Giving Presence

Not sure why it is the way it is, but the holidays are stressful. It always feels like there isn't enough time to do all the things that we need to do. And perhaps we are under more pressure during these times with all the parties and cheer and shopping and presents. It's a reason why this December yoga challenge that I've been doing has been a blessing for me. I'll admit that I have skipped a couple days, but it has motivated me to do yoga a lot more than I would have done otherwise.

I'm also doing this thing where I try not to be on my phone all the time, especially when I'm eating dinner or my husband is trying to talk to me (he hates it!). I think that I use my phone to escape from life and what's currently happening, but I need to be give presence to people that I care about by listening and paying attention to them. It seems like such an obvious thing, but I have been guilty in the past of paying attention to my phone more than the people around me. SORRY!

Here are a couple pics from my challenge.

Love this passive hip opener.
Chaturanga Dandasana (low plank). This looks easy, but it's harder than it looks!
Tree pose in front of our Christmas Tree! It's fake and came pre-lit. I love it! XD
This is my first time doing this pose. It's easier than it looks, but still hard for me. but I'm so surprised that I was even able to do this!
I love that when I do yoga, I'm able to just be present in the moment and listen to what my body is telling me. I feel like it's super good for my mental health. I am prone to anxiety and I noticed that yoga has alleviated a lot of those anxious feelings for me. It has taught me to let go of things that I cannot change and I am thankful for that.

Also, I'm going to also admit that I have skipped the last two days (I still have to make them up!). I briefed the wing deputy commander and other command leaders and representatives about energy and water usage on the base this past fiscal year. It was incredibly stressful for me because it was my first time and I do not like speaking publicly. However, I survived. Then I jumped off the wagon by taking a nap immediately after work and just LETTING GO. Haha. Then Dash (who is our new kitty, btw!!! I guess I'll write about him later) had his first vet visit yesterday (which was my day off). I also mailed out my Christmas presents to my parents and sister (haaayyyy!). Then we had my squadron's Christmas Party last night! Today we have a birthday party and then a Christmas Pig Roast to go to... It's definitely been hard to find time to get on my mat these past couple of days. Apologies. But I finally feel stress-free now. Well, there are still a couple things that I need to get done at work before Christmas, but I'm not even going worry about it. :)

How are you all faring during the holiday season? I am so behind on reading my blog feed!

Christmas 2014 Wishlist

I am not sure about anyone else, but I've been so busy lately! A meeting at work has crept up on me suddenly and I had to scramble this week to prepare for it (I blame Thanksgiving). I was put in charge of this "energy watch" group when I first started and this quarter will be my first in-person meeting that I have to brief. Which is fine. But kind of stressful! My anxiety is through the roof! So, I compiled a list of things that I'm dreaming about for Christmas because it makes me feel a little better. My husband and I actually don't really exchange gifts. I'm not too big on presents. Plus, I like to buy things for myself if I want something, which sounds kind of selfish... What I mean to say is that I like giving gifts more than I like receiving them. After I am done buying presents for my family, I will look into buying stuff for myself. ;)

These have been on my mind lately:
cathyahh christmas 2014 wishlist w3ll people kate spade jo malone sk-ii madewell sonnet james

I have been using the NARS Light Reflecting Setting Powder and it works well for me. However, I saw this Bio Brightener Duo set in the Birchbox shop and I have been wanting to try it! I will probably wait until after I finish my NARS setting powder though (which will probably take me FOREVER because it lasts a long time even though I use it every day!). But that highlighter... I've heard a lot of good things about it. And I like how both of these products are made with natural/organic, non-harsh ingredients. I got to choose one of my December Birchbox samples this month and I picked this. :) We'll see if I like it.

TWO: Kate Spade Bernadette Sunglasses
Have you all seen the Holiday Campaign ad that Anna Kendrick did for Kate Spade? It was such a cute video (you can watch it here). I thought that the sunglasses she was wearing were super cute. I might splurge and buy them after the holidays are over. Hopefully they're still in stock! :)

THREE: Jo Malone Wood Sage and Sea Salt Cologne
I saw reviews of this on a couple of blogs and I thought that it sounded so nice. I actually like the smell of salty air and people are saying that this is reminiscent of the seaside. SOLD!

FOUR: SK-II Facial Treatment Clear Lotion
This has been on my radar since my friend, Michelle, mentioned it in the comments section of my post about my seasonal skin woes. It is pretty expensive ($70 for 5.1 oz), but she made it sound so awesome. I like that it has AHAs. Sounds like it works really well to remove impurities/dirt and to exfoliate dead skin cells.

FIVE: Sonnet James Margot Dress
I first heard about this brand on one of my favorite lifestyle blogs, Love Taza. Sonnet James dresses seem to be targeted towards mothers, but I don't care! I love all the dresses in their shop! A lot of them are colorful and fun, but I really like the simplicity of this grey one. Plus, I could always dress it up or down! Since it's meant for "playful moms," I feel like they must be pretty durable to withstand all the tiny, grabby hands. :)

SIX: Madewell Pinewood Pullover
I am grateful that it doesn't get too cold here in Charleston, SC. But my tropical island blood still causes me to shiver in temperatures less than 65 degrees! My cowokers are always teasing me about wearing sweaters all the time, even inside the building. I don't care; I like to be cozy. I like this sweater from Madewell in Willow Bough. I don't think that I have any pieces of clothing that are this deep hue of forest green, but I think it looks pretty and different (most of my sweaters are black, navy, or grey). Plus, those button-up sides are so cute!

