Guest Room Makeover: And So It Begins

Sunday, February 24, 2019
We're 33 days away from the arrival of my first house guests since about 2017. Back then I actually had a dedicated spare bed for guests. These days? Well, as of last weekend I at least have a bed for the room again. But no sheets. Or pillows. Or a nightstand, etc, etc, etc. So time's a tickin' and I'm sure my friend is reading this and feeling a tad bit nervous about her arrival. (Hello Nicole! 👋). Since we're on this journey under a bit of a time crunch, I thought this would be fun to document here as this room goes from nonexistent to a cozy, welcoming and actually finished room!

Prior to last weekend, the room we've ended up using as the guest room was actually mostly empty, save for a jade plant soaking up the best light in the house, our yoga mats, a couple dumbbells and the hope chest my grandpa built me when I was a baby. My original plan was actually to stick the guest bed into the same room as my office, but when I started playing around with possible layouts, the room just didn't work. Oh the joys of an old house with large rooms, but only 2 inconveniently placed outlets and floor vents smack dab in the middle of every space that would otherwise be a perfect spot for furniture. Just as I was on the verge of a meltdown, John suggested we scrap the idea entirely and instead move everything from the workout room into the office, combining those two rooms and then use the old workout room as a guest room instead. He's brilliant.

With all the furniture moved out, we had ourselves a nice blank slate. We have the original oak floors throughout the whole house, and the room is painted with the same warm, almost pinkish white color featured in every other room of the house that I haven't bothered to repaint since moving in. (I really need to do some painting in this place...). After moving some things from John's house, we are starting this room makeover with a full sized bed and frame, a white secretary/hutch unit made by John's dad back as a high school project which features robin's egg blue shelves, a 55" TV complete with sound bar, subwoofer and Xbox, and a (much too large) cream and brown Moroccan-inspired rug that spent many years down in the living room. We're going to attempt to use as much of what we already own as possible to keep the costs down, but I ultimately want a room that feels "done," not just thrown together, so we'll see what we actually end up using.

My vision for this room has been heavily influenced by fashion right now: neutrals, neutrals, neutrals. It just so happens that the room already has a lot of warm neutrals thanks to the paint, wood floors, and the repurposed rug, so that works out nicely. As a child of the internet, I obviously couldn't begin any project without a slew of saved photos for inspiration, so naturally a Pinterest board was made and an Instagram collection started. It's very clear I have an obsession with pampas grass, rattan and wicker, warm neutrals, glass and ceramics.

I have only made one purchase so far -- a linen duvet cover and pillow shams from West Elm in the color "natural flax." It's the same bedding line that I've had in my bedroom for the last 5 years and I love it. I'm waiting for this to arrive as it's going to inform the rest of the choices I make. We'll have to see if it clashes too horribly with the rug or not, and if so the rug might get the boot in favor of something else. The next big purchases I'm hoping to make are the nightstand, potentially a different media console for the TV, and a small chair. I will check back in in a few weeks and let you know what progress we've made!

One Huge Beauty, Skin & Hair Care Wishlist

Sunday, February 17, 2019

For the last few months I just hadn't been feeling the whole beauty scene. It's been much too cold to consider trading a few more minutes under the warmth of my duvet in the morning for more time to do my makeup, hair or skincare. But after what seems like a very long dry spell, the desire to try new products and styles is starting to creep back in! Unfortunately that also means a wishlist about 3 miles long and spending hours on end putting products into my cart but never actually buying them. All that money and plastic and whatnot. Rather than just staring at them wistfully from the cart summary page, let's talk them through and pretend money was no object and the environment was of no concern.


Peter Thomas Roth Mask Frenzy set - You might remember me talking about the smaller mask set earlier. I am nearing the end of those masks (a year later!) and I'd love to repurchase. This is basically  the same set but with bigger pots. I think this sounds great because you get all the variety of the sampler set but with a lot more volume of product for not much more than a single full size mask from the brand.

The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% - I am already a huge fan of the Ordinary because they give you a great basic product for a fantastic price. I tried another one of their silicon based vitamin C products and didn't like it, but I think that's because me and silicon just don't get along. I'd love to try this one out and get a vitamin C product back into my life.

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA - I've been using the 5% Lactic Acid for awhile now and it's been great, but it's time to up the strength. Bring on the smooth, babylike skin.

The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA - Up until now I've been using the CeraVe PM Moisturizer both day and night. I love it and would definitely repurchase it, but I want to give this one a shot as well because it's packed with great moisturizing ingredients at such a cheap price.

