Fall Things

Lifestyle

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

Beauty, Home, Lifestyle, Style

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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Joanna Gaines’s Lemon Bars

Home, Lifestyle

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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I’m Looking for A Sleeping Mask

Beauty

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.

My Favorite Face Mask (From Hawaii)

Beauty

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.

My Favorite Matte Lipstick

Beauty

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

Beauty

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)

Beauty

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

Style

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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A Moisturizer And Serum Combo That’s Good, But Not For Me

Beauty

So, as I told you all in my last post, I’ve been putting my skin through boot camp, and let me tell you, it’s been working. While it’s great that my skin is seeing results, it’s also great that I’m getting to see what products work best with my skin.

For the longest time, I didn’t pay attention to what kind of skin I had. I would consider it normal because I didn’t know what else it could be. Now that I’ve gotten older, it’s become clearer what kind of skin I have. It’s definitely dry to normal (and I definitely get an oily t-zone from time to time). And, of course, I have sensitive skin.

Recently, I’ve been testing out the Caudalie birthday sample from Sephora. The birthday sample comes with Caudalie’s Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet and Caudalie’s Vinoperfect Radiance Serum. I love testing out new skincare products so I was excited to get this sample. And what makes this birthday set extra sweet? The fact that Eric got it for his birthday since he has a Sephora account for when he gets me gifts.

Let’s break down the products: The full size Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet costs $39. The product claims that it is good for all skin types, including sensitive skin. It claims to be a solution for drying, dullness and uneven texture, and fine lines and wrinkles. The texture is that of a cream, but as you apply it to your face, it quickly turns to a gel. Sephora’s site also notes, “Caudalie’s organic grape water and patented grape-seed polyphenols, this cream not only provides hydration, but it also protects the skin from free-radicals, which causes wrinkles. This formula is rich in Vinolevure® to strengthen skin to become less sensitive and more resilient over time.”

Unsurprisingly, the Vinoperfect Radiance Serum costs quite a bit more than the Sorbet, coming in at $79 (those darn serums!). This product, of course, also says that it’s for all skin types. It’s an oil-free serum that helps to even out skin tone and encourage radiance. This product comes out of the package with a droplet cap. The actual product is a milky color and consistency (but thinner, more watered down). Want to know more? Well, Sephora’s site says, “This cult product is highly concentrated with naturally powerful viniferine, an ingredient from the grape vine sap that is clinically proven to be 62 times more effective than vitamin C. The lightweight formula allows for immediate penetration and works well under makeup for flawless-looking skin.” And that last part really does seem to be the emphasis of this product. It can be used any time, in the morning or at night, and under any product like foundation or sunscreen.

My Experience: Well first, I loved the feeling of the products on my skin. They went on so smoothly. I’ll be honest, as far as serums go, this one is not my favorite. I definitely like it; I just have other serums that I like more, and I won’t be purchasing something for $79 if I don’t love it. I think my skin craves the feel of more oily serums. But, guys, oh my goodness the Sorbet was soothing. I loved it. Except, I didn’t love the results.

When I stopped using my regular moisturizer and switched to this serum and sorbet instead, in a couple days my skin was visibly dry. It really wouldn’t bother me that much except for the fact that I’m getting married in a week and my skin needs to be flawless. So last week sometime, I put this product on hold. I’ll finish it off sometime after my honeymoon.

So what’s my overall take on this product? I think it’s great, and it’s not a surprise to me that so many people love it. However, it really didn’t work with my skin. It says it is for all skin types, but it’s not for mine. I would recommend this product to someone with combination or oily skin because it doesn’t seem moisturizing enough for dry to normal skin.

One last thing: I took the Sorbet to be a moisturizer, but once I looked up the products, the serum is actually supposed to go with a different moisturizer. So perhaps, if I had used the recommended moisturizer with the serum, the effects would have ended more in my favor. However, I simply used the products provided in the birthday gift sample.

 

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