Amazon Prime These Products To Look Pretty While We All Freeze!

It is cold in Connecticut- and from what I gather watching the news last night, it is colder than normal pretty much everywhere. Snow is in our forecast- which means a potential snow day (mixed feeling about that- love the cozy time inside with my girls, until, ya know, I don't)...And for me, being stuck inside in the freezing cold often presents a rare opportunity to hole up in my office and snap pics or record little videos for my Instagram or Facebook page or there here blog. Meetings get cancelled, or dinner plans bailed on- all things that make this homebody a happy girl. But it also means I have to look good, because if I am going to take advantage of the down time, I need to be somewhat camera-ready. 

Here are the products that I swear by to look and feel human- but not all done up, because that is just silly on a snowy day when wearing pjs or an oversized cozy sweater and leggings from the neck down- when my skin is parched and my lips are all chapped and tingly to the point that smiling kinda hurts:

1- Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream: The gold standard- I used this as my moisturizer (yes, it is thick and heavy but I like- and need- that!) and it also works wonders to add glow-power to my foundation. Then, I massage it into my cuticles to instantly refresh my manicure, because, ya know, hands always end up in every shot and it is too cold to go get this gel mani removed and replaced.
2-Too Faced Born This Way Foundation: It looks so natural, glides on, and is really hydrating. It covers redness and such without looking heavy or cakey, and the color range is insane- something for everyone. I wear both Light Beige and Nude, depending on how long it has been since my last spray tan.
3- Maybelline Cheek Flush: A bargain buy, this has just the right amount of color and I love the balmy finish. When the weather is frigid, I feel like my powder blushes tend to look flat and almost too bold-- this is a gentle glow that looks lit-from-within, not forced from a makeup compact. 
4- Jillian Dempsey DEW Lid Tint: One swipe gives you the ultimate, glossy eye- but unlike other eye "gloss" products, this is silky, not sticky. And the perfect backdrop for...drumroll please...
5- It Cosmetics Superhero Mascara: Cold weather makes many a mascara flakey- I have tried a ton over the years- and to date, the one that never feels- or looks- dry and crunchy, is this new launch from one of my most beloved brands.
6- Nooni Water Blending Lip Oil: Every beauty insider I know is obsessed with this K-beauty import lip oil, and for good reason- it moisturizes, but also has natural AHAs from Apple Water which exfoliate, and Mint Extract which gives you that instant "ahhhh" soothing effect.

New Year, New Perspective... On Resolutions, At least.

 A snapshot of how we rang in 2018 (well, almost- my crew was in bed by 10:30pm!)- spending time with close friends, wearing pjs, donning silly hats and letting our kids do as many ballet shows and magic shows for us as they damn well pleased, fueled by a generous "as many toppings as you want tonight" policy at the make-your-own-sundae dessert bar. 

A snapshot of how we rang in 2018 (well, almost- my crew was in bed by 10:30pm!)- spending time with close friends, wearing pjs, donning silly hats and letting our kids do as many ballet shows and magic shows for us as they damn well pleased, fueled by a generous "as many toppings as you want tonight" policy at the make-your-own-sundae dessert bar. 

I am a list girl. Even at age 3, when Alexa would imitate me, she would do so by sitting at my desk pretending to make a list and check off the line items, one by one. And part of me is dying to jot down a quick list of hopes and goals for 2018- because really, there are so many things I want to accomplish, habits I want to change, new experiences I want to try...

But I think I have finally figured something out- and that is this: when it comes to the big things, the things that take time and commitment and focus, my one-liner lists just don't cut it. They are so easy to write- bullet points that take mere seconds to flow from my brain to the page- that it kinda tricks me into thinking they should be just as easy to accomplish. So, in true Jenn Falik form, I write down like 100 things...end up overwhelmed...and become paralyzed at where the F to begin. So I shove the list in a drawer somewhere, never to be seen again, because there is just so much else to think about in the short term. For example, at this moment, what am I making for dinner tonight/does my husband need any of the stuff in his suitcase from our trip to Florida for his upcoming business travel and if so, do I need to deal with unpacking it all now or can it wait one more day/when is the deadline to order Alexa's birthday cake and did I do the package at the party place that includes pizza or do I need to arrange food on my own/and so on and so forth. 

