Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Things I Am Loving Lately

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter with friends and family. 

We had the most perfect day. We started off with blueberry lemon muffins and church. We then went to Barnes and Noble to pick up a few puzzles (our new hobby together) and I also found a few new reads, including The Arrangement which I cannot put down and would recommend to anyone looking for an unpredictable book with dark humor and an honest depiction of real people and their very real problems. 

Later we took a trip to my parents and enjoyed Easter dinner, kite flying, minibiking, the movie Sing (which I loved every second of), and "Head Charades" (a new iPhone app which is a great family game). 

I wanted to share today some of the things I have been obsessing over lately. 

TJ Maxx has done it again...I found this very applicable night shirt for under $10 on the clearance rack. Summer is approaching and I get very hot at night but like the weight of covers on top of me. My solution? Nightshirts. (It is also worth mentioning for humor's sake that I have ruined all of my nice PJs, including those from Victoria's Secret and Liz Claiborne. Everything from bleach to fire has taken a toll on my favorite prints and patterns. I no longer am allowed the luxury of investing in nice pajama sets. 

I got on board the Starbucks "Unicorn Frauppacino" train and tried one. It was very strange, yet weirdly delicious. It is not something I would drink every day but it was worth trying. The tarte mango would taste great spiked on a vacation. 

Speaking of coffee, I am tired of spilling my hot caffeinated drinks on myself in my car by using my poor judgement and choosing to carry open coffee cups into the car. I love my new Lilly Pulitzer mug, and you can purchase it off the Paper Store with 10% off your first purchase. I actually bought mine off of Amazon Prime. They don't make this print anymore! I love that it is BPA free, though a pain to handwash it every time. 

One of my favorite blogs to read is April's "Smidge of This." It is actually listed in my favorite blogs list on the right. Her sister is the owner of Laura Cox designs, a fabulous Etsy shop with handmade necklaces. I am especially in love with her gold dipped oysters and hammered bead necklaces. They are beachy and fresh. I love Etsy and the thought of supporting small businesses, many of which are run by SAH moms. Shop Laura Cox designs here!  

I am on a bit of a spending freeze after buying my new coffee maker and bar cart as a reward for passing my CCRN exam. However, I would love to purchase one of these in the summer!

Lastly, everyone needs to try out my favorite new highlighters. I have been a die hard Too Faced makeup fan by entire life and almost all of my cosmetics are from this brand. Their quality and sustainability is unmatched. Their new Love Light highlighters from the Natural Love collection do not disappoint. They are light and icy. There is one for every skin tone, from dark to light. How many other makeup brands honestly make 3 different highlighters that universally cover every skin tone? I can't leave my house without them, even if I don't wear foundation. I get so many compliments on my "sunny glow." 

I would love to hear what you are all obsessing over lately!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Coffee Carts

I have recently become immune to the amount of caffeine in tea. It just isn't doing it for me anymore. I work night shift, and have for over a year. The bouncing back and forth between nights and the demands of needing to get stuff done during the daytime when off work gets to be exhausting. 

I hate that I have been going to Starbucks at work. It is expensive, and I don't generally like plain black coffee so I have to settle for a pricier and more sugary drink. I think sometime in my future I will be in need of a Keurig. I realize that they are a pain to clean from time to time, but I also don't feel like having to clean out coffee filters and a whole pot every single time I make a drink. I will definitely be limiting myself to one cup. 

I have been casually browsing Pinterest for coffee cart inspiration photos. I don't have any counter space or cabinet space for a coffee machine, so a cart is the only way it is going to happen. I think I found a few cheap options on Overstock and Amazon that I like. 

Does anyone have any recommendations on carts, or coffee machines on that matter? 
I have heard many good things about owning a french press, but on that note I really don't know that much about coffee making and could use all of the recommendations I can get!

I am totally open to all opinions!


