Sephora Play! Box | May 2017

May’s Sephora Play box is themed “Beauty on the Rise,” and is a tour of cult favorites, hard to find formulas and one of a kind brands that are making their mark in the beauty industry. This month, Sephora replaced their regular drawstring cloth bag with a cute, see through pouch that’s perfect for housing your essentials. Here’s what was inside my box:

Nudestix Magnetic Matte Lip Color in Greystone: This is a color-rich stick that is a lip liner, lip stain, and lip color all in one.  While I love getting lip products, I tried this on, and the color is a rusty brownish red, which is definitely not my shade, especially for summer time.  It’s a major bummer to get a shade that’s not in my preferences.  

Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip Clay Cleanser: I was so excited to see Sunday Riley in my box this month.  This is a clay cleanser that brightens the skin while cleaning and minimizing the pores for balanced, clear skin.  I was not expecting a clay cleanser to be so runny, but it smells good and makes my skin feel great when I use it with my Clarisonic Mia. 

Grande Lips Lip Plumper in Clear: I was surprised to discover that this product was more than just a temporarily plumping gloss, but instead a treatment gloss with results over time.  I’ve only applied it once, but the instant results are a little bit of a cool, minty tingle (not nearly as aggressive as some other lip plumpers I’ve tried), and a shot of hydration which feels really good.  The instructions say that in order to achieve maximum results it should be used regularly for 30 days, and this sample will definitely not last that long, but I will enjoy using up what I do have.  Read more

The Art of Self Sabotage

Self-SabotageSelf-sabotage: There’s no doubt that at one point or another, you’ve experienced a time when you’ve self-sabotaged yourself.  Lately, I’ve felt like I have managed to turn self-sabotage into a new art form.  It feels like it’s my calling, and let me tell you, I’m wickedly good at it.  The unfortunate reality is, of course, this “art form” is one that is doing me all harm and absolutely no good.

I decided to write about self-sabotage in terms of overeating, especially while I’m trying to lose weight, but before I started typing I did a quick Google search to see what the official definition of self-sabotage even was. According to Psychology Today, self-sabotage is

“behavior that creates problems and interferes with long-standing goals. The most common selfsabotaging behaviors are procrastination, self-medication with drugs or alcohol, comfort eating, and forms of self-injury such as cutting.”

It turns out that, while some of the behaviors mentioned I have no issues with to speak of (I’ve never once thought about any self-injury or self-medication..other than via food of course), I realized that not only am I a true artist at the food thing, but I am the freaking master of procrastination.  I knew this about myself, of course, but didn’t necessarily equate it to my own personal form of self-sabotage, because I was so focused on the food thing.  However, it turns out that the only thing I do better than sabotage my healthy eating is procrastinating.  It’s no wonder I’ve felt stuck with the same goals and no progress for so long. Read more

Erin Condren 2017-2018 Life Planner Review

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  No, it’s obviously not Christmas season, but for planner addicts everywhere it certainly feels like it is.  It is time for the new 2018 Erin Condren Life Planner releases! I know, it feels like we just got our 2017 planners, but there’s no rest for those that plan ahead.  This year is the 10th anniversary of the Erin Condren Life Planner, which is so impressive! I’ve been an EC fan since my first planner in 2013, and I’ve had one ever since. Throughout the years I’ve seen many changes and improvements made to the beautiful life planner, and this year is no different. While the general idea behind the bright and colorful Life Planner is the same, there are so many new options that allow many people to make this planner what they want it to be. Let’s take a look and dive into the 2017-2018 Erin Condren Life Planner.  

There are SO many options for personalizing your planner this year. Here’s the breakdown:

2 Color Schemes: Colorful or Neutral

3 Layouts: Vertical, Horizontal, & Hourly

4 Coil Color Options: Gold, Silver, Rose Gold, or Black

Cover options: Interchangeable, personalized covers with 12 new classic designs and 3 new metallic designs (with multiple color options in each) or  a non-removable, leather-like luxe color option with 3 color choices (light taupe, sapphire, and black), the same coil options, and 4 (3 letter only) personalization options (blind print, silver, gold, or rose gold)

Brand new this year is the HARDBOUND Life Planner.  It comes in 4 colors (each color book has a different color and theme inside) and 2 sizes.  5 x 8 (horizontal only)  & 8 x 11 (vertical layout only).  

I think that covers the basic idea of what’s available.  I got my hands on a vertical layout, colorful Life Planner, so that’s what you’ll see more of below.  However, you can see pictures of everything else on the Erin Condren website.

What’s New?

First, and quite possibly the biggest change, is the paper upgrade that all Life Planners received this year.   This year EC used Mohawk paper company to put thicker 80# paper in our planners, giving us a more sturdy page with less pen bleedthrough.  The tabbed pages are also thicker and no longer require plastic reinforcements at the binding.  A small detail, but worth noting.  Read more

5 Unexpected Things That Help You Lose Weight

We all know that weight loss is essentially one giant mathematical equation: if calories in are less than calories out, you will lose weight.  Plain and simple.  We also all know there are healthy foods, less healthy foods, and that exercise will help you boost your calorie burn.  What I find more interesting are the unexpected things that help me along my weight loss journey. While I’m sure there are more, I put together a list of my top 5 unexpected things that help you lose weight.

