FriYAY feels!

Friyay! And YIKES. It has been a long time since I wrote!

I’ve struggled with the blog thing because my life is so busy right now, and to be honest, I’m never sure who’s following along. Then someone will randomly tell me they love reading my posts, and it is so nice and gives me the pick-me-up I need. I don’t get paid or have any partnerships for MAXOUThappy, so when I have extra time or inspiration I write more, and when I don’t…I just don’t. I’d rather it be real than forced. And that’s life sometimes. Between teaching, working a second job, my best friend’s wedding, mine and Andrew’s wedding, baseball season, three dogs, and trying to keep some semblance of eating well and being active, I have been covered up lately!

All this to say thank you for not giving up on me if you are reading this.

We had spring break for school last week, and it flew by (as usual!). I had lofty plans of working on the blog, doing photo shoots, working out every day, etc. but a lot of that did not happen. Some big things that I DID accomplish, though:  Spring cleaning of the apartment, lots of laundry, my taxes, cleaning out my closet and room and donating a million bags to Goodwill, getting our rentals and rehearsal food booked for the wedding, and most importantly, getting in some QT with my fiancé and celebrating his birthday! I also somehow managed to make some online purchases – but these are items that I have been researching and really considering for weeks now. Bulk impulse buys are worse than bulk thought-out and deeply considered buys, right?! SOMEBODY BACK ME UP.

I have been having a hard time getting my 30 year old skin under control. I have always suffered from breakouts, but something has shifted now that I’m older and I’m having hormonal skin issues as well as workout-related breakouts. I bought a fancy charcoal mask that had amazing reviews at the start of the new year and it WREAKED HAVOC on my face. I have been seeing the Tula skincare line everywhere and have heard only wonderful things, but I have a hard time putting serious cash down on stuff that I’m not sure will work, especially on my finicky and super sensitive skin. After much deliberation, I bought the discovery kit so I can try some of these out without breaking the bank and see how they work for me! I’ll report back. Has anyone else tried it and loved it?

I got these camel colored mules for spring and summer, and if they’re as comfortable as they look I will probably continue to wear them into fall! I am always ballin’ on a budget, but in the last few years I’ve tried to incorporate one or two things each season that are high quality staple items for my closet that will last for years. I can’t afford to do that with everything I buy, but these shoes seem so worth it. I got them last night and I know I’ll be killin’ them in the classroom this spring on repeat. Let those teenagers try to say something. Comfort + style can’t be beat. Plus you can get 15% off by entering your email address (just unsubscribe later if the emails bother you!).

i mean they’re just lovely.

I think I’m super behind to the Everlane party, but I wanted to put it out there in case anyone else is behind like me! They partner with ethical factories around the world and use high quality fabrics for a fair price. I need to wait a minute on the online purchases, but I’m looking at this nice plain u-neck tee and these high-rise white jeans for spring & summer.

I’m dying to try this lipstick because it has been so raved about by fancy bloggers I follow. I am considering trying the shade Pillow Talk to see if it’s a good one for the wedding!

I joined a new gym this week to try to vamp up my motivation for my fitness. I am a serial O2 Fitness joiner and canceler, but they just opened a new one near me and I’m giving it a try again! Stay tuned. I’m hoping with the yoga studio, cycle studio, group fitness classes AND regular gym equipment, I’ll have a great variety and I won’t feel stuck.

A few quick, actually easy, and delicious healthy recipes I made for dinner this week:  Lemon garlic crockpot chicken, shrimp fajitas, and Italian chicken tenders (no recipe here; I just drizzle chicken tenders with olive oil + balsamic vinegar and a packet of Italian seasoning. Bake at 375 for about 25-30 minutes. YUM). Hoping to try this delicious and easy beef & broccoli recipe next week!

This weekend, my mom and I are hosting Whitney’s bridal luncheon for a brunch and I am SO excited to get to celebrate her! In ONE WEEK she will be getting married! So weird and real! I can’t wait to stand by her side while she marries the love of her life.

Enjoy the weekend – maybe warmer weather is   f   i   n   a   l   l   y   here to stay?!

FabFitFun // Spring box

It’s here! The Spring FabFitFun box got to me about a week ago, and I am so excited. I mentioned this subscription service when I got my Winter box – it is such a fun treat to look forward to every few months!

