Monday, June 30, 2014

The Look For Less: Cynthia Rowley Spring 2014

It's time for The Look For Less!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with The Look For Less, a shopper has a budget of between $100-200 and gets paired with a professional stylist to recreate a runway look from head to toe. On the show, the shopper only gets two outfit options and one hour to shop, but those rules are out the window here. I've set my "budget" for $150 ($100 went a lot further back then), but after taxes (it's 6% in Michigan), that's only $141.50. Let's get started!

I chose a look from Cynthia Rowley's Spring 2014 collection. I just love her use of colors and patterns, and although I can't afford her clothing, I use her pencil eyeliner and lip stain. (Side note: I HIGHLY recommend the lip stain. It can double as a cheek tint, is lasting, and isn't sticky at all. I currently have it in Sugar, but plan to buy all of the colors.)

c/o Cynthia Rowley

This look (shirt, shoes, pants) retails for about $720, so let's get the price down by over 75%!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

My Nightly Beauty Routine

My friends always joke with me that I spend more time getting ready before bed than I do in the morning, but it's absolutely true. Many people have expressed interest in my nightly skincare routine (and wonder why it takes so long), so I thought I'd share!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

I'm so excited to have been nominated for two Very Inspiring Blogger Awards! Special shoutout and thanks to Orly at Coffee Beans and High Heels and Marietta at Marietta DeGrant As MarieNoel for nominating me.


RULES:

  • Thank and link the amazing person who nominated you.
  • List the rules and display the award.
  • Share seven facts about yourself.
  • Nominate fifteen other amazing blogs and remember to comment on their blogs to let them know you’ve nominated them (provide a link to your post).
  • This rule is optional – you can proudly display the award logo anywhere on your blog (e.g., on your sidebar) and also follow the blogger that nominated you.
FACTS:
  1. I'm spending this summer nannying to save money for my big move to France!
  2. I'm a huge skincare buff.
  3. I own almost 100 nail polishes.
  4. I've been on three dates in the past two years. Asked out on more, but only accepted three.
  5. On that note, I hate dates. More stress than they're worth.
  6. Right now, I'm watching the Moroccan-inspired episode of Brunch @ Bobby's ("Marrakesh Express").
  7. I hate how polarizing politics can be.

NOMINATIONS:

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Birchbox Unveiling (June 2014)

June 2014

This month's Birchbox theme was Away We Go, which I obviously loved. Just look how cute their sneak peek video was! Plus, all subscribers have the opportunity to win a free domestic round-trip flight from JetBlue! Let's take a look at my box.

My lovely June box.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Look For Less: Sarah Vickers

Time for my version of The Look For Less!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with The Look For Less, a shopper has a budget of between $100-200 and gets paired with a professional stylist to recreate a runway look from head to toe. On the show, the shopper only gets two outfit options and one hour to shop, but those rules are out the window here. I've set my "budget" for $150 ($100 went a lot further back then), but after taxes (it's 6% in Michigan), that's only $141.50. Let's get started!

First, I must mention that today is my beautiful best friend's birthday and she's in town to celebrate! Lydia moved four hours away when we were in middle school, so it's really difficult only seeing her once or twice a year. I'm so happy beyond belief to be with her right now that I can't even describe it.

Celebrating her birthday last year in Chicago over a Ghirardelli sundae!
(Lydia on right.)

In honor of her birthday and her visit, I had Lydia choose this look. We both love (and covet the lives of) Kiel James Patrick and Sarah Vickers, so it was no surprise that she chose the following outfit worn by Sarah.

How adorable is she?
c/o Classy Girls Wear Pearls

It's adorably preppy and totally Lydia's (and my) style. Sarah's outfit retails well over $1000, so let's get to work!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

POPSUGAR Must Have Unveiling (June 2014)

June 2014

Unfortunately, this is my last POPSUGAR Must Have box in the foreseeable future. Although each box is worth at least $100 and the products are spectacular, I just can't afford $40/month right now. Here's what I got in my final box!


