Mar 20, 2018

Bucket List: Winter to Spring 2018

Wow!  Today marks one year since I began recording my seasonal bucket lists here at Whitney à la mode.  My how time flies and this quarterly post has turned into one of my favorites to write.  Having a list of things I want to do helps me to live each seasonally more intentionally and allows me to enjoy the special activities that mark each time of the year.  Thanks, Leslie, for organizing these posts and for getting me started with my bucket lists!

Before I decide what I want to accomplish this spring, let's see how I did this winter!

1.  Make the perfect beer cheese soup.  Okay, so I wanted to try a bunch of recipes for beer cheese soup and then pick the perfect one.  And then I only made the soup once.  But you know what, it was quite tasty, so I'm considering this accomplished!

2.  Have a Christmas Movie Marathon.  Yep!  My boyfriend and I spent an afternoon watching The Santa Clause, Miracle on 24th Street (the newer version), and Elf.  We also squeezed in Home Alone on a different night.

3.  Learn How to Ski.  My boyfriend loves to snowboard so, in order to be able to hit the slopes with him, I decided to try my hand at skiing this year.  Justin turned 30 on New Year's Day so to celebrate, we went to Boyne Mountain in northern Michigan for a long weekend.  It was relaxing, romantic, and guess what?!  I learned to ski and I actually like it!

4.  Go to an MSU Basketball Game.  Sadly, I failed at this one.  Tickets were pricey and time got away from me.  But I did watch plenty of games on TV (including that painful match against Syracuse on Sunday).  #marchsadness

5.  Mix Some Warm Winter Cocktails.  This is another semi-win.  I did not make it myself but I did enjoy an Irish Coffee at our local watering hole.

6.  Find a church in my new hometown.  This one isn't quite accomplished yet as my boyfriend and I haven't settled on a home church.  But we have been looking and visiting a few.  We will find the right one eventually!

7.  Try a Top 10 Grand Rapids Restaurant Each Month:  Yes!  This has been one of my favorite ways to explore my new hometown (that is known for its awesome restaurant scene).  In December, we hit up Marie Catrib's, January took us to The Green Well and then my boyfriend and I went to Leo's for Valentine's Day in February.  Up next: San Chez!

8.  Go to Taco Tuesday at Cannonsburg (Our Local Skiing Spot).  Nope.  We didn't do this once.  But my boyfriend and I enjoy our homemade breakfast burritos every Tuesday night!

9.  Watch All of the Star Wars Movies:  Fail fail fail!  We went to see the newest film in theaters in December which inspired this bucket list item.  And then I never watched another Star Wars movie.

10.  Try Another Round of Stitch Fix:  I actually decided to try Trunk Club, Nordstrom's version of Stitch Fix instead!  For a $25 styling fee (as opposed to $20 with SF), you get lots more items in your TC box!  I loved mine and will be sharing a full review and all of my goodies soon!

Seven outta ten ain't bad, right?!  And with that, I'm so ready for spring!  Bring on the sunshine:

1.  Plant something.
2.  Go for one walk a week.
3.  Try a new Top 10 Grand Rapids restaurant each month (a continuation from my winter bucket list).
4.  Visit to the zoo.
5.  Spontaneously get donuts some weekend morning.
6.  Run a 10k.
7.  Make or buy a spring wreath.
8.  Go-out for ice cream.
9.  Read something outside of the box.
10.  Start the Star Wars series (I'm being a bit more realistic this time).

What are you planning to do this spring?  Don't forget to link-up your post below on Wednesday (I'm posting one day early)!

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Mar 19, 2018

How I Style My Natural Curls

Since my teens, I've had a love-hate relationship with my hair.  In middle school, puberty always brings lots of awkward changes, and for me, it caused my straight hair to go curly.  I had no idea how to style it and spent a few years looking like a triangle-headed poof ball.

I spent all of high school, college and my early-adult years creating the the perfect cocktail of hair products and methods to (finally) achieve my full curl potential.  (Although, really, curls have a mind of their own and I will never actually be in control over the situation.

Here is how I currently style my hair.

1.  Shampoo and Condition: I start the process with super moisturizing shampoo and conditioner in the shower.  Lately I've loved the Hask products and use the Curl Care line when I style my hair naturally.  The shampoos and conditioners are really affordable and smell amazing!

2.   Combing Process:  I comb my hair in a very particular manner so as not to disrupt my natural curl pattern.  After conditioning, I comb my hair.  Then I rewet it, flip my head upside down, shake my head and then gently scrunch my curls.

