I had the opportunity to travel to South Korea over the weekend. Seoul is an amazing city and was exactly the adventure I needed.
I had the opportunity to travel to South Korea over the weekend. Seoul is an amazing city and was exactly the adventure I needed.
Welcome to 2017! I hope your holiday season was full of joy, laughter, and love.Typically at the beginning of a new year, I reflect on accomplishments, challenges, personal growth, personal faults, and decide what I want to focus on in the future; this year I’ve decided to share that reflection on wisconsinwhimsy.
I spent an overwhelming amount of time feeling anxious, fixated on the future, and unfocused on the present in 2016. I experienced an immense amount of change. Still adjusting to my newfound post-college graduation freedom, I moved across the country and then across the world. I accepted a career position, realized it wasn’t for me, and moved into a writing position a few months later. I adopted a dog, spent a lot of time alone, and learned a little Japanese.
faults | I slept too little. I didn’t drink enough water. I didn’t take enough photos. I didn’t put enough effort into maintaining friendships. I spent too much time feeling insecure. I didn’t spend enough time in the moment. I didn’t say thank you enough. I didn’t give enough of my time, money, and love. I spent too much time indoors.
blessings | I saw some of the most breathtaking sights in the mountains of Montana, the hills of Kentucky, the coast of North Carolina, the woods of Washington, and the beaches of Okinawa. I challenged myself to be more open-minded. I learned a lot about myself. I worked hard at my job. I met new people. I learned to drive on the wrong side of the road. I started paying off my student loans. I booked a plane ticket to Korea and a weekend stay in a hostel. I purged old clothing and belongings that I’d been holding on to for too long. I took the time to listen. I overcame physical and emotional pain.
My biggest reflection on 2016 is that I made it to 2017. There were times that I broke down, felt like I couldn’t overcome whatever obstacle was in my way, and wanted to give up. There were times that I felt like things couldn’t get worse and wouldn’t get better. Reflecting on those painful moments brings me peace. I overcame. I’m here. I’m alive. I stuck it out, I sucked it up, and I moved on. I’m humbled and grateful for the chaos I faced last year, because it taught me really important lessons about my own resilience and ability to rebirth.
I have three major aspirations for 2017:
My affirmations for 2017 are: “You are exactly where you are meant to be in this moment. The choices you’ve made have brought you to this moment for a reason. What needs to happen will happen, and what has happened has already passed. Be who you need to be in this moment. Allow yourself to experience the present without pain from the past or fear of the future.”
Wishing you a new year full of blessings! Share your resolutions and reflections with me in the comments below. Until next time,
A brief note | The last few months have been silent on wisconsinwhimsy, and I’d like to apologize and explain why. As many in the blogging community know, it can be overwhelming to constantly generate content, create/shoot/edit images, respond to comments, and keep up with the maintenance of a website. For those of us whose blogs are a passionate hobby rather than a source of income, finding the motivation to tackle all of the intricacies of blogging in addition to our jobs, families, and outside commitments can be incredibly challenging. The past few months have been stressful and at times unhappy for me mentally, but I am pleased to say that I have accepted a new job and am hopeful that this new endeavor will take a heavy burden off of my shoulders, allowing me to dedicate more time to blogging. Thank you for your patience and readership! I adore you!
The ChrismaHannuKwanzaaka season is my favorite time of year. I would keep a Christmas tree and decorations up year round if my husband would let me! There’s something about twinkling lights, rich jewel tones, chunky sweaters, warm food, cozy blankets, and the joyful spirit of friends and family that makes this season feel particularly special. Did I get carried away there?
Unfortunately we won’t get to experience the same kiss of winter air that we’re used to in Okinawa, but I can’t really complain about sunny and 75 in December, can I? This [comparatively] warm weather won’t stop me from rocking a wine-red lip, glittery lids, and a chunky knit sweater though! Here are my 10 picks for this holiday season:
1 | Coty Airspun Powder – Translucent Extra Coverage / $11, Amazon / I recently scooped this up and have been loving it. I have extremely oily skin and this keeps me matte for nearly my entire work day! I also have very textured skin and it somehow works voodoo magic and makes me look flawless. Great stuff. Fair warning, it smells very strongly of ‘old lady smell,’ so if you’re scent-sensitive, you might want to skip this one. Also: you can get it for cheaper if a Walmart is nearby!
