Target beauty box

Have you tried the Target Beauty Box yet? It’s not a subscription service, but it’s kind of like Birchbox or Ipsy in that you get trial-sized samples of items that you can buy later if you like them, but only for $7, and you only commit to buying one at a time!

My friend Kelly first told me about the Target beauty box and I kept meaning to try it, but kept forgetting. For my birthday, she gave me a beauty box and I was so excited about it that I finally ordered one for myself! This month, I ordered the November beauty box. For seven dollars, you really can’t do much better! I received 6 different items. Here’s the breakdown of my box this month:

Dove Dermacare 2-in-1 Shampoo & Conditioner:  Scalp formula for dandruff and moisture. I don’t have a problem with dandruff but I’ll try it out anyway!
Skinfix Ultra Rich Hand Cream:  Supposed to be an amazing and award-winning hand cream. When I put it on, my hands immediately felt relief and felt sooo smooth and silky. My hands get really dry and cracked in the fall and winter, so I’m always looking for a new secret weapon that isn’t greasy.
MISSHA Snail Hydro-Gel Mask:  Anti-aging, healing and hydrating mask with SNAIL SLIME! This was a cool and strange experience. I was super freaked out to do this mask, but also intrigued, so I put this on and let it sit for the recommended 20-40 minutes (I did 25). I have sensitive skin, but when this came off, my face looked super hydrated, soft, and dewy! I patted in the rest, like the packaging said. I felt a little weird about that, but it makes sense not to rinse it off if you want it to soak in! But can we all agree it’s super weird to put snail slime on your face?! I guess it’s a thing?! I’d do it again!
Tom’s of Maine Creamy Coconut Bar Soap:  Gentle and moisturizing. I have really sensitive skin so it’s nice using something new that you can trust.
Maybelline Great Lash Mascara:  Always a favorite and a classic. One of the first mascaras I ever used back in high school, and it’s still kicking years and years later!
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Facial Cleanser:  This face wash didn’t foam up when I used it and there’s nothing I love more than a nice foam on a face wash, body wash, or shampoo. It kind of felt like rubbing lotion all over my face mixed with water; not for me. But this way, I know what I think about it without having to buy the whole bottle!

Overall, I’m hooked! The snail mask alone made the box worth the $7 (with free shipping!) It was a full use mask and in the store it costs $6.00 alone! So the price of the box was totally worth it. If you want to buy any full-sized items from your box, you could obviously head out to your nearest Target, or you can shop the box items. Usually nothing is more than $15.00 full price! AND, you get a $3 off coupon for any beauty product purchase of $15 or more!

I’ll definitely be purchasing the Target beauty boxes for the coming months. A fun and exciting gift idea, too! My favorites from this box were the snail mask and the hand cream, but I’ll be happy to have some of the other samples for when I travel and need small-sized toiletry items!

Friyay feels!

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Friyayyyyy!

This week was so exhausting! I’m teaching about prenatal development in class right now, and the kids are so interested, but it’s a LOT for them to learn. So I’ve created a ton of assignments/games/study guides for them to work with and try to remember all of the tiny details of every month of pregnancy. It’s my favorite unit to teach, but it takes a lot out of me!

Highlights of the week:

Last weekend, I catered another wedding brunch for a bridal party of one of my assistant principals! My friend Kelly helped me and we made so much food and set everything up on Saturday morning. It was a long weekend, but it’s so nice to be involved, and I love putting things together. Feeding people is just one of the things that brings me a lot of joy!

I got a gift card for my birthday to Amazon (I’ve become quite the online shopper), and I needed a pair of knee-high tan boots. I have knee-high black slouchy boots that I love and have worn season after season (like…this is my fourth year with these boots, I think). And then I have two pairs of tan booties. So I needed a pair of tan, taller boots for the fall. These came in clutch and I am loving them! Easy and comfortable for teaching, but can transition to my normal life, too. Don’t worry, I also balanced it out by ordering a pair of flat black booties since I only have tan…but now I’m REALLY done for this year!

