Friday, December 20, 2013

Swinging in there

Not my illustration
Hey, guys! I have been continuously going back and forth wanting to dive into blogging more seriously, then considering deleting this blog all together and feeling silly for doing it, whilst struggling personally to figure out how to manage my life and ending up deciding that even though I had planned to blog about my favorite nail polishes (which I can still do at any point, if you're interested), I need to write down everything that's on my mind to stay true to what this blog means to me, which is my safe heaven and a little corner where I can express myself and take a look at myself from a step aside. It'll be one lengthy post and I am sorry if you think it's a bummer and I won't be sad, if you don't bother reading this.

As I am reflecting a lot, you might say I am doing an early New Years post, but that's not why I am typing this. 2013 has been rough. First and foremost, I feel a bit bad about even saying this. Every year I go through my calendar and write down the days, dates and activities my boyfriend and I did together. Milestones, achievements, memories… I then cut up the notes and we pull them out from a bag or a box and read them individually. We're both surprised about how much has happened to us in a span of one year. I have just done this (missing the last part of December still, obviously), so that's why I can say - I've had an amazing year all in all. I've been learning Danish, been to job interviews, had an internship, went to Bulgaria, Latvia, Stockholm, saw Louis CK live, trips around Denmark, saw Bruce Springsteen. LIVE. TWICE. Had my high school reunion, I mean - many cool things. But I have also been sad. Lost. Worried. Graduated, with no job, bills to pay, a language to learn, my future to plan… And I have been impatient. Towards myself, my loved ones, the time, the finances, whilst feeling that time also flies by. I am a lucky girl in many, many ways. And in just as many ways I am a weird little creature and I am prone to struggle and to be emotional and unstable. I am pretty cool, when I am at my best, but I also tend to fall into habits of being a handful.

Since my last post I have passed my Danish exams and have the last Module left with the national exam coming up in May. I have officially moved in with my boyfriend (even thought we've been basically living together for almost 2 years by now), but I gave up my place, changed my address and stuff. I have started to pay back the second loan I took to finish my education.  I've been active family-wise and have done lots of Christmas arrangements with more coming up. I've been to a serious job interview and ended up not getting the job. And after that (and multiple previous conversations about the same topic with my boyfriend) I basically declared, that I am DONE with this constant job search and I want to go back to school.

Now, I, turns out, have a very weird bachelor, which leaves me with the following options - taking a general master's degree in my local town in Danish, which means I need to learn it first (that'll take me a year, at least and I'll need to find a job for sure in order to do that), I can choose a new set of matching bachelor and master's degrees in my local town, which will take me 5 years to finish (making it a grand total of 8,5 of constant studying + 1 year of Danish) or taking the one and only master's degree I can take in a town more than 100 km away from where I live, which means moving, paying two rents, traveling, missing my loved ones etc. And I can, of course, continue on pushing for a full time job with my bachelor, which is what I have been trying until now. I can only tell you - that narrowing down these options and deciding on what to do involved a lot of crying, lots of worrying, lots of talking, advice seeking, doubting, questioning, frustration and mixed emotions.

What I ended up deciding was taking a mental break during the holidays, attack the job search one more time in the New Year, landing at least one more relevant internship, pushing my Danish, applying for the master's degree and going back to school, if I haven't found a job by the time summer comes.

Sounds simple and I feel good about this plan, which makes me think I have made a good choice I can live with and that fits into the general idea about my life and my goals, but, trust me, getting there took a lot out of me. Seriously, this affected my appetite, my sleep, my mood, my skin, my attitude, my body in general and it's hard to wind down from, to be honest. It's like my mind has been made up, but nothing else has really cached up yet.

So, I feel a lot calmer now, but I am still emotional. However, I managed to shop, pack presents, see some dear friends and have some good laughs. Now I look forward to Christmas with our friends, New Years with my folks, holidays and a much needed break.

