Friday, February 16, 2018

February Q & A Video

Happy Friday! I am definitely overly excited for this Friday since I am at home enjoying it with my family. If you read my post on Tuesday you probably saw that I was flying somewhere for Valentine’s Day. Bet you didn’t think that I was going to make such a big deal about coming home. Oops. I have to convince y’all to come back and read the blog for some reason, so I take the opportunity to be vague more than I should on occasion. 

To make up for that, I decided to incorporate another video into a post for y’all. I love that y’all enjoy watching videos, but I don’t always have time to film and edit them. I am excited to have this one ready for you to watch and learn a bit more about me. Question and answer posts are always so fun to film since I get to see what y’all are interested in hearing about. My friends would definitely tell you I’m a pretty private person so these are a good opportunity for me to open up just a bit more. I was able to answer many of the questions asked on Instagram within the Q&A. If you have more questions you’d like to ask me in my next Q&A then be sure to ask them below. I’ll try to get to them the next time I do one of these or even in a future blog post.

I’d love for y’all to answer one of the questions I answered in this video below! While you may be eager to get to know me better, I am just as eager to learn more about you!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Why Beautycounter

This is a post I’ve been meaning to get live for a few weeks now. I know it is one that I’ll probably reference relatively frequently in future posts, so I wanted to make sure that it was complete before clicking publish. Fortunately, I think it is at that point for the most part now. To make up for not posting it as soon as I had wanted I am attempting to make it up to y’all with a giveaway at the bottom of this post!

            I’ve mentioned safer skin care in a few previous posts (here and here) but I thought it would be helpful to share my reasoning behind getting into Beautycounter in a completely separate post. For starters, I’ve been using various Beautycounter products since the end of summer after my sophomore year of college. What started with a lip balm, lipstick, and face oils has since led me to try a number of different items that have really worked for my skin.

            Beautycounter is a safe skincare brand that is different than others in the industry. But before we get into the nitty gritty of that, it’s important to note why safe skincare is becoming so important. The FDA doesn’t regulate the beauty industry in the same way that food and medicine are regulated. You may wonder why Asian and European skincare and makeup products are so coveted and for many it is because there are more laws in those places that protect your products from the harmful chemicals put in so many of the beauty items shelved in the U.S. Until I learned about what these chemicals can cause, I didn’t think too much about it.

The following is taken directly from Beautycounter’s site since they explain it much more eloquently than I can. “Decades of studies indicate that serious health issues (including but not limited to asthma, cancer, and infertility) are on the rise and are due in some part to our ongoing exposure to toxic chemicals—whether it’s in the shower, on our commute, while we eat lunch at a local restaurant, or when we clean our kitchens at home.

There are more than 80,000 chemicals on the market today. Many don’t have any safety data. This is particularly true of those used in the skin care and beauty industry.
What’s worse is that the Food and Drug Administration (the agency that regulates cosmetics in the United States) allows companies to use chemicals known to be extremely harmful in the products we put on our bodies and on our kids’ bodies every single day, day after day, and to make their own judgments about safety. IT'S TIME FOR A CHANGE.

The United States has not passed a major federal law to regulate the safety of ingredients used in personal care products since 1938.

Over the past two decades, the European Union has banned more than 1,300 chemicals in the product formulas of personal care products and restricted the levels of over 250 more in such products. The United States has only partially banned 30 to date.” That’s where Beautycounter comes in.

After falling in love with their products before really understanding the benefits, both short and long term, that can come from switching to safer skincare I came to appreciate the brand’s focus on education first and foremost. Beautycounter is so committed to health and safety that they are setting a new standard and actively working to change the standard in our country through lobbying for a change in policy. The brand itself has banned the use of more than 1,500 questionable or harmful chemicals in their Never List while still ensuring that their products perform and that they are just as wonderful to use as other name brand beauty brands.

I never knew just how dangerous some of the chemicals in skin care are until I watched a video (still looking for a link to it) all about the harmful effects back in the 40s and how most of those ingredients are still in use to some degree today. I then took to the app, think dirty, to see just how dangerous some of the items I was using on a daily basis were. Boy was I shocked. Even more so after discovering that 67% of what goes on our skin goes into our bloodstream in the span of 3 minutes. Yikes. That’s when I really decided to start the switch. As those products were starting to get used up I began to add Beautycounter’s version to my cart. While I don’t think switching everything all at once is necessary that was a bit easier for me since I decided to join as a consultant and scooped up one of their packages when I joined.

So now that my skincare is pretty much switched makeup will begin to be my next step. Fortunately, when switching I’m not having to give up quality in the process. If I find something I don’t like I don’t have to worry about sending it back (since they have free returns and a 60 day return policy) if I’m not pleased since it is super easy. This transition won’t happen over night but by taking my time in the process I am able to make sure that I’m discovering products that work for my own skincare needs. If those products aren’t Beautycounter then so be it, but I am much more cautious of finding products that don’t have too many ingredients on Beautycounter’s Never List.

I would be interested to hear if any of y’all have discovered some safer skin care brands that you use and really love since Beautycounter products can be a bit more expensive (although most of the ones I’ve tried have been completely worth it). I’d also be happy to do a post sharing some of my top picks if you’re looking to slowly make the switch. In the meantime, be sure to be checking instagram in the next day or so to enter a Beautycounter giveaway! Perfect for any of you who may be hoping to try out some of the products.

