Life Goals & Dreams | Bucket List

Friday, August 29, 2014

I've been doing a lot of reflection about my life recently--looking back at my past accomplishments, mistakes and how my goals and dreams have transformed and shaped like a living, breathing being. A greater number of life changes have come flying my way in the past 3 months than in my whole life combined. Some daunting and petrifying, some exciting and truly wonderful--but all firmly gripping onto a vast array of emotions and responsibilities. There are times I feel as if I am blindly free-falling off a cliff with my limbs flailing in protest and other times where I catch my breath in wondrous awe like Harry Potter in his discovery of magic.  


I feel it is best to put pen to paper when you want things to happen. Whether it is writing a grocery list or signing the constitution, ink offers a permanence that holds the power to calm the mind or set forth things in motion. I sat down to write this list in order to accomplish both. I want to grip this short life by the horns and start checking off the things that make me happy, inspired and driven. If you are wondering how any of this is remotely relevant to this little beauty blog, the answer is in the name. For so long I've wanted this blog to be so much more than about the superficial--the makeup, the products, the brands. "The Beauty Book" is also becoming about the little things I find beautiful in life. The things that are sentimental and meaningful. 

My list includes dreams and goals both big and small. Short-term and long-term. Silly and serious. I'm letting the sky be the limit regardless of whether it is foolish or unrealistic. After all, you never know how life can surprise you. :)

List of Life Goals & Dreams:

- start my own makeup line/brand or develop my own product 
- get a dog (or two...)
- raise kind, thoughtful children
- visit Thailand, New Zealand, Bali, Australia, Hawaii, South Africa, Hong Kong
- write a children's/fantasy novel or series
- have my blog featured in a magazine! 
- work with a cool makeup brand on a fun project
- swim with a whale shark
- witness a miracle
- see Les Miserables in London or on Broadway
- record a demo/CD
- buy our first house
 - swim in the Dead Sea
- visit an Aztec Temple, the Great Pyramids, the studio's of my favorite authors, Machu Picchu, Palenque, the Parthenon, Versailles & Auschwitz.
- meet someone (or all) of the Breaking Bad cast
- run a fun 5k race--like the Color Run, etc. 
- go to an EDM festival--Tomorrowland, Electric Daisy Carnival, Ultra, etc. 
-always write and send nice Thank You cards for small kindnesses
- be invited to the VMA's, Grammys, Emmys as a beauty insider!
- go scuba diving
- hit 1,000 subscribers on my YouTube channel! (short-term goal :) )
- meet some of my favorite beauty gurus (Nicole Guerrero, Jaclyn Hill, Carli Bybel, Amanda Ensing)
- do a fun video collab with one of my favorite beauty gurus
- re-visit LA
- play the new Fallout 4 video game (so excited!)
- go deep-sea fishing
- book a ticket for the next random flight out and make an adventure out of it
- go on a "second honey moon" with my husband 
- take a cooking class
- see a show in Vegas
- take a class/workshop from a celebrity makeup artist 
- visit the headquarters of one of my favorite makeup brands (MAC, Revlon, L'Oreal...)
- pick up playing piano again
- impact someone's life in a major way
- be a member of the audience in a tv show (like the Ellen Degeneres show)
- take ballroom dancing lessons
- grow my own garden
- overcome my fear of public speaking, needles and sky diving (not sure if I wanna get over that one...)




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Preparing for Baby | Tips, Ideas & DIYS (with the help of Pinterest!)

Thursday, August 28, 2014


Now that I'm in my final month of pregnancy (CRAZY!!) the realization that I'm actually going to be responsible for a living, breathing mini-me has finally hit me over the head like a ton of bricks. Needless to say, I've been trying to get my hands on any baby related items I still need. I'm also attempting to sear an astronomical amount of tips and advice into my tiny human brain. 

