Friday 5

Okay, whoever angered Elsa seriously needs to go and apologize! As I sit at my desk at 9 am typing out this week’s Friday 5 because I didn’t have time to do it yesterday (that’s just the kind of week I’m having) it’s currently -6˚ outside! What’s even better? According to the Weather Channel, it feels like -26˚🥶 I mean, at what point exactly is cold just freaking freezing? Does the body even know the difference between -6 and -26? Probably not.  Anyway, whoever Elsa is mad at had better set things straight because this is ridiculous. Anyway, let’s move on to the Friday 5.

 #1. Save Yourself From The MOST Stuff

If you haven’t seen them already, Oreo put out a new cookie called “The MOST Stuff,” which (as the name implies) contains Oreos with the most cream filling they’ve ever offered. This is a very slippery slope for Oreo cream lovers such as myself. Clocking in at 110 calories and 11g sugar per cookie (3pp/5pp) this is basically a sugar addict’s dream and worst nightmare all wrapped up in one delicious little package. The last 2 days PMS hit me really hard and for me PMS= craving all the sugar. Learn from my mistakes. If you have any sort of self-control issues around sugar, do not (I repeat: do NOT) buy these cookies!!  That being said, if you’re an Oreo cream lover like me, these are awesome… Read more

The Friday 5 | 5 Things That Happened This Week | 1/18/19

Well, my friends, we made it to Friday!  Hallelujah and happy, happy day! In an effort to post a little more regularly on the blog, I thought it might be fun to bring back a series I did ages ago (we’re talking back when I started the blog in 2013) called “The Friday 5.” Basically, every Friday I’ll give you the low down on anything that’s on my mind from that week. New products I’m trying, life events, things on my mind… whatever comes to mind when I start to write. Hopefully, it’s a series you will enjoy. make sure to leave your feedback in the comments.

The Friday 5 | 1/18/19

1. I couldn’t escape the cold

I thought I was in the clear after still feeling okay days after Erik caught a cold, but alas my immune system eventually crapped out and I’ve felt pretty crummy since Tuesday. I really thought Tuesday was simply because f my all day Alice adventure, but a runny nose was a dead giveaway. I had to enlist my cold essentials to help me survive the rest of the week. What are my sickness essentials? I’m so glad you asked:

  • Sudafed- Generic brand is okay, but it has to be the drug that is now only available behind the pharmacy counter, pseudoephedrine. The other drug that is now in the aisles is crap and doesn’t work half as well as what I call “the good stuff.” It’s not expensive or anything, but apparently people figured out you can make meth or something with it (what the actual heck?!) and so they now have to regulate how much you take home in a given time period. Way to ruin it for the rest of us, guys.
  • Zicam- These tablets make everything you eat and drink taste terrible (diet friendly bonus??), but I do think it does its job of shortening the duration of my colds. I’m pretty sure it’s just zinc, but anything that helps is a winner in my book.
  • Afrin nasal spray- This has been in my life since I was young. Again, the generic brand is fine, but this spray will open up even the most stuffed nasal passages. Beware: Do NOT take it for more than a few days and no more than the recommended dosage because it can really mess things up if you abuse it. I know a woman whose nasal passages look like she was a regular drug snorter but she had never done drugs in her life. It was from taking Afrin far too frequently! I learned this in high school and have been careful ever since. 
  • A super hydrating cream for my lips and nose- My nose gets super irritated as soon as I have to regularly use tissues. We’re talking red, dry, and peely, kind of like a sunburn. Using a super hydrating cream is my saving grace. This time around I am using Lano Multi-Purpose Balm and it’s working really well on taking care of my lips and my nose, which is great because I’m pretty sure I will have gone through an entire box of tissues by the time this is over. 

