beauty, lifestyle

My Daily Skincare Routine

Hi all, and Happy Easter to those who celebrate!

I’m on my way to our second family dinner for the day, but wanted to make sure I get today’s post in.

I’m going to share my daily skincare routine, including the products I use to wash and moisturize my face.

I don’t wear makeup on a regular basis, so I won’t be including that in this post.

I’ll probably do a future post with the makeup products I use and how I use them, though, if you guys are interested!

So here we go…daily skincare routine!

Step 1: Morning Wash

I wash my face once per day, in the morning.

I use a basic Cetaphil daily cleanser, which is unscented and great for sensitive skin.

I had a lot of acne and skin issues when I was younger, so I try to stick to tested and true products that are dermatologist recommended, which is how I found this cleanser.

I use it every day and it leaves my skin feeling clean and refreshed without drying out my face.

Step 2: Moisturize

After washing my face, I rub it dry with a clean hand towel.

I have been told in the past to pat my skin dry, but I actually feel that rubbing it with the towel helps add some extra exfoliation to my daily routine, and that’s been working for me.

I use Neutragena face lotion on my face immediately after washing and drying.

There is a sensitive skin version that works perfectly for me, but when I’m going to be running or spending time outside I use the one with SPF 15.

I do feel that the one with sunscreen in it makes my face feel just a little bit greasy; it’s not enough to make me break out or anything like that, but still enough of a reason for me to use the one without sunscreen if I’m going to be sitting in the office all day.

That’s really all I do to my face in the morning, and I don’t wash it at night unless I’ve had makeup on.

I use this Garnier makeup remover when I do wear makeup, and it works really well.

It is great for getting off any kind of makeup, including waterproof, and is gentle on the skin.

It even works well for removing eye makeup, and I obviously avoid getting it in my eyes but it doesn’t irritate them when it’s close to them or anything like that.

The only other thing that I do for my skin is derma roll about twice a week.

As I mentioned, I used to have a lot of acne as a teen, so I do have some scarring on my face and I just feel that my skin has gotten damaged over the years.

For those who aren’t familiar, derma rolling basically involves taking a tool with a spiked roller on the end and rubbing it over your skin.

It feels a little prickly but isn’t too painful, and it helps your skin regenerate itself.

I get lazy with rolling sometimes and don’t stick to the twice weekly schedule, but I do see an increase in smoothness, softness, and radiance of my skin when I’m doing it regularly.

There are also people who use derma rollers on areas of the scalp where their hair is thinning, and some see hair regrowth after doing it for a little while!

Those are basically all of the things that I use on my skin.

This is a bit of a simple post, but I feel that the less stuff I am putting on my face, the better.

When I was younger I put so many creams and treatments on my skin, I felt like it was always irritated and it got red so easily.

When it comes to skincare, I’ve definitely learned that less is more, and hopefully this approach can work well for some of you.

I hope you enjoy the rest of your day and have a great week! ♥️😊

See you next time.

lifestyle

Who I Want to Have Dinner With, Alive or Dead

Three people you’d invite to dinner

Hey friends,

In today’s post I’m talking about my ideal dinner party guests.

These are three people who I’d most love to have dinner with, if given the chance.

Taylor Swift

If you haven’t caught onto this already, I love Taylor!

She is one of my all-time favorite writers and I think she’s both very smart and talented.

I would love to just have a normal conversation with her and pick her brain on the common interests we share, such as writing and finding true love.

My father-in-law

My husband’s dad passed away before I got the chance to meet him, and I’ve always wondered what it would be like to just sit and talk with him.

Based on the stories I’ve heard about him and how loved he was by those who knew him, I know he was a sharp, kind, and all-around wonderful person.

He will always be on the top of my list as far as people I wish I’d met in my lifetime.

Zelda Fitzgerald

It’s hard to decide who gets this third spot, but I need to give it to Zelda.

I am so fascinated by the lives and relationship of the Fitzgeralds, and though I prefer Scott’s writing out of the two, I think I would rather meet his wife.

