Six Beauty Products I {Heart}

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! ♡♡ I hope today is filled with love, happiness and some of your favorite things. For me, that means French toast, lots of coffee and a romantic Italian dinner with my favorite Italian man.

Speaking of favorite things, I’ve fallen hard for some beauty products lately in my continual hunt for the perfect makeup and skin care goodies I can use to look and feel my best on our big day. I’ve done some major experimenting, and here are the winners!

amazon.com
amazon.com

Olay Regenerist Pore Detoxifying Scrub. When we first got engaged, my mom bought me an expensive skin care set to get me glowing. Although I liked it, it didn’t really “wow” me, so when I ran out of the cleanser, I randomly picked this Olay product up at the grocery store. It was a bit on the expensive side (for something available at a grocery store), but I can honestly say it has changed the texture of my skin within my first week of use. I can’t wait to see how it continues to transform my skin over the next few months. I truly look more even-toned in a matter of days.

amazon.com
amazon.com

Josie Maran Light Argan Oil. I wash my hair every three days, and by the time I go to bed on that third night, the ends of my hair can look and feel a bit fried. Just a few drops worked into my ends are all I need—then I wrap my hair in a bun and go to bed. After I wash my hair the next morning, my hair looks shiny and smooth. I have oily hair (and swear by dry shampoo), so I can honestly say I was very skeptical when I bought this, but I promise, it won’t make your hair greasy! I also use it on my cuticles before bed for soft hands.

amazon.com
amazon.com

Bare Minerals BareSkin Pure Brightening Serum Foundation. As someone who hates feeling like I have makeup caked on my face, I am always weary of foundations—but I knew my simple BB cream wasn’t going to get me through all of our pictures on our wedding day. This makeup is very lightweight but boasts great coverage. It just takes two drops onto the Bare Minerals brush to give me a full day’s worth of long-lasting makeup, and it still lets my skin show through.

amazon.com
amazon.com

Philosophy Total Matteness Oil-Free Mattifying Pore Eraser. But before I put my makeup on, I work a dime-sized dollop of this all over my face—it helps keep my skin mattified throughout the day (no feeling oily around 3 p.m.) and keeps my makeup on; both musts for pictures!

amazon.com
amazon.com

Josie Maran Argan Color Stick in Spice. Can you tell I’m a Josie Maran fan? I got this blush in a sample kit of hers (along with the argan oil) and have worn it every day since. The color is a perfect neutral that pairs perfectly over top a bronzer for a perfectly blushed cheek. I also have one of her coconut water cheek stains and love it too.

amazon.com
amazon.com

NARS Satin Lipstick in Tolede. I can’t even begin to explain my journey to finding this lip shade (I know, dramatic sounding, right?). I asked three different makeup artists to help me find a “neutral pink” shade and boy, did each of them have their own idea of what that meant. One went so far as to drawing two points on my upper lip with a lip liner and painting a terrifyingly orange/red stain on me. I stifled a scream and then politely declined her offer of walking me to the checkout counter with her selection. And then one day, I walked into Sephora, talked to a new girl and bam! She brought me this beauty. It’s the perfect shade that gives my lips color without too much drama. Plus it’s very moisturizing. And I don’t look like the Bride of Chucky.

Have a beautiful day everyone!

What are your favorite beauty products? Any must-haves for your wedding day?

 

My (Wedding) Health Goals

Folks, it’s crunch time. It was easy talking about my hopes and dreams for hitting the gym back in August, but at the turn of the new year, I knew I had to set real goals I could stick to day in and day out.

Before I go into the details, let me first say that I honestly have just one end goal in mind: to look and feel my absolute best when I take that anticipated walk down the aisle toward my future hubby. Does that mean shedding a couple pounds? Sort of. It mainly means feeling tight, toned and confident in my dress and emotionally energized and refreshed.

I’m actually not regularly stepping on a scale in these next few months. I’m mainly going on how I feel in my clothes and what I see when I look in the mirror, because as we know, the scale only tells part of the story. My skinniest has not always equaled my most toned in the past. But there are real goals I’m working toward every day. Here are a few of them.

