Monday, June 30, 2014

Makeup Monday: 5 Items Worth the Splurge

Last week I talked about some of my favorite drugstore cosmetics and my favorite items if you're wanting basics or to save money.  Today I'm going to swing the opposite direction and discuss my favorite high-end products and what I think is worth the extra money.

Worth the splurge...

Naked Palettes - I have 3 of the 4 UD Naked palettes (the only one I don't have is the original).  I didn't pay full price for any of mine, but waited until I had points to redeem at Ulta, a coupon, or a gift card (or some combination).  If I weren't such a makeup junkie (or had better self control) I could probably function with one of these as my sole eye shadow collection.  These give great variety, work for any season, and you can create tons of looks.  There are a lot of neutral palettes out there right now that I know are also good quality that will give you the same versatility.  (Honorable Mention:  Too Faced Natural Eye palette ~  I haven't had mine that long, but it's pretty amazing and less pricey than the 3 big Naked palettes.)

Nars Blush - After several years I finally gave in and bought the Nars "Orgasm" blush and it was totally worth it.  I've never really been one for high-end blushes, but this one has such a great reputation that I figured it was worth it.  It's very versatile and I have a feeling it's going to last me a LONG time!

Clarisonic - I purchased a Clarisonic Mia 2 about a year and a half ago and love it!  I did my research on other face brushes and while there are some other good and less expensive ones out there, Clarisonics came very highly recommended.  Once again, I waited until Sephora had a coupon out (it happens about twice a year), so I didn't quite pay full price for mine.  

Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeliners - I'd never tried a high-end eyeliner until I picked up an UD trio at Sephora.  I'm typically content with my $3 and under eyeliners from Walgreens, but had noticed with spring and allergy season that they weren't holding up so well.  I don't wear my UD liners everyday, but when I know I need my liner to stay looking good for a longer period of time, these are the ones I reach for!

Primers - I've become a pretty big believer in primers over the past few years.  I've noticed I'm a lot happier with my makeup when I prime and it makes my look last a lot longer.  I think investing in a good primer is worth it because it really can affect how the rest of your makeup performs.  I love Benefit's Porefessional and Smashbox's Photo Finish Light for my face.  I seem to have endless samples of eyeshadow primers and really like the ones from Urban Decay, Too Faced, and The Balm.

If you're going to drop extra money on a makeup or skincare item, do your research and make sure it's something that you know you'll like.  None of these things were items that I just tossed into the basket on bought on a whim...  I looked at reviews, tutorials, and swatches online as well as looked at them in store (multiple times) before committing to the purchase.  All of my splurges are also pretty basic items that I knew would give me versatility.

What items do you think are worth the splurge? 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Budgeting Bloggers ~ June

Greetings!  I somehow managed to skip posting for last month's Budgeting Bloggers, so I wanted to be sure to to join in this month.

I think one of the hardest things about not working full-time during the summer is the amount of free time I have...  I tend to be one of those people who shops when they're bored, whether it be online or in store and that can be a HUGE budget buster if I'm not careful.  I try to occupy my time with things other than shopping, but of course that doesn't always happen.  

Image via Loft

I had 2 of Loft's $25 off $50 savings cards at the beginning of the month and decided to give myself a portion of my budget for a little fun there.  I tried these cropped jeans on a whim and LOVED them!  I've really never had much luck with patterned pants, so I was pleasantly surprised with how flattering they are.  The colors are great for summer, but can transition into fall and I've received compliments every time I've worn them!

Image via Loft
I feel like I have a love / hate relationship with linen.  I've bought some great linen tops and I've bought some really crappy ones as well.  I really like this fit and it goes great with my new jeans!

Loft Sunwashed Tees - $31 for 5
Image via Loft
  Does anyone else feel like they have to upgrade their tee collection almost every year!?!  I feel like got rid of and bought a lot of new tees last year, but I feel like I'm having to do the same this year.  I think part of this can be blamed on changes in my weight and how I like things to fit.  Loft had a couple good promos on tees this month, so I was able to snag them all for about $6 each.  (This is less than the sale Target has been running on their Merona tees!)  Tees are something I wear year-round, so when I find a fit that I like I tend to buy them in bulk!