What's on your wishlist? :)


#justbepresent yoga challenge december 2014 beachyogagirl kinoyoga aloyoga instagram

I posted this graphic on my instagram the other day. I am planning on participating on this yoga challenge hosted by @beachyogagirl@kinoyoga. If you're on instagram and into yoga, I'm sure you know who they are already. They both post inspirational photos/videos (usually on the beach since they're both from Florida!) and have a bunch of followers. I try not to compare myself to others though. To me, yoga is a way for me to be more in touch with myself and what my body needs. It means that I might not be as flexible or as strong as others, but that's okay! I still like looking at photos and videos of people doing yoga because it's amazing to see what the human body is capable of doing.

Anyway, I'll be participating in the #justbepresent yoga challenge, which is both exciting and terrifying:
1) I am welcome to being motivated to practice yoga everyday. I haven't really been present on my mat lately and I know that I need it.
2) By looking at the scheduled poses, I can already tell that I won't be able to do some of them. I am not trying to be pessimistic; I just know what my body is capable of. I think pushing myself to do something that I'm not ready to do yet would invite injury. My hamstrings are tight tight tight, headstands scare me still, and I can't do a handstand yet despite practicing for it (sporadically!).
3) Posting pictures of myself in yoga poses online makes me nervous because it's putting myself out there, for all the world to see and judge.

It kind of sounds like I'm trying to psyche myself out, but I have already made peace with all my qualms. I'm just going to do it. I just have to figure out the self-timer on my camera (or ask my husband to kindly take photos of me after he comes home from school every night!). XD

cat yoga yogi yogini downward facing dog
I am interested to see the beginner variations on the poses that I can't do. :) Thankfully there are a lot of do-able poses! Check out that child's pose (24)! My fave! ;) If you are interested, follow me on instagram!

Do you guys do yoga? Would you ever do an online challenge like this? Anyone have any handstand tips?! :)

Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

I actually don't have any pictures of Thanksgiving food (my ext hard drive died), so here's a blurry phone pic of a plate from Christmas last year in Hawaii. :)
Thanksgiving is coming up next week! I'm super excited. It is my favorite holiday! Thanksgiving, to me, is all about good food, good people, and just being thankful! Back home in Hawaii, my entire extended family would always get together and it was so nice to spend time with them and eat delicious, home-cooked food all day (like my dad's signature baked fish!). It's tough being away from family, but Dallin and I try to make the most of it. We usually host holiday meals or go over to a friend's house. This year, however, it'll just be the two of us. But that's okay! I'm still excited! I love Thanksgiving food! :) Here are my favorite recipes that I personally like to use.

Birchbox Limited Edition Conscious Commerce Box

Conscious Commerce Limited Edition Curated Birchbox Products

Conscious Commerce Curated Limited Edition Birchbox

Conscious Commerce Limited Edition Curated Birchbox product list

I recently bought this limited edition Birchbox that was curated by the ladies behind Conscious Commerce (Olivia Wilde, who I love!, and Babs Burchfield). I had already bought the Vanity Affair LE box and I wasn't planning on getting the Conscious Commerce one, but then I saw the unboxing video. I fell in love and I impulsively bought it with the birchbox points that I earned from my previous purchase. I love everything that this box is about. Everything in this box is a product that gives back to an important cause. I received the box this past week and I love it! Everything is well-made and something that I know that I will use.

Skin Woes: Seasonal Transition

clinque moisture surge extended thirst relief, boots botanics facial oil 100% organic with nourishing rosehip, dr. jart+ dr.jart+ ceramidin cream derma care technology,

Charleston weather is so weird. One day I will wake up to a frozen car and temperatures in the 40/50's during the day, and the next it could be as warm as 80 degrees! Then back to the 50's again! That's crazy to me. But apparently it's normal for this area. I am not gonna complain about the occasional and unexpected warm day. However, my skin is so confused right now! Definitely doesn't help that I'm working inside of an office all day. All that heating and a/c makes the air super dry, which also makes my skin feeling parched. And when my skin is dry, it tends to overproduce oil and it is just not a good look.

Normally, my morning routine is basically this: cleanse, facial mist/toner, eye cream, facial oil, sunscreen, primer, makeup! Before I go to bed, my routine is pretty much the same except minus the sunscreen, add a serum, and sometimes I'll use an extra moisturizer after the facial oil if  Lately, I feel like this normal routine is not cutting it! My skin has been so dry and subsequently oily. So, I have had to break out the big guns recently.

eShakti Custom Dress (Review)

I have seen a couple reviews of dresses by the company floating around on the internet (the latest being this review by eyeheartit!). I had not looked into the site on my own though, to be honest, because I assumed that it wouldn't really be my style (based on the vintage-y/retro dresses I saw being reviewed). However, I was contacted about a month ago to write a review of a customized eShakti product on my blog. I figured that I would take a look at their site to see if I liked anything and if not, it wouldn't have been that big of a deal to decline. BUT OMG! I must say that I saw a lot of cute dresses that I would totally wear! It was actually hard to pick just one. So, I felt pretty stupid and I guess this is a perfect example of why I shouldn't really assume things without verifying or clarifying first.

