Thursday, December 22, 2016

My Winter Break Routine

Disclaimer: All of the opinions expressed in this post regarding brands and products are my own. 
I was not compensated for this post in any way.

Hello, beautiful - and welcome back for Day 22 of Blogmas! After a grueling week of finals, I'm finally home with my family and eagerly awaiting Christmas morning. I can't wait to make that last post on December 25th and share my holiday with you.

Until then, we've got just a couple more days of Blogmas to go. Today, after running a poll on Twitter (are you following me @haleymarieblog yet?), I decided to write about what a day in my life looks like while I'm at home on break.

Yesterday, I chronicled an entire day in my life for your enjoyment, complete with photos of my morning beauty routine, groceries, and more. Now, I'm lounging on the couch in front of one of my favorite movies (Clueless, of course) with some decaf coffee brewing in the background, typing up my daily routine. 

Warning: it's probably not as exciting as you might think....


9:30 AM - I woke up, a bit earlier than I did the day before. I haven't been using an alarm while I'm home because I figure break is one of my only chances to catch up on sleep, which is why I'm up so late. 

Every day, the first thing I do when I wake up is scroll through my phone. I know it's not healthy to check e-mail as soon as you wake up, but it's usually the first thing I do. During the week, I get morning news briefings from the New York Times and the Skimm straight to my inbox (as a journalism major, I always like to start my day with a healthy dose of news). I also do a lot of my social media updates for the blog during this stage in my day.

10:00 AM - After tweeting and pinning some of my favorite bloggers' newest posts for you guys to enjoy, I make my way downstairs to the bathroom (at my mom's house, my room is the third floor of the house...well, condo) and get ready to start my day. 

First thing in the morning, I put in my contacts, brush my teeth, and wash my face - not too exciting; just basic stuff that any girl does. As you can see from the picture above, I'm not overly picky about what products I put on my face. Currently, I'm using Target brand apricot scrub (aka the cheaper version of the St. Ives cult favorite) and Pond's dry skin cream on my face. Whenever my skin starts to flare up (usually around my period), I'll also use 10% benzoyl peroxide as a spot treatment. I have combination oily-dry skin, so I try to use this treatment sparingly and combine it with a richer moisturizer, such as the Pond's skin cream, to counteract any flakiness. 

Every once in awhile, I'll also use a mask on my face. My favorite is the Formula 10.0.6 Deep Down Detox Ultra Cleansing Mud Mask, but I also like to pick up masks from the drugstore - I love anything with avocado in it. Sometimes, I'll even get Ryan in on it, and we'll grab face masks and charcoal pore strips and have a spa night together in front of the TV! 

10:15 AM - After I finish washing my face, I head downstairs to the living room and have a quick breakfast in our comfy armchair. Today, I had a whole wheat bagel, not toasted, with cream cheese. Bagels are my favorite, so it really made my day when my mom told me she had picked some up for me since she knew I was coming home.

Most mornings, I also take a multivitamin and a probiotic, but today I forgot :( Currently, I'm taking the Trader Joe's Woman's Multivitamin and Target brand probiotic capsules (basically the same as the Culturelle supplement). Even though I try to eat my fruits and veggies, I still love supplements because they make up for any areas where I might be lacking. Plus, when it comes to probiotics, good gut health is so important, as it's an area we always tend to neglect! 

10:30 AM - I hop in the shower. While I've been home, I'm just using whatever shampoo and conditioner my family has in there already, but at school, I've been using the Garnier Fructis Grow Strong shampoo and conditioner, and the St. Ive's body scrub. When I shave, I usually just use water, especially on delicate areas where my skin is quite sensitive; however, on my legs, I always use Target brand shaving cream. I love it because it smells like strawberries!

After my shower, I dress in one of my favorite sweaters that I bought from Primark for $8.00. The navy blue color compliments my skin tone, and the gold buttons add a gorgeous accent that makes the sweater look a lot more expensive than it was, TBH. 

