Try, try again.

Since I am STILL not allowing myself to spend money on new things and even on some repurchases, I’ve recently been re- trying some beauty products and things that I have had tucked away in my drawer.  Could be that I didn’t initially like them, or had just forgotten about them….  either way,  here are a few things I’m having a second moment with.

Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder in Incandescent

Am I missing something with Hourglass?  Why is this stuff supposed to be so great? I remember two holiday seasons ago being pretty excited to get this in the Sephora “Glow For It” set, and at that time also being pretty unimpressed.  I didn’t use it for very long.  And now giving it another shot, I feel the same.  It’s not that good!  And it’s too expensive to be not that good. Time to give this one away.

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara

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I don’t think I can understate how badly this winter has affected my skin…. and it’s only just begun!  I cannot remember a winter that has been so cold and so dry so early on in the season.  To say my skin is dry and dehydrated is one thing, but it’s a whole new level of red and irritated on top of that.  I have had to pause any use of exfoliants and retinols, and up my mask game big time.  Here are the three masks that I’ve been rotating between to find some order and relief:

Multivitamin Power Recovery Mask

This mask is hands down my favorite mask of all time.  I’ve been using it for about 13 years now, and it never does me wrong.  It’s super soothing and calming, but also replenishes, hydrates and plumps fine lines.  It saves me in winter, but is perfect in summer as well (I’ve treated a mild sunburn with it.)  It’s just the best.  If you’ve not tried it, you need to.  I’m going to go use it right after I finish this post! Continue reading

An apple a day.

I’ve never been good at taking vitamins.  It’s not even the habit of taking them that I’m not good at, that’s the easy part… it’s more the taking them for maybe a month, then running out and not repurchasing them.  And also not knowing what I should even be taking.  I was, for a little while, taking some gummy chew-able ones, and figured out I was eating about 100 calories alone in vitamins a day, which seemed really silly…. but they were like candy, so it’s not surprising I guess.  They were expensive too!  So I quit those.  Then I got a random mail ad for care/of, so I decided to see what they were all about.

Today’s quote: “Success is most often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.” – Coco Chanel

Care/of is a vitamin subscription service, personalized by you through a series of questions about your lifestyle, diet and health goals.  You are given initial recommendations and then can decided how you want to customize your vitamin pack.  Starting with about 5 different recommended vitamins, I ended up choosing the three that I felt were most important to me, thus also adjusting the monthly price to a number I felt was within my budget (I used to spend the same amount on monthly beauty box subscriptions and that seem totally reasonable to me…. so spending it now on vitamins seemed like a much more wise investment at this point in life.)  In the past I’ve more often than not only taken a multivitamin, so I’m excited to see how I feel with a customized vitamin regimen.  You can also change and adjust what you are receiving monthly, at any time.  They boast honesty and transparency, with quality ingredients, sourced thoughtfully from around the world.  Everything they offer is tested and produced in the United States.  The best part, the part that I love most is the packaging – daily packs personalized with your name as well as a fun fact or quote on them in a convenient holder that fits nicely in a cupboard, or looks quite cute and non offensive sitting in the open on your kitchen counter (I’m a sucker for great packaging…. but aren’t we all?)  I’ve only been taking my care/of vitamins for a few days now…..  we will see how I feel and how long I stick with it.  Though, I can say I feel pretty confident that I’ll continue with them, and I feel good spending the money on my health vs. Birchbox.

sorry Birchbox, you’ve been replaced by a vitamin box.


Do you take vitamins?  How do you feel about them?  –  Yes, I think vitamins are super important!  Or, no…. it’s probably snake oil?  I want to know your thoughts about this!  Care/of has a really pretty website (of course) and I thought the questionnaire was kinda fun….. so maybe check them out!?

*yep, using my own $$$ to buy my vitamins.


my fall wishlist.

I recently made a quick visit to Madison – had some mexican food with Jess, a bubble tea with Lyn, did a little shopping (Appleton doesn’t have the variety of stores that Madison does….. we don’t even have a GAP anymore…. so sad) and then I was off.   By saying shopping, I really mean mostly looking – buying brand new (not second hand) clothes isn’t totally in my current budget, but it’s good to see whats out there, so I can watch for sales!  Also, fall and winter fashion/clothes are my favorite.  Summer rules as a favorite season, but as far as fashion goes, I usually can’t wait to get back to layers, scarves and boots.  So what am I eyeing up this fall?  Here’s a glimpse.

