One thing I have seen a TON of this year at Costco, World Market, etc, is alcohol advent calendars. Some have mini bottles or full cans, but they all have one thing in common - they're EXPENSIVE! Especially when you seek out liquor advent calendars. Harry is a fan of whiskey, but all the whiskey advent calendars I found online were $200 + which was definitely out of my budget. So I went on a quest to make my own! And here's how easy it is:

Step 1: Buy this cardboard spirit advent calendar on Amazon for $20. Yes, this is a little pricy for an empty cardboard box, but you can reuse it for years and it's pretty cute.

Step 2: Go to your local liquor store/supermarket and pick out 12 mini bottles of whatever spirit you like! I picked out 12 mini whiskeys and it was a fun way to personalize it and pick out things that Harry hadn't tried before (honestly I totally guessed, I don't know anything about whiskey), but you could also do gin, rum, vodka etc or a combination!

And that's it! A fun, personalized alcohol advent calendar for waaaaay under $200.



I have a confession to make...

Over the past few months, I have become obsessed with discount makeup shopping. There's a lot of ways to go about this - from the Ulta clearance section to thrifting (if you're not afraid of used makeup like I am) - but I was all about Marshalls and TJ Maxx. I was on the hunt for high-end makeup at a discount. 

I started shopping at HomeGoods and TJ Maxx mostly for dog treats for Ada (shoutout to the Himalayan Pet cheese bones) but a perfect storm of being unemployed and sad, rediscovering my love of beauty videos on YouTube and already having a disposition towards "treasure hunting" all combined to drop me into the Marshalls' parking lot at 9:15 A.M. watching women line up at the doors waiting to sprint into the store at 9:30 A.M. Which I realize is totally insane. 

"Women are lining up at Marshalls and TJ Maxx for makeup??" you might ask. No. I don't think so anyways. All the women I encountered in my quest for high-end discount makeup were there for something called "Rae Dunn" - a pottery line with words written on it. No offense if you are into it, but I am still struggling to understand the appeal or why you'd need to sprint and elbow other women to find the exclusive pieces of it. But I can only imagine that's the final form of what I was diving into with my quest for makeup. 

On Instagram, there are tags like #marshallsfinds and #tjmaxxfinds where people show off what they've found/bought at those stores and if you follow them, you can see what new things people are finding. Some people were even finding Gucci! GUCCI, you guys! Here are a few examples of things that I was looking for:




It's really exciting when you see brands or products that you've avoided buying or trying because of the high cost, now at a discounted price. And the fact that some of the products are hard to find, or they only get one or two of those particular products, makes the hunt for them all the more appealing. So basically my cycle was browsing through Instagram, screenshoting things I wanted to find, and then going out to these stores multiple times a week looking for them. And what would inevitably happen is I would maybe find one of those things I was looking for, but I would also find a bunch of other things that looked "interesting" or brands I knew were expensive, so I would pick up several other products as well. Here's just a small snapshot of random stuff I impulse bought at TJ Maxx/Marshalls:


Basically, my thought process with buying some of this stuff is "Oh! Milk makeup is a good brand! I gotta snag this!" whether I need it or not or even like the color or not. Yikes. (Low key love that bear eye cream though.) 

I've also been a longtime consumer of beauty youtube videos, which I think have sort of poisoned my brain. I sometimes buy things to "try out" as if I too was someone who could write off these products on my taxes as a business expense. One of my most recent purchases was a foundation I was "curious" about and turned out to be wayyy too orange for me and I couldn't return it! What a waste!

Psychologically, this shopping addiction was giving me a few things. Since losing my job, I've been pretty depressed and lonely. Going out "makeup hunting" gave me somewhere to be and something to do every day and was a cheap way to spike some dopamine. And it allowed me to pretend for a little bit that I could make myself happy with material things. Which intellectually I know is not a long term solution but it did make me feel ok for a little bit. 

But seeing my orange face covered in discount "Fair" foundation woke something up in me. It made me ask myself "What am I doing???" and I am here to officially announce that I am QUITTING. It's over, I'm done with this nonsense. I have spent enough money that I could have bought the new plates and bowls that Harry and I want. Also I do not have enough money right now to throw it away on products I really don't need. 

