Back again for day three of my shopping guides to countdown to Thanksgiving. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are right around the corner and there are some awesome sales going on when it comes to apparel.
Naturally this had to be one of my shopping guides for you! I am including some of my favorite stores in this guide that have sales worth checking out. The Old Navy favorites are without the discounts, but everything else is the cost with the discount. So, what are you looking forward to most? Let me know in the comments!
Some other honorable mentions are: ModCloth, Macy’s, Kohls, and of course Amazon! Hope to see you tomorrow for my last shopping guide before the big shopping weekend. Thanks for stopping by and I’ll see you next time!
Day two shopping guide coming at ya for this upcoming Black Friday and Cyber Monday! Today I’ll be talking all things makeup and skincare and the great deals that are out there, some starting today and continuing throughout the week.
I will break down each brand and the deals they offer as well as some of my favorites that will be on sale. Let me know what you guys are looking forward to with these sales and make sure you come back tomorrow for another shopping guide!
Target: Starting 11/22, there will be BOGO 50% select beauty kits. These kits range from $10 to $35 and consist of multiple brands to pick from including Pixi and Burt’s Bees.
Sephora: Only by using the app do you get to see all of the previews. There are $15 and under selected items and bundles within the sale. Some included brands are Milk, Becca, CoverFx, Tarte, and more!
Ulta: Starting 11/22 at 5pm CT online and 6pm in store, Ulta has major deals on bundles and individual items as well, including their own brand. You can find most of my favorites I have mentioned above within this sale! These items range from $8 to $250. A big range, but that’s for anything from a The Body Shop lotion to the Clarisonic bundle package.
ELF: Starting now, with any purchase of $25+ until 11/27, you will receive a free prepackaged gift and free shipping. Between 11/22 and 11/26, you will get 50% off when you spend $30. With how affordable the makeup is, this is a great deal to try new items, but also pick up some favorites. Like the bubble mask I mentioned in my past Skincare favorites!
There are so many good deals this year! I hope you guys grab a few items you have had your eyes on while saving some money. Thanks for stopping by and come back tomorrow for my third shopping guide leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Today I am sharing my experience with Hilary at Brows by Hilary! Hilary is the boss babe behind this small business that she started in 2017 after taking a leap of faith. Hilary is based in Charlotte and has a large list of services that she provides. I’m already eyeing a few for the upcoming holidays! I found her through Google and Charlotte Agenda and her reviews speak for themselves. I needed a serious self care day, so I booked an appointment for a facial and to have my eyebrows waxed and she definitely delivered!
Walking into her space I immediately felt relaxed. We went over past experiences and what I wanted out of the appointment. I should tell you that the last time I got a facial, it was so painful and not enjoyable at all! That was in 2016 and I haven’t wanted to get one until now. I wanted to treat myself and refresh my skin now that I follow a skincare routine. I told her my worries and she was quick to address them and put me at ease. We also talked about my skincare routine and how skin only gets better through diet, water intake, and more.
When I got time to just look around the space, you feel like you’re in your own spa. It is decorated so minimally, but in the most beautiful way with golds and whites. You walk into the room and the smell warms you.
When the appointment began, she would explain the type of wax she was using and why while also asking what I liked and disliked about my brows so she knew what to do with them. I felt like I was in good hands right away. When it came time for the facial, I was already so relaxed that I was excited. Every step taken during my facial was so enjoyable and refreshing. From the oils to the hot towels, I was in heaven. Hilary has an air about her that was so relatable, but professional. We talked about our personal lives as well as business and each time she spoke, you could tell the pure love she has for this business.
If I had to pick the one thing I loved most about this experience, it was Hilary herself. She takes pride in her work and making you feel good by the end of the appointment. She answers all your questions, ensures you’re comfortable, will provide suggestions, and is extremely personable. I would say my self care day was a success. I had great service and even better conversation! I couldn’t stop thanking her by the end of the appointment.
