Thursday, November 24, 2016

Grateful Heart

Taking a moment here to stop and reflect on all the blessings in my life. It's so easy to get caught up on the mundane routine of adulting and lose sight of the important things in life. This day makes me really stop and think about how much I am blessed with.

Starting off with my amazing husband, who is currently in the kitchen baking banana bread from scratch. Could I ask for anything more?? Guys. I really hit the jack pot with him. He is too good to me and sometimes (more like most times) I don't feel like I deserve him. So many times he has proven that his love for me is unconditional. The way he loves on our dogs and takes care of them proves to me that he will be an AMAZING father one day to our children.

There are so many other things that I am grateful for - my Jesus, my job (even if at times it drives me nuts), my home, my family, my church, my freedom to practice my faith, my country, my friends... The list continues. So easy to take everything for granted, to complain about things I don't have, to wish I had more, but there are people in the world, our country, our community that don't have all of this. I don't want to be that person that lives in a bubble and is oblivious to the pain and suffering that is happening in this world.

I am grateful and humbled for what the Lord has blessed me with and I pray for the same blessings over those who are lost, suffering, hungry, and in need.

Friends, I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving day with your friends and family. If you are one of those Black Friday shoppers, good luck tomorrow morning! To all my Gilmore Girls fans, less than 24 hours to go!


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Beauty | My Current Makeup Routine

I have always been a fan of makeup. Started wearing makeup (lipstick & mascara) when I was in fifth grade. In middle school I expanded to eye shadow, then eye liner in high school. I don't remember really using foundation in high school because I really didn't need it then. *sigh* I miss those days. Foundation came when I started working full time...

Needless to say, my makeup routine has morphed quite a bit in the past twenty years (EEK). When I was younger I used to...

  • Rock the dark lipstick and the brown outline with nude color lippie. Lord help me. What was I thinking?! 
  • There was a time when I matched the eye shadow/eye liners to my outfit, including bright colors. Pinks, Blues, Purples. You name it, I had it. 
  • The Brows. Oh Lordy, have they transformed themselves as well. I'm fortunate to still have brow hairs now from all the crazy over-plucking I used to do in my high school/college years. 

Then 2009 happened and I discovered YouTube videos and beauty gurus. My makeup collection grew exponentially. All the must-haves/hauls/loots/reviews that I watched convinced me that I needed them. And of course, I had the clear plastic five drawer container to store all my makeup because that was just what you did. Gosh, the money that I dropped in my makeup shopping makes me cringe a little.

Fast forward to present day. All my makeup fits in one little drawer and neutral makeup is my go to.

Yep, there is even a broken NYX shadow kit. #iaintsorry

I have a mix of the more "high-end brand" make up (anything sold in Sephora is high-end to me) and drug store makeup. I don't feel so bad spending a little more on makeup pieces that I know will last me a long time, like blush and eye brow shadow. The other items that I re-purchase more often like fountain and concealer, I stick to drug store.

So here are some of my go-to make up pieces in my current makeup routine.

Origins VitaZing SPF 15 - After cleansing my face with a gentle cleanser, I apply a layer of this moisturizer. I've been using this brand for a couple years now.

Garnier Roll-On - Next I apply this Garnier Eye Tint on the under circle of my eyes and on the lid. I roll some on and then gently massage it in using my ring finger.

NYX Eye Shadow Base - Using the same ring finger, I apply this neutral eyeshadow base on my lids. This helps give my a neutral base to apply shadow and helps the color last all day.

NYX Eye Shadow - For my daily look, I stick to a neutral I look. I really like this NYX shadow kit which has been great to put in my travel bag for the trips we've taken. I also use the Urban Decay Naked original palette and the Too Faced Chocolate Palette.

NYX Gel Liner - While I stick to a neutral shadow, I must have my winged liner. I recently switched over to this NYX gel liner and very pleased so far.

Revlon Colorstay Foundation - This is another staple in my make up routine. I've been using this brand for years now. Great coverage and lasts through the day, in my opinion.

NYX HD Concealer - I have very dark circles and even some veins under my eyes, so a concealer is a must. I've been using this one for the past few months and have been pleased.

Tarte Mineralized Finishing Powder - I brush this powder just under the eye area where I applied concealer to help prevent creasing.

Tarte Brow Shadow - I discovered the art of filling in my brows with shadow a little over a year ago and now won't step out the door without doing my brows. It's just as important as mascara for me now.

Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Exposed - I purchased this shade for fall (I use Nars Orgasm for spring/summer) and it's a very soft shade which I prefer.

Tarte Lights Camera Action Mascara - The final touch is mascara. I curl the lashes with a lash curler and apply several coats of mascara. I am currently using a sample of this Tarte mascara and really liking it.