In lieu of a long list of tasks that parade around the page looking as though they should be easily checked off, I am outlining parts of my life that I think need some extra attention this year- and why. Writing those words down, with complete and total honesty, should be motivation enough to enact change- no checkmark boxes needed. 

My Marriage
Last year, Brian and I celebrated our 12 year anniversary. And the older we get, the busier we get- between kids and work and social obligations and all the grown up stuff that comes along for the ride. Often, we are like ships in the night, and when we do have an hour or so to sit down together and chat (without the girls running around), Brian is exhausted from work, and I am high strung and anxious about running through the lists I have been making in my head all week long while we have the time. So the energy is off- and not only does nothing get accomplished, but quite the opposite happens- we end up annoyed at each other. My typical reaction at that point is to huff and puff and declare something along the lines of "fine, forget it- I'll figure it out myself" even though it is something I either can't figure out myself or it is something I shouldn't figure out myself because we need to be a team and many important decisions are best made together. There has to be a better approach- and I am determined to figure out what it is. Communication is so important- and it is so easy to de-prioritize it as a couple when there are so many other things to keep afloat- but continuing to let it fall by the wayside can be toxic, and that is not a place I want to find myself a year from now.

There are 2 parts to the whole parenting thing that I know I need to work on in '18- the first stems from the above- figuring out how to parent as a team. It is more efficient, yes- and also will cut down on a lot of the anxiety- and in many cases, manipulation- caused by uncertainty in rules and routines that I notice in my girls. The second part is all about me- learning how to lengthen my short fuse, be the grown up, and take ownership in a big way of guiding Alexa & Goldie through childhood. I want to be more "fearless and engaged leader", less "frustrated and nervous nagger". We have a ton of fun together- especially when I allow myself to really be present in the moment, and not worry about the long term repercussions of letting Alexa "forget" her glasses at home one day, or allowing Goldie to have her pacifier in the house when she cries for it even though technically it is reserved for car trips or bedtime. There has to be a happy medium between helping them grow up to be kind and healthy and smart and letting them be kids while they can be. Just gotta figure out what that looks like for me. 

Instead of having a "work" category and a "health" category, I am bundling them together into a more overall lifestyle goal- being consistent. Consistency, and creating thoughtful, purposeful habits, is where the magic will happen for me in both my professional life and, let's be honest here, in what I see in the mirror (and, yes how I feel in the morning when I crawl out of bed and throughout the marathon days of mom life.) Writing is what I love to do - and sharing my life, my style finds, beauty tricks, and all that good stuff really does make me insanely happy. Carving out the time to do it regularly is what will help me build it into the thing I want it to become- even though on any given day I don't know exactly what that will look like (a book? an expanded blog? a video series?), I know that by keeping at it, something big will happen, and it will shape itself into exactly what it is meant to be. That is the interesting nature of the social media/blogging world- I liken it to throwing a ton of spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks- you just have to keep throwing and throwing and eventually when you look at the wall of sticky spaghetti, there is gonna be a pattern and that pattern will inform you of the best way to proceed. Does that make sense? I hope so.

From a health angle- consistency for me is gonna mean eating cleaner, snacking less, and overall being more purposeful and thoughtful about planning healthy meals not only for myself but for my family. If I want take the stress out of getting dinner on the table every night, I just have to plan ahead- this I know. And this I do- like, once a month. But should be doing weekly. Practice makes perfect. On the exercise front, I think that becoming more goal-oriented with my fitness, and forcing myself to be accountable for said goal, will help take my status-quo consistency up a notch. Instead of consistency simply meaning the act of working out 4 times a week (or whatever it may be), I want to evolve my definition of fitness consistency to be more about pushing myself harder on a consistent basis, learning to be comfortable in the uncomfortable-wheezing-for-air-heart-beating-out-of-my-chest moments that are necessary to become the strongest and most healthy version of myself.

So yeah, those are the general areas of my life that I hope to improve this year. At first glance, a short list- but each item above is much more than a one-line bullet point, and I feel proud to be at a place where I can acknowledge the importance of quality over quantity when it comes to the whole New Year's Resolution frenzy.

What do you guys think of New Year's Resolutions? Do you make them? Have the way in which you qualified/quantified them changed as you have gotten older? Please share!

