Life in Mascara: April 2016

Friday, April 29, 2016


Many people constantly remark that their skin gets very dry when they fly. I have never really experienced that as my skin is pretty much dry All. The. Time. But knowing that I was about to fly to Arizona, which is pretty much a dry dessert climate year round, for my cousins wedding I wanted to take extra precaution. After all, who doesn't want to look good at a wedding even if it is not your own?

The day I was set to fly out I still had to work a full day and then commute to the airport. Time was a factor but I knew that taking just a few minutes to love my skin would be in my best interest. I took the time to apply When Glamour Base sheet mask which actually takes no time at all. I first made sure that my face and my hands were clean and patted my skin dry. I removed the all natural bio-cellulose sheet and aligned the openings to the eyes and nose with mine. I pressed the center of it on my face and then smoothed the rest of it on. The sheet is actually made from coconuts and can hold essence 100 times its weight which is 10 times more than paper or fabric sheet masks. The serum infused mask felt cooling on the skin and stayed on without slipping. It can be an interesting feeling to have a serum infused sheet applied to your face but the end result is rewarding. I took the rest of the serum in the pouch and applied it liberally to my neck and hands and then went about finishing packing. 

Fifteen minutes later I was packed and my When mask had delivered natural hydration to my parched skin. At this point the mask had begun to dry but wasn't completely depleted of moisture. It was easy to remove and I went in with some hydrating serum afterwards to help extend the moisturizing effect of the mask. Off to work I went without makeup which is not the norm for me but I didn't want to have makeup on for about 20 hours as my day was set up to be. Throughout the day I still noticed how soft my skin was almost like I had just had a facial. At the end of my extremely long day I stood before the mirror ready to wash my face and go to bed. I could still feel the change in my skin as I splashed water over it. 

The wedding was the following day late in the evening and my skin was looking and feeling great. I noticed how smooth my makeup went on and the dry patches under my eyes were not as noticeable making the makeup not cling to it. I made a mental note to pick up a handful of these masks as they are the best pre-night out skincare routine. Quick and easy and out the door. But most of all, effective!

*Samples for this post were provided by When. As always, all opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


This month was filled with fun family events including a quick trip to Arizona for my cousins wedding and a week long event in San Antonio called FIESTA which is basically an excuse to celebrate our heritage, eat yummy carnival food, and drink if that is your choice. It seemed like every weekend we had something planned and actually even during the week. Including a chance to see Ernest Cline talk about his books on the release day of the paper back version of Armada. *SQUEALS* That was a real big nerdy fan moment for me. I even got to take a picture with his DeLorean and with Cline himself. Of course I had to calm myself down long enough to ask him if a third book was coming soon and he said yes but wasn't allowed to talk about it. That was enough to throw me into a tizzy and reach into my purse to secure the location of my inhaler. I am just that cool.

Let's see what else I read:

1. Armada by Ernest Cline- Full review coming next week.

2. C is for Corpse- And the fun ensues with Kinsey Millhone. In this book Millhone is hired by Bobby Callahan to investigate who caused the accident that left him with severe memory loss. Callahan gives Millhone the few bits of memory that he has including an address book he believes he gave to someone to hide that may be of high importance. No sooner does Millhone start on the case when Callahan dies three days into the investigation in yet another car accident. This leaves Millhone shaken up and out to discover who, if in fact, killed Callahan.

3. Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter- Think Gone Girl and Girl on The Train with a touch of taboo. I listened to this book on my trip to Arizona this month. I was almost excited at my three hour layover in Phoenix so that I could get to spend some more uninterrupted time with this book. By the time my cousin picked me up in Yuma four hours later I was going on and on to her about how jaw dropping good this book was. Slaughter presents the story of a family torn apart early on after the disappearance of the older sister, Julia. The remaining two sisters, Claire and Lydia, no longer speak to each other after Lydia's claims of Paul, Claire's husband, trying to rape her. The sisters meet again after Paul dies and Claire finds some really disturbing information on his computer. Information that might actually lead them to finding out what happened to their sister long ago. I must tell you guys that this psychological thriller deals with some strong content that sad but true does occur out in the world. Many times I had to stop and close my eyes and just say 'Geez' and take a moment to gather myself. I gave it a five star rating on Goodreads (follow me here). It will lead you into a panic stricken battle till the end. 

