Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Day Eight: You Mustn't Be Afraid

So here we are. Day Eight in the Ms. CourtneyLeighB Challenge

The basic theme of today is to never be afraid of what's to come, to strive for excellence in all that you do, and to never let your past stand in front of your future. Remember that we are never too old to make our dreams our realities.

There have been many times in my life in which I have been afraid. Many times in which I couldn't allow myself to move on, to begin a new phase, or to accept that things had gone differently than expected. 

There have always been many times in my life in which I have chosen to be different, to take my own path and to do something just for me, and no one else.

The words you are reading right now are a perfect example of not being afraid, and doing something simply because it makes me happy. This blog was (and still is) meant to be a place for me to document my life and the things I love. While numbers and page views are flattering (and don't get me wrong I LOVE all the truly beautiful support and kind words I have been receiving), this blog was started with the impression that there is a potential that my only readers will be my mom and my sisters in law. That in itself would have been enough for me.

You cannot be afraid of the unknown simply because it is unfamiliar. You mustn't be afraid to try new things due to the fear that you may strike out. You should relish the idea. A setback is really just a setup for a future accomplishment.

I am a firm believer that we all have the power to choose happiness. I am a firm believer that we all have the power to do what we set our minds to. I am a firm believer that we shouldn't be afraid, and that we should dream until our dreams come true.

How are you going to make your dreams a reality? Are you going to be afraid?




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Monday, September 29, 2014

Managing the Mane

A couple of my go to hair favorites, along with a few things I'm lusting over! 


#1: Batiste Dry Shampoo (I am in LOVE with this one) 
#2: The Wet Brush (I have heard amazing things about this detangling brush!) 
#3: Dry Bar "Hold Me Hair Clips" (Perfect for sectioning off hair when blow drying.)
#4: Lavett&Chin Original Sea/Salt Texturing Mist (I have been dying to try this.) 
#5: Bumble & Bumble Shampoo (My sister in law uses this and swears by it.) 
#6: Elastic Hair Tie (The perfect snag free hair tie!)
 #7: Mason Pearson Rake Comb (Everyone needs a good "classic comb")


As always, thanks for reading! XO!

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Day Seven: Forgive & Forget

The theme of Day Seven in the Ms. CourtneyLeighB Challenge is to Forgive & Forget!

 Sometimes in life you have to take the high road, be the bigger person, and just move on. Saying you are doing this is one thing, but actually doing it is another. Being able to truly accept that we, as humans, make mistakes, that no one person is perfect and that there is always room for improvement is easier said than done!

I challenge you to think of a time in which someone close to you made you angry or upset. Take the situation or argument and put it into perspective. Is it worth damaging, ruining or even ending a relationship over? Is it possible that you were both at fault and in the heat of the moment overreacted? With this situation in mind, read these quotes to yourself...





At the end of the day, is it worth being angry and resentful? What do you gain? Think about it. 







Sunday, September 28, 2014

Day Six: Give Thanks


Ms. CourtneyLeighB Challenge Day Six!


Where do I start on all the things I'm thankful for? I honestly could go on and on. I am one lucky girl, but at the end of the day my happiness and thankfulness comes from a set of words that I have posted on my desk at work. I look to these words to find strength when I need it, as well as reinforcement that I am blessed beyond words.


I see the word laugh and I am thankful for all the adorable things my nieces and nephew do to make my stomach hurt from giggling so much.

I see the word dream and I am thankful for my mom and dad who have enabled me to pursue my every dream and shoot for the stars.

I see the word embrace and I am thankful for my many siblings who day after day embrace my flaws, my shortcomings, and my idiosyncrasies, but continue to love me anyways.  

I see the word inspire and I am thankful for all the men and women who fight for our country everyday and work relentlessly to keep us all safe. They make me want to do more good in the world. 

I see the word dance and I am thankful for my girlfriends who stand by me, cheer for me, and tell me to dance through life like no one's watching.

I see the word conquer and I am thankful for Boston, the city I live in, and for all the resiliency it has shown over the last year. I am unbelievably proud to call this place my home and to say that we are all Boston Strong.

These six words, although short in syllable, are long in meaning. These words bring clarity to my life, peace in my heart, and meaning to my day. I challenge you to take these six words and use them to explain all that YOU are thankful for. 

And never forget to LAUGH, DREAM, EMBRACE, INSPIRE, DANCE & CONQUER!

As always, thanks for reading!
xo

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Day Five: Start Doing This!

Happy Saturday! Day Five in the Ms. CourtneyLeighB Challenge is here! 

Today I challenge you to start a new habit. It could be to exercise more, to eat less sweets, to go to bed earlier, to do laundry more frequently (so it doesn't pile up into a large mountain that takes you two days to sort through)... it can be anything. Just make sure you pick something that you're actually interested in doing so you can follow the steps to actually doing it. 

