Saturday, April 12, 2014

Saturday Mornings are for Boogying

Every time I hear this song I start moving. There's something about the soul and the beat and the sound. Be lazy this Saturday morning. Eat pancakes. Watch TV and drink too much coffee. Catch up on your blog reading for the week. Watch some Youtube videos. Do yoga in bed. But, you know, where you're good and ready, put on this song and dance. Have a little joy in your life. You deserve it!

Yours Truly, Jen

P.S. You can listen to Chet Faker's full album online here.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Do Yourself a Favor & Re-invigorate Your New Year's Goals

Yo! Have you completely forgotten about your New Year's goals? If you're guiltily like hey, I'm going to close this tab and pretend like this confrontation never happened, don't do it! I don't judge, and I've definitely forgotten about some of mine a little bit. But you know, it's April now....can you believe we're like a third of the way through the year already? I can't. And yet, I can, because in some ways I've already come so far this year.

I feel like a lot of people set their goals, work toward them for a couple of weeks or a couple of months, and then slowly forget about them or give up on them. I mean, if you really tried to reach those goals and then realized that they were ridiculous or unrealistic or you no longer wanted those things, that's fine. But, you know, if you still want to reach those goals, let's try, try again. You can re-invigorate/re-jigger your goals at any time. No one's watching you and saying hey, you dropped the ball on that goal for six weeks, so you don't get to have that goal anymore. Right? It's silly to tie self-improvement to a time of year. So what are you waiting for?

If you missed my New Year's goals or want a refresher, you can find my post about them here. I titled that post the way I did because I really wanted to focus on being happier, healthier, and more productive this year. I thought this would be a good time to check in on my resolutions, and encourage you to do the same!

1. Live a more active lifestyle-While I'm definitely not where I was hoping to be fitness-wise, I've really improved my healthy eating habits and am continuing to improve on that front. I have a small group of ladies on Facebook that I talk to online pretty much every day--we have a private group page where we post what we ate, what exercise we did, what health-related questions/problems/concerns we have, good resources and recipes that we come across, and all kinds of other stuff. This has seriously been the best thing for me. I've gotten turned onto some really great free exercise resources (I'll be sharing these with you soon!), and am generally much more conscious of what I eat because I know I'm reporting it to this group of ladies who are also focusing on their health (makes me so much less likely to scarf down a whole box of Girl Scout cookies or have Taco Bell for lunch while I'm running errands). I seriously cannot encourage you enough to get with even just one or two other people to work on a similar goal together. Having that support system (and also accountability) makes all the difference. Another thing I've done is create a healthy living inspiration board on Pinterest with some inspiring words and images and little items I can purchase as rewards when I reach certain goals.

2. Be smarter with money-This is one that I haven't been as great at. I've been really working to hone in my kind of random spending (you know, like walking around Target when you're bored and just buying a bunch of stuff in the dollar spot), but with my healthier eating has also come negotiating a healthier grocery cart and keeping my spending down, so that's something I'm still figuring out. I'm also starting to take stock of what stuff I'll need to buy when I move out on my own, so that's been encouraging ot help keep me from buying stuff I don't need because I know I'd rather spend that money later on a nice blender and set of knives.

3. Reach out to people more-This is one that I was doing really well at earlier in the year and have slacked on, so it definitely needs re-invogorated. I've gotten sick and busy and tired and in weird lonely funks and spent a lot of time alone. For my part I have rarely turned down invitations to go out, but I haven't been good at inviting people I want to hang out with to hang.

4. Write every day-Epic fail. I've been in revising mode this semester with my thesis and just haven't been writing new stuff, not creatively, not here on the blog, not anywhere. So need to really kick this one up.

5. Read for fun more-This one has been a bit of a fail as well. I've been reading a good bit about fitness and health, but I haven't really been reading much creative writing beyond what I'm teaching in my class or even magazines. I honestly think part of this is being in the last semester of my program and just needing a break, but I've had it now, so I need to get back into it. I love reading, but sometimes I seem to forget that. I guess spending six years where reading and writing is your job will do that to you.

