FRIDAY FAVORITES – EP 3

Friday Favorites

It’s time for another edition of Friday Favorites here on Southern Lights! I think this will be geared towards my workplace/desk favorites and while I don’t have a TON to talk about, I still wanted to pop on here and share some of the things that I have been loving this week (and beyond)!

AELEC S350 Bluetooth Headphones ($24): I recently (ish) went on a trip to Memphis to visit my cousin and decided to purchase these headphones for the flight so I didn’t have to carry my big Beats with me. I’ve never had wireless headphones and thought I’d start with a more affordable pair to see if I liked them before (potentially) purchasing a higher end pair. Well, the verdict is in…and I love them! Let me be honest, there are just some day at the office where I need a pick me up to get me to quittin’ time and I find that these are discreet and easy to wear while at work. They are also great for working out; I used to hate when my cord would get stuck in the equipment at the gym…but now, I don’t have to worry about that! If you are considering wireless headphones, I definitely think these are a nice option that don’t break the bank!

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Unwritten Fools Podcast (and blog): Shameless plug alert…this is my boyfriend’s (David) podcast and since he courageously defended my honor on last night’s episode after I was bombarded with hateful nonsense because of my take on the Beauty & the Beast remake, I thought it was time that Unwritten Fools get a proper shoutout on the blog! He and his friend Alec host this witty and (sometimes) charming podcast talking all things movies, TV and music! So if you’re in the market for something new and are looking for a humorous dialogue between two strapping young lads, then I think you should give this a try! If you take a listen, let me know what you think!

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Workplace Playlist: From time to time I need to zone out while I’m at the office and this is my go-to playlist. It has everything from R&B to country and instantly makes me a happier human! All of these songs immediately put me in the best mood, and well, sometimes you just need a little pick-me up to get through the day!

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The Happy Planner ($29.99): I don’t know about y’all, but I absolutely HAVE to have a planner in order to keep my life organized. I’m one of those people that loves lists, colorful markers, bullet points and fancy stickers to remind me that it’s someone’s birthday, and this planner delivers all that and then some! I bought an Erin Condren planner a couple of years ago and really liked it but thought it was too expensive for what it was, so I went searching for a replacement and stumbled upon My Happy Planner and thought I would give it a try…and boy am I glad that I did. It’s pretty much the same concept but at a much lower price point! If you’re a planner person and are in the market for something new, check out Me And My Big Ideas and see if it’s something that could work for you!

Like I said, I know I didn’t have much, but I wanted to share the things that have been getting me through the work week (it’s been a looooooong one). What are your favorites for making work more tolerable, I’d love to know!

-B

 

THURSDAY THOUGHTS!

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Happy Friday Eve friends! We’ve almost made it to the weekend; just one more day, we can do it! I don’t know what the weather is like in other parts of the world but It’s a gloomy day here in Georgia; lots of clouds and lots of rain. I thought I’d jump on here and share my thoughts about a few products (and a TV show) that I have been testing out for few weeks!

* L’Oréal Infallible Blend Artist Foundation Sponge ($7.99):  I really, really love this sponge! It’s soft, blends foundation & concealer seamlessly, and doesn’t soak up too much product! I have read some reviews that complain of tears in the sponge after 1-3 washes, but so far I haven’t had that experience. Either way, for the $7.99 price point, I certainly think this is worth a try!

* Mario Badescu Anti Acne Serum ($20): I have been using this product for a week or so now and I absolutely LOVE it! It’s gentle, soothing, and doesn’t dry out my skin AT ALL (which is a miracle)! This serum claims to not irritate already erupted skin…and guess what…THAT CLAIM IS TRUE!!! Besides not drying out or irritating my skin, it really has helped to calm everything down and eliminate blemishes and the redness associated with them. It’s truly the most gentle acne product I have ever used and I definitely think it’s worth the money. I will absolutely, without a doubt repurchase this once I run out!

* Benefit Cosmetics – It’s Potent! Eye Cream ($34): Unfortunately this product just didn’t work for me. It dried out and burned my under eyes, and caused a pretty little rash that lasted for a couple of days. To be fair, I have incredibly sensitive skin and think that those of you who don’t would probably really enjoy this product. I had my boyfriend test it out and he really liked it. He said it was soothing and he didn’t have any trouble with it irritating his skin…it’s not Benefit, it’s me (shocker).

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* 21 Day Fix: I mentioned a few posts back that I had recently cancelled my Sweat With Kayla membership and started using BeachBody on Demand. I’m currently in my second week of the 21 Day Fix and I love it. If you’re thinking of trying out this workout program, just know that the Total Body Cardio Fix is the WORST. I literally felt like I was having a heart attack….don’t worry, I survived. So if you’re on this journey with me and you get discouraged after day 1 (regardless of the program you’re doing); just stick with it, it will get easier, I promise! And of course I will keep you posted as I progress further through the program!

* One Tree Hill: David and I just finished season 1 and the only feeling that I have surrounding the show is frustration. The first half of the season was great while the second half made me want to rip my hair out. Let me be clear, I don’t dislike the show, I’m just someone who needs at least ONE person/couple to be functioning at a semi-high level so that I don’t end up hating every single character. I don’t know if you feel the same, but it’s hard for me to root for characters that are ALL messing up at the same time. In any case, I will take a couple of days off and jump back in after I have time to deal with my feelings! I mean honestly, how did Nathan & Haley get married after the basketball game? Who signed off on this? I need answers. Ugh. Lol.

