Friday Favorites

I love reading other bloggers’ Friday Favorite-type posts because I’m always on the lookout to try new-to-me products. I’m not saying I’ll do this kind of post every Friday, but I would like to make it regular thang.

Friday Favorites

1. I’m obsessed with the newest addition to my coffee mug collection, thanks to my Christmas present from my BFF, Emily. I had never heard of Ashley Brooke Designs, but I feel like she’ll be collecting large sums of my money in the near future.


2. L’Oreal’s Magic Anti-Redness primer. [I can’t find a link to the exact product that I picked up from Ulta, but think this is the same thing.] I went out and bought it the day after I watched Fran use it in her videothat’s how serious I was about trying this out. My skin tone is uneven; my chin, nose and around my eyes are always kind of red, so I had to buy it. I’m glad to say I totally approve! [FYI: Fran just posted a new video reviewing all her favorite DRUG STORE products. Check it out here!]


I took a picture after the first time I used it, and was 100% sold. Redness, be gone!


3. My new Kor water bottle. When I was contacted about trying the product, I jumped at the chance. Guys, I am drinking so much water these days, and I’m not always in my house or office when I need to refill my water bottle, so the fact that this has a built-in filter reeled me right in. The top pops right open to reveal a nice straw, and I love the fact that it doesn’t sweat.

[FYI: I was sent this product for free, but was not compensated or required to post about it.]


4. Aussie’s 3 Minute Miracle is not totally new to me, but it’s been a long while since I’ve used it. My hair has been bone dry lately, so I revisited this product and was not disappointed. If you’ve never tried this, I highly recommend it! I just use it in place of conditioner and it works wonders.


5. SERIAL. I’m so not a podcast person – like, at all. They bore me, really. It’s a fluke that I started listening to this when it first aired. As you know, I’m a sucker for crime drama, so when Cory asked me to listen to the first episode, I half-heartedly agreed. I figured I’d hate it and wouldn’t listen to a second episode.

Oddly enough, I was sucked in almost immediately [along with the other 3 million+ listeners.] I’ve gone back and forth about Adnan’s innocence and/or guilt tons of times. Cory and I process and debate after each episode, and when we’re done, I call my brother to do the same thing. It’s fascinating.

In the end, I have to agree with Koenig’s final conclusion from last night: as a juror, I’d have to acquit. Do I know for certain that Adnan is innocent? No. I can’t possibly. But I can be certain that there was never enough evidence to convict him and sentence him to life in prison.  So there’s a murdered teen and a guy spending his life in jail for a murder we can’t say he committed – and to me, that’s what’s so frustrating.


What are some of your favorite products?!

Did you listen to Serial? What do YOU think?

Revisiting Anxiety

My post on anxiety is by far one of my most popular posts. It’s one that generated a great deal of conversation and an overwhelming amount of reader emails. Because of that, I know it’s an important topic.  I’m very open about the fact that I was on anxiety medication, and it’s the one thing I get the most questions about. Many people tell me they don’t want to take that route because they don’t want to be on it forever, and/or they fear what will happen when they decide to come off.

So let’s talk about it!

Since July, I’ve been off my anxiety medication (another “perk” of pregnancy) and to be honest, coming off of it terrified me. For the first time in my life, I didn’t have anxious thoughts! I no longer felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest, and I could finally take a deep breath! I stopped worrying about nonsense and scary, unrealistic things happening! It was fantastic, and I was anxious (ha) to give it up.

tough times


To my surprise, I had no adverse effects whatsoever coming off the medication. (I weaned myself off, as it’s not recommended to stop cold turkey.) But lately, I’ve found myself getting more worked up about situations, or unexplainably anxious, than I have in a over a year. Not fun to experience, not fun to admit.

It’s in these times that I have to remind myself of a key fact: we get to choose our energy, our attitude, and our perspective 100% of the time.* We can blame a bad attitude or anxiety on a million external things, but in reality, it always comes down to our choice. (Even if it really, really, reeeeeally doesn’t feel like it.)



For some people (myself waaay included!) anxiety needs to be treated with medication at some point. I’m all for that! But for me, medication was never meant to be a forever thing, an easy way out or the “autopilot choice.” It was meant to calm me down long enough to figure myself out.

When I was on my medication, I became extremely mindful of choosing my energy, attitude, and perspective. In all fairness, the medication made it easier to do so because it calmed my mind enough to allow those positive thoughts, but it also taught me that I am 100% in control (even when I really, really, reeeeally don’t feel like it.)



Getting on anxiety medication is one of thee best choices I have ever made for myself. It helped me get my physical and mental health back on track, and in my opinion, that’s invaluable.