So far I have read 21 books this year. Could this finally be the year that I reach my goal of 52? Crossing my fingers and toes!.,

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


Illuminating finishing powders have been having a real moment ever since Hourglass introduced Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder and changed our perception of powders forever. They come at a high price point so I have limited my collection of them to just one. So basically not a collection at all. I have been lusting for their Ambient Lighting Palette but I just cant bring myself to purchase it...yet. I was just gearing myself up for it when I came across the e.l.f. Illuminating Palette for only $6! I didn't even worry myself thinking if maybe the powders would be chalky or just sit on the skin as all of e.l.f. cosmetics have been of great quality.

This beautiful palette cases four shades that can be worn separate or mixed together to form your own custom soft-focus powder. They capture, diffuse, and soften light reflecting off your skin with the most natural radiance. I have been enjoying using the lightest shade under my eyes to set my concealer. Then I take the color next to it and the one diagonal from that one and use it as a highlight on my cheekbones, bridge of my nose, forehead, and cupids bow. Finally I take the bottom right shade and use it as sort of like a bronzer/blush on my cheeks and the edges of my hairline. The effect is so light but it makes you look like you have the best skin ever. Don't let this untouched pan picture fool you. This palette has been in constant rotation since I purchased it applying it with their ultimate blending brush

I am so satisfied with this purchase that I don't foresee myself purchasing the Hourglass version after all. Unless of course in the name of Science and Beauty Bloggers everywhere, you need a side by side comparison for dupe purposes. Then I could take one for the team!

Thursday, April 21, 2016


Years ago when husband and I started to date, I was instantly drawn to his sense of adventure. There wasn't anything that I brought up that he wasn't willing to go and try out. We went horse back riding, tried a bunch of new restaurants, and even went to the Renaissance Fair. We had a blast and I knew that he wasn't doing it just to please me, but rather because he wanted us to have a good time and genuinely thought we would. We had a lot of mutual friends going into this relationship and it was one of these friends that made a comment to me about how much we went out and how we could afford it. It didn't rub me the wrong way since both of us made really good money at the time and I didn't depend on him financially. We were dating. That is what you do. You go out. This same friend said that her and her husband didn't do anything like that because they felt it was wasting money. I saw it as investing in experiences.

The thing is I am a saver and I am a shopper. I love to splurge on things that make me happy and I like to save and take advantage of a deal. But with husband, we enjoy going out and we enjoy trying new things. Why not? I feel like this provides us with new experiences, opens us up mentally, and can always provide for a new story as in "Hey remember that time we went horseback riding and you DIDN'T tell me you were allergic to horses?". True story, that happened. Early on we designated Thursdays as our date night and four years into our relationship, it still holds strong. This doesn't mean, however, that we break the bank each week or try something new each time. There is always something so comforting about settling into the booth of your favorite restaurant that you have been to countless of times. Still we go out and I promise you can afford to as well.

Happy Hours- Whether you are a drinker or not, that is besides the point. Happy hours often come with a special menu where normally appetizers are half off or you can get a good deal on a meal. Husband and I regularly check out happy hour menus to different restaurants, especially ones that we have been wanting to try. That way we order a few appetizers, split them, and then decide whether it is worth going back for lunch or dinner. The cost isn't nearly as high as a regular sit down meal.

Entertainment Book- These books are normally sold as a fundraiser in schools but you can also purchase them off the website. If you wait a few months, they are actually cheaper than at the beginning of the year. What these books are is an overload of deals to local restaurants (they are sold by city), movie theaters, entertainment centers, bowling, among a bunch of other things. They either offer a great discount or have some kind of BOGO. Either way this is a great way to save on outings and to get you to try new places.

Groupon- This is quite possibly my not so secret weapon. Groupon features a revolving door of adventures and deals on restaurants. Here you are able to purchase a specific amount at a restaurant for less than what the actual voucher is worth. For example, you may purchase a deal for $20 at your local sushi place but in actuality, only pay $12. Every time that we want to try a new place I look here to see if there is a Groupon available. This is where I do the most digging when the weather starts to change as well. There is a paddle boarding deal that I have been wanting for oh so long. I think it is finally warm enough to try! Be sure to constantly look into it as deals change daily. 

Local City Events- There are many events that a city puts on for its people. These can range from carnivals, to food fairs, to art shows. Best thing of all, most are free admission and kid friendly. We constantly go to these with and without kids and have a blast. Check out your city website for more information.

