My first Glam VoxBox!


I’m excited to have been chosen for my first ever VoxBox from Influenster! If you’re not familiar with Influenster, it is a website/app where you can review and find reviews on everyday products, and based upon your social media influence, you can become eligible to test products for free. I’ve become eligible for two campaigns now, and one of those involved me receiving the Glam VoxBox which contained six products. All products I received are available at local drugstores, Target and Walmart. I thought I would share my thoughts on VoxBox and the products I received, so please keep reading!

Disclaimer: I received each of these products for free based on my social media influence. I do not receive any monetary compensation for this review; anything I say only influences my account on Influenster in regards to my eligibility to receive more products. Everything seen here reflects solely my own opinions.

Gillette Venus Swirl Razor and Venus with a Touch of Olay Violet Swirl Shave Gel
MSRP $8.49-$13.59, $2.99-$3.99
Rating: 8.5/10 for razor, 9/10 for shave gel

Each box came with a different Venus razor and a travel size can of the shave gel. I received the Venus Swirl razor, which was super exciting as I had been wanting to try this particular razor for a while! I honestly almost bought the men’s version for myself. As someone with quite a bit of muscular definition on my legs these days due to strength training, the swivel head is really nice for getting around the contours of my muscles and doing a good job around my knees. I was able to use it on my legs and armpits, but didn’t have as much luck with the bikini area, which is not a big deal. My biggest qualm is I wish that I could have this razor in sturdier material instead of standard disposable plastic, but I’m very happy to have finally tried this. I’ve tried the shave gel before and liked it; it is a really nice, creamy formula, good if you’re worried about a moisturizing shaving product. The Violet Swirl scent is nice but very potent, so if you’re not big on heavy fragrances (or fragrances as all), I would steer clear of this particular scent.

Cutex Advanced Revival Nail Polish Remover Pads
MSRP: $1.49-$3.99
Rating: 10/10

I really loved this little travel-sized pack of nail pads. The box claims that one pad can clean off 10 nails, and it lived up to that claim when I used them the other evening. I had a basic nude nail polish on (one of the new Wet n Wild gel polishes) and it all came clear off. Perhaps you’d have to work a little harder to get more heavy-duty/glitter polish off, but I think these are great to have on hand. They also didn’t leave my nails feeling dry, which of course I worry about with using acetone-based removers, so they live up to their “Advanced Revival” name as well. I’m definitely considering purchasing these to have around!

Not Your Mother’s Dry Shampoo, Unscented
MSRP: $3 travel-size ($7 full-size)
Rating: 6/10

This was honestly the most disappointing product of the bunch. I swear by Batiste dry shampoo, but I know a lot of people swear by this brand, so I was interested to see if it could unseat Batiste as my favorite. Not even close. For starters, I was not a fan of this Unscented variety; to me, it had a very weird smell, which was probably a general compressed-product smell but I did not enjoy it. The product claims to give you volume, which I can see, but for someone like me with thicker hair, it wasn’t anything extraordinary. I also had to use a lot of product to notice any difference in oiliness, and even when I did, I was again disappointed. It didn’t really look like it made much difference, and even if it had, again, I had to use a lot of product to get to that point. For just a dollar or so more, I can buy my Batiste and get the results this product claims with less product.

Q-Tips Cotton Swabs, 30ct
MSRP: $1.29
Rating: 10/10

This may seem like a pointless review because, well, these are just normal Q-Tips in a travel-size container. So why a perfect rating? Because I love these little containers! Easy to refill for on the go, but there are other uses for them besides holding your cotton swabs. My best friend showed me that she uses these empty containers for her bobby pins and hair ties for travel or just to throw in her purse. Something so simple, and yet I was honestly mind-blown. No more losing loose bobby pins and hair ties in my bag!

SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter Facial Skin Care Collection (Face Wash & Scrub, Moisturizer, Face Mask) sample trio
MSRP: $9.99-$11.99
Rating: Face Wash & Scrub: 9/10; Moisturizer: 9/10; Face Mask: 8.5/10

I’ve always been interested by the SheaMoisture line and was happy to receive some samples in this box. The particular samples I received were the anti-aging samples, shea butter based with frankincense and myrrh extracts. Each item is very moisturizing and all feel very calming to the skin as well as creamy. I would definitely recommend the moisturizer for those in drier climates and/or for the winter time, and perhaps more for the night time, as it may be a bit heavy for the day. I did enjoy the face wash & scrub in comparison to most scrubs I’ve used. It likely won’t be a repurchase as I don’t use scrubs on a daily basis because I own a Clarisonic and use scrub masks. The face mask was comfortable, and did leave my skin feeling softer after, but I don’t think it impressed me enough to replace my First Aid Beauty Oatmeal Mask anytime soon. However, if you’re looking for an affordable line that’s good for dry skin, I would definitely recommended considering the SheaMoisture line!

