Tuesday, April 30, 2013

What I Bought In April

Whoa. Another month has flown by. As fast as each month comes and goes, I am glad to say April, March, and February are behind us! Bring on the warm weather and summer nights. 

So here it is, April in review. I scored some major deals that I am pretty excited about :)

White cropped skinnies with side zippers. Last summer I ogled at the J.Crew version with zippers and decided I better not. These are from the new line Joe Fresh at JCPenny.

A simple and relaxed white tee by MNG by Mango at JCPenny. I have already worn this top at least 3 times.

Blue Splendid top. Super easy to wear with leggings, skinnies, flats, sandals, boots... On sale at Dillard's.

White (wrinkly due to being in the hamper) linen blend Willow Clay moto jacket. It's very lightweight for summer which is unusual in moto jackets. On sale at Dillard's. 

Black and white long striped tee. This is long enough to wear as a dress with a denim jacket thrown over top and some beaded sandals or suede booties. $7 at Dillard's.

Swimsuit from Target.

Moving on...

Shoe #1: Brown caged Jessica Simpson wedge. On Sale at Dillard's. I wore them this past weekend to the Jason Aldean concert and loved them. By the way, Jason Aldean was AMAZING in concert! Probably the most fun concert I've been to yet. Thomas Rhett and Jake Owen opened for him and they both were so good! Kelly Clarkson even did a surprise appearance for one song, "Don't You Wanna Stay", the duet with Jason Aldean. Perfect Saturday. 

Shoe #2: Neon heel by Prabal Gurung on sale at Target. This wouldn't be the first shoe I normaly pick out, but I like the style and they add a touch of fun to an outfit. I'd wear them with rolled boyfriend jeans or skinnies and keep everything else neutral. 

Shoe #3: I was initially looking for a plain brown wedge for summer, but when I saw these in Target I thought they were even more versatile since they have some black as well. They were only $15, but I still might return them.

Remember when I asked for your help looking for a new fragrance? I finally found one! I was in Anthropologie a couple weeks ago and because the perfumes were so pretty, I was determined to find one I liked. After spraying every perfume in the store and smelling like 10 different perfumes, I decided on Tocca Florence. It's so pretty and not too strong (when worn by itself), and is wearable day and night. 

I finally got my "A" mug!

After last week's Wednesday's Wish List Post I ordered a few things from J.Crew. They arrived in the mail just in time! The jean shorts and the coral button up fit great. As for the collared tee, I am a little worried if I'll be able to pull it off without looking too...prim. 

I almost forgot about the Seven For All Mankind Dojos I purchased on Poshmark so I threw them in with my J.Crew stuff. It was my first purchase on the nifty little app and I have to say I was impressed with the ease of checking out. 

Hope you all enjoyed the cold and in some cases, snowy, April! :)

Monday, April 29, 2013

{Splurge vs. Save} When is it Worth It?

Being the bargain shopper that I am, it takes a lot for me to buy something over $50, or full price for that matter. Part of the fun is the challenge of finding a discounted price on the same item, you know? However, there are certain things that I feel are worth it, despite the daunting price tag. 

There are tons of products out there. From the drugstore to department stores, prices range from $5 all the way up to the hundreds. It can be hard to justify paying $60 for a moistrizer when you know you can pick one up at the drugstore for $10. 

If you can get past the steep price, there are a few things that are worth the splurge.

A good skin cream can go a long ways. If you find one that really does work miracles like it claims, it can be a life saver. Improved texture? Clearer skin? Brighter? Firmer? The Ole Henriksen Invigorating Night Gel that I dedicated an entire blog post to is worth the $45 in my book. Good skin is the base for pretty and natural make up. 

Every person owns at least 1 pair of jeans. Skinny, flare, dark wash, acid wash -- no matter what your style, they are probably well worn. An item that receives so much loving should be a a pair you actually love. Investing in a well fitting pair of jeans is definitely worth the splurge. After you divide the price by the number of times you wear them, they quickly pay for themselves. If you spend $50 on 3 pairs of jeans that don't fit great and you don't love, you end up spending more than if you buckled down, spent the $100 on one pair you will love for years. I wear my AG jeans probably 90% of the time. I paid about $90 for them on HauteLook (a STEAL for AG!) and they have been worth every penny.

