Tuesday, December 31, 2013

December Update and 2013 Bucket List!

I literally cannot believe that another year has gone by. I think I have finally hit that point where I'm starting to realize how fast time goes by. 
In addition to that, 2014 totally feels unreal. When I was younger, I could picture my life and what would be like up until 2012.
 Now that we've hit 2014 I feel like I am officially living in the future. 

I'm not sure if that made any sense whatsoever, but nevertheless, the year end is upon us. 

Looking back at 2013 feels weird... like it all happened in a blur
but at the same time I can remember each detail like it was yesterday. 
Time is a cruel, cruel thing. 

I figure I'd finish the year off with how I started it. 
Last January, I made a resolution to keep track of my monthly goals on here. I can't believe that I actually stuck to it! 

To look back at my past goals click here:

And alas, the last month is here.

December Goals:

1. Stop and enjoy the season.
Check! It was a fabulous (but way too short) season!

2.Try to be present more
While I can't say that I've completely committed to this, I certainly made a point to do certain things instead of just waste time on electronics. 

3. Finish up the current book I'm reading.
I loved Dark Places. It took me a while to read because I refused to do so at night for fear of nightmares, but I did finally finish it. It's definitely dark and bloody and very gory, but also intriguing and compelling. I'd recommend to those who don't have a weak stomach, but love a good thriller!

So let's see how I did on my 2013 bucket list. 
I didn't complete everything on it, but I didn't intend to. It was just a tentative list of things I'd like to accomplish.

My 2013 Bucket List:

-Cut out processed foods-Meh. I won't cross this one out because it would be a lie. But I will say that I've become more aware of the ingredients in foods. 
-buy local produce/go to local farmer's market more-
-volunteer somewhere
-have my first giveaway on my blog-I debated back and forth on this one and ultimately decided that now's not the right time. Maybe in the future. 
-figure out my college plan
-save my money up for something big- Fail! But hey, I did save up for sheets, which weren't cheap! I also saved to make sure I could give a few gifts for Christmas. I tried!
-bake a blackberry cobbler from scratch
-eat better and be active-The holidays certainly weren't my friend, but looking back on this past year, I made an effort. I want to continue this, but it's a marathon not a sprint. 
-make new friends 
-work on my scrapbook
-go on a road trip
-write a letter to myself to open in 10 years- I finally did this on the day I graduated!
-go camping
-read at least 8 books-  
-teach myself how to sew-I've accepted that this didn't happen and I am at peace. (LOL!) 

So all in all, 2013 was a success. While the year did bring it's fair share of challenges,  heart aches and pain, it also brought a lot of good, sweet memories. 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Beauty Favorites: BEST of 2013!

For the past year, I've been sharing my beauty favorites each month. To see each one, click here. I thought it would be fun to post my favorite products for the year, instead of doing a December favorites. Without further adieu, I introduce my Best of 2013 beauty favorites!

1. Skin Care:

100% hands down my Clarisonic. It cleans my skin deeper than I ever could before and leaves my skin feeling so soft and smooth. It's pricey but I truly think it's worth it. Plus, since I use it every single day, the cost-per-use strategy stands strong for this one!

and my last skin care favorite, which has been my favorite for literally 6 years, is the Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel. It moisturizes my skin without leaving it oily. It doesn't make me breakout and makes my skin also very soft. 
If I could only bring two things to a deserted island it would be the Clarisonic (assuming I could charge it) and this moisturizer. 

2. Primer

I'm not sure if eye primer counts but it's the only primer I've used religiously this year. It's the Urban Decay Original Primer Potion. I love that it gives my eyeshadow something to 'stick' to in a sense and that even if it's a poorly pigmented shadow, it still looks great over this. I bought the full size after christmas last year and I am just now about out of it. It lasts forever!