6. Have some time away from screens and just relax and wind at the end of the day-I've been doing part two. I've gotten really into candles this year and have started lighting a candle at the end of the night and really relaxing while I do my evening routine, but I haven't been good about keeping away from screens before bed. I think doing a better job of this will help with my reading goal as well!

So that's where I'm at right now. How about you?

Yours Truly, Jen

P.S. I'm starting a new post series: do yourself a favor. This might sound bossy, maybe, I don't know; my goal is never to be bossy in this space. But, you know. Anyway, I wanted to do this series to inspire you to do little and big things that are good for you, or at least I think they will be. Mostly, these are things that I've done that are good for me, and I assume would translate well to others. So sue me if I want to encourage you to live a happier life. So, that's this series.

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Body Shop Skincare Haul

A week or so ago I wandered over to The Body Shop website thinking about trying some of their skincare products because Essie Button talks about them a fair bit on her Youtube channel and she's gotten me curious about it and my skin was acting up and I was thinking about switching up my skincare routine a bit (whew, that was a long sentence!). I happened to wander into a 40% off everything sale (yes!) and then I found a free shipping code on and so of course I went a little buckwild. Dudes, I just checked and that sale is back! So if any of these products strike your fancy, or you too have been wanting to try some things from The Body Shop, there's 40% off sitewide happening right this very minute. So yeah, that's a thing.

Vitamin E Moisture Serum- This serum kind of has a baby powdery old lady-y type smell to it. Not super strong or anything, but it's there. This goes on really smoothly and really helps pack in some extra moisture pre-moisturizer and primer. If you have really dry skin, this is great for you. I use this in the morning before a light moisturizer to make sure my skin is smooth and plump and hydrated, and so far I'm liking it.

Tea Tree Skin Clearing Toner- I've been curious about this tea tree line for a while, and since my acne flared back up again I decided to give it a try. Since tea tree oil can be drying, I use this at night to help remove the last traces of makeup and face wash and give me some blemish-fighting power all over my face since my breakouts tend to be sporadic.

Aloe Calming Toner- I decided to get this to use in the mornings. My skin can be quite red at times, especially just after I get out of the shower or when it's irritated and I thought this might help to calm my skin down before putting makeup on it. So far I haven't noticed it help much with redness, but it does feel really gentle and non-irritating, which is what I want out of a morning toner.

Tea Tree Face Mask- Mostly I've been using clay and charcoal masks, so I thought this would be a good change of pace. One of the cool things about this mask is that it doesn't dry so if a mask hardening on your face is bothersome or irritates your skin or creeps you out, this is a good option for you. I also like that this is a mask that actually targets blemishes, as reducing breakouts is a lot of what I usually want out of a mask anyway.

Camomile Cleansing Butter- I have been pretty curious about cleansing balms. I jumped on the oil cleansing train with the Sephora Supreme Cleansing Oil and was curious how a balm or butter would stack up. I was surprised that this product has a somewhat perfumey-type smell, which isn't exactly the calming fragrance I have associated with camomile tea. This does a pretty nice job of removing makeup and cleansing the face. The Sephora oil does a better job of getting off eye makeup in my opinion, but the butter definitely has the benefit of being really travel friendly and a lot less messy.

Cocoa Butter Body Butter- Now that I think about it, it was getting to be about time for me to re-up on body butter, which is actually the thing that got me over to the website. I kind of have a love-hate relationship with these body butters. They're really moisturizing and the packaging is good and you can always get them on sale, but the scents are also super inconsistent. Back in December I got the Vanilla Bliss body butter which smells like play-doh to me, and the scent of this body butter was really disappointing to me as well. I freaking love cocoa butter, and the scent of all of the cocoa butter lotions I've tried has always been heavy on the cocoa. This doesn't smell like that at all. It is super smooth and creamy--the texture is absolutely perfect. So I'm willing to look passed the smell. But it's also disappointing.

