Inexpensive Fall Decor

It is no secret that I love fall. There’s something about the smells, the colors, and the cooler weather combined with the warm and comforting flavors that just make fall one of the best times of the year. As I type this I’m sitting in my office, fall candle burning, with a cozy sweatshirt on because the air outside is a little too cool by my window. 

Being the housewife that I am, home decor is something I truly love but being the budget conscious woman I also am, I currently don’t go too overboard on the home decor purchases. Still, I can’t help but browse all of the new seasonal home items that hit the shelves every year.

I couldn’t help but gather up some of my favorites, most of which I found at TJMaxx (which has a shoppable website! Did you know that?!) which means the price is very right. From cute pillows to an adorable doormat, there’s a little something that can bring a taste of the season into every room of the home. As you can see, I even found a few Rae Dunn pieces to put in the mix. Trust me, grab them before they’re gone. I actually had a really cute “witches brew” Rae Dunn piece on this list, but by the time I actually got around to writing this post, it was already gone! 😩

Whether you need a new wreath for your wall or a beautiful sparking pillow, there’s a little bit of fall for everyone here. What sort of decor do you look for when shopping seasonally? Are you into wall art & fancy pillows or are you more of a seasonal kitchenware type of person? Let me know! 

October 2018 Goals

Well, here we are… the last quarter of 2018! Every month I like to publically declare my goals and intentions for the month. After all, you’re 40% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down! Before we get into my goals for the new month, I like to give an honest look back at my goals for the previous month.

September Goals Review 

30 Day Blogging Challenge: Well this one went down the tubes rather quickly, and I’ll tell you why. It was actually called to my attention (by myself) that of all of the places I create content regularly, the blog is simply not top priority right now. I realized this as I started writing down my goals daily (a process which I will post about later), and honestly, of the 10 goals I wrote down, the blog wasn’t specifically in any of them. Instagram and Youtube were there, and my general income was there, but there was no specific blog related goal, which just made it blatantly obvious that my focus is currently elsewhere. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, it just means that this goal didn’t happen. However, I did end up posting 9 blog posts in September, which was still a large increase from my typical 2 or 3. 

Upload 3 videos per week: I uploaded 9 videos in September, which is a little more than 2 per week, so I almost hit my target, but not quite.

Start a back to school series: Not only did I start this series, but I completed it. 4 videos posted this month all about going back to school for the basics of weight loss. Video 1 talks about the overall concept of going back to school and also gives you a school supply list and homework for what you need to succeed in weight loss. Video 2 is all about tracking and how it’s not only important, but it’s also the thing that is easiest for us to get lazy about doing. Video 3 talks about the importance of activity and movement and tips on how to up your game no matter what level you’re currently at. Finally, video 4 is all about your environment and the importance of making your surroundings are set up to work for you and not against you. Check them out!

Attend all 4 weeks of the marriage class at church: Oct 1 was the fourth and final class and I was in attendance all for weeks! Yay!

October Goals

#Last90Days: I’m not going to elaborate on this because I did an entire blog post about the last 90 days challenge. This challenge will not only run through October but for the rest of the year. This month’s goal is to embrace the challenge, do what it says, and keeping the promises I’m making to myself. If you want more information about it, check out my blog post about #Last90Days. 

Upload 10 videos to my Youtube channel: I’ve learned to not focus on setting goals that involve numbers like subscriber count because ultimately that isn’t a factor I can control. Instead, I need to focus on what I can control, and that’s how many videos I upload. 

Publish 8 blog posts: That’s 2 posts per week, and this post is already my second one for the month. I can WILL do this.

Decorate for fall: My favorite season is here, and for the rest of the year I get to have a seasonally decorated home. I just need to convince my husband to go get the fall decor out of storage and I’ll be a happy little housewife decorating away. We don’t have a ton of fall decor, but the little bit we do have really brings a fun seasonal vibe to our home and it makes my heart so happy. 

 

There we are. Straight forward, measurable, and obtainable goals.  What are your goals for the month?

#Last90Days

It’s October!! We are officially in the last quarter of the year. Now is the time where we start to embrace fall, think about the holidays (say what now?!), and if we’re being honest, we’re thinking about all of those New Year’s Resolutions that we made all the way back in January that we haven’t accomplished yet. 