I’m not a pill-pusher by any means, but I do support anyone with anxiety trying medication, because I avoided it for so long simply out of fear and the mindset of “This is the way I have always been, nothing will ever change.”


Things can change and get better, way better. You don’t have to suffer in silence, you don’t have to “feel crazy,” and you are in control (even if you really, really, reeeeeally don’t feel like it.)



*This does not include serious mental illness, obviously.

Note: any rude or hateful comments on this topic will not be tolerated and will be removed immediately. Please be kind or be quiet :) Any personal comments or questions can be sent to me at lunchboxdiaries[at]gmail[dot]com. Thank you!

Found: My New Favorite Beauty YouTuber

If you’re anything like me, you watch and Pin tons of makeup tutorials but still end up only knowing how to put on mascara and the same shade of eyeshadow every day.

After watching makeup tutorials, I normally feel inspired to head to Ulta and spend a ridiculous amount of money on products I don’t even know how to use. Upon arriving to said makeup store, I walk around in a daze because I literally have no clue what’s what. I mean, I can read but I don’t know what BB cream is and I don’t know if I want things volumized, plumped or concealed. Forget ever correctly picking the right shade of anything. 

Trying to look pretty is hard work.

Without fail, a gorgeous staff member will approach me and ask if I need help. My response is normally along the lines of, “Can you see how lost and confused and blotchy I am?! YES. HELP ME.” And that never really ends well.

Anyway, I think some of you are like me. Which is why I want to share my newest YouTube makeup tutorial find: Fran Ileanaa

She’s detailed, but not intimidating. I’ve probably watched her video about “everyday” make up and covering up acne scars 15 times because I definitely have some of that going on.

I like her sense of humor, and I think we would be friends in real life. Those are the types of bloggers and YouTubers I follow – the ones whose genuine personalities seem to effortlessly translate in their posts and videos.

I also really appreciate that she made a video using only drug store beauty products. Because it’s depressing to watch these tutorials when the girl is like “this is my faaavorite mascara!!” only to find out it’s $37. Um. No.

 I totally creeped on her last week after watching her first video and immediately followed her on Instagram and Twitter. I even reached out to her on Facebook and begged her to come to Richmond and make a video with me. My fingers are crosssssed.

If you’re lucky enough to be in the DC area and find yourself in need of a makeup artist, Fran can be reached at makeupBYfranileanaa[at]gmail[dot]com

Totally Truthful Thursday

1. Christmastime is my favorite time of the year, but the pressure of finding the perfect gifts for my loved ones by a certain date stresses me out. I LOVE gift-giving, but I do it throughout the year; if I see something that reminds me of you, I’ll buy it. I like that much better. Less pressure.

2. My BFF, Emily, sent me proofs of the baby shower invites that she made, and my heart swelled five sizes. I am so hashtag blessed.

3. I shared this on my personal Facebook page at Thanksgiving and forgot to share it anywhere else, but Penny was so thrilled to have my brother around.



4. I got pulled over by a cop this weekend for running a stop sign. When he asked if I had an excuse, I said, “I’m a pregnant lady on her way to Sweet Frog. It’s not an excuse, but it’s the truth” and I apologized for running the stop sign. He told me he appreciated my honesty and didn’t give me ticket.

5. I’m ashamed by some of the lazy thoughts I’ve had recently. Like: I wish I had a seat in my shower so I didn’t have to stand here. Please share some of your lazy thoughts with me. 

6. I remember when I was newly pregnant and was lamenting to my cousin Sarah about feeling bloated. She told me that there would be a time during my second trimester when I felt cute, and I didn’t believe her. She was right, and I feel cute.


7. I was majorly anti-Taylor Swift for a long time. Then she came out with 1989, along with a new-and-improved personality, and I adore her. She wildly eloquent, she’s been speaking her mind regarding feminism, and I’m a total fangirl now.


via buzzfeed

8. As a part of my job, I’m a public speaker. I train lots of people on various topics. I normally get the most positive feedback and complimentary comments on my presentation style, but public speaking remains one of my biggest fears. What’s up with that?!

9. Serious question: In the winter, do you sleep with socks on? I love to because my feet get so cold but Cory thinks it’s gross. But he also doesn’t want me to touch him with my cold feet. What’s a cold girl to do?! The struggle is real, friends.

10. Sometimes I make [decaf] coffee just to keep my hands warm.

Not the Time for a Boozy Joke

Earlier this week, I had my gestational diabetes test. A routine test for pregnant women to make sure our glucose levels are in check.

