LoveLeigh Gift Guide for Her

It’s the most wonderful time of year, not only because we are so close to Christmas that I can almost taste my mom’s chocolate chip pie, but because I now have a reason to justify my outrageous shopping problem! Joy to the world. It’s gifting season.

My next few blog posts will be a series of gift guides to help you find the perfect present for everyone in your life from your little bro to you grandma.

First up are the LoveLeigh ladies in your life!

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Click on any of the titles to shop!

1. OPI Infinite Shine Starter Kit

Read my post about all the reasons I love it. This is perfect for your friend that likes having nice nails, but doesn’t have time to make it to the salon every two weeks.

2. Baublebar Pinata Tassel Earrings 

These are everywhere this season and come in lots of different colors. I love the red ones for the holidays!

3. Barefoot Dreams Blanket 

This is the softest blanket on planet Earth. It’s a little pricey, but you can get it at Nordstrom Rack for half off.

4. A Groupon

Sometimes the best gift is an experience! I love giving Groupons for restaurants, fitness classes or spas I have heard my friends or family mention. It gives your loved ones an excuse to treat themselves to something new.

5. It Cosmetics Brush Set

These are my favorite brushes. The set includes a brush for powder, foundation, concealer, shadow and crease. They are soft, wash well and are high quality.

6. Kiehl’s Creme De Corps Soy Milk & Honey Whipped Body Butter

The. Best. Lotion. Ever. It’s light, smells amazing, and is super hydrating. Grab one for your mom and one for yourself.

7. Fuzzy Slippers

Everybody needs a cozy pair of slippers. I got a super comfy pair last year (thanks, Heather) and wear them around the house 24/7. I love these ones with the pom pom accents.

8. Loopy Phone Case

I’ve had my loopy for just over two months now and haven’t dropped my phone once since putting it on. The loop on the back allows you to hold your phone even while your hands are full. It’s perfect for the clumsy gal in your life.

9. Rewined Candle

These candles come in re-purposed wine bottles and – you guessed it – smell like your favorite wine. My favorite is the Sauvignon Blanc.

10. Clinique Chubbettes Set

This set is every color of chubby stick you could ever need. 20 perfectly mini, moisturizing shades for your your bff’s collection.

I hope this gave you some gifting inspiration, or just a few new items for your own wishlist. Stay tuned for more gift guides coming soon.

Love, Leigh

Favorite Four: Colored Hair Products

My mom taught me that there are a few things in life worth spending good money on. Those things, in no particular order, are skincare items, quality toilet paper, hair products, and occasionally, a kick ass pair of shoes.

I have been getting my hair dyed, bleached, darkened and otherwise chemically treated for about nine years now. In that time I have tried out a million different products and stuck with the ones I truly love.

In honor of me being TRULY thankful for at-home brightening treatments after a tragic dye job last week, I wanted to share my favorite four color treated hair products.

Cleanse

First up is my favorite shampoo. Fekkai Color Care Technician prevents fading and makes your hair super shiny. It’s one of the only color specific shampoos I’ve tried that keeps my hair soft, but not greasy. It also smells really good. fekkai

Tone

The biggest problem I run into with highlighting my hair is that my roots always get really brassy after a few weeks. When I start to see the orange coming out and I want to lighten it up, I reach for my Kenra brightening treatment. I leave this purple lifesaver on my freshly shampooed wet hair for about five minutes and wash it out to an instantly brighter, blonder mane.

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Detangle

The Beauty Protector protect & detangle spray is another product I discovered through Birchbox and absolutely love. If you have tangly hair like I do, you need this in your life. Besides being a great conditioning spray, it also protects your hair from heat. Spray this on your wet hair and brush with ease. 

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Volumize

Amika Bombshell Blowout spray adds volume and doubles as a heat protectant. I blow dry my hair until it’s about 75% dry and then spray it by section and use a round brush to dry the rest. It smells so good and adds volume to even the thinnest hair. 

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What products do you use on your colored hair? I love testing out new ones so leave a comment or shoot me an email with any recommendations you have. 

