Big News!

Last week, the formerly-what-I-thought-was-impossible happened. That’s right… after roughly fourteen months of job searching {and thirteen months since I graduated}, I was offered a job! It’s been a full week since the offer was extended to me, and I can still barely believe it. I accepted immediately, natch!

My new job is at a small startup called Blitsy. It’s basically a DIY-er’s dream: a Gilt or Rue La La for crafters. They offer brief flash sales on varying craft supplies–it’s so cool and unique. Check out their website here.

I’m so thrilled, because I first interviewed at Blitsy in October and completely fell in love with the company. Unfortunately, they restructured as I was in the process of interviewing, and the position I was being considered for vanished. I was bummed–it was my first major rejection for a job I really wanted. But–power of persistence here, people–I kept at it. I applied for a different position in January that had unfortunately already been filled by the time I reached out, but for some reason I felt totally welcome to keep emailing my contact there. I had no idea if they would ever have a position that was right for me or not, but I wanted to stay on their radar! I touched base with the CEO once more two weeks ago, and was invited in for a refresher of an interview. I was told ahead of time that the role I would fill wasn’t really open yet…they had a lot of major hiring to do before they could consider hiring me. But by the end of the meeting, I had an official offer! I was totally stunned.

My chase of a position at Blitsy was partly inspired by an article on Forbes that I cannot for the LIFE of me find anymore. My boyfriend’s college roommate sent it to me months ago, and it really helped! It suggested dialing back the job search for a while and really truly reevaluating what you’re looking for. In essence, stop mindlessly submitting your resume for anything that you could do, and apply for jobs that you want to do. What are your passions? What do you enjoy doing? Where do your talents lie? Take those answers and funnel them into your job search. As soon as I started tailoring my search to positions that better suited my personality and experiences, I got way more interviews and went further and further in the process each time.

Until Blitsy, though, the positions I were applying for didn’t match my own personal passions. Clearly, I’m obsessed with beauty and makeup. There aren’t many job opportunities in those areas in the fine city of Chicago {besides the weather, it’s only major downfall in my opinion}. However, I do also have a soft spot for anything crafty. I’ve always been like that–I just haven’t had the time/energy to take on any major projects since I moved to Chicago. But the thought of working at Blitsy got me so excited to dive back into the crafting and DIY world!

So, I’m excited to announce that I will be adding a DIY section to my blog, alongside the typical product reviews and wishlists! I’m not sure what my first project will be, but I do know that I’ve been planning on re-doing my dresser for quite a while {just a simple paint job and replacing the pulls}.. maybe that! I also ordered some supplies from Blitsy to make my own version of an Aurelie Bidermann bracelet, which I first saw here on Stripes & Sequins. Speaking of S&S…Grace Atwood’s many DIY projects are a huge source of inspiration for me, as well as the girls over at PS–I Made This…, and Emily at Cupcakes & Cashmere. I can’t wait to start DIY-ing again!

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Think Dirty

My roommate just introduced me to this new app, called Think Dirty. You tell it which beauty products you use or are considering purchasing, and it tells you how harmful it potentially is to your body. Products are rated on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the best and 10 being the worst. Pretty cool, if you want to find out just how “organic” and “natural” your products claim to be. According to a helpful little video on their website, women use, on average, 12 products a day. Each of those products contains ~14 “mystery” ingredients, which we can assume are harmful in one way or another. 12 products/day x 14 mystery ingredients = 168 unique chemicals/day–some of which are toxic. That adds up to a whopping 61,320+ chemicals a year–with 20,000+ potentially toxic! That’s a very frightening figure.

I immediately started entering in products I own and use every day. I was unpleasantly surprised. I don’t try to be some all-natural makeup maven, but… you guys… almost all my products I entered were a 9 or 10!

My Dove deodorant? 10. My precious They’re Real! mascara? 10. Benefit High Beam? 10. Both my shampoo and conditioner, as well as my body wash, got 10’s. The only thing I entered that got lower than an 8 was my MAC lipstick–and I don’t even wear it that often!

Cue the panic. What have I been DOING to myself??

I ended up on Birchbox’s shop, because I remembered seeing that their limited edition month is all about natural products. I entered those items into the app, and–uh oh. Not many of them got low ratings. I followed a link to a category entitled “Ingredient-Conscious.” The list boasts 237 products, and I used Think Dirty to view as many of their ratings as possible. I rounded up a couple of low-scored items that I’m adding to my list — check them out below!

think dirty

{1} Acure Organics Body Wash. My current body wash, Caress Evenly Gorgeous Exfoliating Body Wash, has a Think Dirty rating of 10 (omg), and I can only imagine what sort of chemicals are stuffed into it. This Acure body wash is chock full of organic, biodegradable ingredients–good for your skin, and for the environment! Moisturizing agents like Moroccan argan stem cells and antioxidant CoQ10 blend with mint and lilac to exfoliate and soften skin. And I can only imagine how delicious that coconut pumpkin scent must be. $9.99 on Birchbox.com; Think Dirty rating of 0.