All in all, I highly suggest you check out this small business. With the holidays coming up, this is a great place for a pick me up for yourself or even a gift for someone you love. I know I’m personally thinking about going back to prep for holiday pictures! This post only shares a small sneak peek into the services she provides, but you can bet that you’ll be happy with anything she offers.
Have a business you want me to check out in Charlotte for my “Supporting Local” posts? Send me a message or leave me a comment. I have been loving this series and this Supporting Local post was a big win in my books and I can’t wait to continue finding businesses I fall in love with. The Facebook page for Brows by Hilary is linked to the picture above as well. As always, I appreciate you stopping by and I’ll see you next time!
Happy Monday, back to the grind we go! Today I’ll be sharing a weekend wrap up with you guys! It was a fun and special weekend in Charlotte and wanted to spotlight some places I spent my time.
Although I wish my weekends were always this fun and busy, you can usually find me on the couch one day out of the weekend binge watching Netflix and catching up on anything I recorded. Can anyone else relate? I’m all for a good adventure, but sometimes I really like being a home body.
Last week I was able to host an Alumni happy hour for my Alma Mater and it was great! That started my weekend off on Thursday. We held it at NODA Brewing and I received great feedback on the options on tap for beer as well as the wine and spiked seltzer they had. The spiked seltzer is actually a newer release for them and it was so good. If you head over to their taproom I highly suggest trying it out!
We had a great turn out for our event and indulged in the food truck, Tin Kitchen that was on site. I personally love the food trucks in Charlotte as there are a ton of options and there’s always one parked at a brewery. As for the brewery itself, if you ever want to host an event there, it’s a great option. The taproom is big enough and they make using their drink tickets easy!
FRIDAYAll week was leading up to Friday. We got to see Hamilton with the Phillip touring cast. It was unreal honestly. I was captivated and rode the wave of emotions that Lin-Manuel Miranda so beautifully wrote to evoke connections and engagement within the crowd. I laughed, cried, and held my breathe. I was not only grateful I was able to see Hamilton, but also grateful that Charlotte has such a beautiful theater to allow these kind of experiences.
The Belk Theater at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center is centrally located within the city. Dan and I grabbed dinner at RiRa’s Irish Pub not even a block away from the center and walked once we were finished. The ease of it really made me appreciate the city set up, especially on this cold and windy night! I’m still reeling off this night as it’s now Monday morning and I’m going through the Hamilton soundtrack album on Spotify for the second time rewatching the show in my head. Who can blame me?
Honestly, going out in Charlotte for Halloween is not for me. Just like most cities there is a bar crawl, most bars are jammed full, and you will get hit by someone’s costume at least once. This year I wasn’t planning on doing anything until Dan came home with costumes in hand for a Halloween party a friend was hosting at his house.
It was the epitome of a throwback house party in college and they did an awesome job setting up. Each room had a different theme for Halloween and people got creative. I lasted maybe a half hour in my heels and put flip flops on…girls you know what I’m talking about! Other than that though it was a great party and a great way to see some friends without the craziness of the city. It wasn’t a late night for us, but I was glad we got out of the house for some fun together since Dan has been traveling often for work.
Sunday was a self- care day in the morning, but also a needed cleaning day. Dan headed out to the Panthers game and I put on a face mask and went to cleaning, which was pretty quick. Just before half time I was getting stir crazy and made plans with a friend to get out of the house. A girl’s day in NODA was much needed!
I have not been to Divine Barrel until today and it was great. They had live music, tons of space in the taproom as well as outside on their patio and table games. We played a few games, watched some football, and I grabbed a glass for Dan’s collection before heading to Jack Beagle’s for some dinner. If you haven’t been in the NODA area, there are a ton of options and all walking distance within each other. Plus Jack Beagle’s has solid mac ‘n cheese…just saying!
I finished my weekend just hanging out with the pup and Dan before going to bed. This weekend was a jam packed one and one I wanted to share with you guys. A peek into my life! Let me know some of your favorite places in Charlotte and I would love to try them out on a weekend. As always, thanks for stopping by and I’ll see you guys next time.
