Dorothea’s Dishes: Easter Eggs!

Take a leaf from my grandmother’s cookbook and learn how she made her chocolate Easter eggs! In two delicious flavors… peanut butter and chocolate!

Hello everyone!

One of my most precious belongings is a cook book that my grandmother put together in 2016. My grandmother was a cooking legend in our family. She was known for many things: her expertise in the kitchen, always having at least three desserts after dinner, and her three refrigerators that were filled with leftovers and pre-cooked meals. In 2016, my grandmother made these cookbooks for my mom and my aunts. And after her passing in November, I inherited the copy that she made for herself. Ever since then I have been trying to connect more with her memory by learning to cook, and trying out some of her recipes every now and again.

Since Easter is a day away, I thought I would share a fun recipe with you guys, in honor of Dorothea (and Jesus!). Easter and Christmas were the two biggest holidays for my grandmother, and she made these eggs every year… In at least three flavors, of course! Below is her recipe for her peanut butter and coconut flavored chocolate eggs. She also made a cherry and vanilla flavor, but I can’t seem to find those recipes… So I suppose I’ll have to do a little digging in the family archive (AKA the cook book cabinet) and publish a part two next Easter! I’ve also added a couple of notes in brackets, just in case something didn’t make much sense or needed clarifying.

Dorothea’s Easter Egg Recipe

Cream [mix?] until very soft:

1 stick of butter or butterine [a word my grandmother used for margerine]

1 pkg. (8 oz. size) cream cheese

Mix in:

1/2 tsp. salt

1-1/2 tsp. vanilla

For peanut butter eggs add 1-1/2 cups peanut butter.

For coconut eggs add 2 small cans of coconut.

If you want both kinds of eggs, divide the batter into halves or 2/3rd and 1/3rd. For half the batter for the peanut butter eggs use 2/3 C[can?] peanut butter or a little more depending on how strong you want the peanut butter and for coconut eggs divide batter accordingly.

Shape eggs and chill (freezer is the best way) on a cookie sheet with waxed paper before dipping in the following:

6 blks. Baker’s unsweetened chocolate and 1/2 bar German chocolate. We like to use a milder, lighter chocolate from Wilber Chocolate factory [Wilber Chocolate is a local brand in Lancaster, PA]. Better yet, a semi-sweet chocolate, light. Hershey’s is good, too.

After the egg is dipped in the chocolate you can roll it in crushed peanuts [if desired], and put egg immediately on wax paper one at a time. Chill in the freezer again until hard, and then serve!

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I hope you enjoy this recipe! If you do end up trying your hand at this recipe, please tag me on Instagram, I would love to see! My handle is @thegingerintrovert 🙂 I am planning on making this a semi-regular series on this blog, since there were so many dishes that my grandmother made year round that I would love to share with you all. So stay tuned… I may be sharing her Creamsicle Cake and Lemon Bar recipes in honor of the spring and summer months!

I hope you all have a wonderful Easter–He is risen!

XOXO

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Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.  
John 14:6

Healing from the Holidays

If you’re still feeling a little lost and raw after a hard holiday season, I’m right there with you. Here are a couple ways I’ve been coping.

Hello everyone,

It’s been about a week since we rang in 2019 and closed the door on 2018 for good. In doing so, we also said goodbye to the holiday season once again. While the internet really does love to hype up the holidays, we all know that it can be a rough time for a lot of people. Whether it be family issues and conflicts, personal hardship, or in my case, the recent loss of a loved one, sometimes the holidays just leave us feeling drained and sad rather than joyous.

I’ve mentioned Katie Dalebout’s podcast Let It Out many times before on this blog. In the early part of December, Katie released a solo podcast about how to take care of yourself in the face of all of these hardships during the holidays. I found this podcast really inspiring and used a couple of the ideas she mentioned. However, no matter how hard I tried, I still found the holidays to be extremely difficult after the passing of my grandmother on Thanksgiving. No matter how many extra self-care tactics I employed, I still couldn’t shake the dark cloud of loss that hung over my family during Christmas dinner and donkey kicked me with emotion when I realized I would ring in 2019 without her. So, I’m gonna be brutally honest. This holiday season kinda sucked, not because of anything my family did wrong, but just because I missed my grandmother. And because of this, I’m still feeling a little raw, even eight days into 2019.