Countdown to 200 miles
Countdown to 200 miles

I’m doing the Tone It Up bridal challenge. In other words, in the four months leading up to my wedding, I want to run 200 miles. That’s right—about 50 a month/12.5 a week/1.8 a day. I’m not going to drive myself bonkers trying to meet that exact number, but I’m going to do everything in my power to get damn close. This will help hold me accountable during my workouts and give me that extra nudge when I want to get off the treadmill. I thrive from checking things off of lists, so this worksheet is just begging to be crossed off!

I’m cutting carbs. Not cutting out carbs (no one wants to get on that rollercoaster ride), but rather cutting down on them. This means more green veggies, fruits, and lean proteins. Replacing a carb-y snack with Greek yogurt. Removing sugary creamer from my morning coffee. Backing away from the cookies at night and replacing them with peanut butter and granola. Of course there have been cheat meals and weak moments, but we’ve been on this “diet” since the new year—as the home’s chef, whatever I cook, Nick eats— and the both of us feel great. It’s crazy what some diet tweaks can do for your energy levels.

The gym and I are seeing each other 4x a week. I’ve always been dedicated to working out, but it’s time to bring out the big guns. Doing the same old 2-3 workouts a week isn’t going to help me get where I want to be. It’s also not going to get me to 200 miles, so I’m upping my workouts to at least four times a week. Five when my schedule allows. I’m of course running but doing more strength training as well to get the sculpted arms and back I’m craving.

See? Nothing too crazy. I’ve had goals like this before, but I’m really holding myself to this one. Between the pictures that will be taken and the honeymoon bikini that will be waiting for me the day after, I haven’t been having motivation issues. I just close my eyes and imagine how I want to feel for all the celebrations, starting with my shower and bachelorette party in April.

Honeymoon dreamin'
Honeymoon dreamin’

What fitness goals do you have for 2015?

An Overwhelmingly Wonderful (and Overwhelming) Time

It’s been a little over nine months since Nick asked me to marry him. Nine. In a way it feels like it’s been the simple blink of an eye, and in other ways I feel like we’ve been engaged forever. Like it’s hard to remember a time when we weren’t planning our wedding, living together and dreaming up our future.

And what’s crazier to think about is that we have a mere four months until our big day. After how quickly these past nine flew by, I’m afraid I’m going to turn around too fast and it’s going to be time to walk down the aisle.

I don’t want this special time to end. Being engaged has been truly blissful. Sure, it hasn’t been ALL roses and love songs, but planning our wedding has brought along some of the most fun experiences I’ve had. And although I know that married life will be even sweeter, I want to soak up every bit of these next few months and bask in the anticipation that the day will bring.

My guy
My guy

It’s truly a time in my life I’ll never get back. But when it’s over…

…Every time I’ll think back to Nick proposing, I’ll swoon. I’ll simply never forget the look on his face when he asked me. It was a combination of pure excitement mixed with a little fear. And then sheer joy when I said (screamed?) yes.

…I’ll think back to my mom’s voice and how excited she was when I called to tell her he asked (even though she knew it was coming). And how she bought me my first 15 bridal magazines and went page-by-page through them, helping me dream up every detail.

You can never read too many bridal magazines during your engagement
You can never read too many bridal magazines during your engagement

…I’ll always remember putting on MY wedding dress for the first time. The first one I tried on. Walking out of the dressing room and feeling so feminine, so bridal, so excited for Nick to see me in it.

…I’ll think about the delicious process of choosing just the right three tiers of cake we will serve our guests (and the layer we’ll freeze to eat for our first year anniversary). Taste testing the peanut butter mouse, red velvet, raspberries and cream … it was divine.

…I’ll never forget picking out the song that will be ours forever. Thinking about being led around the dance floor in my dreamy dress and freezing that moment in my mind forever and ever.

…Our families will look back on this time with us and think about what a damn good time we had together. Planning the food. Picking the invites. Sampling wines. Laughing. Crying. Spending our first Thanksgiving with our families united. The time that truly merged us into a whole new entity.

These past nine months have also brought on a fair share of challenges. Learning to live together and accept each other’s everyday habits. Merging finances and figuring out a savings plan that works for the both of us. Having demanding jobs that at times left us with just enough time at night to eat dinner and kiss each other goodnight. Figuring out our individual and collective life goals—and how we were going to make them happen.

I feel like an entirely different girl today than I was this time last year. It’s been an emotional, wonderful whirlwind that has made me grow up in many different ways.

So how am I feeling now? I’m excited, nervous and ready. So ready.

