Our budget friendly gender reveal

I am beginning to sincerely dislike days where I update my husband and I’s calendars. That was this mornings coffee-time task. You know what I realized? We have three weekends between now and May that we have absolutely nothing planned. Only. Three. It’s only the beginning of February! Frightening. I’ve already told Charles that we are reserving those weekends for alone time unless something drastic comes up. We have so much to do around the house / for Grayson’s arrival and we are going to have to start saying no to people, something neither of us are very good at, ha! Thankfully, I think we can make everything work, and it may even pass the time before baby arrives, but still, there’s a limit! Our world is about to change in a big way, so spending time together, just the two of us, is something high on my list of priorities!

Today I want to share with you a few pictures of our gender reveal party! Now, we didn’t know what we were having until the day of the party. Our party was on a Saturday,, but we had our gender ultrasound the Tuesday before. We wanted to be surprised at the party, so we had the tech place the gender in an envelope, which we promptly gave to my sister. Spoiler Alert: It was the most brutal few days. It almost makes me wish we just found out at the ultrasound!

We didn’t want anything fancy, nothing over the top, just very relaxed, limited amount of “fuss,” so we could just enjoy the day. We ordered “exploding golf balls” from Amazon, {called stork balls, HA!} because Charles loves golf so much. Aside from that, we had chicken salad croissants, tortellini pasta salad, the cutest cookies, chips and dip, and fruit. We had a few decorations, and that was that! All in all, we were extremely pleased with how it turned out. We actually were so nervous about finding out the gender that we forgot to take pictures of our guests! Or ourselves, for that matter, but we still had a wonderful time. Obviously you all know the outcome of our gender reveal, IT’S A BOY! Grayson Lowrey Alley will be making his debut in June. Enjoy a few pictures from his sweet, simple, and budget friendly gender reveal!

 

 

I hope you all enjoyed the not so slightly delayed photos of Grayson’s gender reveal! Mommy and Daddy are thrilled to meet this sweet baby boy. I hope you all have a wonderful Saturday night. Me? I have a brand new comforter sitting that just came out of the dryer, a clean room, two puppies cuddling at my feet, and a kicking baby boy. It’s also 7pm on a Saturday night, I’m in pjs, it’s raining outside, and there’s a marathon coming essentially through our neighborhood tomorrow which means I’m not leaving this house until Monday morning, happy pajama Sunday to ME. I hope your Sunday is just as pleasant!

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I’m thankful for Sephora

Thanksgiving Week is upon us, my friends! I’m thankful for so very many things in my life. I saw a quote not too long ago that said something along the lines of “I remember the days I used to pray for the things I have now,” and that really struck a chord with me. In my lifetime, I have been through many ups and downs, but I can’t help to look at my life, my husband, our family, our pets, our home, and everything that surrounds us and just feel all the warm and fuzzy feelings imaginable. What makes you thankful this holiday season?

I’m currently thankful for the overcast day with darker clouds, cool weather, and the beautifully autumnal red tree I’m starting at. Creative juices are flowing with this dreamy backdrop I’m currently staring upon. Swoon.

Although Thanksgiving week is a great time to take a time out, slow down, and reflect upon the things for which you are most thankful, it  sometimes rarely works out that way for me. Thanksgiving week can be hectic, especially with multiple families in town, and I always seem to be rushing around. My skin decides that with all of the stress and the eating and the 12 hour days jam packed with activity that it wants to break out, my makeup doesn’t want to stay on, and I find my face and skin looking a bit dull and tired. This year, I wanted to be proactive about the issues I face every year around this time, so I came up with a solution:

In comes the Sephora Haul.

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I was already out of my beloved Tarte Amazonian Clay foundation {My two favorite foundations are Tarte Amazonian Clay and Make Up Forever Mat Velvet} and I decided that I needed to switch it up a bit, so I headed into Sephora, where I found so much holiday goodness that I just knew I had to share. Let’s take a look into my Sephora bag-o-fun.