This box was FULL of goodies – I don’t think there was even one item in it that I wasn’t excited about! Total value of this box was $347 so it feels like such a deal when you just pay your subscription price of $49.99! The picture below breaks down what each of the items was in this spring box:

I LOVE the Murad face lotion – it is so smooth, and I really feel like I can already see a difference in my skin tone and texture already. It smells good, too! I have been using it every day. My only complaint about it would be that it doesn’t contain an SPF, so you’d still have to follow with that. I am excited to try the Free People cooling face mask, although face masks kind of give me anxiety. Is that weird?! I just feel like they’re closing in on me when I wear them! But I have several friends who swear by them, and I’m going to give it a try for puffiness and relaxation – if it’s not for the entire night, maybe my brain will feel less weird wearing it. They’re sold out right now, so they must be good!

The Rachel Pally clutch is SO cute, reversible, and just in time for spring! Maybe my favorite thing in the box next to the face lotion, just because I can get so much use out of it, and since it’s reversible, it’s even better!

When I opened the box, I immediately wanted to light the Anderson Lilley candle, because the fragrance was already filling up my room and it smelled SO good. Plus, I love the copper holder. Perfect for taking a bath or just relaxing at home.

I’ve been using the ISH lip palette every day for my lip color, and I love the variety of colors and how smoothly they each go on. Definitely a bonus! I have also been using the massage roller a ton this week – it is amazing. Andrew likes it, too! I can’t find the link to the actual roller – but I would definitely purchase it for myself just because of how great it feels! I haven’t tried any of the other items, but like I said, every part of this box was exciting to me!


my two favorite items from the box!

My favorite part about the FabFitFun subscription is that it is full of goodies that I normally wouldn’t spend full price on – this way, I get to try and use all of these full-sized products without breaking the bank! Win-win. My least favorite part of the subscription is the side-eyed judgement looks I get from my dogs while I’m taking photos for blog posts – haha!

catching judgement from the doggies

FriYAY feels!


cloth & paper notepad, feyoncé mug was a gift!

FriYAY!!! The weekend is upon us. This weekend, I’m at the beach with some of my favorite people, celebrating my best friend Whitney for her bachelorette weekend! She’ll be getting married in about a MONTH – I can’t believe it and I can’t wait to stand up there next to her while she marries the love of her life! Her bridal shower was in February, which was a ton of fun, so I know this weekend will be grand. I’ve really been looking forward to it!

I’m so ready for spring and Whitney’s wedding has kind of been that stepping stone for me – like, by the time she gets married, spring will be HERE. And then before you know it, the 100 degree, 100% humidity days will start rolling in just in time for mine and Andrew’s wedding in July! I especially love the warmer weather for when I go watch Andrew’s baseball games after school. At the beginning of the season, it’s frigid by the end of the game, but by the end of the season, I’m getting sunburned and sweating. Either way, I still love it!

Speaking of Spring, all the florals are out in stores in full fledged glory. I’m loving this dress – and you can’t beat a price like that for a nice dress from Loft!

I’ve been using Tarte’s Shape Tape Concealer for a couple of months now and have COMPLETELY fallen in love with it. I’m still using my Bare Minerals BarePro foundation, but once it runs out, my next purchase will immediately be the new Shape Tape foundation. I can’t wait to try it! I’ll have to decide on either the matte or the hydrating.

I’m starting to think about the honeymoon in July, and I realized I don’t have a matching set of luggage. When I graduated high school, I got a nice set – but that was 13 years ago! That makes me feel old. I’m l-o-v-i-n-g this set and daydreaming of my new monogram – but this one is probably a more affordable and realistic option!

That’s about all that’s going on with me! Celebrating huge life events like my best friend getting married, preparing for mine and Andrew’s wedding, my best friend Kelly having a baby in May…and our high school’s spring break and Andrew’s birthday are in just a couple of weeks! I’m so looking forward to that week off so I can take care of things I really need to do – like deep clean, de-clutter and donate things I am no longer using, and do my taxes (fingers crossed!).

I’ll be sharing photos and insta stories of Whitney’s bachelorette weekend for the next couple of days, so follow along on Instagram! Enjoy the weekend!

 

Thoughts // Heavy Boots 2

This one goes out to all of the passionate educators who raise our nation’s children, and to all the heavy hearts wearing heavy boots.

I’ve struggled a lot over the last few days on whether or not to post this. I’m not usually one to get political, or rock the boat, or to get people up in arms. But I am personally up in arms, and I’m having a hard time. Is anyone else wearing heavy boots? I explained the heavy boots thing in this post . The recent world events and school shootings, which should not be plural, have been weighing so heavily on me these past few days and I can’t write a joyful post about clothes or coffee or happiness because I’m just feeling really let down by society right now.

