Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Birthday Weekend Recap

Hi everyone and happy Tuesday! I hope you all had a great weekend. Mine was a bit longer than normal, which is why I was MIA yesterday. I'm here today to recap all the fun I had, so get ready!


We started off the weekend in Philadelphia. We stayed in Center City and explored the area a bit before getting a drink and some food at Independence Beer Garden. That place was so cool and I loved the casual vibe.

We took the subway down to the Citizens Park area and walked around a nearby park, then headed in for a baseball game between the Phillies and Nationals.  At one point we left to get some drinks, and missed a foul ball that landed in our seats. Too bad!


We woke up early to get some breakfast in Reading Terminal Market. It's such a cool place with so much to see, so I understand why it's the most visited place in Philly!

After breakfast, we headed to Old Town and got in to see the Liberty Bell before the crowds arrived, then explored the area and toured the U.S. Mint. 

We were off to New York City! The ride was nice and short, and we got in to the city around lunchtime. We stayed in an apartment we found on AirBnB in the Upper West Side. The place was great and we were off to explore the city in no time! 

Unfortunately, the weather didn't cooperate and we didn't get to see very many sites. We stopped for dinner at Shake Shack, then went to see Inside Out in Battery Park (great movie!!). We made it back to our place around 10 and were exhausted so we fell right asleep!


We woke up early Sunday morning because I was running a race in Central Park! Luckily the storm passed and we were left with a cool, humid morning. Our apartment was close to the park, so Dan and I jogged over to the start for a warmup. We walked around a bit and Dan got to meet Jon Stewart before the race!

The race itself was great! We were walking so much and I was tired out from exploring the past few days, so my plan was to enjoy the experience. I felt better as I went along, so I ended up with my best 5 miler time with 43:18! Super happy with the time and it was such a great birthday race. (Race #1 is out of the way on my 30x30 list!)

We took the subway over to Queens to see the Mets play a few hours later. The team actually had to finish last nights game, which got suspended after 6 innings due to rain. The game ended up going to 13 innings with a Mets win. 

After the game, we stopped at Flushing Meadows to see where the U.S. Open is held! The area was really cool and had lots of paths to explore. The highlight was definitely the Unisphere...incredible and HUGE in person. 

We took the subway back to Manhattan and explored the Upper West Side, and stopped for dinner at Bar Bacon. I got the bacon bahn mi which was incredible. Highly recommend the restaurant for the food, but it was SO loud in there.

We walked around the area for a few  hours, visiting Lincoln Square, Broadway, Central Park West, Times Square, Radio City Music Hall, then stopped at Dylan's Candy Bar before making our way home. 

We ended the day with over 40,000 steps according to my FitBit, so we were pretty tired and ready to sleep, especially since we had a 4:00 wake up to catch our bus home!

I had such a great weekend and got to do so many fun things with Dan! I love exploring new places, watching baseball and running- so this was a perfect birthday weekend for me! 

What did you do this weekend?
What would be a perfect birthday for you?

Sunday, June 28, 2015

30 before 30

Hi everyone!   Today is going to be a special post.  I'm doing the most typical blogger thing ever, and writing out a 30 before 30 list!  I turn 25 today, and figured it was the perfect time to list out everything that I want to accomplish in the next five years.  I hope to continue blogging during this next phase of my life, and keep this list updated as I cross each item off! 
  1. Buy a house
  2. Break 2 hours in the half marathon
  3. Break 4 hours in the full marathon
  4. Complete a triathlon (sprint counts!)
  5. Get Married
  6. Visit Mexico
  7. Splurge on a once-in-a-lifetime meal
  8. Bungee Jump or Sky Dive
  9. Visit Falling Water
  10. Go to all the east-coast MLB stadiums (Remaining stadiums: Marlins Park, Tropicana Field, Turner Field, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field, Yankee Stadium)
  11. Cook a fancy 5-course meal
  12. Plant a garden
  13. Learn how to ski
  14. Stay at a BnB in Vermont
  15. Learn how to belay
  16. Have a spa day
  17. See a Broadway musical
  18. Ride a jet-ski
  19. Stay at a really fancy house on AirBnB
  20. Attend a professional tennis match
  21. Run a race for each birthday
  22. Get PMP-certified
  23. See the Northern Lights
  24. Attend a TED conference
  25. Read 25 books off the Time All-Time Novel list
  26. Try Stand-Up Paddleboard Yoga
  27. Hike part of the Appalachian Trail
  28. Bike the GAP (Pittsburgh-DC)
  29. Learn how to sew and make something
  30. Be in a member of a studio audience for an event or show

