AM + PM Skincare Routine

It’s been a little while since I wrote an updated post on my skincare routine and I thought some of you might be curious. It’s taken some time to get the whole thing down (I have a compulsive problem with constantly trying new things) but I think I’m in a good spot right now.
A little background on my skin…I have combination skin that leans towards oily but lately has been dry. I definitely need to be stringent with my routine because at 27 I’m still suffering from acne. I attempted to go on Accutane but it was going to cost $800/month and that just seemed obscene. Instead, I’ve worked out a pretty good system incorporating some over the counter but yet extremely effective products.

MORNING

Cleanse // Lately I’ve been using this Acure creme cleanser because it’s formulated for dry skin (my skin is the most dry in the morning) plus it feels creamy and gentle. In the morning, I’m less concerned with “clean” skin. I  just want to refresh my face. If I’m showering, I’ll use this Acure brightening scrub which I really like and I’m on my second bottle which is really saying something for me. On a really lazy day (let’s be honest, most days…) I’ll just give my face a swipe with these Acure face wipes. Sensing a trend here…I’m loving Acure products for several reasons: natural, affordable, easy to find (Target!), effective, pretty packaging!
Tone // Because my skin is craving a little extra attention these days, I’ve been loving using a spray toner (vs. swiping with a cotton round). This green tea one from Poor & Pretty is just the ticket. The tea is very soothing while the witch hazel refreshes my skin and preps it for the day. I added a bit of jojoba oil to the mix (just shake before using) to add some extra moisture. 
Moisturize // I had been searching for a day time moisturizer non-stop for quite some time. I tried a lot of samples but couldn’t find something that fit the bill. I fell in LOVE with the Pai Rebalancing moisturizer but it was $60 and I just couldn’t justify it. I finally ordered a sample of this one from Paula’s Choice after hearing Ashley rave about it (it helped that we have a similar skin type). It was seriously love at first sight (swipe?). It’s super lightweight but still moisturizing without being greasy at all. The sheer tint prevents any white cast from the mineral sunscreen and does a great job evening out my skin. It’s amazing how it leaves a matte finish but doesn’t look flakey. To add a little extra hydration and coverage, I’ve actually been mixing in a bit of this Josie Maran tinted moisturizer as well which is normally too heavy for me on its own but mixed together, it’s perfection.




EVENING

Cleanse // I’m totally on the oil cleansing bandwagon. It removes any trace of makeup so easily and leaves my skin feeling so soft. I just finished up my bottle of the Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Vitamin B cleansing oil but though I absolutely loved it (amazing pineapple scent!) I just felt like I couldn’t justify the $42. I purchased my first bottle through a promo so I was able to get it for a little less. Maybe I’ll invest again down the road. Instead, I’ve just started using the new Burt’s Bees cleansing oil which I think is working just fine. It doesn’t leave a film, has a pleasant smell, and it’s effective. 
Treat // This is the big new step in my routine that is making such a difference. Though I’ve always used a toner, I wasn’t convinced it was doing anything. Instead, I recently added this liquid, leave-on exfoliant from Paula’s Choice to my nighttime routine and I’m seeing immediate results. My skin has been much clearer, more even, less bumpy, less red, and just generally awesome. This product is worth the hype. 
Moisturize // I’ve been really liking using oils to moisturize my skin at night. I feel like they hold up better while I’m sleeping and lately, my skin could benefit from a little extra moisture at night. I’m not too picky with oils though. Acure’s argan oil is great – simple, pure, and affordable. I’m also liking this neroli oil from Stark. It’s a bit more of a luxury item but I received it in a beauty deal box. I’m not sure I would repurchase mainly because I think there are plenty of great, less expensive options. Sometimes I will also apply a layer of Origins Drink Up Overnight mask which is awesome. For eye cream, I’m still loving the Elizabeth Dehn for OLO one. It’s expensive but lasts forever. Eye cream is one of those things that I can never tell a difference when I’m using but hopefully in 10 years I’ll be happy I did.

monday musings | 120

>> We’ve been traveling a lot of work lately which has been made exponentially more difficult with the dog. Luckily, we take her to a great place for camp during the day but if someone can’t pick her up by 5:30 then we have to make other arrangements. It’s been stressful and exhausting but it’s probably a good preview for years to come. I also got some great advice from a friend who said “you can make anything easier by throwing a little money at the problem”. Which is exactly what we did and it was so worth it.

