New Year, New Chances

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Can we all take a moment to realize today is the last day of 2013?! It's so incredible how this year has just flown by, although it seems that that is always the case! As I reflect back on 2013 I can't help but be so grateful to God for everything that he blessed me with this year. I've met great people, developed amazing friendships, faced my fears about starting a blog, taken the chance on changing career paths and so much more! As much as this year has brought change, and good change for that matter, I'm confident that 2014 will bring new opportunities and experiences that I couldn't have imagined for myself. I've evaluated how I've developed as a person this year and taken into account what I can do starting today to continue growing in the Lord and making my own decisions. This new year I will leave my teen years behind and enter my 20s and I couldn't be more thrilled! I'm slowly learning to be more independent yet dependent on the Lord and that it's time for me to make decisions for myself. I know this new chapter will have it's moments. Moments where I'll find my way to the career I've dreamed of, where I'll meet new life changing people and where I'll feel defeat but the most important part is the one constant figure in my life that won't let me down. There is only certainty in me that God will provide and guide me to where I'm supposed to go. He knows my dreams and desires and as long as I continue loving Him each day, He will take me on the most amazing adventure of my life. 

What are you most excited about this year? I hope this new year will bring with it a courage to look at new opportunities with a positive outlook. That we may all trust in the Lord to see us through every circumstance and know that He will surely bless us in everything as long as we are faithful! 
Wishing you lots of love, health and joy for 2014! Thanks for making these last few months some of the best

Verse of the day: "He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end"
- Ecclesiastes 3:11

Taking Care of Winter Lips

We all dread the cold weather for different reasons. One of my biggest worries is dry skin! I'm an oily skinned girl for most of the year but leave it to my face to go and be all sorts of crazy once the temperature drops. I deal with very extreme combination skin during this time (which I'll talk about more in detail soon!) on my face but my lips also feel the change in the climate! Today I'd like to share with you the duo that have been easing me through this rough time, literally! Mind you I'm still on the hunt for a great moisturizing lip balm... I've heard rave reviews about the Dior Creme de Rose balm but I can't see myself spending that much on a lip balm.... yet ;) 


At the moment, I've been using the Lush Santa's lip scrub every other night to smooth out any flaky bits. I love the smell too - just like Cola!  I will say that it does stain your fingers red for a little while, as well as your lips, so I choose to do this step at night in order to prevent excessive redness on my lips before any other lip products. Then I follow up with a few swipes (or a million because I'm obsessive like that) of the EOS lip balm in Raspberry Pomegranate. I've also been trying to use up my L'Occitane pure shea butter tin so I'll use that on days when I don't want my lip balm to just sit on top of my lips. It's also great as a base for other lip products since it has a "drier" finish. 
What are your essentials for dry lips? 

Faith Friday: Hearing God Speak


I thought for today I'd shed some light on the issue of hearing God speak to you...  For the past year or two I struggled with truly knowing if I'd ever had God really speak to me. In my head I'd always imagined it as a roaring voice coming out of nowhere like the times you read in the Bible when God spoke to people like Moses. Since that had never happened to me I just assumed, well I guess I'll keep waiting until I hear something. But after talking to different people and praying about it, I came to realization that God doesn't have to be an audible voice that you hear, He can communicate with you through random thoughts that pop in your head, or artistic things like music. The main point is that God communicates with different people in different ways and If there's something I've had to learn it's that your relationship with God is unique and specific to you. You can't go around comparing everything you share with the Lord with your friends because everyone is on a different level. Some are just acquaintances and others see God as their absolute best friend, in which case the way that God will speak to them will vary according to their intimacy with Him. 

A few months ago I was getting ready to leave the house and all of a sudden I got this idea that sprung up unexpectedly. I was just doing my makeup but I got this word in my head and I decided to run to my rom and jot it down on a piece of paper. At the time it really didn't mean anything to me. I had written down that since the Bible is God's own words, He is literally speaking to us every single time we open the Bible and that there was a huge difference between reading and meditating on the word. I folded up the piece of paper and placed it into my desk drawer. I'd completely forgotten about it and kept going on with life thinking, well I guess I'll still have to wait for God to speak to me. About a month or two ago I was having a really tough day and had spent over two hours on the phone with a friend crying it out. Suddenly I felt the urge to go to my desk drawer and find the piece of paper that I'd written that little message on. As I read the words that I'd written down I instantly burst into tears. There were specific parts in there that basically tore through my soul and alleviated any pain I felt. It was all so surreal, I couldn't believe what was happening. That's when I realized that God had in fact spoken to me but it wasn't in the way I'd expected it. 

I'm constantly amazed by the way in which God works. He is so creative and knows exactly what will resonate with me depending on the situation. Before recognizing that God speaks in different ways I felt like I was missing a big part of my spiritual life; as if I was stuck in this elementary stage while everyone else was about to graduate from university. But it was through this experience that I learned to be quiet. How can you expect God to speak to you if your brain is constantly wandering where it shouldn't and it's filled with chaotic noises?! Sometimes hearing Him means shutting up for a bit. Imagine Him thinking, "Wow, I've been trying to have a conversation with her but she won't stop moving and ignoring me!"Find your quiet place, the secret place where you can connect with God the most. That may be in a room where it's dead silent, or when you immerse yourself in worship with Him. Whatever it may be, just know that sooner or later you'll understand the way in which you hear Him the clearest and trust me, it'll change your relationship with Him for the best! 

