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topshop v-neck white tee

JACKET: BP. | V-NECK TEE: Topshop (obsessed, also bought black) | JEANS: Express (40% off today) | SHOES: Gucci, Love This & This for under $100 | BAG: Chanel, love this from Givenchy, love this under $40 | HOOP EARRINGS: Lana Jewelry, similar for $25 | NECKLACE: Lana Jewelry, similar under $50

This past year I have taken a break from my blog.  Soooo much has happened!  John and I got divorced, you can read my post about it here.  Going thru a divorce is very difficult, I needed to focus my time on my kids and myself.  My blog was the thing that got put on the shelf to free up time.  It was necessary time that I needed for myself and for my kids.

I am so happy and thankful I was able to spend that time healing and getting into a better place.  I talked a lot about it and what helped me the most in my New Year’s post.

I first want to say a HUGE thank you to all of YOU!!!!  Over the past year I have gotten the most amazing comments, dm’s, emails.  I have truly felt the love from you.  You have no idea some of the timing of your comments and what they have meant to me.  You all have been so encouraging and supportive.  I love you very much and am forever grateful for you!

I am so happy to return to blogging!  I have missed it so much.  I have missed putting together cute outfits and sharing new beauty products I have found.  Writing my blog pushes me to try new things and keep up to date with styles and trends.  I am so excited to be back to it!!  My Mom is now taking my pictures and Sofia has taken a lot of my pictures that I post on IG.  I’m using my iPhone instead of a professional camera, so the quality isn’t quite as good.  You will be seeing a lot of laughing or silly pictures.  My Mom is hysterical when taking my pictures and I can’t stop laughing! :). She will sing these silly made up songs in a high pitched squeaky voice to get me to laugh lol!

About the Outfit: I love finding great basics for my closet.  I especially love finding great t-shirts!  I’m always checking to see when Topshop comes out with new basic tees and tanks and I always buy them.  And they never disappoint!  I bought this v-neck tee in white and in black.  I love the cut and the length.  The black is a little thicker than the white.  The white is thick enough that it is not see through.

These jeans I’m wearing from Express are very high waisted.  They hit above my belly button.  So they are perfect for anything super cropped or if you want your legs to look a lot longer.  Express also makes jeans that look the same in a mid-rise, although I think they are more of a high rise because they hit me right at the belly button.  This pair I wear at least several times a week for more than a year, and I just ordered a second pair.  Both are 40% off today!

Have a great weekend!
XO, Rachel

express high waisted jeans

gucci sneakers

green cropped jacket

express ripped jeans

Valentine’s Day Look & Gift Guide

red faux fur jacket

FAUX FUR JACKET: BlankNYC (more colors) | TEE: Express | SHOES: Valentino | BAG: YSL, similar under $100 | EARRINGS: Lana, similar for Less | NECKLACE: Lana, similar for Less | LIPSTICK: Morphe ‘Hot Shot’

My Mom was taking the pictures, and the whole time she was cracking jokes and singing in the most hysterical voice.  I’m surprised I got even one normal picture without me laughing. :)

I can’t help but love Valentine’s Day, I always have.  I love love!  So naturally I’m going to love a day set aside to celebrate love and romance.  Enjoy flowers, chocolate, champagne, romantic dinner, whatever you enjoy with the man you love.  Or enjoy a day treating yourself, because that’s the longest relationship you have been in!  Buy yourself a gift, take a bubble bath, go out with your girls.  Or do something special with your kids, shower your love on them.  However you celebrate, make sure you love yourself and you feel loved.

lipstick tee

lana hoop earrings

valentines day look

rachel barkules

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11

I wanted to share a gift guide for some suggestions.  But don’t forget about flowers, a spa treatment, a coupon book for favors (you can go many directions with that :) ), or any romantic gestures.

Have a Happy Valentine’s Day!

XO, Rachel

Losing Holiday Weight : Small Changes that Make a BIG Difference!


