The FF Reads | Summer Books

August 29, 2019

It's officially official! I completed my reading challenge for 2019!

I met my goal of 10 books for the year with four months to spare. Remember when I said I chose 10 because I didn't want to feel too much pressure to achieve a goal that was supposed to be fun? Well it WAS  fun! I spent more of my free time reading instead of scrolling through my phone or watching TV.

That amount may seem extremely small to avid readers, but I have truthfully never been big on reading leisurely. I'm very particular about the kind of books I like and I also prefer to write instead, so dedicating myself to this goal was a little risky. I'm SO glad I decided to do it though; quality reading time is one of my new favorite things.  Maybe next year I should kick it up to 12?!

Favorite Summer Swimwear

June 28, 2019

Summertime, and the livin' is easy!

As we get closer to the 4th of July, you may have some vacations or beach days on the horizon. Whether it's trips to the family lake house or simply your backyard pool, you'll want your swimwear to make you excited about taking a dip and enjoying those summertime vibes!

Just like shopping for jeans, shopping for swimsuits is HARD. And that's because our body types are all so different! I have curvy hips, a long torso and a tiny chest, so swimsuits for me are definitely NOT one size fits all.

What I've Learned About House Hunting

June 13, 2019

Photo by Hilltop Photo Co.

You may have noticed I've been a little MIA in the blogosphere these days, and that's because I've been spending a good chunk of my weekdays and weekends house hunting.

That's right-  ya girl is looking for her own place!  And although that's an exciting statement, the process itself is far less exciting.

As a first time home buyer, I'm no expert by any stretch. But here's what I've learned about house hunting so far:

The FF Reads | May Books

June 6, 2019

Remember that one time I thought I would get in a ton of reading on vacation and didn't end up reading at all? Because SAME.

There were no new reads for the month of April because I was SO busy prepping for my trip, and the books I thought I would read for vacation took up residence in my bag the whole time. The  GOOD   news is I'm still ahead of schedule for my reading challenge, and I completed one book in a little over a week at the end of May. I'm BACK baby!

Travel Journal: Disneyland 2019

May 31, 2019

It's been a whirlwind of a month, friends! But in the very best way!

As you probably have already seen on my Instagram, I kicked off May with a trip back to Disneyland to celebrate my birthday! This year, I stayed for a whole week. Last year's two days just weren't long enough. Five whole days at the parks meant a lot more time to dedicate to activities, as well as a lot more time to relax and take it easy.

Today on the blog, I'm journaling all about the trip- all the things I did and how I still managed to make a busy schedule feel like a vacation!

The 24 Before the 25

May 20, 2019

Another year has come and gone... I'm officially 25!

To celebrate, I'm pressing pause on the usual blog content to do my annual reflection.

Here's 24 things from the year before I celebrate 25:

Updated Packing List: Disneyland

May 2, 2019

Only three days till I'm off to Disneyland! I'm ready for California sunshine and lots of fun!

I've got packing on my mind and have already started a list. Last year, I wrote my packing list for Disneyland on the blog as well, but now that I have some experience under my belt, I have a few additions! I've *starred the items that are new to the list this year.

The Monday Motivator | On Traveling Alone

April 29, 2019

The Monday Motivator is a series meant to motivate, encourage, inspire and provide advice on real life stuff.*

Happy Monday! It's my final week before vacation, and with all the anticipation, I'm sure the workweek will go by slooooow.  But I'm keeping my head up because there is so much to look forward to!

Because of my upcoming trip (I'm going back to Disneyland!),  I've decided to write this week's Monday Motivator on traveling solo. I wrote an entire post last year about the advice I have for traveling alone; find it here! But instead of advice, this post serves as a motivational tool for the reasons why you should travel alone in your lifetime, even if it's only once!

Spring Stylebook | Layering

April 26, 2019

I am not trying to jinx it, but I think it is safe to say that spring has officially arrived!

The last snow we had in Illinois was (thankfully)  while I was out of town, and the weather has been in the 60s-80s ever since. Fingers crossed it stays that way!

Warm weather means I can finally start putting together some spring outfits. Sandals and short sleeves- hallelujah!

