January + New Year, New Me

I mean, I had to say it didn’t I? I actually love January. Sure, it was 7° this week while I was standing outside trying to buy a shuttle pass, and yes my electricity bill is exorbitant after trying to keep my house at a measly 64°, and yes I’m not entirely sure when we will see sunlight again; however, there is a genuine rejuvenation and fresh start after the holiday season ends and I live for it.

4 days into the year and I’m actually keeping up with my resolutions so far (yes, 4 days is pretty good for me). I even resisted Madewell’s 40% off sale-sale this morning, so I guess nothing can stop me now!!

I wanted to share some of my favorite purchases from the past few months – all of them have been serving me extremely well, and though some are pricier than I’d typically go for, I’ve been wearing them heavily so they’ve been earning their keep.

1) Rose Gold Nikes: I love the monochrome and the metallic finish on a casual shoe. Similar pairs here, here, and here.
2) Free People Drapey Thermal Top: I bought two of these, in cream and burgundy, and I would wear them daily if I could. They’re soft & slouchy and long enough to wear with leggings. Similar top here, here, and here (but really the FP Laguna is the best).
3) Free People Teddy Peacoat: THIS IS CURRENTLY MY FAVORITE THING I OWN. It has been freezing in Nashville (seriously, my weather app says it feels like -5° outside) and my teddy coat has been so cozy and warm. I’ve worn it every day since I bought it just before the holidays. They’re a hot commodity right now, but you can still find somewhat similar here, here, and here.
4) Spanx Faux Leather Leggings: I get it. Spending almost $100 on leggings is stupid. I would never have done it if I hadn’t tried the stupid things on on a whim. Unfortunately, they’re so worth the price tag – I have never felt better in a pair of leggings, and especially in a pair of pleather-finish leggings. They suck me in and smooth out every tiny smidgen of cellulite. I’m obsessed and wish I had the funds to own fifty pairs. If you’re just looking for some faux leather leggings (without the ridiculous price tag) check out these, these, or these!
5) Sam Edelman Statement Loafers: My beautiful sparkly embroidered babies. They felt like butter the first time I put them on and I love when they catch the light. Other fun & more affordable options are here, here, and here.
6) Free People Chunky Cardigan: This cardigan was on my wishlist for months before I pulled the plug, and during a Nordstrom sale I finally went for it. I wear it constantly, around the house over pajamas and out and about when it’s above freezing temps. It’s a cozy cocoon. Other oversized cardis with a similar vibe can be found here, here, and here.

I’m currently on a no-buy for January when it comes to clothes (and makeup) but considering the fact that my uniform has been the sneakers, leggings, thermal, and slouchy cardigan for a month straight, I think I’ll manage.


April Check-In & Small Goals

Rifle Paper Co. Constellations Wall Calendar april 2017

It’s time again for my monthly check-in. You may notice that it’s two weeks late, but I’ve been putting off writing this post because frankly my goals were a bust. That’s hard to share! March was a rough month for balancing school and work, and then Mass Effect: Andromeda was released. I really tried to hone in and finish the game on my one week away from school, which put all my other interests to the wayside and yet I still haven’t finished the game.

Here were my sad & unfulfilled small goals for March:

  • Read a chapter a night | I fell off the wagon with this one. I began slipping because the book I was reading was just eerie enough to make me uncomfortable in the evenings, so I stopped wanting to read it before bed, but I also didn’t carve out time to read during the day. 
  • Practice French every morning with my coffee | I don’t know why I failed so miserably at this one. I started off really strong, zipping through my DuoLingo courses and getting excited about Montreal, and then one morning I simply didn’t do it. I rushed out the door (like, honestly, I do pretty often) and didn’t think about French again. With DuoLingo, every time you miss a day you lose some of your skills (which is good because it will refresh what you may need more practice with) but I started to get overwhelmed and didn’t pick it up again.
  • Go on a walk once a week | I did this zero times, even with the beautiful weather. 
  • Watch one video for school every day | I watched a few videos for school, but certainly not enough, and I didn’t do a single THING for school during my measly spring break, which was not ideal. 
  • Wait 24 hours before making any purchase | I actually did accomplish this, shockingly, and I feel great about it. I bought a few affordable Spring clothing items and I bought absolutely no makeup, so I’m pleased. I also thought this would be the most challenging of my small goals, but here I am. 
It’s disappointing to see so much left undone, but I also think maybe those were bigger goals then I thought they would be. Habit-making takes time and effort and it may be better to focus on one at a time, moving forward. 