If I’m feeling this way, I have no doubt that there are a couple of you out there who are still struggling. So, I thought I might tell you how I’ve been coping, and maybe they’ll help you, too.

Find an ally.

An ally can be anyone. A friend, your partner, your mom or grandmother, they just have to be someone who understands what you’re going through and has either been there or can empathize without judgment. Go out to grab a coffee or even have a knitting session—anything— with said person and just talk. Give and take. Listen to what they might be going through, and they’ll listen, too. It’s both a dose of normal life in the midst of chaos, as well as a small distraction.

Take some time to yourself.

After the frenzied holiday season, sometimes one of the best ways to heal is to just give yourself some much needed. While this is coming from an introverted perspective, I really do believe that it is important to give yourself time to breathe and process whatever you may be feeling alone. Writing, cooking, meditating, exercising, or doing something else you enjoy by yourself can really give you both peace of mind and space to figure yourself out.

If you’re really feeling low, get yourself to some counseling or therapy.

I will always be a big believer in the power of therapy. I’m one of those people that view mental health in the same light as physical health. If something is off or wrong with your body, you get yourself to the doctor. The same applies to your mental state. If things are really off, a professional opinion can only help. I go to the counseling services at my school, so I haven’t been able to follow this advice. However, I have been taking notes on things to discuss with my counselor so that when I make my first appointment, I’ll know exactly what to talk about. Much like exercising, I never regret going to counseling, and I always find that it gives me peace.

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As we are all moving forward into healing in this new year, I hope you are all doing well and are helped in some way by this post. If you have anything you would like to share or can think of another helpful tip, please feel free (as always) to leave it down in the comments! Or, head on over to my Instagram and start the conversation there. If you do, leave the evergreen emoji on my last post so we can all see who read this post! (I’ve seen other bloggers and influencers do this, and I thought it would be a cute idea to do as well!)

XOXO
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Holiday Book Haul!

Hello everyone!

In the last couple of weeks, I am sure we have all seen/read/watched alllllll of the fresh Christmas hauls that have been floating around the internet. Since I am just a naturally curious person, I always enjoy reading/watching these hauls. I don’t think I typically post about what I receive as gifts for the holidays, but this year I was exceptionally blessed to have received quite a few books and Barnes and Noble gift cards for Christmas and my birthday (which is about a week before Christmas on the 16th… if you didn’t know before). So, I thought I would share this haul with you guys, for all of you book lovers out there!

rustic mood board photo collage

Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

This was a recommendation from some of the wonderful ladies over at the Goddess Council! I heard so many women rave about this book after that, and I figured I had to read it. I put it on my Christmas list, and it turned out my mom had a copy she was finished with and gave to me. I’ve read the first couple of chapters, and I have found that all the raving was well-deserved. This book is both empowering and captivating, and the perfect balance between storytelling and gender-study. This is not the kind of book you would read in one sitting, however. This is the type of book you savor, make notes in and highlight, keep on your shelf to refer to or read for a dose of empowerment, or if you’re feeling a little lost. Lately, I’ve been keeping this book in my purse to read whenever I have a spare moment since my copy is so small and portable.

Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman

I was a little late to the CMBYN train, but I’m totally here for it now. I watched the movie back in October, and I fell in love with the story. Quite honestly, I think it would be impossible not to. After I watched the movie for the second or… ahem *third* time, I knew I had to read this book. So, once I had some birthday money in my pocketbook, this was my first purchase.

The Crimes of Grindelwald: The Original Script by J.K. Rowling

When a new installment in the Harry Potter universe comes out and is penned by none other than the queen herself, I gotta snap a copy up. I got my copy a little early in the Holiday season, on the Wednesday after Thanksgiving just before my local Target closed. I’m including this book in my Holiday book haul because I got it as a gift for my mom and myself when our family was dealing with the passing of my grandmother. Since we both love Harry Potter so much, this book and movie lifted our spirits during a difficult time, which is a major part of reading… In my humble opinion.

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

I found out about this book in a video made by one my favorite YouTubers, Shayna Klee, who was also the inspiration for my 2019 mood board post! When I read more about this book online, I found Cameron’s ideology on art and creativity as a spiritual practice so enticing, I added the book to my Christmas list as well. I have skimmed some of the chapters, and I already know this book is going to be a life-changer. Also, Cameron was the author who came up with the idea of morning pages, which many of my past creative writing classes have used as an exercise. I had no idea the impact this book had on the writing and art world before, so I’m looking forward to learning more from Cameron as I work through this book!