Loft Floral Henley Romper - $41
Image via Loft
This is my splurge of the month.  It's very much out of my element, but I really like it.  Unfortunately I don't know how much wear it will end up getting, but I'm trying to style it different ways.  I would have never thought I romper would fit or look good on me, but since Loft's clothing is made for not teenagers, it's a more comfortable length.

How I styled the Loft romper for a day of errand running and shopping.

Linen V-neck sweater in garment dye

I will refrain from ranting too much about how sketchy it was that this sweater was suddenly sold out the morning of their one day 40% off promo and then magically reappeared in full supply the next day when it dropped down to 30%.  Anyway, I guess that means I really wanted this sweater because I was still willing to pay the extra 10% ($5-ish) for it.  As a K-State grad I'm naturally drawn to purple things and neon purple (or "neon amethyst" as this one is called) is a rare find and not a color I really own.

Versona Accessories Earrings - $6 and $4

I went into Versona looking for a gift and walked out with these for myself.  I've been pretty well behaved with jewelry for a few months, so I didn't feel too guilty.  The spades remind me of Kate Spade (for about 1/10 the price) and the leopard is a little something fun to spice up some of my basic black outfits.

Gap Polka Dot Dress - $21
The only words I can think to describe this dress:  totes adorbs.

How cute is this dress?!?  I really wasn't in the market for a dress, but this one caught my eye and when I saw that it was on major sale I decided to give it a try.  It's definitely going to be traveling with me in September when I go on vacation for a friend's wedding!

Total = $188

I stayed within my $200 max budget, but not by very much.  As you can see, I've been hitting Loft pretty hard lately.  Some of my other old favorite stores just haven't been doing it much for me lately.  I definitely branched out of my element with the floral jeans and romper, but I'm quite happy with both of those purchases.

July Budget Plan:

I'm heading out of town for a few days and plan on doing some shopping at stores that I don't have locally.  (Watch out J.Crew and H&M, I'm coming your way!)  I pretty much plan on blowing through my July budget on that trip, so I'm going to test my self-discipline the rest of the month.  It's probably good that I'll be taking my two week summer class and that will keep me busy and out of the stores.  As much as I don't want to think about it, school will be starting up in about a month and a half, so I need to start focusing my shopping mindset on things that I can wear to work and that can transition into fall.

Don't forget to stop over to Fran's blog and check out the other budgeting bloggers!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

TpT Tuesday (and by Tuesday I mean Thursday!)

It's been a busy week!  I taught a professional development class on Tuesday, so I was kind of thrown off schedule from normal and realized that I'd never finished up this post from Tuesday.  I'm keeping it very short and sweet as a result!

I've got a few more items in the works, but I think I'll be ready to soon create some bundles for my polka dot items and my gray chevron items!  I'm excited to have enough created to get to that point.  I'm loving both "collections" so far.  Making all of this is going to make it hard to decide on my own themes for the upcoming school year!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Branching Out

This past year (or not quite a year) has been a challenge for me.  It's not necessarily one particular thing that has challenged me, but a variety of things.  Friendships, dating relationships, relations with coworkers...  I've been challenged in a lot of ways, good and bad.  I've learned a lot about myself and a lot about the people around me.  I've learned who I can truly trust and depend on though good and bad and I've learned who really has my back.  I've developed friendships with some very unlikely people that I would have missed out on had I not opened myself up to new opportunities.

I feel like these challenges have caused me to branch out of my comfort zone in a lot of ways.  I've put myself out there in ways that I haven't before...  In some ways the result has been good and in others it's backfired on me.  I'm learning to trust God and I know that he's doing these things to make me stronger and wiser.  

