Favorite Christmas Gifts from 2017

Hello everybody!

I was overwhelmed this past holiday season with the generosity from family, friends, and some of my students! I received so many amazing and useful gifts, and I want to share with you all some of my very favorites! Here is my list of top gifts, in no particular order!

  1. Bloch Warmup Booties
  2. IT Cosmetics Best Seller Makeup Set
  3. Jaclyn HillxMorphe Eyeshadow Palette
  4. Beats Wireless Headphones
  5. Kate Spade Purse and Wallet
  6. “Meet Me at the Barre” custom wine glass
  7. Dunkin Donuts gift cards

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The Bloch Warmup Booties and Beats headphones were gifts from my fiancé, and they are amazing! the booties keep my feet muscles so warm, and the headphones are an amazing replacement to my old Samsung Gear Circle (which broke).

Additionally, I’ve been DYING to try the IT Cosmetics product line, and my mom and dad bought me this set to try all of the IT Cosmetics’s best sellers. Their CC Cream, Brow Power Taupe brow pencil, Rose Tinted Lip Treatment, Bye Bye Pores Setting Powder, and their SuperHero mascara are all new favorites of mine! The CC cream is one of the best foundation creams I’ve ever tried! The beautiful brush is translucent and reflects rainbow colors – I LOVE IT.

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My fiancé’s parents bought me the Kate Spade, which I’ve always wanted a Kate Spade purse let alone a whole matching set! I love her stuff, and I am so excited everytime I put my purse on!The “Meet Me at the Barre” cup was from one of my ballet students, and it is literally so perfect! It was handmade by a small private business and I love how thoughtful and clever it is.

My Jaclyn Hill palette was a gift from my fiancé’s brothers, and I AM OBSSESSED. I never really wanted the Jaclyn HillxMorphe collaboration, but since receiving it, it is the palette I never knew I needed! The colors are diverse and versatile, and it is fun to play with to give my makeup some pops of color!

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Finally, the Dunkin gift card(s) I got from my fiancé’s other brother, and I have a lot of them from my dance students. They must know me very well because I always teach with a cold brew on hand for my long nights! ❤

These were some of the many amazing gifts I received. What were your favorites this past holiday season? Have you tried any of the beauty products I received? How do you like them?

Until next time, xoxo

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2017 Year in Review

2017 had to be one of the best years I’ve had in a long time. I graduated college with two Bachelor’s, attended the American Dance Festival (which I always wanted to do!), landed some professional performance jobs, landed some great teaching jobs, invested a lot of time into my blog, went to Disney, got engaged!!, and I was basically able to get ahead on a lot of the goals I set for after college. I’d say 2017 was a very successful year, and one in which I will always look back on fondly.

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I am excited to see what lies ahead for 2018, and I think the new year will bring a lot of positive changes and good experiences. I am certain I will be persistant in the pursuit of my goals and dreams, and will not settle for anything less than what I want and deserve. 2017 was a year of dance, adventure, love, movement, and progress, and I resolve to make 2018 even better!

Did you have a progressive 2017? What are you looking forward to most in the new year? Let me know!

Xoxo

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Crochet Bun Cover Cozies

Hi everyone!

I am really excited to announce a new item on my Etsy shop: Julia’s Leaps of Faith Shop! For all of you bunheads out there – whether you are a dancer or a busy lady on the go – I am now selling homemade crochet bun cover cozies to keep your bun/hair in place!

For dancers, they are perfect for class, rehearsal, auditions, or as a costume accessory! For the everyday lady, they are a cozy accessory for the fall and winter! There are a lot of color options available, so you can have a color to match any outfit! Solid colored bun covers are $7.00 a piece!

Furthermore, I also have multi-colored yarn options available for .50 cents more, and they look super adorable! Multi-colored bun covers are $7.50. I personally love the way Rose Blush looks (pictured below)!

These bun covers are able to be finished with an elastic or with a satin ribbon! The satin ribbon can correspond to the color of the yarn, or you can mix and match colors!

I LOVE making these, and I hope if any of you decide to buy one and try it out you love it as much as I do.  Please feel free to comment any questions you may have, or let me know what you think of them! Be sure to check my Etsy to purchase!

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Until next time! Xoxo

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Nutcracker Week – History of the Nutcracker

Hello ladies and gents!

Today I wanted to give a short but sweer history of the Nutcracker ballet! As you’ve probably seen or read, this week includes my Nutcracker performances and since I am so excited for them, I wanted to write posts based off of this theme.

Anyway, if you didn’t know this already, the story of the Nutcracker was originally written in 1816 by a German writer named E.T.A. Hoffmann. The story was originally titled “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” and was  a darker, creepier tale then the one embodied on stage during the ballet. By the 1850s, a man named Alexander Dumas revised the original Nutcracker tale, and cheered it up to be a happier, more magical story.

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The cheerier version of the story is what inspired Marius Petipa to choreograph the first Nutcracker ballet in 1892 (he also choreographed La Bayadere, Swan Lake, and Sleeping Beauty). When Petipa became sick while setting the piece, he handed over the choreographic resonsibilities to Lev Ivanov. Petipa and Ivanov partnered with Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky who composed the score for the show. The musical score was a large part of the ballet’s original success.