  • NARS ALL Day Luminous Weightless Foundation – For my combination and oily skinned friends {don’t worry, I know you, I am you, I feel your pain} the word “Luminous” may frighten you. It frightened me. The girl at Sephora sensed my fear and did an experiment on her hand to show me that this foundation was actually perfect for people with combination skin during the winter, as even for people with oily skins, sometimes too thick of foundations can dry you out. She took the product and gave it a good shake, and pumped a bit of product onto the back of her hand. I began to question her expertise, because this product looked like the most watery and thin foundation I had ever seen. She used her fingertips to rub the product into her skin in circular motions, and you could see it right before your eyes, the product became this smooth finished, lightweight coverage that was a matte finish and absolutely gorgeous. I then let her try some on my face. And then I was hooked. It truly lives up to its name of “weightless,” in fact, I can wear it for 12 hour days and feel like I have nothing on my face. Something to bear in mind with this foundation {which could be a Pro in your book or a Con in your book..} This foundation contains NO SPF! It’s quickly becoming winter, and I have SPF in my other products, so I didn’t take this to be a con. Plus, if you use too many products on your face that contain SPF, you’ll get “ghost face” in pictures, so I knew this foundation lacking SPF wouldn’t be a deal breaker for me. Overall? You’re a pal to me, Nars.dscn5596
  • Make Up Forever Super Matte Powder – I was also having problems with my HD finishing powder casting a white glow on me in photographs, so I decided to take a walk on the wild side and venture out to this new Super Matte powder to avoid this problem. This was a big step for me, I’m a translucent powder person. Colored powders? You scare me. I’m afraid of orange face. I don’t want to look like a clown..I don’t want to look like an oompa loompa, someone help me. Luckily this powder doesn’t make me look orange, and it makes my skin feel baby soft! Disadvantage? I wish it were in a compact. I’m not big on loose powders. If wishing made it so..
  • Tarte “Tartiest” quick dry matte lip paint in “Bestie” – Say that three times fast. So you remember how I told you about my love affair with the ELF matte lip pencils? I am still in love with them as a budget friendly option, I love their creaminess and how inexpensive they are, but Tarte? You’re the real MVP here. I typically only wear anything on my lips when I’m going out to dinner or on special occasions, but I wear this all day at work. First of all, the color is an absolutely gorgeous mauvey {is that a word?} brown color. Second, it goes on as a liquid and dries matte in – I kid you not – seconds! I can’t even get over how quickly it dries. Third, you literally feel like you are wearing nothing. It doesn’t feel creamy, it doesn’t feel thick, it doesn’t feel sticky. It literally feels as if you are wearing nothing on your lips, it is so paper thin, and I am absolutely dying over it.dscn5594
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  • Sephora Collection Bright Future Concealer – I don’t have too much to say about this concealer, mainly because it’s not the best I’ve used, but it’s certainly better than a vast majority of concealers out there, and the price point is at $14, which is borderline drugstore prices, so that’s an A+ in my book. It honestly reminds me of the Revlon color stay concealer, which I love, but the Sephora concealer is a bit more of a matte finish whereas the Revlon is a bit dewier.dscn5587
  • Smashbox Photo Finish Color Correcting Primer – I like to think of myself as having good skin {thanks mom!} With that being said, lately I’ve had a real problem with redness on my cheeks. I constantly look flushed, and it ends up making my blush and contour look out of place. Sometimes it travels into my t-zone as well, and on my chin. It’s not dry, it’s not patchy, it’s just red! I decided that it was worth a shot to try a color correcting primer to see if that could help take away some of the redness, and I’m glad that I did, because this seems to be helping. On the upside with this product, it does seem to help with the redness. I wouldn’t say it fully takes it away, but it minimizes the appearance. On the downside, the woman at Sephora told me that you aren’t to use this all over your face, so I have to use two primers, which can be a bit of a pain. Does anyone know why you wouldn’t want to use color correcting primer on your whole face? I’m at a loss, I don’t understand. It also takes a bit of time to dry, which can be a bit of a hassle, but the fact that it hides the redness I’m experiencing makes the extra few minutes worth it.

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So those were all of the products that I purchased, but then I did use a few rewards points on their “gifts” and received a few samples as well, of which I haven’t used all of yet, but I wanted to give you a taste of the few things that I actually did try.

