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Monday, December 16, 2013

Mason Jar Fun







Along with a really cute pea-coat from JC Penney, I gave my boyfriend a mason jar full of candy. This may seem silly to some but he is a junk food connoisseur and lover of sour gummy candy so it seemed like the perfect thing to get him. I got the idea from Pintrest (where else!) and it was extremely easy to put together.
I previously spoke about mason jars in my Holiday gift ideas blog but here is a more in depth look at method of gift presentation...


OOTD

Black Leather and Stripes: Outfit Of the Day

I actually wore this outfit on Thanksgiving, which was a while ago, but I wanted to make sure I shared my cuteness! I got everything worn in this picture from Target. The shirt was $19.99 and I was able to get 20% off by using my Cartwheel which brought the price down to $16. The pair black leather leggings with the cotton back was also $19.99. I am still in love with these pants and have worn them so many different ways! The boots, which I have blogged about in the past, came from Target as well and were $34.99, $27.99 after my 20% off from Cartwheel. In total my outfit came out to be $63.98. On thanks giving I wore the outfit with tall leather boots I got on sale a few years ago from Bakers. I forget their original price but they were on sale for about $67. I have had them for a while but they still look great, one of the many perks for buying real leather! I probably won't be able to say the same thing about the combat boots years from now but for now they are super cute!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Great Deals at Victoria's Secret

After reading this blog you might seriously consider adding a trip to Victoria's Secret to your weekend to-do list. I was not so patiently waiting for the amazing VS semi annual sale, which will start some time after Christmas, when a friend alerted me to the amazing promotions going on right now in VS stores.

This weekend, in stores only, ALL VS underwear is 50% which is phenomenal but a little advice: You might not want to bother with the PINK undies, which are usually 5/$26 which makes them about $5.20 each but this deal only reduces them to $4.75. It's still a deal but not as great as the Panty Party (7/$26) price of $3.71 a pair. I'd rather wait and get the biggest bang for my buck. You'd get much more savings if you bought underwear that is usually priced over $10. I picked out a pair of PINK lace cheekters to match my Date Bra. They are originally $14.50 but I got them for $7.25.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Product Review: Cover Girl SmokyShadow Blast!

 I haven't bought eye makeup in an amazingly long time. I usually use my Coastal Scents 88 palette if I am in the eye shadow mood but more times than not I stick to a neutral eye, usually some shade of brown or bronze, and pair that with a bold lip color. It's my comfort zone. Anyway, I've always wanted to learn how to master the 'Smokey Eye', especially since it's usually done with bronze colors and is very subtly sexy. I have attempted it the old fashion way but when I saw a product that claimed to deliver a smokey eye in two steps (AND I had a coupon) I had to try it.
Meet Cover Girl's Smokeyshadow Blast in the color 'Bronze Fire'.  I also picked up some brown Lash Perfection mascara.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Tales from the Roots: Natural Hair Journey, Length Check and Update

 This is the first time I've straightened my hair since October. I'm actually really proud that I have kept the flat iron out of my head for so long! My hair has changed and grown so much over the past seven months. Right now I have about an inch to an inch and a half of natural hair. It's really interesting seeing the difference in texture that I have throughout my head. In the front my curls are loose, the crown of my head is really thick and tight. I have a hard time seeing those curls just because of where they are and since they are still short. The curls at the nape of my neck and around my ears are pretty defiant. They look like little zig zags to me. I'm not sure what hair type it is. I always assumed I had a 4C texture, the tightest, thickest coiled hair, because everyone around me had always said my hair was extremely thick but it may be something else.

My relaxed hair does shed quite a bit. While flat ironing it I could definitely see a difference between the thickness and texture of the hair as I moved down each strand. The shedding isn't so bad that it looks thin while it is straight but when my hair is wet I can definitely tell.
I'm really excited about my growth. At times I get really frustrated with dealing with the two textures, especially when it comes to twisting it. The longer my hair gets the harder it is too keep my curls tight and fresh. I was told by another natural girl that after cutting the relaxed ends my twist outs would look way better, so hopefully that is true.
My hair still takes well to heat, I had to be more patient since my hair is a lot thicker now but it came out really well. I just have to make sure I detangle my hair really well when it still has conditioner on it and section it off before blow drying.


I have picked out a style for my partial big chop, the only thing keeping me from the salon chair is my finances right now but soon I will be back to rocking short hair!


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Black Weekend

My Black Friday Thoughts

It has always been a tradition in my house to go out shopping during the early morning hours of
Black Friday for my mother. In more recent years I joined her, helping pick things out for my younger brothers and buying a few things for myself. But this year was different for a few reasons.

