Beauty: Surviving Winter

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Seattle has been going through a bit of a heat wave this winter, and I’m loving it. However, it is still winter, and I have to modify my beauty routine to combat the cooler temperatures and the drying air that comes with having the heat on. Most of these products you’ve seen on the blog before, but they’re my old standbys when it comes to staying happy in the cold!

Skin: Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion

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I pretty much wear this lotion everywhere during the winter! It’s a great lotion for the face, especially at night. Every time I use it before bed, I wake up with smooth, happy skin. Even with the nicer temperatures, indoor heat often leaves my skin dry and flaky – and this stuff pretty much gets rid of it! It’s also good for people with acne prone or sensitive skin, and it makes a great after shave lotion on my legs! The best part is that it doesn’t take much lotion to cover me, so it lasts forever. I think I go through one a year, maybe?

Cleanser: Mario Badescu Acne Facial Cleanser

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Seriously, if you’re acne prone and have sensitive skin, I highly recommend this cleanser in the winter! Even my usual Cetaphil cleanser is too drying on my skin this time of year, but this one is gentle enough not to be drying. It’s another one of those products that doesn’t take much (I can cleanse my entire face, makeup and all, with a pea-sized amount), so it lasts for a long time. I think I’ve had this bottle for a year now, and I’m almost done…but for a daily cleanser, that’s pretty good!

Hands: Neutrogena Fast Absorbing Hand Cream

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I’m a bit of a hand lotion hoarder, to be honest. I carry one in my purse, and have two more sitting in my nightstand. While I do own a Bliss lotion, I find it stings when my hands are really dry. I reach for this one because it’s great for dry, cracked hands, and it’s a lot cheaper than the Bliss one I use! Part of my bedtime routine always includes hand lotion, and this one is a great buy for daily use.

Nails: Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream

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I’m a cuticle biter, and this has been the only product that gets me to stop. It keeps my cuticles nice and moisturized in the winter, and it tastes horrible (haha…just being honest). Another problem I tend to have a lot in the winter is hang nails, and this seems to keep them at bay. The only thing I’ll warn you about is that this stuff is greasy, so it’s better left to wearing at bedtime.

Lips: Vaseline Lip Therapy in Rosy Lips

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This is another product that I bought almost a year ago, and as you can tell I’ve barely put a dent in it, even after wearing it almost nightly! Aside from the fact that this is the most adorable product I own (it’s so tiny), it WORKS. I can’t stand the flavor of plain Vaseline, no matter how good it is for lips – so this one is a great alternative. I love giving these away as gifts too because no one ever thinks to buy something like this. Unlike the many Chapsticks I’ve lost over the years, I never lose track of this little guy! I apply this before bed, and during the day if I need a bit of protection from wind or chilly temperatures (especially when I’m out hiking/running). Seriously, it’s got to be the best $1 I’ve spent!

So for those of you suffering through another rough winter, try some of these to keep your skin moisturized and happy from head to toe!

Life on Instagram

This was supposed to go up on Friday, but things got busier than usual last week! Better late than never, right?

Here’s what’s been going on lately on my Instagram:image(Clockwise from top-left)

Whenever I feel down about moving so far away from home, I remember that it’s sunny and 60 here most days! / Been on a popcorn kick lately. Not really into watching movies, though – but when you live with a film geek, you endure it. / Decided I need to get better at taking selfies…and air-drying my hair more often (so much easier!) / When your husband refuses to leave the house, you get creative about putting together his Valentine’s Day surprise!

imageGetting stuck in traffic in Seattle (which happens every day) is so much easier with a view like this! / Thoroughly enjoyed laughing my ass off at the SNL40 special. The Californians is one of my all-time favorites! / Decided to give cutting my own hair a try – and it turned out pretty good (though I might have to do some tweaking once it grows out a bit) / A Polish Mardi Gras tradition – paczki! I had to drive to Tacoma to find them, and the trip was totally worth it! This was one thing I thought I’d have to give up living outside the Midwest, but no!