Kora Organics Noni Glow Face Balm - This one I blame entirely on Allana Davison. She put this in her video about skincare products that will change her life and I haven't stopped thinking about it since. If it keeps a Toronto girl's face protected from the elements, I have high hopes for it here in the never-ending snow.


It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream - Anna from The Anna Edit and Lily Pebbles have been banging on about this one for years now. I gifted it to my mom in Christmas of 2017 and it looks super natural and covers her dark spots flawlessly so now it's high time I give it a shot myself.

Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter - Another The Anna Edit influence. I need all the help I can get establishing any kind of glow I can get in the dead of winter and this is meant to be almost too glowy. Sign me up.

Hourglass Vanish Flash Highlighting Stick - I heard about this one from Lizzy Hadfield from Shot From The Street. I basically fall in love with anything she wears or uses, so this is no surprise. It's just another highlighting stick which I probably don't need, but that's not the point is it?

NARS Highlighting Powder - I'm a sucker for NARS packaging, always have been. And again, gimme dat glow.

Kevyn Aucoin The Sculpting Contour Powder  - Both Alanna and Anna have rec'd this contour powder and I fancy something that looks more natural on my super pale skin. Their new light shade is definitely catching my interest.

Smashbox Photo Finish Primerizer - I already have two primers on the go right now, both of which I love, but that doesn't stop me from wanting to try this one which is supposedly super moisturizing.

Too Faced Born This Way Super Coverage Multi-Use Sculpting Concealer - A full coverage, creamy concealer is always on my list when it's dry and cold outside and my genetic dark circles need all the moisture they can get. Color me intrigued.

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Away Concealer - Another concealer of the same vein that people have been raving about. I've heard the applicator isn't great, but the formula is apparently fantastic.

Marc Jacobs O!Mega Bronzer - I just need to stop being so pale.

Eye Gloss by Violette -  I love Violette's YouTube videos and she makes this looks so effortless and cool. I want to slick this on and pretend it's spring outside.

IGK Mistress Hydrating Hair Balm - I feel pretty solid about my skincare and makeup knowledge, but styling and caring for my hair I don't really have down yet. I recently watched an Estee Lalonde video with David Lopez and now I'm obsessed with haircare. Brace yourself for a massive IGK list. This product would hopefully give a little definition and moisture to my eternally fluffy, parched, thin hair.

IGK Call Time Styling Primer - Sometimes, and by sometimes I mean a grand total of 3 times so far, I managed to quickly add some curls to my hair before work. I've loved how it looks so I'm interested in a styling primer that will help protect my hair and also give it a shinier look.

IGK Smoke & Mirrors Conditioning Cleansing Oil - I hate showers. But if you tell me I can basically oil cleanse my scalp I'm suddenly ready to hop in. It's like skincare for your head!

IGK Trust Issues Instant Scalp Rebalancing Treatment - The winter plus hard water is super hard on my scalp. I long for something to help me soothe the itchiness after I shower and this sounds really promising.

IGK Speechless Dry Oil Finishing Spray For Hair And Body - Because my hair is often so dry, I feel like it never really shines. I would love to try this out and see if I can see a little shine peek out.

IGK Next Level Nordic Cotton Heat Activated Volume Spray - Like I said, I have really fine, thin hair. I'm always on the lookout for anything to give me more volume. This looks fun.
Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask - I should really start masking my hair as much as I mask my face. I've heard great things about this one!

Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt - Because scalp care is just as important and skincare, I want to make sure I'm exfoliating properly. This scrub seems like a totally luxurious way to accomplish that.


Isle Of Paradise Self Tanning Water - Again, I'm so so pale guys.

Byredo La Sélection Nomade - I used to have a fairly sizable perfume selection. Through a combination of donation, swaps and simply using things up, I'm down to only a single day and a single night scent. I like to have a little variety sometimes, and I'm still not really sure what I would consider to be "my" scent. I've been dying to give these a go, but unfortunately there's nowhere in Nebraska that sells them, and buying perfume offline sight unseen (or smell un-smelled?) seems dangerous. But a nice small selection could be nice!

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask - My lips are screaming out for a heavy duty moisturizer this year. I can't remember the last time I didn't have flakey, sore lips despite having at least 3 lip products on my at all times. I'm really hoping this could finally provide some relief!

Finally, I've run out of things to blab on and on about. Please no one add up the total for this wishlist. My heart can't take it. I must be off now to go empty my shopping carts before I get any crazy ideas. See you next time!

