1 Cakes & Louie: June 2012

Friday, June 22, 2012

via tumblr. which means i have no idea where it actually came from.

Happy almost-weekend, friends! I've got a big one ahead of me - my brother-in-law is getting married tomorrow! I am so, SO excited about Ryan and Nikki's big day, and cannot wait to see some of my favorite extended family members. Sunday morning I am leaving for my first of two summer service trips, and while I have a ton to do before we go, I am insanely anxious and giddy about it. My sister and one of my very best friends are joining me (among others) to go and volunteer at a preschool helping with some gardening and their summer camp program. It's going to be an amazing week. I absolutely love spending my time with people like those we always seem to encounter on service trips - people who haven't had it easy, who have often been dealt a pretty crappy hand, who have so few possessions and struggle to buy groceries for their families - yet they are happy, lively dreamers who love God and see the good in everyone and every situation. It is an honor to work with the people we do, and selfishly - it's awesome to be so impacted and inspired by them in just one short week. 

Until July!...

Monday, June 18, 2012

Product Review: Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Beauty Balm

It's no secret that I consider myself a major cheapskate, and tend to be proud of that fact. What may come as a bit of a surprise though, is that when it comes to my skin, I will literally buy anything that claims to help acne/redness/scarring/inflammation/tone/etc, regardless of how much it costs. It would be fairly reasonable to say that the skincare industry may very well go under if I were to suddenly stop buying products. Having suffered from severe acne for the last 12+ years now, I suppose I shouldn't beat myself up about the amount of money I spend on trying to maintain a decent skin appearance, but that's easier said than done!

I've been using Bare Escentuals on and off for several years now - it tends to be perfect for me in the short times that we have weather between 60-75 degrees in Chicago's mini spring and fall seasons. In the winter my skin is simply too dry to use something powder-based, and in the summer I HAVE to use an SPF moisturizer and like to minimize my routine as much as possible. In an effort to simplify, I recently went on a hunt in search of an all-in-one product that I assumed didn't exist -

- moisturizer
- oil-free
- tinted - but not orange-y!

Thanks to a helpful sales associate, Bridget, the internet and lots of peer reviews, I learned that the new craze sweeping the nation is Beauty Balm - "multi-action skincare + makeup". In other words, it's everything I was looking for, PLUS a bit of skin treatment!

I practically ran to Sephora this weekend to grab Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Beauty Balm.

While I've only used this stuff twice so far, I'm already hooked. It goes on a little light even for my pale complexion, but within 5-10 minutes it kind of sets and blends naturally. I walked around the zoo all afternoon yesterday with my nieces and didn't feel like it was "melting" off in the heat, and without any other form of sunscreen on my face I managed to just get a tiny perfect hint of color, which gives me hope for the sunscreen portion of the product. It's definitely not a total-coverage product, but that's not typically what I go for anyways, and it's keeping my major redness at bay and managing to keep my overall tone looking even. The best part is the absolute simplicity of this stuff - I wash my face in the shower, swipe on a toner after drying off, and while my hair is towel-drying I just use my fingers to rub a teeny bit of the balm in all over my face. PIECE OF CAKE. 

I'll definitely post an update if I change my mind at any point, but in the meantime, I'm on the beauty balm bandwagon and loving it.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Summer Projects List: The Home Version

As always, I have extremely high hopes for my productivity in these next few warm months. While I know it's not realistic to tackle everything I'm dreaming about, I'm a lover of lists and inspiration, so that's what this is about. I'll be making a few of these lists, but this first go at it will focus entirely on projects around our pretty little house.

Here's what I'd love to accomplish around home this summer:

1. Find the perfect dresser/buffet/credenza/sideboard for added storage in our entryway. Add a mirror, some fun accessories and some sort of plant life, and we'll be hit with instant cheer when we walk through the door.

2. Furnish the front porch for gatherings. I found an awesome leather tufted couch that I was hoping would be the starting point for this little makeover... but Dan swears it smells and I hadn't really thought about how hot a dark leather couch would get on a bright and sunny porch in the summer. I've been watching craigslist like a hawk for the perfect loveseat, and hope that I'll find something uber-cheap soon. Since this was not really a space we were planning to focus on anytime soon, "uber-cheap" is the key here.

3. Add a back to the bookshelf in the living room and paint it a bright fun color. Easy peasy, and bound to add major impact.

4. Pretty up the back porch. I have an awesome little bench with a tiny storage compartment that my gramma tipped me off to when her neighbor put it out on her curb last summer. It desperately needs a good sanding and a couple coats of the brightest paint I can find for it. I'd also love to add some simple globe lights from Target and some kind of plant life that I don't manage to kill in 3 days.

5. Finish our bedroom makeover! Really, this just means painting the walls, hemming the curtains I already have, hanging up artwork (probably wedding photos!) and potentially switching out the hardware on our nightstands. No major furniture purchases or anything needed here, so I'm really hoping I can tackle this one soon.

