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!

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

Pamper yoself.


Summer has taken such a toll on my skin and hair this year. I’m sweating constantly at the pub, my hair gets blow dried and curled often so there’s a lot of heat damage, and I just tend to get more breakouts in the summer. On top of that, I have a worry wrinkle between my eyes that I swear gets deeper every week. Life, man.

So what’s a girl to do?! I decided I needed to start a pampering routine for my skin. I’ve never been great at keeping up with a routine, plus I have very sensitive skin. I typically just wash my face and use either my daily moisturizer or my night time anti-aging moisturizer, and that’s it. But this is a weekly or bi-weekly routine even I can keep up with!

I received this cucumber + aloe face mask in my Christmas stocking this year and this was literally the first time I have used it! (See? I told you I’m bad at keeping up with skincare routines!) A lot of times, I’ll break out badly a few days after using face masks, so I typically stay away from them. I used this one last week, though, and no issues! It felt so cool and refreshing, smelled clean and comforting, and rinsed off easily. I really enjoyed it and actually look forward to using it again!

I picked up this hair mask at Target while I was getting groceries. It was around $3 and looked good for my fine, thin, color-treated and heat-damaged locks. I am interested in trying other products from this line! It smelled so good in my hair and wasn’t overwhelming. Like with any deep conditioner for your hair, it left mine pretty oily at the roots after rinsing out and air-drying, but I just planned to wear my hair up the next day before re-washing. My hair was noticeably softer and sleeker. It just felt like a win!

So here’s the routine if you’re in the mood to pamper yoself this summer (or anytime!). I took a nice long shower and used my regular philosophy face wash plus a detoxifying pore scrub from Olay (I love their products for my skin). The pore scrub was very gentle and felt exfoliating without hurting or scraping my skin. I used the scrub after washing my face.

Then, after using my favorite body lotion, I wrapped up in a fluffy robe and applied the hair mask and face mask. I kept the hair mask and face mask on for longer than recommended because I just feel like it must work extra well if you do that (is this just a me thing?). I just pinned up my hair with a duck clip while I sat and did some things around the house with my green face. I used warm water and a wash cloth to rinse off the face mask. When I rinsed out the hair mask, I combed through my hair and let it air-dry. Finally, I used my Olay Regenerist night cream and slathered on a good bit, being delicate around my eyes of course and using circular motions from my neck up! I finished with a thick lip balm and I was relaxed, pampered, and ready for bed.

glamorous

And that’s it! Other than my dogs trying to lick the cucumber aloe mask off of my face, everything went off without a hitch. Something easy to do once a week or so, not too many steps, and safe for sensitive skin like mine! What other products should I be trying? Let me know if you have any favorites!

FriYAY feels!

It’s finally,   o f f i c i a l l y   summer! If you’re in the south like me, it has already felt like summer since April, but now we can finally be correct when we say it.

My sister and I planned on doing a free community event Wednesday morning for the summer solstice and international yoga day, but it got rained out and rescheduled. Since we were already up at the butt crack of dawn and dressed, I led us through a yoga class on our balcony while the sun came up. It felt so good; I have totally fallen out of a routine with my yoga and I always notice a difference when I get back into it.

pardon the poor quality selfie

yoga mat + blocks (blocks were a gift)

For summer, I’m focusing on some goals, like I said. Doing more yoga is one of them. Being more active in general, actually.

I’m also trying to make time to read for fun, which I love to do. I started summer off by devouring The Girl on the Train. I know I’m way late to that game, but I finally got around to it. I’m about to start reading All the Missing GirlsI know I’ll be done with that one in a few days, so any book recommendations would be greatly appreciated! I also just got set up for Audible with my Amazon Prime membership, so I can listen to books while I’m driving or at the pool, too.

Speaking of listening to books, I finally jumped on the bandwagon and listened to the S-Town podcasts. I went to see my dad for Father’s Day in Charlotte this past weekend, so I had time to do some listening. I tend to doze off at the wheel if no one is in the car with me, so I needed something to keep my attention. It was so good. It was one of those stories that really leaves you thinking about it for days. When it was finished, I just sat there for a minute, brain whirring and heart stirring (see what I did there? But really). I wish there were more chapters.

Finally, since I’m limiting alcohol due to 1. trying to be healthier and 2. not having money in the summer, I’m fixating on a couple of guilty pleasure libations right now. (As in, literally drank both of these while writing this blog post). I said I never would, but I find myself loving La Croix now. My sister and I found a new flavor that we can’t get enough of:  Blackberry cucumber. So refreshing. We have only been able to find that flavor at Target near us. My other summer must-have is iced coffee. I drink it year-round, but in the summer it’s a given. Of course I can make my own, and sometimes do, but Emily (my sister) and I have been loving the Starbucks Dark Roast Iced Coffee. When I’m not paying a reasonable amount way too much for pre-packaged coffee, I use my french press to brew strong coffee and stick it in the fridge overnight. Yes, I realize I also just wrote a blog post about our new coffee bar. It’s a drug, people, I’m telling you.

i have way too many pictures of food & drinks on my phone

That’s all that’s really new with me! I’m waiting for some sunshine so I can have a pool day and work on my golden tan getting more pink and freckly. It has been rainy and stormy on and off here for a few days now, so I haven’t had a chance.

