Category Archives: DIY

Sephora Insider Sale

Sephora VIB Sale

Now through Wednesday, Sephora is hosting its annual sale for beauty insiders. I actually just (embarrassingly) reached VIB status after spending so much on all of the makeup for my wedding as well as the hair and face products I love. So I received 20% off when I went into the store over the weekend and stocked up on my favorite items. I figured now was as good of a time as any to purchase beauty products I’d be buying at some point soon anyway.

Before my wedding I had shopped beauty brands carried at Sephora, but I still was also buying drugstore products because of the lower cost. While I still use drugstore brands, I’m really glad I invested in better makeup for my wedding – even if it was more expensive. The makeup lasted through my special day, and now I have the products to use daily and for special occasions. I’m sharing some of my favorites below with a short description on why I think you should invest in them too and take advantage of the annual Sephora VIB sale. I’ve also shared a list you can shop below with all of these items as well as what I bought for my DIY wedding makeup. Let me know if you have any questions!
Want more? Here are the products listed above as well as additional beauty products I use and purchased at Sephora:


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Category: Beauty, DIY


Crowning Event

Crowning Event

It seems like Mondays are starting to have a floral theme. (Remember my DIY bouquets last week?) These photos are from last weekend’s Crowning Event with Allie. I met Allie at a Bitches Who Brunch event last spring (she’s the Chicago editor-in-chief) and have kept up with her on social media since. Lately I started seeing her rocking the most adorable flower crowns, and I was amazed to learn she is making them through her own business, Crowning Event. She offers workshops so others can learn how to make their own crowns, so I signed up immediately with my friend (and former blog partner) Amanda!

Crowning Event (more…)

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Category: DIY


Flower Power

Chicago School of Flower Design

You know how I feel about flowers? They’re lovely ways to add color to your home, but I really don’t know what makes them beautiful together. A few days ago, if you asked me to go to a farmer’s market and put together a bouquet, I’d have been stumped. I wouldn’t know what colors complement each other, which size vases to use with which flowers, etc. That’s why I am still in disbelief that I made three bouquets Monday night in three hours! Granted, I made these in a class that provided me with step-by-step instructions and flowers, but now I’ve walked away with more knowledge from that one night than multiple years of me staring at bouquets in markets. I just had to share my excitement about the Chicago Flower School of Design (and *humblebrag* with photos of these bouquets).

Chicago School of Flower Design

Steve signed me up for the flower school as a Christmas gift. I’m DIYing our wedding flowers (with supervision from a professional), so he thought the class would be good practice for me. And he was right. The School of Flower Design is led by Michael Gaffney, a renowned floral designer who shared plenty of stories from elaborate weddings and catering to the stars. He opened the class explaining that flower design is like cooking. It’s about 10% creativity, and the rest is sticking to a “recipe.” Sure, the flowers or colors in a bouquet might change, but the key elements need to be there for it to be pleasing to the eye. Once he explained it like that, I was better able to follow his directions for the three bouquets we learned that night.

Chicago School of Flower Design

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Category: DIY


Fourth of July

July 4 party ideas

This weekend Steve and I will be traveling through Florida to see family and attend a friend’s wedding. I am so excited to be getting away for a trip, but was a little disappointed not to be home for the Fourth of July. There’s just something about the long weekend and an excuse to barbecue that holds a special place in my heart. Luckily, Sarah held an early July 4 party so I didn’t have to miss out on the festivities! And boy, did she have so many great July 4 party ideas – I just had to share them with you! Like above, she froze water balloons for an extra decorative way to keep our drinks cold. Keep reading for more cute July 4 party ideas.

July 4 party ideas

Make your own photo booth
All you need is an American flag, fun July 4 decorations and cell phones for creative Boomerangs and photos. Bonus points if the props light up!

July 4 party ideas

One drink, multiple flavors
For one of the party’s drinks, Sarah mixed up several flavors of margarita {and shhh…I tried them all}. I loved having multiple choices that still fit in one spot thanks to this convenient drink tower from Z Gallerie. It left lots of room on the table for other food and beverages.