Overall Box Rating: 8.75/10

This Glam VoxBox was definitely the perfect exposure to products I’d seen at the drugstore but had never picked up! I would love to keep receiving these boxes and testing out products, as I think they’re of great value. As long as you’re comfortable posting reviews on social media, signing up for Influenster is definitely a worthwhile venture for those who love testing out products.

Have you ever received a VoxBox? What did you receive?

Until next time, stay well, stay beautiful xx

How 2015 Was Not My Year (for blogging or really anything)

I can count on one hand all of my blog posts last year. That’s a really terrible feeling, and it only adds to a lengthy list of why last year was just complete and utter crap.

I had my heart completely stomped on. The fact that I even was able to put out two posts on here after that is a miracle, let me tell you. I lost a lot of myself after that. Since this isn’t my personal writing blog, you can view my posts here and here to get some good insight into where I was a couple places along the way. We’ll just sum it up here as an absolute shitshow of emotion. …yep, that adequately sums that up.

Fast forward to six months later and I’m moving across the country, from Wisconsin to Colorado, over a thousand miles away from pretty much everyone that loves me. I have an apartment, I have a job lined up, everything’s fine, everything’s going to be great, I’m going to move with my life, it’s all going to be awesome… None of that became true. I struggled in my living situation, I lost my job after two and a half months, I was absolutely miserable in my life. There was no fitting this blog into there. There was really no fitting of anything truly joyful into my life. Everything I had tried to create and cultivate had fallen to pieces. There wasn’t much to put my soul into, and quite frankly there wasn’t a lot of soul available to put into anything.

So far in 2016 the outlook looks better. I went into my Christmas travels with a job on lock to start after the new year, my living situation has steadily improved, I took up swing dancing which has been so incredibly fun and rewarding so far, and I’m feeling a lot more secure in myself again. Out of everything I lost in 2015, losing myself hit me the hardest. I had worked so long to build up a self-confidence I lacked, and on that fatal evening back in February, everything I had built had collapsed. A lot of rebuilding has taken place, and I finally feel like I’m once again building on stable ground.

I’ve missed running this blog. During my stint of unemployment, I worked part-time at Sephora for the holiday season. It made me realize how much I missed talking about products and sitting at my mirror creating. Sharing recipes had also influenced my life because it kept me cooking and looking for better recipes to make, and while I was staying more-or-less on track with lifting, the health area of my life could’ve used some TLC as well. I needed this blog back in my life.

I want to brush off all the dust and cobwebs and come back here. I have already brushed off all the rubble left by 2015’s destruction, and I’m rebuilding. I will rebuild this blog. I’m going to come back. It’s time to clear the way for my return!

Stay well, stay beautiful, get ready xx


Egg Muffins

Hey all! Long time no see, I know. I apologize for the lack of content; life has gotten in the way, and I needed to step back and take care of myself these past couple of months. I promise that your patience will be greatly rewarded with plenty of new content soon to make up for it. 🙂 Thanks for hanging in there and I appreciate your continued support!

As someone who wakes up early each weekday morning to make it to work at 7am, fitting in a good, adequate breakfast can sometimes be a struggle (especially as a frequent offender of the Snooze Button). Because I wake up so early, I take something with me to eat at work after I take care of my morning tasks. To facilitate this process, I keep a lot of foods on hand that are easy to pack-and-go and, at most, require a toaster oven or microwave since we have those at work.

However, since my workout routine now has a lifting focus, I’m concerned too about getting sufficient protein in my diet, especially on days that I do lift. That’s why, when I came across egg muffins, I knew they would be perfect for my breakfasts requirements.

Egg muffins are exactly what they sound like: “muffins” made of eggs. I absolutely love eggs, so these were an easy choice for me, plus they’re extremely easy to make.

One dozen eggs makes about a dozen of these muffins, so that’s the consistent ingredient across the board for all the recipes out there. My recipe will include what I chose to add for my first batch.

Egg Muffins
Makes: 12 servings

1 package baby portabella mushrooms
1 dozen eggs
1 cup baby spinach
1/2 tablespoon of chives
1/2 tablespoon basil
1/4 tablespoon garlic powder
Shredded Mexican cheese to sprinkle on top

All your happy little ingredients.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Cook your portabella mushrooms in a pan with a little bit of the oil of your choosing. In my case, I used extra virgin olive oil. The mushrooms will be done when they’re browned and are less firm.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together all your eggs. Once they’re well whisked, mix in your spinach (pro tip: would definitely recommend chopping the spinach leaves into smaller pieces, because I didn’t), chives, basil and garlic powder. When the mushrooms are finished cooking, mix those in as well.