Enjoy the weekend, and let me hear those book and podcast recommendations!

Apartment tour // My happy place

If you know me, you know I   l  o  v  e   coffee. I have been drinking it regularly ever since I was in high school, and even remember being a little girl and having my parents or nana pour me some “coffee” like theirs – which was mostly milk and sugar with a splash of coffee. As an adult I feel tricked, but I get it. Coffee isn’t for children.

My sister and I have been working on making our apartment decorated and homey. I decided to post some apartment tours of my favorite spaces in our new place, so here is the first of many! My favorite project we have taken on so far is our coffee bar. I just love the way it turned out. It feels so right. Coffee is so good. Making coffee in the morning is one of my favorite rituals in the summertime. During the school year I’m usually splashing coffee down my shirt as I race out the door to get to school by 6:45am. In the summer, I can sit and enjoy a cup while I watch a show or make breakfast (or work on my blog!). My sister is a coffee lover, too, so it made sense to have a dedicated space for ours.

For our coffee bar, we used an old dresser that our mom gave us (it was our grandmother’s!). We knew we wanted storage for extra coffee k-cups, ground coffee bags, coffee mugs, etc. Why not stick our coffee mugs in a cabinet like normal people, you might ask? Because the truth is two of those drawers are full of coffee mugs, and we still have more in the cabinets. I have a slight problem, okay?!

Unfortunately, we forgot to get a before picture, so imagine a dark brown, not-so-good-looking dresser with tarnishing retro silver drawer pulls. We spray painted the dresser and distressed it a little bit to make it look worn in. Our color is Seaside – we got 2 cans at Home Depot and will use some on another project (coming soon)! We ordered these drawer pulls to replace the retro silver ones that were already on the dresser. Then we recruited my boo thang to hang the shelves. The shelving and storage cube unit are from Target (duh). I’m so happy to have a place to display my Poole’s Diner cookbook! (PLEASE go there if you live in the Raleigh area and haven’t yet.)

the original drawer pulls 

the new ones!

Our coffee and cookbook area is my favorite wall in our whole apartment so far. It’s organized, right by the window, and full of happy and bright colors. The only thing missing is the small patch we missed in spray painting on the two lower legs of the coffee bar (you’re looking now, aren’t you? I cropped it out for the sake of the picture. Can’t ruin the ambiance, people!). BUT, you know…we’re all human.

Here’s to lots of coffee drinking and finally getting set up in our new home!

 

Summer goals

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Like I mentioned in my last post, it’s almost summer break for me!!! The kids are on ANOTHER LEVEL and the teachers are beyond ready, too…but before you start saying, “Oh, those lucky teachers, they get a whole summer off!,” remember that a summer off means a summer of ZERO PAY…so I am always hustlin’ side jobs through the summer. Last summer I juggled 3 different jobs, but this year I’ll just have one – I’ll be serving at Salem Street Pub where I’ve worked on and off for years. Their food is delicious and it’s a great relaxed atmosphere, good for dates, friends, or the whole family – and trivia every Wednesday night! Lots of local brews, flights, and outdoor pup-friendly seating! That’s my shameless plug.

To gear up for the summer, I made a big Target run recently with my last paycheck of the school year. I needed black shorts and some comfy shoes for working at the pub, and I settled on these and these – the shoes are so comfortable and you know I love anything with an elastic waist. These shorts are nice because the elastic is in the back, so the front still has the zipper and button to look a little more professional – and you can’t beat the length! It’s just right.

Between shifts at the pub, I’m hoping to have some down time to relax and lay by the pool. I mentioned my favorite summer items last year in this post, but this year I needed a new bathing suit that I felt okay in since I’m working on my health and fitness! There’s always that fine line with a one piece that isn’t basically a connected bikini vs. a suit that seems too much like a “mom” suit (no offense to any mom suit wearers…I’m just not even a mom yet!). I saw a really cute young mom at the pool on Memorial Day and she was wearing this bathing suit – it looked so great on her. I looked it up online right then, stalked the reviews on fit and look, waited till pay day, and raced to Target to try it on. I was really pleased with how it fit, even at this fluffy stage in my life. The high neck keeps me covered, but the cutouts keep it trendy, and the subtle ruching over the belly hides a lot without looking like it’s trying to. I’m really happy with it! I got black, because black is the new black, but I love the other colors too! I’ll be using this sunscreen all summer – I discovered it last year and don’t know what I’d do without it now. It goes on like real lotion, smells great, and doesn’t feel as greasy as other brands. I am super fair so I buy the SPF 30 and 70 and use both in different areas to keep protected.