Loft Romper Styling

This isn't a fashion post necessarily, but in all of this I've also branched out a bit with my style.  I consider myself to be a reasonably stylish person, but there are some things that I look at and think, "No way!  Not on this girl!"  But really, what have you got to lose when you grab that cute item in the store and aren't quite sure if it's you?  Try it on and just SEE!  Branch out and try something new!

I had this happen last week...  I went into Loft to get another cotton tee.  Something basic, safe, and (of course) on sale.  As I was wandering around the store, I noticed this cute floral romper...  Totally cute, but totally not something I would typically go for.  I decided there was nothing to lose, though, and tried it on.  I loved it!  Out of my normal element?  Yes!  But, that's part of why I love it so much.  (And did I get another tee?  Nope!  I decided to go for something DIFFERENT!)

Now, I'm not saying that God teaches me lessons while shopping, but this connection did occur to me.  I'm not the same person I was a year ago.  I've learned a lot, cried a lot, and grown a lot.  I've learned to branch out of my comfort zone.  It's not always 100% comfortable, but it can be a very rewarding experience.  :)

Monday, June 23, 2014

Makeup Monday: Basics Under $10

Makeup Basics

I have been asked a couple times recently about what inexpensive makeup items would be good for someone new to makeup / someone who doesn't wear it often / someone who lost theirs and needs quick replacements. I wear a mix of high-end and drugstore brands, but this got me thinking about my favorite drugstore items and that I consider to be good basics.

Top to Bottom:

Maybelline Color Whispers - I'm not really a lipstick girl, but these are a total essential for me.  They give good color without being too heavy.  I have so many of these and always have at least 1 or 2 in my purse!

NYC Smooth Skin Bronzer - This is one that all of the You Tubers rave about and it lives up to the hype.  It's a really nice matte bronzer that's just enough to help you blend and add a little color without turning yourself into a complete bronzed goddess.

Dark Brown Eyeliner - I have a few brands that I enjoy for good, inexpensive eyeliner.  I like dark browns for a less harsh look (especially when I'm going with a lighter or more neutral look.  Prestige, Ulta, and Jordana are probably my favorite brands!

Cover Girl Clear Complexion Concealer - This is a really good does everything concealer.  It's one of my favorites to keep in my purse for on-the-go touch ups throughout the day.

Rimmel Stay Matte Foundation - This is my current favorite foundation.  The coverage is amazing and I really can go without concealer at all most of the time when I wear this foundation.  

NYX Matte Finish Setting Spray - I find this to be very comparable with Urban Decay's All Nighter and De-Slick sprays for a lot less money!

Wet 'N Wild Eye Shadow Trios - This is another item that I was introduced to thanks to You Tube.  I've kind of  become an eye shadow snob since discovering  Urban Decay and Too Faced, but these babies hold their own in my makeup collection. They have a great variety of colors, the pigmentation is awesome, and I think most of the time they run about $1.99 for a trio!

ELF Studio Blush - The blushes cost only $3 each, but they've earned a top spot in my makeup collection.  I think these might be the only blushes I've completely finished and repurchased!

Maybelline Mega Plush Mascara - This mascara is perfect if you're wanting full, pretty, natural looking lashes.  It isn't going to give you tons of drama, but that's actually why I like have having this one in my collection!

Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser - I'll admit that this is the only drugstore primer I've ever tried, so I really didn't have any other suggestions for primers.  This one is a great bargain and really does a pretty good job without the cost of the high-end primers that you find elsewhere.  

What are your favorite drugstore makeup brands / items?  

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Getting Away

One thing I love about being off work for the summer is that I have the flexibility to spend time with friends and family.  I've actually had a quite a few busy weekends with weddings, showers, birthdays, and just spending time with friends.  In a couple weeks, I will be traveling out of town to spend time with some friends and family for a few days.  I'm not going on an actual vacation this summer since I'll be going on a trip for a good friend's wedding in September, so this little getaway is going to have to satisfy me until then.

