It's Cyber Monday!

As some may know and some may not know, I did a little bit of damage while shopping the sales this weekend.  Black Friday was particularly eventful, as my friend Kayla and I went on our usual venture out for "deals."  I say deals in quotations because I honestly don't believe that Black Friday is worth getting your hopes up for.  I never really have, yet I go every year.  That's simply because it's the first day where you can officially be merry about Christmas without being judged for your overwhelming excitement...and I'm all about being festive.

When Kayla and I go, we're never really on the hunt for a certain item or sale.  We wait until about 8 or 9pm on Thanksgiving to leave, as the crowds tend to dissipate after the first few hours that the stores are open.  At this point we have also recovered from our turkey comas.  If we find a good deal, great.  But usually we don't and end up coming home with a couple shirts and maybe a scarf.  Or in my case, a mistletoe headband.

This year was a little bit different...  While we hit up all the usual stores at the mall (some of which actually had moderately okay deals) and then stopped at Best Buy so Kayla could replace her dying laptop.  We talked to an employee for at least 45 minutes as he went over all the options in her price range, then we got up to the counter only to find out that the $100 off coupon she had wasn't even valid.  C'MON MAN.  Apparently the coupon could be used again in a couple days, so she just decided to wait until then for her laptop.  I told you Black Friday is stupid.  So we were outta there.  Until I remembered that I wanted a new camera, like a nice one.  We made a sharp left and into the camera section and I ended up walking out of there with a really good deal on a Canon Rebel T5 and all the amenities.  Typical.  I take back what I said about Black Friday being stupid.

I'm probably not in the position to be making such a large investment at this time, but I have yet to have any sort of buyer's remorse about it.  In fact, I tend to regret leaving behind the things I didn't buy.  Seeing as I have no idea what on Earth I am doing with this camera and have managed to take some pretty cool photos so far, I would say it was a dang good idea.

But enough about me.  In honor of being too broke to make any Cyber Monday purchases, I've compiled a list of my favorite deals that are valid only today!  I need to live vicariously through you now.  I love shopping businesses both large and small, but today I have a mixture of the things you probably won't find in stores, giving purpose to this thing called Cyber Monday!  Enjoy.

1. Garvin & Co Holiday Prints & Koozie - One of my favorite bloggers, Jessica Garvin, has an Etsy shop where she sells digital prints of her chalkboard art...and they're on sale today only (mostly for $10, but the "Auld Lang Syne" is $5)!  You can get them printed on anything!  She also has the most adorable koozies which I have personally purchased before.  The one on sale today for $5 says "Oh What Fun!"

2. Society6 Friends Travel Mug by LoverlyPhotos -  A collage of iconic Friends images on a travel coffee mug.  What more could you ask for?  It even says Princess Consuela Bananahammock and has a photo of Ugly Naked Guy.  Everything on Society6 is on sale for 20% off until midnight.

3. Society6 Weapons of Mass Creation Travel Mug by Bianca Green - Again with the Society6 sale, but I can't pass up a good deal on a coffee mug.  Have a creative friend?  I think they need a coffee mug equipped with a drawing of different pens and the saying "Weapons of Mass Creation."  There are also plenty of other amazing things past travel mugs on Society6, and like I said, everything is 20% off.

4. Simply Taralynn Collection Holiday Items - Simply Taralynn is an adorable blog if you're into healthy living.  She has a clothing collection and recently added her holiday items.  I've linked the "Merry Christmas Ya Filthy Animal" shirt because unfortunately the "Don't Stop Believing" one is out of stock :'( hopefully she'll add more before Christmas!  But the sale she has running today takes $25 off orders of $150.  Not the greatest unless you're planning on making a huge order, but at least there is a sale.

5. Plum Street Prints Entrepreneur Mug - Entrepreneur is just French for has ideas, does them.  Since I've already covered travel mugs for when you're running around, I have to add one for when you're just sitting at home!  I love this entrepreneur mug, and today is the last day of their Black Week sale.  Use the code black30 for 30% off until midnight!

