That day when…

that day when

 

You set the bar so high no one can achieve it…

Not even you.

You lay there awake at three, four, five am

Asking yourself – “Have I failed yet?”

You watch other people and wonder

What’s it like to be you?

Their life stories unravelling at the touch of your imagination.

The thoughts that you would never share,

The questions that haunt and don’t let go.

But then it wouldn’t be your life.

Someday you will find your heart

And the only biggest strongest gesture that matters right now is the hug you give yourself

 

that day when

Photography: Say Hello, Story

Happy National Coffee Day and my Cupping Experience at Cameron’s Coffee

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Cameron’s Coffee. All opinions are my own.
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National Coffee Day is one of my favorite days of all! This year I am especially excited to be celebrating it in partnership with Cameron’s Coffee. Cameron’s Coffee is a Wisconsin founded and now Twin Cities based company that focuses on delivering the best coffee to those of us who enjoy making coffee at home and getting it tasting just right.

When I was in Minneapolis earlier this month, I got a chance to visit Cameron’s Coffee offices and be a part of the cupping experience they arrange for all of their new employees to learn more about coffee. I can only compare this experience to wine tasting, but better. The real purpose of cupping is to taste the different coffees and make sure they are up to our standards, as well as look for any imperfections or irregularities in the batch.

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Below is a detailed description of my experience, and while it can get pretty technical, I would highly recommend this to anyone who loves coffee. I also learned that I have absolutely no talent when it comes to defining coffee flavors.

The best part of the experience was meeting Patrick, Cameron’s Roastmaster, who walked me through the cupping experience. We cupped 4 flavors total:

  • Mexico – light
  • Brazil – sugary
  • Colombian – solid, balanced, sweet
  • Sumatra – earthy, big bodied

And while I am letting you know what each blend is supposed to taste like, I went into this completely unknowing what was going to happen.

Cupping happens around a table which resembles a huge lazy susan, that way you can spin the table and don’t have to walk around. There were 12 ceramic cups (you can also use tempered glass), 3 for each coffee flavor. All cups must be identical in measurements and come from the same manufacturer. You will also need a cupping spoon, which is a special kind of spoon with a large bowl. It works best if the spoon is silver or silver plated.

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To get a little bit more into details all beans are roasted within 24hours of the cupping, and can rest for 6-8 hours. Samples are ground immediately before cupping and grinds are coarser than what is normally used for paper drip. And finally, a few important numbers you should know: the coffee to water ratio for a cupping is 8.25 gm to 150 ml.

The cupping process step by step:

  • First, you smell the ground sample
  • Then you add water to the coffee sample, the water should be freshly drawn and approximate 200 degrees F
  • Make sure to let the coffee steep for 4 min
  • Ensure the coffee is plenty cooled off before drinking, you don’t want to burn your tongue or mouth and ruin your palate for the day
  • Once the coffee is cooled off break the crust that forms on the surface by lightly pressing with the spoon (no more than 3 times), get your nose up to the cup so you can smell the aroma after the coffee is broken
  • Remove the rest of the stuff that doesn’t go to the bottom after breaking
  • Let cool for a few more minutes, usually 8 to 12.
  • Tasting the coffee, using a spoon with a large bowl. Fill the bowl of the spoon, slurp the coffee while aspirating the coffee to cover your entire palate.  Then either drink the coffee or spit it out. Rinse your spoon and repeat at next cup. This was my favorite part, because I got to slurp in an office environment J

Should you ever get an opportunity to participate in cupping, here are a few tips for you:

  • Before you cup, try your best not to eat anything or drink anything potent. You don’t want to already affect your senses before trying coffee.
  • It’s also best if you don’t wear any perfume!
  • Cameron’s Coffee CEO even suggested smelling your own skin in between smelling in each coffee so your “palate gets cleansed”

Make sure to follow Cameron’s Coffee on social media Instagram, FacebookTwitter and stay tuned for some upcoming holiday giveaways! Love my Cameron’s Coffee mug and Tee? These are going to be available on the website soon!happy-national-coffee-day

This post includes photos by Say Hello, Story

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New Fall Beauty Favorites

This post is sponsored by Shopko.