Like a good skin care product, a great foundation does wonders. I have been using the Kat Von D Lock-It foundation and noticed a huge difference after switching over from the Revlon ColorStay foundation. The coverage and smoothness is much better in the Kat Von D. I recommend trying samples of different foundations to try out more expensive versions instead of buying the whole bottle and later finding out you don't like it. Not all foundations will work for you, but once you find one that does, it's a game changer. 

A great haircut is like having a good hair day every day. Okay, maybe that is going a little too far, but a haircut that flatters your face shape and consists of a style you can manage makes your morning hair routine seem like a breeze. My last haircut cost about $20 more than I usually pay. Not only is it my favorite haircut and style yet, but it has cut my hair routine in half. 

On the other hand, there are definitely products I think are worth saving.

Shampoo and conditioner are areas I like to save money and buy from the drugstore. Don't get me wrong, I love the Biolage shampoo just as much as the next person, but there are definitely other versions that are just as good. 

My absolute favorite hairspray is John Frieda Frizz-Ease Moisture Barrier that cost $6 at the drugstore.

Shoes can be a tricky subject. I tend to buy cheaper, trendy shoes I wear a few times and invest in some comfortable pairs I'll have for years. 

I think the same goes for jewelry. Purchasing cheaper costume jewelry that you wear on occasion makes more sense than spending hundreds on a collar necklace that you will wear only a handful of times. 

What do you think? What items do you splurge on? 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wednesday's Wish List 4.4 {J.Crew Lovin'}

J.Crew is one of my favorite stores for classic, well-fitting pieces that last for years. They are known for their timeless staples and good quality. Every time I walk in the store I literally want every piece -- which makes shopping very difficult with my limited budget. When I found out J.Crew was hosting a Mother's Day sale I think I squealed a bit. My shopping bag already had a few things sitting in it, and after today, there are a few more. So I thought it was only fitting to do today's Wednesday's Wish List featuring all things J.Crew.

I would pair this collared tee with some neon crop skinnies and classy kitten heels. 
Silk Collar Tee

A white button up shirt is extremely versatile and effortless and considered a necessity in my opinion. Wear it with skinny jeans and flats for the weekend or throw it over your bathing suit. No matter what, you can't go wrong.
Boy Shirt

Neon is all over this Spring and I am really enjoying it. It's a fun and easy way to amp up any outfit. 
Chino Short

You can never have too many button up shirts. Especially when they are so flattering on -- it's all about dressing for your body type. Besides blazers, these are my go-to. 
Indian Voile Popover

I have always loved baseball style tees. This sweater is the perfect mix of cool and casual.
Linen Baseball Sweater

Monday, April 22, 2013

Design Help

Hello again! How are you guys?
I have been blogging for about 4 months now. Wow! I still have a lot to learn and there are many things I want to add to make your experience here a little better :) So when I came across an e-course that will help with all of that stuff --layout, branding, customized banner, and even coding, sign me up! 

The ladies at A Beautiful Mess are putting on an awesome and an all-you-need-to-know course for blogging with Photoshop tutorials so you can edit it to match your own personal blogging style and aesthetic. It is a small price you pay to get SO MUCH information that you can continue to use and build on. 

I can't wait to get learning :) Will you be joining me?!

Image via A Beautiful Mess

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wednesday's Wish List 4.3

C Wonder Tassel Key Ring
BB Dakota Pleated Top
Kimchi Satchel
Zara Printed Shorts

Despite the rainy, cold weather we've had here lately, I am still hopeful Spring will one day arrive. I keep looking at shorts and tank tops online thinking I should be restocking my closet before Summer arrives, but at this rate, I still have a couple more months before I'll want to shed the jacket and break out my Summer gear. 