6. ILY Couture NOEL Tee - I've expressed my love for ILY Couture before, and today is the last day of their site wide 25% off sale with code ILYGIFT!  There is the tee and also a sweatshirt.  Hurry, they sell out quick!

7. Betches Barre So Hard Flowy Tank - Not holiday themed in the least, but did I say that's what this was?  For 25% everything Betches TODAY, visit the link and find your next outfit for barre.  It's worth a look at the rest of their shop as well, it's amazing.

8. Skinnydip London Silver Shell Cross Body Bag - At about $31 American dollars, you can channel your inner mermaid with this seashell shaped purse.  Even Ariel would be jealous.  They have a lot of sales going on as well, so check it out.

9. Super Chill Watermelon Cooler Bag - Apparently I have a thing for bags that are shaped like other things, because this watermelon cooler bag is everything.  If you're one of those people who's lucky enough to visit a beach during these horrendous winter months, you need this to keep your drinks cold.  Also worth checking out the "I'm Outta Here" luggage tag! Everything on this site is 25% off with code BIGDEAL and it's all super cute and quirky.  This is where I purchased my "But First, Coffee" travel mug as seen on IG.

Ugh and there are so many more, but I figured I should probably get this out before Cyber Monday is no more!  Psst!  I found every single one of these deals because I follow the shops on Instagram.  That's where they reveal a lot of their secrets!  

I hope you get to take advantage of all the online deals you could ever want!
Well, until next time!

Recent Sephora Loves

Blogged with a Leinenkugel's Cranberry Ginger Shandy in hand...because 'tis the season, right?

Around this time of year (my birthday month) I usually have the opportunity to do a little bit of shopping at my favorite makeup haven, Sephora.  I've been a Beauty Insider since middle school and the intense obsession has only grown since.  

I decided that since I've recently tried a lot of things I really love love love, I thought it would be a good idea to do a round-up and share!  I'd rather just talk about what I liked about them instead of rate them or something because if I hated them I just wouldn't talk about them.  So just know that I was pleased with each of these products!  Details to follow.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit (light to medium) - Not only is this contour kit perfect for my skin tone (and I mean perfect), but there's a video on where Lead Makeup Artist of Anastasia Beverly Hills, Cory Bishop, gives a tutorial of how exactly to use it.  It's helpful.  And don't think that just because you and I have different skin tones that this palette wouldn't work for you.  There are a couple shades I don't use, so I'm pretty sure as long as your skin tone is light to medium it would work pretty dang well.  There's also the medium to tan palette.  Now if only I had the right brushes.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Gel - Last year, I purchased the Sephora brand version of clear brow gel and the brush broke before I even made it halfway through the tube.  To make matters worse, they discontinued the product so I couldn't even get a new one.  This one was a bit more expensive, at $22, but I had a gift card and I'm hoping it lasts a while.  I luckily don't have to do much to my eyebrows to begin with, they're naturally very thick (much to my eyebrow threader's dismay), but I do like them to stay in place.  This does the trick to keep them perfectly coiffed.  Except a few days ago I was so distracted that I accidentally applied my mascara to my eyebrows instead of this, since they look so much alike.  I kept looking at my brows and thinking, "why are you so black today?"  Lo and behold, they were coated with mascara, not Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Gel.  It's been an off week, okay?

Sephora Favorites Liquid Luxuries Perfume Sampler - This was part of my birthday present, but my original intent was to use the voucher for a full-size version of Marc Jacobs Daisy.  That was the plan.  Of course, given this many options, nothing could possibly go as planned.  I think this is the third time I've bought/received one of the Sephora Favorites Perfume Samplers, so I'll give you the low down on how it works.  You buy whatever sampler (perfume, mascara, etc.) for about $65.  You get 15ish samples and one free voucher to get a 1.0 oz full size perfume of your choice from the options in your sampler.  