What are some goals you have for the next few years?
Is there anything on this list that you've done?
What other goals should I add?

Friday, June 26, 2015

Top Five Friday #17

Hi everyone and Happy Friday!  We made it! I have a lot of fun plans this weekend and can't wait to share.  For now, I'll be talking about my top five favorites of the week.  I hope you all have a great weekend!

Favorites of the Week


Add me on snapchat!  My username is gretchxo

Last week, I got a FitBit from work, and I've been loving it so far!  I love how you can challenge your friends (add me if you're on!) and I've already become a lot more active at work.  I got the Charge, and I love how you can see exactly how many steps and miles you've gone, as well as calories burnt, floors climbed, and the time!  It also tracks your sleep, which was interesting to see (apparently I'm restless a lot throughout the night).

Amazon Prime

I absolutely love having Amazon Prime, especially when I find a new perk.  I just found out about Kindle First- four books are chosen each month as the editors' picks, and prime members can download one free every month.  That's amazing!  I especially liked this because I've never heard of any of these authors or the books, so this was a great way to find new things to read!

True Runner Run Club

true runner run review
Source- True Runner Facebook page
I've mentioned the Run Club in the past, but I have to mention it again because it's so fun!  The club meets every Wednesday and Saturday at True Runner in Shadyside.  Not only do you get a $20 gift card to the store after attending 10 runs, but the club also hosts tons of fun events.  This week was the Pub Run- after running 4 miles we got a free beer from the Shady Grove, with a $2 special after that.  It was so fun!  I love running with this group and there are lots of paces available- from 7:00 to 12:00.  (I'm not sponsored by True Runner or anything, just want to share it for you yinzers out there!)  I believe that other True Runner locations also host runs, so check out the website, click your location, and click on events to find the next one!

Trader Joe's Spicy Chai Tea Latte mix

Source: traderjoes.com
Oh my goodness..this stuff is AMAZING!  I mentioned it briefly in my first WIAW post, and I've been obsessed with this ever since then.  I've tried it hot, cold, and mixed with coffee..all amazing.  I can't believe I've gone so long with out trying this, but it's definitely a staple in my TJ hauls from now on!

Mindy Kaling on Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me

Source: npr.org

First of all, I absolutely LOVE Mindy and have supported every project of hers, from her book to her shows, and I was so excited to hear she was the special guest on my favorite podcast this week!  She is so hilarious and just seems like an all-around great person and someone I would definitely love to be friends with.  I think I'll have to add her to my hypothetical dinner table group next time I'm asked that question!  If you want to hear this week's podcast, you can listen here.



So many things wrong with this episode...Ian being a major jerk (really disappointed because I really liked him in the beginning), Nick still creeps me out, the camera men staying right outside Kaitlyn's room...so, so unnecessary.  I really respect how Kaitlyn's been dealing with the backlash and taking it all in stride.  I follow her on Snapchat and she had a great response and said "my only message is do you bro".  While I may not make the same choices as her, I'm not going to put her down or make rude comments about her.  Do you!

I Can Do That!