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Fall isn’t a time to renew your wardrobe, but also pick up a few new beauty products. I was really excited to learn about some of the new brands that Shopko started to carry, including La Petit Marseiliais and Masque Bar. I knew I could use some new masks, so I picked up Luminizing Charcoal and Pore Refining masks to pamper myself a little this fall. The Luminizing Charcoal has definitely become one of my favorites, and I will be ordering more of it. You leave it on for 20-30 minutes, then peel it off. This mask peels off so easily, I was extremely surprised. However, it still pulls out a lot of the gunk from pores! The pore refining mask is a rinse off, which is a type of masks I usually use, and I love it. Both of these are made in Korea.

La Petit Marseiliais is a brand I used to shop when I lived in Europe, and it was one of my favorites. I picked up 2 body washes in Orange Blossom and White Peach and Nectarine.

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Make sure to check out all of my picks from Shopko on my Maven Board!

In other great news, Shopko is giving you a chance to win a $500 Shopping Spree – make sure to sign up for your chance to win. It runs from 9/10 to 10/14 and FIVE lucky people will win! You can also sign up to receive emails and get $10 off $30 purchase with email sign up.

This post is sponsored by Shopko. All opinions are my own.

Zeva Vibrating Flat Iron – a Must Have for all hair types + Monday Mode Link Up

 

Have you ever heard of vibrating flat irons? I sure hope so, because they are the newest and the biggest thing out there. The vibration separates the hair shafts from one another and allows them to flow smoothly through the plates of the iron. This reduces damage, frizz, hot spots, cramping and styling time by about 20%.

I got my hands on the Zeva Professional Vibrating Flat Iron about a week and a half ago (thank you Susan) and I can’t stop. Let me give you a little back story. A few weeks ago I vowed to stop using heat styling because my hair has become so damaged from all the bleaching here in Milwaukee. Alas all of the local hair stylists have failed me, so now I get my hair done in Chicago (more on that later!) but even with all the proper care, I was still concerned about heat tools.

Then Zeva came along. I agreed to try it, however I admit I was skeptical at first. How good were these vibrations going to be? Turns out they were amazing. I was able to quickly style my hair at 230 degrees!

Bonus – dual voltage, so when we travel to Europe next year, I know which styling tool I will be packing!

Have you ever tried a vibrating flat iron? What are your thoughts?

Make sure to link up with us today:

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New Greek Yogurt Collection from HASK

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Hi beauty babes! Oh do I have a lot of beauty updates for you! This month has been filled with trying new products. I am not going to lie, coming home to packages almost every day is nice, but sometimes I don’t have the time to use it all! So I’ve been pacing myself and trying everything slowly to make sure I can write the best review possible.

There will be a few hair care products this week, so hopefully you can find something new to try for yourselves.

I am going to kick off this weeks beauty post series with a review of HASK Greek Yogurt Collection. I know I know it’s not always a good idea to put food in your hair, but when the brand did it for you already, why not?

HASK has recently come out with a Greek Yogurt series which includes:

  • Repairing collection: Blueberry and Acai
  • Color protection collection: Pomegranate and Cranberry
  • Hydrating collection: Fig and Honey

I have to admit picking just one was difficult because I could use all of these lines for my hair. It’s color treated, dry on the ends and fragile. My hair has more issues than Vogue I am telling you. But I finally decided to commit to trying the Repairing collection.

The cool thing is for this series HASK bottled up rich Greek yogurt and infused it with essential fruit extracts to create a formula that instantly feeds your hair with moisture and makes you hungry when you are in the shower. Good thing I like food 😉

The packaging is also kind of cool for a drugstore product as such. Each product in the collection features a dual chamber delivery system – the inner formula is Greek yogurt, which is packed with protein, calcium, minerals, potassium and vitamins. The outer formula contains essential fruit ingredients to give your hair the benefits it craves! Once squeezed, the inner Greek yogurt formula and outer fruit extract blend together to provide a perfect mixture of ingredients that leave you with soft cared for hair.

Aside from the shampoo and conditioner I also got to try a deep conditioner and that must have been my favorite of them all. I just love the effects of Greek yogurt mixed with Blueberry & Acai. I feel like my hair has been incredibly damaged by the last couple of visits to the salon, so I need all the restorative products I can get.

Have you tried HASK products? What do you think? Do you have any favorite products or remedies for strengthening your hair?