I hope you all are doing great and it's only me dealing with the pre-holiday anxiety. I know that I have a very carefree life in the big scheme of things, but I also think it's normal to struggle as a 22-year old with making big life decisions. I am sure I'll look back at this and feel like I didn't have a worry in the world, but until then, the choices I make now should enable me to have the best possible future, because we all want to be happy, successful and grateful.

So, that's what I have been dealing with, in the midst of people uploading look books, giveaways, party tutorials, gift ideas and holiday recipes. How disappointing :)

Happy holidays everybody, I miss you and look forward to the next year, new adventures, new experiences, new challenges and accomplishments. I'll try to post until then too, maybe  a nice little, festive post, but in any case, I'm wishing you all the love & happiness throughout the holiday season and in the upcoming year!

Love, Renate  

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The simple (drugstore) face

Hey, guys!

Hope you all are doing well! I have been busy, but have also missed writing. Have you ever felt like you have so many posts planned out, yet when it comes to actually putting a post out, you don't know, what to write about? Yeah. That's been me.

I thought that I'd get over that today by putting a simple and basic post out, namely my current makeup routine for casual days, very quick, very easy and I hope you enjoy! Before we get to that, I'd like to share some of the recent highlights.

First off, Christmas came early for this girl, as I managed to pick up a few fashion steals for the Winter season. Firstly, I visited the Second Hand bazaar at the local University and for a total of 230 dkk picked up these 6 pieces, including a pair of semi-leather pants from Vero Moda and a Topshop cardigan.
As you guys know, I have been looking for a good pair of winter boots - ideally - a pair of nice ankled heeled booties for when I feel like dressing up or am going out; and a pair of casual, chunky-heeled everyday boots with a good grip for when the snow falls. But as you also know, I am constantly on a budget, whilst trying to adapt a new (for me) quality over quantity attitude, so I couldn't afford two pairs of expensive boots and didn't want to buy cheap ones just to fill out a quota, so I was really excited, when I found these! The perfect in-between boots of what I just described, great quality, discounted from 1100 dkk to 650 dkk and all around a great staple to my changing wardrobe.
What else have I been up to?

I have been hanging out with friends.
I have been baking loads.
I have been mastering my breakfast oatmeal.
I have been dating :) Saw the Hunger Games 2 - I might have gotten too nervous during the movie - what can I do - I get into the story!
I have been paying attention to my hair - flashback to May/June this past Summer - yikes!

I have been playing around in the kitchen - enter smoothies, protein pancakes and sweet potato!
I have been faking a bigger bun that I possibly could create with my own poor hair ;)
And I have been really busy with a bunch of random, practical and personal things. Being unemployed is hard, I am telling you. (It is hereby not relevant, that I will read this sentence in a few years and bite my fingers.)

Now, onto the actual post, haha. Here's what I have been putting on my face lately! 
The basic idea is using as few products as possible and ending up looking as natural as possible. As you might know, if you've been reading my blog before, I have dry skin, so I try to avoid my makeup looking cakey and flakey and my skin feeling discomfort. I start off by moisturizing my face with the Madara SOS cream, which is a nice, organic, light moisturizer. I then mix two shades of the Rimmel Wake Me Up foundations (1 pump each) - the Sand I bought in the summertime and it's way too dark for me right now, but I use it as a contour - literally putting it on my face where I'd contour and then put the Ivory shade (which is slightly lighter than my skin tone) in the middle and on the high points of my face and blend out. This creates a nice, harmonious shade with a subtle, yet flattering contour. I have also been taking the advice of covering my nose in as little product as possible. My nose gets red, but I heard that the more foundation, concealer, powder etc you put on your nose, the more visible and unnatural your makeup will look. I'm still working on this, but a good trick is mixing in a tinted moisturizer in the foundation anf the touching up the red parts with a concealer. After that I cover any blemishes and my dark circles with the Rimmel's Wake Me Up concealer - also in Ivory - (which I like to leave on for a few seconds before blending it in - otherwise I feel it's too light and liquidy to cover the under-eye area). I like this concealer, but my circles are too bad to be covered by this. I am still looking for a good one, even though the Maybelline Fit Me concealer did a great job too. Afterwards I brush through my brows with the used to be clear brow gel (need to get a new one, when I'm going home for holidays, I really like it - sets my brows without feeling crispy) and set my makeup with the Body Shop Vitamin E face mist. This leaves my skin glowy, healthy, natural and helps me stay hydrated during the day. If I feel like I am getting a bit dry, I'll just give myself another spray, but usually that's not necessary (and I don't carry it around). P.S. This is my third bottle, I think it's a great alternative for a powder in my situation and I love to re-use the bottles once they're empty. I have one for a DIY leave in conditioner and one for a DIY salt water spray. I finish off the look with my absolute favorite lip product of all times - the Dzintars lip balms and I cannot wait to stock up, when I get home! It's the shiniest, softest, long-lasting, tastiest, loveliest, flattring-est (?) lip balm I've ever tried. Love it.
And there you have it! My simple, every-day makeup routine. No brushes, no excessive products, no mess and no room for error :) Most importantly, my dark circles wins the award of "most improved" going from: "Oh, dear, have you been punched in the nose yesterday?" - to: "Hey, girl, that nose punch from last week is healing pretty nicely, huh?" ;)

