Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Kohl's Beauty Box Review


My love for testing products started early in life. I remember being a teenager and walking in the mall and one of those lovely ladies came up and asked me if I wanted to get paid to test a product. I happily agreed and was sent to their office to receive a sample of an astringent for my face. I remember how bad this product was and that it was so strong, it removed the ink from my auto show stamp on my hand.

Now I am a bit more hesitant to try products as I have more sensitive skin and need to be careful with what I put on my face. Imagine my delight though when I was contacted by Kohl's and asked to try a beauty box! I willingly agreed and they sent it to my home. 

The first product I tried was the Hydroxatone Revitalizing Microdermabrasion. This was very creamy as it was applied on wet fingertips and massaged into the skin. It helps to exfoliate and smooth the skin while helping to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and large pores. It also helps to reduce the age spots that you have as well as any hyperpigmentation. I used this product as directed for the first week every other day and then took a week off as suggested. This product was wonderful as an exfoliant and I immediately noticed the smoothness in my skin. 

The second product I reached for was the H2O+ Face Oasis Hydrating Treatment. I used this right after the first product and I literally felt like I had just paid money to have a facial. It works to hydrate your skin and plump any fine lines that you have to keep your skin feeling and looking fresh all day. It's safe to say that I am in love with this product! The texture was nice as I applied it and was not greasy or oily. I almost felt like I could to without makeup because I didn't want to mess up my super clean skin! 

The third product I used then was the Pur Minerals Primer. This primer helps to brighten and firm skin and also helps makeup to stay on and help foundation look beautiful. I have to say that I liked this primer but the smell reminded me a little of bee pollen or the scent of Flonase. It was a nice, smooth, creamy texture but the smell was a little overwhelming for me. To be fair, other primers I have used also smell similar so it must be an ingredient that is included in this type of product. 

I used all of these products together for a week and everytime I used them, I felt like I had a facial. They all made my skin feel wonderful and clean. Such a great feeling! 

The fourth product I used was the Real Techniques Fine Liner Brush. This brush helps to aid in a precise application of liquid or cream eyeliner. I used it with my liquid eyeliner and I loved it. The brush is a perfect size, lightweight and compact and the bristles are very smooth and silky. It's a great brush! I would try more brushes from this company! 

The fifth and final product that I tried was the Lorac Tantalizer Baked Bronzer. This is a terra cotta color and is a silky smooth luminous bronzing powder for a sun-kissed look. I tested this on my arms since I am in the frozen tundra right now and won't be going anywhere without something on my legs. It was definitely silky feeling and left a little sparkle on my arms which was fun. The scent was a little weird though and reminds me of a pipe - I know that sounds really weird. I'm not saying I don't like the scent but all of this type of "self tanner" or "bronzer" lotions have some sort of scent like that. Again, it's probably an ingredient that is similar in all of them. 


Here are some pictures of the box and the items. 






Overall, I thought this beauty box was a hit! The products were top quality and worked well. I was surprised to see that Kohl's was in the market for this type of product that other high-end retail stores sell as well. I would definitely give them a look if you're needing some sort of beauty item as I know the quality will be great and, it's Kohl's, so you know the price will also be great! 


Have you tried any of these products or others from Kohl's? Did you know that they sold products like these? Will you give them a try now? I'm curious to hear your thoughts! 


Sandae

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Cranberry Maple Slow Cooker Oatmeal

The weather is positively nuts right now! Calling for snow in Florida and no rain in California! Here in Michigan, we are having record low temps and more school cancellations because of the cold weather. As I'm writing this, the actual temperature is -6 degrees with a wind chill of -25 degrees! Brrr! 

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and I have an easy recipe for oatmeal that will fill you up and keep you warm. Bonus: set it and forget it! 

I first came into this recipe in a Weight Watchers meeting a few years ago and it has become one that I reach for in times like these. I actually thought I lost this recipe and just found it lately as my husband was asking me to make it! 