My trip is going to consist of a baby shower / BBQ, shopping, eating at yummy restaurants, and more shopping.

Weekend Getaway

I'm going for cute, comfy, and casual here...

  • Striped dress & denim jacket - This is pretty much my favorite kind of outfit.  I love cute knit dresses and they're perfect topped off with a denim jacket.  I plan on wearing this to the baby shower / BBQ and maybe out to dinner.
  • T-shirt and jeggings - I'm only going to be driving about 3 hours away, but I still want to be comfy yet cute and ready to go out and about.  I love this tee and my AE jeggings are pretty much the yoga pants equivalent to jeans.  
  • T-shirt & scarf - I'm a sucker for scarves and I still love them this time of year in lightweight florals.  I've been wearing this one from Aerie a ton lately.  It's a nice way to dress up a basic tee without piling on the accessories.
  • Striped blouse - This was a great buy back when I last visited the J.Crew Factory store in Oklahoma.  It's become one of my favorites because it's kind of dressy, but still comfortable and versatile.
  • Metallic sandals - You know you made a good choice when you get asked if these are the $150 sandals in the J.Crew catalog...  Nope, they were less than $20 from AE!  These seriously go with everything and add a teensy bit of glam without being over the top!
  • Crossbody purse - I love crossbody purses for traveling and shopping.  They're so convenient!  I bought this black one from Coach last summer, but they brought back the same style this year.  I wish I could justify getting another color (or 3)!
  • Go with everything necklace - I have a very similar necklace that was a $2 Forever 21 clearance find several years ago.  It goes with everything and I get compliments on it whenever I wear it.  It's proof that you shouldn't always discriminate against inexpensive jewelry.  
  • Versatile makeup palette - I'm currently loving my Too Faced Natural Eye palette and their Better Than Sex mascara.  I can create a lot of looks with this palette.  I love that I can go with a lighter look during the day, but then add some darker colors on top for the evening.  Plus the packaging isn't super big and bulky so you can still stash it in your purse if you want it on the go.
What are your go to outfits / accessories / makeup for a weekend getaway?  

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

TpT Tuesday: On Social Networking

Does anyone else get slightly overwhelmed with all of the social networking opportunities there are out there?!?  I Facebook, blog, Pinterest, and Instagram and sometime feel like I can't keep up with it all!  I also try to separate my personal world from some of my networkings, but sometimes I struggle with figuring out that line.

For example, I've got a Facebook page for my TpT store.  I have hundreds of Facebook friends, many of which are teachers, but in trying to get followers for my store page I don't want to blast my friends with posts about school stuff and products that many of them don't care about.

I know that Instagram can be a great tool for networking, but a few months ago I decided to go private on there because kids from my school had figured out how to find teachers on there...  And let's face it, we don't want the kids seeing EVERYTHING we do on the weekends.

I started a separate Pinterest account for my TpT stuff, but I've found I already have a HUGE following on my original ("personal") account, so why bother with switching back and forth when I already have tons of people following me already?  If they don't want to see my other pins, they don't have to follow those boards, right?

I'm just rambling...  If any of you have any good suggestions for social networking, I'd love to get your input.  I don't want to overdo it, but I also don't want to underdo it either.  I don't want to overwhelm my friends and family, but I do want to use them as a tool to get more followers.  

I didn't do a whole lot of new products this week, but I did manage to get three new items up!  

 Click here to download the calendar pack!
Click here to download the calendar pack!
Click here to download the *FREE* welcome banner!

Click here to download the word wall headers!

Finally, I would LOVE if you would go "like" me on Facebook.  I'm thinking once I reach 100 followers on there I'll do a sale or do a giveaway.  Last week I asked for an idea for a new theme for materials and whoever gave me the first theme gets all of my creations for free...  So, gray chevron and bright colors it is!  I'm hoping to do fun little things like that, so you never know what may happen!

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Makeup Monday: Ulta and Sephora Haul!