New Year's Eve Style: A No-Regrets Sequin Situation

  Sequin Mini Dress  /   Similar Cropped Blazer  /  Shoes  (best shoe spurge of the year, FYI)  /  Earrings  

Sequin Mini Dress /  Similar Cropped Blazer / Shoes (best shoe spurge of the year, FYI)  / Earrings 

If there was ever a time to slip into sequins, it is New Year's Eve. My dress is from probably the most well-priced and well-executed sequin-centric brand, Dress The Population. It is insanely easy to wear- which is true of all the picks I rounded up below. Because buying something sparkly should be fun- however, if you think you will only wear it once or twice, that purchase suddenly become stressful, right? In the case of the look above- I threw a cropped black blazer on top to tone it down a tad, and the shoes pictured happen to be my hands-down most thrilling impulse buy of 2017- they actually come with removable wrap-around bows, and you really have to see the complete look to understand how awesome it is- check it out here.

A few other faves, clockwise starting with the insanely chic but still kinda pimp-ish sequin coat on the left:
-This is a similar style to the dress I have on above- only difference, mine is a crewneck- I actually prefer this version.
-Rad (best word to describe it) rainbow glitter mini that you will actually end up wearing year-round, usually with a white tee and jean jacket if I had to guess.
-The most glam maxi dress that is perfectly suited to hosting duties, should you be the one throwing a party.
-Sequin hair bow for $20? No brainer.
-My daughter is OBSESSED with "switchy" sequins at the moment- and this dress is the grown up version- totally reversible depending on which way you flip the sequins- so cool, right? 
-In my dreams (the ones where I don't eat an entire bag of Twizzlers for dinner after I skip the gym), I wear this cropped turtleneck with both light wash boyfriend jeans and high waisted leather leggings, depending on the occasion.
-A bargain buy, I just love the drippy details on this cozy velour mini- also, velour = warmth! Huge.
-Ankle booties are such a trend and not going away any time soon- this pair hams it up the way it was meant to be.


Da Bomb(er Jacket).


A girl could make the case for at least 3 winter coats this season:
1- A super-warm, water-resistant puffer coat for frigid and/or snowy days.
2- A more dressy wool coat (perhaps 3/4 length, with a faux fur collar situation) for looking polished when life calls for such conditions.
3- An on-trend fashion coat that is just warm enough, and is part of the outfit- not covering the outfit- so can keep it on while you are out and about without feeling over-heated or weighed down by some bulky jacket that leaves you sweaty and annoyed.

For category 3- l recommend a bomber jacket. The relaxed style naturally lends itself to easy layering- putting a heavy sweater underneath is no problem at all. But, thanks to the elastic band at the waist, people don't assume that you are a giant marshmallow of a person from head to do- the band nips you in at the perfect spot just above the hips. 

My favorite bomber jacket right now is this one- the faux fur and nubby sherpa play into the cozy texture trend that every style insider is obsessing over at the moment. You turn into the most fashionable human teddy bear the instant you put this on- so soft and- this is not a word I often use, as my friends can attest- yummy. Yup. Yummy.

It also combines black and light beige, which means black boots and brown boots (navy too!) are all fair footwear game, if you subscribe to those kinds of rules.

Oh- and if you are traveling somewhere warm for the holidays and need that in-between coat- this is the one. Over a tank top or a thick sweater, it works. Perfectly. And on the planes, trains, and automobiles that holiday hustles are made of, you really could not ask for a better pillow/blanket stand-in.

Here are 3 other options that fit the bill, should you be so inclined:

1- Leopard faux fur gives this a glam factor, but still feels sporty. 
2- Metallic makes this work with basically ANYTHING you pair it with- such a statement.
3- Luminous purple velvet is so so soft, I am obsessed with this one- worth a look.


What To Do With Your Holiday Cards (And, My Thoughts on Holiday Cards In General).

  Sweater  /  Jeans  /  Garland  (similar options)

Sweater / Jeans / Garland (similar options)

(Firstly, what kind of blogger would I be if I didn't tell you that the sweater I am wearing above is probably the best sweater I have bought in years. Can't. Stop. Wearing. It. With Rag & Bone leather leggings at night, and my beloved Madewell jeans every day.)

The whole THING of holiday cards is kind of baffling if you really think about it.

