Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Blog Survey (with a giveaway!)

Hey, friends!

I was wondering if you could do me a massive favor? With the school year looming, I tend to get a bit more organized and down to work, and that includes my blog. I want to make sure that I'm spending my time well, so I have a few questions about what you like to see and when you like to see it! Would you mind answering them for me??

I put an easy survey together to gather this info, and as a thank you, I'll choose a winner from the respondents to receive a little care package from me this fall. You can, of course, choose to remain anonymous instead! I'd love your candid would be a huge help!!!

You'll find the survey HERE!

I'm off to read a bit before my littles wake up, and then it's a clean the house day...oh yay! lol

Thank you, thank you! xo

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Monday, August 13, 2018

My Evening Beauty Routine

You know who I envy? People who can get away with swiping their face with a makeup wipe at night and somehow go through their days with flawless skin. I am very much so, not one of those people. "Blessed" with oversized pores, finicky combination skin, and an aversion to physical contact with baking soda  - this face of mine requires constant upkeep.

I have a few friends with the same fair, freckled complexion I have, and together....through many-many conversations about frustrations and trials with products, I feel like I have finally found a combination for my evening beauty routine that keeps things somewhat in check. (I still can't do anything about hormonal breakouts - which I seem to have in spades. I'll stop being a teenager one of these decades.)

Evening Beauty Routine Products for Sensitive/Problem skin

I should also add that I am a stickler for using somewhat-natural products. I don't relish the idea of absorbing chemicals, but a lot of natural products contain baking soda - which causes my face to swell up like a blimp and I don't recognize myself in the mirror. SO, I have found out the hard way that I kind of have to stick with mid-range natural products. The ones that don't have any of the scariest ingredients, but may still have some "hmmm, we're not sure about this" fillers. You'll see that almost all of these fall into that category. So here's what I do!

Bliss Pore Patrol Scrub

Step one: Wash off make up with Bliss Pore Patrol Warming Scrub
This stuff works so great, and it's only $10 at Target! It really clears away my makeup (a lot of natural products leave A LOT behind), and it lightly exfoliates, too. I use this in the shower as well as during my evening routine with zero negative reactions. I recommend it, 100%!

Thayers Witch Hazel toner

Step two: Tone with Thayer's Witch Hazel
I love this stuff! Lavender is my favorite, but the Rose is great, too. It clears away any forgotten makeup and calms and evens out my skin. You know that tight feeling you can get after washing your face? This completely takes it away - I sometimes forget that I still need moisturizer after using it! It's only $8 on Amazon, and it lasts forever.

Tea Tree Oil to treat acne

Step three: Treat breakouts with Tea Tree Oil
I am not brand loyal, here, this is just what I have at the moment. I often order oils from my sister (who sells Young Living), but this works, too. I still sometimes use salicylic acid for a really bad breakout, but this usually knocks out most things.

Pixi skin treats overnight glow serum

Step four: Pixi Overnight Glow Serum
THIS. STUFF. is a game changer. If you get nothing else, GET THIS!!! If I am washing my face during the day or before putting on makeup, I use moisturizer instead of this stuff - this is only for use overnight. Partially because it can increase the chances of sunburn. It has glycolic acid and a bunch of soothing ingredients that actually does make my skin glow! It heals all sorts of problem areas, has shrunken my pores, and has given me a more even complexion than I've ever had before!! I LOVE this stuff! I got mine at Target, and it runs about $24.

Castor oil for eyes and lashes

Step five: Treat eye area + lashes with Castor Oil
Castor oil works wonders on damaged skin (so use it on scars and things, too!) as well as hair. It repairs and encourages growth. I use it to control my under eye circles, in the creases to prevent wrinkles, and on my eye lashes to encourage growth. Vegan cold-pressed castor oil is only like $8 on don't have to drop hundreds on eye serums!!

Optional: Antibiotic Ointment
If I have a bad breakout or any issue that involves the skin breaking (like, ya know....if I just can't help but pick at that one annoying thing....) I put antibiotic ointment on it and it heals virtually overnight!! This is one of my favorite little skin tricks!