She seems to have been such a headstrong and interesting woman, even if the face of everything she dealt with.

I’d love to hear their stories from her point of view, and see what she was really like in person.

This post is about who I’d like to have dinner with, dead or alive, but I really just chose the three people I want to spend time with the most.

All three of the people I mentioned above are people I admire and who I feel could teach me a lot about life and love.

Even if I will never get the chance to know these people, I’m lucky enough to have their words and the legacies they left/will leave behind to inform and inspire me.

Thanks for reading this post. I’m excited for tomorrow’s, since it will mark the halfway point of my April blogging challenge!

See you then. 😊♥️

recipe

Four Delicious Comfort Foods

Hi all,

I’m on my way to a late lunch, so thought I’d make today’s post about some of my favorite comfort foods!

I think there are different things that can make something qualify as a comfort food.

It’s not only about the taste or the ingredients; for me, it’s also about the feeling I associate with a certain dish or the memories that arise when I’m eating, or even smelling, it.

Here are four my favorite comfort foods, with some of the best recipes I’ve found linked.

Macaroni and cheese

I think this is a comfort food for most people. I love the five-cheese variation of the recipe linked here.

It’s so gooey, warm, and delicious. My husband requested that I make this for his birthday this year, which was just a couple of weeks ago, and it was just as good as the first time we made it together.

Beef stew

My cousin makes a great stovetop beef stew, but I also love the slow cooker version. This stew reminds me of snow days, and of long afternoons spent at home with the slow cooker on and this cooking in the background. Even though I’ve eaten it on many other occasions, this stew always reminds me of lazy days and the contentment of not having to go anywhere or do anything besides relax and enjoy a good meal.

Loaded potato soup

This is one of my favorite winter meals, but I’ll eat it without a single complaint in the warmer months, too! I love making this at home and it’s just a hearty, tasty meal. I always feel satisfied and the perfect level of full after having this soup.

Penne vodka

This will always be one of my favorite meals.

The best version I’ve had was at a restaurant in the town where my parents live, but sadly it closed a few years ago.

Being Italian and having a former chef as a mother, penne vodka brings back a lot of happy memories for me, and I’m reminded of my family every time I eat it.

I do have my own family vodka sauce recipe, which I will probably post at some point in the future.

Would you be interested in seeing some of my own variations of these yummy comfort foods?

Comment below to let me know what you think.

And I hope you all enjoy this sunny Spring Saturday! 😊☀️♥️

advice, lifestyle

How to Be a Blogger Without Living on Your Phone

Hi all,

I’ve had this blog for about three months now, and I’ve been enjoying every minute since I started it.

However, running a blog takes a lot of time and effort, and one of my biggest concerns when starting was that it would turn me into one of those people who goes through life with their head constantly tilted down into their phone.

I have no problem putting in the effort; like I said, I really enjoy blogging, but I wanted to make sure that I maintained a balance between writing about my life and actually living it.

I think I’ve done a good job of keeping my blog going without neglecting my real life so far, so I wanted to share some methods I’ve used for running my blog and connected social media accounts while still being present in my day-to-day life.

Here are some ways I’ve been able to manage a blog without spending my whole life on my cell phone (or my laptop).

Set aside time dedicated to blogging, and time dedicated to not blogging.

Since I have a demanding full-time job outside of blogging, I need to make sure I set aside time dedicated to working on my blog and getting the word out about it.

I wake up a little earlier each morning so that I’ll have time to work on the blog and social media accounts that I have connected to it.

Then, when I get home from work, I’ll do some additional writing before dinner.

Late at night, when I’m relaxing in bed and watching TV, I’ll stay active on my Instagram and Pinterest accounts in order to make sure my blog has the highest possible visibility.

I try to stay off my phone during the day while I’m at work, when I’m spending time out with family and friends, or when I’m having meals. 

Because I have dedicated time to work on my blog in the morning and late at night I don’t have to be as stressed during the day knowing that I am taking some time away from it to do other things.