The Monday Motivator | Start By Starting

April 22, 2019

The Monday Motivator is a series meant to motivate, encourage, inspire and provide advice on real life stuff.*

Start by starting. 

As a blogger, this is a phrase I hear A. LOT. From attending conferences and workshops, to hearing motivational speeches from top lady entrepreneurs or interviews on podcasts, start by starting  is advice that is shared often.

What's Inside My Makeup Bag | Bridesmaid Edition

April 18, 2019

ICYMI, I just stood up in a friend's wedding in Arizona last weekend! It was such a beautiful day; full of love and magic and I was honored to be a part of it.

As a bridesmaid, you can typically plan on having a stylist do your hair and makeup for the big day. Although I am all for someone making my hair look pretty, I am hesitant when it comes to makeup because A. my skin is incredibly sensitive and B. I don't wear a lot of makeup, so I'm afraid I won't look like ME. Because of these fears, I opted to do my makeup myself.

My Future Target Haul

April 11, 2019

I don't think I've fully disclosed this on the blog yet, but I did the unthinkable.

I gave up Target for Lent.

I KNOW right?!

Although I'm not currently a practicing Catholic, I was raised Catholic and still like to recognize the Lenten season by giving something up for the 40 days and not eating meat on Fridays. It may sound silly, but it allows me to stop and think about what we are remembering, and ultimately, what we will be celebrating on Easter Sunday.

The Monday Motivator | Facing Fear

April 8, 2019

The Monday Motivator is a series meant to motivate, encourage, inspire and provide advice on real life stuff.*

Alright y'all, the FF has a little secret about herself to share.

I'm afraid of everything.

That's right folks- this blogger's got fears. And lots of em'. 

Different things have scared me through all the phases of my life thus far. Fear of change. Fear of regret. Fear of commitment. Fear of the unknown. The list goes on and on. But what I've learned is if I think back to all of those times I've been afraid of something, I overcame the fear and ended up where I am now, which isn't so bad at all.

The FF Reads | March Books

April 4, 2019

ANOTHER great month for reading has come and gone, friends! I made it through two more books, which officially puts me four books ahead of schedule for my goal of reading 10 total books this year!

I'm genuinely enjoying making more of a conscious effort to read. Whether it's over the weekend, on my lunch breaks or right before bed, I love spending a little time unwinding and surrendering my mind to a book. To my readers who are complete bookworms, this probably sounds like NOTHING. But for me, a gal who is NO GOOD at reading, it feels like a major accomplishment. 

I have to say, I'm really motivated by my Goodreads account! Not only can I keep track of what I've read and what I want to read, but I also get to see the numbers. I'm a visual person, so when it shows me what percentage complete I am with a book or how many books I've finished so far for my 2019 reading challenge, I feel inspired to keep hustling! 

Here are the books I read for March:

My Tips for Styling Statement Earrings

March 29, 2019

If you were stranded on a desert island, what is the one thing you would want with you?

Lately, it seems like I would want my earring collection with me. But let's be honest, they wouldn't save me from anything. ....but they're just so dang CUTE.

Statement earrings are my accessory of choice these days. I've been intentionally planning my outfits to style with a bold pair of earrings. Whether they're resin hoops, marbleized discs or tortoiseshell pull-throughs, I find a way to wear them.

The Monday Motivator | Confidence Is Just Entitlement

March 25, 2019

The Monday Motivator is a series meant to motivate, encourage, inspire and provide advice on real life stuff.*

I've chatted a lot about Mindy Kaling's book "Why Not Me?" the past month and it's because it was just so stinkin' good. You can read my book review here.

The book is full of quotable sentences that make you laugh out loud, and even say "hell yeah!" But there was one chapter in particular that I've thought about since I read it. The chapter is called, just like the book, "Why Not Me?". Mindy talks about the term "entitlement" and how it's been awarded a bad reputation, but in reality, confidence is just entitlement. Don't get me wrong, there is a BAD kind of entitlement. But Mindy's point is how it's OKAY to feel entitled when you've worked your butt off and know your stuff.

Tips for Spring Transitioning

March 21, 2019

Yesterday was the spring equinox, so it's TECHNICALLY spring, even if it doesn't quite feel like it yet.