LimeLife face mask, yes to tomatoes facemask

Once a week: Deep Cleaning Face Masks
These two pictured are my favorites! LimeLight has rebranded to LimeLife, so you'll notice the product I'm linking to is a little bit different. This Masque of Zen feels SO good when it's on, and my skin feels like it's been totally whipped into shape after washing it off! I also really like the Yes to Tomatoes charcoal paper mask - you can really feel this one working!! I use a couple of others, too, but these are the two I usually rotate between.

And that's it!! One of my other skin fixes was to find a breathable foundation that still looks good on my problem skin - it has helped to not create a lot of the problems in the first place! I'll talk more about it in another post, but Tarte products have really been serving me well!!

This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you! Thank you so, so much for supporting my blog! xo

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Friday, August 10, 2018

Booktubeathon Recap!

Last week, people from around the world participated in the annual Booktube-a-thon, and I decided to join them for the first time ever!

It was SO. MUCH. FUN....and a total success!! I've got a short & sweet recap post for you today, sprinkled with photos from the challenge week....which is probably more for me in case I do the challenge again next year and want to remember this year's ;)

Before the challenge began, I shared my TBR list along with the challenges I'd planned for them to accomplish, and I completed them all and then some! I never could have pulled this off if it didn't happen during our slow part of summer vacation, so that certain helped me fly through a lot!! I'm so excited that I did it all on my first try!!! (And way too excited to have gotten an official certificate! lol)

Booktube-a-thon 2018 Certificate!

Here's my end-of-challenge stats:


3-way tie and all for different reasons:
And Every Morning The Way Home Gets Longer and Longer
Alex, Approximately
Very Good Lives (JK Rowling is a genius!)

Writer to Writer - it was instructional non-fiction, so it wasn't a flowing read (but it was good!)

Love & Leftovers (432 pages)

In Conclusion, Don't Worry About It (47 pages)

Probably the hat one, because it was something fun and tangible to do!

Tracking my progress on IG stories, and the sprints on Twitter

Overall, I LOVED this experience!!! It was SO much fun - I loved having a reason to just dive into book after book, I loved following along on Twitter and being a part of the sprints and games, and I loved tracking my progress on Instagram. It was SO much fun, and I already can't wait for next year!

Though I am not a Booktuber, I decided to make a video out of my IG story updates because I had so much fun with it!!! If you care to hear about books and my reading process through the week, check it out :)

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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Summer 10x10 Challenge

Back in April, I attempted my first 10x10 challenge and didn't quite succeed. I had a feeling summer's version would be a little more fun (what, with more interesting choices than sweater, sweater oooor sweater), so I've been watching for it on Instagram since the spring. It just wrapped up this past weekend, and I'm happy to report....I did it!!

If you don't know what the heck I'm talking about, the 10x10 challenge is a style challenge. It tasks you to pick 10 pieces of clothing to then make 10 outfits out of over 10 days. Of course this means it's smart to pick a lot of neutrals, and I do, but I like some color and variety in my life, so this is actually a pretty difficult challenge for me!

These were the 10 pieces I went with....

Summer 10x10 outfit challenge

(Left to right, top row to bottom)

1. Marled Vest from Target
2. Navy Tshirt Dress from Matilda Jane
3. Green Floral Tank from Matilda Jane
4. Black Swing Tank from Gap
5. Fuchsia Fitted Tank from Target
6. Black V-Neck Tee from Old Navy
7. Striped Ruffle Sleeve Top from Matilda Jane
8. Green + Black Striped Maxi from Target
9. Distressed Skinny Jeans from American Eagle
10. Cuff Hem Dark Wash Shorts from Target

Here's how I did!

