Friday, December 23, 2016

friday five

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Just dropping in the day before Christmas Eve to share my favorites from this week with you all! Hope you have have such a lovely holiday over the next couple of days with your family and loved ones! xo




1 //  Favorite Recipe

This home-made recipe for a copycat version of my favorite winter time Starbucks drink, Caramel Apple Spice. This recipe was put together by Katarina from In Katarina's Kitchen...and I'm going to have to check out some other her other recipes, because everything looks so amazing! 


2 // Favorite Show

Mozart In the Jungle is back on Amazon Prime. Season 3 was just released, and if you haven't ever seen this show, you need to catch up quick! Aaron and I both love it - it is funny and interesting, and the acting is stellar. We watched the entire things (10 episodes) in one sitting - no shame! 


3 // Favorite YouTuber 

I've been watching videos from Samantha Maria over the past couple weeks. I used to follow her a few years ago (when she was known as Beauty Crush), and I don't know why I ever stopped, but I'm happy to have discovered her channel again. She is adorable and is currently 39 weeks pregnant and waiting for her baby girl to arrive any day. Check out her Vlogmas videos here


4 // Favorite Cosmetics

I've been loving so many things that I picked up from the brand Pixi Beauty recently. This brand is available at Target, is cruelty free, and has a great range of cosmetic and skincare products. I plan to do a little review post on some of my favorites soon, so stay tuned for that! 

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5 // Just Favorite

I was so happy to share our big news with all of you - and thank you for all of the lovely messages you sent! If you want to keep up with how my pregnancy is going so far, you can find my first trimester update here


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

cruelty free shaving

cruelty free shaving products

I thought I would do a quick cruelty-free post today and share some great products related to the glorious task of shaving. It can be a pain in the butt to keep up with...but if you have some great products to use, you can turn your shaving time into a pampering session instead of a chore. 






cruelty free razors
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The best cruelty-free razors available are by Preserve. They are a certified B-Corp that offer 100% recycled household products - including personal razors. I love their 5-blade option, it is just as good (if not better) than the Venus razor I was using for years. They are affordable at only $12.99 and you can buy replacement blades in packs of 4 for $14.99 (which works out to about $3.75 a blade). This is very comparable to any razor you would find in the typical shaving aisle at your local store!



kiss my face


As for shaving cream, there are SO many great options out there. My personal favorites (thus far) have been Dr. Bronner's Lavender Organic Shaving Soap and Kiss My Face Moisture Shave. Dr. Bronner's also has other scents that I can't wait to try including Peppermint, Tea Tree, Lemongrass, and even an unscented option. Kiss My Face also has multiple other scents available, including an fragrance-free option.

These type of shaving creams last so much longer than a typical can of foam, such as the ones that I used to buy from the store like Skintimate and Gillette. You only need small amounts of product, which goes a long way - so in the end, I feel like you totally get your money's worth because you have to replace them much less often.

There are other brands out there to try too - both Alba Botanica and Avalon Organics also have their own line of shave creams. I just haven't had the chance to try any of them out yet, but the Mango Vanilla scent sounds just lovely! 


yes to coconut


After shaving, it is always good to moisturize, so I thought I'd throw in a couple of good body lotion and oil options for you as well! If you just visit the natural aisle in the cosmetics section at your local Target, or the organic section at your local grocery store, you can find so many cruelty free brands! Some of my favorites include J.R. Watkins, Yes To, and EO (not to be confused with EOS, which is not cruelty free).

Sunday, December 18, 2016

holiday party looks

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'Tis the season for countless holiday parties and gatherings! I don't know about you, but when the end of November hits, the calendar just fills up every weekend with goings-on for the upcoming holiday season. It seems like there are always an abundance of people to see and events to attend, and one thing is always for certain, you need something festive to wear!

I know that every holiday, at least a couple things on the calendar involve getting dressed up - and I've always thought that the holidays are perfect for breaking out some bold and interesting pieces. Whether it be colorful velvet, statement jewelry, or taking a fashion risk...there's no better time of year to try things out!

