Holiday Wish List 2015

I really don’t exchange gifts with very many people. My gift exchanges typically consist of my parents and little H so this list, as much as anything, is a list of items of various price points that I hope to end up with in the upcoming year!

  1. Dry Bar 3-Day Bender 1.25″ Digital Curling Iron— As most people know, I love curling rods. I have a plethora of items to help me curl and bend my hair into every which way, but there is something about this tool that I especially like. I don’t know which quality I like better, the fact that it gets extremely hot, which my thick coarse hair appreciates, or that it is a combination of automatic and manual movements. Either way, I love it. Curling Iron
  2. Louis Vuitton Zippy Wallet — Every wish list needs a big ticket item, and this one is mine! Earlier this fall I purchased my first Louis Vuitton purse, the medium sized Never Full. Because it was so expensive and probably the only one I will have for a long time, I opted for the traditional monogramed pattern. Even as I purchased it, I wished that I had the money for the Zippy Wallet in the Damier Ebene Canvas pattern. It is the perfect wallet for all of my needs: plenty of room for cards, holds your cash flat and zips up to keep all of your belongings safe.louis-vuitton-zippy-wallet-damier-azur-canvas-small-leather-goods--N60019_PM2_Front view
  3. Iluminage Skin Rejuvenating Eye Mask — For most of my life I have had terrible sleeping patterns. One of my biggest struggles is that I sleep softly. For years I have read the benefits of using eye masks to block out light and recently I found the Illuminate Eye Mask. This copper infused mask, like typical eye masks, blocks out light while also fighting fine lines and wrinkles! iluminage_eye_mask_solo_2_2
  4. Yeti Rambler 30 oz. — I have always struggled to drink enough water. It’s weird because I love water, but I have noticed I can only drink it if it is extremely cold. Enter, the Yeti. The Yeti Rambler is a 30 oz. travel mug that keeps cold drinks cold for up to 24 hours and (hot drinks warm for 12 hours). While not as cute as some other options (Swell, Contigo, etc.), it is the perfect size and function!YETICoolers_YRAM30_15
  5. White Bluetooth Ear Muffs — I love ear muffs, but living in Texas does not provide me with many opportunities to wear them. Of course a silly thing like weather does not impact my accessory choices! What makes these particular ear muffs even better is the fact that they are bluetooth enabled! I can listen to my favorite music while also keeping my ears warm. Perfect combo! Earmuffs
  6. Big O Key Ring— A few years ago, I was in my favorite Starbucks and while I was looking around at all of the moms getting their caffeine boost before taking their kids to school, I noticed that many of them had these leather bracelets that held all of their keys. It took me a long time to find where to purchase them (apparently, it didn’t occur to me to ask someone).big_o-pink_1024x1024
  7. Clinique Skin Repair Serum — A wish list of mine would not be complete without a skin care product! That honor goes to Clinique’s Smart Custom-Repair Serum. What sets this serum apart from the rest is the fact that it modifies to your specific skin. Because of this, it can be used with any skin type! While fighting the typical fine lines and wrinkles, it also boasts the ability to return your skin to it’s youthful glow!clinique
  8. ReMEDies Cool Mist Humidifier — A humidifier is one of those items that I have always wanted, but never cared enough to truly purchase for myself. The more I read about them though, the more I think I need one. I have terrible sinuses and can’t tell you how many mornings I wake up with headaches.   Supposedly cool mist humidifiers help that. Additionally, they are great for your skin during the winter! humidifier
  9. Blanket Scarf — Like most winter accessories, I always feel a little ridiculous loading up on scarves, but all fall this particular blanket scarf has been popping up on my Facebook feed. Finally, one day I clicked on it and LOVED it. The red and black version is totally me and I love that I can wear it in so many different ways. This is something I am definitely hoping for this holiday! blanket scarf
  10. NuFace Mini Facial Toning Device — I am a huge fan of Korean Skin Care Routines. Part of the protocol consists of facial massages to stimulate the skin. This is the step that I struggle with the most, but this device will take care of that for me! There is a large version that consists of various add ons to focus on target areas (corners of mouth, crow’s feet, etc) but I think this one is good enough for me! NUFACE-

That completes my 2015 wish list (or at least my top 10 wishes)! What are you hoping for this holiday season? Follow my Instagram @Jessicasgoneviral to see which wishes become reality!

