pinterest challenge: april '14

A few weeks ago, I decided to launch my own little Pinterest Challenge where I planned to make a post at the end of each month of three different Pinterest pins that I have tried along with my results.

Take a look at what I was up to this past April!

pinterest challenge | marlee and you
Original Pin (left), My Results (right)

First was a DIY Mod Podge idea. I took an old jar and two candle holders and used tissue paper cutouts and Mod Podge to create this neat effect! The Mod Podge used in the original pin had a matte finish, and mine was glossy, but I love the way my creation turned out! Success!

pinterest challenge | marlee and you
Original Pin (left), My Attempt (right)

Next I did a nail art design using straws! (I went for a blue look, because blue is my favourite colour.) I thought the straw idea was quite unique and I'm happy with how my first attempt turned out! This design will take a bit more practice for me to perfect, but I like how it's supposed to look more rugged.

pinterest challenge | marlee and you
Original Pin

And lastly, I did a fitness pin! I decided to do this workout for abs, and let me tell you - it was a struggle! I haven't been as active as I should have been this past school year, so my muscles were definitely lacking. I wasn't able to complete this whole routine on my first try, and my muscles were killing me for a day or so after! I'm going to keep at this plank circuit until I can do it with ease.

Well, that's all for this month! I've tried other pins that I've posted on my boards this April, but these three were my favourites to pass on to you.

Have you come across an awesome pin-worthy thing to try lately?



flashback: childhood style

childhood style | marlee and you
I don't think I know a single soul who doesn't enjoy looking back at childhood photos. Whether they're of you, a friend or family member, it's always fascinating the get a glimpse of someone's past life - including your own.

I have many vivid memories from growing up, and one thing I haven't forgotten is how my mother always let me dress myself. I wasn't babied, waking up to an outfit picked out for me each morning. I got to put together my own ensembles (however horrid they may have been).

Here I'm featuring some of my more interesting fashion statements from the 90s including this outfit above where I'm rocking a full neon look complete with a matching sideways hat.

childhood style | marlee and you
Anyone who has a sister can probably attest to having owned matching outfits. It's a pretty cute concept, even if it's a smidge tacky (sorry Mom). Then we have this photo of me wearing a matching top and pants outfit featuring polka dots, which isn't bad... it's the neon watch on my wrist that makes me shake my head. Poor choice. I'm also wearing one of my Dad's classy hats.

childhood style | marlee and you
And lastly, here I am on the right wearing my own rendition of 90s colour blocking... huge flashy contrast in comparison to my sister's baby pink and maroon ensemble. Quite a bold fashion statement on my part. I actually currently own a pair of hot pink pants, so I can't really comment on those negetively!

I can't help but laugh at some of the silly things I wore as a child. It's also interesting to note the fashions that were in twenty years ago, and how they somehow started reappearing lately. I don't necessarily mean any of the "trends" in these photos of mine, but things such as denim jackets, big sunglasses and high-waisted pants are currently all the rage (again).

What was your childhood style like?



book review: the body book by cameron diaz

I follow a number of celebs on Twitter, including Cameron Diaz - that's how I found out she had written a book! I was rather intrigued seeing her tweets about The Body Book that came out the beginning of this year. I wasn't quite sure what sort of content a book like this would contain, but I definitely wanted to give it a read. My boyfriend knew I wanted this book, so he got it for me for my birthday last month, and ever since, I've been hooked reading this book every night!

the body book | marlee and you

The Body Book is presented in three parts: Nutrition, Fitness and Mind. I really enjoyed how Cameron wrote this book in a very informal tone, creating a conversational vibe throughout. She starts off explaining how she wasn't always health-conscious and the negative effects her habits had on her lifestyle. Gaining an understanding of the importance of nutritious food, being active and breaking bad habits can lead to life changing results!

the body book review | marlee and you

"Just because you can put something in your mouth, chew it, swallow it, and then poop it out 
doesn't mean it's food. It just means you can chew it, swallow it, and poop it out."