I ended up picking this Floral Crop Top Dress. It's so cute and I don't really have anything like it! I customized it by using my exact measurements and also removed the floral embellishment because I'm a simple gal. 

eShakti Floral Crop Top Cotton Dress cathyahh
It was actually sunny today! So, don't mind my squinty eyes. And also my awkward legs! Also, those wrinkles! I did iron it, I promise!

It actually does not fit perfectly on me. :( It fits a little too big in both the waist and the bust. I actually measured my waist again and it is 1" smaller than what I put on my order (blame it on the bloat!). It can be taken in at least 2" though. And the bust... I figure that the "crop top" part is supposed to be a little loose. However, it does cause the under arm area to fit kind of awkwardly. I actually really like this dress though and it is well-made, so I will be taking this in to get tailored. :)

Also, I was totally under the impression that this was a two-piece, but it's actually ONE PIECE! That's actually pretty cool because I won't be able to flash my midriff if I raise my arms. Also, its getting cold here lately, and it's nice that everything is covered. Keeps me warmer! Our neighbors caught us after we were finished taking pictures in the backyard and we talked to them outside for an hour! It was a little less than 50 degrees! (I am from Hawaii and we also lived in Guam before moving to Charleston. Self explanatory.) After we finally got into the house, my husband told me that he was surprised that I could handle it. Yeah, I don't know. Haha. I was surprised, too. But I digress!

eshakti floral crop top cotton dress cathyahh

I LOVE THE POCKETS! I love a skirt/dress with pockets!

eShakti floral crop top cotton dress button detail closure back cathyahh

And how cute are the buttons in the back? This is a faux-closure and non-functional, but I love these types of little details. (But I don't like fake pockets!)

What I like most about is that their clothing is available in sizes 0-36!!! That's amazing to me. I love that they're inclusive to women of all sizes! Also, you can customize the dresses for a small fee of $7.50 by either entering your own measurements or customizing the length, neckline, sleeves, and such.

In conclusion, I'm a fan! If you are interested in purchasing anything for yourself, eShakti is offering 10% off if you use the coupon code: "cathystyles" (good until 11/29/2014). Also, I just checked their site and they have an awesome "Buy 2, Get 1 Free" deal happening for a limited time! You can visit their site here and connect with them on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Code has to be entered in the ‘promotional code’ box.   It is not case-sensitive.  
Code can be used any number of times until the validity period. 
It can be clubbed with any other promotional offer, gift coupon or gift card in the same order unless explicitly specified otherwise in the offer conditions.
This discount code is not applicable on clearance / sale, gift cards & overstock categories.
Not applicable on previous purchases.

Dress: eShakti
Shoes: Nine West

(Dress was received as a sample to review and keep. All opinions are my own!)

Sample Decision: Full-Size or Skip?

Laura Mercier Flawless Skin Tone Perfecting Eye Gel Creme and Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate serum samples from birchbox

I received both of these samples in my Birchbox subscription boxes and they're both about to run out! Now I'm left to decide whether to buy the full-sized products or try something else.

The Laura Mercier Tone Perfecting Eye Gel Creme came in my August 2014 birchbox and I've been using it every night since. The sample came in a 0.17 oz tub and I still have enough left over to last about a week or two (been using it for almost 3 months!). It is super lightweight and absorbs fairly quickly, so it would totally make a great daytime eye creme, too! It adds the perfect amount of moisture and I really like this gel creme formula. Not sure about the "tone perfecting" part, but I also don't expect too much from eye cremes. My eye bags only go away with enough sleep and relaxation. No amount of heavenly eye creme can get rid of my baggage and dark circles if I have them! I have come to terms with that. Anyway, I think I might need a more heavy duty eye creme now that it's getting colder (yeah, I know that I'm a wimp!) and also since I'm getting "older." So, I'm going to try out the Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Active Moisture Vitamin E Eye Balm. I actually haven't tried any of the Elizabeth Dehn stuff, but I really loved the regular One Love Organics line while I used it a couple years ago. So, we'll see! I can always go back to the Laura Mercier Eye Gel Creme later. :)

The Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate came in my September 2014 birchbox and I have also been using it every night since I got it. The sample came in a 10 mL bottle and I suspect that I only have enough left for maybe a week. This stuff smells GREAT! It smells botanical/natural, fresh, light, and not cloying. The smells dissipates quickly after application. And even though it's a lightweight serum, I did notice that it is pretty good at moisturizing. Or at least my face feels like it holds onto moisture longer when I use it (versus just using the face oil that I use as a moisturizer). I think that's great. I'm not so sure about the antioxidant claims, but I love the way this makes my skin feel. I wanted to hate this, but I ended up really liking it. Full-size is $65 for 30 mL though! If I am gonna spend that much, I think I would rather repurchase the Caudalie VinoPerfect Radiance Serum because I feel like this is the only thing that helps lighten my dark spots (that resulted from breakouts in the past). However, I will definitely look into the Ultimune serum again when I feel like I don't have to focus on lightening my spots anymore!