Finally, in trying to get moving more this summer, I’m so excited that I’m living right by a lake with a nice walking trail behind my new apartment complex. I plan to do lots of walking, renting canoes, and taking Bruno and Oliver for walks as long as their short, stubby little legs can carry them. I’m still loving my Cloud shoes, and believe it or not, Wal-Mart has these amazing running/fitness shorts for about $8 a pair! I bought two and plan on getting more since leggings aren’t going to cut it in the Raleigh heat.

Somewhere in there I’ll fit in reading for fun, cooking, dinner dates with my boo and girlfriends, wedding planning with my BFF, waking up early to enjoy coffee on the porch before it gets blisteringly hot…maybe even a few beach day trips on the weekend!

Summer 2017, I think we’re going to be great friends.

FriYAY feels!

FRIYAY!!! We made it another week. I know I haven’t written in forever…I’ve just been busy and sometimes feeling blah from all of this gross weather changing. Speaking of which, can it PLEASE be spring already? We got to enjoy such beautiful weather for so long…and then the dreary cold came creeping back in to laugh in our faces. I’m so ready for sunshine and warm weather…but the humid summer can definitely take its time getting here! This post brought to you while dreaming of higher temperatures.

I am loving this skirt from J.Crew Factory! I am always excited about an elastic waist, and this still looks chic and comfortable. This top from Old Navy…they just get me. I love silky tanks that can easily transition from work to play, or from warm to cool weather with the addition of a cardigan. This top is perfection, too – and would be great tucked into that J. Crew skirt with a long delicate necklace like this! When the warm weather finally shows its face again, these shorts will be my go-tos. They are similar to the ones I basically lived in last summer from Target. Cozy and lightweight for the sweltering heat we get in NC.

I can’t do a platform, and I just haven’t gotten into the chunky heel trend…but these little wedges look right up my alley! I love all three colors, but if you know anything about me, you know I’ll probably get black if I buy a pair.

I’m so curious about this crazy charcoal peel off mask everyone is talking about  (and recording themselves using!). Curious…but also scared enough not to have bought it yet!

Speaking of skin care, I’m going to be 30 in September, and I’m starting to notice smile lines and a worry wrinkle between my eyes that has been slowly creeping up for a couple of years. I like to tell my students it’s because of them…and it probably is! I’m in the market for some anti-aging skin care that will keep my skin healthy and not break the bank – I’m reading great things about this eye cream and this moisturizer (I have used an Olay daily moisturizer for years already). I might even get brave and buy a face oil like this one or make a DIY one – they’re all over Pinterest!

Here’s hoping that next week and the first day of spring brings sunshine, balmy breezes, and soft t-shirts that can be tucked into elastic waist skirts. Happy Friday!

Button up with a twist

tied up shirts

1, 2, 3

Am I the only one who has a longing and love for the old tied-up 90s style shirts? I’m not trying to show my age, but I remember being a little girl and having a little lime green sweatshirt material shorts and t-shirt set from Upton’s department store. Does anyone even remember Upton’s?! Are they even around anymore?

Anyway, I think my grandmother got the outfit for me and I loved it. Wore. It. OUT. The best part about it was the little tie-off in the middle, right at my belly button. I felt so grown up, so chic, so sassy. The sassiest, lime green-wearing, photo-bombing 6-year-old you’d ever seen. With the token 90s girl bowl cut/mullet hybrid hairstyle…the straight across bangs that kind of faded down on the sides to a chin length bob. You know you know what I’m talking about.

Over the summer, I purchased a long, button up, sleeveless top from Target. It was way too hot to wear it with jeans, which I felt was the best choice if wearing it long, so I tied it up and wore it with a pair of casual shorts for daytime errands. If I wanted to dress it up, I wore it with a little stretchy black skirt I’ve had from H&M for years (like 8 years, actually…when it’s good, it’s good). The back of the shirt stays long when you tie it, so I just folded the back tail up under itself so there was a nice smooth line across the back. One shirt, two ways!

This is such a simple way to put a little twist on a classic outfit and change things up for your wardrobe. Take it from the office to happy hour or rock it on the weekends for a day out! For fall, layering with a long cardigan would be perfect.

If you don’t have a shirt that’s long enough, Forever 21 has a few really inexpensive options that are already tied up – you can try them out without breaking the bank! Target has a cute one on sale right now, too! Here’s another one from Banana Republic, on sale, and one on sale at J.Crew!