>> I’m in serious clean out mode around clothes, makeup, etc. I sold a whole bunch of gently used makeup on Glambot and made a decent amount of money considering I would have just thrown it away. I’ve sent in two bags to thredUP but I’m still waiting to hear what the payout will be. I’m on a serious mission to own less but higher quality. Anyone know where to get HIGH quality long-sleeve t-shirts that won’t shrink?

>> I’ve been loving the gym that we joined shortly after moving here. It’s right next to C’s office which makes it super easy since we share a car. I’ve been particularly enjoying the Barre classes and after chatting with the Group Ex director, I decided I’d pursue becoming an instructor! Last weekend, I completed my Barre Certification and will start instructing classes at the gym soon!

>> I just got on Snapchat and I don’t really get it. I like the idea of having 24 hour “stories” but how do I remember to download them after each 24 hour period?? Please someone help me!

>> You may have guessed this already but the half marathon did not happen. Instead, I ran the 5k with my mother-in-law and had a blast. It was her first ever race and she ran the whole thing! I’m so proud of her and really enjoyed getting to share that experience. C, on the other hand, killed the half and now has his sights set on 26.2!

>> C and I picked up new iPhone’s this weekend and when I got home, I was testing out the new features and some things weren’t working. That’s when I realized they had set me up with an iPhone 6 not 6 s. They happily made the exchange in the store but without the phone in stock, they had to give me my old phone back in the meantime. #firstworldproblems

>> Haven is almost 5 months old now and she’s such a great puppy. She’s really doing well with her training and usually sleeps until about 6:30/7am. We hadn’t been letting her on the couch until all of a sudden she figured out how to get up and it was so cute, I couldn’t push her off. So Haven 1, Couch 0.

>> I normally don’t talk much about work around here but I did want to mention that I accepted a role on Teach For America’s national team which I’m thrilled about. I will continue working from home which is awesome and I’m really excited about staying with the organization.

{review} flyjoy bars

As I was stuffing one of these bars into my face, I realized I better hurry up and write about them (or at least photograph them) before they were gone! 
I love a good bar. I’m a big snacker and I must ALWAYS have a bar on me at all times. I’m pretty picking though about what types of bars I like. Nowadays, everything has so much sugar or other nasty stuff in it that it’s just not an enjoyable snack after you read the ingredients. I was really into KIND bars at one point but I feel like the quality of their product has gone down – they are usually ROCK HARD when I try to eat them…what’s up with that?!

Enter FLYJOY bars. These bars are made with ingredients I can pronounce like quinoa, chia, flax, cashews, almonds etc. They have a balanced amount protein and fiber while keep the sugar count in check. But on top of everything else, they are delicious. The very first one I tried was Cashew Cookie dough and it legitimately tasted like the best raw cookie dough you scoop from the bowl when you’re baking. I LOVE that they aren’t coated in chocolate because, like I said, there is always a bar living at the bottom of my bag and I hate pulling out a mushy, melted bar when I’m starving. 
If you are a perpetual bar hoarder, add FLYJOY bars to your stash. I find myself reaching for them over most other snack options when I’m on the go.
I was generously provided with these bars (thanks Madison!) to try for the first time. I was not otherwise compensated for this post and opinions are all my own. I was not encouraged to write a positive review.

