Seersucker Sass: 2018

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Holographic Beauty: It's Not Just for Festivals!

This post contains affiliate links.  Items in this post were gifted by Almay.  All opinions are my own.

When I received my welcome package as part of Almay's Class of 2018, I immediately loved the products, but I wasn't sure where I would ever wear them.  My first thought was how perfect they would be for festivals.  They were holographic, in shades I never would have purchased for myself, and all around fun!  The Cosmic Collection definitely didn't seem like something I could wear to work.  Boy, was I wrong.

When I stopped being intimidated by the fun and trendiness and actually gave the products a try, I fell in love.  (If you follow me on Instagram, you can read all about it on my stories!)  I'm excited to share my favorites with you and how I incorporate these beautiful products into my daily routine!

Let's start with the most intimidating product - Make them Jelly Hi-Lite in Unicorn LightThis product is unlike anything I've ever used before!  It is a sparkly gel that you dip your fingertips into and pat on to your face.  Y'all, it is so easy to use, and it gives your skin the perfect rosy glow.  I use it daily - five minute face or full on glam.  (I also really love this product for days when I'm looking a little sickly.  The pink tint to the highlighter adds a little life to my face.

I have also fallen in love with their Shadow Squad Eyeshadow.  These are also in my daily makeup line up!  I use the top two shades of the Illusionist quad - right for crease, left for all over - and then the pink shade in the bottom left corner of the Fairy Tale quad as the perfect highlighter for my brown bone.  The Illusionist quad is highly pigmented, and the Fairy Tale quad is mostly shimmer and perfect for highlighting or layering to "remix" the colors underneath.  What I love most about these quads is that they easily fit into my makeup bag.  I have versatility and options without having to lug a giant palette around.

I don't wear eyeliner every day, but when I do, I love the Eyeliner Pen.  It's the first eyeliner pen I've used with a ballpoint tip, and it produces a beautiful winged liner.  If you're like me and don't wear eyeliner every day, I recommend going at it with a light hand.  So many of the liner pens I've tried in the past have required going over and over to get a nice, dark line, and that's (thankfully) not the case with this one.

The easiest way to incorporate a little cosmic beauty into your every day routine is with the Goddess Gloss.  Depending on the day, I either go with Angelic - a sheery, sparkly pink that's beautiful alone or layer over a bolder lip color - or Flame - a bolder, darker gloss that's a berry color.  (Flame isn't pictured because I left it at the office... oops!)  Flame is more pigmented than Angelic, and neither shade is sticky or thick.  (I would really like to try the blue Ethereal shade, because layering a blue gloss over your lip color is supposed to make your teeth look whiter!)

And when the day is done and you're ready to remove all of the cosmic fun from your face, I recommend the Oil-Free Makeup Remover Towelettes.  (Also not pictured because I've been using them like crazy and the pack was almost empty. Haha.)  Shimmer products can be pretty difficult to remove, but these wipes do the trick.  They also smell like cucumbers and are extremely gentle to your skin!

If you see something you love, Ulta has Almay products one a "buy one, get one 50% off" special!  (I plan on grabbing a Shadow Squad in Cause a Stir, more wipes, the Ethereal gloss, and the blue version of the Make them Jelly Hi-Lite.)

I want to hear from you!  Have you tried something out of your comfort zone lately?  Maybe it was a workout class, a new beauty product, or an article of clothing.  Whatever it was, I want to hear about it!

Friday, June 8, 2018

Seven Years Cancer Free - How I'm Really Feeling

I'm really excited to share with y'all that I celebrated seven years cancer free last Friday!  There's something about hitting seven years that feels like a major milestone for me.  One was so exciting, two built upon that excitement because it's another year removed from cancer, three and four were just trying to squeak by to five, and five felt like winning the lottery because that's when your risk starts to decrease and you can breathe a little.  But seven... seven has been something else.

Whenever I talk about cancer, I focus on the positive.  But in light of so many things happening in the world, especially the passing of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, I feel it's important to shed light on the struggles.  I tend to leave those out because I never want to be perceived as negative or a complainer.  But celebrating being a survivor is so much more than pretty pictures with number balloons; there's a heaviness, a time for reflection on who I am now and the hell I went through to get here.

Usually, my cancer free anniversary is pretty cut and dried.  I get my skin checked in March or April, they biopsy me, I hold my breath for a week waiting for results, it's all good, I hold my hand to my chest and breathe for a few minutes, and then I move on knowing that in a couple of months I'll celebrate another year without cancer in my body.  This year was special.  There were no spots of concern, so no biopsies for me!  It was all smooth sailing.  Lucky number seven.