JACKET: Nike | TANK: Topshop (best basic tank!) | LEGGINGS: Alo | SNEAKERS: Adidas | BAG: Givenchy, similar for Less | SUNGLASSES: Quay

I had a lot of fun over the holidays!  From Thanksgiving to after New Years Eve I didn’t work out one time, and I ate and drank everything I wanted to.  No joke, I did not hold back at all!!  If I wanted to eat Christmas cookies all day long I did.  If I wanted to eat a huge dinner and a bottle of wine at 11:00pm then have dessert after I did.  Let me just say, I enjoyed myself and I don’t regret it! :)

All that fun caught up to me and when I stepped on the scale on January 2nd and I had gained 9 pounds.  More importantly than the scale going up, I saw a noticeable difference when I looked in the mirror and my clothes didn’t fit the same (meaning I could barely button my jeans).  In additional to my body changes, I didn’t feel my best.  My head was cloudy, I was always tired, bloated, overall just yuck!

I used to love doing an intense diet or cleanse or detox to get immediate results and shock my body back into where it was.  As I get older that does not appeal to me.  I’d rather take it easy on my body and make a few small changes at a time that I can actually do and maintain, and not feel like garbage from it being so drastic.

Here are the few things I always start with that I can start seeing results within 2 weeks.  They are small adjustments that make a big change in my life.  So far, I have lost 5 of the 9 pounds.  Then after I have made these things my lifestyle I can build on them; tighten up my diet even more or add more to my work outs.

  1. Eat dinner at least 4 hours before bed and do not eat anything after dinner.  This makes a huge difference!  Late night snacking is the worst thing you can do.  It adds weight quickly and makes you bloated.  It can be hard the first couple of nights not eating after dinner, I usually go to bed hungry.  But my body adjusts after about 5 days and I don’t feel hungry any more at bed time.
  2. Do not eat candy or anything sugary all day long.  I have a major sweet tooth!  And when I let myself eat anything and everything I want, I snack on candy and cookies all day long.  When I say all day I really mean it.  Like breakfast, lunch, dinner, after dinner and snacks all day long.  This constant intake of sugar is so unhealthy.  Since I have such an intense sweet tooth I still allow myself to have something each day.  I have a small portion only once a day and I eat it in the morning or early afternoon.
  3. Move your body for at least 30 minutes, 3 times a week.  Ideally this would be going to the gym or some kind of work out.  If you have slacked at the gym or your work outs then get back to them!  But if you’re not a gym/work out person, trying to add that to your lifestyle may be something you can’t commit to long term.  Instead, do something you can stick with.  Make this a walk outside or doing something active with your kids, go on a bike ride.  Do anything that moves your body.
  4. Switch your alcohol drink to vodka or tequila.  Red wine, beer and dark liquors have a lot of sugar and/or carbs.  If you want to have an alcoholic drink, have vodka or tequila with as little sugar added to the drink as possible.  I loooooove red wine!  I used to drink it every night at the end of the day.  But I learned drinking red wine every night adds weight to my waistline.  I switched my drink to vodka, soda with lemon or lime (no sugar) and my waist stays slim.  I drink Tito’s vodka, its very clean and gluten free.
  5. Drink lots of water.  Lack of water or being dehydrated makes your body bloat and stay swollen.  The body thinks it’s going thru a drought and holds onto all the water it has.  Drinking a lot of water flushes out the body and helps with weight loss.  And the added bonus, drinking a lot of water hydrates the skin and gives you a healthy glow.
  6. Get 7-8 hours of sleep every night.  Getting adequate rest is everything!  Our bodies need enough sleep to reset and recharge.  I’m sure we have all seen the commercials about cortisol being flushed out of our system when we sleep.  And if we don’t get enough sleep the cortisol isn’t fully flushed out and it causes weight gain.  Well, it’s true!  Our bodies need sleep to reset our systems and wake up with energy.  That energy helps us make healthier food choices and get some exercise.
  7. Eat healthy during the week, splurge on the weekends.  Eating healthy makes me feel great, and the food tastes delicious.  But some times it feels like a job and I just want a piece of pizza or a burger and a milkshake.  This is why I allow myself to splurge and eat what I want on the weekends.  This mentally makes it easier to make healthy food choices during the week.  If I’m craving chocolate cake, I know I can have it this Saturday.  It makes it much easier to eat healthy now.  Plus, it’s all about balance.  I want to be able to enjoy my life and not feel like a slave to a diet.

alo ripped leggings

red sneakers

holiday weight loss

Best of Beauty 2018

I love trying new beauty products and finding new favorites.  But I have to admit, 95% of the time I reach for my favorite products that I know work the best and do my makeup the same way.  These are the products of 2018 that I can not live without!!  Some were discovered early 2018 and used all year, some are favorites for a couple years that I still have not found anything better.