Last year stores like Macy's, Target and Walmart opened late on Thursday, successfully getting under the skin of many Americans celebrating Thanksgiving with their families, but this merely set the precedence for this year when we have some of them opening their doors at 6 p.m of Thanksgiving. Stores like JC Penney even played TV ads telling consumers to forget about their Thanksgiving dishes and get out there and shop! Mark my words, soon stores like Walmart will be opening at 3 p.m., customers will be lining up at noon, and Thanksgiving dinner will merely be brunch. Various news outlets did man-on-the-street pieces, asking shoppers how they felt about the seemingly here to stay Gray Thursday. Some expressed their disgust and sympathy for those working in retail, who would miss a considerable amount of time with their families during the holiday, while others showed no remorse, saying those workers should appreciate the holiday pay and shoppers should make Gray Thursday a new family tradition. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

DIY Christmas Ornaments


Every year my family chooses a theme for our Christmas tree (Yes, we have that many ornaments and decorations, made possible only by buying our latest ornaments on the day after Christmas. Gotta take advantage of those fabulous deals!) and this year, since I recently graduated from the University of Illinois and my youngest brother is now a freshman there and Marching Illini, we decided to have a Fighting Illini Christmas tree. Instead of buying bright orange ornaments, or Illinois ornaments (I'm sure they exists somewhere) we decided to buy glass ornaments from Michael's and make our own. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Gift ideas for the Holiday Season

For some of us gift giving can be really simple. A lot of people drop hints from November 1st until Christmas eve so it's not really a challenge figuring out what they want. But in the case of those who have everything, insist they don't want anything or you simply don't know what to get them, buying a gift could be a little nerve wrecking. I definitely don't have all the answers but in my search to find something for my boyfriend's mother I have come up with a few ideas.
 Hopefully one sticks out to you!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Look of the Day











Today was a super relaxed day. For most of it I was in the car so I wanted to be really warm and comfy. I layered my long sleeve Vneck with my trusty chambray top and leggings. I folded down my knee high socks to bring some attention to my combat boots and to add some extra warmth to my legs.

I was able to get away with the motorcycle jacket because I was in the car today but it was pretty cold outside today. The things we do for fashion! But I kept my neck warm with my chunky pink scarf from forever 21.

Today's look wasn't anything you haven't seen on my blog before but I felt extra cute and wanted to show off my fall style :)

Tales from the Roots: Bad Hair Day Solution


Head Scarf Pompadour 

I was too lazy to retwist my hair so after wearing my bantu knot out for two days my curls were done. The only option I had, other than straightening my hear was to cover it so I decided to wear a head wrap today. I got this scarf from TJ Maxx for around $16. It's thin and extremely large which makes it perfect for this because my scalp underneath doesn't get too hot. This isn't a head scarf by the way, just a regular scarf that you would tie around your neck in the fall or winter.
Here's how I achieved this look....

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Adventures in Couponing UPDATE!

Last time I wrote to you I promised I would give you an update when it got closer to Black Friday. Well guys and gals, the hour is almost upon us! I'm excited, can you tell? 
So I've already given you the low down on Retail Me Not and Cartwheel and I really hope you downloaded them and put them to good use!! When I wrote that blog I was also reviewing ShopKick, Shopular and The Coupons. One of these definitely stood out of the pack...
Shopular Black Friday Ads!

Shop Kick

I am utterly baffled as to how to use ShopKick. I might just be a little slow but it is confusing. In my opinion it isn't as user friendly and dummy proof as the other apps. I'm a little sad about this because I had a customer at Target mention it and said that she uses it (however she wasn't using it in that purchase) but I just can't figure it out. I think I'm like most people, if it doesn't come easy I will find something else that does. It's horrible I know but true.

The Coupons

To be honest, I have barely touched The Coupons app. I think this really just comes down to the general appearance of the app. It does a lot of the same things the other apps do but it's just not as visually appealing as the others so I lost interest almost immediately. It might be a great app but I think people will gravitate towards the better looking interface. I did like the fact that it tells you the cheapest gas prices around your house. That's great for those trying to save a little money on gas (so basically everyone) but I rarely drive so I never even opened the app for this feature.

Shopular

My favorite, by far, out of these three apps in Shopular. This app is really similar to Retail Me Not in the way that it really just tells you about the deals that are already in stores. But I really love this app because it allows you to view each stores weekly ad. Last week I was able to check out Target and Walmart's Black Friday preview sales paper, which is fabulous because I wanted to get an idea of which stores I will be hitting up.

Between Retail Me Not, Cartwheel and Shopular you should be locked and loaded for Black Friday and any shopping trip in the future for that matter. I advise you to download these apps and consult them, along with the sales paper while you wait for the turkey to finish this Thanksgiving so you can get your plan of attack and your savings all ready for the shopping marathon of the year! Suit up!

