Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Our First Camping Trip

I mentioned in my Things I Love August post that Casey and I recently went on our first camping trip! So here I am sharing more about it.

Here's the thing: I'm NOT the camping type of girl. The last time I went camping I was 14 or 15 and it was horrible. I refused to potty in the woods (we were gone for like 24 hours). It was freezing cold. And whoever grabbed what they thought was the bag of blankets had accidentally instead grabbed a bag of fabric scraps. So it was freezing and we had NO covers. And I had to pee and just couldn't make myself use a tree.

So when Casey mentioned one day that he wanted to go camping I was like, "Ummm... how about not?" After some discussion, we finally decided to compromise: I'd give camping a shot as long as there was a bathroom around. Which basically narrows it down to state parks. Thankfully we have a few in our area!

A few days after coming to this conclusion, Casey came home with a tent. I figured he was excited about the potential future camping trip. What I wasn't expecting was to go camping two days later!

Our church was having "Family Week" and encouraged every family to go on an adventure. He came home one evening and I asked, "So what should our adventure be?" And Casey said, "How about camping?" Casey, Oxford, and I were on the road an our later to a park Casey had already picked out. (Tigger was not happy about staying home by himself. He hates being alone.)

After setting up our tent and piling up some wood to use for our fire later, we went for a hike. It was gorgeous! First through the woods and then through this beautiful swamp and beach area. The wind was blowing and it felt wonderful!

Then we went back to the camp to make dinner. We'd brought a lighter, but forgot it takes actual skills to build a fire and keep it going. As I was piling up the logs and trying to get the darn pile of sticks to actually catch fire, Casey managed to cut his finger with a knife. I saw some large drops of blood, but he covered his finger with a nearby towel. I was so afraid he'd cut his hand to the bone, despite the fact he was telling me he was fine. (The boy has a high pain tolerance, so you can see why I was just sure it was far worse than he was telling me.)

As he held his fingers wrapped, head on table because blood, I turned around and noticed Oxford had wandered off a little... and was facing off three ginormous wild pigs. I yelled, trying to get Oxford to come back to me. Y'all, this dog is afraid of everything. Loud noises, other dogs, you name it. So why he suddenly decided to be brave and face off these pigs I have no idea. He probably was trying to protect me. Thankfully, I got him to come back and the pigs wandered away, but Oxford was then put on his leash (which he was supposed to be on in the first place... but no one else was around and he loves to walk around without his leash).

Casey's hand was totally fine. Literally just a scratch but there was initially more blood than would suggest a scratch.

It began to get really dark and we were struggling with the fire. Turns out, wood burns faster than we anticipated, and we hadn't piled up enough. We couldn't go searching for more because we were dumb and didn't bring flashlights. Also there were spider webs and very large spiders between many of the trees. We had to be so careful everywhere we walked because we did NOT want to run into those guys. Since we couldn't' see them in the dark, we basically decided to not go into the woods.

Despite the fire debacle, we DID get our dinner cooked. Hot dogs for the win. But once the fire went out, that was that and we decided to get in the tent.

It. Was. Hot.

So hot we couldn't sleep. Did sleeping on the ground bother us? Not a big. But the heat? Dear goodness, it was miserable. As we were leaving the next morning, Casey admitted that at one point during the night he'd considered making the drive home, getting some sleep, and coming back the next day to pack up camp.

We made it through the night and Casey wanted to pack up and get breakfast somewhere. I told him no, the camping wasn't over until after breakfast. I cooked up some sausage and bacon, as he packed up, and we ate before we finally left. We were both so tired for the rest of the day.

I know that my describing it doesn't SOUND like we had a lot of fun, but we truly did and we made some special memories we won't forget. Honestly, I just like doing anything with him. Things become fun because we're together.

I'm actually really glad that our first trip was spur of the moment. I think I would have been overthinking everything had I had time to plan. But I didn't have time to overthink. I just quickly packed a bunch of things I thought we might need, and, as we realized what we SHOULD have brought, we made a list of things we'd like to bring next time. (On that list: flashlights, battery operated fan, first aid kit, coffee...)

We already can't wait for cooler weather to try out a second camping trip!

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Secondhand September

Whilst perusing Instagram the other day, I came across #SecondHandSeptember, a movement encouraging people to only shop secondhand for the month of September instead of buying anything new. I'm joining the challenge! Here are some rambles about it, plus photos featuring some of my secondhand items. (Except for that marvelous dress in the first pic, which was a bit too small, but it was a thrift find!)
(fun fact: I wore this yellow skirt to work the other day and my coworker looked at it so confused. "I had a skirt just like that," she said. I asked her if she donated it to Goodwill. She said she probably had. So there is a good possibility this was her skirt! ha! I thought it was cool.) This jacket was also a thrift find.