Have you tried any of these products before? Do you have better suggestions for serums or eye cremes? :)

Btw, my SD card is super corrupted and won't format. I suspect that there is something wrong with the SD card and/or my computer. So, this picture was taken with my iPhone! I guess there will be no actual camera photos until I replace my SD card. And I might have to buy a new computer (I have had this laptop since 2009 though!). BOO!

(all links are for convenience only! and all opinions are my own.)

Happy Halloween!

I can't stop laughing at this picture! My poor cat. (I have no shame when it comes to him!) I took the original last night when I returned home after being at work for 12-hours (squadron had a trunk-or-treat event). It's on instagram, if you missed it! Anyway, I was looking through my picture album on Google+ and saw that they had the option to "halloweenify" your photos! I used it and this came up! We are a kitty and a unicorn!

In reality, I'm not going to dress up. Maybe I'll put on some cat ears or something, but that's about it! However, we are planning on passing out candy. I can't wait to see all the kids with their cute costumes! It's my favorite part about Halloween! (Minus the candy, of course!)

Hope you all have a great Halloween! Are any of you dressing up??? :)

South Carolina Stingrays

South Carolina Stingrays Hockey

South Carolina Stingrays Hockey Cool Ray

Opening night for the Stingrays is this Saturday! Dallin and I are so excited. Actually, it reminds me of when we first came to Charleston last year around this time. I can't believe it has been one year already! Holy moly. Time flies.

Anyway, I'm not really into sports... Except when I'm there in person! I think it's the energetic atmosphere. Stingray hockey games are always so fun. They're one of my favorite types of date nights. I mean, it's so romantic eating a bratwurst with sauerkraut and mustard, watching dudes body slam each other, and cheering for your local hockey team! Right? Haha. I'm kidding, but we do have fun watching them together. And we usually get burgers and milkshakes at Steak and Shake afterwards. So bad for you, but so good.

I think the best part about the Stingrays is all the fans though! They're so dedicated and into the games. It's really hard to not get caught up in all the excitement.

And above is my favorite bendy goalie, Jakaitis! I have been trying to do the splits for years and he does it so effortlessly. If I ever meet him, I will have to ask him how he is able to do it. Some people are naturally flexible! I like to imagine that he used to be a dancer or does yoga. And he's going to be playing again for the Stingrays this season! #1 GOALIE IN THE ECHL!

Do you guys like watching sports? :)

24 Hours in Charlotte, NC

South Carolina I-77

Charlotte, NC

My husband and I went on a short road trip to Charlotte, NC last weekend. One thing that I like about the Carolinas, and the East Coast in general, is the amount of trees! The drive up there is pretty much trees, trees, a town/city, and then more trees. It's quite nice, though I guess the scenery is a bit repetitive. I took many photos during the drive to and from and it all pretty much resembles that first picture. Pretty though!

When I first caught a glimpse of Charlotte, my first thought was, "What a cute city!" It really is! It is completely different than Charleston. Charleston is very historical and is sort of a small city with a small town feel. At least that's how I would describe it. Charlotte is more of a modern, big city, but it was also quiet and not as busy as I expected (though we were there on a Saturday and Sunday versus a weekday). To be honest, the drivers in NC were a lot more courteous and friendly than the drivers in SC (who are aggressive and dangerous). It is amazing how different drivers are between states! And Charlotte is right on the border of NC and SC.

Discovery Place Charlotte Dinosaurs in Motion

Discovery Place Charlotte Aquarium Jelly Fish Tank

Discovery Place Charlotte Aquarium Cuttlefish Tank

We visited the Discovery Place which is a hands-on science center with exhibits that help people/kids better understand science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in a fun way! I thought it was AMAAAZING. I think that this place is geared more towards kids, but my husband and I still spent hours there and had a blast. They had cool things like fiber optics, a thermal imaging camera, gyroscopes, pulleys, a bed made out of NAILS, a hydrogen ping-pong ball launcher (it was so loud that it made me scream!), frogs, mechanical dinosaurs, a mini rainforest, a small aquarium section (love fish!), and so much more. If you're ever in Charlotte, I totally recommend checking this place out (especially if you like science and/or have kids)!

12th Annual Q-City Charlotte BBQ Championship Festival Piggy

We also discovered that there was a BBQ competition happening that weekend: The 12th Annual Q-City Charlotte BBQ Championship! Y'all, it smelled HEAVENLY. Unfortunately, Saturday was the last day and we had already ate lunch and had (expensive) plans for dinner later. So, we didn't get to try anything. I loved Charlotte so much though, I hope to come back next year and check it out! BBQ FOREVER!!!!!