I have other items like bronzers and highlighters but ain't nobody got time for that in the mornings. I save those for evening events.

Any make up that is in your current makeup routine that I should look into? Love suggestions!


Saturday, November 5, 2016

Read | A Fall of Marigolds

After finishing Secrets of a Charming Life by Susan Meissner (read my post about it here) while on vacation, I decided to pick up another book by her to read. I finished it last weekend and enjoyed this book as well!

The book goes between the lives of two ladies, Clara (1911) and Taryn (2011), whose stories are linked by a scarf of marigolds. Clara is a nurse on Ellis Island and she first comes across this scarf while nursing back an immigrant man. The scarf belonged to his wife who died of scarlet fever on the boat they arrived. Taryn is a widow of a victim in the 9/11 attacks and she first comes across this scarf, the day of the attacks and it helps save her life. The stories of both characters have heart break but end with a chance to future happiness. 

This was another great read. A nice mental break from the day to day work grind.


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

2016 Fall Shows

Guys. It's November 1st. We are already half way through Fall folks.

I'm going to let that statement sink in for a moment. 

Something I always look forward to when the Fall season starts are the TV shows. New seasons. New Series.

Typically, I have a slew of shows that I watch, but this season I only have three shows that I am watching.

Anybody else watching this? I am totally enjoying it so far! I was originally drawn to it because it has Mandy Moore which I realize could make it a hit or miss. But, seriously, such a good show. By all the posts I see on Facebook, I am not alone in this opinion.

This show is in it's second season. I started watching this show by accident one day. While flipping through channels, I caught Jordana Brewster ( remember Mia from Fast and Furious movies??) on a scene and just started watching it. It's a mystery type show so I'm sucked in to figuring out who did the crime. However, I will say, not sure how I feel about Juliette Lewis playing a detective.

Ahh, my beloved Vampire Diaries is in it's final season. When this show started I was hooked, for several seasons and then Nina Dobrev left the show and I was turned off from watching. In my experience, when a main character from a show leaves the show, it goes downhill. At least that is how I felt about One Tree Hill when Chad Michael Murray and Hillary Burton left. Well, my friend still continued to watch TVD and sucked me back into the show. Still not sure how I feel about the show, but I am totally loving the Enzo/Bonnie relationship.

What shows are you watching this Fall?


Monday, October 31, 2016

Weekend | October 29 and 30

This weekend was all about being outdoors because the weather was quite perfect. It was in the 80's and breezy, which is a nice reprieve from the typical Florida heat.


Saturday morning, I decided to get my cardio outside instead of going to the gym. After a failed attempt at putting air in my bike tires, I went for a walk/jog. This is usually what I do at the gym on the treadmill when I am not doing the elliptical. Boy, is walk/jog outside totally different from the treadmill. I thought I was going to die half way. But I made it and got to enjoy views like the one above.

After washing up, the Mr. and I went to a carnival near by to look at vendors and scope out the food. Yeah, there food game was week. We did one lap around and went back home for food.

In the evening, we went to visit my parents and go see my brother at his soccer game. Again, just took in those views.


Sunday was a low key day for us. We had a little fun dressing up the babies in Halloween costumes. We found the angel wings at HomeGoods on clearance and brought it with us. The hotdog costume we got years ago for Gracie. Didn't fit her too well, this time. She's a little more fluffy

The costumes didn't last to long. Gracie was busting out of her costume and Addie was trying rip it apart. 

The Mr. got a little artsy and painted this skull that he got at Michaels weeks ago. I was near by providing moral support while painting my nails. I mean... look at that concentration. LOL.

Also, not pictured above is all the time I've spent watching the World Series! I've been rooting for my home team, Cleveland Indians. It's been a great series so far.

Hope everyone has a fun and safe Halloween!


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Currently | October 2016

This weekend, the husband surprised me with hydrangeas. When we were in Portsmouth, we saw so many hydrangea bushes blooming and they were beautiful. Just a little reminder of the best trip ever!

Love coming home to see these beauties.

Alright, on to the purpose of this post. Being that the last time I did a post like this was back in JANUARY, I am clearly overdue for another one.

LISTENING | Inspiring Your True Performance - The Zig Ziglar show. I discovered this podcast earlier this year and listen to it during my commute to work. Great way to start off a work day listening to positive and motivational speakers and discussions.

READING | A Fall of Marigold by Susan Meissner. I am about three quarters through this book and it's just as good as the previous book I read, Secrets of a Charming Life. Read my post here

WATCHING | This Is Us. Is anybody else watching this? I am probably one of the few that are Mandy Moore fans (loved her in A Walk to Remember and Because I Said So), that when I saw that she was going to be in this show, I wanted to watch it. So far so good. 