Alternative Times- This will depend heavily on the flexibility of your schedule. A lot of places offer free admission or discounted prices depending on time of day or actual day of the week. For example, Thursday nights are free admission to one of the museums here in town while any other day you would pay full price. When a new exhibit hits that I want to see, I wait for a Thursday night when we are able to go for free and then either opt for dinner or drinks afterwards. Another is the movie theater. Matinees are so much less expensive than regular time showings. We also have a discount theater where we live and matinees there are a dollar while regular showings vary from $1.50 on Wednesday to $3.00 on weekends. Either way it is a deal if you are willing to wait a bit to see a movie.

Discounts- Military, Teacher, and Student discounts are some of the most common ones out there. But you can also call ahead to anywhere that you are going and ask what kind of discounts are offered. For example, I have received a discount at a couple of places simply because of the school district I work for. That being said, when I worked retail our company offered us a discount to several in town places as well. Check with your HR to see if your company offers anything like that. 

Rewards Programs- These are great to have if they are free. I don't feel like I should pay to become a part of some kind of loyalty program so in turn I can be rewarded for using their brand. The ones I use the most are associated with movie theaters. We go to the movies a lot and earn points for concession stand purchases as well as ticket purchases. In turn we redeem these points for drinks, snacks, and even tickets. It's a win win for me!

Coupons- Plain old cutting coupons is still one of the easiest ways to go. They generally arrive in the mail at my house and I store it away in my purse. That way when we are out and about and we decide we are hungry I can look in my purse and see what deal I have. Simple and efficient. 

Hosting- One of my favorite ways to get together with friends is to offer to host dinner at our house. Whether it is a married couple or a few groups of friends I make the main plate and they most often than not bring a side and/or a dessert. You don't have to dress up if you don't want to and you can lounge around in your comfy sofa. Plus you get to try other peoples cooking and swap recipes. Don't feel like you have to impress with an amazing dish. Most of the time I make some kind of pasta and everyone is full and content. 

Now get yourself ready for night out on the town and bask knowing that you got a deal doing so!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


It is no secret that I am BIG on baby products for personal use. I have such sensitive skin that I find I am better suited using these products on a regular basis. After my best friend recommended this particular body lotion I went and took a look at the baby section to see what other new items had come out that I was not aware of.

That is where I found Cetaphil baby Ultra Moisturizing Wash. I have been a fan of Cetaphil for many, many years. I use their bar soap every day for my sensitive acne prone skin. I didn't think twice and snatched this bottle up right away.

The scent if heavenly. It's that unique baby scent that we all know and love. It lingers lightly on the skin all day. The formula is made with calming organic calendula, is paraben, colorant, and mineral oil free. It is hypoallergenic and dermatologist tested. All of which should be important for you whether you have a baby or have crazy sensitive skin like I do. It rinses clean and leaves my skin extremely moisturized until the next. My bottle is nearing its end but I already have plans to scoop up another this week. 

Thursday, April 14, 2016


I am constantly on the lookout for new ways to save money. I like knowing I got a deal on something; the most bang for my buck. But it isn't always about buying something that can lead to savings. Planning and actually putting money aside lead to this also. It is when we incorporate all three things that amount to the most efficient ways to save. This then becomes habit and the next thing you know money saving is a part of your routine. Let me show you five easy ways to save money:

1. Dollar Store- I talked about this in length here but I honestly believe that you need to pop into the dollar store prior to any other store. There are so many things you can find there for much less than you can find elsewhere. Of course there is a lot of junky things as well, but simply walk in and take it aisle per aisle. I promise you will find a multitude of things that you need or even forgot that you needed while you are there.

2. Ibotta/Meal Plan- This is quite possibly one of the most important things you can do for yourself or your family: meal plan. I got tired of so much food going to waste and one time even our entire fridge had to be thrown out. Those Texas storms are aggressive and we went all day without power. It killed me to see hundreds of dollars be carted off. Become a strict meal planner with wiggle room only for snacks or for that emergency meal you need to put together in case you didn't get to the grocery store the day you intended to. Write it down and stick to it. Refrain from impulse buys. You do not need 3 cartons of ice cream (yes I do) but these things add up to a very scary amount. I have been meal planning with Ibotta since January and I will never go back. Not only has meal planning become easier this way but I can also take advantage of their rebates and MAKE money using them. Is it so easy and quick that it becomes second nature to you. Join my team and let's unlock rebates together!