I should mention that I hate all powdery and musty floral scents, so that's why none of those have been mentioned.  But this was a good package!  I liked most of them enough to use all the samples up.  Except Sud Magnolia by Atelier Cologne, which I despised.  

I had 4 favorites:

Marc Jacobs Daisy was an obvious fave.  Strawberry, violet leaves, ruby red grapefruit, and such.  It's fruity and girly and you can't really go wrong.  I've been scoping this one out for a while, trying to find the lowest price.  That's why I've figured it's not worth wasting my free voucher on.  There are other more expensive perfumes that I like just as much in this sampler.  I can wait on Marc.

Versace Bright Crystal is one that for a bit I was convinced I would use my voucher on.  It was good enough that I brought it on vacation with me!  That means I found it good enough to wear for several days straight with no other choices.  This is big for me.  I don't know what iced accord, yuzu, or vegetal amber are, but they smell very nice together.  My only fear is that this one is almost a little too safe.  I like scents that really stand out, in a good way.

Elizabeth and James Nirvana White has something that I don't think Versace has!  I wore it one day and someone mentioned it smelled like a boy.  I always buy candles and stuff that smell like manly cologne scents, but this is still "feminine and sophisticated."  It's Mary-Kate and Ashley's brand too, so bonus points from this 90s child.

Alien by Thierry Mugler is what I think will be the winner here.  It's unexpected and I like it.  Again a bunch of ingredients I'm unsure of - solar accord, jasmine sambac, and cashmeran.  But it's amazing.  And veeery expensive, so I feel like it will be a good use of my free voucher.  I feel like this is the curveball that was thrown into the sampler.  When I used to get the perfume samplers from Sephora, I would always use it to get a free Vivara by Emilio Pucci.  If you've ever smelled Vivara, you'll understand my attraction to this scent.  Same deal with the uniqueness.


Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray - Annoyed that I bought this in the full size version, then two weeks later got a sample size for free.  But I shouldn't complain about having extra of this stuff!  I'm still not 100% sure if I believe the hype, BUT I can say that I purchased this for a work event where I knew I would be running around from morning until night.  I didn't want to look...haggard.  And I can safely say that I put it on at the crack of dawn when I got ready and my makeup stayed perfectly in place until it was time to go to bed.  I actually looked at myself in the mirror halfway through the day and wondered why I didn't look terrible yet.  I have used it a couple times since then (but not all the time, because it's $30 so that means it must have come from the fountain of youth), and the same results have ensued.  Kudos to you, All Nighter Spray.

Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey - It's just that - almost lipstick.  It's matte and does the job with the color (a dark maroonish jewel tone) but is more like the consistence of a lip balm than your regular old lipstick.  I wouldn't say it's as moisturizing as Chapstick or it's fellow lip care competitors, but much better at moisturizing than any other lipstick I have.  If I was desperate and didn't care if I had dark lips, I would use it as a lip balm.  I received this a couple of years ago as a sample and it lasted until this summer.  The last little blob fell onto the ground at Summerfest :( Now it is the main color I wear on my lips.  Apparently it fuses with your lips to create a one-of-a-kind tone.  Usually I pair it with a liner and also another color underneath, but I reapply just this one throughout the day.  Not that it needs much maintenance.

Benefit Cosmetics Hoola Matte Bronzer - If you think I would use this for any other purpose than contouring, you're crazy.  It's $30 and I don't take that lightly, as in, apply it to my whole face and neck lightly.  No, the cheekbones will be all, thank you.  I bought this before I bought the Anastasia contouring palette.  Actually I used a sample size of this for 2 YEARS until I had to buy it in its full size version.  That's pretty impressive, actually.  I think it matches my skin tone a little bit better in the summer, though.

Of course I have more favorites, but this has been my most recent.  Per usual, I had a lot more to say about them than I thought I did.  Yes, high-end makeup is expensive.  I do my best to wait until I have gift cards OR use a sample of a product before buying in order to make sure it really is worth it.  I don't just waltz into Sephora and buy everything on the shelf.  If you can afford that, teach me your ways.  And if there's a product out there that you think I NEED to try, plz lemme know asap so I can have fun too.

