An Ode To Friends

An Ode To Friends

This week marked my first week back in the school building and my first full week at my new job. My students don’t show up until this coming week, but it’s enough to say that there’s been a lot of change in my life lately. Good change, but change nevertheless. And as we all know, change can be stressful (some stress is good, but stress nonetheless).

I could go on about all the changes, but instead I want to focus on the things that have remained the same. These things have been my calms in the storm of life. They have helped me to recenter myself and to remain centered. These things are my friends.

Today, I have been messaging my childhood friend about life. We were talking jobs and perceptions, and I had to settle myself down. I basically said, “I don’t understand why people can’t admit that just about everyone works hard. It seems silly to think that you work harder than everyone else.” This was not meant toward my friend or anyone specifically (it’s not a subtweet y’all). It was just a generalized response in our conversation about work. My friend sweetly (paraphrased) replied, “People put too much stock in their jobs and find their identity there, which partly makes sense, but we need to balance our identities better.”

Yes ma’am.

Wow, what a reaffirming conversation.

It’s nice that at the end of a long and tiring (but ultimately wonderful) week, I have someone to talk to that I’ve known since I was five.

I’ve known this girl since kindergarten, and this summer she was in my wedding *cue the tears*. We did prom together. We did college apart, but we made sure we visited each other. She’s the only person I’ve ever imagined doing life with other than Eric, and I know that I’ll know her longer.

 

Anyway, friends make life better, even already awesome lives. And maybe we should take more stock in the relationships we build than in our jobs, just saying.

 

PS – I’m really excited about my new job. Technically, it’s the same job title I’ve had before, but it’s in a new place with new people, and I’m so excited to build some new relationships with these incredibly awesome humans.

 

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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 Wedding Photos

My Wedding Photos

I know I missed Wednesday, and I’m sorry. It’s just that I’m settling back into normal life. My job is about to start and I’m trying to get in precious hang time with my family. I owe you all. I owe you so much. Thank you darling readers for sticking it out. I know some of you have patiently been waiting for more wedding photos so for all of you who aren’t family and haven’t already seen this link, here’s the link to my wedding photographer’s blog.

http://www.jessicaleephotographicart.com/wedding-photography/anna-eric-enchanted-valley-barn/

My photographer did a beautiful job. I still will do a better, more comprehensive wedding post in the future, and by then you all will be tired and done with my whole wedding (but not me, not ever!).

Her blog perfectly captures the beauty of the venue and so many of the little details of the wedding. I loved planning my wedding. I was the brain power behind it all. I had no planner, but I did have lots of help! If you have any questions, please ask and I’ll answer.

I just ordered my thank yous yesterday and I can’t wait to get them here and get them out.

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My Wedding Lipstick And How I Found My Perfect Color

My Wedding Lipstick And How I Found My Perfect Color

Hello everyone! I’m so glad to be back writing to you. Don’t get me wrong, my wedding and honeymoon were a blast, but if there was one thing I looked forward to after my wedding, it was getting back to my writing.

I owe you all an in-depth wedding post, but guys, I just got back and I am not organized enough for that right now. So instead, I’m going to talk about my wedding lipstick, plus you’ll get a sneak peek of my wedding photos.

For starters, you should know that early into planning my wedding (we had about a year and a half engagement) I decided I would do my own wedding makeup. In the wedding world this is apparently a controversial decision, but I did this because 1. I wanted good coverage, but I didn’t want my freckles to be covered and since I had a destination wedding there  couldn’t be a makeup trial. 2. I feel comfortable with makeup and have lots of experience. 3. I already buy lots of high quality, long-lasting makeup so I didn’t have to worry about buying a ton of new makeup.

As far as my decision goes, I was also nervous about a couple things: 1. I don’t wear lipstick all the time so I needed to spend some time finding the perfect lip color for my wedding day and 2. The darn false eyelashes.

Luckily, the lipstick came through, and I’ll do another post about my full wedding makeup in the future, but the false eyelashes were stressful.

So let’s dive into my lipstick journey:

About a month out from my wedding, I really wanted to start experimenting with finding the perfect color. I waited until that late in the game because my skin tone changes drastically in the summer once my freckles come into their full glory. One day, after a run with Eric, I had him drive me to Macy’s so I could try on some lip colors at the MAC counter.