This year was also a little different in that I found out in May I needed to have some invasive testing done, and the soonest date available was my cancer free anniversary.  This started my ride on an emotional roller coaster.   I have done so much reflecting on my experience with cancer in the past three weeks and really allowed myself to feel all of the feelings.  Usually when an unpleasant emotion pops us, I repress it.  Nope sadness, not today.  Fear, I do not have time for you.  Frustration, please go away so that I can focus.  But I think to truly cope with everything that was going on, I needed to allow myself to go back to that place.

Being a cancer survivor is kind of weird, and it's different for everyone.  Please remember the thoughts and feelings I share are mine alone, I don't speak for us all.

I chose to be very private about my battle because I felt like that was safest for everyone involved.  I didn't want people around me to be sad.  I didn't want people to treat me differently.  I feared people would exploit what I saw as a flaw.  I think this is the same attitude a lot of us have adopted toward mental health, as well.  If we're not visibly unwell with our arm in a cast or a brace on our ankle, we sweep it under the rug.  Most of us probably don't see a doctor.  (Guilty - I saw my primary care physician on Tuesday.  It was the first time in over four years.)

If I could go back, I would be upfront about it.  Hey, I have cancer.  It's treatable, and I'm not dying.  If I look really bad, it's probably because I'm sick and also because it's really hard to wash, dry, and straighten your hair after arm surgery.  If I seem sad, it's probably because I'm dealing with depression because cancer is scary.  I would have asked more people for help, as well.  Helping is how a lot of people cope with what they're watching someone go through, and I could have definitely used a hand carrying in my groceries.

I also wouldn't have been so ashamed of my scar.  After my surgery, I wore a cardigan over everything.  Even in the summer.  I had to take pills so that I wouldn't sweat.  (It is so absurd to type that out, but cancer will do a number on your confidence.)  Now I see it as a sign of resilience.

Another choice I made was to stay in school while battling cancer.  That's actually how I told my best friend I had cancer - a text that read Hey, I found out I have cancer and everyone thinks I should take some time off from school.  What do you think?  When I finally opened up about my battle, so many people commented on the strength that it must have taken to stay in school.  To be completely honest, I stayed in school because it was what I knew.  I was 20, and I had spent the past 15 years going to school.  I knew if I moved home I would be bored and lay in bed all day sleeping and crying.  If we're going to comment on anyone's strength, it should be my mom's for respecting my decision. 

When I look back on that, it opens my eyes to the number of people silently struggling every day.  I've always loved the quote about being kind because everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle, but allowing myself to reflect made me feel it that much deeper.  I was so broken walking around like my life was fine and I had it all together.  Speak kindly to people, smile at strangers, show grace.  Build relationships, tell people you love them, reach out to that friend you haven't heard from in a while.

There's one more thing I feel compelled to share, and that's survivor's guilt.  Nothing ever prepared for feeling guilty simply because I am alive.  My Grandpa passed away about six weeks after I found out I was cancer free.  He had chosen to go on chemo that same day.  I felt so guilty for so long - why was I allowed to live when he wasn't?  I still feel sick to my stomach when I hear someone has passed away because of cancer.

If you told me seven years ago today that I would be choosing to speak about something so personal vulnerably, I would have shook my head at you and readjusted my cardigan.  But I hope moving forward that more of us will choose vulnerability.  In a world of Instagram perfection, we'll be honest and open about the things that cut us to the core.  We'll ask for help when we need it, and we'll choose to help each other.  And we'll give ourselves grace, because things like these are always easier said than done.

I'm really happy to share with you that I got my test results back yesterday, and everything was good.  And I want to thank you for celebrating with me every year.  The world needs more people like you!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Loving Lately

This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for supporting Seersucker Sass blog.

It's been a really long time since I've blogged... which means we have a lot of catching up to do!  I'll have plenty of posts about what I've been up to and lessons I've learned, but let's start with the fun stuff - what I've been loving lately!  I'd much rather spend my money on travel experiences during the summer, so I've kept all of the items on my list under $30.

1.) OGX Dry Shampoo ($9)  •  I use the Biotin & Collagen shampoo and conditioner, so when I saw that a dry shampoo had been released, I knew I had to at least give it a try.  I was convinced I had found the best dry shampoo around for only $4, but this is my new favorite.  For starters, it smells amazing - and not like chemicals.  The bottle also lasts much longer than I'm used to a bottle of dry shampoo lasting.  And it blends incredibly well.  I've even started using this when I just need some extra volume in my hair.