Jokes aside, have you tried any of the products I mentioned? What else have you been up to? What kind of posts would you like to see? My coconut oil hair treatment? My week in outfits? More recipes? Gift guides? Let me know, I'd love to hear from you and I will, as always reply.

Talk to you soon,


Thursday, December 5, 2013

December's ramble

Hey, guys!

First and foremost, as you can see, I have now added my social media icons on the right side of the blog. I wasn't particularly enthusiastic about this (because I am shy and generally rubbish at keeping up with so many different platforms), but since I was asked and thought it could be fun to get in touch with you guys I added them up anyway. My instagram is my personal one, so it's more so lifestyle than beauty and fashion, I use tumblr relative a lot recently and have just now dowloaded twitter (mostly cuz I wanted really badly to enter an awesome giveaway) and pinterest, which I also have been visiting only now and then. If you guys are interested - now they are there, feel free to reach out, you don't have to, but if you like it - don't hesitate :)

On to the post, you have, as always been wonderful! Both on my food post (which I will continue doing and I am glad you enjoy them too, hopefully we can all find some good recipe inspirations - yesterday I made mini pizzas from pita bread - yum!) and on my small wish list, I plan to do one for beauty too. I actually found one of the items at H&M - the coziest, comfiest, biggest, warmest sweater I have ever owned :) So, one thing down! And it was 149 dkk, which is not bad at all for a winter sweater. I will wear it to pieces, I promise you.
I included some pictures, so you guys could see how it fits and let me assure you, I am not a size S, I picked it, because it was very large and this fitted the way I wanted it to.

You know, I'll confess something. It's sometimes a bit awkward for me, when so, so many people doing haul videos say: "Oh, and I picked it up in a size x (which is usually my normal, actual size), because I wanted it to be reeeeeeeeeeeallly oversized on me." I don't know, if I am just that big(ger) or I like my clothes to fit in a different way, but that's strange to me sometimes. Anyway, if you take this for a reference, I needed to go down in sizes and as you can see, it's still pretty baggy.

That being said, what's coming your way this upcoming month are hopefully more holiday posts. I am not advanced enough in this to organize anything or commit to anything, but I can promise to take you guys along with that I am doing.

I am going to be baking and cooking a lot, I am going to be making some presents (if it works out), I'll be seeing friends and family, I'll be studying (off the topic - the 1st day back in Danish school I found out I had an exam the next day!, will hear about the results soon, but if I passed - I need to go to another one next week!) and I'll be dressing up and going out and all that fun stuff :) I hope you'd like to see it.

