May 27, 2015

8 tips for a happier, more simplified day

I'm well aware that this title is making some pretty big claims but hear me out. I'm a sucker for "self-help" books and I love reading blog posts and articles about a simple, happy, healthy lifestyle. Over time, I feel like I've started to develop a few routines that help make my days a little easier which in turn makes me happier. I'm also a quarter of the way through Gretchen Rubin's new book, Better Than Before (she also wrote The Happiness Project which I read just after college). Her book is fascinating and it inspired me to write this post!

1 // Decide on your outfit while in the shower or before you get out of bed. This may sound ridiculous or frivolous but for a long time I've had this little rule for myself and it really helped me have a happier morning. There is nothing worse than standing in front of your closet, clueless with what to wear and becoming totally frustrated. Instead, I picture my closet, check the weather, and come up with an outfit while I'm showering/waking up. By the time I'm ready to get dressed, all I have to do is grab and go!

2 // Keep things where you can see them. Whether this is clothes, office supplies, linens, bathroom products, beauty samples...whatever it is, where it where you can see it. This means using clear plastic storage, maximizing countertop space, or strategically folding clothes in drawers. Being able to see what you own will not only make finding things easier, but you'll reduce the risk of repurchasing something you can't find. 

3 // Strategically de-clutter and reduce the "things" in your life. If you've been hanging around these parts for awhile, you'll know that I'm a huge advocate for letting go of things you don't like or aren't using. But throwing stuff away can feel frustrating especially if you spent a lot of money. That money you originally spent is now a sunk cost, so if it's not enriching you're life, let it go. You can make the "blow" easier by selling items in a variety of ways such as Twice, GlamBot (for used makeup!), Craigslist, and eBay.

May 26, 2015

empties | vol. 1

I recently discovered this fascinating world of YouTube videos featuring empty products. The gist is that the person shows you products they've finished up, gives a mini review, and tells you if they would repurchase. For whatever reason, I've found these videos to be not only captivating, but also really inspiring. I'm somewhat of a product junkie and rarely purchase the same thing twice. I also always want the next new thing before I've finished up what I have BUT starting to stock up my "empties" has been REALLY motivating for me! I'm actually quite impressed with how much stuff I finished up, especially some products that have been hanging around for awhile. I'll also say that this little project has helped me let go of products I really don't like very much even if I haven't finished them. I've given them away or if they were cheap, just tossed them which for me is SO liberating. 

Below you'll find a quick, mini recap/review of the product and if I would purchase again. Leave any questions in the comments! 


This lasted me a long time so even though it's expensive, it could be worth it if you're really into facial oils. I did get it from the Birchbox shop with some points so I didn't pay the full $40. This was my first foray into face oils and it was a good transition. Seemed to be effective but wasn't life changing enough for me to repurchase. I'll keep testing other facial oils because I do like them and I'm waiting to find one that gives me outstanding results. Recommendations?

This tiny pot lasts and eternity. The salmon color helps counteract the blueness under your eyes which I liked and it did seem to make things brighter. Eye cream is a weird product to me because I always use it but I'm not entirely sure it's doing anything. I still feel like I need to keep doing it because in like 15 years I'll be thanking myself. I'm currently using the FAB one which is formulated very similar but it just has this cooling metal tip which I love. 

Picked this up on a whim at a natural foods store last summer and found myself reaching for it often. It was great under makeup because it wasn't too greasy but had decent hydration. I'm on the hunt for my next face moisturizer purchase but I may be picking one of these up again soon.

I bought this face wash (Chia Whip) after I tried a sample at the W3ll People store in Austin last summer. I was just getting on the green beauty kick and loved that I could read all the ingredients. I also liked that it was foamy and gave me that "clean" feeling I was still craving (before transitioning to oil cleansing). I bought the Apple A Day version shortly after that because I wanted to keep one i the shower and one at the skink. Both bottles lasted a really long time and I think I would repurchase in the future after I finish up a few other things I already have. 

You may be seeing a trend here but around the same time I purchased the OLO products, I also discovered W3ll People. This was the first product I purchased from them in their Austin store last summer. This setting powder was really good because it had a slight tint so it could be used on "no-makeup" days as well. At the time, I was looking for something to use over tinted moisturizer in the summer to keep the shininess at bay. It's definitely a great product but there are other setting powders out there that I'm curious to try like the RMS un-powder.

This is SUCH a great brand for the green beauty lovers out there. All their products are made with 5 ingredients or less which is outstanding. I ordered one of their mini-kits a while back and fell in love with the toner (still using the mini makeup remover oil, it lasts forever!). It's made with AMAZING skin loving ingredients. It's a little pricey for what it is so I may try making it down the road. For now, I'm using this one which I do like.

I love this line mostly because it's super effective, sulfate- and paraben-free, and smells freaking AMAZING. I likes this clarifying shampoo a lot because it got all the product out but didn't strip my hair or make it feel brittle (like most other clarifying shampoos). Their stuff is expensive but since I only used it about every 10 days or so it lasted me a really long time. You do need to purchase it at a salon or specialty beauty store. I'm now using this clarifying shampoo mostly because it's more natural.

This stuff was fine but not my favorite. I used it up out of necessity because I went through a point where my scalp was really itchy and flaky. I'm not sure what was causing it but it's much better now. I don't have a current need to repurchase.

I'm probably on my 4th or 5th bottle of this stuff. Best dry shampoo out there and for a great price. It smells awesome and it's a spray powder so it's not all wet and sticky. It doesn't give your hair texture which I like because some days I just want to de-grease and not add texture. I usually pick up a different scent every time but I liked this one (Wild) a lot. They have a new tropical one out that I'm currently using and loving.