Recent Makeup Buys

A couple months back I wrapped up my 100 day ban on buying makeup and nail polish.  It just so happened that this ended right at the same time both Ulta and Sephora had coupons out.  

(In case you're not aware, Sephora has a Beauty Insider / VIB sale twice a year...  Once in April and again in November.  Otherwise, their brands are pretty much always full price unless you happen to catch a rare clearance find.  Ulta has coupons all the time, but only 2 or 3 times a year do they include the "prestige brands" into those deals.)

I like a mix of high-end and drugstore brands of makeup, so I like to take advantage of these deals when I want to add some fancier brand products to my collection.  I must admit, I went a little crazy, but I'm super happy with everything I purchased.  All of these products are good everyday essentials that I felt were worthy additions to my makeup collection.

Naked Basics Palette - I love my Naked 2 and 3 palettes and have found myself more drawn to the matte shades than I would have thought.  While I wasn't super excited about this one when it came out a year or so ago, I'm so happy I bought it!  It's a definite winner!

Too Faced "Mascara & Bronzing Holy Grail" Set - I've heard a TON of good reviews of the "Better Than Sex" mascara from Too Faced.  This set came with a full sized mascara and good sized mini of their bronzer for the same size as the lone mascara.  So far I really like both of these!

Urban Decay "Triple Threat" Eyeliner Trio - Other than a couple samples, I've never had a high end eyeliners before.  I usually get super cheap ones, but I've noticed more lately that some of those don't last that well throughout the day.  I spotted this little trio at the checkout at Sephora and decided to give it a try.  I like that it's 2 blacks (regular and matte) and a navy, so I got some good, but basic variety.  I've used these the past few days and see why people rave about their quality!  These definitely stay put throughout the day!

Nars "Orgasm" Blush - This one gets rave reviews all the time and I've wanted it for several years now.  I finally went for it and I'm so happy I did!  It's a beautiful color and I now understand how some people say this is most versatile blush out there.

Nars "Orgasm" Lip Gloss -  I've never purchased anything from Nars until now, but this may become a new brand I'll come to love.  I spotted this one when I was picking out my blush and thought it was a gorgeous shimmery nude.  This stuff stays on amazingly well throughout the day, even through sipping drinks and eating lunch.

Smashbox "Quartz" Limitless 15 Hour Cream Shadow -  I have 2 of these already and use them everyday as a base for my powder eye shadows.  I wanted this color for it's pink tone to work with the colors in my Naked 3 palette.  This one has a little more of a shimmery glittery tone than the others, so I've actually been wearing it alone a fair amount!

Real Techniques Blush Brush - I wanted to try another Real Techniques brush since I love my foundation brush so much.  These are really good brushes for the price!

...And one more that I forgot to add to the picture.

Too Faced - Natural Eye Neutral Eye Shadow Collection
Image via Sephora
Too Faced Natural Eye Palette - I bought this one a little bit later as part of my "I Survived the Worst School Year Ever" budget.  One of my friends bought this one last year when were were shopping and she raves about how much she loves this palette.  I love this thing!  I admit, it looks very similar to my Naked palettes, but it really is quite different.  I'm really loving Too Faced right now!


Has anyone noticed how the names of a lot of popular makeup products are very sexual?  I personally think it's just a funny and slightly clever way to market things, but I had a friend on Facebook post about how offended she was by all of these names and she wouldn't buy certain brands anymore because of the names.  I joked with my mom about how I was going to have a skanky face now with all of these products.


I picked up a couple drugstore items on sale at Walgreens and a couple NYX Butter Glosses at Target as well, so I'm taking it easy on the makeup purchases again for a while.  I'm not doing an official ban at the current time, but I am going to try to go until school starts again before I get anything new.  I have wayyyyyy too much, so I'm working on using up some of what's in my collection and experimenting with new combinations.  Pinterest is sooooo good for ideas!  :)

  Have your purchased any new makeup goodies recently?!?

Friday, June 13, 2014

Fashion Friday: Why Loft is one of my new favorite stores.