Day 1 - green + black stripe maxi, black Gap tank, sandals + long necklace
Day 2 - jeans, black tee, vest, natives + bow necklace

Day 3 - shorts, pink tank, black tee + natives
Day 4 - jeans, Matilda Jane top, navites, bow necklace, and mixed finish silver bangles

Day 5 - jeans, black tee + sandals
Day 6 - matilda jane tshirt dress, sandals

Day 7 - shorts, black Gap tank, Natives, + rose quartz lariat necklace from Nasty Gal
Day 8 - jeans, MJ tank, Navites + same Nasty Gal necklace (it was raining, had to photo inside)

Day 9 - shorts, pink tank, marled vest, long necklace (from paparazzi) + Natives
Day 10 - striped maxi, black tee (knotted), long necklace from Lia Sophia, espadrille wedges
(plz excuse the cat hair, lol...oops)

Success!! Here's my notes and thoughts this time around:

1) Keeping up with this and taking pictures outside was way more fun than trying to dress for frustrating chilly/half spring!

2) As with last time, a few of these days I only wore the outfits for part of the day. I often changed into more comfy lounge around the house stuff (since we were at home most of these days), and I dressed up for an evening trunk show on day 5.

3) My new Natives were a perfect shoe to add to this! Not only are they incredibly comfy, they looked super cute with pretty much everything I paired them with, and I got tons of compliments on them!

4) I'm not sure that I have a favorite outfit! Maybe #4? I remember feeling the most put together in that. Although I was pleasantly surprised by how many of these I liked!

5) I'm the most disappointed in outfit #6...I would have normally worn more of a heel, a longer necklace, and more accessories...but I had a trunk show and had to do a lot of packing and hauling stuff around so I was trying not to annoy myself with accessories!

6) Hilarious BTS husband decided to fix the leaky seal on our washer the week of my know, when I'd have to wash things from night to night. It didn't go well, and sat un-fixed for many nights. I had to send clothes with him to work (he works out of an unused room in his parent's house because they're travelers and it's quieter there than our house) so he could wash things for me in order to keep up with the challenge. Never a dull moment lol.

7) I love how the challenge was bookended by the maxi - not planned!!

10x10 Outfit Challenge

So tell me - what's your favorite outfit from my challenge? Have you ever done one of these?? Let me know if you'd be interested in joining me this fall - it's the most exciting time for styling outfits!!!

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Monday, August 6, 2018

Mid-Year 18 for 2018 Review

Earlier this year, I posted a list of 18 things I wanted to do in 2018.

I love this little list....although it'll only be small and compact for a few more years...I'm gonna have to get creative in the 2040's and beyond! ;)

I think I've done pretty well at keeping up with my list, but I felt like it would be a good idea to check in with it to make sure that I've got time for everything that's left. SO here's my progress report!

18 Goals for 2018 - Mid-Year Review |

1. Quit dairy.
Done! Sort of. I stopped eating dairy on January 1st, and I went 6 weeks without a single drop. After that, I'd have very small cheats (like truffles on V-Day that were made with milk chocolate), and that was pretty much the gist of it for many months. I went lax a bit for the summer (I mentioned it in our vacation post) to make social eating easier, but my every-day at home eating is dairy free.

2. Grow sage (+ dry and bundle it for smudging.)
Currently happening! I have two sage bunches - one doing better than the other. I'm looking forward to drying and bundling them!!

3. Host a full moon party (or two.)
Done! See my post from Friday for the details!

4. Get a new camera or better lens(es).
Another sort of. My in-laws gave me their camera because they don't use it, but I'm not entirely sure that I love it, and it's a Nikon (mine is a Cannon) so their lenses aren't compatible. I'd like to do better than this, but we'll see by year's end if this is as far as I get with this one.

5. Make at least one small craft a month (something I can fully complete.)
Ohhh total fail. Crafting has been seriously off my radar this year and it makes me sad! I hope to change that for the rest of this year.

6. Host a silly Christmas in July party.
Fail. I dunno why I couldn't quite pull this one together. I thought about making it the theme for Henry's birthday this year, but then just didn't have it in me to do anything "extra" for it. Maybe next year with just the kids at home.

7. Do the mom ab DVD program.
I finally located this (it was lost in the abyss of my office) and watched through it to get an idea of what to expect. I did the workout a couple times, but I'm actually putting a routine together now to carry me through the rest of summer. So I'm hoping this one will be crossed off soon!