Use the proper resources to help run your blog.

There are so many resources available to bloggers these days, so I would certainly recommend taking advantage of them.

Apps like Tailwind can schedule posts on Instagram, for example.

So you can plan out your post when you do have time or want to be on your phone, and then have it post automatically at a time later in the day without needing to be on your phone to actually post it.

WordPress allows you to do something similar; we are all probably familiar with the post scheduling option.

When I have more time in the mornings or at night I write my posts and then schedule them to post later in the day at a more highly trafficked time.

Make your screen time as productive as possible.

Before starting my blog I used to spend a lot of time on personal social media accounts.

Now that I do have the blog, I have made it my top priority, which means I spend much less time active on other forms of social media.

When I set aside time to work on my blog, I try to avoid distractions or browsing on other sites.

This keeps me on track and helps me not to add extra amounts of unnecessary screen time.

So yes, since starting my blog I have ironically been less active on social media according to my personal accounts like Facebook and Snapchat, but I actually feel that this has been an improvement in my life.

Even since starting my blog, weekly notifications from my phone state that my total screen time has been going decreasing each week.

It has become a personal goal of mine to keep weekly screen time as low while still giving my blog enough attention and keeping my more relevant social media accounts as active as possible.

I am not yet at the point where blogging has brought me financial gain, but I am still serious about it and consider it a form of a job.

Just like with any job, you have to know when to unplug or to step away in order to still have a personal life.

Even though my blog is centered on lifestyle, it’s still important for me to have a work/life balance.

And with a job in the advertising industry plus blogging in my free time, it’s as challenging, yet as crucial, as ever for me not to let work take over my life.

That is why it’s so important for me and, in my opinion, for other bloggers to reduce the amount of time we spend on our phones or laptops.

With a whole world of readers and peers out there, it’s easy to get pulled in and to spend your whole life on the Internet, but I don’t think this is the best way to live.

What makes our lives so interesting and gives us the experience we need to write compelling stories is what we are doing every day, not just what we say about it.

So make sure you take some time every day to shut out the word on the other side of the screen, and make new memories involving the people and the places you love the most.

Happy reading, writing, and living.

I’ll see you next time. 🙂 ❤

lifestyle, tips

My Best and Worst Traits

Hi everyone,

Part of my goal with this blogging challenge, and this blog in general, is to let you guys get to know me better.

Today I’m taking a look inward and thinking about what my best and worst traits are.

These are based on self-observation, as well as things I’ve heard from others time and time again.

It’s not easy to point out to an entire virtual universe of strangers what your worst qualities are (or your best ones if you are a modest person), but I’ve done it and I’m ready to share with you all.

My best and worst traits are that I am…

Empathetic: I’ve always been very good at seeing things from other people’s point of views and understanding what others might be feeling.

I think it might be due to the fact that I got interested in reading at a young age, which exposed me to a broad range of emotions and got me used to looking at things through the eyes of so many different storytellers.

I see this as a positive trait because it helps me communicate better with others and sometimes it helps me to know what my loved ones need and exactly when they need it.

I look at empathy as a deep emotional understanding of others, and it’s something that I think is important to develop and use regularly.

Selfless: This is likely driven by my empathy, but I consider myself to be a pretty selfless person.

I enjoy doing things for others and I have no problem sacrificing certain things in my own life if I feel it will make the people I care about happier or better off.

I think another reason why I am able to practice selflessness is because I also have like-minded people in my life who make sure I am taken care of.

A challenge for selfless people is that they get too caught up in making others happy and they forget to check in with themselves or do things to promote their own happiness, so I’m grateful that my husband, family members, and friends look out for me and, therefore, give me the ability to do the same for them.

Driven: I am not really an aggressive person, but I am absolutely a go-getter, and I often refuse to accept limitations.

I used to think this meant I was stubborn, but I’ve found that it’s actually just determination and has helped me get a lot further in terms of my career and my personal relationships.