Clearly, this is my first rodeo, so I didn’t really know what to expect other than drinking a sugary drink and waiting. I normally get nervous if I’m taking any sort of health-related test, even if it’s routine. Anyone else?

I arrived to the doctor’s office and was quickly ushered back to the “blood draw room” as I call it.

The phlebotomist simply said, “fruit punch or orange?” and I chose fruit punch, because it’s the best flavor anytime, anywhere. 

She handed me what looked like a miniature water bottle filled with, you guessed it, fruit punch and said, “you have five minutes.”

She swiveled her chair away from me and started scrolling through her cell phone. I felt awkward.

Expecting something totally foul, I was shocked by the first sip. I say first sip, because by the end, it tasted like straight cough syrup. But at first, it wasn’t really that bad. So I said, “Man, if we added some vodka to this, we could have a party.”

To which she slowly turned around and gave me a look that shot daggers into my soul.

Note to self: as a pregnant woman, you should not make boozy jokes in the presence of medical professionals. 



Things I’m Loving Lately

1. I mentioned BabyList briefly in a previous post, but man, I love them. As a first-time parent-to-be, the act of making a baby registry was completely overwhelming. Unlike the great fun that came with registering for a wedding and running around Bed, Bath & Beyond with a scan gun, baby stuff is confusing. What I love about BabyList is that it’s an online registry and you can add things from any place you want. We have items from Amazon, Etsy, Target and Babies R Us on our registry and we were able to research each item and create the registry from the comfort of our own couch. [I am in no way affiliated with BabyList - I'm just so thankful Cory knew about it!]



2. Criminal Minds. I know that show is so scary, but as a psychology fanatic, it’s totally up my ally. I also kinda sorta wish I was [a more socially-aware, female version of] Dr. Spencer Reid.

3. Mint + strawberries in my water. I drink so much water these days, but I was getting super bored with the plainness of it all. I just tried to think about flavors of my favorite mixed drinks and that helped a ton! [vodka + mint + strawberry sparkling water or seltzer = OMG SO GOOD.]

4. Clare’s Weekly Read’s Wednesday posts.

5. Online shopping. I ordered a few maternity items from Old Navy on Cyber Monday and they just showed up. BONUS: Everything fit!

6. Sweet Frog. I haven’t had a sweet tooth throughout this pregnancy, but I was craving it in a bad way on Sunday. Even though it was 40ish degrees outside, it totally hit the spot.

27 Life Lessons I’ve Learned at 27

1. Nothing is ever completely as it seems. [I think in today's age of social media, it's even more important to remind ourselves of this on a regular basis.]

2. Rarely is anything ever as bad as you imagine it will or can be.

3. There is so much good in this world. The news and the media can sometimes make it a little difficult to find, but my goodness, once you start looking for it, you’ll see it everywhere.

4. Friendships are fluid. They change and take on different shapes and meanings, and that’s okay. It’s wonderful to let old friends back in, and to let the unhealthy ones go.

5. There will never again be music like 90s music.

6. The size of your body does not determine your self worth (like it, really, really doesn’t.)

7. Abandoning the “should mentality” is on of the best thing you can do for yourself.

8. Being real and unapologetically honest is a lost art, and I wish it would make a major comeback.

9. Adopting “fuck the bullshit” as one of my life mottos has served me well this past year.

10. Make sure you understand the basic principals of personal finance.

11. There is no growth in the comfort zone, and no comfort in the growth zone.

12. Marriage is beautiful and wonderful and so much fun.

13. I’ll never be cool, and I’m cool with that.

14. Having an active savings account is invaluable.

15. It’s scary, and often difficult, to admit when you’re ready to make a major life change.

16. It’s important to surround yourself with positive, passionate people.

17. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

18. Try not to take yourself so seriously.

19. What you think of me is none of my business.

20. Nothing is coincidence.

21. It’s critical to pull your head out of your ass and listen to what God and/or the Universe are telling you. [See #20.]

22. Never apologize for being a ‘heart thinker.’

23. “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”

24. Write love notes.

25. Accept compliments.

26. Encourage and uplift others.

27. There is so much left to learn.

My Biggest Fitness Fear Came True

Not long ago, I let on that I’m not having the most “fit pregnancy.”

I just haven’t felt like it, honestly. All I want to do is sleep and snack on Doritos and not pee my pants when I sneeze. In all seriousness, the peeing thing is one reason I’ve steered clear of fitness. I either have to pee five times in an hour, or I find myself damning eternity after making any sudden movements.


 via buzzfeed

But after weeks of hearing all my pregnant friends and family members say how great prenatal yoga has been for them, I decided I needed to get over my pee pants fear and jump back on gingerly slide back on the yoga bandwagon.

