Reflecting Back on 2017 & Welcoming 2018

As 2017 has come to a close I have been taking time to reflect on everything that has happened this year like I am sure most of you are.

2017 has truly been a year of “ME”. My resolution in the beginning of the year was to put myself first and get back to the healthiest version of myself. Now to a lot of people that means fitness and although I tried and failed at fitness this year that was not truly part of my resolution. I wanted to become mentally healthy this year and accepting of the person I am today.

I don’t share a lot of my personal life or when I do I have my dance and act perfect, but in 2017 I came to terms with the depression and anxiety I have been fighting for a very long time. It’s weird that even as I sit here alone in my office typing this up my palms are sweaty and my heart is racing because this is something really hard to open up about but its something I know I am not alone in.

In 2016, three and a half years after my father’s passing I began experiencing delayed grief after being strong for my family members for so long. I became this version of myself that I did not know and couldn’t control. Towards the end of 2016, I knew I needed help because I hated the person I was and felt so lost in my own body and mind.

For the first part of 2017, I felt very hopeful and more like myself again with the help of therapy. I started doing things for myself like starting this blog which I am so proud of and grateful for all the support from my friends and family. Literally, without that support, I don’t think I could do it. This blog truly became the creative outlet that I have craved for long and that was missing from my life. Also, because of this blog, I have gained so many friendships and has gotten me out of my shell more and more comfortable with going somewhere I may not know anyone. I think bottom line is that this blog has become my own form of therapy.

CLE Bloggers Meet Up

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With the help of therapy I did start to come to terms with the person I am today but as we know with any journey it is not just a straight path and sometimes we falter or take steps back. The last couple of months I came to terms with the fact that I cannot win this battle with depression and anxiety with just therapy alone. Although I tried not to go on medication because I thought that it made me look weak or that I can’t do this myself, I gave in and decided to go on medication. But, going on medication doesn’t make me weak, it shows that I know myself and what I need to live a healthy life as the best version of myself. I always want to be honest with you guys and this is me being honest that although I shared the best parts of my life this year it doesn’t mean I didn’t have dark parts.

Focusing on the best parts of 2017 I got to experience so many wonderful things. I traveled for myself and business for the first time in a very long time. I went to Vegas to see the Backstreet Boys for the first time EVER! I traveled out of the country for the first time to 4 different countries this year, Germany, United Kingdom, France, and Italy, thanks to my job that I truly feel blessed to have that opportunity. While traveling abroad I had the got to travel alone to Italy which is an experience I recommend everyone do. Traveling alone, although can be lonely at times, is an amazing experience and I never felt more present with myself. This might seem cliche but to get that first passport stamp excited me to no end and I definitely did a happy dance!

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I got to see some of my best friends get married this year and other best friends have babies (hello Aunt Alie!). To see these people that shaped different parts of my life be so happy was amazing and I was so happy to be apart of those experiences.

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As 2017 ends I realize that accepting this version of myself is not an overnight nor a year fight. Working on one’s self is an everyday battle that we all deal with. Some people have different fights than others and I walk away from 2017 being more conscious of that. I feel so lucky to have so many wonderful people in my life who have stayed with me through the hard times and best time, and I got to welcome so many new friendships into my life this year all which fill my heart to no end.

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Looking into 2018 I am so excited to share with you all a big change in my life. Now, I can’t tell you what it is yet but if we all be patient I look forward to sharing my journey with you all in 2018 and taking this part of my life to the next level.

Thank you all for the love and support you have given me and this blog in 2017 and I hope you continue to follow along in 2018.

xx, Alison

 

 

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Black Friday Sales I’m Shopping

Let me start off by saying that I am not a Black Friday shopper – I hate going out super early on Friday morning or even worse on Thanksgiving to get “the best deal of the year”. BUT I am a sleep-in Friday morning, make some coffee, and browse my favorite store/brand’s website Black Friday shopper. So if you are like me and like to shop from the comfort of your own home in your comfy clothes with coffee in hand here are some of the sales that I will be shopping this week.

Madewell.com

If I could just wear Madewell the rest of my life I would be completely fine with that. I very rarely find a brand that everything literally just speaks to me, but when it does it is Madewell and it comes with a sometimes not so wallet-friendly price tag. That is why you want to shop their Black Friday sale which is actually going on now, yes NOW! 25% off their entire site if you use the promo code DONTSTRESS. Here are my picks from their site:

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whisper cotton turtleneck in wellton stripe
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athens cat-eye sunglasses
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10″ high-rise skinny jean in lucille wash
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the small transport crossbody
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northfield mockneck sweater

