Thursday, August 30, 2018

recent beauty empties

Over the past few months, I've used up quite a few products, and wanted to share  my thoughts on them! I firmly believe that initial impressions aren't sharing the full story, but continued use lets me give a more thorough and honest review of the product. There were several items, including my beloved eyeliner and mascara primer, that I've already reviewed so many times that it wasn't worth mentioning again, but there are quite a few new products I've used up and wanted to share my thoughts! I also wanted to mention that Sephora's semi-annual VIB sale is coming up, so I shared my purchased at the bottom of the post!

Sunday, August 5, 2018

a favorite, and a few things going back

top // madewell
jeans // articles of society [distressed version on sale]
sandals // steve madden [very similar]

Wanting to get back into blogging for me means it may be more about sharing (wrinkly) mirror pics once in a while rather than never sharing photo shoots with my good camera, so here we are ;)

Last night, CR and I joined my co-resident and his girlfriend for a night in Cleveland. We went to my favorite taco place (Barrio for all of you 'landers, but you already knew that) for make-your-own tacos and margs, and then went to the zoo to see the Asian light festival. So thankful we have such fun people in our lives and interesting things to eat and see! Also thankful to wear real clothes once in a while. I bought this Madewell tunic a few months ago and you guys...I am obsessed with it. Remember last year when I really wanted to try that Madewell central shirt but was all "I don't know if it's flattering, oh god, what a crisis" and then I bought the shirt and the world didn't burn down, and I ended up wearing it all summer? Well, it's that same style shirt, but as a tunic, which I just looooove. I'm wearing a size medium here. I've worn it with shorts, and black jeans, but this time paired it with an old pair of white jeans and cognac accessories. Easy breezy for a fun night out!
I had mentioned in my Nordstrom review post that I was going to try the Spanx faux leather leggings after that other pair was atrocious. I ordered them in a large as I was told they fit true to size. First things first, these definitely don't look like leather at all. They are more of a textured pair of leggings, which I'm down for, but I definitely wouldn't say "faux leather" for the finish on these. Second, they are made by Spanx, so obviously they do an amazing job sucking everything in. My hips looked smoother and my butt was lifted, but along with that, I feel it does restrict your motion a little bit, especially if you feel like you're putting on yoga pants but then you can't move as well in them. I still really looked the look of them, and was about ready to keep them, but then I sat down in a chair to respond to an email, and the waist rolled down. They almost go too high, so they roll down to your actual waist when moving. All in all, these were nice, but I knew that I just wouldn't reach for them often enough to make it worth it, even with the great Anniversary sale price.

Today is the last day of the Anniversary sale. I ended up keeping three items from the sale, and all are still available. These olive jeans are amazing, and I've worn them three separate times already. They fit true to size, and are perfect for adding a bit of interest while remaining in the neutral territory that my closet is in. The polka dot dress of my dreams has popped back in a few sizes - I'm wearing it to the all the weddings I'm going to this fall ;) And of course, the cami I've been raving about also has a few colors/sizes back. Mine is a medium!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

our stitch family

stitch people
Growing up, arts and crafts were a huge part of our childhood. My mom is the most creative person I know, so we spent so much time painting and knitting and just making things. I love having an idea and then making it reality, but over the years, I kind of lost that interest in making things the deeper I got into school.

This past winter I saw an ad on Instagram for Stitch People. I had never heard of it before, but thought it was such a great idea! It's basically a book with a guide on how to make your own cross stitch people, with all sorts of customizations available. I just thought it was the cutest idea, and ordered it immediately.

The book walks you through the basics of cross stitch, shows you how to put together a pattern, and then the final steps, like framing your final product. There are pages upon pages of different patterns to choose from, from all sorts of hair styles to clothing types to animals. It shows you how to customize each of them, and gives little tips and tricks along the way. There are also extra pattern books you can buy, like the one for different occupations or the one for barn animals.

