Monique of Switzerland

Monique of Switzerland is a jeweler in Wayzata, Minnesota. My future brother in law recommended them when my fiancé was out looking for engagement rings. It's a local, family owned and operated business, and they go above and beyond to make their customers happy. 

My fiancé met with Monique, to custom design and make my engagement ring and learned all about diamonds. He said that he never once felt pressured or out-of-the-loop with the the whole process. 

It was a no brainer that we would return to purchase our wedding bands from them. We picked ours up over the weekend, and I could not be more pleased. My band matches up perfectly with my engagement ring- and I met Monique's son Dean, who personally matched all the diamonds himself. The sparkle is crazy.

The fiancé is also very happy with his band. I forgot the brand name, but the ring's middle part can be interchanged with different metals and finishes, or even wood. He picked out rose gold as the main option, and he's getting a black insert as well. It's like getting two rings in one. Who knew that men's options were so varied and customizable too. 

It feels great to support a local business run by such great people. Their expertise, high quality selection, attention to detail, and genuine care for their customers is the real deal. 

*I'm not being sponsored or asked to post about Monique of Switzerland. I'm giving my honest opinion and review of my experience. 

The Makeup Drop

How do you like to apply your foundation? Fingers? Brush? Cushion? Sponge? Personally, I prefer brushes and sponges. They keep your hands mostly clean and you can achieve a non-streaky and well blended look. The downside of both methods- the maintenance and wasted product. 
Dirty brushes and sponges should be cleaned regularly to get rid of bacteria, but I definitely don't know anyone who cleans them as often as they should. 

That is why I was intrigued by the Makeup Drop. It's a silicone applicator in a tear drop shape that doesn't absorb any excess product like a brush or sponge. Therefore, it sounded like a breeze to clean because all you have to do was wipe it off and rinse with soap and water.  

However, I was also skeptical. How could this ensure no streaks and proper blending? 
I think the key is that you have to use less product- which is a good thing- and then you use the applicator like you would the sponge that comes in a cushion compact, with soft dabbing and patting motions to blend the product in. You're basically pressing the product into the skin in thin layers. It takes some getting used to, but I really appreciated how little product I needed to cover my whole face. 

I've been using the Makeup Drop in combination with the NARS sheer glow foundation in Mont Blanc. I've been really pleased with the result, because my skin still looks like skin and it's not heavy at all. Lots of glow- even in terrible florescent lighting. 

*The Makeup Drop and NARS are not sponsoring this post. 
I purchased all products on my own and the review is just my opinion.

DIY Skin Detox

Pinterest and Internet search results can sometimes seem like a rabbit hole- There's just a lot of information and who knows what will really work for you. Too many face masks, too many beauty hacks- too little time.

I remember my eyes skimming over the words 'Aztec clay' on several Into the Gloss Top Shelf interviews and not paying super close attention. But when your favorite Youtube influencer, Claire Marshall of heyclaire, says to try out a bentonite clay and apple cider vinegar face mask you start to pay attention. She said it's like her new thing and made her skin feel nice- as in got rid of acne bumps. With subsequent Internet searches, it was confirmed that bloggers agree with Claire.

Who knows if ALL the claims about bentonite clay are true, but I took Claire's advice when I went to my local Fresh Thyme (it's like slightly cheaper Whole Foods) to try it out as a skin mask. I don't know if I would ever ingest it like some people do.
(They were out of the Aztec brand so I picked up a brand called Redmond Clay.)

The rest of the story is pretty straight forward. You mix one part clay with one part apple cider vinegar/ water, and try to ignore the pungent vinegar odor. Then you apply it to your face or body, let it dry, and rinse off.

Needless to say, I was impressed by this DIY. I've had three really stubborn breakouts, and the mask definitely calmed them down in terms of size and 'bump factor'.
Thanks Claire. Thanks Internet.