 Abercrombie.com

I used to manage an Abercrombie back in the day and dreaded working Black Friday, but flash forward to today and I love shopping their Black Friday sale! Now although Abercrombie has not released their Black Friday sale they usually stay quite consistent which is usually 50% off the entire store like last year and Abercrombie will most likely start this sale on Thursday. Here are some of my picks:

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 NUBBY WOOL-BLEND PEACOAT
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PLEATED MIDI SKIRT
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FAIR ISLE CREW SWEATER
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VELVET WRAP-FRONT DRESS
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LONG-SLEEVE WAFFLE TEE

Sephora.com

Sephora Black Friday deals were release at the end of last week I believe and let me tell you they are something to get excited for and the perfect opportunity to either stock up on favorites or try something new. Here are all of the deals that we know about as of now:

Alterna Haircare: The Caviar Moisture kit ($30 value) will be available for only $10.

Atelier Cologne: Get the special Perfume Ornament ($36 value) for only $12.

Benefit: The Best-seller Blowout set is valued at $43 but will be on sale for $15. In this set, you will get a full-size They’re Real Mascara, mini Hoola bronzer, and a mini High Beam highlighter.

Bite Beauty: The Mini Multistick Duo ($20 value) will be available for $15.

Buxom: The Pout on the Prowl lip kit includes one mini Full-On Lip Polish in Dominique and a Big and Sexy Bold Gel Lipstick in Toxic Cherry. The kit is valued at $32 but will be on sale for $12.

First Aid Beauty: The Ultra Repair Cream will be available in a 12 oz. tub. This super hydrating moisturizer is valued at $42 but will be on sale for $15.

It Cosmetics: It’s Your Secret to Beautiful Skin set ($35 value) will be on sale for $15.

Lancome: Get the Dramatic Eye Duo ($32.50 value) for $15.

Make Up For Ever: Sephora will be exclusively selling the limited edition holiday duo The Artist Neutrals, which includes the Artist Liquid Matte lip color and Artist Rouge Lipstick, for $15.

Ole Henriksen: Get your own Dashing Through the Glow: Refresh Anywhere Set ($22 value) for only $12.

Philosophy: The Always on the Glow set ($32 value) will be on sale for only $15.

Sephora Collection: The Winter Queen Palette ($20 value) and the Colorful Cleanse and Treat set ($18.50 value) will both be available for $10.

Tocca: Tocca Favorites set ($26 value) will be on sale for $10.

*(Sephora deal information provided by Allure.com)

Zara.com

I love Zara, its great for basics, is decent quality, and it doesn’t bust the bank. One thing I hate about Zara is their website, it is not the most user-friendly (at least to me), I get frustrated and overwhelmed easily by it. This would be actually one retailer I would rather shop the store to find what I need, but since I won’t be heading out to my local Zara online it is! I recommend browsing the website before they launch the Black Friday sale so you can weed through all their clothing and accessories and not risk anything running out of stock while searching. Now Zara has also not released their sale but if it is anything like last year it should be 20 to 30% off select apparel. Here are a few of my picks:

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CAT’S EYE SUNGLASSES

Glossier.com

Last but not least is Glossier, now again this brand has yet to release their Black Friday sale, but I do know that there is a great sale in store you just need to be patient a little bit longer. Again like Sephora, Glossier’s Black Friday sale is a great time to stock up or finally try out the brand. Here is my rep link to get 20% off your first purchase along with free shipping on $30 or more. I know I will be using this sale to stock up on some of my absolute favorites such as these:

What Black Friday sales are you shopping?

A Day in Northeast Ohio

A few weekends ago my friend Eileen and I traveled to Canton’s Art District to check out their Saturday Flea. Although it was smaller then the Cleveland Flea it was located in a very aesthetically pleasing part of Canton filled with great vintage stores and unique restaurants.

After popping into a few of those stores coffee was necessary to continue to browse the streets. There was the cutest little coffee camper providing the flea with some delicious brew of iced and nitro coffee.

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Excuse my pre-coffee resting bitch face (insert upside down smile emoji)

After we finished up wandering the Flea and stopping in at the Little Chicago Clothing Company store for Eileen to get the perfect Ohio sweatshirt for fall, our stomachs started rumbling for some food. Since Eileen used to go to college around the area she recommended for us to get some waffles, and not just your regular waffles, only the best ones in Canton from Cultured Coffee & Waffles. This place takes waffles to the next level! Eileen got the Grandpa’s Grilled Cheese waffle that was stuffed with mac and cheese and I got the Hell’s Chicken Waffle which if you like buffalo chicken dip this waffle tastes just like that!

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After eating every single bite of our waffles and actual contemplating to order and splitting another one we needed to walk it off. We stumbled upon this great wall of art and thought it would be a great place to snap a few pictures! I just recently treated myself to a FOUNT purse and wanted to show it off a bit – you need to always remember to TREAT YO’ SELF!

