Getting By

vonnegut_quote

As I sit in the warm sunshine at my favorite coffee shop, I’m finally feeling like a person again.

The past couple days were rough.

I woke up Tuesday morning full of hope and optimism, but went to bed drunk and anxious.

I woke up yesterday morning with tears in my eyes that still haven’t really left, and went to bed a little bit high and still anxious, though the weed did help a little.

(By the way, congratulations to all the states who legalized recreational marijuana. You won’t regret it, I promise!)

I woke up this morning still a little sad, but hopeful. We all seem to be clawing ourselves back up from rock bottom and getting back to it.

Online today, people are sharing their support for each other, and promising to do more. They are encouraging people to donate, volunteer, and raise awareness for groups like the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, The Trevor Project, National Immigration Law Center, and many others. Even if laws or policies change, these groups will still be around to help fight the good fight – they just might need more of our help if they no longer get as much help from our government.

People are beginning the painful process of healing by taking action – and not just protesting or creating hashtags. They are hugging their neighbors, saying hello to strangers, and silencing bigotry on the street. They are coming together in prayer, in tears, and in little coffee shops like the one I’m sitting in right now to talk it out. Even here in Seattle, where people are known for being a bit…frosty…people seem a little friendlier and gentler than they were a few days ago.

So while I’m still lugging around a rock of anxiety about what the future holds, it’s a little smaller than it was yesterday. I hope that in time we can breathe easier, but not all the way. We still need to keep that pebble of anxiety in our pockets, a reminder that the next 4 years aren’t going to be easy for many of us.

It’s going to be a very hard road to keep the country going forward now that we have a president who is determined to set us back 50 years.

For the women reading this, keep trudging along. We’re used to doing twice the work for half the recognition – and unfortunately, that’s not going to change any time soon. Taking the high road might be harder and more dangerous, but the view at the end is worth it. Keep telling girls they can be whatever they want, and hold the women in your life to a high standard.

Now is not the time to give up and go home. Now is the time to teach little girls that yes, part of being a woman is dealing with setbacks. Part of being a woman is about getting your heart trampled on. Part of being a woman is enduring men in power who believe women should be pretty, silent, and obedient. Part of being a woman is being told no, but ignoring it and moving on anyway.

Show the girls and women in your life that we are strong, powerful, intelligent, and determined. We are not a reflection of what our next president thinks of us. We are a reflection of what Hillary Clinton thinks of us. She may not have broken this glass ceiling, but she showed us that someday one of us will. Someday a woman will be president, thanks to the sizeable crack Hillary left in that glass ceiling to help whoever she is break through, once and for all.

For the men reading this, keep trudging along too. We know you want a better life for your mothers, wives, girlfriends, daughters, and sisters – and we know not all of you voted for our new president (even if the news wants us to think differently).

Be a good example for the boys in your life who look up to you, and hold the grown men in your life to a higher standard. Don’t just tell the women and girls in your life that you respect and support them – show it. Show the world that you are not a reflection of our new president and his misogynistic, racist, xenophobic, homophobic views. Show the girls and women in your life that you value us for more than how we look, or how submissive we are. Show the world that you’re hurting and nervous too.

Well.

This is where we are right now – where I am right now. Though it may seem bleak right now, we’ll get through it. Get outside, bask in the sunshine, and take care of yourselves. We have a long road ahead of us, and we’ll need all the strength we can get!

Pause

pause

(Image via Pinterest)

After taking a week off from blogging, I have decided that it wasn’t long enough.

This will be the last post I write for a while.

Reflecting on the blog this past week, I realized I’m no longer happy with the content I’m creating. The blog has turned into the same shit everyone else writes about, and that was never my goal. The design of the blog has also frustrated me since day one. No matter how hard I work to find a design scheme I like, it never felt right.

I also feel let down that for all the work I put into creating beautiful photos and writing strong, meaningful content, I haven’t gotten much in return. The blog’s readership hasn’t grown since the beginning. That’s not good enough.

I also stopped reading blogs this week, and found I didn’t miss most of them. I’m not alone in this. Perhaps this is the beginning of the end for blogging? Lately I have found more enjoyment from reading magazines, books, and letters from friends than anything online. Maybe it’s a phase. I’m not sure.