Have a happy Thanksgiving, LoveLeighs!

Love, Leigh

Four Favorites: Makeup Remover Edition

Heavy Duty Makeup Removal

On any given day I wear makeup for an average of about 12 hours. When it’s finally time to clean my face, I don’t want to have to wash four separate times or scrub forever just to get it all off. This product removes all traces of makeup quickly and effectively. The Clinique Take the Day Off cleansing balm transforms into a silky oil as you massage it into your skin. All you do is rub a dime sized amount all over your face, rinse with warm water and towel dry.

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In my opinion, this is the BEST makeup remover. Here’s why:

  • It’s fragrance free
  • It doesn’t leave you feeling greasy
  • All the product comes off when you rinse your face and it leaves your skin silky smooth
  • Great for contact lens wearers (like me!)
  • It’s allergy tested and great for sensitive skin

I used to be a makeup wipe only kind of gal, but I will never go back after finding this balm. It has reduced my breakouts and completely removes stubborn mascara and lipstick. It also works as a cleanser so I don’t have to double wash my face. I can’t say enough good things about this product. Everyone needs it.

Makeup Removal and Moisturizer

If you have dry skin, Pond’s Cold Cream is a great alternative to take the day off. I know Pond’s makes everyone think of their grandma’s medicine cabinet, but there’s a reason why it’s been around so long; it works and it’s affordable.

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I will admit, I don’t love the smell, but it does a pretty good job removing makeup and hydrating my skin. The main ingredients are mineral oil which removes makeup and debris from the skin, and beeswax to lock moisture in.  Pick this one up on your next Target run and avoid dry skin this winter.

On-the-Go Removal

You don’t always have the time to wash your face and apply a thousand serums. I find that fully washing my face causes less irritation and removes my makeup more quickly, but for the times I’m in a rush, these do the trick.

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Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes are the only drug store brand that don’t make me breakout or feel greasy. I like to keep these in my gym bag to use after class. They’re also great for a quick trip when you can’t haul your entire skincare lineup with you.

For Stubborn Eye Makeup

Last but not least is Kiehl’s Supremely Gentle Eye Makeup Remover. I use a sulfur wash that is amazing for acne-prone skin, but it’s also drying. When I wash my face, the delicate skin on my eyelids gets dry and sensitive. This eye makeup remover has the consistency of moisturizer and is very gentle, so it doesn’t irritate my eyelids or contacts. It removes waterproof mascara and the little bottle lasts forever. This combined with take the day off and you are squeaky clean!

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I hope you find a product or two from this lists that works for you. If you have any other makeup removers I need to know about, please let me know in the comments!

Wake up and makeup!

Love, Leigh

3 Steps to Shiny Nails

Having my nails painted is one of those things that makes me feel like I have my life just a little bit more together. I love getting a manicure at the nail salon, but it’s pricey and time consuming.

On one of my weekly trips to Ulta, I stumbled upon the OPI Infinite Shine series. My manicure doesn’t usually last longer than two days, so I figured I would give this “long wear” polish a try.

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I was pleasantly surprised by the results and am completely obsessed with the new colors in the line.

Here’s how it works:

Buy the primer and finishing gloss together as a set for under $20. Then, pick any color in the Infinite Shine line and follow three simple steps for long lasting nail color.

  1. Apply one coat of the Infinite Shine Primer
  2. Apply two coats of your favorite Infinite Shine Gel Lacquer
  3. Apply one coat of the Infinite Shine Gloss

This manicure doesn’t last quite as long as gel polish or shellac, but it definitely outdoes standard polish. I have gotten about five to six days without any chips and up to 11 days before removing and reapplying.

Currently, my go-to color is “Chicago Champagne Toast” which is not only the best name ever, but also a beautiful shade of metallic pink. Here are some of my favorites:

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Chicago Champagne Toast

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We The Female

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Less is Norse

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Berlin There Done That

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Ornament To Be Together

If you are looking for a no chip polish that makes your nails super shiny, look no further! This set is great for a holiday gift or as a treat for yourself.