They say fashion always repeats itself, and I’ve been seeing shirts tied around waists, overalls, and chokers recently…seems like the 90s may not be done quite yet! I’m not sure I’ll jump on board with all of the trends, but I do love a good tied up shirt. Try it out and tell me you don’t feel even a little bit sassy!

FriYAY feels!

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Hydration, goals, monograms, and daily reminders

It has been a while since I’ve written a Friday update! I have been covered up, but here I am. Things are getting a little more balanced around here.

-This week has been focused on prioritizing. I am teaching a unit on time management in one of my classes, and it always makes me take a look at my own life. I’ve been making plans (as you can see, I am no longer using my Passion Planner because it ran out – but I am trying this floral, $9.99 Target planner for this school year.) I’m trying to be better about looking at my weeks and being very deliberate about my priorities and when I can fit things in…as well as when I need to say no to things to take care of my own values.

-I was so excited this week to look at my progress on my six week shred! It really lifted my spirits and I know it’s only three and a half weeks, but it feels good to have stuck to something. My clothes fit better, I feel more energized and excited about picking out what to wear, and it has been a really nice way for my mom and sister and I to stay connected.

-I have picked up a new Monday afternoon class at Hot Asana where I teach yoga, and that has helped get me back in a groove with my own yoga practice. Lately I had felt like I was kind of in a yoga rut…using the same playlists, having trouble making it to take classes, not feeling inspired to write brand new classes. But with my new class time, more consistent practice on my own mat, and holding yoga club meetings for the students at the high school, I feel revamped. My new S’well bottle that is beautiful, bright, and keeps everything freezing cold doesn’t hurt, either!

-After buying a sample of it at Ulta, I finally bit the bullet and purchased the Living Proof dry shampoo (this one comes with a free gift!). It actually makes your hair feel and look clean, not to mention the a  m  a  z  i  n  g smell that stays in your hair all day. I still love my Dove dry shampoo the best all-around, but if I constantly had $22 to blow on dry shampoo, this would be the one.

But…most importantly…back to speaking of planners…I do have my eye on the pre-order 2017 Passion Planner in Blush. I just can’t help myself. I am who I am.

Happy Friday! Enjoy the weekend and stay out of the rain!

 

Fall feels

Today is the first day of fall! The autumnal equinox. I always love the changing of seasons and I know I’m not alone in my belief that it’s a perfect chance to start new again.

I’m finally, finally beginning to feel the slightest baby breezes of fall. Temperatures are not 90 degrees and climbing, sweat doesn’t pour down my temples as soon as I step outside, and wearing jeans doesn’t sound like a cruel joke.

This is my favorite time of year, due to a lot of factors. My birthday is in September, along with a lot of people I love. School starts back, lovely fall colors start to appear in the leaves and in the clothing stores, fall food and drinks start creeping onto menus, and the color potential for lipsticks and nail polishes opens up to a whole new world. Finally, with fall comes the promise that holidays are near and time off is hopefully around the corner.

There’s just something about the crispness in the air of fall that makes it feel like things are possible, or that good things are coming. Last fall I had just begun my yoga teacher training, where I made so many dear friends and learned a lot about who I am and what I needed to leave behind. I started back teaching at the high school, started this blog, and met my main squeeze, Andrew. This fall, the eBook I co-wrote is launching, I started a yoga club at school for the kids, and I’ll be going on a week-long yoga and meditation retreat with my sister in Maya Tulum, Mexico. Not to mention, Andrew is moving to Raleigh so we’ll be in the same area!!! It’s feeling like a wonderful season.

So with all of this goodness, I needed a little celebration. And what better way to celebrate the coming of fall than to treat yoself? I got this perfect bag from Target not too long ago, and I am loving it so much. It has all the pockets and is big enough to hold all of my totally practical crazy ‘you may need this someday’ items.

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Color is cherry peony.

It holds my planner, yoga notebook for teaching, lotion, lint roller (corgis, remember?), several lipsticks at a time, and anything else I need it to. Going somewhere overnight? No problem – it’ll fit in the bag. Need to keep it light? No problem – the shape of the bag holds even if it’s not full. Perfect for be-bopping around town or taking on a flight. And the color!

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Best jeans ever, here (currently buy one pair, get one for $30). Shoes were on sale at Aldo in Aruba.

Whether fall is your favorite season or not, I hope that good things are coming for you. For my nerdy astrology buddies, the autumn equinox is when the sun enters Libra (my astrological sign). The equinox is supposed to bring equal night and day; however, this year, equal day and night won’t happen until September 25 with sunrise as 6:47 a.m. EDT and sunset at 6:47 p.m. My birthday! For someone who loves balance as much as me, this is a real treat this year.

We face a lot of seasons in our lives, but it’s always cleansing and important to leave some behind. With each new season, each new current moment in our lives, we have the choice to make the most of our lives, be better, try new things, and start fresh.

Happy fall!