A great flannel.

Last year I tried so hard to pick a cool, plaid flannel shirt…  aaannd I failed.  I really wanted one, but I – a) couldn’t decided on what colors I liked best and, b) decided though I loved the idea of wearing a cool plaid flannel, that it would probably spend the season with a few wears and then I’d sell it.  So that didn’t happen.  This past week while browsing Madewell, I found THE flannel shirt for me!  It’s a solid color – a pretty soft coral pink, which I now realize is better for me than plaid, and it’s so super soft.  And it has POCKETS!  Not those front chest pockets, real pockets you can put your hands in!  Madewell was having a sale, so I did splurge and buy this….. and I love it!


photo from

A new pair of black skinny jeans.

When it comes to denim, I am hugely devoted to Levis – the 721 high rise skinny to be exact.  When it comes to quality tee shirts and great well made basics, I am hugely devoted to Everlane.  Everlane’s philosophy is : Exceptional quality. Ethical factories. Radical transparency. So that already makes them amazing….. and now they just launched their own denim line, which is priced very reasonably.  I’m super excited to try the High Rise Skinny jean in the ankle length.  They have just a small amount of stretch with the fit looking like a less “skinny” skinny, and the color says black longer with their Stay Black dye process.  I’m excited to try them.

photo – high rise skinny jean (ankle) from

One or two statement pieces.

As I browsed through Anthropologie, which has always been my most favorite store to go into while visiting Madison, I this time came to the realization that though everything there is so cool and I get so excited about it all, in the past few years my style has shifted to more basics (ex. Everlane and Madewell) with eclectic accents.  And I do love many of the eclectic statement pieces they carry.  If I had occasion to wear it, I would love to get this dress – which looked way more fancy in the store than these photos are doing it justice.  I have a hunch that won’t happen, and it’s definately not a practical purchase, so I might opt for something like this sweater instead, which I know I could wear a lot more and for several seasons.

Image result for Tied Shimmer Tunic

Tied shimmer tunic at

Image result for Soiree Cardigan

Soiree cardigan at


I really, really like boots.  And I honestly, I do wear them year round – and honestly, I do not need a new pair at all.  Everlane just (today) launched a great pair that look a little western with their pointed toe, but with a more classic block heel and are just altogether cool and tough.   I am in love with these.

The Boss Boot –

So those are just a few things on my fall wishlist, and now I’ll sit and wait for some sales.  What’s on your fall wishlist?  Tell me about the fabulous party you will need a fabulous dress for.  And boots…. which boots are you eyeing up for fall?  What’s your favorite brand of black skinny jean?


Glossier Body Hero: first impressions

photo from


Well, of course my favorite company would come out with brand new products in the middle of my self imposed spending freeze.  And not just any new products – body products!  Taking care of my skin is a bit of a passion for me, which is not limited to just my face.  Since I’m in love with Glossier, naturally I ordered these the day they were released.  The Glossier Body Hero Duo is made up of the Daily Oil Wash, an oil cleanser for body and the Daily Perfecting Cream, a daily body moisturizer.  I’ve only had the chance to use both of these products twice (of course I couldn’t wait til I used my current products up!), and here’s what I think of them so far:

Daily Oil Wash

It smells sooooo good!  It’s a subtle sweet orange blossom scent, that’s really refreshing in the morning.  The consistency is basically the same as the L’Occitane Almond Shower Oil, which I love and have written about in a previous post.  I’ve used it directly on my body, the recommended method, which allows the formula to lather up when it mixes with water, and I’ve also used it on my shower loofah, which I think is my preference…. I’m not sure if the benefits to the skin are different using it that way, but it forces me to use way less product –  this is coming from a shower gel over user – I go through shower gels so quickly!

Daily Perfecting Cream

The body cream has the same scent, which again, it’s so good!  And it remains subtle enough that as the day goes on it eventually fades almost completely, which is good as I found it doesn’t over power or clash with any perfume I might decided to wear.  It has light reflecting particles in it, which gives skin an immediate glow, but not in a weird glittery way like the Sol De Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum cream, which I could probably write another post about entirely.  The Bum Bum cream is straight up glittery and that annoys me almost as much as its overpowering scent – it’s a good scent, but that’s all I can smell when I wear it….. I could even smell it on my sofa for a few days one time because I sat down too soon after applying it.  Anyway, I digress…. back to the Daily Perfecting Cream.  I would say it’s a medium weight cream that sinks in almost immediately, so getting your skinny jeans on after isn’t a problem.  I’m not sure it’ll be hydrating enough for me going into the colder months, but for now in this transition to fall, it’s good – I wish I had it all summer – it’s probably perfect for the summer months.  My current go to is usually a Body Shop Body Butter, especially in winter.