The ballet didn’t make it to the U.S.A. until 1940 when the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo toured to America and brought the Nutcracker with them. By 1954, George Balanchine of the New York City Ballet choreographed the Nutcracker on his company and first performed it in February of that year. Balanchine is credited as being the first choregographer to recognize the holiday appeal of the Nutcracker ballet, and in 1955, the New York City Ballet performed the Nutcracker in December. Since then, the Nutcracker has been a holiday classic for dance and ballet companies everywhere.

It is crazy to think the Nutcracker was originally written in the beginning of the 1800s, and now in 2017 companies are still performing this work countless times between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I don’t think E.T.A. Hoffmann ever expected his creepy story to EVER gain as much popularity as it has, but it is incredible how this century old story is brought to life every year to celebrate Christmas! It is such a deep part of American holiday culture, and it all began with a story written 201 years ago!

I hope you enjoyed this piece of dance history, and tune in for more of my Nutcracker related posts! Happy Holidays!

Sincerely,

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Nutcracker Week – Sugar Plum Fun Palette Review

Hi everyone! It is OFFICIALLY Nutcracker season, and since my Nutcracker performances are this week, expect some dance-related posts! I am so excited to be dancing in my Nutcracker, and I cannot wait to take photos in my costumes and share some Nutcracker history with all of you! Nonetheless, I figured I would start this week by sharing my review of my Sugar Plum Fun palette from TooFaced and HSN.

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If you have no idea what this set is, please refer to my first post (TooFaced SugarPlum Fairy Makeup Set) to get an idea of what this set is and where to buy it. I was so excited for this set, and I am sure y’all are wondering if it lived up to the hype. This set included the Sugar Plum Fun palette, a full-sized 24-hour Shadow Insurance eyeshadow primer, a full-sized Better than Sex Mascara, and a full-size Lip Creme in the shade Sugar Fairy.

Of course the packaging is to die for with the foiled writing and the beautiful fairy design! Upon opening the package, I was met with the palette and the three full-sized extras! I took out the palette and immediately looked at the back to the cute description on the back of the palette. Click the images to enlarge them and read what it says.

Inside of the palette I found the beautiful decor around the large mirror (which is amazing!). Then there are four quadrants of different eyeshadows that are curated to be worn together! The colors are pretty neutral minus a few glitters and the dark plum color. I swatched all of the colors below without using the 24-hour Shadow Insurance eyeshadow primer that came with the set. I was disappointed that a lot of the pretty matte shades are so powdery that without a primer they are almost not noticeable to the eye. The first image includes the top two rows, and the second image includes the last two.

Most of these eyeshadows are better applied wet and with a great eyeshadow primer or base on. I have found my favorite shades to be Metal Petal, Tutus and Tiaras, and Magic Fairy. They are the ones I reach for the most, and they give a better color payoff then some of the other shades. The 24-hour Eyeshadow Primer is good, but it doesn’t work as well as I hoped. I’ve found drug store eyeshadow primers to work just as well, if not better, than this one. But I will end up using the whole product because I am always using eyeshadow primer.

The matte lip creme in Sugar Fairy has to be the biggest disappointment in this set. I know with gift sets companies like to keep the color scheme neutral, however, this set is Nutcracker themed. And in the Nutcracker, there is no “Sugar Fairy”, the character is the “Sugar PLUM Fairy”. This formula for the lipstick does not sit well with the texture of my lips. Instead of applying smooth, it applies patchy and doesn’t make one cohesive color. It is also so creamy it smudges super easily. I wish they included a PLUM shade in a matte or semi-matte finish because it would make more sense with the set theme (**cough cough SUGAR PLUM cough cough**), and because the darker color is better for winter. This color is nice, but for something this light, the formula falls apart on my actual mouth. I am going to try to apply this lipstick using different lip primers and techniques and see if anything else works. But straight on the mouth, this lipstick is not great.

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As a whole, I would give this set a 3 out of 5 star rating (0 being the worst and 5 being the best). It is ok for a gift set, and for the price (I paid their special doorbuster price of $49 plus free shipping) it is definitely worth buying and checking out for yourself. Some of the shadows require a bit finessing to get them to apply evenly and smooth, and the lipstick may work better with your lip texture than it does with mine.

Nonetheless, if you’re a sucker for packaging and you love dance/ballet/theNutcracker you will be over-joyed to receive this set. It is so fun, and is very festive for the holiday season. This set is also a wonderful gift idea for the beauty-lover in your life, or for someone who is just starting to play with makeup and eyeshadow who wants a neutral set to experiment with. I will continue to play with it, and definitely use it for my Nutcracker performances this weekend! ❤ I will be posting looks and Nutcracker photos on my Instagram, so make sure to follow me @julias_leaps_of_faith!

I hope you enjoyed this in-depth review and have fun playing with your holiday makeup!

Until next time, Happy Nutcracker season!

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