My 5 Go-to Beverages for Specific Occasions

I have specific drinks I go to depending on the occasion. Like, I wouldn’t want a whiskey after a long Monday at work; I want something more light, obviously with lower alcohol content. And when I am taking a bubble bath and having a ‘me moment,’ red wine is most definitely the only option.

I enjoy a rather large variety of alcoholic beverages, other than tequila and IPA’s. Tasting different types and learning new favorites is a fun hobby of mine. However, I am specific when I feel the type of beverage is appropriate for the occasion.

So let me share with you my absolute favorite beverages of the moment and when I enjoy having them.

1. White Claw Hard Seltzerimg_2493.jpg
I have recently discovered this light, sparkling drink and have fallen in love. It is the perfect drink after a long day of work. It doesn’t make you feel heavy like a stout will, and it is only 100 calories with 2g carbs! Talk about a winner.

Now, if you are anything like me you probably thought “ew” after reading “hard seltzer.” Y’all, I dislike any type of sparkling water. This drink does not taste like typical sparkling water. At least for me it doesn’t.

You can buy it at pretty much any grocery store or pharmacy in the US that I have seen. However, I do believe in some places, alcohol isn’t allowed in pharmacies? So you will have to do the search on your own.

Check it out and let me know what you think!!

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2. Angry Orchard Crisp Apple Cider

One bottle (12 oz) is about 221 calories and 30g of carbs, so a little bit more of a treat than the Hard Seltzer above. However, I do love a good cider every now and then, and Angry Orchard is not only easy to come by but will also never fail your taste buds. I enjoy a bottle of this sitting outside on the back deck while we grill out or when we go out to one of the home-town pubs in Michigan.

3. Red Wine

I will admit, my husband and I are wine prudes and only get the more exclusive stuff. Not only is it usually smoother, the smaller vineyards take better care of their orchards and grapes. Large vineyards that sell wine in the local gas station over-water their vines because the more grapes, the more profit. Our absolute favorite wine is HALL Wines located in the lovely Napa Valley.  We fell so in love while visiting,

img_2537we decided to become members. You don’t have to be a member to buy their wine though. I would definitely suggest checking them out!

My favorite time to open a bottle of red wine is during any relaxing moment. A bubble bath, painting my nails, any art hobby, or simply sitting and listening to music.

4. White Wine

Again, HALL Wines are a fantastic go-to for any wine. Their Zinfandel is my favorite white wine. White wine is known for being sweeter and refreshing. Something about being out on a lake and fishing or riding on a boat screams white wine. I LOVE having some white wine and crackers while fishing.

5. Crown Royal + Coke

Lastly, my long-time favorite: the very well know Crown and Coke. I have always loved the bitter-sweetness this drink gives. I keep to having some on Friday or Saturday nights while out with friends; playing pool or shuffleboard with drink in hand is always a fun staple. Since whiskey is clearly on the heavier side of alcohol content, it is obviously important to monitor your intake and solely enjoy the taste of it. drink-alcohol-cup-whiskey-51979

That sums up my top 5 favorite beverages and when I find best to drink them! If you have a favorite beverage and go-to time please comment below!

xo, Shelby

Blending Sponge, Brush, or Your Fingers: Which Foundation Application is Best?

There are few things in life for which I live by the saying, “Life is too short to buy…”. Cheap toilet paper is one. Off brand peanut butter and bitter coffee are two more. And face products is usually another (except for a select few, of which I will have a blog post about in the near future).

I am very particular about the ingredients that go on my skin and how they get there. Your skin is what people will see until you die; might as well take care of it, right?

In this post I will explain why I think one or two products are better for your skin and your application process than the other!

So let’s get down to business: foundation application. For about 10 years I used a blending sponge. They are cheap and easy to blend with (hence the name). On the other hand, they can hold a decent amount of bacteria, they soak in much of the foundation that would ideally be on your face, and they should be replaced quite often. Blending sponges seem great in theory, but if you need something that can be washed and reused and doesn’t absorb your precious foundation, I would lean toward makeup brushes.

Recently, I purchased this phenomenal brush from one of my favorite makeup brands at Ulta, IT Cosmetics, and I now feel like one of those YouTube stars when I put my makeup on. You know the people that blend so beautifully you could stare for hours? And then when they finish, you just sit there like “whoa.” Yeah, that.

Buy a nice one and they last for a really long time. They don’t hold a ton of bacteria, and YOU CAN and should WASH THEM. The foundation that should ideally go on your face actually goes on your face and, lastly, they blend beautifully (refer to previous paragraph).