Wishing you a very peaceful and happy last weekend of 2013! 

Christmas Red with Rimmel Apocalips in Big Bang

I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas time with all of your family and friends! I certainly enjoyed these past few days. I, of course, took it upon myself to cook up a storm for our Christmas Eve celebration which was a bit stressful but turned out amazingly (might have to do with my amazing friend being the best sous-chef ever). After all of the slaving over the Kitchenaid mixer and oven, I finally had time to freshen up and get dolled up. For my beauty look this year I decided to keep it classic with slightly bronzed up skin, black liner and festive red lips. The star of the show was the Rimmel Apocalips in Big Bang which is a gorgeous bright red. I'm usually put off by red lipsticks, especially when they're not a deeper wine shade but I gave this one a go and I've loved it. It sits kind of in the middle, not too blue or orange toned and it's oh so pigmented. 
It stays on the lips quite well, although since the formula is a liquid lipstick, it isn't the most mess-proof so to speak. Preventing the product from bleeding out is tricky and I don't find the applicator to be helpful on that front either. But for the cost of this rich red beauty, I take the extra time to make sure it's not making it's way from my lips to my chin and all over my face. It stayed on my lips looking somewhat fresh until about 12 am from my initial application at 5 or so with no touch ups. I loved how it turned out looking especially with my all black outfit. This would be a great shade for New Years as well, although if you have a special someone to give you a New Years kiss, it might be a sticky situation, literally. 
What lip combo did you sport on Christmas? Let me know in the comments!
Oh, and do you have any red lipstick suggestions in a different formula?

Verse of the day: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests"
- Luke 2:14

Cozy S'mores Hot Chocolate

If you're a chocolate lover like me (which if you aren't, what is wrong with you?!), any recipe that basically calls for you to drink liquid chocolate is worth a try. Last night I decided to put a bit of a spin on some hot chocolate recipes I had found and make my own version (inspiration from: Martha Stewart and Chocolate Moosey! The first cup I made was wayyy too decadent, even for me, so I lowered the chocolate dosage and it was much better. Here's how it went down:

Ingredients (Servings: One)
1 cup milk
1 ounce semi-sweet chocolate (or a little less, if you prefer)
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Large marshmallows
Graham crackers

Directions:
Step One: Pour milk into a saucepan. Warm up on medium heat until milk becomes slightly frothy, stirring occasionally. 

Step Two: Chop up the chocolate into smaller pieces. Stir chocolate into milk until completely dissolved and add in the vanilla and salt. Take off of the heat.

Step Three: Place marshmallows on a baking sheet to broil. (Watch carefully, this only takes a minute! Any longer and your smoke detector will go off!)

Step Four: Pour hot chocolate into a mug. Place marshmallows on top and sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs. Now enjoy!

Merry Christmas Eve everyone! Hope you have a wonderful time with family and friends. Don't forget to say Happy birthday to Jesus ;)

Give The Gift Of Giving

Every year during the holidays we are reminded that it's not about the presents! Yes, it is a thoughtful way of letting someone know that you appreciate their role in your life but you can do so much more, all the time. The gift of giving shouldn't be limited to one single day of the year. We need to make ourselves available to others and show them we care by supporting them in times of need. Today was a rather good example of this. The ice has been hitting us hard and last night we lost power. I woke up to a very cold and dark house. When I got the courage to look outside at my neighbourhood, I realized that the fallen branches from the trees had damaged a lot of my neighbours' cars. Although my family was left with a damaged car that later broke down, it wasn't time to think about ourselves but to lend a hand to those who were also needing it.

It's the perfect way to show people you care, even if they're strangers. A box filled with chocolates wouldn't do that but helping them move a branch from their damaged car was certainly a step. A small act of kindness goes a long way, any time of the year. I've found that the moments I transmit Christ the most can be as simple as a "Have a great day!" or "Would you like some help?" Very often you'll get the grouchy people who aren't impressed by what you've done, but sometimes they will stop in their tracks and realize that their attitudes could use some positivity. Humans can be weird sometimes, bothered by things that others would smile about, but it's no excuse not to try. Every day should be a new opportunity to do something nice for someone else! This coming year, starting from today even, I hope to bring at least one person joy each day. Clean off your glasses (spiritual ones of course) and be sensitive to the needs of others. 

Join me?

Faith Friday: Stuck In The Past


For todays Faith Friday post I'm going to get a little bit more personal (but not too much). Something that has been speaking to my heart lately is being defined by your past. I think we can all recall a time period in our lives where we couldn't seem to move forward. A time where what you may have done, thought or said previously, held you back in chains. The worst bit about it is when it bothers you to the point where you become annoyed with God. Been there, done that, trust me! But I wanted today to be a reminder for anyone who reads this that your past is in the past. None of it matters.