6. Add a gallery of art/photos to the hallway wall. I got a bunch of awesome white frames on super sale at Ikea a few weeks ago, and bought a couple of fun small prints at a craft show last weekend. Just need to print some photos and pound a few nails in the wall!

7. Paint the front door. Haven't actually mentioned this idea to Dan yet, but someone in our neighborhood recently did this and every time I pass their house I smile. Insta-curb-appeal! (This project could also include adding some bushes out front that we don't kill in one season. I'd love lilac bushes like my Dad.)

8. Add open shelving. Above the kitchen cart. In the bedroom. Maybe in the dining room or bathroom. I love the added storage shelves offer, and layering leaning frames/artwork is something I'm finding myself drawn to more and more.

9. Redo (some of) the kitchen. We've been talking about this for awhile now but haven't magically found the $4,000 or so that we'll need for it. I know it will happen someday, but am finding myself more and more antsy about it every time I cook or do dishes. General plans are to knock out the pantry (replacing it with more cabinets), paint the long wall the same color as the hallway, paint the cabinets white, add a tiled backsplash and get a new lighter-colored countertop. Thankfully, we'll only need to purchase one or two new cabinets, and the counter - all of our appliances and existing cabinets are still just a few years old.

10. Tweak the bathroom. Ideally, this would include painting over the BRIGHT turquoise I insisted on when we bought our house, but we're mostly set on keeping the color for now and just painting over a couple patches that need it and adding hooks in place of the single towel bar. So, this should be a super simple project that costs next to nothing (yay!).

So, I clearly have some big plans! Stay tuned throughout the summer for updates on anything I actually manage to get done :).

Monday, June 11, 2012


How was your weekend? As usual, mine felt way too short, but that doesn't mean we didn't manage to pack a ton of fun into it!

We kicked off the weekend Friday evening with a surprise going away party for the huz, which I planned with the help of one of his coworkers, Bridget and a few of the teens. My favorite detail was the construction paper goatees we made for photos. Dan swears he didn't know about the party and there was a great turnout, so I'll call that a success!

Manda and I wandered around Forest Park Summerfest Saturday afternoon and I was THRILLED to find a little shop with baskets full of old printing blocks. After sitting on the floor of the store and going through every single one we decided to get 4 letter "L" blocks in all different sizes that I'm planning to put in a shadowbox-type frame for the house.

Dan and I headed out to Naperville Saturday evening where we pretended we were back in New Orleans with po' boys and hurricanes at Heaven on Seven for dinner. We strolled around the cute little downtown area where we found a candy shop with my favorite flying saucers, grabbed a drink at the home of my favorite margarita (Ted's Montana Grill) and then met up with my brother-in-law and a ton of his friends for his second bachelor party. Lucky for me, Ryan was more than happy to have me tag along for his guys night, although I was bummed my almost-sister-in-law didn't also make it out.

Dan and I spent the majority of Sunday cleaning the house, running errands and installing an air conditioner in an upstairs window so we can sleep comfortably again. We quickly learned this morning that the AC cannot be on at the same time as the clothes steamer, and a couple of blown fuses later here we are starting the week off at work. It's Dan's last full week at his current job and I'm working on my first pitch without my boss, so it's bound to be busy!

Happy Monday, friends!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Birthday Sequins

I found this beauty thanks to the ever-inspiring Pinterest tonight, and immediately decided it is the absolute perfect dress for my big 3-0, which is coming up quickly at the end of the summer.

Of course with some digging I found out that I am a year behind (shocking), and the dress is from J. Crew several seasons ago. Sad trombone. Anyone know of something similar available now?

While it's a little crazy to think about the fact that I'm going to be 30, I'm truly looking forward to it. My 20's treated me well what with meeting Dan, falling in love and getting married, buying a house, getting a puppy, landing a job at an amazing company that I'm grateful to still be with 4.5 years later, solidifying some incredible friendships and continuing to watch my little sister grow into a beautiful too-smart-for-her-own-good teen. But, I've dealt with a lot of random health issues through my 20's - I was literally dizzy for 2 years at one point! - and I still feel like I'm not quite comfortable in my own skin thanks to 13 years of acne and lots of ups and downs with how I feel overall. My early 20's are tainted with serious depression following a breakup, and it's made me hyper-aware of any rash negative thoughts that cross my mind now. I've written about my anxiety here before, and a recent round of blood work indicates that I have super low levels of vitamin D, which could account for my literally always wanting to sleep and being even more sluggish than usual in recent months. It's becoming increasingly obvious that I need to take better care of myself, and I truly hope that as my 20's come to an end I can figure out what exactly that means for me. I need to start a vitamin regimen, eat a little better and once and for all find some kind of exercise that I enjoy and stick to it. I'm looking forward to kicking off my 30's happy, healthy, surrounded by the many many blessings I have... and wearing sequins, of course.