2.) Younger  •  I've been binge watching Younger and I caught up just in time for the season five premier last night.  If you're unfamiliar with the story line, Liza is going through a divorce and trying to re-enter the workforce.  When no one will hire her, she lies about her age and lands a job that she loves in publishing.  I'm also obsessed with Hilary Duff's character, Kelsey.  (And if you needed another reason to love this show, the fashion is incredible.)

3.) Gold Block Heel Pumps ($30)  •  If you're looking for a pair of flirty little heels for summer, look no further.  The gold is fun and can be dressed up or down, and the heels are actually comfortable.  (I wore these while climbing on things in an alleyway during a blog shoot last weekend and actually felt stable in them.)

4.) Almond Shower Oil ($25)  •  I get horrible ingrown hairs when I shave, to the point that I was wearing pants every day to avoid having to shave my legs more than once a week.  I heard about this product from Carly and tried it out on a whim.  Y'all.  Not only do I no longer have to deal with ingrown hairs, but my legs are softer than ever and I don't have to shave as frequently.

5.) Vetiver ($22)  •  I've been challenging myself to try new Young Living products each month.  Vetiver was part of my May Essential Rewards order, and it has been an instant favorite.  It has an earthy scent, and I love using it while writing or working.

6.) NARS Concealer ($30)  •  If you follow me on Instagram stories, you know all about my new habit of going to Sephora with no makeup on and asking them to teach me how to do a certain aspect of my makeup.  About a month ago, I learned how to do concealer, and it has been a #gamechanger.  I don't like cosmetics with heavy coverage, and this product provides just enough coverage without being cakey.

It also does exceptionally well in the heat.  The first time I tried it out was at one of my brother's track meets.  I was outside from 3 PM to 10 PM, and it didn't melt off of my face like other concealers I've owned in the past.

7.) #100SquatChallenge  •  I'm on day four of a month long challenge of doing 100 squats a day... and loving it!  I'm trying to create healthy habits, and these short challenges help me feel accountable and motivate me to work out even more.  It has been fun seeing what my body is capable of.

I want to hear from y'all.  What are you loving lately?  Fill me in!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Fragrance Favorites

Happy National Fragrance Day!  I'm probably one of like five people who loves those made up holidays, and I have zero shame, especially today.  I'm an extremely nostalgic person, and scents are something that will stop me dead in my tracks and have my brain flooding with memories.

When I was a little girl, my mom would get me ready for school and then do the final touches for herself, including a spritz of perfume.  Sometimes, if it was a special occasion, my mom would give me a spritz of her Jovan Musk.  I always thought my mom was so glamorous with her big curls, long eyelashes, and fancy perfume.

In middle school, I fell in love with classic Hollywood glamour.  I insisted on having my own bottle of Chanel No. 5.  Even though I identified much more with Audrey Hepburn, if Chanel No. 5 was good enough for Marilyn, surely it was appropriate for me.  I wore one spritz to middle school every day, and two spritzes to church on Sundays.  (Can I just say God bless my parents?!  Sometimes when I think back on myself as a child, I just want to hug them for never trying to change me and just letting me be my weirdo, ridiculous self.)

High school and college were fun.  I own probably every Juicy Couture scent known to man and the whole collection of Ralph Lauren's Ralph Hot/Cool/Wild/whatever random adjectives also appealed to teenage girls thanks to this time in my life.  I proudly displayed them on a mint green cake plate in my dorm room and invited my girlfriends to try them out before going to the bars in college.

When I graduated and became a very professional woman, I wanted something more subtle and natural.  (At this time, I was also afraid of pretty much any chemical thanks to cancer and a lovely little lymph node removal.)  I wore Barr & Co's signature scent, and I smelled like a little sugar cookie.

When I turned 25, the search for a signature scent began.  I started sampling scents from my monthly PLAY! by Sephora subscription box, and eventually settled on three.  While I sometimes feel a little frivolous about it, I love that I have an everyday scent, a night out scent, and an elegant scent for special occasions.

EVERYDAY SCENT - My Burberry Blush

Described in one word:  sweet

Scent type:  fruity florals

Notes of:  pomegranate, rose, jasmine

Why I love it:  This is a subtle, feminine, sophisticated scent.  If it was an article of clothing, it would be a classic Burberry trench.  It's nice and it's polished, but it doesn't scream "look at me!"  I look forward to putting this on every morning because it lifts my mood.  This is definitely my "I'm a polished career woman" scent.