I've said this before in another post, the past is gone each second -- it's that quick. Yes, there are time periods that are further behind in time, making them in the distant past, but always remember that each second you go from past, to present, to future. The most important thing is to make the present count, make your future be filled with God's hope and your past be a learning experience, but NOT an impediment to other two.

This past year was a difficult one for me. I was so stuck on what had happened in the past that it was becoming an obstacle that grew more with each passing day. As a worshipper in my church community, I was unable to do what God had made me to do. I didn't touch the piano for months. My disinterest grew to such a level that I started blaming God for the events that led to my current state. Why did this person say this to me, what am I even doing in a worship team, can I just quit already?! It was tough, for lack of a more comprehensive word. I knew that nothing I did would allow me to change the past but it still bothered me, a lot. With the help of my family and new people that entered into my life, I began to change my perspective. I knew that I learned a lot from the hurtful experiences I went through and that I wasn't defined by those things or the person I had become. On a particular day I decided to start fresh, to forgive myself, forgive those that hurt me and move on! That expression "Let go and let God" couldn't be more fitting. 

This concept isn't just for rough times as a person involved in worship. It extends to anything in your life that is in your past that you have chosen to define yourself in the present. But, that's the best part about God. It doesn't matter how many times you "fail", He is welcoming you with open arms and not judging you for who you were, but seeing you in an eternal perspective. He knows all of what makes you, you! He is well aware of every move you've made that you dislike yourself for, but He also knows your potential and who He has made you to be! There is nothing you could do to make Him love you any less, simple as that. The process may be long before you start feeling okay with your past but that's alright. In a world where everything is given to you at microwave speed, it's nice to know you can walk with Christ every step of the way until you break the chains binding you and are set free. 

Here's a verse that encompasses everything I've just said (or written?):

" Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert" 
- Isaiah 43:18-19

I just love that, what a promise! He can transform the impossible into the possible and make things new again. If He can make rivers in the desert, just imagine what He can do with the broken pieces that are within you. He is an artist, a Creator, a transformer and He's waiting for you to be His next project. Make the decision to leave your past in the past, and trust the Lord to pull you through this time. 

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and are excited to Christmas!!!!!

Favourite Beauty Youtubers

My love for all things makeup/hair/skin/nails can be attributed to my discovery of the phenomenon that is YouTube. I remember when I would browse the site to watch the latest music videos but then, the unexpected happened. I stumbled across an AllThatGlitters21 video and nothing was ever the same! I was so intrigued by all of the products and the tutorials, it was all too much for my 13 year old brain to handle but I loved every single minute of it.
Now, the beauty community has grown exponentially and I can't even keep track of all the beauty vloggers I watch on a regular basis. That being said, I have some clear favourites out of the bunch and they're all incredibly talented. As you can see above, my lazy nights include burning a candle and watching beauty videos. My laptop is basically my TV-- goodbye cable, hello YouTube! Here are my top 5 beauty YouTubers:
ViviannaDoesMakeup
   
This girl right here is my favourite, hands down. The amount of times I re-watch her videos is ridiculous (this is a tell tale sign that I love a beauty vlogger). Her makeup philosophy is all about the natural, fresh look and she has the best makeup stash, like ever! I basically owe her my life (slightly exaggerating here) because she's what brought me to know and love the Clarins Instant Light Lip Perfectors! She covers all beauty categories across the board, plus she writes about a whole slew of content not covered in videos on her blog. Ok, I should probably stop this rambling before I hit creeper status. (I lurveee her.... ok, I'm done!)
A Model Recommends
 
Another UK based YouTuber/blogger, Ruth is one of my go-to people for skincare advice. Working as a model for many years now, she knows all the ins and outs of the best skincare bits which is super helpful! She's the reason I found Bioderma Crealine H20. If you're in need of some guidance for the best skincare, and all sorts of other great insider tips, Ruth is definitely your girl!
MissGlamorazzi
 
Could I really do this post without mentioning Ingrid? I've been watching her videos from the very beginning and love how creative she has gotten with the content she creates! Her channel is super fun and she covers a wide range of topics and products -- she's great at mixing high end and low end. Right now she's doing a DIY December series which is a fun craft of any sort every day in December. I highly recommend them! 
Essie Button
Whadyaknow, eh? A fellow Canadian -- she scores major points for being the Timmie's lover that she is! If you love a good mix of beauty and laughs, you've come to the right place. I can't tell you how fun it is to watch her videos because half of the time I have to hit pause as I'm laughing so hard. Her looks are right up my alley, nothing too bold or unnatural looking. She also has her own blog which you should definitely check out for more in depth posts! 
Lisa Eldridge
 
Wow, this post is turning into a British invasion quite quickly! How could I not include the queen makeup artist that is Lisa Eldridge. She has been in the business for years and has basically tried everything under the sun. So, if you're ever in doubt, she has probably mentioned it in her videos or has some products that'll convince you otherwise. She is just amazing.... not sure how else to describe how useful it is to watch her videos. Basically, you can trust her with all of your makeup dilemmas, but beware, your wallet may not be so pleased with this newfound friendship. 
Who are your top beauty Youtubers?

