Anti-Valentine’s Day

Hi friends! Happy Valentine’s Day! Or if you’re single like me, Happy Feb 14th AKA Day-Before-All-Chocolate-Goes-On-Sale-At-CVS 🙂 🙂 🙂

If you read my last post on why dating in NYC is the absolute worst… THANK YOU! I was so overwhelmed by the amount of people who read/commented/shared/messaged me about it – it was my highest-read post since I started The Laughing Blonde ❤ As it turns out (thought not at all shocking), it’s not just guys in NYC that suck – it’s a world-wide epidemic. I had so many comments from my readers telling me about their crazy stories, and I thought you all deserved to get a laugh in today so with their permission, I’m sharing some of my favorites below. Aside from a good laugh and a few eye rolls, my main reason for posting all of this is for everyone who’s reading to understand that it’s not just you. I used to think that if I was prettier, or slimmer or worked in a different industry that all of my dating issues would disappear and men would be falling over left and right to date me. The women who messaged me are all completely different shapes/sizes/colors who come from different backgrounds and have different careers and as it turns out, none of that matters. Dating is hard, but it has nothing to do with anything about you! So don’t let it dull your sparkle – try and hold out hope for the random unicorn guy who comes in and is ready to love you the way you deserve.

In the meantime, let’s all commiserate with a few of the poor women who’ve suffered through some of these nightmares..


The One Where The Guys Had Similar Tastes

“I was hanging out with one of my Bumble victims on his couch watching TV, and headlights appeared in the driveway. He casually says, “My roommate is about to bring a random girl home, so I apologize.” I had met his roommate previously, and I thought he was very attractive. Tall, blonde, tattoos. What’s a girl not to like? I was sure he could get any girl in the bar he wanted, so I was curious who was about to walk through that door.

Minutes later, the roommate and this girl walk into the house, and I could not believe my eyes. I KNEW HIS ROOMMATE’S DATE FROM WORK! We both looked at each other started laughing and hugged. The guys just looked at each other and were so confused. Their faces were completely priceless. The girl and I just started laughing, hugged each other, and started chatting. The guys were like “What the f**k?” It was definitely the best moment of my Bumble experience.” – Sam, CT

The One With The Cheapskate 

“All my dates have been brutal. But the worst was when the guy made us split the bill when I had a salad and he was downing whiskey and eating a steak. Idiot. His name was Joe. Generic AF.” – Elisabeth, NYC

The One With The Borderline Stalker

“Dating horror story – went on one date with this guy. Had a good time. Enjoyed him quite a bit. After a day or two, he said he wasn’t interested. I got over it but the next week, he comes back around in text messages wanting to get together. I said a polite “thanks but no thanks” since I wasn’t good enough for him the week before. He proceeds to harass me and tell me that I’m missing out on the best thing ever and that I’m the one who pushed him away the week before. So he harassed me on text, Snapchat and Instagram for an entire day telling me that I was in the wrong. Basically he couldn’t handle being turned down EVEN THOUGH HE DID THE SAME FUCKING THING THE WEEK BEFORE. So I had to block him and then worry he was going to come to my house and hurt me. Because being a girl is the worst.” –Alyssa, PA


 

I’m thinking of turning this into a series or something, because I keep getting messages with stories and they’re too good not to share! Have some of your own? Comment them below or email to me! xo, AJ

Here’s Why Dating in NYC is the Actual Worst

Hi friends. I come to you tonight with little rage in my chest. I am seething. And you know why? Because dating in NYC is the fucking worst! And you know why that is? Because MEN are the FUCKING WORST. Follow me, won’t you?

I’ll admit it, I was very, very spoiled in my last relationship. Patrick was a complete and total gentleman when we were first seeing each other, and asked me to be his girlfriend after only 4 dates. You know why? Because he didn’t want to play games. He was worried that if he waited too long, he would miss his shot. THAT, my friend, is a man. Did things work out for us? For a little over a year, they did. We really only broke up because of distance and because we didn’t agree on a few major lifestyle changes that would need to be compromised on. But he certainly respected, valued and cared for me the entire time. And not ONCE did he not text me back. Not. Once.

