Fall Things

Fall Things

I love summer and I’m always sad to see it go, but when fall arrives, I’m reminded just how much of a fall person I am. It’s like I finally come alive again. Whenever October rolls around, I’m reminded of the Anne of Green Gables quote: “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” And it’s true. It’s a month where you can truly feel the earth change, and we’re caught in this limbo between the growing season and the season of rest. We get pumpkins and apples and sweaters and jackets and booties. And we get moody lighting.

Things that are less fun about the coming season: coldness, allergies, colds and other illnesses, loss of sunlight, and dry skin. But we’re not going to focus on those things – unless we’re focusing on them to solely combat them.

So what am I looking forward to this coming season? Well, cooking out of Chrissy Teigen’s new cookbook Cravings 2. My husband got it for me as a sweet surprise gift, and I haven’t had time to cook out of it yet, but I have already poured over every page. Simply put, I’m dying to delve in.

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Also, her new Target collection of cookware? I can’t wait to acquire some it. Chrissy’s color scheme already fits the colors of my kitchen and my aesthetic taste in general.

On another note, if you remember my ChloSoup blueberry pie earrings from earlier this year, you’ll want to know that I got a fall update. That’s right, I got myself a pair of pumpkin pie earrings from ChloSoup and they don’t disappoint. I’ve already worn them so much and I’ve received a ton of compliments.

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But, I mean, how could you not compliment them? They’re adorable. The creator of the brand has tons of adorable products and just released a Halloween line, along with some general fall and Thanksgiving products.

What am I on the lookout for? Eye products. Guys, my eyes are killing me they’re so puffy and wrinkly, and I’m glad I have big eyes, but I need to be able to smile without losing my eyes in pools of skin, which is what I feel like is happening now. I’m sure my allergies don’t help, and I’m sure hydrating will also help. But if you have any tips, tricks, or products that you love and recommend please let me know. I will be indebted to you forever if I can smile big again.

Finally, I want to leave you with something that I am extremely thankful for right now: dahlias. It’s getting cold and blustery, but guess what, my husband picked these pretty things out of my garden just the other day. I’m thankful for God creating things that grow in periods of cold and darkness, a reminder that we too can grow in difficult periods.

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Oh, and one final, final thing – Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are expecting a baby?! I’m so extremely excited and happy for them, and I just want Meghan to have a safe and joyful pregnancy. Congrats to those two love birds.

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The Time I Caught My Hair On Fire (Making Cards)

The Time I Caught My Hair On Fire (Making Cards)

Wow, it’s already September. No, it’s already the end of September. I can’t believe how quickly this month has gone. Back in August, a Windows update crashed my computer. Eric and I took it to a professional to restore, but the guy couldn’t save any of my word files. I’m devastated to say the least. And no, I didn’t have them backed up. And yes, I’ve learned my lesson and will back things up from now on.

Regardless of what I’ve learned, this experience hurts. Years of writing have disappeared and this is a hard experience. What I’ve realized, though, is that life is full of hard experiences, and usually not not only does God allow me to learn through these experiences, but also He allows to find humor in them. I know it’ll be awhile until I can find something to laugh about through this experience, but until then, I’m going to share another experience that I learned to laugh about.

This story takes place in February of this year, just a handful of months ago. I decided that I really wanted to take the time to hand make and mail Galentine’s Day cards to all the ladies closest to me. Maintaining strong friendships in adulthood requires intentionality, and this is one thing I wanted to be thoughtful and intentional about.

February was also a rough month for me in general. I was fighting off a sinus infection that I had acquired in January, which had sent me to an urgent care one night and just wouldn’t seem to go away. I was also trying to find a balance between my personal life and my professional life (there are always more papers to grade). I felt like I never could get the things done that I most wanted to accomplish. This led to me staying up late one night, desperately trying to finish the cards in time to get them in the mail so they would arrive on Galentine’s Day.

My husband had fallen asleep on the couch. All of the cards were finished and dried. The envelopes were addressed and stamped. All I had left to do was to put the cards in the envelopes and seal them with a red wax stamp.

I practiced with the wax stamps before, but I was excited because this was the first time I had a real reason to use it. After finishing stuffing the cards into their rightful envelopes, I lit the wick in the wax. One at a time, I balanced the stick of wax over each envelope until a spattering of wax drops formed a nice circle. Then, I would press the stamp firmly into the hot wax, waiting a few moments for the wax to cool and take its shape as a seal.