training for a half marathon | week 4

I’m fully aware that I’m conspicuously missing weeks 2 and 3 of training but life man. Week 2 I spent curled up on the couch nursing a bad summer cold. I attempted a long walk later that week which showed that I was clearly still under the weather. Week 3 included bringing Haven home and y’all, a puppy is no joke. Not only do you have to be watching them ALL THE TIME but she can only go a couple hours in the crate. Between her need for constant supervision and scheduling drama, workouts really didn’t happen that week either (aside from a miserable spinning class at the gym). 
At least I’m wearing workout clothes…just not actually working out.
So here we are, at the end of Week 4 and I finally feel like I’m getting back on track. I got in two good treadmill runs and did a bit of weight training. I was hoping to squeeze in yoga at home last night but you know, puppy/scheduling. 
My super sophisticated online running plan that I printed off the internet has me running 7 miles tomorrow, which let’s be honest, ain’t going to happen. I’m going to try to do 4 miles and see how that feels. The last time I trained for a half, my longest run was 6 miles so I’m not super worried about getting in long runs. I’m more concerned about conditioning my body consistently throughout the week.
The race is 9 weeks out and at this point, my goal is just to finish without having to walk the large majority of the race. I need to be a bit kind to myself seeing as how I haven’t been working out for basically the last two years. I’m trying not to pack on the pressure but instead enjoy the process and relish the fact that I’m strong and healthy and physically capable of running 13.1 miles. 
Also, let’s discuss treadmills vs. running outside for a hot second. I’ve been doing mostly treadmill for a number of reasons (heat included) but mainly because it’s so dang hilly where we live. I would be working 10 times as hard. However, I’m trying to do my long Saturday runs outside on a nice trail. Are you a die-hard treadmill runner or do you love the wind in your face?

monday musings | 119

Haven // our new spring spaniel pup

>> I feel like if I don’t start off by talking about our new puppy, you’ll just be really disappointed. So yea, we got a puppy and it has changed everything. Honestly, I’m positive that my expectations for how this was going to do down were completely unrealistic. She’s great and we love her but holy exhausting! We’re very lucky that she sleeps through the night but she can be a handful during the day. Now that we’re starting week 2, I’m hoping to get a semblance of a routine back. 
>> PS. I just want to put this out there – I do NOT think a puppy is preparation for a baby for the following reasons (plus some): 1) babies wear diapers, puppies do not…ew, 2) you can speak to children/babies and reason with them, 3) you can take your baby with you most places, 4) however, you cannot lock your baby in a crate…so there’s that. 
>> There is NOTHING better than some good friend time to get those batteries recharged after a particularly tough day/week. I had the immense pleasure of seeing a dear friend this past weekend and also got some quality phone time with a few other friends. I needed it so badly and it made my heart feel good just to be loved, heard, and understood. Thank you sweet friends!
>> Between traveling, being sick, our out-of-whack schedule etc. half marathon training is NOT going well. While I’m slightly concerned about this race that is now about 8 weeks away, I’m also trying to give myself some grace and say “what the heck, who cares how much I walk!”
>> Back to the dog thing, if you have one, what treats/food/toys etc are the most motivating? We’ve yet to find a treat that really gets Haven going. Help! 
>> We love going to the local farmer’s market on Saturday to browse and get a few items for the week. We even have a “fish guy” now who is awesome. He gave us a great tip that has totally transformed how we cook fish. He basically said, you should always cook your fish straight from the freezer, no need to defrost. He said not only will it limit your chances of overcooking it, but it’s actually safer. Well we tried it and we loved it. It’s also so much easier because the fish holds together much better. 
>> Now that I work from home, I’ve been getting really into the morning news like Good Morning America and the Today show. It’s kind of funny because so much of the news is repeated and honestly, I’m more just watching because I like the anchors and their personalities…not really for the celebrity gossip. But it’s become a nice ritual and I feel like they are keeping me company in the morning.

currently // reading. listening. watching.

>> The Lively Show // Ep 85: Alisa Vitti from Flo Living
I’ve loved her podcast for awhile now but this episode was especially interesting. I’m already looking forward to reading Woman Code because it hits on a lot of stuff I’m wondering about right now. Basically, Alisa talks about how our hormones control and effect a lot more than we think. When we’re not nurturing them, our bodies get all out of wack (aka PMS, acne, weight gain/loss, mood swings, etc). It’s really eye opening.