Such amazing acts this week, especially the roller blading trio!  That was just crazy.  I felt really bad for Jeff..his partner (Ciara) ditched him most of the week to do promo for her new album.  It doesn't really seem fair that someone signed up for the show knowing they couldn't be dedicated to it.  I guess it's not surprising that she's in last place.

So You Think You Can Dance

SO excited for the show this year!  There are a ton of dancers that are amazing..like give me chills and goosebumps amazing.  I think it's pretty evenly matched between the street and stage, but I think the street performers have an edge in the personality/originality department.  It'll be interesting to see how the live shows go!

Big Brother

Any other BB lovers out there?  When the new season starts it signals the beginning of summer for me.  I can't wait to get into this season and figure out who my favorites are! Based on the first episode, I'm loving Da'Vonne..she is hilarious and I think could get really far in the game as long as she doesn't miss her baby too much.  Clay is also adorable and seems like a sweet guy.

Running Wild With Bear Grylls

I keep seeing commercials for the upcoming season, and I'm SO excited to watch!  There are some big celebrities on this season (including James Marsden and Kate Hudson..my favorites) so I can't wait to see how they do in the wild!  Counting down the days till July 13!!


Brave : Leona Lewis

I absolutely love Leona's voice, and have been listening to her music non-stop at work this week.  This song is so beautiful!

Tom Sawyer : Rush

I have to credit this song to Dan, whose favorite band is Rush.  I really like this song, especially to pump me up during a run!  Oldie but goodie for sure.

Heart Cry Remix : Drehz

Someone danced to this song on SYTYCD (which was beautiful) and I loved how interesting the song was!  There's piano, cello, and lots of electronics.  SO cool!

You're Only Human : Billy Joel 

This song is so great, especially if you know the story behind it- Joel wanted to write a song to help young people who were struggling with depression after attempting suicide himself.  He thought the first version was too sad and depressing, so he re-wrote it to be happier and bouncy.  He also donated all the song royalties to the National Committee for Youth Suicide Prevention..amazing!

Grand Romantic album : Nate Ruess

I've loved Nate's voice ever since Some Nights came out, and I'm in love with his new album.  There's so much string music in the background, and each song is beautiful.  I especially love his duet with Beck (those harmonies!!) and Brightside. 

Linking up with Mar, Cynthia and Court 
as well as Heather and Clare!

I hope you all have a great weekend!! Tell me what you're up to!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

How I Create a Budget

Hi everyone!  For today's Thinking Out Loud post, I'm going to be talking about something that was on my monthly goals list- setting a budget.  This is something that I've struggled with, so I decided to create a spreadsheet (my favorite..Excel is the answer to everything) and write out all of my income and expenses to figure out how much I could spend each month.  I used a really simple method, and I hope that this will help you as well!

I created a spreadsheet with all the formulas and everything built in (which you can find here if you're interested).  You can download the file to Excel by clicking File>Download as>Microsoft Excel. In the future, I'm hoping to add a graph to show my savings over time and see how my spending is increasing or decreasing.  That's to come!

I divided the spreadsheet into two sections: Income/bills and Expenses.  The first part is all of my monthly bills and expenses, as well as my monthly income.  The second part is all about other expenses and non-bills.

Just a note- I plugged in fake numbers because I'd rather not publicize how much I make and how much I spend each month!  This is just an example.  The spreadsheet I'm linking is all blank, and you can completely customize it to work with your budget!


Tracking Income and Bills

First, I write down my total income.  There may be many sources of income for you, so make sure to write these all down.  For bloggers, monthly income may change month-to-month, so try to find the average, or be on the safe side and write down what you make on a minimum each month.

Next, I divide up my monthly bills in two categories: Necessities and Luxuries.  Necessities are all the bills that I can't get rid of, like rent and food.  I also auto-transfer money each paycheck to my savings, so I include this in "necessities" since I never really see this money.  This is also where ongoing bills like student loans would go.