NIGHT OUT SCENT -  Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium

Described in one word:  sexy

Scent type:  addictive, floral, energetic

Notes of:  coffee accord, orange blossom, cedarwood essence, patchouli essence

Why I love it:  I've always played it safe when it comes to scents, and this is the opposite.  If it was an article of clothing, it would be a leather jacket.  It's spicy and sensual, and I get a little confidence boost whenever I wear it.  This is my "it girl for the night" scent.


Described in one word:  elegant

Scent type:  fresh

Notes of:  orange, bergamot, mandarin, Tunisian curacao

Why I love it:  For starters, I love it because it was a gift from my aunt.  I never purchase fragrance for myself, and I was desperately in need of something new.  It was a just because, surprise gift, and it tickled me.  (It was actually my everyday scent until my aunt gave me the Burberry scent for Christmas!)

This scent is very feminine, and it's very strong.  If it was a piece of clothing, it would be a blush chiffon dress or a tweed jacket.  It's very ladylike, but it stands out.  This is my "fancy, wise beyond my years" scent.  

I've also noticed that I receive a lot of compliments from men regarding this scent.  So if you're looking to pick up a man, here's your scent.  You're welcome.

Black Opium  •  My Burberry Blush  •  COCO MADEMOISELLE

I want to hear from you - what's your "signature" scent?  And is there a scent that immediately takes you back to childhood?  Let's chat in the comments!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Five Things I'm Doing for Myself this Week

This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for supporting Seersucker Sass.

It's no secret that self-care is a trending topic in 2018.  First there were the posts about bubble baths and face masks.  Then there were the "opposition" posts about how self-care was so much more than bubble baths and face masks, and we should be focusing on therapy and mental health.

In my opinion, self-care not only looks a little differently for everyone, but it looks a little differently by the day.  Some days, I need a really good ranting session with my girlfriends where I'm free to yell and get worked up and get it out of my system.  Other days, I need to be on my yoga mat, sweating out my stress.  And after a really long day, there's nothing better than soaking in a hot bath and just enjoying the silence.

Yesterday morning, I realized that I had some errands that couldn't wait any longer.  Nothing opened until noon, so instead of continuing to sit around and wait for the world to open, I left a little early and treated myself to a healthy breakfast at my favorite juice bar.  While enjoying my avocado toast, I kept thinking about just how nice it felt to take a little time to do something for myself.  So I made a list of five things I would do for myself this week.  I'm sharing it not just for accountability, but also to encourage you to do the same.  As we discussed before, self-care doesn't have to be a face mask and it doesn't have to be therapy.  Self-care is whatever you need it to be that day.

1. Getting my eyebrows done.  Yesterday, I took the time to have my brows threaded for the first time since January.  A brow pencil is one of the few cosmetics I use on a daily basis, and it was to the point that even a brow pencil could not save them.  Despite the fact that brow threading is not a painless experience, I felt like a new person walking out of the salon.  Moving forward, I hope to prioritize taking pride in my appearance a little more, as it's currently the first thing I'm willing to cut when I need more hours in a day.

2. Recording a "list of gratitude" throughout the day.  Y'all, I cannot tell you how much this has rocked my Monday.  Instead of giving something up for Lent, I decided to be more intentional about gratitude. [more about that here]  Mondays can be rough, so I decided that this week, I would make a list of things throughout the day that I'm thankful for.

So far, I'm really thankful that I can move my car because there is no longer a random washing machine sitting behind it (I know, seriously, WTF.  #apartmentlife), I made it into the office before 8 AM, I have an amazing boss, and my new toner is working.  It is crazy how differently I'm seeing my day now that I'm looking for the positives.

3. Working on a personal writing project.  I love to write, and I've decided to write a work of fiction for fun.  I don't have intentions to publish it or really share it with anyone except a girlfriend or two, it's just something that I'm doing to prove to myself that I can and to continue sharpening my writing skills.  I started this weekend, and it's crazy how much more inspired I've felt with blogging.  I plan to dedicate a few hours this week strictly to working on this project.