Pinterest is a God-send that has made organizing the oodles of information I need to soak up fun and simple. I know I can breathe easy since I can always look back and refer to certain pins. I've found some amazing DIY's, ideas and organizational tips ranging from how to know if you're actually going into labor all the way to how to swaddle and feed your baby. 

(Pictures match numbers listed from left to right)

Some Great Tips, Ideas & DIYS:

1. This Last Month of Pregnancy Checklist has some great reminders and tips before you go into the delivery room. It covers everything from the importance of pampering yourself pre-baby to errands and helpful things to sign up for. 

2. I have already started to prepare for my hospital visit, but this Hospital Bag Checklist has some great and important additions that I never even thought about!

3. Since this is my first child, I pretty much have zero idea of what to expect going into labor. I read this article about How to Tell if it's Labor and Other Tips to keep myself in-the-know and prepare myself so I don't freak out. 

4. Same as above, I have no clue what to expect from my body after giving birth so this article is definitely an eye opener. 

5. These 8 Must-Haves to Survive Your Newborn's First Month will definitely come in handy very soon. I love the idea for white noise to mimic the sounds of the womb and soothe the baby. I also have my eye on the book she talks about--everyone says it's genius!

6.  Ever since becoming a wife and mommy-to-be, I have become especially fond of anything to do with cute organizing methods. I love these 10 Ways to Quickly Get Organized with Baby. It shows you several different ways to neatly and prettily organize baby's clothes, accessories and gadgets. 

7. I have a feeling that planning some pre-frozen dinner recipes before baby gets here will be a VERY good idea. Sleepless nights, adjusting to a new life with a baby, and tons of family shenanigans will probably give me little to no time to prepare and cook meals. Having them pre-planned and easy to cook right away will save me a lot of hassle in the first few weeks!

8. Although this list of 14 Things You Need for Your Postpartum Body bums me out (and scares me a little to be honest!) I know that post-birth, I will appreciate being prepared and having the products and items I need for a healthy healing process and comfortable transition. 

9. I love these tips for getting back into a workout schedule and getting back in shape after the baby. Surprisingly, being pregnant has made me less body conscious and more comfortable in my own skin (minus the fact that my skin is stretched to where it's almost painful now). However, I do want to be as healthy and as spritely as possible (even just for the sake of my own baby) and I'm actually excited for once to hit the treadmill again. I can't wait to be the active, cute cliché soccer mom (or whatever sport she ends up playing) :) 

10. I've never had the experience of milking myself like a cow so I'm guessing it will be good to know how long frozen breast milk will last in the fridge.

11. This Ultimate Guide to Feeding Baby has much-needed information whether you are breast feeding or bottle feeding with formula. It covers everything from latching to best feeding positions and tips to deal with possible challenges.

12. When the baby first comes home from the hospital, it will still have a little bit of its umbilical cord hanging on for dear life. I'm glad to have found these Care Tips for Baby's Umbilical Stump so that I know how to prevent infection and make her as comfortable as possible.

13. A full-proof diagram for dummies like me who have no clue how to swaddle a baby.

14. Oh, I've just been loving helpful mommy apps. I have a sneaking suspicion that I will fall in love with this app that keeps track of feeding, diaper changes and sleep times.

15. I have heard from veteran mommies that getting your baby on a sleep schedule is integral for the sanities of everyone in the household. I have this post on Newborn Sleep Tips bookmarked and ready for action.

16. I absolutely loved to read as a child and I learned a lot from all the wonderful characters I fell in love with. I hope that all of my favorites will be hers as well! I can't wait to start a little library in our home consisting of some of these 100 Children's Books to Read in a Lifetime.




For more great pins I've found concerning all things baby, take a gander at my Pinterest board "Things for Baby." I post updates about all things to do with this blog on my board, "The Beauty Book" and a bunch of other fun things on my overall Pinterest profile.

Check out this blog post of mine for some must-have apps that will save you time and money as a mommy!