The cards looked beautiful. I was proud of my effort and staying up late paid off. After I finished the last seal on the last card, I sat up and looked at my short wax stick. It was in my hand the whole time, but I only noticed now that the flame had overtaken the wick and had now started the actual wax on fire too.

Calmly, I attempted to gently blow out the flaming wax stick. But my gentle blow didn’t work and now a small panic was setting in. So I tried to keep it together and reasoned that I just needed to blow harder (I felt very much like the big bad wolf hunting down the three little pigs). This time, my attempt did in fact put out the fire on the wax stick, but it also sent little piles of flaming wax straight into my hair. I’m lucky that it was just the front band area of my hair. I’m lucky that the wax didn’t fly into our carpet or our curtains.

At this point,with my hair on fire, I needed to make a decision and make it quickly. First, I tried calling for my husband, but my panicked screams didn’t wake him. It’s probably good that he didn’t wake up. Can you imagine waking up to your significant other’s hair on fire?

Next, I thought about making a run for the kitchen or bathroom, where I could use a towel to pat out the fire or stick my head under the sink. However, I decided not to, afraid that moving would give the fire access to more oxygen, allowing it to grow bigger.

Now, as the smell of burnt hair filled the air, I only had one option left. I pulled sleeves of my sweatshirt down over my hands and started patting my head vigorously. Before long, I could no longer feel any heat. I got up and checked the damage in the mirror. I couldn’t tell where it had happened. My hair didn’t look any differently, but it did smell terribly. I washed my hair in the sink, managing to get most of the smell out.

Finally, I woke my husband. I told him what happened. His groggy eyes filled with shock. “Are you ok?” he asked. I was fine and I told him I was, but it was scary for a little while. The whole thing probably took seconds but it felt like half an hour. I apologized for the smell. Eric apologized for not waking up to my yells. No one was mad. We were both just glad that everyone was safe, it was over and we could both go to sleep.

That night it was scary, but even by the next morning I was starting to see the humor in the situation. Now, months later, I see it as pure comedy. I mean, I can literally picture Mindy Kaling doing the same thing in a movie scene. I’m thankful that I’ve been given the ability to find the humor in almost every situation, and now I’m just waiting to find it in the crashing of my computer.

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Summer Is Ending, But The Summer Feeling Doesn’t Have To

Summer Is Ending, But The Summer Feeling Doesn’t Have To

It’s officially August, which means that summer is sizzling to its end. For some people, that means heading back to school. For others, it means ending their vacations, or it possibly means sending their kids back to school. For me, it means returning to school as an educator.

Like everyone else with a career, my summers aren’t spent free of work. I’ve spent a lot of time working on licensure and professional development opportunities. Regardless of my work this summer, these next couple months usher me into a period of constant work, as I prepare and begin this coming school year. One thing that I’ve learned from being a teacher is that it can be really hard to balance your time (I have no clue how so many of my coworkers and friends with kids handle it). And I know, that as true as this is for me, it is also true for others, especially as we leave the summer and it’s time of adventuring and relaxation.

Through my time as a teacher, I’ve learned to deeply value intentional “me” time, as well as surrounding myself with things that help me relax or bring about intentional relaxing practices. If I’m honest, often when I’m busy and stressed, I’m not in the mindset to find something that will help me relax. Or sometimes my husband sees that I’m stressed and wants to help me relax. Because of this, I’ve developed an Amazon wishlist. It’s an easy go-to, and I’m not the only one who thinks having a wishlist on hand is a good idea.

Today, I’m going to share a few items off my wishlist that I think you might enjoy, that might help you relax as well.

1. Meaningful Artwork

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My sister made this cute little pot for me and it’s just the best thing! Sorry, there’s no link for this one! But I truly believe that art (and in this case pottery) can bring people so much joy. I love looking at and it’s lovely aesthetics. Blues are my favorite, and this one means even more because my sister made it.

2. Ban.do Work It Out Water Bottle

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I know I struggle to stay hydrated once I start working if I don’t actively carry a water bottle around with me. Real story: I had a few students last year who used to scold me for not drinking enough fluids. So I’m working on it, and the inspirational words will help me move forward in my goals (both about hydration and otherwise).

3. Cravings: Hungry For More, By Chrissy Tiegen

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So Chrissy’s latest cookbook isn’t out yet, and it won’t be until September, but I have this on my preorder list because I know it’s going to be great. I already love cooking all of the recipes from her first book, and I’m not the only one who loves them! All my friends and family, who I cook for, love them too. Chrissy is the person who taught me to enjoy cooking, to not let it stress me out, and instead take my time and find pleasure in the process. That reason alone has made me a lifetime supporter of her cookbooks.