4. Ordering new powder because the one I currently use just isn't doing it for me anymore.  Have you ever found yourself using a beauty product just because you have it?  That's  where I am with my setting powder right now.  It finds tiny, almost nonexistent fine lines on my skin and clings to them.  After pretty much giving myself a complex, I've decided the powder has to go.  I'm taking the plunge and ordering Glossier's Wowder (along with their Cloud Paint because I also have a complex about looking washed out... but that's a different story for a different day.)  And to avoid feeling wasteful, I'll be passing the product on to a friend who isn't dealing with fine lines.  Everyone wins :)

5. Scheduling time to do nothing after work.  This is a big step for me.  I only have plans after work two days this week - one is a coffee meeting at a cafe that I love and one is dinner with my best girlfriend.  I actually turned down a meeting this week because it would be occurring immediately after my annual skin check up, and I knew my body and mind would need time to rest afterwards.

I want to hear from you - what are you going to do for yourself this week?  Write it out, schedule it on your calendar, whatever you need to do, let's make it happen!

PS - If you pray, would you mind to send some prayers my way on Thursday?  As I mentioned, I'll be having my annual skin check up.  I trust that it's all part of God's plan for my life, but prayers for calm nerves while potentially playing the waiting game and acceptance of the outcome are much appreciated.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

March Coffee Date

This post contains affiliate links.  Thanks for supporting Seersucker Sass blog!

I don't know about y'all, but March snuck up on me.  It felt like January lasted 12 years, then I blinked and February was gone.  Here's to hoping that March is that perfect sweet spot of chaos and stillness.

I'm excited to sit down and have a little coffee date with you this Tuesday morning.  Grab your beverage of choice and let's chat!

GOALS UPDATE  •  As always, let's start off by talking about our goals.  How are your goals going?  Any new ones?  Here's a quick update on my 2018 goals.
  • Goat yoga - It happened!  And it was glorious.  I'll have a full recap of my experience soon, but in the meantime, you can read more about it here.
  • Read 12 books - I'm a little ashamed at how little reading I've done recently.   I finished Party Girl on February 5, and I haven't read another book since.  I'm currently reading Awkward Grace, The Beautiful and the Damned, and Bad Girls Throughout History.  I'm still ahead of my goal, having read five out of 12 books so far, but I'm hoping to make more progress in March.
  • Go on more fancy dates with my girlfriends - While I haven't been going on any "fancy dates" with them, I've spent a lot of time with my girlfriends this month.  My friend Lindsay and I had a rough night last week, so we ended up grabbing a late dinner and drinks and laughing for two hours straight.  Last night I had coffee with a friend that I've known since elementary school.  I'm thankful to have such encouraging, empowering, positive women in my life, and I hope to spend even more time with them this month.
  • Incorporate more natural products into my daily routine -  I finally got around to writing a post about this!  And I can't wait for my next post, as I've added even more products, including teas that will help with inflammation and bloating, aloe pills, chlorophyll water, and so much more :) 
  • Meditate daily -  I actually stopped meditating.  I was doing really great on my streak and had almost reached 50 days, and then I got out of my routine on the night of the dog rescue.  To be really honest, I dreaded meditating.  I loved how I felt afterwards, but I would even put off going to bed at night because I just couldn't get excited about meditation.

TRAVEL  •  I went to Asheville this month to celebrate my birthday!  And I'm currently planning a quick, long weekend trip to Myrtle Beach next month.  I haven't been there in ten years and I have no idea what to expect, so please send any recommendations my way!

LENT  •  When I decided to start controlling my health through my diet, I had to give up a ton of things that I loved.  In an effort to be kinder to myself, I decided to add a new habit instead of removing something from my world.  I'm writing 40 notes of gratitude over the 40 days of Lent.  I'm also removing items and friendships from my life that I feel no longer serve me in order to make room for more gratitude in my every day life.  Did you give something up this year?

HEALTH  •  I'm hanging in there!  As I mentioned above, I've added some new supplements and a variety of teas into my life to help with inflammation and bloating, as those are the two symptoms that bring me the most pain and stress.

BEST PURCHASES  •  To be completely honest, I haven't done much online shopping this month.  I'm definitely still loving the contour sticks that I raved about last month, and my (knockoff) beauty blender has been doing overtime.  

WHAT'S NEXT  •  While I haven't been blogging very much lately, I've been doing a crazy amount of work behind the scenes.  I hope you'll continue to bear with me and my limited posting schedule, because there are really great things in store.

What's new with you?!  Leave a life update in the comments.  I love to know what you're up to, how your goals are going, and how I can support you!

Thursday, March 1, 2018


I love trying new products!  One of my favorite things about having a blog is that it gives me an opportunity to share my findings with y'all.  There are two things that make me more likely to buy a product - organic buzz on reviews written by bloggers and actually being able to sample a product before purchasing.