Thank you (1)

While I have you all here I just want to say Thank You and that I appreciate all of the love and support you guys have shown me here on the blog! I love interacting with all of you and hope to connect even more in the near future! I hope all of you are having a wonderful Friday Eve and have a lovely weekend planned wherever you are!

-B

BE THE LIGHT!

Be the Light

Something has been on my heart a lot lately and I thought I would pop on here and share my thoughts. Let me start by saying that I know not everyone follows the same religion and I know some people aren’t religious at all…and that’s okay! I think everyone has a right to believe in whatever they want to believe in; with that being said, I do think that we should all try and being loving individuals that care about others. Why must we constantly tear people down because they don’t believe in the same things that we believe in? Why must we spew hurtful and hateful rhetoric towards those that choose to live a different way than we do? I’m not saying that we always have to agree with each other’s lifestyle choices, but we certainly don’t have to condemn one another for them either. In Matthew, the Lord asks us to be the light for all to see, how can we possibly be a light for anyone if we are constantly tearing each other down?

I challenge everyone to think before they judge someone based on their circumstances or lifestyle choices; just because someone doesn’t see things as we see them, doesn’t mean they are wrong. I’m not perfect, and I certainly would never claim to be, but I do my best. I try and listen without judgement and offer advice in the most loving way I know how. As a Christian, I want (and strive) to love people the way that Jesus loves me, unconditionally and without reservation. I hope that my light shines bright and that people feel they can trust and confide in me regardless of my beliefs. I guess I’m just hoping that we can learn to love one another despite our differences and that people are able to live happy, healthy, full lives!

-B

THIS OR THAT TAG!

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Hello everyone! I am really dragging on this Wednesday morning but I wanted to get something up for you guys anyway! I have received a number of requests to do a recovery update post and I will get to that, I promise. But for now, given the current state of my brain I thought I would do something a little lighter! Yesterday I was scrolling through published posts and came across a This or That Tag written by BeaFree and thought it looked fun…so let’s just jump right in! P.S. I might have added a few extra questions at the end to keep the fun going! 🙂

MAKEUP

  1. Blush or Bronzer: Bronzer for sure! I’m terribly pale and need a little help!
  2. Lip Gloss or Lipstick: Lip Gloss, really more like lip balm! As much as I try to dive into lipsticks (liquid lips, mattes, satins, etc.), I just always end up feeling annoyed and wiping it off.
  3. Eyeliner or Mascara: Mascara, hands down. I only wear eyeliner on SPECIAL occasions, but mascara is an absolute MUST for me.
  4. Foundation or Concealer: Ooo, tough call. Probably concealer because I can get by with using it as a pseudo-foundation if I had too!
  5. Neutral Eyeshadow or Colorful Eyeshadow: Neutrals all the way. I’m not cool enough to pull off colorful shadows. Lol.
  6. Pressed Eyeshadow or Loose Eyeshadow: Pressed for sure. I’m such a klutz, I can’t even manage to handle a loose setting powder, I would destroy loose eyeshadows for sure.
  7. Brushes or Sponges: I mean, can I say both?! I use a blending sponge for foundation and concealer, but I use a brush for bronzer/blush/highlight…I can’t choose!

NAILS

  1. Long or Short: Relatively speaking, I like them on the shorter side. I think long(ish) nails are pretty but I feel weird and have trouble doing everyday tasks when my nails are long. I mean come on…how do you button your pants and pick up change off of a table when your nails are long? If you have the answers, please teach me your ways.
  2. Acrylic or Natural: If it’s a special occasion I might spring for acrylics, but 99% of the time I just go natural. Acrylics are beautiful, but they absolutely wreck my nails and oftentimes I don’t think they’re worth the hassle.
  3. Bright Colors or Dark Colors: I like both, it just depends on my mood. In the fall and winter I typically stick to darker colors; but in the spring and summer I’m willing to play with some brighter shades!
  4. Flower or No Flower: Ummm, I don’t even really know what this means. I’m guessing it’s asking if I like a flower design on my nails…(correct me if I’m wrong)…so I would say NO flower!

BODY

  1. Perfume or Body Splash: I guess it depends on where I’m going and what I’m doing, but I typically prefer a perfume.
  2. Lotion or Body Butter: Body butter for sure. I think I’ve mentioned before how I have skin that resembles that of an alligator; I need all the help and hydration I can get. I find that a body butter does a better job of keeping my skin hydrated for a longer period of time than a traditional lotion does!
  3. Body Wash or Soap: Body wash. Am I the only person who feels like soap leaves their skin feeling tight and dry?!?!
  4. Lush or Another Company: Eh, I guess I use Bath & Body Works the most of any company; I don’t really use products from Lush, I’ve tried a couple of things and liked them fine, but it was never enough to keep me going back for more. To be honest, I have a really sensitive stomach and the smell of the Lush store actually makes me nauseated. It’s kind of like Yankee Candle, I think there’s just too much (scent wise) in one place! With that being said, I would like to try some of their fun bath bombs. 🙂

