5 christmas activities to do right now

Whether you’re looking for things to do by yourself, with some friends, or a partner, here’s a list I put together that you can do alone or with multiple people! Hope it helps you have some fun during these really odd times! 

bake and decorate cookies

I personally LOVE this one, because I grew up doing this every year at my grandma’s house with my mom! We would cover the entire surface area of the dining room table with parchment paper for us to roll out our sugar cookie dough. Make your own dough or buy some (Nestle Toll House is my favorite, but Pillsbury isn’t bad!), grab some decorating icings, sprinkles, and cookie cutters, and you’re good to go! You’ll want flour on standby for when you’re rolling out the dough. I also recommend making your own icing or buttercream if you can, because it makes a HUGE difference! Can’t eat them all? Wrap some up for your family, friends, or neighbors and share the love!

watch christmas movies

I’m a sucker for the classics, like White Christmas, A Year Without a Santa Claus, and Santa Claus is Coming to Town. These movies give me more of that cozy, Christmas feeling than modern movies like Elf, while I do like that movie. Don’t forget to round up your favorite snacks, some hot cocoa, and cozy blankets. My favorite movie snacks are blue raspberry Sour Punch bites and Brookside dark chocolate pomegranate bites, but you can also just order pizza or food from Postmates if you want something more savory! Kaleb and I sometimes just order a couple appetizers from local restaurants!

drive around looking at christmas lights

I don’t know any other activity that says “you grew up in a small town” better than driving around for entertainment hahahaha. HOWEVER, in my opinion, the best memories aren’t made when you’re spending lots of money on expensive dinners or activities. They’re made when you’re just hanging out with friends and belting Mariah Carey in the car! Crank up the Christmas music and find neighborhoods that are decked up for the holidays! Some areas even have their lights coordinated to certain radio stations or zoos/parks with drive-thru lights displays! This is also a great idea if you have little kids!

make diy ornaments

Now, this doesn’t have to be the homemade ornaments of our kindergarten years a la popsicle sticks and glitter, although it totally can be, I won’t judge. However, if you’re not into that vibe, you can grab some clear or white ornaments and acrylic paint pens! This can be a great way to commemorate the year, so don’t forget to put a date on it! You can even make it a tradition to make one every Christmas!

christmas activities over zoom

This doesn’t necessarily sound like lots of fun, but if you can’t see certain family members or friends this year, this is better than nothing! You could get all of your closest friends together on Zoom and wrap all of your presents together. You could decorate gingerbread houses and have your Instagram followers vote on the best one. Don’t let the limitations of this year stop you from having fun with your favorite people!

 

products to upgrade your everyday makeup routine

Since I started working in the beauty industry and growing my social channels a few years ago, I’ve gotten asked so many times from friends, family, and Instagram followers what makeup I think is the absolute best! From complexion products to eyeliners, I thought I’d try to pull all of those recommendations together into one post for you to get ideas from! This post is perfect for the person who is looking to upgrade one or more parts of their everyday makeup routine! The links in this post are affiliate links which means I make a small commission on those sales, but it doesn’t cost you anything extra, so thank you if you shop through them!

 

*As a disclaimer, I have fair and normal skin, and I lean on the dry side during the winter months. When I recommend products, I will specify what skin type I recommend each one for in their descriptions! Also, we are all so different and have different skin types, so what I love, you may not, and vice versa!

A Great Base

Your base is literally  your canvas. You can’t expect the end product to look like a masterpiece if the canvas starts out looking like crap. Base makeup– whether a primer, bb cream, foundation, or other cream product– is very important when it comes to achieving a great final look. HOWEVER, and I can’t stress this enough, skincare is the MOST important step in making your makeup look great and last longer.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Signs you need to change your skincare routine:
  • Makeup is clinging to certain areas, suddenly hard to blend, or wearing off only  in certain areas
  • Breakouts or areas with lots of texture/tiny bumps
  • Your skin feels “tight” or dry
  • Excess oil appears throughout the day

 

Cream Complexion Products

Estee Lauder Double Wear $43

This is easily my favorite foundation of all time. It’s the perfect balance of medium-full coverage and skin-like finish. It comes in 50+ shades and is one of the best shade ranges in beauty. I will wear it on my wedding day for sure!