{2} Tata Harper All Natural Resurfacing Mask. The word “resurfacing” draws to mind harsh treatments such as microdermabrasion and chemical peels. A peek at the ingredients list of this mask draws the mind away that harshness and invokes feelings of pampering and relaxation. A cocktail of pink clay, beet, white willow, aloe vera, and witch hazel that accomplishes anything and everything you could want from a skin mask–hydration, clear skin, reduced redness, pore shrinkage, etc.–this mask is gentle on the face and on the wallet. At least, when you compare it to the GlamGlow masks that I’m so enamored with. $55 on Birchbox.com; Think Dirty rating of 0.

{3} Dr. Jart+ Black Label Detox Pore Penetrator. I’m not prone to blackheads or clogged pores, but I love a product that gets in there and cleans them out anyways! This pore penetrator does just that–uses a mixture of grapefruit extract, willow bark, olive oil, and licorice root to give your face a deep clean and promote overall glowiness {which may be partially attributed to the knowledge that you’re treating your skin right}. $24 on Birchbox.com; Think Dirty rating of 0.

{4} Dr. Jart+ Black Label Detox Cleansing Foam. I’ve always loved foaming cleansers because of how squeaky clean they make my face feel! However, I’ve been warned by multiple sources to avoid them due to the overdrying effects they can have on the skin. Not this stuff. Dr. Jart has done it again, producing a foaming cleanser that doesn’t strip your skin. Featuring a whopping three times the oxygen of water, this cleanser promises to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. A few other ingredients that help with that: antioxidants from blueberries and green tea, lycopene, caviar extract, and lemon extract. $24 on Birchbox.com; Think Dirty rating of 0.

{5} Egyptian Magic Skin Cream. Ahh, this stuff. I received a sample in a Birchbox several months ago and was immediately smitten. It has an odd consistency–almost like chunky Vaseline–which made me nervous to put it on my face. I was so glad I did! It’s a cure-all. And the best part? There are only six ingredients: olive oil, beeswax, honey, royal jelly, bee pollen, and propolis {I had to look this one up–it’s another honeybee byproduct, used as a sealant in the honeycombs}. Knowing that you’re putting such natural ingredients on your face has never felt better–especially when you wake up with baby soft skin. $26 for 2 oz, $38 for 4 oz on Birchbox.com; Think Dirty rating of 0.

{6} rms beauty Beauty Oil. I might just be a sucker, but the words “cult status” always draw me in. This lightweight oil, infused with licorice root, rosehip seed oil, buriti fruit, and turmeric promises to hydrate and brighten skin while fighting inflammation and preventing signs of aging. You can’t argue with the flawless faces of Gisele Bündchen, Miranda Kerr, and Zoe Saldana! $74 on Birchbox.com; Think Dirty rating of 0.

{7} COOLA SPF 30 Sport Spray. Sun protection is so important, you guys. I get the feeling that a lot of sunscreens are loaded with chemicals and unsafe ingredients–but we have no choice, we have to use them! Enter COOLA. This line of suncare is healthy and natural! I’ve had a sample of this spray, and it smells amazing. It features lots of natural ingredients–strawberry and cucumber extract, red raspberry oil, aloe vera–but also combines four healthy sunscreens to protect your skin. $32 on Birchbox.com; Think Dirty rating of 4.

{8} 100% Pure Hand Buttercream. This rich hand cream is 100% natural, vegan, and gluten-free! Need I go on? Well, I’m going to anyways. Lots of natural {duh} moisturizers are found in this stuff, including avocado oil and the new cult favorite–coconut oil. An old favorite, shea butter, is also included, as well as plenty of vitamins and antioxidants to keep your hands looking and feeling young. Hands age so fast! This cream helps to keep ’em fresh. $8 on Birchbox.com; Think Dirty rating of 0.