I hope you try it out and love it as much as I do! Please tag me in your nail pictures on Instagram, I can’t wait to see which colors you choose.

Love, Leigh

10 Things I Learned From Being a Team Player

In ninth grade I broke my dad’s heart when I decided to quit running track to join the JV pompon team. For those of you who aren’t from the Midwest, Pompon is a combination of cheer and dance with a focus of sharp movements and Rockettes style high kicks. 

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2010- Tenth grade Mid American Pompon summer camp with my staff sister, and now friend, Leah

As high school went on, I loved performing and competing and knew that I wanted to continue my journey with pom beyond high school. When I decided to go to MSU, I tried out for the pompon team and the rest is history.

I spent my summers working for Mid American Pompon summer camps as a counselor and instructor, better known as a “staff sister”. During the school year I practiced and competed with MSU pom.

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2016- Fourth years at camp

For those four years, pom was a huge part of my life. I learned so much about myself, made more memories than I can count and built friendships that will last me a lifetime.

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2013- Freshman year on MSU

Yesterday the Spartans took home the title of 2017 Collegiate High Kick Champions. I am so proud to be an alum of the MSU Pompon program and it got me thinking about just how much being a team member molded me as a person.

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2016- My senior year on MSU

Here are the top ten things being a team player taught me:

1. Lead by example

Actions speak louder than words. If you want people to follow, start leading.

2. Find your tribe and love them hard

Having a group of people that make you feel like you’re a part of something bigger than yourself can get you through anything. Lean on the ones you trust and always be there when they need you, too.

3. Mind over matter

You are so much stronger than you know – both mentally and physically. Your body will do just about anything your mind tells it to. When I didn’t want to go to practice, I always felt better after it was over. Now the same goes for the gym. Tell yourself you can and get it done.

4. You can learn from everyone

Older, younger or new to the game. Any industry, any gym, any work setting. Listen to those around you and you will learn something new every single day.

5. Stronger together than apart

Embracing the team mentality allows for growth and productivity. Hearing new perspectives makes you smarter. Working together is invaluable.

6. Balance is everything

Spending so many hours juggling class, internships and practice made me pretty good at time management. I’m thankful to know when and how to take time for myself.

7. Accountability

When you are working toward a common goal, you have to be able to depend on your teammates. Following through and taking responsibility for your actions builds trust and respect.

8. Dependability

This goes hand in hand with accountability, but I think it all comes down to knowing how your actions affect others. Say what you mean and mean what you say, and always, always be honest.

9. Raise your hand

Sometimes you have to volunteer to do the thing nobody else wants to. It’s just the way it is and people appreciate it.

10. Attitude is everything

Every practice, and now that I’m adulting, every morning, I make the decision to have a positive attitude. Your attitude is contagious, so if you want others to be happy, you have to start with yourself.

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2017- Collegiate Championships

What other skills did you learn from playing a sport? I would love to hear them in the comments. Let’s focus on being good teammates in all aspects of our lives this week.

Love, Leigh

Smile at Yourself

Like many women, I am often told to smile more by men on the street. Every time this happens, it leaves me with an uncomfortable feeling. I get a pit in my stomach that sticks with me for the whole day.

I think the reason why it feels so intrusive when a stranger demands that you smile is because a genuine smile is one of the most valuable things you can give to someone. The reflection of joy that you present when you smile is special and should never be faked or forced.

A stranger demanding you to smile did nothing to warrant a joyful display of appreciation…but do you know who did? Do you know who deserves recognition for bringing you happiness? You. 

When was the last time that you smiled at yourself? Not to check your teeth for lipstick, but to see the real-time happiness in your own face?

As you know by now, I exercise at The Barre Code. Each studio has mirrored walls that allow you to check your form while you work out. Often times you are right up at the barre staring at your reflection in the mirror.

Sometimes during class I meet my own eyes in the mirror and am surprised by the intensity and fire I see in myself. What is more surprising, however, is how little we smile at ourselves.