I don't wear makeup every morning, but today my skin's not looking so hot (I'm supposed to get my period any day now), so since I'm not in a rush, I decide to put some on as a confidence-booster. Pictured above are all the products I wear on a regular basis. Here they are listed from left to right:

  • Naked on the Run Palette: This palette comes with everything from lip gloss to mascara to eyeshadow, which is what makes it so perfect for being on-the-go! However, I usually use it just for the blush and bronzer shades.
  • Maybelline Fit Me Matte Foundation: Because my skin is so oily in places, I love a good high-coverage foundation that won't leave my face shiny. That's why this matte foundation is so perfect for my skin type.
  • Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment: I got this as a birthday gift from Sephora when I was maybe 14 or 15, and I loved it so much that I had to buy the full size when I ran out. I've used it ever since for a my-lips-but-better lip color. Bonus points for wintertime hydration!
  • Sephora Collection Makeup Brushes: I used to apply my foundation with disposable sponges until I got this brush set for Christmas. The girl working at Sephora recommended them to my mom as the perfect gift - and they were! I love having a set of durable makeup brushes that last.
  • BareMinerals Lash Domination Mascara: This mascara thickens, lengthens, and darkens like no other. I've tried a bunch of other mascaras in my time as a beauty connoisseur, but none have ever compared to this one for me. I think it has something to do with the hourglass shape of the brush - but whatever the reason, I'm loyal to BareMinerals and don't think I can ever go back.
  • Touch in Sol Browza Super Proof Gel Brow Pencil: I only just started filling in my brows last year, but now it's become such a staple in my makeup routine that I don't know what I'd do without it. I used to use the Anastasia pencil until I lost it, so now I've gone back to the Browza one that my friend bought me for Christmas a year or two ago.
  • Milani Liquid Liner: This liner is one of those drugstore secrets that you won't believe until you try it yourself. I bought it for a Halloween costume a couple of years ago and just started using it in my daily routine. I love how creamy the formula is and how easy the fine-tipped pen is to apply. Fun tip: I always apply my eyeliner with my eyes open, not closed, for a thinner line!
  • Naked Basics Palette: This palette has the perfect everyday shades of eyeshadow. I like them as contour shades for the crease and outer corners of my eyelids because they're matte, so they soften an intensely-pigmented, sparkly shade.
  • Benefit Boi-ing Concealer: Real talk, but this high-coverage concealer is perfect for hiding everything from dark circles to hickeys. After using Benefit's thick, creamy formula, I don't think I can ever go back. Another pro tip: always apply your concealer before your foundation to let it set for the highest coverage!
  • Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Midnight Cowboy: I got this eyeshadow as a birthday gift from Ulta and immediately fell in love! My only advice is to use this color sparingly, as it's highly pigmented and will leave glitter all over your cheeks if you aren't careful (trust me, I learned this the hard way).
  • Sephora Collection Things Are Looking Up Eyelash Curler: If you aren't already using an eyelash curler, start now, because it will truly change your life. I bought this uniquely-shaped eyelash curler with a gift card to Sephora. The design is based off Japanese products, and makes an amazing travel item to tuck away in your purse or bag because of it's compact, fold-in handle. 
These are the products I used to create my makeup look for this morning. Here's what the finished look, well, looks like!

My finished make-up look. Please ignore my uncomfortable expression/PMS acne.

11:00 AM - Because it's Wednesday, it's that time of the week again that I need to pack up and head to my dad's house! Also, because I'm at his house through Christmas morning, I need to go grocery shopping for the rest of the week. So, I pack up all my clothes and beauty products, hug my mom goodbye, and head over to Shaw's. Ryan is meeting me there! 

We'll buy the bulk of our groceries there to save money, then head back to my house to put the groceries away and carpool to Whole Foods, where we can buy some specialty items to sort of spice up our diet. I'm a vegetarian, so namely I'm excited to head over and buy the Beyond Meat chicken strips, since Whole Foods is the only place where I can get them! 


12:00 Noon -  Grocery shopping, round one, takes about forty-five minutes as we traipse through the store picking up healthy groceries and produce. We've also run into one of Ryan's friends working there and spent a few minutes talking to him. Now that we're finally home, it's time to put away the groceries so we can head to Whole Foods - but before we put them away, I make Ryan help me lay them out so I can show them to y'all! 