I am going to take a longer break to figure out what the future holds for Afternoon Glow, and what the future holds for life in general. Maybe someday I’ll come back to this. Maybe I won’t. I might be back in a month, a few months, or a year. I don’t know.

For all of you who have been reading from the beginning, thank you for sticking it out for so long. I appreciate that you’ve been there to read, comment, and engage in whatever ways you did. Hopefully I’ll be back soon, but if not, thank you either way.

If you want to keep up with me away from Afternoon Glow, I’ll still be on social media (Instagram and Twitter mainly).

Goodbye for now. I’ll be back when I have something to say.

Welcome to October!

Welcome to October

October is here, and I can’t be happier about it!

Frankly, last month sucked. I was sick for most of it and am still not totally back to normal. Dealing with daily construction on our apartment building isn’t helping, either. It’s so hard to think straight with people hammering on your walls and shouting at each other all day long. I managed to get out more once I felt healthy, but even then it wasn’t enough.

Since I have a lot of work to catch up on, I’m going to take this week off of blogging. I need to focus on kicking this cold/allergy/stress thing once and for all, and work on some blog-related things I didn’t get to while I was ill. Hell, Friday was the first time I vacuumed in almost a month – and it was so needed!

I hope everyone has a great week, and I’ll see you back here next week!

Friday Favorites: Fall is Here

Friday Favorites Fall

Happy Friday everyone!

This week has been so much better. I’m finally over being sick, the weather cooled off, and the leaves seemed to change overnight. Fall is officially here, and I’m excited to get out and enjoy it!

Since I haven’t done a Friday Favorites in a few weeks, I thought I’d share some things I’ve been loving online since then:

I’m looking forward to spending the weekend hiking, enjoying the cool weather and changing colors. It’s also football season, so I will hopefully get some time to read more too. There is nothing like getting cozy with a book, am I right?

What are your plans this weekend? How have you been ringing in fall where you live?

Beauty DIY: Face Elixir Spray

Beauty DIY Face Elixir Spray

Living on a budget often means giving up your favorite luxury products. One I miss terribly is Caudalie’s Beauty Elixir. It doesn’t do much for my skin, per se, but I love the relaxing, clean smell. At almost $50 per bottle, it’s an expense I can’t justify to myself.

Recently, I researched to see if I could make a face elixir spray comes close to the original. After looking at ingredients in the original elixir, I went to Whole Foods in search of the ingredients.

I am new to using essential oils, so I started with the main scents (rosemary, lavender, rose, & peppermint). I could go back and add the pricier oils later, but that defeats the purpose of a budget-friendly DIY. I spent around $30 on the ingredients, which will yield enough face elixir to last years.

After playing around with the recipe, I found a ratio of essential oils to come close to the original elixir’s scent. The rosemary scent is key – as soon as I took a whiff of it in Whole Foods, I knew that was likely the main ingredient in the Caudalie version. You can play around with the ratio based on what you like – just go easy on the peppermint. It can be irritating to your skin and eyes if spraying directly on your face.

For all you drugstore beauty lovers like me, check out this recipe for a luxury-grade face elixir that won’t break your budget!

Beauty DIY: Face Elixir Spray

Ingredients:

Small glass spray bottle

Spring or distilled water

Thayer’s Witch Hazel Toner in Rose Petal

Essential Oils*: Lavender, Rosemary, Peppermint, & Grapeseed

Directions:

  1. Fill your glass bottle 2/3 of the way with water. Add the rose toner until it almost reaches the top.
  2. Add your essential oils: 10 drops each of grapeseed, rosemary, and lavender; 5 drops of peppermint (You can always play around with this ratio – perhaps start with 5 each and go from there!)
  3. Place the cap onto the bottle, give it a good shake, and spray!

This oil isn’t just good for the face – I use it as a room spray, aromatherapy spray, and fabric freshener. Just go light on fabrics, since there is oil in it!

I hope you enjoy this recipe, and let me know if you give it a try!

*Caudalie’s spray also includes essential oils like myrrh, wild/bitter orange, neroli, rose and others. They’re super expensive, and I’m not sure they add much to their spray anyway. I got around using rose essential oil by having it in the toner. If you use a regular witch hazel toner, add some rose oil.