I decided that I wanted to start making our little stitch people family for each year...I just kind of loved the idea of having a project I can do yearly that follows us through our life together. I started with 2017 - the really big thing that happened for us that year was that we graduated, so I figured us in our graduation gowns would be appropriate. This was my first attempt at cross stitch, and I learned a lot just in the time I made this piece. When I finished our 2017 family, I immediately started to make a present for my chief resident, so I had a bit more time to work on my skills!

cross stitch family

Of course 2018 was the year we got married, so the week after our wedding, I started this year's version! With a few tricks I picked up over the time I made the first one, I think this year's version looks so much better than last years! It just looks crisper and more like us, rather than the square eyed, less dimensional versions from last year. Our outfits were obviously our actual wedding outfits, including versions of my bouquet, CR's boutonnière, and all the pets got little flower accents (even though technically they weren't there hehe). 

A couple of things I did differently the second year :
  • Used 1-2 strings to outline every person/animal. It makes a big different when it comes to the crispness, and makes everything look less jagged. I first noticed it when I outlined my white dress in a thin light grey, and then did it on everyone else, and loved the way it looked!
  • Restitched in any places that weren't initially covered - this mostly happened with half stitches, as you can see on Baer's ears. 
  • Used french knots for certain features instead of the normal x cross stitch. You can see this most noticeably in our hands and our eyes for this year's version. I think it made a huge different in how everyone looks!
  • Added a few more features, including my pearl earrings, a more realistic beard for CR, and the flower details on the animals this year. 
Wanted to touch quickly on supplies. I bought almost all my supplies from Joann's or Michaels in store because I really wanted to get a feel for the colors of the embroidery floss, but if you think this might be something you really enjoy, buying a larger set of floss is definitely a great option. I used a bamboo hoop and the white Aida cloth. When I was done, I simply ironed it, and then framed it using a simple mat frame from Michaels. 

stitch people
I got lots of questions on Instagram about what I'm actually doing with the Stitch families I've made, and my plan is to eventually have a whole little gallery wall of them! For now, two years in, we just have the two of them hanging (awkwardly) kind of high on the wall. I'm can't wait to see what the coming years bring for us, and how our little stitch families evolve! Here's a little behind the scenes, in progress collage from over the past 8 months.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

our wedding: the bridal party

Gah, I am so excited to share these pictures with all of you! I'm splitting up some of the pictures into different batches to keep it all organized - we had over 600 pictures to pick from, so that would make the longest blog post of all time! So today we are going to talk about our wedding party.

Both CR and I are the oldest of four, and actually have the same number of boys/girls, but just switched! So it goes me, my sister, my brother, and my youngest sister, and in his family it goes CR, his brother, his sister, and his youngest brother. So obviously they were all going to be in our bridal party. We decided to have two more people on either side, as our friends are just as important to us as our family. On my side, I felt really conflicted about who to have, as I've had so many great friends from my past lives. In the end, I asked my best friend Caitlin, who is my friend from medical school, and my friend Lizzi, who remains a close friend from college and marching band. CR had his two close friends from college on his side.

I asked my bridesmaids to be in our wedding last year - I made them little boxes with personalized champagne glasses, champagne, and champagne gummy bears, and gave it to them when I saw them...or in Lizzi's case, I had to mail it to her and ask her over FaceTime.

Having my bridesmaids spread all over the country made it more difficult to figure out details for dresses and so on. I spent a lot of time looking on Pinterest for dress ideas, and online for different bridesmaids dresses. We knew we'd have to eventually buy online, so I really focused on that. In the end, I decided I really liked the look of having everyone in the same color, but letting every choose their own style of dress so that my girls could wear what they felt most comfortable in.  We decided to go with Azazie for the dresses - I love that you can filter by color, fabric type, and then any other requirements. I also really liked that site because the girls can order styles to try on, so they could try several and not be afraid they were committing to one style they may hate. We had a lot of text messages going between the six of us picking out our favorite dresses. In the end we went with full length chiffon dresses in dusty rose. I initially thought my girls would wear knee length dresses, but I liked that with long dresses, you can wear whatever shoes you want, so all the girls could just wear their own sandals and it wouldn't matter. For their bridesmaids gift, I gifted each of them with a simple pair of pearl earrings for them to wear the day of. I wanted to give them something they could use in the future, and I figured pearl earrings are about as timeless as it gets!