WANTING | Personalized gold bar necklace. I have been wanting a gold bar necklace for some time now. I would like to get one like this Stella & Dot one and engrave the coordinates for where the Mr. and I got married. 

EATING | Dark Chocolate Almond and Coconut Kind Bars. All my Almond Joy fans, this is a must try. It is delicious! I will eat one of these in the afternoons when I need a little sweet pick me up at work.

DRINKING | Pumpkin Spice Vanilla Latte. Of course, we are in the PSL season so this would be my drink of choice at the moment. I find PSL alone to be a little much for me, so I ask for two pumps pumpkin, one pump vanilla to be the perfect pairing for me. 

DOING | Lately, I have really been to get more involved in extra curricular activities. Being more active in the community, at church, and in professional organizations. I attended a women's bible study at my church last night which was refreshing. It's been a while since I've really done anything at church, outside of the Sunday morning routine. Life is to short to be lazy and let time slip by our fingers.


Monday, October 24, 2016

Weekend | October 22 and 23

Hello Monday and hello friends. This weekend was the first time in FL that it kinda felt like Fall (Florida Fall that is). It was definitely weather to take advantage of and be outdoors or drive with the windows down, sunroof open. I am really hoping that we get some more of that beautiful weather in the next few months.


I have been trying to make it to Magic Kingdom these past few weeks to go see the Fall decor and we finally had a chance to yesterday. We finally have some decent weather down here in FL so it was perfect for a day at Disney. Which, everyone in the state of FL must have thought the same because it was packed! We got there around 3:30 and the wait into the parking was unusually long. We only stayed maybe an hour because we wanted to head over to Epcot for the Food and Wine Festival. We got into our cars and reached Epcot and the line to get through parking entrance was ridiculous. By the time we finally pulled up to the attendant, she notified us that the parking full and everyone is being redirected to Magic Kingdom for parking. Where we just came from.

So, we scratched Epcot and went over to Disney Springs instead. We had dinner at one of the new restaurants there, Chef Art Smith's Homecoming Florida Kitchen, a southern country type food. The restaurant itself is so nice and the food was really good. Definitely a must if you are ever in the area.


Photo cred thanks to the bestie
On Sunday I finally got to meet this little cutie! The bestie had him earlier this month and due to work commitments and my vacation, I haven't been able to see him. He is to precious for words. I just wanted to cuddle with him and stare at him. His first impression of me is probably that I am a creeper. LOL.

Now, it's back to the work grind. This week, my goal is a little more Jesus and a little more exercise. Last week was a very challenging week for me. Partially because it was my first week back after an amazing vacation, but a huge part is just work related. To not lose my mind and have a breakdown, I need to do some more stuff after work instead of just going home and doing nothing. I plan on going to the women's meet at my church tonight and try to make it to the gym at least three times this week. Let's see how this goes...

Happy Monday y'all!


Saturday, October 22, 2016

Travel | Newport, Rhode Island

This is my last post from our Fall vacation. Sigh.

We drove down to Newport, Rhode Island to tour the mansions. A friend of mine recommended this place to me because she knows our love of the Biltmore Mansion and the history of it. I am so happy that she brought this place to my attention because it was one of my favorite days!

We purchased the five house pass and were able to visit four: Rosecliff, Marble House, Breakers and Chateaus-Sur-Mer.

At the Rosecliff, Marble House and Breakers, they provided audio tours which I love being able to hear the stories of these homes. I know, I'm a nerd. I mean, look at us. We were made for each other. <3

The inner feminist in me appreciated these "Votes for Women" souvenirs. I loved the quote "Well behaved women rarely make history".

This was the beautiful view behind the majority of the mansions as they were off the water. I am not a big water person, but I would not mind waking up to this view in the mornings.

Marble House
 After touring the Marble House, we headed over to the area that had a lot of shops and restaurants for lunch.

Of course, I had to have a cup of clam chowder soup, because that is a must when in New England.

After lunch we continued our mansion tour...

The Breakers
Guys. The Breakers. WOW. Just wow. Them Vanderbilts certainly new home to build elaborate homes. Which we should have known considering that the Biltmore was from the Vanderbilt lineage. It was so grand on the inside.
After having tour the first three homes, seeing the Chateau was just ehh. Which from the outside it looks awesome and probably had we seen this house first, it would have looked more impressive. So, if you ever take a trip to visit these places, start with the Chateau first.