You may think I would be absolutely against finger application if you have read up to this point. And if you do, you are wrong. I love a good finger-paint masterpiece. I have found the best way to get concealer up in the corners of my eyes and around my nose is with my fingers! Blending is perfection because you can feel what you are doing. I always finish up my finger painting with the brush though… to blend it into the rest of my face.

So conclusion? Try out a nice thick make-up brush! Like IT Cosmetics. And don’t be afraid to use your fingers for that expert contour.

Questions or suggestions? Let me know!

XO, Shelby

The Face Mask that Rejuvenates the Driest of Skins

Growing up in Georgia, I never really experienced dry skin during winter. Sure, I would get the chapped lips every now and then, but since the temperature always stayed relatively mild they always rejuvenated themselves pretty quickly.

The move to Michigan was a total skin product changer. I mean, I knew the winters would be brutal, but I had no idea the toll a winter can take on one’s skin. I have always been very conscious of how any weather or condition may affect my skin and hair, so when November rolled around during my first Michigan winter I had no idea what these dry patchy places were on my FACE, of all places. Paranoia and frustration made me believe my skin would never go back to its buttery soft feel. I used my tried and true face lotions, and even those wouldn’t work!

One day, I was venting to my friend who grew up in the North, and she mentioned a product that changed my life. Okay, that is a bit dramatic. But it did bring back my soft skin.

Paula’s Choice SKIN RECOVERY Hydrating Treatment Mask. You’re welcome.

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Paula’s Choice

Another great part? When my skin is just on the edge of death, I sleep in the mask through the night and wake up a new woman. Many masks tell you to only leave them on up to a certain amount of time.

It is creamy and soaks into your skin like a regular moisturizer; you can’t even see it! I personally love the masks that are green, charcoal, etc. solely because I feel like I am in a fancy spa, covered in a blotchy face mask, cucumbers on the eyes, drinking my wine, and eating my chocolate. And it gives me time to send dumb photos to my friends. Just that special moment.. you need it every now and then.

This mask won’t give you that bright color on your skin, but it will do everything else and more. Check it out! Especially if you live in really dry or really cold places.

 

The Secret to Low-Maintenance, Flawless Nails when you Work with your Hands

There is very little I love more than conducting a presentation and getting distracted by how fabulous my nails look. In a room full of men (most of which don’t usually have painted nails), I find it self-empowering to be pointing at my engineering drawing with hot pink nails. For years, I spent countless hours and countless days perfecting them only for them to get messed up while I was working with car parts.

Believe me, I am fully aware of the struggles of maintaining those gorgeous claws while working intensely with my hands. Car parts to yard work and back to car parts.

After six years of frustration, I have FINALLY found a solution. Ready for this?

Fake, store-bought nails.

Okay, maybe this isn’t a secret to some of you, but for me it was a game changer. I now spend an hour every two weeks doing my nails, and that’s it! No maintenance. They stay perfect until I’m ready for a new color.

Enough talking. Below is my routine and my go-to brands. This may not work for everyone, but it’s definitely worth the try.

Step 1:  “Cuticle care!” (Queuing my inner Pitch Perfect)

I start off by cleaning these fabulous claws right on up. This Kiss Powerfile has been a life saver, and to be completely honest it is somewhat relaxing taking that moment and just filing each nail.

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The Kiss Powerfile!

Step 2: Apply a Base Coat

I like to apply just a quick base coat on each nail. This prevents your nails from too much damage when you go to remove the glue. I usually stick with Essie base. It never disappoints.

Step 3: Nail Application time!

Woo! The fun part. There are several brands for fake nails. I have tried a few but only been successful with Kiss. There are a ton of colors, shapes, and styles to choose from, and they are super easy to put on! I get mine at the CVS Pharmacy since it is right by my house, but Kiss is sold at several locations.

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BEFORE you start with any adhesive, make sure you find and lay out all 10 nails that work with your real nails.

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There is a little pink tube of glue that comes inside of the pack. You have the option to use the glue or use the adhesive tab application. My preference is definitely glue. I have really long hair and run my fingers through it a lot. With the adhesive tabs, my hair will get stuck in between my real and fake nails all the time. Super annoying.

For me, I just need a tiny dab of glue on my real nail and on the backside of the fake nail, and they last until I get bored of the color (so about two weeks)!

Press each nail for about 5-10 seconds until the glue holds tight. Just like that, you are done! The process from start to finish, including the filing, is probably about 30 minutes to an hour. And you can start doing stuff immediately! You don’t have to walk around worrying about how you are going to go to the restroom or open a can without messing up your nails.

Like I said previously, I use my hands a lot and with things like bolts, seat frames, etc. that are not nail friendly. I have not had a single nail break or chip since I started using these. They are magical.

