Best Purchases of 2017

Beauty


Sunday Riley Acne KitI’m not one to talk about skincare very often because to be honest my skincare routine was pretty nonexistent until the last couple of months. I get sent a lot of products to try out but this one is by far my favorite and I love that it helps with acne since my skin is very acne prone. After using it the past few months I’ve seen a serious decrease in my hormonal acne. The oil that comes in this kit is my favorite part of my entire skin care routine, I literally look forward to it every night. It is infused with tree oil and smells so good.

Amika Blowout Spray– This is another product that was gifted to me. I had seen multiple bloggers rave about this product so I finally gave it a try. Talk about va-va-voom! Ok it doesn’t give a ton of volume but I love the grit it puts in my hair to hold a curl and lift my roots. Not the nasty type of grit, more so just a little bit of texture to make your hair more malleable.

T3 Curling Wand–  If you have been following me this year you might know I’ve had a love, hate relationship with this 3-in-1 curling wand. For the longest time I would have told anyone that I would never pay money for this wand (it’s $300) but since it was gifted to me I used it. At first I swore to you that my Hot Tools wand did the exact same thing (it’s $45) and I do still highly recommend the Hot Tools wand if you are looking for a budget friendly one. It served me well for 5+ years. It wasn’t until recently when I started incorporating product into my hair care routine that I saw a major difference. I use the Amika Blowout Spray and Redken Styling Spray and boy does it make my hair actually hold the curl all day and even when I sleep on it. If you are looking for a great curling wand and would use the multiple attachments, the T3 is a great one!

IT Cosmetics CC Cream– After several attempts at finding a full coverage foundation that lasted all day, IT Cosmetics finally pulled through for me. Prior to trying this one I was using the Benefit Hello Flawless foundation but was not impressed with it’s coverage. I love that the CC cream fills in my pores and leaves my skin looking much more even toned! I also finish off my look with their Celebration Foundation pressed powder.

HASK Dry Shampoo– After trying what seemed like every dry shampoo on the market (expensive and non expensive), I was about ready to completely give up on this whole dry shampoo concept until I found HASK! Warning: this stuff will make you go questionable lengths of time between hair washings. I use to not be able to go more than one day without washing before my hair would get greasy but I can push 7 days thanks to this stuff!!

Style


Olive Jeans | Light Wash Jeans | White wash Jeans | Dark Wash Jeans

Wubby PulloverAlthough I’ve only had mine a few weeks, it’s quickly become one of the top sellers for the blog in December and for good reason. If you are a cozy lover like myself, this pullover is a no brainer. It also comes in a vest version (on sale, I sized up to a medium) that I did pick up the other day because let’s face it, I have a serious sherpa addiction these days.

Levi Jeans– These were actually bought in 2016 and were still so much a favorite in 2017 that I bought them in the darker color too. I get lot’s of questions about my ripped denim and my Levi’s jeans are hands down the best that I own. They are a bit pricey which but after trying several pairs of cheaper jeans, these out do them on so many levels. They are the only pair of jeans that actually fits me, are of good quality, make my butt look good (because hey that’s important!), have the right amount of distressing in the right places, and hold up for multiple wears before washing. I promise you these are worth the money and then some! I personally size down in Levi’s but many of you have told me that you get your true size or even go up one so I suggest reading review before purchasing. Other notable distressed denim that I discovered this year and love are my olive Free People jeans and light wash mom jeans. Both run true to size.

BP Side Split Tee– For $19, I bought these basic long sleeve tee in 4 colors- black striped, white striped, grey striped, and olive. They do fit a little oversized so Nordstrom will tell you to size down. I ordered my true size (XS) which is a little long but I prefer the length for layering purposes. I wear them under EVERYTHING. My favorite way as of lately has been to wear them layered under sweaters so that they show at the bottom, sleeves, and sometimes top too depending on what you are wearing. I’ve also worn them layered under a military vest, puffer vest, or denim jacket. The possibilities are endless and it really is a great basic to have in your closet.

Aerie Fleece leggings–  Believe it or not these were the blog’s number one seller and for good reason! Y’all certainly love cozy just as much as I do! I personally own them in 3 colors if that tells you how good they are. I suggest sizing up one. I wear a size small (normally an XS). These are great as pajamas or just lounging and they are still only $12!!

SPANX Leather leggings– It took me a long time to pull the trigger on these because of the price tag and to this day I still buy alternatives to dry and find something cheaper that is comparable for you guys but there honestly is just no comparison to how good these are. I do suggest sizing up as they run quite small. The only alternative that I found and liked was this $18 pair. If I am comparing the two they are night and day difference but if you are trying to save up before you buy the SPANX, they are decent and I do wear mine! Definitely size down as they run large.