I promise this will turn out more delicious than it looks right now.

In a well-greased muffin tin, pour a 1/3 cup mixture into each well, or just enough that you can still see a bit of the side of the well. Sprinkle some shredded cheese on top of each, and then place in the oven. Cook for 20-25 minutes, or until you can insert a knife in a muffin and it comes out clean.

Happy little muffins!

And that’s it! See, told you it was simple. Another great thing about these little guys? You can freeze them! If you’re a meal planner and love making things ahead of time, these would fit very well into your routine. All you have to do, whether you freeze them or not, is pop them in the microwave to heat them back up.

As I mentioned, this was my personal recipe based on what I had on hand. I didn’t include any meat or poultry this time around–since I talked about protein–so that I can still eat these on Fridays during Lent. I will definitely be adding something next time I make them. All that being said, feel free to customize these to your liking! And feel free to come back and share what you come up with 🙂

Until next time, stay well, stay beautiful xx

Mini Oreo Cheesecakes

Time to share another dessert I made for my work’s soup club! I chose yesterday for my date since I knew my plans for Valentine’s Day would be minimal (little did I know I would wind up with no valentine at all… more on that later) and I’d have plenty of time for baking over the weekend. Even so, these were super simple to make!

I found this recipe on The original can be found here.

Mini Oreo Cheesecakes

Yield: 12 mini cheesecakes

– 2 (250g) packages of cream cheese
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 2 eggs
– 12 Oreo cookies
– 3 (1 ounce) squares Baker’s Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate
– 1 cup thawed Cool Whip topping*

* I did not use the Cool Whip topping for my mini cheesecakes.

A special baking recommendation I would like to make, especially if you found yourself alone during Valentine’s Day like I did, is to pour yourself a drink to serve as your baking companion. Even if that’s not the case, pour yourself a drink anyway. You deserve it for whipping up these tasty treats!

Both the wine (Sutter Home Moscato) and the glass were part of a care package one of my roommates threw together for me. They served me well.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese and sugar until well blended. Add the eggs into this mixture one at a time, beating on low speed until well blended.

Post-mixture-scooping results. Can anyone tell me what kind of beaters these are? They were the only ones I could find and worked really well with the cream cheese, but I would genuinely like to know what for what kind of mixing is their intended purpose.

Place baking cups in the wells of your muffin pan and fill each with an Oreo cookie. You can obviously use whatever kind of Oreo (or other similar sandwich cookie) you like. For the occasion of Valentine’s Day, I chose to use the new Red Velvet Oreos.

Also because they’re fucking delicious.

Once you’ve placed a cookie in each baking cup, fill each cup with your cheesecake batter. Don’t be afraid to fill each to the top with batter as you should have plenty of it and the cups won’t overflow while things are baking.

Witness my great filling skills.

Bake your mini cheesecakes for 20 minutes or until the centers are almost set. They’re be a bit puffed up when they come out of the oven but will deflate as they cool down. Once they’ve cooled, refrigerate them for 3 hours. After refrigeration, melt the Baker’s chocolate as directed on the package and drizzle over the cheesecakes. Add additional Cool Whip topping when ready to serve (as stated above, I omitted this step).

Tada! My little masterpieces.

See? Really easy to make. The biggest commitment is refrigerating them for the three hours but this is obviously a vital step. If you’re a fan of thick and creamy cheesecake, this is the perfect recipe for you. The only thing I would change would be the addition of a bit of vanilla to the recipe because there wasn’t much flavor beyond a general creamy cream cheese taste to it, and I’d like something to kick it up a notch. Also, in my experience, the Oreo cookie more or less retained its consistency, in other words it did not soften much after baking. If you’re looking for a softer “crust” to your mini cheesecake, I would recommend perhaps soaking the Oreo in something like milk or butter prior to baking, or crushing up Oreos to create your own crust, though both options do take away from the ease of this recipe. This is certainly a recipe I’ll come back to as it was a hit with my coworkers and wasn’t much of a hassle at all!

Have you tried this recipe, or a similar recipe? Any tips? Do you plan to try this if you haven’t yet? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time, stay well, stay beautiful xx

Restaurant Week!

With my boyfriend out in San Francisco indefinitely, our opportunity for weekend visits (we’ve been long distance our entire relationship, but 140 miles pales in comparison to over 2,000) is currently non-existent and I haven’t had much motivation to make recipes when I’m dining alone. Leftovers are great to take to work for lunch the next day, but there’s just something depressing about it. So lately, my cooking has consisted primarily of bits and pieces of things thrown together from my pantry and fridge.