Verse of the day: "Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised" - Proverbs 31:30

Quick reminder: Sure, makeup is fun and makes you feel a little bit more confident, but it should not come in place of the beauty of your soul. This comes from radiating God's love inside of you! Draw your beauty from what is eternal.

The Eyeshadow Palette Dilemma

I'm not sure what it is but I've never been the biggest eyeshadow enthusiast. When I just started out with my makeup obsession I went and ordered the Coastal Scents 88 palette which was the it product like 5 years ago. As I started to venture into more makeup products I stopped reaching for eyeshadows when getting dolled up because they were a bit too fussy. I have a slight hooded eye so it can get a bit tricky to to apply shadows. Recently though, all that has changed. My philosophy on eyeshadows hasn't evolved -- if it's not neutral, then I probably won't wear it! So this Christmas I asked for a neutral eyeshadow palette that was versatile and I could use on a daily basis. I'm pretty sure you're all screaming "Get the Urban Decay Naked Palette" but I think I've found a palette I prefer!
Say hello to the Stila In The Light Palette!
I honestly swooned over this when I looked up swatches! The shades included offer a good range of different eye looks you can create AND the palette comes with a full-size waterproof smudge stick. Yes please! The shade I'm most excited to use is Kitten, Stila's signature eyeshade shade. It looks like a beautiful all over the lid colour on lazy days. 
If you have any more suggestions of eyeshadow palettes, leave them below! 

Verse of the day: "Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy"
- Proverbs 31:9

It's Beginning To Smell A Lot Like Christmas

(note: are you starting to see a trend with my accidental use of Christmas song titles... definitely not on purpose haha!)
I think I've established the fact that I'm a complete beauty product hoarder but one other thing you should know about me is that I love candles! Doesn't matter what time of year it is, you'll frequently find me burning them in my room. But, we all know that candles come into their own during the colder months and there is nothing more cozy than watching Christmas movies, snuggled in a blanket while a candle burns in the background. (btw, these are amazing gifts you can get anyone on your list especially if buying a perfume/cologne is harder to narrow down!) Here are some of my favourite picks for candles this season, some of which I definitely want to buy myself!
Top Row: B&BW Marshmallow Fireside // Tocca Cleopatra // Target Sugar Blossom
Middle Row: Illume Gilded Amberleaf // Nest Vanilla Orchid & Almond
Bottom Row: Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir // B&BW Frosted Cranberry // Diptyque Figuier
I've included quite the mix of low and high end candle selections. A great majority of the candles I own are from Bath and Body Works which are more reasonably priced especially when they have their 2 for $22 deal going on! If you're buying a gift for a candle lover who hasn't ventured out into the pricey side just yet, a candle by Tocca, Nest, Jo Malone or Diptyque would be a wonderful present and something they would really appreciate. I myself would be thrilled if I could get a Jo Malone or Diptyque candle -- the Figuier scent is amazing! 

Share your favourite candles with me down below! 

Verse of the day: " So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal" - 2 Cor. 4:17

Bye Bye Racoon Eyes

Update: I'm done exams!!!! I couldn't be happier and I'm super excited to be relaxing and coming up with some fun posts for the blog...
 
Now, onto the main event. 
In my skincare routine post I mentioned quite a few products that I use every day. I'm well aware that some products would be very expensive if you were to get them in full size (thankfully I have a million samples from a beauty counter friend). So today I wanted to share a budget buy that I love and is multipurpose, and who doesn't love that?!
Getting rid of eye makeup can be a tricky deal. Eye makeup remover in your eye, tugging and pulling at your skin, and the dreadful black ring that forms when you're eyeliner and mascara starts to dissolve. As I mentioned in the previous post I really like the Lancome Bi-Facil Eye Makeup Remover because it isn't greasy and it makes taking off eye makeup products a breeze. That being said, I've always kept Pond's Cold Cream in my stash because it's such a great product to use in different ways. If I have really stubborn eye makeup, I'll take a pea sized amount of this and start to massage it gently onto my lids and my mascara and eyeliner dissolve immediately. Since this is a heavier cream, it can leave a bit of a residue so I like to take a cotton pad with either Bioderma Crealine H20 or just plain water and remove whatever is left. As if that weren't easy enough, this cold cream is fantastic for a deep conditioning treatment on your entire face. When my skin starts to transition from mostly oily to combination in the Fall and Winter I start to get flaky areas... not a good look! I'll take a bit of the cold cream in my fingers and apply an even layer onto my face and leave it for about 10 minutes. Once the 10 minutes are up, I go to bathroom and massage this into my skin with some warm water and then remove it the same way I removed the cold cream from my eyes. It leaves your skin really moisturized and if you still had any makeup on your face after you cleansed, this whisks it away. Best part about this is that it's super affordable! I find it at Walmart for $4.95 and this stuff lasts for ages and ages. 
If you give this a try, let me know what you think!