 

I hope this has helped to open your eyes to the dangers lurking in your shower and cabinet shelves! I for one will struggle with giving up a lot of the products I own, but it’s great to know that safe and healthy options are out there if you want them. I don’t think that switching to all-natural products is a perfect fit for everyone–case in point, my skin would erupt without my prescription gel, which is probably stuffed with icky, unpronounceable ingredients–but even a gradual shift towards natural products is better than nothing! I’m going to continue to self-educate myself about the products I use, and will share my journey on Lovely! Stay tuned 🙂

FitBit Flex Review

I’m going to veer away from the beauty reviews for a moment here, and talk about my brand new FitBit Flex bracelet!

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My roommate got one for Christmas, and at first I wasn’t really that interested in owning one for myself. I’m not super active {my excuse is I can’t afford a gym membership–which is true–and that it’s been too cold and miserable outside to run–also true}, so why would I need a bracelet that’s going to remind me of that fact? I do walk a lot–one of the perks/disadvantages of living in Chicago without a car. As time wore on, I became more interested. Then I purchased one! I figured, it’s getting warmer out… I’m going to want to spend more time outside, walking and/or running… maybe it’s not a bad idea to track my steps! I am curious as to how many miles I log in a week.

The bracelet itself is a lightweight adjustable rubber band that comes in eight colors–pink, teal, slate, lime, tangerine, black, navy, and violet. It comes with a tiny black object that you insert into the band–that’s the FitBit part. It lights up to let you know how close you are to your goal {the standard is 10,000 steps a day, but you can adjust that accordingly}, as well as when you meet your goal. That’s one of the things I love most about FitBit: if I get tired of my hot pink band, I can buy a violet one. Or a lime one. Or a Tory Burch one {!!!!} which has yet to be released, but it’s coming soon! The black piece is the expensive part. The bands themselves only cost around $15.

It seems to be very accurate! I really had no idea how many steps I take every day. You wear it on your non-dominant hand, but I was nervous because that hand is usually resting on my cross-body purse, or in my pocket of my jacket or sweatshirt. Would it still know I was walking, even though I wasn’t moving my wrist? I pulled out my phone and opened the FitBit app {free; shows a dashboard with your progress}, and sure enough! The number of steps was increasing before my eyes. It’s so smart!

It is a little difficult to meet your daily goal. 10,000 steps is a lot! I was under the impression that it would be easy to meet and that everyone around me was doing it. Not so much! My roommate says she doesn’t meet her goal every day, either. You really have to make a point of getting up and walking more in order to get there–which makes sense, obviously. I try to use my FitBit as more of a motivation tool, rather than something to make me feel bad when I come a few thousand steps short of my goal.

It also tracks your sleep, which is super interesting. You’re supposed to be able to tap the band twice to turn it into sleep mode, but I usually manually start it via the app. It tracks when you’re awake and when you’re restless, and then gives you the data in the morning when you take it off. I’m interested to see the results over time; I’ll note how much sleep I get on nights that make me feel really well-rested, and try and aim for that. So far, I’ve noticed that I don’t toss and turn as much as I thought I did. Not that I thought I was super restless, but I have a lot of nights where it says I was restless zero times! The average for all twelve nights I’ve used it is 4.5x. Not too bad!

I ordered my FitBit from their website, here, but they are sold all over the place! Target, Best Buy, Sports Authority. Find one that works for you!

 

Dreaming of Spring

Hello, and Happy Monday! I’m so excited right now because I can see a slight rise in the temperature in the extended forecast {and by rise, I mean two days in the forties and one in the fifties. It’s the little things.}! As if I wasn’t already excited for spring to roll around so I can start buying and wearing a new wardrobe. Now it’s starting to feel a little more real! There is still snow projected in the forecast, but I won’t let that dampen my spirits. Goodbye boots of snow and rain; hello flats {loving these d’orsay ones from Old Navy} and cute sandals {jellies! with a bow! for $12!}

This isn’t so much a wishlist as it is a random collection of my favorite recent pins. Check them out, and also visit my Pinterest page!

spring pinterest2

{1} This flowy skirt is dreamy and beautiful. A must-have! {2} A lovely quote from The Great Gatsby. {3} Lupita Nyong’o at the Oscars. Completely obsessed with her; she’s so humble and graceful. {4} Loving this watercolor painting of colorful poppies. {5} Pastel hair is everywhere right now! I couldn’t commit to an abnormal hair color myself, but look at how gorgeous that cotton candy hair is. {6} A demure but sexy Marc Jacobs bralette. {7} This sweet look by Lauren Conrad is my spring wardrobe inspiration. That baby blue blazer! And I love the sleek high pony and fresh makeup. {8} I can’t not love the Olsen twins. Even though MK just got engaged to her French financier beau, Olivier Sarkozy, who happens to be seventeen years her senior–and the half brother of the former French president. So bizarre. Ashley was always my favorite anyways. {9} This skirt is the epitome of I don’t know where or when I would wear it, but I MUST HAVE IT. I never knew how badly I needed a sequined maxi skirt until I saw this picture. Unfortunately, it costs over $300; and even more unfortunately, is sold out. I weep.