2 | Colourpop Lippie Stix Matte in Ellarie / $5, Colourpop / My obsession with Colourpop is basically never-ending, I know, but stay with me: the Lippie Stix are the creamiest, dreamiest, pigmentiest (not a word, roll with it) lippies ever. And you need them. Especially this one – it’s a deep cranberry with a finish somewhere between satin and matte and perfect for embracing your inner sugar plum fairy.
3 | Makeup Revolution Vivid Baked Highlighter in Radiant Lights / $6, Ulta / I’ve raved about this highlighter before on wisconsinwhimsy, and it’s still in my regular highlighter rotation. It’s not glittery at all and packs a buildable glow that’s perfect for icing out your extended family at holiday dinners.
4 | L’Oreal Telescopic Carbon Black / $10, Ulta / My go-to mascara. If you want long, dramatic lashes, this should be in your hand and on your face. It’s pretty cheap and I reach for it more than I do my high-end wands. Stay fierce, my friends.
5 | Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Soft Brown / $21, Sephora / Need your brow game on point this holiday season? Brow Wiz is your friend. I love the quick, precise application, and it’s easy to find your shade. This is my favorite ABH product!
6 | Stila Stay All Day Liquid Liner / $22, Sephora / If this eyeliner can survive my wedding day tears, it can survive your inevitable forced-to-be-in-the-same-house-as-your-relatives holiday meltdown tears.
7 | elf Studio Blush in Berry Merry / $3, elf / I’ve repurchased this blush a handful of times now, and I love it for the holidays. It’s a deep berry with gold shimmer. The ideal blush to go with Ellarie!
8 | China Glaze Nail Lacquer in Ravishing, Dahling / $7.50, Ulta / If Kissin’ Kate Barlow were alive in 2016, this would be her new signature polish. It’s bold, daring, and bad ass, just like her.
9 | Big Sexy Hair Spray & Play Volumizing Hairspray / $18, Ulta / I’m going to be honest with y’all for a moment here. I can’t do hair. My hair styles could be considered worse than most Pinterest fails. That said, this hairspray is pretty fabulous and even helps disguise my dry shampoo’d, poorly curled locks as voluminous magazine hair.
10 | Philosophy Shampoo, Shower Gel, & Body Wash in Christmas Cookie / $12 ON SALE, Ulta / I raved about this last Christmas, and maybe even the Christmas before that. It’s one of my favorite beauty products of the holiday season EVER, and that’s why I’ll forever include it on these lists. This scent is like bath crack. I want it as a body lotion, candle, and pillow spray. Because I’m that in love with it.
Have a merry Christmas, happy New Year, and festive insert-other-holiday-here!
One of my strongest memory triggers is my sense of smell, and spicy, woodsy scents always bring back great memories of fall and its festivities. As you can imagine, one of my favorite ways to cozy up my home for fall is with candles and wax warmers! This was my very first time ordering anything from Scentsy, and I love what I bought!
I picked out the following scents: Juniper Berry, Apple Butter Frosting, Cider Mill, Cedar Cider, and Cozy Fireside. The last three are everything I think of when I think of fall 🍂. Juniper Berry is a very mild Christmas-y scent, and Apple Butter Frosting smells delicious, but it’s a little too food-y smelling for me. Cedar Cider and Cider Mill are similar, but Cedar Cider has the added bonus of smelling like the inside of a cedar chest – which reminds me of my Grandma Joyce, who passed a cedar hope chest down to my mom. Cozy Fireside is warm, woodsy, and makes me feel a teensy bit better about not having a fireplace in this house.
All in all I think these were reasonably affordable ($6 a pop or 6 for $25) and smell really great. My only complaint so far is that the shipping is really expensive! Scentsy, why you gotta do us like that?! It was $10 just to ship these five bars. As much as I love the products, the added cost of shipping is definitely a deterrent for me. Have you ordered from Scentsy before? What are your favorite products? Let me know in the comments below!
If you’re like me and fall is your absolute favorite season, you’re probably itching for some cooler weather, cozy sweaters, and a warm latte right about now. (And mostly NFL season, am I right? Go Pack.) For some reason, by the middle of summer, I’m always impatient for fall. Actually, I would be thrilled if it were October all year round! I love a good pumpkin spice latte, but it can be hard to get that fix out of season. Never fear, friends, for I have created the absolute easiest way to DIY some homemade creamer! You only need a few ingredients, and it takes minutes to throw together.