This year I've been making an effort to shop secondhand more than buying new things as a way to be more ethical in my clothing purchases. The little I've read about fast fashion is truly sad, but also fast fashion makes it tempting to shop more often, buying the new trend for every season. As I've gotten older, I've realized that I prefer to wear clothes that I love instead of what is specifically in style or trendy. I think this has also partly helped me decide to thrift more. Thrifting means that I can find unique pieces that no one else has!

I do, however, buy a few new things here and there, so I'm saying no to that this month. I'm excited to share my thrift hauls (if I even go thrifting or find anything - ha!) and even more so to share outfits that feature some of my secondhand pieces. I actually have a bunch. My friends know I love to dig through their piles of clothes they plan to donate, and my bestie Julianne often brings me a bag of secondhand goodies when she comes to visit. (I'm not-so-patiently waiting for cold weather so I can wear the hot pink and bright orange sweater she gave me!)
This flowy cardigan was secondhand from a friend.

When I first got into blogging around 2010, the fashion blogging world was completely different. It was just starting out and sponsored posts were the exception and not the standard. My favorite bloggers didn't wear outfits with links so you could buy the exact same pieces--rather they focused on how to take the clothing you already had and remix it to make new outfits.

That's a thing I really miss in the blogs I see today. So many posts, not only on blogs but especially on Instagram, feature gifted items with a link and a discount code so everyone else can buy the exact same thing. I'm not against sponsored posts or anything -- I did a few of those back in the day too -- but I wish that more people would focus on the idea of the outfits rather than how to copy it exactly. One of my favorite bloggers used to create an "inspiration calendar" each month using photos from bloggers with a "challenge" for the day that was inspired by the outfit. "Wear something blue." "Mix patterns." "Wear a hat." "Belt a cardigan." It was so fun to gather inspiration from outfits and create an outfit using pieces I already had that were inspired by my fave bloggers.
My grandmother gave me this cute dress when she didn't want it anymore!

I definitely just chased a rabbit there (can we call the rabbit Fred? Let's call him Fred.), but one thing I like about outfits involving thrifted pieces is that there is no way to link to the same piece. Rather, I hope, it inspires others. "I've never thought to wear my olive cardigan over my mustard dress." "I'm going to try layering a collared shirt under my favorite sweater." "I'm definitely going to wear my hair scarf as a neck scarf!" Honestly, I just browsed my "style board" on Pinterest for all those ideas.

Anyway, my blue is showing and I'm getting really wordy here, only to say I'm joining in on Secondhand September and can't wait to share more about it!
Jacket and skirt were both thrifted!

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Things I Love August

Well it's the last day of August... the last few hours, even... and I realized I haven't been here in a while. Then I realized that today was the last day I could do a "Things I Love" post for this month. So here I am!

I'm currently visiting family and friends in my hometown (well, my college town, which I consider my hometown, especially since all my family moved here after I graduated!) and I'm so enjoying my little visit! If I remember, I'll have to share a post about it.
The Old Louisiana State Capitol | I was able to go here for the first time a few weeks ago for a wedding. It was simply stunning! The sun poured through the stain glass window and made rainbows in the bride's veil. I have to admit, I totally zoned out on everything being said once I saw the rainbow veil! It was beautiful.
Black milk tea | Whilst in Baton Rouge for the wedding, I had some time to waste before the wedding and decided to try out Teatery. I've been on the hunt for black milk tea that tastes like what I had in Singapore, and this is the closest I've found. I loved it! I was a little disappointed that they didn't have the white boba, but I was thrilled with the taste of the tea. Can't wait to go back!
Camping | Maybe this should go on the like list, not the love list. Ha! I should really write a post about our first camping trip a few weeks ago. It was interesting to say the least. Interesting and HOT. We had so much fun though, and can't wait for cooler temps to do it again!

Vintage scarves and hankies | Hair scarves are all the rage right now, and I wear one to work every day. I have to wear a polo shirt (ugh), but I make it my own with a fun skirt, cute shoes, and hair scarf. I've recently found a few vintage ones while perusing antique shops! (I got 4 today!) I've also been loving vintage hankies. For some reason, I just really want to be someone who carries a pretty hanky. I've been grabbing up cheap ones and plan to wash them and start carrying them in my purse at all times. I just feel like they could come in so handy!
CATcus scratching post | When I saw this adorable scratching post, I knew we had to make one for Tigger! I've been wanting to get him one, but I didn't like the look of any of them. But this one is too cute! Casey and I had a Home Depot date to buy the supplies, then he made it! Tigger ignored it for a few days, but once he realized it was his and he could climb and scratch it, he loved it. He plays on it and also uses it as a lookout post to stare at the squirrels outside.

I feel like these posts bring out my exclamation points. I guess that's how you know I really love all this stuff!