I signed up for a prenatal yoga class at a local yoga studio last week, telling myself that I probably wouldn’t pee my pants in class [if I did, my pants are black, so there’s that.] And if I did need to pee, I’d just excuse myself and the class wouldn’t even notice my short absence.

It’s funny how new fears makes you forget old fears.

Because when I showed up for the class and was the first one to arrive, I thought nothing of it. I’m always the first one to arrive. I got myself set up, casually chatting with the instructor. She propped me up, and told me it was fine to close my eyes and “begin centering myself.”


After a few minutes, she broke the silence [with her totally calming yoga teacher voice] and said, “It looks like it’s going to be just us.”


I wanted to run away, but it takes me a minute and a half to get from the floor to a standing position, so that option was out. I’d never been the only person in any sort of fitness class before. I’m the person who likes to hide in the back corner and avoid eye contact. I have terrible mind-body connection, resulting in surefire awkwardness.

But there I was, alone in this yoga studio with nowhere to hide. For 75 minutes, I was to be front and center of this yoga class turned private yoga lesson. I cursed the other pregnant strangers who signed up for this class and bailed.

But, you know what? I made it. My tried and true fitness fear came to fruition, and I survived.

And because I was so nervous, I totally forgot that I had to pee.

My Husband + Best Friend are doing Advocare while I’m Pregnant

The gauntlet has been thrown, my friends.

Today, Cory and Emily start their 24 Day Advocare Challenges, and they’ve done what they do best: they’ve made it into a competition.

And, I’m doing what I do best: refereeing their competition.


Cory is fresh off winning a diet bet held at his office, and he’s feeling good-ish; coming off Thanksgiving isn’t easy for anyone [in this house, at least.] But, he’s a guy and can simply think about losing weight and it happens. [HOW IS THAT FAIR?!]

Emily is an Advocare Rockstar. Actually, today is her one year Advocare anniversary. It’s probably weird how proud I am of her, but I really don’t care. In a year, she’s lost 30 pounds, 3 sizes, over 35 inches and looks absolutely amazing. She wasn’t looking for a quick fix, she was looking for a lifestyle change, and she found it. She’s worked so hard and I’m just so happy for her. I mean, look at that transformation!! #proudBFF


And then, there’s me.

The only part of this trio who’s gaining weight. Someone told Cory when he started his office diet bet that he shouldn’t try to lose weight while I’m pregnant, which I thought was a bit much.

I mean, I get it.  Normally, it’s not easy to get bigger while watching your partner get smaller. But oddly enough, I feel great about my body, even as it gets bigger [and bigger...and bigger...] So, if my loved ones want to feel great about their bodies, I’m all for it!


Good luck to two of my favorite people! Now, can someone pass me the OJ and french fries?

What Perturbed Me about E!’s Red Carpet Coverage

I have no business watching something like E!’s AMA Red Carpet coverage.

I listen to “old” music. I’m committed to the 90′s and I flirt with classic rock. While I’m anything but a music snob, [hello, I love One Direction] I think the majority of today’s popular music is shit.

I also no longer keep up with the Kardashians or anything else on E!, so I literally had no idea who 90% of the people on the red carpet at the AMAs were.

But, for some reason, I didn’t turn off the ever-obnoxious Giuliana Rancic. Probably because I was playing the how long will I have to watch this until I recognize a celebrity? game with myself.

I was *only* 10 minutes in when Kate Beckinsale walked onto Giuliana’s interview platform.

kate beckinsale


I think we can all agree that Kate Beckinsale in unreal. I mean, she’s 41 years old. Four.tee.oneeeee.

Giuliana was totally drooling over Kate, and asked her the “secret” to her beauty. I’m pretty sure Kate said she’s embalmed, which made me giggle. But G wasn’t satisfied. She really wanted to know the secret. Kate finally “let on” that she does yoga every day.

To which Giuliana replies: I guess I need to take up yoga.

Giuliana, I’m pretty sure the only thing you need to do is eat a cheeseburger.

Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 9.00.50 PM


I don’t know why I was so perturbed by this.

Wait. Yes, I do.

Giuliana Rancic is a successful, gorgeous woman. I was perturbed because rather than just commenting on Kate’s beauty [because I think that’s what you have to do as a red carpet reporter] she went and put herself down.

This is what I don’t get about women. Why is self deprecation our go-to form of complimenting one another?

We all do it. Some more than others, I assume. It’s something I’m hyper-aware of, because it’s honestly become such a pet peeve of mine. So, today, I’m setting out to compliment as many women as I possibly can, without making it about me in the slightest.

I encourage YOU to do the same!