monday musings.

>> We had our big annual Benefit Dinner for Teach For America - Connecticut last week, an event I've been working on for over 9 months. It was so exciting to see all our hard work come together to pull off a great night with guest speakers Wendy Kopp and David Gergen. 

>> I've been saving up my Fashion Project Nordstrom gift cards for JUST the right splurge. On Friday, C and I made a trip to the mall to make the big purchase - this amazing Barbour jacket that I've had my eye on for some time. I absolutely love it and can't wait to wear it all day, every day.

>> We spent about 24 hours in Vermont this weekend, just outside of Burlington, visited C's college friends. It was such a beautiful drive and we caught the tail end of some beautiful leaves. Even though Sunday was rainy, we managed to get in a 3 mile hike during a break in the rain and it was so lovely. Makes me realize how C and I really need to take advantage of all the great hiking spots around us.

>> One of my colleges mentioned this journal a few months ago and I knew it was something I would love. I've been a long time journal-er (since 6th grade!) and now, this blog is pretty much like a  journal! This little book has a different page for every day and you only write one line. Then, the same day, the following year, you write another line...over the course of five years. I think it's an awesome idea and I can't wait to start filling the pages.

>> I've been slowly updating my Pinterest wish list as the holidays start to creep up on us. It's actually really fun especially because I add stuff to it all year and then I'll go back and be like "what the heck, why did I think I wanted this???".

>> I kiiiiinnndaaaaaa want to dye my hair platinum blonde...I have no idea where this came from. I've never even dyed my hair before...

>> Did you catch last week's post about natural skincare? Well be on the lookout for a post this week about my all-natural makeup faves!


favorites // natural skincare

A few months ago, after an eye-opening facial and skin consultation at the Esty Skin Studio (ps. highly recommend this gem!) in Austin, I started taking a pretty hard look at my skincare regimen. If you've been hanging around here for awhile, you'll probably remember the stint I did testing out Whole30/Paleo. The process sparked a newfound interest in reading ingredient labels and trying to eat more natural foods that aren't processed and don't have added sugar. You'd be SHOCKED by how many foods we eat have sugar added to them...like bacon for example...but I digress... 

Anyway, much in the same way, it's equally important to be thinking about what we put on our skin, the skin being your largest organ and all. My conversation with Jessica opened my eyes to all sorts of interesting things involving skin including how important it is to consider not only what's going on the outside but also inside.

When I returned home, I promptly went through my stash of make up and skincare products, placing any offensive products in a ziploc bag for safe keeping. Then I started over. Based on recommendations, research, and a little user testing, I've settled on a few favorites and I figured it was high time I shared them with you! 

These are some of the items that I've been loving recently though I'm always on the lookout for new and interesting products. There's also this really neat app you can use to scan your products (including cleaning supplies!) to get their "dirty" score. It rates all the ingredients and tells you how "clean" something is on a scale of 0-10. It's pretty cool and a great way to evaluate products that claim to be "all-natural". Anything below a 4 is considered clean.

This is the newest product in my skincare rotation. I recently learned about it on this blog (she's an esthetician!). Now that the seasons are changing, I've been needing a moisturizer that is slightly more hydrating and a little richer. As you'll find out later this week, I also switched to all powder/mineral makeup which means I need to keep my skin flake-free. I LOVE the way this moisturizer smells. A little goes a long way and I do find that it can be greasy if I put too much on. However, it does soak in fast and I love how smooth it makes my face feel. I'm excited to check out more MyChelle products which can also be found at Whole Foods as well as Amazon. 
Think Dirty Score: 4

This whole brand is amazing and this product is no exception. This multi-use miracle worker is a moisturizer and cleanser all in one. It's a solid balm that can be used as a moisturizer or you can massage it onto dry skin and gently rinse off with a wash cloth for the smoothest skin ever. I have the smaller "sample" size ($39) which is awesome for travel because the takes the place of two products. I love that it's not a liquid so I don't have to worry about it spilling. This is a travel must-have. Think Dirty Score: 3

I know it seams counterintuative to put oil on oily skin but hear me out. My face is pretty prone to breakouts which means I'm using several "drying" products during the day to help keep breakouts at bay. But at night, I need to help my skin repair and heal. Do you remember when you skinned your knee as a kid? You'd get a big scab that wouldn't go away for weeks. But if you covered it with a bandaid and Neosporin, it healed much faster with no scar. Your skin is very similar. So I've been into face oils for some time now but finding the right one for my oily skin was challenging. I discovered this product through Birchbox and I've really liked it. I did a bit of research on the Plant site before purchasing with my points. I like that they make different formulations for different skin types and their site does a good job of breaking down why each oil works. Tip: Make sure your skin is still slightly damp when you apply the oil, it helps it sink in much better. Think Dirty Score: N/A 

