• August 24, 2016

    Top 5 Bath & Beauty Products

    Life seems to be getting away from me lately.  Between summer activities, house projects, washer/dryer threatening to go out on me, and some really tough cases at work… I haven’t had much time for self care, let alone any writing or picture taking!  It’s been so sad for me too, because I’ve really been wanting to share this one with you!  *grin*

    Here are my top 5 favorite bath and beauty products:

    Natures Gate Shampoo/Conditioner

    Natures-Gate

    I really love the way the herbal ones smell!  Ugh, it’s SO good!  And it leaves my hair shiny and healthy without the use of gluten, animal product, parabens, GMOs, Soy, etc!  They are cruelty free and eco-friendly too!  It’s amazing to have a product that is ethical, safe, and works really well too!

    Physician’s Formula Mascara

     

    Physicians-Formula

    I have always struggled with mascara – it usually makes my eyes teary and crusty and yucky if I wear it too long.  Recently, a friend of mine mentioned that there might be gluten in the one I was using – who would have thought?!  Turns out, it’s really common and it’s actually really hard to find on that is gluten free!  No wonder I had issues before!  This Physician’s Formula mascara is easy to apply and doesn’t hurt my eyes even if I wear it every day!  Not all of their mascara’s are gluten free, but they label them very clearly on the packaging so it’s easy to find safe ones.  This particular one is not waterproof and I have found it smudges if you aren’t careful, but it’s a trade-off I am willing to make!

    The Body Shop Hand Creams

    The-Body-Shop

    A work friend gave me the strawberry hand cream for Christmas last year and I fell in love!  It is so smooth and absorbs very quickly which is a must for me in a hand cream.  They come in great little travel size tubes so I always have one in my bag and use it constantly!  The price may seem a little bit much for a tiny tube, but you really don’t need much when you apply it so it lasts a long time.  Also, The Body Shop has pretty frequent sales, so if you watch the website and buy a bunch when they are on sale, you can get a really great deal!  I think the last time I bought these, they were 3 for $10 (and when one tube usually costs $8… that’s pretty amazing!).

    Lush Bath Bomb

    Lush

    A beauty love list wouldn’t be complete without Lush Bath Bombs!  I don’t do baths too often, but when I really want to spoil myself, I love these products!  My favorite so far is Butterball.  The natural and safe ingredients leave my skin so soft and lightly scented.  It’s truly relaxing and peaceful while also being really good for my skin and they are ethically sourced too!  Ahhhhh-mazing!

    Lancome Juicy Shaker

    Lancome

    And for my grand finale, and truly indulgent beauty product: Lancome’s Juicy Shaker!  I struggle with lip colors and never feel like they last or look right and they always leave me feeling sticky and icky, but not so with this!  It is a little bit sticky at first, but leaves lips soft and comfortable after a bit.  The color is so nice too – I got the red colored vanilla pop and was a little afraid of it being too dark on my pale Irish skin, but it’s totally not!  Plus, it smells so good!  *grin*  The only downside (and why I only have one) is that they cost a whopping $21!  Ouch!  But, it’s good to spoil yourself once in a while, right?

    I hope you’ve enjoyed this little journey into my bath and beauty loves!  I’d love if you would share with me in the comments what products you love and what makes them so wonderful!

  • August 3, 2016

    Photo Session

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    If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that I got a shiny new toy for my birthday:

    Camera

    It’s a Nikon Coolpix B500.  I’m still learning my way around it, but so far I’ve been very pleased.  It’s not a DSLR, so there are some limitations as far as zooming and focusing and the manual aspect that higher end cameras offer.  That said, I think this is about as close as any point and click camera can get to a DSLR – the zoom is amazing and the images are crisp and clear!

    The reason I asked for this camera is because the DSLR we have is wonderful, but also big, expensive, and hard to take on camping, hiking, and vacations.  I needed something  better than my phone camera but less intense then the Canon Rebel!

    The first day I had the camera, we went to a winery and I snapped a few pictures of the grounds.  Totally forgot to take any of the actual wine tasting… I guess I’ll have to go back and try again!  *grin*

    Vineyard

    Grapes

    One day these will be delicious wine… and I will be back for them!

     

    Wine

    Then, last weekend, we went camping.  The spot we had wasn’t super great for pictures – truly lacking in flowers, moss, or any color really.  I did manage to get some nice shots of the lake, though, and the wildlife as well!  

    Tent

    Heron

    That zoom! O.o

     

    Fly-Away

    I hope you will enjoy watching me learn my way around this camera and getting a glimpse into my world as I go.  It’s been a lot of fun for me so far!

  • July 27, 2016

    30 Before 30

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    A friend of mine has had some health issues recently and we were talking about how everything kind of went to hell when she turned thirty.  That got me to really thinking about those 30 before 30 lists and how maybe enough people know that everything craps out on you after you turn 30… so I figure I better get my crap together this year and do some amazing things!