I’m generally a soft-spoken person, but my drive keeps me from being a doormat or from being passed over for things, as can sometimes happen to quieter people.

Moody: Clearly this is falling into the “worst traits” category.

I try not to let hormones or mood swings affect me, but it can’t be denied. Sometimes I am just plain moody.

I’ve tried to be more conscious about not taking out stress on other people, but I still haven’t mastered controlling my emotions enough to stop this from happening yet.

It’s definitely a challenge and something I’m continuing to work on improving.

Perfectionist: This one isn’t all bad, but it does cause me to put a lot of unnecessary pressure on myself and, at times, others.

I get so obsessed with making sure things are the best they can be that sometimes I push too hard or set unrealistic expectations for myself.

I can’t help but feel like a failure when I don’t execute things flawlessly, but I’m practicing giving myself a bit of a break here and there.

I do think that constantly striving for improvement can be a positive thing, and I try to let my perfectionism feed my drive and make my work better, without letting it completely take over my view of things.

Closed off: I’ve always been a very private person and tend to keep my emotions bottled up inside.

Sometimes I think this helps me because I can keep from getting overly emotional about things, but it can also be really bad when I let things build up too much and try to handle the burden of everything I’m dealing with completely on my own.

I’ve actually been forcing myself to open up more in a work setting, which is something I never thought would be a good idea.

Just this afternoon I opened up to my supervisor for the first time about things that have been bothering me and affecting my attitude at work, and I’m so glad I talked to him about it.

I felt so much better just having gotten these things off my chest and I felt optimistic about the future knowing that my concerns were really being heard.

One thing that I noticed as I was writing this is that a lot of the traits I consider to be my “best” could actually become bad things if taken too far, and a lot of my “worst” traits have benefited me in some way in the past.

I think the key to being a successful, kind, and grounded person is just finding balance within yourself.

Do some self-reflection and be honest with yourself about good and bad traits that you have.

Once you’ve discovered those traits, think of how they can be used to your advantage or how you can challenge yourself to become a better person either because, or in spite of, them.

When I set out to write this post, it was just another item on my list of things to complete this month.

I didn’t think that I’d actually learn about myself, or about the philosophy of who we are as people in general.

I’ve really enjoyed this one and I hope that my insights can be useful or even inspirational to anyone who reads this.

It’s only day 3 of my blogging challenge but I’m now even more excited to keep going with this, because it will be interesting to see how I can grow throughout the process and what I might find out about myself along the way.

Hope you enjoy the rest of your day, and don’t forget to come back tomorrow to see my day 4 post. ❤ 🙂

lifestyle

What’s In My Purse

Hi all,

It’s day 2 of April and also of my blogging challenge! Today’s post: What’s in my purse. 

I change which purse I’m using a LOT, so I try to only keep the essentials with me. 

I probably have a lot less in my purse than the average woman, but it works for me. 

Here’s the purse I’m currently using most often and everything I’ve got inside! (Feel free to click on the images to purchase any of the items I have inside my purse.)

I have quite the collection of handbags, but Kate Spade is probably the designer whose bags I own the most of.

I usually carry a basic black shoulder bag, and this one is perfect for any outfit or occasion.

Cell phone (of course). I have the iPhone 8 and, although the lack of a headphone jack still annoys me sometimes, I like this phone and am an iPhone girl all the way.

Wallet. I’ve had this Kate spade wallet for years so the logo is starting to wear a bit, but I’ve been really impressed with the durability overall.

It holds a lot of cards and other things, which is great because I have so many, and purple is my favorite color so I love the shade of this of course

Baby Lips. I am SO sad that Baby Lips has been harder and harder to find in stores lately.

My best friend and I are obsessed with it and luckily we bought a tonnn of tubes when it was super popular.

I love Baby Lips because it keeps your lips moist and soft like chapstick, but adds a nice color depending on which one you choose.

My favorite shade is Coral Crave, which is  just slightly pinker than my natural lip color.