I***SIDE NOTE! Do not forget about Holiday Price Match!! I know Target and Walmart are doing this for sure but check at the department stores you plan on hitting up. If you find a better deal on the same product in another store, you simply bring in the ad or pull it up on your mobile device and the store will match the price!!***

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

30 day skin care challenge

I will be the first to admit that I tend to get lazy and half do my skin care regiment or fall off completely but I know I need to do better, ASAP! The cold fall weather has been really harsh to my skin and I know the winter will make it even worse. My skin just seems really dry and pale lately and I find myself reaching for my blush or bronzer a lot more lately. I have also been noticing a few small break outs on my forehead and cheeks. Don't get me wrong, I'm not dealing with a horrible bout of acne, I've had pretty nice skin since leaving puberty behind, but my skin has been better in the past. I can't just blame this on the weather though, I have been really slacking. I moisturize everyday but I haven't been using my facial cleanser consistently, I've been eating a lot of sugary foods, not drinking enough water and not taking my vitamins. SO as of today I want to get my life back together and take better care of my skin. My skin regiment is really simple and inexpensive. I could probably be using better products but I won't be using anything new since the products I have actually work pretty well for me when I actually use them. Why go out and spend more money when you can work with what you've got?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Nifty nails




As girly as I am I usually neglect my finger nails. Outside of Impress press on nails I rarely polish my nails. 1) it never lasts long enough and 2) I'm usually too lazy to remove the chipped polish. But when I actually sit down and polish my nails I love to try new things. Today I tried the matte look. Everyone knows you can buy matte polish pretty much anywhere, one of my favorite matte colors is "Cold Leather" by Sinful Colors, but what about the polish you already have?


If you want to try out the matte look on the polish you already have you can use matte top coat. Orly makes a matte top coat that you can buy from any Sally's Beauty Supply for about $10. But for
those of us who want to try this for a more reasonable price check out N.Y.C's Matte Me Crazy mattifying top coat #274. I scooped up a bottle of this from Target a few months ago for about $1.79. I'm pretty sure they carry this brand at Walmart and drug stores too.
I decided to use my Sally Hansen's Hard as Nails "black heart" #880 underneath. Matte black nails are really popular this season, especially if you leave the tips glossy, sort of a dark yet chic twist on a French manicure. For my first time using this I didn't do anything that fancy. Maybe next time lol. Anyway, the top coat goes on smooth and glossy and dries matte. You really can't even tell that this isn't just regular black matte polish. I'm not sure how a more expensive brand would look but for a little over a dollar this works phenomenally! 
This matte top coat business is really great. It's easy, goes on smoother than matte polish and can be applied to any polish you own. I definitely recommend it :) 
My only hope is that this paint job lasts at least a week. This black polish will be a pain to take off!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Tales from the Roots: The Pompadour


I was feeling a little bored with my twist outs so I decided to try a pompadour. I watched Youtube videos and got my mom to agree to help me. Here is my result. I started with hair that was slightly curly from an old twist out. I finger combed it and detangled with my wide tooth comb very carefully, then added gel to my edges. My mom french rolled the back of my hair using the tuck, twist and pin method with bobby pins. Since my ends are still relaxed I had to work a little harder to get volume in my pompadour. But with some teasing and proper pinning I got a result I was satisfied with. This really is such a regal hair style. I felt very Janelle Monae when I wore it and the best part is that this is a great protective style. I actually did it before I went to bed, tied my scarf around it and wore it the next day. My hair got wet in the rain so I had to take it down but had that not happened I would have been able to keep it up for a few days. Low manipulation is always great for a healthy head of hair! Hopefully I will be cutting my hair soon. My original plan was to do a big chop in December which would be the 8th month of my natural journey but instead I think I may do a partial chop instead. I'm not entirely sure how it will turn out but I'm excited to do it and to show it off! 





Saturday, November 9, 2013

Pintrest Style Dupe!!

I find a lot of my style inspiration on Pintrest. It's one of my favorite social networking sites and if you don't have one, you should seriously get on that... like now! If not for the fashion do it for the recipes, hair styles, craft ideas and workout tips. But anyway.... A couple weeks ago I saw a picture that intrigued me so I decided to try to pull it together. As you know leather pieces are another one of fall's major trends. I've seen Pinners and celebrities wearing leather pants, skater skirts, peplum tops, jackets with leather sleeves and patches. I am really in love with this trend. Leather can be sexy, edgy, and sophisticated... all at the same time! It really just depends on the piece and how you style it. 