It's definitely beach-themed this month, and I love it. I just about died when I saw I got a Turkish towel...I've been wanting one forever but never felt like spending the money. It's absolutely perfect and I can't wait for the perfect opportunity to use it! The chips are barbecue flavored, so I passed them on to my sister. She loves them! The book looks like a good read, the hair ties are gorgeous, and the lotion smells amazing and feels so silky smooth. I'm actually more excited about receiving the lemon-scented wet wipes than I thought I'd be. They'll be perfect for all of my upcoming travel! This was such a wonderful box, I'm sorry that it's my last one.

Total box value: $82

Interested? Become a Must Have subscriber here! And use code JUNESELECT10 for $10 off of your first box!

Fed Up Challenge: Days 8, 9, and 10 (Last Days!)

In case you missed it, read my first post about the Fed Up Challenge to learn about the challenge, what it is, and why I'm doing it.

I DID IT! I went 10 days completely added-sugar free! I still can't believe it. The closer it got to the end, the tougher it was. Today I woke up and had a chocolate muffin and it never tasted so good.

Unfortunately, I didn't really feel the health benefits--I didn't feel more energetic (more tired, if anything) and lost no weight. Maybe a half pound at the most. But all that matters is that I stuck to it and finished what I started. Woohoo!

If any of you are taking the plunge, let me know! I'd love to follow and give encouragement.

c/o Fed Up

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Fed Up Challenge: Day 7

In case you missed it, read my first post about the Fed Up Challenge to learn about the challenge, what it is, and why I'm doing it.

My family went to synagogue today, and for those of you who've never been, there's a part called kiddush. This occurs after the service, and it's basically where everyone gathers to eat and socialize. Think really long tables filled with fruit, bumpy cake (a Detroit classic), seven-layer cake (the holy grail of Jewish desserts), cookies, challah, and wine. All I wanted in the world was to shove it all in my mouth, but I refrained and had some grapes and kiwi. Luckily, my mom made me a plate with some mini bumpy cakes, seven-layer-cake bites, and tiny cream puffs for me to indulge in once this challenge is over. Amen to that.

Seven layer cake. It tastes even better than it looks.
c/o Oh! Nuts

For my breakfast, I had a couple small biscuits that my sister made along with coffee and milk. We weren't home much until mid-afternoon, so my lunch was just a smoothie. Beyond Juice, a local place, can make great smoothies using only fruit chunks and ice! I always get a strawberry-pineapple smoothie, but this time I had them hold the honey. I also grilled them about the ingredients before ordering one! Another temptation arose, though. With each smoothie purchase, you get a tiny piece of lemon-poppyseed bread. Off to the fridge it went, where it's hanging out with the chocolate. For dinner, my sister and I just made whole-wheat pasta with the sugar-free tomato-basil sauce I found, and I had an apple.

This is the lemon-poppyseed bread!
c/o Beyond Juice Birmingham's Instagram

I took a rest day from working out. I was exhausted and really needed it. I don't plan on going to the gym tomorrow (day eight), either, but have something else planned for my workout. You'll see!

The longer this challenge goes on, the fewer fruits I feel like eating and the more carbs I want. Is this maybe the sugar craving kicking in? Well, I just have three more days--I can do it!

c/o Fed Up

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Fed Up Challenge: Day 6

In case you missed it, read my first post about the Fed Up Challenge to learn about the challenge, what it is, and why I'm doing it.

All I wanted today was chocolate milk. Seriously. I drink a small cup of it after each workout, and while I somehow managed to push through the other days, today wasn't so easy. Plus, this was probably my worst day food-wise. I'm almost embarrassed to tell you what I ate. I had my usual pre-workout string cheese, and I had plain Greek yogurt mixed with natural peanut butter and strawberries post-workout along with a couple of brown-rice cakes. But for dinner, I had some pumpkin seeds and made my own cheesy bread...for the second night in a row. I was just in the mood for tons of carbs today and not much fruit. (Notice I don't really like vegetables? I'm working on it.) Then my sister made vegan, sugar-free biscuits...so of course I had a couple with some Earth Balance spread on top. Looking at this retroactively, these meals weren't so bad I guess. Better than what most Americans eat.

So good that I had to take a bite before snapping this pic.