It always seemed weird to me when the instructor would say, “look at the beautiful, strong woman staring back at you in the mirror and smile at her, she worked so hard for the last 50 minutes.”

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A smile represents so much more than a happy facial expression. A smile shows gratitude and appreciation. Smiling at yourself is just another way to show self-love and be grateful for giving yourself time to become mentally and physically stronger. Smiling at myself after a hard workout has taught me to recognize the aspects of my life that bring me joy.

If you don’t exercise in front of a mirror, I suggest taking a second to smile at yourself every morning when you are getting ready. It might seem silly, but it gives you a chance to reflect and be thankful. This leads me to my next point…

Smiling makes you feel happy. When I’m not having a great day, I consciously try to be a little nicer to others, in hopes that it may reflect back on me. Like karma, if you give smiles away, they usually come back to you.

Small acts of kindness, even things as small as a smile, can make all the difference in your own mood and others lives.

So, I’ll leave you with this, LoveLeighs – I hope you all know the worth of your smile and power of your happiness. It comes from within and when it’s there, it cannot be contained. Create your own joy and spread it to those around you, even when it seems hard to find.

 

Love, Leigh

RACKin’ Up the Deals

Nordstrom Rack is one of my very favorite stores to get a good deal on the brands I love. I recently downloaded the Rack app and have been finding the cutest pieces for 40-75% off.

I wanted to share some of my online shopping tips and favorite Rack items that I know you all will love.

First off, when shopping, make sure you filter by category and size. This lets you avoid shopping clothes or shoes that aren’t even available in your size. If you are looking for a specific color or brand, filtering is also helpful.

The other thing I like to do is sort the page by “best value” or “price lowest to highest”. This let’s you find the best deals and bang for your buck.

The Rack clearance section is constantly being updated so if you are looking for something specific, filter by “newest arrivals”.

What other stores do you like to shop for sales? Share your favorite finds with me on Instagram at @herloveleighlife!

Here are some of my favorite Nordstrom Rack items under $50:

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I LOVE these for a holiday party or with dark denim – $37.48
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This shirt is 71% off and comes in four colors!
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Leopard everything, please!
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This TOPSHOP pullover is under $20!
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I love the hem and detail on these – $26.40
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I got this Caslon sweater last week and it is so cute. Under $15!
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BAUBLEBAR earrings under $10!
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This mustard velvet skirt is the perfect length and under $30
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All about the ruffles this season!

My Favorite Cauliflower Crust Pizza Toppings

As promised in the Trader Joe’s Haul post, I am here to share with you a few of my favorite cauliflower pizza crust combinations.

I make a few of these a month and have found both a vegetarian and a meat lovers recipe that are simple, quick and delicious!

For those of you who have never made/bought a cauliflower pizza crust, the frozen one from Trader Joe’s is my favorite. It’s gluten free, crispy and half a pizza has less grams of carbs than a bagel!

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A standard bagel has about 50 grams of carbohydrates. This WHOLE pizza has 96. That’s pretty impressive. A medium Jet’s Pizza (my favorite) has 224 grams of carbs…Not to say that a Jet’s Pizza shouldn’t be enjoyed with a FULL bottle of ranch, but once a week? Maybe not.

The point is that this pizza crust is amazing and you can’t tell it’s made out of vegetables. Let’s get topping!

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Veggie Pizza

I cook the crust as instructed on the box and then top it with the Trader Joe’s Fat Free Pizza Sauce and lots (and lots) of shredded mozzarella.

Next I add about a cup of sliced mushrooms, some dollops of ricotta, a few fresh basil leaves and thinly sliced tomatoes. I also like to add some sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

I broil it for about about five minutes and serve!

Meatball Pizza

Like the veggie pizza, I bake the crust as instructed, spread the sauce and cover in mozzarella.

For this one I add sliced tomatoes and basil (and sometimes bacon bits! NOM).

After I’ve broiled those toppings, I add my microwaved Trader Joe’s meatballs. You can find them in the freezer section. I don’t like to broil them because it makes them extra crispy, but to each his own.

