M•A•C Select Rewards Program

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Courtesy of MAC Cosmetics

I have been using and wearing makeup since I was 12. My go-to at the time? The Wet ‘n’ Wild collection from my local Rite Aid. Once I turned 16, I got a job, and while I didn’t have any bills to pay, all the money I earned went straight impulse buys. That’s when I really started experimenting with pigments, shadows and blushes with none other than M∙A∙C Cosmetics.

For a long time their “rewards” program was exchanging six empty bottles (foundation, primer, eyeshadows, lip glosses, etc.) for a new lipstick of your choice. So when I was perusing the beauty section of PopSugar yesterday and came upon the M∙A∙C Select Rewards Program, my eyes lit up. A lot of beauty stores provide a rewards service already (think Sephora or Ulta), so it’s nice to see a cosmetic line that isn’t necessarily carried in those beauty stores providing a rewards program for their loyal clientele.

Here are the basics:

There are three tiers: Seduced, Devoted, Obsessed and each provide a certain amount of perks. You start out in the seduced category and the more you spend with M∙A∙C, the quicker you climb up to the obsessed status.



  • Exclusive limited-edition products
  • Annual gift just for M∙A∙C Seduced members
  • Back-to-M∙A∙C tracker Expanded
  • Convenient Back-to-M∙A∙C tracker
  • Product samples at checkout
  • Complimentary standard shipping

Devoted (spend $150 [on qualifying purchases] to become Devoted)

  • Exclusive limited-edition products
  • Exclusive anniversary gift for Devoted members
  • Early access on selected collections
  • Enhanced product samples online
  • Back-to-M∙A∙C expanded
  • Convenient Back-to-M∙A∙C tracker
  • Complimentary express makeup application
  • Complimentary 2-Day shipping (with $50 purchase)

Obsessed (spend $500 [on qualifying purchases] to become Obsessed)

  • Exclusive limited-edition products
  • Deluxe anniversary gift for Obsessed members
  • Be the first to shop selected collections
  • Enhanced product samples online
  • Complimentary 2-Day shipping (with $50 purchase)
  • Access new products before anyone else
  • Back-to-M∙A∙C expanded
  • Convenient Back-to-M∙A∙C tracker
  • Two complimentary makeup applications

I can’t wait to replenish and add more M∙A∙C eyeshadow palettes, glosses and blushes to my collection to reap these benefits.

Will you be signing up for the select rewards program?




Netflix Binge-Watch: Making a Murderer

When it comes to watching shows I usually stick to my usuals: Vanderpump Rules, Real Housewives franchise, Law and Order Special Victims Unit, Married At First Sight and a few others. Lately, people have been talking about the the Netflix documentary called Making a Murderer. Just by the title I was pretty hesitant to watch the show, but then a close friend of mine said it was a similar topic to the first season of the hit podcast Serial. If you’re not familiar with the first season of Serial, it’s about a teenager named Adnan Syed who was arrested and charged with the murder of his ex girlfriend. There is no 100% conclusive evidence pointing the blame on him and it’s still a mystery as to why he was arrested and charged (for some people).  

Debating on whether to watch the new season of The X-Files or Making a Murderer I decided to put on Netflix and watch the first episode of Making a Murder.  All I can say is holy smokes… The first episode draws you in and you just end up having to binge-watch it. It’s only 10 episodes (about an hour or so each) and each one dives deeper and deeper into the situation of this man who was imprisoned for 18 years on a crime he didn’t commit, then gets released due to DNA evidence, only to get arrested about two years later for a crime he believes he was framed for (still claims he’s innocent to this day) by the cops in Wisconsin.

While I don’t want to give away spoilers for those who haven’t seen the show, I will say this – at the end of the 10 episodes you will be questioning a lot of things about society, law enforcement and our judicial system.

Have you seen Making a Murderer yet?