My 2019 Reading List

Sunday, February 10, 2019
It's been awhile since I've posted anything about my recent reads here, but I've still been devouring books nonetheless. In 2018 I set myself a goal of 30 books for my 30th year and I actually managed to accomplish it, even if I was cramming in some reading every second I could get towards the end there. Maybe it's the cold, dark days we're having lately but I've been really enjoying having my nose in a book. I have so many things on my to-read list right now too so I'm sure thats a motivating factor as well. So what am I hoping to tuck into this year you ask? Brace yourself, it's a long one.

Full disclosure: I may have already started some of these...even finished some... I'm sorry, I can't help myself! But let's start with the ones I've already dipped into...

A Rather Remarkable Homecoming by C.A. Belmond - Fourth in the series, I asked for this book for Christmas because I could only ever find the first three at my precious the library book sale. Thank you Amazon for your used book selection! This was a fun little read, with just enough intrigue and mystery to keep you turning pages but not enough to have your palms sweating. I like my books fun and happy thank you very much.

An Edited Life by Anna Newton - I pre-ordered this book from the UK Amazon because I couldn't be bothered to wait for the American release almost a month after it originally came out. It's a self help book of sorts about curating different aspects of your life so it's not absolute madness. I just finished this the other day and I can say it's funny, has some good tips and manages to be prescriptive enough to help you get your shit together but without making you feel bad. And counting Ryan Gosling references along the way was fun as well.

One that's been a long time coming is Quiet by Susan Cain. My mom (extrovert) got this for me and my brother-in-law and my dad (all introverts) several years ago. I've been meaning to get around to it, and I'm glad I finally did at the beginning of this year. It wasn't anything mind blowing, but it's definitely making me examine how I can better set myself up for success especially in the workplace when I know I crave quiet and am easily overwhelmed by external stimulation when I'm trying to think.

This is the last one I've cheated and already started, I promise. It's actually a short series, but I've polished off the first mini book and I just started the second one. The Mindfulness Essentials series by Thich Nhat Hanh is a collection of five little books on mindfulness in different areas of life -- sitting, eating, loving, walking and relaxing. So far I like the tiny format, the ease of dipping in and out and the quick little nuggets of insight. I'm looking forward to applying some of his advice and doing some of the mini meditations in my day to day life.

Ok now for things I've not yet got my hands on. First up, non-fiction.

I'm kind of all over the shop with the non-fiction list this year. In the health department I plan on borrowing How Not To Die by Michael Greger from the library this weekend with the hope that I'll learn a lot more about nutrition, particularly since I've been making a lot of dietary changes lately. For my physical health I really want to read Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker which, as you can guess, talks about the importance of sleep and what it does for our bodies. I'm a big fan of sleep and get right around 7 to 8 hours a night so I don't have any issues there but I'm still intrigued to learn about what's actually happening while I'm laying there unconscious.

Moving away from health and wellness, I'm really hoping to get my hands on a copy of This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate by Naomi Klein. I've been reading a lot about what we as individuals can do to reduce our impact, but I'm interested to read about what needs to happen at a corporate level before the biggest impact can be made. In the financial sphere, I want to read Making The Most Of Your Money Now by Jane Bryant Quinn. I was given her other book, How to Make Your Money Last which was more aimed at retired people than 30 year olds, but it was packed with information nevertheless. Now it only seems prudent to read the book she actually wrote with the 30 year olds in mind. Yes, I'm a bit of a money nerd. I lead a very strange life. The last two books I'm interested in are kind of genre stragglers. The first is Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown, yet another book that ties together work and minimalism to help you edit your time. I'm not sure that it'll be anything new to me, but I'm still interested in seeing what it has to say.

Finally, the last two non-fiction books I want to read are both memoirs. Just like everyone else in the world right now I can't wait to read Becoming by Michelle Obama. How could you not want to learn all about such a smart, poised, admirable woman? Now to wait until my mom finishes her copy so I can steal it... The other memoire is Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton. I haven't heard of anyone here in the US talking about this yet but it seems like every UK-based blogger I follow has devoured it and loved it, so I want to see what all the fuss is about.

Finally! The fiction! Admittedly this section is really small in comparison, which is unusual for me. I am a fiction girl through and through, but I tend to just buy whatever I can get my hands on at the library book sale every year and read that so I'm never really on the hunt for any specific books. There are only three book on my mind this year. In fact, one has been on my mind since way back in May when I posted my last reading list: A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles. I still haven't borrowed this from the library, but it remains on my list. Maybe I'll get really ambitious and borrow two books when I go today. Living life on the edge. The last two books are both recommended by Anna from The Anna Edit: Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney, and White Teeth by Zadie Smith. Both books have received stellar reviews by readers and critics alike so I can't wait to immerse myself in their worlds, even though that usually means I end up ugly crying. Totally worth it.