I   l   o   v   e    a good mani/pedi, especially since I work on my feet all day and then walk miles at the pub on Wednesday nights. Last night was my night to treat yoself, so I went to Urban Chic. I’ve been going there on and off for a couple of years now, but now it’s so close to where I live that it’s my new regular spot! It’s always so relaxing, and they offer a lot of different services and color options. The staff is always so friendly, too! My nails are so good – the color is “Oxblood.”

I also got some new makeup this week:  I was looking to replace my forever favorite powder, and I stumbled across this foundation powder that my friend Kelly has. I’ve heard such great things about IT Cosmetics and have used their Bye Bye Undereye concealer. This is only my third day wearing the foundation powder, but I am really happy with how it looks, the coverage, and the illuminating look! My blush and bronzer sit really well on top of it, too. When I get a few extra dollars, I’ll still go get a new POREfection powder, but I’m really enjoying this for a more full-face look without having to use liquid foundation. A girl needs her options!

Finally, the students in my FCCLA club at school are selling bracelets for their big fundraiser this year through The Apparent Project. It’s so fun to see them get excited about a good cause. Each bracelet tells a story, and each sale sends money back to a mother or father in Haiti who is trying to provide for their family in some way. People say to me a lot that they don’t understand how I can “stand” to teach teenagers, but the truth is I love it! They are learning what’s really important to them in life, and they are finding bits and pieces of who they will become as adults. It is so rewarding to me. I have already bought a few of these bracelets for myself and for Christmas gifts this year!

Speaking of Christmas gifts, I’m getting secretly excited about starting my holiday shopping! (Or as the kids are saying these days, I’m “low key” excited. But I guess if I’m sharing it with you and the internet world then it can’t really be that low key, can it?). I love the satisfaction of planning for gifts, making my lists, and checking them off as they’re acquired (ahem…delivered to my door). Then I take a day and wrap everything up with the same wrapping theme, and it’s just so fun to give people I love things that I hope they will love! Who else are my gift givers out there?!

This weekend, I’m off to Charlotte for my sister’s second NPC Bikini Competition. She has been killllling it and I can’t wait to watch her rock it out!

What’s everyone doing for Halloween? Andrew and I are going to Whitney + Romain’s house for a little dinner party and s’mores by the fire pit!

Enjoy the weekend!

My 8 favorite hair products


I’ve mentioned before that I have thin, lifeless hair, and I never used product on it at all until a couple of years ago. Even when I would get my hair done, I’d ask my stylist not to use anything on it. But since I’ve let my hair grow long again and since I’ve been styling it regularly with heat for a few years now, I’ve tried some different products – some winners, some failures.

I can’t use anything too heavy because it makes my  hair look greasy and weighs it down. My arsenal of favorite products for styling my hair is below – most are under the $15 range, because you know I’m always ballin’ on a budget, but I have included a couple of splurges, too. These products are all light, smell delicious, and leave my hair looking – and staying – much more full and polished.

1. Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo:  There is no match for this dry shampoo. I LOVE it and I ration it because it is a little pricier than I’d like to pay for dry ‘poo. I usually use this one for my daily use and use the Living Proof for weekends or special events. It smells so good and it makes your hair completely free of oil without residue. It’s the only dry shampoo I’ve used that actually makes me feel like I re-washed my hair.
2. Dove Curl Defining Mousse:  I have been using this for years, and it comes in at under $5! To make my hair wavy, I scrunch it using this. No conditioner, no brush or comb, just shampoo and scrunch with a ping pong ball size of this! Andrew calls it “squishing” my hair. Perfect for days when I’m running late!
3. Ouai Memory Mist:  Whitney got this for my birthday this year, and it’s so good. It smells incredibly floral-y and it helps protect your hair from heat while “remembering” your hair’s style so you can make your hair last extra days. I have loved using it and love the way it makes my hair feel and smell.
4. Marrakesh Oil Hair Styling Elixir:  This is my #1 can’t live without after combing my hair when I get out of the shower. I got it in a birch box or as a sample at some point, and I loved it so much I’ve kept buying it! It is very light and moisturizing. I only put it on my ends and then very lightly run my fingers through my hair a couple inches away from the roots.
5. Tresemme Heat Protector Spray: I’ve mentioned this one before. It’s inexpensive, and I spray it on my hair after the oil, before blow drying. Easy and doesn’t add any extra weight or residue to my hair.
6. Big Sexy Hair Root Pump Volumizing Spray Mousse  or Aquage Uplifting Foam:  I only use these for special occasions because it takes a little time and effort, but both smell great and work about the same for my hair. I section off my hair and spray these right onto the part line back and forth. Then, I massage it all around the roots and spend time actually blow drying my hair with my round brush. It really helps give some lift at the roots and helps my hair hold on to any curl.
7. Amika Obliphica Un.Done Texture Spray:  I use this when I need more life and lift. I lift my hair after styling and spray up under my hair as it falls back down. It gives some grit and hold, but the volume and smell are nice side effects!
8. Kenra Volume Spray 25 Hair Spray:  The best hair spray I’ve used, ever. This doesn’t make my hair crunchy, and it gives a strong flexible hold. I love it!

Most days I just use the Marrakesh oil when my hair is wet, heat protector spray before blow drying, and then the Ouai memory mist before curling. I don’t use a lot of product daily because I am trying to protect these thin locks! But when I’m trying to really style and need some extra help, the others are a dream, and the dry shampoo reallllllly can’t be beat!

What are everyone else’s favorite hair products?!

photo by j parker photography

Fashion that gives back

The Flourish Market

the flourish market website

I have a great find that I want to share! I received a gift card to The Flourish Market a LONG time ago from my friend Cassie, and just never used it or was able to check out the store until recently. One lazy day recently I made my way over to stop in and see what The Flourish Market is all about. My co-worker at school loves it as well, and I have heard only great things.

My favorite part about the store is that every single piece you buy, whether it’s a candle, necklace, clutch, or clothing item, gives back in some way to people who need it across the globe. You can read more about their mission and story here. The store is incredibly cute, and the owner has such a friendly and passionate vibe that you feel as soon as you walk in. She told me that they get new shipments in every week, so the inventory is always fresh!

Even though some of the items at The Flourish Market are beyond what I would normally pay for my clothes or accessories, I know that my purchases there go towards a fulfilling purpose. I was able to find a couple of pieces I loved, like this shirt with a faux front-tuck twist (so flattering and my new favorite wardrobe item!). I got it in the color Rosewood. I also got a gift for my friend Kelly’s birthday party (some earrings that were made by a girl who will be the first in her family to go to college!).

my top! jeans are from express (on sale!) & necklace is a gift from whitney

I highly, highly recommend checking out this store or at least doing some online shopping if you can’t make it in person. Their site is super easy to use. I was in no way asked to write anything about this store, but I just really loved my visit and the whole meaning behind it and thought it should be shared – that’s how we make small changes that create big impacts, right?! I will definitely be hitting this place up when I need new clothes or accessories, and especially for gifts that have a meaning behind them! There is also a $30 and under category. You can’t beat that!

Happy shopping!

Back to life, back to reality

horseshoe bend, arizona 

I am back from Arizona! The trip was absolutely amazing, and I’ll write up a post about it soon – I have to sort through my hundreds (and hundreds) of pictures first! I feel like I need a vacation from my vacation. We landed late Sunday night, and I had to wake up at 5am to teach! So I’ve also had to do laundry, unpack, get back in the swing of things with school, and try to catch up from the three hour time difference!

I have a super busy week ahead of me, like always! There is a lot of stuff going on at school this week, meetings after school, work on Wednesday at the pub, and I’m trying to get back on track with cooking meals and packing lunches since I was mostly gone last week and eating only salads indulging with my mom!