In the future, I'll probably do a post about my ULTIMATE ALL-TIME MAKEUP FAVES starting from the beginning.  But until then, that is all!

invest in yourself, not in things

Blogged while watching The Walking Dead, while very very exhausted.  Give me a break.

One of the first things Angela Scheffer of Saffron Avenue (based in Madison) said once we sat down at Flourish: A Modern Calligraphy Workshop was how happy she was that this many people had decided to invest in themselves and not in things.  That's actually the reason I decided to pay a pretty penny to take this class.  Also the reason I've started to travel as often as I can afford to.  Obviously saving money for tomorrow is important, but how are we supposed to know if there's a tomorrow?!  Might as well live it up, right?  As far as taking a calligraphy class, I've always wanted to learn the proper techniques.  I know that in the long run I know I'm most happy when doing something creative, so I should probably try to learn from the best.  That's where Flourish comes in!

I have been keeping an eye on the workshops/events that the event design studio Mint and Lovely hold from time to time.  I missed the first few, but luckily signed up for their Lovely Insider mailing list early enough to be able to purchase pre-sale tickets for Flourish!  It was just perfect timing because I've been looking for a workshop like that in Milwaukee for SO long.  This one took place at Mobile Design Box, a pop-up gallery on N. Water Street.

So basically, Angela is a self-taught calligrapher who now creates brands for elite companies (like Chris Bosh) using her custom hand lettering and graphic design skillz.  She's teaching this workshop to show others how to learn calligraphy the right way, without making the same mistakes she did when she first started.

It was amazing.  I walked in to find THIS:

The most adorable table setting I've ever seen in person.

And personalized coffee sleeves!  gasp

Not really sure if boxed water really is better, but I've never actually seen it in person before, so this was a first!

Once we had grabbed our croissants from Colectivo and shopped a little bit at Lizzibeth's pop-up shop, we got down to business.  Angela explained the two nibs that we had and how to use them.  They had given us a notepad and a little guidebook of drills to practice and the alphabet.  She taught us the basics of calligraphy, what to do, what not to do.  As we practiced, she walked around the room and corrected our technique (did you know you're supposed to use your whole arm to do calligraphy and not just your wrist? it's not easy) and gave us tips on ways to angle the paper so the calligraphy fonts come out right.  For someone who once trained herself to write her cursive straight up and down because she didn't like how it looked slanted (me), this really was quite the task.  And it's proven to be very difficult for me to correct.  But knowing me, I'll probably make up my own non-slanted font...  I also generally press really hard when I write, and that's a big no-no in calligraphy.  Whoops.

Next, she had us practice with white ink so we could do a little project!  

So I wrote some random stuff and my friend's name so I could send it to her.  And I like writing other people's names more than I like writing my own.  This gave me the brilliant idea to send out Christmas cards this year and do calligraphy on the envelopes!

And last but not least...swag bag!!!

Everything was local, which was awesome since I'm always looking for small businesses to check out.  Tea from Urbal Tea, a soy candle from Sugar and Magnolia, a copper bracelet from Cival Collective, macarons from Cake & Cookie, and spray and body scrub from Loft Studio Design.  And the "totes fabulous" bag!  I also got a gold foil 8x10 print from Saffron Avenue for being a Lovely Insider (hair flip!)

I bought the Celebritee from Lizzibeth's pop-up shop that was designed by the ladies of Mint and Lovely!  And a Wisconsin necklace with a little home charm.

So TOTALLY worth it.  I hope to do another one of their workshops someday!
I'm so happy I got to learn such a useful skill from a pro and met a room full of people who also wanted to broaden their horizons.  Everyone had their own reasons for coming, but I feel like a lot of us were very similar in a lot of ways!  It was the highlight of my week.