Did this post just get a little depressing?  Sorry, but hear me out.

The last quarter of the year is not only the time where we start to panic about not reaching our goals, but we also end up getting lazy, letting ourselves get away with things we normally wouldn’t (hello too many holiday treats and pumpkin spice lattes), and ending up moving further away from those goals instead of making the final push to achieve them.  Well, not this year, my friends. 

You all know by now that I am a huge fan and follower of Rachel Hollis, author of the bestseller Girl, Wash Your Face. She and her husband are taking the self-help world by storm and inspiring so many people to get out there, work hard, and accomplish their goals while reaching for their best possible lives. Rachel is hosting the Last 90 Days challenge, and I want to encourage all of us to join in.

The last 90-day challenge starts today, October 1st, and is encouraging all of us to basically change our mindset. Instead of taking these last few months of the year to slack off and take steps backward, why not treat these last 90 days as you would the first 30? You know what I mean. On January 1, we all wake up inspired, motivated, and ready to kick off the new year with big goals and we are ready to work for them. How great would it be if we did that these last few months too? How powerful would it be for us to start 2019 having had 3 months of “new year’s mindset” under our belt already? Read more

Where Were You?

Today is September 11th. 17 years ago today the world changed. 17 years ago today, as a freshman in high school, I learned how very real terrorism is. As a young, naive little 14-year-old girl, I never had to think about it. I never truly realized. I lived in my own little bubble.  Then I went to school on 9/11/01 and walked into 1st period.

I can’t remember the exact chain of events that happened during that period, but what I remember is this: our choir director that year was a man that expected nothing less than perfection from all of his choirs. Even the freshman girls who had only been in session for a few weeks. Rehearsals were not a time to mess around. They were a time for focused rehearsal and getting things done. Nothing was more important than rehearsing and getting ready for whatever performance was coming, even if it was weeks away. He was teaching us how to be good choir members and good performers. For those 48 minutes first thing in the morning, there was nothing more important in our little freshman world.

On 9/11, Mr. Swanson stopped rehearsal and turned on the tv to the newsfeed covering what was happening all over the country. I repeat: Our director stopped rehearsal and turned on the tv.  This simply did not happen! This is how I knew something was up. I didn’t really understand what it was, but I knew that it was important enough that Mr. Swanson stopped rehearsal and we watched whatever the current newsfeed was.  I don’t remember exactly what was on the screen and I don’t remember what time it was exactly, but this choir nerd (in high school there was nothing more important than choir and show choir to me. This didn’t change all 4 years) took Mr. Swanson’s reaction to mean it was a big deal. 

I honestly don’t remember what happened the rest of the day. I recall the tv being on in most of our classrooms, but that’s about it. I happened to be one of the people that didn’t lose someone close to me that day, and I know how lucky I am to have that be the case because so many others did. Having a husband that gets on an airplane every single week, I can’t begin to imagine the panic I’d be feeling if it was this year instead of 17 years ago.

That’s what I remember about September 11th. Where were you? What were you doing? 

 

5 Things I Do Every Single Night Before Bed

Just like I have 5 things I do every morning, I also have a set list of things I do every single evening before bed. Bedtime routines are ideal for helping set the tone for getting ready to go to bed and fall asleep easily, making sure you’re rested and ready for the day ahead. My evening routine, like my morning routine, is flexible based on what is actually happening, but there are several things I do every night, regardless of what is going on, what time it is, or what I’ve been up to this evening. 

1. Skincare

Beauty experts everywhere will emphasize the importance of “taking the day off “of your face at the end of the day. Makeup, dirt, grime, and everything else we encounter throughout the day needs to get washed off. This helps prevent clogged pores, acne, aging, and is overall just good common sense.  The older I get, the more I’m getting into skincare instead of makeup. A solid evening skincare routine is relaxing (warm water, rubbing in moisturizer and serums, etc feels very pampering and spa-like) and so beneficial. I’ve got several steps in my evening skincare, and I’m really loving the results I’m seeing as I prioritize this routine each and every night. 