The day of the wedding, we had quite the whirlwind of getting ready. We basically had three groups of women, between me, my bridesmaids, and my mother and mother-in-law getting our hair down and our make-up done. Part of my gift to the girls was paying for their hair and make-up - I feel it's a lot to ask someone to be in your wedding, to buy an expensive dress they very likely will never wear again, pay to come all the way out, and then on top of that expect them to drop $150 on hair and make-up, so I chose to pay for the hair and make-up for everyone.  We had groups of us getting our hair done while some of us got our make-up done, and then just round robined it until we were all done. For our hair, we all chose to have our hair put up. When my mom got married 30 years ago, she had roses and baby's breath in her hair, so even though my parents got divorced last year, I wanted to pay tribute to my family, and have all of us have a few roses and babys breath in our hair as well. I'm going to talk about that a little more in a future post, but I love how it turned out. Our make-up was done by Tierney, and I love how she made everyone just look like the best version of themselves rather than a different person all together.

The boys, on the other hand, were a lot less complicated. We decided to have the boys buy navy suits instead of renting. The groomsmen were also spread literally from coast to coast, so again we couldn't do anything local. CR and I went to Macy's, and had him try on a few different navy suits, picked the one we liked best, and then let the boys know when a good sale came around so they could get a good price on it. We had them wear their own white button ups, cognac belts, and cognac shoes, and then provided them with their ties (The Tie Bar from Nordstrom actually has quite a few great tie options, if you are ever looking for inexpensive ties!). They had a bit more work to do before the wedding at the actually ceremony/reception site, so they got ready there!

After the ceremony come the staged pictures. There are lots more of the individual pictures too, but I love seeing everyone together!

blush bridesmaid dresses

^ these goofballs!

blush and navy bridal party

azazie bridesmaid dresses

Our flowers bouquets were a mix of peonies, english roses, hydrangeas, baby's breath, and greenery. The girls had slightly smaller versions of my own.

augusta jones yasmin

my gorgeous sisters <3

bridesmaid dresses: Azazie
groomsmen suits: Alfani
my dress: Augusta Jones 'Yazmin'
bridal hair: Tru Salon, Pittsford NY
bridal makeup: Makeup by Tierney
florals: Rockcastle Florist
location: Twin Silos

Saturday, July 21, 2018

just because it's on sale doesn't mean you have to keep it.

Hello, and welcome to the first review post of the year! 😂

Okay, so it's been a hot second, so lets just get to it. The annual Nordstrom Anniversary sale opened to card holders last may have seen a post or two on the internet about it. This is my second year as a card holder, so I was excited to finally get to be a part of the early access group! Like I've mentioned now a million times, I don't wear my real clothes that much anymore as I wear scrubs to work every day, but I still like to buy a few new items occasionally for that life outside of work, and especially if I'm going to get a good deal! So I put in about five separate orders (after that issue with no one being able to order, I got three of the same order sent to me!), and have slowly been annoying my UPS man with all the separate orders that came in! But here's a quick review of what worked, what very much did not work, and what I'm keeping! Just as a disclaimer, some of these things may be currently sold out, but there are so many returns being made during this time that I'd suggest just keeping an eye out and rechecking a few times over the next few days as sizes keep popping back.

Okay, let's do all the "omg I hate this" things first.

Monday, July 16, 2018

our wedding: the invitations

Hi guys! I am so excited to finally share details from our wedding with you guys! You were there with us for the planning parts of it, from picking a venue to finding our photographer to buying my wedding dress to trying to decide what we wanted for decorations, so I'm pumped that we now can share all the pictures from the big day. In the next few weeks I'm going to share parts from the day and the days leading up, from bridesmaids dresses to what I did to prepare for our wedding to decorations to just sharing a few of our favorite pictures. Today to kick it off, I'm going to start with sharing our invitations!

