Monthly Archives: January 2013

Shianne Discovers Grown-up Makeup

I’m generally a ‘don’t fix what’s not broken’ kind of girl, and I’m very lucky to have fairly good skin, so my makeup regime has always consisted of just the basics – drugstore mascara and eyeliner. But having a job that keeps you out of the house for 11+ hours a day starts to wear you out physically. I found that even by lunch my makeup was starting to smudge and I looked incredibly tired and worn, even if I wasn’t  This was frustrating me and making me feel extremely unprofessional…but I didn’t know how to fix it. I thought I just needed more sleep, but when that didn’t work, I decided I needed to take more significant action to reduce the seemingly relentless bags under my eyes.

My search for a solution brought me to Sephora, where Elyse and a couple employees helped me talk through my concerns and identify the products that would be right for me. I finally settled on a Sephora-brand brush-stick concealer and foundation powder by Bare Minerals and I’m obsessed with the results. The concealer/foundation combo is actually dual purpose – it brightens my eyes, but it also protects from my other makeup smudging throughout the day!

Newbies

I’ve also been using Urban Decay roll-on eyeliner and Smashbox mascara from Sephora, and both have been great as well. Especially the eyeliner, I cannot get over how long it lasts!

 

The products are relatively expensive, but in my opinion, they’re totally worth it. Not only does the makeup last long ON me, but you also don’t need to cake it on, so it’ll last longer in general – I don’t anticipate having to replenish my beauty supply stock but once every 6 months, if that.  It’s just one of those things where I didn’t want to spend the money upfront, but when I finally caved, it turned out to be a much better deal….it’s amazing what my adult life has taught me. I’m so done with dried-up, drug-store brands that last 2 months total and 20 minutes on my face.

big girl makeup bag!

The only catch is, once you start using makeup, you also have to start a more vigorous face cleansing system. I picked up some Neutrogena face cleansing wipes as well as face wash, recommended by Elyse, and they’ve been working really well! It may sounds like now that I’ve added all these steps that my morning routine would have increased like crazy, but it only adds about 5-7 minutes when all is said and done.

 

Let us know what your favorite beauty products and tricks are!

-S

Categories: DIY, Self Improvement | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Hot Chocolate from Scratch!

When I say from scratch, I mean it.

Another favorite thing of mine is hot chocolate while hanging out and its cold outside. Add in a fire and You’ve Got Mail starting on TV? Sold.

Sadly, this time when I went to look in the kitchen for our usual box of Swiss Miss it was nowhere to be found. What to do!
My mom came to the rescue this time, recalling a recipe on the side of a Hersey’s Cocoa box. Now let me tell you, I was a little skeptical but…

must be unsweetened! (and its gross plain..trust me.)

IT WAS AMAZING. Seriously. It kicked swiss miss, Starbucks, and any other hot chocolates butt easily and it’s also very simple to make. I may never go back to the water and packaged version again!!

Shianne came over last night so we tried it out together–>

What you’ll need:

2 tablespoons sugar or 2 tablespoons Splenda sugar substitute
2 -3 teaspoons hershey”s cocoa
1 dash salt
1 cup milk ( I suggest whole for a thicker cocoa, my mom actually used condensed milk)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

1    Mix sugar, cocoa and salt in large mug.

mixing the dry ingredients

2    Heat milk in microwave at HIGH(100%) for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes or until hot in a separate mug
3    Gradually add hot milk to cocoa mixture in mug, stirring until well blended.


4    Stir in vanilla.

Yes, that is literally all you have to do to wow guests, and create your perfect couch cozy beverage. Thank me (or my Mama in this case) later!

Tada!!

xxE

Categories: Food, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Fly Away Home

This weekend I flew home to my dear New Hampshire for a 2 day, 3 night stay at home. The trips home are never long enough and I always find myself sad to leave. Ho hum, I suppose its just part of growing up.

Anyways, one of my favorite things to do at home is go to Beaver Brook– 2000 acres of land and over 30 miles of trail to hike, bike, horseback ride around or in my case walk around with the dogs!

At 20 degrees outside my mom and I were quite bundled so forgive the outfits but it was otherwise a beautiful afternoon:

into the wild we go

Our fearless leaders


goober

Mom & me (I told you we were sporting goofy winter attire)

Yoda Dog

Okay so maybe I have an obsession with these two pooches, but I just love them so much! Last pictures of them I swear

my what big teeth you have

& my number one little man!

