Monday, March 18, 2013

Snow Day

Jake and I woke up on Wednesday, 2 weeks ago, and to our surprise, the ground was covered with a good 5 inches of snow. Also to our surprise, we were both off work for a snow day! We were both beyond excited to have an unexpected day off and have more time to spend together. We were so excited, that we wanted to enjoy it by playing in the snow. Lexie, who REALLY hates rain, absolutely loves the snow. We took her out and let her play in the snow for awhile. She was in heaven.

Today we woke up to a couple of inches of snow as well, but weren't lucky enough to get off work. As much fun as snow days are, we are ready for spring! It is almost April after all. 

Until next time,

J and M

Friday, March 8, 2013

Favorite Beauty Products

Throughout most of my life, I have never really cared about beauty products. I have always just used what my mom or sister used and most of the time, what was cheapest. I didn't think using nice products made that much of a difference. I never really even paid attention to see if the products I was using actually worked. In the past year and half or so, I have decided to give a bit more attention to products that I use. I have done lots of research online. I like to read beauty blogs and vlogs to see which products people recommend. I have learned quite a bit in this process. I have learned that there are certain products that are worth splurging on. I have also learned that there are some things out there that the cheaper version is just as great as the expensive version. And most importantly, I have learned that most products work differently for everyone. A face wash that works great for one person, may not work as well for another.

I have decided to share with you the products that I have tried and absolutely love. These are all products that I've noticed have really worked for me and have worked better than all other versions I have tried.

The first product is Cetaphil face wash. This is one product that I have been using for years. I haven't always had the most perfect skin. I have tried every single face wash at the drugstore, and this one is by far the best. After a few days of using it, I started to see fewer and fewer breakouts. It is a very gentle cleanser and is geared towards all skin types. I have very normal skin, but it works well for oily or dry skin types as well. It is expensive for a drugstore face wash, but it is worth every penny. It comes in a large container and lasts Jake and I almost 6 months. It also goes on sale quite often. I have seen it at different places from $10 to $14.

I also discovered another face wash that I love, but don't buy very often. My friend Sarah gave me a bridal set of Philosophy beauty products at my bridal shower. I used the Purity face wash and the Hope in a Jar moisturizer a couple of months leading up to my wedding. I honestly felt like I had the most glowing, beautiful skin during this time. If I could, I would use these products every single day. But, for a 32 oz. bottle of face wash, it is $50 and an 8 oz. tub of lotion is $115. I may just have to splurge on these items for special occasions. 

Another product I have been using for a long time is the Bare Minerals original foundation. On my 17th birthday, my mom and I went shopping and decided to try it out. The girls at the store gave me a makeover, and I fell in love. My mom bought me the starter kit as a birthday present and I haven't looked back since. Before I had used bulky liquids and creams that I caked on my blemishes. This foundation gives me all over lightweight coverage. It barely feels like I'm wearing any makeup at all. It has always had the perfect amount of coverage for me, and can even be used as concealer. It comes in lots of different shades and they now have a matte version. It is a bit pricey at $27, but one jar lasts me almost 6 months. I also like to use the Bare Minerals bronzer, warmth. I used to use sparkly, too orange bronzer. Now I just use a bit of the warmth and feel like I have the perfect glow. It lasts about 6 months as well and is $19. You can buy Bare Mineral products at Ulta, Sephora, online, or at a Bare Minerals store. 

I also use the foundation primer by Bare Minerals. I have tried a few different primers and found that this one works SO WELL. It makes my face so smooth before I apply my foundation and also helps my makeup last all day. I used to not even use a primer, but I have found that primers really do make a difference. This primer is $23 for a 1 oz bottle. I have not tried the neutralizing, brightening, or oil control, so I can't say if those are as good. 

My next product is a blush. I used to to be very scared of blush. I thought it was to make your cheeks a bright, overwhelming pink and that was it. I decided it was time to give blush a shot, so I did some research. The top selling blush in the U.S. is orgasm by Nars. I went to Sephora to try it, and agreed. Then, I saw that it was $28. Sorry, but I wasn't about to spend that much when I realized how much I could buy with $28. I wasn't even sure if I liked blush yet. Then, I ran across a "dupe" website, that gives drugstore dupes for high end products. I discovered a product called luminous by Milani. I found it at CVS for $8.29. I love it! It is almost exactly the same as the Nars version. I say the only difference is that the luminous might not last as long. I am now sold on blush and don't know how I ever went without it.