The Art of Character by David Corbett

A friend of mine recommended this book to me, and to be honest I didn’t know much about the book before I added it to my list. However, as someone who writes around character a lot of the time, at least when I’m writing fiction, I’m looking forward to digging into this book more!

I’ll Be There For You: The One About Friends by Kelsey Miller

I have been drooling over this book since I heard Katie Dalebout interview Kelsey in this interview on Let It Out, which is one of my personal favorite podcasts. I am not alone in the fact that I grew up watching the tv show Friends, and I am still an avid viewer to this day on Netflix. (Which, sidenote, they nearly took the show off Netflix at the beginning of 2019?! Nearly gave me a heart attack.) And since I also love learning about popular culture, this book seemed like a perfect fit for me. Since I’m hoping to go back to my blogging roots and start reviewing more books on TGI, I am thinking this will be one of my first reviewees!

The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis

This is yet another book I came across through one of my favorite podcasts when the Art History Babes interviewed the author in this episode. This is a historical fiction novel, and I found the concept of the book fascinating because it takes place in the long-forgotten art school at Grand Central Terminal in New York City. When I listened to the interview, Davis was so well articulated in explaining her research and her writing process with each of her novels, I snapped this book up when I saw it in Barnes and Noble.

Becoming by Michelle Obama

There was been so much buzz and love surrounding the release of this book back in the later months of last year, this book seems almost to be required reading. The fact that so many women I follow on Instagram were raving about this book joined with my ten-year (!) admiration for Obama fed into a need to read this book. This is going to be another book I will probably make plenty of marginalia in, as well as review sometime in the coming months.

Eat Smart by Niomi Smart

I recently discovered I am lactose intolerant. Or, to be more accurate, I’ve known for a while I’m lactose intolerant… I’ve just recently given in to cutting dairy out of my life. Since I am a vegetarian as well, this has driven me to a more plant-based diet (ugh). I will admit this new development in my diet has left me stymied and frustrated multiple times since I’ve been more serious about being dairy-free. However, this cookbook has helped me so much in coming up with more ideas for yummy dairy-free meals. I’ve already tried a couple recipes which have all turned out deliciously well. I have also been thinking nonstop about trying Niomi’s recipe for vegan shepherd’s pie, which she prepared in a recent Vlogmas. The recipe looks to be a little complicated though, so I’ll be sure to document the process on Instagram when I finally undertake the task!

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In 2019, I am hoping to make it a point to read more, especially once I graduate and I won’t be under the collegiate pressure to read constantly. I was a voracious reader growing up, and even though I am a literature major, I rarely read for pleasure in the way I did when I was a kid. As a form of motivation, I’ve committed to reading 40 books for the 2019 Goodreads Challenge, which seems like a pretty daunting task… But I think I’m up for it! If you have an account, connect with me on Goodreads and let’s motivate each other to read more! And, of course, I’ll be posting about the books I’m reading on my Instagram, too!

Do you have any book recommendations? Any books you were gifted during the Holiday season and you’re currently loving? Share them down below or head on over to Instagram to discuss!

XOXO

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2019 Mood Board

Hello all!

The time has come, yet again, to close the book on one year and begin a new journey in the next. That also means that right about now, we’re all being bombarded with media and messages about our New Year’s resolutions. I, for one, have never been a huge fan of making resolutions. I tried to do it as a kid, and I would make a long list of goals I would end up forgetting about by the third of January. Then, as we all do when we have failed on a resolution so early, I would feel pretty bad about myself and quit all of my original resolutions and return to being the same old me. After a few years of disappointment, I gave up on the idea of New Year’s resolutions altogether. I mean, I love the idea of a fresh start at the beginning of the year, but let’s face it. Thinking logically, I’m still the same old me when the countdown ends one year and ushers in the next. My life doesn’t magically become something that it is not by the stroke of midnight. I’m no Cinderella, believe me.

However, this year is a little bit different. In 2019, I really will be ushering in a new chapter in my life. I will graduate from college, (hopefully) find a job, and maybe even find an apartment for myself. All of these goals are things I hope to accomplish before 2020, but there are so many more that go along with them. By the time 2020 rolls around, I want to find more growth and success in being myself. I want to try my hand at part-time blogging, and maybe even freelancing. I want to start making YouTube videos consistently, for real this time. I want to write every day, even if it is only 500 words. If there was ever a time to make resolutions, it’s now, at the advent of a new life for myself.