  • Naked Skin Color Correcting Fluid – {As shown in the photo above} I received a trial of these fluids in the “peach” and “green” color. I haven’t used the green yet, since I’ve been using the smashbox primer, but I have tried the peach, and let me tell you, I’m going to have to pick one of these bad boys up. I only use this under my eyes, as it’s meant to conceal dark circles and dark spots, and it works. No matter what undereye cream I use, concealer I use, how good I’ve slept, or how much water I’ve been drinking, I still cannot manage to get the darkness out from under my eyes! It’s rather annoying, actually, but this product somehow seems to just soak up all of the darkness and correct it to almost match my skin tone. It’s magic! I don’t know how else to describe it. You should probably run to the nearest Sephora and grab this before I buy out all the inventory. Probably one of my favorite products from this haul, and I wouldn’t have known about it without a free trial. Sephora, you’re the real MVP.
  • Make Up Forever Ultra HD Concealer – Another sample I received. Honestly, this was something I probably wouldn’t buy for myself. On the upside, it did a great job with dark circles, or at least better than your average concealer will do. On the downside, it’s HD {ghost face in pictures!}, as well as it is just about the runniest concealer I’ve used. It’s so..liquidy. I’m sorry, I can’t even life today, I’m using words like Mauvey and liquidy. {picture shown above with the sephora concealer}
  • Sephora “Masking Must Haves” set – This was one of the 500 rewards points gifts, and I’m pretty excited about the products in it. It contained the following:
    • Origins High Potency “Night-a-mins” — ….can we just talk about how cute the name of that is? Slather this on your face at night and let it work its magic. I’m not really sure what this product is supposed to do..all I know is, it smells like Vitamin C and oranges and my face is soft when I wake up, so I’m a happy gal.
    • Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash – In typical fashion, I did a “hand test” with this product before I used it on my face {protect that face, girl!} I rubbed the product onto the back of one hand, washed it off, and compared it to my other hand. This product makes your skin baby soft and adds almost a sheen to your face. It smells of baby powder and flowers, and it removes eye makeup in one swipe with no tears.
    • Origins “Maskimizer” Mask Primer – Have you ever heard such a thing? It’s supposed to open your skin and prep your face for the mask to be able to dig down deep and do its job. I haven’t used this before a mask yet {but I plan to tonight..a little pre-thanksgiving pamper session, anyone?} but I have used it before I put on my moisturizer. It feels very refreshing, but I’ll keep you updated once I actually use it with a mask.
    • Origins Masks – Also in the kit were two masks – a charcoal mask and a hydrating mask. I haven’t used either {again, I plan to tonight!} so I’ll keep you updated.

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That’s all you get today. I’ve been up at four making homemade cinnamon orange rolls, and I’m beat. I’m fully beat. And I have 30 hours of tasks today and only 24 hours to complete said tasks. I need the coffee. Feed me the coffee. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Sundays are for snuggles..

Is it just me, or does anyone else out there get “Banana Pancakes” by Jack Johnson stuck in you head when you think of lazy, cozy sundays? I feel like the two go hand in hand.

No matter what kind of bottomless list of to-do’s my husband and I have to accomplish, somehow when Sundays roll around, staying at home and lounging around in comfy clothes cuddling on the couch with Cholla and Milli {who always, I repeat, always have to squeeze in between us like toddlers..}, and watching a movie {or a golf tournament…} seem to take precedence on our sundays.

This Sunday is no exception. Even with our never ending list of things we probably absolutely should be doing, we still felt that Pho Vietnam and movie watching on the couch will trump our chores today. I know that they say “A Sunday well spent brings a week of content,” and don’t get my wrong, I know there’s validity to that statement, but in our world, Saturday’s are for adventures and Sunday’s are for snuggles. 