This is a #sponsoredpost. Powered by BrandBacker

What’s in my gym bag? – Beauty Brunch Link Up

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As promised #BeautyBrunch is now a weekly weekend Link Up! Today I wanted to talk about one of the biggest parts of my life and how it impacts my beauty routine – working out at the gym.

Since moving to Milwaukee and starting my job at Kohl’s I’ve been going to the gym at least 8 times a month. I go to the WAC which is a wonderful facility and has so many locations! I love it.  During the week I mostly do cardio like running on the treadmill, elliptical or stair master. On the weekends I take a strength class and do yoga. I have also recently started to use Kayla Itsine’s Bikiny Body Guides and these are the 28 minute workouts I do at home 2-3 days a week. I know this seems like a lot, but it’s much needed because I work in the office.

There are a few other things you should know about my workout routines. I always work out at night during the week, weekend workouts are the only morning ones due to class schedule. That will explain my product choices.

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Let’s start with hair care, because that’s the biggest part of my gym beauty routine. As you can see there are 2 sets of shampoo/conditioner. One is Clairol Shimmer Lights, aka the purple shampoo. I use it once a week to brighten up my balayage. I always think this product is going to stain my apartment shower, and use it only at the gym. If you have bleach blonde hair I highly recommend this set. I got it at Sally’s Beauty Supply a couple years ago, and since I only use it once a week, it’s lasted me a very long time. Do you have a favorite purple shampoo? Do tell, because I am always up for trying new things!

The other shampoo and conditioner set is OGX Biotin and Collagen series. It’s essentially the thickening series filled with high performance blend of powerful ProVitamin B7, collagen, and hydrolyzed wheat proteins. I love the smell of these products and how my hair feels after.

But a shampoo and conditioner duo are only as good as the leave-in treatments I use after. I have two as well. Once again my obsession with having two of almost everything is surfacing. Don’t worry, I also think it’s weird 😉

The first one that I use is Argan Oil of Morocco Creamy Hair Butter by OGX. The cool thing about this product is that it can be either left in or rinsed out. If you choose to rinse it out, then it acts like a mask. Otherwise you can use it as a leave in treatment, which I prefer to be completely honest. I feel like my hair has been extremely weakened by all the bleaching that’s why I like to use this as a leave in. This product contains argan oil, silk amino acids, soybean oil, coconut oil, and shea butter extract. Plus OGX is an extremely affordable brand.

When I choose to rinse out the OGX hair butter, I follow up with Nexxus Humectress Luxe Lightweight Conditioning Mist. I have written a very detailed blog post about this Nexxus series before, so if you are interested in reading it, you can check it out here. This product contains Vitamin E, Coconut Oil, and Honey Extract. Once again it aims to strengthen your hair and reduce breakage. I spray it on towel dry hair and comb through. Easy 🙂

Now that I am done walking you through my hair care, let’s talk about skin care. I use Exposed Skincare Microderm Scrub. I have to admit I use it as a face wash and feel like it gets the job done.

Next I apply Pevonia Power Repair Hydrating Toner. It’s a spray so no need to pack cotton rounds for the gym!

Lastly I use Brevena Restore and Hydrate Overnight Cream. This skincare line is made in Minnesota, and I have been using this moisturizer for a while now. Sometimes I use it as a day time cream. Breaking all the skincare rules over here, I know. This lotion contains Macro B Complex®, Hyaluronic Acid, Jojoba Oil and Vitamins C and E.

Well there you have it, the contents of my gym bag 😉 What skincare products do you use? Would you be interested in a more detailed post about my workouts?

Make sure to link up your latest beauty posts! I can’t wait to see what products you have been trying out:

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Peter Thomas Roth New Water Drench Line Review

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My fascination and mild obsession with Peter Thomas Roth started about 5 years ago with his facial cleansers, one bottle of which was supposed to last you a whole year. I have to admit I got by on a few samples from Sephora for about a month, but never got to buying the actual full-size product. I still regret it! So once I run out of all the facial cleansers I have, I am heading to the nearest store that sells them and buying whatever the newest bestest version is, because I believe PTR is the skincare god.

So what is all the hype about? Well first of all I was incredibly excited to receive samples that included description in Russian. Not like I need it, but I always get so excited/sentimental when I see it.