Luxuries are the monthly bills that I could get rid of if I had to.  I don't really need HULU or a gym membership, but I have no plans on cancelling either right now.   I keep these numbers separate in case I ever have to cut something out.  It's useful to see these numbers and see how quickly our little luxuries can add up (especially auto-reloading your Starbucks card every month!)

I subtract my two "bill" categories from my income to get a left over/fun money amount.  If this number is negative, you might want to consider cutting out some of the luxuries or picking up a side job to make some extra money.



Tracking Expenses

Next up I write down my monthly expenses, divided by category.  I do this to see how much those small bills can add up over a month (especially things like buying lunch every day..it's insane!).  I also keep track of what I think about those items, specifically for clothing or makeup.  This way, if I buy something and decide that I don't even like it and haven't worn it, I will return it.

Once again, this number should not exceed the number in "Left Over/Fun Money" above.  If it does, that means that I'm spending more money than I'm making.  If this happens a lot (shopping problems) I put myself on a budget and make it a goal to spend less than x amount per month.  At the beginning of this year, I made it my resolution to spend less than $100 per month on "fun" things, and this really helped me stay on track!


I hope that this little spreadsheet helps you out!  Like I said, I like to keep it really simple.  Seeing how much money adds up over a month was really eye-opening for me, and tracking everything has really helped improve my spending habits.  

How do you keep a budget?
What tips do you have for staying on track (financially)?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

What I Ate Wednesday #1

Today I'm linking up with What I Ate Wednesday (#WIAW) for the first time!  If you haven't heard of #WIAW, check out this post that explains it.  Basically, I'll just be sharing what I ate for an entire day.  This is actually what I had yesterday!

Just a note- I'm not a nutritionist (or food photographer..) and I also don't have any dietary restrictions, so take what I eat with caution.  I eat what makes me feel good, which is mostly fruit and vegetables in the summer!  I hope you'll enjoy this post and I plan on participating at least once a month in the linkup!


I don't usually eat a huge breakfast, and never eat breakfast at home.  This is definitely something that I'm working on (and will be a goal for next month!)  Today I actually did have a small breakfast at home, which was Madagascar Vanilla Kefir topped with raspberries and blackberries.  Kefir by itself is really tart and unappetizing to me, but the berries tone that taste down and all I'm left with is a hint of vanilla and a creamy base!  If you've never heard of Kefir or want to learn more about it, click here.
I also drink a glass of water in the morning, and then head off to work!


I brought a few snacks with me to work, because I'm always getting hungry.  I started off with some coffee, mixed with Spiced Chai Tea Latte mix from Trader Joes (which, by the way, is delicious over ice) as my "creamer".  I don't drink coffee every day, but today I needed a little jolt!
Yay for dual-monitors at work!
I also brought along some food to snack on throughout the day: a grapefruit, apricot, and some almonds.  Great mix of flavors that kept me full all day! 

I have a water bottle at work that I keep full at all times to get my 60 oz of water in, and also drink tea.  Today's choice was Twining's Ceylon Orange Pekoe...delicious!


For lunch, I brought some frozen chicken from home (Tyson Lightly Breaded Chicken Breast Strips..the best!) and walked down to Blue Bird Kitchen for a side dish.  Today they had a black bean salad that was delicious and that I have to recreate!  It looks like there's black beans, navy beans, kale, apples, red and green tomatoes, red cabbage and mustard seeds.  Loved it!


I went to my normal Tuesday Group Centergy class, so I needed something to eat after getting home!  I decided to try out an oatmeal recipe I saw on Fitnessista.  I topped it with shredded coconut and dried wild blueberries, and it was seriously AMAZING.  I wasn't expecting too much, but it was delicious and I'm definitely going to be making this again and again!

I also made sure to drink even more water before my class..it's been super hot in Pittsburgh lately and I'm SO thirsty all the time!


I completed my monthly challenge of making Mexican food for dinner!  We had Chiles Rellenos, Carne Asada Street Tacos, salsa and chips, and a Paloma.   Everything was so good!