Alright folks, that’s all for now! Have a good week 🙂

Images {all taken from Pinterest}: 1|2|3|4|5|6|7|8|9

A Little Makeup Wish List

Hello there! Hope everyone has had a good week, and if you’re in the Chicago area–stayed dry! The snow was bad enough, but the slightly warmer temperatures and downpour of rain has resulted in some pretty grungy-looking hair that I am NOT a fan of; as well as discovering a hole in one of my rain boots which has caused one wet sock and major discomfort. Can spring just get here already?

Despite the weather, I had a good week! My aunt and uncle welcomed their first children yesterday–twin boys! Their names are Rowan Dean and Ryan James. They are absolutely darling. I’m dying to go home and meet them, but I’m not sure when I’ll be able to get away. It’s such a strange feeling adding new cousins to the mix at this age. This brings the total of grandkids {on this side of the family} up to 17! I’m the oldest, at 24, and the youngest is 10. When the twins are my age, I’ll be almost fifty. This strikes terror in my heart. Anyways, I digress. I started teaching myself German this week using the DuoLingo app on my iPhone, and so far so good! Since I was born in Germany while my papa was in the Air Force I have dual citizenship until I’m 26, and I’m half German anyways, so it seemed right to start learning!

I’ve got a couple new posts in the pipeline here–I’ve got one more product from my February Birchbox to test out, and then I’ll be posting my reviews. I’ve also got a little experiment in the works, so watch for a full-out, lab report-style post in the next couple weeks. Today, however, is all about the new {to me} beauty products I’ve got my eye on–things I am dying to try ASAP!

beauty wishlist

{1} Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse BB Beauty Balm. For me, BB creams have been a hit or miss. I typically wear foundation to cover up my redness and uneven skin tone, so I shy away from sheer products that let my imperfections show through. But even I have to admit, a full face of makeup doesn’t always feel that great on my skin. I’m ready to try something new and a little healthier. Who knows–maybe that will end up getting rid of the redness!

{2} BECCA The One Perfecting Brush. This brush. This big, luscious brush. Why is it that you can be perfectly satisfied with a tool or product you already own–and then a bigger, better version comes along and blows it out of the water? I was satisfied with my current bronzer brush until I heard about this one. I want so badly. As far as I’m concerned, this brush is the Holy Grail of highlighting-and-contouring, and I won’t rest until it’s in my makeup bag.

{3} Sampar Velvet Cleansing Milk. I’m on the lookout for a new cleanser to pair with my best friend, Mia {that would be my trusty Clarisonic}. My {real} friend Tiffany, who is studying to become the best Aveda-trained esthetician in the fine city of Chicago, recommends steering clear of foaming cleansers, as they can dry skin out. I just might have to add this gentle cleanser to my regime.

{4} GlamGlow Super Mud Clearing Treatment. It wasn’t until I started blogging that I realized how incredibly dramatic I am when it comes to beauty products. Example: just now, I started to describe the GlamGlow Super Mud mask as “an incredible, life-saving little pot of goopy mud that literally sucks the gunk out of your pores as it dries and makes your skin GLOW.” Normally I would tell myself to tone it down a little, but in this case I just can’t. THIS STUFF IS THAT GOOD. It’s also horrifying expensive–$70 for 1.2 fl oz; or a whopping $200 for 8 fl oz {note–the  Clearing treatment only comes in the 1.2 fl oz jar, as far as I can tell. The Tinglexfoliate treatment comes in the 1.2 and 8 fl oz sizes.} It uses some pretty flashy technology that I don’t fully explain to vacuum out your pores and leave your skin sparkly clean and glowing and smooth. I’m not ashamed to admit that I plan on strolling into various Sephoras and asking for samples until I’ve saved up enough Birchbox points to make a dent in the full size.

{5} Mally Beauty Evercolor Poreless Face Defender. Despite my pores being squeaky clean thanks to the product above, they still are visible. And my skin gets pretttaaaay shiny as the day goes on, primer and setting powder be damned. I imagine using this stuff as a touch-up throughout the day to soak up the oily spots and make my face matte, but not too matte. And poreless, obviously.