Side note: Although I plan to talk about my health journey to the altar as well (my next post will be about my fitness goals I’d like to hit by the big day), this blog is going to look a bit different for the next 120 days. But this is my life right now! I hope you enjoy taking this trip with me.

Until next time!

Another Year Older

This past Thursday was my birthday, and I said goodbye to 27 and welcomed 28 with open arms. My 27th year was a great one, but I have a feeling 28 will top it.

Hello, fall
Hello, fall

I love my birthday for many obvious reasons (hello cake, champagne and presents!), but one reason is because my birthday is at the same time of year when the seasons are changing. It may not be fall officially, but the trees are starting to turn colors, the nights are getting a bit breezy and I can’t help but dream of boots and scarves (my favorite fall accessories). It really feels like a time of reflection and renewal.

With all sorts of changes happening in this next year for me, my friends and my family, I’m going to do my best to enjoy the ride and the unexpected twists and turns. But you know me–I have to have some sort of organization to my life. So for my birthday, I ordered myself this little beauty…

Source: lillypulitzer.com
Source: lillypulitzer.com

Here are 8 things I’m looking forward to in my 28th year:

  1. Running in the Akron relay with my coworkers. 5.5 miles, here I come!
  2. Kicking off fall with my best friend’s birthday celebration and seeing friends get married.
  3. Visiting my sister in Chicago for a long weekend full of site-seeing, shopping and rugby (guess which part Nick’s looking forward to most)!
  4. Celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas in our new home.
  5. Continuing to commit to my workouts and get that bikini body ready for the big day.
  6. A wonderful shower with family and friends.
  7. A bomb-ass bachelorette party with all my best girlfriends in Chicago.
  8. Our wedding! And tropical honeymoon (still in the works, but it’s looking like Jamaica!).

With that, I’m off to a business trip in the fabulous Las Vegas! Have a great week, friends!

What are you looking forward to this fall?

My Gym Plan, Bridal Style

Source: Free People Blog
Source: Free People Blog

 

I’ve had a lot of these moments lately, so it’s not a surprise this quote spoke to me when I saw it earlier this week, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. Between getting engaged, having my sister move away, moving my home and starting to plan a wedding, these past few months have been emotional. Between the tears of joy and often overwhelming moments, I find myself panicking and wondering if I’m truly living in the moment as much as I can. I know I will look back on this year (and next year) as some of the sweetest, most poignant times. And I don’t want to waste one minute.

One of the best parts about being in this great limbo (a few months after an engagement with still many months ahead before the wedding), is that I still have time to plan, envision, dream, scheme and … workout!

But first, let me take a selfie
But first, let me take a selfie

Despite the crazy summer (there’s always excuses to skip workouts!), I’ve been trying my hardest to get a head start on “bridal bootcamping” and keep up with my fitness. Bottom line–I don’t want to wake up on New Year’s Day after binge eating my way through the holidays with a lot of work ahead of me to get wedding ready. So I’m starting now!

  • I joined the YMCA. The first day in our new town, Nick and I signed up at our local YMCA. I canceled my membership at Planet Fitness, and I have to say that I think the extra monthly fee is completely worth it! The workout equipment at our Y is top-notch and the classes are great. If you’re thinking of joining, definitely request a walk through and ask what the best price is that they can offer you–they worked with us to give us something very reasonable!
  • I’m still running with my running buddy. Even though we’re now about 25 minutes away from one another, my running partner and I are committing to maintaining our weekly runs. I know it will get harder as winter approaches, but it’s really helping to keep me on track. Running is always more fun with a good girlfriend and good gossip!
  • I’m cooking a lot more. It might be a combination of now being out in the burbs away from the great restaurants and wanting to save money, but I’m making homemade food a lot more often and have committed to making our lunches and dinners from whole, fresh ingredients. Our wallet and waistlines are thanking us–it’s a win win. On the menu this week: these peanut noodles!
  • I’m in a walking challenge. My company is challenging all of us to hook ourselves to a pedometer and aim for 10,000 steps a day. It sounds crazy, but even being a runner, it’s extremely hard to get that step count per day! I may not be meeting that goal all the time, but it’s definitely making me more conscious of my activity level.

And with that, I’m off to go for a walk. Have a great week!

What are some of your favorite healthy habits?