Simple Makeup

During the winter months it’s hard for me to get up early enough to apply full makeup. By full make up I mean adding the glittery eyeshadow and a great lip color. My skin needs constant hydration and applying full makeup every day then taking it off with makeup remover each night dries out my skin. My solution is a simple winter makeup routine. Here’s my routine:

Night before:

I am obsessed with the Butter Drench Restorative Rich Cream by bareMinerals. After a shower or washing my face I apply this generously on my face and neck before bed and let it sink into my pores while sleeping. I wake up without dry skin. I can’t forget to mention that it smells wonderful.

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While I moisturize with a butter/oil based moisturizer, I tend to wash with an oil-free face wash because my face will remain oily otherwise. I use Clean & Clear Morning Burst facial cleanser. It really does wake my skin up. Here are my next steps for my simple makeup routine:

  1. Urban Decay’s B6 Vitamin-Infused Complexion Prep Spray
  2. Urban Decay’s Pore Perfecting Primer
  3. Too Faced Born This Way foundation in warm nude
  4. Urban Decay 24/7 Black Velvet eyeliner
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  5. Benefit’s They’re Real mascara
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And there you have it. My simple makeup routine! It takes me about 10 minutes to apply which is great when I’m running late in the morning.

Did I miss one of your favorite products? Let me know!



Book Review: Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

career of evilLast year I wrote a post about books I love and some I haven’t read yet. Well for my book club, we just finished reading Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith. Who’s Robert Galbraith, you may ask… J.K. Rowling of course! Love her. I’ve read the Harry Potter series eight times, going on my ninth at some point this year. My opinion as to why she created this pseudonym is because her first adult novel after the Harry Potter series (The Casual Vacancy) didn’t receive the best reviews. Side note: I didn’t even get 100 pages into The Casual Vacancy.

Career of Evil is the third installment of the Cormoran Strike novels. Genre: action-mystery, in my opinion. Cormoran Strike is a detective in London who, essentially, solves cases faster than the police can with the help of his assistant Robin. While I’m not going to spoil anything, my advice is to read the first of the series (The Cuckoo’s Calling) before picking up the third. Skip the second if you want. I did and didn’t feel like I missed any vital information. The first book, however, introduces you to the main characters so if you do end up skipping the second book, you’re not left wondering who’s who.

On to my review. I really enjoyed this book. While it did take me a little over a month to read (a month and three days, actually), the book captures your attention in the first four pages. From then on you’re hooked. The nice thing about the Cormoran Strike series is that it’s always action packed and you end up reading more chapters than you thought you would right before you go to sleep. This book flip flops between two sets of characters in every chapter and it’s interesting to see how both sets of stories intertwine throughout the book. That’s all I’ll tell you about the plot because I don’t want to ruin the book for you, but my only real critique of the book is the ending. I was thoroughly disappointed and you might be too after you read it.

All in all, the writing is captivating (I mean, it is J.K. Rowling after all) and the plot is well thought out and intriguing. If you end up picking it up to read it – or have already read it and loved it, hated it, or was meh  about it – let me know in the comments!



Home Decor

These next three weeks are sure to be hectic. My husband and I are currently packing up our apartment and moving into a bigger one a few streets over (at another complex). While I do love all the current art pieces we have (and one we bought on our honeymoon in Hawaii), since it’s a bigger space I need to accommodate and make it feel homey rather than empty.

Where do I go? Pinterest, of course! It has truly been my savior in figuring out how to organize in a stylish and creative way. The two main rooms I need to focus on is the bathroom and kitchen. Here are some of the ideas I will be implementing in my new apartment:


Using a wine rack as a towel holder. Such a great idea!

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Loving this tiered tray to store things like q-tips, lotions and small hand towels. My new bathroom counter will have the space for this.

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I have everything pretty much set for the bedroom already as we’re bringing over what we already have, but I am always looking for a better way to store my jewelry. I love this framed jewelry board. I love that this one has a little shelf/tray for rings.

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I’ve always wanted to put up cute signs and these are printable. Just head to the dollar store and find a nice frame to put these in!


Living Room:

Loving these shelves and how they’re decorated. Will be sure to do this in my new place.

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Guaranteed over the next three weeks I’ll come up with more ideas. Once we are settled in I’ll be sure to take some photos and share them with you.

If you have any cool ideas, be sure to let me know in the comments – I’m always looking for more.