Part of what helped me so much with reigning in my purchases was taking that inventory of all my products. I still don’t use everything I already have, so why am I compelled to go out and buy more? I know that I am a stress shopper, but things aren’t bringing me any comfort. I’d much rather save for big purchases (a nice camera, plane tickets, or heck, Sansa’s grooming). 

affordable fashion finds for spring hello sunshine straw hat blush bow mules ban.do passport floral denim flats guess marble statement sunglasses
For Spring, I’ve purchased a couple pairs of shoes, a kitschy sun hat, statement sunglasses (pictured above!), two off the shoulder dresses and a millenial pink windbreaker, so I feel good to go for warm weather wardrobe updates. I’ve started playing with eyeshadow shades I’ve been previously afraid of – like peaches and pinks – and have really liked the results. It’s possible, or likely, that changing my hair from various cool pastel shades to a rich brown has affected my entire color palette. 

So what are my April goals? It’s almost nerve-wracking to decide. 

April Small Goals
  • Work out 3 times | Three! Just three. ClassPass (use that link for $30 off your first month) is letting me take three classes for $10 in April … to keep me from cancelling … and I really want to take advantage of this, particularly since my favorite way to work out (Reformer Pilates) is exceptionally expensive. 
  • No buy of clothes/makeup | Self-explanatory. I don’t need it, it won’t fulfill me, and if I love it enough to still love it in May, maybe I can buy it. 
  • Watch my school videos | I pay $25 a month for Team Treehouse (which I highly recommend) as a supplement to what I’m learning in class, so I need to find the time to actually utilize them. 

And that’s it. Three goals for April, so that I can hone in on them and hopefully accomplish all three. 

currently watching: flipping between Bates Motel and Ripper Street
currently reading: also flipping between The Possessions and The Shadow Rising
currently listening: The Decemberists whole discography in preparation for their show at the Ryman

No-Buy Failure


I’m sure this comes as a surprise to no one but my no-buy lasted all of …. oh, ten days? Then suddenly NastyGal is being acquired and marking all of their inventory down, and my poor hair desperately needs a new heat protectant, and I find the perfect striped tee AND I find the dream Madewell sweater dress for <$60 ….. you get the picture. Here are the items I broke my (very brief, very futile) fast on…

  • Bumble & Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Primer – My hair is color-treated and damaged, so I constantly use oils and heat protectants and smoothers on it. However, I don’t have any products that are fine with being applied to dry hair, and my hair is never going to be wet/damp as often as my products want them to be. This oil primer will be my primary heat protectant. It was $28, but the bottle is humongous for a hair product. 
  • Madewell Split-Neck Whisper Tee – I’d been searching for a black & white striped tee, and I love this one. I think the red embroidered “mwah” accent is cute & different. I ordered a Medium & it’s a fairly relaxed fit. 
  • Sephora Collection Make Up Remover Wipes – FYI, I actually ordered the yellow Yuzu wipes (which is what the link should direct to!), and they have been gentle and effective on my skin. If I’m home & just being lazy, I still splash my face with water after using them, but the leave a clean enough finish to use them after the gym without fear of lingering residue. 
  • Nasty Gal Hungry Like the Wolf Dress – Full disclosure: I have no idea how this will fit, or what it will look like or feel like. It hasn’t come in yet & I’ve never ordered from Nasty Gal before. However, with their 40% off all inventory sales and a desperate desire to restock the dress section of my closet, I ordered two. This one ended up being $20, so I think it’s a fair gamble to potentially end up with a semiformal maxi for Summer that will show off one of the only body parts I’m not self-conscious about! 
  • Madewell Button-back Sweater Dress – I caved on the dress I posted last week. I was in-store and they ordered it for me with an additional 30% off.
  • Nasty Gal Wrap Battle Floral Dress – Same disclosure as the previous Nasty Gal dress. It feels bohemain and flowy – I just hope to god it fits.
On Saturday I was finally able to see my girlfriends again for the first time in a couple of months (thanks, school & a full-time job!) and we played at Sephora before gorging ourselves on burgers and beer. I tried a few (a lot of) products and these are a few of my absolute, desperate omg must-buys for the future:
  • Maison Margiela ‘Replica’ Roller Ball in Lazy Sunday Morning ($28) – This is such a fresh, clean scent. The description is nothing I ever thought I’d like: “This floral fragrance combines notes of lily of the valley, patchouli, iris, and white musk to evoke a familiar but forgotten moment—a sun-drenched morning of relaxation.” I hate patchouli and musk, but I can’t smell those at all on my skin. I love it!
  • Urban Decay Naked Color Correcting Fluid ($28) – I have been using a teeny sample of the green color corrector & I love it. Redness is my main skin concern these days and I’ll dab this on the corners of my nose and over any healing blemishes before applying foundation and it truly helps neutralize my skin tone. 
  • Milk Makeup Holographic Stick ($28) – THIS IS THE BEST PRODUCT THAT HAS EVER TOUCHED MY FACE. I swiped this stick across my cheeks in store the other day, and I have never felt more like an angel alien sent from the galaxy (my main beauty aesthetic) than I did with the Milk Holographic Stick. It’s shimmery and lavender and catches the light super well and flattered my cool skintone and is truly my top priority purchase right now. Infuriatingly, it’s sold out online, but there were plenty in-store. 
Is everything at Sephora $28? Yes.
Oh, and Happy Valentine’s Day. I love you. 