Lastly, I want to leave you with a little bit of advice I was provided that is SO helpful when there aren’t fake nails available and you just need that added color. My new fave top coat is Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat. It is thick, makes your nails look so shiny and flawless, and best of all – dries SO QUICKLY

 I don’t have time to waste waving my hands in the air trying to make them dry faster- and I especially don’t have time for damage control- so this stuff solves both of these problems. Buy it at your nearest CVS!

That is all I have right now for the art of nails! Email or comment with any questions.

The Broken Vase

It was a Sunday night around 7pm. I was curled up tightly in a ball in the corner of the couch, underneath my blanket, holding a golden lock of hair in my right hand. Strand by strand I pulled off each split end as my thoughts raced quickly through my head. It seemed like hours when I overheard a voice. “Babe. Shelby. Are you okay? What are you thinking about?” His voice pulled me away from my hair. Away from my thoughts.

“I don’t know. I’m just so worried.” But I couldn’t describe what I was worried about. My brain was hurting, but I didn’t know why.

Ever since I was twelve years old I only accepted perfection from myself: my grades, my body, my makeup, my hair, my strength. Absolutely everything had to be perfect. I was terrified of a single hair being out of place or making anything less than a 90 on a homework assignment.

This extreme type A personality was exhausting. It would put me in funks I had no idea how to get out of. I would spend hours thinking about how I said something to someone. What did they think of me? They probably thought I was so weird.

I found a tick my freshman year of high school: picking off my split ends. I would consume myself with these split ends. From fourteen years old I would use these split ends as my way to get lost from racing thoughts. To hide from them, to hide from the world, to hide from fear of imperfection.

At twenty-five years old, sitting in the corner of that couch, I had everything I could ask for in the palm of my hand: An incredible job with a new promotion, a perfect husband, a ton of best friends, an adorable five-pound Yorkie, a bright red sports car, and a huge new house. I had it all. A picture perfect life. And every single day I was miserable. Hiding under my blanket. Tears streaming down my face.

How could a life be so happy on the outside and so painful on the inside? Was I just this spoiled, entitled millennial who wasn’t happy with all I had been given? Was I not thankful? Why was my brain not clicking with reality?

At this prime age, there was a breakthrough. I realized I was living with a mental illness and had been since I was twelve years old. For thirteen years I was suffering from anxiety and had absolutely zero idea. I thought it was normal. I thought everyone over-analyzed minute details. I thought everyone balled up in the corner of their couch, hiding away from the world, underneath their blanket.

For years I would go to sleep thinking if I could just not wake up this time then all the fear of imperfection would go away. I would be driving at night and look to the closest tree, closest bridge. Just one sharp turn and you won’t have to deal with this worry and stress anymore.

Little did I know there were healthy ways to make this feeling go away. Little did I know mental illness was much more prominent. Little did I know I had a mental illness that was actually manageable.

It took a while to accept that having anxiety was okay. My entire life, there was this huge stigma around mental illness. For years I was told I worry too much, to quit stressing, to calm down and quit controlling. And while all of those seemed fine and dandy in words, putting those words into action seemed nothing short of impossible.

I thought I was this broken vase that should be shunned from holding beautiful sunflowers.

I spent years seeking healthier coping mechanisms. I tried working out, stuffing my face with carbs, painting, doing yoga, meditating, napping. Each had the same effect: while I was doing them I felt fine. No worries. But the moment they stopped, the moment I stopped, anxiety would rush back in. Reality would hit.

So. I set up an appointment with a regular physician. Panicking like it was a job interview, I walked in and word vomited, explaining to her everything I had felt since I was a young child. She set me up with some medicine.

I started off small and increased and adjusted over several months. Eventually my mind got to a point I don’t think I had ever felt before. Peace. I could finally breathe again with confidence. No matter how many hairs were out of place. Breathe. Just with a little help from some medicine.

I am still new to treating my anxiety and I plan to set up an appointment with a psychotherapist to discuss my medication and ways of coping. I still have these moments of brief panic, but I am slowly finding my feet.

I write this blog for those who may feel similar. Last year, I read a blog from a friend that changed my mindset and made me brave enough to get help. Now I want to do the same for you.

And for everyone else who may not have a mental illness, stop telling people they worry too much. Stop telling people to quit stressing, to “lighten up.” IT DOESN’T WORK.

Instead of these cheery sayings, we should start enlightening ourselves on mental illness and ways we can help others that may be struggling. This stigma, this mindset that you have to be perfect in this difficult world, has got to go. It is killing people. It is hurting people.

Open your mind to what is around you. Realize anyone can show happiness on the outside; we need to help people find their joy on the inside.