So it’s almost like I feel bad for the men of New York to have to compete against this, except I don’t feel bad at all because how Patrick acted is how all men should act because that is what I like to call HUMAN DECENCY. Unfortunately, the wonderful (HA) island of Manhattan seems to be seriously lacking in that right now. And you know what? I’m thinking it’s time that I expose them all. I’m here to spill some serious tea. Ready for it?

First up, we have Mike. A 26 year old teacher + coach from NJ that I met on Hinge. Before you judge me, literally every single person I know in this city is on Hinge/The League/ Bumble/ Etc. so BYE. Ok so yes, Mike and I met on Hinge and even though he lives 30 minutes away in Jersey, he offered to come to my neighborhood to go out to dinner. I didn’t really care one way or the other about it, but he was cute and I’m always down for a free meal, so I went. And I was so happy I did! He was even cuter in person, he held my hand when we left the restaurant, and he kissed me goodnight – it gave me butterflies! Over the next two weeks, Mike came to see me 3 more times. Sure, he wasn’t a great texter, but driving an hour roundtrip to see me four times in 12 days has to count for something, right? Especially when I wasn’t sleeping with him. We went out to dinner, went out to an arcade-type bar, went bowling, etc. He even agreed to watch The Bachelor with me every Monday. Did he make attempts to get into my LuLu Lemons? Of course he did. But I said that I don’t do that unless I’m exclusive with someone. So Mike tells me he’s not talking to any other girls. Music to my ears ladies. For our fifth date, I drove out to see him. We watched a movie, watched The Bachelor and yup – we hooked up. It just felt right! Wanna know what happened after that? I’m guessing you already know, because Mike is a man and as I’ve mentioned, men are the WORST. *SPOILER ALERT* Mike ignored me for two days. Ugh, such a cliche. So I called him out on it. Told him it was super uncool to do that. And to his credit, he responded. And tried to be ~nice~ about it. You know what’s not nice though? Saying 5 dates in that you’re not looking for anything long term. That you’ve felt that way since before you even met me. Here, for your viewing pleasure, are two screenshots of an actual conversation between Mike and I today. I SHIT YOU NOT, KIDS.

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He’s right about one thing, I can certainly do a lot better than him. You know, it’s funny. I was having this conversation with him and crying my eyes out because I was feeling emotional and stupid and second-guessing everything that had happened between us so I called my mom to vent. And she’s the one who encouraged me to write this post and put this guy on blast. She called it “Taylor Swifting” him. Mom, you are the fucking BEST.

Also, here are two actual Bumble messages I received today. It turns out it’s not just Mike who sucks super hard. It’s men as a species. Ladies, remember that the next time you’re feeling like you’re not good enough. It’s truly the men who are so wildly unworthy.

 

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Ok Josh, what part about the section in my bio that explicity says “If you really wanna impress me, try holding a conversation without sneaking in any sexual innuendos. 9/10 guys on here can’t” makes you think I’d be down for this? UGH.

And then we have James, who honestly sounds like he needs counseling, not Bumble. James, I’m rooting for you, bud.

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Anways, there’s so much more where this came from, but I’ll save it for a rainy day. I feel like a Kardashian right now, with all my receipts. Whatevs. I’m off to take a bubble bath and eat a carton of Coconut Bliss because I’M STILL ON FREAKING WHOLE30 AND CAN’T EVEN PROPERLY FEEL SORRY FOR MYSELF AND CRY INTO A PINT OF BEN AND JERRYS.

Week 2 Recap of Whole30

It’s the end of Week 2 / kick off to Week 3 of #Whole30 aka I have somehow survived going two weeks with no dairy, GMO or gluten, and have had limited carbs and added sugars for 14 days. WHO AM I?!

While this hasn’t been the most difficult thing I’ve ever done in my life, it has also not been the easiest, my friends. I am 100% not lying to you when I say that last night I was having a nasty craving for something sweet right before bed, so I caved and had a lollipop and then felt guilty about it. AFTER EATING A LOLLIPOP. BYE. Also, I’m pretty sure this was the catalyst the carb dream I had last night where I went around eating everyone’s leftover pizza crust (bc I love pizza crust) and had cupcakes. Like, I was literally dreaming about being able to eat carbs. And in my dream I was like, “yeah I shouldn’t be doing this but I don’t even care because this is so good.” The struggle is getting real.

