Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Birchbox Book Club | Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin

One of my reoccurring New Year's Resolutions is to read one book a month. This month it was Better Than Before Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin. It's the Birchbox book of the month. I have read several of BB's other book picks and have enjoyed their selections, so it was fun to be able to read and review this.

Better Than Before is a self-help, pop psych book about how to start, shape, grow, and keep habits. I can be a bit wary of the pop psych genre being trained as a psychologist, but there are enough personal examples that it makes it not read overly authoritative. In fact, the biggest message is that not one size fits all when it comes to habit formation. It was interesting to hear her reactions when she was testing out her new habit theories on friends and family and when worked for her didn't work for them.

It's super easy to read. I had a few long commutes this past month and having this with me actually made it not so bad. I found it interesting to think how her different principles applied to myself and my friends, and how to think of those differences not as better or worse but as what they are differences. There is actually a little section about the tendencies and distinctions. I thought I would list mine out. If you read the book, leave your answers in the comments! I almost wish there was a little quiz...

The tendencies are her overarching philosophy on habit formation. She breaks people down into four categories: Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, and Rebel. She refers to these archetypes throughout the book to give strategies a different perspective for the types and describe how some strategies work well for one type of person but might backfire for another. I am definitely an Upholder, but no offense, to the author Gretchen, who is also a fellow Upholder-I am not as overbearing...And as a side note, who doesn't like pets, games, or music? Preston is a Questioner, I have met many Obligers, and my sister is, no doubt, a Rebel.

The distinctions are your preferences for activities, habits, projects, etc. Knowing how you operate can help you know how to best frame your habits to be successful.

No matter how badly I want to be a lark, I am an owl. My prime time is 10pm and later. I think I would love a super late night shift but that isn't really how the world works. 

This one was a little harder for me to answer. I would have to say I am more of a sprinter. I like being against a deadline and setting a lot of time to focus on one thing. What tripped me up was that I seem to like my productivity bursts right when I am first assigned or decide on a project and then right before it's due. I guess the excitement of a new thing and the completion of it makes it easier for me to work.

I am sure you all could guess this one-overbuyer. Honestly, I am proud of my overbuyer-ness. If I need something, I am not afraid to pick it up, and I am always prepared for anything. I am pretty good at not going too crazy. Like for the typical exercise example, I wouldn't shell out huge expenses before a commitment like a gym or a treadmill, but I would buy a new outfit and some dumbbells to jump-start. 

This one was another hard one to decide. The line that put me over the abundance lover edge was the example of a full pantry. It probably goes hand-in-hand with my overbuying. I also really liked her point on how to use your preference to your advantage-if you are a simplicity lover to save money you might cut down on something, but if you are an abundance lover you might consider making more money by starting a side gig. 

I'm a finisher. I like to see things through to completion, but like I mentioned in the sprinter question, I like to start new projects too. I think what got me is her story about her husband opening all the bags of granola instead of finishing them-Preston does this too, and it drives me crazy. 

Familiarity lover. I like to feel super comfortable and know what I am expecting. Whenever I start a new habit,  I research it to death and once I get used to something I stick to it. 

Promotion focused. I strive for achievement and gains-to mastery. I never really thought of this being a dichotomy, but it makes sense-adding a good habit is the same as decreasing a bad habit. It's all about perspective.

I want to go with medium here? Several medium steps along the way. I like having big goals and to see progress, but I try to be realistic to not get overwhelmed or feel like I let myself down.

If you are trying to resurrect your New Year's Resolutions or keep wondering why you have a hard time keeping habits, check this book out. Even to just feel like you aren't alone in having trouble with it. She goes through quite a few different strategies and how to best use them to your advantage with a lot of anecdotes from herself, her family, and comments from readers of her blog. I have heard a bit about her other books like The Happiness Project, and I think I will have to give that one a shot.

If you read Better Than Before, let me know your thoughts-and your tendency!


