FriYAY feels!

at the rally for teachers and students in downtown raleigh this week! #redfored

Friyay! This week, I joined 20,000+ teachers, parents, students, and supporters in the march downtown to demand more funding for students and classrooms, more resources for mental health, class size changes, and better working conditions. It was cool to be part of something bigger than me, and to come together with thousands towards one common goal.

This weekend, my sister is having a graduation party and I can’t wait! I’m so proud of her for busting her butt the last 3 years to become a Nurse Practitioner. She’s going to be amazing! Andrew and I also have an end of the year party at one of our friend’s houses from school, so it will be really fun to kick back and celebrate!

I said I would report back on my Tula skincare purchase. I ordered the discovery kit to see what I thought – and once it was empty, I re-ordered the full size face wash, this exfoliating mask to try, and the pro-glycolic resurfacing gel toner. In hindsight, I would swap out the face mask for the probiotic day &  night cream next time – the moisturizer is amazing, but I didn’t order it because I still have my Murad moisturizer from my Spring FabFitFun box that I love! The face wash goes a long way and it cleans my makeup off really well without a lot of scrubbing or effort on my part. I can’t say that my breakouts have cleared up 100% because that’s just my luck in life, but I do love the way it makes my skin look and feel. We’ll see how it continues to go!

Still loving these slides and wearing them at least twice a week. SO comfortable.

This week I got to the gym as many times as I said I would! Huge feat for me. I feel great, sore, and ready to keep this up! My wedding dress should be here soon, so I want to feel my best when I get it on!

New favorite affordable mascara (still holding onto this one as my other all time favorite) and the lip I’ve been rocking constantly (in the color Baci). I’ve loved the Stila stay all day liquid lipsticks since my college years, but this color is so good.

I’ve been stacking this necklace stamped with our wedding date lately, with this “A” necklace that I always wear (Andrew got me the “J” necklace for Christmas last year, and it broke one morning at school. I ordered the A thinking I could slide on the J charm with it, and I couldn’t get the J back on due to the clasps…so now I wear his initial instead!).

my necklaces!

I got to meet my friend Kelly’s little man Jacob last Sunday. He is only a week and a half old and he is perfect! He came a few weeks early but he is healthy and doing great. I am so happy to have another friend with a baby – my other friend Kelly had her baby Kate in December. So many baby snuggles in my future!

Two things I’ve been practicing with for wedding events and the actual wedding day after INTENSE research and review reading:  This sunless tanner (use the application mitt!) and some hair extensions so my thin hair can be on fleek. No shame. My legs are white, white, white and until I can lay by the pool (with SPF, of course), I’m trying to look a little bronzed in my white dresses for showers and events surrounding the wedding. I don’t think I’ll use it for the big day because I would hate to risk being streaky and I would never forgive myself if I stained my dress! But it has been working really well so far! The extensions are real hair, high quality, and matched my  hair really well. They are just a few inches longer than my real hair. They just give it some life and fullness, and whatever I decide for my wedding hair, my hair stylist suggested them to just give me a little more oomph! I ordered them from Bellami Hair in the ash blonde color.

I ordered this tote way back in April (it was a definite splurge, a treat yoself item I bought when I finally got approved for my Master’s degree extra pay!). It was on backorder because I got the petal pink color – I guess it’s all the rage this season! I have had my eye on this bag since about a year ago, but couldn’t bite the bullet. My best friend Whitney got one for Christmas and I decided I just had to have it. I haven’t gotten a purse since this bad boy last summer which I’m still carrying, and I haven’t gotten myself a NICE purse in……..ever? So it arrived yesterday and I’m just delighted.

That’s it for me! Everyone enjoy the weekend 🙂

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!

view from my window

We are still covered up in snow in the Raleigh area – no school for 3 days! And it’s supposed to be 50 degrees today. That’s NC weather for you. School is open today for teachers, so at least I can get some much needed work hours in!

I meant to do a FriYAY feels last week and it just totally got away from me (in addition to any other posts)! There are so many things going on – Whitney is getting married in April, our best friend Kelly is having a baby in May, and our other friend Jordan is getting married in June. Then Andrew and I are getting married in July! My sister is graduating from grad school in between all that, and there are showers and bachelorette parties and luncheons galore. There are about to be a lot of events in my life in the upcoming months. So exciting, but definitely something that takes up blogging time and brain space!