  • Remove makeup with an oil-based cleanser
  • Swipe micellar water over my face to make sure the makeup is all gone
  • Cleanse with a cream cleanser
  • My new favorite exfoliating peel pads
  • A moisturizing serum
  • Night Cream
  • Eye Cream
  • My all-time favorite nighttime lip moisturizer

Read more

5 Things I Do Every Single Morning

I have a morning routine, as most people do, and while it’s sometimes a bit more flexible on some days than others, there are a few things I do every single day, regardless of how much time I have, what’s going on, or what might get in the way of my normal routine. 

1. Make the bed

I can not stand knowing my bed isn’t made. There is something that feels refreshing about a made bed. I feel like no matter what other messes are in the bedroom, if the bed is made it feels a lot cleaner and more organized. In the same way, even on days where my bedroom is perfectly tidy, if I see the comforter all piled up in disarray (something that typically only happens when my husband is in the bed), it completely takes away from the tidiness of the room and all I see is the chaos. The bed gets made every single morning. This is important enough where I’ve even managed to get my husband to see this is important and he will make the bed too. Epic wife win!

2. Drink Coffee

Read more

What I’d Do With A Million Dollars

Imagine that you woke up this morning and discovered $1,000,000 in your bank account. Not a million dollars that the government has to take a large chunk of for taxes or anything like that. Just a strait million that you were gifted and was all yours to spend however you wanted.  Can you picture it?

What would you do with it?

I don’t mean what will you tell people you’ll do with it to make you look good or anything like that. What would you honestly do with a million dollars? 

Read more

September 2018 Goals

A new month means a new set of goals! While I am pumped for September and everything it means (fall, cooler weather, pumpkin spice, and other fall flavors, etc), it also means that we’re entering the last third of the year. This time of year is always crunch time, as I tend to realize just how many of my goals for the year I have yet to achieve. This realization is always a depressing one, but rather than dwell on it, I’m going to move forward and use my focus to make these last 4 months of the year the most productive ones of 2018.

Looking Back at August

Before we talk about the month ahead, I always like to look back at the previous month and reflect on how I did achieving the goals I set for myself.

Vlogust: 31 videos in 31 days was a lofty goal, and while I didn’t actually succeed (people who upload daily are crazy!), I did upload a whopping 22 videos in 31 days. That’s still almost twice my normal amount.

Declutter: I did end up decluttering my makeup collection (with several videos for your viewing pleasure on my channel), my clothing, and I started on my office. 

2 blog posts per week: Yeah… I published 4 posts all month. Whoops…

Get back on track: In general, August was a great month for this. I went back to tracking Points Plus, rekindled my spark for working out, and have in general been feeling pretty good about all things health and weight loss related. Basically, I’m using August as the month that springboards me into September and hopefully a month full of success. 

September Goals

Read more

August 2018 Favorites

Another month come and gone and it’s time for my monthly favorites. Every month I curate a list of things that I’ve been using and loving all month long from all different areas of life. This month we have some food and beauty favorites, as well as some media favorites that I was particularly impressed by. Without taking too much time, let’s jump right into my favorites for the month of August. 

Beauty

It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Powder: I purchased this powder foundation a few months ago when I was trying to find face products formulated without talc, bismuth oxide, or silicones. This proved to be more difficult than I thought it would be. When I went to replace my old favorite powder foundation (which had talc as the first ingredient…sad day), and this powder was one of only a few options I could find. Since I know and trust the It Cosmetics brand, I decided to give it a try. While it took me a few months to appreciate it, this powder is now one of the only products I use every day.

The coverage is sheer to full, and it does, in fact, build up to a full coverage foundation, which is something I look for to cover the acne issues I have along my jawline. I apply it with my favorite flat powder foundation brush, and in less than a minute, I am out the door. There is SPF 50 build right into the powder, so when I’m out and about I don’t necessarily have to take the extra step to apply a sunscreen. I find that the IT Cosmetics powder lasts a long time, and I don’t just mean in the compact. When I apply it in the morning, I notice there is still a significant amount of product to be removed at the end of the day, whereas with other products seem to melt into the skin and be barely there at the end of the day. While some of the coverage does fade ever so slightly (and reapplication is a breeze), my skin goes all day and into the evening with a coverage that leaves me feeling good about my face. On my more recent videos, people have been complimenting my skin and make up a ton. It’s all this powder, my friends. Quick, easy, and flawless! Read more

The Good Old (Labor) Days

It’s almost 10 pm on Labor Day and I’m just sitting down to write. In my bed, with the new season of The Great British Baking Show playing in the background. This is real life.