But more importantly I really needed to bring up my skincare a notch. Since turning 30 I noticed my skin getting dryer. Fine lines are becoming more visible an the elasticity that was once there is gone. Aging is no fun I tell you, but all of these new products are making it manageable and tolerable for me!

I started using WATER DRENCH™ HYALURONIC CLOUD CREAM HYDRATING MOISTURIZER a couple weeks ago. This concentrated 30% Hyaluronic Acid cream provides your skin with a continuous burst of intense hydration that lasts up to 72 hours. Three molecular sizes of Hyaluronic Acid, a potent hydrator that constantly attracts and retains up to 1,000 times its weight in water from moisture in the atmosphere, helps replenish skin to make it appear more supple, full and smooth. Ceramides help lock in moisture while ProHyal+® helps improve hydration for healthier-looking skin. Anti-oxidant-rich Elderberry helps defy the look of aging. The appearance of fine lines and wrinkles is visibly reduced, leaving a silky, hydrated and more youthful-looking complexion. This product is also oil-free, alcohol-free, and fragrance-free. As someone who likes to sleep on her stomach with my face buried in the pillow I need all the extra help I can get. Have wrinkly clothes? Talk about wrinkly face over here. But this definitely helps. Being a beauty addict that  I am, I look forward to using my cream every day.

A moisturizer is only as good as the serum it comes with. That’s why WATER DRENCH™ HYALURONIC CLOUD SERUM is a must have! This super concentrated 75% Hyaluronic Acid formula creates an invisible veil of deep, long-lasting hydration with Hyaluronic Acid, which constantly attracts and retains up to 1,000 times its weight in water from moisture in the atmosphere. Superpower humectants like Sodium PCA, Sea Algae, Honey and Yerba Santa from the Pacific Northwest to help replenish the appearance of dehydrated, aging and environmentally-damaged skin for a dramatically younger look and feel. Fine lines, wrinkles and roughness are visibly diminished, while proteins derived from pure silk leave skin looking and feeling smooth and silky soft.

In addition to using these wonderful products I am starting a 7 day #RetinoidChallenge! I will be using 3% Retinoid Plus Serum this week and post pictures on my Instagram for you to compare and for me to experience the difference it makes. It’s always exciting to see if the product actually works, isn’t it? So let me be your test subject before you buy! If you can’t wait, then head to your closest Sephora for your own bottle of this magic goodness.

What is your favorite skincare brand or a brand you’ve been dying to try?

Disclosure: This post is powered by BrandBacker. #Sponsored.

Neroli Salon in Milwaukee: My Lash and Nail Experience

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Disclosure: I received complimentary service in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own.

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Let’s admit, we all need some pampering and time to ourselves, away from work, family, even our significant others. And what better place to go to in times like these than a beauty salon, especially an Aveda one?

It’s been two weeks since I received the services at the salon. Yes, a part of me procrastinated, but another part of me wanted to actually see how long the nails and lashes are going to last. And I have to tell you, I am more than impressed! I only lost a few lashes, and my nails are not chipped at all. Grown out, but no one is really looking that closely.

I will start with lashes! I had lash extensions once before (you can read about it here), so I knew what to expect. My esthetician Elise was the sweetest! She is the one who actually made this whole experience happen! Turns out she knows one of my blogger friends Kaitlyn and she sent her my way! Lesson 1: Make friends and stay in touch with people! 

I spent 2 hours relaxing and chatting with Elise while she was doing my lashes, and the 2 hours flew by in no time. I shared with her how stressed out I’ve been lately, and how much I was looking forward to the service. We both agreed that her job is not just about making someone’s lashes longer, but rather making that person happy.

Hands down my lashes make me feel prettier, happier, and more confident than ever. Additional bonus – when you cry – your mascara won’t run, because you don’t have to wear any. Lesson 2: It’s okay to be emotional (especially when Mercury is in retrograde! Anyone else feel my pain?)

Since having my lashes done 2 weeks ago, I’ve only started touching up with mascara in the outer corners of my eyes this week. I think one of the most popular questions I get asked about lash extensions is how long they last me. And it honestly depends on the person. I know this is a cop-out answer, but everyone’s lash cycle is different. It’s like hair. Lashes fall out. And if you don’t make a wish and blow them away, then you are not keeping track of them. Lesson 3: Dream often. But if you are seriously thinking about getting lash extensions, try to pay attention to how often you lose your natural lashes, that should be an indicator of how long the extensions will last you.