And then there are the days I say fuck everything and order/dine out.

Life motto, yo. (Source: Tumblr)

Last week, however, I had the perfect excuse to treat myself: a friend’s birthday and Madison Restaurant Week.

During Restaurant Week–which began on Sunday, January 18th and lasted through Friday, January 23rd–50 restaurants offered lunch and/or dinner specials that included variations of some of their top choices menu items. All specials were three course meals, with the lunch specials being $15 and the dinner specials either $25, $30 or $35 depending on the restaurant.

My friend had picked Ruth’s Chris Steak House, a restaurant we had both fallen in love with two years ago on our spring break trip to Florida. My then-not-but-now-boyfriend’s father let our travel group of four treat ourselves to a nice dinner, and we easily racked up a $300+ bill. Fortunately for us this time around, we would be able to enjoy a meal for $30. This of course is not including the charge for the bottle of wine we split because duh. It was Martini & Rossi Prosecco Sparkling Wine, and it was very good.

Lobster Bisque

Our appetizer choices were the Steak House Salad, Caesar Salad, and their Soup of the Day, which fortunately turned out to be my favorite, Lobster Bisque. Now this was a smaller portion than the one I had in Florida, but every bite was just as wonderful as I remembered. The bisque was so perfectly smooth and creamy, with the perfect lobster flavor without the seafood taste being too overwhelming.

Petite Filet accommodated with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

While the Stuffed Chicken Breast and Almond-Crusted Tilapia were both extremely good options for the entrée, let’s be real, we were all at a steak house to eat a good steak, and every single one of us chose the Petite Filet. They describe it as “the most tender cut of corn-fed Midwestern beef, broiled expertly to melt in your mouth” and damn if that isn’t correct. We also had a choice of accommodation between their mashed potatoes, creamed spinach or sautéed mushrooms. They add roasted garlic to their mashed potatoes so I couldn’t resist.

Chocolate Mousse in Edible Godiva Chocolate Cup

Our last course was a dessert choice between Bread Pudding, Chocolate Mousse Cup and Fresh Seasonal Berries with Sweet Cream Sauce. We had an even mix of all three around the table, and I personally chose the mousse, which can in an edible Godiva chocolate cup and was just perfect. These again were all smaller portions than what they usually feature but were the perfect end to our meal and there were no complaints at the table. The bread pudding was actually rather adorable; it looked like a bread pudding muffin drizzled in their whiskey sauce. I sampled a friend’s and it was very well done in my opinion, and I’m a stickler about good bread pudding.

The meal was definitely a nice reunion on a budget with one of my favorite steak houses. I highly recommend it for a date night that you’re able to splurge on.

It was hard not to just let my dollars fly and eat out every night last week. We have plenty of great restaurants to boast about here in Madison! Definitely one of the things I love about this city.

Be sure to check on Restaurant Weeks happening in your area! It’s the perfect excuse to take your significant other or your friends into the city for a fine dining experience. If it’s just you, that’s wonderful too! Remember, TREAT. YO. SELF.

Until next time, stay well, stay beautiful! xx

Processed with Moldiv

Bite Beauty Lip Lab Limited Release Crème Deluxe Lipstick #001 Review

If you haven’t heard yet, on the first Wednesday of every month for the rest of the year, Bite Beauty will be releasing a new shade in their Lip Lab Limited Release Crème Deluxe Lipstick series. Being a huge fan of Bite lip products–and having seen a preview swatch of January’s shade on their Instagram–I had to snag the first shade of the year. Keep reading for my thoughts on January’s shade, #001!

Overall: 7.4/10

Packaging: 8.5/10 – Pretty standard for Bite lip products, with the matte grey packaging. I also really liked the box it came in, with the special “001 01/15” label on it. I’ve never been disappointed by their packaging, and I really like their unique bullet shapes.

Pigmentation: 8/10 – The shade is described as a “deep burgundy with a red undertone”, and I definitely got the red undertone to it when I applied it. It also took a couple swipes to build the color to full opacity, but it’s a beautiful color in my opinion when you get it there.

Texture: 7.5/10 – The lipstick isn’t particularly drying but I didn’t find it as moisturizing as other Bite lip products, and it is a bit waxy but that isn’t something that bothers me much.  I also found the product to be a bit slippery, which brings us to…

Application: 6/10 – Not gonna lie, this lipstick is a bitch to work with. Because it is slippery, even using a lip brush took work, which is rough considering that the product needs to be built up for full opacity, and using a lip brush sort of got me this watercolor-like result so I had to modify my technique a bit. You’re definitely going to want a good lip pencil with this one, but even that may not be enough. On top of that, it also applies rather patchy.

