Friday Favorites #5

In typical Friday fashion, I'm linking up for some Friday Favorites from the week!

As I mentioned earlier this week, I made pumpkin bread on a whim last Friday night. I've been using this recipe for the last couple years and it is the best! I always add extra pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon to mine, and a cup or so of chocolate chips if I'm feeling extra fancy. It makes two loaves so I almost always drop one off at my sister's house to share the love! 

We're still in a major heat / humidity wave so I've been taking advantage of my sister's pool at least once per week!

The Nordstrom Sale opens to the public today and I'm so excited! Andy and I are heading there tonight -- I'm hoping to find some shoes to wear with my bridesmaid dress! I also want to check out some of their new items for fall as well! If you're looking for recommendations, this blogger has an awesome review of a bunch of the items.

I came across these shoes at DSW last night, but they didn't have my size -- I'm hoping to swing by another location this weekend to see if I can track them down. Aren't they just the cutest?

I tossed this ice cream into my Target cart not too long ago and it's THE BEST. Huge chunks of Oreo cookies are swirled into a creamy vanilla ice cream. What's not to love? 

I'm super weird in the fact that receiving gifts is not one of my love languages, but giving gifts to others is. We're headed to my nephew's birthday party this weekend and it was so fun picking out little gifts for him! I also swung by the mall this week to grab a bachelorette party gift for my bestie. I'm getting so excited for her party and wedding -- it's just two weeks away!

I promise I eat healthier than it looks on here -- you guys just see the fun foods. My sister gave me a package of these the other day and they are so good! I'd highly recommend them!

This is my favorite brow product -- I recently tried out another brand when Ulta was out of the shade I needed, but it didn't go on as smoothly as this product does. Definitely check it out if you're in the market for a brow pomade! The shade I use is "taupe."

I'm off to start my day before heading out on our date tonight! Have a great weekend!

Are you planning to shop the Nordstrom sale?
What's your top love language?
Quality time and words of affirmation are mine!

My 5 Favorite Natural Beauty Products

When it comes to beauty products and household items, I love using items with shorter ingredient lists whenever possible. Doing so reduces the number of chemicals in our home and keeps us feeling our best! I'm sharing my top 5 favorite natural beauty products below! 

I used to love an all-natural deodorant at Trader Joe's, but lately they haven't been carrying it. I picked this deodorant up on a whim at Whole Foods last winter and haven't looked back since. It goes on clear, doesn't leave any marks on my clothes, and it smells so good! 

Speaking of good scents, I love this line of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. The peppermint scent is so refreshing and leaves your skin feeling so tingly and clean! 

This lotion is a daily favorite -- especially during Minnesota's harsh winter months. The lemongrass scent is so fresh and invigorating when applied after your morning shower.

I have a little collection of these lip balms because I love having them nearby at all times. I keep them in my purse, on my nightstand, and next to my computer.

This common household product has a million uses, but I especially love using it as an eye makeup remover -- it wipes away waterproof mascara effortlessly.

What are some of your tried and true natural beauty products?
What's your favorite store to shop for natural products?

Three Things

I saw this little survey on another blog and thought that it looked like so much fun! Feel free to play along in the comments section -- I'd love to hear some of your answers! 

Three things I'd never give up
Reading
Being Active -- especially outside
Sugar, let's be honest

Three favorite vegetables
Brussels Sprouts
Broccoli
Snap Peas

Three shows I watched faithfully from beginning to end
Pretty Little Liars
Private Practice
House

Three places I want to visit inside the US
Nantucket, Massachusetts
Northern California (winery tours)
Washington D.C.

Three place I want to visit outside the US
Greece
Australia
France

Three things I always have with me
My iPhone
A Hair Tie (Love these)
Lip Gloss (My friend Kari got me hooked on these ones

Three things that are always in my car
Antibacterial Gel
Kleenex
Ice Scraper (Minnesotan for life!)

Three most recent calls were from / to
Andy
My Sister, Andrea
The Local Library

Three most often used makeup products
Eyeliner (This one is my favorite and I also love this one)
Mascara
Foundation (I switched to this brand this year and really like the lighter coverage)

Three things that make me laugh
Witty / Sarcastic Humor
My Little Nieces
My Friends

How about you?
Feel free to answer a few below!

Ā 

Frumpy to Fabulous

Here in Minnesota, our winters are super long, and after the holidays, there isn't much to look forward to for awhile. Last winter, when I found myself feeling frumpy and just "blah" in January, I started brainstorming ideas to remedy this. I eventually decided to make a commitment to get dressed everyday. 

Now, I'm not talking about taking a shower on Saturday morning only to slip back into pajamas afterwards. Repeat after me, pajamas are not an outfit. Neither are sweatpants.

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I also used to live in my gym clothes on the weekends -- I'd meet a friend for coffee while wearing a Nike track jacket, hit the grocery store in my Lululemon crops, and lounge around at home in my favorite gym shorts. Was I comfortable? Most definitely (helloooo, elastic waistbands). Did I feel confident in my appearance? Not exactly.