I would definitely say to get your body butter in the store if you can so you can smell them, but other than that, I've been pretty happy with my purchase. What have you tried from The Body Shop?

Yours Truly, Jen

Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday Favorites (2)

Oi oi, tomorrow I'm submitting to my readers a revised draft of my thesis! Then they read it, write up their responses, I read those responses, do my final revisions, submit my final thesis, and defend! Holy bejezus. I kind of can't believe it. Like I'm waiting every day for someone to tell me I can't graduate because of x reason. Because that's totally going to happen ya'll. I'm not kidding. Anyway, yeah. That's my life right now. On to links!

-This post on having a great life without spending a lot of money. A great attitude to walk through life with!
-Eating in restaurants by yourself. I always thought it would be terrible, but it's really not. You get to order whatever you want without judgment at the pace you want and you get to be rude without being rude and be on your phone and you don't have to get up to refill your own water glass.
-This bar cart. So gorgeous and would work in any room!
-This story. Listened to it again last night because I'm teaching it in my creative writing class. Great listen!
-These no bake granola bars. Must make pronto pronto.
-This easy DIY project. Easy, beautiful, functional. What more do you need?
-This stir fry recipe. In my future!
-This video about designing your body and life. I love tips on getting organized and I've definitely been feeling like I need to take more control of my life. Think I'm going to put this binder together this weekend!
-I moved around a couple of pieces of furniture in my bedroom the other day and I'm kind of into it. I haven't done that in forever. I was the kid who moved her own furniture like 6 times a year. Just shifted everything around to try something new. Adults don't do that very much. Mostly because (at least in my case) my furniture is pretty heavy. So yeah. That was a fun diversion.

What are your favorites for the week?

Yours Truly, Jen

Friday, February 21, 2014

Friday Favorites (1)

Blogging just hasn't been in the cards for me this semester. I'm getting ready to graduate, constantly revising my thesis, and trying to figure out what's next for me. After the breakup I intended to take a short break and then be back, and that's not exactly what happened. Anyway, I thought I would start sharing some of my favorite things in life and around the web on Fridays as a way of keeping you updated on what's going on with me and sharing some awesome stuff with you. Sound good?

-This computer/phone wallpaper selection. As soon as I saw them, I downloaded all of them and immediately put the third one as my background on my phone and the last one as my desktop wallpaper.
-This hairstyle. Need to start accessorizing my hair immediately. I have delicate ears though, so I can't do a headband and glasses. So obvi I need to start wearing contacts again. I'm so lazy about it.
-These sandals. Joanna linked to these in her spring wishlist and I became instantly obsessed with the style. Need wedge sandals in every color please!
-This granola recipe. Remember my choose your own adventure granola post? That recipe is super flexible, but this is so different, plus I always am looking for different ways to use overripe bananas and beat the breakfast blues. Win win!
-This coat. It's neutral, but so different from anything I own. I'm looking to switch up my wardrobe a bit, and I'm really tempted to buy this for next year!
-These heels. I have been really into black and white and black and tan heels for a while now, and have yet to purchase a pair. These are so unique!
-This mug. Melissa included this in her spring wishlist and I was instantly smitten. Most of the mugs in our house are Andy's, and pretty much all of the ones I own have been given to me. I'm suddenly itching to start my own beautiful mug collection.
-This show. I was looking for something to marathon last weekend when I was sick and decided to give this a try. I haven't had a lawyer show in my TV schedule for a while, and I was surprised when I got really into this. I've seen previews for this show all the time and never given it a thought, and now here I am!
-This sweater. Story of my life.
-This nailpolish. My nails have just not been cooperative in keeping color on lately, so I'm looking to try something new. Plus, I definitely need some new spring colors!

What are you loving lately?

Yours Truly, Jen