FASHION

  1. Jeans or Sweats: Sweats…100% of the time.
  2. Long Sleeve or Short Sleeve: It really just depends on the circumstances (weather, event, etc.)!
  3. Long Dresses or Skirts: Neither…but if I HAD to choose, probably long dresses!
  4. Stripes or Plaid: I like both but I own more plaid!
  5. Flip Flops or Sandals: Sandals for sure!
  6. Scarves or Hats: I am the scarf queen!
  7. Studs or Dangly Earrings: I don’t really wear earrings because one of my holes closed up…but I would choose studs.
  8. Necklace or Bracelet: Bracelets!
  9. Heels or Flats: I like both, but for sheer comfort reasons, I’ll go with flats!
  10. Cowboy Boots or Riding Boots: I like both, but I wear riding boots far more often.
  11. Jackets or Hoodies: Hoodies! They’re just so cozy!

HAIR

  1. Curly or Straight: Both, but I wear it straight more often.
  2. Bun or Ponytail: Bun. Ponytails frustrate me.
  3. Bobby Pins or Butterfly Clips: Definitely bobby pins!
  4. Hair Spray or Gel: Hair spray!
  5. Long or Short: Long!
  6. Light or Dark: Dark!
  7. Side Swept Bangs or Full Bangs: I’m not really a bang person, they don’t flatter my face at all; but if I had to have them, I’d go with side swept!
  8. Up or Down: Up, usually in a low side bun. As much as I like my hair down, I have too much hair to keep it that way for long.

RANDOM

  1. Rain or Shine: Shine…unless I really need a day to catch up on sleep, then I’ll welcome the rain!
  2. Summer or Winter: Summer…duh!
  3. Spring or Fall: Fall, it’s my favorite season!
  4. Chocolate or Vanilla: DEFINITELY chocolate!!
  5. Backstreet Boys or *NSYNC: BSB for LIFE!!
  6. Coca-Cola or Pepsi: Coca-Cola duh! FILA
  7. Cake or Pie: I like them both equally. I like my moms chocolate cake and I like a slice of pie every now and then, but I think I like cupcakes the most. They’re smaller and less of a commitment. Is that weird? Probably.
  8. Sephora or ULTA: Well, I love them both, obviously; but if I had to choose one, I’d go with ULTA.
  9. Being Hot or Cold: I HATE being cold, so I’d definitely say hot. I live in the south so hot weather and excessive humidity doesn’t bother me at all.
  10. Apple or Android: Apple! Not sure I could ever leave my iPhone/iPad behind.
  11. East Coast or West Coast: East Coast for sure.
  12. North or South: South…more specifically, the Southeast!
  13. Books or Magazines: Magazines!
  14. Hot Fudge or Caramel: Hot Fudge!
  15. Sunrise or Sunset: Sunset…swoon.
  16. Apples or Bananas: Bananas.
  17. Baseball or Basketball: Baseball (but I still love my Hawks)! Go Braves!
  18. Football or Hockey: Football! Go Falcons! WarDamn!

Thank you so much for reading and playing along, I know this was kind of long! What are some of your preferences, I’d love to know!

-B

 

MINI DRUGSTORE HAUL!

Good morning friends! I had to make a (sometimes) dreaded trip to Wal-Mart this weekend for groceries but found myself in the beauty department to help ease the pain and thought I would share a little mini haul with you guys!

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* Dr. Teal’s Foaming Bath – Coconut Oil ($4.87): I’m a sucker for a nice bath (especially after working out) and I absolutely love the Dr. Teal’s line. It makes for a luxurious soak while also helping my sore muscles. It’s win win!

* Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail Polish – Smartease ($9.99): I have been on the hunt for a good pink nail polish for the upcoming spring and summer months and decided to give the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in Smartease a try. I like the brush that comes with these polishes and while it doesn’t stay on my nails SUPER long, I still enjoy the color payoff and continue to buy them anyway!

* Maybelline Lasting Drama Waterproof Gel Pencil – Glazed Toffee ($7.99): I have been on the hunt for a good brown eyeliner for months and have been unable to find one that I like. All of the ones I have tried have been too difficult to work with and they NEVER stay on my waterline. I decided to give this one a try; fingers crossed I have better luck…I’ll keep you posted!

* Maybelline Lipstudio Color Jolt – Stripped Down ($9.99): I absolutely LOVE this lip product; it’s a divine mauvey-pinky nude and the color payoff is simply amazing. I think this shade suits and flatters my skin tone nicely, and while it’s not the most long-wearing lip product on the market, it’s insanely comfortable on the lips; and for me, that’s the most important thing!

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* L’oreal Infalliable Foundation Blender ($7.99): I’ve had a lot of people reach out to me and ask my thoughts on the L’oreal foundation sponge so I thought I would pick it up and give it a try. I have used the Beautyblender as well as the Real Techniques sponge and love them both so I am interested to see how this compares! As soon as I break it out and give it a go, I will let you know my thoughts! Stay tuned!

