Welcome to August!

welcome to August

Welcome to August!

I really can’t believe it’s August already!

This summer seems to have flown by, and now I’m looking forward to autumn (though we have like, two months). I spent most of July working and trying to spend more time outside – though it wasn’t warm enough to get to the beach until this week!

August is such an “in-between” month. It’s still hot as hell outside (we’re looking at 100 degrees tomorrow!), but many are dreaming of pumpkin spiced lattes and fall sweaters. Kids are desperately trying to enjoy the last moments of summer break before heading back to school. Since there aren’t any major holidays coming up until Labor Day, it seems so much harder to get out and be social. It’s a weird month, to be honest.

So for August, I assume my posts will be a mix of both enjoying the summer and looking forward to fall. I’m already starting to dream up what my fall wardrobe is going to look like and updating my skincare for the cooler months. It’s also been tough to workout when it’s so hot outside, but I’ve been trying to get back into it.

Welcome back to the blog, and I hope you are as excited as I am to enjoy the summer and get ready for autumn – my favorite season in Seattle!

Home Update: A Silky Flower Solution

commercial silk flowers

One goal I set for myself this summer is to finally get our house in order, design-wise. The master bedroom is the only room in the house that’s “mine” to decorate how I want. I want to focus on injecting more color into my home, and flowers are an easy way to do that.

Living in the Pacific Northwest, I find keeping plants alive damn near impossible. Our apartment gets amazing light during the summer months, but the rest of the year it’s just not bright enough. I even tried growing low-light plants with no success. It sucks because I want to inject more plants and flowers into my home decor. It’s also a huge waste of time and money to keep throwing away dead plants!

So when Commercial Silk Int’l. contacted me about using their silk plants to decorate my apartment, I jumped at the chance to try out their potted flowers. I chose a bright yellow and pink orchid, which adds a major punch of color to a mostly black, white, and grey bedroom.

To be honest, this is the first time I used silk flowers instead of real ones. I was really curious how it would look, and I have to say it’s perfect. It’s so realistic looking that when it arrived, my husband texted to ask if he should water it!

If you have a black thumb, or live somewhere that makes growing plants impossible, I highly recommend checking out Commercial Silk’s website. They have flowers, plants, trees, and even outdoor boxwood hedges you can use to cover up unsightly air conditioners or trash cans without the high maintenance of actual shrubs!

My next purchase may very well be their fiddle leaf fig tree – a plant I’ve heard is insanely hard to keep alive, but I really want to add to my bedroom or home office!

*************

Connect with Commercial Silk on their website or on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or Pinterest!

(*Note: Commercial Silk sent these products as part of a promotional campaign to review.  All opinions are entirely my own – and I can’t wait to buy another plant for my home, for sure!)

4 Best Shows to Watch in May

4 Best Shows to Watch in May

Living somewhere without cable for the first time in years, I have become much more selective about what I watch. Whether you are a cord-cutter, or just looking to expand your horizons, there is amazing programming out there for you! Here are a just a few things I am watching obsessively lately.

4 Best Shows to Watch in May

Chelsea (Netflix)

I’ve been watching Chelsea Handler host a night-time show since her years at the E! network, and when she made the move to Netflix, I was all in. Her second season just started, and you can tell they are hitting their stride with the new format. The show posts at 12pm PST every Friday, and runs about an hour. It’s full of thoughtful and fun interviews, travel, education, pot smoking, and a whole lot of the usual Chelsea snark we love.

If you want to learn how to get more politically involved, hear from men and women doing amazing things, and laugh your ass off…check this one out for sure!

Fargo (FX / hulu)

This show is only a few episodes in, but I’m already hooked. It has all the midwest charm and dark humor of the film, and if you’ve been watching the show from the beginning, it feels a lot like season one. There is murder, mystery, hijinks, and a harsh reminder of how COLD it is in the winter!

If you need to get caught up on seasons 1-2,  head on over to hulu. The new season is on the FX app, which I know is tethered to your cable account, but it’s worth checking out if you have access to it!

The Handmaid’s Tale (hulu)

I was on board with this show when hulu first announced they were making the show. This is an adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel about a dystopian future, and how women fight the new order of subjugation and sexual oppression. I am a huge fan of the book, and after watching the first few episodes, I’m a huge fan of the show now too.

If you like watching shows with suspense, strong and complex female characters, and won’t be too freaked out at the thought that this shit could happen, check it out. It’s a great show given what’s been going on with our government, women’s rights, and the war on contraception.

Chef’s Table (Netflix)

If you are like me and love documentaries, definitely check out this show. It has some of the most beautiful imagery I’ve ever seen on television (except maybe Planet Earth…but it’s damn close). Each episode follows a different world-class chef, and documents their journey to success (which, as we learn, is rarely ever straightforward).

It’s a great show to both satiate your food porn needs. It also has great themes about hard work, dedication, taking risks, and staying true to who you are.

