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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I’m Looking for A Sleeping Mask

I’m Looking for A Sleeping Mask

I feel like this has been the longest winter ever, which is weird because the weather hasn’t been THAT bad. Maybe it’s because it’s still January, or maybe it’s just because of who I am, but I’ve been feeling like I need to invest in a nighttime sleeping mask.

This summer, right before my wedding, I tried out a sample and I loved the results. Recently, I’ve had a new sample I’ve been milking every last ounce out of. Now I’m ready for suggestions. I’ve tried just two, and I’m ready to get more opinions. Is this something I should be using regularly? What qualifies as regularly? What do you use?

The sample I’ve been using is Laneige’s Water Sleeping Mask. From my experiences I love it. It’s a gel, and it feels like the embodiment of relaxation in a moisturizer. The packet says to apply the product 1-2 times a week, and I’ve been using it for about three weeks (like I said, I’ve been milking it). This sleeping mask won a Best of Beauty Award from Allure, comes in at only $25, and receives overwhelmingly positive reviews from all its users (not just me).

One of my favorite beauty writers/editors, Sable Yong, also sings Laneige’s praises in her review of its sleeping mask. Her review also gives super helpful application tips. She says start thin and then layer. I wouldn’t know because I only apply a thin layer to stretch out this product that’s worth it’s weight in gold.

Does it get any better than this? I think it might not, but let me know if you know better. Until then, I’ll be loving the feeling of my refreshed and replenished skin after my weekly uses of Laneige’s water sleeping mask.

The Perfume Diaries: Pillowtalk Poet

The Perfume Diaries: Pillowtalk Poet

I never really understood the whole perfume craze. Most things smelled pretty and I would gladly wear whatever. I didn’t understand the idea of  signature scents, and perfume samples were my least favorite kind. However, that all changed once I got engaged.

It didn’t happen all at once though. In fact, I think it all happened about a month before my wedding. In June sometime, it finally occurred to me that I didn’t know what perfume I’d by wearing to my wedding. This didn’t feel like a big deal to me, but it seemed like a big deal to a lot of the other brides I talked to. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I might appreciate a pretty scent in the hot July summer in Tennessee.

After this realization, I decided to take some time to go smell different perfumes and figure out what I liked. I quickly found out I wasn’t into overly sweet scents. I narrowed down my choices and made a final decision for my wedding. Ultimately, I was happy I did. Plus, it marked the start of a new interest of mine. It turns out that I think perfume is actually kind of interesting (wow, I love personal growth).

Recently, I received a sample of Pillowtalk Poet by Pinrose. It came on a wipe which made for easy application. Sometimes samples are a bust, but this one wasn’t! I absolutely loved it. The smell was so simple, yet luxurious. It felt like the perfect balance. It was something that I could see (or smell) myself wearing everyday.

Pinrose describes this scent as living in the floral family with keynotes of clove, musk, and ambergris. The online reviews don’t lie: this scent is a winner. Coming in at $65, Pillowtalk Poet comes in at an affordable price in the perfume world (in my opinion).

What do you look for in perfumes? Any suggestions as I dig into this new interest?

My Favorite Face Mask (From Hawaii)

My Favorite Face Mask (From Hawaii)

Wow, can time fly! It feels like just a little bit ago I was returning from my honeymoon, and then I looked up and a month of the school year flew by.

Thinking about my honeymoon made me remember this great face mask that I picked up in Hawaii. I waited to try it until I was back home and my sister was visiting. It made for great sister bonding.

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When Eric and I were in Hawaii we did so many cool things that absolutely reminded us of how great God’s creation is, and it was so worth it; however, I also made Eric take me to a local makeup boutique which was also totally worth it.

The boutique introduced me to some Hawaiian brands. This is when I discovered Leahlani Skincare. At the boutique I picked up Leahlani’s Meli Glow Illuminating Mask.

I absolutely loved it. My sister liked the smell and color, but didn’t love that it was sticky (it has honey in it). Ultimately, we both loved how it made our skin feel and look  afterwards.

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I wish I had a picture with her too, but she was very excited and impatient about the whole face mask process!

Leahlani claims that the mask “works at the molecular level to increase blood circulation and oxygenation.” I’m not a scientist, but I can tell you that my skin looked and felt heavenly. The site also says that this mask is good for all skin types but especially for dry or combination skin (that’s me!). I also love that it’s full of vitamins, enzymes, oils, and clays.