Gucci Dupes- So I did this crazy thing in 2017 during my YOLO-quit-my-job-travel-the-world stage this year. I splurged on the Gucci Marmont 2.0 bag and small leather belt. The Gucci belts have been crazy popular this year and thanks to Britt, she introduced me to an identical dupe for the belt. It’s quickly become the blog’s number one seller in December. It comes in the small and large version and in all colors too! It is one size but fits most sizes. My favorite pair of shoes this year, especially after surgery, were the Gucci dupe slides from Target. I’m pretty sure I wore them almost every day this year not kidding one bit. I wore them to work every day and they are my go to casual shoe. The best part? They are $19 and extremely good quality. I even wore them to tromp all over Europe!

 

Other Favorites


Present Over Perfect– I don’t read. Period. Even though it’s been a new year’s resolution for who knows how long I just am not a book reader. BUT this year I did something crazy. I read a book! In fact, I read it twice I loved and connected with it so much. If you feel like you are running yourself ragged or are craving some sort of deeper connection with people and things, this book is AMAZING.

This is Us– I rarely watch TV and I try not to even start any new shows because I get sucked in to the point that I binge watch like nobody’s business. That being said I am super picky about shows and movies. I don’t like sci fi, action or history based shows. In typical girl fashion, I usually am a fan of romantic comedies. This Is Us is not a show I’d normally go for which is why I held off for so long. I binge watched both seasons in 2 days and cried the entire time. IT’S SO GOOD!!

Pop Socket– I had to throw this one in here because it has been a life saver for me ever since I got the 7+. If you have tiny hands and a big phone, the pop socket will rock your world and make your life so much easier.

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Dear 2017.

Dear 2017

Top of the Rock NYC, Holiday dresses under $100

Top of the Rock NYC, Holiday dresses under $100

Top of the Rock NYC, Holiday dresses under $100

Top of the Rock NYC, Holiday dresses under $100

Top of the Rock NYC, Holiday dresses under $100

Top of the Rock NYC, Holiday dresses under $100

Top of the Rock NYC, Holiday dresses under $100

Photography by: Banavenue

Dear 2017,

It’s not me, it’s you. I regret to say that I am NOT sad to see you go. So much happened this year. More than has happened in any year to date. I wish I could say that you rocked because that would be a cute blog post and all being that I am at the top of the Rock (Rockafeller Center) but to be honest, you mostly sucked. When I started trying to recap the year, I got stuck several times because there were only a couple major things that stuck out. The bad. The hard. The heartbreaking. And that made me sad that I couldn’t remember all of the good because of this. So I forced myself to sit down and remember all of it. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

January– I rang in the New Year in Seaside, Florida watching one of my oldest friends get married! Seaside is one of my absolute favorite places. I then traveled to Waco, Texas the following weekend to watch another childhood friend get married. This also gave me an excuse to visit the popular Magnolia Market for the first time and it did not disappoint! I ended the month with an early Galentine’s Day celebration at my favorite rooftop wine bar in Houston – Sonoma!

February– Not much more to mention about this month besides the fact a man entered my life that changed the rest of the course of the year for me. We will call him “bumble boy”. To be honest I didn’t really share much about this topic with you guys but it was a big factor this year.

March– By far my hardest month of the year. It started off great with a trip to Puerto Vallarta (my first sponsored travel opportunity) and with my best friend, Britt! Shortly after that, I moved home for the short term and had the first of two hip surgeries. Right after my surgery, the guy I met back in February and had spent almost every day with since, completely ghosted me. No text, call or anything to break things off. He just stopped responding to texts/calls. I regret to say I spiraled into a deep depression between these two things. I barely ate, got out of bed, or thought about anything else. For those of you that have been ghosted or had your heart broken by a boy, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy! This was the first time I had been broken up with and the worst part to this day, is that I have no idea why.

April– Since the hip surgery recovery involved being in bed and on crutches for 6 weeks, I had SO many friends visit me at my parents house. I am truly so grateful for all of these friends who helped me more than they knew by just being there in my lowest time. April brought LOTS of pool days and relaxing at hotel Adams. It was also the first (and only) time I opened up about “bumble boy” on the blog.

May– After being off of work for 7 weeks, I went back to my full time job. As much as I hated going back to my desk job, I needed the consistency of a schedule more than I knew at the time. I was still thinking about “bumble boy” every day, ALL day. My family also celebrated my youngest sister graduating from the University of Texas in Austin.