Both are 8.4 fl. oz. which I feel like is a pretty decent size.  The packaging is super pretty and functional.  And right now you can get them both, as a duo, for $35.00, which is 5 bucks less then if you bought them individually.

And that’s my hot take on the new Glossier body products.  I really like them!  You probably will too, and remember you can get 10% off your purchase with this code!

*As always, purchased with my own money….. that I’m not supposed to be spending on product.



seasonal slowdown.

I love summer.  It really is my favorite.  And we probably can all agree, it’s more than a little busy as far as seasons go.  Wisconsinites have only three (if we’re lucky maybe a little more) fleeting months to cram such a huge amount of summer living in – work slows a bit for me and I’m more focused on getting outdoors and doing/going to any of the tons of summer events that are being held, and camping.  But as much as I love summer, I do look forward to fall being a time to get back into routine and chill out.  The daylight gets shorter, the nights get cooler and I find myself inside more than outside.  Work gets busier too. It’s a tough transition, but at the same time, it is welcome.  So in these months of transition what do I do to calm the panic of summer ending, and bridge the time knowing a darker and colder landscape will soon be here?  

Bake something. 

I love to bake, but in the summer when it’s hot and sunny, who wants to be inside and  turn on a hot oven? With the cool of fall coming, and the harvest of apples and other garden bounty, fall seems like the perfect time to bake. Maybe an apple pie, maybe some savory squash dish. It’s comforting to me, and taking the time to find and follow a recipe is soothing and slows me down. Also, the results are delicious!

Listen to a record from start to finish.

I feel a certain amount of music ADD in the summer. There’s tons of new music, live outdoor shows abound, and summer jams are plentiful.  It’s hard to focus on one artist with summer mixes on repeat.  But I do love to listen completely to an album, and with some great music coming out this fall, I look forward to having a sit (or a dance party) and really listen to a full record.  I feel like it often makes more sense to listen to songs in the order of how the artist wanted them to be heard, as if you’re listen to them tell a story.  I like it.  In fact, I am probably the only weirdo you know who still buys cds to do just that, in my truck.  I love to listen to cds in my truck.  And records – we’ll buy our very favorite albums on vinyl.

Take a walk.

Crisp air and warm sun.  One of the best fall feelings. What more is there to say about that?

Fall clean out.

As mentioned in our post earlier this week, I am indeed on a spending freeze when it comes to cosmetics (I cry a little inside each time I force myself to skip the cosmetics department when I visit Target.)  It is a great time of year to get to cleaning up my massive product arsenal, as what I am using on my skin currently, will also change with the season too. Wardrobe is no exception to this. Switching over my drawers and closet from summer to fall/winter comes with another purge of things I maybe didn’t wear at all this summer or that just need to be retired.

None of this is super ritualistic, it happens gradually… like summer to fall.  But it all helps me to start to slow down after a summer of go, go, go.  What things do you do that are specific to the change of seasons?

oh, baby.

My middle sister is having a baby today and it’s a wonderful, super exciting day and time for her and my whole family.  My baby sister has two boys, ages 5 and 3 and I love them to pieces and miss their little faces every day.  I think they, my sisters, are both so brave and special to bring little people into this world with all of the challenges and rewards of being a parent.  Me, I’ve never felt the maternal urge to have a baby – it’s just not something I’ve ever felt was for me, or as being my path.   Even today as I held my new, perfect niece and had nothing but immediate and unconditional love for this sweet little babe, I still knew it was not for me.  I am a stepmom, and I do get to experience all of the challenges that come with co-parenting a teenage daughter….  at times it feels so rewarding and at times it feels like being dragged through hell and back.  I’m guessing that my sisters, and most moms I know, get all of those feelings as well – as parents.  So, when someone tried to explain to me this past weekend, while they also tried to convince me that I needed to have a baby, that I will never truly know what it’s like to be a mother or a parent unless I have my own child….  it really kind of pissed me off.  