July 4 party ideas

Flavored ice cubes
Ice cubes with jalapeno pieces or limes were the perfect addition to the margaritas. For your party, you could choose to freeze many fruits or flavors for an added touch to the drink table!

So how are you celebrating this year? Any July 4 party ideas to share?

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Category: DIY


Wedding Wednesday – Shared Space

Northern Lights Candles

As I mentioned, my fiancé and I recently moved in together. We are having such a fun time spending each day to day together without one of us having to go home to our own place. So far the hardest, but smallest, challenge has been trying to fit all of my things into our small space. We spent last weekend organizing everything I moved in, and now that we’re past that, the next step is to be making our modest apartment a home for us both. Thankfully, I had help from Northern Lights candles for a part of that.

Northern Lights Candles

Northern Lights is a manufacturer of high quality scented and designer candles. As soon as they reached out to introduce themselves to me I knew that the items they offered were ones both Steve and I would love to incorporate into our home decor. For “him” we chose a Blackberry Brandy scented candle, since he loves cocktails. The candle caught my eye because of the cool cork top – it’s a unique piece of decor!

Northern Lights Candles

For myself I chose a Orchard Pear scented candle that came in an amazing mirrored jar. It’s sitting out near my makeup stand, a corner of the apartment that I carved out for myself.

Steve and I are enjoying these cozy additions to our homes and each take turns lighting a candle when we get home so the delicious scents will greet whoever gets home second. They’re small but special items that have helped turn his home into a place that’s ours.

I received these products free of charge but the opinions express are my own.


Mani Monday:

I’m a big advocate of treating yourself to a new nail polish or two once in a while, so I asked my former blog partner and fellow nail polish hoarder, Amanda, to write a guest blog post today. Read on for a Sephora Formula X Cupcakes and Cashmere review.

Sincerely Jennie Formula X Cupcakes and Cashmere Review

I’m a sucker for a good collaboration, and was thrilled when one of my favorite bloggers, Emily from Cupcakes and Cashmere, collaborated with a somewhat new-to-me nail polish brand, Formula X.

Let’s talk about the Formula X formula first. I happened upon it when I was in Sephora looking for a new color for the weekend and decided to give it a try. I’m immensely brand loyal, particularly when it comes to nail polish, so I wasn’t sure how I’d like it. I LOVED it. The brushes are fantastic and the coverage is amazing. Most of the darker shades only need one coat for it to be opaque, and the brush is small enough that I don’t make many mistakes or color “outside the lines” when I’m doing my nails. The wear is great (I got a good 5-7 days), but I really attribute that more to the topcoat (Seche Vite) than the polish.

Now on to the Sephora Formula X Cupcakes and Cashmere review:

Sincerely Jennie Formula X Cupcakes and Cashmere Review 4

I had to start with the reds, because reds are my favorite. I own probably 40 shades of red alone, and seriously, they all look different to me. I had high hopes for the C&C “Haute Sauce,” and it didn’t disappoint – it’s a fantastic red. Largely because I think it looks exactly like OPI’s Fashion A Bow, which I already loved.

Verdict: I’ll be keeping this one, but it’s not a necessary purchase if you already have a red you like.

Sincerely Jennie Formula X Cupcakes and Cashmere Review 3

Next up I tried the C&C “Peach Tea.” I compared it to Essie’s Tart Deco, which looked similar in the bottle but was very different once I got it on. Not my color. I wanted it to be slightly darker so it didn’t wash me out, but could see how it’d look nice with a tan.

Verdict: Would not have purchased this, but I’m going to try again mid-summer once I have a tan.

Sincerely Jennie Formula X Cupcakes and Cashmere Review Finally, I tried the nudes. I compared the C&C Latte Run to OPI’s Tiramisu for Two, which is my absolute favorite nude. I was prepared to hate this one, but it was actually my favorite of the collection! The coverage is great (no need for 3-4 coats like some nudes need), and the shade is just slightly lighter than the OPI, which I liked. As my fiance says, “it doesn’t blend into your skin.”