I am incredibly passionate about people, and I do believe that there is beauty and goodness in the world. I have to. There are beautiful things happening in front of us every single day. But working in the education system, and more specifically in a public high school, has made these events and this topic hit very close to home, and I feel like I’ve been carrying something around that keeps getting heavier and heavier.

I’m not sure when exactly a teacher’s job description shifted to include needing to protect the lives of children and adolescents in the event of a deadly shooting attack. I remember in high school having my first ever code red lockdown drill after the tragic events at Columbine, and thinking it was so weird and scary to be pretending like something like that was happening at our school. As high school juniors and seniors, we scrunched up behind our teacher’s desk with all the blinds shut, giggling and acting like it wasn’t a real issue, and if it was, it was certainly one that would never touch us. But here it is, over 10 years later, still happening, ever-present. And now, as an adult, every year when we have our annual lockdown drill at school, I shove my students into a closet and lock the doors and shut the blinds and turn off the lights and feel my heartbeat race, even though it’s just a drill. There is an eerie presence of this terrifying reality even in our preparation and training for an event that we pray will never come.

We continue to put band-aids on things without dealing with the root cause of the issue. Violence is not the answer to violence. Arm me with a deadly weapon?! How is this even an INKLING of a thought? Arm me with a school culture that is safe and nurturing, arm me with policies that keep people from purchasing automatic assault weapons. Arm me with mental health resources for children who I can sense, as someone who spends a lot of time getting to know them, are on the verge of a mental breaking point and are in serious, urgent need of attention RIGHT NOW. Not tomorrow, not next week when the paperwork goes through. Arm me with a reassurance that this chronic mental health crisis in our nation is getting the attention it deserves and that the stigma we place on mental health issues is going to change. Arm me with a system that listens and reacts when warning signs are documented and vocalized instead of waiting until it’s too late. Arm me with all of those things, and so many more, but do not place the ridiculous responsibility of carrying a gun at school on our teachers who already have overflowing lists of responsibilities that we can’t possibly keep up with.

It would be silly to say that this isn’t a political debate. Of course it is – policy brings change, and policy means politics. But maybe we should try to look at it as a human race stance rather than a political one:  No matter who our leader is, no matter what your political beliefs are, the fact of the matter is that we, as a nation, have a serious problem. This is a systemic and societal problem that is intertwined in so many layers, and it is too complicated to fix immediately, and I think that is why it’s so hard for me. It’s no one’s fault, and it’s everyone’s fault. It’s hard to see a system with good intentions fail our kids, and it’s hard to watch and feel helpless when world events occur that we should have been able to prevent. I saw a Facebook post of a friend recently that has really resonated with me – it’s hard to take a side when this issue is so intertwined. This is not just a gun issue. It isn’t just a mental health issue, or an education issue, or a society issue. It is all of these things and more, left alone to mingle for too many years without change or action and without enough resources, and now here we are, with a mountain in front of us that no one knows how to move. So we’ve just been circling, and I truly hope that we are on the verge of finding a way up. That we are on the edge of banding together to make something real happen for the betterment of our future.

I love my job. I believe that the work I do on a daily basis is worth something. I love watching these students grow and develop into adults who will hopefully be productive members of society and bring positive change. I will never stop believing that the work educators do, day in and day out, is monumental and in some cases, literally life-changing for children and adolescents. They need us, and they need you, and they need a lot of support. They need hope, they need a voice, they need education to help them find their way, and above all of that, they need to feel safe and secure in their schools, especially when many do not feel safe or secure in their homes. I still believe that there is beauty and magic in the world, because without that belief, these things would be too heavy to carry.

Last night, after writing all this, I attended a teacher appreciation dinner one of my students invited me to. Sometimes the good stuff comes just in time. It lifted my spirits in ways I can’t explain, to just sit and be honored in such a sweet way, and to realize that in some small way, I am doing something. But there is still so much left to be done.

flowers from the teacher appreciation dinner, and a beautiful reminder of good things in this world

The Yellow Bird

I am always looking for new products to try out and write about, and I’ve mentioned several times that I love to support local/small businesses. Whitney is always thinking of ideas for me, and a while back she had told me about The Yellow Bird and how she had met the owner at one of her networking meetings for local creatives and business owners. I started following on Instagram and got a feel for the products and the vibes from the company. I loved everything I saw, especially that it is a family owned business, so finally I reached out to one of the owners of the company to see what her suggestions would be for products to try! I love to read reviews and take trusted recommendations from people who know what they’re talking about. She suggested several items including their face oil set, but I had just started using another face oil so I had to try something else. I ended up ordering the activated charcoal soap that comes with the face oil set, and I ordered two of their new bath bombs and this foot cream.