However, being that I am still not crazy about the idea of “resolutions,” I came across the solution to my problem by watching a video made by one of my favorite YouTubers, Shayna Klee of The Purple Palace. She made this video about how she makes vision boards for every year, so that she can constantly be inspired by her goals and dreams. Manifest them, so to speak. I loved this idea so much, instead of just resolving to do things, I would visualize them, and make something to remind myself of what I want all throughout 2019. So, I made my own. However, since I’m on break and I don’t have access to a reliable color printer (the printer here at home has been possessed by a demon that’s out to get me since 2012), I did the next best thing. I turned to Pinterest and Canva, collectively my two favorite places to visualize/create on the internet. I got so excited, I made two…

Let me explain.

2019_1

Let’s start clockwise from the top left corner.

  • “Never be afraid to change,” because I struggle with change so much. Being this year is going to be filled with nothing but changes in my life, I figured this might be a good little reminder.
  • The same kind of goes for the next, “Things will work out,” because even though I may fail and think I’m not doing well enough at this whole “adulthood” thing, I know eventually it will all work out.
  • Next, I have a picture of a little kitchen, to signify the apartment I want to save up money for. This picture serves the purpose of two reminders: being more fiscally responsible, and by doing so becoming financially independent enough to live on my own. Also, this kitchen is just adorable and is exactly how I picture my first little apartment being. Albeit, it will probably be much smaller, but still.
  • “The secret to having it all is knowing you already do.” This is to remind me to keep a happy and grateful heart no matter what. I am very privileged to have a good support system, and a good life in general. Even if things don’t go exactly how I want them in the coming year(s), I need to keep grounded in this fact. Also, it reminds me of the old Veggie Tales song from Madame Blueberry, and I always love a good Veggie Tales song to break up the whole adulting of it all.
  • “The best is yet to come,” on a graduation cap, for obvious reasons. I may even decorate my grad cap this way, because it’s so pretty! This, or one of my favorite quotes from the books I’ve read in my time at college. Gotta put that Literature degree to use, right?
  • “Take care of yourself,” because it is way too easy for me to forget to take care of myself. I have made a lot of improvements with my mental health this year especially. I’ve learned to deal with my anxiety in a more constructive way, and my body dysmorphic disorder hasn’t reared it’s ugly head in a while now. In order to keep all of these good changes going, I need to remember that even in light of change, I still need to nourish my mental and physical health.
  • This one is a more physical goal I want to manifest. I want to get this tattoo in this spot on my wrist, in remembrance of my grandmother. She passed away on Thanksgiving, and I have missed her sorely this holiday season. I may write more about how I have learned to deal with grief, but I know I want to remember all of the things I loved about her and all the happy memories I have with her in the new year.
  • This last one is related to the “Take care of yourself” picture from before. I love the mental picture of nourishing my mind and body as if it were a garden of flowers. I want to carry this visualization through 2019, and remember that I can only accomplish the goals I hold so dear by taking care of myself.

2019_2

  • Another reminder for a grateful heart. Kind of going along with the aforementioned reminder, I liked this quote as well.
  • I think Shayna talked about this in the video that inspired me to undertake this project. Carrie Bradshaw with her laptop, writing away. Carrie is my favorite character on Sex and the City, mostly because she is a writer, and is even more neurotic than I am. I have always loved her style of writing, which they feature on each episode. She is so raw and relatable, and she’s in tune to the world around her. Also, she has such good habits when it comes to writing. Since she is basically a freelance writer, a career path I wish to pursue, I really appreciate her work ethic. This picture is to remind me of how I want to write in 2019: often, and with intention.
  • “Do your thing.” Enough said. I want to be fully and unapologetically myself as I advance into the beginning of my adult life in 2019.
  • Ah, yes. Friends on Friends, one of my all-time favorite shows. This is one of my favorite scenes from the show with Monica, Rachel, and Phoebe. They are just the ultimate picture of “friend goals” to me, and I want this picture to remind me to nourish my relationships. After I graduate, keeping in touch with my friends from school will not be as easy as when we were all living right on campus together. So, this just means I need to be more intentional with my relationships, as well. This will also remind me to take a Netflix break once and a while.
  • “Plant your own garden…” This goes along with the previously mentioned idea of how I want to visualize my life in the coming year(s), but I liked this addition as well. This takes the visualization to the next level. In order to achieve my goals, I have to make it happen. I can’t depend on anyone else to make my dreams come true.
  • Lastly, I hope to travel in 2019. More specifically, I want to go to England. My school is taking a group of students abroad on a two week trip to England, and I am hoping to gather enough money in order to be able to go. I have so many places in the world I want to visit, and England has always been first on my bucket list. Hopefully, if this particular dream comes true, it will mean that I will be able to write about it here on the blog.