8. Complete a fun challenge (photos, outfits, hairdos, etc.)
I've actually done two outfit challenges so far this year - Spring 10x10 and Summer 10x10! (Summer post coming soon!) I'm looking forward to doing Fall and Winter's and maybe my 12 days of Christmas outfits again, too! I also just wrapped up Booktube-a-thon, which made my bookish heart SO happy. I'm thinking I might like to try a hairstyle challenge, too, because I'm soooo boring with my hair, and I don't know how to do anything interesting or cool with it. So do I get to count this one as 3 wins? ;)

9. Host a tea party.
Done! And it was SO much fun. I loved everything about this tea party!

10. Get the basement's s**t together.
I mean....not yet, lol. I did clean one area of it up really well once earlier this year, but the boys have completely undone my progress. I'm hoping that this is a family project we can tackle together this fall - when all the beautiful fleeting days of summer (when we should be outside) are behind us.

11. Paint allthetrim.
In process! I painted the mudroom's trim white and I LOVE it - it made me love the color of the room more, and it really brightened it up. I still haven't finished everything in that room, but it was a huge step that turned out reeeally well. We've also started working on the chipped trim on the outside of the house, but there's SO much of that, and a lot of it requires a ton of work, so we'll see if we can get that wrapped up or not before the warm weather leaves us.

12. Make a vision board for the year.
I can't believe I didn't do this! If I'm being honest though, I'm not really feeling connected to this one. I feel like my blog ends up being a visual for my life and for what I hope for, and it's all already here. I know how helpful this can be, but for whatever reason I'm not feeling connected to the idea anymore. Maybe I'll pull one together for the back half of the year - we'll see.

13. Get a little black dress.
Done! In fact I completed this one all the way back in February when I was working on my list - it was the first thing I got to check off. It's maybe not the slinky little black dress you'd picture, it's a much sweeter silhouette, but it's perfect for me. It's one of my favorite dresses of all time!! It's MJ's Discovery Dress - I wore it to my cousin's wedding with some grey tights, black booties, and a bow necklace and it was gorge!

14. Plant a little wellness + tea garden and include: lavender, chamomile, lemon balm + peppermint. Also in process! I am growing lavender, lemon balm, and chocolate mint, but I never found chamomile! They didn't have chamomile plants at the farmer's market when I went, and I was going to order some seeds but my plants were already so far ahead I never did it. I'd still call this a win, though - I'm looking forward to trying out some teas!

15. Make a "bliss list" to carry out every day.
I did make the list, but I only followed it for a few days. I'm just not good at lists and routines, man! I think I like the idea of this to govern a self-care day (which I work into my schedule once a week during the school year, I find it harder in the summer for some reason.) So I have the list...but we'll see what I end up doing with it.

16. Read 40 books.
More than done! As of this writing I've finished 43 books, so I'm thinking I will at least make it to 50 again. I read 55 last year and didn't think I'd have enough time for that many this year, so I kept my goal on the conservative side. I'm pretty sure I'll knock it out of the park! Reading does slow down for me in September, with the busy nature of back to school and settling into a new normal, but it'll pick up again in October - so we'll see!!

17. Visit Lily Dale.
Sigh, I am so sad to say that this hasn't happened. My friend group (that I travel with) and I have still been talking about it, but we haven't made anything happen yet. I want to go so badly! The season is coming to an end soon, so I'm not sure if we'll make it happen this year or not.

18. Be more hygge - add a few new house plants, take time to make the house feel happy, strive for cozy, focus on feels, fall in love with tea, + prioritize intention and mindfulness. (Make things special!) I mean, it's a long list, but I think I'm doing it. I drink tea almost nightly before bed, I've gathered more houseplants (but many of them are fake because my cats were eating the new live ones!), I've tried to be more intentional and mindful with housework, and I've taken pride in dressing up the house for the seasons. I think this is always a work in progress task, but I've definitely been more hygge this year than ever before.

Not too shabby!!

While time has passed for a couple of these, I think I can manage to finish the rest before the year is over. I've loved having this list in my back pocket as I go through this year - it's been so much fun, and such a great little guide. We'll see where it stands in January!

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