    1. Go for a wine tasting at a vineyard
    2. Sit on a beach
    3. Run another 5k
    4. Take a class
    5. Have family photographs taken
    6. See a ballet
    7. Learn to make pizza from scratch
    8. Eat vegetarian meals 2x week
    9. Make an incredible cosplay costume
    10. Find the perfect little black dress
    11. Play a video game all the way through with my husband
    12. Learn calligraphy
    13. Take better care of my skin and hair
    14. Research family history
    15. Have a homemade Christmas
    16. Buy myself a beautiful piece of jewelry
    17. Cover my home and office with art
    18. Clean my home with all homemade cleaners
    19. Fully embrace my inner nerd
    20. Do something that scares me
    21. Put up fantastic Halloween decorations
    22. Stop letting fear run my life: Be assertive when appropriate, Stop waiting for someone else to approve or tell me it’s ok to do what I want, Open up to people – maybe make a friend
    23. Complete a 30 day photo challenge
    24. Make something that makes my heart happy
    25. Learn about meditation and give it a try
    26. Learn how to make cheesecake
    27. Go to a theme park
    28. Take a girls only trip
    29. Read 30 books in the year
    30. Start an Etsy shop

    Some of these things are silly, some serious, and some are pretty freaking ambitious.  I hope to accomplish all of these things in the next 365 days, but at the very least have a plan in place to move forward!

    Wish me luck!  *grin*

  • July 20, 2016

    Throwback Thursday on a Wednesday Birthday Edition

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    Guess who has a birthday coming up???

    It’s me!

    *grin*

    I decided to go way, way back for this TBT all the way to 1988 when I turned 1!  It was such fun looking at the pictures of my first party – what little brat I was!  Look at that reaction to the yellow dress!

    Gifts

    So ungrateful.  But that expression!  It’s like, what the hell, Mom.  I told you I don’t look good in yellow!

    But then there’s this delightful cake picture!

    Cake

    That’s still how I eat cake.

    Don’t judge me.

    Anyway, I hope you had fun seeing a little history of mine!  It’s remarkable how the world has changed since that day.

  • July 6, 2016

    Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

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    I’m an emotional eater.  I always like desserts, but I especially crave sugars when I’m sad or stressed.  I’ve eaten a lot of ice cream lately, partly because it’s been rough going for a while and partly because my recipe is delicious.  I’m experimenting with new and different flavors, but if you want the tried and true, all-American vanilla, here is my favorite recipe:

    Supplies

    1 pint Heavy Whipping Cream

    1 pint Half and Half

    1 cup Sugar

    1 Tablespoon Vanilla

    Toss it all in your ice cream maker, following the instructions for your device, and wait.  My ice cream maker requires that I combine the ingredients and chill in the freezer before starting.  Once it’s chilled, I can transfer it to the ice cream maker bowl and turn it on.  After it’s done, I pour the ice cream into a new storage container and then freeze it for a while to set.  Yours may be different, but it’s pretty easy-peasy!

    Pour

    If you want to add pieces of fruit or chocolate chips or whatever, you can do that when you transfer it into the storage container – just make sure to stir it up well enough that you don’t end up with everything on top or bottom.  I think you can also add it while the machine is stirring, but double check what your machine requires.

    Yummy

  • June 29, 2016

    Hello Again

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    Hello, it’s me.  Hello, can you hear me?  Hello from the other side; from the outside.

    How are you?

    It’s been a while.  What I thought would be a short break from everything turned into a much longer break.  I’m not apologizing for that, just acknowledging the facts.  Pressures from work and travel combined with feelings of loneliness, worthlessness, and despair made it impossible for me to write over this past month.  Sometimes life is too much.  Sometimes I need to hide and cry and grieve and try to accept my pathetic little life.  And that takes time.

    Now, I’m trying to come back.  I’m trying to write and take pictures and be happy again.  Because I can’t stay in that lonely place forever.  I can’t allow myself to think that nobody cares about me forever.  At some point I have to acknowledge that there are some who do.  There really are some good and beautiful things in the world.

    I’m still not in a place of feeling good or happy or fulfilled.  I probably never will be in that place.  Not for long, anyway.  The world isn’t often a good or happy place and it’s impossible not to focus on that sometimes; especially with so much hate and loss over the past few weeks.  I’m trying, though, to find meaning in what I have in my little corner of this world.

    I’m trying to do what I love because I love it.  This little blog is for me, not readers – nobody reads this anyway – so it has to be for me.  Sometimes I forget that, though, and get down that I’m not successful with my writing, that I’m too afraid to advertise it or tell people about it.  I start feeling pathetic and sure that there’s no point, even if it sometimes makes me happy.

    So, if you’re reading this, thank you.  I hope this little moment of honesty doesn’t put you off.  Or make you sad too.  I hope you can look and what I’ve done before and hope with me that I’ll get back to it again.  That it’s not all pointless.  I hope you have love and peace in your life and are able to do something to share that love and peace with someone else today.  I hope you take the time to lift someone up today because you never, never know what people are going through in their heart of hearts.  You never know where people are in their journey, so I hope you respond to all you meet with patience and grace.