Here's a picture of the finished product and how I ate it this morning! 


Let's get down to business! Here's the recipe:

Cranberry Maple Slow Cooker Oatmeal

8 cups water
2 cups steel cut oats (Hodgson Mills is the brand I use) 
2/3 cup dried cranberries
1/2 c maple syrup
1 tsp ground cinammon 
1/2 tsp salt
Slivered almonds( for topping) 

Combine all ingredients except for almonds in crockpot. Cook on low 4-6 hours. Sprinkle with almonds. Serving is 3/4 cup. 

Here are my ingredients:


Here's what it looks like in the pot before the water. 


Add the water and stir it up. Let it cook! 


Here's the oatmeal after cooking. Stir it well! 


If you don't have maple syrup, you can use regular pancake syrup but it will not be as sweet. Add some brown sugar and it will be great! 

Enjoy and stay warm! 

Sandae

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sunday Style: Lace and Tweed

I'm so tired of all of the cold weather and snow that we are having! I saw on the news today that we have had about 32" of snow in January and more is still falling! I'm so ready for spring! But alas, we will have to wait a little while longer! 

Today's momod challenge is lace. I had a lace dress all picked out for today and decided to not wear it and go with pants instead since it's so cold! I have this salmon colored lace top from Loft (2012) and paired it with black jeans. I'm wearing this awesome tweed jacket that I got from Banana Republic a few years ago. I love mixing textures as much as I love mixing prints!  I went with black boots to match that are Bare Traps brand from DSW and look as good as they are comfortable. 

For accessories, I'm wearing my dark metal necklace and earrings again from Premier Designs. I think these are are pretty and edgy at the same time. Probably some of my favorite pieces from them! I added my strand of pearls from J Crew in too. I think I like these a lot together! I'm also carrying a leopard clutch from Forever 21 that I got last summer. Such an easy and fun outfit to put together! 





Hope you're all having a great weekend! 

Sandae

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Thrifted Thursday: Houndstooth

First of all, I have to tell you that I haven't always loved thrift stores. The smell sometimes gets to me and I am overwhelmed by the stuff that the stores have. I cannot believe some of the stuff that people donate because when I look at it, I see stains, holes, tears, etc. I am saddened that stuff like this gets put on the racks for others to purchase. This is typical in your larger thrift stores but not the smaller consignment stores. 

That being said, I also cannot believe some of the stuff that people donate! It's name-brand and in great condition! I know you really have to weed through the racks and it can be a tedious process, but it can really pay off! 

I like to go to thrift stores on a day off of work by myself and take my time looking. I generally look by color and by pattern. I look by color and pattern because if I am visually interested in the piece, I imagine it will be a great piece to wear. I search high and low all of the racks in case I missed something! 

I will admit that I won't pay tons of money for something thrifted unless if I happen to really love the piece and it is good quality. I am by nature a bargain shopper and this applies to pre-owned items as well as to new items. 

Today's momod challenge is something thrifted. I found this houndstooth skirt at a Salvation Army store and immediately fell in love with it. There is no tag in it and no size listed, so I tried it on in the fitting room and loved it! It must have been made for me! I am copying a look that I saw someone (Trendynerds) on Instagram wearing and am mixing an Old Navy black plaid with the houndstooth. I'm still loving my Banana Republic pink sweater with the gold sequin elbow patches too and thought this would look great together! It's also another day of tights and black booties from Kohl's as it is so cold here still! Top it off with some accessories and my Phillip Lim for Target bag and I call it a day! Such a fun and easy outfit! 

I'm loving that I saved money on the skirt and the other items were purchased last year. I'm still doing great at my 2014 Closet Remix Challenge and haven't spent a penny on myself! 








I made a little arm party with a gifted crystal bracelet and this cute buckle bracelet from Kiwi Circle. 


What do you all think of making this a weekly post? Do you like thrift store shopping? What kind of stores are the best? What kind of items have you found? 