Verse of the day: "So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled" - 1 Thessalonians 5:6

Faith Friday: Lending A Hand

I'm so sorry for posting this late today but I had an exam this afternoon so my schedule got quite congested. Today was definitely a crazy day! Not only because I'm exhausted but I had two frustrating/scary encounters while on the bus...

This morning while on the way to my exam, the bus shut down in the middle of the highway. You can just imagine how stressed I got when I thought I wouldn't make it to my exam. Thankfully I got in just in time. Okay, this is where the story takes a turn for the worst. While on the way back home, I heard a strange noise coming from the street and when I turned I witnessed a driver lose control of his vehicle and slam into the bus I was on. Needless to say, my heart practically stopped. It was like something from a movie. I watched as another human being fought for their life and I couldn't do anything about it. I was an observer, nothing more. After recovering from the mini heart attack I had, I started thinking, if it were possible for me to do something, would I?

In my psychology courses we've learned about diffusion of responsibility. How in times of extreme circumstances we often get into the mindset that someone else will help out. It's really funny because when I first learned about this concept a few months ago, I experienced this for myself firsthand. My phone had died on me and I couldn't reach my mom. I was okay at first but then I started to panic. How was I supposed to call my mom with no phone and no money?! When I got the courage to ask someone if I could borrow their phone I got shut down 4 times. Not once, but four! In that moment I vividly remembered every single moment that someone had asked me to borrow my phone or some spare change, and I had shut them down. Sometimes it takes being that position to understand what it's really like. 

The lessons I've learned on this have opened my eyes to the lack of compassion our generation holds. If you see someone struggling, you stand there and stare. It seems only logical that the job of helping them out is for another individual, but Jesus says otherwise because he isn't guided by logic, he is guided by the Holy Spirit. Here's what the Bible says about lending a hand:

"Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God"
Heb 13:16

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others"
Phil 2:4

"We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves" - Romans 15:1

So you see, a part of finding your identity is realizing that you were made for service, in whatever form that may take. I still struggle with being cynical at times and let the favour He pours out onto me be transferred to those who need it the most in this world. I need to ask the Lord to put aside my skeptical mentality and trust that whatever I do for others with a willing heart will be received by Him with open arms. That brings me to another very important point. Helping others should never be motivated by the desire to receive praise from anyone! This completely goes against what Jesus taught and what the Bible wants from us when helping our neighbour. Remember that He lifts up those who are humble, so do things for the mere fact that you are showing compassion and love to others and sharing His mercy with them. I encourage you to take a step forward as the valiant son/daughter of Christ and be the first to offer yourself up to the service of others. Let's make that our mission for what remains of December and let it continue into the New Year. 

Happy weekend everybody and a quick thank you for those who have been reading my blog, it means the world to me!!!!

Fun & Festive Recipes

One of my favourite things about Christmas is getting to try out new recipes once I finally have some down time. I've loved baking for such a long time and last year I seriously went all out. I'm talking sugar cookies, gingerbread men, pies galore and delicious cakes. Yes, it was hectic but I baked until my heart was content, so this year I'd like to share with you some recipes I've been saving up to try this holiday season. As soon as my last exam is done, it's time to head to the kitchen and bake up a storm!
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These are just a few recipes that I've found that I definitely want to attempt in the next couple of weeks. Praise the Lord, Monday I'll finally be done this semester so you can expect to see some posts very soon of my recipe attempts and some sweets that I've come up with! 

What are your favourite Christmas recipes?

Verse of the day: "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him" - John 3:17

Dress Well To Test Well

Alright, alright, I'll be the first to admit that in the past I've gone to a final exam in sweats and a hoodie (shock horror!). Although it can feel super comfy especially when you've gotten no sleep the night before, I definitely think it can have it's negative factors as well. When you go to your exam basically in PJs, it really doesn't help you feel very motivated or focused. Yesterday I had two exams on the same day, which was horrible, but I went to campus dressed casually but still pulled together and it made all the difference. If you go in looking like you failed, it might actually happen, so dress for success! Here are some ideas for exam day outfits!
Outfit #1 // Neutral + Burgundy 
GAP Sweater // French Connection Jeans // Matisse Riding Boots // Piperlime Infinity Scarf // Bauble Bar Necklace // Fossil Watch
Star pieces of this outfit? The accessories of course! This Bauble Bar necklace is seriously gorgeous and it seems to be out of stock at the moment but I'm praying to God it comes back. The Fossil watch is similar in style to the one I have which is the Adele in the brown leather with rose gold but the colour sand is not available online, but I have seen it in stores recently!
Outfit #2 // A Collar Make You Holler
J.Crew Factory Tee // Old Navy Jeans // Gap Flats // Fossil Watch //  Clinique Chubby Stick
I love adding small pops of colour to my outfits, especially when they are monochromatic like this one. I like the relaxed feel the distressed jeans give the peter pan collar tee and can we talk about this watch?! It's no surprise I'm in love with the similar Kate Spade watch so when I saw this Fossil version for nearly $100 less, I was sold. This is on my birthday wish list for sure! 