I knew from spending countless hours on the web that I wanted a berry colored lip, but not too dark to fit perfectly with my mid-summer wedding. I also knew that although I love the matte look, I was something shiny for my wedding. So that’s where I started at the MAC counter. I ended up walking out with lip liner in Soar and a satin lipstick in Captive (technically a plum).

My face was a little rosy from my run still,  but I thought the color was just what I was looking for.

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Later, I did a full trial of wedding makeup with split reviews from my family when I sent pictures. A couple of sisters thought the lipstick was too dark, a couple of my sisters and my mom thought it looked good.

After that, I started looking at more wedding makeup looks and watching wedding makeup videos. A lot of ladies were rocking nude lips so I decided to experiment a little with that so I headed to Ulta. After lots of help and testing out about fifteen colors, I walked out with two more lipsticks: a BARE MINERALS Gen Nude Radiant Lipstick in Heaven and an Urban Decay Vice Lipstick Sheer Liar.

I couldn’t decide which of these I liked better. I kept going back between the two. I tested the Bare Minerals first and I loved the color, but it seemed so light.

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I’ve read so much on wedding makeup that I knew that you were supposed to wear a stronger color so that I would show up better in pictures (cameras take some of the color off apparently). This basically means that you need to find a color that will look good both in person and in pictures. I was convinced Heaven would show up well so I decided I’d wear Sheer Liar.

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I also realized I wanted a little more shine so I ended up purchasing Anastasia Beverly Hills Lipgloss in Sunset Strip. When I was looking at all the colors, at first I thought Sunset Strip would be way too orange, but when I tested it out, it was perfect.

Heading into my wedding, I thought I had everything figured out. I’d wear my Soar lip liner with my Sheer Liar lipstick and my Sunset Strip lipgloss. However, that all changed the day of my wedding.

When the time came to start getting ready, I started on my makeup while the hairstylists did my bridesmaids’ hair (Southern Belle Beauty, they’re fabulous). Then, right before I put on my final makeup touches, it was my turn for hair. The hairstylist put in my flower crown when she finished and I went back to finish my makeup. It was time to do my lips and staring in the mirror at the purple flowers paired with the peach ones, I knew I needed to go with that original light berry. So I lined my lips, patted on the MAC Captive and finished my lips off with the gloss.

The finished product was perfect. It was a long journey, but in the end, I found the perfect fit, and surprisingly it was all in the flowers.

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I learned a few things on my lipstick journey. 1. Inspiration pictures are great but lipstick looks different on each individual so sometimes you just have to experiment. 2. My lipstick didn’t just need to go with my skin tone and in the end, my flowers helped me make my final decision. 3. Doing your wedding makeup can be stressful so keep that in mind when making your decision (my decision was the right one for me).

PS- the amazing wedding photos are by Jessica Lee McIntosh ❤️

Kauai Is A Dream

Kauai Is A Dream

So our wedding was amazing (like seriously all of my dreams). Everyone loved it and we all had a blast. Oh, and all of my vendors were amazing, literally worth their weight in gold. Now we’re on our honeymoon on the lovely island of Kauai and I wanted to take a few minutes to share some pictures. Once we get home, I will try to update you with a more fully detailed post!

The first few pictures are the view from our hotel room. The hotel staff was sweet enough to upgrade our room to a pool/ocean view as a honeymoon gift. The next image is of a yogurt parfait that I ate for breakfast. It was so big and delicious. The last picture is of Eric on a boat cruise we took to get an up close look at the Na Pali Coast.

Since arriving, I’ve realized two things: 1. It’s perfect here and I never want to leave and 2. There’s no way I’m going to have taken as many pictures as I should/would like to. I know I’m going to get home and be like “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I didn’t get a picture of that!”

 

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Wedding Dress Update

Wedding Dress Update

Ok everyone, here is my formal wedding dress update.

A few posts back, I talked about how a seamstress botched my wedding dress. I was a mess. I found a seamstress near my new home who could get me in, but couldn’t until this past Monday, which was exactly one week out from my wedding (I know, I’m getting married on a Monday and it’s weird).

I brought it into this new seamstress after teaching summer school. I was hot and tired, and I was so worried that things wouldn’t work out with my dress. My new seamstress, Cheryl, was the sweetest woman on earth. When I tried on the ill-fitting dress, she assured me that it was a beautiful dress and that I made a great choice (and let me tell you dress regret is real and that was lovely to hear).

Throughout the entire process Cheryl kept reminding me that she would get my dress fixed and that my wedding would be perfect. Oh boy, that afternoon I really needed to hear those things.