I did not include any hair products because I recently did a post reviewing my hair extensions and talking about my holy grail hair products.  Nothing has changed since then :). You can read that post Here.

1. Best Highlighter : Dior Backstage Glow Face Palette | Highlight is LIFE!  I am so obsessed with this palette and use it in so many different ways.  The top right color gives a natural glow from within look, very sun kissed.  The top left gives more of a poppin highlight.  I always layer them for a gorgeous highlight.  Even on my no makeup days I will take a damp beauty blender and apply some of the highlight to my cheekbones.  It gives a gorgeous glow!

2. Best Mascara : DiorShow Lash Extension Effect Volume Mascara | It is no secret that my favorite mascara for years has been the Too Faced ‘Better than Sex’ mascara.  But since getting lash extensions my new favorite is this one by Dior.  I have always used this Dior mascara, I would layer it on top of the Too Faced mascara.  Now I apply just the Dior to my bottom lashes.  And if I need to, I will apply a very thin coat of mascara on my last extension.  This mascara gives length and fullness, it makes my lashes look fluffy.  It never flakes off onto my face.  And one tube lasts so long!

3. Best Setting Powder : Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless | The older I get the harder it is to find amazing products that work on my face.  So many products settle into my fine lines and wrinkles, making me look older.  Never the goal when applying makeup!  I love this setting powder sooooo much!!  It feels completely weightless and looks so natural.  My foundation never moves and after 8 hours my makeup looks the same as when I first did it.  It does not settle in any lines, I can’t even see I’m wearing powder.  My shade is Fair.

4. Best Every Day Perfume : Chanel Chance Eau Tendre | I spray this perfume on every morning, doesn’t matter if I’m going to the gym or the grocery store or brunch.  I always like to smell fresh and pretty.  This scent is perfect for that!  It has a fresh, light, happy, with just a hint of sexy.  I am at the bottom of my 2nd large bottom and about to purchase my 3rd.

5. Best Eyeshadow Palette : Jaclyn Hill x Morphe | I Can Not Live Without This Palette!!!  I have used this palette every single day for almost 2 years.  I have my main shades that I use 90% of the time.  But when I’m feeling adventurous with my makeup I can branch out to the other colors and create something amazing.  The pigment and consistency and wearability is so incredible!  And the affordable price, hunny…..  knowing what I know about this palette I would be willing to spend $200 on it!

6. Best Lip Moisturizer : Kopari Lip Glossy | Can not live without this!!  I purchase at least 5 at a time and have them all over the place.  I have them in every room of my house and always in my handbag.  It has the perfect smooth consistency and no stickiness.  I apply this every night before bed, throughout the day on bare lips, over a lipstick, basically all the time.  I think my addiction is very serious!

7. Best Red Lipstick : Morphe ‘Hot Shot’ | When I first saw this lipstick I thought it was too much of an orange red for me and it would look weird on my skin tone.  But then I put it on, perfection!  I swear everyone can wear this shade of red and it looks amazing.  I love the formula, it feels amazing on my lips and lasts a very long time.

8. Best Foundation : Chanel Velvet Smooth-Effect | OB-sessed!!!  I have been using this foundation for a year and a half and can not find one that is better.  This foundation glides across my skin and makes the perfect smooth canvas.  It feels like silk to the touch on the skin.  I will apply a thin layer and gives me more of a tinted moisturizer look.  Or I will do several thin layers for a full coverage.  Even with several layers for full coverage, it never looks heavy or fake.  It looks like great smooth skin!  This is hands down my favorite beauty product that I can never live without!  It is a little pricer for foundation, I will use a bottle for about 6 months.  A little bit goes a long way so I feel the price is worth it.  I wear shades 10 beige and 20 beige, depending on if it’s summer or winter.  A lot of the time I mix them together to create my perfect shade.

9. Best Blush : Morphe Blush Babes Tio ‘Pop of Coral’ | This has a very natural look, like you have gorgeous color in your cheeks.  I only use the 2 left shades (never have touched the far right).  I love the color that it gives to my face, very awake and fresh and a glow from within.

10. Best Under Eye Powder : Kat Von D Shade & Light Powder | Let’s face it, the under eye area being smooth is always the goal with makeup.  This powder keeps my concealer in place without creasing or any lines- All.Day.Long!!  This palette has great colors and can be used in a lot of different ways.  I originally bought the palette so I have all the colors to play with.  Now I buy the replacement pan in shade ‘vanilla’ just for my under eye setting powder.