Outfit #3 // Classic Prep
MANGO Fair Isle Sweater // J. Crew Factory Shirt // A & F Jeggings // L.L.Bean Boots // Max & Chloe Pearl Necklace // Michael Kors Watch // Henri Bendel Pearl Earrings
Does this scream College Prepster or what?! I think I've mentioned this before but Carly is seriously my fave! She always looks so polished and this is definitely inspired by her! I love how pulled together this outfit is, yet simplistic. Layering button downs with sweaters is great, especially for exams since the rooms are freezing! Throw on some pearls (can't live without them) and you're ready to go!
Hope you enjoyed my picks for exam day style! Share your staples down in the comments and good luck to all those studying away xx

Verse of the day: "And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus"
 Philippians 4:19

It's The Most Horrible Time Of The Year

It's exam season (can you hear the sound of students crying worldwide?) Saying that I dread this time of year would be an understatement. Who came up with these tests anyways? Regurgitating a semester's worth of information under high stress levels and under 3 hours... no thanks! But we all have to do it so why not try and make the best of it, right? Here are some suggestions to make your finals a bit more bearable!
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Listen to Christmas Music //
If there's anything that relaxes me and reminds me that soon enough it'll be over, it's Christmas music! Get into the holiday spirit and get excited, after these finals you'll have plenty of time to pig out and play in the snow! Plus if your headphones are super cute and pink, that's a bonus. Although, if you're not a fan of studying with music, they can be great for blocking out the noise of your family downstairs who are free of the finals curse ;)

Cozy up //
Studying when it's cold is probably the most uncomfortable thing, so cozy on up in a comfy pair of PJs and some fuzzy socks! And if you're in the mood for a long overdue study break, watch a movie! (Elf is my fave right now) Need that extra jolt of energy? Grab an adorable mug like the Lilly Pulitzer ones and drink some coffee for a quick pick-me-up!

Pretty Study Supplies //
When you're not motivated to study, colourful pens and highlighters really do the trick! Having your notes look nice is a good first step to getting your attention on the page! Don't forget some fun stickers for your agenda to spice things up. (I'm a stationery freak so I have enough pens and stickers to have the entire world writing for years to come) -- The Sharpie Gel highlighters are my favourite for textbooks because they don't bleed through!

Chocoholic //
I do recommend to keep it healthy on the snackage during studying! If you can eat some fruit and yogurt, maybe even some hummus and pita chips that would be a great option. But, if you're feeling a sweet tooth craving coming on, grab a little piece of chocolate and indulge. Don't go overboard though, I've been a victim of the chocolate craving before and if you don't watch out, a whole chocolate bar could disappear before our eyes. I would like to mention that studies say dark chocolate is healthy for you in small doses, but I'm a bad child and opt for the milk chocolate (you know you'd do the same!) 

What are your favourite tricks to keeping studying bearable?

Verse of the day: "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him"
James 1:12

Faith Fridays: Don't Be A Disney Princess

One of the things that little girls everywhere identify with are princesses from Disney movies. The beautiful girls with poofy dresses and a castle. It's all so glamourous.... but we can't forget about the epic love story that is without fail in every single movie. The handsome prince coming to her rescue and living happily ever after *swoon*. But have you ever wondered what message is truly being conveyed to little girls who then grow up to be women?...  No? Well let me tell you.

The girl who becomes a princess or is already one in these movies, has it pretty bad. Whether it's an evil stepmother, or a witch trying to kill her, the princess has some serious challenges to get through before her "happily ever after". The worst part about it is that these movies make it pretty clear that the solution in the end is a prince. Her problems aren't solved unless a man sweeps her off her feet and fights her battle. In the end, her prince makes her complete, he was the missing puzzle piece. Can you imagine what kind of ideas girls grow up with and the expectations we hold? I'm a testament to that and only recently have I shifted gears and realized that no man could ever save me, only God has that ability. 

Girls who grow up with these examples feel like they have a void that needs to be filled, and sadly they fill it with things that ultimately leave them emptier. It leads to phrases in relationships like "you complete me" which couldn't be more destructive. If you recall, the Bible tells us that "in Christ you have been made complete, and He is the head of all rule and authority" - Colossians 2:10 

So you shouldn't be looking to fill some void that you imagine is there because you aren't in a meaningful relationship with a guy. You are made to fullness in Christ. When I say full, I don't mean that there's a drop missing, I mean full as in overflowing. When you pour out of yourself into Him, He pours out of His spirit into you. With Him completing you, there's no need to wait for a text, for flowers, or for a simple "you're beautiful", your worth is made clear through His unfailing love. A love that isn't shaken by anything, nothing you do could ever separate you from that. The man that God has for you is your ideal compliment, the person who will add to your life since it's already complete with Christ at the centre!

You shouldn't be living your life thinking that you need a prince to make you a princess, cause guess what, YOUR DAD IS THE KING OF KINGS! You heard me right! You were born a princess and your title doesn't come because of a man's affection. The only saving you ever needed was done for you when Jesus died on that cross and your happily ever after is waiting for you right now, in this very moment. The journey of life is your happily ever after when you surrender it to Christ and the big ending isn't riding off into the sunset with a guy, it's living your life directed by God's perfect plan. 