Happy Friday Eve! 

Sandae

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Awkward Years



I've actually been wanting to write about this for a while. It's something that has been heavy on my heart though a lot recently.

The Awkward Years? Remember those? You might even be reading this and thinking that you are still in your Awkward Years.   Recently, I received a couple of comments that could be perceived as negative on Instagram and it started to make me think about why I am doing this blog in the first place.  Why am I letting people into my private life by showing outfits that I come up with? Why am I showing the world how I look today?   I love fashion and I also love the fact that I can get creative and mix and match things- i.e. my love for pattern mixing, etc. Social media allows us to look into peoples' lives and also allows us an easy avenue to express our opinions or ask questions that quite possibly shouldn't be asked.

I will tell you why I am writing this post at this exact time.  There are really a few reasons for this.  First of all, I will share with you that I have never been thin.  I have always struggled with self-confidence issues and even today, I have times when I hate the way I look. In my younger life I thought it would be better if I was thinner, if I had less acne, if I played a different sport, etc. You get the idea. I grew up Baptist and wasn’t allowed to wear pants and had to wear dresses or culottes.  My parents didn’t let me wear makeup until I was in 9th grade and I had horrible acne. I wasn’t allowed to get my ears pierced until I was 16. There were so many restrictions placed on our outward appearance.(Don't get me wrong-there is nothing wrong with these things if this is what you believe. In my own life as a grown woman, I now choose when I will do these things.)  "Man looks on the outward appearance but God looks on the heart." I had a hard time loving myself the way I was because I didn’t feel like I looked good on the outside.

As I have grown up, I learned that it is better for me to be myself.  I am more comfortable and confident in my own skin.  While I may have more of it, it is mine and I have learned to love it. My least favorite part of my body is my legs, but you know what? They are what gets me around.  They are what helped me run my 5K. And what will help me to run a 10K this year. They are what I need to live in this life independently. I don't take them for granted one bit and even if I don't feel super confident about them, I look at all of these positives.

Secondly, as I was growing up in those awkward years, kids were mean to me-just like they were probably mean to you and maybe they are being mean to your kids now.  Kids need a positive example and someone to look at and say “Look at her! She might be bigger but she has got it together!”  Having it together might be a stretch, but you get my point. They need someone to look at it and know that it’s okay to be different.

Thirdly, I would like to show the world what it is like to be a curvy woman and have a style. My vision of my brand is really to let you all know that this is life.  We are not all thin and we all have our own unique style and look. You just have to own it.  We are mothers and daughters and coworkers and business owners and stay-at-home moms. You can be bigger and look beautiful and have confidence in yourself.  You can express yourself through fashion and in a modest way and still look beautiful.

I was private when I first went on Instagram a couple of years ago.  I started an account for the filter on the pictures.  While it might seem dumb now, given all of the apps that are out, it wasn’t then.  I learned that I could follow people and see pictures and outfit ideas and decided to go public with mine last year.  While I stepped up my game with the outfits of the day, I also realized that I am unique.  I may not be able to wear everything that everyone else wears and really, it’s a godsend.  Imagine how much shopping I would really do if this was the case! But what I also realized was that there is a lack of positive, modest role models in the world.  It’s hard to find people who dress normally on a day to day basis and actually show you where they shop and buy their clothes.

While I don’t think I should have to share what sizes I wear (and yes, I have also been asked this question), if you have a similar shape as mine, you might get ideas of how to put yourself together better.  (While the actual size that you wear doesn't matter-I still believe that you can be beautiful whatever the size is that you wear). Size is just a number - if you have clothes that FIT you, it doesn't matter what size you are!  Maybe you enjoy spending all day in pajamas and yoga pants (and I would never judge you for that) but need an idea for an outfit when you go out.  Or maybe you just like seeing other people who are like you and have a similar style.  Whatever the reason, I chose to go public to be an inspiration to curvy girls everywhere.