One of the big things we spent a lot of time on was our invitations and everything that comes with that, from finalizing the final guest list to sending out the invites to chasing down those last RSVPs.  I spent sooooo much time thinking about what we wanted our invitations to look like (one of the first pinterest pictures I ever saved was a wedding invite from Minted!), but the actual process of finding the perfect card wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be.

You may remember that for our Save the Dates, we were really fortunate to work with Minted, and I was every more excited when we got to work together again on our wedding invitations. Minted has always been my go-to for invitations, Christmas cards, and personalized gifts, so the fact that we got to pick from their wide selection of beautiful wedding invitations was like a dream come true.

I spent several weeks poring over the options. Did we want the classic wedding invitation where there are lots of envelopes and sleeves and multiple things all together? Did I want the 3-in-1 option, where the RSVP is attached to the invitation (and most costing around $1.75 per card)? Did we want our pictures on the front? How were we going to have people respond to the invite, and how were we going to get their answers for what they wanted for dessert? I spent a lot of time playing around with all of the options!
In the end, I wanted something that represented us, to be similar to the style of the wedding, and have it be pretty. I really gravitated towards white backgrounds, lots of greenery, and simple font.

The design we finally decided on was "Paradise" - I love the simplicity of this design! Our florals for our actual wedding were a lot of greenery with pink and white flowers, so I thought this would be a perfect homage to that. I really love that so many details on the Minted designs can be customized when picking out invitations, and you can even request changes to be made! I asked that the Minted artist change the little white flowers to be blush pink flowers instead, which was a simple change that really made the whole invite more personalized and reflective of our wedding day flowers.

My favorite detail? The gold embossing for our names and the ceremony site - a bit of a throwback to our Save the Dates that also had a touch of gold on them. 
My second favorite detail? One of our engagement pictures on the back. I wanted the front to be simple and include all the details for the actually wedding, but loved using one of our engagement pictures on the back. I figured most people would have the front of the card on their fridge or wherever, but this was a way to keep a bit of "us" on the invites as well. We also used the free service of having a wedding webside on Minted so our guests could get a bit more information about the actual wedding day that we didn't include on the invites, like where to stay, the bridal party, and our registry, so that website address was included on the bottom of the backside of the card. 
The cards themselves were printed on a beautiful thick paperstock, and the envelopes were thick and sturdy. We, of course, used the (free!) addressing service through Minted, so we didn't have to hand address anything, and had our address printed on the back of the envelopes as well. I loved the cute little RSVP cards, and getting those back for three weeks was so much fun - I always looked forward to getting the mail! Our dinner was buffet-style, but we choose to do individual pies for the desserts, so we had our guests initial their dessert choice. Here's my mom's - I can't believe she chose berry over apple!

I am thrilled with how our invitations turned out, and am forever grateful to Minted for being such an important part of our wedding planning process. We have loved working with them over the past several years, and will continue to be paying customers of theirs. 

Next up - decorations (spoiler: these little candles were the perfect compromise for a no-flame-allowed venue), and then my gorgeous bridesmaids!

PS. Have you seen Minted's adorable monogram maker? You can download any style, and use it for wedding things (like decorations or print on napkins or whatever), or just as a cute background for your phone like I did ;)

Friday, May 11, 2018

college educated, she graduated

This weekend I traveled to Minnesota to watch my youngest sister graduate from college! She has worked incredibly hard, and graduated summa cum laude with a degree in marketing. Basically she's a genius, and we are so proud of her. 

It's been so long since I last posted an outfit picture! The scrub life definitely severely limits buying and wearing clothes, so I rarely do now a days! I did recently buy this amazing Old Navy dress though and I'm much that I also bought it in black! It fits true to size - I tried on both a tall large and a large, and found the regular length to hit me right above the knee rather than below. The fabric is a thick ponte fabric, so I find it to be a bit more flattering than a thinner cotton material. Overall, probably one of my favorite dresses that I currently own! It also comes in a really cute grey/white strip combo that I'm eyeing...