* Simple Replenishing Rich Moisture Lotion ($9.99): This is one of my all-time favorite facial moisturizers. It’s gentle and doesn’t break me out…which for me, is a miracle! I find that it gives me ample moisture without leaving me looking like a greaseball. I will say, If you have oily skin, this might make you a little too dewy, but if you have normal to dry skin, I think this would work nicely for you!

* Maybelline Fit Me Concealer – Fair ($6.99): This is my everyday concealer; It’s affordable and does a good job of hiding those pesky under eye circles. It’s not extremely thick so it never leaves me feeling cakey. With that being said, it’s not the most full-coverage concealer I’ve ever used, so if you’re looking for a legitimate full coverage product, I would recommend Tarte’s Shape Tape Concealer; it’s not drugstore, but it’s worth the splurge for sure!

Have you guys purchased any new or holy-grail products recently, I’d love to know!

-B

TALE AS OLD AS TIME

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I finally went and saw Beauty & the Beast this weekend; I know, I know, I’m late. I’m sure those of you who wanted to see it have already made a trip to the theatre; but for those of you who are on the fence, I’m here to (hopefully) offer you some perspective. If you enjoyed the original film, then I think it’s worth seeing. However if you don’t care for fairy tails, then you should probably sit this one out.

The Beast

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Emma Watson and Dan Stevens star in this live-action remake of the 1991 Disney Classic, and overall, I thought the movie was solid; slightly underwhelming but still good enough for me to see again. Beauty & the Beast was one of my favorite Disney movies as a kid, and I think my expectations were a wee bit too high walking into the theatre. I may have put it on a pedestal that wasn’t reachable, either way, I still enjoyed it! The special effects were incredible (no surprise here) and I absolutely loved the Beast. I think the writers did an incredible job of softening him up just enough to where the budding romance between he and Belle became more believable (at least to me). As for Belle, when the casting of Emma Watson was announced, I was thrilled. I didn’t think there was a better option anywhere; and while I still think that’s probably true, It took me longer to warm up to her than I thought it would and I was a little underwhelmed with her performance (specifically in the beginning). Belle is known for being beautiful, quirky and incredibly sweet. Unfortunately, in the opening scene (and throughout the first half-ish), Emma fell flat in delivering the sweetness and quirkiness that make Belle who she is. With that being said, I think she hit her stride about midway through and I ended up liking her just fine. In fact, I thought all of the casting was great!

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My favorite scene was probably “Be Our Guest” (Gaston’s pub scene was also great)! It was colorful, exciting, fun and full of life. Of course I also love when Belle and the Beast have their enchanting moment…(“tale as old as time, true as it can be, barely even friends, then somebody bends, unexpectedly”)…swoon! Emma Watson looked absolutely stunning as Belle; and The Beast, despite his outward appearance, comes off as sweet and soft. You can see his heart changing right before your eyes; and call me a sap, but it’s just the best!

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I read a lot of reviews that thought the added scenes were irrelevant and bothersome; however, I don’t feel the same. I thought the scene where the Beast takes Belle to Paris so she can learn more about her mom was sweet. I don’t think it was necessary, but it certainly didn’t bother me. The one thing that was a bit off for me was LeFou (please don’t hate me for saying that). His character just didn’t work for me. I can’t really explain it, it just didn’t feel authentic; It felt more childish and jokey than I thought it should for being a live-action film. I also heard people say that they didn’t like the casting of Gaston or Maurice, to which I disagree. I thought Luke Evans and Kevin Kline did a great job portraying their respective characters. Gaston was still the smug, chauvinistic, rude villain that we are accustomed to, and Maurice was eccentric and humble; I thought both characters were well represented and helped carry the movie in times when the story fell flat. While the Beast was my favorite character in the movie, Mrs. Potts, Chip, Lumiere, Cogsworth, Philippe and the whole Castle crew were just as lovely. Emma Thompson was the PERFECT person to play Mrs. Potts, I mean honestly, don’t you just love her?!?!

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So despite feeling slightly underwhelmed as I walked out of the theatre, the Disney remake still gave me that swoon-worthy feeling I get every time I watch the original. I can’t help but smile when Belle and the Beast have their enchanting moment on the dance floor, it certainly fills my heart with more happiness and love than I thought a movie ever could!

Have you seen the movie? What were your thoughts? Did you love it? Hate it? Fall somewhere in the middle? Let me know!

-B

MY SEPHORA WISHLIST!

In the spirt of Sephora’s VIB/VIB Rouge Sale that’s going on until April 24th, I thought I would share some of the things that are on my wishlist!

MAKEUP/PRIMERS

* Benefit Cosmetics Cheek Parade ($58): I’m all for a palette that includes multiple products, and this certainly appears to fit the criteria. It includes their famous Hoola Bronzer and Dandelion Blush and looks perfect for the upcoming summer months!

* Diorskin Nude BB Crème ($45): In the summer I enjoy wearing tinted moisturizers and BB/CC Creams more than a full foundation. I’ve heard great reviews about this product and thought now would be a good time to give it a try!

* Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder ($23-38): I’m probably the ONLY person in the world that hasn’t tried this powder. I typically use pressed powder as I tend to get loose powders everywhere…and I mean EVERYWHERE. I’m always knocking them off of my vanity and the sight of that beautiful expensive powder all over my floor infuriates me to no end. However, I think it’s time for me to give this “holy grail” product a try!

* Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer ($19-75): I received a sample of this primer in a recent Sephora order and I LOVED it. It was so smooth and luxurious and now I feel like I NEED to give it a try!

* Cane + Austin Prime & Protect Mattifying Primer ($56): With the summer months right around the corner, I am in the market for a more mattifying primer. I tend to get really oily in the t-zone (especially in the summer) and have (what I consider) alligator-like skin around the perimeter of my face (neat). I have heard that this does a good job of keeping the oil under control so I thought I might give it a try!

* Huda Beauty Rose Gold Eyeshadow Palette ($65): Ugh, this palette is STILL sold out. Every time I go on Sephora to peruse, it’s NEVER in stock…oh well. I get it. Look at those colors. The shimmer shades are S-T-U-N-N-I-N-G, I just can’t resist.

* Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain ($14): I’ve seen a few YouTubers review these cream lip stains and they look beautiful on the lips. I think shades #13 (Marvelous Mauve) & 41 (Vintage Rosewood) will be the first 2 that I try out!

SKINCARE

* Rosebud Perfume Co. Tropical Ambrosia Lip Balm ($7): I have the Rosebud Salve in the pot and I absolutely love it, so I figured why not give the Tropical Ambrosia lip balm a try. I mean come on, who wouldn’t want their lips to smell like mangos and coconuts?!?! I know I sure would!

* Fresh Rose Face Mask ($25-62): I received this as my birthday gift from Sephora last year and let me just say, I L-O-V-E it. I have extremely sensitive skin and oftentimes have trouble finding face masks that work for me. This does a great job of hydrating and soothing angry, irritated skin and I would HIGHLY recommend this product to just about everyone!

* Josie Maran Whipped Mud Mask – Hydrating & Detoxifying Treatment ($48): I love the Josie Maran line and use the Argan Oil when my face needs a little extra hydration so I thought this mask might be a winner! As I mentioned above, I have trouble finding face masks that don’t irritate my skin but this is said to be gentle and nourishing, I guess we’ll see.

FRAGRANCE

* Chanel Coco Mademoiselle ($72-124): This is my all-time favorite scent. It is  truly DIVINE. I’ve gotten this every year on my birthday for the past 3 years (thanks to Ameera and my mama!) and it’s about that time yet again. I can’t really explain it, it’s sexy, luxurious, and sweet (but not too sweet) and I urge you to go smell it if you haven’t! Swoon.

* Yves Saint Laurent Mon Paris ($29-122): I purchased this for my mom for Christmas and I have since fallen in love with it! It’s a modern floral (but not too floral) scent that is laced with creamy white musk and patchouli. I’m hoping to add this gem to my collection ASAP!

So those are all of the products I’ve been eyeing for the last few months; I will probably bite the bullet and pick up a few of them while the VIB/VIB Rouge sale is still going on. What’s on your Sephora wishlist? Have you tried any of the products mentioned above? Did you love them? Hate them? I’d love to know!

-B

FRIDAY FAVORITES!

Happy Friday, folks! We finally made it! I thought it was time to do another Friday Favorites here on the blog! So let’s just jump right in!

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One Tree Hill: I know, I know, I’m late (shocker). David and I just finished Friday Night Lights (I was obsessed and talk all about my thoughts here) and decided we needed something new to fill our time. He (and his sister, Alex) had seen One Tree Hill and thought I might like it (right again, so far) so I decided to give it a try. I’m only about half(ish) way through the first season and my initial thoughts are that it reminds me of Dawson’s Creek, which for me, isn’t a bad thing. It’s chalk full of teenage, high school angst and well, it leaves me feeling nostalgic! (So far) I love Lucas (swoon), Peyton, Haley, Keith, Karen and Deb. Brooke is getting better, Nathan has his moments, and Dan is just the literal worst! I can’t wait to see how thing play out. I’ll keep you posted as I go!

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21 Day FixI recently decided to cancel my Sweat with Kayla membership and start utilizing Beachbody on demand; and I must say, I’m much happier. There was nothing wrong with Sweat with Kayla and if you are someone that has the drive to do those workouts, then I applaud you! I don’t know what the issue was, but I just couldn’t stay motivated to open the app and do the workouts (it wasn’t her, it was me). So I’ve recently started the 21 Day Fix program and I love it. It’s 30 minutes a day and has an approved foods list that makes the nutrition piece very easy to follow. Beachbody on demand offers more variety due to the multiple programs they offer which (for me) always keeps me coming back for more. If my body is fatigued I can just choose a less grueling workout instead of skipping a day all together.

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Braves Baseball: Well the Braves might not be very good, but I don’t care. I’m just happy that baseball is back. Freddie has had an incredible start to the season; he’s hitting .407 with 6 HR and 8 RBIs and set a franchise record on Wednesday night by reaching base safely in 12 consecutive plate appearances! Matt Kemp has been on the DL for the past week (or so) but rejoined the team last night for the series finale against the Nationals; he went 0-4 with 3 Ks but I’m sure he’ll find his groove in no time…and if I’m being honest, I’m just glad to have him back! Ender Inciarte has certainly turned things around (like I said he would!) and is hitting .234 with 4 HR (more than he had all of last year) and 7 RBIs. Dansby is still struggling to get going but I’m hoping by next month he’ll hit his stride. Our pitching is fine; Teheran got lit up in his last start, but I’m not worried. Folty looked better in his last game against Washington (on Tuesday), pitching 7 innings and only giving up 5 H and 2 ER. Dickey has settled in nicely and Colon was back to his usual self in his last start. So while there are (still) some things that need work, it’s not all bad! And as I’ve said before, win or lose, I’ll love them just the same. Go Braves!