I'm on the hunt now for a new hobby that will get me out of the house and feeling productive, so I don't have to wait at home refreshing my email waiting for interview opportunities. But it's going to be a hobby that will actually improve my life instead of just draining my wallet. 


So it's been a couple weeks since we moved into our new (rental) home and to be honest, it's still not quite feeling like home. I wake up every day with such a massive to-do list around the house that I think it's preventing me from feeling "settled in," if that makes sense. Regardless, our new place is really nice and it's great to have so much space! I thought I would share a couple photos of my decorating progress so far. I've been to IKEA, HomeGoods, and Target more times than I'd care to admit lately but I think we're getting there...


I'm feeling most proud of the Halloween mantle situation I have going on right now. I bought a firewood holder before we discovered that apparently the fireplace "doesn't work" so now it's just holding decorative wood (!!! I'm not bitter about this at all!!!!) Also the bookcase next to it was $20 at IKEA which is insane to me. It will probably collapse someday but for now I think it looks pretty nice. 


I'm also feeling a little proud of the minimal aesthetic of my bar cart so far - am I evolving? Will I someday have one of those stylistic minimal Portland homes? I am starting to be drawn to more wood furniture so maybe. Anyway, I've since added some tiny pumpkins to the cart.


I sold some items on Facebook Marketplace and used the money I got to purchase this dreamy lamp from Target. It was a pain in the butt to set up but I love it and it has made the apartment look extra cozy. 


I think the kitchen is one of the rooms I am struggling the most with. We've been ordering a lot of takeout because I just haven't got my head around cooking in the kitchen really. We're out a dishwasher and a microwave in this kitchen, and I think truthfully I am daunted by having to do a ton of dishes from cooking something elaborate. We have an awkward empty space that I really want to put this dream prep table in, but the price is killing me. I found one on FB for half the price but had no way to transport it. Wahhh. 


My plants are all currently THRIVING in the new place. Except for one of those cactuses which has been dead for well over a year and I'm procrastinating on replacing it. 


Here's a little less idyllic scene that shows a more truthful experience. Our dryer maxes out at 30 min per cycle! Why!!!! And yes, that is a hot dog costume for Ada in the upper right. 


Speaking of Ada, she is adjusting slowly too but is loving exploring the big backyard. I spent an hour raking leaves yesterday so I'm really on some homeowner (renter) ish right now. Ada has a new best friend Oreo, the border collie who lives next door and pushes all his toys through the fence to share with her and then she steals them. Harry keeps talking about getting her a friend, but jury's out on if we could handle another dog...


Currently, I am enjoying these slippers from Target (they have memory foam in them), trying to get the office in working order and finding a new spider somewhere in the house every day! 










Summer has just barely ended and I am already planning for autumn! I am not a fan of hot weather, so the rainy weather lately has made me SO happy. Aaand it's the start of Spooky Season and I have never been more ready. I want to make sure I don't let the season pass me by, so here's my bucket list for autumn! 

  • First off, moving into our new house on Oct. 1! I'm SO excited about this place. We're still renting, but we're actually going to have a yard and a garage and live in a neighborhood and ahhhhh I cannot wait!
  • Decorate our new front porch for Halloween
  • Go to a pumpkin patch
  • Paint pumpkins (maybe carving them, but honestly the smell of the inside of pumpkins makes me gag)
  • Have a spooky movie night with Harry (or several, Harry has PLANS)
  • Make my annual chocolate chip pumpkin bread and Joy the Baker's apple crisp 
  • Take a drive down to the Willamette Valley to see the fall colors and go antiquing 
  • Make some spooky-themed treats - I'm thinking worms 'n dirt to start
  • Start planning our Christmas card photos

That's all I have planned for now! We already started off Spooky Season by going to see Ready or Not in theaters and I cried all my mascara off onto Harry's white shirt so that was great haha. I enjoy LITE spooks ok. 

Let me know what you're most looking forward to this fall!