I finished off my night with an iced chai tea latte (mix that I mentioned above).  SO GOOD!!

What's the best thing you've had recently?
Do you like Mexican food?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Training Changes

Hello everyone!  The theme song today is Changes by Tupac (or David Bowie if that's more your speed).  I hope that you read my post on Paleo Running Momma yesterday, where I talked about what NOT to do while marathon training.  I mentioned what went wrong during the Biggest Loser Half a few weeks ago, and today I'll be talking about what changes I'm making for my next training cycle (which starts soon!).

New training plan 

I've only used Hal Higdon's training plan for my half and full marathons.  I don't really think it's worked for me for a few reasons, including too many junk miles (which I'll talk about below) and not enough variety.  By the end of the cycle, I was bored and unmotivated.  I decided to try a tougher training plan to really push myself and try to hit my goal time of 2 hours.  I actually found a plan to get sub-1:50 in the half, and will be modifying it a bit for myself.  I'll be breaking it down monthly and weekly when I start up and see what happens!

Less junk mileage

As I mentioned above, I think my previous training plan had too many junk miles.  If you're unfamiliar with the term, Active.com explains: "junk miles are the ones you run that don't produce a specific physiological benefit."  Looking back at my last training log, most of my runs were described as "ok" and my times didn't really improve much.  I wasn't running these easy, as recovery, or hard, to improve.  They just added mileage on to my week, and didn't really help to improve anything.  In my new plan, each run has a purpose, and I'll stick to the goal paces as much as possible.

More consistent cross training

Last cycle, I introduced cross training to my plan.  I think this really helped out and made me a stronger runner, specifically in my upper body.  I definitely want to continue this going forward, and be more consistent and strict with this.

No skimping on the long runs

I mentioned this in my guest post yesterday, and is definitely my biggest hurdle in training.  I'm just going to suck it up and do my long runs (each and every one of them!)  This alone should help improve my time drastically!

Better diet

In the past, I haven't really been serious about tracking food or making sure I have enough calories in a day.  I can definitely tell a difference in my performance based on what I eat the day before and the hours leading up to a run.  This time, I want to better track my food and make sure I'm eating enough, as well as figure out what works best for me as far as fueling goes.

Train on similar conditions as race

I mentioned before that I trained mostly in hilly areas (they don't call it Squirrel Hill for nothing) for a flat race.  I'm doing another relatively flat race in October and will change my long runs to a flat area.  This is also run on a crushed-stone path, and luckily one of the flattest areas in Pittsburgh is a crushed-stone path that goes beside the river!  I'll be on the lookout for my northside girls down there!

Race more 

I did do quite a few races during my last training cycle.  I want to continue that, but have the distances gradually increase (I mostly did 5k's last time).  The point is to see how my training is coming along and practice fueling, so I need to find some races to do!

What changes have you made to your training in the past?
What training plans do you follow?
How is your week going so far? 

Tuesdays on the Run 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Versatile Blogger Survey

Hi everyone and happy Monday!  Rather than my typical MIMM post talking about my weekend (which can be summarized into resting and binge-watching Netflix), I'll be completing the Versatile Blogger Survey!  Thanks to Amanda for tagging me!

Check out Michele's blog today- I'm guest posting while she's on vacation!  I'll be sharing what NOT to do while marathon training.  Go show her some love!

1. What is something people might be surprised to learn about you? 

I was in the marching band at Penn State, and got to go to four different bowl games (two in Florida, one in Texas, and one in California).  My freshman year, we went to the Rose Bowl, which was an amazing experience!  We marched in the parade, played at Disney World and stayed at a hotel right by City Walk.  It was such a great experience, even if we got crushed by USC.

2. Have you ever met anyone famous? 

George Bush- my dad's work had a picnic and he stopped by.

Heath Miller-  He was signing autographs at a mall, and a friend who worked for a local news website got to go.  He is HUGE and was really shy and reserved. 

