My January Favorites: Best of Books, Beauty and Food!

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One of my favorite types of blog posts to read are the “My favorite things” posts. Why? Because, there’s something amazing about hearing what people, especially those whom I already have learned to trust and who I relate to, find useful and good quality.

I feel like like they also keep me up to speed on what’s new and wonderful.

Thus, I have compiled my list of favorite things that I have been loving through the month of January.

JanDiaryI’ve grouped my favorite things into three main categories: books, beauty and food.

So without further ado, I present My January Favorites…


BookI really wanted to start the year off with a more inspirational read. What better way to start the year off, than with a book that puts you in a positive mindset?

I had seen an Australian blogger I follow, instagram a picture of a book she was loving by Lorna Jane Clarkson, a fitness clothing designer and healthy living guru, a few months back. I made a mental note to check out Lorna Jane, as I’d heard of her previously as well.

Lorna Jane’s book, MORE of the Fit Woman’s Secrets, was a resulting purchase of my further investigations and I have absolutely loved reading it. It’s an informational and motivating read that outlines Lorna Jane’s “Move, Nourish, Believe” philosophy that has become almost a mantra for people who live/want to live an active life.

Honestly, I feel like reading this has helped me re-frame my own thoughts about being active and the way I want to look at exercise, as more of something to enjoy as an activity versus a mandatory workout to check off a list.

I have definitely enjoyed reading it before I go to bed the past month and really recommend it to anyone who is looking for some healthy living inspiration and direction.

On a similar note, I have also been loving the 2014 Move Nourish Believe Diary (available for purchase only through February on the Lorna Jane website). This was actually a Christmas gift from my father and even he had commented how interesting it looked.

OpenDiaryI have found that keeping a journal of my workouts in the past has been incredibly helpful in keeping me on track with my fitness, but I have used simple empty journals in the past.

This MNB Diary is packed with interesting, motivational and informational little tidbits…

DiaryCallOutAnd like the MORE book, the pages are all made with various colorful designs so that no two pages are quite alike.

There are also little health and fitness challenges throughout the year to provide some additional pushes.

I am focusing on writing down all my activities in this versus writing down chores and such. So far, the biggest point about this diary is that I actually look forward to writing in it. I have skipped ahead to skim some of the upcoming tips and challenges, but I am looking forward to what’s coming up!


BeautyI have three favorites to report on this month. Two of the items I’ve been using for a while and just haven’t had a chance to share, and one item is more new to me!

I used to be a MAC blush snob, since they are so pigmented and long lasting, but then I discovered…

IMG_1913The MILANI Baked Blush. Available online in eight different colors, though I can usually only find 3-4 color options at my local Walgreens and CVS, these are still one of the best blush values out there. Similar to some of the MAC ‘Mineralize Blush’ options, the MILANI blush is significantly less. I think I paid $7.99 for mine.

The color on your cheeks is truly amazing though and it lasts on my long work days. My favorite is the ’03 Berry Amore’ and I almost haven’t been able to tear myself away from it. It’s especially perfect for winter as it’s a bit of a richer color.

If you want a beautiful blush and haven’t yet tried this, I highly recommend you give them a try. Just skip the expensive brands and pick this little baby up.

My second item is another drugstore beauty item…

topcoatIt is the Seche Vite topcoat. I discovered this a few months back and have never used a more effective topcoat in my life. The results are always immaculate, glossy, long-wearing (4-5 days is long-wearing for me) polished nails.

Apparently, this topcoat is a magical feat of science that causes the topcoat to actually penetrate all the way through the layers of polish underneath, and sort of bond them all together as one, hard layer. It dries in about… three minutes.

I don’t know about you, but I have never been able to sit still for more than 5-10 minutes after a manicure or pedicure and always messed up the polish. This topcoat makes it possible to be up and about a few minutes after you’re done without risk of smudging your newly painted nails.

A miracle in a bottle.

You can find it at CVS, Target and Sally’s Beauty Supply with pretty good consistency and is usually around $8.

My third item is newer to me…

glossThis is probably my favorite lip item of all time. It is the Nyx Butter Gloss in Tiramisu. It took me a while to find this after months of hearing beauty vloggers talk about their love for this Butter Gloss in particular, as most of my visits to Target had me checking for it only to find it sold out. When I did finally find it, I bought two!

I’m so incredibly glad that I did. It smells like dessert (don’t worry it doesn’t taste sweet – I hate that), spreads smooth as… well, butter on your lips, has a gorgeous color, and is amazingly moisturizing. There is no sticky feeling, but rather a luxuriously creamy consistency.

At less than $5 each, this is one of the more inexpensive lip items I have. Plus, I have since found that Ulta has it available online. No more hunting for it at Target!


My final category is food.


I’m going to start with my Trader Joe’s Organic frozen, microwavable rice packets.

riceReady after just three minutes in the microwave (plus 30 seconds to let it rest), these are the most handy and tasty instant rice solutions I’ve found.

I had a box of Jasmine White Rice and the Brown Rice, and I believe TJ’s also sells a quinoa version as well. And for three, 10-ounce bags, they’re less than $4. Not to shabby, right?

I have used these for so many things in January including shredder bowls, curry, stir-fries and just as a side.

I have to drive an hour to get to a TJ’s so I will definitely be stalking up on these in the future, as they are now a favorite food staple in my house.

Finally, my last item, or I should say items, are holiday teas from Celestial Seasonings.

teaNow, before you say “that’s not fair, they’re not even available anymore” I just have to say, these are so good, they transcend a limited time of year. PLUS, I found out that you can buy them off the Celestial Seasonings website, (thank goodness) and they have bulk savings too (reg. price is $3.19 each)!

They have six different flavors in their holiday collection, but the Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride and Candy Cane Lane are the two I’m completely obsessed with.

They’re great at breakfast or after dinner. I’ve even had them in the middle of the afternoon. They’re not overly sweet, though you can definitely taste the hint of their flavor namesake.

I’ll likely need to be sure these are always in my cabinet from now on, as I’ve rediscovered my passion for tea since discovering these flavors!

I should note that they are both decaffeinated though, so if you need that extra bit of caffeine boost, you won’t get that with these flavors. They are ideal before snuggling up for the night though.

So, these were my January favorites. I’d love to hear what things you’re loving right now as I’m always on the lookout for new great items to help add that dash of sparkle to my life.

Share your favorite finds or long-time loves in the comments!

One thought on “My January Favorites: Best of Books, Beauty and Food!

  1. A Valentine’s Day Manicure | A Dash of Sparkle

    […] I just finished everything off with one of my favorites, the Seche Vite topcoat, and did one final pass with Mr. […]


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