I recommend it for anyone looking for medium-full coverage foundation who has normal or oily skin.

NARS The Multiple cream blush sticks $39

The name is definitely weird, but this formula is BOMB, and blush is so important if you want to achieve a real glow and add life back into your skin after foundation. I’m tired of the blush slander! NARS powder blushes, specifically Orgasm, became super popular with beauty influencers a few years ago, however I personally think they’re overrated. Their cream formula gives you a stunning skin-like finish while not being overly pigmented, so it’s easy to blend. I apply it by putting some on the back of my hand and using a wet beauty sponge to apply and blend. I have Orgasm and Portofino.

I recommend this to anyone looking for a natural skin-like cheek color that’s super easy to apply.

Tarte Shape Tape $27

This concealer is not for everybody, but boy is it for me hahahaha. It is full coverage, lasts all day, doesn’t crease (you have to set it w/ powder), and acts as a great eyeshadow base as well! I have not found another concealer that can cover these baggy eyes like Shape Tape. A decent dupe that I keep handy for when I’m running low on Shape Tape is the Maybelline Age Rewind concealer! It has a similar consistency and decent amount of coverage for a drugstore complexion product and it’s only $9.99

I recommend these concealers to the full coverage hoe who reaaally needs to catch up on sleep. The mascara + lip gloss community can move on to the next product.

Powder Complexion Products

 Dermablend Loose Setting Powder $29

This powder is SUPER smooth and truly a universal product that works for dry, normal, combo, and oily skin types. I use this to set my under eye concealer and use the excess to set the rest of my face without appearing powdery. I am wearing this powder in all of my Instagram pictures, so you can also see that there’s no issues with flashback! The original Translucent claims to be universal, however, there’s also a cool toned shade for light-medium skin tones and a warmer shade available for deeper skin tones.

I recommend this to anyone looking for a reliable setting powder that doesn’t make you look cakey, but mattifies and sets your makeup.

 

Hourglass Veil Translucent Setting Powder $46

This powder is soooo gorgeous on the skin, and totally worth the hype. The formula is really luxurious and buttery smooth, and the finish is so stunning and just luminous enough to give a natural glow without looking shiny or sparkly in any way. I wouldn’t recommend using this to set your under eye, because it’s not meant for that and will look really odd since it’s not matte lol.

I recommend this to anyone with normal to dry skin looking for a more luxurious setting or finishing powder that doesn’t have a flat matte finish. 

Chanel Joues Contraste Powder Blush $45

While this is definitely a splurge, blushes and bronzers, for me at least, last a loooong time. I’ve had my two Chanel blushes (Alezane & In Love) for 2+ years, and I’m not even close to running out. The formula is the perfect balance of showing up, but not being too pigmented and hard to blend. They have matte and luminous options, whatever your preference is! Mine are both the glowy formula, and it doesn’t look like chunky glitter on your face like other luminous blush formulas. If you can’t imagine spending $45 on blush, just think about all the times you repurchase mascaras, liners, concealers, etc throughout the year. When have you gone through a blush in under 6 months???

I recommend this for my bougie people looking to upgrade their cheek situation.

 

  Chanel Joues Contraste Powder Blush $45
(Pictured: In Love)

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Powder Bronzer $45

Another favorite from Estee Lauder is their bronzer! This guy is HUGE and lasts me over a year! The medium shade is perfect for me, so easy to blend, and it isn’t orangey at all. The only downside to this product line is that there are only 3 shades and medium is the only one that I think is flattering since they discontinued Deep last year.. ( I used to work for the brand)

I recommend this for anyone with a light to medium skin tone looking for an easy to work with, flattering new bronzer!