Today was a rainy and gloomy day, making me feel rather sad for people with any Labor Day plans that took place outside.  It was a pretty standard Monday for me with getting to the gym, uploading my monthly favorites video (full transparency, that was also the post that was supposed to go up today, but I ran out of time and the mental bandwidth to get it done today, so here we are), spent time with my husband before he left for his week’s travels, spent time talking final wedding plans for my baby sister’s big day next Sunday, and even saw a friend. It was a busy, productive day, but it wasn’t my typical Labor Day. Truth be told, I haven’t had a typical Labor day in several years.

You see, for me and for my family, Labor Day has only ever been about two things: a cookout and having our eyes glued to the annual Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon. 

Do you remember watching that? I certainly do.

As at least some of you probably know, the Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon was a 21-hour telethon that contained hours of top-notch entertainment as they raised millions of dollars over the years for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Fact: even though Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (aka what I have) is a nerve disease and not technically Muscular Dystrophy, the MDA supported CMT under the MDA’s umbrella. Throughout the course of my childhood, I was personally impacted by the work of the MDA in the form of years of visits to the MDA clinic downtown and several memorable summers spent at MDA camp, which is a free camp for MDA patients.

It’s an incredible experience that allows kids that have many various levels of disability (we’re talking from kids more mobile to me to others that are wheelchair bound and have machines that help them breathe) to have a week away from family, surrounded by others just like them and an amazing crew and staff that make every single camper feel special, loved, and NORMAL. Camp was always an incredible experience for me, and I was always so sad to leave.  Even now, years later, I have a few young teenagers that follow me on Instagram that also have CMT, and they messaged me telling me about how excited they were for camp, and also followed up when they got home saying it was an amazing time. It makes my heart so happy to know that this camp is still making such a huge impact on kids lives, even after the telethon got canceled. 

Yes, you read that right. They canceled the telethon. The MDA telethon started way back in 1966. Actually, Jerry Lewis started hosting telethons to benefit the MDA back in 1952, but it wasn’t until 1966 that the telethon I grew up loving and appreciating came into being. The 21-hour telethon began the night before Labor Day, ran all night long, and until 6 or 7 pm on Labor day, and it was such a joy to watch. Broadway shows, famous singers, and celebrities from all different genres graced the TV screen as they performed, entertained, and help bring in millions of dollars worth of donations. It was a joy to watch, not just because it was raising money for a good cause, but I was one of Jerry’s kids. My family was one of the families impacted by this show. Fun fact: one year I was actually on a local segment of the telethon, as I got interviewed on camera one of my summers at camp.

When Jerry Lewis was no longer a part of the telethon in 2011, it was so sad to me, as he spent most of his life supporting the MDA. The show began to change. They made it shorter, and it felt a lot less magical than in years past. 2014 was the last year of anything resembling the telethon, and my Labor Days have been boring and a little sad ever since. 

It’s funny how something as seemingly small as an annual television broadcast could make up so many of my Labor Day memories, but it does! As I was writing this, I actually asked my mom if they only started watching the telethon after our family was diagnosed with CMT or if they watched it before. It turns out my family always watched the show, even before I was in the picture, and it just got more meaningful once we learned we were linked to it. How cool is that?

Why such a long post about something that doesn’t even exist anymore? Well, for one, I promised to publish something every day this month, and this happened to be on my mind this evening, but more importantly, I want this blogging challenge to help you get to know me better. In case you haven’t figured it out by now, having CMT plays a big part in the woman I grew up to be and on Labor Day, we always focused on this show, this cause, and the amazing things it did for patients all over that were just like me and my family.  The show might not be on anymore, but the memories of watching it at my grandparent’s house in between rounds of swimming in the pool, at home, and even in my college dorm room, as Labor Day weekend was also move-in weekend, are all very strong in my mind and in my heart.

Do you have any Labor Day traditions or favorite Labor Day memories? I’m also dying to know: Did you ever watch the MDA telethon? Let me know!