This week's picks:
A leather tassel to dress up my keys. // A floral tank top that is super fun, especially when paired with those red crops. I might have to add them to my Wish List for next week... Oh, and Shopbop is offering 20% off your purchase with the code WEAREFAMILY13 so go and stock up :) // The perfect Spring satchel. Right now I'm carrying a black patent chain strap purse. I love it but it's a bit Wintery looking. // Pretty printed shorts. I find myself wearing pants more often in the Summer than shorts. Mostly because I have very few shorts I like wearing that don't fit weird. (Am I the only one with this issue?) I'm making it my goal to change that this Summer. 

Happy Wednesday, friends!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Searching for that Something

As I search for something to get my creative juices flowing and passions rekindled, (blogging is what's keeping me sane these last few months I think) I finally might have found a place to start. I can only take working at a lackluster job for so long before it really starts to take its toll in every way. 

Designing and creating is like any hobby or sport; you have to practice. The more you do it, the better you'll be, and the more brilliant ideas. I read tons of blogs and articles about successful business women and reaching their dreams. I send e-mails to people that inspire me to connect. They are all super kind and send their support, but you gotta do it yourself. They are igniting the fire, but it's up to me to keep it going. 

Each blog post I read and e-mail I send gets me a little closer to finding what I need. I learn so much about what is out there, what it takes to make things work, gain confidence, and learn the fact that no one has mastered their work and personal life...

Last week on The Everygirl  I came across Megan Gonzalez of MaeMae Paperie, the creative mind behind the most beautiful, and genius wedding invitations and stationary. (Read her story here.) The fact that she relocated from LA to Minneapolis is just cool (my hometown is only a few miles from Minnesota!)

Yes, her designs are perfect, but that's not why I was so struck by her story. A month or so ago I was searching the Internet for a pretty birthday card but couldn't find one I liked. During Christmas time I was looking for name tags to match the ribbon and wrapping paper I picked out and had no luck. Why resort to buying some cheesy card with a boring picture or a generic name tag when I could just make them myself?

I love DIY-ing and saving a few bucks-- the issue isn't wanting to make my own cards, etc. I totally do! The only thing holding me back is I don't have the right tools. (Are the designs created using Illustrator?) Although there is nothing wrong with a card made of paper and some colored pencils, I want to my creations to reflect the images in my head. So tools are mandatory. 

Now I just need to do a little more research, get the tools, and make things happen. I feel better already :)

Keep watching for more DIY posts in the coming months. Right now, after I get home from work I have only a few hours to get stuff done (most projects take more than an hour) so DIY projects have not been happening around here. Hurry and get here summer and free time...

All images via MaeMae Paperie and Blog

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Secret Weapon

I have combination/oily skin so that means I have to use a matifying powder of some sort to try and keep shininess  at bay throughout the day. I had been using Bare Escentuals Mineral Veil for a while and I really liked it, but when I ran out  a few months ago I didn't find myself going to repurchase. There had to be an alternative that worked just as well.

 A little while later while I was browsing on Pinterest, I saw a pin that was full of beauty tips using household items. One tip claimed cornstarch keeps you shine free for an entire day. Wait. What?! 

Next time I was in the grocery store I picked up some cornstarch. It was about $3 and I thought what can I lose? If it doesn't work I have a lot of cornstarch on hand, and if it does...well then I have cheap replacement for the Mineral Veil. 

Before you shake your heads with disgust and think cornstarch can't possibly work, hear me out on this one :)

The first day when I dipped my brush in the cornstarch it looked so white I thought, this is going to be a disaster. It looked like I was about to apply a bright white powder to my face and result in a completely pale face. Not something I was exactly going for. I tested a bit on my arm and surprisingly it was completely translucent. There was not any white or paleness visible. I mustered up enough courage and tried a little on my chin. No sign of white. I put a little on my forehead, still  no sign of white. I put a light dusting on my remaining T-zone area and headed out for the day.

Let's just say I was completely surprised and amazed by the results! It kept me shine free and felt so lightweight on my face. It doesn't even feel like I put on powder. And the best part? It's $3 for a huge tub that will last forever! I'll take that any day. 

Do you have any beauty tips you'd like to share? 