Killer Brows

Your brows frame your entire face, so finding a brow routine that flatters you and enhances your natural features is v important! I have two brow products that I use and love, one that defines and fills in my brows, and another that adds dimension and takes away that ~fuzzy brow~ look.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz $23

I use Brow Wiz in Taupe to define and fill in my brows and I love how easily the product glides on and that I’m not having to apply tons of pressure and losing brow hairs (which is a lot more common than you’d think with other pencils).

Chanel Le Gel Sourcils Longwear Eyebrow Gel $32

I have tried a lot of the other popular brow gels on the market from Benefit to Anastasia, and I always come back to this one from Chanel. I find that I love using this in Blonde to add definition back to my brows while not being too ~in your face~ and harsh. There are little fibers in the gel that add a liiiittle bit of volume, but the reason I love it so much is because it coats every brow hair, takes away the fuzzy brow look, and keeps them in place all day long. It only comes in blonde, brown, and clear, but I truly think everyone, with the exception of maybe redheads, can use either shade to achieve a really great, natural, defined brow using this as an enhancer.

I recommend this to anyone trying to up their brow game and add more definition back into their brows with a last step enhancer.

Defined Eyes

Eyes are beautiful, let’s just get that outta the way. When meeting new people, that’s often where our eyes go first, so defining and enhancing them can really accentuate the natural color and shape of your eyes!

A reliable, neutral everyday palette

Tarte Tartelette in Bloom Clay Eyeshadow Palette $39

This may seem like a basic pick, and I don’t think every Tarte palette has this formula, however I would say that this is truly one of the best neutral palettes you can own. The mattes are creamy, pigmented, and easily blendable, and the shimmers are smooth and have a really flattering metallic finish. Love the way that you can create three easy, different neutral looks by using each row as a different grouping. Not the biggest “upgrade” necessarily, but a great staple palette to have!

Natasha Denona Glam Eyeshadow Palette $65

If you’re looking to splurge a little more, or you already have the Tartelette palette, this is a great option, and frankly so are all of her other palettes! Her matte formula is super creamy and easy to blend, and her shimmers have a beautiful metallic finish. These mid-sized $65 palettes they’ve been releasing recently give you access to her formula, while not coming with the $130 price tag her full size palettes retail for. (I want to clarify that the $65 palettes are NOT mini palettes, they are actually bigger than Tarte palettes)

Fave Eyeliner

 MAC Brushstroke 24 Hour Eyeliner $22

I have loved this underrated liner for over 2 years now! Unlike many others, I tried and did NOT like the popular faves-the KVD Tattoo Liner and the Stila Stay All Day Liner. The KVD liner didn’t apply smoothly, AND it dried out after only a handful of uses. The Stila liner really wasn’t anything special in any department. The MAC Brushstroke liner makes it super easy to get a smooth line, and I find that the other two liners dry up way sooner than this one does. This liner has been my key to not only getting a great wing, but also being able to get an ultra thin line on my lash line when I don’t want the normal thick liner look.

(Tip: Turn it on its side and drag the top half of the tip along the crease where your lashes meet your lid to make your lashes appear thicker!)

I recommend this to literally anyone looking for a better liquid liner!

 

Perfect Mascara

 Chanel Le Volume De Chanel Mascara $32

This mascara is ~magic~ and I have been obsessed with it for 2-3 years. It coats every lash, is great at separating, but also gives really great volume. The formula is great, but I think the very unique wand is what aids to getting it perfectly applied. I find even with two coats, there’s no clumping, and my lashes look longer, fuller, and more defined. This is truly a splurge I never mind purchasing, because it’s 100% worth it. Plus, other decent mascaras are only maybe $5 cheaper, so it’s not the most outrageous luxury makeup item to splurge on!

I recommend this to anyone with thin or thick lashes looking to try a mascara with volume that doesn’t clump or give you the “spider lash” look you get from Monsieur Big, Better Than Sex, and similar volume mascaras.