Ryan actually took the above photo of our groceries - he's a much better amateur photographer than I am. Disclaimer: I'm on a health kick lately, so this is not what my grocery bags normally look like. However, here's the list of what we got at Shaw's anyways! I love Shaw's because it has a robust natural food section, but you can probably find most of these items at your local grocery store or market regardless. From left to right:

  • Broccoli: For me, broccoli is one of those staple veggies to stick in the microwave whenever a meal needs a little extra green. I'm actually quite a picky eater - even as a vegetarian, I don't like many vegetables - but oddly enough, broccoli is one of the few green vegetables I actually like!
  • Sweet potatoes: Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite healthy foods. I especially love to spice them up with chipotle powder and Mrs. Dash's chicken seasoning, then toss them in the pan and cook them until they're crispy.
  • Honey: I love honey for everything from tea to yogurt. However, this honey I bought specifically so I could make lemon honey viniagrette for a Greek salad I'm planning on making later this week.
  • Plain yogurt: Greek yogurt is my favorite, but if I buy it Greek-style, Ryan won't eat it. So, to help the groceries go faster when he's over at my house, I gave in and bought the normal-style yogurt. I'm planning on eating this for breakfast with berries, honey, and maybe a spoonful of chia seeds or dark chocolate chips.
  • Coffeemate Natural Bliss Coffee Creamer in Salted Caramel: If you haven't tried this coffee creamer yet, you're missing out! I hesitate to call it "healthy" because it's still loaded with sugar, but it's definitely a better alternative to the normal Coffeemate that's loaded with the preservatives. Plus, I promise, the rich salted caramel flavor will give you the best iced coffee you've ever tasted in your life!
  • Ben and Jerry's Half-Baked Frozen Yogurt: This was honestly an impulse buy. Ryan likes to share sweet things when we're watching Netflix or TV at my house, so I convinced him to go for the froyo instead of the ice cream for a lighter alternative.
  • Quinoa: I. LOVE. QUINOA. I make it in the microwave and stick it on salads at school all the time, but while I'm home, I'm planning on using it to make vegetarian mock "meatballs" to go with some whole wheat fettuccine.
  • Red onion: These were the biggest onions I have ever seen in my life! Ryan's friend who works at Shaw's even brought us a new crate of onions to look through, but all of them were equally huge. I guess there's nothing left to do now but be thankful that this onion will get me through many days of Greek salads.
  • Raspberries and blackberries (stacked): I've been obsessed with berries lately. You can't get them in the dining halls at school, so I've been snagging a box every time I go to the convenience or grocery store. In Boston, they're uber expensive, so I couldn't believe how cheap they were when I got back home and snagged them for just a couple dollars each!
  • Cucumber: I could go either way on cucumbers most of the time, but they're a pretty mild flavor, so it's a great veggie to just sneak into a salad. Especially when paired with some feta cheese on a Greek salad, I love the refreshing crunch!
  • Feta cheese: Feta is probably my favorite food in the entire world. I cannot stop eating feta cheese. In fact, feta cheese alone is probably 80% of the reason that I am not vegan. (The other 20% is my lack of willpower, of course.) I'm planning on using a healthy dose of this as the finishing touch on my Greek salad this week.
  • Whole wheat fettuccine: Ryan hates when I buy whole wheat pasta, but I couldn't help but spring for the healthier option this week! We're using this to make spaghetti and mock "meatballs" for dinner tonight once we both get home.
  • Steam-in-bag brown rice: I eat brown rice by the bagful, but I almost always take the easy way out when it comes to making it. Whenever I cook it in the microwave myself, it winds up over- or under-cooked. So, I compensate by buying the frozen, steam-in-bag option instead! It's so easy, no one - not even me - could mess it up.
  • Romaine lettuce: I don't like many leafy greens, but iceberg lettuce is a bit watery for my tastes, so I sprung for the Romaine instead. Hopefully, this will help me pack a few more extra vitamins and minerals in this week! 
  • Lemon juice: Using this to make honey lemon vinaigrette later this week! I'm always a fan of fresh lemon when you can swing it, but the juice was only $0.99, so I gave in.
  • Roasted garlic hummus: Believe it or not, Ryan actually picked this out as a healthy snack we could both share when he comes over. I got him hooked on the Trader Joe's garlic hummus and now he's all about scooping it up on crackers.
  • Guacamole: Guacamole is my FAVORITE food. I love to eat it on organic blue corn chips, or use it to top my homemade burrito bowls. The Yucatan Organic Guacamole is my favorite for its crisp lime tang.