Thankful: Summer Edition

Happy Friday, everyone! Today, I’m thankful it’s the end of the week and we have a gorgeous weekend ahead of us. Did you hear that, Clevelanders? We have nothing but sunshine and good weather coming our way tonight, tomorrow and Sunday. How are you planning to take advantage?

But this post isn’t about the weather, although it’s fabulous. This post is about an extreme life change my family went through this past week–my baby sister moved to Chicago.

The OU grad this past May
The OU grad this past May

OK, maybe she’s not a baby. Actually, she’s 22 and quite grown up, but she’ll always be six years younger than me, and I’ll always feel like she’s half my sister and half my baby. I mean, I helped change her diapers and feed her pureed prunes when I was six. That counts for something, right?

I promised myself I wouldn’t cry writing this, so I’m going to make this quick. Here goes nothing.

This blog is dedicated to my sweet little sister Camille. As much as I am supposed to teach you about life as your big sister, you’ve probably taught me even more. And even though this move is most likely temporary (2016, where are you?) Cleveland feels like it has a huge gaping hole in it this week with you not here.

I know you’re going to do awesome in school, because you’ve always been smart and gotten good grades. And you’re going to make a ton of great, new friends because that’s always come naturally to you–way more naturally to you than me. Just do me one favor and never lose that sweet-as-pie side to you that makes you so different from the rest of the world.

Chicago is a big, scary city. Something I’ve certainly never experienced by myself, and I give you credit for having the courage for following your dreams out there. Never let someone tell you that you can’t do something, and most certainly always follow your heart. It will never lead you astray. And when you’re ready, we’ll be here in Cleveland waiting for you.

So today, I’m thankful for my sister. For teaching me what following your dreams is all about. For displaying courage even when she may be uncertain of what lies ahead. For being the best sister I could ask for–no matter how many miles separate us (for now).

Cheers to the weekend and to the future! Next week I’ll be posting an update on my new gym and running schedule …. until next time!

What I’ve Been Up To (Since April)

Hello, my long lost friends!  I owe you a big apology. If you haven’t noticed, I haven’t written in this blog for almost FOUR months. That’s insane. And it completely goes against one of my New Year’s resolutions to keep this blog up to date. But the good news? I’ve been busy, busy, busy and checked every one of my springtime plans off my list. Including something that seemed like just a daydream last time I blogged…

In Tremont, where we had our first date
In Tremont, where we had our first date

…We got engaged!

On April 17, Nick asked me to marry him—and I couldn’t say yes fast enough! I was completely shocked, and not only am I in love with the ring he picked out for me, but I can’t wait to be his wife. Nick challenges me to be a better person, loves me for all my flaws and has been by my side through the ups and downs life has thrown at us. I can’t imagine sharing my life with anyone more wonderful.

Although I won’t bore you by turning this into a full on wedding planning blog, I will try to share with you some details as we plan the big day (which is late next spring!).

But enough about that! Here are some highlights on what’s been keeping me busy these past few months.

  • Running the Cleveland 10 Miler. Yes, we ran it! It was a cold windy day at the end of April, but my running buddy and I pushed through and ended up getting close to our time we did two years prior. And despite my recent move, we’ve dedicated ourselves to running together about once a week—it makes my heart happy.
  • Fun wedding planning. A week after we got engaged, we selected our venue and set our date. About a month later, I found my dress and my bridesmaids’ dresses. One of my favorite daydreams is imagining Nick’s reaction when he sees me on our big day—I may be biased, but my dress is dreamy!
  • Moving. At the end of June, we made the trek to the burbs, and I have to say, we don’t hate it. Living together, although it was a bit of an adjustment, is really, really fun. I love waking up together every morning. I also love having central air and a dishwasher for the first time in three years.
  • Drinking beer at the Tremont Ale Fest. If you didn’t go this year, put this on your to-do list for next summer—most fun festival I’ve been to in a long time! My favorites? A beer that was mixed with fresh grapefruit juice and a beer that tastes like a chocolate milkshake.
  • Taking my future niece to the zoo. Nick and I spent a fun-filled Sunday with his niece at the ClevelandMetroparks Zoo and had a blast. Seeing all the animals through a 3-year-old’s eyes is truly magical. We’re already planning our next outing. Any suggestions?

    Meerkat silliness
    Meerkat silliness

Phew! I think those are the highlights. I promise I’m back for good this time—except for the wedding and honeymoon next year. ;) Have a great Wednesday!

What’s been your favorite summer activity so far?