If you share my sampling obsession, you need to give PLAY! by Sephora a try!  For $10 a month, you receive five deluxe samples + a bonus, packaged in a cute little bag.  (So perfect for organizing goodies under your cabinet, traveling with jewelry, etc.)

Marc Jacobs Beauty Velvet Noir Mascara ($26) •  This mascara is incredible.  It gives me flashbacks to the summer I had eyelash extensions.  If you're looking for a mascara to separate and lengthen your lashes, this is it!  I don't wear it every day, but I love it for special occasions when I really want to up the glam factor or on days where I wear minimal makeup but want to look polished.
Briogeo Rosarco Milk Reparative Leave-In Conditioning Spray ($20) •  This was not a great product for me.  I have oily hair, so I intentionally avoided getting this anywhere near my roots, and somehow it still made my entire head an oil slick.  

Bare Minerals GEN NUDE Matte Liquid Lipcolor in 'Swag' ($19)  •  The name for this shade is cringeworthy, but the product is not.  It's hard to find a good matte lipcolor that isn't drying, but this one passes the test.  I love to wear this to events because it's long lasting. 

Touch in Sol Eye Shadow Duo in 'Talia' ($25)  •  This is another one of my favorites for special occasions!  The product has both a glitter primer and a fine, loose glitter that can be applied on top of the stickier primer.  This was one of my favorites during the holiday season, and I plan to pull it out again when spring rolls around.

IT Cosmetics Confidence in a Cleanser ($28) •  I love this cleanser so much that I purchased it!  Its milky and gentle on my sensitive skin, and my skin made noticeable improvements when I started using this.

IT Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream ($48) •  I started using this moisturizer when my oily skin started getting dry patches, and it cleared that right up.  I will probably transition over to a lighter gel product for spring, as feel like the heaviness of this product is better suited for fall and winter.

I want to hear from you - what should I try next?!  What have you been using that you love?  

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Natural Products Worth Trying

If you've been following along for awhile now, you know that I've slowly started cutting back on the chemicals in my life.  I know I'll never live a lifestyle that is 100% free of harmful chemicals (is that even possible?), but I've started making small changes for healthier options.

I was diagnosed with cancer at 20, and it was related to a medication that I was taking for a chronic illness.  Last summer, my chronic illness flared up, and I decided that enough was enough.  I didn't want to go back on steroids and taking a literal handful of pills twice a day.  So I did my research, and I started taking the steps to control my health through my diet.  I worked with my specialist on this, and she set up benchmarks.  I understand that being able to do that is a luxury, because there was no way that this would have been feasible 10 years ago when I was diagnosed.  (I am currently still receiving my infusion, but I am getting a second opinion soon to see if I can start to get a lower dose less frequently.)

When I began researching how my diet affects my health, it opened my eyes to what I was putting in my body.  This is when I really started swapping things out for healthier options.  I'm really excited to share some of my recent finds with you. 

I want to preface this by saying that I'm going to be sharing what I like about these products... that's it.  Nothing along the lines of shaming or scaring you into buying them, because that's silly.  It's so important for us to make choices that work for us and our lifestyles.

Thieves Dental Floss  This is the easiest swap I made.  I like that this floss is a little thicker and sturdier than flosses I've used in the past.  It's Thieves branded, but there isn't much of a taste.

Thieves Mouthwash  This is not the most delicious mouthwash I've ever used, but I prefer it's spicier taste to the sometimes overwhelmingly fresh taste of other mouthwashes.  My teeth and gums are sensitive, and I have found this to be less irritating.

Lavender Essential Oil  I use lavender for everything.  Blemish?  Lavender.  Can't sleep?  Lavender on the wrists.  Not sure which oil to use?  Lavender.  And it sure doesn't hurt that it smells amazing.  (When people ask me if I could only have two oils, this is consistently one of my picks!)

Native Deodorant  This product has been a game changer for me.  I spent over six years struggling to find a natural deodorant after cancer.  I had lymph nodes removed from my right arm pit, and everything irritated my armpits.  There are so many things I love about this deodorant.  It's aluminum free.  I can actually use a scented deodorant (#thelittlethings).  And Native offers free shipping and free returns, and you can even purchase in bulk and save some money.  I could go on and on about how much I love this product.  

Thieves Spray  I originally purchased this to use on my yoga mat, as the hot yoga studio I attend uses a similar essential oils based cleaner.  I usually keep this in my purse just in case, especially during flu season when it seems like everything is covered in germs.  I like to use this on my bathroom counter, I even took my mom some of this when she was in the hospital so she could keep her food tray wiped down.