At least the struggle is worth it though. My mom’s friend’s husband has been doing this for three weeks (and probably committing a little harder than I am) and has lost 20lbs. Obviously that’s most likely happening because a) he’s a men and, like all things in life, men have an easier time losing weight. I find this to be absolute bull-shit annoying,  but just add it to my list of grievances about them as a sex in general. I digress. B) if you have more weight to lose, more will come off after. I wouldn’t expect that the average person will go into this and lose 20 lbs in 21 days, that seems super extreme and tbh, doesn’t seem sustainable once Whole 30 ends. HOWEVER – I’m down about 6 pounds in two weeks and I’m not following it 100% strictly, so it definitely works. I’m kinda hyped to see what happens at the end of the 30 days..

Things I’ve Learned In My Second Week of Whole 30

  • If you’ve followed along, you already know that I’m doing *Mostly* 30, which, for me, means that I’ve avoiding dairy and gluten in all ways possible, and avoiding added sugars and carbs for the most part. I’m doing this because I know myself, and I truly believe that if I were to follow this with 0 carbs and sugars for 30 days, I would’ve cracked after the first 3 days. Keeping in small amounts of carbs and sugar for me has actually kept me on track and made me feel like I have more control.
  • Cooking for myself has become more of a blessing than a nuisance. But be prepared, because it can get expensive, especially in the beginning. It’s so annoying, but healthier food is just so much more expensive than junk food is. RUDE. But true. And when you first start cooking these recipes, you’re probably going to need to buy a few kitchen staples that you didn’t have before – for me, that included things like coconut flour (what?), almond flour, a bunch of different spices, coconut flakes, almond meal (again, what?), and paleo mayo and ketchup *eye roll*. Believe me, it adds up. But after the first few meals are made and these items are bought, you typically won’t need to buy them again for a while, so it more is just running to the store and grabbing the meat or the sweet potatoes or whatever. And if you compare it to what you’d spend dining out or ordering in, you’re still spending less and most likely making more than just one serving, so the meal lasts for a few days as opposed to one night.
  • I haven’t been counting calories. Like, at all. I truly could not tell you how many calories I’ve had in any given day, because it’s become so unimportant to me. I know that 90% of what I’m putting in my body is really healthy and made with all good things, so I’m not concerned about the amount of calories they have in them. I also know that I’ve been eating less just by the fact that I’m not longer gravitating towards the non Whole30 approved snacks at my office, so that definitely helps. And it must be working, because I’ve been losing weight. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
  • I’ve enjoyed working out more. When I work out, I usually fully commit and force myself to go every single day because I’m the type of person where if I break from routine, it can lead to a longgggg road of me not going to the gym at all. A perfect example of this was the fact that I followed Nike’s running program to a T from June 1st through the end of August this summer, no exceptions. I ended up going from being able to run less than a mile to being able to run 5. But then my uncle passed away, and with everything going on, I let my routine slip away and long store short, I’ve probably run a total of 15 times since September. Not exactly on schedule anymore, ha. ANYWAY – now my workouts have become more about doing things that I really enjoy, and not paying attention to how often I’m going (note – I’m still going a few times a week, just not following any particular schedule). I’ve always loved dancing and find Zumba to be a ton of fun, so I’ve gone to a couple of classes each week. I’m just happy when I get to dance around and let loose, and although I’m sweating like crazy and totally out of breath, it barely feels like a workout!

 

Recipes I’m Loving This Week

Easy Slow Cooker Paleo Beef Chili – Makes 8 cups, takes a total of 6 and a 1/2 hours to cook, from prep to plate. Recipe Here

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Whole30 Buffalo Chicken Tenders – Makes 4-6 servings, takes a total of 30 minutes from prep to plate. This is by FAR my favorite recipe! Recipe Here

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Week 1 Recap of Whole30

Hi friends! Dang, January is really flying by. Has it really been an entire month since I was stuffing my face with Christmas cookies and candy canes? #memories. Now I’m on Day 1 of Week 2 of Whole30 and let me tell you, cookies and candy seem like a distant memory. RIP added sugars and carbs 😦