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Holiday Gift Guide 2015 – Part 2

My previous gift guide (click here if you missed it) included the perfect gifts for all of the hair, skincare and makeup enthusiasts in your life, but what about everyone else? Below are my top ten gift ideas that (almost) anyone would love to receive!

  1. Hunter Boot Socks — I love my Hunter boots, but what i love even more are the socks that you can buy to wear with them. They are made specifically to wear with your boots, fit comfortably inside and keep your feet perfectly toasty! They come in a variety of colors and styles. I love pairing my cream sweater socks with my red boots!Hunter Socks
  1. Lulu Guinness Umbrella — This is one of those items that I never wanted to purchase for myself, but once I finally did I loved it. It is adorable, easily fits two people and doesn’t turn inside out when it’s windy. These umbrellas are such conversation pieces, people always ask where I found it and how they can get their hands on one! If you don’t find one you like on their website, head to Amazon and Ebay for even more choices!lulu guiness
  1. Ugg Slippers — I was slow to jump on the Ugg slipper bandwagon. There were two main reasons for this: 1. As their name implies, they are ugly and 2. I really like slippers that cover my ankle (due to various ankle injuries, I am basically a robot and have various bits of metal in there that don’t respond well to the cold). I finally gave in and purchased some this Fall and realized what an idiot I was, these things are incredibly comfortable and super warm. There so many styles, there is certainly a pair for everyone on your list! ugg slippers
  1. Starbucks Tumblers/Mugs — Earlier this fall, I became obsessed with the new Starbucks Dot Collection tumblers. I rarely drink hot coffee, and somehow ended up with 5 tumblers and a coffee cup. They are super cute and selling out fast. dot collection
  1. Novelty Flash Drive — I am a firm believer in making even the most boring items (i.e. flash drives) exciting. Last year I needed a new flash drive for school, so while avoiding some homework I had to finish I decided to do some online shopping. It was at this time that I came across a USB that looked like a piece of sushi. I obviously had to have it. If sushi isn’t your thing, Amazon and Ebay have tons of options more your style! Flash
  1. Hulu Subscription — If you read my Thanksgiving post (if you didn’t, click here), you know that I am thankful for Hulu. Let’s be honest, Hulu is Netflix’s redheaded step child, but it is awesome. With Hulu, you are able to catch up, commercial free, on current seasons of your favorite shows. It’s one of those gifts that you can totally live without, but why would you want to? Hulu-Plus
  1. Touchscreen Gloves — One of my favorite Winter fashion accessories are gloves. For some reason, they make me feel as though I am in a snowy wonderland, rather than Texas. Like most people, I have a smart phone which makes gloves a burden. Last year I finally purchased some tech gloves, which allow you to use your phone while also keeping your hands warm! These are a must for anyone with smart phone!touchscreen-gloves-91-624x624
  1. Cashmere Throw — My mom is an incredible gift giver (and an even better stocking stuffer). Many years ago, she saw on the Today show that cashmere blankets are an incredible gift for the travelers in your life, so she purchased some for our family members. The Today Show was right, they do make fantastic presents and wayfair.com has a bunch on sale right now! cashmere
  1. Kendra Scott Earrings — Much like the Ugg slippers, I was slow to jump on the Kendra Scott bandwagon. The main reason was that I didn’t want to have accessories that everyone else had, but I have found some seriously cute items that not many other people have. My current faves are these ear cuffs, which come in multiple colors! caralyn-earring-gold-jewel
  1. Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling — I have a not so secret obsession with Mindy Kaling. Not only is The Mindy Project one of my favorite shows, I loved her last book (Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?) and couldn’t wait for her latest to be released. As expected, I loved it. Personally, I purchased the audiobook and listened while driving to and from work and school. This book actually made me look forward to my commute, rather than dread it like most days! mindy-kaling-why-not-me

That completes my 2015 Gift Guide. Stay tuned for my personal wish list. Happy Holidays (shopping)!