I am happy with the positive feedback that I have been receiving.  I can't believe how many people have reached out to me, especially since I started blogging, to tell me that I have inspired them or that I am helping them to love themselves and learn to dress themselves. I am humbled and honored when I receive a kind word and know that I have helped someone. 
I also know that an area that I need to work on in my personal life is not getting defensive when I do receive negative comments and look at the facts.  If you choose to judge a book by its cover, then it’s really your issue and not mine.  I need to continue to be me and love me for me. If you see a picture of me and you don't know me, you are judging this book by its cover.  While I am on a journey just like everyone else to eat better and exercise more and stay healthy, I own the woman I am today.

You know all of those people who made fun of you back in the day? Have you ever stopped to see where they are now? Just think about it.  If they could see you now, what would they say?

I came upon a project on Instagram last year that really made me think about my journey of self-discovery and becoming the person I am today.  A woman started something called The Awkward Years Project after sharing a similar experience as mine.  If we could only see the people that we will become in the future, our lives may be forever changed.  I decided to post my before and after picture as well.  I chose a really bad one with glasses, a bowl haircut, and wearing a dress as this was probably one of my most awkward looks growing up. I didn’t know the person that I would become today.  I had no idea that I would someday have the ability to influence others.  I am continually thankful for this opportunity. 


To see my story and others just like mine,  visit www.awkwardyearsproject.com. I promise you will be inspired and touched by the stories that you read.


Thanks for reading and following along with me!
Sandae

 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sunday Style: Pink Punk

If you've read any this blog before or know me personally, you know I love the color pink. It's funny because I can't say that I really liked the color pink a whole lot before I got married many years ago. I think my husband secretly tried to make me less of a tomboy by deliberately buying pink things for me. But I digress... He did purchase this jacket for me for Christmas though after I asked for it. I happened to see it 50% off during my Black Friday shopping and purchased it and he wrapped it up for me for Christmas. In my defense, he had looked for it prior to that and it was not on sale. So naturally when I saw it on sale, I had to get it! 

I first saw this cool moto jacket in Gap probably back in October sometime though. I think it's really meant to be an outerwear item, but because it's so cold here, I decided to wear it as a jacket over a dress. I think it's a little "punk" and adds some edge to any outfit. 

I wore this fun jacket over a black dress that I purchased from New York and Company last year. You may remember it from a previous post about Wedding Wear. I love pieces that you can make look different and wear multiple ways. I also still love the dresses by Eva Mendes for New York and Company. Her designs are for women like me! They fit and flatter in all the right places! 

Adding to the edge of this outfit, I added some dark metal accessories from Premier Designs. I bought this necklace and earrings a couple of years ago when I attended a friend's party. I loved the metal chain look and was surprised at how fun and affordable they were! I also have a fun party ring from Lia Sophia that I got as a hostess gift a couple of years ago. It's so fun and I love the colors in it! 

Instead of shoes or heels, I decided to go with black booties from Kohls since we have snow on the ground and it's so cold! I think they make this outfit maintain it's edge and add to the fun of the whole look! I also chose polka dot tights for some additional visual interest and texture. 






Hey! Did you notice my new hairdo? I'm loving my hairstylist, Sharon, right now for giving me this amazing cut and color! 



Hope you're all having a great weekend! It's a three day weekend for me since I'm off work tomorrow! Enjoy! 


Sandae

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Pining Over Pinterest

Does anybody out there love Pinterest besides me? For the most part, I know that Pinterest took over the need for me to clip out articles from magazines and newspapers.  If I like a recipe now and I see it in a magazine, I will go to that website and see if it’s on there and then pin it! Done! No more keeping stacks of papers!

If I see an item that I like on a website, I can look for their Pinterest button and pin it to one of my boards. I especially like this for my fashion boards as they can vary based on the type of items that I am looking at.

I have also learned cleaning and organizing tips off of Pinterest.  Who knew that Cream of Tartar actually worked on rust stains? I learned this and so many more tips on Pinterest.