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black & White

I've shared my love for Elizabeth & James Nirvana White in a recent monthly favourites. I instantly fell in love with the fresh scent. Someone else noticed as well...Preston. We aren't the typical couple when gift-giving. He has never bought me flowers or make-up or taken me shopping-I don't know do couples do that? In high-school, I remember when we were first dating after Bio and before lunch, he would always say to me, "You smell funny" and I would ask "Funny good or funny bad?" He responded, "Just funny." To his credit, all through high school my signature scent was Britney Spears Fantasy, so it probably was very funny...

Anyway, back to present day, Preston commented on the perfume I was wearing, and it was Nirvana White. I went on to explaining probably too much about it and how it had a pair, the Black version, and how you could layer them and...yeah too much detail. A few days later, a Sephora box arrives. At first, I thought I must have been online sleep shopping, but Preston had ordered me Nirvana Black. I was so surprised. 1. He remembered what it was called. 2. He went to Sephora.com. 3. He bought me perfume. What?! I think it appealed to his Pokemon sensibilities where you have to catch them all.

I love both these scents. White is fresh and floral while Black is warm and cozy. Combine them and you have a sort-of spicy scent. White is perfect for the daytime while Black is perfect for night. Though, I have been wearing Black during the day as I like its warm scent during the colder weather. Admittedly, they aren't the most long-lasting fragrance. I am not one to really bother with reapplying perfume, but with the rollerballs, I could easily throw it in my purse. I would love to get the actual bottles one day as they are super pretty.

What's the first fragrance a boyfriend has ever given you?

Monday, March 23, 2015

Nail Art | Marble Mani

Marble is having quite the moment. The luxe look is everywhere from the expected home decor to clothing to electronic accessories. I thought it would make a super cool natural yet high contrast pattern for nail art.

This is very similar to the Turquoise nail art I posted several months ago. I loved that mani and was excited to do something similar. It's basically the same tutorial except for the colour choices. For my marble base, I started with two coats of Zoya Dove, a light gray, and then sponged on Color Club Mod in Manhattan, an off-white. You can switch the order of this and get the same effect. For the veining, I used Zoya Geneviev, a dark gray.

Now, I tried to do the same thing with the turquoise mani by using hair spray in the water marble, but I was having some major technical difficulties. I think my room was too cold making the water tough to marble with and probably making the hairspray too cold too. So, I just dropped some nail polish into the water and went at it swirling around. The hairspray method would work much better, but this wasn't bad.

Are you loving the marble trend? I really want this laptop cover!


Saturday, March 21, 2015

Whole Foods Beauty Bag

I was super excited when I heard that Whole Foods was having a beauty bag. I love perusing the beauty aisle. There are a ton of new brands and products to discover with natural and cruelty-free ingredients.

Bag Breakdown
RijiGreen Beauty Bag
Acure Cell Stimulating Facial Mask
Pacifica Eye Shadow Duo in Moonbeam/Unicorn (OR Pacifica Lipstick)
Giovanni 2chic Blackberry Coconut Milk Ultra-Repair Shampoo
Derma E Microdermabrasion Scrub
Gabriel Mascara
Trilogy Vital Moisturising Cream

I am going to keep this short as it's a limited supplies type of deal, and it started today. It retails for $18 and is valued at $60. The samples are a great size and the bag is super cute too. I picked up a few for friends and found that the linings differ by bag and so do the little fringe/strings. If you have a preference from the eyeshadow or the lipstick you will have to peek inside them too. 

Are you going to pick this beauty bag up?


Friday, March 20, 2015

ABM Happy Mail | March 2015

I just loveee Happy Mail. I need pen pals though, so I end up hoarding all of it! This month featured cute animals and rose gold foil (insert heart-eyed emoji here). Some of my favourites are the 'Hello There!', 'You Got This', and 'Don't Stop Get It, Get It' card. I think the latter two are perfect for  the upcoming months with graduation season approaching as a more modern congratulations card. And that cat face. I can't even. I am also loving the cute shopping list, neon tags, and the stickers that are like the ones from December but in colour. I might just have to make some more dividers for my Filo. The seasons ones would be perfect to break up the weekly agenda section.

For a more detailed look at the month & to subscribe, click here.

Are you subscribed to Happy Mail? 
How about Messy Box (I am thinking about that one but on the fence...)?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

A little drugstore haul

This one is a bit long overdue as I have been using these products for awhile now. I have to admit usually, I am more of the mid-range shopper for beauty products. However, there are a couple of drugstore brands I can't get enough of as well as a few beauty products I don't mind getting a deal on.