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My Nightly Skincare Routine

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


At the end of the day, the makeup I applied that morning tends to feel like a thick layer of heavy film. This is regardless of how minimal or how thick I cake myself on. I'm just ready to literally and metaphorically wipe the day off and feel refreshed and clean before I jump into my sheets. I have used the Neutrogena Makeup Remover wipes religiously for years and they have never failed me. They stay nice and wet for ages--especially if you store the package upside down. This enables the makeup removing liquid (normally located at the bottom of the packaging) to seep through to every wipe. It's also a great way to keep the sticker opening sealed shut and prevent the air from prying its way inside and drying them out. They are nice and gentle to my sensitive skin and easily remove even my heaviest days of makeup with one wipe. I don't have to play tug-of-war with my face when removing tough waterproof products which is an A+ in my book. If I had to describe these in word word it would be comfortable. I can't tell you how nice it is to take off the majority of my makeup and not have the overwhelming feeling of that sticky, gooey residue that so makeup removers leave you with. 

After wiping my face with a face wipe, I move on to washing my face in order to clean deep into the pores and dislodge any bits of extra makeup the wipe might have missed. My absolute favorite face wash has been the Peter Thomas Roth Rose Stem Cell Bio-Repair Cleansing Gel (my God that's a long name). I am currently having an intense love-affair with this pink beauty and can't put it down. It literally smells like a rose-garden has dive-bombed your face (in the best way) when you lather it into your skin. It leaves my face feeling so refreshed, clean and with a light, beautiful smell. Although I'll admit that pregnancy has brought me the perk of much healthier skin, I have definitely noticed an added improvement even on top of that with the use of this wash. It uses the power of stem cells from roses and rose extracts to rejuvenate the skin and repair any signs of aging. 


I used to use an astringent and/or spot treatment after thoroughly cleansing my face but I haven't had any problems with pimples over the past few months (thank you pregnancy). For now, my acne products are tucked neatly away and I've replaced that step with a wonderful night cream I got in a sample pack in a recent Sephora shopping trip. I have used it for almost a week now and so far, I really like it. The Origins High Potency Night-A-Mins smells so bright and lovely of citrus (think oranges or tangerines). I love how thick and luxurious the cream feels and I apply this liberally all over my face and neck before bed. I wake up in the morning with skin that feels refreshed and bright. The cream contains vitamins C, E and H and fights dullness and resurfaces the skin overnight. 

My Origins GinZing Eye Cream is also a new product I have been trying out from the same Origins sample kit. I use it to brighten my under eye area both before applying my makeup and before I go to bed at night. I take the tiniest dot of product and massage it under my eye area to stimulate the blood flow to that area and help the product sink deep into the skin. So, far I have really been enjoying this cream and my under eyes look much more awake and depuffed in the morning. 

I tend to switch out the lip balm I use before bed quite often so I can find the one I like best. Nivea A Kiss of Moisture Lip Balm is a great product to dab onto the lips before going to bed. I like to apply a heavy amount so that the product continues to sink into my lips over night. This prevents me from getting dry, cracked or chapped lips from the days of summer heat and helps my lipstick to apply smoother the next day. 

My final step before dozing off to la la land is applying a generous amount of my Basq Body Boost Stretch Mark Cream. I apply it to the areas that baby has been so kindly stretching taut like my chest, breasts and tummy. This cream both prevents and treats stretch marks so it will be great to continue using this even after the baby is born. It's marketed as having a Lavender Vanilla scent but my husband and I have decided whoever created this probably had a sinus infection clogging their nostrils because this smells like straight up lemon bar. My husband loves when I put this on and will cuddle up closer than usual just to smell me as he falls asleep! He says he wants to eat the tub!



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Sephora Haul | Hourglass, Bite, NARS, Becca, Origins

Monday, August 25, 2014

I feel like I should be singing that Eminem song, "Guess who's back...back again? Shady's back...tell a friend...guess who's back, guess who's back, guess who's back..." (sing guess who's back a zillion times). Haha :p Talk about a blast from the past! 