3.  Leave-In Conditioner: While upside down, I spritz my hair with this leave-in conditioner.

4.  Plopping:  If you have naturally curly hair and you've never tried plopping.  TRY IT!  Here are your instructions!

5.  Add Product:  After plopping (I usually leave my hair in the towel while doing my make-up), I add product.  First I scrunch in some gel and then some mousse.  Lately I've loved the Ouidad products for curls and I've tried several of their gels and mousses.  I've liked all of them and tend to change things-up every once in awhile so that my hair keeps reacting to the product.  P.S.  How do you pronounce Ouidad??  The French teacher in me pronounces it "weeee-dad."

6.  Diffuse:  Using the diffuser attachment on my hair dryer, I cup small sections of my hair for about ten seconds at a time.  I alternate between doing this right-side up and upside down.  I diffuse my hair until it's about 75% dry.

7.  Spray and Fluff: I spray my entire head of hair with my all-time favorite hair spray, then I scrunch and fluff my hair to add volume and body.

8.  Air Dry and Refluff:  From there, I'm pretty much done.  I let my hair air dry the rest of the way, occasionally fluffing and scrunching with my fingers to encourage the curls.

There you have it!  My curly hair care routine!  Hopefully, if you are like me and are always looking for tips to improve your curls, you've found something here!

Happy Monday and I hope you're having a great hair day!
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Mar 14, 2018

Minnie Mouse à la Mode

I thought about titling this post, "What to Wear in Orlando," but then I realized that I didn't have much to add that you probably don't already know yourself:

  1. wear light, breathable, clothing
  2. walking shoes that are comfy and cushioned are a must
  3. cross-body bags make for hands-free amusement park fun
  4. you'll want to wear sunglasses unless you want a headache from squinting
  5. suncreen!  suncreen!  sunscreen!

While I don't have many unique tips on dressing for a Disney vacation, I can share with you what I wore and loved during my Orlando trip in February.

I've been packing for trips with a capsule mentality for about a year now (check-out my springtime in Europe and my summer in Belgium posts).  One of my favorite perks of packing this way is feeling like I have a cohesive style throughout my trip.  So, even though this wasn't a long trip and I didn't really need layers (which help so much in remixing capsules), I decided that I wanted all of my Orlando outfits to be in the same color scheme and have the same vibe.

For each capsule, there's usually an item that sparks my inspiration.  This time, I built my capsule around these Minnie Mouse Keds.  I am notorious for making poor shoe decisions that I regret halfway through the day and I was determined not to do so for this trip.  I love my other pairs of Keds so I knew that these would be comfortable and provide lots of cushion to make standing in long lines a bit more bearable.  Plus, if you can't wear whimsical shoes at the Magic Kingdom, when can you??

Want your own pair of Minnie Mouse Keds?  I found a bunch of cute pairs on Amazon like mine but in red, these cute lace-ups, and this more subtle pair.

What I'm Wearing:
Dress: My Sister's Closet (exact)
Crossbody Purse: Old Navy (similar)
Sneakers: Keds (exact)

And since I'm finally on top of publishing a style post on a Wednesday, don't forget to link-up with The Blended Blog!
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Mar 12, 2018

My Favorite Skincare Products

Happy almost spring, my friends!  As I'm writing this post on a Sunday afternoon, the sun is shining and I am just so anxious for the warm weather to follow.  I really can't bring myself to think about sweaters, tights and boots anymore, so instead of talking fashion today, I'm talking beauty products!

Beauty is the topic of the month over at The Blended Blog so I will be sharing some of my most-loved products over the course of the next couple of weeks.  Today's focus is skincare!

So far in life I've been blessed with clear, bright skin so I keep my skincare routine fairly simple.  I wash my face twice a day (most of the time) and I moisturize.  That, and I don't wear make-up on my face and I try to drink lots of water.  Even though I don't do much in regards to skincare, I do have a few favorite products to share with you today!

Most of the time, these are the only three products I use on my face:

Purity Made Simple One-Step Facial Cleanser by Philosophy: Of all my beauty products, this is the one that has been with me for the longest.  I've used this cleanser for years!  I love that it removes make-up and cleanses at the same time so that I don't have to do this in two separate steps.  I also have super-dry skin and find that this keeps my face feeling soft and moisturized.

Hydra Genius Daily Liquid Care by L'Oréal: I use both versions of this moisturize (for Normal/Dry Skin versus for Extra Dry Skin) depending on the season.  The former works for me during the warmer months and the latter is perfect for winter when my dry skin needs a little extra love.  What I love about these moisturizers is the texture.  For whatever reason, I don't like a lotion-y feeling on my face.  These are more gel-like and absorb really quickly.  They've been my go-to moisturizers for over a year now.