Luckily, I had a great workout. I met with a personal trainer for an hour this morning. It was a free session designed to show me how to do different exercises, so I was practicing squats, lunges, dead lifts, chest flies, etc. The good news is, he told me I should only lift weights four days each week! :) Following that, I did 10 minutes on the treadmill--a minute walking at 3.5 mph on an incline of 4.0, then a minute sprinting at 7.0 mph on an incline of 1.0, and repeat. I am so terrible at running--I get out of breath and my chest hurts before I hit a quarter mile--so this workout was way harder for me than you think. I can do an hour on the elliptical, bike, stair stepper, no problem. But running? No.

Reflecting on the day, I'm realizing my choices are much more healthful than what they were previously. I wouldn't think twice about eating so many carbs, but I'm more aware of it now. While I can't wait to reincorporate sugar into my diet, I'm hoping that I'll continue to be more health-conscious.

c/o Fed Up

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Fed Up Challenge: Days 4 and 5

In case you missed it, read my first post about the Fed Up Challenge to learn about the challenge, what it is, and why I'm doing it.

I fell asleep before I could post about day four yesterday, so I'm combining the two. Sorry!

As for yesterday (day four), I had a string cheese, a caprese salad, and a couple of brown-rice cakes for brunch, an apricot as a snack, and whole-wheat baguette with natural peanut butter and banana on top for dinner. While I still didn't have actual cravings, it was super difficult to be at work while everyone ate Famous Amos...oh well. Five more days and they're all mine! I didn't work out for the second day in a row because I felt a cold coming on, but luckily I was better by this morning.

c/o Berry Ripe

Today (day five), I had a string cheese before my workout and three brown-rice cakes after. I guess that counts as brunch...? For my workout, I did 30 minutes of weight training then 15 minutes of cardio. Cardio was three minutes of 3.5 mph at a 15.0 incline, two minutes of 6.0 mph at a 1.0 incline, and repeat. Shortest but hardest cardio I've ever done. Babysitting was rough, because the kids had Texas Toast cheesy bread with their meal. I almost had a slice, but realized there was dextrose in it...ugh. All I wanted was cheesy bread, so when I got home for dinner, I ate plain Greek yogurt mixed with natural peanut butter and fresh strawberries, and I made my own cheesy bread. I took some slices of whole-wheat baguette, put Muenster cheese and some mozzarella on top, and cooked it in the convection oven for a few minutes. It was sooooo delicious! And I'm so happy I found a way to eat cheesy carbs again (my favorite)! Now, I'm snacking on an apricot and drinking lime-flavored sparkling water before bed.

c/o Lauren's Latest

I'm not quite sure why, but my appetite has definitely decreased. I haven't been eating as much throughout the day, but I'm not sure if it's because my stomach is used to it now or because I'm omitting sugar. Either way, I'm okay with it!

c/o Fed Up

What's in My Travel Tote?

I don't know about you, but I carry a tote bag everywhere. Seriously, it's like a security blanket for me. I carry my Longchamp to class, the gym, the grocery store, Starbucks...you name it. But my favorite part about it is that it's so roomy and durable that it's perfect for travel! Whenever I fly, there are a few essentials I make sure to have with me at all times. Let's take a look!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Fed Up Challenge: Day 3

In case you missed it, read my first post about the Fed Up Challenge to learn about the challenge, what it is, and why I'm doing it.

Day three is usually the worst day of a virus, so I figured it'd be the same for this. Guess not! For brunch, I ate Greek yogurt mixed with all-natural peanut butter and freeze-dried raspberries, a string cheese, and some toasted whole-wheat baguette with a tiny bit of butter. Then I headed to Starbucks to work on this blog of mine and just get out of the lonely apartment. It was so nice being at Starbucks to blog for fun rather than study for an exam or write a paper! I researched the Starbucks drinks beforehand to make sure I wouldn't get anything with sugar, and I settled on an unsweetened iced green tea and almonds I brought from home.

My friend Hani and I met up at the juice bar after that, where I had a fresh-squeezed orange juice. I've seen them make the drink before, and they literally just dump oranges in a juicer. I hadn't seen Hani in a while, so it was great to catch up! (P.S. He makes the most gorgeous handmade glitter cards ever! Go like his Facebook page right now!)