First, you must have a firm belief in what you're doing. You must truly be committed to wanting to change something about your life, and to form this new habit.

Second, your new habit must be attainable. If it's not, you will never have the conviction to follow through and achieve this goal.

Third, you must create a plan or a strategy to succeed. Don't just think of something and randomly start doing it. Make a schedule and stick to it so you will actually form this new habit.

Fourth, thank yourself for creating this new habit. If your goal was to start doing laundry more frequently, reward yourself by getting a Starbucks after you're finished washing, drying and folding your clothes. If your goal was to exercise more, reward yourself by getting a manicure at the end of five straight days of doing physical exercise.

There's always time to break bad habits, and form new positive ones. Never be afraid to try something new, to set new boundaries, and to do what is outside your routine, or your norm. 


Friday, September 26, 2014

Day Four: Stop Doing That!

Here we are in Day Four of the Ms. CourtneyLeighB Challenge! The theme of today is to "Stop Doing That!"

Over the summer I sent out an email to all the Freshman (now Sophomore eeek!), girls who used to live on my floor when I was a Graduate Staff Assistant. Although I was no longer their RA, nor their GSA, I still wanted (and still do) to keep in touch. I emailed them to touch base, but mostly to give my typical motherly advice before they entered a new school year. Below is the email I sent to them:




You may be asking "Why am I sharing this email with you?" The reason being is that I gave this advice to the 36 perfect freshman females on my floor, but what I should have done is sent this email to myself. This "advice" that I gave isn't just for the young, impressionable college student. It is advice that any female, at any age, can benefit from. 

Girl world is a place full of lots of fun clothes, sparkly shoes and endless OPI nail colors, but it is also a place that can be cruel, unforgiving, and nearly impossible to survive. I too, am guilty of putting other females down, talking behind their backs, and failing to uphold grace and respect for them in a time a weakness. This isn't right. 

There is a quote that is generally attributed to Madeline Albright, which reads "there's a special place in hell for women who don't support other women." We all need to work on supporting one another, guiding one another, and being the best version of ourselves that we can be. By doing this we teach the other people in our lives, especially the men in our lives, how we desire and deserve to be treated. 

 If you have ever gossiped about someone behind their back, I have something to say to you....
So have I.

If you have ever said something that you wish you could take back, or that you knew you shouldn't have said, I have something to say to you...
So have I.

It's okay. No one is perfect. I certainly am not. Sometimes in weak moments we all forget our manners. My challenge to you is this... Stop gossiping, but more importantly acknowledge the times that you may have gotten a tad feisty, a wee bit sassy, a smidge caddy, and a pinch unkind. Having awareness of the things we do is half the battle. If we understand the validity to our gossip and the pain it may cause, we are halfway there to stopping it completely.






Thanks for reading!


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Save vs. Splurge

Don't get me wrong, I love a good shoe, but these days I should probably be focusing more on paying my rent and less on paying for pricey footwear... but let's be honest, when I see a stunning shoe I'm not going to go home empty handed. Lucky for me I've found a few great replica steals that will create a happy medium between my landlord and my closet! 

First Row: 
Kelly & Kate "Alice" vs. Jimmy Choo "Baxen"

Second Row:
BCBG "Paris Darron" vs. Valentino "Rockstud"

Third Row:
Via Spiga " Carmen" vs. J.Crew "Stella"

Day Three: Be Kind




Today is Day Three of the Ms. CourtneyLeighB Challenge and the theme of today is to BE KIND! 
Life is about working hard and staying humble, but life is also very much about being kind and treating others the way you would want to be treated. So today, do just that. Tell someone you appreciate them. Text your best friend and let her know she is beautiful. Call your mom and explain your true gratitude for her and give her some praise for all that she has done for you. Put a letter (yes a letter) in the mail to your aunt, your cousin who lives far away, or a grandparent and explain to them the ways in which they have taught you to be a better person and enriched your life. Be kind to those around you and I promise you that it will all come full circle and that good things will then come your way. 

One of my favorite sayings is to "promote what you love, instead of bashing what you hate." If we were all kind, all the time, our world would be a different place. Do you ever see someone who is truly just so kind, cheerful and all around happy, and think to yourself "how does she do it?" My answer to this question would be that a lot of people are faking it... but that's okay! Sometimes in life we all have to fake it till we make it. We have to put on a smile when we want to frown, laugh when we want to cry, and put our issues aside for the well being of those around us. Yes, sometimes we do this, but we all become stronger because of this. 

