Sunday, December 27, 2015

urban decay naked smokey palette

Naked Smokey Palette

I received this palette as a Christmas gift this year, and wanted to share a quite review and some photos with you guys in case you were considering purchasing it!

First impression - the packaging is beautiful. It is not only pretty, but sturdy and well made, so it will hold up when being transported. This is important to me because these are the eyeshadows I usually choose to take when traveling since you can bring multiple shades by only packing one item!

Naked Smokey Palette

Urban Decay shadows are always high quality, so there is no surprise there. I like that there are a mixture of shimmery and matte shades, even though I tend to favor the shimmery ones. The first 8 shadows are shimmer and the last 4 are matte. 

Naked Smokey Palette

I've used it a couple of times now, and my favorite shades so far are...


I haven't had a chance to use the darker shades yet - since they are very dramatic and will be best for an evening out...but I'm sure they are amazing. I hope to share some of the looks I create from this palette with you guys! 

Naked Smokey Palette

Naked Smokey Palette

Honest opinion - this palette is definitely worth the money and has some amazing options that haven't been seen in the first 3 Naked palettes. However, if you are looking for a palette that is good for everyday use - I wouldn't go for this one. This is definitely to create more dramatic, evening looks! 

Saturday, December 26, 2015

product empties

Good morning! I hope you've all had a very happy Christmas with your friends and families and you are enjoying a couple more days of holiday celebrations and relaxing before getting back to reality :) 

I've finished up a few products recently and wanted to share my thoughts - if I liked them, disliked them, or would re-purchase...etc! As always, everything is cruelty-free. 

skin care product review

The first are skin care products:

Mahalo Pele Mask //
Crazy, but I had never done a facial mask before...this was my first! I was super intrigued that the product was a powder, and you mixed it with water to create a paste-like substance for your face. I didn't like keeping it on for as long as the directions said, but it did make my skin feel super clean and look quite nice after washing it off. However, it ruined one of my washcloths since the product is black...lesson learned :-/

MSC Grapefruit & Spearmint Scrub //
Probably my favorite out of all of these products. Smells absolutely AMAZING and gives you the softest skin. And I believe right now their website if offering 15% off if you sign up for their newsletter! 

Blisoma Facial Cleanser // 
Really liked the make up of this product - and the results. It was very nice for my skin, but I wasn't too keen on the smell. Probably wouldn't repurchase, but I would be interested in trying some of their other products!  

Ursa Major Face Wash // 
LOVED this - I wish the sample I was given from Petit Vour had been larger, it was so lovely. It has a light minty smell to it, but not overpowering, and it left my skin feeling very clean and refreshed.

The final two are hair products:

Alba Botanica Hawaiian Shampoo //
Now, I love everything I've ever tried from Alba before...but I hated this :( 
I don't know what it was about the makeup of the shampoo, but it was a weird consistency and was hard to use. I never felt like I could get a lather going in my hair and it left my rinsed hair feeling odd. Definitely won't repurchase. 

Renpure Rosemary Mint Conditioner //
This smelled awesome (can you tell I love mint scented things yet??) and it was quite nice, but I feel kind of "meh" about it. Didn't like enough to buy it again, so time to try a new conditioner! 

Have you tried any of these products? What are some of your recent beauty product empties? 

Monday, December 21, 2015

holiday ginger snaps

My favorite cookies during the holiday season are my Mum's ginger snaps...(besides my Grandma's traditional Christmas cookies that we used to decorate as children). 

This year I had a few people at work to get small gifts for, so I decided to make them some ginger snaps too - with my own little twist. They are so delicious and really simple to make!

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg, beaten
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. each of ground cloves, ground ginger, and cinnamon

Directions // 
Cream the butter and sugar
Add molasses and egg
Mix all the dry ingredients in a separate bowl
Add them to the creamed mixture
Roll batter into small balls 
Roll the balls in sugar to coat
Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 mins 

My twist // I melted down some white chocolate chips and dipped about half of the cookies in to coat in white chocolate! 

Important note - this recipe made quite a bit more than 17 cookies (closer to 25) but one tray was left in the over too long and burnt - oops! ;) 

Friday, December 18, 2015

friday favorites - christmas vacation

Yesterday was my last final for the semester, and now I am officially on break from grad school! 24 glorious days off before Spring semester starts back up...and 11 of those days I am also taking vacation from work. I am so excited, I could cry. ;)

I definitely want time to veg out and relax since it's go-go-go all the time, but I also have a couple ideas of some fun things I'd like to do too!