  • May 18, 2016

    Top 5 Things to Love About Spring

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    Spring is such a wonderful time of year, don’t you think?  There is always so much to do, but there is also so much to love!   I’ve managed to narrowe it down to my 5 favorite things about springtime!  I hope you enjoy my photos and feel inspired to get out and see some of your favorite spring things.  *grin*

    1. Everything is new!

    Duckies

     

    Lavender

     

    2. It’s nice enough to go outside!

    Geese

     

    Walking-Ollie

     

    3. Iced coffee!

    Iced-Chai

     

    4. Garden planning!

    Pots

     

    Herbs

     

    5. Breaking out the spring and summer wardrobe!

    Dresses

     

    Scarves

  • May 4, 2016

    Infused Water Recipes

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    If you are anything like me, you struggle to drink enough water every day.  And if you are like me, this next piece of information is going to blow. your. mind.: the old idea of 8, 8oz glasses of water every day is bunk.  It doesn’t take into account your height, weight, activity level, or anything!  A 100lb woman who works out for an hour every day won’t need the same amount of water as a 300lb woman who never works out, or a 300lb woman who does work out every day.  Makes, sense, right?

    So, how much water do you actually need to drink?  To find out, take your weight and multiply it by 67% (or .67) and the total is the number of ounces you should drink if you are not working out or spending the day in the sun.  So, if you weigh 130lb… 130x.67=87… 87oz of water every damn day!

    For reals.  And that’s just the base level – you should drink another 12oz for every 30 minutes you work out!

    When I learned this, I about died.  I mean, I don’t drink that much of anything in a day, let alone just water!  It felt so insurmountable at first that I almost gave up before I even tried.

    But then I didn’t.  I didn’t give up.  I tried really, really hard for longer than I care to admit and finally reached my goal water consumption!  I defiantly don’t hit it every day, but I’ve changed some habits and made water a priority, so it’s way better than it used to be.  To help me reach that goal, I tried lots of different things, one of which was flavoring my water like they do in fancy spas.  Mmm… fancy water.  Here are my two favorite water flavor combinations:

    Strawberry Cucumber Basil Water

    Strawberries

    • 1/2 sliced cucumber
    • fresh basil leaves
    • 5 strawberries, sliced

    Strawberry-Water

     

    Ginger Pear Water

    Pear-and-Ginger

    • 1 sliced pear
    • fresh ginger

    Pear-and-Ginger-Water

    Let ingredients mingle for a few hours and enjoy!  Hopefully having fancy spa water will help inspire you to drink more water and actually enjoy it!

  • April 27, 2016

    Remember How We Talked About This?

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    So… remember a couple weeks ago when we talked about self care?  Well… I’m taking this week off to practice what I preach.  I just can’t seem to get ahead of things and I need a chance to breathe right now.  Don’t worry, I have plans for next week’s post, so I just need to put it all together now!  :)

    Now, go do something fun, ok?

    Tea

    P.S. This tea?  In the pictures?  It’s ah-maz-ing!  Seriously, chocolate tea?!  Best. thing. ever.

  • April 20, 2016

    Top 5 Ways to go Greener Right Now!

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    Happy Earth Day!  I love this day so much!  It’s an important day and a good reminder of the fragility of the earth and our part in that.  It’s an opportunity to search out new ways to use resources wisely and conserve what we do have.  So, I’ve compiled a list of 5 really easy ways we can make the world a better place and care for our home.   Now, go forth and challenge yourself to do these things on a regular basis!

    1. Use reusable cloth shopping bags

    This is a no-brainer!  Nobody needs hundreds of paper and plastic bags floating around their homes, so opt for reusable cloth bags instead.

    2. Frequent local businesses – grocery co-ops and farmers markets

    Shopping locally isn’t just good for local businesses!  By purchasing locally made items, you cut down on emissions from transporting things across the country and world.

    3. Ride a bike or take the bus

    Again, you can help cut down on vehicle emissions in your area.  If you bike, you can also get in some good exercise!

    4. Turn off lights, electronics, and faucets when not in use

    This is another no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t take this simple step!  If you already do this, take the next step and unplug things you’re not using!  Use a power strip with an on/off switch and shut things down when you go to bed every night.

    5. Bring your own travel mug on your coffee runs (some shops even offer discounts for this!)

    This can’t always be pre-planned for (I usually end up at coffee shops on a whim, not out of habit or planning), but if you do have a regular habit of going to out for your coffee, it’s totally do-able!

    Park

    If you already do some of these things, way to go!  You’re conscious of the Earth’s fragility and you’re making a difference!  Sometimes, though, we’re limited with what we can do (for instance, I live in a place where the bus doesn’t run and it’s too far to bike, so I have to drive to work), so I’d love to know what other things you do to live a green life!  Please, share your thoughts and strategies in the comments!