3. Foundation
This was the year of finding a foundation for me. I feel like I tried about every single one available. When I finally tried the Urban Decay Naked Skin, I fell in love. There were a couple things I needed in a foundation: It had to be light weight, but medium coverage, doesn't smell and doesn't turn orange on my skin (oxidizes). This foundation met all these needs and I really recommend it. While I love drugstore, I do think that if you are going to spend a lot of money on something, choose skincare or foundations. I really think that most of the time you really do get what you pay for. (I'm in shade 0.5 if your wondering. #palegirlproblems)

4. Powder

While I don't typically use powder on its own, I do use it to set my foundation. This year, I've been absolutely loving the Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder. It's light but locks in my foundation all day. I don't typically get oily, but over the summer I used it when my skin was looking a bit shiny. It really does make you stay matte! Plus, at $5, you can't beat it. 

5. Concealer
I got this NYX Full Coverage Concealer in the tail end of the year and couldn't be more happy with it. Like I've said a billion times, this past school semester brought a lot of dark circles. I find that this shade in porcelain is very peachy which counteracts those circles. It's full coverage but not too thick, it covers blemishes nicely and lasts all day.

6.  Bronzer
I love my deluxe sample of the Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer. It's perfect for contouring because it's matte and is actually a great shade for my pale skin. PLUS, it smells like chocolate heaven. I'm not sure if I am going to fork over the $30 for a full size, though. 

7. Blush

I got this NYX Blush in Spice in an ipsy bag and have been using it non-stop since. It looks a bit intimidating (it's waaaay more red in person) but applied lightly to my cheeks, it looks like the perfect natural flush color. It's very pigmented which is great because this will last forever. 

8. Highlight

Physicians Formula Happy Booster in Translucent Pearl  is the perfect highlight! It's not too glittery but adds a nice glow to your skin. Plus this is always on sale at CVS. 

9.  Brows
I can't tell you how many of these Elf Eyebrow Kit (in medium) I've been through. I only use the wax side (on the left) and it is the perfect shade for my brows. I love how cheap it is and that it make my brows look naturally more full. I thought about buying a more expensive brand to try, but can never bring myself to do it because I love this one so much!

10. Eyeshadow

Of all the shadow palettes that I've tried, I keep coming back to this one. They shadows are all amazing quality and are the perfect neutral colors for me. I've had it for over a year now and have used is regularly and still haven't hit pan. 

11. Eyeliner

I love love love the Urban Decay Double Ended Eyeliner. The black and brown are perfect colors for me. The eyeliner is so smooth to apply and does last all day. Once again, I got this last christmas and use it almost everyday and am just now almost out. 

12. Mascara
I have never been in love with a mascara before I tried the Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara. I never knew what I was missing out on! It make my lashes look longer and more voluminous without being clumpy. Only bad thing is the price, but I have a few samples (did you know that most mascara samples are about .17 oz, and full sizes are .27 oz, which means that your getting about half the full size?? That's crazy, right?!) and when I had the 20% off coupon at Ulta, a grabbed a full size. 

13. Lips

While I do love the Revlon Lip Butters, I like the Maybelline Color Whispers  a bit more. They're lighter and smoother and doesn't feel like a normal lipstick. They aren't too sheer but give my lips a nice pop of color. My favorite shades are A Rose Attraction, Coral Ambition and Pink Possibilities. 

14. Brushes
I don't think I will ever pay a lot of money for brushes after finding these. Real Techniques brushes are the best on the market. I use the Expert Face Brush everyday for foundation, the blush one, the powder brush and I could go on and on. I haven't found one I don't like. I just got the sponge and it is amazing as well (I won't buy the beauty blender after using it because it's better!) If you need to invest in good quality makeup brushes without breaking the bank, definitely try these out. 

and that's it! Whew, that was a lot, but what have been your beauty favorites this past year? Have you tried any that I listed above? Did you like or dislike? Let me know in the comments below!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Our Christmas 2013

Well hello... did you think I had fallen off the planet?
Sorry for the radio silence around here, but I did enjoy the little blog break! Since I just know that you missed me so much, I'm going to share all about our Christmas. It was a quiet, subdued Christmas which was actually nice! I was quite bummed that we would miss out on going up to the mountains to be with my grandparents and cousins, but we made the best of it and enjoyed a Texas Christmas. 