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I had been eyeing a FOUNT purse for a while now and wanted my first one to be versatile. I wanted to be able to travel with it, but still be able to use it for every day. I settled on the Bellfield Tote in cocoa and although it comes with The Kestrel Keychain I decided to also get The Classic Fount Tassel Charm to add a little dimension to the outside of the bag. One of the owners Jackie saw me making the purchase and wanted to know what color I chose in my bag because she said: “they always want to match people to the color bag that compliments them the most”. I really appreciated that added personal touch and the fact the owner came up because she generally wanted to see what I was buying. I bought mine at the Cleveland Flea, but these bags are made in Cleveland and they have a location in Gordon Square in Cleveland and The Short North in Columbus. The straps are hand sown and are insured to last for the life of the bag and I actually stopped in the store this past weekend and they conditioned my bag for free. These bags are guaranteed to get better with age and everyone that I have talked to that owns one seems to love their bag more and more each year.

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After we finished up in Canton on our way back to Cleveland we decided to go and make the most of that beautiful fall day and go do a self-guided tour of Stan Hywet estate. We were able to walk through the hallways of this breathtaking estate that has been preserved so remarkably and take a stroll through the gardens that were so beautiful. I would love to go back in spring to see all the flowers in full bloom.

What this weekend showed me was that we need to remember that although we are so lucky to live in a city that offers us so much to do we need to take time out and visit all the other wonderful cities in Northeast Ohio.

 

Alson Jewelers & IPPOLITA

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend a Bloggers & Bellinis event at Alson Jewelers in Woodmere, Ohio. Alson teamed up with IPPOLITA Jewelry to discuss fall jewelry trends and great tips and tricks for styling your jewelry by Courtney Craft, Stylist from IPPOLITA.

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The morning was filled with beautiful jewelry, great company, and of course bellinis. We all got to try on some of the most beautiful and versatile necklaces from IPPOLITA and learn different ways to layer and create different looks with one necklace. What I loved about the IPPOLITA’s necklaces is that they are designed to be easily worn multiple ways. You can simply just slip it over your neck, wrap it to create a layered look, or create a choker that gives you a Y look that either drapes down your back or chest to add an interesting touch to your outfits. Courtney also demonstrated to us with IPPOLITA’s oval-shaped bangles (which are designed to fit a womans wrist more comfortably since we do not have perfectly circled wrists) how to use a silk scarf to put on and remove a bangle with ease.

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We all then took a Style Personality Quiz to help match us with the perfect jewelry set – I got Classicist which did not surprise me as I would describe my style as “minimal and meaningful”.

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I want to give a special shout-out to Jill Schreibman and the Schreibman Brothers for hosting such a wonderful event at 4th generation owned Alson Jewelers. This jeweler has so much to offer – watch and jewelry repair & cleaning, a beautiful wedding shop, along with great fashion to classic jewelry offerings; they truly made it a one stop shop!

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Amanda from Blissful Gal and Katie from Kausally Katie – Go check out these ladies blogs they are seriously killing it!


After the Bloggers & Bellinis event Amanda, Katie and I decided to head to Legacy Village to grab a bite to eat at the Cheesecake Factory and do a little much-needed shopping. Which of course when you get 3 bloggers together a mini photo session ensues, but can you blame us? The day was to much fun not to properly document.

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After shopping till we almost dropped we decided to end this amazing Cleveland day with checking out the Greater Cleveland Aquarium. I was really excited to check it out since I have never been there and have heard great things about this little Cleveland gem.

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What I loved about the Aquarium was there were so many knowledgeable workers there in case you had any questions about what you were looking at or they were already giving a presentation for a larger exhibit that you can easily join to listen in. The Aquarium also provides a lot of touch and feel stations to give a more one on one experience and teach kids and adults a little bit more how to interact with sea life.

You could tell that we were all Finding Nemo and Finding Dory fans since our venture through the aquarium consisted a lot of quoting both movies.

Bottomline if you are looking for a fun, nicely located, and family friendly (of all ages) weekend activity you should take a day out of your weekend and check out the Greater Cleveland Aquarium.

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Thank you Greater Cleveland Aquarium for having Amanda, Katie and I come and explore everything you have to offer!

 

Fresh Music Tuesday // Early Summer

I thought I would share some of the new music I have been liking so far this summer. Click the link below if you have Spotify – don’t forget to follow any of many of playlists.

Currently Playing: 

Doing it for the Money // Foster the People

Liability // Lorde

Want You Back // HAIM

Thunder // Imagine Dragons

Malibu // Miley Cyrus

Strangers // Halsey (Ft. Lauren Jauregui)

Don’t Take The Money // Bleachers

Everything Now // Arcade Fire

Listen on Spotify

 

Alison’s Articles // Switching to Natural Deodorant

So who wants to talk about natural deodorant? Sounds like a great topic to start your week out right? RIGHT! I’m going to be completely honest I did not think switching to natural deodorant was going to be such a process. I mean did you know there was a detox period??? I didn’t, but I didn’t really do a lot of research before switching.