Dress // Old Navy [exact]
Shoes // Jack Rogers [exact]
Jacket // Paige [very similar]
Purse // Coach via eBay

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

my daily make-up routine for 4 AM wake-up calls

As a creature of habit, I tend to use the same make-up products over and over again - that's why I've been using the same eyeliner and powder for over 8 years now! But I'm definitely open to experimenting here and there, and have found some amazing new products that I really love. My big goal when I do my make-up is to have dewy skin and brighter eyes - when you get up around 4 AM most days, I need a few extra products to look wide and awake when I may not be! Here's what my current make-up routine looks like - the ones with the * are my favorite "brightening" products!

  1. *Becca Backlight Primer // I've had this bottle for about two years, and keep coming back to it. It just provides the prettiest dewy skin as a foundation for the rest of your make-up. It's great for those of us with drier skin!
  2. Touch In Sol Primer // I do struggle with enlarged pores, especially around my nose, so I use this mostly in that region to help blur out those imperfections. 
  3. Dior BB Cream // My friend Amy started using this BB cream last year and raved and raved about it, so I finally bought it last summer, and have been wearing it every day since then! I apply about half a pump to my skin with my fingers. It's the perfect medium coverage I was looking for, and a little goes a long way! Highly recommend this if you're lower maintenance but want a beautiful medium coverage BB cream. 
  4. *Becca Under Eye Corrector // This is one of the newer products I've started using. I have fairly dark circles under my eyes (I've had them ever since I was a kid). This brightens up that whole area underneath your eyes. If I was less lazy, I'd also use concealer, but I try to have a speedy routine in the AM, and this I can just dab on with my fingers. 
  5. Smashbox Powder // You guys already know this is my holy grail item. I've tried a bunch of different powders over the years, but none compare to this one. It's the best. 
  6. Charlotte Tilbury Bronzer // I bought this on a whim last March, and have used it every day since then! I'm just now getting to the point where I need a new one. The "sculpt" side is the perfect color for light contouring and bronzing - I use this under my cheekbones, along my forehead, down my nose, and at my jawline. It just adds the perfect amount of glow to your face. As soon as I'm all the way done with this, I'm going to buy this kit, as I don't use the highlight side as much as I'd use a blush. 
  7. Dior Blush // This blush is so darn pretty - it's one of those that makes a "custom" color or whatever with your skin tone. I don't really buy that - it's just a pretty pink color! I've had this for at least 9 months, and still haven't hit pan. A little goes a long way!
  8. *Nars Eyeshadow // I don't have time in the morning for a lot of blending and all the things that come with a lot of eyeshadow. I have this in All About Eve, and it's the perfect lighter colored eyeshadow to bring some light to your eyes without looking like your eyeshadow is that white eyeshadow we wore in 6th grade (or was that just me?).
  9. Stila Eyeliner // HOLY GRAIL, please never stop making this eyeliner! I always have at least two back-ups in my collection because I refuse to even try anything else. 
  10. *Smashbox Eyeliner // I use this in the pale color for my lower waterline. It's a little trick to bring more brightness to the eyes, and this eyeliner is waterproof, so it lasts all day!
  11. Anastasia Brow Pencil // Looooove this brow pencil - the thicker edge means it takes less time to color in my brows. I use this in taupe.
  12. Anastasia Brow Gel // A quick swipe of this across the brows keeps them in line, and more defined. It also helps keeps them "on" for longer!
  13. Urban Decay Primer // Another item I keep buying over and over again. I've tried several different eyelash primers at different price points, and this continues to be my favorite. I use two light coats, and I never have an issue with mascara flaking. It's my secret for thicker and longer looking lashes!
  14. Chanel Mascara // I started using this after receiving a few samples, and fell in love with how long my eyelashes were looking. I previously never liked that kind of brush for mascara, but when I combine this with another mascara, it gets the perfect "long and lush" look I want. 
  15. Lancome Mascara // I bought this a few months ago, and am getting towards the end of this tube. It's okay, but I like my Bobbi Brown mascara more, so I'll be repurchasing that once the Lancome one runs out. 

I shot a quick video of my make-up routine. Please forgive the horrible lighting - this was early in the AM, and I just finished a work out, so I'm still a bit flushed from that as well.