Thursday, August 1, 2019

My Natural Skincare Routine

One of my goals for 2019 was to update my skincare products, and I made the switch about a month ago! I wanted to share it here.

Updating my skincare routine was a goal because around last November, I realized my previous skincare just wasn't cutting it anymore. I was having more breakouts and my skin just didn't look great. The skincare products I wanted to try were really expensive (and I'm a cheapskate, ha!), and I wasn't sure where I could get natural products for a good price. Then A Beautiful Mess (ABM) shared this post about a natural skincare routine using products from Target! I was inspired and went to Target in search of their recommendations. I wasn't able to find everything they listed, but grabbed two new items to incorporate with some things I already had on hand. My skin is loving it! Even my mom commented that my skin is looking better.

1. Acure Rejuvenating Cleansing Cream | For some reason I can't find this on Target's website, but I found it on Amazon. Amazon's normal price is $9.99 but it's currently on sale for $7.28, which is a great price for a great cleanser. I picked this up because I couldn't find the Honest brand cleanser that ABM recommended. I have used several Acure products that I liked and decided to give this one a try. It's a gentle cleanser but foams up nicely, which I like.

The ABM post shared a tip which was news to me: "If your skin ever feels tight after a cleanse, that usually means it's too drying for your skin." I'm realizing this was probably part of my problem using castile soap! My face never feels tight using this Acure cleanser.

2. Sea Mist Refreshing Toner by Captain Blankenship | I'd never really understood the point of toner before, but apparently it is good for your pores. This toner was on sale so I figured I'd give it a shot. The normal price is $14.99. It's nice and refreshing, but I must admit I don't love the smell. However, because it's a new step to my routine, it feels like I'm pampering myself every time I spritz my face with this refreshing mist.

3a. Cliganic Organic Jojoba Oil | I started using jojoba oil around the time I realized my skincare routine wasn't working, so around last December. (However, I'll also admit that, since my skin started looking rough, I pretty much stopped my skincare routine altogether, so of course it wasn't working.) Anyhoo, I'm still using this! Jojoba oil is similar to the oil our skin produces, which makes it a great moisturizer. I use it on my face and neck in the morning because it absorbs quickly so I don't look oily. This bottle is $10.99 but a little goes a long way! I only use maybe four or five drops on my face and neck each morning.
3b. Almond Oil and Essential Oils | At night, I use almond oil on my face. I've used this in the morning as well--it just takes a little longer to absorb. I have a bottle of almond oil that I've mixed with lavender, cedarwood, and frankincense essential oils. Not only are these oils great for your skin, but they smell heavenly together! I do about a half ounce of almond oil, 5 drops of lavender, 3 drops of frankincense, and 2 drops of cedarwood.

I've been using Viva Naturals' almond oil (which is $12.62 for 16 ounces) since October. Again, a little goes a long way. I also use this in place of body lotion. I wanted to get an organic brand, so I just order this certified organic almond oil from Mary Taylor Naturals ($14.95 for 16 ounce). I'll probably transfer it to my old almond oil bottle because I love that it has a pump!

Face Masks | I have the Revive Clay Mask by Skin Balm Apothecary, but I honestly forget to use it a lot! Hence why I'm not including it in my "official" skincare routine. I need to get better about using it perhaps once a week, and maybe try more face masks. It's also pretty pricey at $27, which also makes me want to try some other masks. However, I love that it's made of organic ingredients!

Other products I want to try

Acure Radically Rejuvenating SPF Day Cream | I've started walking to work more often so I should probably be using sunscreen! When I get this, I'll use it in the mornings in place of jojoba oil.

Skin Balm Apothecary's Purifying Collection | I've tried several products from this brand and have loved them! (The peppermint lip balm is my most favorite lip balm ever!) I'm just always thrown by the price so I haven't taken the plunge. My mom bought some of their skincare products and I'm going to see what she thinks. I may buy it a few pieces at a time as I run out of my current skincare products.

Leahlani Skincare | Why do I always want to try expensive products? ha! However, I've heard rave reviews over this company, particularly about the Champagne Serum and Mermaid Mask.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Things I Love July

I always love reading lists of random things on other blogs, like Carly’s On My Radar and Diary posts and Mary Kate’s monthly favorites. So I’m going to give it a try as well!

Apple Pie | My old house had two apple trees. I absolutely loved picking fresh apples, but I soon had an overabundance of them! So I decided to learn how to make an apple pie. I found a recipe online, made some adjustments, and now my apple pie is kind of famous among people who’ve tried it. While I no longer have an apple tree, I often have a craving for apple pie--especially around the fourth of July! So of course I had to make one! I’m planning on making another one this weekend.