Well, I may not be as cool as slim shady but I am making a return to YouTube after a long absence. Life just got super hectic (graduating, wedding, honeymoon, moving several times, sickness, pregnancy--yea, crazy!!!) so I wasn't able to film but I'm glad to be back! This time I feel I have a much better setup with brighter lighting so I hope you like it! I am going to try to get on a filming schedule and have a set number of videos up per week. I still have SO much to learn when it comes to filming (lighting, camera setup and usage, editing, becoming more confident on camera) but I try to remind myself of the usual, cliché but true sayings that: 1. Everyone starts somewhere, 2. Try to enjoy the learning process, 3. Don't compare yourself to others. I feel like I'm starting over again from square one but I don't want my fears and insecurities to prevent me from accomplishing my dreams. I've just got to put myself out there, be myself, and cross my fingers I guess. :)

Now that I'm done with my sentimental rant, I can't wait to show you the goodies I've gotten over the past month or two from Sephora! I'm 8 months pregnant now so I'm looking a little more like a chipmunk each day!

 

Products Mentioned:



What new products have you been enjoying recently?

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11 Must-Have Money & Time-Saving Apps for the Organized Mom

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

As a mommy-to-be on a budget, I have begun preparing my arsenal of apps to help me save both money and time. Whether it's grocery/clothes shopping, pumping gas, finding kid-friendly restaurants and activities or just plain old staying organized--these apps are helping me on my way to becoming a super mom (or I'll settle for just functional). In addition to these apps, I've been trying to save time and stay organized with other areas of my life such as my daily beauty routine and keeping a more organized vanity. 

Even if you aren't pregnant, a mommy, or even close to thinking about raising a mini-you, these free apps are pretty much the bomb.com. I think liking to save money and time is a universal trait among us humans. Anyone and everyone can find something useful from this list.  


1. Mommy Nearest- Great for on-the-go moms, Mommy Nearest helps you find kid-friendly restaurants with lists of the amenities they offer (kid's menus, high chairs etc.) and locates the closest bathrooms and changing table areas while you are out and about. You can also search for fun indoor and outdoor activities like the closest parks, gyms, arts & crafts, attractions and classes for your baby or child. Each location shows a map, how close you are, and ratings from other parents. The app also provides fun articles related to children and parenting that I like to read from time to time. 


2. Wunderlist- If you love making lists, you will love this app. Wunderlist enables you to make separate to-do lists and keep them all in one organized place. You can set dates, notes and reminders for anything you list. I love the cute "ding" noise it makes when you check off a completed item. It's so satisfying. It helps me stay timely, organized and on track for each day. 


3. Retailmenot- Retailmenot lists thousands of stores and the coupons they are offering for that day or week. You can search for specific stores you like and bookmark your favorite ones for quick access each time. I love to scroll through my favorite stores and save coupons I think might come in handy for the week. It will even remind you when the coupons you saved are about to expire! 



4. Emeals- An incredible app for moms who never know what to make for dinner. You just choose a meal plan that's right for you and your family (like "classic meals" or "low fat") and the app will create a new meal plan for you every week. The app even takes into account how many family members you have and your preferred grocery store. It includes grocery lists and recipes for each meal and you can simply choose which meals you want to make. For example, I chose the "Simple Gourment" plan for two (soon to be three!) and one of my meal options was a Lemon-Grilled Salmon and Asparagus dish. Yum!


5. Cartwheel- I feel like almost every mommy (or pretty much women everywhere) has a fascination and love for Target. Cartwheel is an app that lets you search the products you love and save coupons. The coupons save to a barcode on the app. You simply scan the barcode at checkout and all those coupons will apply to your purchase! Better yet, the coupons can be stacked on top of any other coupons you might have and your Target REDcard discount.  


6. Gas Buddy- This app locates the cheapest gas prices near you so that you can save big-time whenever you need to fill up. It also lets you report gas prices so you can help others find the cheapest gas and sends you rewards and points each time you help! 