There were a few items that ended up in my cart on a now not-so-recent Target trip, and they are all now in my beauty routine fairly regularly. I can't help myself, I love Biore Pore Strips, they are just too satisfying. I haven't had a pack in awhile and at a slight discount I decided it was time to repurchase. Another back from the past re-buy is Seche Vite. Yes, it's most likely very bad for you, but it's so shiny and fast. I finally have been able to make time to paint my nails again. It's just been one colour, but I am hoping to get back into nail art again soon. I also picked up the elf Mineral Face Primer, at one point I had the original and thought it worked fine. I'm not too picky with face primers. I have been hearing about lavender colour-correcting for brightening and wanted to try it out. I can't say I really notice a difference, but I think it would be a hard thing to notice unless you did a half & half face test or something of the sort. It seems the jaw clip is back. I remember having ginormous ones to flip up your whole head of hair and have the ends flare out in a spiky mess. I didn't go that far, but I picked up some medium size ones to help make half-up do's easier, and I've found it much easier than a ponytail.

Any recent drugstore purchases?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Birchbox | March 2015

This past weekend I bought myself some pretty flowers, so don't mind them being in the next several posts. How could I resist flowers & beauty products? Anyway... today I am sharing my March Birchbox. The theme is 'Creativity' which is definitely something that I am trying to make more time for. I love the colourful patterned box. It's just perfectly springy and Easter-egg like.

Box Breakdown
Mirenesse iCurl Secret Weapon 24hr Mascara
Michael Todd Tropical Enzyme Exfoliant Scrub
Sicilian Body Lotion
BeeKind Shampoo
Jelly Pong Pong Glow Getter Highlighter
it's a 10 Miracle Leave-in Product

My sample pick of the month was the it's a 10 Miracle Leave-in Product. I love this stuff. It's pretty pricey though for essentially a hair detangler, but it's so good, so I am excited to have a cute sized sample (which will be great for refilling). Another product I am excited about is the Michael Todd Tropical Enzyme Exfoliant Scrub. I have tried quite a few products from Michael Todd and have really loved them. An enzyme scrub will be perfect for getting my skin ready to be bright and smooth for spring. I am always down to try a new mascara, so I am looking forward to testing out the Mirenesse iCurl Mascara. The wand has a nice curve which I find to really help keep a curl. I'm ot quite sure what to think of the Jelly Pong Pong Glow Getter Highlighter. It's packaged in little nail polish bottle, so at first, I thought it was a polish. It's actually a liquid highlighter. The packaging does make it convenient to use, but it's a bit unnerving as I catch myself expecting it to be nail polish. I have only swatched it, and it looks very intense. We will have to see how it looks on the face. Finally, I got a couple of sample packets for BeeKind Shampoo and Sicilian Body Lotion. I like to save packets like these for when I travel to make packing easier

I'm pretty happy about March's box. Plus, it's 6 samples, so that's six dollars in BB points. I recently placed a #birchboxbrag order so expect to see that haul soon! If you want to join Birchbox, you can follow my link here

What did you get in this month's box?

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Haul | Target Sam & Libby Shoes

Weather in the 40s! Almost there. In the meantime though, I have been imagining spring outfits for work and weekend. I am a bit obsessed with D'Orsay style, pointy toe shoes and when I saw all the options at Target from Sam & Libby, I purchased quite a few. I am not much of a heels girl, but I couldn't help but ordering these when they were at such a discount (the snake print pair were $12-and are still available). They would look so cute on a date night with skinny jeans or with some sleek trousers for work. I ordered the two high heels online and of course, my obsession didn't end there. On a physical trip to Target, I saw the flat version. Sold. I decided on the black as they would be a perfect everyday pair; they also have a nude and leopard version. For the heels, I ordered by normal size, as they had straps, and for the more open flats, I went a half-size down. D'orsays can get a bit flip-floppy, making it hard to walk, these fit snug enough to have more control. And look super cute.

Have you made any spring fashion purchases lately?