*****

Well I’m off to go catch up on some more shows! If you are living cable-free (for the most part), check out all the great programming out there online. There is a TON of it!

What have you been watching lately? I am always looking for suggestions!

Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!

It’s been a busy week! I started doing some freelance writing and editing, and I’m driving almost 3 hours away for a job interview/meeting this morning. It’s going to be a long day – but hopefully a productive one!

Here are some things I enjoyed online this week:

I plan to spend the weekend watching The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu and working on some blog posts for May! Oh, and brainstorming things to do on my next vacation (which isn’t happening soon enough!).

What are your plans for this weekend?

Friday Favorites

friday favorites

Happy Friday!

I hope everyone is enjoying the lovely spring weather all around the country this week! It was nice to ditch the sweaters for a few days, but alas, we’re back to chilly temperatures for a while.

Here are a few things I enjoyed online this week:

  • Chelsea Clinton was a guest writer this week on Well + Good, where she discussed the importance of talking about periods and breastfeeding, and how both of those things make it tough for women to succeed all over the world. A great read if you are interested in the recent news from states who are finally ending unfair taxes on women’s hygiene products! (Well + Good)
  • I guess in his new-found spare time, Barack Obama has become another Instagram husband. Man Repeller has determined he’s pretty damn good at it, too. (Man Repeller)
  • Apparently jaw tension can cause breakouts? Great. Add it to the list of things I need to stop doing, from eating dairy to letting my face rest of anything while I sleep. (The Chalkboard Mag)
  • I’ve gotten hooked on watching The Sorry Girls, a DIY duo from Canada, on YouTube. They started out mainly doing DIY Halloween costumes, but branched out into tons of other cool things. Definitely check them out if you want to learn some cheap and easy tricks to update your space! (The Sorry Girls)
  • Now that LeafTV is officially sold off, Geri Hirsch is now blogging full-time at because im addicted! Check out the blog for even more amazing content for the lifestyle junkies out there. This week she came up with a comprehensive spring cleaning list that anyone can conquer! (because im addicted)
  • I’ll file this one away for whenever I’m back to living on my own, because lord knows I’ll never get my parents to try these! Check out Hello Glow’s 5 vegan macaroni and cheese recipes – they all look amazing! (Hello Glow)

I hope you all have a great weekend! I’m planning to catch up with some friends who are visiting BG, and working on some more blog posts for you in the near future!

 

bb7a03c90ebc4b719ed7c89ede162989c490c8d3f7e848bfa7

Friday Favorites

friday favorites

Time for this week’s Friday Favorites!

It’s been a very long week, and I’m glad to spend the weekend catching up on my meditation practice, spend time with family, and celebrate the return of Chelsea Handler’s show on Netflix. I also plan to eat as many chocolate eggs as I can stuff in me! Here are a few of my favorite things from this past week:

I hope everyone has a fun and sunny Easter weekend!

Friday Favorites…on a Monday!

friday favorites

Spring has really sprung around here! I’m excited to have more and more days like this in between the gray, gloomy Seattle rain.

In spite of the crappy weather, things around here have been super busy. I am in my annual spring cleaning mode and eyeballs-deep in applying for every teaching position I can find (it’s that time of year again). I’m also trying to get back on track with my reading goals after finally plowing through The Second Sex, which was the most challenging book I read so far this year. In the middle of all that, I manage to get outside for a run or hike now and then, too! All of this means I haven’t spent much time online, to be honest – so I put off posting a Friday Favorites a little longer than I had hoped.

So without further ado, here is what I enjoyed online over the past…few weeks or so. Hopefully soon I can get back on a regular schedule with these!

  • Here is a pretty accurate list of 5 industries millennials are slowly killing. I totally agree with all of it (though we really should consider bringing back the vacation!). (Cracked)
  • If you follow Chris Pratt on Instagram, you already know he started a #whatsmysnack craze (thanks to his recent meal-delivery service). Watching him attempt to say “cacao baobab” is just the best because, well, we’ve all been there! (Well+Good)
  • Even though I live in a much brighter apartment than I used to, growing plants is still a challenge with so little daily sunlight. Here are 9 plants that should survive super low light! (Gardenista)
  • If you are as mesmerized by gif recipes as I am, check out the Gif Recipes subreddit! Be careful, though – it’s easy to lose hours of your day on here! (Reddit)
  • You know I love a good peek into someone’s refrigerator! Check out this one from Mimi Kirk, a raw foodie in her 70s, to see how she stays healthy and happy! (The Chalkboard Mag)
  • If you are looking for ways to stay active in your community, check out Meg The Grand! She was one of my close friends in college, and it’s inspiring to hear all the ways she supports women in her community! She posts daily tasks people can do, some in the Chicago area, and some you can do from anywhere! (Meg The Grand)

I hope everyone is enjoying the start of spring, and I will be back next week. I have another long week of interviews, job applications, and cleaning to do!