Lake Norman, North Carolina NC

Lake Norman, North Carolina

Lake Norman North Carolina NC

Lake Norman North Carolina NC

Lady of the Lake, Lake Norman, North Carolina

For dinner, we had dinner on a yacht on Lake Norman which is about 45-50 minutes north of Charlotte. It was pretty awesome! Being on a lake is completely different than being at sea, but the good thing about it was that I didn't get sea sick! :) We once went on a dinner cruise in Kauai in December (which means stronger surf on North facing shores) and I was sick the entire time! It was absolutely devastating for me because the food smelled so good and they had bottomless drinks. And there were humpback whales breaching from the water (whales are my favorite animal!!! SERIOUSLY). Moral of the story is don't buy cheap sea sickness pills. Anyway, I digress (a lot). I'm so glad that I was able to enjoy dinner on a boat with my husband without barfing. ;)

On Sunday, we just slept in late. After we checked out, we went to IKEA! Holy moly. SO. MUCH. STUFF. We ate meatballs for brunch and went shopping! I sort of went overboard with kitchen stuff. And I also bought a bedside table for me because I used to just put my phone on the window sill next to my bed. A bedside table is way more convenient! I even put it together myself! It's like adult legos. Except not as fun and more practical? (But we love legos in this house!)

The drive back home was uneventful, thank God!

Wedge, tuxedo cat

And this is my cat asking us where we were. You should have seen him waiting for us at the door! He was glaring out the window the whole time. Poor kitty. We left out a lot of dry food for him, but he's such a brat and he's totally accustomed to eating wet food. I like to call him a "fancy boy" because he goes nuts for Fancy Feast. Hahaha.

Anyway, I really liked Charlotte and I hope to go back one day! We do have a bunch of other cities that we want to visit as well though! Perhaps next trip will be to Nashville, TN? (I saw that Sam Smith is performing there in the future, though I'm sure tickets are sold out by now!)

Madewell x Sézane

Madewell x Sézane Silk Shiftdress

Madewell x Sézane Haspen Sweater

Madewell x Sézane Nola Satchel

Madewell x Sézane Silk Tee in Bow Print
I am in love with this collaboration between Madewell and Sézane! My favorite pieces are the Haspen Sweater, Lace Shiftdress, Silk Blouse in Chevron Sketch, and the Nola Satchel. I'm trying to save my money, but these looks are making it so hard. Everything is so effortlessly cool. This collaboration just launched today and the La Superbe Sweatshirt is already sold out! If everything else I like is not sold out by tomorrow, I might just buy something.

What I'm Packing: Charlotte, NC

This weekend we are taking a road trip to Charlotte, NC! It's about 3+ hours north-ish from where we live in Charleston, so it's not super far. However, I've never been and there is an IKEA, so I'm looking forward to it! Dallin has duty today, so he has to go in tomorrow morning and turn-over to the next guy, but we are going to leave right after that! It's just a 2-day/1-night trip, so nothing major. We'll spend Saturday there and return home on Sunday. I am just looking forward to seeing something new. (And to eat some swedish meatballs! Dallin thinks it's ridiculous that I want to go to IKEA so much, but I NEED to buy stuff for the house!)

I am a notorious over-packer, but since it's such a short trip, I don't think I have that problem this time. Here's what I'm planning on bringing!

Madewell High Riser Skinny Jeans, Everlane Heather Grey U-Neck T-Shirt, Jewelmint Silver Leaf Earrings

This is what I'm bringing to wear on Sunday. It's simple and comfortable. It's the Everlane Heather Grey U-Neck T-Shirt, Madewell High Riser Skinny Jeans (same cut, different wash), and earrings that I bought years ago from Jewelmint. The Everlane T-Shirt is super soft and comfortable. It's one of my favorites! The Madewell jeans are also super comfy. I like that they're high-rise. It's one of my favorite pairs. I've had the earrings a long time. I haven't bought anything from Jewelmint in FOREVER, but I did like everything that I got from them. I should probably check out what sort of stuff they have nowadays.

LOFT Knit Bomber Jacket

I'm bringing this Knit Bomber Jacket that I recently bought from LOFT. The weather here has been so weird lately. It'll be freezing one day and then super hot the next. It's hard to tell what the weather will be like. But I know that I love to be cozy. I've been wearing this jacket to work everyday because our office gets chilly. I like how it's comfortable like a sweater, but fancier and more structured than a hoody. Also, I got it for 50% off, so I think it was a great deal!

NARS Pro-Prime Pore Refiner Primer, Maybelline Volum' Express The Rocket Mascara, Make Up For Ever HD Microfinish Powder, NARS Tinted Moisturizer, RMS Beauty Un-Coverup, ModelCo Bronzer, NARS Orgasm Blush, Temptu Highlighter, Smashbox Eyeshadow, Urban Decay NAKED Basics Palette, Atelier Cologne Cédrat Enivrant

For make-up, I'm just taking a couple samples that I got from Birchbox and some staples (clockwise-ish, starting from top):