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Sun Bleached Denim Candle by DW Home: This smells A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! I’m a sucker for a masculine candle and this does not disappoint. I found mine at Marshalls around Christmas time but found their website and linked it above. If you love the beach and a  masculine scent, then this candle is for you!

Do you have any daily, weekly, or monthly favorites you think I should try? Let me know!

-B

MINI ULTA HAUL!

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Good morning friends, I picked up a few things from ULTA the other day and I thought I’d share a little mini haul with you guys! My skin has been misbehaving, I realized I was running low on my favorite (mineral) concealer, and I had a 20% off (for my full order) coupon so I thought this would be a good time to peruse their website! And as always, I will try and link everything that I purchased below!

* bareMinerals Concealer ($20): I picked up my concealer in their lightest shade, Bisque. I really only use this a spot concealer for blemishes or random red marks (am I the only one that gets those??) and I find that it covers nicely! It never looks cakey on my skin and stays put all day! I will say, if you have a lighter skin tone than I do, the lightest shade will probably be a tad too dark for you (at least in the winter months).

* Mario Badescu Drying Lotion ($17): I have actually never tried the Mario Badescu drying lotion but have tried similar products from different brands. As I mentioned above, my skin has been slightly more angry with me than usual so I thought I would pick this up and give it try. I have heard really great things about it and will keep you posted on my thoughts!

* Mario Badescu Anti Acne Serum ($20): Like the drying lotion above, I have never tried the Anti Acne Serum from this line either. I have used other Mario Badescu products and had zero complaints (for the most part) so I thought I’d give this a chance. It claims to prevent acne eruptions (Ewww, I hate that word) before they start. You are supposed to apply a thin layer over the acne-prone areas of your skin every night. It also states that it will not irritate erupted or sensitive skin (this really drew me in). I have insanely sensitive skin (honestly, it’s ridiculous), so anything that is marketed for my skin type is going in my basket! I have only used this once and I can say that it definitely didn’t dry out or irritate my skin in any way; it was actually very soothing (at least for me)! I’ll keep you posted on my thoughts as I continue to use it more!

* Clinique Happy Gelato Cream ($35): I received this as a Christmas gift and I absolutely fell in LOVE! The Berry Blush scent is by far my favorite and I love applying it after I get out of the shower! It absorbs quickly, smells amazing and leaves me feeling all types of luxurious. This is my second tub and I will definitely continue to repurchase this item! If you like Clinique Happy and live near an ULTA, I urge you to go and smell these guys, you won’t be disappointed!

* Too Faced Primed & Poreless Pressed Powder ($30): I have talked about this powder on my blog before and I must say, I still love it. I go back and forth between this and the IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Powder ($29). I think it does a good job of controlling my oily T-Zone while not drying out the (already dry) alligator skin I have on the outer perimeter (and cheeks) of my face. It doesn’t look cakey and it does a good job of blurring those pesky pores. I know finishing powders are different for everyone and what might work for me might be a nightmare for someone else. However, if you’re in the market and haven’t given this a try, maybe you can go to an ULTA store and see if it’s worth a shot!

Have you guys tried anything new lately? Makeup? Skincare? Nail Polish? Let me know below if there’s anything that I absolutely HAVE to try!

-B

CLEAR EYES, FULL HEARTS, CAN’T LOSE!

Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose. I just finished Friday Night Lights and I must say, it’s one the best shows I’ve ever seen. It is set in the small fictional town of Dillon, Texas and addresses many issues that plague our society today (i.e., abortion, family values, school funding, race relations, lack of economic opportunity, drug use, etc.,). The writers do a good job of creating characters that are relatable and loveable, despite their (sometimes) glaring flaws. While the show is loosely based on football, it is about much more than that. It is about family, faith, friendship and a sense of belonging.

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Families are tested, football is played, and lives are truly changed in a small Texas town that exudes charm and community. Coach Taylor and his wife, Tami are loved and revered by many, and in my (humble) opinion are the backbone of the show. Coach Taylor is firm but fair, and is said to be a “molder of men.” While he is brusque and tough on the football field, he is loving and kind towards his family and would do anything to ensure that they want and need for nothing. The love he has for his wife is unmatched and he would go to the ends of the earth to make her happy, which in this case is Philadelphia, PA. For 18 years, Tami Taylor has happily (for the most part) supported her husband’s dream of being a high school football coach; and while she is happy being a wife and a mom, she has dreams of her own. She is a remarkable high school counselor and will stop at nothing to ensure that her students believe in themselves and get the opportunities they so deserve. She never views any of her students as a lost cause, regardless of SES or their (sometimes extensive) history; she is someone that anyone would be lucky to have in their corner, and trust me, she’s in a lot of corners! The resident “bad-boy,” Tim Riggins was a breakout star and a character that you couldn’t help but root for. Oftentimes he drank too much and had less academic drive than any one person I’ve ever seen, but he was real and raw and just needed to be loved (and boy was he). He had relationships with Tyra and Lyla (and numerous other rally girls) and while I think Lyla brought out a side of Tim that we hadn’t really seen, I am happy with the way their story ended. In the long-run I think Tim was too simple for her. She had big dreams and he couldn’t get out of college fast enough. His motto was “Texas Forever” and that’s exactly what he wants. Of all of the characters on the show, his growth and development was the most extensive (IMO); and while the show didn’t give Tim a relationship endgame, I think Tyra will come back for him. She certainly has dreams of her own, but I think a part of her dream has Tim in it; after all, she’s been in love with him since she was 5 years old (awwwww).

