Our first jobs–or how we made our first paychecks

In my Ipsy bag this month, I got a red NYX lipstick in the color, Lifeguard. Seeing that lipstick totally set me on a nostalgic turn thinking of my first job, being a lifeguard at the Phillips Community Pool. I immediately wanted to listen to a 90s playlist and reminisce about my days up in the chair. And it started me thinking about how much that first job informed who I am today.

The lipstick that started the conversation–Lifeguard by NYX. Photo courtesy of nyxcosmetics.com

It also dawned on me that I wasn’t sure I knew what Pamela or Jess’ first jobs were–I did!–but I was curious how they felt their first jobs had influenced them.

So this is the story of our first paychecks: where we got them, what we did and how those experiences imprinted who we would become.

Continue reading

5 Things I’m Loving Right Now

I’m totally loving this unseasonably warm weather!  But that’s a given. You are too.  But colder temps are on their way back in….. and snow…… It’s February….. It was inevitable.  While we enjoy these last moments of “trick spring” let me tell you about a few things I’m pretty into right now.

Dr. Martens

Like any good goth kid in the 90’s, I had several pairs of Dr. Martens.  All of which have been long since donated.  I never thought when I was 19 that I’d want to revisit them again when I was 40. Silly me, because guess what…. I wish I’d held on to all my old Dr. Martens.  So I bought a new pair (well, two new pairs… you already know about the ones I purchased with my Poshmark dollars.)  They are a bit more sophisticated than any of my previous pairs and definitely just as shiny as I remember them in the 90’s. Maybe even a little more comfortable than I remember, yet still ridiculous to break in (the stiff, quality leather is still a thing my friends.)  They are the shoes I’ve been looking for all winter…. good thing there’s still some winter left.

The Bianca boot… image from Dr. Martens website.

Continue reading

What I’m Packing: Beach Edition

You know how Lyn is a light-packing magician?? Turns out I am the exact opposite of her: I always check a bag. I always bring one too many pairs of shoes and 47 t-shirts. I always come home with 50% of my clothes unworn. But hey! I’m ok with it, and I still dream of a weekend getaway, someday, where I manage to pack everything I need in my purse (which is literally a gym bag and also the greatest carry on bag of all time. Damn you Lululemon for not making it anymore!!!!).

Once a year, my husband and I take a break from life and hit the beach. Usually we head to Mexico, but this year we are mixing it up and checking out the beaches of Costa Rica! Our goals for our beach vacations always prioritize relaxation- we don’t really go out to fancy dinners or go clubbing or anything, and we mostly stick to the resort, but we will do some off-site adventures. Over the years, I’ve come up with a few edits and additions to my packing to make sure my beach vacay is on point:

Now, obviously, this doesn’t include all of my clothes, carry on essentials, books, or hats, but these are the things I felt should be singled out. Let’s start from the top!

Continue reading

Getting a Handle on Makeup Tools and Brushes

I’m really trying to work on my eye game lately. My makeup routine has always been slapping on a single shadow (usually the Maybelline Color Tattoo, of course) and a bold lip and calling it good.

In trying to do better with eye shadows and eye liners, I’ve also started experimenting with different brushes and makeup tools.  I’ll be the first to admit—I’m still figuring them out.

But I do have a few that have become my go-to options and most of them come from the drugstore or big box retailer. I mentioned some of them in my last post —but since I’m still new to building a brush/tool arsenal—I thought it might be fun to share what I’m using and hear what works for you.

Here’s what I’m using in order of how I use them:

Continue reading

lovers gonna love.

I love Valentine’s day. When I tell people this, the usual response is: “You do?”  Followed by: “Why??” Am I totally in the minority on this one?  I often feel like I am. But I really do love it.  Here’s why….