My only complaint: it drips off your face while you wait. Maybe I put it on too think, but I do think it is probably due to the mask’s consistency. Was this a deal breaker for me? No, not at all. I’d just be careful with what clothes I was wearing, furniture I was sitting on, etc. Next time I’m going to try applying a thinner layer.

Overall, at $48 I think the product is well worth the cost. Plus, I can’t lie: this product will always remind me of my honeymoon; therefore, it’ll always have sentimental value.

3 Skincare Products To Help You Relax At The Start Of The School Year

3 Skincare Products To Help You Relax At The Start Of The School Year

I have written previously about how skincare has become a form of self care for me. Well today’s post is dedicated to even more self care items.

This week marked my first regular work week of the school year. My students come next week. I’m so excited for the start of the school year and also for the start of my second full year of teaching. I love the new school I’m at. The entire school is full of absolute gems of staff members, but I especially love my English department. I’m pretty sure it is full of angels.

Nevertheless, the beginning of the school year also marks a time of exhaustion and stress for teachers and students alike. A lot is starting up again, but it’s important for us all to take time for ourselves. These are things that will help me relax, and they might help you too, but if they don’t reflect on what helps you relax!

1. Stress Relief Lotion $13

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I love this lotion. I’ve been using it for years, and I’ll be keeping it by my desk at work. I love skin care so putting on lotion is already fun for me, but this is also eucalyptus and spearmint scented. Wow, what a nice, relaxing scent. It’s a great, tiny break from your otherwise busy day.

2. Pumpkin Sleeping Pack $20

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You know how you feel on December 31st? That weird mix of anticipation and melancholy? That’s how I feel at the start of a school year. But not this year. This year I decided I’m leaning into fall hard. I’m so excited for falling leaves, pumpkins, hay rack rides, and everything else. I also know that my skin is already showing the wear of early mornings, long days, and late nights so it’s going to need some TLC. I love that this mask will perk up my skin while I sleep and help me embrace the upcoming change in seasons.

3. Foot Cream (and Exfoliation) $27

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Massages of any kind help me relax, and I bet they help you too. Massages are even better if you have someone else who can help you with them, but even if you don’t, you can massage your own feet! It’ll release so much tension! Plus, with this set you can exfoliate your feet after you’re done loosening up those ankles.

 

Ok, so those are my relaxation skincare products! How do you relax? Do you have any go-to relaxation products? Let me know!

 

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My Favorite Matte Lipstick

My Favorite Matte Lipstick

In the past, I told you how my sweet husband gave me his Sephora Birthday Gift. Well, today I’m going to tell you about my Sephora Birthday Gift.

This year, I chose the Tarte Birthday Gift, complete with blush and matte lip paint. Truth be told, I haven’t tried the blush yet. I lay off a lot of my makeup layers in the summer, and when I do dip into my blush, I tend to stick with my go-to. So I guess here’s to fall and getting to try new blush.

The blush comes in the shade Paaarty and the lip paint comes in the shade of Birthday Suit (very purpose appropriate names, am I right?!). Unfortunately, Birthday Suit is currently out of stock at Sephora, but you can still find it at Ulta. If you’re truly loyal to Sephora you can sign up to receive an email when it’s back in-stock.

The blush feels a little expensive to me at $29 for a full size. However, I’m sure it lasts awhile, and honestly, since I rarely wear blush, I also rarely buy it which means I don’t have the best understanding of the blush market. I do think that if I’m going to buy this blush ever, I’m going to have to really like the sample (I’ll update you all in the fall).

The matte lip paint comes in at $20 full size. This is a pretty average price for a lip product of this quality, but it’s still quite a bit more than an average, drugstore lipstick. So is it worth it?

For me, it’s one hundred percent worth it! Unlike most of my other matte lipsticks, this one isn’t super drying and actually feels like it stays creamy (the product description describes the feeling as velvety and I agree with this and can totally get behind it). It also stays put extremely well, and let me tell you, I couldn’t have received a better color shade! I absolutely love the way this shade looks on me. It’s pretty neutral, and only a step darker than my nude lips, but the full-coverage formula keeps my lips standing out and looking great. I also love it’s incredibly light, but pleasant scent.

Overall thoughts? I was pleasantly surprised with the lip paint, like to the point where I thought that this might be the lipstick that converts me to a daily lipstick wearer. It seems so perfect for so many different occasions, and I truly love its versatility. It also has me super excited to try the blush. I’m hoping it’s as good as the lip paint!

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