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Julie Taylor, Coach’s eldest daughter was a bit of a mess at times (the Sweed, the married TA, the strip club fiasco, her crappy attitude). Her behavior was less than flattering and she was notorious for telling her parents “NO” and walking out when she didn’t want to hear what they had to say. I don’t know about you, but that would have never happened in my household. Julie dated the star QB (Matt Saracen) while in high school but left him for someone else (mistake). She went off to college, made some mistakes (the married TA) but eventually reconciled with Matt. After some back and forth they realized that they couldn’t live without each other and got engaged in front of the Alamo Freeze in the series finale. I know what you’re thinking, “holy cow, they’re too young, they’re not ready for marriage”…and while I would typically agree with that, I honestly feel like they are their best selves when they are together. Who knows where they actually end up, but I would like to believe that Julie figured things out and that they lived happily ever after! Matt Saracen was thrust into the spotlight when Jason Street went down due to a spinal injury in the first episode of the series. He was significantly less talented than the highly touted Street, and the folks in Dillon made no bones about letting that fact be known. However, despite the criticism, Coach Taylor worked with Matt and helped instill a confidence in him that he never had. Matt had a sweet spirit and loved his grandmother, Lorraine, more than anything. She was suffering from the beginning stages of dementia and it only got worse as the seasons progressed. After being involved in a QB controversy, he eventually moved to wide receiver and finished out his career with the Dillon Panthers and left football behind for good. Instead of attending a renowned art school in Chicago, he chose to stay close to home so that he wouldn’t lose Julie (and he’d be close to his grandma). He eventually left (with no warning at all) and chased his dream; and as I mentioned above, after some back and forth, he and Julie reconciled and were last seen living together in Chicago!

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In Season 4, the school board decided that East Dillon High would be reopened and that many of the students that attended Dillon High would have to transfer due to zoning restrictions. East Dillon High was seen by many as a “ghetto” school that was on the wrong side of town. While the board was prepping to reopen East Dillon High, the Dillon Panthers decided not to renew Coach Taylor’s contract, despite his recent success. The boosters, namely Joe McCoy, pushed the school board to hire Wade Aikmen, JD McCoy’s (Saracen’s replacement) personal QB coach for the head coaching job instead of Taylor. As a consolation, Coach Taylor was offered the same job at East Dillon where he met a group of troubled kids that just needed some love and a second chance. Vince Howard was running out of options fast; his mom was on drugs and his dad was in prison, he didn’t have much to look forward to and after being picked up by the cops (again), he was given a choice: football or jail. With some tough love, umpteen dozen motivational speeches, and a little bit lot of guidance from Coach Taylor, Vince looked primed for a comeback. While things seemed to be sorting themselves out in Vince’s life, his mom was still strung out and needed more help than what Vince could afford. He made the choice to ask his old gang buddies for the money to put his mom in rehab. His intentions were pure and noble, but caused a great internal struggle for Vince as he was trying to leave that life behind. In the end, he walked away for good. His mom eventually got out of rehab, found a job and became the loving mother we all knew she could be. Just as things started looking up for Vince, his dad got out of prison and made weaseled his way back into the family. After much dismay, Vince decided to give his dad another chance; and after a while, that proved to be a mistake. Constant comments of how Vince was the STAR of the show inflated his ego to new heights and drove a wedge between he and his teammates (Coach & Jess included). Eventually Vince realized that his dad was falling back into old habits and decided to keep him at a safe distance from his family, his friends and his future football career. Despite being disappointed by his dad’s actions, Jess Merriweather was a constant (for the most part) positive in Vince’s life; she loved how mature he had become and loved seeing him succeed. Of course like any couple they had their differences; he was none too pleased when Jess joined the football team as the equipment manager. This certainly caused them to argue, but Vince soon realized that he wasn’t the same guy without her in his corner. The series ends with Vince Quarterbacking for the Panthers super team and Jess helping coach the Dallas Walker High School football team. While Jess and Vince may not end up together, the impression they left with each other, will never be forgotten.