In reality, it really hasn’t been that bad. A quick recap of what Whole30 is: No added sugar, no carbs, no dairy, no gluten, no soy, (no fun) for 30 days. Basically you’re supposed to live off of meats and things that grow out of the ground for a month. It honestly sounds like my worst nightmare, considering that I live off of carbs and sugars (hellooooo Ice cream ❤ ❤ ❤ ) but it’s a lot better than I thought. I made a decision in the first few days that I’d be doing “Mostly30”, which is a personal modified version of what I should actually be doing. It pretty much just means that I’m steering clear of things that clearly cross the line: think chips, cookies, candy, pasta, dairy products etc., but that I’m giving myself a little wiggle room so that I don’t completely crack and binge on 3 pizzas. My two “cheat” snacks have been 1. Coconut Crunch: it’s sort of like caramel popcorn, but WAY healthier. The little bag of it has 65 calories, 9.5g of carbs and 5g of sugars. But it’s also gluten free and non-GMO, two things that are big no-nos for Whole30, which is why I convinced myself it’s ok. The other snack is Coconut Bliss – it’s pretty much just ice cream, and I am OBSESSED. It’s dairy free, soy free, gluten free and vegan. My fave flavor (dark chocolate) has 200 calories per serving, 21g of carbs and 15g of sugar. The people at Whole30 who come up with the diet would prob hunt me down and kill me if they saw that I was writing this, but LET ME LIVE.

Things I’ve noticed in my first week of Whole30:

  • I don’t really have a strong craving for carbs or sweets often, but I do crave meat/protein a LOT more than I used to
  • Apple slices and almond butter are a really great snack and fill you up
  • My grocery bill is higher (I’m hoping that this is only because I didn’t have any of the major things like coconut flour, paleo mayo or any of the spices that these recipes call for aka the next time I go it’ll be lower…)
  • I haven’t noticed a huge change in my energy level, but I HAVE noticed that my body has been naturally waking up before my alarm the last few days. I can’t decide if that’s a coincidence or not yet. TBD I guess.
  • Going out to eat is REALLY FREAKING HARD, DUDE. Like forreal, the only thing I can order is grilled chicken, no sauce. This is especially annoying now that I’m single and going on first dates bc I’m ordering food that some girl who has serious issues with food would order (awkward because I clearly do not look like that kind of girl) and the guys are all like, “uhmm are you sure you’re not hungry? That doesn’t look very filling…” like thanks for the reminder babe, as if I haven’t been drooling over your pasta bolognese  this whole time and praying that the waitress doesn’t come over with a dessert menu. TRUE STORY: I went to a burger place with some guy last week, right? Keep in mind that this place is supposed to be legendary. I’m talking like, was on that show Guy Ferrari hosts. And you know what I ordered? A SALAD THAT ONLY CAME WITH LETTUCE AND CARROTS. Because I hate tomatoes and cucumbers, so I asked them to hold those. I’m still mad about it.

The biggest factor in all of this has been making healthy meals in bulk so that when I’m hungry, I can quickly grab something that I know is following my “diet” without freaking out over what it’s cooked with. That said, here are some of my fave recipes so far 🙂

1. Baked Buffalo Chicken Meatballs: Makes 20-22 balls, takes about 30-35 minutes from start to finish to make. Get the recipe here

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2. Meatballs in Marinara Sauce Slow Cooker Recipe: Makes 6-8 servings, takes 4 hours and 15 minutes from start to finish to make. Get the recipe here

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3. Crust-Free Hamburger Pie: Makes 8 servings, takes about 30 minutes to make from start to finish. Get the recipe here

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Soooo I’m looking for new recipes… tried anything really delicious lately? Please send it my way! xo, AJ

2018 Goals and Kicking off Whole30

Hello lovelies! I hope your 2018 is starting off as beautifully as you hoped it would. And that you stuck to your “Dry January” plan for at least a week, or going to spin 2x per week (even though your resolution was to go 5x) … but hey, let’s be realistic.

I’m writing this while sitting on a beautiful beach in Tulum with one of my really close friends, Jenny. I’ll follow up with a whole post on our trip later on this month, so stay tuned! Spoiler alert- it’s amazing 😍.

So, it’s the middle of January, aka the time when I actually start to make my own “resolutions”. I’ve never really been one to kick them off on January 1st, because for some reason or another, I fall off within the first week and get discouraged. But this year, I’ve been planning mine for a while. First, I’m aiming to be less negative when I talk about things-I’ve noticed that I complain a lot, and tbh, I don’t have a whole lot to complain about. I live a really wonderful life with a lot of opportunities, and I’m surrounded by friends and family who love and support me. I’m lucky af. I’m also going to try to do more traveling and have more experiences. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve gotten to travel to some cool places and try really fun things, but I want to do even more of that this year! I tend to come up with excuses like not having the time or not having enough money, but let’s get real. If I stopped buying so many shitty clothes that I don’t wear, I’d be freaking rich. Dolla dolla bills, y’all.