So, after all of these goals, “resolutions” if you will, I wish to manifest in my life, here are the big takeaways. I want to write more consistently, maybe even on this blog! I want to nourish my mental and physical health, and take care of myself. I want to keep up with my friends after we graduate. I hope grow more with my fiance as we take on yet another year together. I want to speak to the small audience I have grown here, on the blog and on my Instagram. I hope to inspire those who read my work, and I will grow my body of work more than ever before in 2019. In looking at these vision boards, which I will eventually print (when I’m at school and I know it won’t be just a streaky mess…) and hang up. When I do, I’ll post a picture of where they end up as they move from place to place this coming year!

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Just a bit of housekeeping before I sign off… At this time every year, I like to take a moment to wish my blog a very happy birthday! I started my first blog, then “Lizzie’s Garden,” on December 29th, 2011. I must have lost track of the years, because the fact I have been blogging in some capacity for SEVEN YEARS (yes that was an all-caps, bolded, and italicized statement… don’t @ me) is just amazing to me! If you want to read my first ever blog post on the oft-renamed blog that eventually became the very first iteration of TGI as we know it today, click here!

2018 treated me well, and it’ll be bittersweet to say goodbye to this past year as we ring in 2019. But you know what? I think I’m ready to take 2019 on. It will likely be my most challenging year yet, but I’ll be okay. And I know you, reading this, will be, too.

XOXO

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New releases I can’t wait for

Hello everyone!

It’s been a minute. I really dropped the ball on blogging over the summer. However, I felt like I had run out of ideas on things to write about… You can only write so much about skincare, you know? So I’m just going to go with the flow and post more about pop culture and media, because that’s what I’m really obsessing over right now. And there’s so much to talk about! There are so many new releases coming out over the next few months, and I think we need to take a moment and obsess and fangirl about all of them together. So, without further ado, here’s some media that I just can’t wait to consume.

1.

The 1975’s new album, which comes out in November. I keep replaying the four singles they’ve already released because I think they’re pure gold. However, you can only replay four songs over and over for so long. I need my fix. Also, they’ve posted pictures and music videos on their YouTube account, and I’m here for it. Go check out the music videos right now, and start with TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME (this one’s my favorite)–yes that’s the actual name of the song.

2.

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is being released on Netflix on October 26 tomorrow!!). I’ve been watching Sabrina the Teenage Witch over again recently, and I can’t wait to see the more thriller-esque spin of one of my favorite shows. It’s also by the creators of Riverdale, so it’s got to be gooood. However, as a reader of the original comic as well, I’m a little nervous (as I was when Riverdale came out). However, I (so far) love who they cast as the characters, so we’ll see how I like it. I’ll report back when I’ve binge-watched the entire show over 48 hours, as one does.

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What new releases are you looking forward to listening to/reading/watching? Let me know in the comments, or come talk to me on Instagram @thegingerintrovert! I would love to hear any recommendations for awesome content you have as well!

XOXO

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10 Tips to Eat Healthier

Changing your daily eating habits can be difficult. That’s why I’ve shared some of my tips to kickstart a more healthy lifestyle!

Hello everyone!

I struggle with my nutrition and eating right so much. I have no problem motivating myself to get up and exercise most days, but for some reason, food has always sorta stumped me. I’ve wrestled with healthy eating choices for years, so I’ve developed some tricks along the way to make sure that I eat what I should… And not what I shouldn’t.

1.

Everybody always says that the ratio is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise, and I know through experience they’re right. If you don’t keep an eye of what you put into your body, the exercise may as well be futile. Keeping a food journal is a good way to start tracking what you eat. I’m not necessarily saying to count calories, but journaling helps you be more mindful of what you put into your body.