Thankful Thursday 2015

Thanksgiving

During November my social media is constantly inundated with daily adorations.  People share each day one thing they are thankful for.  I always think this is lame because by the time Thanksgiving rolls around, they have run out of things they are truly thankful for and share really weird things, I mean who cares?  So instead of participating in this tired ritual I channeled my inner David Letterman and came up with my Top 10 Reasons I am Thankful — 2015!  This may get a little long and mushy, but I will only do it once a year so whatever.

My parents — Okay I know a lot of people start with their parents because everyone’s parents do so much for them.  Mine do as well, they are the best and I couldn’t imagine getting through this thing called life without them.  That’s not why I am thankful though.  My parents are the type of people everyone needs in their life.  They are my loudest cheerleaders, staunchest supporters and always have my back (even the few times I may have been in the wrong).  Nobody could ask for better squad members than Plano John and Kit Kat.  My mom has this insane quality of reprimanding me while at the same time plotting the demise of those who wronged me; she still harbors resentment towards a girl who was mean to me in high school (15 years ago). My dad, who most of the time I think tunes me out, shocks me with what all he knows about me.  After telling him that a friend wants to dress up as Taylor Swift for Halloween, he shows up four days later with “the perfect gun holster” for her costume.  All in all, they are awesome. 

My Brother — While many people would lump “family” into one, my brother totally deserves a special shout out.  Red is by far the most influential person in my life, which is not easy for someone who only speaks 5 words.  Every major decision I have made can some how be traced back to this guy.  Without him I would not have the heart, patience or compassion that I do.  Sure, I have to lock up my toilet paper, but every sibling relationship has their issues.  (Of note: my brother has autism which explains the lack of conversation skills and my need to walk around my house with a key around my neck).

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Jaime — Everyone needs a ride or die chick in their life, not just rappers, and Jaime is mine.  Jaime is one of those people that always has a plan for a good time.  While almost everyone loves going to a movie, she finds ways to make even the most boring movie an “event” with wardrobes, props and tons of pictures.  She is more than just a fun time though, she is an incredible listener, finds ways to fix the unfixable and is truly one of the strongest people I know; just don’t cross her.  Just for the record, she is completely exhausting but I suppose in the long run, she is totally worth it. 

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A PROPer Valentine’s Day 2015

The H Team — One of the highlights of my job (more to come on that) is the fact that I get to meet and know so many amazing people.  While I have become close with many people at the ECEC, nobody is more special to me than my favorite 5 year old, Harper.  First off, Harper is awesome.  She is clever, exuberant, seriously funny and has the sweetest soul you can ever have the privilege of getting to know.  When I met Harper  she was 18 months old and walking across a table like it was her personal catwalk.  I knew I loved her instantly.  Little did I know, more than three years later I would be picking her up from kindergarten and listening to her read to me.  She loves life and makes everything fun and exciting.  While she loves all things girly, she is also creative and loves building and learning.  Although I would love to take credit for this (I was an amazing Mini Tot teacher after all), Harper has an incredible family.  Her parents have infused her life with love, encouragement and opportunities to learn, explore and create.  Sure, they are busy (we are talking serious power couple here), but they ensure she is surrounded by people who love and support her.  They have allowed me to become such an integral part of her life, simply because she loves me.  They always include me in her special events (birthdays, graduations, random Valentine soirées) because they recognize she would want me there.  While this may not seem like that big of a deal, it really is. Simply put, Harper (and her family) are awesome.