Thieves Toothpaste  I switched over to this toothpaste because it was another easy swap, and fluoride is added into the water where I live.  I have sensitive teeth and gums, and this is extremely gentle on them.

Thieves Waterless Purifier  I cannot say enough positive things about this product.  Unlike hand sanitizing products I've used it the past, this doesn't dry my skin out, doesn't irritate cuts, and doesn't have that strangely sterile smell of other sanitizing products.  (I actually love how this smells so much that if they made this in giant bottles, I would stock the office with them.)

Maple Holistics Tea Tree Oil Shampoo (c/o)  This stuff is amazing if your scalp starts to freak out and flake when the seasons change or if you accidentally sunburn your scalp.  I use this every other time I was my hair, and I continue to be pleased with the results.  It uses some of my favorite oils - lavender, tea tree, argan, rosemary, and jojoba.  (And it's Prime Eligible!)

Floss  ||  Mouthwash  ||  Lavender Oil ||  Deodorant  ||  Thieves Spray  ||  Toothpaste  ||  Hand Sanitizer  ||  Shampoo

I hope that you enjoyed learning more about some of my favorite natural products.  I want to hear from you - have you found any natural products that I should check out?!

Also, somewhat unrelated, but I'm going to Asheville this weekend to celebrate my birthday, and I will finallyyyyy have the chance to shop at Trader Joe's.  Any recommendations?  So far I have their frozen dumplings, turmeric tea, and chicken less tenders on my shopping list!

Monday, February 19, 2018

This is 27

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Can we talk about something for a second?  I'm not the biggest fan of my birthday.  I used to be obsessed with celebrating, but around the time of my 25th birthday, I was filled with anxiety instead of excitement.

For me, birthdays are when the comparison game starts to sneak in.  I think about my age, how I'm pushing closer to 30, and how so many people at my age are running their own companies and changing the world, and how I'm doing consistent good work but nothing spectacular and struggling to get content on my blog more than once a week.

I'm obsessed with growth and change and progressing, and I truly believe that has become a double-edged sword.  I'm so focused on becoming the best version of myself, that I don't really take the time to appreciate who I am at the moment.

Last fall, I wanted to be on one particular board so bad that I could taste it.  I can't think of many things in my adult life that I have wanted that badly.  It aligned with my community service passions and my career, and I couldn't think of a better fit.  My boss agreed that I was highly qualified, signed off on my application, I submitted it, and the waiting game began.

The week before I was supposed to find out if I was chosen for the board, I found out that someone I serve on a different board with had nominated me for an award.  The nomination process is lengthy, and it meant the world to me that my friend had not only written a thoughtful nomination, but had coordinated with people in my life to have letters of support provided.  I don't have many items on my bucket list, but this was a bucket list item for me.

Two days after I was interviewed by the magazine that runs the awards program [you can read all about how I botched the interview right here], I got the email that I was chosen as an alternate for the board.  And I lost my damn mind.

I sat in my car, and I cried.  And then I got even madder because I was crying, and I rarely cry, so I cried even more.

And I texted everyone I had told about the board to tell them how dumb this was (to the best of my abilities because by this point I was ugly crying, snot was probably everywhere, and my autocorrect was working over time because I couldn't see anything), and everyone said the same thing, a version of I'm so sorry, but you won an award a week ago... Focus on the good and let this go.

I think about this situation so frequently, mostly because it was not my shining moment.  26 taught me so much about how one of the happiest days can also be one of the saddest days.  Whether you're winning an award and all eyes are on you or sobbing in your car hoping no one sees you, the world is still spinning, life is still happening, and everything is temporary.  Cling to the good moments as long as you can, and acknowledge when the bad things happen, then let them go.

Sweater:  Mimi Mae Boutique  ||  Jeans:  Loft  ||  Flats:  Mimi Mae Boutique (similar)  ||  Handbag:  Gucci  ||  Watch:  Gucci  ||  Cable Bracelet:  David Yurman  ||  Enamel Bracelet:  Hermes  ||  Lip Color:  IT Cosmetics (Naturally Flushed)

One last thing... 

Last week, I was watching Bob's Burgers, and the episode with Linda's birthday comes on.  Linda shares my distaste for birthdays, and I felt so comforted by that.  (I have no idea why I'm basing what's normal in my life off of Linda Belcher, but I guess that's a different story for a different day.)  Literally everything that could go wrong on Linda's birthday goes wrong.  I'm pretty sure if a combination of any two of the things that happened to her had happened to me, I would be revert back to the ugly crying in my car version of me mentioned above.  But Linda doesn't.