1:00 PM - After putting away our groceries, me and Ryan hop in my yellow Volkswagen Beetle and I drive us to Whole Foods. We spend about twenty or thirty minutes grazing the aisles, but because we spent so much money at Shaw's already, we try to make it a quick trip. Here's what we picked up, from left to right:

  • Newman's Own Pink Lemonade: Ryan loves lemonade, so I couldn't stop him from picking up a carton of this all-natural flavor. He poured some in a glass as soon as he got home!
  • 365 Organic Unsweetened Green Tea: I rediscovered my love of tea after watching some of Nikki Philippi's Tea Talk videos on YouTube during finals week. Lately, I've been getting into the iced variety - but I try to curb my sugar intake by either brewing it myself or buying the unsweetened kind.
  • Organic Black Bean Tortilla Chips: Ryan and I went between blue corn chips (which are usually my favorite) and the black bean ones, and finally we decided to try something new. I love black beans and quickly discovered that I love these chips just as much! The flavor is subtle, but interesting - plus, they're totally healthy.
  • Back to Nature Multiseed Rice Thins: Ryan picked these crunchy crackers out for his hummus. I love the Back to Nature brand, and we both love the sweet and salty crunch of rice thins, so these were the perfect combination for both of us! 
  • Muir Glen Organic Tomato Sauce: Can you believe these tiny cans of tomato sauce were just $0.99 - and organic? This is why I love Whole Foods! It can get a little pricey, but every once in awhile, you find a steal that makes it all worth it.
  • Beyond Chicken Southwest Flavor: As a vegetarian, I can honestly say that Beyond Chicken is the best meat substitute I have ever tried. Nothing captures that crispy texture quite like it - I've even gotten Ryan, a relentless carnivore, hooked on it! We love sticking these strips in salads, but today we're using them to make sweet potato and brown rice bowls.
  • Justin's Hazelnut Butter and Peanut Butter with Honey packets: The Justin's nut butters are so delicious - and as someone who loves to eat peanut butter straight from the jar, I honestly plan on squeezing this packet right into my mouth. The hazelnut butter is for Ryan (though I've had it before, and it's an amazing dupe for Nutella) and the peanut butter with honey is for me.

1:30 PM - We pull into the driveway and unpack the groceries for a photograph. Then, we call the dogs inside, but discover we need to take a quick detour to pull one of them out of the neighbor's yard when only one comes in.

At my dad's house, we have two collies - Scout and Violet. When I'm there, taking care of them is a huge part of my day. Scout wasn't wearing his shock collar when he went outside, so he crossed the electric fence and ran into the neighbor's yard while we were gone. You should have seen the look of shame on his face as he walked inside...we give them both bones to distract them while we decide to cook lunch. Surprisingly, they lay right down and actually behave! 

1:45 PM - We poured some drinks into glasses - green tea for me; pink lemonade for Ryan - and snack on chips and guac/crackers and hummus while cooking lunch. We've decided to throw together a quick, healthy "burrito bowl" with the brown rice, Beyond Meat chicken, and sweet potatoes. 

Ryan handles the potatoes, chopping them up into cubes and seasoning them with Mrs. Dash's chicken seasoning (which is a nice, spicy mix that's great for potatoes), chipotle powder, paprika, and garlic salt. Then, he tosses them in a pan with a healthy dose of olive oil and fries them until they're crispy. 

Meanwhile, in a smaller pan, I fry up the Beyond Meat until it's crispy on both sides, using just a touch of olive oil. I also toss the brown rice in the microwave to cook for about four minutes, until it's nice and steaming hot. Once the mock meat's nice and fried, I take it out and use a fork and knife to gently saw it into cubes. Then, once the rice and potatoes are done, we assemble our bowls and sit down at the kitchen counter to enjoy our healthy lunch! 

2:15 PM - I want to work on writing up my blog post now that we've taken all these photos of our groceries, but first it's important to me to spend time with Ryan, since he'll have to leave for his final soon. So, we sit down on the couch with our drinks and cuddle in front of an episode of one of our favorite shows, House of Cards. We get into a joking argument once I find out that he's gone ahead and watched the episode already without me, but then I'm sucked into the storyline and can't think of why I'm mad anyways!

3:00 PM - After House of Cards ends, I grab my laptop and upload my photos from the day. Ryan and I throw on Sky High, a movie we both used to like when we were kids, in the background while I work on writing my blog post. 

4:00 PM - Ryan has to leave to commute to college so he can present a final project for one of his classes. He still has some finishing touches to put on the project, so even though he'll get there a little bit early, he's happy to have the extra time to work on it.

Meanwhile, I have about 40 minutes until I need to leave to go to dance class, so I keep working on my blog post until then. Usually, writing doesn't take me this long, but this day in the life post is turning out to be much more in-depth than most of the other Blogmas posts I've been putting together recently! 