1 cup [8 oz] vanilla almond milk (sub soy or cashew to taste/dietary needs)
1 cup [8 oz] half + half
1-2 teaspoons light brown sugar
⅓ cup pumpkin puree
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (could sub with ¼ tsp cinnamon + ¼ tsp cloves, ginger, or nutmeg)
As if there weren’t already enough cute, fun things in Japan, there are these neat stores called Daiso, where everything (almost) is ¥100. AND most of the inventory is much more practical and better-made than some of the things I’ve seen at dollar stores back in the States! I was like a kid in a candy store walking through there, y’all. I went to the pink Daiso in Ginowan, and it was comparable to a Walmart in terms of selection and products, and I was able to score almost everything in this haul for $20! I also paid a visit to another store, Don Quijote (or Donki/Don Q) which is more of a discount store with lots of imports. I actually thought it was a little pricey! I still snagged some goodies, though 😉
Here’s a list of the things I bought at the Daiso:
What I picked up at Don Q:
I’ve had the chance to test out some of the products I bought and I have to say, I am really impressed with the quality of the items I bought! I could probably spend hours in the store, wandering through the aisles and justifying purchasing things I don’t need. Have you ever been to a Daiso? What are your favorite dollar store finds? Let me know in the comments below!
I cannot believe it’s already July! I hope everyone in the States had a wonderful Independence Day weekend. June was a wonderful month for me – I finally started to settle into our new house, we completed the adoption process on our adorable 3-year old Labrador, and I made some amazing new memories with my husband. I’ve been wearing less makeup than ever – but (and I’m sure you’ll be able to tell based on my faves!) only because I have been loving a natural, glowy look with nearly-bare skin, highlighted cheekbones, and soft pink lips.
Clinique Color Surge Eyeshadow in Lucky Penny // $16, discontinued // I’ve owned this shadow for quite a long time – I want to say I purchased it two summers ago, but since I usually reach for one of my palettes, it’s been a little neglected. Recently I’ve been trying to cycle older products into my routine, and I realized how much I love this shadow! It’s an intensely shimmered copper that blends like a dream and has that coveted creamy texture of high end powders. I love it. Sadly, Clinique discontinued it, so unless you want to fork out the big bucks for it on eBay or Amazon, you’ll have to settle for a dupe such as CoverGirl’s Mink.
Lipstick Queen Frog Prince Lipstick // $25, Ulta // I reviewed this a while back (read here) and really liked it, but for some reason it got tossed into the abyss that is my lipstick collection. It’s a buildable lipstick that can go from a tinted balm to a pigmented stain in just a few swipes. I think it’s so fun that it looks green in the tube but shows up rosy pink on the lips! It’s a great lippie to keep in your bag.
Yankee Candle Wax Tarts in Lemon Lavender + Sage & Citrus // $1.99 ea, Yankee Candle // Y’all. I have a Yankee Candle addiction (my husband will confirm this). It’s one of those iconic brands that follows you into adulthood – I still remember my mom burning their candles as a kid. I used to be a huge candle junkie, but here in our new house, we have a lot more space – so I’ve been using my wax warmers more often because, quite frankly it’s a lot more cost effective to melt wax in each room than it is to buy full size candles. These two scents are pretty self explanatory, and they’re perfect spring-to-summer transitional scents.
Makeup Revolution Vivid Baked Highlighter in Radiant Lights // $6, Ulta // This highlighter is really popular in the blog world lately, and I know I’ve written about it before on wisconsinwhimsy. It’s cheap, it’s gorgeous, and you get a good amount of product. I have a handful of high end highlighters, and yet this is the one I reach for almost every day! I would say the pigmentation is middle of the road, but that’s actually a pro for me, since it gives me a little more control over the opacity.
Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Moonstone // deluxe sample, but full size is $41 at Ulta // If you read my last beauty blog about the Best of Becca Blushed Radiance kit, you probably already know why I love this product. It’s perfect for a sheer-to-medium intensity glow, and it feels really lightweight on the skin. Moonstone is a great shade for light skin like mine!
Wet n Wild 1 Step Wondergel in Stay Classy // $4.99, Target // I purchased this at the Exchange with a coupon, so I only paid $2.99 which was a steal! Stay Classy is a cool-toned mauve, and I would definitely say it’s a year-round color. I didn’t bring my UV gel kit with me to Japan, so I’ve been using regular polish on my nails lately. I’m hard on my nails, though, and it’s hard for me to find polish formulas that I actually like! I’ve had this on my nails for 5 days now, and while it doesn’t look like a fresh mani, it does still look pretty good for a home nail job. It hasn’t chipped at all, rather just worn down on the tips of my nails. I’ll definitely repurchase this in other shades!
What were your favorite beauty products this June? Let me know in the comments below!