3. Make Your Own Coffee- It is so tempting (and delicious) to just pop into Starbucks or your local coffee shop and pick up coffee on your way to work. Just swipe that card and be on your way! Hit those breaks my friend! Let's do the math. Let's say your daily coffee is $3 and you stop in there 5 days a week. That is $15 that you are spending each week. That is $60 a month. And that is $780 a year! Who died a little bit inside? Now really think about what you pay for your fancy coffee. It is more like $4.50 right? Because you didn't just get regular coffee. You got a FANCY coffee with all the frills. At $4.50 that is $22.50 a week, $90 a month, and a whopping $1170 a year! I was crushed when I did the math years ago. I was a daily, sometimes twice daily, Starbucks junkie for years. I was addicted to say the least. Then one day I got transferred for work and there was no Starbucks in sight! I had to slowly ween myself off of it and that is no small quest my friends. Funny side effect though, I noticed more money in my bank account come pay day and in the long run. I couldn't figure it out at first. I even checked to see if I had received a small increase or something. I pulled my expense report and saw the drop off of Starbucks transactions now only limited to maybe on a weekend. That made me do the math and then realized how long I had been doing this. I was not happy with myself.

I recommend you take your hard earned cash and invest in a coffee machine. Don't go overboard as I can almost guarantee you if it has too many bells and whistles, you won't use it. Instead, purchase some really good coffee or a variety of them if you want. If flavored coffee is your thing, buy a bottle of your favorite syrup. Recently I bought husband a $20 bag of amazing coffee that he had tasted at a really nice restaurant we went to. While some of you may balk at the price point think about it this way. When compared to what a cup of coffee costs at the store, this bag payed off in five delicious mugs of coffee. Needless to say, that bag lasted about a month. 

4. Plan Your Errands- I pass by every single store you can imagine on my way home from work. I could literally get off the freeway 5 times and hit every major store that plays a part in my life. That is why during the week I make it a point NOT to run errands here and there. Instead I wait until Friday making my stops in consecutive order in turn saving gas, money, and time. No more running around town for me. I start at Dollar Tree and work my way down home. Plan out your next errand day and see how much faster this can go for you.

5. One Man's Junk Is Another Man's Treasure- Before purchasing a big ticket item, such as furniture, give research a go for a bit. Online garage sales through Facebook are great places to start with. Most are marked for a quick sale and you can see what the item looks like right away. Do you absolutely need to buy or can you borrow an item from a friend? Put it out there at work, send a mass text, put it on Facebook. Someone is bound to have what you are looking for and won't mind lending it to you. I can't tell you how many times this has worked for me. Even for my rehearsal dinner. I needed glass pitchers. I ended up borrowing them from a friend of a friend who did not mind at all. Then of course their is always a traditional garage sale, Goodwill, Ebay, and Craigslist among others. You would be surprised with what people are willing to part ways with. 

What do you do to save money on a daily/weekly/monthly/yearly basis?

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


When husband and I did our marriage retreat, the nun leading our prayer group suggested we do Bible study as a couple as soon as we were married. She encouraged us not to wait long so it became part of our routine, a habit, and not something we later had to try and fit in. I turned to husband and almost jokingly asked him if he would go with me. He said sure we just need to find a time. I was surprised at his answer, the fact that he was open to it really. I turned around and never brought it up. But still it stayed with me. In the back of my mind I loved the idea of a couple coming together in prayer out of love for each other and out of love and devotion to God.

Some months back when my dog Bear was really sick I was desperate to save him even though I told Bear if he needed to let go he could. But one night I was so broken hearted over him, listening as hard as I could to make sure he was breathing even, that I asked husband to pray with me. I had never done that before except for grace over meals. He graciously agreed and we layed there, his arm around me, and his other hand holding mine to his chest and I led us in prayer.
I was so filled with love for that man because he knows how important my dogs are in my life that he prayed with me. I told him so. I told him how much it made me love him over it. We have since prayed together practically every night.

I think it was a very defining moment in our marriage thus far. I am a woman of faith and devotion. In all honesty, I don't go to mass every Sunday. And I didn't go to mass at all for many years. But now that I have a job that allows me to be off on Sundays, I do make a conscious effort to go. While he believes, he isn't active in our church. I don't press him over it or about going to mass with me because I believe it isn't something you force on a person. You have to want to be a part of that community. And while he does go to mass with me occasionally, nothing meant more to me than him joining me in prayer. It was monumental. 