Longevity: 7/10 – I know not to expect super longevity in Bite’s products that are on the creamier side like this one, but with eating and drinking I got a solid two hours of good wear time out of it before it started to fade in the center of my lip (away from the lip line). I’d say between two and four hours, with eating a drinking, is a good range for the longevity.

The Bite Beauty limited release lipsticks retail solely on and are $36 for 0.15oz of product. I was able to have purchasing access to the lipstick a minute or two before 11am CST, which makes sense because Sephora operates on PST, and 11am where I live would be 9am there, making the release hit at the start of the normal 9-5 workday out there. These lipsticks are limited edition; as soon as they’re sold out, they’re gone. The hype of this product combined with the hefty pricetag (their standard lip products range from $22-$24, with a few others being no more than $30) only fuels my disappointment that this product under-performed in comparison to my expectations.

Looking at it in the tube, the shade looks beautiful, and I’m a sucker for dark shades. I’m not pale pale–I’m about NW20–but I’m pale enough where I can really appreciate the contrast of a deep, dark lipstick and it gives me LIFE. I was already a bit disappointed when this shade pulled more red than I expected on my hand swatch, but I thought, eh, once it builds up on my lips it’ll probably get darker.

I wasn’t completely off base with that hope, but my goodness gracious, was this terrible to work with. The struggle was very, very real. Not only did trying to place the product with a lip brush cause it to make the product more sheer than just going straight at it from the tube, but the product slides and slips that it makes it difficult to create nice, clean lines around the mouth or just get it to settle. You’ll notice even in the hand swatch that straight-from-the-tube application is a bit patchy. Even with the use of a lip liner and then blotting and setting the lipstick, I still ended up getting feathering after a while, I’d say around the one and a half to two hour mark which is when I first looked at it in a mirror post-application.

Lip swatch done using NYX lip liner in Auburn (closest I had on hand) and cleaning up with concealer.

However, I will say that I was surprised by the fact that once it did more or less dry, I didn’t notice any transfer while I was sipping wine all night. If there was any, it was minimal. This may have been a result of me blotting and setting it properly rather than anything on the lipstick’s part, so I’m not going to label this transfer-proof because certainly with this formula that would be highly inaccurate (and when I bumped my lips with my hand a couple times, I definitely got some transfer), but it’s still something I noticed. More surprisingly, because this is such a dark color, I didn’t have any staining; it came clean off my lips when I took off my makeup at the end of the night.

So, I’m torn. While I look Bite Beauty products and really do love this shade even though it’s not quite what I expected, it is such a hassle to work with that in the end it won’t be the first thing I reach for unless I have the time to sit and work with it. Even then, I have such little patience that I’ll probably opt for something else in my collection. This was such a letdown that it makes me hesitant to go after another of the Lip Lab Limited Releases. At $36 a pop–which is reaching high end pricepoint–I’d rather invest my money elsewhere if this formula is consistently going to be a disappointment.

Did you purchase this lipstick? What are your thoughts? What Bite products do you love, if you own any? Be sure to share in the comments below!

Until next time, stay well, stay beautiful xx

December Favorites

Happy 2015 y’all! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday (including those that celebrated Orthodox Christmas last night!) and have enjoyed the new year so far. It’s business as usual for me, and with a new year I’d like to start a new tradition on the blog: sharing my monthly favorites! I know, right, so original, no other blogger has done this before…

December is the perfect month to begin with because I did a lot of product purchasing Black Friday onward, as you saw well in my haul post. I’m still getting through all of those products but that means plenty for me to cover for at least a few months! Without further ado, here are my favorite products from the month of December:

Tartelette Palette: When it doubt for a look, this has been my go-to palette to start if not complete an entire look with. I’ve loved it since I got it. I have no trouble complementing my other palettes with this one, and I love using it in combination as well as all on its own! If you haven’t seen my review yet, click here.

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream: It took a while for winter to truly rear its ugly head but eventually it did here in Wisconsin and my skin has been in turmoil ever since. This lotion is my saving grace and I don’t know what I would do without it. It’s a nice, thick cream that dries to a matte finish in relatively little time. I use it during the day underneath my moisturizer with sunscreen, and certainly before bed either on its own or under a thin later of Vaseline when I feel that my skin is particularly dehydrated. I personally get the 16oz tub which will last you forever but it also comes in a 12oz pump version if you’re worried about keeping it sanitary.