Friday, March 13, 2015

Goodbye Winter!

This might be a bit premature, but I am saying goodbye to winter. It's been snow-filled which I quite enjoy- but it's time. I'm so looking forward to leaving the house without a coat & thermals. I am just hoping that spring doesn't turn into summer too quickly. A nice long transition. I am excited for cherry blossoms, bare legs, and revisiting this spring to-do list.

Happy (almost) Spring!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

My Zoya Collection

I talk about nail polish quite a bit, especially about Zoya. It's my absolute favourite nail polish brand, as evident by it taking up half of my 90-polish rack. You can probably also tell that cool tones are more my jam. Not much else to say about this, as I have said it all before-five-free, opaque, even-so without further ado, here are my 51 Zoya polishes.

Top Row    Charlott; Jacqueline; Solange; Ziv; Gilty; Piaf; Shaaron; Coraline; Kate; Myrta; Belle; Rory; Kimber; Sooki; Pepper; Blaze; Aurora

Second Row   Daul; Carter; Sansa; Payton; Monica; Margo; Aubrey; Odette; Normani; Stevie; Caitlin; Dove; London; Geneviev; Yuna; Anais; Claudine

Third Row   Storm; Neve; Dream; Liberty; FeiFei; Natty; Dillon; Zuza; Neely; Kristen; Josie; Wednesday; Evvie;  Noot; Frida; Chita; Logan

I always seem to add a few more with the release of each new collection, so I am sure this will continue to grow...though it's apparent I do not need any more nail polish.

What's your favourite polish brand?

Thursday, March 5, 2015

New In | Spring Nail Polish

Spring is on my mind (will the snow please stop!) I am looking forward to pastels, florals, and bright lippies. I have been picking up a few new polishes here and there.

From Zoya, I ordered some oldies that I didn't yet have in my collection. There was a promo going on for three mini mystery shades. I think together they would make a cool art deco inspired nail art.

Zoya Caitlin | Gray-toned lavender
Zoya Kristen | Slightly gray-toned light blue
Zoya Evvie | Gray-toned forest green
Zoya Severine | Champagne metallic
Zoya Anais | Gunmetal metallic
Zoya Charlott | Slightly gray-toned nude

I also ordered some rosey tones from Julep.
Julep Soleil | Rose Gold Metallic
Julep Margit | Dusty Rose with a Sheen

Then, I picked up some staple nail products- Julep Ta Da! Instant Dry Drops, and I recently repurchased Seche Vite.

Have you been picking up any new items for spring?

Monday, March 2, 2015

Beauty Favourites | February 2015

Hello March! Though it still feels like January on the east coast. Just a few new favourites this month, still loving all my January & December picks.

I have two posts dedicated to the new Nars Narsissist Dual Intensity Eyeshadow Palette. Here is a review & here is a two-for-one look. With my Sephora order of that palette, I picked a sample of the First Aid Beauty Deep Cleanser. I love using it at night as it makes your skin feel super clean and refreshed. Another First Aid Beauty product-the Ultra Repair Cream-has also made favourites status. This is the winter dry skin cure. I am hoping that spring is just around the corner, and this Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in True Love is the perfect winter to spring transition shade. It was an item in the February PopSugar box. I am also loving the Figs & Rouge 100% Natural Balm in Pomegranate that was in that box. I just forgot to include it in the picture as it lives by my side of the bed. Finally, a couple of nail polish favs. Zoya Evvie is a polish I have been wanting for awhile. When the collection first came out I was debating between it and Noot. I ended up with Noot, but I think Evvie was the colour I was wanting. It is a lovely dark, gray-toned green. It's dark without looking black (like Noot does). Though it's a fall shade, I think it's the perfect option for when you want dark nails in the spring. I mean sometimes you need a change from pastels during that time of year. Am I right? I realized I haven't been wearing nail polish for some time. It's been so hard to find time lately. So when I walked through the nailcare aisle in Target, I decided to pick up a bottle of Seche Vite. It dries so fast & glossy-it's amazing. I am just dreading when it gets gloopy and the chemical smell is overwhelming. Pros & cons...pros & cons.

What were some of your favourites this past month?