As I used to tell my residents (I was a Resident Assistant as well as a Graduate Staff Assistant at BC), the ability to put your problems aside, and manage your emotions (AKA not have a breakdown every time something doesn't go your way) is one of the greatest tools we can learn. Validating your problems and managing your emotions is difficult, but we all have the ability to choose to be happy, as well as the ability to choose to be kind.

 If we all truly worked hard to filter what comes out of our mouths and instead of putting someone down, we put our "problems" in perspective and remembered that there is always someone who has it worse, and if we all did our best to see the best in people, we would all end up feeling a lot happier at the end of the day. 

Be kind. Really focus on it, and be kind. 





Thanks for reading! 
XO
Court







Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Day Two: Up & At Em

Today is day two of the Ms. CourtneyLeighB challenge and the theme of today is Up & At Em!

The goal of today is to get up and moving earlier then normal. Get your blood pumping and your body moving, even if your eyes are half closed while you're doing it. This is easier said than done for me because I am NOT a morning person, but there is something so peaceful, spiritual and valuable about getting up early and seizing the day. If you didn't do this challenge today, try your best to do it during the remaining days of the Ms. CourtneyLeighB challenge. Too many of us are rushed and crazed on a day to day basis. Give yourself that extra hour to move slowly in the morning and move with intention. Stop at the coffee place you never have time to go to, walk to work instead of frantically hustling and checking your phone to see what time it is. Slow things down and see the beauty in a quiet morning.

Below is a picture I took over the summer when I was participating in the Yoga Girl Challenge. She too, challenged us to get up and mix up our routines. I had gotten up bright and early to move into my new apartment and was feeling all kinds of emotions. I was pumped up to move into my new place, but slightly terrified because I ALSO had a job interview later that day. When I went outside to get in my car I got pelted by the sprinkler (I had never been up THAT early and didn't know they went on that time of day). I couldn't help but laugh. Here I was trying to start my morning off with peace and serenity and I get drenched by my own sprinkler. It was honestly a blessing in disguise because it got me laughing and helped to make my nerves go away. I made a quick outfit change, took this amazingly beautiful picture, hopped in the car, moved into my new apartment, changed once again to get ready for the job interview and ended up killing it and getting the job.



As Amy Poehler would say "There is power in looking silly and not caring that you do." So get up, walk through that sprinkler, and make today amazing!

xo
Court

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The graphic tee reinvented.

A graphic tee does not necessarily mean you are going to the gym, bumming it for the day, or out of clean clothes. Pairing a comfy tee shirt with jeans or leggings is one of my style staples! I love having a bunch of different tees to mix and match and even dress up with a blazer on top, a statement necklace and heels. Here's a look at some adorable tees I'm currently lusting over. 
#1 ILY Couture #2 J.Crew #3Old Navy #4 ShopBop #5 Old Navy



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Day ONE: Meditate

            Today is the first day in my Ms. CourtneyLeighB Challenge and the goal of today is to meditate. I’m not exactly a yoga doing, namaste acting, “zen” person on a day to day basis. I’m always moving and continuously talking, but those who do know me know that when I put my mind to something I do it. So today, I’m challenging you (and myself) to take some time, reflect on your day, on yesterday, on last week, on your childhood… whatever you want. Just take some time and think. No phones, no computer, and no distraction. Just be alone with your thoughts. Set some intentions for the week and build some goals. Remember that it’s not about having time, it’s about making time.



#BloggingEveryDamnDay #MsCourtneyLeighBChallenge


           I love many things including fashion, interior design and a really good manicure, but my friends and especially my family are at the top of my list and cherished the very most. Because this blog is new, and because most of my followers right now ARE my friends and family, I’m talking directly to YOU.

            Over the summer I was inspired by Yoga Girl and participated in her 21 Day Challenge. Over the course of 21 days she challenged her 900,000+ followers to do things such as break a bad habit, feel better about themselves, make their dreams come true, or let go of something that was weighing heavily on their mind. Throughout her 21 days she was continuing to do yoga and referred to it as #YogaEveryDamnDay, followed with the concept of the day that she was hoping to inspire her followers to do.

            I have decided to do my own version of this challenge, and incorporate my values, thoughts, beliefs, and dreams into a ten day challenge known as #BloggingEveryDamnDay, followed with my own challenges and goals to set.

            Follow along with me, and join in on the fun! Thanks for reading, supporting and believing! Love you all!



Check back soon for an update on #BloggingEveryDamnDay #DayONE

Monday, September 22, 2014

NEVER BE AFRAID.