>> Wellness Wonderland // Ep 72: Lucy Bourchier from The Brave Exchange
Katie is a really cool host and I feel like we’re friends. Her interview with Lucy not only inspired me but also introduced me to another podcast host which is really exciting.

I know I’m about 5 years late to this but I’m loving this show. After being sick the last two days (and without cable), I was desperate for some quality TV. All 6 seasons are free to watch with Amazon Prime Instant–score!–so I dialed it up and breezed through about eight episodes. It’s like Suits and Law & Order mixed together if I had to describe it.

>> Bradstreet Gate
Randomly picked up this book when it came in my mailbox from Blogging for books. It was entertaining I suppose but the ending was super disappointing. The characters were somewhat frustrating as well. Overall, it was just meh.

>> How to Raise the Perfect Dog
Spoiler alert: we’re getting a puppy on Friday! We read/listened to this on Audible during our move and really liked it. We ended up purchasing a hard copy as well because it’s a good reference book especially for first time dog owners.

>> Matthew Mayfield // Wild Eyes
I don’t remember how I discovered this artist but it was awhile ago…probably 5 years ago. I listened to his old albums on repeat on Spotify and really enjoyed them. His new album, Wild Eyes, is really good and it’s been on constant rotation lately. It’s kind of moody but easy to listen to…he’s also definitely not ugly…

>> Mumford & Sons // Wilder Mind
I thought the band broke up and was totally devastated but alas, a new album and all is well in the music world. I LOVE this album mostly because it’s different but still totally sounds like them. Just love.

training for a half marathon | week 1

Fitness Files. Fit Fridays. Friday Fitness. I mean, there are actually a lot of titles I could have used for this series but it was just too cheesy. I decided to keep it simple instead of inventing some catchy series. I opted to go with the obvious and boring title. 
As you may have guessed from the title of this post, I started training for a half marathon. It’s been over 2 years since my last half and I basically became a couch potato during that time. Needless to say, I’m pretty much starting over on the fitness front. Nothing like an expensive race with a deadline to kick my butt into gear. I’m loosely working off of this 12 week plan mostly just to keep some sense of accountability and remind me what mileage I’m on. Over the next several weeks, I’m also going to try to document my “journey” here so that you can follow along.
|| Monday ||
Ran 3 treadmill miles (3 min run / 2 min walk).
While watching House Hunters and Pioneer Woman…It’s super hilly where we live and since I don’t really know my way around, I’ve been running on the treadmill to save some energy. I plan on doing longer runs outside on some of the awesome trails.
|| Tuesday ||
Barre Strength at the gym.
It’s basically Pure Barre but I really liked the class as something different. Kind of wondering what you have to do to become an instructor…
|| Wednesday ||
60 min Cycle class with C. 
Within 5 minutes of the class starting, I always hate myself and wonder why the heck I signed up. It was a butt-kicking workout but I felt good about it since this was supposed to be a “run” day but I cross-trained instead.
|| Thursday ||
30 min FitStar Yoga at home
C needed the car so instead of lunchtime yoga at the gym, I just did a class at home. I like this app a lot especially for quick and easy yoga on the got.
|| Friday ||
Rest! Yay! (Oh and travel to Michigan for Becca’s wedding!!)
|| Saturday ||
4 miles which I will probably try to run at the gym at the hotel or somewhere outside before Becca’s wedding.
|| Sunday ||
Rest and travel home from Chicago!
Overall, I think this is a great first week especially since I need a little hand holding as I ease back into a regular workout schedule. 
PS. You NEED one of those water bottles. It’s the water bottle to end all water bottles (truth. I got rid of all the other ones I own!!!). It’s from Swell and it keeps cold stuff cold for 24 HOURS and hot for 12 HOURS! I tested it and it REALLY works even in a hot car! 
(I was not paid to say this…I purchased the bottle with my own money and I’m simple obsessed.)
Are you signed up for any races this fall? Do you listen to music or podcasts? Suggestions?