Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Check Mark

Sometimes the hardest part of gaining weight is remembering that you've gained weight: that you have a new normal. I often hear people say something similar about aging: I don't feel 50; I keep forgetting I'm not in my 20s anymore, etc.

At times, I'm reminded of it: when I can feel my thighs rubbing together as I walk or that there's a little more there when I rest my arms at my side, but at other times, I'm wonderfully obtuse about my weight.

Then I try to wear something or I do indeed wear something that I really shouldn't. It's not that it's too tight, or too short, or even age inappropriate; it's just not flattering. Sometimes it's the outfits I choose that I think will mask things that are the ones that go the most horribly wrong.

Baggy sheath dresses and tops that used to be a wardrobe staple of mine now create more bulk. As hard as it can be sometimes, tailored is better even if it's just wearing a dress with buttons and cuffs. But I keep telling myself that I had a lifetime before this to learn what looked good on me. Just take a little time and you'll figure this out, too, I say. Don't be so hard on yourself. Everyone has days where it just doesn't come together.

Pumps: Just Fab
Necklace: Old but similar here

And every time something works, I store it away to remember it for next time. It's all just a work in progress.

Update on my goals:

Today's workout: Yoga
Water intake: 9 glasses
Current weight: 169.8 (-2.6)
Leisure: Marathoning the last season of Downton Abbey

Monday, September 19, 2016

Maybelline Baby Balm Ball Review

Maybelline Balm Ball

Back in July I had to travel for business. Around the same time, A was on a mad hunt for Milani liquid lipstick, but we couldn't find it at any of our local Walgreens. I took the trip as an opportunity to find some for her. I was able to find a few for her, not the ones she really wanted, but that's another story, and on my way down the makeup aisle, I spotted a few Maybelline Balm Balls. At first I thought they were the the Baby Skin Cheek Flush, but they were indeed the Balm Balls. I grabbed one because I was under the impression these were limited editions that I thought I had completely missed out on.

Now I love Baby Lips Crystal. But really, that's the only Baby Lips I really like. I don't know if it's the scent or the formula, and I'm not even sure if the Crystal has anything different other than the color from other Baby Lips, but I like that one over the others.

This product has a nice consistency. I compared it to EOS lip balm, which is probably what Maybelline was going for with this large ball of balm that you rub across your lips, but this has a much better slick and moisturizing feel than EOS. However, this has color, obviously, and when you are rubbing a large ball of balm across your lips, it's really hard to not end up looking like a little kid playing with mom's makeup. As you might be able to see in my picture, I definitely felt like I had a layer of slick well outside of my lip line, making me feel like I just looked like I had eaten something greasy. 

If this product wasn't limited edition, I would have wondered what Maybelline was doing using the same packaging as for the Cheek Flush. A even tried warning me once that I was using blush on my lips. We looked at the label, and no, this clearly states it's a Balm Ball. I've heard other reviews that hint that what has actually happened is that this product was turned into the Cheek Flush. I'm going to buy one to compare the product and see if I think it's the same formulation. I wouldn't recommend the Balm Ball if it reappeared though unless you are going to apply it with a lip brush, which to me, defeats the purpose. I think I'll just stick to the Crystal.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Turning the Page

Dress: DKNY (old but similar here)
Blouse: via Stitchfix (old but love this Gucci blouse)

The last time I updated the blog was in March, and we were right on the cusp of making some huge life-changing decisions. Since some of the details were still being worked out, I couldn't share our news, but now that we've made it through the other side, let me fill you in.

In February while looking at investment property in Las Vegas, we decided that we wanted to move there ourselves. There are a lot of reasons why this was a very good move for us, but it is a decision that we came to pretty quickly. In a true show of trusting and having faith and believing that if it was meant to be, the details would work themselves out, that's exactly what happened for us. 

We quickly found our dream house at a price lower than our budget, and the seller quickly accepted our offer. I told my firm I was moving, and they arranged my transfer to our Las Vegas office. My client didn't want to lose me on the engagement I've been on since March of 2014 so offered me a telecommuting arrangement that has me working out of the house 95% of the time. My daughter made the deadline for applying to the school she chose and was accepted. At that point, we truly felt blessed.

Before it sounds too perfect, let's be real: there are some things I would have done differently in hindsight. Although our escrow closed in April, we chose to stay in California until the end of the school year. That was the absolute right choice, but it meant that we decided to move in several small trips over April, May and June. That was very stressful and a huge effort, and by June I felt like I didn't live in either place but was visiting both. We should have bit the bullet and done it all at once. It also made me delay packing, so the last June move was way too stressful, rushed and disorganized. 

We had preplanned a three week vacation in France for the end of July and first half of August. When we left for vacation, we were still surrounded by boxes and because we had planned before we decided to move, it conflicted with the start of the school year. A missed the first 10 days of school at a new school in all honors and AP classes. The next three weeks were horrible for her trying to get caught up enough to understand her current assignments and make up all her work. She's done an amazing job though. 

We are still getting settle into our new routine. The gnarly old guy is now the primary caregiver of A and me, a stay-at-home dad and house husband while working on our small businesses to get them up and running. He has quite a full plate. 