IT Brushes for Ulta: Remember how I mentioned that I skipped out on Sigma’s Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale? These were the reason why. It started simple, with their Airbrush Blending Crease Brush #105, and that’s all it took to get me hooked. In total I now own the You’re Easy On The Eyes Dual-Ended Eye Shadow Brush set, the Live Beauty Fully All Over Powder Brush #211, the Velvet Luxe Soft Focus Sculpting Brush #315, the Velvet Luxe Buffing Foundation Brush #301 and the Velvet Luxe Plush Powder Brush #313. I’m planning on making a separate post about these soon but I just have to say that all these brushes are just so incredibly soft. I mean, the Velvet Luxe part of the line is just divine. I encourage each and every one of you to go to Ulta and just feel these up, I mean it.

theBalm Overshadow in No Money, No Honey. Swatched over bare skin.

theBalm Overshadow in No Money, No Honey: I received this as a “glam” prize on r/RandomActsofMakeup and it really lives up to the hype. It’s a beautiful shimmering gold color that I love using as an inner corner highlight as well as a face highlight. It’s my first product from theBalm and I’m already itching for more!

Swatch of NARS Audacious Lipstick in Audrey.

NARS Audacious Lipstick in Audrey: I had to have this color as soon as I saw it because a) it’s named Audrey, like Audrey Hepburn, so duh, and b) the color is gorgeous and unlike any red I had yet in collection. The shade is described as “red currant”, and is a muted red-plum color that I just fell in love with. It was an easy choice for my Christmas lip color pick. I’ll also be doing another post on this one later, along with the NARS Audacious Lipstick in Grace.

As far as food favorites, I gotta give some shoutouts to…

Seroogy’s Chocolates: Straight out of De Pere, WI, these are some of my favorite chocolates, and they hold a special place in my heart because they too are from Wisconsin but also because one of my fundraisers in elementary school was selling their chocolate bars. At the time, my family lived in an apartment building where my parents worked as maintenance managers, and I made serious bank selling these candy bars to all the elderly people in the building. My boyfriend got me a whole box of assorted truffles for Christmas as well as a package of their chocolate dipped potato chips. I just… he knows me so well, you guys. They’re giving my comfort while he’s all the way out in San Francisco for the next couple of months.

Anything packed with protein: I slacked a lot on my diet over the holidays (shocking, I mean who does that?!) but have thankfully kept up with my new weight lifting regimen. At the end of November, I started the program from The New Rules of Lifting for Women and just recently started Stage 2. After having done so much cardio for so long, it is so nice to fall in love with lifting, and I’m slowly seeing results! The biggest thing that’s going to help, along with maintaining a clean diet, is packing my diet with protein. Whey protein, things like Quest bars, chicken and eggs are some of my besties right now, and peanut butter is my one and only, forever and ever. I’m sure I will slowly gather plenty of protein-enriched recipes that will make their way here to the blog. If you have any to share, please do!

What are some of your favorites from the month? Feel free to share them in the comments below!

Until next time, stay well, stay beautiful xx


In a few hours, 2014 will be coming to a close and I’ll be ringing in 2015 with some of my good friends. Before that happens, however, I wanted to say thank you to each and every one of you that has visited my humble little blog. I frequently check my blog’s stats and I can’t tell you how giddy they make me. I started this blog back in April but have truly only become active in the past couple months, yet even what I’ve seen in that time has amazed me. From what I’ve started to now, I’ve been viewed over 2,100 times and have had visitors from 47 countries. 47!! That’s almost a quarter of all the countries in the world. It may sound a bit ridiculous that I’m this excited about that because, well, it’s the internet and it may have only been one or two random hits from some of those countries, but to think that this dinky little blog was viewed by someone thousands of miles away from me for even a second is still pretty awesome, because even for just that one second, someone clicked on a link that led to my blog because even for just that single second, they thought something that I wrote would be of value to them in some way. A second may seem like nothing in the grand scheme of things, but to me they make all the difference. They’ve encouraged me to keep doing this when I haven’t felt motivated or felt like it was pointless to keep going, especially in a sea of hundreds of other beauty blogs and food blogs. Even for a second, I was still chosen, and for those seconds I’ll still strive to put out something worthy of that second–and hopefully more–of your time.

I’m still a beginner. I’m still a novice when it comes to makeup application, and maybe an advanced novice at cooking. A lot of what I’m capable of is still only being realized, and while it’s incredibly daunting for me to put that out on the internet for literally the world to see, seeing that stepping up to the challenge is reaping some pretty great rewards is all the more encouraging. And who knows, perhaps me making a potential fool of myself will give someone else the courage they’ve been looking for to do the same.

So yeah, I guess what I’m saying is this:

Source: Tumblr… but probably Imgur… but probably reddit.