Verdict: I love this shade, and hope the bottle never runs out. If you buy one shade from this collection, make it Latte Run.

Sincerely Jennie Formula X Cupcakes and Cashmere Review


Bubbling Brides

Sincerely Jennie Bubbling Brides

After my engagement a few weeks ago, and the initial excitement wore off, I started getting kind of anxious. There’s so much to plan and so little I actually know about weddings! Thankfully I have plenty of friends and family who’ve offered their support and advice. But in the end the aesthetics and decisions will come down to my fiancé and me. That’s why I was so excited to hear about a company like Bubbling Brides! Created by Chicagoan Dayna Shay, the company recently launched to help brides and bridesmaids find their perfect dresses, without all of the extra fabric and drama that bridesmaid dress shopping can sometimes come with. I was invited to the Bubbling Brides launch party and was really impressed with the idea that Dayna has turned into a business.

Sincerely Jennie Bubbling Brides

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Category: DIY, Style


Party Planning

Galentine's Day

Being that it’s Leap Day, my head is kind of in the clouds. Does anyone else think this extra 24 hours should be a holiday? Sadly, it’s not, but that doesn’t mean I still can’t daydream about the Galentine’s Day party I recently held. It’s a tradition to have all of my girlfriends over for brunch and just catch up with gals from all parts of my life. Now, many of them have met year after year or at other gatherings so it’s even more fun for us to get together and catch up!

Continue reading for details about the Galentine’s Day party and some tips on how to entertain no matter how small your space or budget. (more…)

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Category: DIY, Recipe


Making a List, Checking It Twice

homemade gift bags

By now I hope your holiday shopping is complete and the next thing on your list is wrapping the presents. I’m finally to this stage and am really excited to sit down and lay all my gifts out next to my wrapping supplies. I love buying presents and also love personalizing their presentation. That doesn’t mean buying a ton of supplies. As I learned last year from an event with Debi Lilly, creative gift bags can be made from a lot of arts and crafts and household items. Use these bags as inspiration and take a look at the tips I compiled below for beautiful homemade gift bags.

 

homemade gift bags 1

Homemade gift bag inspiration:

  1. No gift bags available? Make one out of newspaper or other paper scraps.
  2. Use office supplies like gold paperclips or paper fasteners for unexpected glamour.
  3. Find supplies in your kitchen like holiday-themed baking cups.
  4. Use washi tape for an inexpensive and easy way to create patterns and add extra glitz to bags.
  5. Gift bag tags and stickers will oomph up a plain brown bag.
  6. Purchase large ornaments to tie to the bag or box.
  7. Create a cute polka-dot pattern on your bag with paint and a round sponge.
  8. Fold a doily over the top of the bag for a snowflake-like touch.
  9. Enlist the kids to help stamp strings of holiday lights on bags.
  10. Tie winter foilage, such as holly and tree scraps, onto the bag’s handles.

homemade gift bags 3

For more DIY holiday ideas, visit my Pinterest page. Happy wrapping!

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Sweet Holiday Treats

Sincerely Jennie Candied Nut Recipe

One of my favorite – and most tempting – sweets to make around the holidays is candied nuts. I try to trick myself into thinking they’re healthier than cookies and chocolates, and maybe they are with less artificial sugars and butter, but it sure it hard to stop at the serving size. Have you ever tried a candied nut recipe? Then you know what I’m talking about.

Sincerely Jennie Candied Nut Recipe

Despite the danger to my waistline, I typically make these every holiday when I’m required to bring a passing dish or when I need simple gift to show my appreciation for someone. Barring no nut allergies, they’re usually well-received and any leftovers I have make for an amazing salad topping.

Sincerely Jennie Candied Nut Recipe

This year I tried this candied nut recipe which only calls for whipped egg whites and a few spices. Although most recipes call for just one type of nut, I like to combine pecans and cashews, two of my favorites. And trust me, no one complains when I deviate from the recipe.

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Category: DIY, Recipe