For years I have seen my father pray the rosary with my mother every day. He is almost as disciplined at it as she is. Almost. But still he prays with her with so much devotion and there is nothing that I love more than when I talk to him and he tells me we prayed for you. When I go home, I join them in prayer as well. I knew I wanted a marriage as solid as my parents based in friendship, love, and faith. Faith in each other and faith in the Lord. Husbands' step in praying together made me feel that our family's roots were cemented in the right stock. With God's blessing we will grow. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


As any beauty junkie I like trying out new makeup lines that I have never heard of. I get so excited at the discovery of a new one and select a few pieces to try out. There is so much thrill in the hunt! It is in this way that I came across MAKE Beauty and upon looking more into their brand I knew I wanted to give them a go and this weekends activities gave me just the chance.

There is nothing more that I love than a good brunch buffet and sharing it with a great group of friends makes it even better. It was going to be low key so I just wanted a minimal look but still fresh and put together. I used matte finish eyeshadow in Alabaster across my lids and brought it up slightly into the crease. This is a pale pearly white pink that goes on effortlessly. There is minimal fall out when applying. It is pretty pigmented as I only needed to dip my brush in once and apply it. Because of my light skin tone, this shade blended in without much detection. Still it evened out my skin tone as my eyelids are a bit red due to (what else?) allergies. Vitamin C and E are added into the mix to care for the delicate eye area. 

To finish off the look I used silk cream lipstick in Taffy. This is a your lips but better shade on me. The color is rich as I only did one application to achieve this tone on me. It is extremely moisturizing and contains antioxidant vitamins, rosehip, soybean, and safflower oils. It also contains aloe and chamomile extracts for further conditioning. I would love to say that it lasted all day like the eyeshadow did but alas I brunched until my hearts content so it came off. But really I can't blame the lipstick here can I? I reapplied and went on my merry way. 

MAKE is made in New York City. They pride themselves on being paraben-free and never tested on animals. MAKE also donates 10% of their sales to the We See Beauty Foundation which supports women-led, worker-owned cooperative businesses across the Americas. MAKE is also kindly offering my readers 20% off site wide with the code MAKEYOURSELF valid through May 31, 2016.

*This post contains a paid for advertorial for MAKE Beauty. As always, all opinions are my own. 

Monday, April 11, 2016


When I relaunched this blog I did it with the intention of it one day becoming my full time job. I also did it so that I could practice my passion more: writing. I had veered so far off course from what I originally intended my profession to be that hammering out a few lines felt stiff and unnatural.

As time progressed I felt the words flow more freely through my fingertips and I was more and more eager to continue to work on this. I realized the more time I spent writing the happier I seemed to be. Never mind the aching carpel tunnel developing in my arms. I was happy. This is what I had been called to do.

It was during this time that my reading interests began to change. I started to read books geared towards the entrepreneurial heart, business books, financial books, and self-help books in the realms of how to become a better person both inside and out. I was so inspired by what I read that I wanted to share one particular book with you.

Wellth was written by Jason Wachob. In it he coins the term 'wellthy' in which he describes it as "the importance of well-being to you (thy) and to us all". He advocates for a happy and healthy lifestyle in which we work for a purpose, not just financial wealth. In this book he highlights the points that will take you to this holistic lifestyle. He believes it is formed through 13 steps: eat, move, work, believe, explore, breathe, feel, love , heal , thank, ground, live, and laugh. I loved what he had to say about all of them but I will focus on the two areas that spoke to me the most: believe and thank.

Believe: I remember one time my boss questioned how much money I made while I signed my contract for the upcoming year. He said I made a lot of money. I didn't bat an eye and told him I was worth it. It wasn't the first time a remark like that was made to me in reference to my salary and my answer was always the same. I was never apologetic about it. Instead I was proud of myself for having it. I went in on my hiring date knowing how much money I wanted to make and I asked for it. It was given to me and I never looked back. If I don't believe that I am worth it, then who will? It is really easy to get drowned in self doubt, especially when you are taking a risk such as changing careers or working for yourself. But it is important for me to always reground myself in the belief that God has plans for me and with my continuous prayers to Him to guide me on this new path that I am on, I will be o.k. Wachob also believes in the power of visualization breaking it further down into three components: believing, seeing, and doing. I believe in myself. I can visualize myself being the person I want to be. I will work diligently to achieve my goal.