Again, that wraps up the posts from my Fall vacation. Seriously, the best trip! If you missed any of the previous posts, here are the links:

Lake Winnipesaukee and Flume Gorge


Friday, October 21, 2016

Friday Five | No. 15

Hello Friday. Seriously, images, like the one below, have been my saving grace this week at work. It's been a very challenging week for me and I've had to remind myself "eye of the prize". Just a few more years and I will be moving to a place where I can have views like this one.

Those years could not fly by fast enough!!

Okay, let's get to this week's top five.

ONE | Hallmark Channel 2016 Christmas Schedule

I saw a Hershey's Christmas commercial, the one with the kisses playing "We wish you a Merry Christmas" like bells, and not gonna lie, I got pretty excited. But not as excited as when I saw this article on Facebook!

TWO | Magnolia Journal

I picked up the Magnolia Journal this weekend and finally had a chance to read it. Love it! It did not disappoint. The magazine is full of recipes, home decor, and some thoughtful articles from both. It's shame that it will only be quarterly!

THREE | 73 Questions with Emma Stone

I love watching these videos and I think Emma Stone is just fun! I appreciated this one because I felt like her life was a little more normal. She doesn't live in the mansion like the other people they have interviewed. I laughed out loud with her putting her dog in the raincoat!

FOUR | Victoria Beckham for Target

I was super excited to see this announced!In my cool high school days, I was a huge fan of the Spice Girls and Posh was my fave. #aintnoshameinmygame I'm excited to see what this line will look like. This will probably be the closest I will ever get to a Victoria Beckham item because her real fashion line is worth more than my life. J/k No but really.

FIVE | Gilmore Girl Funko Pop Collection

We all know my obsession with Gilmore Girls (34 more days til the Revival!!), so when I saw this pop on my FB feed I immediately share the news with my husband. I expect to have all three of these cuties wrapped under the Christmas tree for me!!


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Travel | Boston, Massachusetts

For the second half of our New England trip, we stayed in Boston. We rented a room through a private rental located in the Southeast End.

Right down the corner of where we were staying, there was a Buttery Bakery & Cafe where we grabbed coffee and breakfast a couple times. This avocado toast was delicious! We purchased all these ingredients (bread, avocado, lemon, and pumpkin seeds) while grocery shopping to make it at home.

The first full day in Boston, we hopped on a subway train to go to the city and do the Freedom Trail. Lordy. Thank goodness for the husband and being able to navigate through all the different train lines. Had it not been for him, I would have ended up in some other state.

Faneuil Hall
We ended our walk at the USS Constitution site and took a ferry back to the city. Which was perfect because my poor feet were killing by the end of the trail.

The second full day in Boston, we hopped on the train and headed over to the Harvard University Campus. We read and heard that this campus was a must see in Boston. It really a beautiful campus. I loved the gates at each entrance of the campus.

Harvard Square
We grabbed brunch at Tatte Bakery and Cafe which is off the main street next to the university. This place is seriously all the rave. Food was so good!

Our next stop was the Boston Public Library. Guys. This place is beautiful. Makes me *sigh* thinking that we don't have beautiful libraries like this in Tampa. Such a shame.

Courtyard area in the library

Seriously, this room made me want to go back to school and study here.

While we waited for our tea reservation time, we walked over the Boston Gardens.

After some shopping for souvenirs, we went back to the Library to have our afternoon tea.

Boston was great. Loved the history and beautiful architecture of the old buildings. Would I want to live there? No. A little to busy for this girl. But a great place to visit for sure.

One more post coming about our New England trip. Stay tuned!


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Travel | Salem, Massachusetts

After checking out of Hotel Portsmouth, we got in the rental car and made our way towards Boston but stopped by Salem.

I am not really a fan of the whole witch history of this place, but we still wanted to stop by and take a look around. There definitely was a lot of "witch" type activities going on, perhaps a little too gimmicky, but it was still a nice place to walk around.

They had several lamp posts with these figures of women painted differently.

We grabbed a bite to eat at The Ugly Mug Diner, which we found it on Trip Advisor. The waitress was a little slow with getting our order and bringing me coffee... but the food made up for the not so great service.

The Mr. got the Elvis Presley Waffle - a waffle topped with Reese's PB cup, Bacon, Bananas, and Whipped Cream. Cue the mouthwatering. The husband got the waffle and I got the french toast which was just as delicious.

After brunch, we went to the House of Seven Gables and took a tour. There were some spaces that we had to walk through that had my claustrophobia on high alert. How those people lived in this place on the daily is beyond me.

Before getting back to the car, we walked across the street to this little candy shop for some treats for the road.

There are a lot of museums and things to do in Salem but our stop was short and sweet. We were Boston bound!