Apartment tour // bathroom

shower curtain & bath mats from Marshall’s, rolling cart from IKEA

Moving in to my new apartment with my sister was really exciting except for one small issue:  the bathroom connected to my bedroom has very little storage. I knew I’d have to get clever.

I started searching for a rolling storage cart. I felt like that could be cute and affordable without being clunky like a cabinet or a unit with drawers. I went to my usual hangouts – Target, Marshall’s, T.J. Maxx. I found a few, especially a mint colored one that I loved, but couldn’t believe the prices! We are talking $80 and up for a 3-tier metal cart with wheels. I couldn’t justify it. I started looking online and found this IKEA rolling storage cart. I scooped it up – it was the perfect solution! I was able to order it online, it was much less than the ones I had seen at Marshall’s and TJ Maxx, and it was easy to put together (although I have to admit, Andrew put it together for me. I’m sure I was busy doing something very important, like petting the doggies). I also love this mint colored one from Michael’s, that of course I’m just finding now, months later, when I already purchased my beige one. No hard feelings or anything, of course.

I rolled up some towels on the bottom tier of the rolling cart – my other towels are on a shelf in my closet, but these are there when I need them or if I have guests. I also made sure my bath items were easily accessible, because I do have a big garden tub perfect for soaks! I love Dr. Teal’s bubble bath and epsom salt soak. I keep a pretty good stash of toilet paper in my bathroom, too. I don’t have the space for it under my sink, so I had to find a way to make it look nice just sitting out. At least a guest will never have to panic when the toilet paper runs out! Finally, on the top rack of the rolling cart, I have my daily faves and things that I use constantly when getting ready or getting out of the shower:  My favorite lotion, nighttime skin care cream, deodorant, lip balm, brush/comb, argan oil for my hair, q-tips, makeup brushes, and hair ties/bobby pins. The beat up old vanity chair was my Nana’s. One day I might re-cover it, but I kind of love the cracked seat and aged look; it reminds me of being a little girl at my Nana’s house, dreaming of sitting and doing my hair and makeup like a grown up one day.

At my sink area, I like to keep things pretty clean and simple. I just have a tray on the edge of the counter with my perfumes and a small tea light candle. The vase is old from anthropologie and it holds the first rose Andrew ever got me! My perfumes are Kate Spade Walk on Air, Daisy Dream by Marc Jacobs, and Lolita Lempicka, which I have worn on and off since college, maybe even high school. The soap container I have is from Marshall’s a long time ago, but I love the way it looks and I love the fact that I can just refill it and it looks nicer than a regular old soap bottle.

In my under sink storage (not pictured), I have stacked storage on metal racks from the dollar store. It is a lot of bins:  All of my cleaning supplies, my travel supplies and makeup bags, all of my nail polish colors and manicure/pedicure tools, etc. I have a long rectangular bin that holds all of my hair supplies – flat iron, hair dryer, curling iron and curling wands, hair spray, mousse, etc. Then I have my two drawers full of extra shower gels, sunscreens, lotions, toothbrushes, and my makeup.

my daily face + all my other makeup

And I can’t forget my favorite bathroom item, Bruno! He loves to lay down on the cold floor and watch me get ready wait until I’m not looking so he can chew the corners of my bath mats.

not as innocent as he looks

That’s it! Both hanging items on the walls were gifts, and the long white shelf and picture frame are from Target. I’m so happy with the bright shower curtain and pops of white!

Summer faves, from me to you

It’s another scorching week here in Raleigh! I don’t know why it’s always such a surprise to me when I step outside and my makeup immediately begins melting off my face. Why do we find it necessary to keep saying, “It’s HOT out there!” when we finally get inside the sweet, sweet relief of cool AC? But we do – maybe it’s a southern thing.

This summer, I’ve been saving every penny since teachers don’t get paid in the summer acting like I have an unlimited supply of money, and I’ve bought a few new products I want to share! They’ve helped me through these hot months, and hopefully they’ll carry me into the next few that are still coming!

Since I’m generally rushing from hot yoga to nannying or from nannying to hot yoga, and as I’ve mentioned, it’s hot hot hot out, I have kept my makeup and hair routine super simple this summer. I also mostly use items from Target. I don’t have a fat wallet, so when I can find awesome products that don’t deplete my money for food and rent, I latch on.

Summer Faves1) Dove dry shampoo and curl defining mousse: my hair is stick straight, fine, thin, and needs to be washed daily. I could have cried when I finally discovered dry shampoo. I love this Dove one and have used it for months and months without looking elsewhere. I use the mousse after shampooing to “squish” my hair, as Andrew calls it (the rest of you might refer to it as scrunching your hair). It’s my summer ‘do because I don’t have to use heat to dry my hair, and I just shampoo & squish – no conditioner (or combing) needed, because it makes my hair too soft and straight to squish. It also saves a ton of time!

