Monday, April 7, 2014

Makeup Monday: Makeup Faves

Current Everyday Makeup Faves

I'm a huge makeup fan and I'm always looking for great products and good bargains.  I haven't done a post about makeup in months and some of my favorite and most used products have changed.  I had someone suggest that I do more posts about makeup, so here you go!

  1. Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream for Eyes - This is a new favorite that I was introduced to at Spehora a couple months ago.  The coverage is great without being too thick or thin and I love that it has some skincare benefits in it as well.  
  2. Rimmel Stay Matte Powder - This has become one of my favorite powders ever.  It does a really nice job of setting my makeup and also has pretty good lasting power throughout the day.  
  3. NYC "Sunny" Bronzer - I'd seen a lot of great reviews of this inexpensive gem and decided to drop the $3 on it when my other bronzer ran out.  I love that it's a matte bronzer and it's great for adding a little color and blending out my makeup for a more natural sun-kissed look.
  4. NYX Mega Shine Lip Gloss - I'd neglected my NYX lip glosses for a while and recently went back to them.  I've been into neutral makeup looks lately and these have been just perfect!
  5. Smashbox Photo Finish Light Primer - I've sampled this one a few times, but always went back to my Benefite POREfessional.  I gave this one another try recently and came to really like it so I used some Birchbox points to purchase a full size.  The "light" version is prefect if you're worried about your skin being sensitive or breaking out.
  6. NYX Matte Finish Setting Spray - If you're a fan of the Urban Decay setting sprays, you definitely need to give this one a try.  It works just as well, but is a fraction of the cost.  The only complaint I have is that the bottles are smaller, so I have to repurchase more often.  Despite that, though, it is much better deal for an almost identical product.
  7. Rimmel Stay Matte Foundation - I recently picked this up during a 50% off sale at Walgreens after hearing a few reviews.  I figured for $2.50 it was worth a try, so I grabbed it instead of my Revlon Colorstay.  I really like it!  The coverage is a perfect not-too-thick but not-too-thin and I haven't even been using concealer expect for under my eyes!
  8. Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette - I snatched this one up as soon as it hit Sephora's website.  I love having the rosy and pinky color options.  I wear this palette or my Naked 2 pretty much everyday!  
  9. Smashbox 24 Hour Limitless Cream Shadow (in Topaz) - I've been using this as a base for my powder shadows and it works really well.  It gives a little color, but does the same job as a primer.  On days when I'm running behind, I can get away with wearing only this and I don't have to rock the completely naked lid look.
  10. ELF Blush - If you haven't tried ELF blushes, you need to!  For $3 each, they're a steal and although they do have some fall out, they last a long time!  
I get asked a lot about the brands that I use and if I go for high-end or drugstore products.  I honestly use a good mix of both.  My Naked palettes are my most expensive purchases, but I bought both of those when I had coupons to Ulta or Sephora.  For me, some items are worth the extra cost, but there are also so many great drugstore products out there!

What are your makeup must haves?  
I'd love to hear your faves and get suggestions for new items to try!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Fashion Friday: Pick Yourself Up & Get Dressed!

Bright colors always boost my mood!
I'm trying to get back into regular posts, but for some reason that's been easier said than done.  I don't get on my computer a whole lot at home these days, so that kinda makes me forget about blogging.
Anyway, I think some of my favorite posts are Fashion Friday, so that's probably what you're going to be getting from me for the next month or so until school ends!

Getting dressed is probably one of my favorite parts of my day...  Sometimes knowing that I've got a cute outfit waiting for me is what gets me excited about my day.  It's really not in a shallow "I want to look better than everyone else." way, but rather it's something that I'm doing for me. 

Stripes, florals, and bubble necklaces...  Oh my!
I'm going to be completely honest and tell you all that picking out my outfits has become something really important to me, more so in the past few months than before.  Here's why...

Not to get too sappy and girly dramatic on you, but I dated a guy that I teach with during the first half of the school year.  But, that relationship ended right before Christmas break...  As much as I wanted to curl up in sweats and hate the world after that breakup, as I faced going back to work after our long Christmas break, I found myself wanting to look good.  Really good.  I've always liked putting together outfits and looking cute, but it kind of took on a new meaning in January.  I've known quite a few girls who give up on themselves after a breakup...  No makeup, sweats, ice cream tub in tow, but that wasn't me.  I was determined not to be that girl.
I love adding a little sparkle with my accessories!