I was so impressed with how fast this shipped and got to me, even over the weekend! When I opened the box, the most divine smells filled my room almost immediately. Andrew walked in and asked if I had sprayed some smelly stuff in the room! I loved the scents of the bath bombs. I also love that the charcoal soap has lemongrass and lavender, two of my favorite relaxing scents. When I use it, my face feels squeaky clean, soft, and all my makeup comes off really easily. And I love the smell! You can’t go wrong with a bath bomb, but these are so pretty, fragrant, and left my skin feeling so smooth and soft when I got out of the bath.

The foot cream is the real MVP. It’s winter, and my skin is dry everywhere, but my feet and hands tend to suffer the most! This foot cream not only smells so fresh, but I woke up with baby feet that were so soft! It’s not a cream like a lotion – it’s more like an oil or a vaseline type of consistency. I slathered it all over my feet and put on my socks before bed. Wonderful results! And with eucalyptus, lavender, tea tree oil, and peppermint, you can’t go wrong!

This post was not sponsored and I truly just love to share trusted recommendations for anyone out there who can benefit from them. The owner of this company was so incredibly kind through our messaging, plus she used to be a teacher too! If you’re in the market for some all natural, made with care skincare and bath products that will help support a family, this is a wonderful non-corporate option. Treat yoself, get a nice gift for someone else, stock up on your bath supplies or skin care items, and support a small business owner! I am dying to try the charcoal salt & sugar scrub next, and when my current face oil runs out I’ll give theirs a try!

Wedding update // #planninonmcclannon

photo by j parker photography

There is so much going on and so much to keep up with when you are planning a wedding on top of regular life. I totally see why people hire people to do this for them! I love planning and putting things together, but these are big decisions, and  with a full-time job, new classes to teach, a part-time job, and other major life events happening along the way, July is coming faster than I thought! I thought I’d give a little update on where we are for anyone who is interested!

Things we have done:  We have booked the venue, photographer, florist, caterer, DJ, and I have a makeup artist and hair artist for all the girls! We have our Save the Date and invitation suite templates, so the next big thing is getting the Save the Dates out! We have also booked our honeymoon flights and resort and I CANNOT wait to spend a week in the sun with Andrew. Neither of us has ever been to an all-inclusive resort, and we have never been away together, not even for a weekend! So it’s going to be so exciting to relax and have no responsibilities together. It will be weird without the doggies, but I know we’ll have such a great trip.

Things we need to do:  The next BIG thing on our list is to choose our rentals for catering and decor. We have to choose our table linens, dinnerware, glassware, flatware, all the wares. I have an appointment with the Greenhouse Picker Sisters to look at rental items for decor and furniture in March and I can’t wait to see what they have! If you’ve never checked them out on Instagram, they make beautiful weddings come to life! This week I have been working on blocking off hotel rooms for our guests, and when you’ve never done that before it feels like a lot of pressure to make the right choices.

Soon it will be showers and parties and a bachelorette weekend! But that’s the fun stuff that I don’t have to make decisions about, and I can just spend time with the people I love! Speaking of showers, last Saturday was Whitney’s bridal shower and her mom and our friend Kelly and I were planning for months! It turned out so beautiful and I hope she loved it!!!

I know that all the planning will come together and I can’t wait to see our vision come to life on our big day, but most importantly, I can’t wait to marry my best friend and start our lives together! It will be here in just about five months and I’m counting down the days!

Lemon. Butter. Cake.

Guys, I realize that just a few posts ago I was writing about shredding for the wedding, and I promise I still am – but you gotta live a little bit, am I right?! Andrew and I recently watched the Super Bowl at a friend’s house, and I brought this cake for dessert. It. Is. Perfection.

It was light, fluffy, lemony, and dangerous. I used this recipe and was so glad it wasn’t completely from scratch because I love to bake but I also love to save time, measuring, and cleanup. PLUS I got to use my brand new KitchenAid mixer!

what a beauty!

My future mother-in-law got this for me this Christmas and I was so excited! I have wanted a KitchenAid mixer for so many years and just have never splurged on one for myself. It was always one of those things I figured I’d get when I got married, but I was so surprised and so happy when I opened this up! Such a great gift! When the new year started I was really focused on my resolutions and being healthy and going to the gym, plus a new semester started and life got really slammed, so when the Super Bowl came around, I was really glad to have a reason to bake something.

So back to the recipe! I literally followed the Crazy for Crust recipe exactly – the only thing I left out was the butter extract, because I couldn’t find any at the store, and certainly not because I wouldn’t have added it.