Fall is (pretty much, almost, basically) here! I am in the mood for a nice deep berry color like this for my next manicure, or if I’m feeling froggy, a nice dark blue (colors are “raisin’ the bar” and “less is norse – dark ice blue.” Is anyone else obsessed with color names like me? Someone has that job!) I love this lip paint in “Fomo” or “Manbun” for fall, and I can’t wait to start shopping for some tall boots to wear with leggings and cozy sweaters! Call me basic if you will, but it’s time for those cozy fall favorites. Some year-round favorites I’m hoping to re-stock soon include my Philosophy Amazing Grace lotion, my Benefit Hoola Bronzer, and my splurge mascara (I missed it when it was on sale for $10 and I am kicking myself!). I also do not need another bag – I repeat – I do not need another bag – but if I did, I’d get this one in gray! I mean, it’s not even really a bag, right? It’s a clutch…totally different?!

I hope everyone has a great week & makes it through to Friday the 13th without any spooky and strange happenings! 😉 Before you know it, we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas. It always feels like it comes faster each year!

The coziest Fall sweater

sweater, similar boots

I’m going to keep this post short and sweet, because this sweater speaks for itself. I mentioned Tobi in my date night post from last week, and this is another gem I scooped up from them! It’s called the “cozy up lace up sweater” and my sister is already threatening promising to steal it all fall and winter long. (Luckily for me, she’s lost some weight during her fitness competition season so I don’t think it will fit her!)

bag from target, no surprise. similar 

The boots are my sister’s from Steve Madden. (I told you she’s a fashionista!) I definitely would wear a camisole under this sweater if I wanted to wear it to school, for OBVIOUS reasons. But otherwise, I’m loving the open back and the fact that the strap across the top keeps this bad boy from falling off! It’s so comfortable and hangs just right – and the color and material are nice, too!

These earrings are so pretty! I hardly ever wear big earrings – I’m a stud lover at heart (earrings, not men…I’ve already got one of those!). But dainty is my thing, and these earrings are just that! I love the jewel hanging from them and with hair down, they peek through juuust enough to pack a (delicate) punch.

I’m also dying to try this look in the fall and winter with some distressed jeans and tan booties. I’m all about the booties these days – a couple of years ago, I hated them and couldn’t even picture myself in them! Look at me now, all grown up. Get this perfect fall sweater in your closet ASAP! (Or as Michael Scott from The Office would say, as ASAP as possible).

Happy fall, y’all!

photos by  j parker photography

FriYAY feels!

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I am so glad it’s the weekend because that means I am THAT much closer to my trip to Arizona next week with my mom!

This week was happy but went by quickly, especially since I missed work on Monday for my 30th! My week at school was full of paperwork and to-do items that really had to be accomplished, so it felt good to knock some of those out and get them checked off of my constant, ongoing to-do list!

I am so obsessed lately with everything this color.

I scooped up this little number yesterday afternoon and it looked so good on. I always try things on with an attitude of, “It probably won’t fit right, but it doesn’t hurt to try!” But this dress looked so flattering. I love the colors and the gold button detailing on the back. The length is great for work or play, too! And I love anything that covers my arms, because that’s one of the areas I’m least comfortable with on myself. I’m dreaming of wearing it in the fall with booties or heels, in the classroom or out to dinners or weekend events!

For my trip to AZ, I picked up some travel items. I love to buy travel-sized items for trips. Of course the miniature sized items are cute, but I think what I really enjoy is the idea of feeling like I’m jetting off somewhere that I need a few smaller items to save space in my luggage! And I also think I like the fact that I can try new things without committing to an expensive item. For this trip, I got travel sizes of this shampoo and conditioner, this cleansing water that I’m really excited to try, and this body wash. I also picked up some travel size face cleansing wipes for my mom and me to use. I’ll take my all-time favorite face wash in its sample size container. I know I’m not looking for anything new in that department! Temperatures are going to be over 100 degrees while we’re there, and we’re doing a lot of hiking, so I am just going to pack light:  Workout clothes (including my favorite leggings ever), a couple of fun outfits for dinners out, and a few athleisure outfits for beboppin’ around town with my mom. I got this backpack for hiking. It rolls up into itself and will hold water, snacks, and sunscreen.