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Luke Cafferty was primed to be a star for the Dillon Panthers but was forced to transfer to East Dillon when it was discovered that he was using a fake address to ensure zoning for the desirable West side high school. He saw football as his only way out of a town that offered him nothing but a future in cattle-ranching. Upon arriving at his new school, he was discouraged to see a group of guys that had minimal talent and bad attitudes. The Lions had less than desirable facilities and no proper equipment to speak of…a far cry from the luxuries that the Dillon Panthers were able to provide. Luke and Vince got off to a rough start; but after a few altercations, a stolen wallet, a couple of hours in jail, and a long walk home, they put their differences aside and grew to love and respect one another. Luke achieved success on and off the field but had a hard time getting Becky Sproles to give him the (proper) time of day. They had a one-night stand and Becky found herself pregnant. While Luke was willing to do whatever he could for Becky and the baby, Becky didn’t want anything to do with him and ran to Tim Riggins (who she was in love with) for help. She hadn’t told her mom and was just planning to “take care of it.” Sensing that she needed someone (other than him) to talk to, he took her to see Coach’s wife. Tami offered Becky a safe place to talk things through and went over all of the options that were available to her. Ultimately Becky decided to have an abortion (her plan all along). Luke’s mother was less than pleased with Becky’s decision and pinned it on Tami, ultimately getting her fired from her job as principal of West Dillon High. This caused tension between Luke and Becky for several months, but she FINALLY gave in and started dating Luke in the final season of the series. As Luke goes off to join the military, he is seen giving Becky his state championship ring for her to hold onto until he returns!

Along with all of the characters mentioned above, there were some other faces that were loved and well-known throughout the series. Buddy Garrity, the president of the Dillon Panthers Booster Club and friend to Coach Taylor was seen (in the beginning) as someone who was borderline intrusive when it came to all things Panthers Football. He was concerned with game plans, star players, and getting back to State! He owned a well-known car dealership near the school and had 3 children. While he had a few less than stellar moments (i.e., cheating on his wife, getting a divorce, the landing strip incident, etc.,) he was a good friend to Eric (and Tami) and loved his kids more than he could put into words. When Eric was ousted as the coach of the Panthers, Buddy eventually went over to East Dillon and helped create a buzz about a team that didn’t have much to buzz about. He stood behind Eric as he transformed that program and those kids; he wasn’t perfect, but he was Buddy, and you have to love him for that! Lyla Garrity, Buddy’s eldest daughter was a Panthers Cheerleader and was madly in love with the star QB, Jason Street. She was smart, cheery, and popular and had her future with Jason all planned out. Unfortunately, Jason was injured in the first game of his senior year and the dreams she had seemed to be rapidly slipping away from her. While Jason was in the hospital, Lyla and Tim (Jason’s best friend) started sleeping together (not their best moment) and eventually Street found out. He broke up with Lyla and ended his friendship with Tim. They were both remorseful (to a degree) about what they had done and eventually the relationships were restored. In the end, Jason and Lyla ended up with different people entirely. Jason ended up in New York, after a one-night stand turned relationship blessed him with the son he thought he could never have; and Lyla ended up with Tim Riggins. You could tell that Tim had always been in love with Lyla and as I mentioned before, she brought out a side of him that we hadn’t seen before. Lyla went off to Vanderbilt for college and while a piece of them will always be with the other, I think it was for the best! Brian “Smash” Williams was the loud, flashy, and insanely talented running back for the Dillon Panthers. He was desperate to be a top recruit and would stop at nothing to ensure a spot playing for a top-ten team. His yearning to be better than all the rest landed him in the middle of a steroid controversy. Coach Taylor was disappointed (to say the least) and suspended him from the team. He worked tirelessly to earn his starting spot back and promised to be the man Coach Taylor knew him to be. Upon graduation, a knee injury derailed his college plans and he started working at the Alamo Freeze full-time. Coach Taylor kept his word and worked with him day and night to get him ready for a walk-on tryout at texas A&M, where he was eventually offered a spot on their team!

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Tyra Collette and Landry Clark were two characters that (eventually) made an unlikely pair. Tyra was a popular girl with a rebellious streak that you couldn’t help but love. She didn’t care about football and was deadest on leaving Dillon and her dysfunctional family drama behind. She dated Tim Riggins off and on for years before giving the good guy (Landry) a try. Landry Clark, Matt Saracen’s best friend and certified “nerd” was in love with Tyra and would do anything for her (i.e., killing a man). He helps restore her confidence (academically) and her self-esteem. He shows her that there’s more to her than just a pretty face and a hot body. He loves her for all that she is and believes that she can do anything she sets her mind to. In the end, Tyra and Landry go their separate ways; Tyra ends up at UT and Landry heads off to Rice University. Unlike Tyra and Landry, Billy Riggins and Mindy Collette are the definition of a likely pair. Billy is Tim’s older brother and is often thought of as a bad influence. He’s constantly drinking and partying, but turns things around in the later seasons when he tries to get Tim into college on a football scholarship. Mindy is Tyra’s older sister and works as a stripper at the Landing Strip. She marries Billy Riggins and they have their first child, Steven. As the show raps up, you see Billy and Mindy preparing to welcome two new babies as they are pregnant with twins!

Friday Night Lights is a great story of family, faith and friendship. There’s small-town charm laced with southern dialect and a cast full of beautiful people. If you’re looking for football, heartache, triumph, and a good southern drawl, then look no further, Friday Night Lights is for you! A small town like Dillon may not be for everyone, but it’s certainly for me! Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose!

-B