Who likes the secret boards? I know I do currently have one secret board and trust me, it’s a good one! I love to plan things like parties and vacations and surprises and I certainly don’t need my followers asking me questions about what I have pinned! I love that they came out with that option!

I decided to write about Pinterest today because coincidentally, today’s momomod challenge is a Pinterest- inspired look.  (Here's the link to my friend Chandra's blog again that I talked about earlier in the week, More Modern Modesty . It's also Thursday which means over on my friend Heather’s blog, HK Style Journey it’s Pinned It and Did It Day! I think this is such a fun idea that she came up with and I decided it’s high time that I link up with her! 

Today’s Pinterest-inspired outfit is something that I would wear but maybe not have thought to wear it. I will be honest in saying that I actually had another really fun and colorful outfit picked out and ready to go and then it started snowing! This other outfit was not as appropriate to be out and about in the snow wearing so guess what! I put a pin in it (insert irony here) and will save it for another time! I love this look and it was so fun to recreate it! I am wearing my Loft sequin striped tee that I love from last year over top of an a Old Navy plaid and paired my favorite black skinny jeans with them. I'm wearing my pearl strands from J Crew Factory and you will notice the fabulous leopard Sam and Libby booties that are from Target. I will add that I had my eye on these booties for months (I am not exaggerating) and then they went on clearance at 50% off right before I started my 2014 Closet Remix challenge! Score! I'm also carrying a fantastic teal Steve Madden bag that, get this, I found in my closet! It still had tags on it and was in the back of the closet. Yet another reason I am doing the remix challenge...
 Here's a picture of the Pinterest look that I am recreating. 


Here's my version of this outfit...in the snow...enjoy! 








This was such a simple look and one that really didn’t take any effort to recreate. Bonus! I already had all of the pieces in my closet! I am so glad that I looked on Pinterest and came up with this look. It really helps me to think outside of the box and wear my clothes in a creative way. 

I will definitely be using Pinterest again to recreate outfits and you should too! It’s so easy to sign up and get an account if you don’t already have one and it’s free! You will find all sorts of things on it and it's a really great place to keep them all organized and in one place. 

Thanks for reading and following along with me!


Sandae

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sunday Style: I've Got the Blues

I don't really have the blues. I just love wearing the color blue and I love wearing different shades of it even more!

Believe it or not, I'm dressed in all Target today with the exception of the Loft bow belt that I put on top. This is a dress that is short- sleeved and I bought it before the 2014 Closet Remix Challenge at 70% off. I love the dress for many reasons: it's knit so it's super comfortable, it's a great length and it reminds me of a similar dress that I made in high school in Home Ec. 

The sweater was also 70% off and I am truly able to mix and match with a lot of other clothes that I already own. I love the different shades of blue as well as the color-blocking. 

I added some interest with the leopard heels and the bow belt. The heels are also old from Target and the belt is from last year. A lot of other jewelry or accessories really isn't necessary with this outfit because of the collar and the belt. I am wearing earrings and a bracelet but nothing much as I don't want to take away from the outfit itself. 

Here are a few different shots of the outfit from today. Enjoy! 




I think this dress is so versatile and will look different when it warms up and I wear it alone. Hope you all are having a great Sunday! 

Sandae

Saturday, January 11, 2014

I'm Seeing Spots!

I found this fun vest at Land's End in Sears and fell in love with it. I love the navy color and the polka dots! It's such a fun versatile piece to have and the price just couldn't be beat! I also think it's a more budget friendly piece in comparison to the J Crew striped excursion vest that I had been eyeing.

This vest is a great addition to my wardrobe and I was finally able to break it out this weekend when the temperatures rose a bit. I have several other outfits planned to wear with this and I think especially in Spring, I will be able to break it out a bit more. 