Happy hump day everyone! We’re halfway there and today I’m coming at you with some recent favorites that I’m using in my skincare and makeup routine. I have a good mix of products that range in price in my arsenal, but if I can find a good drugstore product I’m all about it! I should start by saying that I did not used to take care of my skin.
I was the girl during college going to bed with a full face and my contacts in and waking up in rough shape with my skin screaming. Once I kicked that habit, I loved how clear my skin was becoming and never went back. Now three years later I have rotated through quite a bit of product and what I’ll be sharing with you are my favorites that I have been testing and continuing to love for the last 3 months. Let me know what other favorites you want to see from me, now let’s dive in!
Pixi Glow Tonic: I have never used tonic until 7-8 months ago and it took some time to find one that worked well with my skin. This one is amazing for my combination skin. My skin does not get irritated as it did with other toners and my skin feels plump and clean with it. It’s cruelty and paraben-free. I also enjoy how a little goes a long way and the price tag! $15
Clinique Moisture Surge: I can’t knock what my mama got me into. I have a few moisturizers, but I tend to stray back to this one when my skin gets really dry. I have used this for years, but am now remembering how good it is which is why it’s back in my rotation of favorites. A little goes a long way with this as well. I always can feel the difference of my skin once I use it and how much more smooth my skin feels when I hydrate it with this product. They say the Hyaluronic Acid and Activated Aloe water help to plump the skin and make it feel dewy, which I do believe it does. For this product there’s no parabens, phthalates, or a fragrance. $39
L’Oreal Clay Mask: I swear my pores are smaller! When I use this mask, I always notice the texture on my face is not as prominent. I tend to use this when I treat myself to a bath or when I’m reading. It’s a 10-15 minute mask that also helps exfoliate your skin which is a big plus since I usually do it at night and need a good cleaning from a long day. $13
Elf Hydrating Bubble Mask: This is a newer favorite that I’m still messing with, but I have really enjoyed it! Hydration is definitely provided with this mask and it’s a quick mask as well. The bubbles develop quickly as it reacts to the water. I have started using this as it’s getting colder out and my skin is starting to get a bit more dry. I can feel the difference on my dry spots after almost immediately. $14
Tarte Timeless Smoothing Primer: This favorite comes from a YouTuber I found named Tati. She spoke about it extremely well and I was through my last two primers and tried this one. Boy, was she right! My pores are filled when using this, but it doesn’t feel heavy or greasy at all. My makeup has sit well on top of it and has worn well too. I’ve used this in both my dry and oily areas on my face! $39
Milani Blush: I don’t see myself buying a new blush for a while. This Milani blush is perfect to build with depending on what you’re going for. The color selection is beautiful and creamy. This is a favorite for the price and performance. What I love most is that this blush doesn’t bring out my texture even more when I’m using it. $9
Urban Decay Eye Shadow Primer: Okay, this is not a must but it’s a big win in my makeup bag. I have traveled quite a bit lately and have needed my makeup to wear well. This has been an amazing addition in order to keep my eye shadow in place and more vivid. Using glitters or metallics have been my favorite with this as they look twice as good! If you have a big event coming up and need to ensure your shadow stays in place, I would try this out. $24
Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer: Last, but not least, is a favorite that a lot of people seem to agree with. I have a hard time with the color of bronzer sometimes, but this was a big win! Also, who can beat the smell of a tropical vacation that this has. Just like the blush, I don’t find that this enhances my texture and it blends so well. It’s easy to build, but to also veil in case you put too much on. This favorite will stay in my makeup bag for some time. $15
So, do you use and love some of these favorites? Let me know in the comments! I hope you enjoyed my round up and let me know if you try any of these out. As always, thanks for stopping by and I will see you guys next time!
Hey guys! I took a few polls on my Instagram this weekend and you guys let me know that you wanted to know more about my genetic testing experience. Please remember that this is just my story, I’m not a specialist and I’m only sharing what I learned! If you have questions, I highly suggest you talk to your doctor about the possibility of getting tested.