I definitely have my work cut out for me this year, especially since this doesn't even cover the 20-some books I also picked up at the library book sale back in October. I better go get a move on. If you want to see how I'm doing with this rather ambitious list, come friend me on Goodreads. Otherwise, see you next time!

A Laid Back Bridal Shower Look

Sunday, February 3, 2019
When you're a little girl they warn you about getting your period, about dealing with cliques in school and even such delightful things as the wage gap. They don't, however, warn you that someday you'll be expected to go to bridal showers for first-cousins-once-removed-in-law in the middle of January when the temperature is in the single digits. Life takes some wild turns. While I'm recovering from being turned into a human popsicle, I thought I'd share my makeup and outfit with you lot.

I didn't do anything particularly fancy or special for my makeup. I wear almost all of these products on a daily or at least weekly basis, depending on how lazy I feel that particular morning. For instance, most days I don't even wear base, but today I needed to combat the Rudolph nose and bright red cheeks that the horrible wind chill was definitely going to give me. I used Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk in the shade number 2 as my weapon of choice. It's great for evening everything out without looking super heavy, and when I combine it with one squirt of the Too Faced HangoverRx primer and one squirt of the Becca First Light Priming Filter it all just comes together for a nice, natural finish. The only place I powder is my forehead, to protect my bangs from any potential oiliness, and for that I use the Makeup Forever HD Powder. To hide my (unfortunately genetic *curses father*) dark circles, I always turn to NARS Soft Matte Complete concealer in the shade Vanilla. Not going to lie, it's a little dry, especially in the winter, but no other concealer I've tried has stayed put and covered as nicely as this. I just attempt combat the dryness with some good skincare, but that's a whole different post...

Let's work our way from the top down for point makeup. I used Glossier Boy Brow in the shade Brown. It's my favorite eyebrow product ever and it's literally the only reason you can see my eyebrows at all, especially when I wear my bangs down. It's a fine haired person's dream. For highlighter, again with a Glossier classic -- Haloscope in the shade Quartz. It's creamy, it's dewy and it's absolutely not glittery, thank god. As far as I can tell, it's also going to last forever. I've had it for almost a year and there's still a ton left.

On my eyes I've got the world's oldest Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion. They don't even make this applicator type anymore. I should probably throw this away, but hey, it's still working and it doesn't smell yet! On top of that potential health hazard I'm wearing the Vibrate and a tiny bit of the Hot Spell shades from the Urban Decay Naked Petite Heat palette. I'm so pale that even the second lightest shade still pulls really orange and dark on me, but I'm not mad about it! For mascara, I've got the Glossier Lash Slick. It's suuuper subtle at first and you can only build it up so much, but I really do like having a more natural lash look that just elongates my natural lashes and gives them actual color rather than being completely invisible to the naked eye. I also forgot to curl my lashes here, and having the stick straight hair that I do, I'm actually pretty impressed that they curled a bit on their own with just the mascara! Just the slightest bit, but still.

For blush, it's yet another Glossier product. What can I say guys? I like their shit. This is Cloud Paint in the shade Dusk. It's pretty sheer, but it's kind of a perfect mix between a blush and a contour. That being said, I was definitely too lazy to do any other kind of contour or bronzing so blush is all we get. I'm pale guys. I'm just embracing it. Finally, on my lips I have just the slightest, thinnest, easy teensy tiniest layer of Bite Beauty's Lush Lip Tint in the shade Cherry which is unfortunately discontinued. I have super sensitive and chapped lips around this time of the year so the sheer color is the only kind of thing I can handle that doesn't further accentuate any dryness or cracking and for that I am grateful.

As for my outfit, I went with my comfort zone -- all black. If I was gonna force myself out in the winter wilderness to meet a bunch of new women I didn't know, at least I was going to be warm and comfortable doing it! Let's start from the bottom and move up this time shall we? On my admittedly hidden feet I'm wearing some old ASOS black leather chelsea boots (similar). I 100% no joke wear these every single day in the winter. It might be time to branch out my winter shoe collection. My jeans are the black Authentic Stretch high rise skinny jeans from Everlane. Love their fit, so I own them in three washes. On top I have a really old (maybe 7 years old?) tank top from Express and on top of that I have the Everlane Oversized Blazer. I don't get to wear this enough because my office is super super casual, but I love it so much. Finally, for accessories I have Mejuri mini hoop earrings, a Lucy Williams X Missoma necklace and an old gold mesh watch from H&M that I really need to get resized. All in all, I felt pretty good! 

Hope you guys are having a fantastic weekend and see you next time!