anywhere with a beach


I recently realized how much I love one half of the year (June - December) and how difficult it is to make it through the other half (January - May) while living in a cold climate. As most "Northerners" can relate, you sometimes get to the point of desperation. It always starts with a nonchalant Google search, such as "affordable Caribbean vacations," but it only goes down hill from there. Can I get an amen?

This may be (read: is) a little eager on the timeline front, but my husband and I are already talking about planning a tropical vacation next spring post-basketball season. Since I like planning everything in my life months ahead (hellooo type-A), you can bet I've already started researching destinations. Tulum looks awesome. So does Costa Rica or Jamaica. After a while, though, they all start to look the same online. Sandy beach. Palm trees. Yatta yatta. Here's where you come in... where have you been (outside of the U.S. main land) and loved for an indulgent beach vaca? We're considering both all-inclusive and not. Any great resort experiences? Maybe you stayed at an awesome Airbnb or a killer independent hotel? Give me your best recommendations! We like a mix of beach + pool + good eats/drinks + hiking + exploring if that helps.

Thanks in advance!

in my makeup bag


When it comes to purchasing goods, I'm not someone who likes to splurge on expensive items. I tend to be the person who's always looking for the best value - something that's well made, aesthetically pleasing, and above all affordable. My one exception to the rule: makeup. When it comes to what I'm putting on my face, I'd rather spend a little more upfront to use a product that does its job. I've found that some, but certainly not all, drugstore makeup items leave me wanting more in the performance department. Nowadays, I stick to the same few brands. When I find something I love, I will buy it over and over again.

The biggest benefit to brand name makeup: it lasts... both on your face and the product itself. I buy eyeliner and eye shadow base once every 1.5 years. My foundation lasts around 5 months. My under-eye concealer lasts about 4-5 months and my blemish concealer about a year. You get the point! The items I'm showing today are what I use on an every day basis. I have random other products I use for special occasions, but these babies are my bread and butter for a natural everyday look.

A few notes:
+ Foundation: I use the color "Real Sand." The powder formula goes on beautifully and the medium coverage is good for everyday.
+ Blemish Concealer: The Laura Mercier "Secret Camoflouge" is great for covering acne spots past and present or other discolored areas.
+ I talked about my favorite M.A.C. under eye concealer here.
+ M.A.C's "Paint Pot" aka the base I use under eye shadow has been a favorite of mine for over 5 years. My eyeshadow doesn't move when I use it underneath.
+ The M.A.C eye shadow palette you see is custom. You can make these in any free-standing M.A.C. store! I've been using custom palettes for years now and love that I can pick the colors myself.
+ M.A.C.'s "Fluidline" eyeliner goes on so smooth and is perfect for an everyday cat eye look!
+ I'm not sure I'll ever stray from Covergirl's Lash Blast Volume mascara.


daily blog reads


I remember when I first discovered blogs in 2010. My eyes were open to a world of content that spoke to me more clearly than any magazine or publication ever had. At first, I went hog wild. Any blog that had a growing popularity and touched on one of a number of topics I was remotely interested in was added to my Google Reader (RIP). Before I knew it, I felt committed to continually read blogs that hardly applied to my life. About two years ago, I knew I had over done it. I scaled back majorly on my daily reads when Google Reader died and moved my bookmarks to Feedly.

Fast forward to this year when I decided to overhaul my daily reads list once more. I had a revelation one day that I was still wasting my time with about 75% of the blogs I was reading. It was time to stop following what was popular and replace it with a very sporadic collection of blogs that felt more in line with my current values and interests. I found that I had been reading a number of blogs simply because they were popular, and not because I felt really connected to the author or the content. These days, I have a mix of a few large-audience blogs that I feel do it right alongside a number of niche blogs with content that resonates well with me. Here are just a few of my favorites:

Lifestyle Blogs
+ A Cup of Jo
+ Kitty Cotten
+ Amy Stone

Style Blogs
+ Little Blonde Book
+ Framboise Fashion

Family Blogs
+ Love Taza
+ Eat Sleep Cuddle
+ Bethany Menzel

Travel Blogs
+ These Foreign Lands

DIY Blogs
+ Almost Makes Perfect

Food Blogs
+ Gimme Some Oven
+ Pinch of Yum

Feel free to share some of your favorite niche blogs! Always looking to add quality reads to the roster!

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