2. Mom For A Day

On Tuesday I was mom for a day. My dad is currently unable to take care of Alice due to having an emergency eye surgery, so family and friends are coming together to manage childcare. I got her all day on Tuesday. We played, I must have said “no” or “stop that” no less than 250000 times, we watched half a movie, we threw a few tantrums.. you know, the joys of hanging out with a two-year-old all day. By the time I got home (after going straight to the gym, which I gave myself major props for), I showered, ate the most low key dinner ever and started struggling to keep my eyes open at 8:30 pm!  Oh my goodness what kind of black magic do toddlers have that somehow drains every last ounce of energy from your body??? Between that and the beginning of my cold, I was in bed by 10 pm and passed out all night long. Mom for a day was hard for someone who is inexperienced. You mamas are the real MVPs! 

I was feeling victorious when all kids under the age of 2, including the pups, went down for a nap.

3. Two New Skincare Items

I’m trying to not buy a whole lot of beauty products until I use up a lot of my current collection, but I did make a small purchase at Sephora while they were offering 2x points on skincare. My first product was the Fresh Beauty Black Tea Kombucha Essense clocking in at $68 for the bottle, which hurt a bit, but it’s such a raved about product I was dying to try it.  Here’s Sephora’s description:

The silky essence gives skin a luminous glow, helps fades fine lines, minimizes pores, improves elasticity, smooths its texture, boosts its healthy tone, and hydrates for up to 24 hours. Kombucha, fermented black tea proven to fight wrinkle-causing pollution and free radicals, is the star in this product.

Sounds like a winner, right? The other product I picked up was the thing that really broke the bank. Clocking in at a whopping $5.90, I finally purchased my first serum from The Ordinary. I got their Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% serum which is supposed to help with acne. Niacinamide was an ingredient found in the formula that was custom made for me by Dermacare, so I knew it worked well for my skin. I figure for less than $6 I might as well give it a shot. Full reviews will be coming later on. 

4. Sweat it out?

I want to know: When you have a cold do you stay away from physical activity or do you try to sweat it out? I haven’t skipped a workout yet this week, despite feeling a bit crummy and being totally hopped up on cold medication. I must say, I definitely don’t feel any worse for sticking to my workout routine. What would you do?

5. My Heart Will Go On

Many of you tell me you want to hear me sing. Well, I posted a video of me singing in the finals of “The Voice of the Ocean” while we were on our cruise over Christmas. It was a really cool experience to be able to sing with the live band on the main stage of the cruise ship. I once had aspirations to be a cruise ship performer, and now I can officially check that off of my bucket list. Pretty neat! In case you missed the video, you can see it below.

My 2019 Goals

 

It’s time for the official goal setting post of 2019! I know, I know, these are totally cliche and overdone, but I am seriously psyched for my goals this year. I took a slightly different approach in my goal setting and the end result gave me 10 goals (yes 10!) that I am really excited about.  This year I used the Cultivate What Matters Powersheets to do my goal planning. I’ve used this product in the past, but never really fully committed to using them. This year I thoroughly and thoughtfully did the Powersheets prep work, and the goals I came up with are things that I feel will greatly improve my life and the way I can show up for others. 

Now, since this isn’t a Powersheets review I won’t get into exactly how they work, but ultimately what you need to know is this; there are different goals that you can plan for in this book. During your prep work, you are asked to find recurring themes that you might have written down and not realized you had an actual recurring theme. After all of my prepping and some thought about how I want to shape my year, these are the 10 goals I came up with. 

My 2019 Goals

A quick note: some of these goals are actually acting as more of a category and I can create smaller goals within that one goal. That being said, let’s dive in. 

Goal #1: Hit Goal Weight and Become My Strongest and Fittest Self

As usual, getting down to my goal weight is on here, but this year it’s a little different. I’m not entirely sure what goal weight is for me anymore because I am shifting my focus to being less Read more

Oh, Hey There 2019…

 

Just like that another year is gone. Done. Finished! It’s hard to believe that 2018 is behind us. I know for many people 2018 was a challenging year for many reasons. While my 2018 wasn’t all sunshine and roses, I am so very thankful for everything that came to pass this last year as I was able to learn and grow from many of my experiences.  It’s these learning experiences from 2018 that are going to help me jump into 2019 with energy, focus, and an even greater understanding of myself to better aid me in achieving my 2019 goals. 