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When I lounge, I love a few tried – and – true things: A messy bun, a cozy sweater, and some sort of ripped denim. This sweater is from a local boutique with the sweetest owners {that are also sisters!}. It’s called Indie {how perfect is that name for a boutique? As a special treat for all of you – they just announced today that they will be launching their online store very soon! Go enter your email address here and be the first to know when they go live!} I pair this sweater with a variety of pieces in my closet – jeans, maxi skirts and even over floral dresses for a unique twist. I still kick myself for not buying the grey version of this top when I had the chance. My ripped denim is my absolute favorite pair. You guessed it, they’re from Suite One and they are the brand JustBlack {like I could make it through the day without wearing at least something from Suite One…}

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I also have a love for rings. Rings are kind of my kryptonite – they’re my favorite accessory bar none. The two gold rings are from Suite One and I am wearing one as a regular ring and one as a midi ring. The midi ring by my wedding ring is also from Suite One. The final ring I’m wearing is from Old Navy {find it here!}.

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I love drinking coffee throughout the day on Sundays. I’m not really sure why, but I just love cuddling up under a nice blanket and sipping on a hot cup of coffee. I switch up my mugs often – I’m kind of a coffee mug addict. The mug I used in this picture is from Target {this one here!} and I’m loving the funky flair it has. I originally bought a few of these to use in place of copper mugs when I drink my moscow mules, but the cup is versatile and can be used for hot or cold beverages.

What are some of your favorite things to do on a Sunday? If you want to stay in bed all day, I hereby give you permission {you can thank my by hitting the follow button… }

Don’t forget to check out my instagram to stay in touch – link is in the sidebar!

And we’re off

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With many sleepless nights and countless cups of coffee behind me, I’m STOKED to finally bring to you all Right Up Our Alley – A fashion and lifestyle blog by ME {Michele Alley!} When you have a last name like Alley, you sort of, kind of, are required to use it anyway you can.

To kickoff this party, I want to tell you a bit about myself {don’t worry, this won’t be an every-blog-post-occurence {trust me, this is not that kind of blog}.

My name is Michele Alley. I live in a small town in Arkansas with my husband Charles and our two overly adorable dobermans, Cholla and Milli. My husband and I both has 8 to 5 jobs, but we are very much work-to-live and not live-to-work kind of people. We enjoy being together, living life slowly, and enjoying every minute. I’ve always had a love of writing things down – you’ll never rarely catch me using my cell phone for notes or grocery lists – I’m a pad and paper kind of girl, and blogging has always been something that’s excited me.

As far as my style goes, I wish I could tell you what you’ll expect to see from this blog. My style varies – you’ll catch me in things that are on the more edgy, funkier end {such as below}, or you might catch me in something very minimalistic, such as blue jeans and a cozy sweater. My fashion varies based on my mood – I usually dress the way I’m feeling…I guess that explains why I can never pick my outfits out in advance. I break a ton of “rules” of fashion {mainly because I don’t know all of the rules..and who doesn’t love to break a good rule}. I’m a religious offender of the hairband on your wrist faux pas {sorry mom, you taught me better!} My nails are bare a good deal of the time, although I’m trying to get better at this one. My closet is basically work-to-play fashion, if I can’t find some way to transition a piece from work to play, I have a serious mental tug-o-war situation going on before I make the purchase. I’m truly bringing you things that are “Right up Our Alley.”

It took me a long time to find my style and stop purchasing things just because everyone else was! Feeling confident never came easy for me, but the game is changing. I hope you stick around on this blog, I hope you share with your friends, and I hope you find the fashion that is right up your own alley.

With that out of the way, let me bringing you my first outfit! You’ll probably get sick of me talking about my FAVORITE place to shop {Suite One Boutique in Fort Smith, AR – check them out here!} This entire outfit was from Suite One Boutique – and you can find in store or on their website.

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ShoesQupid – lace up and peep toe, and for UNDER $50! Insane. Jeans – JustBlack – inexpensive and they feel like pajamas. And the fit? Nothing better than the fit. V-Neck tank – Lush – comfiest thing you’ll put on, guaranteed. I have them in four colors, and they also come in regular v-neck tees. Bralette – not sure on the brand, but from Suite One as well, for only $20! It’s criss-crossed, which adds such an edgy and interesting touch to anything you wear it with.

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Check the blog out on instagram – rightupouralley – and stay tuned for a fun giveaway! {Oh, and if you want to click the follow button to the side here, I wouldn’t hate it!}