Rainy Day Activity: Watch Harry Potter


El niño is here. It is pouring in Marin County today and instead of staying at home on the couch cuddling with my cats, I am at work. But if you’re lucky enough to be at home today because your office decided to close due to weather or you just have the day off, it’s time to catch up on Harry Potter.

Yes, you can easily say that I am a Hogwarts fanatic and love Harry Potter. It’s true, all of it. But one of the main reasons I am writing this post today is because last week we lost Alan Rickman who played Professor Snape in all the Harry Potter films (you might also remember him from Galaxy Quest or Dogma). He was definitely a talented actor and will be missed.



So as an homage to Mr. Rickman, and to get through the cold, gloomy day, I challenge you: get through as many Harry Potter movies as you can today. My husband surprised me last weekend with the blu ray box set of all the movies, purchased for only $80 at Best Buy (great deal, right??). We ended up getting through Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. 

We will for sure be watching more this weekend if the weather is still like this. Stay dry out there!

Do you have a favorite Harry Potter movie?



Recipe: Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken

Anyone who knows me (and I think you all do by now) knows that I swear and live by my crockpot (see my hot cider recipe here). It’s super convenient – prep something the night before, throw it into the crockpot in the morning and 12 hours later you have a delicious meal waiting for you. Bonus: your home smells delicious all day.

One of my go-to signature crockpot meals is balsamic chicken. I first discovered this recipe on Skinny Ms while I was doing a low-carb diet and it turns out that this recipe is low-carb and low-fat, so double win for me. This chicken dish is good over pasta, rice or my personal favorite – Israeli couscous. This dish also pairs well with a side salad. I hope you try it out! Crockpot balsamic chicken has become a staple in my household, that’s for sure.



  • 4-6 boneless skinless chicken breast. I recommend the Eat Right chicken breast from Safeway. It doesn’t have as much fat on it.
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes (14.5 oz) or you can use the 28 oz can
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil. I use extra virgin.
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil, oregano, rosemary; 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar. I add a little more than a 1/2 cup because I’m obsessed with balsamic vinegar.
  • Black pepper and salt to taste
  • Cook time: 4 hrs (or longer)

To prepare:

1. Pour the 1 tablespoon of olive oil on the bottom of your crock pot.

2. Salt and pepper each chicken breast and then place into the crock pot. I tend to put salt and pepper on the bottom of the crock pot and flip the chicken breasts over after one side is salt and peppered.

3. Place the sliced onion on top of the chicken breast. Make sure the onion slices are spread across every piece of chicken breast.

4. Put in the 1 teaspoon of dried basil, oregano, rosemary, and the 1/2 teaspoon of thyme on top of the onions.

5. Place the 4 cloves of garlic on top of the dried herbs.

6. Pour the 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar over the chicken, herbs, onions, and garlic. Add some extra balsamic vinegar if you like the taste. (I tend to.)

7. Top with the 2 cans diced tomatoes.

8. Cook on high for 4 hours. The longer you cook the dish, the more tender the chicken will be.

The nice thing about this particular crock pot dish, is that it will last you two nights (if you’re just two people) and it even tastes better the next day, in my opinion.

Give this recipe a shot and let me know what you think in the comments!



Music: David Bowie

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While everyone was enjoying the red carpet glam and Golden Globes on Sunday night (see Veronica’s picks for worst and best dressed), the world lost a great musician.

David Bowie passed away at the age of 69 after an 18-month battle with cancer. His music influenced generations and hopefully will continue to do so. His latest album “Blackstar” was released just days ago and the music video for “Lazarus” is incredibly powerful (see below).

For me, music has always been important in my life. My dad, who introduced many different genres of music to me at a young age, played an integral part in my love for music. He introduced me to Queen and David Bowie at the same time, hence “Under Pressure” being one of my favorite songs to this day. Can’t forget about the crazy cool lyrics of “Moonage Daydream” either (you might recognize it if you saw Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014).

David Bowie was the kind of musician that pushed boundaries – a true master of music – all while keeping his private life private. From reading about his relationship with model Iman, he was a kind and gentle soul. I can’t forget to mention his costumes during concerts. He made quite the fashion statement.