I would be lying if I was not nervous writing this, but transparency is key with you guys. My experience with genetic testing was recommended by my doctor as we started digging into family history. Doctors have recommended the testing to me before, but I have never followed through. As I start to have conversations about family planning, I realized the importance of the testing due to my family history.
No one in my family, to my knowledge, has had this testing done before. Going through this experience has taught me that cancer stems from genetics or environmental factors and sometimes both. It’s usually separated by hereditary, familial, or sporadic cancer and I’ll leave those definitions below. My family history includes throat, stomach, colon, prostate, breast, and ovarian cancer. At the beginning of this process, I could attribute possibly only one of these to an environmental factor, which was smoking. Of course that’s what my mom told me, so I’ve never been sure.
The best way to explain genetic testing is that it’s a test that helps you figure out if you carry any of the 28 main genes that are connected to 8 important cancer types that fall into that hereditary bucket I mentioned. The genes tested are for breast, ovarian, colorectal, uterine, melanoma, pancreatic, stomach, and prostate cancer. There is a ninth column for “other” cancer that really just means that with specific genes, they can tie back to multiple other cancers that aren’t necessary as “prominent” as the eight mentioned.
For the testing itself, I had the option of a blood or spit test and was told I would have results in about 2-3 weeks. As for the results, the genes could fall into three categories: positive, negative, and uncertain variant. For uncertain variants I was told that they are treated as a negative result until there is an update on the specific gene, but often the gene is categorized as a negative anyways.
If a gene came back as positive, there is a structured plan for managing the risk. Each plan would correlate to the specific gene mutation found. There were also statistics provided to me for positive results. One specifically that explained a positive result would correlate to a 50% chance that my parent(s), sisters, brothers, and children would have the same gene mutation.
So exactly sixteen days later after spitting into a tube, I got my results. I locked myself in my room and listened to my specialist tell me I tested negative for all but four genes that came back uncertain variant. She explained I would get updates on those genes as more research was done, but to treat them as negative results otherwise.
This easily has been the best news I’ve gotten in a while and made me very grateful I did it. I have truly had a weight lifted off my shoulders as I’ve always worried about cancer. Of course this doesn’t mean that I am immune to cancer, but it does mean that nothing in me has put me at an additional and elevated risk.
All in all, my experience was a good one. I had a supportive specialist that answered all my questions and ensured I understood all the information provided. Luckily my results came back negative and my nerves have been put at ease. I truly recommend this test to those of you that have worried about cancer within your family. For me, this has calmed my mind for the simple fact that I now know my body isn’t putting me at a disadvantage to this very impactful genetic disease as well as knowing my chances of passing it on to my future children. It’s a painless process and worth it if you’ve been thinking about it. As always, thank you for stopping by and I will see you next time!
Hereditary Cancer: Occurs when an altered gene (gene with a mutation) is passed down in the family from parent to child. People with hereditary cancer are more likely to have relatives with the same type or related type of cancer. They may develop more than one cancer and their cancer often occurs at an earlier average age. Familial Cancer: Likely caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. People with familial cancer may have one or more relatives with the same type of cancer; however, there does not appear to be a specific pattern of inheritance (e.g., the cancer risk is not clearly passed from parent to child). Sporadic Cancer: Occurs by chance. People with sporadic cancer typically do not have relatives with the same type of cancer.
Welcome back! Today I wanted to share some thoughts as it’s been a bit more than a year of being a home owner. After taking some time and reflecting, I have come to three conclusions I stand by and remind myself about often. To give you the backstory on our house before jumping in, I’ll give you a short summary of our house hunting journey.
Dan and I started looking to buy a house in mid May of 2017 and closed on July 25th, 2017. Our house had three offers on it by the time we were even able to see it- thank goodness for our amazing realtor David Traugott. Honestly, we didn’t think we had a chance, but still put in an offer and maybe an hour later we got the verbal acceptance! I cried in the parking lot of a Dunkin’ Donuts, I’m sure all first time buyers have been here before…right? Back to present day and we love our house, but we have also needed to come to terms with some things. With that said, let’s hop into my top three thoughts on home ownership!