Enjoy your weekend friends! XO

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wednesday's Wish List 4.2

Strappy Open Toe Wedge
Herkimer Diamond Earrings
The Book of Decorating

AG Stilt
Hermie Address Stamp
Spade Cuff Bracelet

Since cleaning my closet I have some items on my mind to replenish my closet -- one being a summery brown wedge. Since I am nearly 5'8" it's tough to find a cute pair of heels that don't add 4 inches to my height. These happen to to perfect and are only $30! // The natural look of these earrings are the perfect dose of gorgeous and edgy. // Not only is this book so pretty atop a shelf or a coffee table, but it has tons of great tips for decorating your home. // Do you have a certain brand of jeans you will only buy? The skinny jeans I pretty much live in (outside of work) are AG and they couldn't fit better. They don't have that dreaded too-big waist that has you tugging at your pants every time you stand up. Although I own other brands of jeans, my AG are by far my favorite. Right now I'm loving the slouchy and worn boyfriend jeans. // This address stamp makes me want to write a bunch of letters to send out just so I can use this cute little thing and make my envelopes look pretty. // Ever since I saw @lateafternoon on Instagram wearing a spade cuff bracelet I decided I need one too. 

Have a great rest of the week friends, it's half over!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Spring Cleaning 101

This past weekend was fabulous. Saturday reached 70 degrees and I did some personal shopping, then Sunday was spent basking in 73 degrees hanging out with Jordon on the lake while he did some fishing. Living on the lake is going to be pretty convenient this summer.

Though not so fun, I got some (much need) Spring cleaning done on Saturday as well. 

I had way too much stuff and I didn't have enough room for it in this apartment. I needed to part with a good chunk of my stuff that I wasn't currently using.

Take a peek into the unorganized beauty department...

Way too much stuff taking up even more space. 

Guys, I had a lot of hair and skin products that I have had for years in my drawers! Hence the pictures above. Some of that stuff you shouldn't even have past a few months. 

Over the past year my hair length has been half way down my back, to my shoulders, and now to my chin. My favorite being my current bob. That means a whole lot of products for a whole lot of different styles. For some reason I feel bad throwing products away that aren't finished and are perfectly fine -- mostly why I hadn't  gone through them yet. I always think I might want them once in a while, but the fact of the matter is I won't be needing my Moroccan oil on my ends any time soon. 

These are the rules I created for myself and strictly adhered to:

Rule #1
If you don't use a product on a weekly basis and it's not in your current hair or skin routine, get rid of it.

I recently changed up my skin routine and thought I would use my old skin care products once in a while but I like my new products better that I no longer have a need for the old.

Rule #2
If it is older than two years it should not be in your cupboards.

It's hard to believe I had some lotions for that long, but if I haven't used it up in 2 years, I definitely won't in another 2.

Next, my closet...

I wanted to be really strict when it came to my closet. I had some clothes I hadn't worn in a while (a year) and ones that just were not flattering. 

Rule #3
Throw it out if you haven't worn it in a year or more. You will know if you have or not, even if you don't want to admit it. 

Rule # 4
If it no longer fits right or isn't flattering on (whether it was when you first bought it or not) throw it out. 

As I get older the more I pay attention to shape, lines and the way my clothes hang. If it feels a little too snug, falls when you bend down, or gives you the wrong shape then it probably isn't flattering.

Rule #5
Time to get rid of the stacks of high school sports T-shirts

Every year in high school I got a T-shirt for every sport. That's 16 T-shirts-- not counting all of the others. It was time to get them out of my closet and free up some space.

After it was all said and done, I got rid of probably 1/3 of my skin/hair products and an entire garbage bag of clothes! Trust me, you will be better off without it than with it :) Not only will this help ease the pain of moving again, but we all know less clutter is always a good thing. I can't wait for when I move into my own apartment and can get some decent permanent storage and organization going on. 

Now I am left wondering what to do with the bag of clothes. I have sold clothes at consignment stores before but since they are so limited on what they take, I usually end up getting most of it back. I could donate them to Goodwill but some of the stuff was only worn a couple times and are name brands.