Carnegie Hall will be holding a memorial concert for him on March 31 with well-known musicians paying tribute to the late singer.

How has David Bowie’s music influenced your life and what are some of your favorite songs? Check out this Spotify playlist of some of his best.



Documenting Monumental Moments

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When it comes to documenting special moments in your life you either pull out that fancy DSLR camera or bust out your smartphone to capture it. On October 11, 2015 I tied the knot! It was a magical day and we had the best photographer I’ve ever worked with (Vinh Nguyen Photography). He captured our day so beautifully (read a write-up of our wedding here) and every photo allows us to relive that special day.

But what about keeping those special moments close every day? That’s where photo albums and prints come in. After receiving all our wedding photos (there were 1300+ of them!) I downloaded the photos onto my laptop and started sifting through them. My husband and I figured out which photos we wanted to print and then I decided, why not have a photo album as a keepsake and to show those who come visit?

Let’s backtrack a little. After our engagement shoot, I was trying to figure out which website to use to order prints. Veronica had recommended I check out mpix.com because the quality of the photos were great when she received her wedding photo prints from them. So, I gave it a shot. Uploaded the photos and got the prints three days later and they turned out great.

That’s what I did. While Mpix is good for prints, it’s also great for photo albums, canvas prints, framed prints and more. They had a deal going on (you can always find a coupon for something online) and I created a great little 46 page photo album of our wedding, documenting things in order of first look/Ketubah signing, ceremony and reception. The cost of the book turned out to be only $57, which isn’t bad at all. It became pricey because we ordered about six copies of the book for family members, as well.

I am still waiting to receive my prints, but I can’t wait to find the perfect frames for our wedding photos. My husband and I are moving into a new and bigger apartment in February, so I’ll be sure to reorder a large print of this photo from Mpix again. Framed this time.


Photo by Vinh Nguyen Photography

What website do you order prints from?



Winter Skin and Makeup Routine

I hope you all had a fabulous New Year. It has been pretty chilly here in the North Bay the last few weeks and it just keeps getting colder. With all this cold weather and rain, I’ve noticed my skin getting dry and rough. That being said, prior to heading up to Oregon for Christmas (which is about 18-20 degrees during the day and night) I purchased some things to help keep my skin hydrated and my face looking [almost] flawless.

I mentioned this product in my holiday gift guide and I just can’t say enough good things about it. Renewed Hope in a Jar by Philosophy ($16–$47) has done wonders to my dry skin. I usually apply after washing my face or jumping out of the shower and let the cream hydrate my skin. I apply twice per day.


After applying my moisturizer (and letting it absorb into my skin and dry completely) I spray my face with Urban Decay’s B6 Complexion Prep Spray ($33). This product has worked wonders on my skin since purchase. Before applying my foundation primer, I spray this all over my face and it minimizes pores, absorbs excess oils and reduces redness. I don’t know how I ever lived without it.


Once the complexion spray dries, I follow my usual routine of applying primer (I use the Urban Decay Pore Perfecting Primer) then foundation. Prior to Oregon I switched my foundation. I was using the bareMinerals BareSkin foundation and was finding, even after my moisturizing routine, my skin would look cakey and too powdery. After watching numerous makeup videos on YouTube (my go to: NikkieTutorials), I thought I would try Too Faced Born This Way foundation in warm nude (I have a golden undertone to my skin). It has rave reviews on Ulta and Sephora (and its own website, too) and provides medium-full coverage that looks so natural.


I have to say that I am in love with this foundation and will never go back. Either apply with a beauty blender or your foundation brush.

Finishing off my makeup routine is the usual eyeliner, eyeshadow (if I feel like it) and a rose colored blush. Powder is an “if I feel like it” kind of thing, but it does set the foundation in place if you use a little bit.

Side note: If you’re looking for a hand cream that won’t leave your hands feeling oily, then check out Soap & Glory’s Hand Food (found at Ulta or online in regular or travel sizes). 

That’s my winter skin and makeup routine. What’s yours?