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram if you want to see more of what I’ve been up to!

Currently Following: Instagram

I never thought I’d say this, but after almost a year of using Instagram, I’m hooked!

Last March, I started using Instagram as a way to document my 100 Happy Days Challenge journey. Even though the challenge is over, Instagram has been a great way for me to document my life in a way that I just can’t do while lugging around a camera. It’s been great to share my journey to find happiness, my love of hiking, and the move to Seattle. While I don’t use it as often as I should, and I’m still getting the hang of utilizing it properly to promote the blog, I really do enjoy having it.

Another thing I love about Instagram is getting to follow some amazing people, magazines, and companies! Keeping in mind that our real lives are usually nothing like our edited Instagram accounts, it’s still refreshing to see how people use the app to share a different side of their lives with others.

So, without further ado, here are a few Instagram accounts I’ve been following lately!

1. Rue Magazine (@ruemagazine)

I’ve been an on and off reader of Rue’s online magazine for a while now, and this was one of the first profiles I followed. Rue is a lifestyle magazine that has envy-inducing home tours, recipes, travel diaries, and loads of beauty and fashion advice! Basically, this magazine has everything.

2. Jenny Andrews Anderson (@jennyandrewsanderson)

good morning paints. today you are my bitch.

A photo posted by Jenny Andrews Anderson (@jennyandrewsanderson) on

Jenny is the artist/actress/badass behind the blog MFAMB (My Favorite and My Best), and her Instagram account is both inspiring and hilarious. Her brash sense of humor totally works for me, and her artwork is something I hope to one day have up in my own home (if I can get a job with a better paycheck). If you’re okay with poo humor and a heavy dose of southern charm, definitely check her out.

3. Carin Olsson (@parisinfourmonths)

Carin is the blogger behind Paris in Four Months, which as the name suggests, was originally supposed to be a temporary thing. After leaving Stockholm in 2012 to live in Paris for a few months, she fell in love with the city and soon moved back permanently. As someone who is dying to go back to Paris someday, her Instagram is a beautiful reminder of what a beautiful city Paris can be!

4. Skellie (@omgliterallydead)

For a bit of fun, I recently started following Skellie and her adventures in NYC. She travels the city in search of coffee, scarves, and love with her bestie and photographer, Dana Herlihey. If ever there was an award for Most Basic Bitch Ever, it would be Skellie. She just can’t even…and she does it better than most of us could ever dream to.

5. Victoria Beckham (@victoriabeckham)

End of day 3,thank u ladies!! I❤️NY x sleep well! X vb #NYFW #AW15

A photo posted by Victoria Beckham (@victoriabeckham) on

If you’ve ever wanted a backstage pass to the life of a fashion designer, look no further! While I don’t follow many celebrities on Instagram, Beckham’s fell onto my radar because it is a glamorous, realistic, and hilarious look into the life of the Queen of Bitchy Resting Face. Her sense of humor is refreshing, and it’s cool to see what life is really like behind the catwalk.

There you have it! If you aren’t following them already, definitely check these 5 Instagrammers out! Or, if you haven’t already, make sure to follow my Instagram feed!

Favorite Blogs: The Glamourai

If there is one blog out there that gives me the high of inspiration, and a serious dose of travel envy, it’s The Glamourai.

I’ve been following Kelly Framel’s insanely glamorous ride for the past few years, and it’s one that leaves you constantly wanting to know more. The blog originally focused mainly on Kelly’s everyday outfits, but quickly evolved into gorgeous editorial spreads that would make Vogue jealous, travel logs from all over the world, and even posts from her adorable younger sister, Erin, about her post-college years living in New York.

Her former apartment, chock full of brass animals, black and white photos, and quirky antiques inspired me to be more creative in my own home. While we haven’t seen much of her current digs, they seem to have a much different, more bohemian vibe – a vibe that seems to compliment her changing style.