I bet you’re wondering exactly what those goals are, aren’t you? Well, fear not. You will get an entire blog post on them (and a video for my Youtube subscribers), but today is just little brain dump about the new year. Right now it is 5:14 pm on January 1st, and I’m sitting here embracing what’s left of my vacation before reality sets back in and the Mister and I are back to business as usual. I felt the need to stop binge-watching Manifest (which is incredible so far, just in case you’re wondering) and reclaim my computer to write for a bit because this is honestly one of my goals for this year: to write. I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that this little website of mine was not very active in 2018. The truth is my focus flipped to my Youtube channel for the year, and while I cranked out content over there at least 3 times per week, my poor blog suffered. 2019’s goal (well, one of them anyway) is to bring back the blog, so here I am making sure I’m sticking to that on day 1. 

I actually have 10 goals that I’m focusing on this year, but some of them are more like categories that can actually contain smaller goals within the one big picture goal. I’m using the Cultivate What Matters Powersheets as my goal planning tool this year and rather than letting them just sit and take up space on my bookshelf I fully intend on actively using them regularly. Imagine that… 🙄 The Powersheets prep I did before I left for vacation really helped me dive into what I valued and what areas of my life needed focus, and the 10 goals I came up with are things I’m truly excited about cultivating in my life, and I am so looking forward to sharing every step of my journey with you all. 

However, since this in fact not a blog post about my actual goals for the year, I thought that I’d instead share what my words of the year are.  Yes, I have multiple words since I can’t seem to narrow it down to just one. In the Powersheets, they actually tell you to brainstorm a bunch of them and I ended up with so many that I loved that it was actually really hard to imagine picking just one word, so I came up with a few instead:

Fit, Focused, & Fabulous

What does this mean exactly? Well, “fit” should be obvious, but I’ll elaborate anyway. This year my health goals are less about weight loss and more about health and fitness, strength, muscle building and fueling my body well. If I’m focused on my fitness, the weight loss and body changes I desire will follow in time. It’s time to embrace the journey of becoming my healthiest self and not my skinniest self.

“Focused” is also obvious. I want to truly focus on these 10 goals of mine, which will help me become a better version of myself. A better blogger and Youtuber, a better wife, a better Christian, and a better human being. I am a professional procrastinator and time waster, and this year I will use better focus to spend time more efficiently doing the things I need to be doing. 

Fabulous is a word I chose primarily for the alliteration, I’m not going to lie, but it can very easily have the perfect application to helping me be the person I want to be. When I think of someone who is a “fabulous” person I think of someone who is full of light, life, and joy; someone who is unapologetic about who she is and is always trying to grow to become an even better version of herself. Someone who wants to reach goals and exceed what they think is their highest potential. I want to be that person, and this year I have every intention of making that happen. 

I am so excited to embrace this new year and everything it has to offer. Am I the only one that feels like January 1st is the most perfect clean slate that leaves you feeling like anything is possible? Maybe I’m just an eternal optimist, or maybe it’s the fact I started the new year away from my cold, wintery home, but that’s really how I feel about 2019. There’s something different about this year, the last year of another decade. It’s going to be a year full of making things happen, love, joy, faith, and so much more.  Will there be challenges? I’m 100% positive there will be. No one’s life is totally smooth sailing, but even in the challenges that 2019 throws at me, whatever they may be, I know that the good will outweigh the bad. When I know that starting from day 1, it’s hard to have a negative outlook on the new year 😃

So, with that being said, I’m here to wish you all a very happy, healthy, and joyful 2019. I’m looking forward to sharing the next 365 days of adventure with you, and hopefully, you’ll come with me as we create the best year ever. Are you ready? I am! 