Thank: Think about how you recount your day. How many of you start rattling off all the things that went wrong in your day? Did you even mention a single positive thing? Probably not. This year I really started work on myself to focus on the highlight of my day. I then recorded it in my MAMBI Happy Planner month view. That way I can always go back and remember that time in my life. Wachob also suggests keeping a gratitude journal much like how I write down the highlight of my day, write down one thing that you're grateful for. Comparing yourself to others is a sure fire way to be made miserable. Instead, chose to be thankful for what you have. You can't be truly wellthy unless you are able to feel grateful. 

One thing that I have always believed in is giving. Even when all I have to give is a dollar I give it. I don't care what they do with it. If they are in need and I am able to help I do. I have reaped the rewards of this habit time and time again. I can't tell you how many times I have been in need and money or help (or both) have manifested themselves in the most random way possible. Most recently while husband was laid off and we were still trying to pay for the wedding I randomly opened a box on my desk only to find $89 dollars in a red envelope that I guess I had stashed there at one point. It was such a blessing, a Godwink, and the exact amount that I needed to complete the monetary gift to our priest. Needless to say I sobbed and thanked God for His continuous love and guidance. 

This book really aligned itself with my core values and beliefs. I love when a book does that. It left me feeling more inspired and with a renewed belief in myself. If you are struggling with motivating yourself to take that next important step in your life, I highly recommend you reading this book. Pick it up here.

*The copy of this book was sent to me for review by Blogging for Book. As always all opinions are my own. 

Thursday, April 7, 2016


With our wedding come and gone many people have asked me if I am glad I am no longer planning a wedding. While my initial reaction is to say yes, there is also a void where all things wedding used to live. Husband and I were engaged for two months prior to our civil wedding in our home where I even did all the cooking. From that moment forward, I began to plan our Church wedding that was a year and a half later. Why did we wait so long? Let me fill you in.

Husband and I knew from the start that we would be paying for our own wedding. There was no magical bank account set up by either family at some point for us for this day. Both of our parents are retired and live their days filled with their hobbies as it should be. Husband and I also came from previous long relationships where husband had also been married. It just seemed 'not right' to expect all these frills and financial support from parents as if we were both in our early 20's and just starting out our lives. So when we set the date to our first wedding, we also went ahead and set the date for our second wedding. That way we knew just how much time we had to save and plan. And primarily, we knew we did not want to get into debt for our wedding. We wanted to enjoy our day and not have to worry of the bills looming over head. So we had the most important conversation in wedding planning that you will ever have: BUDGET.

Husband and I agreed on how much we were willing to spend on the wedding. The conversations actually went with him giving me a figure and me laughing and saying I can beat that! I like coming in under budget. It's the admin in me. I just can't help it. Anyways, we agreed and I began with the wedding timeline. I made a list of all the things that would need to be purchased down to dress socks for my boys. You have to be as detailed as possibly because everything costs money and you have to factor everything into your budget. In this list I also included all the things that I did NOT want for our wedding such as a sign in book. I promise I will remember if you were at my wedding or not. I just didn't see a point to it. By eliminating things that were not important for us to have, we were able to save some money and redirect it to things that we did want to have, like a candy buffet for my sweet tooth. 

Early on husband and I got a credit card that we used solely for points. We paid it off in full at the end of every month and were able to redeem points to pay off some of the items that we had purchased. Points quickly add up when you use it for all of your everyday purchases including the big ticket items that go with a wedding. I only recommend this if you and your fiance are very good with money. It can be really easy to get caught in the 'charge it' game and then end up more in debt than you started out to be. 

As the wedding planning got into full swing, we started having people offer to pay for something or to help with the rehearsal dinner since we hosted it at our house. We graciously accepted. If it came from the bottom of their heart and they were in a position where they could help us financially then we saw it as a generous gift. There is nothing wrong with accepting them so long as you don't start to nitpick the item. For example, we had our great friends place the lasso on us during the ceremony. This is a Mexican tradition that meant a lot to me. They agreed and offered to pay for it as well. I told them not to worry that I could get it but they insisted citing that as per tradition, they should. I thanked them and accepted their help. All she asked me was if I wanted it to have gold or silver details. I said silver and that was that. Had I asked for pricey details to this piece, in my opinion, that would not have been in good taste and could have possibly put our friends in an awkward financial situation.