 Part of it is to maybe rub it in his face and show him what he gave up (just being completely honest), part of it is the show him that I'm not giving up on myself, but a big part of it is for me...  It's something that I can do to help me feel good again and bring back some self esteem.  Seeing your ex 5 days a week is definitely motivation to look good, but even those other 2 days when I don't have to see him I still want to look polished and put together.  For me.

Even if you're not dealing with breakups and having to see your ex everyday, it's important to remember that sometimes making that extra effort to look nice is all it takes to boost you mood.  I joked with my principal on the first day of state testing that it didn't matter how awful the testing was, I loved my new outfit that day and wasn't going to let computer problems ruin my mood.  I'd rather have a crumby day and look nice than have a crumby day and look crumby as well.

My first day back to school outfit.  I looked HOT!
You don't have to look like a supermodel 24-7, but making that teensy bit of effort to look pulled-together or add a little lip gloss may be just what it takes to boost your mood a little bit.  Even just adding a cute necklace or a scarf can take an outfit up a notch.  It's part of what makes being a girl a little bit more fun! :)

Without further ado...  Here's a peek at some of my recent outfits (that I look the time to document)!

Showing my K-State pride in style.

Taking a break from my neon to show my softer side.

I love a good jewelry bargain!  Accessories can totally make your outfit!

My "assessment day" outfit...  The tests may have been crap, but I was going to look good no matter what!

My favorite necklace!
I developed a new love for dresses and boots this past winter.

My new favorite dress from Loft.

And a favorite new pin...

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Budgeting Bloggers ~ March

Hey friends!  It's that time again!

J.Crew Merino Boyfriend Sweater - $36
I have to admit that I've purchased 3 of these sweaters since the fall (as well as the "side panel" version, which really it almost exactly the same fit).  I'm in love with the slouchy sweater and skinny jeans look right now.  When this one went on an extra 40% off, I decided to grab it since it's fairly lightweight and a neon coral color that transitions into spring.

J.Crew Factory Printed Pencil Skirt - $19 (after gift card)
Factory printed pencil skirt in stretch cotton
Image via J.Crew Factory
I've professed a few times how I don't do pencil skirts...  Well, I saw this one in the store last month and thought, "I've lost some weight.  I love this pattern.  What the heck, I'll give it a try!"  I really liked it, but didn't get it.  I still found myself thinking about it each time I saw a sale e-mail pop up and so I decided to take the plunge and get my first pencil skirt!  I may have started something bad for my budget...

Navy Crochet Toms (via Zulily) - $36
I had a friend introduce me to Zulily this month when she called to ask how I liked my other crochet Toms.  (Yes, I have these in black and silver.)  When she told me the price, I had her send me an invite.  I'm not sure I'll do a ton of shopping on there, but I was super excited to snatch these up at a good price, since I've wanted to add the navy to my collection since last year.  These are some of my favorite spring and summer shoes and are perfect for those days when your pedicure isn't quite in tip-top shape.

Image via Banana Republic
My gray v-neck cardigan was in desperate need of replacement.  It was pretty shabby and had definitely lived a good life.  Sure, I have other gray cardis, but for me this is a wardrobe staple.

Loft Dress - $42
Image via Loft
Loft has definitely become a favorite store since it opened in town last fall...  It's a great store for cute "teacher clothes" that can still transition easily to the weekend.  Even better, they always seem to be running awesome sales like 40% off!  I love dresses like this!

Loft Stretch Lace Tee - $30
Image via Loft
I've been trying to make less impulse buys and let myself think about purchases before making them.  I tried this one on the same day I bought the dress, but didn't make the purchase at first.  I ended up going back the next day for it.  (I don't know if living 5 minutes from the shopping center is a good thing or a bad thing...)  My warm weather work wardrobe is kind of lacking, so I decided this was a good addition.  Even with the 40% discount I think it was a little pricey, but I'm glad I've added it to my wardrobe as it goes well with skirts, dress pants, and jeans.

Loft Scalloped Neck Cotton Sweater - $36 & $24

If you can't tell, I really like brights and neons, so this sweater is a little out of my current element.  I tried it on Loft trip #2 after eyeing it the day before.  It's so soft, pretty, feminine and is different from most of my other sweaters.

And then a few days later I went back and bought the light gray one on clearance.  I have a habit of buying things in multiple colors.