My biggest goal is the one that I feel like will be the most challenging. I’ve seen lots of people posting about the Whole30 diet, and I’ve been wanting to give it a go. I know, I know. No dairy, sugars or carbs? I must be a freaking masochist. Not gonna lie, I’m sorta terrified of what kind of hangry savage I’m going to become around day 3 when all I want is to stuff my face with some Ben & Jerry’s… but I’m pretending like that won’t happen bc denial is a beautiful thing.

A little background: if you follow me, then you know by now that my weight is something I’m always struggling with in some capacity. About two years ago I started eating healthier and working out and within a year, I’d lost 60 lbs. That’s really great, and I’m proud of myself, but something I’m not so good at is continuing to push myself. I got down to a weight I was comfortable at (although not my “goal” weight), and just maintained it because I felt like if I kept pushing myself, I’d burn out and end up eating shitty foods and never exercising. Which, ironically, is kind of what I do now anyway except in a bit more moderation… kind of, lol. I blame it on working a lot and the holidays, but let’s be real. I love ice cream and pasta, and I’d rather binge Netflix from my really cozy couch than sweat it out on the eliptical. Sue me 🙄. But now I can feel that my body isn’t as healthy, I look a bit bloated and I’m just not feeling confident with myself, because I know there’s a healthier version of me that’s completely obtainable if I actually just committed to it.

Which is why I’m now committing to doing Whole30. I’m not an idiot- I’ve planned the timing out as best I can. The likelihood of actually being able to stick to something as strict as this through the holidays and through my vacation to Tulum was basically non-existent, so why set myself up for failure? I have a family trip to Costa Rica coming up in March, so kicking this off once I’m back from Tulum just makes the most sense. Lucky for me, I’m a Sober Sally in my normal life anyway, so cutting out alcohol won’t be a problem. And I’m lactose intolerant so tbh, I really shouldn’t be eating dairy anyway for my own good. Yet I know I’ll be craving it alllllll the live long day 😩

I’ll be following this post up with updates on how I’m feeling about the plan, what recipes I love (or throw out the second I taste them), what the pros and cons are, how much weight I’m losing, etc. If you’ve ever done the Whole30, I would LOVE to hear from you! Please send me any tips you have for survival!

xo, AJ

My Love Letter to 2017

Dear 2017,

What. A. Year. It seems like everyone wrote their love (or hate) letters to you sometime last week, but I wanted to wait until after the ball dropped so I could measure out how the year was to me up to the very last second. And I’m sure glad I did!

2017, you started off pretty strong. You brought me to all across the country – Miami, Boston, Wisconsin, Vegas, Nashville, Cali, and even Turks and Caicos. I swear, it felt like I was on a plane every other week this year. No complaints from me, though. I soaked up the sun rays, got to see my first drag show, had the opportunity to be on the field at Camp Randall stadium for the Wisconsin football game, surfed for the first time and even (accidentally) swam with a shark. Eek!!

You also brought me the best relationship I’ve ever had – to date, at least. *Spoiler Alert*, you also took that relationship away. I wouldn’t change it for anything, because I learned what a healthy relationship feels like. I learned that a guy can be handsome, successful and also a really good boyfriend. That there are guys out there who will call when they say they’re going to call, that will sneak into your office to leave a rose on your desk before you get there in the morning because you watch the Bachelor together. And I learned that you can respect each other enough that you can disagree on a million things and still not raise your voice to each other, or say hurtful things. I also learned that just because you want something to work and it looks good on paper, doesn’t mean it’s meant to be. I learned that it’s important (at least at 25) to put yourself first, and that you don’t need to compromise on something that’s super important to you for the sake of the other person. 2017, you had me in tears when my boyfriend moved out to California for good. You had me on 4 day trips out to LA where I learned that I’m terrible at surfing and that understanding parking signs out there is nearly impossible. You introduced me to the sweetest family I’ve ever had the pleasure of spending time with. And even with all of this, you brought me the realization that as much as we wanted the long distance to work, that we just weren’t The One for each other. And that’s ok 💗

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, you turned my view on “adults” completely upside down. For some reason, I just assumed that real grownups have their shit together. Lolz, they don’t. If anything, they need even more help than the rest of us sometimes. It may have taken me some time, but you taught me to see things from other people’s perspectives, even if I don’t agree with their judgement calls. Don’t get me wrong- I still hand out the tough love when it’s needed. But sometimes people just need a hug and to hear that they’re loved. So now I’m working on adding that in, every single time.