2) Heat taming spray: When I DO blow dry my hair, I like to use a heat spray to help protect and volumize my fine, limp hair. I have been happy with this one from L’Oreal! An older spray I used to use before looking for one with a volumizing boost is this one from TRESemme.

3) Olay cleansing wipes and moisturizer: Both are gentle, have a nice subtle scent, don’t break me out, and my sensitive skin doesn’t burn or react to these products.

4) Tea Tree Oil mattifying toner: I have always loved The Body Shop, and this tea tree oil toner is so refreshing. It makes my skin look soft and velvety. I use it am and pm, after washing and before moisturizing. My sweet roomie Lauryn hooked me up with it because she got one free 🙂

5) Philosophy purity made simple face wash: this is my one splurge this summer. I know it’s more expensive than what you might normally buy, but my skin is sensitive and prone to breakouts, and I have noticed a HUGE difference in the few weeks I have been using this. So. Worth. It. I got the 8oz. one for $24 and it will last a long time.

6) This Sephora collection dry clean brush cleaning spray has been an amazing find! You can use it and keep on doing your makeup since it’s not a wet product. Just spray, wipe on a towel, and keep on keepin’ on!

7) Essie spa many many mani lotion: I always seem to have dry hands and feet, so I love putting this on both right before I get under the sheets at night! It smells great and is silky smooth, not greasy.

8) These linen shorts from Target:  I have them in green, red, and gray/black…they have literally saved me this summer. Elastic waist, light and airy, not too short…what more could a girl want?

9) Maybelline Dream Pure BB cream: I use this one to help keep my skin clear, moisturize and even out my skin tone, and as a layer that my powder can sit on top of.

10) My favorite sunscreen: I have been using this for a few years and always make sure to get the SPF 30 and reapply often. I love the hydration aspect of this sunscreen. I always buy the face one, as well!

My summer makeup routine:

After washing/toning/moisturizing, I’ve been using the NYX photo loving primer in green to fight redness and fill in any pores or smile lines. If I’m feeling fancy, I’ll skip the primer and put on some Maybelline bb cream. I’ve been loving the Covergirl trublend fix stick concealer for under my eyes, redness, and blemishes. BB cream or not, I always use a powder brush to dust on my forever favorite powder, Lorac porefection baked pressed powder (I’m shade PF 3.5). Next, I hit the hollows of my cheeks and go in a “3” motion on the sides of my face with the tarte Park Ave Princess bronzer, and then I use my bronzer brush to hit my cheekbones and around the sides of my eyes with my new Urban Decay highlighter (shade is sin-champagne). After that, it’s an eyebrow pencil, mascara, and tinted Baby Lips balm from Maybelline (a long-time fave!), and I’m finished! Simple for busy days carting around kids and running errands, and easy to wipe off before teaching a hot yoga class at Hot Asana Durham.

Summer makeup 1

Summer makeup 2

 

A few of my favorite things.

And just like that, Spring is here!  I know that soon the sun will be here to stay for a while…and it makes me so happy.  (Remind me of this when I’m complaining about my makeup melting down my face in the July Raleigh humidity).  When the new seasons come, I always feel like a little bit of a change – a new nail polish, scarf, or a new pair of sandals to use through the warm months.  Still, there are always a few items I keep around no matter what the season.

There are so many products out there, and sometimes it’s overwhelming to decide what to splurge on or save on.  I’m no expert, but when you find something that works, you want to tell everything you know!  Here are some of my favorite tried and true items.

Face

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Rimmel Lasting Finish primer – keeps me feeling put together and hydrated, but not oily.  I know some people swear by fancy primers and how important they are…but for my everyday rush to teach the youth of America, I don’t always have time to be fancy.  This one does the trick for me, and my teacher wallet can afford it!

Bare Minerals concealer and brush – unfortunately, in my 28th year of life, I am dealing with the double-edged sword of under eye circles and the very occasional pretty frequent ‘random’ hormonal breakout.  I have read rave reviews about different under-eye concealers like Visible Lift Eye Concealer or Bye Bye Under Eye, and I’d love to try them (I’d actually love to try a lot of the It Cosmetics brand products…), but for now, until I win the lottery, I’ll stick to this Bare Minerals concealer.  The brush does a really good job of lightly layering and covering whatever you’re dealing with.  It’s not going to cover up a tattoo or a black eye, but luckily I don’t think I need to worry about that.  For everyday use, I love it.