Speaking of weddings, I went to a bridal showcase at our venue two weekends ago and it was the first time where I really felt like, okay, this is happening. We are really getting married this summer!!! It is going to be here so fast. My mom, my future mother-in-law, and some of my bridesmaids went with me and we had a crew! It was overwhelming but really lovely, and it was so fun to look at everything and feel like a bride! We have three tastings with three different caterers in the next two weeks, so we will have that booked soon. We have a florist, photographer, and a few other big items booked, but we still have so much to do. Our photographer Erica shot one of my best friend Kelly’s weddings a few years ago that I was in, and Whitney has done a couple of shoots for her family, so it’s really a great full-circle kind of feeling and I am so excited to have beautiful pictures of our big day! Whitney will do our engagement and my bridal session. And Andrew has been so good! Helpful and patient – and reminds me when I need to just give it a rest and come back to it later, which is not easy for me.

I have also been sticking with my new year resolutions! I have been hitting my 4 workouts a week by going to the gym with my sister, which has been tough! I’m sticking to my eating goals, too, and I’ve been doing my nightly skin routine. I bought some new skin products, but I’m waiting to see how I like them before I post anything about them. I also went lighter with my hair last weekend and started using TIGI’s dumb blonde shampoo + conditioner; I hope it will keep my hair healthy! It smells so good and makes my hair look so soft. I got mine at Marshall’s for a little less!

I had mentioned my hunt for a nice puffy coat now that it is getting really cold in Raleigh. I ordered this one on Amazon in the merlot color and I am absolutely loving it. It is so warm and I feel like it looks nice even though it’s puffy! Definitely a keeper and has been so helpful these last few days in the snow.

I really want to get back into my yoga practice, especially with so much going on in my life. I need it to stay sane! And with all the work I’m doing with my sister in the gym, I’m staying sore and need some stretching and relaxation. I plan on checking out this studio sometime soon and supporting my friend Josephine who started her own studio!!! I have been meaning to go and it keeps getting away from me.

That’s all I got! I’ll be starting up a shredding for the wedding series, hopefully next week! And you can follow along with my fitness goals there…it’s a great way to keep me accountable if I know I’m sharing it with everyone! Enjoy the weekend; I’m going with Whitney to try on her wedding dress for the first time since it came in and I CANNOT WAIT to see her in it and cry my eyes out.

Four Things Tote

I. Love. This. Bag. My friend Meghan posted on Instagram about the ‘4 THINGS’ Personalized Tote Bag and mentioned to me that I might like one for myself, and when I learned more about it, I hopped right online and ordered my own! I loved that the shop it came from donates to charities with great causes (you can read more about The Shop Forward here). To me, spending a few extra dollars towards something I believe in is totally worth it, and this bag is great quality.

I had a little bit of a hard time picking my four things, because so many things are important to me! But I settled on these four, and staggered them so it would read shortest to longest (and also, because dogs). I think I’ve been pretty straightforward about my love for dogs, coffee, and school supplies, and I think the world needs a lot more kindness and grace for others.

Bruno loves the tote, too!

I love any company that has a good cause, and I’ll be sporting this baby around town whenever I need to carry extra stuff!

What would your four things be?!

FabFitFun Box!

A couple months ago, my friend Meghan gave me a beautiful dark red lipstick from her FabFitFun box, and I loved it! I told her I had always wanted to subscribe, but had never pulled the trigger, and that week I purchased my first one for December!

My box arrived a couple weeks ago, and it’s full of so many goodies! If you don’t know about the service, it’s a subscription service that has full-sized beauty products and you get them all for $50! My first box’s value is $395 – that is an enormous deal, if you ask me! I subscribed to a seasonal box, so four times a year I will get a box full of products! You take a quiz to streamline what types of items you’d like in your box.

Here’s the breakdown of what I got in this box!

I am loving the skin/hair care items in here, and I can’t wait to try out the eyeshadow palette. There were three different mugs; the one I got is different from the one pictured! I’m not really a poncho gal, but I gave mine to my sister because she’s stylin’ and profilin’ and I know she can rock it! With the poncho, socks, coffee mug, and hydration products, this box had a cozy winter vibe!

The Kate Somerville exfoliating treatment has RAVE reviews, so I’m delighted to give that a whirl! I’m also excited to see if the pillow spray works. I am a really light sleeper and would love to get some better sleep at night and fall asleep more quickly! I may ask my BFF Whitney if she wants to try out some of this stuff together on our annual Christmas BFF day! It’s always fun to pamper yourself and relax.

This is another one of those treat yo’self items. We all have our little things we do for ourselves, and this kind of thing is mine! That and getting my nails done. But that’s just good hygiene and grooming, right?! You basically have to do that! Anyway, I love the anticipation of a new box arriving every few months with surprise items inside that I know I will love! Thanks Meghan for finally pushing me over the edge, in a good way!

Friyay feels!

source

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!

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