Over the next few Fridays I'm going to share with you a few of my favorite stores and why I like to shop there.  I love discovering new places and sometimes overlook stores that are really great.  In working at the mall, I've learned that sometimes people miss out on  shopping at great places because they're not in their normal shopping center or they think that a store doesn't fit their image or target demographic.


I first noticed Loft about 5 years ago from a magazine ad...  I remember it featured a soft pink tank, a cream cardigan with a tan floral print, jeans, and an army green jacket.  I'm guessing that I'd never paid attention to that store before because we didn't have one nearby, but that ad haunted me with that beautiful outfit.  Right around that time I went on a road trip to Colorado and found a Loft store.  I bought about 1/2 of the outfit right off of that ad and after that I was hooked on that store.  Unfortunately, the nearest stores were about 2 1/2 hours away from home and they haven't hopped on the bandwagon of reasonable shipping costs, so my purchases from there were few and far between.  I did some pretty serious damage at their Times Square store a few years ago, but other than that it was just a couple items here or there.

And then it happened last fall...

We finally got a Loft store in town AND it's only about 5 minutes from where I live!

I'm pretty sure I was in there opening day.

Ever since then, Loft has become a favorite for work clothes and the part of my wardrobe that I call "dressy casual"...  You know, the stuff that you can dress up or down and that can easily transition from work to weekend.  

Those skirts!  Both scored on super clearance, of course!
My wild new floral print cropped jeans!

  1. There's always a sale.  There is never a reason to pay full price there.  They always have some sort of deal going on and a lot of times you can score stuff at pretty significant discounts.  I've managed some really great deals on new arrivals and of course have scored some amazing clearance finds.
  2. They have really good "dressy casual" clothes.  I know I already said this, but this store is perfect for the whole work-to-weekend thing.  A lot of what I own from there can be dressed up or I can rock my distressed jeggings and it works either way.  It's obviously a lot more cost effective if the items are more versatile like that.
  3. They carry petites!  I teeter right on the edge of petite and regular in dresses and pants, so I love having the option of choosing between one or the other.  
  4. Everything is so pretty!  If you've read my blog for a while, you know I love my neons, but sometimes there's just something to be said for pretty neutrals and prints.  Speaking of prints, I'm not a huge print person, but they always seem to have ones that appeal to me and get me to branch out of my comfort zone a bit.
  5. The fit!  I feel like I'm at that age where it's not really that appropriate for me to buy juniors clothes anymore (although let's face it, I do occasionally), but I'm not quite ready for "mom clothes."  (Moms please don't take offence to that, but I think you know what I mean.)  I really like to fit of a lot of their clothes and really haven't tried on much that made me totally cringe.  I find a lot of it to be really flattering to the curves, but it doesn't feel too old and frumpy.  Aside from American Eagle jeans, Loft jeans are my next favorite for fit.  Their dresses are also very flattering and they typically have a good variety of styles to fit different tastes and needs.
Do you shop at Loft?
What are your favorite things to get there?!?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

TpT Tuesday

I hope you're having a terrific Tuesday!  

It's amazing how for it being summer I have been super busy over the past few days...  My weekends have been packed with weddings, showers, and birthday parties, so it's been a fun start to the summer.

I had a lot of extra time during my weekdays last week since my brother was away at camp, so I put in a lot of time on some new Teacher Pay Teachers products.  I don't know about any of you who are also on there, but it's sometimes a little overwhelming to see all of the amazing people on there and their fabulous and creative products.  I'm starting off slow and with some basics for the classroom and we'll just see how it goes from there!  

I have been making some classroom items in a cute bright pink, green, and blue polka dot design.  I'm still working on making more to go with this theme, but here's what I've got so far...

 Word Wall Headers

 AR Mega Pack

 Group Signs

PS ~ I was having some issues with linking when I wrote this post (and was too lazy to try to change everything again), so if the image links aren't working here's the link to my store!