Setting Yourself Up Financially When we bought the house as you could imagine our savings took a hit, but we knew we needed to start back up as soon as possible to ensure we had money ready and available for any unforseeable issues. One of the best things we did was set up a joint account that we transfer money into each paycheck. We have made a goal for this account, which is to save 20% of the house value. I think that everyone knows they have to save when they have a house, but my thought on this is to truly make a goal and stick to it. Breakdown what it will take to get there whether you get paid weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, etc to ensure your goal is feasible. In our case we use this account for other items as well, but we use the app GoodBudget to ensure we are budgeting our funds for the right things. For example, within the app we have “buckets” set up for the dog, house, wedding, and monthly charity donation we have set for autodraft. When money is put into the account we allocate the proper amount to each of those and when we use the joint card, we subtract the expense from the proper “bucket” to track our cash flow.
Know Your Home This is a big one. We are one year out and have been extremely lucky. We have gotten our AC fixed with no major cost and have had to buy a new toilet, but that’s about it. We are fully aware that it could be worse and will be at some point when something big goes out. We took time to ensure we knew how old everything was for our house and if there was anything replaced. This goes for the AC, water heater, to the fence and roof outside! Over this last year, we have made sure to do what we can to take care of these items as best we can. There’s not a whole lot you can do sometimes, but when you can take preventive methods just take the time to do so. Even when that item may break at least you will have a plan and be aware that it was a possibilty! Even for the little things like a sliding door, take the time to maintain it and ensure it’s in good condition. Owning a house is such an amazing accomplishment, but it is not cheap so avoiding costs and taking care of your home is so important! Proactive measures and prevenative methods will always beat out being reactive and rushed when things do go wrong. And again, things will go wrong at some point.
Have Realistic Expectations Would I love to redo my kitchen and fill my house? Of course, but with purchasing this house I had to humble myself and remind myself that we will grow into the space with time. Our house is four bedrooms, two and a half baths, and basically 3200 sq ft. Yes, we are crazy. No, we do not regret buying the home. Yes, the house is too big sometimes when Dan travels for work. At the end of the day though, we got an amazing deal, a house we can grow into, and a home that had everything we wanted on our list of “must-haves”. If you’re anything like us, most of the furniture in our home is a combination between both Dan and I’s apartments. We purchased some items and were gifted things as well, but for the most part our house is just a mashup of everything we have owned previously, which surprisingly works out for the most part. With this said, I have to remind myself that it’s going to take time to fill this house and that’s okay. My taste and style have already changed a hand full of times so the more time I have the better I’ll be able to buy and decorate the house with Dan.
I used to get so frustrated with all the space we had and the lack of furnishings, but I’ve had to remind myself lately how lucky I am to be a twenty-something young professional with a house. I am so grateful to have a place to call home that has my name on it. To be paying money for more ownership into something. Having a home to create traditions and memories in. More and more I must remind myself that the material things that fill the home do not make it a home.
Filling up the house and making updates are still expectations I have, but are now long term plans. When you buy a home, make goals and have expectations that are feasible with where you are in life and what makes sense. I understand the pressure to do so especially if you want to host people or if you just want that “Pinterest” look, but your friends will understand and well, Pinterest projects aren’t always all that they seem. Just remember to pace yourself accordingly and build a timeline of projects, goals, and expectations based on the right timing for you. You alone, not for anyone else.
Owning a home has been wonderful and we have some amazing memories and traditions we have created here. I always love reflecting on our journey and how we got to where we are. As the end of the year creeps up on us, I can’t help but look around at my slimly decorated home for fall and smile. I smile because 2018 has challenged me, rewarded me, and humbled me. All things I have been able to process and work through within these four walls of my home, for which I am grateful for. So how long did it take you to decorate your home? Were there things you were grateful you thought about once you owned your home? Do you like these types of reflection posts? Let me know in the comments! As always thank you for stopping by and I will see you on my next post!