You brought me the first real loss I’ve ever experienced when my uncle passed away unexpectedly. I think about him almost daily, with the dumbest things reminding me of him and either bringing tears to my eyes or a quick laugh. But with that loss, I vowed to say “yes” to things more, like my Uncle did. He was the true definition of work hard, play hard. When you have 2-hour long lines of people waiting to pay their respects at your wake, or when the church has to create and over-flow room at the church with video cameras set up because so many people wanted to attend your funeral, you know you lived life the right way. In his honor, I’m pushing myself out of my comfort zone more. I’m realizing that once a day passes, you can’t get it back. That any day could be someone’s last, and I need to love harder than ever before.

Most importantly, you helped me learn to value myself. I went from not being able to run a mile without stopping to being able to run 5. I learned how to cook more than just a grilled cheese. I learned that the creepy guys on Bumble who ask you to “snuggle” aren’t even worth the swipe. To be fair, I knew that one already but just needed a reminder. You’ve reminded me that I’m so young – and that now is the time to be selfish. That I need to go after what I want. You’ve taught me that I am so incredibly, massively, totally loved. And that feeling, above all, is what I’m the most grateful for.

Thank you, 2017.

xo, AJ

Santa That’s My Only Wish This Year

So this really odd thing happened to me. I closed my eyes for a sec and when I opened them, it was already December 6th. What?!

It’s gotten to that point where my mom has already asked for the first round of my Christmas list. If our moms are anything alike, then you already know that my mom asks for my list multiple times throughout the month of December, because even though I’m either emailing it or texting it (read: HOW ARE YOU LOSING THE LIST MOM!?), she still manages to stay asking me for it up until Christmas Eve. The disorganization is mind-blowing, but she still manages to get stuff wrapped and under the tree in time, bless her heart. Which is more than I can say for some people – I once was texting my then-boyfriend on Christmas morning asking how his Christmas was going and what he had gotten. His response? “Idk yet, my mom is still wrapping it.” OMG BYE. My anxiety would be through the room at that point.

Anyways, as I was sending my mom my list, I wanted to share some gifting inspo with you guys. I frequently find myself googling, “good gifts for 20-somethings” because I forget what I even want to ask for half of the time. The struggle thooo. Also, including some discount codes for you in case something strikes ya fancy 😉

My Holiday Wish List 2017

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1. Custom Pet Portrait 2. Unicorn Tears Gin (also comes in Vodka) 3. Function of Beauty Custom Hair Care 4. Lauren Conrad Handbag 5. Apple Airpods 6. Framebridge Custom Framing 7. Lulu Lemon Sports Bra 8. Chunky Knit Blanket 9. Nora NYC Sunglasses 10. What Do You Meme 11. My Urban Oasis Subscription Box 12. Soda Stream 13. Clue – Golden Girls Edition

Deals & Codes

Function of Beauty: Purchase through my link and get $5 off of your order. I truly love this stuff – you can read my full review of it here.

Framebridge: Use code *blonde15* for 15% off of your order! I purchased several of these for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day – you can read the review here.

Nora NYC Sunglasses: Use code *lauhgingblonde* for 10% off of your order!

My Urban Oasis Subscription Box: Use Code *TLB20* for 20% off of your first box! This is a really cool subscription box (tailor-made for you NYC ladies!) that has products + gift certificates included for restaurants, workout classes, museums etc. in the city. I highly recommend checking it out if you’re in the area.

 

Holiday Gift Guide – Girlfriends Edition

Hi guys! First off, I want to thank those of you who voted in my Instagram polls last week – thank you so much! Your feedback on what content you prefer makes my job so much easier, and makes it so that I’m able to work on things that you like seeing!