Product Review: E.L.F cosmetics

 Some of you may have already heard of Eyes Lips Face or e.l.f cosmetics, but for those of you who haven't it is a makeup company that sells a wide variety of extremely reasonably priced makeup, beauty tools and accessories. I discovered E.l.f while watching bronzegoddess on Youtube years ago. I went through a makeup phase, much like my current lipstick phase, and she used a lot of their products in her makeup tutorials. I followed her lead and ordered a few things from their website which is not some random makeup vendor that you would be afraid to give your credit card information, its a very professional site and successful business. The shipping was very quick, the products came in nice packaging and I was satisfied with mostly everything I bought.

Fast forward to now, I have tried my fair share of their products and I even see it in stores.By far my favorite is their mineral blush in the color Peachy. You can buy it online for $5 and in a wide variety of colors. I really like the fact that their mineral makeup is so similar to Bare Escentuals mineral makeup which I also use. I use my e.l.f kabuki brush to apply it which I got for $6. Six bucks for a kabuki brush is very reasonable because they can be very costly if bought from the leading makeup brands.
Recently Target upped the amount of e.l.f products they sell in stores, including the holiday gift sets like the one pictured below. But this should not replace visiting their online sites. If you sign up for their emails you will get promotion codes to use for free shipping and freebies from their website. If online shopping isn't your thing Walmart also sells a small fraction of their products.
I definitely recommend Eyes Lips Face for those of you who are just starting out or don't wear makeup often but want a decent product for a reasonable price. It's also great for trying trends for less before investing more money on a higher end product. I'm currently practicing applying false lashes with e.l.f lashes. It's a struggle but I don't mind trying and failing with these inexpensive lashes. You should give e.l.f a shot and if you already have give the mineral blush a try! It's amazing :)
Be sure to check out http://www.eyeslipsface.com/ for new makeup deals
My e.l.f makeup collection: Baked blush, eye brow kit,
liquid eye liner, mineral blush, eye shadow duo,
concealer palette, cream liner and false lashes.  

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Ways to Wear It: Plaid Shirt

Plaid is surprisingly in this season. I say surprisingly because I never think of plaid when I think of chic, fashionable clothing. I think of lumber jacks and cabin retreats (which might actually be fun). But the plaid I've been seeing this season has definitely been pushed from outdoorsy to trendy. In this blog I decided to show three different ways to wear a plaid button up but don't limit yourself to just a shirt. You could rock this trend with a pair of plaid pumps, a plaid clutch, blazer or trousers. The key is to NOT wear them all at the same time!







Monday, November 4, 2013

My newest addition...

Combat Boots

I've been searching for a nice pair of boots and I have found something... 

I got these boots at Target this weekend. They were not on sale, their regular sale price is $34.99 but I was able to use a Cartwheel discount on them and save 20% which brought the price down to $27.99.
I was hoping that I would be able to find a name brand pair for that price at Ross or TJ Maxx but I had no luck. The two Ross stores that I went to were ransacked and TJ Maxx didn't get me anywhere. I think the wedge sneakers I found spoiled me. But these will do. They were a reasonable price and they have the look I wanted. If I get another pair I will probably get them in brown or black but with some sort of embellishment to make them stand out a bit more.
I'm still going to keep my eye out for a name brand pair, hopefully something leather and with a thicker sole. These are comfortable but I can tell they are aren't the best quality and I may not be able to wear them past this season.
But even if they don't stand the test of time $28 isn't a big loss.

Keep on the look out for these boots in my up coming blogs!

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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Adventures in couponing!

If you follow my blog you know that I love to shop. Doesn't matter where when or for what, I enjoy it! But what I love just as much as shopping is getting a great deal. My newest obsession, and fuel to my shopping habit, is couponing apps. I have found two that I really love and a few more that I have yet to try. Here is what I've experienced with both of these apps, my likes and dislikes.

Cartwheel

I started working at Target about two weeks ago and one of the things our team has to promote to the guests is the new Target coupon app Cartwheel. I decided to try it so that I could have a better understanding of it and to see if it was worth downloading. This app is very similar to Pintrest in my opinion. You download, connect to Facebook and browse the site for coupons in various departments at the store. When you find a coupon you want to use just add the discount to use to your cart or "cartwheel". Initially after downloading you only have about 15 slots but as you continually use and save money with the app you are awarded more slots which means you can use more coupons at once. The best part about the app is that it allows you to use one barcode for all of the coupons in your cart. When it's time to check out you simply pull up your Cartwheel barcode and allow the cashier to scan it from your phone. To get optimal use of the app you should check it each time you go to target to see where you can save. With Cartwheel, my REDcard savings and team member discount I've saved over $50 this week!