Today, starting off the festive theme, I wanted to share my weekend with you guys - we went to pick up a Christmas tree and decorated our apartment, so Saturday we had a nice, slow morning with a dellicious breakfast, and then we went to the Bazaar, which is a market, to pick up some veggies. It's a great place to go, because they have an amazing variety of stuff and it's just so much cheaper than in the shops. I mean - look at all that delliciousness! If that doesn't make you want to eat healthier, I don't know, what will.
We then went to a regular grocery shop and stocked up on the rest we needed. I am also cooking a national Latvian dish for our pre-Christmas dinner with our friends, which I will also post in the upcoming days; then we went home and relaxed and cooked and took it easy, but Sunday... as you know was the 1st of the month, it was the 1st Advent and oficially the start of the month of Christmas :)

You see, back home (in Latvia) everybody is entitled to one tree for Christmas. Of course, you have to go to particular places, but we've always found our trees ourselves you can say, while here in Denmark people have to pay, so I have never been at a Christmas tree market before in my life and let me tell you - they have really made it magical :)

I mean, the way it's organized is neat to begin with. One can borrow a saw and walk around freely, keeping in mind only the height of the tree, if you have a specific budget in mind, because that's what affects the price; one can shop in their butique, sit at their cafe, drink warm Christmas drinks, eat aebleskiver, which is a Danish treat, peppernuts, sugar and cinnamon roasted almonds, visit their 6 m tall Santa (I chose the picture where a little girl walked in the shot, just so you could see the proportions. It's absolutely huge!) and basically, pretend your visiting the North Pole.

We then went home and decorated the place, while I was baking my mom's apple pie. My boyfriend's parents came for a visit in the afternoon and after the cake, coffee, tea and snaks we went out for a nice little walk!

I was honestly exhausted after that, considering we were also getting up really early, but man, I had a good time! For the first time I felt the Christmas spirit in me :) Now I have so many ideas for what I want to cook, make, do, see and listen to!

What have you guys been doing? Are you in the Christmas spirit yet? Leave me your comments below, I would love to hear from you and will reply as always :)

Talk to you soon!


Sunday, December 1, 2013

December's wish list


Joules pink shirt
$115 -

Cutie brown cardigan
$46 -

ELOISE polka dot hosiery

Vero Moda push up bra
$29 -

Cotton socks

ALDO black boots

Dorothy Perkins black boots

Hello, guys! Hope you are all enjoying the Sunday, the beginning of a new month and the 1st Advent :)

I certainly made most of this day with picking up a Christmas tree, baking an apple pie, decorating, having guests over, taking a walk etc.

Thank you for your amazing comments and the support, I am glad you're enjoying the posts! There are many more coming your way, but today - a quick one for you guys - my current fashion wish list, despite the fact December is the time for giving and spoiling others around you for a change ;)

My boyfriend and I are going home to Latvia for the holidays, so we have both agreed to skip the Christmas presents and also save up a bit of money to do some shopping there. I am therefore narrowing down the pieces I would like to pick up from the January sales.

Until now I've figured I would be happy with an oversized, cozy and warm high neck sweater, a more fitted one for layering and wearing blouses with pretty collars underneath; a chunky but pretty cardigan in light colors and some ankle boots - a nice walkable heel and a more chunky, casual pair with a better grip for when the snow falls.

Randomly, I'd love to stock up on some pretty underwear, some cute tights and some over the knee cozy socks for wearing mostly at home.

I'm sure things will change as I get to the actual shopping, but then it'll also be interesting for me to look back at this ;)

What do you guys wish for? I'd love to hear from you, especially if you've made your own posts.

Have an amazing night and I will talk to you soon!


Saturday, November 30, 2013

I love me some food

Hey, guys! Today I'm doing a food post and I hope you find it interesting, let me know, if you'd like to see posts like these every now and then to get some inspiration, I'll definitely plan to do a "best recipe finds" of 2013 as I rarely come up with something, because why would I - there's so many amazing recipes out there that I can adjust, if necessary! But I think this could be fun for me to do, to look back at and also to motivate myself to eat healthier and also - vary my meals more, because I "can't" eat the same stuff over and over again.