Hearts:  I love anything heart shaped. And Valentine’s day with all it’s red and pink and hearts…. forget decorating for Christmas or any other holiday for that matter…. Valentines decorations are my favorite. I keep some of my Valentines decorations up year round in fact. It’s so pretty and refreshing in February… a reminder that surely there is more to this month than the dreary gray and cold of Wisconsin winter.

These stay up year round.

Continue reading

5 Things I’m Loving Right Now

Happy February! Well, we’re still getting through bundled up snowy, cold days, but at least the days are getting longer. The sun is even out today! Hello, The Sun! As I work my way out of hibernation mode, here are some things that I am really digging:

Breakfast of Champions

Most days, I’m bad at breakfast, especially if I’m up early. Just… nothing sounds good? But I know that I perform better if I have a little something, so I have come up with a solution that tastes like magic: Salted Caramel Oatmeal.

Now, I don’t know who at Big Oatmeal decided that oatmeal flavors should all be gross (I mean seriously- no one has invented peanut butter oatmeal?? But strawberries and cream is a thing??) but whatever, I can take this into my own hands. I prepare one package of plain oatmeal (yeah yeah, I know instant is the saddest of all oatmeals, but I’m going for better-than-nothing here!), nuke it for a minute, then top it with 15 grams of these magical sea salt caramel flavored chips, and stir in their melty goodness. BOOM- I have a breakfast that a) tastes like a cookie b) tastes great with coffee c) is easy to eat and deal with and d) clocks in at 180 calories. This is the perfect solution for me when I need a little gas in the tank to lift in the morning, or if I have early clients.

Easy, Moisturized Lips

Obviously, I will forever and ever love a bold lip, but lately I have been in the mood for something natural looking while being hella moisturizing. I’ve been really into grabbing this Rimmel London Exaggerate Full Colour Lip Liner in the shade Eastend Snob, which is a “my lips but better” cool pinky neutral. I line and fill in my lips, then top it with Chapstick Total Hydration Moisture + Tint in Rose Petal, which I have been loving during these dry winter days. Is anyone else sleeping with a humidifier blowing right on your face? Anyway, this combo gives a nice no-makeup makeup look that holds up with regular, pleasant reapplications of the lightly tinted Chapstick. Because winter.

The Santa Clarita Diet

Haaaaaaaave you guys watched this yet? Netflix continues to kill it (ha! I swear I didn’t do that on purpose!) with their originals, and this one is no exception. Last weekend was super grey and cold, so MB and I hunkered down in sweatpants, hot tea, and face masks, and binged on this little gem about a suburban realtor (Drew Barrymore) who suddenly becomes undead and develops an appetite for human flesh while also living her best life. If you don’t like blood (Lyn!) or random but totally realistic swearing outbursts, maybe this isn’t the show for you, but we found it to be laugh-out-loud funny and ridiculous. Plus it filled my “zombies living in the real world” void while I’m waiting FOREVER for iZombie season 3 to start.

Is This My New Favorite Concealer?

I’m pretty fair-weather when it comes to concealer- I just haven’t found my glass slipper yet. I like Maybelline’s Instant Age Rewind ok, but sometimes it seems too yellow for me. Their Fit Me concealer is in my rotation, too- the color is much better and I like the formula a lot- but as the day wears on, it settles into my creases. I picked up this new Outlast All-Day Soft Touch by Cover Girl last week, and I’ve really been liking it! It blends pretty well, covers my redness and sleepiness (I don’t struggle too much with darkness under my eyes, but do like to brighten up and cover some spots), and doesn’t seem to crease as the day goes on. I’m going to keep playing with it, but so far, so good.