 So I want to know, what do you do with your gently used clothing? 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Love 'em or Hate 'em: Wedge Sneakers

Wedge sneakers. The concept blows my mind. Who thought that sneakers should have a heel? If I'm wearing sneakers it's for a reason...

Every time I saw a pair  in the store I thought they were hideous. That is until I saw Sydney over at The Daybook sporting them and looking fab. She pulls them off perfectly. Her relaxed, neutral style combined with fun sneakers is anything but boring. 

I haven't actually tried any pairs on myself. I think it would probably ruin all the positiveness I have towards wedge sneakers. For some (good) reason I think if I attempted to wear them it would totally clash with my personal girly style and turn out all wrong. They look so stylish on everyone else, but I am not convinced.

For now, I will just stick to looking at pictures. 

What do you think, love 'em or hate 'em? 

The Daybook

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Wednesday's Wish List 4.1

Creating these Wednesday's Wish List posts are one of my favorite types of post to write because it means browsing the web and of course results in finding adorable things. Throughout the week as I'm reading other blogs, looking on Pinterest, and shopping online, I am always spotting new items, brands, and websites I want to remember. I used to think to myself, I won't forget this website, but then a couple weeks later when I'm searching for the website that sold the cute gold bracelet I wanted I can't ever find it back! 

Now that I create a weekly wish list with my favorite items, I had to create a system that organizes and stores all of those cool websites I want to find back in the future (like last night when I was rounding up my picks.) Every website that I want to save I put in Pocket. It lets me add tags so I can mark if it's home decor, jewelry, clothing, etc. and has been really helpful! 

How do you keep your fun websites and favorite things organized so you can find them back later?


If you should know one thing about me, it is that I love miniature sized anything. Don't you think a smaller version of something is just too cute? These clock memo clips are no exception.
Enough Hours In The Day Memo Clips

These pillows don't exactly match my decor, but I am definitely going to make them work.
Joanna Standard Sham

I am a firm believer that shoes can make or break an outfit. These are the kind of shoes that can make an outfit.
Zara Lace-Up

Pretty candles that smell good make me instantly happy.
August Puriste Candle

Is it possible to have like 10 favorite colors? Because I think this red might be my tenth one. It's a nice contrast to the pastels I've been wearing and loving lately. 
Zara T-Shirt

Monday, April 1, 2013

What I Bought In March

Usually I would do this post on the last day of each month but since March's last day landed on a holiday, I gave myself the day off. 

As I was preparing for this blog post I realized I did not buy one single top for the entire month! No wonder my closet seems a little drab lately...

You might have seen on Instagram (@amandarisius) that I invested in a couple items this month.

I got myself a MacBook Pro and Photoshop (!!!!!) 
Since I started my blog I have done lots of researching and blog reading and really started thinking that I need to learn how to use Photoshop to improve my blog and do some fun things with each post. My resources were limited and I have some cute ideas that I'm just not able to do with the basic tools I was using. Besides that, so many bloggers-turned-successful-entrepreneurs say Photoshop is a good thing to learn and helps take things to the next level. 

I finally buckled down and purchased the tools that will not only help out with improving my blog and bringing my ideas to life, but a future career as well. 

Coming from a previous PC user, I have definitely had to learn a few things while using my new Mac, such as learning how to right click. Something so simple and yet I had to look it up! There is still a lot to learn since I haven't played around with all of the different features and tools yet. 

On Saturday I downloaded Photoshop. I opened it up and I don't think I realized how big of learning curve there was. I watched some helpful YouTube videos to learn the beginner "easy" stuff which has helped out a lot. I still have a long way to go before I know what every little tool does and how to use it. Maybe it's just my OCD kicking in, but I feel like I have to know every little thing availalble on Photoshop.

I'm just excited to finally start creating fun additions to the blog! Keep your eyes open and slowly watch for some new stuff :)

Do you know of any good sources for video tutorials for beginners learning Photoshop? 

The lone clothing item I bought in March is my floral scarf I found at Target. 

Have a good week! XO

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