First things first was to take our family friend who was visiting from Canada to the Christmas capital of Texas (otherwise known as Downtown Grapevine)

Every year, it's all decked out for the holidays and is actually pretty breathtaking!

My mom and Cate (the Canadian) had fun and I was the impromptu photographer for the evening. 
I should also note that we were freezing our tails off (even the Canadian said it was cold... now that's saying something!)

Then, Christmas eve, we had my brother and his wife over for our traditional festivities. Since they were going out of town to be with her family on Christmas day, they got to open all their presents on Christmas eve! It was fun getting to see them open their gifts, but it also made me want to open mine! 
Luckily, as our tradition goes, we all get to open one present on Christmas eve. And in all my 20 years, it has always been the same: new pajamas!

After we posed for some interesting pictures, we all hopped in the car with our hot chocolate and went Christmas light looking! This is something we've been doing since as long as I can remember. We all pile in the car, sometimes with some hot chocolate, and drive to a bunch of different neighborhoods to look at the lights. 

Here are some pretty ones we saw:

Of course we have to visit The Tree.  Now, if you are from around here (which most of you aren't) then you know about the tree.  Now, I kid you not, the tree is the most beautiful thing on this planet.
The tree is out in the middle of nowhere, but you can see it from miles away.

Now, the tree is almost virtually impossible to take pictures of and the pictures you do get hardly do it justice. 
But in the middle of nowhere is the most beautiful oak tree with I swear every darn branch is filled with lights. It literally is the most stunning thing anyone has ever seen. 

Again, pictures do not do the tree justice. 

Christmas morning came and it's so funny because I remember being little and it was literally a race to see who could wake up faster. My brothers and I would wake up around 5 am and go get my parents, only for them to tell us that we have to wait for the sun to come up. 

(Our tree this year!)
Now it's so different as we have gotten older. We all woke up around 9ish and didn't even begin opening gifts until 11. I swear adult life stinks! 

For the rest of the day, we watched all the obligatory movies (Elf, Christmas with the Kranks, A Christmas Story, etc) and then enjoyed another feast (complete with my mom's famous 5 cheese mac & cheese)
 Good thing the holidays are almost over, I think my scale might break!

Of course we ended the night watching my favorite movie ever, Christmas Vacation. Tis the season to be merry! (well that's my name!)

I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and an even better New Year.

Auld Lang Syne!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

5th Annual Christmas Cookie Exchange!

Every year, my mom and I host a Christmas cookie exchange party. This past weekend was our 5th year doing it!

Basically, everyone makes about three dozen cookies, packages them up in groups of six and we all exchange them and get to go home with a bunch of different cookies.  It's so much fun! We play games, chit-chat  and this year we added the hot cocoa bar!

This year we hosted it at our friend's Gymnastics gym. It was different and actually worked out perfect! The kids could go jump and play while we had our fun. (I even jumped too!)

This year we added that everyone could bring a tray of cookies to sample so we could vote on the best cookie.

(My cookies are the mason jars below)
We had so many this year that our table wasn't big enough!

A few details...

These were the party favors we passed out. 
(We found these guys at the dollar tree!)

We made these little photo props for everyone to wear. So cute!

We even did a Chinese Gift Exchange. It's always a blast.

There are two prizes: Best cookies and Best Packaging. This year, the ladies stepped up their game. All of the packages were awesome and the cookies... oh man...they're delicious!

Here's who won Best Packaging:
You guys, that's a snowman making kit!!! 
Here's a better pic
It had the following:
A corn-cob pipe, button nose, two eyes made out of coal, carrot nose, a scarf and of course a top hat!
It was adorable. Oh and the cookies were little melted snowmen. She really out did herself!

Best Cookie went to these guys:
Chocolate Turtle Cookies
They were awesome. I'm kinda sad I only got to bring one box home!