I hope you all have (or have perhaps already had) a wonderful night celebrating the start of what I hope to be an excellent year for everyone. And remember to celebrate responsibly and stay safe, I want to see you back here in the new year 🙂

Until next time, stay well, stay beautiful xx

Quest Protein Chips Review

One of my biggest challenges with leading a healthier lifestyle is snacking. I love me some crunchy, salty snacks (especially when I’ve been drinking… shhh). When I saw that Quest Nutrition–the makers of my beloved Quest Bars–had come out with a line of protein chips, I knew this was a product I needed to try.

The Quest Protein Chips come in five different flavors: BBQ, Sea Salt, Cheddar & Sour Cream, Salt & Vinegar, and Sour Cream & Onion. I chose the Sour Cream & Onion flavor as my pick for the taste test.


Each bag is 120 calories and packed with a whopping 21 grams of protein thanks to that protein blend. I won’t comment too much on the rest of the ingredients but everything seems pretty straight forward.

Like most pre-packaged chips, the bag was half air, half actual product, but you still got a decent number of chips. As you can see, they look very similar to how most baked chips or other snacks look these days. With everything looking normal, I took my first bite…

…and that’s when the regret began.

The initial taste of these is fine: you’ve got that nice potato chip crunch with sour cream and onion seasoning hitting your tongue. It’s once the chip itself gets chewed and dissolved that it gets weird. It’s difficult to describe but… You know how a lot of people say that rice cakes and stuff like that taste like cardboard? Well, once you popped this chip in your mouth and let your saliva do its work, it literally felt like I had a very thin piece of paper or cardboard sitting on my tongue. That is the best way I can describe the consistency of it. And it ruined the experience for me. As I’m not a person to waste food, I grudgingly finished the bag, resenting the texture of these chips more and more as I went on.

I then followed this experience with two truffles from the assorted box of chocolate truffles my boyfriend got me for Christmas. Desperate times, y’all.

I really, really wanted to like these chips. They would’ve been a very welcome addition to my diet. Sadly, I cannot get past that ending texture. That’s the gamble you take with enhanced protein products. While I love Quest Bars (and plenty of people cannot get past the texture of those), another miss from the company for me is their Cravings Peanut Butter Cups. To say I’m a fan of peanut butter is an understatement, and when you combine it with chocolate my life only gets better, so naturally I was drawn to these. I could barely finish one of them; the peanut butter inside is so dry and hard to get through without coupling it with so much water just to swallow it. I will stick with my Reese’s Cups and accept all dietary consequences that come with them.

I’ve got one more food item to test from Quest Nutrition from their pasta line that I’ll also post a review for but I’m incredibly skeptical about it at this point. For now, I shall hold tightly to my boxes of Bars and let them make things better.

What about y’all, have you tried any Quest products? Any that you like? Have you tried these chips, and if so, do you like them? What are some of your favorite alternative, healthy snacks? I’m also looking for more options!

Until next time, stay well, stay beautiful! xx

Black Friday & Cyber Monday Haul

It’s that time of year again! No, I’m not referring to Christmastime exactly. More specifically, I’m referring to the several weeks where your inbox is bombarded with the endless onslaught of emails advertising this BOGO or X% off or free shipping or whatever sale companies have concocted up for the holiday season. Black Friday alone I had upwards of 100 emails, and that was just on Friday.

Doesn’t mean I didn’t still take advantage of a few of them. 😛

As I’ve pointed out in the past in my post “A Frugal Beauty’s Guide to Not Making Your Wallet Cry”, sales, unlike Santa, don’t only come once a year. This is something I definitely had to remind myself of when I was in “BUY ALL THE THINGS!!!” mode. I didn’t even take advantage of all the sales I had initially looked at going into Friday (this includes Sigma, which you’ll see soon in an upcoming post why I chose to skip that one), and plenty of those were brands that were having great sales but on products that I didn’t need quite right this second. However, this is a great time of year for sales on particular brands that typically don’t offer as great of deals at any other point in the year, and taking that into account as well helped me pare down where it was best to put my money.

Without further adieu, here’s my haul!

*This is solely the products I got from the Black Friday-Cyber Monday weekend. As many of you know, Sephora also had their sale shortly after where Beauty Insiders, VIB and Rouges got a certain dollar amount off a $50 purchase. Those I’m saving for future posts.

Target – Rise by Beyoncé

I would like to welcome you into my bedroom. That is indeed a stuffed animal Golden Retriever in the background. His name is Doug, like the dog from Up! He says hello.

I fell in love with this scent as soon as I smelled it in the Target display over a month ago. What I wasn’t in love with? The price tag. $30 for 1oz. Luckily I waited on it. Target was taking 40% off their celebrity fragrances, and that was all I needed to snag this immediately. From the description: “Top notes: Italian bergamot, golden apricot, ice basil sorbet. Heart notes: gold symphony orchid, freesia blossom, natural jasmine sambac. Bottom notes: autumn woods accord, cashmere musk, vetiver extract.” It’s a really great all-day scent but is really perfect for a night out. And the bottle is awesome.