286 More Days

I'm already thinking ahead to the Bahamas. Clearly. Obviously. 286 whopping days ahead. For some many people this is probably over the top. Way over. 
However, in my defense, this method of planning all my outfits will save me time and money in the long run. These pieces (minus the swimsuit on the far left) are already in my closet, so by sticking to this visual list I won't be tempted to buy more clothes with the excuse of 'it's for my vacation.' I also won't be trying to outfit plan when it's time to pack, and hopefully this will minimize my impulse to over pack. I may change some outfits, but I think that most of it will stay the same. 
I know my anxiety can match my excitement when it comes to travel, and who knows how much more intense it will be when I'll be traveling for the sole purpose of getting married. Wedding planning and obsessing over details can get stressful, but channeling that energy into drawing my packing list helped me. It's one less thing to worry about. 
image via

Extra Sparkles

Can I be honest and say that I don't like wearing jewelry? Simple earrings are fine, but I never wear bracelets, I own 4 necklaces that I rarely put on, and I didn't wear a single ring until I received my engagement ring.

Don't get me wrong, I think that jewelry can be a great accessory and very pleasing to look at, but I'm not the type of person to go out of my way to buy or wear it.
All that being said... I feel that I should wear some jewelry for my wedding, because my mom will want me to and a little bit of extra sparkly sparkle couldn't hurt.

Here are 5 reasonably priced options that I came up with. Some are more subtle than others, but each one could potentially work on the big day. I definitely have a top and bottom pick, but we'll just have to see which one gets chosen.

The next step is to answer the question, what about a bracelet? Ugh.

Holiday Season

Winter is here and the holidays are here, and to be totally honest, I'm tired. 
Everything post Thanksgiving until now is a bit of a big blur, and I'm feeling like I'm running on the last reserves. My brain is just so full with different things (wedding, work, party planning, money, shopping lists, to do lists, work, money, wedding, meetings, appointments, not exercising, work...) and I haven't been sleeping enough... my skin is breaking out because of stress...
I'm so thankful that I have a long winter break ahead of me to decompress, recollect myself, and enjoy family and friends. 

Anyway... Something that has helped me keep track of everything is my bullet journal. This is a Russell and Hazel journal that I've 'converted'. Bullet journaling is just a systematic way to keep track of your schedule and lots of other things. I'm already a pretty organized person, but I like how this keeps me organized and I like that I can personalize it as much as I want. There are people out there who have very detailed and elaborate bullet journals and people who have minimalistic ones, so it's up to what you want to create. 

Another thing that has helped me de-stress is making the apartment feel more homey and cozy for the holidays. The little details of candles, flowers, and a small tree make coming home feel that much more welcoming and cheerful. It's also fun to have the apartment look nice and festive for when we have guests over.
West Elm has had some sort of discount every single day it seems. These candle holders were a good deal in my book. (Not the Yamazaki one though...)

Thanks Target.

These cookies have a "secret ingredient" that will make them super moist and soft. 

Holiday Gift Guide 2016 Part Two

Raise your hand if you have some last minute shopping to do.  Raise your hand if you've picked up some things for the women in your life (and maybe even yourself), but you have been putting off shopping for your husband, fiance, or boyfriend, or brother...
Quite frankly, I find it so much harder to find gifts for my fiance and guys in general- BUT I accept it as a challenge every year and here are some suggestions.

1. Wool runners from All birds-  the wool comes from sustainable farms and happy sheep
2. Boxers from J. Crew- they have fun prints
3. YSL la nuit de l'homme cologne- this scent has his and my stamp of approval
4. Cashmere lined gloves from J. Crew- add a touch a luxe to winter while using your smart phone
5. A new router- Internet kind of slow? Buy a new router. Other than that I can't really tell you much about this... But my fiance is very happy with it (I don't even know if the one he got is the one pictured, but it looks very similar)
6. Kiehl's ultimate strength hand salve- A great stocking stuffer