Favorite Meditation Apps

favorite meditation apps

My whole adult life, I’ve struggled with being able to focus during the day and fall asleep at night. I sprint through my days, busy and anxious that I won’t fit enough in to feel good enough. At night, I often stay awake, mind busy with things I know I can’t control at the moment. Stress can be a good thing in small doses, but dealing with it for years on end has certainly taken its toll on my ability to relax and focus when I need to.

Enter meditation.

I admit that meditation was something I resisted trying for years. Something about it sounded… too difficult for me. Sitting quietly with my thoughts is fine, but to sit quietly without them? That seemed like too big of a challenge!

After years of struggling to think straight and sleep well, I decided it couldn’t hurt to try. As a beginner, I knew I couldn’t just reach zen on my own – so I sought out apps to get me started. Now that I’ve been at it almost daily for almost a year, I thought I’d share which apps I’ve been using to get control of my thoughts, and find a little bit of chill in the chaos!

My Favorite Meditation Apps

favorite meditation apps

Stop, Breathe & Think

(Free or Premium $9.99/month or $82.99/year)

This is the first app I downloaded, and I still go back to it from time to time. Stop, Breathe & Think works by first asking you to choose 5 emotions you’re feeling, and it will suggest a meditation for you. I liked that because, in the beginning, I had no idea which meditation would work best for me if I was happy, angry, tired, etc.

The free version has plenty of options to choose from, from guided meditations, yoga, and acupressure. They also have an unguided meditation option, where you can choose the length of time and bells to remind you of time. My only gripe is the meditations don’t include the option of background noise, which makes it hard to use when, say, there are roofers pounding on your ceiling. This one is perfect for an already quiet space.

I highly recommend this app when you’re just getting started. They have great guided meditations for beginners that don’t seem too daunting. You can also choose between short and longer meditations, so if you only have the time/patience for a few minutes at a time, you can totally do that!

favorite meditation apps

Calm

(Free or Premium $12.99/month or $59.99/year or $299 for life)

A blogger friend introduced me to this app a few years ago, when I needed ambient noise to listen to while grading papers. Their desktop version is perfect for people who need calming background noise while working.

I decided to add the app to my phone after I found Stop, Breathe & Think couldn’t drown out the outside construction noise at our prior apartment. Pairing this app with noise-canceling headphones did the trick, and I still use this app daily.

They have decent options for guided and unguided meditations in their free version, though not as many as the other app. In the premium version, they have individual meditations you can choose from, a daily meditation, or you can start a 7 or 21-day program. They also have unguided meditations, and several options dedicated specifically to sleep. I haven’t even cracked the surface of what they offer, and I love it so far!

This is a good option once you already have a set practice, you’re just looking for calming background sounds for your work day, or while you’re reading. I use the untimed meditation option when I’m reading to tune out the television or music, and it works like a charm!

If you’re looking for an easy and free way to start your meditation journey, I highly suggest both of these apps! They are easy to use, the meditations are easy to follow, and both are great free options!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

No Friday Favorites post this week. I totally forgot to keep track of the things I was into – oops!

I hope everyone has a fun and safe St. Patrick’s Day. I am off to find something green to wear and see if I can get my hands on a corned beef sandwich for lunch this afternoon!

Have a great weekend, and enjoy the arrival of spring!

 

Recent Skincare Favorites

recent skincare favorites

Winter is on its way out, which means swapping out skincare routines. I thought now would be a good time to document my recent skincare favorites before I switch them out for more spring and summer friendly products!

Recent Skincare Favorites

Thayers Alcohol-Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera

I use this toner year-round because it’s non-irritating (thanks to the absence of alcohol) and doubles as an eye makeup remover. It doesn’t hurt the packaging and smell are sublime!

Mario Badescu Acne Facial Cleanser

This is a cleanser I keep going back to every winter. It’s non-drying and gentle, and has kept my breakouts at bay over the past few months.

DIY Face Elixir Spray

I can’t stop spraying this stuff! If you’re looking for a Caudalie Face Elixir dupe, this is a great substitute. You won’t mind spraying it on your face, pillows, or anywhere really! Click on the link above to learn how to make your own!

Murad – Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum

I decided to try this to get rid of hyperpigmentation (thanks, birth control). So far, I haven’t seen a lot of change in my skin tone, but the texture of my skin is much better since I started using it. I guess I’ll have to be diligent and patient with the pigmentation.

Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre Moisturizer

When I first purchased this, I thought it would be far too thick for my already oily, sensitive skin. Boy, was I wrong! I slather this on every night after my serum, and I wake up every morning with soft, glowing skin. The French know their skincare, that’s for sure!

Freeman Facial Apple Cider Vinegar 4-In-1 Foaming Clay

I found this at my local Ulta last fall, and loved it because of the smell, mostly. However, after using it as both a mask and exfoliating scrub, I am now on my third tube! It’s a great multi-use product that smells great, and leaves my skin feeling smooth without being too irritated. I loved using it this winter because it’s not as harsh as my other exfoliants, and as a mask it’s not too drying.