#1 Getting a Dog

You all know by now that I rang in the new year by bringing home our little Yorkie, Gracie on the first day of 2017.  Since she’s a tiny pup that we’re pad training, we haven’t had a need to take her out for a walk in the freezing weather.  Now that it’s warming up, we’re going on daily walks to train her how to behave on a leash and help her get some extra energy out.  While this is great for her, it also helps me get extra steps in that I wouldn’t have otherwise.  On today’s walk, I gained 3000 steps, which is 1/4 of my daily step goal, and those steps are in addition to what I normally do daily.  If you add up all of those walks that are for the dog’s benefit, that could most definitely add up to a few fewer pounds on the scale. 

#2 Cleaning Your House

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Dagne Dover Classic Tote: Is It Worth It?

 

Dagne Dover first popped onto my radar when I started to see Facebook ads for them. Because Facebook is clever and very scary, it knew that I was a prime target to be converted into a Dagne Dover customer. Not only has my handbag obsession been around for years, but I also deal with the struggle of having too much stuff floating around in my bag, and at the same time not having nearly enough room for everything I wanted to put in there.  After being convinced that this bag was perfect for me, I decided to boldly reach out to the company and tell them why I was the perfect person to write a review for them. Amazingly, they responded and agreed to send me their classic tote.  While I was sent the bag, the following opinions are 100% honest.  Remember, I reached out to them…and let’s be real here, if they didn’t agree to send me one to review, pure curiosity would have caused me to drop the money on it anyway because I already decided I had to have it.  I just want to be fully transparent here.  Ok, now we can get started. 

While 95% of the time I’m working it’s in the comfort of my own office (and sometimes my couch), there have been plenty of occasions where I have wanted to take my blog’s HQ to a different location.  Okay, usually that location is Starbucks and occasionally a meeting, but still, it requires me to pack up my things and go somewhere else.  When this happens, it’s pretty typical that I’m carrying my big purse as well as a laptop bag and a water bottle.  I’m clunky, clumsy, and take up far too much space.  If only there was a way to solve my traveling dilemma.

Enter: The Dagne Dover Classic Tote

When I first laid eyes on that targeted Facebook Ad I was instantly smitten with this tote bag. It had all of the features of any bag I could possibly want, and even a few features I didn’t know I needed.  Here’s some info on the features of this bag (we’ll get more in-depth in a second):

  • Drop Zipper Opening
  • L 13” x H 8” x W ¾” Padded Laptop Sleeve with Hidden Magnetic Closure
  • L 10 ½” x H 7 ½” Padded Tablet / Notebook Sleeve
  • Phone Pocket with ID / MetroCard Compartment
  • 3 Pen / Lipgloss Loops
  • Large Interior Zipper Pocket
  • 2 Slip Pockets (L 5 ½” x H 6”)
  • Additional Side Slip Pocket (L 4” x H 4 ½”)
  • 4” Diameter Neoprene Bottle Holder
  • Detachable Leather Key Leash with 2 interior D-Rings
  • 2 External Aesthetic D-Rings
  • Pyramid Hardware Feet

 

The Classic Tote fits everything you could possibly need to get you through a work day all the and take you all way to a night out with friends.  The coated canvas looks super chic but is also water-resistant and easy to clean with a damp cloth, making it ideal for the woman on the go. 

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April 2017 Goals

Oh my gosh, I feel like world’s most terrible blogger.  Lately, I’ve been lucky if I can get one post up every few weeks, and I have no one to blame but myself.  It’s not that I don’t have the time, it’s that I don’t make the time, and that’s on me and me alone.  This month is the start of the second quarter of 2017 (already??) and I feel like this year so far has been a bit of a bust, but it’s time for me to get things turned around and working in my favor, and that starts with some new goals. 

Start doing the Miracle Morning daily.  I’ve started to reread Hal Elrod’s best seller “The Miracle Morning,” and I am loving it.  I’ve read it once before, but I failed horribly at actually implementing all of the great things that this book has to offer.  This time around I’m in a little Facebook book club that will serve as an accountability group to ensure each of us is not only reading, but doing what the book tells us.  For fun, even though I’m only 1/3 of the way done with the book, I decided to try doing a “Miracle Morning” this morning, and it worked!  I feel great, I’ve been productive, gotten a workout in, read, journaled, prayed, ate a healthy breakfast, and even did some blog work, and it isn’t even 11 am yet!  My goal is to finish the book and to start doing this miracle morning routine every day, and my hope is I’ll get some very positive changes out of it.  You can check out the book on Amazon.  For only $15 it’s definitely worth picking up.  Read more

April 2017 Wish List

Air Fryer | Benefit Boxed Blush | Ole Henriksen Kit | Village Candle Coffee Bean | Beauty and the Beast Journal | Iconic Protein Drink

Here are a few of the awesome products that have caught my eye and made it onto my wish list for the new month.  We’ve got a little bit of everything this month.  Check it out!