 

Lovely Luxuries Holiday Gift Guide

 

 

Jo Malone Perfume Collection: Jo Malone is something I have personally been dying to own, but the price is so high that I can never decide exactly which fragrance I want to commit to. Why do I want to own Jo Malone? No idea! I likely have it in my head that it’s some symbol of ultimate luxury or something, but it’s been on my wishlist for years now. This set has 5 minis in it that give a nice variety of fragrances so you can try things out and decide if there is any scent you love or you can mess around with mixing the scents to come up with your own signature scent. The scents included are Lime Basil & Mandarin, Nectarine Blossom & Honey, English Oak & Redcurrant, Wild Bluebell, and Wood Sage & Sea Salt. You end up with 1.5 oz of product total for $115, which prices it out as slightly more money per ounce ($77/oz) than buying a one-ounce bottle ($68), which is a bummer, but you would get to try 5 different scents instead of having to commit to one. Ultimately, this would be an amazing and luxurious gift for any fragrance lover in your life. 

Tata Harper Jumbo Resurfacing Mask: This mask is my new love. I went and got a sample at Sephora and after that one try, I knew it was going to be a love of mine. This made me sad because it is a really pricey mask, clocking in at $62 for a 1 oz container! 😱 I know, what am I thinking? I happened to go over to Tata Harper’s website instead of Sephora, just to look around, and I stumbled across this beauty. Meet the JUMBO sized container of my new beloved mask! This is 3.55 oz of product for a whopping $125. Before you think I’m a crazy person for not only suggesting this but also buying it (because I totally did!), do the math. At that price, the mask is only $35.20 per ounce instead of the regular price of $62. That is a major discount and completely worth shelling out the extra cash for upfront. I am excited to see what using this mask regularly does for my skin, and with it being as popular as it is, I’m certain this is a great gift for the skincare lover in your life. 

Dagne Dover Midi Tote: I use this bag every single day. It’s just like my Dagne Dover Classic Tote (which I did an entire blog post on) only smaller and more convenient for everyday use. I ended up buying mine because the color was on sale, but I didn’t realize I was purchasing my new go-to handbag. All of the small details that go into a Dagne Dover bag is why I have become a brand loyalist. In the midi tote, there are pen loops, an iPad sleeve, many pockets, and (most importantly) a build in water bottle holder. This bag carries everything I could possibly need while I’m out and about. I get so many compliments when I carry a Dagne Dover, no matter what size (I own a petite one too). This is a beautiful, but fully functional gift. 

Sugarfina Holiday Gift Box: This gift box is a great gift for anyone with a sweet tooth that you want to shower with a little bit of luxury. This box contains festive, limited edition holiday flavors from Sugarfina dressed in a super fancy box to make it look and feel extra luxurious. A great gift idea for someone you want to buy an extra special treat for but don’t really know what they’re into. 

Beats Headphones: Noise canceling headphones are something actually appearing on my wishlist this year. In the age of noisy workspaces, inability to focus (my issue) and people at the gym that you just want to tune out while lifting, noise-canceling headphones are something that you might not buy for yourself, but they’d make a truly thoughtful gift for someone who loves music and quiet.

Thread & Supply Fleece Pullover: Doesn’t this pullover just look like the coziest thing you ever did see? When temperatures outside are as chilly as they’ve been lately, it’s easy to live in your favorite sweatshirt. Treating someone to a high quality, super cozy pullover is a gift that anyone is sure to enjoy this time of year. 

Dyson Hair Dryer: This is the most expensive hair dryer ever, but I’d be lying to you if I didn’t tell you it was also the best hair dryer ever. I have owned this for a year or two now, and I LOVE it. I’d go into details, but I actually have an entire blog post about it that you can read that tells you all about how awesome it is. If you know someone who regularly does their hair or someone like me, who physically struggles to blow dry their hair, this is 100% worth every penny.