I also used to not wear mascara. If you know me, you know I have ridiculously long eyelashes. I thought if I used mascara, my eyelashes would take over. I now use mascara everyday, even if it is the only makeup I put on. I realized that mascara makes me look more awake and if anything, keeps my giant eyelashes from going in my eyes. I have tried lots of different mascaras. There are tons of opinions out there about which ones are the best. I honestly had never found one that I loved. Recently, though, I started using voluminous by L'oreal. It is amazing! It doesn't make my eyelashes look like spiders and it doesn't clump. Clumping is a serious issue for me when it comes to mascara so this is a big deal. It also has a curved brush that helps my eyelashes stay curled upwards and out of my eyes. Another great thing is that it is only $5!

The last product that I love is a hair product. Honestly, hair products are kind of an area I haven't done much research or trail and error with yet. Mostly, because I HATE spending money on expensive hair products. Also, my hair is boring and straight and I don't think all of the hair products in the world could change that. It also doesn't hold curl, which I have found cannot be changed by hair products either. But, I do have an issue with fly aways. It constantly look like I've been shocked, my hair sticking out in every direction at my part. I have found the After Party by Bed Head works great. It is a bit pricey at $14, but if you have a fly away problem like me, it's worth it. I'm not going to lie to you, I ran out awhile ago and haven't felt like splurging to get more, but I will eventually. Maybe I will even start trying out some other hair products.

I hope you try some of these products out and like them as much as I do. Are there any products you couldn't live without??

Also, I finally added a subscribe button to my page. I honestly didn't even know it was missing. So if you read the blog, subscribe! 

Until next time,


Monday, March 4, 2013

The Headboard

I am not quite sure why it has taken so long to write this post, but it's been a long time coming. When we moved into our first apartment as newlyweds, I decided I really wanted a headboard. Of course, me being me, I wanted to find something second hand and fix it up rather than buying something new. Yes, to save money, but also because I really enjoy projects. I was a frequent visitor of the Habitat for Humanity Restore in Lexington, and on one of my visits I found a headboard for $10. It was just a plain, wooden headboard, but it was in great shape and could easily be painted. I bought it and somehow thought I could load it into my small SUV all by myself. Sometimes my independence gets the best of me. I broke off one of the legs in my attempt to get it in the car. I figured Jake's stepdad, Dan, would be able to fix it, so I brought it over to him.

A week later, he tells me he can build me a better headboard and wanted to know if there was anything in particular that I liked. It just so happened I had just pinned this on my pinterest.
I followed the picture to a blog where I discovered If you haven't visited this site, you are missing out. She has TONS of detailed plans for furniture as well as posts from people who have used her plans. I found complete directions, including woodcuts, for the headboard on this site. I sent it straight to Dan, who was excited to see the plan and happened to have enough wood for the project. He did such a good job! It looked exactly like the plan and it didn't even take him long to make. We are so lucky to have Dan who can make us awesome things! 

The next issue was the finish. I, surprisingly, decided I didn't want to paint it. The natural wood was so pretty that I just couldn't cover it up. I decided I wanted to stain it, but I wanted a grey stain. I thought this would be very simple, as Lowes had a few options for grey stains. I picked one out and went home to try it. One word...BLUE. Every single grey stain I tried looked blue. Not only did it look blue, the stain looked like a paint, rather than a stain. Blue was definitely not what I was going for. I wanted it to look slightly rustic/weathered, so I decided to try a new route instead of store bought stain. I found a recipe online that called for apple cider vinegar and steel wool soaked together for 48 hours. After lots of trial and error, I am so happy with how it turned out.

This is the headboard with 2 coats of the apple cider vinegar/steel wool mixture. I then applied two coats of polyurethane. 

Here is the headboard in our room. How great does it look?? The thing I like most is that it is so versatile and can go with lots of different colors of furniture or decor. I also like how it looks like a different color depending on the light. Sometimes it looks grey, other times it looks brown, and from time to time it looks green/blue. It is a piece that I think we will have for years to come. 

Our bedroom is my favorite part of our apartment. It is not huge, but if feels spacious because it opens up into the sunroom. When we moved to Virginia, we also bought a new mattress. I can't even describe to you how amazing it is to have a good quality mattress. It is embarrassing to admit, but with a headboard, somewhat matching furniture, and a nice mattress, I finally feel like a real adult. 

Here is the other wall of our bedroom (opposite of the bed), and then that's about it for the room. You can kind of see the opening to the sunroom in this picture. I like the simplicity. It feels comfortable and relaxing and I love going to bed at the end of the day in this room. At some point, maybe at our next location, I will hang more pictures or decorations. One day I would also like to add a chair/bench and possibly a vanity.

Until next time,

J and M