4:45 PM - I'm running a little bit late for dance! I fill up a water bottle and grab my clothes and shoes, making sure to snap a quick picture before I get in the car. Then, I make the 30 minute drive to Waltham in some downright crappy traffic :(


5:20 PM - I'm running late for class! I head into the studio and change, then sit down for a quick stretch before Annie (my dance teacher) starts to teach me some new choreo. She wants me and a couple of other girls who graduated to perform in the recital as part of a lyrical dance with one of her smaller classes, so we're just starting to learn that stuff now.

6:15 PM - Roughly around 6:15, that class ends as her next class comes in. I'm not dancing with this class, as it's younger kids, so I leave to get a quick snack from the grocery store down the street. I grab a cookie dough Balance protein bar and a bottle of unsweetened green tea from Honest T. Then, I spend the rest of the break scrolling through social media on my phone. 

7:15 PM - Maybe around 7:15, the class ends and pointe/ballet starts for the teens - that's where I hop in! Honestly, whenever I'm at dance, I completely lose track of time; all the classes just blur together. But I love it, and it's amazing exercise, so I'm more than happy to be back in the studio, especially since this is the last time I'll be here until after Christmas.

We take a loooong stretch, complete with crunches and push-ups (yay, conditioning...). It feels absolutely ah-mazing to finally feel flexible again! Then, we follow up with some across-the-floor and practice a variety of leaps. I love the way my calypso to the floor looks, for maybe the first time ever - I'm happy to see those college dance classes have done me some good! 

Finally, we put on our pointe shoes and learn a quick sequence. It's the first time in forever that I've worn them (literally since July), so my toes kill, but the shoes are nice and broken in, and it feels natural to be back on the box again. At the end of the night, I'm exhausted, but satisfied - not to mention starving! I can't wait to get home and whip up some dinner...

9:00 PM - Ryan meets me at home now that his final presentation is over - but first, before he gets here, I choreograph a quick sequence that I can teach my girls at camp this summer! Then, I do my daily meditation, only for four minutes tonight since I don't have much time. My therapist has me doing a daily meditation and rating my anxiety before and after every night as part of the "microjournaling" exercises she has me doing over break (more about that later!). 

My dad is home from work now, too. We cook quinoa "meatballs" and whole wheat fettuccine (well, Ryan makes white pasta separately) with organic tomato sauce for dinner. Then, we eat it on the couch and watch Shark Tank as a family (plus one!) until my dad goes to bed.

11:00 PM - My dad goes to bed, so Ryan and I finally regain control of the TV. We cuddle and finish our movie, Sky High, from earlier. It's a cute Disney throwback to simpler times when we were only nine or ten! 

12:00 AM - The movie ends and Ryan heads home to get some sleep for work in the morning. I head up to my room after kissing him goodbye, then plop down on my bed to do my microjournaling.

Basically, my therapist has me doing this exercise where I write down three things I'm grateful for, three things I've done today, and three goals I have for tomorrow. I'm also supposed to note my anxiety levels before and after meditation, and any triggers and coping skills I've discovered throughout the day. These exercises are meant to teach me to stay focused on the present moment instead of worrying about the future, and to pinpoint the cause of my anxiety. I can't be completely sure, but I feel like they really work.

Lately, I've also been adding in some other prompts of my own from a 30 day journaling challenge I found on Pinterest, in an attempt to get to know myself a bit better. Today, I'm writing about a person who inspires me, so I write about my dance teacher, who's inspired me to be a better dancer and taught me a lot about teaching my dance students at camp.

12:30 PM - After journaling, it's time to get ready for bed. Honestly, I spend more time than I'd like to scrolling through my phone before I actually get up to get ready, but when I finally do, I put on my penguin pajamas and head to the bathroom to clean my face. 

First, I wipe off my makeup with a Neutrogena makeup remover wipe (I also love using Micellar water as a gentle makeup remover), take out my contacts, and follow the same cleansing routine as I did in the morning. Then, I brush my teeth, use the bathroom, and text Ryan goodnight before crawling into bed! I leave my phone on at night - bad, I know - but always put it on do not disturb.

Some nights, anxiety keeps me awake later than I mean to stay up, but tonight, I'm so exhausted I fall asleep almost right away! And now, here I am the next day, writing this blog post. I hope you enjoyed it! :)

Want more insights into my daily routine? Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @haleymarieblog!

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