Kelly’s style seems to evolve the more she travels, and has gone from urban-quirk to a more refined, pared-down palette of high-quality neutrals in unique cuts (she’s the first woman I saw rock drop-crotch pants), and piles upon piles of jewelry. It has been fun to see her grow and change her style over the years, and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for years to come. Her closet isn’t one I would raid completely (not sure I could ever go full-stop on the drop-crotch), but it’s full of one of a kind pieces mixed with staples I would gladly borrow if she let me.

While Kelly’s brand has definitely grown over the years, as has her following, I always get the sense that she is staying true to who she is and always has been. She’s a Texas girl at heart, an admitted vintage junkie, and a wanderer who will probably never stop dreaming up new places to visit. We can only hope to keep up.

5 Rules to Better Reading in 2015

2015 Mantra

Now that I’m a month into my 2015 efforts to make better use of my time, I thought I’d talk about one area I knew going in that I would have to work on:

I spent a LOT of time reading junk.

The internet is a dangerous time-suck, as we all know. I’ve spent countless hours on websites that have no value, and while it’s nice sometimes to check out and read something stupid, I do it way too often. Reading magazines, gossip websites, and Reddit started taking over my free time. After a while, I started to realize that when I wasn’t watching dumb crap on the television, I was reading dumb crap online.

So in an effort to “clean up” my reading habits, I’ve started to change what I read, and when. It led to me establishing a few new rules for myself, both to curb my spending on books and my time spent on reading nonsense.

Rule #1: No more buying reading material

This rule came about partly because I’m currently unemployed and don’t have the money to spend on books. It also happened because I saw the number of books I had to toss/donate when I moved, and it hit me that I was buying way too many books. I don’t re-read books, like, ever – so why spend money on something I’ll use for a week and then leave sitting around? So, I got a library card, and started to find books for free on my iPad. Now that I can even get most of the magazines I read for free, this rule is going to be easy to follow.

Rule #2: Read one book each month that’s for learning, not for fun

I wanted to set this rule for myself because I spend a lot of time reading, but not a lot of time learning. I know that if I stick to it, I can learn a lot of useful things for my profession – all in the time it took me in the last year to learn about eye creams and the Duchess of Cambridge. The library has been a huge help with this, and I recently picked up a book on social media management – a book I can use to build a skill for work, and one that can help me better manage the blog as well.

Rule #3: Blogs for breakfast, YouTube for lunch

Two things that take up a lot of my reading/watching time are blogs and YouTube. So, I’ve forced myself to keep blog reading to breakfast – which is easy because most blogs run on east coast time, so they’re up hours before I am. I also limit my YouTube watching to lunch time, since it’s the perfect time for me to sit back and relax in the middle of my day. My rule is that when I’m done eating, I quit and head back to work. It’s easier for me to tie these two things to something I already do regularly, and so far it has helped keep me on track.

Rule #4: Read a real book before bedtime

I find that I can’t sleep if I’m on a screen right before bed, so I have gotten back in the habit of reading a book before bedtime. It helps me relax, and distracts my brain from whatever is stressing me out. Anxiety has been a major reason why I haven’t been sleeping well, and reading before bed helps with that. Well, that and a good dose of melatonin. It’s hard to put the phone down before bed, but I keep reminding myself that no one is online that late, and the rest can wait until morning.

Rule #5: As with all things in life, moderation is key

One thing about making rules for ourselves is the guilt that hits us when we break them. It’s why diets don’t work many of us – if we fall, why bother getting back up? While these are rules I’ve established for myself over the past month, I haven’t always stuck to them – and that’s okay. I have nights where I don’t read at all, and days where I get anxious or upset and need to unwind with a good dose of Cooking With Dog videos (seriously, look that up on YouTube – they’re amazing). What’s important is that I’m making choices that will affect me positively over time, and that it will take time to phase out the old time wasters.

My hope is that I can rediscover my passion for reading, and for learning new things. The past year was all about making major changes in my life, and this year is about getting back to what makes me thrive – and reading quality things is a big part of that.