If you have any questions about products or the brand be sure to send me an email! I would love to connect and talk with you about potentially making the switch! You can shop with me easily using this link!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Novels with Nell: The Darlings

Happy Valentine's Day! What a perfect day for a Novels with Nell for anyone looking to make plans for the evening. I was just telling my roommate how I wished that I had more time to read all of the books that have made their way to my Amazon cart. If you're looking for a cozy Wednesday night in, Nell has a new book recommendation for us. 

I just ordered and am looking forward to starting one of her previous recommendations, The Overachievers. It sounded interesting and would work well for a book review project I have to do for one of my graduate classes. I plan to start it today, but I also packed another book, Behind Closed Doors, for my flight this afternoon and I think we can both guess which I'll pick up first. 

By: Cristina Alger

For all the Gossip Girl fans out there, this book is for you! New York City, a high powered family, and scandal. My only issue was that I don’t know a lot about investment firms, hedge funds, and the financial world, so parts of the book covering that were lost on me. But I still really enjoyed the book so you don’t have to work on Wall Street to get into it. With the chapters rotating through different characters’ perspectives, you learn something new and piece the story together with each section. A page turner for sure!

“A sophisticated page-turner about a wealthy New York family embroiled in a financial scandal with cataclysmic consequences.

Now that he's married to Merrill Darling, daughter of billionaire financier Carter Darling, attorney Paul Ross has grown accustomed to New York society and all of its luxuries: a Park Avenue apartment, weekends in the Hamptons, bespoke suits. When Paul loses his job, Carter offers him the chance to head the legal team at his hedge fund. Thrilled with his good fortune in the midst of the worst financial downturn since the Great Depression, Paul accepts the position.
But Paul's luck is about to shift: a tragic event catapults the Darling family into the media spotlight, a regulatory investigation, and a red-hot scandal with enormous implications for everyone involved. Suddenly, Paul must decide where his loyalties lie-will he save himself while betraying his wife and in-laws or protect the family business at all costs?
Cristina Alger's glittering debut novel interweaves the narratives of the Darling family, two eager SEC attorneys, and a team of journalists all racing to uncover-or cover up-the truth. With echoes of a fictional Too Big to Fail and the novels of Dominick Dunne, The Darlings offers an irresistible glimpse into the highest echelons of New York society-a world seldom seen by outsiders-and a fast-paced thriller of epic proportions.”

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Two Casual Valentine's Day Outfit Ideas

For once, I actually have plans for Valentine’s Day! Before you get too excited for my social life it’s because I am flying to one of my favorite places to see some of my favorite people. I could be normal and lessen your excitement and anticipation for where and who this might be but we’ll hold off a bit (gotta have some reason to bring you back to the blog).

            To me, Valentine’s Day is what it is. I’m not one to turn down hand written letters and candy so I can’t hate it but it isn’t my favorite holiday of all time either. As a teacher, I feel like I can really play it up. Thinking back to when I was younger, my teachers always had fun sweaters or dresses for the occasion. My mom used to have this awesome Minnie Mouse Valentine’s Day sweater that she would wear to our class parties and if I thought she still had it and my students wouldn’t make fun of me I’d gladly wear it. Since fourth graders can be a bit judgmental I plan to stick to pink hues to celebrate without going too overboard. Since I’ll be going straight from teaching and our class party to the airport for a flight, a casual outfit will be my go-to. Last year we got to wear jeans to school on Valentine’s Day and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that that is the case this year as well. If not though, I have found grey corduroys to be a fair and equally comfy option.



pink sweater // grey cords // earrings // slip on shoes // watch // gold bangle (similar) // bracelets (1 & 2 )

I thought it would be fun to share two different casual outfit ideas for you today as you begin to figure out your own plans and the attire you’ll want to wear. This first option is a safe bet for teaching the day of. I discovered this Lou and Grey Sweater on Loft’s site after ruling out so many other blush sweaters that washed me out. When this arrived after being purchased on sale (Loft is always running sales so make sure you search for some sort of code) I was obsessed. I’ve thrown it on more times than I should probably admit in the week or so that I’ve had it. Paired with grey cords (also from Loft) I feel festive, warm, and still normal enough to run an errand after school without getting weird stares. My grey Dr. Scholl’s Slip On shoes have been some of the most comfortable shoes I own for teaching. Fortunately, with a pair of no-see socks they are easy to slip off in order to go through airport security. If you are looking for a casual jean-less outfit then this could definitely work for you.




white sweatshirt top // pink jeans // slip on shoes // gold bangle (similar) // earrings // watch // bracelets (1 & 2 )
            For those of you wanting to look festive but wear your most comfortable pants then this second look may work better for you. I have been living in this white sweatshirt top from Anthropologie. It made my favorite list this month and is incredibly versatile. I’ve worn it out to events and downtown, to school, and even with leggings to run to the store. It comes in three different colors although if your skin tone is similar to mine, I’d steer clear of the pink. Since the pink one washed me out being that close to my face I discovered that a pair of comfy pink jeans was a great alternative to pair with the top. I tend to steer clear of jeans with rips but gave these a try despite that. This top looks equally as cute with the same cords as above in the muted pink color I also snagged. Paired with my favorite slip on shoes this outfit is just as casual and airport friendly for Valentine’s Day (although I’ll wear pink any day).

If you’re a last minute shopper and still on the hunt for gifts, don’t forget to check out my Valentine’s Day Gift Idea post. Meanwhile, I'll be wearing this to bed tonight to wake up festive for tomorrow! 

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