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!

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.

Daily face

I get a lot of compliments on my makeup (granted, it’s mostly from my 15-year-old students). I’m always a little bit surprised when I get compliments because I literally do the same makeup routine every single day. I am a creature of habit. I love makeup and beauty products, but once I find something I like, I tend to stick with it. I’m loyal; what can I say?! I did recently start using the Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue, which I mentioned in this post. Now it’s in my daily face rotation!

My friend Abbie asked for the post on the Complexion Rescue, but she also said she needed a whole new makeup routine, so I thought I’d write this post to highlight the products that I wear every single day.

the entire daily face, makeup-stained and all

First, I moisturize and prime my face. I’ve used this moisturizer since high school, and I love this green NYX primer to cancel out redness and set me up for a smooth finish.

Lately, I’ve been using a combination of Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue tinted moisturizer + my all-time favorite powder, the Lorac POREfection baked perfecting powder. For the tinted moisturizer, I dab it with a damp beauty blender or just use my fingers and rub it in like a moisturizer. After the complexion rescue comes the underage concealer triangle phenomenon.

A NOTE ABOUT CONCEALER:  You want to conceal after you put on your foundation or tinted moisturizer base so that you can set it with powder afterward, and because you are basically wasting your time if you go rubbing something on top of all the concealer you just carefully placed! I use this NYX concealer because it was listed somewhere a long time ago with great reviews. I’m still on the hunt for a great concealer, but this isn’t bad. I use my ring finger to dot in on and around whatever I need to hide. I don’t always do under eye concealer, but if I really want to brighten things up, I’ll use the IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye and spread in a triangle under my eyes. I blend that concealer in with a tiny damp beauty blender.

this is what you should look like after the under-eye concealer…scary.

Then use a brush to blend powder in all over your face, dabbing on top of the concealer rather than brushing back and forth. I use this bronzer in the hollows of my cheeks, temples, and along my jaw line (think of a 3 shape). I use this blush in “achiote”on the apples of my cheeks, and this highlighter in “sin” on my cheekbones and down the bridge of my nose. Those three are all pretty pricey, but they last FOREVER. They are all really pigmented, so a little goes a long way.

For eyes, I typically go for a delicate cat eye with my Stila stay all day waterproof eyeliner. Nothing too crazy for a daily look, but I like to have a little tail from the corner of my lids, and I find that I can be messier with my mascara because the eyeliner covers it up (can I get an amen?!). A basic tutorial and step-by-step for how I do my eyeliner is in this post.

After eyeliner, I apply my eyebrow pencil in shade 2 – you literally can’t mess it up and it’s so perfect. Then on to mascara. I have mentioned before that I have naturally long lashes, but they are also naturally blonde, so when I don’t wear mascara I have such a baby face and you can’t see my eyelashes at all. I love to splurge on fancy mascaras like Tarte lash paint or Urban Decay’s perversion, but you can typically just find me sporting my long-time favorite CoverGirl Full Lash Bloom mascara (in the hot pink tube!). I honestly don’t notice much of a difference when using the higher end mascaras. I think it just makes me feel fancier to have the nicer ones!

bronzer, blush, highlighter, and eyes

And that’s it! I always finish with my lipstick, and I like to change that up every day – usually a bright pink, dark red, or plum color for this time of year (I recently purchased this in “baci” and have added it in the mix! Pictured in these photos). If I was going out for an event or something where I was planning on photographs, I’d do a more finished and full face by adding a golden smokey eye, more dramatic mascara and eyeliner, and I would use foundation instead of the tinted moisturizer (still my current favorite).

What are your can’t-live-withouts for makeup? I’ll cry the day they discontinue my favorite Lorac powder, but hopefully it’s good enough to stick around!

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?!

Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue

love this stuff. I had my eye on the Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue for a while, so a couple of weeks ago, I stuck it in my cart and accidentally hit purchase! I got the shade Vanilla 02, and it ended up being the perfect match for my skin tone. I have used this for a solid amount of time now, so I thought I’d do a review on it! Plus, my friend Abbie asked me to 🙂

I just use this with my fingertips after I moisturize and let my primer sink in. Sometimes, I skip the primer altogether, because mornings are hard. I rub it in circular motions inwards toward my nose (they say that’s better for preventing wrinkles?!). It leaves a really nice glow and a dewy finish. I follow the rest of my daily makeup routine afterwards, and I have noticed that I’m getting a nice soft glowy look for the rest of the day! No oil, no smudging or cakey looking streaks throughout the day, and no worries!

my photographer wasn’t here so an iPhone photo it is!

I love that I can use this in place of a full on foundation look every day. It evens out my skin tone and gives an illuminating finish. It is so lightweight, and perfect for wearing under a great fuller coverage powder. You could definitely use this with a beauty blender, but I’m lazy, so I will probably only do that for fancy occasions where I want to spend more time perfecting my makeup. This is the only face makeup I’m bringing home with me for Christmas – I’m just loving it!

This stuff is wonderful! I definitely recommend it. Plus, it’s SPF 30, so you’re protecting your skin while you wear it! Win-win 🙂

 

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!

Another week of non-fall weather here in Raleigh. As always, as soon as we think it’s finally time to pull out the scarves, chunky sweaters, and boots, the temperatures go back up again! It is messing with my wardrobe, but more importantly, my allergies and sinuses! I mean, it’s December first!

Enough complaining. Last week, I was getting an oil change for my drive home to Asheville, and the man that checked me out reminded me that every day is Thanksgiving – every day that we wake up, have love, food, clothes, and air in our lungs, it’s a day to be thankful for. It was a nice reminder that I’m trying to hang on to as we get into this time of year when people can be so focused on things, or checking items off a list just because.

This week, I tried to be really productive and get things done at home and at school so I could enjoy the weekend and set myself up to be prepared next week. I’m excited for the weekend:  Decorating for the holidays, going to a Christmas party with some friends from school, and spending a little time with my sister!

I got paid this week, so obviously I had to go to Target to re-stock on some vitals, like my favorite pens and my daily moisturizer. I’ve used the moisturizer for years, but if you are any kind of pen fanatic like I am, these are your last stop. They are so smooth, they don’t smear (I’m a lefty so that’s important), and they come in such pretty colors! My students are constantly borrowing mine to work on their class projects.

I’m thinking about this tinted moisturizer for lighter makeup days. I mean, it’s called complexion rescue! Add some mascara and a tinted lip balm like this personal favorite, and you’re good to go!

I recently switched back to an old favorite shampoo and conditioner. My hair stylist recommended it years ago, and when I asked her for another recommendation, she still said it was her favorite, so I re-ordered it! It does such a great job on my fine, thin hair! Squeaky clean, no build up, I love the smell, and my hair dries silky smooth rather than fuzzy or fluffy like some shampoos and conditioners can do.

Although it was warmer this week, I’m looking forward to more chilly days and bundling up a little bit! I got a really beautiful pink winter coat last year, but I’d also love to have a puffy one for running around town, snow days, and when I’m not as dressed up. I love the look of this and this!

Everyone enjoy the weekend! Only a few weeks until we all (hopefully) get a few more days off and we’ll be celebrating a new year again!

 

 

 

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!

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!

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