Our party was such a fun time and really got us all in the Christmas spirit. Both my mom and I were exhausted afterwards, but it was all worth it!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly: College Classes

I thought it might be fun to do a little review of my last two years of college classes. Here we go!

The Most Challenging Class: Most definitely, 100% College Algebra. Not only was the material hard for me, but it was just so dang time consuming. 

Class You Were Bored the Most in: Composition 2. I honestly felt like there was no point. In Comp 1, I actually learned a lot but Comp 2 was just redundant. Plus my professor was just plain bizarre. 

Class that Embarrassed me Most: Theatre Appreciation. It was an arts class I needed  otherwise I would've never taken it. Part of our grade was to join in on a flash mob. It was mortifying. Public Communications was a close second, though. 

 Class that I wish I would have Tried Harder In: Intro to Biology. I took it this past semester and with 5 classes (one of those being College Algebra) I just didn't have the time to study like I needed to. It was that I didn't try, because I did, it was just that I didn't have the time I needed to devote to the class. 

Class that I learned The Most In: Nutrition. That class helped me so much, especially with my own health. I still carry what I learned in that class with me, whether it's walking through the grocery store or at the gym.

Most Overrated Class: Philosophy. I felt like everyone kept telling me how awesome it was and how it will change your life. Well, no. In fact, most of the time I thought it was just annoying (WHO CARES 'why?'). Mostly because I take pride in the fact that I often don't have an opinion on things. Politics, religion debates, and social issues, I mostly stay out of. It's not that I don't care, because I do, it's just I don't like to start fights. (I'm also a tish of a people pleaser who doesn't like confrontation) Philosophy did get me thinking in a sense, but it did not change my life.

Favorite Class: I loved both Sociology classes I took, especially Marriage and Family. The subject was just so interesting to me and I found myself so intrigued. It was the only class I actually enjoyed reading the textbook.

There it is... the good, the bad, the ugly of my college classes thus far!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Graduate...

Gah! I so apologize for the crickets around here. If I could only tell you how extremely busy I was..... Oh wait, I am about to tell you. So since we were cut short a weekend during Christmas (Darn Thanksgiving!) and the fact that we had a ginormous ice storm last weekend, everything got crammed into this past weekend. Let me give you a taste of my last 5 days.

Thursday- My Algebra final at 8 then I babysat 10-5.
Friday- Just a small milestone.... I graduated (!!!!).
Saturday- Our church groups annual party, then I babysat that evening (different kids).
Sunday-My mom and I's annual Christmas Cookie Exchange party!
And all this week I am sitting 9-5.
Not to mention that I had finals Monday-Thursday.
Phew, I hardly had a chance to breathe!

But anyway, I am sharing today my graduation photos! I know, I know, there's a lot of me...but hey! It was my day!

  I couldn't be happier that I've made it to this point. Through blood, sweat and tears (Ok, maybe no blood but you get the idea) I've completed my first two years of college.

 I feel like I've almost fought for this right because for the past two years, I have been told so many times that community college "isn't a real school" and how "only dumb people go to community college."

 Now, I have a diploma to show those people.

Back to the ceremony...
My mom and youngest brother were the only ones there. It's a long story, but my brother was stuck in traffic, my SIL had a previous engagement, I completely forgot to invite my Aunt (finals brain) and everyone else was out of state. It was still perfect even without them physically there.

Can you spot me?

Here I am walking across the stage! 
My very first professor (who also turned out to be one of my last) was a chancellor on stage and she gave me the biggest hug. I loved that!

 After the ceremony, my older brother finally made it up and we all met at one of my favorite restaurants, Babe's.
My sweet mom and I

(yes I am holding a bag of fried chicken and my mom is holding a bag of corn... If you've been to Babes, you know why)

and we finished the evening with a trip to Walmart. Hehehe, that's so my family! 

It was such a fun, exciting evening and I have to say I am pretty darn proud of myself. Not only did I maintain a 3.8 GPA, passed College Algebra, but I got a degree. I am a college educated individual. That's exciting!

Next stop is my Bachelor's at UNT next spring. Bring it on!