7. Weekly Ads and Sales- If you're an ultimate couponer and love to peruse catalogues and newspapers to snip out all the latest deals, you will love this app. It keeps a log of thousands of stores and the deals and coupons they are offering that day or week. Instead of wasting tons of paper and time, you can simply show coupons you find at checkout and presto! Money saved. 


8. Flipp- Flipp saves the weekly/monthly flyers from thousands of stores. You can meander through the flyers on your phone and tap on the deals you like to save them to your clipboard. This enables you to quickly access the deals and coupons you found so you can present them at checkout. 


9. Grocery IQ- This app lets you create grocery lists that you can easily view and check off as you shop. You can add your most commonly bought staples to your favorites list to find them easily each time and so that you never forget something when you grocery shop. When you are finished making a list, the app will let you know all the coupons/deals associated with each item or category so that you never miss on saving. There is even a scanning option in the app so you can scan the barcodes of each item you place in your cart. Once scanned, the app will inform you if there is a deal on that item. Better yet, you can send your lists to your boyfriend, husband, mom--whoever via email or text. 


10. Checkout 51- Checkout 51 lists tons of products from different brands, categories and stores. When you go shopping, simply upload a picture of your receipt into the app and it will give you cash back on the items from your purchase that it has in its database! Each time you hit $20 dollars, the app will send you a check in the mail. 



11. Ibotta- This app offers exclusive updated rebates from all kinds of stores including retail, grocery and even online shops. You can choose to unlock rebates/cash back options either in-store or when you get home by uploading a picture of your receipt to the app. You can search categories of items (like "ground beef" for example) and then see which stores are offering cash back for those items or you can search by store and see a complete list of all the items they are offering cash back for! You can receive your cash back by linking your Paypal or Venmo account to the app.



What are your favorite apps to stay organized and save time and money?


Current Favorites

Monday, August 18, 2014

As a pregnant lady, sometimes it's hard to find a balance between wanting to feel comfortable (usually meaning minimal effort) and wanting to look like a glamorous babe. After all, the introduction of a baby usually means little time to oneself. My seasoned mommy friends have advised me to treasure moments of "me" time and pampering while I still can. Also it's always nice to feel pretty even when you're feet are swollen like aunt Betsy's prize-winning melons and you've forgotten what it's like to see those things called "toes."

I find that I can meet myself in the middle by choosing luxurious feeling products that are simple and quick to use. The products I've been loving recently have helped me to feel "casually glam" if you will. They all lend a little helping hand to making this mommy feel effortless yet chic and pulled together. 



Peter Thomas Roth Rose Stem Cell Bio-Repair Cleansing Gel- This is the first Peter Thomas Roth product I have ever used and I am in LOVE. The cleanser is formulated with rose stem cells and rose extracts and works deep in your skin to repair dullness, texture and signs of aging. A little goes a long way and I massage a dime-sized drop of this all over my face as apart of my nightly skin care routine. I absolutely adore the fresh rosy scent. It's one of those feel-good products that feels like an indulgent spa treatment. My skin looks and feels better than it has in a long time! 

It's a 10 Miracle Shine Spray- I love the it's a 10 line of products since I feel that they really do live up to the 10 things promised on the back. Few brands now adays live up to their "miracle" promises so it's certainly a breath of fresh air when one refrains from the temptation of false advertising. I spray this in my hair as a quick, healthy boost for my locks before I rush out the door on most days. It adds shine, improves hair elasticity, nourishes with antioxidants, protects hair from heat styling, minimizes frizz, seals in moisture, and a whole array of benefits. It's definitely a "10" to me!

Eyelure #107 Lashes- These have recently taken the place of my favorite Ardell wispies. I love their flirtatious curl and how easily they sit on the lash line. They not only feel light-weight and airy, but look so glamorous without looking like a ridiculous butterfly has perched on your eyeballs. 