God isn't done with you yet, He's only just getting started. For every girl who grew up thinking her life would start when someone fell deeply in love with her, know that God is already so in love with you and has every desire to make you so happy. Your life is developing each day. Take advantage of every opportunity, seek God with all your heart, and one day, when the time is right, the extra bonus of having a husband will come to you. The key is remembering that because you're still in a transformative process, you aren't ready to be someone else's "the one" so how can you expect to already get your "one." It's all give and take. Work on yourself, not for the benefit of just preparing for marriage but to become a woman who exemplifies all the fruits of the Spirit. Disney princesses don't stand a chance against the daughters of the Most High. You're truly a princess! 

Have an awesome weekend and thanks for stopping by! 

The Perfect Mix

I'm sure I'm not the only one who has an intense love of lip products, but don't you just hate it when you can't seem to find the right colour to wear with a certain look? No matter how many colours you've acquired and hours you've spent on the hunt in a Sephora, there just seems to be a void. Solution? Mixing colours you already own.
This girl right here is the biggest advocate for it. I'll often apply a nude under a brighter/deeper shade to get the best pigmentation out of it (mostly because my lips tend to get very red on their own) or to tone it down. The best part is that you have a colour that's all your own and you can pull out the pigments you want to see the most of with just one swipe. 
Lately, I've reorganized my lip product drawer and tried to start using the shades that have slipped my mind and been shoved to the back burner. The star of the show for this is MAC Up The Amp lipstick which I bought as part of the Back to Mac program. I used to be must less daring with the hues that I dared to wear but I thought, I don't have to technically pay for it so why not. Truth be told, I had a hard time pulling off until I tried mixing it with other products and made it work for everyday. 
Shade to the far left is when the colours are mixed

From L to R: MAC Creme d'Nude, Mac Up The Amp, Rimmel Vinyl Gloss in Be Famous

I firstly apply Creme d'Nude softly and blend out with my finger just so I don't get the concealer lips look, then swipe on a bit of Up The Amp and top it off with the Rimmel gloss in Be Famous to turn the purple shade into a purple toned coral, if you will. I love this combo for a fresh faced look with a bit of a twist. 
Don't let those lip products at the bottom of your drawer go to waste, create your perfect shades and make them work for you! 
What combinations are your favourite? How are you making use of left behind lip products?

Verse of the day: "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see" Hebrews 11:1

Desk Sprucing

Since I moved into my new room a few months back, I've been wanting to change up the decor! Needless to say, I haven't gotten to it yet... So far it's looking pretty bare but I'm hoping to add some prints to the wall where my desk is sitting and maybe even do a DIY bulletin board (if I do, I'll share the process with y'all). Here's what it looks like so far!
I'm hoping to maybe paint my desk white or cover the top with a cream and gold decorative paper and secure it with a mirrored glass piece over it. Here is some inspiration I've found off Pinterest that I've loved!
Love this idea! via
source
The pink tape is so pretty! source
I love Mackenzie's decor! source
My theme I've decided on so far is light rose, cream and gold accents. I do really love some navy in the mix, but we shall see. And I'm dying to add a monogram or two (or five..) around my room!
What are your favourites for making your desk look extra pretty? Comment below!

Verse of the day: "Every word of God is flawless; He is a shield for those who take refuge in Him" Proverbs 30: 5

Wanderlust

There's something about discovering new places that has always interested me. The way a few hours on a plane takes you to what feels like a whole new world *cue I Can Show You The World* and you are instantly immersed in a different language, culture, way of life. Sadly, I haven't done as much traveling as I'd like to but I'm hoping that'll change soon enough. As everyone is planning to take off to an island in the Caribbean this winter break, I thought I'd share with you some different locations that would be fun to visit this year! If I had to choose which one of these to visit this year, there's no doubt I'd choose New York. I've had this slight obsession with looking up what things to do, places to eat, and what neighbourhoods to live in (yes, I day dream about living there one day, at least for a year). Although most of the places I included are snowy during this season, Australia is currently in summer mode! I definitely can't say no to an Aussie accent ;)
Are you going anywhere this winter break? Comment below or tell me what you'll be doing if you're staying home! I can't wait to have fun in the snow!

Don't Ever Change?

I'm gonna hit you with a bit of flashback right now but does anyone remember when you'd get your yearbook and when your friends would ask to sign it they would include the infamous "Don't ever change" clause at the end?

When I would read it before it seemed like such a compliment. Someone was saying that I was so great it was better to stay the way I was. WRONG! With each passing year I realize how immature I was the previous year and how much I have to continue changing with God's help. The truth is, change is inevitable and necessary. Can you imagine if you took those three words, don't ever change, seriously and just stayed where you were? You would never be prepared to receive all the blessings God has planned for you because you need characteristics that take time and nurturing to cultivate in your life that allow you to reach your fullest potential in Christ!