4 Pretty Nail Colors for Fall

4 Pretty Nail Colors Fall

While I am painfully aware that trends exist, I don’t always follow them. So when it came time to choose some new nail colors for fall, I ignored what I read in magazines and went with colors I knew I’d actually wear. For example, I keep seeing pastel blue everywhere? It’s not a color I associate with fall, and one I probably wouldn’t wear anyway. To me, fall is about adding a little brown or gray to shades I already wear – nothing too far off my normal routine.

Since I am trying out some new colors for fall, I thought I’d go with the Sonia Kashuk line at Target. They’re only $4.79 per bottle, and they come in some on-trend shades for fall. Here are the 4 pretty nail colors for fall, whether you’re a trend-setter, trend-follower, or neither!

Mauving On Up:

I’m not a light pink polish kind of gal, but this one seems perfect for fall. It’s mauve with a grayish tone to it, which I think will look perfect with all the grays I wear in fall and winter.

Rich Girl:

I wear orange polish frequently, but the orange polishes in my collection are bright and cheery. This is a straight-up pumpkin shade that’s perfect for fall. It looks less pink in real life, and will be a great shade to add a bit of pop to my fall wardrobe. I would love to wear this on my toes instead of my usual red or pink.

Forbidden Fruit:

This is a deep magenta that I think will be a color I wear year-round! I looked for something similar for years, but most shades were too purple or red. This is a great in-between that would look great on toes too!

Gray Matter:

I have been wearing OPI’s “Metro Chic” for years, which is the perfect muddy gray-purple shade. It’s since been discontinued, but I do love the look of grey nails in fall. It’s a great alternative to black polish (which I wear a lot in winter), and this one has a slightly bluish tone.

So there you have it! Head on over to Target to check out this collection, and I hope you find a shade or two that are perfect for your fall nails!

First Day of Fall

first day of fall

(#TBT to some amazing fall hiking from last year!)

It’s finally the first day of fall!

While it has felt like fall around here for a couple weeks now, I’m so glad it’s officially here. Now I won’t feel bad about adding pumpkin spice to my coffee, oatmeal, bread – just about everything!

Summer was great, but around here it was just too hot to enjoy. I love being outdoors, and fall is the perfect time of year to get outside and enjoy some amazing weather. Even the rain is something I welcome happily. It’s the perfect excuse to curl up under a blanket and read a book…or take a nap. I can’t wait to spend more time hiking, working, and generally being productive instead of hiding from the heat.

Fall also signifies the start of a new school year for most people. Even though I’m not a student or teacher anymore, I always considered fall the time of new beginnings. So to ring in the fall, I plan to sit down and carefully make plans and goals to round out the rest of the year. There are so many things I wanted to get done this year that I didn’t get around to, and many more I haven’t started yet. Just because the year is coming to a close doesn’t mean we can’t get shit done, right?

So to all of you like me to consider fall to be their favorite season, get out there and enjoy the changing leaves, damp air, and maybe even a latte or two. Hell, if I remember I’ll even show you how I make my own PSL – they’re easy and oh so tasty!

How do you plan to spend your fall this year? Do you have any traditions you take part in, or favorite foods you like to make? Let me know in the comments!

Fall Beauty Updates

fall beauty updates

(Sorry for the crap quality photo. Sometimes things just don’t go your way!)

Fall is finally here!

I’m looking forward to updating my beauty routine to reflect the new season. Summer is easy, with little makeup and simple updos. Once the weather cools, I get excited about the new beauty trends I can try out. It must stem from my years as a teacher. Instead of stocking up on new school supplies, I’m focusing on new lip colors and some old favorites I still love.

Fall Beauty Update

L’Oreal Preference Hair Dye in Medium Chestnut Brown (5CB)

For many reasons I should probably write about in another post, I chose to stop dying my hair around Christmas last year. It turns out that while I don’t really have any grey hair yet to cover (yay genetics!), my natural hair color is boring the shit out of me. So I’m excited to mix it up for fall with a deeper, warmer hue.