One of Hani's glitter cards

Then work, where I snacked on pumpkin seeds. So, again, I had a late dinner. I indulged in whole-wheat pasta with tomato-basil sauce topped with mozzarella, along with two small apricots. Most pasta sauces have added sugar, but I was so excited to find one that didn't at Trader Joe's!

Overall, yesterday was fine. I wanted the cookies at work, yes, but wasn't necessarily craving them. If you have any food ideas for me, let me know!

c/o Fed Up

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Fed Up Challenge: Day 2

In case you missed it, read my first post about the Fed Up Challenge to learn about the challenge, what it is, and why I'm doing it.


c/o Fed Up

As day two is nearing an end, I'm still confident in myself and feeling great about this challenge. I'm in Ann Arbor until Wednesday night for work, and it works out perfectly because I was able to bring my own groceries and not be tempted by all of the "sugary" foods back home. Lucky for me, my mom helped me stock up. Without further ado, here's my day!

For brunch, I had FAGE Total 0% plain Greek yogurt mixed with all-natural peanut butter, a few almonds, and a thermos of coffee mixed with unsweetened coconut milk (we were out of regular milk). Then, Mom and I went shopping! (Shoutout to Moo.) It's always great grocery shopping with her, but it was extra nice this time because she was super supportive of helping me pick out foods that will work for the challenge. We emerged with nectarines, apricots, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, whole-wheat pasta, tomato-basil sauce, pumpkin seeds, almonds, freeze-dried raspberries, milk, eggs and brown-rice cakes. Oh, and a whole-wheat baguette! It was definitely hard finding bread products and pasta sauce without sugar, but I managed. Also, my mom's cousin sent me recipes for sugar-free bread and baguette, so I'm excited about trying those!

Following our trip to TJ's, I snacked on an organic-mozzarella string cheese and went to the gym for about an hour. I barely had enough time to pack for Ann Arbor, let alone eat or shower, so I scarfed down some pumpkin seeds and an apple at work. Luckily, my job only entails making phone calls and is student-run (i.e., sweatpants are allowed), so I was fine in my workout attire. I got home a couple of hours ago and had two scrambled eggs and a couple pieces of buttered whole-wheat baguette as a makeshift dinner, and I'm having a nectarine and some brown-rice cakes right now. I know, I know, it's not good to eat late at night, but this was really my only chance.

c/o For Wallpaper

So far, I haven't had any major cravings, and I'm hoping it stays that way. I had no problem avoiding pretzels and chocolate during break time at work (or the cake that my roommate offered me back at the apartment), and I'm not as hungry as yesterday. Still a little hungry, but not starving. I also haven't noticed any changes in my energy level, but there are still eight days to come. Let's just hope that the upcoming days are as easy as these past two!

Are any of you taking the challenge? Let me know!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Fed Up Challenge: Day 1

Have you guys heard about the Fed Up Challenge? I did, thanks to Jacey's post about it in Damsel in Dior. Part of Katie Couric and Laurie David's new documentary Fed Up, which chronicles the sugar and obesity epidemic in the United States, the Fed Up Challenge entails cutting out all refined or added sugar for 10 days. It seems like everyone who's taken the challenge feels happier, healthier, and more energetic, and many people lose a few pounds as a bonus! As I'm trying to cultivate healthier habits, I decided to take the plunge and see what this challenge is all about. (Side note: maybe I'll scratch off one of my 101 in 1001 goals by seeing the documentary by myself!)

c/o Fed Up

Let me be clear about the "no sugar" part. Natural sugars in fruits and vegetables are fine, but anything refined, added, sweetened, etc., is off limits. Even honey and molasses. The only juice allowed (at least as far as I'm concerned) is juice you make yourself, so you know for a fact that it isn't from concentrate or with added sugar. Fed Up made this great infographic that shows all of sugar's hidden identities.

c/o Fed Up

If you think this challenge is daunting...believe me, so do I. That's why I've decided to blog about it daily. I know my readers are always so supportive and encouraging, and I'm using you guys as my motivation to stick with it. On that note, I'd appreciate any motivation and encouragement from y'all!