June– June was a fun month! I experienced my first two “staycations” at two of Houston’s nicest hotels! The first staycation involved a wine and taco convention. That’s right, unlimited wine and tacos. Need I say more? The second staycation involved a penthouse, my blogger babes, and a night out at Sonoma Wine Bar! The common theme in June was lots of wine 🙂 I ended the month with a spontaneous girls trip to Denver and Boulder, Colorado and it was by far one of the best trips with one of my oldest best friends and a new one too!

July– July 4th was spent with some of my blogger besties at her grandparent’s ranch and then again with new friends in San Marcos floating the river.

August– It was a full month of big blog collaborations (which I am SO thankful for!) with Academy and CStudio Home, traveling within Texas, wedding shenanigans, and birthday celebrations! August was also the month that Hurricane Harvey reeked havoc on Houston. Thankfully my house and family’s houses were not harmed but I cannot say the same for so many of my friends and it was heartbreaking to watch the people you care so much about, lose everything. As much as it hurt to watch these things, it was a good reminder to not take a single thing for granted, that there could always be worse, and to be thankful for all of life’s many blessings even when we feel God has wronged us. I also must add that my best friends and I got stuck in Fredericksburg (Texas wine country) during the flood and our sweet host comped the entire stay. If you are planning a trip to Fredericksburg, I highly suggest where we stayed for SO many reasons. More here.

September– While I HATE to admit that I was still thinking about “bumble boy” more days than not and after watching so many people lose everything, I had a major realization. What the hell was I doing with my life? Why was I succumbing to the devil? Why was I letting someone or something steal my joy EVERY day? For someone that thought they had everything figured out, I heard God say, “Let go, let go of everything and trust me”. And that’s what I did. I quit the job that was stealing my joy. I moved home. I booked several one way airplane tickets and I felt the most overwhelming sense of peace that I had EVER felt. Travels included: New York Fashion Week (for the second year in a row!), Boston, Nantucket, Copenhagen, Prague, Vienna, Milan and Cinque Terra.

October– I ended my month long travel diaries and came back home to have my second hip surgery. While the recovery process ended up being much easier, the first week after surgery was AWFUL in every way. I battled severe nausea and migraines which resulted in an ER trip and trying over 15 medications to get these symptoms under control. I ended up having to completely forgo pain meds the rest of my recovery because of these side effects. Thankfully after the first week (from HELL), my recovery was mostly smooth sailing minus a severe amount of weight loss that I can’t seem to gain back. I ended the month by going to see Bruno Mars with the family. Best concert ever!!

November– November brought some exciting things for the blog! My biggest campaign to date with Olay, an event with Banana Republic, and my most profitable month to date! I cannot put into words how thankful I am that my leap of faith to blog full time (even if just for the short term) proved to be paying off in a big way. More than the money aspect, November brought so many opportunities to connect with all of YOU. If there is anything I have learned this year, it’s that this blog thing doesn’t have to be one sided! It has been so rewarding to start developing a community with you all and it is truly the highlight of my day when I get to chat with you via email or direct message.

December– December was a busy busy month and for that I am thankful. It was the first month that I did not think about “bumble boy” almost a single time. If you only knew how many times I prayed to God that he would erase that boy from my memory. Every day, y’all. My time was spent pouring myself into the blog. 12 hours a day. Between 12 Days of Christmas Giveaways and sharing tons of holiday gift inspiration, I didn’t sleep much but my heart was SO full. I finally felt like I was making a difference. Like I was helping you more than you were helping me! Other highlights of the month included my family taking a vacation to Cabo, ringing in the New Year in Chicago (my sister’s new home), Houston seeing it’s first snow in years, two slips and falls that set me back in physical therapy (clutz!), two amazing roaring 20s parties and more joy than I have felt in months!

While there were so many ups this year, most were regretfully clouded with sadness, grief, and anger. I put on a front to my family and friends that I was ok while I most certainly was not. But two things that stayed constant for me this year were God and all of you. When I think about what I am most thankful for this year, it truly is my faith, my steadfast friends that might not have known what was going on but loved me anyway and my growing relationship with each and every one of you. Most days I would be wallowing in my own self pity or not able to pull myself out of depressing thoughts and then I would get a message from one of you that would turn my entire day around. The thing is that you had no idea what you were doing. You had no idea what I was going through and yet God placed each of you and your voice in my life for a reason. I can only hope that I can return the favor to all of you this year. 2018- this is OUR year!