I have been thinking about switching to natural deodorant for about a year before I actually made the commitment to switch, trying once but giving up quickly. The first time I tried to make the switch I just picked up Tom’s from Target and was like this will be easy. I will just switch to this and be done… wrong! The first day or 2 I noticed I was sweating more and just not overall liking the deodorant I chose, so I just switched back to my normal chemical packed one from Secret. I got the notion in my head that I sweated too much to switch to natural.

Back in the end of March, I believe while I was in Sephora with Eileen I saw in their travel section the Lavanila natural deodorant and just thought man I really want to try again to make the switch maybe it was just because I tried a drugstore brand, so I bought the travel size to try. The first week was a little rough… there was an increase of wetness and smelliness and I noticed I started to get a bit of red irritation, which worried me a little bit. Since the redness didn’t go away I started to research a bit and found out that this redness is most likely caused because my armpits were detoxing. Basically detoxing is the aluminum that is present in typical drugstore deodorant clogs your underarm sweat glands which interrupt your body’s natural ability to remove materials that would normally be removed through your body’s natural process of sweating. So now that I have stopped putting pore clogging aluminum under my arms my body was overproducing sweat until it can start to regulate.

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By the second week, although my sweating and smelliness started to normalize, the red irritation was not and now I was having my lymph nodes so swollen I could see them. My under arms at this point felt as if I was on crutches for the past 2 weeks with no padding. After doing some more research which included swollen lymph nodes I read something that was interesting to me that since natural deodorant uses a lot of baking soda in it that it sometimes tends to cause irritation and to look for a baking soda free option. I instantly remembered that one of my favorite YouTubers, Ingrid Nilsen (which you should totally check out her videos), mention that she was sensitive to baking soda and uses a baking soda free option. I went back through some of her videos and found the brand Meow Meow Tweet.

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At the time when I purchased this on Amazon they only had the jar option (they came out 2 weeks ago with a paper push up option, here). I was little nervous trying a jar, would it messy? would it be hard to apply? No and no! I can’t even explain the consistency this product turns into once you begin applying to your underarms but it almost becomes a powder and leaves your finger clean and dry. After the first day, I noticed my irritation starting to go down along with my lymph nodes. This option was a little bit more expensive ($18) but a lot of natural deodorants are so I am not going to complain about the price point and I have had it since March and barely used half of it. Now, I don’t know if I will always be sensitive to baking soda based deodorants or it was just a shock to my system with switching to a natural option, but I really like this brand and deodorant. Can it last from the time I wake up at 5:30 all the way to 10 at night? no, but it gets me through the work day or longer depending on what my day consists of. I also use Pacifica under arm wipes as a refresh when needing to reapply, it neutralizes any existing odor and cleanses my skin of older product. Those wipes are a must in my opinion when going natural.

I am going to leave you with a little advice if you are thinking about making the switch:

  1. You don’t smell as bad as you think and you are probably the only one that notices
  2. You probably don’t sweat naturally as much as you think either – give your body some time to regulate again
  3. Underarm wipes are you best friend
  4. Maybe start out the switch with a baking soda free option

Alright folks, this is my opinion and personal experience with switching to natural deodorant. I also wanted to end by saying that I am in no way a health professional, these are just things that I have noticed and did during my own personal experience with making the switch.

 

 

Alison’s Articles // Recently Purchased

Good Morning to all my wonderful readers out there! So, I was bad and ill prepared my blog post for this week (I had a pretty good idea in mind too, but it will have to wait). sometimes life and working full-time just gets the best of you. But I did not want to post nothing so here are a bunch of things I have recently purchased in the last week. I have only just tried one or two of these items but if I love them enough you see them pop up in my May favorites with a few review, otherwise, I am really excited to try the rest out!

Hair

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OGX Bodifying + Fiber Full Sugar High Tousle Spray & Bumble and Bumble Bb. Don’t Blow It Fine (H)air Styler

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AG Hair Dry Wax & AG Hair Volume Thikk Wash Volumizing Shampoo &AG Hair Volume Thikk Rinse Volumizing Conditioner

Makeup

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Pixi By Petra Mesmerizing Mineral Palette in Copper Peach

Skincare

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The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2%

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Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm with Echinacea GreenEnvy & Farmacy Sleep Tight Firming Night Balm with Echinacea GreenEnvy (sample size) & Farmacy Honey Potion Renewing Antioxidant Hydration Mask with Echinacea GreenEnvy (sample size)