We spent a great majority of our time curled up by the fire keeping away from the cold. Sweet home NH!

Categories: Adventures, Interesting | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

5000 Miles in 1 Week

Greetings from my couch in Arlington! I’m so glad to be finally home after a 6-day, 3-city, 5107 mile business trip for work, where I helped organize and execute 7 different events – all part of our nation-wide tour to introduce our new President to our members.

First stop was NYC! After a pleasant 4 hour train ride, we arrived at Penn Station, and headed to our hotel, The Grand Hyatt at Grand Central.

super modern hotel lobby?

Move Over, DuPont Circle

Next up: Denver! I was only here for about 24 hours, but I can honestly say that everyone I met in Denver was SO nice, and it was exactly how I pictured it. I can’t wait to go back sometime when I actually have time to explore and enjoy the city. We hopped in a rental car – and my hopped I mean packed all 6 of us plus 15 bags…

We became bag packing experts, bellhops everywhere were impressed

exactly what I’d imagine Denver is like outside hotel walls, not that I’d know

Tuesday night we ate at my favorite restaurant from the entire trip – Cool River Cafe. It was just us girls so we decided to split a bunch of small meals…which turned into more food than we probably would’ve all gotten had we ordered separately. I wish I would have taken a picture of the buffalo potatoes we got….but just imagine the most delicious mix of fries and tater tots with a little buffalo spice….yummm

Golden Globes were here just a few weeks ago!

We had a little time Thursday morning to explore the city, so we hopped in the suburban and headed to breakfast at Jack n Jills. This was honestly one of the most delicious breakfasts I had ever had! Since it was raining, we decided to stick to a driving tour for the most part after that. We made our way down Rodeo Drive, Sunset Blvd, and saw the walk of fame before driving up to Griffith Observatory for the “best view of the Hollywood sign.” However, with the fog, we actually couldn’t see the sign at all – but it turned out to be a pretty great adventure and bonding experience for our team anyway.

My team pointing to where we THINK the sign is…we all really have no clue

The actual event was down the street at the historic Beverly Hills Hotel, which was sooo gorgeous! After our event Thursday night we hung out around the hotel and – kid you not – ran into Steven Tyler, Mel Gibson, and Lionel Richie…SO COOL.

Lionel– blurry but so worth it!

After that kind of night, none of us wanted to go home, but with another 4:30 a.m. wake up call, we knew we had to leave at some point. We pushed through our final two events Friday morning before half the team left and returned to DC. However, myself and a colleague stayed for an extra night of LA sightseeing. On our night off, we decided to explore Rodeo Drive, where I somehow managed to keep my wallet shut, despite the temptations.

woops forgot to take a picture until the cab was driving away..

Categories: Adventures, America, Food, Local Places, Work | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Warby Parker Glasses

If any of you are like me, you’re blind as a bat without some sort of contact/ glasses situation. Its not something I love, but I’ve come to accept it and my current annoyance is having the same glasses that I’ve had for the past 5 years.

Glasses are quite expensive, stroll into Lense Crafters and you’ll be dropping some serious cash on those designer Ralph Lauren frames, and then more for the corrective lenses. Since I wear contacts 8am-11pm daily, I just need something that looks cute if I’m feeling lazy that day but I can also wear around the apartment for not too much money.

Introducing: Online eye-wear providers! Places like Warby Parker and BonLook allow you to pick out some frames you find interesting, and order them with your Rx for only $95!! What a steal!

Now Warby Parker had a bus running around D.C. over the summer that I missed out on, so they have this great option where you can choose 5 frames that you think you would like (you should know something about your face shape by now, right?) and they will send them to you, free of charge to try on and play with for 5 days, until you send them back and order one if you’d like, but if not that’s okay too.

Here are the ones coming at me in 5 days!

Linwood

Ainsworth

Japhy

Leigh

Fitz

Okay so they’re a little hipster and clearly I have a tortoise shell problem but they’ll be here soon!

They also have the virtual try on, where you upload a picture of yourself but I might use that tool to narrow it down to 5 instead of actually choosing to buy one.