I have tried a lot of combinations of toppings on this crust, but these two recipes are my very favorite.

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What do you add to your cauliflower crust?

I love to hear from you guys and I hope you all enjoy these as much as I do.

Love, Leigh

Snooze it & Lose it

I don’t run for elevators. I don’t run to catch planes. I don’t like to run late.

Your alarm goes off at 6:30 a.m. and you immediately hit snooze. 8 minutes later the piercing sound of reality rings in your ear again and again and again… 

It’s a vicious cycle: hit snooze, doze off, wake up with the absolute minimum amount of time required to get out the door.

Now you’ve had no time to get coffee, forgot to put on the super cute necklace that matches your outfit and you feel rushed and flustered.

This used to be my daily routine. I was always rushing and feeling anxious about being late or forgetting something.

I realized that my problems were stemming from the way I started my day. The solution for these morning woes is something I like to call “getting vertical“.

Here’s how it works:

Pop out of bed the second your alarm goes off.

Don’t sit up and stare at your phone for a minute. Literally stand up. Get vertical the minute the alarm rings and don’t look back. Physically getting out of bed is the hardest part, so make like Nike and Just Do It.

After I’m vertical, I go into the kitchen and immediately drink at least eight ounces of water. Drinking water on an empty stomach helps reset your body and aids digestion. I never want to do this. I want to stick an IV of coffee straight into my arm, but having water truly does make me feel better throughout the day and wakes me up.

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After my water, I usually get ready to work out. Exercising in the morning keeps me energized all day long. It’s also nice to get home from work and know that I can spend time on other things.

If I’m not headed off to The Barre Code for a class (or once I’m back and showered), it’s time to get dressed for work.

My outfit is always planned out the night before, which is a tip I totally recommend. Laying your clothes out before bed saves you time in the morning and prevents the age old tale of trying on everything in your closet and trashing your room.

After I’m dressed, I grab my coffee, prepare my breakfast and allow myself 20 minutes to relax.

Sometimes I turn on Good Morning America, scroll through Instagram, or read a few chapters of whatever book I’m reading.

This might seem like a total waste of time, but giving myself some me-time in the morning allows me to relax and enjoy the day before I get crazy busy.

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Once I feel ready to get the day going I put on my makeup, do my hair and head off to work.

I know most of you are not morning people, but neither was I. There was a point where I had to be dragged out of bed, hated going to morning workout classes and didn’t even want to speak to another soul before sunrise.

If you are always running late, start by not hitting snooze. It helps me start every day in a good mood, which in turn allows me to feel more in control and less anxious about rushing out the door.

I truly believe that getting vertical as fast as you can and giving yourself a moment of relaxation in the morning sets you up for a successful day.

What other tips do you have for starting out your day right and being on time? Let me know in the comments!

We made it through another work week. Will you try to be a morning person next week? Have an amazing weekend, LoveLeighs!

Love, Leigh

Easiest Updo Ever!

I wear my hair in a high ponytail almost every day. I like having it out of my face, and I’ve found that wearing it up is the easiest way to keep it looking decent all day.

I stumbled upon a version of this quick updo on Pinterest and tweaked it to make it my own (and easy for people with long hair).

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Here’s how to get this look:

  1. Make a low ponytail with a part. Make sure you use an elastic the color of your hair!IMG_1095
  2. Loosen the pony a little and make a hole with your fingers just above the elasticIMG_1111
  3. Flip your hair under and through the top of the holeIMG_1085
  4. Braid your ponytail and secure with a skinny elasticIMG_1077
  5. Roll the braid toward the base of your headIMG_1042
  6. Secure with pins IMG_1059
  7. Pull at sides and front of hair for volume

This look is great for work and out for date night! It is so easy and fancier than your average pony or bun.

View the video tutorial here!

I hope you try it out! Please comment or DM me any beauty posts or tutorials you would like to see on the blog.

May your Monday be short and your coffee be strong!

Love, Leigh