Jeans That Fit (WHAT)

Inspired by Pamela’s closet purge, I recently took to my own. I had a huge stack of jeans in there- so huge, I didn’t even know what was in that pile (I found a leopard print pair!! What!!). I have been hating all of my jeans for the past few years, so I literally got rid of them ALL. Ok- I kept 2 pairs that are, like, lazy Saturday men’s jeans that are fine but not great and maybe I’ll hack them into shorts or something. My jeans struggle is this: I have curves. I have a hip measurement that once made a dressmaker tell me “that can’t be right”. My legs are also, you know, great for squats, but bad for knee-high boots? Second only to swimsuit shopping, jeans shopping is THE WORST, but now I was left in a position where I had to find some, and I wanted to find the right ones, not just “good enough” ones. After a lot of miserable shopping trips, fitting rooms, and internet returns, I have come up with two pairs of jeans that are making me super happy and feeling fly:

via levi.com

Levi’s 721 High Rise Skinny Jean

These jeans are everything I want in a jean- the high waist isn’t, like, mom-jeans high- it sits right where I want my jeans to sit (on top of my hip bone), doesn’t dip down in the back, and stays on my butt, which these jeans make look amazing. I got these in a dark blue wash (Blue Story) which are great for dressing up or down. They have a bit of stretch in them, but still feel like jeans, not jeggings. Plus, Levi’s are always a classic.

Mossimo High Rise Skinny Jeans

via target.com

So of course, after searching high and low (price) for a perfect pair of jeans, I find a great pair- on clearance, no less- at Target. I love these jeans! Again, they are labeled high rise, but I think they sit in just the right spot, and actually fit my waist rather then try to squiggle around it. These also feel like heavy, real denim, and the added stretch makes them fit like a dream. Who knew high waisted would be the answer?? Maybe I did- my previous favorite pair of black jeans were a high waisted pair from H&M- but I was resistant because we were all brainwashed through the low-slung, hip-hugging horror that was the 2000’s.

What are you loving right now? What have you been watching? Eating? Wearing? Are you going on a trip soon that’s not cold and grey?? Tell us in the comments!

I bought all of this stuff with my own money, so I enjoy a good sale rack. All photos are my own unless otherwise noted.

Makeup for when you’re sick but still need to leave the house

I’ve been sick (which is also why this post is going up so late.) Not lay in bed and don’t go out for a week sick, just annoying, lingering, winter is the worst sick. And it’s an insult to injury situation because I rarely get sick. I have a tried and true arsenal I employ when I feel the first hint of sickness coming on that works. But because—LIFE—I wasn’t on my game and bam. Sickness.

And as much as I want to be in my favorite pink pajamas cuddling with my pups, drinking tea and watching Netflix (I fantasize a life where getting sick is like a vacation) life—and work—goes on. Sometimes work means being seen in public and trying to not look on the outside like the hot mess I feel on the inside.

Last week, I had to present at the Minnesota Governor’s Conference on Tourism, a pretty nice professional accomplishment.  Not only was the event stressful on its own, but it was made worse due to my major fear I would just sit on the panel coughing the entire time. (I didn’t—thank goodness!)

But it made me up my makeup game to create a look that would somewhat mask the signs of sickness, be easy to wear, and not take too many products since I also had to travel. And I think it worked!

Hopefully, you can avoid this nastiness that is going around—but if it strikes and you still need to be presentable—here’s what I did to try and make myself look better than I feel.

Skin: When I’m sick, I feel like I have a weird shine to my skin. Like a special glow that alerts the world to stand back and save themselves. So I definitely wanted to go for more of a matte finish. Plus, my nose is red and dry, I’m wicked tired so my dark circles are even worse than normal—which I didn’t think was possible—and I have stupid pimple that I need to hide. Awesome.

Sadly—the full size is a jar—so I won’t be purchasing it. I don’t do jars or pots. #weird

So the first step was moisturizing. I used a sample of the Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream which was really nice. It wasn’t heavy or greasy and sunk into my skin quickly without leaving a shine.

Next was putting the first layer under my eyes. I stuck with my favorite morning eye cream, First Aid Beauty, Eye Duty Triple Remedy: Brighten, Depuff and Smooth.