Today's look included some favorites of mine: the cute hedgehog sweater from Target last summer, my favorite plaid from J Crew Factory and of course, skinnies and riding boots! Also included in today's ensemble: my favorite tote from Phillip Lim for Target. My love for critters and pattern mixing is sure evident in this outfit today! 

Here's some pics of me in this new beauty. Enjoy! 




How else would you wear this vest? I'd love to hear your ideas! 

Thanks for reading and following along. I hope you're having a fantastic weekend! 

Sandae

Friday, January 10, 2014

Because Sometimes Fridays Need Some Sparkle


I don’t normally do a blog post on Fridays, but sometimes, I just have to show you all things that make me happy.  Last week I posted about this leopard faux fur vest and how I can’t get enough of it! Did I mention my husband bought it for me for Christmas? It makes it that much more special.

I am doing a challenge this month, which is more like a guide, for something to wear on each day during the month.  I will admit that I love these challenges because they truly help me to plan and think outside of the box when it comes to my outfits.  I love to mix and match things and take risks and these challenges help me to think about things differently.

The challenge this month is from More Modern Modesty. I love Chandra and her blog and her outfits that she puts together.  You can check out her blog here www.momomod.comChandra is also very creative and was thoughtful enough to put together a list for us for January.  I will also admit that I do not wear dresses and skirts everyday but what I do wear looks modest and age-appropriate while having fun or expressing my creativity.

For today’s challenge, it was to wear your favorite color.  If you have seen me or seen any of my pictures, you know I love color.  I don’t think you will find me wearing all neutrals unless if I am not feeling well! One of my favorite colors is a bright pink and this sweater is such a favorite of mine.  Guess what! My husband also bought this sweater for me one day after work after I told him how much I loved it and the gold sequin elbow patches!

I decided to pair the sweater with other favorites of mine and I will tell you that this might be one of my all-time favorite outfits! I love polka dots and this shirt that I got on major sale from the Gap a while back is so cute with the pink and occasional red polka dot thrown in.  I couple this with the sweater and this gorgeous faux fur vest, my favorite skinny jeans and my favorite boots and I am so in love! I also ordered this fabulous necklace from Ameera Noor through www.jane.com and I love the pearls and the extra sparkle that it brings! Check out their website here for more styles www.ameeranoor.com .

So, Fridays need some sparkle now and then. Today I had a lot of meetings and my 2013 annual performance review was due along with all of the other tasks that are assigned to me.  Sometimes the clothes we wear help us to feel better and have a positive outlook on life. I find that if I am wearing something that makes me happy, I am happier with myself and my colleagues and I seem to be more productive.  Bottom line: wear what makes you smile! And sometimes even Friday needs some sparkle!

Enjoy these pics! 








Have a great rest of your Friday!

Sandae

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sunday Style: Faux Fur

I'm back to writing my weekly Sunday Style post now that Style Me December is over! 

I recently discovered the faux fur trend and my love for wearing it! I never bothered to try this before but this year I decided to go out of my comfort zone and give it a spin. I was looking for a vest that was light brown but really couldn't find one that I loved. Then I found this leopard print faux fur vest at Banana Republic. I loved this one because it was different and had a pattern and would look good with solids or prints. My husband bought it for me for Christmas and this weather is the perfect time to use it! (While I am writing this article on Sunday, this look was from yesterday when it was actually sunny and not snowing here!)

I paired the vest with a monogram sweater from Old Navy and a plaid from there as well. I also wore my favorite pair of skinny jeans and riding boots. For a little bit more glam, I also added my favorite statement necklace from very Jane. I also am carrying the taupe satchel from Phillip Lim for Target. It was a simple and fun look for me and was perfect for our outing to the movies and dinner with friends! 

Here are some of my favorite pics of this outfit. Enjoy! 










I just can't get enough of this vest! I will be wearing this a lot more, especially with the 2014 closet remix challenge that I am doing! How else would you wear this vest? I have some other ideas planned, but would love to hear yours! 

Enjoy the rest of your weekend! Thanks for reading and following along! 

Sandae