4. Farmacy Natural Facemasks

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If you don’t know my love of skincare, then obviously you don’t know me and haven’t read much of my writing. Seriously, I’ve already blogged about how  important skincare is to me multiple times. But, I’m really eager to try this collection Farmacy facemasks. I love Farmacy as a brand. They use natural, clean ingredients, which is important to me. I also love that this selection includes soothing, brightening, and deep moisture (all things my skin will definitely need during the school year).

5. Be You Boxed Calendar

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I’ve always loved quotes, and I have always felt inspired by other people’s words. A calendar like this would is a great addition to a work desk, something to find words of wisdom in every day.

6. IGK Rich Kid Coconut Oil Gel

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I’m really bad about regularly styling my hair on a regular basis once I start my regular 7:30 to 3:30 hours. I got this hair product as a sample, and I instantly loved it. I have naturally wavy to curly hair patterns, and a great product like this can make the biggest difference when it comes to getting the most out of every minute in my morning.

 

So that’s it! If you want to check out my list, you can see the rest of it here. I hope that as your summer comes to an end, you find ways to milk every ounce of adventure and relaxation out of it, and even more, I hope that you can find a way to extend the spirit of summer throughout the rest of 2018!

 

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Things I Love

Things I Love

Loyal readers, thank you for your patience. Eric and I have been undergoing some major life changes (hello, home ownership), and so blogging has taken a back seat to packing, and cleaning, and moving. Luckily, I need a break from unpacking and there’s nowhere I’d rather be than at my blog. Unfortunately for me, because I’ve been so busy, taking pictures to upload to my blog has also fallen to the wayside. I wish I was on top of things enough to remember to do everything, but I know that’s just not possible. I’m doing the best I can, and I’m happy with what I AM accomplishing.

This post is going to be in list format. It will most likely be short and sweet. I hope you’ll read it and you’ll love it, and it’ll be helpful to you. Because I feel like so much has happened in the time that I’ve been gone, I’m going to try to catch you up on my favorite recent home, beauty, health, etc. finds. Without further ado . . .

The Things I’ve Been Loving Recently:

Glossier Balm Dot Com – Birthday – $12

 

While Balm Dot Com comes in a wonderful assortment of flavors, the one I ordered is Birthday. It smells and tastes like cake, and it’s shimmery. I love it. There’s really no tint, just shimmer, so if you’re looking for something with some color this isn’t for you. Some reviews said that the glittery tube started rubbing off in people’s purses and bags, and I have found this to be the case, but it really doesn’t bother me. The inside of my bags aren’t as neat as they should be anyway, and I don’t buy beauty products mainly for their packaging so this still works for me. It’s definitely not a big enough downside to keep me from ordering it. Other people have found that the cost feels hefty for essentially a tube of Vaseline. I personally think the price is fair, but I also love Fresh’s $24 Lip Treatment, which makes Balm Dot Com significantly cheaper for me. I will say that I mostly use Balm Dot Com for moisturizing, but it isn’t great for outdoor summer use because it doesn’t have any SPF. Balm Dot Com is great at moisturizing my lips and I love that, but I need some SPF protection too!

Rachel Allene Candle Collab with Candelles

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I just checked Rachel’s shop and I don’t see any candles listed there currently, but if she does another collaboration in the future with Candelles, you can be sure I’ll be participating. I ordered one of her mystery boxes earlier this year, and I got a Be Mine Candle in my box when it arrived. It was in one of my favorite scents, Fig and Sugar (you can order a non-collab version of the scent in that link), and it’s cute as pie (even though you can’t get one of Rachel’s candles, you should totally check out her shop for lots of other cute things like this pin, this tank top, or this meal planner). I’ve been burning it constantly in the new house (because the previous home owners left it kind of dirty and smelly, but that’s another story for another day). The point is that this candle has brought pretty smells into my house and made me happy.