Walking to Work | One of the nice things about living half a mile from work is that I’m close enough to walk! When I have to work on Saturdays, Casey walks me to work then continues a few blocks to the farmers market where he picks me up a pastry for breakfast, then brings it back to me. I love those Saturday walks! This week I realized that I shouldn’t save walking to work for Saturdays, so I’m trying to get my act together and walk more often. I have no excuses! (Except for the notorious, daily South Louisiana rain, but that’s why I’ve got pink rain boots, right?) It’s a great opportunity to get some vitamin D and listen to an audiobook.

Audiobooks | Remember my book challenge? One of my challenges was to listen to an audiobook. I’ll have you know I finished two audiobooks and I’m on my third! I finally realized that I don’t like to listen to fiction--I want to read it myself--but I don’t mind listening to nonfiction. I’m currently listening to Mrs. Kennedy and Me by Clint Hill. I listen to all my audiobooks free through my library. Almost all public libraries have a collection of audiobooks you can download to your phone for free via various apps, so go to your local library and see what kind of options they have!

Cookbooks | I’m turning into my aunt. I always picked on her because when we’d go on vacations, I’d have a stack of YA fiction books (or e-books, thanks again public library!) and she’d have a pile of cookbooks. She doesn’t cook a lot, but she loves to look at cookbooks, and now so do I! I love grabbing cookbooks from the library and came home with five the other day. Casey and I have been going through them and noting recipes we want to try.

EKWIP camp | Every year, our church hosts a kids camp called EKWIP, which stands for Equipping Kids With Individual Purpose. I couldn’t be there the whole time due to work, but was able to go a few times. It’s amazing to see how many people put so much work into it. Many people take a week of vacation time from work so they can serve at EKWIP. They look forward to it every year and consider it an investment in our kiddos. I’m so blessed to be a part of the Pentecostals of Lee Road! Our church is truly our second family!

Front Porch Sitting | We visited my family for the fourth of July, and I mentioned to my mom's husband that I was looking for an outdoor table and chairs for our porch. He's great at finding things on Facebook Marketplace, so I wanted to mention it to him in case he found something. He found EXACTLY what I was looking for! I've been having a cup of tea and reading my Bible on the porch the last few weeks, and it is bliss. Such a great way to start the day. Sometimes we also have dinner outside or I'll go out there to work or paint. I love spending more time outside!

Saturday, July 13, 2019

My Fave Essential Oil Blends

Last year I began using essential oils and I’ve really been enjoying them! My favorite way to use them is in the diffuser. I love being able to change the smell every day depending on my mood. Here are a few of my recent fave diffuser blends!

Thieves and bergamot - This is called the “apple cider” blend and I’m so in love! It’s pretty much the only thing I diffused all winter! Sometimes I swap the Thieves for Eden’s Garden’s Guardian blend, which is basically the exact same thing.

Cedarwood and vanilla - I’m surprised that I love cedarwood so much because it’s described as being “earthy”. But it smells sweet to me! I love to diffuse it with vanilla, and sometimes I’ll add orange to it as well.

Lavender, cedarwood, and frankincense - This is a great calming blend. I also have a roller blend with these three oils that I rub on my wrists, neck, and over my heart some nights. (I have a few blends I switch between before bedtime.)

Orange, vanilla, and cassia - Oooh, this smells soooo delicious, like something sweet coming out of the kitchen. Cassia is strong, so I usually do one drop of that with a few drops each of vanilla and orange. This is my favorite “homey” blend.

Eden’s Garden - Good Morning - This is a blend from Eden’s Garden and I am OBSESSED. It has all my favorite scents in it--vanilla, orange, and peppermint. It smells so sweet and uplifting and I diffuse it all the time!

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Making Old things NEW

One of the best things about learning to sew has been to see clothes differently. Thrifting will never be the same! Instead of passing on skirts that are a tad too big or too long, now I know I can fix them!

I've had this white dress for about a year now. My Gramma gave it to me. Here's a thing you should know: My Gramma is more stylish than me. She has a collection of cute dresses and when she's done with them, I'm on the list for hand-me-downs. It never fails that I get compliments on the dresses she gives me, and people always ask, "Where did you get that dress?" Then I admit that I got it from my Gramma.

Anyhoo, so this dress came from Gramma. I thought it was cute, but I never wore it because I felt like I was wearing a tent. It just felt too big. But a few weeks ago, I saw it and wanted to wear it. I thought, "Maybe I'll like it better if it's a few inches shorter." So I went to the sewing room (aka my craft room/library/office/painting room... whatever project I'm working on today), cut off a few inches, and hemmed it right back up. Now I love it!

Unfortunately I managed to get black sharpie all over it in kids church that night, so now I've got to treat the stains. I can't wait to get them out and wear it again!

Here's the before photo! It's amazing what taking off a few inches can do!