That said, this post is going to be the first in a series of posts coming in the next few weeks for gift guides. And, because I find this category especially fun to shop for, the Girlfriends’ Gift Guide is up first!

Girlfriends Gift Guide

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  1. Work It Out Exercise Mat  2. Olivia Burton After Dark Leather Strap Watch  3. Sugarfina Mini Martini Shaker & Candy Gift Set  4. Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Face Mist  5. Glitter Bomb Tumblers  6. Lauren Conrad Travel Rescue Kit  7. Diptyque Roses Scented Candle  8. Rose Gold Pineapple Shot Glasses  9. Sparkling Holiday Candy Bento Box  10. Winky Lux Flower Balm  11. BECCA Champagne Dream Lip & Highlighter Duo

The Ultimate Holiday Bucket List for 2017

Hi friends! Can you believe we’re already singing Christmas carols again? Personally, this is nothing new for me, as I watch The Santa Clause and Home Alone at least once every few months throughout the year, and I find myself listening to Spotify’s Christmas playlist as early as June. I mean really – is there every really a time too early to listen to Mariah Carey’s Christmas Classic? I THINK NOT!

I know this is a hot button issue for a lot of you, but what do you think about the timing of decorations going up? I typically try to hold off until after Thanksgiving, but this year I couldn’t help myself – I threw the lights up about week before Turkey day. Though I did feel less guilty, considering some of you had yours up as soon as the Halloween candy was put out at 50% off at the Duane Reads, you crazies!

All that said, there’s always so much I want to do each year to get in the spirit, yet I somehow let it all get away from me between the holiday shopping and the Christmas parties and the ABC Family (I refuse to truly refer to them as Freeform) 25 Day’s of Christmas marathons. So this year, I’ve created a bucket list for us to keep track + maybe even provide a little inspo of ideas! I’ve created a printable PDFd version as well, so you can download it for yourself! Click Here to Download 🙂

Check out the list + let me know what you think! And, as always, send me a message with any traditions you love for the holidays that haven’t been included. xo, AJ

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Face Mask Review- Just in Time for Black Friday

Hey babes! I’m back, and this time I’m bringing you a week’s worth of reviews for facemasks. Winter is right around the corner, and nothing gets my goat more than having my makeup cracked and peeling on my face by noon because of dry skin.

BONUS: I’m posting this just in time to get in on some Black Friday + Cyber Monday sales! Check them out + let me know what you think – and if you have a favorite mask that wasn’t mentioned, PLEASE comment me with a link – I’m dying to get the most hydrated skin possible!

Day 1: JJ Young Pore Bubble Mask – $16.99 from CVS

The Rundown: 3.5 // 5 stars. Not super hydrating, but it definitely minimized my pores. And tbh, I really liked the bubbles. It’s the little things.

Day 2: JJ Young Pore Glow Mask – $14.99 from CVS

The Rundown: 3.75 // 5 stars. More hydrating than the first JJ Young mask that I used. Your skin will feel fresh after you use this – it reminds me of how the inside of your mouth feels after you use Listerine if that makes sense?

Day 3: Laneige Mini Pore Waterclay Mask – $25 from Sephora

The Rundown: 4.5 // 5 stars. I don’t find this to be that hydrating, but it amazing for cleaning out the dirt in your pores, and awesome for exfoliating.

            Garnier Skin Super Hydrating Facial Mask – $14.31 for a pack of 6 from Amazon

The Rundown: 3 // 5 stars. The mask is inexpensive, so you get what you pay for. If your’e in a bind, this will still add some moisture to your skin, but it feels more watery than lotion-y.

Day 4: Peach Slices Soothe Mask – $2.49 from CVS

The Rundown: 4 // 5 stars. I LOVE this new brand! I’ve tried a few other products from this company and continue to have a great experience. Very hydrating and relaxing.

Day 5: Sephora Rose Sleeping Mask – $4 from Sephora

The Rundown: 5//5 stars. This was easily my favorite! I woke up with my skin looking fresh + fabulous and basically glowed throughout the day. The only annoying thing is that your face is a little sticky before bed, but the payoff is worth it.

Day 6: Sephora Algae Sheet Mask – $6 from Sephora

The Rundown: 4 // 5 stars. Sephora does a great job with their sheet masks. They’re pricier than the other sheet masks I did this week, but I noticed my skin loved it.