Asher Roth- in college I was in the student government and we organized a free spring concert where Asher was the headliner (this was right after I Love College came out if anyone remembers that song!)

3. What is something you hope will never come back in style?

Ed Hardy clothes, blue eyeshadow, platform shoes.

4. What is one place on your travel must-see bucket list?

SO much!  On my most recent Europe trip, my friends and I discussed where we would visit if we could only see three places for the rest of our lives.  My choices were Thailand
South Africa
Switzerland (I've already been there once, but I don't care..it's SO gorgeous)

5. Who would you want to play you in a movie of your life?

This is a tough one!  Megan Fox in my dreams, or Amanda Seyfried.  I don't think there's a movie coming out anytime soon, so I think I'm safe for now :)

6. Who is your favorite Disney princess?

Jasmine, mainly because she's voiced by Lea Salonga and has Rajah!

7. What would you sing at karaoke night?

How Do I Live for a slow song and Sweet Caroline for a faster song (especially if I'm doing karaoke at Penn State!

8. Who would you want to be stranded with on a  deserted island?

Dan, of course!  Not only would he be great company, but he's also really good at figuring out how to fix things and would keep us alive and end up getting us rescued.  (if he's busy I'll take Bear Grylls as a backup)
I'm convinced there's nothing Dan can't do..

9. What is your biggest pet peeve?

People at work who sing, whistle, talk loudly on the phone (while it's on speaker) and clip their nails.  That's all things that my cubical neighbor does.  Yay.

10. What clothing item/accessory/shoes do you have way too many of in your closet? 

Grey shirts.  Any time I find a shirt I like, I always end up buying the grey color.  It just looks so good with everything!

Now it's your turn to answer some of the questions!  If you're a blogger, I tag you to do the survey next!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Top Five Friday #16

Hellllloo and Happy Friday!  Did everyone have a good week?  Mine went by very quickly, but unfortunately I caught a bug that's been going around at work.  It seems like twice a year everyone on my floor gets sick.  Not fun at all!  I'll be relaxing this weekend, but today I'm sharing five things that I'm loving at the moment!



Brooks Pure Flow 4

Source: http://www.brooksrunning.com/en_us/pureflow-4-womens-running-shoes/120180.html
A few weeks ago, I exchanged the Mizuno Wave Rider 11 for these and I'm in love!  Brooks shoes seem to be a perfect match for my foot, and I've never had any issues with the shoes I've tried (Adrenaline, Ravenna and Pure Flow).  I also have the PureFlow 3, and these have a few updates that I'm really loving: cushioned tongue, softer laces, and slightly firmer sole.  It seems like my feet prefer light-weight shoes like this rather than a stability shoe, so I'm going to keep wearing these until I have issues!

Trader Joe's Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate

I love having iced coffee in the summer, and this tastes SO good!  The taste isn't bitter at all, and a bottle lasts me a while.  I just fill up a cup or glass with ice, mix about a half cup of the concentrate with a splash of creamer (right now I'm using french vanilla almond creamer) and fill the rest with milk.  Delicious!  Starbucks also sells a cold brew coffee that's really good, but almost $5.  A bottle of concentrate is only $7.99 (if you do the math, that's less than $1 per drink- and you can customize it how you'd like!)

Pittsburgh Pirates

I absolutely love Pittsburgh's sports teams, and the Pirates are my favorite.  This year we were picked by Buster Olney to win the World Series, and the boys have been playing really great so far this year (thanks to some fantastic pitching and Alvarez moving off of third base...).  I'm still not sure how I feel about McCutchen cutting off his hair, though!  

Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Eyeshadow

A while back, I mentioned wanting this liquid eyeshadow.  I finally got it and I'm in love!  I use Playa del Pink as an everyday eyeshadow and it's absolutely gorgeous.  It's so easy to use (just dot on eyes and blend out) and looks great.  I've gotten so many compliments on it, and it only takes a few seconds!