Binny’s Coconut Butter – Coffee Macaroon – $13.45

 

For year’s I’ve been making a conscience effort to be thoughtful and careful about what I put on my face and the rest of my body. I wrote about how I came to that point here. I am lucky to grow up in a family where my mom often made homemade dinners using home grown ingredients. I’m even luckier to get free, healthily grown beef (free of hormones and additives) as a Christmas present every year from my parents. But recently, I’ve found that I’m choosing convenience over health when it comes to what I put into my body. And I want to make sure I’m being thoughtful in regards to the meals that I prepare for my husband and I. That being said, my husband is already very against food groups like vegetables but insists he’ll eat anything as long as it tastes good. So one of my first “healthy” purchases was Binny’s Coconut Butter in the Coffee Macaroon flavor. It’s delicious. I love the texture and the taste. It’s filling, and I love the simple ingredients that are in it. It makes me feel so much better about putting it in my body! I’m eager to try the brand’s other flavors too!

Ban.do Sunblock Phone Case – $32

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I’ve needed a new phone case for awhile, and I’ve been obsessed with Ban.do for awhile, so buying a phone case from them seemed like a natural and easy fit. Especially when I found out that they have a sunblock phone case. Guys, I’m a believer in sunscreen. You can hardly get through any conversations with me regarding the outdoors or summer without me mentioning it. This phone case allows me to live my truth. But, if sunblock isn’t your thing, they also have lots of other cute styles including coffee cups, cassette tapes, and floral cases.

Bamboo Toothbrushes – GoWoo – $12.89

 

Along with trying to cover and fill myself with healthy things, I’ve also spent the last couple years trying to make changes to help the environment. I believe that I am a steward of the earth, and I know that I have not been doing enough of my part. One simple and small change I can make is switching over to bamboo toothbrushes. Our normal, plastic toothbrushes never disappear. Every toothbrush I’ve ever used is sitting in a landfill somewhere, and that makes me incredibly sad. One of the biggest problems I’ve faced in being more environmentally conscious is the high prices that come with buying things that are good for the earth. That’s not the case with bamboo toothbrushes. They are biodegradable and they are affordable. The link above is for a four pack. Isn’t that exciting?! There’s lot’s of brands out there, but this was a quick and affordable option for me. I’m also looking into switching to stasher bags. If you have any other affordable earth-friendly switches for me, please let me know!

 

Alright, y’all, that’s all I have for now. If you have things that you’ve been loving, please let me know, because I’d love to hear from you. If you try out any of the things that I wrote about above, let me know what you think!

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Joanna Gaines’s Lemon Bars

Joanna Gaines’s Lemon Bars

One of my favorite desserts of all time is Lemon Bars. I’ve loved them for as long as I can remember, but they especially gained significance for me during my freshman year of college. My mom shipped a care package to me around Valentine’s Day, and guess what?! The package contained lemon bars. I’m a sucker for thoughtful gifts and this one was one of the most thoughtful. I wasn’t expecting any kind of gift at all, and when I received a mail slip my heart exploded in happiness.

When I found out Joanna Gaines was publishing a cookbook, Magnolia Table, I knew I wanted a copy. Joanna does so many things well, and her passions for her business and family always inspire me. She puts her family and faith first and everything else follows. I’ve read the Gaines’ previous books, and they always provided me with great perspective. For instance, in this season of my life, I’ve really been struggling with focusing on the present. Joanna wrote about the importance of finding happiness in each season of life, and she even spoke about her own struggles.

So, when the cookbook arrived at my doorstep, I eagerly paged through it (I haven’t even had a chance to read it all yet, but I’m so excited to get to it). However, even though I haven’t had the chance to read all of it, I did find the lemon bar recipe, and I couldn’t resist. I had to make them right away.

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Isn’t the picture from Joanna’s cookbook gorgeous? One of the things I loved most about this recipe is how simple it is. It was easy to make and didn’t take a thousand ingredients. I’m so used to getting a cookbook and finding a relatively separate dish made super complex, but Joanna doesn’t do that. Her recipe only takes seven ingredients, and I already had them all at home – no special runs to the grocery store necessary.

And no surprise, when I was done, the end product was perfection.

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I know, I know, it’s not a beautiful picture. It was dark and I had no natural lighting, but if you guys could only smell my kitchen! Also, I need to acquire a sifter. My powder sugar is embarrassingly clumpy. If you want to donate to my cooking cause (in the form of a sifter), you can click this link here. I wanted to eat them immediately, so it was torture to wait for them to cool. However, I persevered and it was so worth it.

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Yum, so good, right? Snacking on these is a treat. So what’s my take on Joanna’s cookbook? Well, I’m only one recipe in, but my review is in: the cookbook is great. It’s thought-filled, practical, and tasty. I can’t wait to try all the recipes!