// wildlights at the columbus zoo
The Columbus Zoo does an amazing display every year using over 3 million twinkle lights. We went once a couple of years ago, and it was amazing!

// ikea trip
We are long overdue for a trip down to the closest Ikea, near Cincinnati. I want to wander around getting decor inspiration and pick out a couple of items for the house.

// state auto's christmas corner
The State Auto building downtown puts us an amazing life-sized nativity scene every year (a tradition started by the company's founder in the 1930s!) and while I always drive by it on my way home from work and school, I would love to walk down there with Aaron and the dogs one night to check it out up close!

// holiday baking
This year, I really want to make some Christmas cookies and holiday wassail! I think I'm going to use my mum's gingersnap recipe and add a white chocolate drizzle to the outside - stay tuned for a post on that recipe! I also remember just loving wassail as a kid, and although I can't find our original recipe, I'm going to create one on my own - I'll share that with you too!

// outdoor ice skating
I love ice skating - as a kid, we always had my birthday parties at an ice rink since my birthday is in January. This year, I want to go to a festive outdoor ice rink, instead of the typical indoor ones. There is a cute one in Cuyahoga Falls (near Akron) right on the riverside and skating is only $3! 

What festive activites are you up to this holiday season??
Share your Friday favorites with all of us by linking up with these lovely ladies! 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

12 days of Christmas

Follow me on Instagram at @emiliestorey

I finally finished all of our Christmas wrapping this weekend, and now that we are only about 10 days away from the big day, I thought I would do another Christmas-inspired post! I love this season so much, I can't help it. I saw the "12 Questions of Christmas" tag on Carly's blog and it looked so fun, I decided to answer the questions too! xx

1. What is your favorite Christmas tradition? 
I've always loved taking turns opening presents in our pajamas :) 
As a child though, it was writing our Christmas lists to Santa and then burning them in the fireplace so the ashes went to the North Pole. It's a British tradition courtesy of my Scottish mum ;)
2. Where do you spend Christmas? 
It varies every year...this year we will be in Akron, Ohio with Aaron's family this coming weekend, then home in Columbus (just the two of us) on actual Xmas...then my family are coming to Columbus around December 29th for a third celebration!

3. What is your favorite Christmas song? 
O Holy Night

4. Do you decorate before or after Thanksgiving? 
Absolutely before. I get bitten by the Christmas bug right after Halloween! lol
I see the months of November and December (including Thanksgiving) as part of the whole holiday season, so nothing wrong with getting festive in November! 

See my holiday home decor post HERE!  

5. Tinsel or garland? 
Garland, I love natural looking decorations - and while tinsel is pretty, it's a huge pain in the butt. 

6. Do you own an ugly Christmas sweater? 
Nope - I'd like to have a silly Christmas jumper though!

7. What is one Christmas food you cannot live without? 
Traditional peppermint candy canes - love them! Also, in our house we all love those silly slice and bake sugar cookies that Pillsbury has around the holiday know the ones...

8. Peppermint or gingerbread? 
See previous question - peppermint ;)
9. Have you ever tried a fruit cake? 
Maybe when I was younger, but honestly can't remember...doesn't sound appetizing now though.

10. What is one thing you asked for this Christmas? 
A copy of the illustrated Harry Potter and the Socerer's Stone. See the rest of my Christmas list HERE

11. Who are you most excited to see this Christmas season? 
Probably my sister because I think I knocked it out of the park this year with her gift and I can't wait to see her face when she opens it! :) 

12. If you could be any Christmas movie character, who would you be? 
Either Amanda or Iris from The Holiday - love that little cottage in the English countryside! 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

dear santa

via Etsy

My family always asks for a small Christmas list from us every year, so I thought I'd share a few of the things I've had my eye on this holiday season. 

Does anyone notice that as we get older, it gets harder to come up with these lists? I find that most things we just buy ourselves, and the things we really want (i.e. for the house mainly) are way too expensive to put on a Christmas list ;)

Dear Santa

1 // Michael Kors Kempton Crossbody Purse
2 // Silver Buddha head decoration
3 // Ikea Ofelia Vass bedding set
4 // Coldplay's new CD
5 // Illustrated Harry Potter book
6 // Simple Human LED makeup mirror
7 // Naked Smokey eye shadow palette
8 // Adele's new CD (Target version - 3 bonus songs!)
9 // Marble iPhone case
10 // Victoria's Secret Long Jane pajamas (so festive and Christmas-y!)