2.

Drink. Water. And lots of it. If anything, try to cut sugared drinks out completely. When I was in high school, I drank one to two Cokes a day after school. When I stopped and just drank water, I swear it made a huuuuge difference. Try to only have two or three sugary drinks a week. This goes for iced teas, sodas, and alcoholic drinks. Still want a refreshing drink for those last days of summer? Find a seltzer water you like, or infuse your water with fruit!

3.

Try not to have too many salty snacks as well, such as chips and things like that. Cut down on snacking on chips and cookies and other things like that, and choose things like fruit or hummus. A few handfuls of chips or crackers can easily turn into polishing the entire bag or box. Again, I know from experience, haha!

4.

Not all granola bars are made equal. Avoid bars that have less than 3% protein, because that’s the stuff that will make you feel full! If there’s even less than 4%, you will probably still feel hungry after you’ve eaten the thing.

5.

If you get a sugar craving or feel unnecessarily hungry soon after you’ve eaten, take a drink of water. Sometimes when our bodies are thirst or need water, the signal gets confused and translated into a craving.

6.

Find some superfoods you know your body and your tastebuds like. I’ve gotten into eating overnight oats and greek yogurt with fruit lately. I eat them at both breakfast and lunch most days because I like how they taste, they travel well, and they keep me feeling full so I don’t snack. Find a couple things like this you can switch throughout the week, so you won’t get tired of them.

7.

Figure out what your body runs best on. For me, I need lots of protein in order to feel fuller longer. For some others, I know carbohydrates are the thing their body needs to run right. Feel out what makes your body feel the best after you’ve eaten it! If that turns out to be pasta in small doses, so be it.

8.

Keep it balanced when you’re eating. Keep general portions in mind when you eat. I like trying to adhere to the old plate-pie chart: 50% proteins, 25% fruits/veggies, and 25% starch (mashed potatoes, chips, etc.).

9.

If you’re craving something, just have it. Have that cake, pie, chocolate, or whatever it may be. Just don’t let it turn into more than one portion. Set a goal for yourself that you’ll only have three or four sweet treats a week, and stick to it. That way, you look forward to those indulgences, but you also learn to set limits for yourself.

10.

I rely on Pinterest for healthy recipe ideas, as clichĂ© as that sounds! But it truly is such an amazing resource. When I’m just not feeling my go-to meals, I just search “healthy recipes” and thousands of options pop up. There’s something for everybody, and I find the Pinterest algorithm less intimidating than the deluge of information that comes with a Google search.

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I’m not a nutritionist. I am just a girl who tries her best to eat as healthily as possible, and I stumble and make mistakes frequently. And I mean it when I say frequently. Everybody is different! Do your research, and do what’s best for your body. And as always, know that when you slip up, that it’s not the end of the world. Just keep on going, and doing your best!

What are some of your favorite tricks to keep yourself on track and eating healthy? Let me know in the comments!

XOXO

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July 2018 Favorites!

Hello everyone!

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a favorites post! I have a lot of beauty and fashion bits and bobs I’ve been loving so far this summer, so I thought I would share them with you!

BEAUTY
Carmex Classic Medicated lip balm

I got this at Walmart for like a dollar and I swear I love it even more than the Glossier Balm Dot Com. Seriously, you can use it for everything, even on your cuticles. It feels so nice and hydrating on my lips, especially when they’re cracked (which is all the time).

Thayers witch hazel rose petal toner

This is honestly the best toner I have ever used. My skin can’t handle anything super harsh, so when it comes to toner I would typically stay away before. But since this formula has aloe vera and is alcohol-free, it is so gentle that it even feels refreshing when I use it after I cleanse my skin. The rose petal scent is also incredible and soothing, but not overly fragrant.

Neuma neuMoisture Instant Fix

I got a trial size of this in my Ipsy bag, and I fell in love with it instantly. It is natural and cruelty-free, and has done wonders for my hair. Every time I pop a little bit in my hair, it really does condition my hair! Sometimes products (even my long-time favorite Moroccan Oil!) can make me a little frizzy if I use it in the morning, b9ut that never happens with this product. This has been a lifesaver since I cut my hair, especially during the summer (aka prime frizz season). I’ve been using the 1.0 oz trial size for a month now, and it looks like I’ve only used a quarter of it! Gotta love that staying power.