After an initial inspection, Cheryl said she knew she could undo the botched alterations. What a relief! Then even better, Cheryl said that after seeing what she would need to do that if I wanted I could hang around and she could finish up my dress and let me take it home that day. Of course I decided to stay.

Taking out the previous work was simple but delicate work. Cheryl worked carefully as I sat nearby watching Property Brothers. Once Cheryl finished, I tried back on my dress and we both came to the same conclusion: given the time constraint, the dress fit best as it sat now. There wasn’t much left to be done in the remaining time.

But Cheryl didn’t stop there. No, since the top now sits a little loosely, she gave me a bunch of double sided tape so that I can secure my dress if I feel the need. It was such a sweet gesture, something completely extra and unnecessary for her to do.

So in the end, my dress isn’t perfect, but it looks beautiful on me again and I’m happy with it (which is what matters). I’m so thankful for Cheryl’s sweet soul. She was just who I needed.

I ordered some more items to help secure the dress if necessary, but I’m not worried about it, and I think it sits nicely enough already.

And in case you were wondering about my dear groom’s wardrobe, I spent the night pressing his suit since he decided the best thing to do with it while moving was to stuff it in the trunk of his car. Oh, how I love his sweet, silly spirit (but come on, right?).

As the end of my wedding week closely approaches and I go into my wedding and honeymoon, my blog might be a little more absent, but I will be updating my instagram so feel free to go follow me @imannaphillips to stay up-to-date with all my wedding activities.

Recipe Review: Chrissy Teigen’s Cheesy Jalapeño Tuna Casserole

Recipe Review: Chrissy Teigen’s Cheesy Jalapeño Tuna Casserole

I’m feeling so much better about my whole dress fiasco now, but I’ve got to admit that going home and cooking helped me get through it. There’s something cathartic about following simple instructions laid out before you.

Since moving, the apartment is short on ingredients so first I had to go shopping, and I really wasn’t in the mood for it. I sucked it up, went home, dug around for my cookbooks, found the recipe I was looking for, and headed out to brave the grocery store.

One of my favorite parts about this recipe is that I got to use my own jalapeños, and I knew Eric would be excited about it too. See, I love gardening and growing things so Eric and I decided we would plant our own vegetables this year, but since I have a knack for killing all things green, Eric does most of the actual care. I am so lucky to have him!

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Chrissy’s recipe is pretty simple. You grease a pan, you cook the noodles, you mix all of the cheese, tuna, peas, and seasoning together. You add the noodles. (For this part I chose to forgo the celery. I’m not a huge fan of the texture.) You pour it all in a pan and then cover the mixture with the chips and cheese topping.

So to start, while I waited for my noodles to cook, I chopped up my peppers. I picked a couple of the bigger ones that Eric had been telling me needed to be picked.

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Chrissy says to leave the seeds (all the extra heat is stored there) in if you’re feeling brave, and since Eric and I love spicy stuff, I took the dare. I’m so glad that I did. The hot kick is the best part.

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By the time I was done chopping, the noodles were ready so I drained them. Next, I took a shortcut, and I actually combined all of our ingredients, minus the celery, in the pan itself. We only have one mixing bowl right now, and I needed to use that for the topping, but as you can see from the picture, everything turned out just fine anyway.

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Yum, yum, yum! At this point, I was ready to dig in, but it actually gets better with the topping. The topping is a simple mixture of jalapeño chips and cheese. Chrissy says that she can’t stay away from the chips and now neither can I! Guys, if you like spicy things, you’ve got to try these!

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When the casserole comes out of the oven it looks gooey and crisp (all at the same time!), and it’s simply perfection. Is there anything better than cheese and chips?

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As I dished some up, I couldn’t help taking more pictures. It looks great on a plate with so many textures and colors.

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It tastes so good too! This is my second time making it. It definitely turned out better looking this time, but it tasted deliciously both times.

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I keep the leftover chips in the cupboard, and I will top off the leftovers with them to give each serving a fresh crunch (as long as I don’t eat them all first).

And there you have it! That’s my review of Chrissy’s recipe. It’s so easy and so yummy, if you love spicy food, you should definitely try it.

I’ve had Chrissy’s cookbook since it first came out, but I haven’t had too many opportunities to test some of the recipes out. The recipes I have tested out have all tasted wonderfully. And now, I’m going to get busy on testing more of them as I impatiently await her next cookbook (which she’s already working on!!!).