When I first started this blog, I used to do a lot of beauty related content and I really miss it! I fell off the beauty wagon, so to speak, for awhile but now I’m back and there’s so many new interesting things to try. I wanted to share a few of the things I’ve been liking recently .


Facial Sprays


Suddenly, facial sprays seem to be everywhere. I’ve always thought they were a bit silly (surely that Evian one is just water?) but I use a setting spray all the time, so why not a spray toner or moisturizer? I started with the Trader Joe’s Rose Water Facial Toner, which is an affordable option if you don’t mind rose. I then got the St. Ives Face Mist, which is supposed to by hydrating, and the Mario Badescu Facial Spray which I use as a calming spray when my skin feels particularly irritated. The jury is still out a little bit for me if these really do much, but they’re fun to use and relatively harmless.


Skincare 


Speaking of skincare, I’ve started using The Body Shop Drops of Youth as a nightly serum. I’m trying to get a little more serious about my skincare regime. Too many nights of just using a makeup wipe and then going to bed....


I also recently purchased this silicone brush from e.l.f. For applying face masks. The days of putting messy masks on with my fingers are over! I think this brush was only $6 so it was a really great deal.

Makeup

For years I’d used all sorts of brow products trying to find the right match for my hair color and I finally caved to the hype and got some Anastasia Beverly Hills products. This powder duo is amazing and I love that there’s a warmer and an ashy color so I can match with my makeup or outfit. Brows make such a difference!




I made my first PoshMark makeup purchase and got the Zoella x ColourPop collaboration palette. It’s honestly SO much better than I expected it to be. The colors are rich and blend really easily. I haven’t gotten up the courage to try the dark blue shade but I’ll definitely post it on my Instagram if I ever do!



Since I have a little more free time these days, I decided to do something I’ve always wanted to and take a cookie decorating class. I love making sugar cookies, but my icing game hasn’t been as strong as I want it to be, so this class was amazingly helpful. 

It was a class of 10 mostly middle aged ladies, one nine year old and me! I’m definitely someone who learns best by actually doing something and I was able to get some experience with mixing the right icing consistency and seeing a professional in action. We learned some really cool techniques, including how to make hibiscus flowers for a Hawaiian shirt. 

Look forward to some more, improved, cookie posts coming soon!








I wanted to give you a little update on what’s been going on lately, but in a list format because I’m lazy today and that actually sounds doable!
  • First of all, my big exciting news: I lost my job. Yeah, wow. It was a shock to say the least, and I’ve been spending most days this month in a state of perpetual panic, refreshing indeed.com over and over. Maybe I’ll write more about it someday, but basically my position was “eliminated” and I’m now job hunting. Losing your income is scary, but so is losing my health insurance (and my dog’s health plan). Bernie 2020 is all I have to say about that. I sadly realize I had been putting 120% into a company and structure that didn’t care about me, and I am now trying to figure out how to have a social life again - I feel like I’m emerging from a cave back into the light. I also lost about 95% of my confidence from this experience so if you have any tips for getting that back, let me know. 
  • I’ve signed up for a cookie decorating workshop next weekend, so I can finally officially learn some techniques. I’m really excited about it, it’s in this funny little shop that reminds me of the craft store I worked at for my first job. I’m looking to up my cookie decorating game so I’m interested to see what tips and tricks I can pick up. 
  • Harry and I are taking Ada to her second round of obedience classes and so far this session is going really well! We love the trainers we’re working with and they’re giving us some much needed reassurance about where Ada’s at and what she’s capable of. She’s been a very tricky dog to raise and we’ve had a lot of ups and downs with her. But we love her anyways!
  • Our lease is up in October, so we’re hoping to move out and find a house with a yard for rent so Ada can have some more room. Moving again after only one year in our place stresses me out a bit, but it would be so worth it if we can find the right place. It’s crazy how this place shrank in my mind after Ada came into the picture. 

My days lately have been spent applying for jobs, taking Ada to the park or river and drinking way too much seltzer water. I’m definitely feeling lonely, but hopeful that someday soon things will change for the better.