Fashion
Bandana headbands

I have acquired quite a collection of bandanas and handkerchiefs, primarily from Target. They are so easy to pair with a simple t-shirt and pair of jeans when I want to add a pop of color. They’re super cute, and they keep my hair out of my eyes! Here is one of the ones I could find online.

Tiny drop earrings

Unfortunately, I can’t link these exact earrings because I got them at the shore at a little local boutique, but I’ve been wearing these cute little guys constantly. They’re super cute and simple, and that’s been so me this summer. Not too fussy, just stylishly simple.

Forever 21 Camo T-shirt dress

The t-shirt dress is one of my all-time favorite things to wear because they are so easy to throw on, but they are always cute and stylish. This camo dress is no exception! At first I wasn’t sure about the camo print…it’s not my usual style, but I couldn’t pass up the price. Once I wore it for the first time, I was hooked! It is so comfy and soft, and easy to pair with a denim jacket, sandals, or converse. Easily the cutest and easiest outfit of the summer. My only piece of advice is to size up in this dress, so that it’s long and baggy enough for you!

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What beauty products and pieces of clothing have you guys been loving this summer? Let me know in the comments, and

XOXO

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Summer Beach Reads!

Hello everyone!

There was a little bit of confusion last week when this post went up when I had scheduled to write and post it for the next week. WordPress gliched and posted this without any text (eep!), but here I am! Back again! I’m sorry about that, everyone!

My goal every summer is to find the best, quickest beach read. As a literature major, I spend all school year reading classic novels and poetry. So, when I’m on vacation, I want a breezy read I can chomp through in one day on the beach. I’ve found a few titles I’ve been loving, so I thought I would share them with you!

The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks

This was the first book I picked up for the summer. A sequel to The Notebook, it is narrated by Allie and Noah’s son in law,Wilson. The book chronicles Wilson’s efforts to romance his wife, Jane, again after forgetting his 29th anniversary. I thought it was a sweet read. In my opinion, it was exactly what you would expect a Sparks novel to be: sappy, dramatic, with a happy ending. Overall? I thought it was a delightful story for the plane ride to California.

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

This book was fascinating. I picked this up at the beach after all the ladies on The Sassy Club’s Facebook page were raving about it. They were so right. I couldn’t put this book down. The main character, Alice, suffers from amnesia, and loses ten years of memory. She goes from being a married 29 year old pregnant woman to a soon-to-be-divorced 39 year old mom of three. As she discovers the realities of the past ten years, I was completely sucked into her story. I feel like everyone has been raving about Liane Moriarty lately, but there is good reason for the buzz. Her writing style is completely engrossing. I think I’m going to pick up Big Little Lies next!

Any book by Elin Hilderbrand 

I found her book Beautiful Day for free at a public library when I visited California, and read most of it on the plane back home. I’ve since picked up a couple more of her books at the library near my house, and I’ve enjoyed each one I’ve read so far. She has written so many novels, and with no end in sight, she always has a new release you can pick up and read.

A Cat in the Stacks mystery series by Miranda James

I started the first novel, Murder Past Due, and though I’m not too far, I think that the story so far is gripping! The main character is a librarian, and so of course, as the daughter of two librarians, this is an interesting pick. Both of my parents have actually been reading this series this summer, and introduced me to the books. I know they have been enjoying these books, so they’re librarian recommended as well haha 🙂 If you like a good mystery to read on the beach, as opposed to a romance, I would recommend this series!

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These are three of my recommendations, but I have been posting on Instagram a lot of my picks, as well! I try to take bi-weekly trips to my public library, and I’ve been finding lots of good stuff there as well. As the daughter of librarians, I feel I must also say… Remember, save your money and visit your local library for your next beach read!

XOXO

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How do you start working out?

Have you been wanting to start your fitness journey, but don’t know where to start? I give you my best tips that helped me stick to a healthy lifestyle!

Hello everyone!

If you’ve never really exercised much before and you want to start, I know from personal experience how daunting it may seem. I’ve written before about my weight loss journey (read more about how I lost 70 pounds), but I don’t think I’ve ever posted about how to start your fitness journey. Here are some of my tips and recommendations on how to just jump into your fitness journey, no matter your fitness level!