Bare Minerals matte foundation powder and brush – no matter what foundations I hop around to, I always seem to come back home to Bare Minerals.  It’s natural-looking, and you can build coverage really easily without looking like a cake face.  I love that I don’t feel like it is clogging my pores throughout the day or in the summer heat.  The matte version of the foundation powder does a great job of giving a velvety finish.

Lorac POREfection baked pressed powder – the ultimate smooth, velvet powder finish with a good amount of coverage!  I love to keep this in my purse for long days/nights and touch ups.

Tarte Amazonian Clay matte waterproof bronzer and brush – I LOVE this bronzer.  It is subtle and does a great job of easily and naturally contouring your cheekbones.  I put it in a 3 shape from the sides of my forehead, going in at the cheekbones, and around again under my jawline for a nice and easy glow, then down my  nose.  This brush is awesome for contouring, but I don’t spend a lot of time doing that, and to be honest, my favorite bronzing brush is the black and silver drugstore one pictured above – I got it years ago at CVS – I think it was Cover Girl…similar brush here.

Smashbox Full Exposure mascara – I’ve been using this one since I got it as a birthday sample from Ulta back in November.  It doesn’t clump, and I have gotten a lot of compliments on my eyelashes since wearing it.  I am also a fan of most drugstore mascaras – L’Oreal Voluminous Butterfly mascara, many from Maybelline and Cover Girl.  Also, Tarte, whose products I am a big fan of, has an amazing mascara called Lights, Camera, Lashes  and it is everything.  If you’re not willing to spend the extra money on mascara, do what I do and keep a nice list of ‘wants’ for all of your fancy makeup needs.  Then, ask for them at birthdays and Christmas!

Stila stay all day liquid eyeliner – there is no other liquid eyeliner.  Plain and simple.  I would never want to do a winged eye with any other makeup item.  It never budges throughout the day, but it’s easy to correct with a wet q-tip if you mess up during application.  So worth the price.

 

Hair

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I am a pretty simple gal when it comes to my hair.  It’s thin, fine, and naturally stick straight.  Most days, I blow dry it with a round brush for volume and run a flat iron through the ends to keep them bouncy and turned under, and on those days, I stick to my volumizing products.  My two favorites are Aquage Uplifting Foam, which I read about for years from the small things blog, and Bumble and Bumble Thickening Full Form Mousse, which my friend and hair stylist suggested.

A couple of years ago, I finally trained my hair (or damaged it enough?) to hold a curl, so I love my Remington curling wand for big loose curls – I bought it when my hair was much longer, but still like it for my shorter ‘do, too.  I love that it tells me how hot it gets up to so I don’t have to guess.  After burning my fingers a few…dozen…times, I think I’ve finally gotten the hang of it.

This Dove dry shampoo is probably my favorite and most vital hair product…yes, people.  I said vital.  When you don’t feel like washing your hair every day or you just need some boost or texture, this stuff is it.  It smells amazing, and for me, the white spray is great because as my roots start to grow out, it keeps my hair super light and fresh-looking.  I use it even when I’ve just washed and dried my hair for a little extra volume and texture.  My best friend and the photographer behind the lens of all of my photos introduced me to it.  We both buy it two (or three) at a time!

Body

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Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream and Kate Spade Walk on Air are my two favorite scents to carry me through all of the seasons.  I have a handful of favorite scents, but these are my two all-time faves.  I got them both as gifts from my ‘wants’ list and it’s about time for both of them to be replenished!  My boyfriend Andrew loves the Walk on Air and that’s one of the many ongoing compliments that he has given me since we started dating – better keep it on hand!

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel nail polish – I am the type of girl who likes to keep my nails painted at all times.  I have an alarming amount of nail polish under my bathroom sink.  The most annoying thing is finding one that will last past a few good days without chipping.  If you ask me, there is no nail polish that will last you a full 14 days unless it’s a gel manicure from the salon, which is what this nail polish claims to do…but it does usually last me a solid week if I’m careful applying and drying.

This Spring, try something new.  Pick up a bright, bold color of lipstick (you know I’m all about that), jazz up your makeup bag, or start using a new scent.  It really is the little things, my friends.  Treat yoself.

All photo credits go to J Parker Photography

Lipstick lust

I can’t help myself:  I am in a small love affair with lip color.  I guess it probably started about 4.5 years ago when I began teaching and realized I needed a quick way to set myself apart from the students (not that it’s fail-proof; I still sometimes get mistaken for a high school-er).  I did not ease in; I did not fear color.  All of the pinks, the reds, the corals, even the deep plums…I needed them.  I probably wear red most often, but like my shoes, I try to give all of my lipsticks some love.