Air Fryer ($150)- My biggest wishlist item of the month is an air fryer.  After seeing all of the awesome creations people are coming up with in their fryers, I’m having some severe envy about not having one of my own.  Air Fryers help you achieve the crisp cook of fried food while using little to no oil in the preparation.  This sounds like a dream come true.  I’m longing to get my hands on one of these so I can try out different veggies in there to make my own sweet potato fries, butternut squash bites, and I’m really dying to try the Green Giant cauliflower tots in there.  I was obsessed with them when I had them at my parent’s house, and I imagine tossing them in an air fryer rather than the oven will make them even more amazing. This appliance actually surpassed a new coffee maker on my wishlist. That’s just crazy talk!

Benefit Galifornia($29)- I’ve always enjoyed Benefit’s cult classic boxed blushes. Coralista has always been one of my favorites, and GALifornia looks like it might be a slightly brighter, but still completely wearable version of my all time favorite.   Read more

Erin Condren Seasonal Surprise Box | Spring 2017

Starting this year Erin Condren decided to put out a seasonal mystery box full of exclusives, sneak peeks, and product favorites.  The catch is you don’t know what is in the box until it shows up at your door.  By the time you start seeing posts on Instagram or on YouTube, the box has long since been sold out and you wouldn’t be able to get your hands on it anyway, so you have to be willing to fork over the moolah and hope for the best. The box costs $35 and ships free in the USA.  I didn’t get the winter box, but I decided to take the plunge for spring.  Curious as to what is inside?  Read on!

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6 Tips To Help You Conquer Your Cravings

For me, one of the most difficult parts of this entire weight loss journey is knowing how to make the right choices when a craving strikes. Whether it be for the jar of peanut butter, a delicious piece of pizza, or the Hersey’s kisses in the candy jar, I get cravings regularly, and they’re often the reason my day doesn’t go as planned.  Let’s face it, if we didn’t have to fight off cravings, odds are we wouldn’t be in the situation where we need to lose weight anyway, right?  What’s a gal to do?

What we need are ways to conquer our cravings so we can take back control and eat the things we want when we decide to rather than allow a craving to decide for us. Here are 6 tips to help you (and me) beat those cravings next time we’re wanting something that doesn’t fit into our day.

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Sunday Shenanigans | The Diva Diaries

It’s 8:30pm on Sunday night. Mister left for the airport a few hours ago (typically he doesn’t leave until Monday mornings), so it’s just me and my fur baby. Our shenanigans mentioned in the title aren’t all that crazy, as I’m already in pjs, makeup removed, and watching the latest episode of Shark Tank with Gracie on the couch sleeping next to me.  We Engebretsen ladies sure know how to party it up on a Sunday night, huh?  To be fair, in an effort to get a little bit of a headstart on my week, the kitchen is clean, I have a video rendering, and I’m working on a blog post, so all is not lost in my evening.  

I also need to get off my butt for a whopping 800 more steps to reach my step goal for the day, and I didn’t even go to the gym today!

Life in the WW arena was all about balance toady. I was way below points up until dinner, where I wanted to enjoy a bowl of Trader Joe’s organic creamy tomato soup. It’s only 4sp per cup and it is to die for delicious.  Since I had plenty of room for a bit more indulgence, I knew what I needed to pair with my tomato soup.  Any guesses??

 

If you guessed a grilled cheese sandwich, you were spot on.  After all, those two items were made for each other, don’t you think?

Since the only things in my kitchen that came anywhere close to ingredients for a grilled cheese was a high fiber wrap for 1sp and fat free shredded cheese, I decided the best answer was to hop over to Panera and order a sandwich from there, but it wasn’t just a regular grilled cheese.  Did you know you could customize that sucker to become a super tasty (and yes, calorie heavy) beast? My sandwich was made on sourdough bread with white cheddar, parmesan and gouda cheeses, crumbled bacon, and tomatoes. Imagine dipping that baby into a bowl of hot tomato soup.  It was so good.  It wiped me of the rest of my points for the day, but you know what? SO worth it.  Sometimes you just need to have some yummy comfort food, and having to say goodbye to my husband a mere 48 hours after he got home last while in the midst of what I can only guess are hormonally induced emotions…well, it didn’t take much for me to decide that this meal was the way to go.  

Since Panera is reasonably nearby, my bargain with myself is if I order from there, I walk to go pick it up, which I did, and I didn’t add any sweets to my order! Don’t think it didn’t cross my mind, but the sandwich was more than enough.  So… steps, no sweet treat, and a satisfying comfort food meal that I don’t feel at all guilty about.

Tonight’s final objective is to go to bed at a reasonable hour, get a solid night’s sleep, and start tomorrow with a hardcore workout and a perfectly on plan day.  

After all..a lifetime of healthy living is all about balance.