Have you tried anyone of these online fashion glasses? What did you think!

Categories: Fashion, Self Improvement | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hand Painted Wine Glasses

This weekend was BEAUTIFUL in our nations capitol, only made a little crazy by the 1.8 million people that are around today for the inauguration. For us, being here is nothing new so we continued life as usual.

Saturday morning Elyse drove and handled a few pups at lucky dog, and we both fell in love with Lawrence (who is known to his friends as Larry)

He had ginger eyelashes.. and was the best snuggler

Larry got an adoption application in, so fingers crossed to him and his new furever (haha, get it?) home!

After some Mexican food and manicures,  Elyse and I decided to have a quiet night in this Saturday and finally do the craft project we’ve been talking about doing for months. Inspired by images like this on etsy,  we bought a couple wine tumblers (not glasses) and decided to spruce them up a bit by hand painting designs on them with acrylic paint.


Given that we’re not the most crafty individuals, it took us a while to warm up and our second glasses were much better than our first.

But all in all it was a fun activity and now we have personalized glasses to impress guests with (okay, maybe just the second two will actually impress anyone…). So if you’re feeling crafty, this is definitely something to try! And hopefully you’re a little better with a brush!

xO -S&E

Categories: DIY | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Financial Management as a Post Grad

That first year after college is pretty scary. Assuming you have a job, you have probably just:

1. Moved out of your house
2. Started your career
3. Started taking responsibility of bills — rent, gas, electricity, water, cable
4. Signed up for a 401K if your work offers
5. Realized how much of your paycheck goes to taxes
6. Realized that, regardless you’re making money now compared to before and you want to spend it wildly!

Now we’ve been out of college for a little more than 6 months and if you have not already, its time to get in control of your finances. There are a few websites and apps out there that will easily help you track your expenses, create budgets and goats, and event set up investment accounts. Thanks to Mint.com I became aware that I was spending far too much at coffee shops. What seemed like $2 here and $3.50 there was really adding up!

So here are my two favorite:
(none of these images are my accounts!)
MINT.COM

Mint starts out with a screen like this, giving an overview of your current accounts– banking, credit cards, loans, investments and then showing you the current budgets you have in place.

You can set budgets for anything you want, but the standard ones it sets you up with are Shopping, Entertainment, Groceries, Restaurants, and Gas. I’ve added on Rent, Utilities, Coffee Shops, Lunch etc. You can even set up alerts if you’re approaching your budget max or if you go over. It will also turn this angry red color:


Some of my basic budgets include $30 for Coffee, $150 on Restaurants, $200 on Gasoline, and $200 on shopping.

You can also set a Goal, an amount that you want to have saved by a certain date and it tells you how much you should be saving monthly and takes that out of your budget. My current goal is just to have 5 months rent saved up just in case of emergency, and the standard rule is to have 3 months rent.

I think these goals are a little extreme, but you get the idea!

LearnVest

Alexa

Meet mint’s better looking sister, LearnVest. Started by the fabulous Alexa Von Tobel (I follow her on instagram and shes always doing great things, went to Harvard business school, yadda yadda shes pretty great.), it began as an outlet for women to discuss ways of spending and saving, but recently they implemented a Mint like budgeting system complete with your own personal financial adviser for ~$60 a month. Not too Shabby!

Like mint, you create budgets and a break down for each month and how you’re spending your money.

If you’re sporting an iPhone there is also a really wonderful app version available

Alexa and the LearnVest crew believe that you should be living by this breakdown and spend accordingly:

The biggest goal of the site is to get you out of debt and into the spending cycle that you should be. As its focused towards women, it understand that shopping is going to happen, but don’t use more than 30% of your budget on it!

If you sign up for the learnvest twitter or email list you will also get great tips on how to stop spending, sales that are going on, and words of encouragement. If any of you read GooP, Alexa was featured this week and here is how she explained the 20/30/50 rule:

  • 50% of your budget should go to your Essentials.
    These are the expenses you always have to pay to keep your life going: your rent/mortgage, transportation, groceries and utilities.
  • 20% should go to your Priorities.
    These are expenses that help you accomplish important financial tasks, such as paying off loans, building savings, saving for retirement and more.
  • 30% should go to your Lifestyle.
    This is what’s leftover, which is what you get to live on and enjoy now, on expenses such as dining out, shopping and other fun spending

Hopefully you can use one of these tools to take control of your finances and watch your spending! Its as easy as logging in once and day and  reminding yourself where you’re at.