I just got a 10% off code from Sephora so I ordered this in “Light”. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Risky move—but I tried a sample of the IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better™ CC+™ Cream with SPF 50+–and I’m so glad I did. YouTubers have been singing its praises—and I agree—it was very moisturizing but had great coverage for a CC cream. It’s also very easy to spread and blend, so I applied it with my fingers. The sample I received was in “Medium” which I think was slightly too dark, but it definitely warmed up my dead looking skin. Using a lighter concealer color helped even out the overall skin tone.

I generally go with a very light coverage formula like Glossier Stretch Concealer or Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Treatment Concealer. But speaking of YouTube favorites—a while ago I bought the Tarte Double Duty Beauty Shape Tape Contour Concealer based on nearly every makeup gurus’ recommendation—but I’ve only worn it a few times. I find it’s a very heavy duty concealer, not what I normally go for, but exactly what I needed to get the job done. Using my trusty Beauty Blender, I applied it under my eyes, around my nose, on my pimple and in between my brows. I have the color “Light/Medium” and it had nice brightening to it in addition to coverage. It blended great and definitely covered up the redness. It’s also creamy enough that it didn’t hang onto the dryness around my nose and instead made it feel and look better. It’s still too full coverage for me to use daily, but I’m glad I have it on hand for times like these.

I’m always on the pale side, but with this cold, I feel splotchy but also ghost like. So I didn’t go with a highlighter because I really don’t want to be seen from outer space right now, but I did apply a little blush, The Estée Edit,The Barest Blush in First Lover. This one has been my favorite since I got it during the Sephora 20% off sale—and although I have a million blushes—it’s really all I use.

This line of brushes is so good– you can get them almost anywhere–and usually on sale.

I applied it using my Real Techniques, Blush Brush.

Finally, I set the concealer using  NYX Cosmetics HD Finishing Powder in Bananaanother old favorite.

(e.l.f brushes are great, BTW!)

I applied it using my $3 e.l.f. Studio Blush Brush.

No seriously–we all love these things!

Eyes: My goal was to keep my eyes looking polished but not a danger zone if they started watering. I also wanted to minimize any redness, so my Modern Renaissance palette had to take a seat.  Instead, I kept if very simple. I just used the Maybelline® Eye Studio® Color Tattoo® Leather 24HR Eyeshadow in Chocolate Suedeanother E&N favorite—and applied it with a Sigma Beauty, E58 – Cream Color Brush. You can easily apply these colors with your finger, but I went the brush route. And yes—these shadows are a life saver—I think I have them in almost every color.

A random visit to the Mall of America resulted in impulse Sigma brush purchases.

I didn’t apply eye liner, I just used the edge of the brush to apply product close to the lash line. I also used my finger a little to smudge the crease and do a cleanup.

After curling my lashes, I applied the CoverGirl LashBlast Volume Waterproof Mascara. It provides a nice curl, separates lashes and stays put. I think it’s hard to find a good waterproof mascara and I like this one lots.

Lips: I love a bold lip but adding additional redness to my face didn’t seem like a good idea. I also felt like I needed a lipstick that wouldn’t smear all over my face with my constant nose blowing. So I went very basic with a neutral color but one that wasn’t too nude so I didn’t look dead. I’ve really been into this NYX Lip Lingerie Lipstick in Exotic. It has a warm tone, lasts longer than a cream lipstick but isn’t as matte as a proper liquid lipstick and creates a bit of a stain. Plus I didn’t want to dry out my poor lips anymore than they already were and even the best liquid lipsticks are a bit drying. This formula stayed on and only required one update before I spoke.

I slept a ton this weekend and I feel like I’m on the other end of this thing. *fingers crossed* But I’ve basically been replicating this look daily since I’ve been sick. Hopefully, you’re all feeling great and can just use this as a basic makeup look. But if sickness sadly does strike, you can use this look for inspiration.

Here’s to your health! *cheers with OJ and tea*

I acquired these products with my money or through samples received spending my money. Photos were obtained through product websites.