Work was a different story; I got up each morning and threw on some leggings and a tunic top or whatever was clean, piled my hair into a messy bun, applied foundation + mascara and called it a day. Then I'd arrive at work and just felt frumpy all day because I didn't put any thought into my appearance. Also, any day that I'd decide to forego a shower (and basically try to mask my greasy hair with a pound of dry shampoo) in attempt to get 15 more minutes of sleep would inevitably be the day that I'd be invited to a design consult with the VP. Yikes.

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I decided that I wanted to stop feeling less than fabulous, so I made a change. I started waking up just a little earlier for work so that I wouldn't feel so rushed (aka frazzled running out the door while trying to juggle a purse, laptop bag, gym bag, and protein shake). I added a few new staples to my closet, and I started putting my best self out there.

Taking the time to wash / dry / style my hair, apply makeup, and wear an outfit I felt good in made such a different in my mindset. I started adding in fun accessories and shoes, which made getting dressed in the morning that much more enjoyable. Because let's face it, not many things are enjoyable at 5:37am on a bitterly cold and dark January morning besides sleeping.

I no longer had feelings of dread when I was invited to a last-minute meeting, and felt excited when a friend invited me to a spontaneous happy hour after work because I felt dressed and ready to go! 

On the weekends, I started wearing similar outfits, just a bit more casual. For example, instead of skinny jeans and my favorite Tippi sweater, I'd pull on a comfy pair of boyfriend jeans and a long sleeved top paired with a puffer vest.

When I hit the gym, I put athletic clothes on for my workout and then shower / change before leaving the gym. No more running errands in sweat-soaked socks!

Here's what I love about this new approach:

I'm always ready to go -- whether it be to run out to our neighborhood market to grab a few tomatoes to go with our dinner, or to meet up with a friend that needs to chat.

I take better care of myself -- I tend to stick to my workouts more regularly and eat healthier.  Let's face it, you're less tempted to eat ice cream straight out of the container when you're wearing your skinny jeans that fit like a glove.

I'm more productive -- when I'm dressed and ready to go, I'm more focused. Wearing pajamas just makes me want to lounge around on the couch and binge watch episodes of my latest drama show on Netflix.

Below are a few parts of my routine that really make a difference for me:

  • I paint my nails every single week.
  • I shower (and wash my hair) every single morning.
  • I lay out my clothes for work the evening before.
  • I style my hair everyday.
  • I only purchase clothes that are in alignment with my personal style. (Post on this coming soon).
  • The most important one: I THREW OUT / DONATED ANY AND ALL FRUMPY CLOTHES.
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Big, baggy hoodies from college, sweatpants that are two sizes too big (but man, were those comfy!), freebie tees with company logos on them, etc. Since I no longer have these comfortable but worn-out clothes to wear, I'm forced to be more intentional about what I choose for outfits.

Dressing for your day is such a simple concept, but often overlooked! I encourage you to give it a try for a week straight to see if you notice a difference! You've got this!

P.S. I'm linking up with some other bloggers for Tuesday Talk today! Click here to check it out! 

Do you enjoy dressing up?
What are some of your favorite stores to shop?

Weekend of Extreme Temps

We went into this past weekend without much on the agenda, but it ended up being a great one! 

Backing up to Thursday evening, I headed out to meet my aunt for dinner at our favorite restaurant, Good Earth at the Galleria! We dined on the patio and it was such a beautiful evening -- we randomly got hit with a cool, 60 degree day here in July and it was delightful. It seriously felt just like fall! We met around 6pm and didn't leave until close to 10pm! We clearly had a lot of catching up to do! 

On Friday evening, Andy and I headed out on our weekly date night -- starting with going out for pizza and then walking around the lake.

We went to a lake that's connected to the one that we usually walk around it was so nice to have a change in scenery.

Afterwards, we headed home and I popped the pumpkin chocolate chip bread that I had prepped earlier into the oven and we watched an episode of Quantico, as we sipped Palomas! I had picked up ingredients for these earlier that evening when I had a sudden craving for them -- they're the perfect summer drink! 

Saturday morning, I slept in later than I had anticipated, and when I headed out for a run, it was SO hot! It was such a drastic difference after Thursday and Friday's autumn-like temps! I was completely drenched one mile into my run! 

I started out down by the lake, but then switched over to a local trail since it was shaded. I ran four sweaty miles before heading home to shower before heading out for the day.

My friend Hanna invited me to shop with her at the outlet mall, and we ended up spending the whole afternoon there. I hadn't seen her since March, so it was so good to catch up! Later that evening, she joined Andy and I for a Saturday evening service at church.

I woke up on Sunday morning not sure of what I wanted to do on such a beautiful day -- I was feeling torn between the pool and rollerblading around the lake but ended up choosing a workout over the pool. I only lasted about an hour around the lake because it was so humid outside! I was still able to get a good workout in, though! 

Afterwards, I dropped off some donations (always embracing that minimalist life!) before heading home for a shower! I spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing in the AC while working on the computer for awhile. 

What was your favorite part of the weekend?
Favorite summer drink of choice?

Ā