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All of them.

I recently posted an Instagram selfie with Oliver, one of my two main men, and I got a lot of comments on my lipstick specifically.

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To me it was just another day with my regular red, nothing special, and I thought, these people need to know!   There are certain questions that I get asked over and over again, from friends, family, students, colleagues, literally even strangers at the store or in the check out line:  What color is that?  How do you get it to stay on so long?  How do you put it on?  What brand is it?  I don’t say this to brag, but merely to prove that a n y o n e can wear the lipstick I wear, use the ‘tricks’ I use, and feel sassy and classy.  I think most of us are just sometimes afraid to take that leap into unfamiliar territory.  But today, my friends, I am here to answer your questions.  I am here to help you go boldly into the lipstick life.

There is no secret.  I will tell you everything I know.  I have known women who will not respond to questions about their clothes, shoes, purses, makeup, or even nail polish color.  As if the world would end if someone else had the same look as them.  Spread the joy, people!  We all deserve to feel lovely.  This is just a quick little post of my favorite brands and colors of lipsticks, as well as some important tips for making sure your lipstick stays put, which is key (no promises on it not coming off in a smooch situation – us single gals don’t have to worry about that too much).

Tips

  1. DO NOT LICK YOUR LIPS.  EVER.  And certainly, certainly not before you apply.
  2. DO NOT RUB YOUR LIPS TOGETHER.  EVER.

These are literally the only two “rules” I ever tell anyone and time and time again, they have a huge AHA moment because they realize they always do one or both of these things.  Just.  Don’t.  Do.  It.  If your lips are chapped, either take a couple of days off to moisturize, or you can exfoliate.  There are all kinds of scrubs out there for your lips, but I am a little bit of a plain Jane…I use a spare toothbrush and warm water and gently scrub my lips.  Gross?  Maybe it sounds gross to say it out loud, but in real life, it works like a charm and doesn’t seem like a big deal.  Plus, a toothbrush is free from the dentist and lip scrubs can get pricey.  Give it a whirl and then tell me I’m wrong.

Application Techniques

  1. Apply the lipstick to your lips.
  2. Stay in the lines.

Seriously.  I do not have time to do some of the things I have watched in makeup tutorials.  Who on earth does?!  I put my lipstick on my bare lips and I move on to my other true love, mascara.  I might use one of my three lip liners if I have a special occasion I need to look extra fly for.  In that case, I line the outside of my lips and do a little bit of messy coloring in on my lips, then apply as usual.  That’s it.  No blotting, no licking, no extra rubbing together.  Call me crazy.

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Favorites

Brands:  I have a few trusty rusty brands when it comes to lipsticks.  Some of my favorites include MAC (they never let me down), the Maybelline Vivids collection, the Revlon Colorstay Moisture Stain, and Tarte.

My go-to red is a matte color by MAC called Ruby Woo (That’s the one I’m applying in the previous pictures).  I recently bought a matte Pink Pigeon by MAC as well – it is a bright pink perfect for when you need a pop of color or just because, and I also got a color I have coveted and gone back and forth on since last fall, Heroine.  Even I have my limits; it is pretty purple.  But…paired with all black everything and a nice chunky scarf, I think it has turned out to be a solid choice.

View More: http://jparkerphotography.pass.us/lipstick-blog Left to right:  Pink Pigeon, Ruby Woo, Heroine.

Another great matte red if you’re on a budget (who isn’t) is Pure Red by NYX (I’m glad I don’t have to say that out loud because I never know if it’s N.Y.X. or ‘nix’).  It’s a really close second to my Ruby Woo.

Other colors that I reach for over and over again are my nice vampy dark red Revlon Moisture Stain in Parisian Passion and the hot pink in Barcelona Nights.  They give a lot of shine at first, but when they dry they just have a hint of gloss.  On days when I feel like I have a lot going on and need to keep it simple, I go for a nice nude like MAC’s Creme D’nude or Tarte’s Angelic Nude and Sweet Peach.  The Tarte lipsticks are really moisturizing and go on so smooth.  Plus, they come in a beautiful little tube!  And finally, on days when I feel extra sassy, I’ll hit myself with my Maybelline Vivids in Hot Plum.  It’s bold and I love it.

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For those of you who are still not convinced you can pull it off, #1 – you can, and #2 – you can always start small.  They make tons of tinted lip balms out there.  NYX has a great one called butter balm (I have it in Lady Fingers, which is a nice neutral pink, and Red Velvet).  Obviously I am not the only one who knows the power of a bold lip – Pinterest has loads of proof:

pinterestquotes

Be bold.  Live out loud.  With anything you do, it is better to leap than to tiptoe.