 


Holiday Party


When it comes to the ladies, there are so many options. Some of my favorite places to check out include ASOS, Top Shop, and even your local department stores! ASOS always has a gorgeous selection of party dresses and skirts like this velvet number...and you know I had to throw in a maternity option too! Just because I'm pregnant doesn't mean I can't still wear a killer dress ;) 

Shoe and accessories can be found nearly anywhere, you can even did into your own closets and re-discover pieces you might have forgotten about or have a hard time wearing on a regular basis. If you decide to go for a more basic or traditional outfit, you can dress it up with overstated accessories! I love these velvet platforms from Steve Madden and sparkly Kendra Scott stud earrings.

Holiday Party 2016

Now when it comes to the guys, sometimes it can be hard to get them to wear bolder pieces. I've been lucky in that my husband enjoys fashion and doesn't usually hesitate when there is an opportunity to take a fashion risk from time-to-time. There are so many amazing and stylish options available these days, you don't have to be worried about mixing in a brighter color or funky accessory!


Bonobos has some great options, especially for the holiday season. This is a men's clothing company I was introduced to lately that strives to provide high quality, great fitting pieces. I love that men can visit this site and find anything they need, even shoes and accessories. I love this blue velvet blazer (also available in burgundy) and their gorgeous selection of ties

I'm also loving Bonobos' pant selection - they come in Tailored, Slim, Athletic, or Straight, and who doesn't love a company that focuses on custom fit? Makes picking up a last minute pair for a gift or party so much easier. Plus, if you are a new customer they are offering 20% off when you sign up for their email newsletter! 

What party looks have you been putting together this holiday season?? 
Direct links to every item shown in this post can be found here

Friday, December 16, 2016

first trimester update

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Thank you for all the sweet comments and messages the other day about our baby news! You are all so wonderful and I was so excited to share this with my friends from the blogging community. I wanted to do a quick update on how my first trimester went, since I am already well into my second (will be 17 weeks this Thursday). 




I was lucky in the fact that even though I had times I felt quite nauseous, I never got to the point of actually getting sick or the nausea being bad enough that it hindered my daily life. It would happen in waves, come and go. The only thing it really affected was my appetite...I definitely didn't eat much and wasn't hungry very often. 

One thing that did knock me on my butt though was the exhaustion. Guys, I have been SO tired, it's hard to even describe it. Aaron laughed the other day because I said this baby is sucking the life out of me. Most nights I have been going to bed around 9:30 pm, but I am still tired the next day. Probably because I sleep like s**t...insomnia and waking up multiple times a night has become a nightly routine. 

Other things I took note of during the first trimester were cramps and boob changes. Both lovely things to discuss. Cramping made me nervous, but after lots of reassurance from my doctor, as long as it wasn't accompanied by bleeding, it was likely just all my muscles and bits starting to shift and expand to make room for baby. And the boobs - they are already quite large, but have decided to already start getting bigger, and majority sensitive. 

Currently:

Feeling: I was a bit nervous to finally announce the baby new publicly - to the blogging world and to everyone in our lives (minus the handful of close friends and family who already knew)...but now that it's done, I'm really excited. It makes it all feel more real, if that makes sense. Also feeling tired...always ;) 

Craving: The biggest (and only) one that I have had thus far is Vitamin Water. No joke, I never drank the stuff before becoming pregnant, but over the past few weeks, there is nothing I love more than and ice cold bottle of the XXX Acai Blueberry-Pomegranate. 

Wearing: Still in my normal clothes, but even though I haven't gained any weight yet, things are starting to feel tighter and uncomfortable around my middle and hips. A bit frustrating since I'm not the size for proper maternity clothes yet, but I'm going to need to buy some bigger, more forgiving items. Any suggestions from you mamas out there? 

Excited About: I can't wait to feel my baby move - it should be happening in the next couple of weeks and I am so looking forward to it! I am also super excited to find out the gender in 2 weeks at my anatomy ultrasound! 
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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

christmas decor // 2016


Happy Holidays! 

Our house has been a bit "in shambles" recently due to a major kitchen renovation, but I was finally able to get some of our Christmas decorations up. Most of the items I purchased are from either Target or Hobby Lobby. Both are great places to get holiday decor, but I just have to sing Target's praises - in the past couple years they have been doing such a great job with home decor, especially seasonal items. If you haven't checked it out, be sure to take a look next time you are in!