Not Your Mother’s “Love for Hue” Shampoo & Conditioner

Since I haven’t dyed my hair in almost a year, I want to make sure what I do sticks. I used other products from them in the past and they were all great, so I look forward to using these too!

Maybelline Fit Me! Matte + Poreless Foundation (Classic Ivory 120)

I have been using the “Dewy + Smooth” version of this all summer and loved it. For fall, I wanted to switch it up and go with the matte version, which is just as great. My skin gets stupid oily in the winter, so this should help.

NYX Butter Gloss in Red Wine Truffle

Okay, this was a total impulse buy. I don’t own a dark red lipgloss, and this shade is perfect for fall. The best part of the butter gloss is that you can really customize the look. I usually wear a little of it more like a stain, but it also looks amazing piled on too!

CoverGirl Clump Crusher Mascara in Black Brown

This is my all-time favorite mascara. Nothing new – just bought a new one after I got pink eye and had to throw mine out.

NYX Slim Eye Pencils in Charcoal and Light Brown

I have these in black and dark brown, but I like going a bit lighter on the eyes if I’m going darker on the lips. These are a great because I don’t have to be super precise when applying them, and on lazy fall days that’s just perfect.

Earth Therapeutic’s Triple Butter Intensive Foot Balm

I’ll gladly admit that my feet get absolutely wrecked in the fall/winter months. Changing out sandals for boots leaves them pretty dry and gross. So this year, I’m hoping to keep on top of it with a nightly ritual of foot balm and cozy socks. This one smells and feels amazing, and not at all greasy.

What are you planning to stock up on this fall? I’m still looking for a good hand lotion, so if you have any good suggestions, let me know in the comments!

Loving Lately: The Year of The Work

the year of the work

When I was a kid, I longed for a pen pal. I remember thinking how great it would be to have a friend on the other side of the world or country to talk to. We could bond over our favorite television shows, growing up, and silly things kids talk about. I tried a few times to keep up with old friends after we moved, but it never lasted long. Then the internet happened, and writing letters all but disappeared.

When Kayley Vandenberg, a Michigan-born blogger I’ve followed for years, wanted to start mailing out a monthly letter to her followers, I was hooked. She started “The Year of the Work” as a way to share her journey to find peace within herself, and to work out some things that were too intimate for an online forum. I look forward to getting her letter in the mail every month like I did when I was a kid waiting on a pen pal.

To honor the amount of work she puts into these letters, I make a point of taking each letter to a special place to read them. I also treat myself to a donut (a totally non-intentional thing). When I sit down to read, I take my time to pour through everything – often reading it a couple times. It’s a great time for me to relax and catch up with a woman who feels like an old friend. One month, I even ran into an old friend while reading my letter. He’s someone I know from college, and it was bittersweet to catch up with him. It was a nice reminder of a time when I used to have friends. (I’m only sort of joking about that…)

Kayley has also inspired me to start journaling more for myself, which has been a lifesaver lately. I don’t have people in my life I feel comfortable venting to. Most people I know have a tough time keeping things to themselves. Having a journal is a great alternative. I didn’t know I needed the journal this much. Now that I’m getting the hang of it, I actually miss it on the days I don’t write.

Now all I need to do is muster up the guts to write her back someday! I’m working on it, girl!

If you have been a long-time follower of Kayley, and want to join The Year of The Work:

Click here to sign up for the mailing list, or to read more about Kayley’s project.

Click here to donate to cover the cost of your letters or sponsor someone else’s.

Sick Day (or Week)

sick day

(via Pinterest)

Hi.

I need to take a sick day. Better make it a sick week.

I’m writing this post on Monday afternoon after getting maybe 3 hours of sleep the night before. I also haven’t been able to breathe out of both nostrils since last Wednesday. Gross, right?

This is either seasonal allergies (which I hope it is) or walking pneumonia I caught from our recent houseguests’ kids (which I hope it isn’t). If it’s the latter, I am banning out-of-state visitors with kids from our home for the foreseeable future.

Anyway, I’m going to set the bar really low and take the rest of the week off. I can barely think straight between the allergy meds and the construction still going on outside. All I really want right now is a nap, but I might have to settle for more coffee instead.

And ice cream. Send ice cream. It’s the only thing I can eat right now.