I mean, it’s called a butter cake. How could it be bad?

The ingredients were simple and the instructions were really easy to follow. My tips:  Make sure you grease your pan really well – I thought I did, but one small chunk came off the top of the cake when I dumped it upside down. Secondly, make sure to pour your cake in really evenly, because my cake was slightly lopsided when I got it on the cake stand (but it still tasted delicious!). Also, I used tooth picks to stab my cake for the sauce and everything still turned out amazing. I didn’t buy skewers because I thought we had some at home – luckily we did at least have tooth picks! The sauce floated on top of the cake for a while but eventually it all soaked in. Finally, I would suggest dusting with powdered sugar just before serving because overnight it all soaked in, and it makes such a pretty finishing touch!

i had to try it to make sure it wasn’t poisonous!

I know I’ll be using my KitchenAid mixer a ton in the upcoming months. A lot of my favorite people were born in March, and Andrew’s birthday is in April, so I’ll be trying to find more delectable recipes to whip up in-between my workouts and meal prep!

Cloth & Paper

This post brings me such joy. For Christmas this year, my friend Kelly got me the most divine gift – the gift of high-end paper products! She knows me so, so well.

Cloth & Paper is, you guessed it, a paper company, but they also sell beautiful agendas, inserts/dividers, and high quality pens/pencils. They have a monthly subscription box, which is what Kelly got me for Christmas. They have a pen lovers box and a stationery lovers box. HOW DO YOU CHOOSE?! Well, don’t worry, because you can also choose BOTH. My first box couldn’t be more delightful. It did come with one pen, which I am using on repeat and keeping away from my high school students because it’s so good that it can’t go missing. It’s the kind of stuff that I’m afraid to use because I don’t want to waste it and I want it to be just the right reason…I know I’m lame, but I also KNOW that there are other people out there like me. WHO IS WITH ME?! Don’t leave me hanging!

I loved the to-do note stacks and the plain gold-lined cards. All of the paper on the pads is thick and sturdy, and the sticker packet is so cute! Of course the packaging was also perfection. Sleek + chic, what more could a gal want?

I can’t wait to see what is in my next box! If you need a great gift idea for someone who loves paper, or just a gift for yourself because WHY THE HECK NOT, this is a great way to spread the stationery love around. Thank you Kelly!

Valentine’s Day

our amazing engagement pictures by j parker photography

Happy Valentine’s Day! I know this is a late-in-the-day post, but it’s still February 14th, so it counts. I had a meeting off campus today so I’m just popping in here between that and my shift at the pub tonight to write a quick little love note.

Whitney delivered our engagement photo gallery yesterday morning, just in time for me to obsess over our pictures and pick my favorites for a Valentine’s Day post!

I love love love these photos for so many reasons. First of all, because all three of the doggies are in them! Secondly, Andrew and I have had zero professional photos before and these are such BEAUTIFUL photos of us. Third, I love to have so many pictures of us laughing together, because that’s our favorite thing to do. Finally, these are so special because my best friend in the entire world took them for us and I couldn’t be more thankful for such a wonderful and beautiful gift.

Tonight, Andrew and I are apart because I’m at the pub and he’s got baseball tryouts after school. If I get off work early we may get to see each other, but we are going to celebrate tomorrow night. Our tradition is just to stay in with the doggies, order take out, and spend time together – that’s what it’s all about! I hope everyone enjoys some time this week with people they love.

So here’s to the man that I love, my best friend and partner in crime, the person that keeps me laughing and balanced and happy. I cannot wait to marry this man.

Here are a few several favorites from our engagement session!


 

Believe in happy



Is it just me, or are the weeks feeling super long and unimaginable?! I am so ready for spring, and the weather here lately has been gray, dreary, and blah. I feel like I have just been going through the motions and not stopping to smell the roses – mostly because I haven’t had the time to! Forget about writing blog posts; I can barely stay a day ahead of my new classes this semester!

I met up with a dear friend recently who has been a mentor to me in so many ways. A strong woman who is full of optimism, advice, and love. She got me a “just because” gift and it made my day. It is the cutest mug and has such a perfect message that feels like just what I need in life right now!

It really is the little things that can make you stop and look at the world a little differently. We spend our lives constantly working for the next thing, pushing ahead, and I am someone in particular who has a hard time stopping to relax because I’ll feel better if I can juuuust get the next thing crossed off my list (I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again). But the truth is, life is fast and short and if we don’t make ourselves slow down and take a minute for just nothing, we might miss all of the little somethings that make life so wonderful.

Thank you Irma for reminding me that there are so many reasons to believe in happy.