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The Earrings I’m In Love With

The Earrings I’m In Love With

The other day I was scrolling through Twitter and happened across a post that caught my attention. It had been retweeted by one of the accounts I followed, but the post itself wasn’t from someone I followed. It was another one of those, “please retweet” posts. I looked, and it was from an artist. Most of the time I see posts like this, the art is incredible but not really of interest to me. I’m not in a stage in my life where I need to commission many portraits. However, this post wasn’t about portraits; it was about jewelry. Food inspired jewelry.

Like most humans, I love food. A lot of the images the post showed were of fruit (and they’re totally cute), but I was curious to see if the creator had a wider variety, so I visited the website listed in her bio. There, I found a wonderful array of food inspired earrings, and I quickly happened upon the dessert section. For those of you who don’t know, I’m a long time lover of desserts. Even better, this artist has pie earrings. Did you hear me? Pie. I love pie. I’m obsessed. I’ve even written about my love of pie before.

Anyway, I instantly fell in love, and now I’m plotting my purchase of these earrings. This is the picture from her website:

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Are they not the cutest? But don’t worry. If pie isn’t your thing, the artist also makes earrings that look like pizza, avocados, donuts, bacon, and more.

Even better, if you love the looks of these earrings as much as I do, but you don’t have your ears pierced, have no fear. After the artist’s post took off, she took the feedback interested customers gave her and said she’d soon be producing other types of jewelry in the too! So keep your eyes open for clip-on earrings, bracelets, and necklaces!

The only downside to these cute-as-pie pieces? At $20 a piece, the jewelry isn’t priced horribly, but since the artist lives Grand Cayman shipping can take awhile and be expensive if you want to be able to track your shipment. Is that a deal breaker for me? Definitely not.

Have any questions? Reach out the artist on Twitter. She seems super friendly and she’s super on top of things!

My Favorite Wedding Dancing Shoes

My Favorite Wedding Dancing Shoes

I love shoes. Honestly, I think it’s the first thing that I bought for my wedding, and in the end, I purchased two pairs of shoes for my wedding. I wore a pretty pair of ivory silk heels for my wedding, and sparkly rose gold Kate Spade Keds for the reception. Could I have made it through the reception with heels? Yes, probably. But honestly, if you can justify buying two pairs of shoes, then why not do it? Also, the reception was way more fun in Keds.

Picking my wedding shoes was easy. If you ask my mom, she’ll tell you I’ve always been in love with “unpractical” shoes. I was in love with my four inch heels, and they made it a lot easier to kiss my husband who’s a whole foot taller than me. Luckily for me, I’m decent at walking in heels. Decent enough to confidently walk down stone stairs and through a grass yard to the place of my ceremony. But, I’m not good enough to comfortably rock four inch heels while dancing for hours on end, which is why I knew I needed to get sneakers. My sneakers were also an easy choice because I’ve loved Keds for as long as I can remember. I also wanted to add color, and I’m obsesses with soft tones like blush. Much like my lifelong obsessions with unpractical shoes, I’ve also had a lifelong love of sparkly things, and so my final decision was simple. Just like that I had both pairs of my wedding shoes.

Of course, as we enter the start of a new wedding season, I can’t help but get lost in the new wedding shoe options, particularly those best suited for receptions. Here’s my most current round up:

Rifle Paper Co. Queen Anne Sneaker x Keds $60

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You can get these beauties in white or black, and while I personally would feel way more comfortable rocking the white and gold, I can imagine the bride with the cool vibe style who would totally rock the black style.

 

Rifle Paper Co. Champion Floral Print Sneaker $60

Or

Rifle Paper Co. Anchor Lively Floral Slip-On Sneaker $70

 

I’m seeing how long I can hold out before I purchase these pretty blue ones! These Keds and Rifle Paper Co. team up are perfect for the boho bride. You can choose to go more neutral or add a pop of color. I’m seriously in love. Think of all the miles you’ll get with these shoes after the wedding!

NIKE LUNAREPIC LOW FLYKNIT 2 $140

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Are running shoes more your thing? Then, maybe you’ll love these metallic magic-looking shoes from Nike. Nike’s website says they were created to help you tackle your longest distances, but I bet they’d also be good at helping you tackle your most important day. These beauties come in many colors so you can match them to your wedding; however, I favor this Sunset Glow shade.

 

What shoes are you planning dancing the night away in? Not a sneaker bride? Any sneakers I missed that you have to have for your special day? Let me know in the comments below what you’ll be rocking!