Weighted Blanket: This is another product that I’ve owned for a year now (got it last Christmas) and I love, love, LOVE it. Weighted blankets are supposed to help with anxiety, insomnia, and have an overall calming effect, and I must say, it is the coziest thing I’ve ever slept under. I’ve been using it every night and it just feels so good to slip into bed and let the extra weight of my blanket take over. I only use it at night, as carrying a 20lb blanket around from my couch to my bedroom is a bit difficult for me, but I imagine it’s a joy to curl up under while watching a movie or anything you need a quick break to close your eyes and regroup.

Tata Harper Let There Be Light Gift Set: I personally purchased this gift set after falling in love with the resurfacing mask (see above), and it’s a wonderful set at a wonderful price. It contains a full size resurfacing serum ($88 value) as well as .5 oz each of the regenerating cleanser ($24 value) and the resurfacing mask ($31 value) for $92. Not too shabby. It’s a great way to try out several of the most popular Tata Harper products. Another option, if you want smaller sizes of a greater variety of products is the Tata Harper Everyday Essentials kit.

I also have to add that if you don’t already use Ebates as a part of your online shopping experience, you need to stop what you’re doing this instant and go join. All you do is click a little button when you’re shopping and you will get a percentage of your purchase back in cash! I’ve already gotten over $450 back, and that number is getting higher with Black Friday shopping. Sephora is also doing 10% back with Ebates for Black Friday, which is worth it all on its own. Ebates is totally free, and if you use my link you will get $10 credit after your first $25 purchase just for being a friend of mine 🙂

These lovely luxuries are sure to bring a smile to the face of any lucky recipient. Do you have any suggestions for items to add to this list?

 

 

*links may be affiliate links*

November 2018 Goals

 

It’s a new month. It’s my FAVORITE month!  Let’s chat about goals for the month of November.  

True story: in an effort to save time, you get to watch my goals rather than read them.  An explanation (sort of) is in the video 🙂

 

5 Ways To Boost Your Energy WITHOUT The Help Of Caffeine!

Energy is something that I think at least 95% of us feel we need more of on a regular basis, and we definitely go to some extreme measures to get what we feel we need. Caffeine is the drug of choice for so many of us (myself included) and while the morning cup of coffee is essential, it isn’t long before we are downing 3+ cups just to get us through the workday. Then there’s energy drinks, caffeinated sodas, and even caffeinated gum and foods. Not that I’m personally complaining about the existence of any of these things (well, except maybe soda, but that was never my thing), but thanks to the daily availability and consumption of caffeine in our lives we are starting to become dependant on the stuff to keep ourselves going. This got me thinking…

There has got to be a better way! I will never give up the morning ritual of my hot cup of Joe, but when 2 pm rolls around and I’m itching for a boost, I don’t want to have to depend on coffee to get me through.  I decided to start messing around with other options. Recently, I heard Rachel Hollis say something about how our energy needs to be created, and I realized she was right, so the next time I started to fade, I started to brainstorm alternative options, and I came up with some great ones and have started implementing them into my daily practices. Now, does this mean I no longer reach for a little caffeine boost sometimes? No. I’m only human which means I’m not perfect, however, I have been loving using alternate options only to discover they work just as well as (and sometimes better than) and afternoon cup of coffee.  Here are a few of my favorite ways to boost my energy sans- caffeine.

1. Get Pumped Dance Party

The music lover in me might be biased, but there is something so energizing about turning on one of your favorite energizing songs and dancing around for a bit. Sometimes it’s just bopping around while standing up ( have to get a break from sitting!) and some days it turns into a legit, jumping around, fully choreographed, chasing Gracie around the house dance party. After just a song or two, I notice I start to feel re-energized and a little more clear-headed all at the same time. Below is my current “Get Pumped” playlist.  Don’t judge! You’ve got to find the songs that work for you! 

 

2. Eat For Energy

Read more

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