Wednesday Wishes

current wishlist

I may be on a no-buy this month, but by god that certainly doesn’t keep me from looking! I feel like February is that awkward in-between month where it’s too cold to buy anything for Spring but too close to Winter’s end to keep buying more sweaters, scarves, or – in my case – to dip into the velvet trend.

  1. H&M Wrapover Dress ($35) – I hate the web styling on this rose velour wrap dress, but it looks so comfortable and dreamy. I love the ugly pink color & the slight bell-sleeve. Does it look too much like a dressing robe?  
  2. Abera Crossbody Tote ($178) – Reminiscent of the lust-worthy Madewell Transport Tote, but with an added crossbody strap and magnetic closure. Best of all? It’s ethically made!
  3. H&M Long-sleeved Tee ($15) – How do I not own a single black & white striped tee? I love the long sleeves and relaxed fit of this one. 
  4. Madewell Button-back Sweater Dress ($80) – Caroline from Unfancy keeps posting this black cashmere sweater dress that seems so classic and versatile. This one is more in my price range and seems just as wearable. 
  5. ban.do Holographic Lunch Bag ($24) – You know what would help motivate me to pack my lunches every day? This dorky lunch bag to make me feel like a space girl.
  6. Hanalei Sugar Lip Scrub ($20) – I’ve been buying a lip scrub from a local bath shop but it expires well before I’m able to make a dent in it. This has good reviews, so I’d like to check it out, even though I feel like a traitor to the local place! 
  7. Madewell Plaid Scarf ($10) – I cannot believe this classic, oversized plaid scarf is still in stock after being marked down to $10! Priya has posted about it a few times so I’ve been tracking it throughout the holidays – now that it’s priced so low, it feels almost foolish not to order it. 
I’m also on the anguishing quest of finding a new foundation. My favorite CC Cream (which I used as foundation) was discon-freaking-tinued and now I don’t know where to being. Makeup Forever Ultra HD caked up in my pores, Kiehl’s BB Cream was too oily, my Cover FX is slightly too pale, and I just ………. why is finding a proper foundation such a hassle? 

Mules On My Mind (insert all the heart-eyed emojis here)

Affordable Mules

Affordable Mules by abidina

I want new mules (tbh, I’m not sure if these are mules or clogs) so freaking badly. I have two pairs of open-toe mules from J. Crew that I adore, but I miss the look all winter long while I’m hiding my toes from an icy death.
I’m still trying not to buy any new clothes until Spring, so who knows if I’ll still want closed-toed anything at that point, but I love these beauty babies. 