Another way that we spread our money over this time was with the bigger ticket items such as the venue, the cake, and the music. They all allowed for multiple payments to be done leading to full payment the day before the wedding. We took full advantage of that and made sure to plan for those due dates. 

We were on our way to paying for our wedding when two months prior husband lost his job. I wont go into details here but if you have ever been in this position you know how difficult it can be. Especially if you are the bread winner of the family and have children. We went into full admin financial mode. We got our finances in order and made cuts to our lives where we needed to. We knew it was temporary but they needed to be done. 

Next up, how to continue paying for the wedding without the primary income. This is where our situation is unique. Husbands' bonus came in March. A week after our wedding to be exact. We knew the amount, we knew it was coming, we just needed to get there. We took a second credit card that had 0% interest for 18 months on purchases and balance transfers. We transferred whatever balance we had on our original card that we would pay in full every month and charged all the final wedding items on that card. We didn't know how long husband would be out of a job so we wanted to be sure we could handle all the household bills on my salary all while waiting for his March bonus. Again I do not recommend the credit card game unless you are financial savvy. In this case, we really had our hands tied just as our finances were tied up in other places. 

Our wedding came and went and I am happy to report that we were close to $2000 under budget. It was perfect, intimate, and most importantly, didn't break the bank. We didn't want to start our married life under the burden of debt. We danced away knowing full well that in a week the money would come in and would pay off the remaining balance to the wedding that we had so carefully planned and saved for. Now we can sit back and enjoy all the fun pictures that were taken that day. 

If you are in the middle of planning your wedding or just getting started, I urge you to make sure that you give yourself ample time to accommodate for all the expenses. Make lists. Make lots of them. Especially of things that you do NOT want. You may not even know you want/do not want them until you get to this point but again it will make you realize what you are willing to spend your hard worked money on and what not. 

Items Gifted:
Wedding Dress
Cake Toppers
Photo Booth
An hour at the venue.
The initial venue deposit.
Candy bar decor
Signage for gift table, candy bar, and our table.
Food and drink for rehearsal dinner

Wednesday, April 6, 2016


So much goes into planning a wedding that at one point I felt like I was buying all these things that would only be used for that one day and then stored in a closet only to be brought out to reminiscence. I didn't like that at all and so I decided to change the way I was buying and using items. 

I wanted to fill our wedding with intimate details that would have meaning to husband and I, but also with things that we could continue to use. I am happy to say that I achieved just that. Here are some of the details to our wedding that will always remind me of our special day when these precious items get brought out to use time and time again.

My mother's rosary wrapped around my bouquet. While I may not have hers with me all the time, I do own the same one she gifted me many years ago. It is all that much more special to me now.

Husbands groom gift was a Star Wars tie clip with his favorite character on it. I know he will use it every chance he gets.

My wedding shoes with the most endearing back story ever.

The Kate Spade earnings that I share with my bridesmaids. 

The rings that husband and I will wear forever. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016


After months and months (a year and a half to be exact) of planning our Church wedding, the day came and went. It all went as planned with only one hitch; the deacon forgot to put out the hosts and my bridesmaids had no idea what to do! So they walked up the aisle, bowed their heads, and sat down. I can live with that. 

Still what most brides agonize over is how they will do their makeup. This day will be remembered forever not only by you but by everyone in attendance. No pressure. So when I announced that I would be doing my own makeup I received concerned looks by many. I am a beauty blogger, a makeup junkie, I got this! Plus I had so much time that I got to practice over and over. The end result is actually a bit funny to tell.

I had purchased various primers for my big day. I wrote about it here and had made my selection. I also purchased a new foundation, NARS Sheer Glow Foundation, and used it during practice sessions. I also tried various red liquid lipsticks to get the perfect red shade. Finally, I purchased two different waterproof mascaras and set to practicing. I had it down. I knew what I was going to look like the day of our wedding.