This is really a thing that women still do to other women?  Judge them for their choice to not have children.  And maybe “judge” isn’t even exactly the word I’m looking for, but I find It can definitely be interpreted as a tone of superiority – like they hold some secret that unless you have children you’ll never be let in on – or worse, you’ll never know true love or be complete.  It is truly mind boggling to me, especially in todays landscape of conversation about women’s rights:  my body = my choices.  Yet if I decide to not have a baby I am somehow deficient having made that choice?  Society in general often does not help childless women, with judgments of selfishness, or cold and un-nurturing, or not liking kids, or broken/barren.  And I’m certainly not writing this piece to explain my and my husbands reasons to not have children – that’s our business, nor am I writing it for sympathy or to claim I feel that I am a victim of anybody who would try to tell me that I will never know what it’s like to be a real mother.  But I would like to understand why this is still a thing women do to one another.  It’s 2017 for crying out loud!   Why should I be told I am missing out? Why do I feel I need an explanation as to why I’m not having children? Why do women continue to judge and shame other women for their choices?

And I don’t mean to make this solely about my decision to not have children, I feel like it’s a two way street.  I’m sure some of my friends, who are now in their 40’s and just starting families are judged similarly for their choices to have children and start their families later in life, which I imagine to be an equally difficult place to be in.  My sister is choosing to have a baby on her own, surely there will be judgement and opinion about that sometime in her future. But really at some point this conversation becomes less about the choices we make, whether not to have or to have children, and more about respect.  At the end of the day, are we not all the same?  We all work hard at our lives, no matter how they look.  We all have to make our own choices and sometimes even sacrifices that shape the lives we lead.  We all have different stories.  We all have the capacity to love and care for others – to have empathy.  So can we just stop judging one another and try to celebrate our differences and the choices we make? Because at the end of the day we are all women – strong women making choices and being the best that we can be at our lives, whether that includes children or not.  I love and respect all of you, for your bravery to make the choices that shape you and your life – because you are all damn amazing women.

Country music for people who don’t like country music.

If you think you don’t like country music, like any… none at all…. I’m here to tell you that you probably already do and don’t even know it (or are trying hard to deny it.)  That was me, for quite some time.  I fought it like it was the lamest kind of music ever to enjoy.  I would say to myself and everyone else “oh, well yeah, I guess I like this country song by so and so, but I don’t even really like country music, so….”  So what?  So I’m still cool?  Well, it turns out I’m not too cool to like country music and one day I gave in – I like country music!  I can’t say I like all of it – there’s a lot of it that I don’t really care for (you’ll get that with any genre I suppose), but I like enough to say for real, I like it!  Here’s a little of the who and why.

Outlaw country – Johnny Cash. Willie Nelson. Merle Haggard. Waylon Jennings. David Allan Coe.  I know you like at least one song by at least one of these fine musicians.  I didn’t grow up listening to any of these gents (not even close…. we were a Bee Gee’s, Jackson 5 and Carpenters household) but growing up and getting older, while on occasion hearing the songs that made those artists famous, surely started to form an appreciation for this style of country music.  And as such, I feel outlaw country for me was the gateway to what I like today, not just in country music, but in all music – all of the artists those timeless musicians have influenced over the years.  

Speaking of outlaw country, let’s talk about the next first lady of outlaw country, and my personal favorite – Nikki Lane.  Her most recent album Highway Queen is an eclectic group of songs about love, heartache, loss, las vegas and broads (you all know one) who just need to shut up.  She and her band put on a hell of a live show no matter how big or small the venue, and I highly recommend checking them out if you get the chance. In addition to songwriting and singing, she owns a vintage store in Nashville called High Class Hillbilly.  She’s pretty much the coolest in my book.

Soul Country – I dare you to listen to Chris Stapleton and not be moved. He has a voice that can make me cry. This is how country should be – old school, southern rock, blues – soul country.  I’ve been trying to find a chance to catch him live for a while now…. he’s right up there on the top of my list.  Grab your favorite person and dance real close and slow to this:


Margo Price has been performing in and around Nashville for over a decade before releasing  her debut album, Midwest Farmer’s Daughter in March of 2016 and has been rising fast ever since.  Drawing from many personal tragedies, her songs are honest and sometimes somber.  And if you’re singing about drinking whiskey, you best believe I’m singing with you.