Sunday, April 9, 2017

Life Lately in Instagram Photos

I haven't posted lately due to an immense amount of studying for a special certification test that increases my credibility where I work in the medical field. Too much of life got in the way and I just haven't had time to do some of the things I love. Totally worth it, in my opinion, if that means that I can chip away at some of the things on my goals list for this year. Making time for blogging was one of those things. Even when I am not posting regularly, I am still active on Instagram so feel free to follow along for all of my favorite things, from foodie finds to chronic makeup hoarding. 

You may have seen my post here on falling in love with Too Faced "Fall in Love" collection. Well, since then I received it...and I am head over heals. The colors are flawless, the wear is at least twelve hours without a primer, and there is the perfect mix of matte shadows for bases and shimmery shadows for lids. Unlike many makeup palettes, there is not one color here that is not practical for everyday use. 

I also stepped out of the box and decided to try out Dior's Airflash foundation, as well as their brush specifically designed for aerosol foundation. This stuff is worth every single penny, my friends. I had a Sephora clerk apply it at the store and was instantly in love. My skin looked airbrushed. This is the kind of foundation you pay for when you get your makeup done for your own wedding. Though the quality does not disappoint, the price might. I was reading in the reviews that people who used this every day as their primary foundation ran out in three weeks. I definitely believe this, even if you are careful not to apply too much foundation into the brush before applying it to your face. 

Click here to find the link to the Backstage Buffing Brush

I use Too Faced Born This Way Foundation for every day use in the color Ivory and received almost as flawless effects. The Dior Airflash is definitely for special occasions and evening outings. 

Will and I had our own homemade pizza night when we decided that we no longer wanted the ground beef that I had originally thawed for dinner. I found premade dough at Giant Eagle and it turned out just as delicious. Personally, I don't regret not trying to make my own dough from scratch because living in an apartment means limited counter space and more of a potential for a disaster using raw ingredients like flour and yeast. 

Amazon has so many cheap frame options available, and I found the last set of a four pack of black frames (that already came with cut mats!) and did some light hanging in lieu of hanging curtains. When I eventually move out of my apartment, I have to patch all of the holes in the wall that I have created in my 1,200 square feet. I promise you that the amount of art, shelves, and curtains hung on other walls is second to none and I cannot bear to think of having to patch any more. This will do! 

I have had so much use out of my Lilly planner paper, from coating my acrylic makeup holder to invitations, coasters, paper mache ornaments, and this. Moral of the story, never throw your agenda out and always consult Pinterest for DIY ideas. 

We have made many a stop to our favorite donut shop for either cake donuts or rainbow sprinkle affairs. 

I can't get enough of the cute kits they have by the front line at Barnes and Noble. I picked this up, and am currently "refrigerating" my seeds, hoping they germinate in a few weeks. I have a newfound obsession with green-thumbing.  

I picked up two of these #FLOATIES for one of my good friends and I for the summer.
Such a great stocking stuffer, small gift, or thinking-of-you treat!

 What have you been loving lately?


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Sip & Shop

Sip on this Apple Pear White Sangria...

...and shop this Lilly Pulitzer Marlowe dress, which is available in two different prints and is a score at less than $100. I love how this versatile fabric dress can be spiced up with a cashmere cardigan or long kimono. 


Have a great start to the weekend! Happy Saint Patrick's Day. 


Sunday, March 12, 2017

Season Favorites

Spring has pretty much sprung, and I am so excited about all of the new releases from all my favorite brands, even if that just means browsing! 

First of all, I have been waiting forever for the release of the Too Faced  "Fall in Love" collection, and it is released as of March 9th! Could these shimmery nudes be any better? I love that there are so many options for blending. Too Faced is my go to for all makeup, including my concealer, their Better Than Sex Waterproof mascara, and blushes / bronzers. I don't ever have to use a primer because their makeup sticks all day. 

And I won't forget to mention...they are having a huge sale and many of their cosmetics are up to 60% off right now. 