This book is chalk full of of great quotes and inspiration to shape your lifestyle in a healthy way. Being in good health means that you have a healthy body that works at its optimum and has the energy to go all day without crashing all while fighting off illness.

The biggest habit this book has challenged me to break is my mentality that fast food is a good and convenient option. "Fast food isn't really food." ...I'm sure most of us already have a grasp of that concept, but we all truly need to be eating good, real and whole foods! Steering clear of processed foods can lead to benefits like clear skin, healthy weight and less chance of illness - sign me up!

the body book | marlee and you

"If you want to build strength, you must be comfortable with discomfort." 

The Body Book is also full of tables and diagrams to give great visuals for what's written. The book description on Amazon says that The Body Book is "grounded in science and informed by real life" and I couldn't agree more with that statement!

I would recommend this book to any woman seeking guidance in living a fulfilling, happy and healthy life! I've been truly inspired and motivated by this book, and I'm confident others will be too!



cooking adventures: stuffed pasta shells

stuffed pasta shells | marlee and you

Now that I am officially 20, I thought I should start taking on more "adult" responsibilities. I'll be moving out and starting my own home soon enough, so I figured I should begin building my recipe repertoire! So far I've mastered grilled cheese, pita pizzas and french toast - I've definitely got a long way to go before I can make myself a week's worth of cooking without struggle.

I may have been a bit ambitious for my first cooking adventure, picking a dish that I wouldn't classify as grilled-cheese-level-basic. I tried out a recipe for spinach, artichoke and feta stuffed shells with my boyfriend the other day and the results were surprisingly scrumptious!

stuffed shells | marlee and you

There were a number of steps, and essentially two recipes happening at once: the sauce and the shell stuffing. Once we got those under control, everything else was smooth sailing. This recipe wasn't as difficult as I would've believed before making it.

I think the hardest part in making this meal was finding the ingredients in the grocery store! The recipe called for ricotta cheese and artichoke hearts - two things I've never bought before. After this recipe's success, I can't wait to take on other dishes! The stuffed shells tasted really good! I'd definitely make a few changes to the recipe if I made it again, but it wasn't atrocious.

Is there a certain dish you'd love to master?



ipsy glam bag | april unboxing

april ipsy bag | marlee and you

Ever since I signed up last month, I've been anxiously waiting to get my first Ipsy glam bag in the mail! At first glance, I was super impressed! The bag was packed full and was shipped in a flashy pink bubble envelope - too cute! This month's bag was a music theme, check out the products I got below!

april ipsy products | marlee and you

cailyn lip balm | marlee and you

Cailyn Tinted Lip Balm
A lip balm pot with brush applicator that is "ultra matte and super moisturizing." It shouldn't smudge or need to be touched up often, which is always a great feature! I believe I got the full size product ($19) in Apple Pink. It's a nice natural shade (although it looks yellowy in the photo, it's a soft pink).

cover fx primer | marlee and you

Cover FX Mattifying Primer with Anti-Acne Treatment
This is a lightweight primer that "helps keep skin matte while minimizing the look of pores and healing blemishes." Sounds pretty fantastic to me because I have trouble spots on my skin. I received a half-sized product (full size is $38, mine is a $19 value).

urban decay eye pencil | marlee and you

Urban Decay 24/7 Velvet Glide-On Eye Pencil
A "creamy and waterproof formula" that is great for precise lines or creating a smokey-eye look. The shade is black velvet and is rather dramatic. I received the travel size ($20 for full size, mine is estimated $10 value).

white gold shadow mousse | marlee and you

City Color White Gold Shadow and Highlight Mousse
This is a great mousse product to use to brighten your eyes or cheekbones. I will likely only use this product on my eyes because it is incredibly shimmery! I'm loving the soft texture of this mousse. I received a full size ($3.99).

kiss eyelashes | marlee and you

KISS Looks So Natural Lashes
These fake eyelashes have a "naturally tapered looking end" to help visually blend them into your own lashes. These come with glue and look relatively easy to use, so I'll definitely give them a try! I received a regular package ($3.99). I've never actually used false lashes before, but they appear to be very subtle - perfect for the next time I head downtown and get dolled up!