Setting Spray

Setting sprays are key to making your makeup melt into your skin and not feel like it’s a separate layer of products sitting on top of your skin. I would say most setting sprays only serve that purpose, however some help keep your makeup looking fresh for longer. Below are my favorites!

 

Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist $48

Thiiiiis skin mist is EVERYTHING, and as I’m writing this, I’m reminded how I need to repurchase it! This totally lives up to the hype, and makes your makeup look SO skin like. If you feel like no matter what makeup you wear, you always look cakey or powdery– you need this. A little bit goes a long way, I usually only spray 3 times when I’m using this, one on each cheek and one on my forehead, because it’s easy to get carried away and appear oily or overly dewy. It really works lol.

I recommend this to anyone with normal to dry skin who’s looking for a way to make your skin look fresh and dewy after putting on a full face of makeup and struggling with the ~powdery~ look.

 

Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray $33

This setting spray has definitely stood the test of time, and my opinion is that it’s one of the only setting sprays on the market that actually prolongs the wear of your makeup, and doesn’t just take away the powdery vibe. I hesitated to add this spray to my list, because some of the ingredients are not the best for your skin, but I couldn’t ignore how well this product works and truly does what it ~sets~ out to do.

I recommend this to anyone looking for a reliable setting spray that keeps your makeup looking fresh longer and immediately make your makeup look more skin like.

Those are all of my favorite everyday makeup products! Hopefully it helped you get recommendations for products that can upgrade certain steps in your everyday routine you’re tired of or not impressed with! Let me know in the comments if I should do a similar post with only drugstore favorites or products for when you want to be more bold with color and glam! xoxo Em

 

dealing with mental health issues in relationships


Trigger warning for anxiety, depression, PTSD, chronic illnesses, and emotional and physical abuse. 

          I think one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to go through as an adult has been navigating relationships while dealing with mental health issues. When I say this, I’m not singling out romantic relationships. My mental health issues have at some point or another affected nearly every relationship in my life in the last few years. This is how I have dealt with those issues in my relationship with my fiancé Kaleb.

 

To preface this, I think it’s important to note that I have been diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). These were brought on in part by traumas occurring since my diagnoses of Crohn’s disease as well as my previous toxic relationship.

 

          When I first started dating my now fiancé Kaleb, I had just started going to therapy. I knew for a while that I probably needed it, so finally I took things into my own hands and got myself an appointment. A few weeks later, Kaleb and I started dating. He made it really easy for me to open up to him early on, and I felt surprisingly comfortable sharing things I had never shared with anyone else in my life. At this point, a lot of my triggers were new or unbeknownced to me. All I knew at this point was that I had no control over my emotions, and I was told by the social worker who interviewed me that I had low self esteem (not a fan of hers). When I say I had no control of my emotions, I mean if I was in the car with you driving and you hit the brakes a little too hard, I would become visibly angered to the point of tears. Totally hypothetical…

 

          At the beginning of my relationship with Kaleb, I shared the events that led me to getting help, but the effects of those traumas were not an issue until we started living together. This makes sense, because spending a few hours together on a date at a restaurant is not the same as spending every day together in your comfort zone of home.

 

Dealing with Emotions 

          The first time I ever had a panic attack, I remember feeling so crazy. Kaleb was putting dishes away, and he dropped a heavy bowl in the sink. I remember the second I heard the ceramic crash, my whole body jolted and then became super tight. I felt immediately agitated, out of control, shaky, and emotional. I ran into the other room and laid flat as a board on the bed and just sobbed. Kaleb came in to check on me, and all I can remember is telling him I needed to lay down and cry and that I didn’t know why. All I did during these first panic attacks was question my sanity and get mad at myself for making such a big deal out of nothing, and that only made things worse. Through therapy and trying different approaches, I figured that out, and realized if I just let my body tell me what it needs, I would get through it easier and we could, later in therapy, try to figure out why it happened. Moral of the story, you’re not crazy, listen to your body, and let yourself feel whatever you need to feel to get through it. Trying to hold emotions back because society says it’s a sign of weakness is not good. Emotions are actually really healthy, so please disregard your family members dealing with toxic masculinity. Kaleb has never made me feel bad for getting emotional, he isn’t afraid to have emotions himself, and in my opinion THAT is what a true man is. If you’re in a relationship with someone who deals with similar things, my advice is to just listen. Listen to what they need and what their body is telling them to do. Ask them what they need from you to get through it, or what you can do to help. It’s much better to ask and find out what they actually need, than to do what you think they need– like hugging them– because it can make things worse.