Express (Minus the) Leather Jacket

This is definitely one of my favorite purchases this year.  After searching for a while for the perfect faux leather jacket for my trip to Europe, I happened upon Gina's blog and fell in love with this one.  It's not flashy or too biker-y, and looks great with everything from jeans to a dress.  I wear it all the time now!  (Also, Gina's blog is a favorite as well. I have to warn you though, she will make you go broke if you don't have self control.  You've been warned.)


I haven't been in the mood to watch TV shows much this week, so instead I'll be sharing 5 movies that were recently added to Netflix that I can't wait to watch!

Best of Me

I love all Nicholas Sparks's movies, and I LOVE James Marsden.  Can't get any better!

The Butler

I never saw this when it was getting all the Oscar buzz, so I'd love to see it now.  There's such an all-star cast and the plot sounds really interesting.


I'm SO excited to see this on the list!  I've seen really good reviews of the movie, and can't wait to see Jennifer Aniston in a serious role (especially after seeing her in Friends for the past few months!)

Ballet 422

Even though I have no dancing ability, I have a weird fascination with ballet documentaries.  This one sounds really interesting and follows the New York City Ballet.

On the Road

Another all-star cast, and another film adaptation.  The novel was chosen by Time magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005- so it's got to be good, right?


Wake Me Up: Madilyn Bailey

I love the original song, and this acoustic version is so beautiful!  I think Madilyn has such a beautiful voice.  If you haven't listened to her covers, check out her YouTube channel.  Amazing!

Can't Feel My Face: The Weeknd

This song reminds me a lot of Michael Jackson's style, and I really like it!  I've been obsessed with The Weeknd ever since I heard their song on the 50 Shades soundtrack.  Great sound!

U Mad: Vic Mensa ft. Kanye West

This is a perfect running/working out song for me.  Adding to my playlist now!

Biscuits: Kacey Musgraves

I just love the message of this song: Mind your own biscuits and life will be gravy.  Simple, catchy song but more people should listen and follow her advice!!

Chopin's 19 Nocturnes: Arthur Rubinstein

As soon as I started listening to this song, I was instantly transported to a different place and felt so much more relaxed and happy.  It's amazing the power that music has!  If you're having a bad day or need to relax, PLAY THIS NOW!! (note that this is a long one, but each Nocturne is so freaking beautiful that I couldn't just pick one!)

Linking up with Mar, Cynthia and Court 
as well as Heather and Clare!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Pinterest Beauty Hacks

Happy Thursday!  Isn't this week flying by?

Today I'm linking up with Anne in her monthly Pin to Present series (and Amanda for Thinking out Loud!).  I usually try out a recipe I found on Pinterest, but today I decided to switch it up a bit and test out some beauty hacks.  There are so many tips and tricks out there, and everything promises beautiful results in just minutes.  If I can re-vamp my beauty and hair routine and save time, I'm all in! 

Today I'm testing out four pins- two for hair and two for makeup.  Keep reading to see if the pins were a yay or a big fat NAY!


The first pin I found promised a 1-minute longer, fuller ponytail.  The images made it look simple: just divide your hair in half horizontally and put each into a ponytail.  Easy, right?

It turns out that this pin works!  I loved how the two pony tails made my hair look longer and gave it a nice layered look.  Next time I'll try this with curly hair to better disguise the lower ponytail bump.  Overall- this was a YAY!!

My second pin was for the popular "no heat curls" with a bit of a twist.  This involved spinning your hair around a headband before bed while your hair is damp, and waking up with beautiful curls.  A bit more time consuming, but a promise for great curls while we sleep is nice!

This also worked!  The curls were nice and soft, and were surprisingly neat.  I expected a big mess and tangles, but it actually looked good!  In the morning, all I had to do was take out the band and brush my hair (took all of two minutes).  I think it would work even better if I put anti-frizz cream or spray in before wrapping my hair around the band (as you can see my hair is a bit frizzy in the front).  Overall- another YAY!!