Express Essential Cami (x2) - $10
I've been on a major cami and layering kick again recently and have fallen back in love with these camis from Express.  The quality is really good and they're some of the few that I've found that fit my body the right way.  (I have issues with the built-in bras being too small and the body being too big.)  I was lucky enough to score these with a $15 off coupon while they were already 40% off!  They normally retail for $19.50 each, so to get 2 for $10 (navy and light gray) was awesome.

Target Belt - $5 (after gift card)

I tried on this ADORABLE dress at American Eagle, but was super disappointed when it was too short...  If something is short on me, you know it's really short.  Anyway, I loved the embroidery detail and colors and so I was excited to find this belt at Target.  I think it's going to be good for spicing up some of my basic dresses during the spring and summer.

Michael Kors Purse - $180

I've been itching to get a new purse for some time now and struck out when I hit the outlets last month...  Coach didn't strike me to have anything I had to have and Michael Kors seemed to still be fairly pricey for the outlet.  I've been on a basic purse kick for a few years and wanted something that was classy, but still fun.  When I saw this beauty at TJ Maxx I knew she had to be mine.  In good taste, though, I waited a day to think it over and make sure that I wanted to make this investment.  Let's just say the next morning the thought of going to get my new baby from the store got me out of bed.  Sometimes being patient is well worth the wait!  (PS ~ The original MK tag showed a retail price of $368!)

Total = $455

Yikes!  Even if you take out the purse (which was from my tax refund "fun money") I was still well over my $150 monthly budget.  This may be a lame cop out, but I had A LOT of extra income this month from a grant program I am in for school and the 40+ hours I worked at my part-time job over spring break.  A girl is allowed to treat herself, right!?!  This is also one of those months where I look back at what I bought and really love everything I picked up.  I may not have scored amazing dirt-cheap deals, but I feel like everything I bought was well worth the money.  Well, I certainly did, but rest assured I won't do this very often and a good chunk of that extra money went to other things (like a new desk / workspace) and into savings.

April Shopping Plan:
Since my spending was *cough cough* a bit high for March I plan on trying to stick closer to my budget for April.  I'm allowed to start buying makeup and nail polish again in April and also plan on updating some of my shoe collection.  (I did a MAJOR closet clean out over spring break and really weeded through my shoe collection!)

Head over to Fran's blog to see how all of the other budgeting bloggers did this month and join in on the party!  

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Getting Started on Teachers Pay Teachers

Back in January I took a workshop from our awesome and talented music teacher who had become a total TpT rock star.  She's been at it for just about a year now and has made a TON of extra income from this venture.  She spends a lot of time creating products and has a lot of really great wisdom to share.  TpT has been something I've wanted to get into for a while now, but I just didn't know where to start.  After that workshop, I totally had the groundwork laid.  Now, I just need to really get this venture up and running!

TeachersPayTeachers  - Lesson Plans,Teaching Materials and Other Teacher-Created Resources
Image Via Teachers Pay Teachers
I was super excited about working on TpT products right after the workshop, but I soon lost steam.  I've been very overwhelmed and slightly unmotivated with school stuff recently and so thinking about school stuff when I don't have to has been hard.  I've also found myself overwhelmed by the awesomeness of other Tpt'ers and how amazing their products are.  As much as I want this to be a success, I don't want to live, breathe, and eat TpT.  

So, I want to get some feedback and advice from those of you who have products on TpT (or Teacher's Notebook).  Please comment below with your own insights and advice!

How much time do you spend per day / per week on creating projects (particularly during the school year)?  How do you balance this with your regular school duties and workload?

How do you decide what products to create?  Do you make things exclusively that you will use in your own classroom or do you make other resources as well?

I'd really love to hear the feedback of more people.  I'm part of a Facebook group, but most of us are just starting out.  I figured I'd take to the blogging world since I know some of you are seasoned pros!

You can check out my store here:  

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Budgeting Bloggers ~ February

I might as well warn you now that I really didn't plan on sticking to my normal $150 a month clothing / makeup / jewelry / nail polish budget.  I knew going into the month that I'd be going out of town on a shopping trip and I always allow myself a portion of my tax refund as some extra "fun money."

Merino side-panel V-neck sweater
Image via J.Crew
This was my splurge of the month, but for good reason.  I've wanted a bright pink sweater like this for over a year and every time I saw one online (usually from J.Crew), I'd wait and then miss out on it.  I decided to take the plunge and snatch it up during their 25% off promo.  This is A LOT for me to spend on a single item, but it's something that I knew would be worth it and was something I'd been wanting for a long time.

