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Velvet Lips, A Food I Call “Crack”, 80’s Glam Earrings, and More…

I have never had the desire to go shopping on Black Friday. It gives me anxiety just thinking about the big crowds and people fighting for parking spaces. I’ll watch for a sale on a different day, thank you very much.

Instead of shopping today, I decided to put together a list of some things that, lately, I feel like I could be a spokesperson for. I have found myself gushing over these things to friends and families, and probably strangers here and there, so I thought I’d share them with you, too!

1. O-Gloss by Smashbox

I have been sounding like a commercial for O-Gloss since before our wedding in August 2010. We got married in a tiny lake town in Michigan and there weren’t many options for make-up artists. So, at the age of 32, I finally learned how to properly put on make-up. In the process of doing research and watching tutorials, I came across this magical gloss that makes my lips feel like velvet. It’s not sticky like other glosses I have used over the years, but it is smooth. I have even used it in place of Chapstick! Smashbox claims that O-Gloss enhances the natural colors in your lips. I have no idea if a lip gloss can actually do that, but I love the color it turns my lips. Subtle and shiny:)

2. H&M Sparkly Dangling Earrings

I do not hide the fact that I LOVE sparkly jewelry that looks like it could be circa 1982. I have loved gaudy costume jewelry since I was a child and when I wasn’t spending my allowance on it, I was searching through my gramma’s stash looking for bling.

I was so excited when I spotted these gems at H&M while I was in Paris. I think I might have even dove for them in fear that someone would snatch them up before I made it the 10 feet to reach them. Sadly, I haven’t worn them yet. But I definitely will find an outfit for the holidays that will accent them perfectly!

3. Cupcake VineyardsRed Velvet Wine

Wine and I are friends. White, red, rosé…I like it all. I waited tables and bar-tended to put myself through college and I ended up at a really great restaurant where I learned a ton about wine. I’m definitely not a wine snob–I can drink Two Buck Chuck with the best of ‘em, but I do love when I find an affordable wine that tastes expensive. Cupcake Red Velvet is one of those. At least, to me it is:)There is a smoothness and rich flavor to it that I really love.

4. Peanut Butter Stuffed Pretzels, a.k.a Crack

We call these “crack” in my house. Every time I go to Michigan to visit our families, my mother-in-law asks, “Do you want me to get some crack for you?” I think I have a problem. Like, I am actually addicted to these. I kept telling myself to take a photo of this container while it was full, but the next thing I knew, it was almost empty…and this is in one day. I have had to put a limit on how often I can buy them (once a month) because I have no control over how many I eat in one sitting. It’s pathetic, really. But I guess I could be addicted to worse things, right?

You can get them at Trader Joe’s, but I find their brand isn’t salty enough for me. I like the kind you get a Walgreen’s or Safeway or CVS the best.

5. Books! Real Live Paper Books!

I have not made the transition to reading books on an electronic device and I don’t ever plan to. Unless, it gets to the point where books are no longer printed on paper. Then, I guess I will have to make the transition, which would be very, very sad. Until then, I will enjoy every moment of being in a book store, holding a book, turning the pages, folding the corners, and putting them on my book shelf that I am very proud of.

Aside from the Hunger Games series, I hadn’t read a non-photography related book in over 10 months. This is very uncharacteristic of me, but I was enjoying the photography books so much, that I was slacking on my book club books and other pleasure reading.

This finally changed two days ago as I devoured Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Next up is Wild by Cheryl Strayed followed by Monique and the Mango Rains by Kris Holloway. I read Monique and the Mango Rains several years ago, but I spotted on my book shelf last week and decided to read it again–it was that good.

6. Brazilian Blowout

The first time I got the original Brazilian Blowout, I nearly wept. My hair transformed from corse, heavy, and frizzy to soft, light, and frizz-less. I could blow dry my hair in half the time and I wouldn’t look like Monica from the Friends episode when they were in the Caribbean. Instead, it was be smooth, soft, and straight without needing a straightening iron! I could also crunch my wet hair and still have my waves if I wanted. I couldn’t believe it.I had received other Keratin treatments before, but they never worked. I basically wasted up to $300 on some smelly stuff that I had to keep in my hair for 3 long days. Ugh. Finding the Brazilian Blowout changed the way I feel about my hair.

The Brazilian Blowout does not require 3 excruciating days of having heavy, greasy chemicals on your hair that make you want to stay in the house. Instead, it is washed out before you leave the salon. Apparently, there is some not-so-great stuff in all of these different treatments that people were upset about, so Brazilian Blowout came out with a “Free” version that supposedly doesn’t have the chemicals. I was excited to give it a try! Um, yeah, that one didn’t work either. Looks like my hair loves chemicals. So, while it it hasn’t been easy, I have tracked down a few options of salons that will do the original in my stubborn hair. I find that the more I get the treatment, the more time I can go in between treatments. To clarify, I used to get it every 12 weeks, but now I’m up to every 20 weeks. Yay!

I also use the shampoo, conditioner, and daily smoothing serum (pictured below).

 7. Gifts

My dear friend Julia had this necklace made for me after I photographed her darling children. I have worn it every day since she gave it to me. She got it from an Etsy shop called Rubies & Whimsy and I absolutely love it!

Personal gifts are so special. I love giving them and I love receiving them!


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