We stress out for months collecting and updating addresses. In many (most?) cases, these addresses belong to people we have not seen, spoken to, or maybe even thought about, in years.  Then, we have to figure out how to upload said addresses from the sloppy spreadsheet on our desktop to that of our online card retailer of choice in such a way that it is compatible with their specific envelope addressing service. Spoiler alert- that spreadsheet is NEVER compatible on the first try, so we re-format. And re-format again.

Even before the above annoyances, we have to find (or, in my case, have someone take) a photo that accurately-ish captures our family at this moment in time. I add the "-ish" because let's be honest here- what we really mean is a photo that captures our family exactly as we want other people to think we are at this moment in time.

Oh- and the clincher? WE SHARE PHOTOS OF OUR KIDS ON SOCIAL MEDIA ALL THE TIME. You have all seen my kids ad nauseam, and I yours. So- what is the point?!

Well, there isn't one. Unless you make it so. So, we did.

3 years ago, we decided to hang up every card we receive on a garland, front and center in the most high traffic area of our house, the pass-through between the family room and kitchen.  In our case, it is a purple glitter vine-like garland, and we use mini clothes pins as clips. Every afternoon, starting around December 10, the vine gets more and more full, until, come January 1st, every leaf has a card hanging from it. 

This is probably the thing our girls love most about decorating for the holidays- seeing the faces of friends, family, and, in many cases, people they don't even know, smiling at them every time they walk by. They ask questions about everyone- which is how we teach them which cousin is which and how they are related to so-and-so. They play games picking their favorite designs. They try and identify which ones are new additions that they haven't yet seen. Best of all, they tell me stories about the friends they see-  I learn so much the friends they make at school in the span of seconds this way. 

When the holidays are over, I take the cards down and punch holes in the upper right hand corner of each one. Next, I thread them onto a binder ring, and put an index card on top noting the year the cards were received. The ring of cards gets hung up on a hook along the wall inside our "random stuff goes here" closet. This way, minimal storage space is used, we always know where to find them, and I don't have to go to sleep at night with the guilt that comes along with looking down into a garbage can and seeing dozens of sweet, innocent smiles smeared with spaghetti sauce and shame.

So, okay, I get the holiday card thing. Yeah, the whole tradition doesn't technically make a ton of sense these days, but it is for that very reason that it makes total sense.

Plus, if it weren't for holiday cards, what excuse would I have had to force my family to take this photo?

 Photo cred to  Jen Goldberg Photography - she totally got my vision and captured us, but better. And, by better I mean she retouched my legs a teeny-tiny bit. Not because she thought I needed it- she isn't judge-y like that- but because she could tell I wanted it ;)). Oh, and I used  PaperCulture  for our cards this year. I am a rebel and do the address labels myself on my printer at home as a means to freedom from holiday card website monogamy. 

Photo cred to Jen Goldberg Photography- she totally got my vision and captured us, but better. And, by better I mean she retouched my legs a teeny-tiny bit. Not because she thought I needed it- she isn't judge-y like that- but because she could tell I wanted it ;)). Oh, and I used PaperCulture for our cards this year. I am a rebel and do the address labels myself on my printer at home as a means to freedom from holiday card website monogamy. 

Gift Guide: Under $50 Picks For Grown Up Girls Of EVERY Age

All under $50- well, except this one and this beauty but I just felt like both had to be included because they are the perfect gifts to get that friend/mom/aunt/sister/hard-to-buy-for-human you are still stumped on. I can't think of anyone who wouldn't be excited to unwrap any item on this list- and that is not just because I picked them...Or maybe it is.

Get these designer tube socks ($45 a pair) with the airport code of top destinations monogrammed along the top for your travel buddy. 

Your beauty-obsessed bestie is gonna freak over these lipsticks which create the most beautiful custom hues- sure, they look cray cray in the tube but that is half the fun of it. She needs this limited edition sponge set that literally has every tool a girl would ever need- from eraser sponges to cleansing sponges to applicators for every product and part of your face (value is $71 but the price tag for holiday is less than 1/2 of that). And there is no better way to spend $12 than on the most insta-worthy balm known to (wo)man. 

Fragrance is typically tricky to gift- but the glitter factor in these give it a fun factor- plus, rollerballs are travel-friendly. And there is hydrating coconut oil involved. 

Last but not least- these slides are the perfect combo of unexpected and useful- and...50% OFF!

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