Have a happy FriYAY! Andrew and I are off to another date night tonight. We’re so hip.

Four days until I’m in the desert!!!

Date night dress, two ways

dress, necklace, similar sweater, booties, similar clutch

Andrew and I don’t always go out for fancy date nights; typically, we have dates at casual places for dinner or we just stay in and hang with the dogs and cook something at home. Time together is what’s most important to us! But we do love to go out to a nice dinner every once in a while so we still feel hip and get to see each other all dressed up! Tell me we’re not the only boring couple out there…?! But we recently did have a date night out and I wore this dress for the first time and loved it!

quay sunglasses

I’ll admit it, I do have a little bit of a “safe” style when it comes to clothes. You know my motto:  Classic with a twist! But I do like to throw in a good surprise twist here and there. This dress is perfect for that! I love the color and the fact that it isn’t too low cut or too short. It’s from Tobi, an online boutique for women. A lot of their clothes are a little more edgy or bold than what I would usually go for, but they have so many options that you can easily find some more basic items if you’re a more classic with a twist girl like me! I loved the way this dress fit, which is something I’m hugely picky about, and it also has a cute strappy T-strap back. My necklace and earrings were a gift from my dear friend Abbie for my birthday – everyone knows I’m obsessed with Elisabeth Ashlie.

My sister made me try the dress with her faux leather moto jacket and scarf from Swoon, one of our favorite boutiques! She is an expert stylist and definitely knows a thing or two about fashion. Even though it is still wayyy too hot here in NC for the jacket and scarf, it was great to know that I have a different way to style this dress as the weather gets more crisp!

looking for stuff on the ground like kylie jenner

For makeup, I went for a full face with my new favorite Bare Minerals BarePro liquid foundation, my favorite powder of all time, this Too Faced Natural Eyes eyeshadow palette, and always, my Stila stay all day liquid liner. I used two of my sister’s lipstick shades to get this one here – a nude and an electric purple. I loved this date night outfit (I went with the white sweater to beat the heat). As for Andrew? He says I always look pretty, but he likes me best in my soft clothes. He’s a keeper!

photos are of course by my talented and beautiful best friend at j parker photography

Workin’ on my fitness // Fitbit Alta HR

classic mirror selfie to show off the fitbit

I have mentioned wanting the Fitbit Alta HR a few times on here…and I finally ordered one a few weeks ago! I have been absolutely loving it. You can read all about it on the website and watch the introductory video, but I have found it to be so helpful with staying more active! I also love that it tracks my sleep and heart rate rather than just steps, because I don’t just step to get exercise! This way, it helps track my activity in general, and I can see if I’m in a resting, cardio, or fat burning state!

This is how the Fitbit tracks your steps – I love that I can quickly gauge how close I am to my goal. It also buzzes to send me messages throughout the day – like,”Feed me 250 steps,” or “10 minutes left in the hour, get moving!” It tracks activity per hour and tries to remind you to move if you haven’t.

The display is usually black, but if you tilt your wrist up to look at it like a watch, a digital watch will appear to tell you the time. If you tap the face, it switches through steps, heart rate, miles traveled, calories burned, minutes of activity, battery level, and silent alarms. I have an alarm set to vibrate and wake me up every  morning and I love it! It’s a little bit of added security.

You can also adjust your settings to let your Fitbit notify you when you get a text message! It vibrates and you can bring your wrist up to read the first sentence or so of the message. If that bothers you, it’s easy to turn off!


I also love that it is nice looking enough that I can wear it with my work clothes to teach in and still feel put together. I paid a little extra for the blush pink/gold combination because I usually wear yellow gold jewelry and blush pink is my newest obsession.