What's on your list this year?? xx

Thursday, December 10, 2015

engagment photos - outfit planning

Our engagement photos have been booked for the end of January, and I've recently started putting together my outfits for them. The photographer allows 2-3 outfit changes, so even though I only planned on two (one casual, one dressy)...I planned three just in case I felt like using the last one on the day of the shoot.

I had originally thought I wanted to do the engagement pictures in the fall, but once I had seen a couple shoots done in the snow, I changed my mind ;)

Outfit #1 - Casual 

Henley from H&M
Cardigan from Abercrombie & Fitch
Jeggings from Old Navy
Booties from Target
Earrings from Express

Outfit #2 - Dressy 

 Tulle Maxi Skirt from Etsy
White Sweater from Target
Earrings from Express
Winter Flower Crown - Homemade (my project over Christmas break!)

Outfit #3 - Backup if needed

 Jeggings from Old Navy
Coat from Old Navy
Booties from Target
Blanket Scarf from Target

I'm so excited to get these pictures taken! But also a little nervous, as we've never really been the main focus in front of a camera before lol - any tips from you married ladies out there who have done these photo sessions before?? 
Can't wait to share all the pictures with you! xx 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

home furnishings

Sorry for the lack of posts the past couple weeks! Things have changed quite a bit at work and it has been consuming a lot more of my time than I would honestly like it to. Hopefully it's starting to slow back down again ;)

The other day Aaron and I spontaneously decided that we were tired of having certain rooms in the house sitting unfinished. We have lived in our home for 3 and a half years now and there are certain projects that have just never been completed. I'm sure all of you home owners out there understand...despite your best intentions, life gets in the way and things just get pushed to the side. So, the other night, we did a little online furniture shopping on!

We have had our master bedroom mattress and box spring sitting directly on the floor without a proper bed frame since we moved that was embarrassing even to type haha. You see, our bedroom set was purchased from a individual who collects Mid-Century Modern pieces, and in that era, king size beds were not the frame that came with our set was for a full mattress actually. Not going to work. This couple needs all the space they can get - Aaron is a big guy, we both spread out when we sleep, and we have two 80lb dogs that insist on laying with us from time to time (or almost always lol). King size is the only option.

So we have casually been keeping our eye out for something the might work, and match with what we already have. The other night we found this Nixon frame, both liked it, and basically decided on the spot to order it!

Nixon Mid-Century Beige Linen Bed
It's a beige linen frame with wooden legs - which will match our bedroom set perfectly. I can't wait for it to arrive! (Minus the hideous orange sheets...those can stay away forever ;)

Once we got started, we couldn't stop. We also ordered this simple grey linen frame for the guest room (who's mattress is in the same predicament as our master bedroom - excuse me while I die of shame). 

Maddie Grey Linen Bed
Side note - as I'm looking at these pictures it has become very obvious that Overstock needs to reconsider who they have put in charge of picking bedding for these photos. #yikes

The final item(s) we ordered are 4 chairs for the dining room. Same issue - we got our dining set from an antique shop and the chairs need fixed, and we have never gotten around to it (it's been almost a year - we've been eating at the counter on stools - haha it just keeps getting worse). 

Aaron picked these out on his own, and when he told me he had already ordered them, I was nervous...but I have to say, I'm very impressed and super excited to put these around our maple table! 

Everything is supposed to arrive within the next few weeks, so I will definitely post pictures once we have it all assembled and styled! xx

Saturday, November 28, 2015

christmas decor

I couldn't wait any our Christmas decorations are officially up :)

100% of what we have out right now (and that is pictured) can be found at Target. Their holiday decor displays and products right now are amazing!

There are still some areas of the house that I want to add to though, but I need to look around a few more stores and see what I can find. I'm going to try and check out World Market, TJ Maxx, and Home Goods over the long weekend. 

Have any of you ladies caved and started decorating yet? I just get so excited for the season and I'll be honest...I can never wait very long after Halloween to dive on into the Christmas spirit!  

Thursday, November 26, 2015


This is the time of year that we are reminded to think on what we are thankful for in our lives, but every year, I can't help but think that I can do better. I should be recognizing and appreciating all that I have on so many more occasions than once a year. So, as I start to ponder on all the blessings I have in my life, I'm making a mental note to make a better effort over the next year...