{6} Benefit Big Easy. It’s hard not to love any product that Benefit comes out with. I’ve used their stuff since I was in high school, where I would save up my paychecks from my crummy minimum wage job and then beg someone to drive to St. Louis with me, where the Galleria housed the only Sephora I knew of. Thankfully times have changed, but I still love Benefit more than ever. This product is not actually on the shelves just yet–but Birchbox is preselling it before it’s release date of March 3rd. Big Easy is essentially a BB cream, but leans more towards the airbrushed, matte-finished foundation look. Hello?… perfect for me!

{7} Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray. Because sometimes I want hair like Serena Van Der Woodsen, and I want it right away.

hot-mess

maybe not like that….

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more like this.

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or even this. Swoon.

Enjoy your weekends, everybody! It’s going to be warm {relatively speaking–a balmy 33 degrees}, so I’ll be cutting loose and helping a friend celebrate his birthday, belatedly. Thanks for reading! xx

I have a problem + Clinique Review

I have issues with repeat purchases. Case in point: this mascara. It’s my favorite, and I’ve repurchased it three or four times. It truly is amazing, and lives up to the hype. So it’s unclear why I find myself dragging my feet when it comes time to replace it. I walk into Sephora and am immediately assaulted by the million other types of mascara. I don’t stand a chance–I have no self-control when it comes to buying makeup anyways, and there are so many new options that I feel the insane urge to try. Why am I like this?? I often rein myself in by telling me that I’m probably allergic to most of them {sadly true–another case in point: the DiorShow mascara that made my eyelids puff up so badly I could barely see}, and mascara is something I’m uber picky about anyways. Unfortunately for me, this is a time where I find myself running out of several products. First was mascara. Then it was highlighter {I’ve actually been out of this for months, but have been lollygagging and trying new, cheaper options instead of going back to the one I know and love}. Then primer. I tried a drugstore version, and HATED it. I went back to a tried-and-true favorite {how boring}.

I did try something new, however. Something I’ve heard plenty of rave reviews about, and that I’ve been curious about for months. I’ve heard it described as the ultimate “your lips, but better” hue, and who wouldn’t want that? So without further ado, I present to you: Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey {the only color it comes in}.

almost lipstick
It looks frighteningly dark in the tube. Like, vampy, Lorde-at-the-Grammy’s dark.

This scared me. I am not one for deep berry lips, no matter how desirable some people make it look. But this goes on incredibly sheer, and very smooth–like a balm. The only reason I would ever mistake it for lipstick is because of the way it smells. Not bad, necessarily, but it just smells like a lipstick. Like my grandma’s Revlon or something. Odor aside, I love this stuff. One coat is light and natural; two coats ups the drama a teeny bit. Any more coats than that is more or less unachievable due to the slick nature of the stuff, but you probably wouldn’t want more than two anyways. If you’re looking for a deep berry color, buy actual lipstick or a stain–not something called “Almost Lipstick.” The color looks great for winter, but I’m excited to keep wearing it into the summer; I like to see how different makeup colors translate against tan skin! And who knows–maybe this will be a repeat purchase? It’s only $15, after all 🙂

Okay, I have to add this. I was just on Clinique’s website looking for a picture of what this stuff looks like on actual lips without resorting to taking an awkward selfie of myself, and found myself browsing the reviews. One overzealous reviewer wrote this: “I like this lip gloss because it is never greasy. It
truly is “nearly lipstick.” I put it on all during the day and even sleep in it. It keeps my lips from peeling and getting too dry.” She sleeps in it. SHE SLEEPS IN IT. People, this stuff is moisturizing, but it is a form of lipstick. Don’t sleep in lipstick! Are you crazy? If you must sleep with a product on your lips, I recommend this Aquaphor Lip Repair balm. It’s soothing, has SPF, and heals dry and cracked lips overnight. It’s my favorite. Aquaphor by night, Clinique by day.

Winter Blues

I know I’m not alone when I say that winter depresses me. I always come down with a bad case of the winter blues, and this year is no different. It really just weighs on you and makes things seem so hopeless! I’m already struggling so much with finding a new job, and my financial worries are only getting bigger. Combine that with the single digit temperatures and seemingly-permanent blanket of snow on the ground, and basically all I ever want to do is put on sweatpants and go to sleep. I’ve taken to planning warm weather outfits, browsing for sunscreen and swimsuits, and stalking my street on Google Maps {the streetview images were taken in the heart of summer–so much green!} to try and alleviate my gloomy mood. It works, too–until I have to step outside. I gathered up some images that make me feel warm on the inside {if not the outside} to help me as I count down the days until spring.

summer

{images: retro bikini, aloha, nude beach bound, white one piece, flowered bikini, navy pier, sand, what about summer?, waves}