The app is super easy to use and syncs easily with your phone. The screenshot below is from my app yesterday morning and shows you how close you are to your step goal, your basic stats, and then underneath is a section for tracking your sleep, food and water intake, heart rate, weight loss, etc. If you click on the sleep tracker, it shows you a more in-depth look at how much percentage of your sleep hours were spent in restlessness, awake, in deep or light sleep, or in REM sleep. Obviously sleep is something I desperately need to work on! All that red kills me, and less than 6 hours of sleep that night! Do better than me!

Those are my thoughts on the Fitbit Alta HR! As I’m trying to move to a more active lifestyle, it helps me to get the reminders throughout the day and to actively see how much or how little I’m moving. With teaching, I’m walking around a ton during the day, and typically walking the dogs helps me get my 10,000 steps in easy by dinner time. Nights at the pub I get thousands more steps! My next goal is to get back to some tabata workouts and yoga and see how the Fitbit tracks those.

Let me know if you end up getting one, or what device/app you love for tracking your fitness!

All curled up

These days, I’m typically always rocking a curled ‘do. When my hair is short, it looks fine styled straight and I usually mix it up between different styles. But now that my hair is getting long again, I really have to make sure it doesn’t look scraggly since it’s so thin and fine (more about that here – thick haired gals, you really will never know the struggle of your ear poking through your hair).

I wanted to give a quick & easy mini tutorial on how I do my hair. One day I’ll get comfortable filming myself, but that day is not today, my friends. There’s no magic trick, but like most things beauty-related, I’ve spent lots of time googling and YouTubing, then practicing to get what I like. Now I’m at a place where I can pretty much always get a good result with this method!

Start by pinning up your hair with a duck bill hair clip (my hair only needs one because it is so thin). I use this heat taming spray first (I’ve been using it for years). Since I don’t have a lot of hair, it’s really important to me to take care of what I’ve got. I also put moroccan oil on the ends when I get out of the shower and comb through my hair, before blow drying. Just lightly spritz a section of hair, let it air dry for a few seconds, and then curl! Or you can spray it all before you begin. I bought this curling wand last year on sale around Christmas time, and it’s a great size for my hair! It is super basic – it doesn’t even have a temperature setting on it – but it does the job!

I have watched a lot of tutorials, and a lot of people hold their curling wands upward. I can only use it pointed downward for whatever reason. I wrap a section around the base of the curling wand and wrap the hair twice around the barrel, moving towards the actual top of the barrel, since it’s pointing upside down. I try to start close to my head to give some lift and volume near my roots. I always leave a solid inch or so out of the heat, and that’s what I hold onto away from the curling wand so I don’t burn myself! I can’t use those gloves that come with it; they mess me up.

After you curl the bottom layer of hair (for me this is just two curls!), let down the next layer by scooting your fingers backwards from your temples and grabbing hair at temple level and up. Re-pin the rest of your hair on top of your head. Repeat the process! I always curl my hair away from my face. You can alternate toward/away from your face each curl, but since I don’t have a lot to work with, that can sometimes look odd on me.

my lipstick is revlon colorstay moisture stain in parisian passion

One trick I use is to let the curls fall straight off the wand, so instead of unraveling them, I just slide the wand back out and let the curl slide off. Another tip I use is not touching my hair until I’m completely finished with my whole head. I like to let the curls set and cool off. If I don’t, it falls more easily. When I get to the last and top layer of hair, I like to curl the very front piece straight back to give it extra volume!

When you’re finished, double check the back of your hair with a hand held mirror. Then, run your fingers through your hair, toss it around a bit, and spray it lightly if you want – I love this hair spray. I also like to use a texture spray sometimes to give more hold and lift – just lift your hair up and lightly spray from underneath as it falls.

Voila! If I want tighter curls or curls that will last longer as they fall, I wrap the hair three times around the wand instead of two. Larger sections of hair = larger curls, and obviously the less meticulous you are about it, the messier and more carefree your curls will look! If you want to see more tutorials/how-tos, let me know!

You already know who shot these photos.