The first things I always do is wrap our lovely banister in evergreen garland - and this year I decided to go with a classic red theme, so I added lots of red velvet bows.
 


Next, I worked on our dining table. I created a center piece on top of a plaid runner using a little tree from the Target dollar spot, a couple tea light holders, and two red pillar candles. I then added some red berries weaved throughout, similar to the silver berries I had last year.



I also found these adorable (and super affordable) plates at Target in the dining section! They were about $2 a piece, so I picked up four large gold ones and 4 smaller white ones to layer on top. The last thing I would like to pick up to complete the table are some cloth napkins and festive napkins rings. A set of gold silverware would be lovely too ;) 




In the living room, there are a couple different areas that get decorated. I put evergreen garland all over and add white twinkle lights, which are so lovely to plug in at night and create a cozy and wintery atmosphere in the house.

Our mantle is one of my favorites - it holds our stockings and then I added some berries and little decor items to the garland...and snow globe and white reindeer figurine (from last year's dining centerpiece)! 







Over on the built in bookcase, I've added my Grandma's vintage Christmas carolers. I was given these by my Mum the other year, as a hand-me-down decoration from when I was a child. They are so unique and I really love that I have finally figured out a good place to put them! I added two little wooden trees from the Target dollar spot too. This is also where I put my Christmas candles - this year I picked up these (literally make your house smell like Wassail - love!)


Finally, you always have to have a bowl of Christmas-scented pine cone and a candy dish! FYI - the candy does not last long, and we've had to stop refilling it because yikes...digging into it too many times every day ;)




Outside I added a couple of festive touches. We haven't had the chance to put up lights (something I really want to do one of these years), but I did spruce up my lovely Smith & Hawken wreath with a red bow and added a cute little Christmas doormat to the front porch.




Do you have your Christmas or holiday decorations out yet? xx 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Our early Christmas Gift


I didn't think 2016 could be topped - it was one of the best years that I have had yet. I finished graduate school, Aaron and I were married...oh, and Cleveland won one (almost two) national championships ;)

But it looks like 2017 will top it because just like that, Baby Steiner will be here in May 2017 <3

 
I am so excited to finally share the news! I am currently 16 weeks along and we get to find out the gender at the end of the month, on December 29th. I will be doing a first trimester update soon to share all about my experience with the first 13 weeks of my pregnancy. 

We are over the moon in love with this baby already and I'm just trying to enjoy every little bit of being pregnant and starting to get organized, because I know May will be here before we know it!   



Sunday, December 4, 2016

winter skin care routine

Cruelty Free

I don't know about you, but my skin really takes a turn for the worse in the winter. I have naturally dry skin anyways, but when you add in the cold temps outside and heat blasting all day inside - it makes for a really uncomfortable season. 

Every year I've tried new products or methods to combat the feeling of tight and flaky winter skin, and this year, I think I have finally found some winners to add to my routine.


Glow Tonic

After removing my makeup and cleaning my face with my typical cleanser (this or this), I've started using the Pixi Glow Tonic with simple cotton pads to really clean anything left over and balance out some of the redness in my skin. 

This product is available in 15 / 100 / 250 ml and ranges in price from $6 - $29. I love when companies make trial sized versions of their products - it makes it so much easier to try them out before committing to a full size version at full price! I opted for the $15 (medium sized) tonic that was available at my local Target.

The Glow Tonic has been really nice to use so far. I've noticed it really gets off any left over makeup that lingers behind after cleansing. It does start to tingle a bit, but that makes me feel like it is really working ;) 

Mineral Fusion

Then comes the moisturizing step - my favorite, because it gives instant relief to my dry skin after washing it. 

I've used Vitamin E oil for years now, especially on the skin around my nose - which is the place that gets the worst in the winter. The high potency, "thick stuff" seems to work the best for me (not surprising), but I've recently been trying to use up this bottle of Jason Skin Oil, which is a bit more "watered down". I do like the brand, I just will be sure to pick up the extra strength one next time.