Anastasia Beverly Hills Amrezy Palette- I felt like I was on the quest for Camelot to find this stunner. I got the very last one in Ulta and I actually told the highly perplexed and amused looking Ulta representative that "I loved her FOREVERRR!!!!" I am a huge fan of warm colors--especially earth- toned browns and jewel-toned brights. This palette is probably the closest match to how I would design a palette made just for me. It delivers on all of those favorite warm hues of mine. This will definitely be a staple product for this fall so watch out for some tutorials in the near future (hint, hint *I'm coming back to you, Youtube!*)

Becca Shimmering Perfector in "Opal"- I just can't stop loving on this. It sounds kind of pathetic (because it is) but sometimes I'll just take this out to simply gaze at its breathtaking beauty. On or off the skin, it shines gorgeously in the light. It gives the skin a stunning, luminous glow that is just unparalleled compared to any highlighter that I've used in the past. The color is just perfect for any skin tone with its champagne luster and fine golden flecks of brilliance. People will literally stop me in the street to ask me how I got such bright and luminous skin (and I don't even have great skin). I know it sounds like I'm exaggerating, but you seriously don't understand the sheer amazingness unless you own one yourself!

Maybelline Baby Lips SPF 20 in "Quenched"- I never understood the Baby Lips craze but now I get it. This is my first product from that line and I really like it so far! It's super moisturizing, has cute packaging, and protects my lips from the harsh summer rays. 

NARS Dual Intensity Eyeshadow in "Dione"- You might have seen me lusting after these babies in my most recent My Little Beauty Beast segment. Oh. my. GOSH I finally got one and let me tell you--I was NOT let down. The metallic shimmer is simply to die for. I've never seen anything quite like it and I can see why the price is so hefty. I got the color "Dione", a champagne-silver shade that is just breath taking. I love to use this as an all-over color for the lid. 




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A Makeover | Alison

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Meet Alison. She came to stay with my husband and I to celebrate my recent baby shower and of course, we ended up doing a makeover in our spare time! When people ask us how long we've known eachother, we will just look at eachother and say "since womb." Our parents met while strolling us around a Chicago mall way back when Gymboree was still a hit. Our dads sat and bonded during the seemingly eternal wait outside the women's changing rooms for our moms--and the rest is history. 

For the makeover, we decided to focus on bringing added shape and arch to her brows, healthy glowing skin and overall, enhancing and bringing out her beautiful features. After the makeup, I styled her hair with wavy curls and added a finishing shine spray. 



The Products:


The How-To:

The Face- For Alison's face, I focused on giving her the appearance of the healthiest skin possible and used a great, buildable foundation that would mimic the appearance of real skin instead of heavy, caked on makeup. I contoured and highlighted her face to add dimension and slim her jaws and cheeks. Then, I mixed a warm plum and coral shade of blush together and applied them to the apples of the cheeks and swept upwards to her cheekbones. I used a shimmering highlight color directly on her cheekbones and a dash on the nose, lips and chin for that Victoria Secret glow. 

The Eyes- I plucked and shaped her eyebrows according to her natural arch and then filled them in with one of my favorite brow pencils. I primed her eyelid area and used windshield wiper motions to add a mid-toned brown color, "Cork" to her crease. I packed on a beautiful gold-brown shade, "Woodwinked" all over her lid and applied a golden-white highlight, "Nylon" near her tear ducts (sweeping inwards towards the Woodwinked color) and under the brow bone. I deepened up her outer corner creating a sideways "V" shape with a dark cool brown, "Embarked." For the final touch, I smudged a black kohl pencil along her lashline and a mossy green pencil on her lower lashline to bring out the green in her eyes. I topped it all off with some glamorous lashes! 

The Lips- I lined and filled her lips in with a muted nude-brown lipliner. In the center of the lips, I applied a gorgeous pinky-brown nude and a milky nude lipgloss for added dimension and shine. 







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