I love Origins Ginger scent and bought this whipped body cream about a year ago. It lasted a long time and did a great job hydrating without leaving a greasy feel. I liked that the scent lingered slightly but didn't overpower. Like most things, it's good but I love trying new products so I'm already on to this body cream and probably won't repurchase unless I get it as a gift.

I've had this for AGES and I don't really know why. I love the texture of it and it does a great job both scrubbing and moisturizing. It's particularly great for prepping skin for self-tanner or for getting off the last bits of a self-tan. I already have a new scrub in the shower though so I won't be repurchasing. I just think it's too expensive for what it is.

I bought this when the line first came about because...coconuts. Previously I didn't use body wash because I preferred bar soaps but thought, what the heck. I liked it just fine but it didn't blow me away. It smells great but I've gone back to using bar soap or The Body Shop shower cream. 

I originally bought this as a moisturizer but it was way too greasy for my liking. I then used it as a bath oil because when I got out, it made my skin super soft and it really sinks in better. But then I got the bright idea to use it as a shave oil and really loved it. I don't think I'll buy this same kind again but I do think I'll purchase another "dry oil" to shave with.

May 22, 2015

thoughts for friday

>> C graduated! We had such a great weekend with family celebrating this impressive accomplishment. I'm incredibly proud of him for achieving this goal and for pursuing his dream no matter what. It's hard to believe we only have about five weeks left in New Haven (only 2 for C!). We're trying to soak up as much quality time with our friends as we can. I'm actually surprised by how bittersweet this move feels - we've made some really dear friends over the past two years and I know we'll be sad to be moving to far away from each other. 

>> I discovered No More Dirty Looks several months ago and have loved catching up on posts, diving into all things natural beauty. I'm overjoyed to be featured on their site as part of their "Morning Routine" series. 

>> Really obsessing over these new lipsticks from Clinique. The colors are perfection and the formula is SO creamy and hydrating, yes actually hydrating. The color lasts so long even when I was drinking coffee (not through a straw). Run and pick up a few colors (I have Sweet Pop and Melon Pop). I also randomly picked up the original Bare Minerals foundation on a total whim and I'm really liking it!

>> I finished reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and was so inspired that I immediately refolded all my clothes following this method. I'm thrilled to say that they still look the same even after a whole month! My clothes are happier and so am I.

>> Still on a podcast kick especially for walking/running because they hold my attention much better than music. I've also been really enjoying them in the car as I've been doing a lot of driving lately.My favorites lately include the One Part Podcast, The Wellness Wonderland, and Elise Gets Crafty.

>> I've finally collected a massive amount of "empties" (products I've used up) which is seriously satisfying. Knowing I'm collecting them has also helped give me the motivation to finish up a lot of stuff. That post is coming very soon, I promise!

April 29, 2015

alice and libby booth

A little while back, I spent the afternoon photographing these adorable girls as a favor to their momma who also happens to be a dear friend. I wanted to work on my photog skills and she wanted pictures - it was a win/win for both parties. I think they turned out great and she gave me permission to share a few on the blog! 

April 27, 2015

monday musings | 117

>> Did you catch this secret, late night post from yesterday with some big news?? No, no babies.

>> We had some friends over for a big southern brunch this Sunday which was so much fun. I made all sorts of delicious breakfast delicacies such as chicken & waffles (with spicy honey!), grits, bacon, biscuits, and a sausage hash-brown egg casserole. C manned the bar with some homemade bloody mary's and we also served housemade cold brew coffee. Everything turned out great and it was such a treat to have all our friends in one place for a few hours. I'm pretty bummed that we'll all be parting ways in a few weeks.

>> I picked up the Cover FX Custom Cover Drops during the Sephora VIB sale and I'm SO glad I did. I loved the premise and after watching several videos, I had a feeling they would be a beauty favorite. In short, they are pure pigment drops that you can add to any products you already use like moisturizer, tinted moisturizer, primer, and even oil. They are free from all the offensive ingredients which I love. So far, I've loved them best mixed with my primer but it also works well mixed with moisturizer to make my own custom tinted moisturizer with my desired level of coverage. 

The adorable place we'll be renting in Charlottesville!

>> I was in New Orleans two weeks ago on a Teach For America Leadership Journey. It was SUCH an incredible experience and exceeded my expectations. There were a lot of really great moments but one that really stands out was getting to eat at Dooky Chase and meeting Ms. Leah Chase herself. She is such an incredible woman and being in her presence was awe-inspiring. 

>> I didn't know it was actually possible to be obsessed with a pen (or a set of pens) but it has happened. I was introduced to these pens by Ms. Caty Gray when we were in NOLA and I don't understand how I lived without them. Just do yourself a favor and buy a pack pronto.

>> I've been through so many eye primers...apparently I have the world's oiliest eyelids. But finally, Urban Decay came through with this stuff (I have shade Enigma). So good. So matte. Great coverage. 

>> I said I would report back on my experience with Twice (selling clothes online). I sent 18 items in my first bag - 10 were accepted and I was offered $67. Considering what I sent, I was pretty happy with that. I also appreciated that they provided you with feedback on the items they didn't take so that I know for the future. I would definitely recommend it.

>> Last weekend, C and I went to the city to see a play based off my all-time favorite book from high school, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. The play was SO good, everything from the stage, to the lighting, to the acting, all the way to the adaptation itself. Just amazing. Go see it if you can.

>> Now that the weather is shaping up, I'm determined to get outside more regularly for a run/walk situation. I've been really into podcasts lately (send me recommendations!) which will keep me totally engaged for a solid 45 minutes. I also got new running shoes (and a great fitting!) which makes working out that much more fun!
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