I don't think I've touched it a lot on my blog, but I have gone up and down quite a few times over the last 5 years, but at the moment maintain a healthy and easy size.
Anyway, this is a slightly different selection of foods and my eating habits have changed, because as some of you know, I've been staying in another town for a two month internship, so I didn't cook - only sometimes, when I was visiting home. My lunches were bigger, because I used the buffet at my work and my dinners were smaller, because I got home late and, as I said - didn't cook. However, I decided to be healthier in November and lucky for me, I found a great tool to help me in the very beginning of the month!
It’s an app called MealSnap and basically a visual food journal that works as a calendar and allows you to take photos of everything you eat during the day, add captions, estimate calories etc.

I am a very visual person and feel like this is something I’ve been missing whenever I decide to focus more on the things I put in my body. This way I get an overview of the things I’ve been eating during the course of the day or recently in general and what this does is actually inspires me to vary my meals. I can see: “Renate, you’ve been having the same breakfast for the last 3 days in a row, change it up already!”, or it helps me to remember, what I had, so I don’t eat too much of the same stuff in one day, like if I have a salmon wrap for lunch, I’ll go for chicken instead at dinner.
Also, the very action of snapping a photo, before I have something, gives me those extra 5 seconds to recalculate whether I actually want it or not. I’ve avoided a lot of mindless snacking that way, which is great. However, whenever I’m hungry, I go for it, of course.
What shocked (not to sound dramatic or anything) me about the app is the accuracy of its estimations. The very first meal I logged was a dinner that consisted of oven cooked veggies, a chicken breast and my favorite mango chutney. I snapped a photo and processed the meal and the app announced – Chicken with vegetables. Including the calories! Which as far as my knowledge of the subject goes were pretty reasonable. I don’t get this. I had even already shredded the chicken into pieces. I added the chutney in the description box (simply for my knowledge) and got surprised when the calories were automatically updated.
Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not always spot on. But if a meal is really off (I got a “table and coffee” once – two, please!) I add my own description and estimate the calories myself or throw the meal into myfitnesspal and write my own calories, which by the way, is also an option.
I don’t care too much about the calories and I don’t count them, I simply have this intolerance towards a lie… Like if I know for a fact my breakfast probably wasn’t 100 or likewise 1000 kcal, I have this need to find out the truth. I fix it and keep on not caring.
What’s also smart about the app is that it recognizes the meal according to the time of the day. Let’s say, I snap a photo at 6 am, the app goes: Breakfast? Why, yes, please! Besides breakfast there are different options like “morning snack”, “lunch”, “afternoon snack”, “dinner” and an “evening snack” (not that I use them all, khem, khem…), which I really like.
Now, trust me, I don’t get paid by whoever made the app (because, yes, as a matter of fact, it’s not for free and costs 19DKK); believe me, I would love to be in touch with them, because then I’d tell them to add the option of exporting your journal (email it to yourself, maybe, that would be cool), save favorite meals (let’s say, I’m having the same meal again, I’m just around a bunch of people and want to log it, not be weird and snap it first – like sniffing your food in public would catch my attention, for example) and maybe add notes, comments for the day, like – birthday party, hungry all day and log the workouts and water intake also. A girl can dream ;)

Anyway. This has been a veeeeery long winded love declaration for a phone app. I am ashamed. And moving on quickly! Here are some of my recent eats! The captions are kind of obvious, but in case you guys can't really tell from the pictures, I put them up anyway.


The oatmeals!

The toasts:

The snacks (incuding the afternoon snacks in between lunch and dinner):

The lunches:

The dinners:

The desserts, sweets and evening snacks:

And there you have it! As you can see, I'm pretty laid back and go with the flow, but I do truly enjoy eating healthy and love many healthy foods.

What do you guys like to eat? What are your go to foods? What's your favorite meal? Do you eat out a lot? Please, share your thoughts in the comments below, I'd love to hear from you and will, as always reply.

Have a great day and I'll talk to you soon!