  1. NARS Pro-Prime Pore Refining Primer: Must-have!
  2. Make Up For Ever HD Microfinish Powder: I rather use the NARS Light-Reflecting Powder, but this is smaller and I should probably try to use the rest of it up.
  3. Maybelline Volum' Express The Rocket Mascara: Currently my favorite drug-store mascara.
  4. NARS Tinted Moisturizer: Love this! It's like, my skin, but better. It looks natural to me.
  5. RMS Beauty "Un" Cover-Up: I like that this is "natural." I obviously use this to cover up imperfections (acne, under eye, redness, etc). I want to try the luminizer after I used up my current highlighters.
  6. ModelCo Bronzer: This is a sample that I am almost done with. I liked it, so I actually bought the full-size of this. This one has shimmer in it, but it's not that noticeable to me. Hope it translates well into fall/winter though.
  7. Temptu Highlighter: This is another sample that I got in my Birchbox. I actually really like this, but I'm not sure if I'll get the full-size.
  8. Smashbox Eyeshadow Trio: I got this in a kit at the beginning of summer (couldn't find it online). I've actually been using it everyday. The lightest shade is matte and the other two are shimmery. Worked well for summer!
  9. Urban Decay NAKED Basics Palette: Neutral Mattes. I'm bringing this just in case. (Plus, it has a mirror!)
  10. Atelier Cologne Cédrat Enivrant Cologne Absolue: Love this and it's travel-sized!
Can anyone tell that I'm grasping onto summer still? I love the fall, but I also like the warmth. Haha. And I think my skin-tone looks better when I'm a little tan. But that's just me! ;) (I'm not ready for it to get cold! And I live in SC!)

In addition to the make-up, I'm bringing my BECCA The One Perfecting Brush, a powder brush, and three eyeshadow brushes.

I'm lugging everything in this Betsey Johnson bag that I got on super sale at Ross in Guam. Also, not pictured: skincare, nintendo 3ds, book, and other necessities I'll probably remember tomorrow. Ooh! Like my toothbrush! :)

Hope you all have a great weekend!

(all links are for convenience!)


I used to be addicted to shopping (especially online) while I was single and working in Hawaii. I was working a lot of overtime and stressed out. Buying things helped me to temporarily feel better. After I quit my job to move to Guam to be with my husband (then-boyfriend), I ended my love-affair with online shopping. I learned to make-do with what I had and I'm really grateful for that.

Even though I don't shop as much as I used to, I think that I can do a lot more to declutter my life. There are certain things that I am pretty good about not hoarding, but there are other things that I'm just not allowed to buy anymore (hello, billions of nail polish bottles!). This is an attempt to let go of things that I don't need and just keep the essentials (things that I actually use). So, I'm going on a buying ban!

Also, if you can't tell from the picture, I don't really have a good way of storing my make-up items. They're either in those two bins shown, or just in empty birchbox boxes or in my bathroom drawer. Part of decluttering will be finding a place for everything and making everything neat.

Here's a list of things I'm allowed to buy (one-in, one out):
  1. Facial Toner
  2. Facial Oil
  3. Facial Cleanser
  4. Eye Cream
  5. Sunscreen
  6. Tinted Moisturizer
  7. Foundation
  8. Concealer
  9. Primer
  10. Blush (I'm allowing myself to find and buy two more shades that I love and also to replace the one that I'm currently using)
  11. Bronzer
  12. Mascara
  13. Brow Pencil
  14. Dry Shampoo

Things I'm not allowed to buy (unless I completely run out of current stock):
  1. Body/Hand Lotion
  2. Nail Polish (it makes me sick whenever I look at how many bottles I have)
  3. Make-up remover
  4. Lip balm
  5. Lipstick (unless it's a completely different color than what I currently have! Not really looking for anything right now though.)
  6. Lipgloss
  7. Eyeshadow (especially neutrals! All I have are neutrals!)
  8. Illuminator
  9. Body wash
  10. Shampoo/Conditioner
  11. Hair oils/serums
  12. BB Cream
  13. Facial moisturizer
  14. Face masks
  15. Perfume
It might seem like I have a bunch in my "things I'm allowed to buy" list, but that's because these are things that I only have one or two products of versus a stockpile of different products that aren't being used (like the ones in my "not allowed" list!). I hope to give these unloved products some attention before deciding whether to chuck it or keep it. One day I hope to only have products that I absolutely love instead of "wasting" my money on things that I don't use/need. We'll see how successful I am. I also want to do something like this with my wardrobe!

Does anyone else seem to have a huge stock of products that aren't being used? Would you ever go on a buying ban?
Also, any suggestions on how to store make-up? :)

(Post inspired by From Roses.)

New Layout!

I spent the past week updating my blog layout! I'm not an expert website designer, but I know my way around code (a little). I thought it would be better to go with a more simple layout than the previous template that I was using. I don't really have anything else to say about it except... Let me know if you find anything buggy or if it looks off on your computer/screen/browser! I would really appreciate it! :)

I guess that I should go to sleep now that it's 3am. It is a three-day weekend, so I'm pretty excited! Also, next week I have my regular day off, so it's a three-day WORK week. Gaahhh, this is better than Christmas for me (almost).

Anyway, hope you all have a great weekend!

(Bonus picture of my cat yawning in his cat cave/bed!)

Current Primers

NARS Pro-Prime Pore Refining Primer & Dr.Jart+ Pore Medic Pore Minish Primer

Using a primer after a moisturizer and before applying make-up is essential in my daily routine. Sometimes I will skip it if I know that I will be staying home all day being lazy. However, I notice that without primer, my foundation or tinted moisturizer doesn't last as long and my face looks oily/shiny more quickly. So, I just try to use primer every time I put on make-up (which is almost always daily!).

NARS Pro-Prime Pore Refining Primer is my favorite primer. I've been using it for years now. It minimizes the look of my pores and makes my skin look smoother. Previously I had been using Smashbox Photo Finish Primer which has an interesting texture: very smooth and silky (but almost in a weird way). The NARS primer is more like a lightweight lotion, which I love and prefer! I don't know how many times I have repurchased it, but all I know is that I've always had a tube on hand. I guess that once I find something I like, it's hard for me to stray too far.