Is anyone else kinda lazy about washing her face and removing make-up before bed.  Anyone?  Just me?  I like to have a facial wipe on hand for the nights when I just can't motivate myself to wash my face.

Rice Brightening Facial Cleansing Tissues by Skinfood: I purchased these wipes recently and I'm in love with them.  My favorite thing about them is the way they smell.  They have a subtle floral scent that I wish came in a perfume, that's how much I love it.  Besides smelling heavenly, they take my make-up right off and leave my face feeling clean before bed.

Does deodorant fall under skincare?  I don't think it falls under haircare or make-up (the topics covered over the next couple of weeks) so I'll talk about it here.

The Healthy Deodorant by Lavanila: Here's another product that has been with me for a number of years now.  I appreciate that the product that I rub on my skin every single day is actually good for me.  I also really like all of the scents you can choose from (my favorite is Fresh Vanilla Lemon).  I do want to point-out that it is a deodorant and not an antiperspirant.  Luckily I don't sweat tons so this isn't an issue for me.  I also find that after a particularly rough day, I might have to reapply but the deodorant deodorizes right away.

There you have it, friends, my holy grail beauty products!  But it's always fun to experiment with new things so I would love to know what you use daily.  Either link-up with TBB today or let me know what your favorite products are in the comments!

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Mar 7, 2018

Currently: March

seeing: my mileage finally start creep-up as I continue to train for my first 10k that I'll run in May.  I've been following this plan and most of the time, it feels like I'll never reach those six miles but more and more lately, it seems like I might actually be able to do it!

planning: to relax!  After a whirlwind February spent celebrating a friend's wedding, my grandma's 80th birthday, Valentine's Day and an Orlando vacation, I'm ready to take it easy this month!  I'm definitely planning to spend a few weekends on the couch with a good book!

making: overnight oats for the first time.  I know that I'm a bit late to the overnight oat party, but this is the time of the school year that I start to get sick of all my packable breakfasts and lunches.  I'm hoping that the plethora of overnight oat recipes out there will get me through to the end of the year.  This recipe with no sugar added looks fantastic!

pretending: that sunshine and blue skies mean that it's actually warm outside.  Yep, I've stopped wearing my winter boots and have attempted to go outside in a spring jacket.  Nope, that sunshine does not mean that it's actually warm enough to do so.

wearing: these Keds all.the.time.  I've nearly worn-out the pair that I purchased last spring and already have a back-up pair on standby.  I might have also ordered a black pair to add to the mix!

Linking-up with Anne and Sarah

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Feb 26, 2018

Spread the Love

I have such a fun post to share with you today!  Last month, The Blended Blog coordinated a fun gift exchange to celebrate Valentine's Day with our favorite bloggers.  Each of the participants was matched with another blogger for whom we chose an accessory to match her style.

I was so excited when I was paired with Kellyann from This Blonde's Shopping Bag.  Kellyann has such a fun and colorful style that, even though I've never met her in person, I think describes her personality, too!  I enjoy Kellyann's fashion posts because she can pull-off today's trends in a way that always looks classic and chic.  I also admit to living vicariously through her because she lives in Florida and is already rocking the warm-weather wear.  Oh to go outside in bare legs!  Kellyann, I'm so jealous!

Isn't she gorgeous?!  This is one of my favorite posts from her lately.

Anyways, I knew that I would receive something fun and colorful from Kellyann and I was right!  We were also totally on the same page in that we both purchased tassel earrings for one another.  I've been wanting to try the tassel trend for awhile but hadn't purchased any jewelry for myself in awhile, so Kellyann's gift was absolutely perfect!

I think my students will get a kick out of me wearing statement earrings to school and I also think that these will be perfect for date nights with my handsome guy!  Stay tuned for some outfit posts featuring these earrings.

Thanks, Kellyann, for being such a fun Spread the Love partner!
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Feb 7, 2018

Pink for a Relaxed Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is right around the corner!  Do you have plans for a romantic date with your special someone?  Or maybe you are celebrating Galentine's Day with your best girlfriends?  Will you be spreading the love at work since the holiday falls on a Wednesday?

In any case, it's fun to have something special to wear for Valentine's Day!  My boyfriend and I will be going to a nice restaurant for dinner, but I will be teaching during the day on February 14th.  For work, I'll be wearing something like this!

Pink makes for a festive Valentine's Day outfit plus the wubby material of this vest will keep me warm, comfortable and happy all day long!

What I'm Wearing:
Vest: Francesca's (exact)
Top: LOFT (signature soft tops)
Jeans: American Eagle (exact)
Sneakers: Ked's (exact)

What will you be wearing for Valentine's Day?  Link-up your looks below!

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