So after my facial, I was basically ready to start cleansing my skin and removing my makeup with straight up coconut oil. This cleanser it basically glorified coconut oil with some added benefits (seriously read the ingredients!). I love that it gets all foamy when you pump it and it doesn't strip my skin but leaves it feeling fresh and clean. I'll basically use any product that One Love makes. I also recently picked up this seasonal cleanser they made as a limited edition this summer and I'm loving it just as much. Unfortunately, it might be hard to find since it was a special summer product but keep your eye out for it. Pick up a bottle of the Chia Whip in the meantime. Think Dirty Score: 0

When I banished all my "dirty" products to the back of my closet, giving up my tinted moisturizer was one of the hardest things. I've never been a foundation wearer and most sunscreens really irritate my face - tinted moisturizer has always been a life-saver. I was thrilled to find this brand and learn that they make an awesome product that doesn't burn my skin and has the right amount of coverage. A few disclaimers though which might be deal breakers for some - it only comes in 1 shade and it smells like roses. It's pretty amazing to me that it only comes in 1 shade but the shade seems to work for me. It's a bit shiny but I just tap a little mineral powder over the top and I'm good to go. However, rose is one of my least favorite scents so I do wish it wasn't scented but it's not a deal breaker at this point. COOLA also makes a few other sunscreen products (including a matte tint but I don't think it's a moisturizer). It's definitely a brand to check out; Birchbox carries it as well. Think Dirty Score: 0

If you try any of the products, let me know how they work for you! Also, if you're using a natural beauty product that you love, share it in the comments. I'm always on the lookout for great, new brands!


monday musings.

>> I saw Gone Girl this weekend and really enjoyed it. I heard people saying that it was very different from the book but I didn't find that to be true. I enjoyed seeing the book come to life but still walked away just as frustrated as I was when I finished reading the book. I want to take C to see it because I'm curious what someone would think of the movie who hasn't read the book and doesn't know what's going to happen. Either way, it's a must-see. 

>> I didn't know this but apparently Polar makes all sorts of Limited Edition flavors for different seasons. I recently stumbled upon a whole bunch of amazing flavors at our local store including Toasted Coconut Creme, Champagne Strawberry, and Ginger Apple. Apparently, Pumpkin Spice exists too but they were sold out. The verdict: DELICIOUS! Sparkling water feels like such a treat and it's totally guilt-free!

>> Date night on Friday consisted of lots of wine and cheese and meat and bread. We're adults and if we want to eat cheese for dinner, then we will. The whole amazing meal was finished off with some homemade Salted Caramel Pudding and a short stroll home.

>> I think I have officially fallen in love with a pen. Call me crazy but I love office supplies and there is nothing better then the perfect pen. They are soooo smooth and come in fun colors as well as basics. Heaven.

>> It's been weirdly warm here in Connecticut for the past few weeks...like humid and 70s warm. On Sunday, it finally cooled down and actually felt like Fall. It's kind of confusing to dress in October when you can't wear boots and you feel silly in summer/fall clothes. Love me some classically good boot weather. 

>> While getting ahead on some work and writing blog posts, I rediscovered one of my favorite masks and treated myself to a little mini facial. This one is so good but I'm also looking forward to trying this one soon. 


the beauty of fall.

Last Sunday, after some gentle encouragement from C, I put on some spandex and headed outside for a walk/run. It was a beautiful fall day - sunny, warm, cool breeze, beautiful trees changing color. I turned on a podcast (a sermon from our old church in Dallas) and totally zoned out. I walked all around our little neighborhood, past big beautiful houses, and adorable cottages. I admired front doors, all painted a variety of different colors. I felt my body warm up as I started to sweat under all my layers. I tried to run a little and that felt miserable. Almost an hour later, I returned home feeling a sense of complete calmness wash over me. I was reminded how important it is to get outside and soak up some Vitamin D. I resolved to try to go for a 30 minute walk each day. 

Today, it's cloudy. I wore heels to work (not walking shoes). Our parking lot isn't looking that thrilling for a stroll. But Sunday's walk keeps surfacing in my mind. 

Get outside. Soak up some nature. Revel in the beauty that is all around us. Thank yourself. Do something wonderful for your body. Put your day on pause. Stretch. Breathe. Feel. 


learning calligraphy

I've wanted to learn how to write calligraphy for some time now. During our wedding planning process, I was fascinated by all the beautiful styles of calligraphy and really wanted to learn how it was done. Over the summer, I had a lot of free time in the evenings since C was living in Austin. I figured it was the perfect time to sign up for a calligraphy class on Skillshare. There are so many great classes - beginner levels all the way through advanced (digitizing your work!). I love Skillshare (you know that already, hello Photoshop classes!) and I knew this would be a great evening activity. Wine, candles, Ray LaMontagne, calligraphy. Done. 

I started off with this class and ordered the pre-packaged kit that she offered ($20!). Her classes were really thorough and I really appreciated the guides which we could trace over or try to mimic. After completing Bryn's class, I took this class as well just to get another perspective and learn a different style. I'm planning on taking Bryn's Level 2 class soon as well. 

I think this is such a fun, easy to skill to have and I can't wait to get more comfortable with my style. Look out for some fun mail friends and family! 

This post is NOT sponsored by Skillshare, I just think it's a really great resource. If you sign up for a class using my referral link, we both get a free month! 

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