Glam Bag Facts:
- originates from the US (offered in Canada)
- contains 4-5 deluxe samples or full-sized beauty products
- $10 for one month (plus additional costs - $4.95 shipping to Canada)
- products chosen for you based on beauty profile quiz

My Thoughts:
I'm really pleased with my first ever Ipsy glam bag! I got my package in the mail promptly, right in the middle of the month. The Ipsy team really took into consideration my make-up preferences from my online beauty profile on their site. I will make use of all of the products I got! The online product descriptions were really helpful to gain a better understanding of each item. I would recommend this subscription bag to any beauty-product-lover who wants to try new products that are out there!

If you want to sign up for next month, click here!

Have you tried any beauty subscription boxes?



fresh spring outfit + NOTD

Spring has finally sprung! With this gorgeous warmer weather, I couldn't help but get inspired by the spring colours. Even though it's likely going to get cooler this week, I wanted to share a fresh spring outfit idea!

spring outfit | marlee and you

This crop top and skirt combo is a similar style to my birthday OOTD, but these colourings gear more toward spring and the flowy chiffon skirt is nice and light compared to the thicker blue material featured in my previous post.

I've also chosen a pair of wedge gladiator sandals and a silvery clutch to go along with this look.

spring nails | marlee and you

To add some matching pink to this ensemble, I thought I'd do my nails in Suzi & the Lifeguard by O.P.I. It matches the skirt perfectly and helps balance the greys. I think some pieces of dainty gold jewelry would be the perfect addition to top everything off!

What are your favourite spring colours to wear?



exam season: top 5 study tips

study tips | marlee and you

This school year is finally coming to a close which means two things: exams and stress. I'll be finishing my second year of university, and I've learned a lot of things when it comes to studying these past two years. Sometimes you just need a reminder of important tips to get you on track and prepped to write your exams, so I came up with a top 5 that you can hopefully find useful!

1. Have an organized study space

Get rid of all distractions! Make sure your study space is organized and free of visual clutter. The fewer things around that could distract you, the better! I can study and focus much better when my room and desk space are clean.

2. Take regular breaks

Everyone works at their own pace. Try and find that ideal amount of time that you can productively study for before needing a break. I usually aim for 30-45 minutes of concentrated work before a taking a break. Watch something on Youtube, grab a snack, stretch out and walk around - give your brain a quick rest!

3. Stay motivated

Not everyone is motivated by the same things. I personally have a container full of gummy candies that I use as little "awards" for writing a paragraph of an essay, or studying and memorizing a specific concept. Candy is a great motivator for me. Perhaps you could try something along the lines of "once I read this textbook page, I'll check me phone and send some texts... then back to the books." Find something to motivate you, and use it!

4. Create a plan of attack - and stick to it!

Look ahead to the upcoming due dates or exam times. Then figure out what you need to have read, memorized and studied by when. Spread it all out into a doable schedule. I have a plan for when I want to have novels read by and study notes made for, so that the following days can be spent reviewing those things. Whatever you do, don't cram! Cramming is way too ineffective and the stress of that situation will make you miserable, no doubt.

5. Be healthy

Sleep. Eat. Seriously, as hard as it may be, try and sleep 8 hours a night - you'll thank yourself for it. Also, pay attention to the food you're eating during this busy exam season. Healthier choices will keep your brain sharp. Have water with you when you're studying. And try to avoid anything that comes out of a vending machine.

Study techniques vary depending on what type of learner you are. Try to re-read things, test yourself, explain concepts to another student... whatever works for you. I learn through hearing things, so I like to study at home so that I can say things out loud when I'm studying.