The Dr.Jart+ Pore Medic Pore Minish Primer is one that I bought recently. I saw it on Birchbox and was intrigued. The texture is similar to the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer. It's actually very similar to a sample of Benefit The Porefessional. Very... tacky or sticky, but also silky. Not sure how to describe it. It was a little weird at first, but I actually got used to it. It does minimize the look of pores, maybe even more than the NARS primer. However, my make-up doesn't last as long with just the Dr.Jart+ primer. It hasn't broken me out or anything, but if you're sensitive to silicone, definitely do not try this primer.

Even though the Dr.Jart+ primer was alright, I think I'll stick with my my go-to NARS primer. :)

Do you use a primer? What's your favorite? I'm open to any suggestions! :)

(all products were purchased by me and all opinions are my own. links are for convenience!)

A day in the life of a ballerina


I happened upon an article on about the day in the life of Ashley Laracey, a soloist for the New York City Ballet. It is an incredibly insightful article and the photos are so lovely.

I have always found ballerinas to be absolutely fascinating and awe-inspiring. To me, they are so strong, talented, graceful, disciplined, and just beautiful! But I think that making it a career and becoming a professional ballerina takes a lot of hard work and sacrifice. And the article offers a glimpse into what its like.

This is one of the more powerful quotes from the article:
The most important thing, she's learned, is to treat new ailments immediately so they don’t get worse, so you don’t traverse from “injured” to “out.” Because, she says, “When you’re out, you feel worthless; you feel disposable.”
It seems like it's a very demanding job, both emotionally and physically. And it's kind of hard to understand, as an outsider, why someone so talented and accomplished would feel that believing in yourself is the hardest challenge. But I can imagine that it might come their constant pursuit of perfection.

Anyway, the article is worth a read on this (lazy) Sunday! (can be found here)

Happy Caturday! (Update on Wedge)

Wedge has already gotten used to both of us being away all day at work. The first week was super sad because it seemed like he was doing things to prevent us from leaving. For example, he usually follows us when we leave a room. Especially in the morning because he knows he's about to be fed. But after my first day, he tried to stay in the bedroom after I got ready in the morning. I don't know. Maybe we were imagining it, but I do think that animals are intuitive and smarter than they look/act. It was like a little protest.

But like I said, he's used it now! Which makes me feel less guilty. Yes, I would rather stay at home with my cat all day than work, but having the extra income gives us a lot more room to breathe. And also, it's a lot more treats/food for Wedge. So I guess I'll stay. #spoiled

Wedge's new favorite spot
We received these cat shelves, above, from Contempo Cat for free! It was part of a giveaway that Haus Panther sponsored. We just had to pay for the pelican wall clips and shipping, which is a pretty good deal. Not sure how many cat shelves they gave away, but it seemed like a lot of people participated! And Wedge loves them!

We installed the shelves above the tv, which is a pretty precarious place to put them in hindsight. He likes to chase his tail on the shelves for some reason and sometimes we get scared he'll fall off, but so far so good. And our tv is still safe! 

Taking a break from chasing the Roomba to look outside the window
We also got the Roomba, above, that Wedge seems to think is his newest toy. He goes nuts for the spinning side brush. Hopefully his curiosity about it dies down. He likes to undock it, even at night, which causes the roomba to make noise while it tries looking for the dock again. Also, he runs from whatever room he's in if he hears the roomba start on its scheduled cleaning time. He's obsessed!

Anyway, now you're updated on all the latest happenings about my cat!

Hope you all have a great weekend! :)

I'm back! (Things I'm Loving Lately)

It has been two months since I last posted which is coincidentally how long I have been at my new job. After not working for two years(!!!), it took me a while to get used to waking up early again and spending 8+ hours in an office. I was feeling super exhausted every day and using the weekends to recharge. Anyway, I didn't have the energy or motivation to blog or even cook dinner. However, I am feeling better. And although my job can be stressful, I am incredibly grateful to be working at all.

So, I'm going to try to be positive! I'll start by listing all the things that I've been loving lately, in no particular order:

Wedge, cat, with lipstick
Wedge with a bit of lipstick
1) My lovable, derpy cat, Wedge (above). He makes me laugh every day!

2) Every other Friday off from work. Hallelujah! This is going to spoil me for future jobs.

3) My iRobot Roomba 770. $500 for a vacuum?! Well, it's super convenient, sucks up a lot of cat hair, and lengthens the amount of time you can go between actual vacuuming. It has changed my life. Also, ain't nobody got time for vacuuming. At least I don't. If there were a robot that could fold laundry, my life would be set forever.

4) BECCA The One Perfecting Brush. I think that a lot of people hate it, but I personally looove it. It really cuts down on the time it takes to put on make-up before work. I use it for foundation, highlight, contour, and blush, which might make some people grossed out. But it works for me. It's a really dense brush, so it does take a while to dry after cleaning. I used to use the beauty blender sponge to apply foundation before this, but the BECCA brush is faster. I think that I'll continue to use the beauty blender sponge plus separate brushes for blush and stuff for fancier occasions.