Linda takes all of it in stride.  She's annoyed, and she keeps on trucking.  At the end of the episode, when Linda is soaking in a tomato juice bath because she's been sprayed by a skunk... twice... she comments on how it's not only been the best birthday ever, but how she wants to start a tradition of doing lots of difficult things every year on her birthday to prove to herself that she can, despite the fact that she's getting older.

At 10 PM on the night before my birthday, we happened upon two dogs in my apartment complex parking lot.  They had collars but no tags, and they were clearly someone's babies.  After hitting dead ends with any emergency vet we called about checking for microchips and an experience where animal control refused to pick them up and suggested we just tie them to a pole outside, it was determined that we were having a puppy sleepover.

It was stressful (Francis hates other dogs and had to be separated), and I got very little sleep, but I woke up the morning of my birthday with a home full of doggies.  I didn't think I had it in me to take two dogs to the pound on my birthday, but I channeled my inner Linda, and I knew I could handle whatever I needed to.

We took a walk to Fran's vet, and while they were searching for microchips, one of the staff members recognized the dogs.  She knew their names and their owner, and offered to hold them there until their owner could come by to claim them.

On the way to breakfast, I thought of that episode, and I not only thanked God for the fact that the doggies were soon to be reunited with their family, but I thanked him for an adventure and for the reminder that I could handle anything that comes my way this year.

This is 27.  And I'm ready for it.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Skin Care Essentials for Changing Seasons

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Has anyone else been experiencing crazy weather lately?  My skin is definitely feeling the effects of experiencing a snowy Monday followed by a mid-60's Thursday and the heat and air conditioning that come with.  Plus, there's something about cold weather that makes me eat all of the things I shouldn't be eating, leading to even more stress on my skin.

Because of all of that, I've started paying more attention to my skin and trying to create a consistent routine, instead of just grabbing whatever I feel like out of the medicine cabinet and layering it on my skin.

If you're in the same boat and just want your skin to chill out and be normal again, today's post is for you.  I'm sharing six products that keep my skin in the best condition it's seen since high school.  My skin is combination oily, but most of these products are great for all skin types.

IT Cosmetics Confidence in a Cleanser ($28)  •  Most of my makeup is IT Cosmetics, and I received some deluxe skincare samples with my last order.  My skin was not adjusting well to the seasons changing, but the IT Cosmetics Confidence products completely turned my skin around.

This cleanser contains all the good stuff - collagen, hyaluronic acid, and a ceramide complex.

[For reference, the travel size product is shown in this photo, and it's $12.  I purchased a set, and it was basically free with the moisturizer.  The $28 product is giant.]

IT Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream Super Moisturizing Cream ($48)  •  This moisturizer complements the cleanser really nicely.  It's the thickest moisturizer I have ever used, which made me really nervous since I have combination oily skin, but it's the first time in a few years that my skin hasn't gotten dry and patchy.

Note - If you're interested in purchasing these products, QVC has a deal where you get the cleanser, moisturizer, eye cream, foundation, and foundation brush for $100 (including shipping), which is only $24 more than if you purchase just the moisturizer and cleanser.  

Clinique Moisture Surge 72 Hour Auto-Replenishing Hydrator ($19)  •  I use this on days when I need something lighter.  The gel texture soaks right into my skin and makes a great base for applying makeup.  Like the products above, it also contains hyaluronic acid.

Young Living Lavender Essential Oil ($25)  •  I use lavender oil for a lot of things, but one of my favorite uses is on blemishes.  It works faster than any other products I've tried, and unlike other products, it doesn't dry my skin out.

[I have a few lavender sample packs if anyone is interested in trying it!]

Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser ($16)  •  This product uses glycolic acid to exfoliate your skin, instead of using something gritty, messy, or abrasive.  I use this three times a week, and I definitely notice a difference in the pores around my nose and on my chin.  If you only purchase one item on this list, give this one a try!

Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Night Pads Extreme ($15)  •  I usually use these once or twice a week, and slather with moisturizer immediately after.  This product has all of the acids you want in a skin care product:  glycolic (exfoliates), salicylic (unclogs), lactic (weakens bonds holding dead skin), DL Mandelic (deeply cleanses pores), and hyaluronic (moisturizes).  I love the convenience of this product; the pads are so easy to use.  (Also, I *always* see these on sale.  So if you're hesitant to spend $15 on a product, just keep an eye on these.)

I want to hear from y'all - how do you keep your skin in check when the seasons change?  Any products I should try?