 

Dealing with Triggers

A big part of my mental health journey with Kaleb was discovering all my triggers: what made me have anxiety attacks, emotional reactions, or nightmares. The first triggers we noticed were abrupt loud noises like slamming doors or dropping glass, of which I touched on in the previous section. Through therapy, we came to the conclusion that in my past relationship, there were a lot of high energy fights with yelling and door slamming, and so that is probably why I am triggered by loud noises now, although I don’t remember much when it comes to that. I never could remember a time during my journey with health issues where there was a loud noise that caused stress or trauma, so that causing it was highly unlikely. There’s not really any ground breaking advice I can give for this part, but with every trigger we discovered, I communicated to Kaleb how I was feeling and what we could do to try to avoid these loud noises from happening as frequently. For example, at our house, we have a screen door that opens outward like a normal door, and it had a tight spring on it that would make it slam shut every time. To stop this from being a constant issue, Kaleb removed the spring, and it has completely eliminated that daily trigger.

Another trigger we discovered was more related to abusive behavior and emotional abuse from my previous relationship. For example, a lot of the times when I was triggered by loud noises and had the panic attacks I talked about, they would be followed by me feeling really fragile in the way that I would tell Kaleb that I don’t want to be touched. I felt I would get really angry, want to cry, or feel claustrophobic just from him giving me a simple hug, and I’m normally a very affectionate person. The key through all of these triggers is communicating, because neither party is a mind reader. When I have these panic attacks, I let him know whether I need space to work things out with myself or if I’m okay with him consoling me in those ways, and if I don’t, he always asks. Through therapy, I’ve realized that I have this reaction sometimes, because after we would have those fights with yelling and slamming doors, my ex would avoid having to talk through things and try to solve them by kissing me, making me laugh or smile, or by showing affection in other ways. Therapy has been key for me in allowing me to identify, or having my therapist identify, why I am the way I am now, and connect the dots between my traumas and responses when those connections would have gone right over my head and never gotten better.

 

In Conclusion..

If you’re thinking about whether therapy is right for you, do it! Therapy has in so many ways changed my life. I have been able to vent and share deeply personal things to someone who does not judge me in ANY way and can offer unbiased advice. I’ve learned to become so self aware of what my thoughts do to me and how to cope. I’ve felt so empowered through it all, because I have taken control of my mental health and have been doing whatever I can to manage it. Just know that you are loved, you deserve to get the help you need, and the world is so much better because you’re a part of it. xoxo Emily

 

 

welcome to my blog

Hey gorgeous! If no one has told you this today, you are so deserving of everything you want in life– oh, and also your butt looks good 😉

Welcome to my blog! Here is where I will be sharing everything from fashion or beauty recommendations, to wedding planning adventures, my past experiences with toxic past relationships, and how I used what I learned to attract my now fiancé! So basically I’m just sharing my life as a 2o-something trying to figure out life adulting and how to be happy in it! I have always enjoyed writing, and it has been a form of therapy for me over the years, dating back to when DIARIES were a thing. Back then, it was writing cringy songs about my crush and documenting whatever my 4th grade ass was stressed about on some random Tuesday. Now, thankfully, it has evolved to this, which I’m hoping is a lot less embarrassing than those pages in my middle school diary hahahaha. I appreciate you being here and can’t wait to share future blog posts with you! xoxo Em