I love my extensions for a few reasons: I wake up looking ready. There is absolutely no mascara that can help me achieve the same (or even a similar) result. I can still sleep on my stomach and somehow get away with it!

If you are thinking about getting extensions, I highly recommend doing it at Neroli in Third Ward with Elise! From effortless casual conversation to fanning the fumes out of your eyes, she is your girl and she will make sure you leave looking and feeling like a million bucks!

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My manicure experience was as amazing as my lashes. And I think a big part of it was really hitting it off with my estheticians. Lisa did my nails, and that girl is a riot. We talked for 2 hours as she was doing my nails and even after, as she was walking me through some of her favorite Aveda skincare while making me samples. How thoughtful is that? There are a few products I definitely have to go back for, like the Tulasāra Wedding Overnight Masque.

Lisa was very helpful when it came to picking out the design. I wanted something simple that would go well with everything. So when she suggested a reverse french manicure that included a nude, I was all in!

I have never gotten this many compliments on my nails before.

And to make it all better for you my Milwaukee friends, Lisa has been working on some unique Milwaukee nail art that I can’t wait to get done! The amount of effort and drive this girl puts into her work combined with the creativity is so inspiring, it’s literally helping me write this post!

Thanks to Lisa, I am not only loving my nails, but have a few beauty products to write reviews on for you!

Thank you so much to Neroli Salon and Spa for providing me with these complimentary services! I will definitely be coming back. Please follow Elise and Lisa on Instagram, the preferred choice of social media these days.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions you may have! I will gladly answer those 🙂

 

Models Own Make up at Ulta

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Playing with make up is probably one of my favorite things to do. Unfortunately I don’t get to do it as much as I wish I could. So I decided to turn it around this weekend and finally got to the package from ModelsOwn, which is a UK based brand now available at Ulta.

Price wise ModelsOwn is on par with NYX and other drug store brands. The products come in bright and colorful packaging which makes it even more exciting.

Here is what I got to play with today:

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Luxestick Velvet Lipstick in Deep Berry ($8.99) – a great deep color I will definitely be saving for nights out and fall. It’s easy to apply, and lasts a good amount of time, but I definitely recommend using a lip pencil with it!

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I-Definer Kohl Pencil Eyeliner in Black Onyx ($7.99) – love this pencil, it’s precise, intense and waterproof. Plus it goes on very smooth, especially when you draw hearts on your hands 😛

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Sculpt & Glow Highlighter Powder in Peach Pearl ($11.99) – a summer must have for all of us who’ve been deprived of natural glow by mother nature. Use it on your cheekbones, nose and cupid’s bow for best results. I always put my highlighter on before powder just in case I overdo it, then the powder helps conceal the excess highlighter. What about you? Are you a before or after powder highlighter girl? Confused by the question? Me too! Let’s move on.

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Barely There Eyeshadow Palette ($17.99) – a great starter palette if you are just tapping your toe in the world of makeup. It combines dusky pinks, soft nudes and creamy browns for creating a truly natural look. It does come with a few shimmery colors so you can easily take your look from day to night. The palette comes with a dual end brush and being the brush snob that I am, I actually don’t mind this applicator. So kudos to you ModelsOwn! However, I highly recommend using a primer as this product tends to get dusty.

And there you have it! I have successfully played around with some make up and hopefully wrote a decent review for you to enjoy! I believe there is a special promo going on around this line at Ulta at the moment. But I do want to let you know that this product was sent to me for review and this is my honest opinion. Have a gorgeous day everyone!

 

Oscars 2017 Red Carpet Favorites

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Naomie Harris in Calvin Klein

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Charlize Theron in Dior

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Emma Stone in Givenchy

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Nicole Kidman in Armani Prive

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Pharrell in Chanel

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Ryan Gosling

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Brie Larson in Oscar de la Renta

I hope you all had a chance to watch the Oscars! As much as I wanted LaLaLand to get every Oscar they were nominated for, that didn’t happen. Oh well! As always speeches and outfits were my favorite. The one thing that confused me the most were the Walmart receipt short films, and the whole Walmart sponsorship of the ceremony in general. Anyone else? What looks were your favorite?

Make sure to link up with us this week – Monday Mode

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