We are constantly developing, learning, and growing in His ways and it takes time. It doesn't happen overnight and it requires you to put in a whole lot of effort, but it's worth it. Sometimes it's hard to remember that all the work you put into developing a relationship with Christ will be worth it, no matter the hardships we go through to get there. I like the analogy of a butterfly. Caterpillars aren't very pretty (I don't like bugs...) but if it weren't for the strenuous process they go through, they would never turn into beautiful butterflies (again, I try to stay away but they really are pretty). Going through metamorphosis might not look very attractive during the process, but the outcome outweighs all the rest.

Just read through Galatians 5: 22-23. If you have a hard time wondering what you should strive to obtain during your journey through life, it should be centered on these things. You should look to be the embodiment of love, joy and peace and be able to transmit that to others, no exclusions. Seek to have forbearance, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Even if you aren't strong in faith, these things are applicable to every single one of us and I'm sure that if we all aimed to be all of these things, this world would be a much happier place. 

Don't be content in the same place where you find yourself. Look for ways to change and improve and BE the change! It all starts with you because you just can't expect someone else to do it for you! Here's a little something that I made to remind me of things I want to be more of, you can save the picture on your phone and have it with you so that you can remind yourself of it too! 


Last little tidbit -- I'm thinking of scheduling my faith posts on a specific day so you know when to expect a little bit of Jesus in your life brought to you by yours truly. So, I've decided to do them on Fridays :) Help me decide what to call these posts in the comments below, maybe Faith Fridays? Stay happy x

Winter Essentials

Topshop Fur Pom Beanie // The North Face Etip Gloves // SOREL Joan of Arctic Boots // The North Face Brooklyn Jacket // Target Snood Scarf // The North Face Denali Fleece Jacket // Target Slipper Socks // Aerie Fur-Lined Slippers
Baby, it's cold outside! I cannot believe Fall is basically over and there's snow starting to creep up on us. If you're looking to bundle up but don't want to sacrifice the cute factor, here are some options for your winter needs! 
Gloves are classic but now that practically everyone has a smartphone with a touch screen, those old gloves in the back of your closet aren't gonna cut it. Introducing the North Face Etip gloves! When I first learned about these I knew they would be at the top of my Christmas wish list, plus they come in a so many fun colours! Who says you have to wear boring colours in the winter?! Since my current jacket and snow boots have been in use for the past 3 winters (yikes!), I need a bit of an update this year and I'm definitely going to be investing in SOREL boots! Again, you can be stylish and not freeze your toes off. And can we please talk about those Target socks, so stinkin' cute! These come in different prints so if you want a snowman or more plain socks, there are options for you!
Hopefully some of these picks will inspire you with ideas on how to spice up your winter wardrobe and stay warm out there! This is just the beginning... sadly. 

Women Who Inspire

One of the most inspiring things for me is seeing that women who are passionate about things they love are able to rise up to the challenge of starting companies in such a male-dominated world. There's nothing better than learning about how someone who is now a well established business woman started off. A majority of the time it's not a glamorous as one may think and things don't happen overnight. That has to be one of the most valuable lessons I've learned from researching the path that these women have taken to get to where they are today! 
Bobbi Brown
 Quite possibly one of the coolest women out there and my biggest inspiration! Reading her story here really opened my eyes to the hard work and dedication needed to make your dreams come true. She has revolutionized the cosmetics world and has developed products that thousands of people love and use daily. One of my favourite things about her is that her goal is to inspire girls to "Be pretty. Be confident. Be who you are" through her Pretty Powerful campaign and I couldn't agree more with her vision. She knows that makeup isn't the end all and be all of feeling beautiful but with it, women feel that much better and can take on the world with confidence to make things happen! 

Tory Burch
This woman is not only beautiful but truly a visionary and exemplifies what it means to persevere and truly find a balance between a career and home life. She never had schooling for fashion design but started off working with brands like Vera Wang, Ralph Lauren and writing for Harper's Bazaar. In 2004, she began making her clothing in her kitchen and just one short year later Oprah was endorsing her! Now that's what I call results. What I admire most about her is that when she does interviews or is part of a conference with other business women, she doesn't hesitate to give them advice and tips she has learned, which I think is amazing! I love when successful people are also humble! Plus, she manages all of this success with raising her children which shows the rest of us, that yes, you can make it work.
Maureen Kelly
 The creator of Tarte cosmetics, Maureen is the perfect example of a woman who created what was missing in the market. She noticed that there were no products available that were filled with good-for-you ingredients and were high performance, so she created her own cosmetics from her one bedroom apartment in New York (I guess her and Tory have a lot in common then!) it's incredible that since 1999 when she launched the company, it has grown 10 fold and is now among some of the most talked about beauty brands in the world. Her vision was clear and she knew that she had to cater to other women who had the same needs, and that it something we can all learn from! I love that she wasn't afraid to do it on her own and for years after starting, was still delivering samples to companies herself and packaging the products with the help of her family and friends. Truly amazing! The best part is that she believes in giving back and has been helping communities in the Amazon improve their living conditions. Now I get why so many of her products are Amazonian ;) 

Who are you inspired by? Comment below and share!

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