 

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New Year’s Eve Outfit Ideas

NYE Outfit Ideas

NYE Outfit Ideas

NYE Outfit Ideas

NYE Outfit Ideas

NYE Outfit Ideas

Dress: SOLD OUT but similar one linked HERE | Shoes: Similar | Earrings: BaubleBar

Photography by: Banavenue

No matter what new year we are bringing in, you can bet sequins and sparkles are going to be a thing! So when in doubt, sparkle it out! I would put money on the fact that you probably have an old sequin dress or skirt hanging in your closet that is begging to see the light of day again!

Two new trends that I am particularly loving this year though are metallics and velvet. Both are perfect for any dressier events that you might have coming up such as New Year’s or winter weddings. So while sequins and sparkle will never go out of style, if you are wanting to try something new this year, a little metallic dress or maybe a velvet jumpsuit might seal the deal on that New Year’s kiss! Speaking of New Year’s kiss, how cute is this bag?!

I will be braving the cold for New Year’s so I’m happy that the velvet will actually provide a little warmth. *Nevermind the completely bare back aspect* When picking out a New Year’s Eve outfit dress I always look for something that is fun and flirty but doesn’t show too much skin. This dress was the perfect compromise. Business in the front, party in the back!

If you need a little last minute inspiration of other outfit ideas, I’ve linked a few favorites below! Good news: there is still time to grab majority of these before the ball drops and we ring in the new year 🙂

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Holiday Party Perfect Look

Holiday Party Look

Holiday Party Look

Holiday Party Look

Holiday Party Look

Holiday Party Look

Holiday Party Look

Holiday Party Look

Holiday Party Look

Holiday Party Look

Top: LOFT | Skirt: ChicWish | Shoes: Similar | Bag: Gucci | Earrings: BaubleBar

Photography by: Banavanue

While no two holiday parties are created equal, the perfect party look can be! Since I’ve already shared several options for a more formal event, I wanted to do a post on something I would wear to a more casual occasion or possibly a night out around the holidays. My go to for something a little bit more casual is a cute top and skirt combo, jumpsuit, or flirty dress. I’ve rounded up a few of my favorites below.

**Click the right arrows below to start shopping!**

TOPS


BOTTOMS


DRESSES/JUMPSUITS


SHOES


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A Moisturizer Christmas Miracle

Olay Whips experience

Olay Whips experience

Olay Whips experience

Olay Whips experience

Olay Whips experience

Olay Whips experience

Olay Whips experience

Olay Whips experience

Olay Whips experience

Sweatshirt: Nordstrom | Leggings: Aerie | Slippers: Target | Moisturizer: Olay Whips

Photography: Banavenue

Let me give you a little backstory on my skin. We’ve been in a complicated relationship for some time now. Basically since those teenage years when it decided to go all high maintenance on me. After years of breakouts, I swore off moisturizer because I was convinced it was making my skin greasy and therefore causing the breakouts.

Fast forward to my mid-twenties and I am just now reintroducing moisturizers back into my daily routine. I recently had the opportunity to partner with Olay on their new product launch of Whips! I got to be one of the first few to do a blind product test without knowing the brand behind it. This was my first time to participate in something like this and I thought it was genius! Not only was it intriguing to try and figure out the brand, it took away any predispositions or prejudices so that I was able to give a complete and honest review.

For my very first take on Whip I really had to use my five senses. Ok, maybe not taste or hearing but the other three were put to good use. Smell is a big one for me as I am very sensitive when it comes to scents. Whips definitely has a fragrance to it, whereas I normally prefer facial products to be fragrance free. While I will say the smell initially made me question if I’d like the overall product, it did not end up being a deterring factor for me.

The look of Whip is different than any other moisturizer that I have ever used. Instead of the creamy consistency that I was accustomed to, Whips was almost more of a translucent liquid. Think about what coconut oil looks like. That is what Whips reminded me of!

The touch of Whip is what intrigued me the most. It truly is the most light weight and refreshing product that I have ever felt. You would have thought you just splashed water on your face and let it air dry with how refreshing this product felt. You would also think with how light weight it is that you would need a lot of it to achieve moisturized skin but you really don’t!

After using Olay’s Total Effects Whip for the past month I can honestly say that it is one of a kind. It’s ability to leave your skin feeling hydrated all day without looking greasy by the end of the day is what sold me. For someone with extremely sensitive skin that is prone to breakouts, Whip has minimized the amount of oil and grease that I deal with on a normal basis and has left my skin feeling better than it ever has!

For the longest time if you had asked me what my #1 Christmas wish was, I would have told you perfect skin! My skin still has a ways to go, but thanks to Whip, I’m happy to say that I have finally found a moisturizer that my sensitive skin LOVES and craves!

*This post was sponsored by Olay Whip. As always, all opinions are my own.*

For shares that include a brand URL, please include the #ad hashtag in your social share.

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