This is an Honorable Mention.  I really wanted to love this tote, but when it (finally!) came in the mail I just wasn't feeling it.  It's cute, but I knew I could put my $25 towards something I loved.  I consider the fact that I returned this a shopping win.

J.Crew Factory Scalloped Shift Dress - $52
Factory scalloped shift dress
Image via J.Crew Factory
Wedding season is just around the corner and I've already got several on the calendar.  I don't really own that many nice dresses (most of mine are more casual), so I decided that investing in a nice dress wouldn't hurt.  I love this dress!  I almost passed on it, but my mom liked it and so I decided to go back and give it a try.  The scallop detail is adorable and I love that it's navy instead of black.  I'm super excited to accessorize this one!  I love that J.Crew lets you combine the teacher / student discount with their sales...  I wish more stores were like that!

J.Crew Factory Printed Draped Tank - $25
Factory printed draped tank
Image via J.Crew Factory
Can a person ever say no to navy and white stripes?!?  I'm not normally a fan of this neckline, but I really liked the fit of this top and see a lot of versatility with it wearing it alone or with jackets or cardigans.

Gap Outlet Cardigan - $16
I think this one sucked me in because I'd just bought the above shirt and thought it would be a cute combination.  It's a fun color and I will be nice going into spring.

Forever 21 Retro Polka Dot Scarf - $10
Let's take a moment to discuss how much my local Forever 21 sucks.  I've probably been to 6 or 7 of those stores in different cities and the one in my city is by far the suckiest one.  I think every other store I've been to has a ROOM of accessories...  Mine has 2 little TABLES.  Scarves?  Good luck.  Anyway, my mom spotted this scarf and I immediately informed her that even if she was getting it, I was getting one too.  (This isn't our first mother / daughter matching scarf...  We share a leopard one as well.  And of course the one time that we wore to the same place was the first time she was meeting the guy I was dating.  I reassured him that my mom and I don't always dress like twins. LOL)

Forever 21 Sugar Cluster Stud Set - $5
Among other things I have weaknesses for...  Cute, cheap earrings.

Francesca's Collection Earrings - $12 and $5
You know those days when the only things that will make you not go insane are shopping and wine?  I had one of those days and it just so happened to be when Francesca's was running a buy one get one half sale on jewelry.  Let's just say I could have spend A LOT more.

Charlotte Russe Necklace - $13
Charlotte has really impressed me with their jewelry lately.  I don't really shop there for clothing, but I pop in every now and then when I'm working at the mall to check out their accessories.  They've got some really great knockoffs and statement pieces at reasonable prices.  I've been pleasantly surprised with the quality as well!

Total = $201

In all honesty, at the beginning of the month I was thinking my total would be more around the $400 range.  I had actually planned to get a new (nice) purse at the outlets, but didn't find one that I loved.  I've managed to stick with my no makeup / no nail polish challenge and haven't even cheated with my gift cards!  I've been really into accessories lately, though, and think that may end up being a ban later in the year.

March Shopping Plan:  
I've been cleaning out my closet a bit and finding some items that need to be upgraded or replaced.  My shoe collection is next on the cleaning agenda.  I know that I need some new dressy shoes for the weddings I'll be attending I also need to upgrade some of my sandal collection.  I'm really in a spring shopping mood, but I type this as I stare at the snow outside.  Ugh!

How did you do with your budget this month?  
Don't forget to check out Fran and the other Budgeting Bloggers over on her page!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Budgeting Bloggers ~ January

As part of my slacker blogger phase, I haven't participated in a Budgeting Bloggers link up since August...  Part of this was just me not blogging and another part of this was that I was not really doing much budgeting when it came to my shopping.

Loft Striped Blouse - $20
Image via Loft
I'd been attracted to this top for a few months, but never could quite commit to it.  I was thrilled when I found it on super clearance and decided to give it another go.  I'm kind of between sizes at Loft and with some recent weight loss the smaller of my two was just perfect!

Rue 21 Striped Skater Dress - $18
I've realized I'm kind of on a stripe kick lately.  I spent A LOT of time on Pinterest over my Christmas break and found a lot of cute outfit ideas for work.  I love dresses and have been trying to incorporate them more into my winter work wardrobe.  This was a great deal and will be super versatile!

Groop Dealz Necklace - $9
I'm a sucker for cute, inexpensive jewelry.  'Nuff said.