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Harper drew us BFF necklaces

ECEC — Before I worked at the ECEC I was homeschooling a girl with autism and I was miserable.  One day while venting to a friend of mine over sushi, she mentioned the school she was working at was looking for a few staff members.  I applied instantly and was fortunate enough to be hired a few weeks later.  I know many people claim to love their job, but I REALLY do.  Not only did the ECEC lead me to Harper, it is a genuinely great place to work.  Everyday I get to come to work, see some of my best friends, play and snuggle with young children and help families find ways to best meet the various needs of their children.  I can’t really ask for more than that.

Nicki Minaj — Okay this might seem kind of random, but bear with me.  This summer I my Uncle Bill passed away.  I am not going to pretend that we had the relationship where we talked everyday, we didn’t.  We had the type of relationship where every time Apple released it’s new line of iPhones, we would text back and forth about whether or not we just HAD to have it (we almost always did).  It worked for us and I always loved him.  He passed away suddenly in July and my dad and I went to Chicago to start the never ending task of dealing with his estate.  “Hey Mama” by Nicki Minaj and David Guetta was the song of the summer and each time it came on the radio, I would turn it up and tell my dad how much I loved it (again, my dad is awesome for simply letting this happen over and over again).  On my last night in Chicago, I was looking through his computer and realized that he had purchased “Hey Mama”.  Hidden in the various 80’s country songs he had in his library was this little gem.  I wish I knew what lead him to buy this and I think about it a lot.  Now, every time I hear this song, I get an instant smile on my face.  For that reason, I will forever be thankful to Nicki Minaj.

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Hulu Commercial Free Plan — I am an incredibly busy person.  I have a full time job, hang out with Harper at least two nights a week, and I am enrolled in a full time Ph.D program.  Because of this, I love mindless TV.  I love just vegging out in bed with shows I don’t need to think about, which is why I was devastated this summer when my favorite show, The Mindy Project was cancelled.  I was nearly inconsolable for the 48 hours it took for Hulu to announce they had picked it up.  I quickly subscribed and discovered that they air commercials (I hate commercials with a passion).  This was made even worse when I realized I couldn’t even fast forward through them.  I was miserable watching these shows, unable to fast forward and worried that I was going to have to cancel my subscription and lose Mindy.  Shortly after subscribing Hulu announced a  commercial free plan and it is amazing.  It allows me to catch up on so many of my favorite shows (including General Hospital) without being interrupted with pesky commercials to fast forward through.  It is the best $3 I spend each month.

My Competitive Spirit — As I mentioned, I am working on my Ph.D.  I am, without a doubt, the worst doctoral student.  I really hate going to class, and would always rather read about new eyeshadow pallets and Korean skin care than evidence based teaching practices.  The only thing that keeps me going down this Ph.D path is the fact that I am incredibly competitive and want to be the first one of my (real world) friends with this degree.  My competitiveness also makes it nearly impossible for me to quit things, no matter how hard they are!

Ulta Rewards  — Obviously, I write a beauty blog and I can not let Thanksgiving go by without being thankful for something cosmetics related.  I am obsessed with Ulta’s Rewards program.  If I’m totally honest, Sephora carries way more brands and items that I love, but I rarely shop there.  Instead, I shop almost exclusively at Ulta, checking my app each day to see if there are bonus offers to activate and hoard points so that I can purchase big ticket items like my Clarisonic Opal and T3 Interchangeable Styling Wands at hugely discounted prices.  Seriously, start investing in the Ulta Rewards program!

This #Basic Life — I can’t lie, I have an awesome life.  Sure, I have my problems, everyone does but I am also blessed with incredible people and opportunities.  My family is wonderful and make my life better in more ways than I will ever share with them.  I have fantastic friends who like to do lame things, such as seasonally appropriate  photo shoots in pumpkin patches, tulip farms and bluebonnet fields (just to name a few).  I have an awesome job (or two, or three) and actually get paid to hang out with some of my favorite people and do fun things!  I don’t think I could ask for any more than that!!!

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**Bonus thank you to my friend Jennifer who is the biggest supporter of my blog.  She is the one who hounded me until I finally resumed writing and proof reads each and every blog I publish (except this one).  She never gets the thank you she deserves, but I am truly grateful!