And, all of the Lilly Spring 2017 arrivals are gorgeous. All of the crisp blues and whites have me ooo-ing and awe-ing because as you know, I am obsessed with any hue of blue and all resort wear. Will and I are trying to plan a few quick getaways this year and I hope some of these releases get listed on Poshmark or in the Lilly After Party Sale in the summer so I can snag a few. 

Lilly Spring 2017 by aduchessandablog on

What new releases are you loving this season?


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Blue and White Everything

I am excited because many of my new favorite things are blue and white. 
To follow along with my favorite things daily make sure to follow along on Instagram at @theduchess1317. 

I am three stethescopes deep into my career (yes, I have broken three in 2 years). 
That is a lot of stethe-debt, but I am excited to try the renowned quality of this rainbow and navy Litmann. 

Overstock had a huge liquidation sale and I scored this gorgeous and huge area rug for my office. It is 10x14' and covers the room so nicely. 

Obsessed does not even begin to describe how I feel about this blue and white lamp that I also picked up at the Overstock sale. Let it be noted that they send out coupons all the time if you sign up for emails, including an initial 10% coupon for signing up initially. Don't forget to use eBates too for extra cash back! 

I want allllll the blue and white details this season!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

My Week in Photos

Finally, back to the blogging world. I have been fighting bronchitis and a sinus infection for three weeks. I made the mistake of waiting for 2 weeks to go to the doctor, thinking it was a flu, cold, or something I could fight off. It was the most miserable decision that I could have made. I am finally 3 days away from finishing a round of antibiotics and am feeling better. 

I was so excited to have a series of days off of work to catch up on everything from grocery shopping to seeing people I love to just being a person. Today we went to the auto show, tomorrow is a scheduled girl's night with one of my coworkers, and the following evening is a celebration of my grandfather's birthday. This past weekend Will and I also threw in a movie night where I made steak on my new cast iron pan, a visit to the West Side Market for fresh bread, produce and macaroons. I am so excited to have my life back on track, including regular trips to the gym where I can lift the heavy weight that makes me feel like I went there to work out with a purpose. 

I had yet another clearance find at TJ Maxx. Seriously I need to stay out of that place. I just can't help myself when they have items for so cheap that I would have otherwise paid a fortune for. I am one of those people who thrives off of aesthetically pleasing spaces, and my apartment is no exception. I am also a sucker for chochkies. I admit that I love a fresh and modern space with a clean interior. However, I can't help but surround myself with things that make me happy, which is what I believe Lorelai Gilmore said in Gilmore Girls. There is a huge difference between clutter and most loved chochkies, and I like to keep a fine balance. 

On one of the days I started to finally turn the corner on my plague, we took a quick pit stop to the park to take a look at the lake. It was freezing, but we feel SO blessed to live by a large body of water. We take it for granted, but there is nothing like a walk on the lake during the summer to watch the sunset. (We also were walking off the guilt of the macaroons we had just eaten at the West Side Market.)

Ironically enough we ended up stopping for cake donuts at my favorite donut place in the world, Spudnuts. We took 2 home for later. 

Did anyone else hear about the death of Bill Paxton? I was deeply saddened. He was such a fantastic actor and every movie he was in was better because of his presence. We had actually just finished watching Titanic a few hours before I found out. 

Lastly, I have been crushing on the Michele Deco Diamond watch. 

Maybe a purchase far into the future. I never used to like watches just because I didn't like to wear anything tight on my wrist. Lately I have begun to appreciate the beauty in a well made watch. Timepieces are things that can be handed down to your children and grandchildren for years to come. There are certain family heirlooms and timepieces that the women in my family have that I have always admired and I can't wait to pass down coveted pieces of jewelry to my loved ones. This is one of the reasons I think it is important to invest when you are able in things that last for years and years rather than throw money away on trends. 

I topped off the end of my stretch of days off with a wine and mermaid tail night with one of my dear coworkers! 

I hope you enjoy the rest of your week.