Pop Country – Probably my least favorite of country, but I also do have a favorite or two.  One of which is Sam Hunt.  I’m just gonna leave this right here……

Yeah.  He’s really super hot AND a really good singer.  Many of his songs don’t feel totally country to me, and in fact his most recent single, Body Like a Back Road, is gaining some crossover popularity.  He’s currently on tour with Maren Morris, who similarly has a more universal appeal, I think.  Also she has a song called 80’s Mercedes.  We own an 80’s Mercedes, so it’s pretty much my theme song (in my head because the radio in it is broken) when I get to drive it.

So there’s a handful of my current favorite country artists.  Maybe you’ll find one song you like, maybe you’ll find no songs you like.  I hope you do give a listen though…. you might be surprised.  

*Disclaimer: I am by no means a country music expert, but I do drive a Ford F150 and I still adore “country” Taylor Swift.

Freezer jeans.

One quick google search will bring up lots of information both supporting and denying that a great alternative for washing your jeans in the traditional fashion (in the washing machine) is to stick them in the freezer.  I did not google this before trying.  Sure, I’ve heard of it, so it’s probably totally legit, I thought.  But turns out, maybe not.

I love the look and feel of a great pair of vintage Levis.  That’s why I buy them… they’re already perfectly worn in all the right spots by someone else – but they can be pretty pricey these days online and are few and far between at the Goodwills and thrift shops – which leads me to have to wear my own new denim a little more often to try to get that great lived in vintage look and that takes quite some time.  We also at our house like to find small ways to reduce our water usage, specifically by wearing things maybe a few more times if we can before we throw them in the wash.  So after our last camping trip, and a good week of wearing one of my less than broken in new-ish pair of levis, they were starting to finally feel and look really good.  And while I wouldn’t say they smelled bad or were extremely dirty, I felt they could be freshened up a bit but I wanted to keep this lived in feeling and process going.  I had heard about people wearing jeans for a full year !!! or more without machine washing them, but instead putting them into the freezer to clean them.  So I blindly packed them in a plastic bag and threw them in the freezer next to the sourdough bread and tuna steaks.  And then I honestly forgot about them, until this past Friday when I couldn’t find them anywhere.  I happened to need some ice, and ah-ha!  There they were.  It was 82 degrees that day, and putting those babys on in a non air conditioned house was heavenly!  But now they not only still smelled a little dirty as my body heat warmed them up, they also smelled a little like freezer burn. Not cute. So I finally decided to actually do some research into why anyone would put their jeans in the freezer to clean them?  Does it even really work?  I certainly was not sold on this method.  Here’s what I learned:

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Get ready with me! – my summer morning skin routine

Summer is here!  Or at least, it’s trying to be?  And with summer comes changes to my skin and skin care routine.  The first couple of weeks of any season seem to me to be the most frustrating, as nothing seems to be working while my skin has a major freak out about the new weather conditions. And while everyone is different and what works for me may not work for you, I thought I’d share what I’m doing daily to ease into our very loved but short season of summer.

Every morning no matter the season I peel myself out of bed at 5:15 AM and manage to get myself to barre class (or maybe kettlebell depending on the day.) It’s all I can do to put my glasses on and brush my teeth at 5:15 in the morning, so my face just gets splash of water at this point to, if nothing else, wake me up!  When I get home I immediately make some coffee (which should probably instead be a fancy green juice or something that will make my skin glow, but let’s be real…) and get on with readying myself for work. Though I cleansed my skin and put lots of good stuff on it before I went to bed,  I always still cleanse my face in the morning typically using something oil based like Julep Love Your Bare Face Hydrating Cleansing Oil.  It’s not super heavy and is hydrating and doesn’t strip my skin of the good stuff that happened overnight.

coffee, coffee, coffee

A couple of times a week I use an exfoliant.  My go to these day is either Dermalogica’s Daily Superfoliant, or Daily Microfoliant. Incidentally, neither of which I can use daily…. my skin becomes too sensitive, but your’s might not – it’s all trial and error and figuring out what works for you.  If I have time to exfoliate, I really hope to have time to mask, which I also turn to Dermalogica for the Multivitamin Power Recovery Mask.  I like to mask after exfoliation because said exfoliation is going to prep my skin to absorb my mask a bit better, but this mask is amazing to use anytime really…. it’s like an ambulance in a tube (think late nights and too much whiskey.) Continue reading