// aaron

He is the first thing that comes to my mind. 
After spending way too long in a terrible relationship, and being completely frusterated at myself for what felt like such a waste of years of my life, I was shown very quickly that there is always a bigger plan - and things happen for a reason. With timing that seems almost too perfect to be true, Aaron swept into my life and showed me what love truly was. There were many things that could've worked against us...age, location, etc...but none of it ever mattered. It's not all picture perfect - we both have strong and stubborn personalities, and we fight like cats and dogs sometimes, but he is my other half and I am his. 

// my dogs

I always knew I liked animals, but I truly never understood the deep love you could have for them until I was blessed with our first rescue dog, Deedee. I feel like a crazy dog lady, but honestly, I don't care. Deedee, and now Dexter too, are so incredibly important to our family and have taught me so much - patience, unconditional love, selflessness...the list goes on and on. I know the day will come where I have to say goodbye to them, and I dread it with all my being, but that gives me all the more reason to appreciate them and love on them every single day while they are still here with me <3

// health

Not just my own... but more importantly, the health of all my immediate loved ones. I have a friend whose mother was diagnosed very recently with stage 4 breast cancer, and when things like that happen it is truly a wake up call to not only take care of ourselves, but to also be grateful for those in our lives that have their health. 

// our jobs

Shocking that this one is on my list, because I'll be honest - I hate my job on a day to day basis. I'm also not fond of Aaron's either since it takes him away for 3-5 days almost every single week. BUT - these jobs have allowed us to buy our beautiful first home, given me the opportunity to complete a graduate education, and givens us the opportunity to work hard each day to provide for our family. 

I hope you have all had a lovely Thanksgiving with your family and friends, and are going to bed with full bellies and full hearts! xx 

Friday, November 13, 2015

friday favorites - overnight oats

I don't know why I was so late to the party on this one, but I tried overnight oats for the first time the other day and YUM!! Not only are they easy to put together, but they are also a huge time saver because I can prepare breakfast the night before and it's ready to go in the morning. There are so many different delicious recipes you can try matter what you are in the mood for - and so many of them are healthy!

I recently decided to transition to a more vegetarian diet / lifestyle (just cutting out meat...still eating fish, eggs, dairy) I've been really looking for new recipes and ways to incorporate protein into my daily diet. These overnight oats are great because I can use plain Greek yogurt, chia seeds, flax seeds, peanut butter, and even protein powder with them!

For today's Friday favorites, I'd like to share the three overnight oats recipes that I've made so far, and two that I will be trying next! For all these recipes I've used Quaker Old Fashioned Oats and Ball 16 oz canning jars. The jars are shorter than a typical mason jar and can be found in a 4-pack at Target

//  Blueberry Banana

 1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup organic low fat milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup of banana, sliced
1-2 tbsp organic honey

 Add the oats to your jar of choice and pour in the milk. Add a layer of blueberries and then a layer of banana slices. Top with honey. Place in fridge and enjoy in the morning, or a few hours later!

// Lemon Thyme and Honey

I found this on the blog, The Breakfast Drama Queen, and it sounded delicious!
For a direct link to her site - click on "Lemon Thyme and Honey"

1/2 cup oats
1/2 a lemon, squeeze the juice into jar onto of oats
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme (I didn't have this so I left it out)
1 tbsp honey
Extra honey, to serve (added in the morning)

In your mason jar, mix together the oats, lemon juice, vanilla, yogurt, and milk. Remove the thyme leaves from the stems and mix them into the oatmeal along with the honey. Cover the jar and leave in the fridge overnight. In the morning, drizzle some extra honey over your oats (if desired) and enjoy!

// Bananas Foster

This is another great recipe I found online, courtesy of the lovely blogger, Laura Fuentes.

1 tsp coconut oil
1 banana, sliced
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 cup oats
1 cup organic low fat milk

In a small saucepan, heat up coconut oil over medium heat. Add bananas, vanilla, and cinnamon to the heated pan and begin to saute until they begin to break down and juice out natural sugars (takes about 2-3 mins). Add maple syrup, stir to combine and cook for another minute - then remove from heat.

Place the oats and milk inside your jar, then pour the banana mixture evenly over the top. Stir to combine and refrigerate overnight.

// Carrot Cake

This is the next overnight oats recipe I would like to try! It's chocked full of protien (23g!) and is under 300 calories. The recipe can be found on the blog, Dashing Dish.

// Ginger Snap

What a cute idea! This one will be great to make during the holiday season.
The recipe can be found on the lovely Jen's blog, Driftwood Gardens.