I'm happy to say that even with the extended holiday and lots of moving meals (Freddy's burgers are my absolute favorite and don't get me started on a concrete!), I've only gained 4 pounds. I'm back into the grind of working out and cutting carbs.

I'm loving that not only did I get rid of my 3 hour a day commute, I have no commute except walking up the stairs and that's letting me get back into working on the blogs and our businesses with D. I hope that you'll be seeing more content here as well as on The Bespoke Stylist and The Bespoke Lifestyle. We are very excited to be launching our online store very soon, so please stay tuned.

This flat lay was one of the final outfits I wore to the office before we moved. I love layering blouses under shift dresses, and this DKNY purchase has become a central piece of my work wardrobe. 

Update on my goals:

Today's workout: Walking
Water intake: 8 glasses!!!!
Current weight: 172.4 (+3.6)
Leisure: Lots of crafting

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Current Favorites

Here are some of my current favorites - the things I've been reaching for consistently over the last month or so.

I had received a night cream from Vichy in my Glossybox and really like it, so when I saw that Target is now stocking the brand, I stopped to look at what else they offered. I'm a huge Bioderma fan, especially now that it's more readily available here instead of just being able to buy it in France, but it is still quite a bit pricier to buy it here versus there. I thought I would try this to compare, and, dare I say it, I think I like this better! I've been using this every night to remove my makeup and I've seen a noticeable difference in the texture of my skin. It could just be because I'm going through the trouble of making sure I have all my makeup off before bed by adding this step, but I really think the product itself has at least something to do with it.

Polo Jeans Ribbed Crew Neck Sweater (also loving this one from Toyshop)

This sweater is at least three years old, but it's a great weight for a transitional sweater. I love the color, the neckline, and the pattern. I've worn it with pants and skirts to the office and with jeans on the weekend. Worth my initial investment. 

Too Faced #TFnofilter Selfie Powders

Moving beyond the name which is, let's face it, just ick, I like these powders because they are really just skin enhancers. I have so much red in my skin, the yellow powder balances it out. I've taken to using more bronzer to try to find my cheekbones again, and the lavender is great for highlighting without shine. The best part is that lack of shine or glitter.

I got these on sale at Neiman Marcus for an astronomical discount. I would definitely recommend waiting for a sale. I love the look of the Louboutin So Kate, but this is half the price, and on sale, I ended up paying about a quarter of the cost of the Louboutin. I do need to get used to wearing this high of a heel again because I'm somewhat out of practice.

iFit Vue

Husband gave this to me for Christmas after I wavered back and forth between this one and the other one. Since we have a treadmill that uses the iFit software, I thought this would interact well. In hindsight, it really doesn't matter, but regardless of the brand, the biggest benefit from this thing is when I've been sitting too long and I get the reminder to get up and move. Since I'm following a paleo diet now, I'm not really counting calories, but I do like to make sure I'm getting enough steps in every day and that I'm not sitting too long, so this is perfect.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Hello Old Friend

I bet you had given up on me and never expected anything to come out of this space again. At this point, I'm just as surprised as you. A lot has happened over the last two years, mainly in the form of life and responsibilities that have decreased my leisure time and prevented me from working on the blog. I've tried to post to Instagram occasionally to show that I'm still alive and well.

Working for a firm instead of freelancing is great from a regular income perspective, but being placed on an engagement that adds up to three hours a day of commuting time is painful. The other downfall: thinking I can snack continuously during the drive at the same time that my exercise level dropped to an all-time low. Hello extra 20 lbs. Meet the 10 lbs. who were here before you that I was trying to lose.

The need to buy larger sizes in order to be able to go to work in something other than sweats brought the realization that it's time for some accountability and some changes.

  1. I have to change my diet. Yes, there will be occasional cheat meals, but I think it's time to go back to basics. Knowing that I have no willpower, I've decided to have prepared meals delivered by Diet to Go.
  2. I have to exercise. As hard as it can be with a long day, something has to be done. The treadmill and walking in general are my best friend right now.
  3. Trite but true, I have to drink more water.
  4. I need to relax. I made a list of activities that I find relaxing. It's kind of sad that I felt the need to sit and make a list to come up with the things I find relaxing. Is it kind of weird that one of my relaxing activities is making lists? When I'm feeling overwhelmed, nothing calms me down faster than sitting down with my planner and figuring out how to get everything done. 

Dress: Target

Now I have been doing a few things right:
  • I've cut down to one cup of coffee a day. I do have a cup of tea (or sometimes two) in the evening, but I'm way down from my two ventis a day
  • I've completely changed how I take care of my skin with great results. 
  • I started coloring my hair again. After growing it out about 4 inches, it became clear that there wasn't enough gray to make it look anything except for unkempt. Beautiful silver tresses it was not. 
  • I'm trying to fit in routine facials and massages, the first which is helping drive the positive changes in my skin and the second to unwind after a tough week.
  • I've realized that we are always a work in progress. We keep evolving, trying new things, working on others. There will never be perfection, so I needed to get rid of my self-imposed stress. 
So here's the daily run down of how it went today:
  • Today's workout - Walking 2 miles across campus for meetings instead of taking the shuttle
  • Water intake - 5 glasses 
  • Today's weight - 168.6
  • Leisure time - Watching The Big Bang Theory with the family