Birchbox! (source)
5)  Birchbox! The above picture shows what I got in this month's box. I really liked the Temptu highlighter and the Noir eyeliner pencil (so smooth!). Last month's box was even better! I got a large "sample" of a ModelCO bronzer that I've been using lately, Amika dry shampoo (my new favorite), Laura Mercier eye gel creme, and hello breath spray. It's like getting a present every month.

6) Dry Shampoo! This is a lifesaver for those days that I don't want to wash my hair. Ew, I know. But sometimes I just need that extra 15 minutes to sleep. Dry shampoo is amazing! Also, is it just me or does 2nd day hair look awesome? At least that's what I'm telling myself.

7) My supervisor. I feel like I'm taking over a pretty crappy program, but my supervisor seems to be very understanding and tries to help me whenever I hit a dead end. Sometimes I want to give up, but then I think about how things would be worse if I had a bad supervisor. So, thanks for being a really cool lady!

8) Line app. My parents just moved to Okinawa, Japan a couple weeks ago for a new job that my dad got and I am able to call and video chat with them through this app (for free!). I guess it's a lot like Skype, but my parents chose to use Line instead. So thankful to be able to talk to my parents who are halfway around the world. Technology is amazing!

9) LOFT work pants! They recently had a 50% off sale, so I got two more work parts in the Marisa and Zoe fit. And this time in my right size! (They run super big, so I had to size down). They're a flattering fit and a pretty good price when they're on sale. Luckily, I can wear jeans to work, but sometimes I want to dress up a little, even if it's just for work.

10) Last, but not least: my husband! He's working full-time, too, but also attending school in the evenings to get his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. I feel like he has it worse than me, but he still listens to me vent about work and how I'm always tired and whatever else that I want to complain about. He's also super cool with eating take-out for dinner. Thanks for putting up with the two spoiled brats (me and my cat) in the house!

What sort of things are you guys loving lately? :) I feel so out of the loop!

Summer Picnic at Short Stay (Sat, 7/19/14)

Yesterday, Dallin and I drove up to Short Stay in Moncks Corner for his department picnic. Short Stay is an outdoor recreation center located on Lake Moultrie and is operated by Joint Base Charleston-Weapons Station's MWR department. It's available to the military, retirees, DoD civilians, and guests.

Moncks Corner is "out in the sticks" compared to where we currently live. Took us about an hour to drive there, but it wasn't that bad! When we first got there, we drove around looking for the pavilion of where the party was located. We saw the different campsites, villas, and cabins available. It seems like a nice place to go on a staycation. I will see if we can stay here for a 3-day weekend!

Anyway, the party was surprisingly fun. There were a lot of things for the kids to do (bounce house, games, cornhole, swimming, rockclimbing, etc). We don't have children yet, so we just ate food, chatted with friends, and walked to the lake. It was so hot today, y'all! I wore jeans again. Mistake. Again! That's what happens when you're too lazy to shave your legs. Oh, summer. How I both hate and love you. :)

Here are a couple photos that ended up on my phone:
Sticky Fingers pulled pork sandwich, beans, cole slaw, and lemonade at Short Stay Moncks Corner
Food catered by Sticky Fingers!

Food was catered by Sticky Fingers. I had a pulled pork sandwich with beans and cole slaw. I was starving, so I thought it was extra delicious. ;)  There was even a table serving 3 flavors of ice cream with different toppings! *droool*

Pair of ducks at Lake Moultrie, Moncks Corner (Short Stay)
Thought this pair of ducks was cute. :)

Short Stay: Lake Moultrie, Moncks Corner. Beach.
The "Beach." You can see the villas across from here

I don't want to be snarky, but lakes kind of creep me out, though I guess some people feel the same way about the sea. I'm totally an ocean beach girl though and it's what I'm used to. I like being able to see what's in the water. But I will get over it eventually. I guess I'm just completely spoiled after growing up in Hawaii!

Short Stay Moncks Corner Lake Moultrie

Short Stay Moncks Corner Lake Moultrie Boat Pier
Boat Pier

Sun was so bright, I probably should've also worn sunglasses with the big hat! :) My eyes don't even look like they're open at all! *squint*

This is me trying out the rockclimbing wall!

They had a rockclimbing wall and I decided to try it out after watching all the kids do it. It was harder than it looks! I got to the top of the "easy" side, but only got half-way up the "difficult" side. Haha. My arms were burning after. I definitely give the kids a lot of credit because their arms and legs are way shorter than mine! I think one of the difficult parts for me was letting go. I was trying to climb back down the "easy" side, but they told me to just let go. My mind was like, "you want me to do WHAAAT?" So, letting go of the wall was a leap of faith for me. I'm scared of heights, so knowing for sure that I would be safe made it a lot easier for me. Safety first! :) Kind of makes me wonder what goes through the minds of people that do this without a rope though. Hopefully confidence! :)

Driving back home!

The party was really fun. I love picnics and company parties. It's always good for everyone's morale to get away from work and just unwind. There were a lot of things to do for everyone and it was a great location, despite the distance. We had so much fun, we both took surprise naps when we got home. Thank you to whoever planned all of it! I'm already looking forward to next summer's department picnic! :)