11. Best Facial Cleanser : Purity | At the end of the day I have to wash all this makeup off.  This cleanser does the job and is so easy to use!  I don’t use a makeup remover or makeup wipes.  I only use this cleanser and it will get a full face of makeup off.  It doesn’t dry me out, and since using it my skin is the most clear of blackheads and clogged pores ever!

rachel barkules

My favorite nude lipstick of 2018 is without a question Jeffrey Star ‘Mannequin’ Liquid Lipstick. It is sold out most of the time so I don’t like talking about it.  I don’t want to show something you can’t have.  Any time it’s in stock I buy another one so I don’t run out.  I will say, this lipstick only looks good if you have makeup on.  With a bare face it washes me out and looks brown.  But with makeup on it looks great!

Good Bye 2018, HELLO 2019!!!!

I am so happy to bring in a new year! This is the first time in my life I have felt this way.  I have never been a ‘new year, new me’ kind of girl.  I don’t wait for a new calendar year to set goals or evaluate my life and make changes.  But this year felt different for me.  2018 was a shitty year (pardon my French) and I could not wait to leave it behind me!

2018 was one of the most challenging years of my life. In my family we had 2 divorces and 3 deaths.  There was also challenges with my kids at school, my best friend had a major health scare, and many other challenging things. I remember a day in June, everything had been piling up for months and I was barely holding it together.  Something difficult happened in the morning, then that afternoon I got devastating news. I couldn’t hold it together any more, I fell apart and had an emotional breakdown.  I was in my Mom’s arms crying the hardest I have ever cried; I truly felt like I wouldn’t be able to go on. Like I wouldn’t make it out of this in one piece.  It all was too much and I didn’t know how I would move forward from that moment.

I’m not saying any of this to complain or get pity.  We all have bad years and low moments we fear we won’t be able to come out of.  You are not alone in this.  My advice is to reach out to who can help you and tell them you need help.  Go to therapy, talk to friends and family, heal your mind and emotions and focus on moving forward.

Rachel Barkules

I have an amazing family and support system.  They were there for me in my darkest moments.  They helped me stand when I couldn’t stand on my own.  I couldn’t have gone thru 2018 without them.  What helped me the most is when I took responsibility for my emotional healing.  Yes, my family and friends are there for me.  But it’s my responsibility to take the necessary steps towards healing and moving forward.

I think of it like this: my support system helps me stand when I am down.  But I have to make the decision to take steps forward.  I am the only one who can move my feet one foot in front of the other.  In the beginning of my healing process it was a joint effort of my family and friends holding me up while I took my first steps.  Then when I felt strong enough I was able to walk on my own.  Now I can run on my own :)

I took 3 months off of work and made it my full time job to better myself and be a good Mom.  I went to therapy twice a week (90 minutes – 2 hours each session), I was reading every day, working out, eating healthy, praying, going to church.  I took control of my life and focused on being healthy in my mind, body and soul.  If I was having a hard day, I would call someone and talk to them.  I didn’t sit home alone feeling sad.  I reached out and asked for help if I needed it.  After 3 months I was a completely different woman!!

I am currently mentally & emotionally the strongest and healthiest I have ever been!  I have a calm and a peace I have never known.  Small things don’t get me worked up like they used to.  Yes, I still have bad days and get in fussy moods.  But those are now moments or a day.  It’s not my life every day and every moment.  I am still going to therapy every week because I know there is much more I can work on and I want to keep bettering myself.  I want to be the best version of me!  I’m so excited to see what this year brings!!

The last couple weeks of 2018 I felt a change in the air.  I felt like all the bad stuff is behind me and great things are ahead.  I keep getting this picture in my mind of a building with a poor foundation.  You first have to tear down the building, fix the foundation, then you can rebuild.  2018 was a tearing down and fixing things, which is very painful and uncomfortable.  2019 is rebuilding!  I am excited to be in a place to have happiness, joy, fun memories, love, lots of laughter, babies (a friend of mine is pregnant- not me! :) ), new experiences, peace, adventure, excitement and tons of fun!

2019 is going to be a great year!!!

XO, Rachel

Rachel Barkules

BTW- This faux fur jacket I’m wearing is one of my favorite jackets I own!!  I got it last year, wore it a ton then and a ton this year!  It looks and feels so much more expensive than it is!