Starting off…

It’s a good idea to start slow. Something manageable that you can easily fit into your day and can even enjoy. For me, it was yoga videos on YouTube. Just something to get your blood moving, and to start building a habit. I heard it takes 21 days to break a habit, so try going for 21 days exercising either every other day, or even aim for three times a week. You don’t need to train like an Olympian to start a healthy lifestyle, just take it easy. One step at a time.

So tomorrow?

Wake up, and pick a YouTube video that is 10-20 minutes long. Here are a couple of my favorites, but feel free to use anything on YouTube you want to try!

Tone It Up

When I first lost the weight, TIU was what I used every day. They had (and still have!) a daily schedule that I would follow, but you don’t have to do that if you don’t want to. Go at your own pace and take everything with a grain of salt. However, I liked having someone else create a schedule that I could follow when I didn’t know what I was doing. If you do use their “Daily Schedule,” right now TIU has an app called “Studio TIU” that they advertise on there for. Whatever workout they say to use Studio TIU for, look up on YouTube. They have SO MANY fantastic workout videos on YouTube, that you will never need to pay for their app. Here’s the link to their Daily Schedule if that’s a resource you would be interested in: https://my.toneitup.com/pages/daily-workout-1 The web page updates every day, and I have it saved on the hope screen on my phone to refer to, because I still do their workouts every day.

Blogilates

This is a great YT channel because most of the workouts are a good balance between easier exercises and harder ones. That, and they’re always pretty short and easy to fit into your day. Cassey, the founder of Blogilates and who leads most of the workouts, has a wonderful energy and makes the workouts fun, which is what you want! Make the workouts fun, and you’ll start enjoying exercising before you know it.

These are just two of my favorite channels, but there are so many great videos online that you can use as a resource! Just click around and find one you like, and do it. And the next day, repeat. If you liked yesterday’s video, do it again! If you hated it, pick something else that looks intriguing.

Of course, YouTube is just one option! Go for a walk, take a class at a local fitness studio or gym, research how to get into running, go for a hike. Do anything that sounds good to you, and figure out what works best for your personality and body!

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Do you have any tips and tricks of your own? I would love to hear your fitness hacks if you have any! And if you’re just starting your fitness journey? You can do this! I hope this post helped you 🙂

XOXO

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My Streaming Watch List

Need Netflix, Hulu, or Prime recommendations? I got you!

Hello everyone!

Everybody loves a good watch list, right? I got a free trial for Hulu recently, so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to share what I’ve been streaming so far this summer. There is always plenty to enjoy, but here are some of the picks I’m looking forward to watching the most for the rest of the summer!

Hulu
Love Island

All of the British vloggers I follow are obsessed with this show, and almost an entire “Keeping it Candid” podcast episode was dedicated to this show. After I listened to that recent episode on a long drive, I figured I had to see what all the fuss was about. I’ve only watched a couple episodes of the recent season, but it seems like the British equivalent to “Bachelor in Paradise.”

Full House

Almost everyone in my generation grew up watching Full House reruns. My family never got the channels that aired Full House, so I only saw a couple episodes here and there during my childhood. I’m taking full advantage of the opportunity to catch up on a missed opportunity during my childhood!

Netflix
Nailed It

This show was recommended to my fiancĂ© and me by my cousin, and it is so so much fun to watch on a lazy day together!! The whole concept of the show is regular people try to bake those crazy cakes you see going viral on Facebook, and they almost always completely fail in the most hilarious ways. Honestly, they’re so relatable, because baking isn’t my strong suit either!

Moana

Everyone has been so wild for this movie, and I still haven’t seen it yet! One of these nights Tanner and I have to just sit down and watch this together just so I can experience the music and understand the references!

Amazon Prime
The Marvelous Mrs. Mazel

I’ve already finished this amazing series, and I can’t recommend it more! If you haven’t heard of this series yet, it was created by the amazing Amy Sherman-Palladino (aka the creator of Gilmore Girls). Just because of that, you know it has to be amazing. Mrs. Maisel is such a fun character, so strong, so hilarious. She is so much fun to watch, and I keep crossing my fingers for season 2 to come out!

Monk

This is an old old family favorite, but because of its availability on Prime, I get to watch it with my fiancĂ© as well. It is one of the funniest murder mystery shows out there… in my humble opinion!

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So much to watch, so little time! What have you guys been watching this summer? Let me know what your favorites are down in the comments!

XOXO

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