Holiday Gift Guide 2015 — Part 1

I am a total sucker for holiday lists. As soon as they start popping up all over my social media accounts, I excitedly click through them discovering items that I never knew I couldn’t live without. This year I am creating my own list for all of the beauty loving, techie, fashionistas in your life! These are my very favorite products that make me happy and make me, “me!” I am starting off with my favorite beauty and skincare products, stay tuned for part two!

For the makeup enthusiast in your life

I haven’t been wearing makeup that long (roughly a year and a half), but in that time I have researched, tested and reviewed countless brushes, palettes and products. Below are a list of my very favorite products that any makeup lover would love to add to their collection.

  • Urban Decay Good Karma Optical Blurring Brush. I am absolutely obsessed with this brush. If I could take only one face brush to a deserted island I would quickly pack this one away. It smooths out my cc creams and foundations with such ease and smoothness. I haven’t found another brush that remotely rivals this one!

blurring brush

  • French Kisses Melted — $25 Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love Too Faced Melted Lipsticks. The colors! The shine! The length of wear! I love them. Too Faced has released this set 4 of minis which is the perfect way to try them out.

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  • Butter London RSVP Set — $29. Nail polish is my first love, and Butter London has always been one of my favorite brands. This spring they released a new 10x Shine formula and it is fantastic. Polish stays shockingly shiny (and stays put) for days and days. This set includes minis of 4 classic shades.

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  • Urban Decay Naked Palettes — $29 – $54. I love the UD Naked collection. I have every full size palette, basic palette, even Naked on The Run. My personal favorite is Naked 2, but everyone has a strong affinity to a specific palette based on their skin tones and preferences. If you aren’t sure which one to grab, go for the original. It’s a classic!

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  • Sigma Basic Eyes Kit — $77. I know many people rave about Mac brushes, but personally, I prefer Sigma. I have slowly acquired most of their eye brushes, and this set includes all of my faves. This set includes 7 brushes that will help you achieve all of your favorite eye looks!

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  • Benjabelle Daisy Brush Tree — $19.99. This is one of those items that you don’t know you need until you have one, and can’t believe you lived so long without it! Cleaning your brushes is one of the downfalls of loving makeup so much and it is important to dry your brushes upside down so that you can make them last. This stand fits brushes of various shapes and sizes and removes wasting time trying to find ways to keep your brushes upside down!

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For the hair/skincare enthusiast

  • Clarisonic — $99+. When people ask me about improving the skin, the first thing I ask is if they have a Clarisonic brush. For me, it was the most essential part of my skincare routine. Not only does it get my face incredibly clean, it also exfoliates! There are always promotions for these brushes during the holidays, so snatch one up!

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  • Aztec Clay Mask — $9. This is a little set that I have started putting together for gifts. It is no secret that I love face masks, but my absolute favorite is the Aztec clay mask. I mix a little with some Braggs apple cider vinegar and wait for the pulsating to begin. When I take it off, my skin is the softer than it has ever been. For the holidays I would purchase the duo and put a pretty bow on it!

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  • The Face Shop Living Nature Face Masks (Set of 15) — $16. With the increased awareness of Korean Skincare routines, paper face masks have become extremely popular. I have tried multiple brands and my favorite remains The Face Shop. Each mask is soaked in natural essences, smell incredible and soak nicely into my skin. One of my complaints with face masks is how they slip around, so I use a mask cover ($3.50)to keep it in place!

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  • Boar Bristle Brush — $12. Boar bristle brushes are an essential component of my weekly hair routine. They help diminish my natural frizz while also massaging my scalp (to reduce dryness). Everyone should have one!

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  • Silk Pilowcases — $10 each. For years I heard about the benefits of sleeping on silk pillowcases. They reduce wrinkles and keep your blowouts from getting out of control while you sleep! This summer I finally purchased some and my hair has never looked better!

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This completes my beauty and skin care gift giving guide! Stay tuned for my favorite gifts for all the fashionistas in your life.