How this perfume makes me feel:

Urban Decay – Electric Palette and 24/7 Liner

I could not resist this. I had gone back and forth so long on this palette because it is truly beautiful but the price point kept me from picking it up right away. Even with 20% off at Ulta or Sephora, it was still $40, and at the time of those sales I didn’t see myself using it until spring or summer so I couldn’t justify the purchase. Then UD put it at $35 and I said f*** it, it’s now or never. Then, thanks to Nouveau Cheap’s Instagram, I saw the code for an extra 20% off, putting this baby at just under $30! Now that I could justify, plus having this little liner on hand will be great for doing some smokey eye looks in the future. I’m excited! It’s so pretty and I’m happy to finally call it mine.

Black Velvet swatch

Ulta – LORAC Champagne Dreams palette and NYX Wicked Lippies

I had already settled on getting the palette when Ulta sent an email saying their Cyber Monday deals were live and that they were giving 3X points on purchases. That only sweetened the deal! I love my LORAC Pro and this little baby was calling my name as colors in the champagne range suit me very well.

I can’t say that I was totally wowed by the pigmentation of these on bare skin without any base but I went into this knowing that this would be a good palette for creating neutral looks for myself so I’m not in the least disappointed, and as well as they perform over a base as well as their Pro big sisters, I’m content. Plus it was only $15, so no regrets here.

Wrath, Sinful, Power

The NYX Wicked Lippies were a welcome addition to my order to round it out to $25 for the free shipping. I’ve fawned over this collection for a good long while and am so ecstatic to play around with these three babies!

Wrath, Sinful, Power

Coastal Scents – 252 Ultimate Palette and Pro Blending Fluff Brush

Technically I placed this order on Tuesday when Coastal Scents extended their sale for one more day but I’m still including it here.

I had gone back and forth on the 252 Ultimate Palette for months as a way to add color to my collection after seeing so many rave reviews about it. It has been on sale for 50% off a couple times during my deliberation but I bit the bullet and have happily not looked back. It may seem silly considering I also bought the Electric palette yet this gives me even more variety on top of that for a bargain price. It was also a better way to see what colors I actually like on myself without overspending on single shadows that I never get to try until I have them in my hands, which is kind of what I was doing before and certainly wasn’t effective.

The pots are small, which I know is one of the complaints about the collection, however you’re getting 252 of them–and in my case I got them all for about $13 before shipping–and many only differ slightly in shade that if you run out of one, you’ll no doubt find something close nearby. I love the simple black packaging with the three different palettes, and while it certainly isn’t the most travel friendly collection, that’s not what I’m looking to do with it, and I can always build my own palette in the future once I see what I like from here. That is my only complaint is that there’s no key or names to the shadows for if I do find something I like, as Coastal Scents does sell their individual “hot pots” or making it easier to be led to a dupe in another brand. Oh well, I think I can manage.

I also picked up the Pro Blending Fluff Brush which has been touted as a cheap alternative to the Mac 217. It was a little over $2 with the discount so it really didn’t hurt to add this guy on. I’ll see how it holds up to the Mac 217 but for now it’s a nice soft brush that will be welcome amongst my blending eye brushes. You really can’t have too many of those in my opinion!

Lastly, CS sent along a four shadow sample of their Revealed palette with a $5 off coupon code on the back. I’m pretty impressed with the swatches from this little sampler, and while I passed on both the Revealed palettes for now I may have to reconsider in the future!

Quest Nutrition – Bars, Chips and Pasta

This is also a food blog after all, and even among my beauty goodies I could not wait for this Cyber Monday sale most of all!! I have had a lack of Quest Protein Bars in my life and this was the perfect time to restock. Seriously, I love these. They’re my favorite protein bar. If you’ve never understood the saying “Cheat Clean”, try one of these and you will. Quest Nutrition was giving 25% off orders between $39.99 and $250.00. With a box of my faves costing $25, it was easy to meet the minimum. Ugh, babies, I’ve missed youuuu.

Quest has also expanded their line to include Protein Chips and Quest Pasta. I’m intrigued. And a little scared. Thus why I only bought a bag of each to start. I plan to taste and review these, so be on the lookout!

Whew, that’s it for the big sale weekend haul! I’m really excited to get around to playing with all my goodies after the holidays when life slows done a bit. I hope you all got some great deals as well! Please feel free to share your Black Friday/Cyber Monday experiences in the comments below 🙂

Until next time, stay well, stay beautiful, Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!  xx