Happy Friday! I hope you all have an amazing weekend planned! Today I’ll be sharing with you my experience with Worthy Figures, a brand that offers boutique style shopping for sizes 12+. Amy is based in Charlotte and she has an amazing eye for fashion. She is also a newly appointed Mod Cloth Advocate which is exciting and she posted about it on her page if you would like more information. She keeps classic, trendy, and special occasion pieces stocked and helps you to step out of your comfort zone. I got to experience this shopping day excursion with Shanice Littlejohn, which was so exciting and a pleasure.
When we got there, there was a delicious candle lit warming the space, a mirror ready to do its job and racks of clothing waiting to be sifted through. Amy explained that she had a rack of curated pieces that were chosen based on our Instagrams and pieces we have liked that she posted. We browsed the racks and tried on pieces that fit our style and some that pushed us out of our comfort zones. All the while, I couldn’t help but ask Amy a few questions. She explained her love for shopping and styling, while giving some great examples of how a piece in her store has fit into so many people’s closests that all had such different tastes and that were all different ages. I think that alone is a statement about how much time she invests in diversifying her boutique and her customer base.
By the end of the appointment, I walked out with three sweaters and a cute fall t-shirt she printed for her business. All four items will be featured in my Instagram posts as well as a Fall Look book I’m working on for you guys! You could say my experience was an A+ with an extra + and here’s why.
I have always had a hard time shopping mainly for any sort of top due to the fact that my chest is, well, large. I mean…I have a hard time finding bras sometimes if we’re being honest. I didn’t have that issue with Worthy Figures because it’s her niche and specialty. Amy knows what brands tend to run small or big, which have a bit more stretch in their clothing, and so much more. This knowledge showed in our appointment.
With this experience, I still went up a size in one of the sweaters simply because I loved how it looked oversized. Overall though, I have been looking for affordable pieces; under $50, for the fall since August and have struck out, but not this time. For once, I left a shopping experience with a huge smile on my face. I didn’t leave defeated or discouraged because I was set up for success and let me just say that even if I did leave with nothing purchased I still would have been happy. I believe this because this business concept is a unique one. It’s not often that this is actually an option for women that are plus-size. This Boss Babe has gotten it right, from the atmosphere to the physical stock, and I can’t wait to see the growth that this business deserves.
If one thing stuck out the most about this experience it’s when we would try on something that was out of our comfort zone. Amy would be there telling us to make it our own and to not let the piece dictate the outfit, but to make it fit into our own personal style. Shanice found this amazing large pearl sweater that she thought was too feminine for her style, but Amy urged her to try it and with some (gorgeous) black thigh-high boots and jeans, Shanice absolutely rocked it. The bottom half of her outfit didn’t play up the femininity of the sweater, it instead balanced it.
This is a business I will continue to support because her heart is in the right place and her business’ mission aligns perfectly with who she is. Yes, I am laying it on thick, but man was I impressed. If you are in Charlotte I highly suggest you checking her out as she has a few events coming up that I’ll list below as well as linking. Worthy Figures attends events, does personal shopping/ styling, and does personal appointments. Even if you find something you love, but aren’t sure she’ll hold it and invoice you for later to ensure you want it. She’s accommodating, professional, and relatable.
This post shares a small sneak peek into what I bought and what she has available. I have always loved supporting local businesses, so I was so excited to write this post. Have a business you want me to check out in Charlotte for my “Supporting Local” posts? Send me a message or leave me a comment. This first Supporting Local post was a big win in my books and I can’t wait to continue finding businesses I fall in love with.
Worthy Figure’s Facebook with event dates are linked to the picture to the right. Make sure you subscribe to blog so you don’t miss a post and follow me on Instagram! As always, thank you for stopping by and supporting All Things Alicia! I’ll see you guys next time.