Enjoy & Good Luck!

-xE

Categories: Self Improvement | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Leftovers: Chocolate Strawberries Edition

What do you do when you have a bunch of random leftover items? Find a way to make something absolutely delicious, of course!

What you’ll need:

-Strawberries
-Chocolate
-Egg Carton (or read through and improvise your own holding method)

 


1. Cut tops off strawberries


2. Cut out inside with a small, sharp knife


3. Pour chocolate into a small bowl and melt in microwave, taking out to stir with a knife every 30 seconds until fully melted


4. Scoop chocolate into the inside of the strawberries, going up over the edge just a little

5. Place strawberries in an egg carton to hold them and when finished, place in the refrigerator


6. Eat & enjoy! 

nom!!

 

 

I used an egg carton to hold the strawberries because my eggs were expired anyway and I couldn’t think of anything else….so if you have any better ideas, let me know so I can avoid looking like a total nerd if I ever decide to make these to share with others!

 Enjoy!

 -S

Categories: DIY, Food | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Ikat Explosion

Ikat Explosion

Its official, I’m obsessed. With Ikat patterns.

What is an ikat pattern you ask? Its a type of dip dying, similar to tie dying where you section off parts of a pattern before dying. The word ikat derives from the Indonesian word mengikat ‘to tie. (thank you wikipedia.)

It all started when I began my quest to keep my room organized and clean,  remember? I suddenly decided that my same old duvet from sophomore year of college just was not cutting it any longer and I want to move up to bigger, better and perhaps slightly less crowded looking things.

I’m currently sporting this guy:

Paisley Liberty of London duvet by Target

While its held up amazingly well, it’s time for a change.

Living in a rented apartment has its drawbacks, in that painting and putting too many holes in the  wall is frowned upon and so the largest changeable space it seems is my bed!

Okay so now, finding a reasonably price duvet online is not that easy, the few stores that I could think of were the usual department stores, urban outfitters and anthropology and then home good stores like west elm and pottery barn.

My price range is 100$ MAX. And I’d like to stay below that for new sheets etc. I’m not sure why I’m being so stingy on something that I will be using daily for, oh hopefully a solid 7-8 hours but oh well.

Alright so here are some of my favorites so far:

This is all over pinterest but no where to be found for sale. Ho hum.

Sold out at West Elm

West Elm

West Elm..

(I have so many west elms because they’re having a 20% off sale right now!!)

My Favorite! Too bad its $1,300…

Pottery Barn at ~ $140

Opinions or experience buying things from west elm or pottery barn (technically the same company)?

Let me know!!

-E

Categories: Self Improvement | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

I’d like that.. Medium Rare

While there are many of us Rochester alumni running around the DMV, we don’t always have time in our busy schedules to sit down and catch up, especially as a group.  That will hopefully change in the near future as we’re going to try to implement a monthly brunch, the first of which started this Sunday at Medium Rare on Connecticut Ave and conveniently located in my home Cleveland Park neighborhood.

street view

As a nice steak restaurant by day, you can only expect the best for brunching options. The $23 fix priced menu includes:

While I was tempted by the Famous Eggs Benedict (my go to brunch item) , my roommate had once suggested the French Toast and it did not disappoint  Fluffy and delicious, with real maple syrup…breakfast heaven.

The ladies at bitcheswhobrunch.com may describe it best:

“The chef takes the ends of their infamous French bread and soaks them overnight in their cinnamon-egg-cream concoction, and then they flash fry, rather than bake it, so that it is moist, fluffy and sweet on the inside and crisp on the outside. It’s sprinkled with powdered sugar, topped with fresh berries, and served with a side of real maple syrup.”

I may need another!

The boys all got the steak and eggs option, which looked pretty good to me too —

We probably could have stayed a few more hours sipping drinks but we all had busy Sunday afternoons to attend to.

However, what came with the check made me smile:

because who doesn’t want bazooka bubble gum as dessert?

(all photos from google images!)

until next time!

-E

P.S. NEW LAYOUT! You like?

Categories: Food, Local Places | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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