A bit of my Christmas List

Christmas List sephora favorite give me some bold lip my bucket list journal by axel and ash madewell saucony dxn trainers in burgundy rifle paper co 2017 constellations wall calendar ban.do lady of leisure getaway bundle rose gold hardshell luggage set kensie target matt + nat hope circle bag black vegan leather

Christmas List by abidina

Since Christmas is fast approaching (20 day countdown, woo!) and I’ve finished wrapping nearly all of my gifts for the season, I thought I’d share a few things on my Christmas list for anyone who may still be fumbling for things to suggest to their grandmother. I have quite a few Christmases to attend every year – immediate family, bio-dad’s side of the family, mom’s side of the family, stepdad’s side of the family … you get the picture. I curate little wishlists to keep separate and send to each individual family group, to try and avoid overlap. This is one of those lists!
  1. Sephora Favorites Give Me Some Bold Lip, $28 – I bought myself the more neutral/pink Sephora Favorite lip set earlier in the year, but this one is more my style with brands I already know I love.
  2. My Bucketlist, Journal by Axel and Ash, $40 (but $25 on Amazon!) – I have such an affinity for journals and planners and beautifully bound books, and I’d love to add this one to my collection.
  3. Madewell x Saucony DXN Trainers, $75 – I tend to get myself a pair of Madewell x Saucony sneakers every year. My navy/red accent pair from 2015? 2014? are still happy, but my blush pair is about ready to be replaced – though I absolutely adore them – and I’m tempted by the gray pair. However, in high school my uniform included gray & white New Balance in an equally pale shade, so I don’t know if I’m ready to embrace it. Burgundy is my favorite of the Fall colors, so burgundy it is. 
  4. Rifle Paper Co. 2017 Constellations Wall Calendar, $28 – Rifle Paper Co. has multiple gorgeous calendars for 2017, but being an insatiable space nerd with a penchant for rose gold, this beauty speaks to me. 
  5. ban.do Lady of Leisure Getaway Bundle, $28 – I love the over-the-top girly print on this luggage tag & passport holder. Since I am saving for international travel in 2017, I have my eye on lots of different travel “necessities” this season. 
  6. Matt + Nat Hope Bag, $70 – My mouth has been watering for a Baggu Circle Purse all year, but I never bit. Now I’m glad I didn’t! Matt + Nat offers a vegan circle purse, 100% of the proceeds of which go to a charity of your choosing (among the options).
  7. Kensie 3pc Expandable Luggage Set, $200 – Again, since I’m making travel plans for this year, I figured it was high time to attain a luggage set. The hard shell seems like a safe bet for my accident-prone self and, as usual, I’m drawn to the rose gold. 

I’m sorry & Happy Holidays!

I haven’t had much motivation or positivity since the election. It was like a light went out across the country and talking about fashion or beauty seemed petty, though I suppose it could’ve been a solid distraction.

However, it’s December now, which is my second favorite month of the year (after October) so I am ready to savor it. I’ve already watched White Christmas & Miracle on 34th Street, I’ve wrapped a few presents, and I’m burning my Christmasy WoodWick candles.

I’m currently 3/4 through reading Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. I just wanted something sappy after all the crime books & shows I’ve been indulging in. I’m listening exclusively to Christmas music, because why wouldn’t I be? James & I also went on a date last week to see Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them …. and what a freaking joy.

Some articles I’ve appreciated recently:

  1. “Newt Scamander takes every trope we know about the Male Hero — the toxic tropes that we have grown up with, that are so internalized in traditional narratives that we don’t even blink at them anymore — and flips them on their head.” – On Newt Scamander, Toxic Masculinity, and the Power of Hufflepuff Heroes
  2. “Women talk ourselves into needing less, because we’re not supposed to want more—or because we know we won’t get more, and we don’t want to feel unsatisfied. We reduce our needs for food, for space, for respect, for help, for love and affection, for being noticed, according to what we think we’re allowed to have. Sometimes we tell ourselves that we can live without it, even that we don’t want it. But it’s not that we don’t want more. It’s that we don’t want to be seen asking for it.” – Hunger Makes Me
  3. Evan Rachel Wood speaking for so many through her ‘confession’ to Rolling Stone.
Shoes on my Christmas List:
madewell nealy boot in print velvet free people aura ankle boot in sage madewell lou loafer in smoked graphite

Madewell Nealy Boot in Print Velvet // Free People Aura Ankle Boot in Sage // Madewell Lou Loafer in Smoked Graphite

Check out my Amazon wishlist for more items on my Christmas list this year. 

— Edit —

I forgot to add that I just finished watching all three seasons of The Fall over the course of a few weeks. Oh my gosh, I can’t recommend it enough. Gillian Anderson as Stella Gibson is the strongest-written female lead I have ever seen in movies or television. Being a BBC show, the seasons are only 4-6 episodes and it’s recently transitioned to a Netflix series. Go watch it, then kick ass.