J.Crew Factory Does It Again

This past weekend my roommates and I put the finishing touches on our new apartment, went to the BC vs. Maine football game, and took a quick trip to the J.Crew factory. The factory is one of my favorite places to go, because unlike many factory or outlet stores, J.Crew factory really holds up in comparison to the regular J.Crew stores. Their stuff is always well made and they have a great student/teacher discount (just show your ID at the register for 15% off). Whenever I go into a sale, I always ask myself "would I pay full price for this item, or am I only buying it because it is on sale?" I can honestly say that everything I picked up at J.Crew Factory on Sunday I would have paid full price for, it was all THAT good!
Shop my look below:












Makeup Must Haves



#1: Clarisonic Mia #2: Bobbi Brown Protective Face Lotion #3: Almay Smart Shade Makeup (Color: 100 Light)  #4 Bobbi Brown Weightless Powder Foundation (Color: Warm Sand)  #5 Bobbi Brown Blush (Color: Pale Pink)  #6 ELF Set of 12 Brushes #7 CoverGirl Bombshell Volume Mascara #8 ELF Makeup Remover Pen #9 Bobbi Brown Bronzer #10 Urban Decay Naked Palette #11 Bobbi Brown Long Wear Gel Eyeliner (Color: Black Ink)  #12 Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick (Color: Smokey Nudes) #13 ELF Eye Lash Curler


Makeup can be really fun to buy, but also really easy to mess up. Matching your exact color to your skin, finding the right brushes to apply the makeup evenly, using the correct amount of bronzer, blush and mascara to give that "I'm not trying too hard, look"...it can be difficult! I have been using all these essentials for months, some for years, and really enjoy them!

Tip #1: Instead of foundation, use a BB cream. The Almay Smart Shade Skintone Matching Makeup is great because it comes on white and then blends to your exact shade. This is really great when the seasons are changing and so is your skintone. This way you don't have to go out and buy a new BB cream for every season.

Tip #2: Use a lighter colored bronzer, and apply more during the months that you want more color. Bronzer can be really easy to get carried away with, so I always get a light colored bronzer and find that a little bit goes a long way...The same goes for blush.

Tip #3: Don't buy expensive brushes. ELF is such a great place to buy all kinds of makeup, but their brushes especially are really well made and last a long time. I also like to have extra brushes on hand if I ever lose one, or am traveling, so this way I can buy in bulk and not break the bank.

Tip #4: Wash your face! My friends always make fun of me, but I have about a zillion wash cloths so that way anytime I'm washing my face or apply my makeup I have a clean cloth to work with. I buy these in bulk as well, at either Homegoods, Marshalls, or Target because they end up getting worn after a while so I like to buy cheap ones and toss them after a couple months.

Tip #5: Get a good eye lash curler. I have a few, but my favorite two are from Homegoods (weirdly enough) and ELF. Eye lash curlers are totally underrated. You don't need to put on globs of mascara. Put on one or two good coats of even mascara and then use your curler to really volumize the lash. The CoverGirl two step mascara pictured is AMAZING. It never clumps, and is super waterproof.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Crazy for Kendra Scott!


Kendra Scott:
Rayne Long Necklace, Elisa Pendant, Jana Bracelets, Elle Earrings, Skylen Ring

I have been a fan of Kendra Scott for quite some time now, and I can honestly say that I have yet to find a piece of her jewelry that I don't absolutely love. Their shipping is super fast, and they have so many different colors for each piece of jewelry so it is really easy to coordinate and match your necklaces to your bracelets, your rings, your earrings etc! Thank you Kendra Scott for making so many beautiful baubles! 

Shoe Envy

I have always been a flats lover, but it seems like this season especially that there are so many new stylish, comfortable and ADORABLE flats out there! This is good for my feet, but bad for my wallet. Where do you buy your flats? Any good suggestions? 


Steve Madden: Elusion Flat



Tieks by Gavrieli: Ballerina Pink Flat

Tory Burch: Mayada Flat

Kate Spade: General Flats

Salvatore Ferragamo: Varina Flat



Wisdom

Cheers to that! Happy Friday ya'll! 

Game Day Essentials


Boston College (my alma mater) Super Fan Shirt, Marley Lilly Monogrammed Boots, J.Crew Button Down, Dawlens Bev2Go, Michael Kors Sunglasses

Truth.


J.Crew Lusts


Leopard Scarf, Leopard Belt, Ceramic Jewelry Tray, Glass Tumbler Set, Calf Hair iPhone Case, Leopard Pump, Arquiste Perfume, Pave Link Bracelet



My love for J.Crew will be something that all my readers will soon pick up on, and after receiving the newest catalog in the mail I quickly jumped online to see what else J.Crew has to offer right now! I'm clearly loving all things leopard!  

Shop J.Crew right now and receive 25% off in stores and online on all full priced styles, as well as an additional 30% final sale styles. Use code SHOPFORFALL at checkout! 
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