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

eucalyptus lotion

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

pumpkin sleeping pack

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

foot care

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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7 Vintage Etsy Finds For Back-To-School Season

I’m one of those annoying people who fully throws herself into every task she is handed. My parents hated it when I was younger because it would take me ten times longer to complete a task. My husband kindly calls this characteristic “passion.” No matter what you call it, I definitely went all-in with wedding planning, as was expected given my personality.

Eric was truly terrified that I wouldn’t know what to do with myself when the wedding was over, but honestly I don’t miss it that much. It was just one day out of my life, and I like the rest of my life too. In fact, I was happily surprised with how much time I had to throw back into all my other passions as we settled into married life (OK, I know it hasn’t been that long and we’re still settling, hence my varied posting here). Instead of picking cake table decor, I can devout myself to writing ten thousand words a day, or something of the like.

As I get ready to go back to school, I’ve decided to try my hardest to convince Eric that, just like students, teachers too must go back-to-school shopping. In the process of moving, Eric and I both decided to get rid of a lot of clothes we don’t where anymore. We’re still thinning things out, but it’s a good habit. And over the last four to five years, I’ve gained an interest in fashion. In the last year, I have turned that interest to sustainable fashion.

There’s a lot of different ways to go about sustainable fashion, but essentially you’re committing yourself and your closet to a more eco and people friendly life in terms of your clothing. One simple way to do this is to buy clothes that are used. Thrifting is nothing new, and it has even gone through a resurgence of popularity in recent years. And lucky for me, I already dig vintage style.

So for your back-to-school shopping pleasure, today I have compiled a list of 7 Etsy Vintage Finds for your “new” back-to-school wardrobe!

1. Denim Midi Dress, brownbagvintage, $36

denim vintage midi

Denim always feels like back-to-school must for me in the fall. And also don’t get me started on the comfort level with dresses. I also love this dress because no matter how silly your school’s dress codes are, this dress will easily make the cut. And it’s definitely professional enough for the teachers out there too!

2. Novelty Sweater, Raxclothing, $25

80s novelty sweater

If you ask me, there’s never a wrong time to invest in a sweater. I’d live in them year-round if I could (and I pretty much do). I like wearing comfy clothes to school, and when you can get something that is BOTH comfy and cute, you jump on it. Like this sweatshirt. People it’s on sale right now. Jump on it.

3. Oversized Denim Jacket, ShopExile, $59

oversized jacket

Denim is good. It will always be good. Oversized is also good. I love wearing oversized clothing if you haven’t noticed, and not only is it unbelievably comfy, but it also allows you to keep wearing it as it gets colder by simply layering underneath. There’s so much extra room you can just put on a few sweatshirts underneath! Whatever you wear underneath, I highly suggest wearing more than a bralette underneath it to school. Just a suggestion.

4. 90s Leather Backpack, LyndiLane, $70

vintage backpack

We all need bags to carry our school supplies in, especially us teachers. How many bags to you carry on a daily basis? Me? At least three. To this day, I love backpacks, and this one is super cute. Let me tell you, I’ll be a lot more excited bringing stuff to and from school if I get to do it in a pretty bag. Just make sure you can fit all your stuff in it!

5. 70s Gold Blouse, WearitWellvintage, $40

gold blouse

As a teacher, I’m constantly on the lookout for clothes that are nice, but not too nice. Does that sound weird? Maybe it is. The thing is, I want to look professional, but I also work with kids everyday so I don’t want it to be too stiff or formal. Also, I like having transitional clothes that I can wear to work or out on a date night with Eric. Trust me, Eric won’t take me on dates if I tell him I need to buy separate clothes just for dates. I think this shirt does a lovely job of covering all the bases. It’s nice, but not too formal. I can rock this at work or on a date. It’s the transitional piece we’re all on the lookout for.

6. Burgundy Skirt, SHOPPOMPOMVINTAGE, $36

burgundy skirt

I always tell myself I should try wearing colorful clothes, but then I don’t because it turns out that I like my clothes to match my coal of a heart (it’s a joke people). If there ever was a piece of clothes that could convince me to join team color, it would be this skirt. It’s a nice length (once again passing dress codes and professional codes all around). Also, look at those pockets. We all know if a skirt has pockets it already ten times better than all other skirts.

7. Blue Leather Huaraches, 1919vintage, $44

blue shoes

Of course, no back-to-school shopping trip is complete without a new pair of shoes. These huaraches have my heart because they seem like such great year-round shoes. Maybe not marching-through-the-snow winter. But I could still change out of my snow boots into these babies once I was safely inside. And let’s face it, these things are beautiful.

