more than I thought so just reordered. It's worth the splurge - only used my first bottle six months and had at least one-third left.

Another rage is contouring and highlighting. There are million tutorials thanks to Pinterest and in theory it seems like a great idea but I can't be bothered to spend that much time or use that many products every day. My cheater product is a crayon concealer in a shade just a bit lighter than my skin color. I swipe under the eyes, down the center of my nose and around nostrils, above the lip bow, middle of the chin and a small triangle between the brows and up the forehead. Then I blend the heck out of it. I've thought of shading with a darker shade as well but haven't tried it yet. Baby steps.

I keep all my makeup organized in this adorable "bento" box - best $7 ever!

And finally a non-beauty product for good measure -
I frequently have only a few moments for lunch and eat at my desk so convenience is key. I'm also trying to watch my spending so have been forgoing the cafeteria at work and eating out only once a week. My current favorite lunch is pita chips and or veggies with hummus. I love hummus and am not picky about it at all, hence I haven't made it from scratch as I'll buy any brand available at Target (aka my home away from home when not at work). There are a wide array of flavors available these days, but the one I only just discovered two weeks ago and have bought three times is Sabra Olive Tapenade... olives + hummus = AMAZING!

I'm praying none of these go the way of the salad mist - it disappeared forever within months of my extolling its virtues.

August 31, 2014

Back to School

This has been a pretty good summer by my standards. Most just whiz by ... you wake up one day after school let's out and it's 4th of July and the next thing you know it's Labor Day. Not sure how I managed to get the most out of this one ... I'd like to repeat that each and every year.

Chunky's first day of high school (9th grade) is the day after tomorrow and Sassy's first day of her junior of college is the day after. How did that happen?! Chunky had orientation earlier this week and when I dropped him off I felt as if I had just brought him to the first day of Kindergarten last week.

I've decided to sit this semester out of grad school - I've been going non-stop for two years and was hoping to graduate next May but I think I need a break. My job is still fabulous, but we're about to enter the busiest time of year (open enrollment) and hubby has a surgery in three weeks where he'll be hospitalized for three weeks after and then bedridden at home an additional three weeks after that.

If you need a little humor while contemplating how you feel about back to school season, check out this awesome post by Scary Mommy.

I hope it's a great school year for everyone at my house and yours.

August 13, 2014

Pretty Princess

I've shared my royal obsession here before so it should come as no surprise that I've done my research on tiaras and crowns. I would love to rock a tiara some day, even a tiny one but let's face it, go big or go home!

This is said to be QE II's favorite: 
It's a little to plain and pointy for my taste. Speaking of pointy, check this out:

I'm partial to sapphires so this one goes to the top of my list:


It's owned by one of my favorite royals, Queen Maxima of the Netherlands.

I can't decide if this is my favorite: 
Or this:  
UPDATE 8/31/14 - This is definitely in my top 3:

If you have diadem dreams, check here for a 101 and here for the ultimate collection!

July 10, 2014

World's Fair

The 80s are back! Neon, miniskirts, leggings, slogan t-shirts, big earrings and shoulder pads. I guess what's old is new again. I would be totally in style if I'd kept all my funky earrings and off-the-shoulder Flashdance shirts. The miniskirts would not be a good idea now ... I was a total twig in comparison to now.

Aside from Chuck and Di's wedding, and of course the awesome music and movies, a lot of things happened for me in the 80s ... met my BFF, high school (the last two years were totally awesome, not the first two), and dating/marrying hubby (ahem, child bride). 1982 in particular was a pivotal year: Michael Jackson was moon walking, Prince was asking us to party like it was 1999, my dad and his second wife split and I went to the World's Fair. What is a World's Fair you ask? Why it's a large public exhibition (gracias Wikipedia). I think we should all travel to Milan, Italy for the next one, yes?! The 1982 World's Fair was in glamorous Knoxville, Tennessee. We actually stayed in North Carolina because no lodging was available in and around Knoxville but heck if I can remember where ... ironic because my mom just spent the past several years living in North Carolina (Dad's passed on so can't ask him). My dad and I road tripped it to TN/NC which considering I was 15 years old and alone with my Dad is some sort of miracle that we came out unscathed. I think we may have taken a long break after that trip however. I have a postcard souvenir that reads:
The energy-themed international event is the first World's Fair to be held in the United States since 1974 and the first fully sanctioned World's Fair ever held in the Southeastern United States. Are you in awe?! Wonder how much that postcard would fetch on ebay? 

July 7, 2014

Foodie 4th

We had a family and fun filled relaxing long weekend with lots of food - restaurant, homemade and pot luck.

I made festive cupcakes -
Photo: How cute are these cupcakes?!

I also made this amazing salad. Only I used spinach instead of arugula and pecans instead of almonds because that's what I had on hand. I also had some chopped tomatoes so they went in, along with leftover chopped rotisserie chicken. That's how I roll.

Blueberry Arugula Salad with Honey-Lemon Dressing - a colorful, fresh, delightful salad that's not only good to look at, but delicious and good for you too! 

And no pic but I made another summer "tian" which is a fancy term for layered veggies, herbs and cheese (I add breadcrumbs too). Don't let the fancy name scare you off - make this, you won't regret it! 

June 10, 2014

New Old Roads

Tomorrow is my last day at my current employer after 8+ years. I am going back to my former employer where I worked for 10 years. I am clearly a devoted employee. I am so excited to go back to an organization where I have tremendous respect for the people, leadership and ethics. The older I get, the more I realize how important it is to stay true to your values. I am grateful for the knowledge and experience gained since I left ... it has been one heckuva ride where I've had the highest of highs and lowest of lows career wise ... but I am beyond excited to go back to a place where there will be a lot of familiar faces and my reputation has stood the test of time. It feels wonderful to be wanted back. I am also venturing into a new space after 14 years in product management ... operations. I'm looking forward to learning a lot, renewing relationships, making new ones and bringing my own "special sauce" to the mix. This change has been a long time in the making after much soul searching, ongoing assessment via grad school, harsh truths and rekindled relationships. I knew I had set a ball in motion a few years back and didn't know exactly where it would lead. Though the momentum would ebb and flow, just three months ago everything aligned and I am where I am meant to be. It feels good to be the master of my own destiny.