Then the day came and all the girls were busy getting ready. I was taking a nap. Seriously. I had been up since 5 a.m. and I wasn't rushed or anything so I sneaked away for a bit. Eventually I got up and started doing my makeup and talking to my best friend while she sat next to me getting her hair done. I guess because I was busy talking or maybe because I just fell into my routine that I didn't even notice really what steps I was taking. I will tell you what step I did NOT take. I forgot to put on primer. Yup, after all the testing and trials I simply forgot to use it. I realized once I was done applying my foundation which, wouldn't you know it, was NOT the one I had bought for my wedding. At this point it was too late to restart the process so I went about finishing my face. Once it was all done I stepped back to set it and spritzed my face generously. When I opened my eyes, I had mascara spots everywhere. Yup. I had also forgotten to use one of the two waterproof mascaras that I had purchased and had used my old faithful. I just stood there staring at my face in disbelief. Here I am on the biggest day of my life that I had practiced so much for and then ended up just doing my makeup however. The best part, I just couldn't be bothered with it. I laughed and cleaned up and off I went to get dressed.

At the end of the night, my makeup was still going here and there. I had danced a lot so of course some had come off but I was happy with it. It was a great day and pictures are still coming in. While I had concerned myself with so many of the makeup details prior, I love that I looked more like myself on that day than made up. I will always cherish the memory of husband leaning in and whispering in my ear "You look beautiful". I would marry that man over and over and over again. 

Products used:

Foundation: Dior Skin Nude Air
Concealer: NARS Radient Creamy Concealer
Tool: Beauty Blender
Setting Powder: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder Diffused Light
Contouring Palette: Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow
Bronzer: Bobbie Brown Bronzing Powder in Golden Light 
Highlight: The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer
Eyeshadow: Urban Decay Naked Palette & Morphe Brushes Eyeshadow
Eyeliner: Marc Jacobs Magic Marc'er in Blacquer
Eyebrow Pencil: Anastacia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz
Eyebrow Gel: Anastacia Beverly Hills Brow Gel
Lip Balm: Marc Jacobs Lip Lock
Lip Liner: MAC Lip Pencil in Ruby Woo
Liquid Lipstick: Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain in Always Red
Setting Spray: Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray

Friday, April 1, 2016


At one point in my life, I dreaded going home. I was so unhappy and the last person I wanted to see was my then boyfriend. My commute home at that time was around 20 minutes and man did I make those 20 minutes last. Often times I would walk around aimlessly at the last stores that were open during my closing shifts. It would be past 9 p.m. and there I was at Target and Barnes & Noble, walking up and down the aisles just looking around. 

I particularly spent a lot of time at Barnes & Noble those nights because I can get lost in a bookstore for hours. I loved looking at all the pretty glossy book covers and making list after list of books that I wanted to read. I was always drawn to the Fiction section with fun covered books with fashion type female illustrations. They all looked so care free and glamorous; the complete opposite of what I looked like. It was during my scanning of these titles that I came across a book titled Something Borrowed by Emily Griffin. The diamond ring illustration popped out at me as I sarcastically scoffed that this would never be for me. As I placed it back I noticed that next to it were Something Blue, Baby Proof, Love the One You're With, and Heart of The Matter (the other books had not been released yet). I assumed they were all in a series and all about finding true love and getting married and living happily ever after. I was never going to get married so these books were not for me. I moved on...

...and then I kept coming back. For some reason, those books kept drawing my attention. I never fully read the back summary of them or looked them up online. I was just drawn to the cover and to the titles. To me they symbolized the promise of true love and forever; two things I just didn't see in my future. I told myself that these books weren't for me and I could not identify with what I thought was the theme. But still, as things at home kept getting worse and I worked up more and more of my courage to walk away from this harmful relationship I realized that these things could be for me. And to my horror at the time, they were things that deep down inside I did want. In order not to drown myself in more misery than I already was I told myself that if I ever found true love I would read these books right before I was married. There! That settled it. I had made a plan for myself and it was time to put the books away and sort out my life. 

That was in 2012. Two weeks ago I married the love of my life in a Catholic ceremony before our family and closest friends. I found true love. We are happily living the sacrament of marriage and these books are lovingly living on our bookshelf. All read. All mine. I started around February as I am a fast reader I knew I could get through them. As I started to read them I laughed when I realized that while yes love and marriage played an underlining theme, it wasn't all fairy tales. Meaning that I could have read these books years ago and been o.k. with them. But I am a firm believer that a message can get lost in translation if you are not in the right frame of mind to receive it and I think I would not have enjoyed these books as much as I did now. 

These books years ago gave me hope for a future simply by their title and cover. And yes I know you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover but I did and I am happy to report that I was right. Now I build my future in the present with my husband by my side and my books on a shelf.