My first makeup hack was intense liner trick . This uses a regular liner, heated for a second, and voila- gel liner! This would help make my regular liner more crisp and allow me to wing out my normal pencil liner!

Unfortunately, this was a miss.  When I tried to apply the liner to my eyes, it crumpled and dried up, and was really sheer. It also completely ruined my pencil, so it's really wasteful! Overall- NAY!!

Finally, my last pin promised an easy smokey eye with just one cream pencil. All you have to do is draw a cross hatch on the outer V and blend! 

This surprisingly worked really well (even if the picture doesn't show it very well). I used my favorite Mally cream shadow and drew out the hatch. Once it was blended, there was a prefect amount of color which darkened toward the outer corner. Really flattering and easy. Overall- YAYYYY!!!

Overall, it was a lot of fun to try out new beauty tricks, and I found some new favorites! I will definitely keep playing around with the hair tricks and keep the smokey hack, but will keep buying gel liner if I want to wing out my liner.

What are some of your favorite beauty hacks?
Any epic fail pins you want to share?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Wednesday Reviews : PopSugar Must Have Box {June}

Hi everyone!  Today's review will be my third and final PopSugar Must Have Box (referral code).  I was excited to see this month's box because the theme was all around summer and being active.  Keep reading to see what was included in this month's box! (check out April and May's review )

Quay Australia Mandate sunglasses – Value $45
I absolutely LOVE these sunglasses!  They feel very high-quality and I love the matte black finish.  They have a rubbery texture, so they might get dirty quickly.  This is my preferred style of sunglasses, and I love how simple and basic they are.  They are a little big for my face, but I don't care-I love them!  See how the look on me below:

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume – Value $28
I'm always looking for a new book to read, and I haven't read one by Judy Blume in years!  This book is huge though, and will be a pain to take on the bus (where I usually read.)  It would be nice if we had the choice to get a Kindle giftcard for a free book rather than sending everyone a hardback book.  I will definitely read it though!

Pacifica Eyeshadow Palette - Value $14
I loved getting a small palette in the box!  I would take this on trips with me, because it's so small and has really nice colors included.  I tried this on my eyes and loved how it looked- pretty, bright and summery!  The colors were easy to blend and went on smoothly.  Here are what the colors look like swatched (note that the first shade matches my skin and is hard to see.  Colors like this are great for a base shadow to cancel out any veins or discoloration on your eyelids, and make it easier to blend other colors)

Spongelle Boxed Flowers Body Wash Infused Buffer in Papaya Yuzu - Value $16
This was a complete miss for me.  I'm grossed out by sponges, and the fact that this is infused with body wash and is supposed to be used multiple times freaks me out!  I did try it once, but it was extremely rough and uncomfortable to use, and left my skin feeling really tight and not clean at all afterwards.  The scent is really nice though!

Yogitoes Peacock Headband -Value $4This headband is really cute and I love how wide it is!  I've only used thin headbands, and they are always uncomfortable and slip out.  This one stayed in place and I love how you can pull it over your eyes during savasana!

Snap Infusion Super Candy - Value $4
I absolutely love gummy candies, and thought these were really good.  I didn't notice any huge difference in my energy levels after eating them, but they're a good snack!

Total Value - $111
I loved this box!  I'm going to get use out of everything this month, and love how it was such a wide variety of products offered.  The only product that I didn't like was the sponge, which is only usable for a few washes anyway.  It made my entire box smell good though!  There was also a $30 giftcard for a vintage jewelry shop (not included in my total value).

I originally only ordered a 3 month subscription to PopSugar, and this was my last box.  I'm thinking about trying a new box, so if anyone has any suggestions or referral codes let me know!

If you're interested in trying out PopSugar, I would appreciate if you used my referral code!