Don't stress! Take some deep breaths!
Good luck with any upcoming school assessments!



very inspiring blog award

blog award | marlee and you
Guess what!!? I've just been nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award by Abby! Thank you so much for the nomination! It's been a while since I've been tagged or nominated by another member of the blogging community and I can't wait to pass this one on!

The Rules

1) Link the person who nominated you.
2) List and display the rules.
3) Share seven facts about yourself.
4) Nominate 15 other blogs and let them know they have been nominated.

My Seven Facts 

1) To keep with this award's theme of inspiration, I am always inspired by nature and sunny weather - I'm most productive when the sun is shining through my window.

2) I am a lover of languages. I am currently studying German and French which has sparked some major wanderlust - my dream is to travel Europe and make use of these language skills in a practical way.

3) My dream job is to be a wedding planner. Oddly enough, for a 20-year-old, I'm very in the know when it comes to all things bridal. I've got stacks of wedding magazines, inspiration board collages and numerous word documents for planning purposes.

4) I have two adopted pets that I love very dearly; a dog (puggle to be exact) named Bentley and a grey dwarf rabbit named Cobalt.

5) I am a fanatic of all things musical. I love going to see school shows and musicals at the local performing arts theatre. I love any musical-turned-blockbuster movie like Hairspray, Footloose or Les Mis.

6) I have always had a sweet-tooth. Chocolate is definitely my weakness. My food board on Pinterest is at least 50% desserts.

7) I CANNOT watch horror movies. Ever. My imagination is way too creative and vivid for that. Give me something Disney, and I'll be a happy girl.

My Nominees

Daniella from realnotideal.blogspot.ca
Charlotte from velvetandvinylscom.blogspot.co.uk
Briannah from briannahlindo.wordpress.com
Katrina from kat-katastrophe.blogspot.com
Victoria from memphis-made.blogspot.com
Megan from razberriez.com
Courtney from www.courtneyem.com
Lindsey from www.lmartthoughts.com
Latara from www.thesls.blogspot.com
Astrid from astrid-stars.blogspot.com
Ashlee from www.dearielovie.com
Raphaela from raphaelabmandel.wordpress.com
Tori from notoriousbeautyblog.com
Emma from itsemmaelise.com
Breckenridge Clare from www.whimofthesouth.com

Thanks again, Abby, for the nomination!



style crush: julianne hough

style crush | marlee and you

When I recently got my hair chopped, I showed the stylist a pic of Julianne Hough. I love her cute bob in these photos and I know it's since been cut even shorter, but this is my favourite look of hers. I've been a fan of this stylish singer, dancer and actress for years now, and always think she knows what's up when it comes to the latest trends. Julianne Hough is most definitely one of my style crushes.

I'm not always on point with the latest and greatest things in fashion, I'm more of an admirer who truly appreciates a well-put-together outfit. Check out these four looks that Julianne has sported:

style crush | marlee and you
Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3, Photo 4

I love the laid-back and casual vibe of these outfits. The neutral colours paired with the various sunglasses are simple yet stunning.

Julianne is most definitely stylish, but also incredibly athletic, which I applaud! Looking ahead to warmer weather, I'll no doubt be giving some of these looks a try!

Who is your current style crush?



pinterest challenge

I have only recently joined Pinterest (I know... I'm a little late to the party) and I am so inspired by all the neat ideas that this site has to offer! I've especially taken to the beauty and DIY pins, wishing I had more spare time to try everything out.

But let's be real for a second, who actually tries out all these tips, tricks and project ideas after pinning them to their board? I for one do not want to be the pin-and-forget type.

pinterest challenge | marlee and you

I'm starting my own Pinterest Challenge, where I will complete 3 things that I pin a month, whether it's a recipe, craft or hairstyle, then I'll post the outcomes for you all to see! I'm also going to tag my friend and fellow blogger Daniella to do a 3-Pin Pinterest Challenge post over on her blog.

Feel free to join me on Pinterest, check out my boards! You can also pin any of my photos and posts on this blog.

Let me know what your favourite Pinterest trends are!

I can't wait to try these things out and share the experience with you guys!