Today was my first day of the challenge. While it wasn't terribly hard, I find myself still hungry, as I didn't prepare (i.e., I didn't grocery shop beforehand). After all, I only decided to do it last night! I was thrilled to learn that some of my favorite foods are okay for the challenge (Fage plain Greek yogurt, organic mozzarella string cheese, natural peanut butter), but was also shocked at how many different foods contain some variant of added sugar. As for my caffeinated beverages, I've always taken my coffee with skim milk and never add sugar to my tea, so I don't need to make any modifications there. I ate a lot of fruits, nuts, dairy, and seeds today, but tomorrow I plan to start my day with eggs, fruit, and yogurt with natural peanut butter. Then I'll hit the grocery store with my sugar infographic in hand! I'm also trying to drink more tea and water throughout the challenge in order to boost my energy and immune system. So far, so good.

Even though today was only the first day, I faced some challenges. First, hunger. I mostly blame my lack of preparedness, but it still isn't fun. I have enough food in me that I'm not miserable, but not enough to be satiated! Also, I went to a family friend's high-school graduation party, so I was surrounded by fluffy cupcakes, rice pudding, traditional Greek desserts, and wine. These drinks and desserts were extremely tempting, but I (somehow) managed to resist. With that, here's to an easy nine days ahead!

Are you interested in seeing the documentary? Click here to find out where it's playing near you!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Boston!

I'm really excited to announce that, as of Thursday, I've been accepted to pursue a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy at The Fletcher School at Tufts! I'm absolutely ecstatic, it's my top-choice graduate program. I even paid my deposit already! Don't worry, I'm still going to France--I was accepted to Tufts as an early admit, so I don't start until September 2016.


For those of you who are unfamiliar with The Fletcher School, it's the international-relations school at Tufts. Fun fact: it was the first graduate-only international-relations school in the U.S.! I get to choose two fields of study out of the 20 that they offered. As of now, I'm thinking of doing International Security Studies and United States (yes, it's called "United States. It's basically U.S. foreign policy).

I submitted my application for early admission on May 15 (the deadline, oops), and we were told that we would receive decisions in mid-July. Imagine my surprise when, not even four weeks later, I received the "Congratulations!" email! I had to reread it a few times to make sure it was real and that I was actually accepted. I screamed so loudly! My parents were worried when they heard my scream, but as soon as I ran downstairs to tell them the good news, they were as excited as I was.

Here's the best part about it, though, and I can't believe I didn't know this until after I was accepted. The mascot is Jumbo the Elephant, so I'm a Tufts JUMBO now! I find that hilarious.

I think he's adorable!

Anyway, I fell in love with Boston and Medford when I visited The Fletcher School last year, and I'm so excited to start a new chapter of my life there! I'm already coveting tons of apparel, too. ;) Are there any Bostonians or fellow Jumbos out there? If so, I'd appreciate any tips you have!

Thank you all for letting me share my excitement with you!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Look For Less: Joie Spring 2014

As a little girl, I used to spend hours watching The Look For Less on TV (remember Elisabeth Filarski/Hasselbeck?). That was pre-Internet boom, though, so even though I wanted to recreate looks, I couldn't. Sure, I could have gone to the mall, but my mother was not about to take me "just for fun." It only recently occurred to me that I could do my own mini-series on the blog!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with The Look For Less, a shopper has a budget of between $100-200 and gets paired with a professional stylist to recreate a runway look from head to toe. On the show, the shopper only gets two outfit options and one hour to shop, but those rules are out the window here. I've set my "budget" for $150 ($100 went a lot further back then), but after taxes (it's 6% in Michigan), that's only $141.50. Let's get started!

I've chosen to recreate a look from Joie's Spring 2014 Ready-to-Wear Collection.

c/o Joie

Isn't it perfect for summer? I love that it's almost entirely and looks super comfortable. However, the designer price tag is approximately $425...no way I could afford that! Here's how I'd recreate this look:

Sunday, June 1, 2014

My Beauty Basics: Europe

Like my European fashion basics, my beauty basics for traveling are pared down to the necessities. So, I decided to show you all what products I use for train rides, long days of touring in unpredictable weather, and extended walking. On y va!

June Wish List

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6
 
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