Loft Fleece Knit Skirt - $14
Image via Loft
This skirt is basically sweatpants in skirt form.  It's been a good basic addition to my work wardrobe.  I've been trying to mix things up a bit more this winter by wearing more skirts and dresses with tights.

Loft 2-in-1 Softened Shirt - $36
Image via Loft
This is my "splurge" of the month.  It was love at first sight, but I had a tough time with sizing.  Long story short I ended up getting the larger of my Loft sizes and stinking it up a bit in the wash to find my perfect fit!

Charlotte Russe Necklace - $13

This is a Bauble Bar knockoff that I was thrilled to find.  I love the colors and it was less than half of the price of the other one that was out last year.

Abercrombie Audrey Shine Top - $8
Image via Abercrombie
I popped into Abercrombie randomly a while back and found this gem on clearance marked down from...  Wait for it...  $58!!!  I hardly go in there, but I'd noticed this one a while back.  The last one was in my size and was super cute when I tried it on.  It was meant to be!

Express Cami - $11
I recently realized my renewed love for spaghetti strap camis and realized that I needed to clean out and upgrade my collection.  Express is, by far, my favorite place to get them because they're great quality and the bra part actually fits me.

Versona Accessories Boots - $14
These boots are probably my best buy of the month.  They were only $35 originally and I totally would have dropped that amount on them.  Black knee boots have been on my wish list for a long time and I finally have a great pair!

J.Crew Baseball Cap - $18
Embroidered emblem baseball cap in tonal
Image via J.Crew
I've been in a cute baseball cap buying mood for a few months now...  I can wear them to my part-time job on the weekends, which makes them all the more appealing.

Total = $161

Considering this is my first month of budgeting in a LONG time and this is my first month after a breakup, I'd say I did quite well only going over budget by $11 or so.  I'm on a nail polish and makeup ban this month, which has been super hard since that's what I buy when I need a pick-me-up...  This was a test for this emotional shopper!  Thanks to some amazing sales, I'd say I did a pretty good job of sticking with things that were all good deals and fairly versatile.

Did you notice that I have NOTHING from Gap?  I've been really disappointed with their stuff in the past few months.  I don't think I've made any purchases there since October or November!  Loft opened here in October and I already loved that store, but I've come to love it even more now that it's just down the street and I can actually try stuff on!

February Budget Plan:  

I'm (hopefully) finally getting out of town to do some outlet shopping and to hit up a few stores we don't have locally.  Now that Loft is in town I think J.Crew is pretty much the only clothing store that I shop at that I don't have nearby.  I am allotting more money for this trip and am hoping to maybe find a new purse on this excursion as well.  I am proud to say that this purse addict spent less than $100 on purses in 2013.  (One of the two was a leather Coach purse, might I add...)  I've got my eye on a few specific items, but I'm considering this to be my big shopping month for a while.

***As a side note, with my part-time job I do get quite a few other items from Aerie and American Eagle...  I've decided not to include these in my Budgeting Bloggers posts because I don't really count these things as part of my clothing and accessories budget.  Depending on sales, promotions, and contests I get a lot of things either free or majorly cheap.  It usually doesn't account for much of my spending and since I'm working extra, I've just decided to keep that separate.  I wanted to add this in since sometimes these items pop up on outfit posts or Polyvore sets.  

Saturday, January 18, 2014

My First Teachers Pay Teachers Product!

Happy Saturday!

I hope you all have been doing well since returning to school / work from the holidays!  I feel like this time of year is just jam-packed full of events and I hardly have time to even breathe!  

This past week I attending a workshop taught by my school's music teacher.  She's become to pro on Teachers Pay Teachers in the past year and shared with us her expertise on creating products and selling on TpT.  I've been interested in getting started on there for several months, but wasn't quite sure how to get things rolling.  This class was just what I needed!  She gave us all of the tools I needed to get started and I'm super excited about this new adventure!  

 Reading Response Mini Pack
Reading Response Mini Pack
If you're on TpT, you can follow my store Third Grade Rock Star!

I've also started a new Pinterest that will be more focused on teaching stuff.  I'm going to try to post my creations on that page as well as on my own personal Pinterest.  

I plan on getting back to regular blog posts in the coming weeks and months.  Rest assured for those of you who aren't teachers it won't all be products and stuff like that...  I'll still be posting about all of my other life loves like clothes, makeup, shopping, decorating, and my other random thoughts!