After putting that around my nose (and sometimes on my lips), I have been using S.W. Basics Cream all over my face. To those of you that know this product, that might sound crazy because it is very oily and basically greases up my whole face...but that is EXACTLY what I need! So many of the moisturizers that I've tried are literally sucked up into my skin within minutes of putting them on, and this lasts for ages. 

This is another brand that a smaller, cheaper sample size was available - which I am grateful for! I was able to pick up this tiny jar to try out for under $10 from Target. I was a bit worried it wouldn't last long because it is only .7 oz...but let me tell you, this stuff goes a long way. I can't imagine how long the full sized (3 oz) jar will last! A dime sized amount is plenty for my entire face. Also, I love that it has virtually no scent and is made up of only 3 ingredients - shea butter, organic coconut oil, and organic olive oil - that's it! This stuff is the golden ticket for me, I am so glad I gave it a try. 

Finally, I picked up the Mineral Fusion Intense Hydration Face Cream off Amazon after doing a bit of research and reading great reviews. I have yet to try i (because I like to try one thing at a time to make sure I know what is working and what isn't), but once I am done with the S.W. Basics Cream, I will give this a go. If anything, it might even work well as a daytime moisturizer in the morning before makeup! Yes, my skin seriously does need that much help ;) 

What are you winter-time skin care favorites??
*As always, all products (and companies) mentioned in my beauty posts are cruelty free. 


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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thankful

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There are so many things in my life that I am thankful for on a daily basis, but this is the time of year when we really start to give it some thought and reflect on all of our blessings. This past year has been such a wonderful one, it is hard to make a list of everything I am grateful for, but here is a stab at it. Some serious, some more light-hearted....



// My Husband - so exciting to call him that now, I don't think it will ever lose its charm ;) He works so incredibly hard for our family and has such a physically and emotionally demanding job, and I am so proud of him everyday. 

// Wedding Photos - I got previews from my photographer and the flash drive should be arriving in the mail over the next couple of weeks. I am so excited to share them with you all and relive all the wonderful memories from our little destination wedding <3

// The Future - so much to look forward to in the coming year, and exciting things happening for our family, can't wait to share more details!

// Pandora Christmas Radio - yes, I am one of those folks. I started listening non-stop about a week ago and I can't get enough. I just LOVE Christmas! 

// The Internet - because it isn't even December yet, and I already have 90% of our Christmas shopping done thanks to websites, coupon codes, and next day shipping. Makes the endeavor of finding gifts SO much less stressful! 

What are you especially thankful for this year? xx

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Christmas Wish List


It's that time of year! Christmas is my favorite - I just love the decorations, the music, and really just everything that goes along with the season. I love picking out and wrapping gifts for my friends and family - there is nothing better than the excitement of your loved one's faces when they open something you put a lot of time and thought into :)

The older I get, the harder it is to come up with things when my family asks what to get me - does that happen to any of you? ...In all honesty Mum, I could use a new dishwasher (lol!) 

Here is a quick run down of things that made it onto my Christmas wish list!

 // Diptyque Perfume - I'm so excited to have finally found a major perfume brand that is cruelty free. I'm not prepared to commit to an entire bottle of a scent yet though, so travel size will do fine for now!

// PINK Sweater - I can never have enough of these cozy lounge sweats, especially during the chilly months!

// Urban Outfitters Vegan Leather Tote - so excited about this purse, it is such a gorgeous color and I can't wait to replace some of my older leather tote bags. 

// Sephora Gift Card - my makeup wish list is just getting far too long, so a gift card to go pick up some of the items would be perfect! 

// ASOS Coat - I saw this the other day in one of Samantha Maria's YouTube videos, and I just fell in love with it! It is such a pretty color, it looks so soft and warm...and it is a classic cut that looks like it will be stylish for years to come.

// KORRES Gift Set - this brand makes such lovely skin products, and I thought this "Best of" kit seems like a great addition to my winter skin care collection.

// Pottery Barn Nativity Set - Aaron and I don't have a proper Nativity Scene for the holidays yet, and I love how unique and modern this set is! It would be perfect to put out with all of our Christmas decorations. 

What is on your wish list for this holiday season?? xx