It adds a bit of a pop to my lip but still looks natural, so I can wear it no matter where I’m going

Tissues. I try to always keep a travel pack of tissues with me, just in case!

Keys, complete with adorable keychains! My favorite keychain right now is the Funko! Pop Freddy Krueger.

I’m a huge horror fan and this guy is just so adorable.

Sunglasses. It depends on the season, but I have been trying to keep sunglasses with me at all times,since I always seem to be without a pair when I need them most.

This Gucci pair is my favorite; it’s plain enough to go with many outfits but is flattering to the face – a great Christmas present from my brother and his girlfriend.

Hair tie. if you’ve seen my natural hair in some of my Instagram pictures, you’ll understand why I always need to have an emergency hair tie.

With just a little bit of humidity or extra wind my hair can get crazy, so I try to have a hair tie available to get it out of my face (or whatever else I’m doing) when needed.

Excedrin Migraine. I get around 4-5 migraines each month, and some of them can be debilitating.

If I take it early enough, this works really well to get rid of a migraine or at least keep a really bad one down to a dull pain.

I keep bottles of this everywhere: at work, in my other purses, and in my nightstand.

Tide to Go. This is something I’ve just recently added to my bag because it was leftover from my wedding day.

It’s proven to be useful a couple of times already and I can’t believe I wasn’t carrying it before!

What are some must haves that you keep in your bag? Comment below to let me know. Maybe you’ll give some suggestions that I’ll end up adding to my own!

See you back here again tomorrow for another new post! ♥️

books, lifestyle, wedding planning

Literary Wedding Ideas for Book Lovers

Hello and happy Monday!

We just got the rest of our wedding pictures this week, so I wanted to write another post about it!

I have loved books for my whole life, so it was important to me that our wedding have some literary elements.

I love the way everything turned out because there were little reminders of books everywhere, but they were subtle enough not to create a theme (which I didn’t want).

Here are some cool ways we incorporated my love of books into our special day!

Picture courtesy of The Palace at Somerset Park

Bookshelves at the venue

My husband and I knew our venue was the one before we even visited it, so when I saw the old-fashioned bookshelves and classics in the cocktail hour room, it reinforced that we’d found the perfect place.

Sitting next to a massive bookcase that held some of my favorites made our tasting an even more special experience.

Taking pictures in the purple lighting of a bar called Gatsby’s connected my best day with one of the best stories of all time.

Including books was not something on my original venue must-haves list, but it was such an amazing bonus to have.

Book flower bouquets

I knew I was going to have book bouquets in my wedding before I was even engaged.

I think it’s such a beautiful way to have your favorite words with you during a special time.

I also made it more personal by surprising each of my bridesmaids with flowers made from pages of their favorite books.

For those who weren’t avid readers I used quotes from their favorite movies, and for my one friend I used the lyrics of her wedding song.

Making the flowers myself was a bit tedious after a while, but it was so worth it! I was proud of how they turned out and we saved a lot of money on flowers!

I found a few different tutorials for making the flowers and kind of created my own method.

I’ll do a post on that soon. 😊

Books as decoration

I picked out a few of my favorite books, plus a few that had sentimental meaning to my husband and I.

We gave them to our maître d’ and asked that he put them out with the rest of our decorations.

He did a beautiful job displaying them among our pictures, candles, and signs.

Literary gifts

Along with their book bouquets, my bridesmaids got a framed, hand-written design of a quote from their favorite book/movie.

My husband and I also wrote love letters for each other to read before the ceremony that day.

Shots of us reading them out loud brought our wedding video to a whole new level.

There are a lot of ways to incorporate your own personal interests in your wedding—I know there are plenty more ways people have added books to their own.

These were little things that added up to make my wedding day really feel like my own.

I’m so glad we were able to make them happen, and that my husband was supportive of me carrying out each one.

Do you like these ideas, or are there some others you’ve used/heard of that are awesome? Share in the comments below. 😊♥️