 

Ok, there’s my back-to-school Etsy finds that fit into my new sustainable fashion quest. What’s on your back-to-school list? Have any favorite Etsy or other sustainable fashion shops? Let me know!

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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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The Perfect Lip Scrub

Right before I left for my wedding and honeymoon, I made a last minute lip scrub purchase. I realized I needed one, but I was having a hard time finding one that looked like it was of decent quality for a decent price.

Lucky for me, it was also right around Amazon’s Prime Day. As I was madly searching the internet, I happened across the brand Hanalei. It’s products received strong reviews and the ingredients seemed nice and healthy (no swollen lip reactions!). They also had a sugar lip scrub.

I was even lucky enough to find the scrub on Amazon as part of Prime Day. Normally, the lip scrub costs $20, but since I found it on Prime Day I got it for $15 including shipping. In a couple short days, the lip scrub arrived and I got to test it out.

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I’m not super picky with my lip scrubs. I want them to make my lips softer and I don’t want to have an allergic reaction, all at a reasonable price. So I was very happy with Hanalei’s lip scrub. I hardly have to apply any. It works extremely well. It even has a sweet taste.

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My lips felt so soft after using it, and it helped my lipstick go on smoothly and look great for my wedding.

Overall, it was a win.

Bronzing Sunscreen (And A Story)

So this weekend, Eric and I took my youngest sister to a water park. Lot’s of fun ensued. We had a blast. And like all good people, who are deeply concerned with skincare, we reapplied sunscreen regularly. Like a lot. Especially to my little sister. There was no way that I was taking her back to my parents with a sunburn.

Luckily, this was no big deal because we had a bunch of sunscreen leftover from our honeymoon in Hawaii (I’m very pale so I stocked up). But all good things come to end. And so mid-way through one of our sunscreen applications, I finished off one of our spray sunscreens on my sister.

As I opened a new bottle and started spraying Eric, I noticed how the finish of the sunscreen looked so different than that of the other stuff. My sister and Eric are both much tanner than I am. I said something along the lines of, “Ooh, Eric, look how smoothly this goes on you. It sprays so evenly!”

Eric looked down in shock and shouted, “What’s in this stuff?”

That’s when I finally looked closer. The smooth finish was because the spray looked tinted, not it’s normal glossy finish. I told Eric to rub the sunscreen in, and after he did, he looked at his hand.

“Eew it’s sparkly,” he said, “and tinted, like makeup.”

I looked down at the bottle of sunscreen in my hand. And at that moment I came face-to-face with a truth that recently kept coming more apparent: I need to read product’s labels more thoroughly. That, or I guess you could argue, that product’s needed to keep their labels more simplistic. Either or really.

What I bought was Pacifica Coconut Probiotic SPF 30 Water Resistant 80 Minute Sunscreen. What I didn’t realize I bought was Sunscreen BRONZER.

I had accidentally covered Eric in bronzer, sunscreen bronzer, but bronzer nonetheless. And for a few seconds he was convinced I did it on purpose.

“Is this makeup?” he asked in disbelief.

“No,” I said, “it’s sunscreen.”

“But it’s bronzer,” he said. “Isn’t there makeup bronzer?”

“Yes, but it’s different,” I said.

I finally convinced him that I didn’t purposely cover him in bronze toned sparkles by reminding him how pale I was and badly bronzer sunscreen would look on my skin.

In the end, the show had to go on, and we had a bunch more rides to go on so I finished applying the bronze sunscreen to Eric and then applied it to myself.

Eric walked around the park sparkling and I walked around with orange legs.

But the most important thing is this: We all had fun, and the sunscreen worked and no one got burned!

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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

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

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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8 Things to Watch The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale For (aka What I’ll Be Doing On My Honeymoon)

I’m so excited for my honeymoon. Thrilled. But there is one little hiccup. The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is happening during it. So what’s one thing I can guarantee you that I’ll be doing on my honeymoon? Well, online shopping one of my favorite annual sales of course.

The sale is technically going on now for card holders, but since I am not one, I will be patiently waiting. Until then, here’s some of the items from the sale that I’m currently loving:

ME’s Bright Eye Illuminating Device

BLANKNYC’s Embroidered Faux Leather Moto Jacket

BRUNETTE’s Fries Before Guys Sweatshirt

Puma’s Leadcat Logo Slide Sandal

Adidas’s Original 3-Stripes Dress

Loren Hope’s Crystal Choker Necklace

Philosophy’s Vanilla Coconut Shampoo, Shower Gel & Bubble Bath Duo

Kate Spade’s Metro Novelty Leather Strap Watch

 

Don’t forget, I’ll be updating Instagram with wedding and honeymoon photos so check in there!

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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.