We're still battling 40 degree temps and rain in the Midwest, but you know what they say- can't get the flowers without the showers!

This is a difficult transitional period for my fellow fashionistas. We're tired of our winter clothing; plus it's not exactly cold enough to be wearing chunky sweaters. But it's not warm enough to declare spring in your wardrobe, either. So how can we "think spring" when spring pieces are a tad out of our reach?

The Monday Motivator | On Friendship

March 18, 2019

The Monday Motivator is a series meant to motivate, encourage, inspire and provide advice on real life stuff.*

The Beatles once sang  "I get by with a little help from my friends."  They weren't lying. We need friends. Friendship is important.

Our friends make us laugh. They're present for some of our biggest moments. They see us for who we are and understand us for what we're not.

Old Navy Spring Wish List

March 14, 2019

I've said it once and I'll say it again; after what's been a very long and SUPER harsh winter, I am SO. READY. FOR. SPRING!

I'm so anxious for its arrival and it doesn't help that all the new spring fashion is hitting the racks. I can't wait to start shopping for new pieces!

The Monday Motivator | Books That Motivated Me

March 11, 2019

The Monday Motivator is a series meant to motivate, encourage, inspire and provide advice on real life stuff.*

Happy Monday!

Since I'm always the voice behind the motivation in my weekly Monday Motivators, I decided that for this week's post, I would write about voices that have motivated me.

Keeping on brand with my reading goal for 2019, I've chosen five books I've read that I personally feel have inspiring content and motivating messages.

Bath & Beauty Report | March Picks

March 7, 2019

Happy March, y'all!

Spring is getting closer- I can feel it! With the anticipation of its arrival, you may be feeling the urge to get rid of stuff you no longer wear or use and make room for some fresh, new products. The spring cleaning bug has already bit me and I've started with purging some handbags first.

I've also been sorting through my beauty products to throw out what I'm no longer using. I picked up a few new things as well and am sharing them with you in today's Bath & Beauty Report!

The FF Reads | February Books

February 28, 2019

February was another great reading month! I set a mental goal at the beginning of the month to finish two more books, and I followed through!

After looking through my book collection, I decided to set a goal of reading BOTH of Mindy Kaling's books in one month. I figured if I was reading the same author, it would be easier to complete both in this time frame.

The books were incredible- I could barely put them down all month long. I spent a lot of time getting lost in the pages and laughing out loud on my lunch break at Cracker Barrel.  (AKA my guilty pleasure.)

Here's a quick review of both books from February:

The Monday Motivator | Combating Stress

February 25, 2019

| Photo by Hilltop Photo Co. |
The Monday Motivator is a series meant to motivate, encourage, inspire and provide advice on real life stuff.*

Happy Monday to my readers!

It's one of those Mondays where I'm feeling a little groggy, but it's nothing a little coffee can't fix. My body is still catching up from last week; I felt drained and stressed and was carrying all my worry as tension in my muscles.

Don't you hate that? When you're not trying to be stressed but your body tells you otherwise? This year, I've been trying to make more of a conscious effort to not allow myself to get so stressed out, but unfortunately, stress is inevitable.

My Experience With Zenni Optical

February 21, 2019

It's time to talk about something that has NEVER been talked about before on the blog- glasses!

Believe it or not, I'm nearsighted, but you don't see me wearing my glasses very often. I just recently got my eyes checked again after almost four years. The change in my prescription was very minimal, but I figured I'd find a new pair of frames to go with my new lenses. The problem was I couldn't find the style I was looking for at LensCrafters.

I continued putting off glasses shopping AGAIN until a friend of mine recommended Zenni Optical. She told me they had a variety of styles and they were super affordable! I won't lie- after paying over $100 for new glasses each time I visited the eye doctor, I was a little skeptical at first. I was thinking the prices were too good to be true!

Winter Stylebook | Valentine's Day

February 12, 2019

Last week, I posted a Winter Stylebook featuring an athleisure outfit that would be comfortable AND cute to celebrate Galentine's Day with your ladies. This week's Stylebook is about the Valentine's Day outfit.

Although a night in with pizza and sweets and binge-watching is more my date night kind of speed, we all know how nice it is to have your significant other take you out, show you off and treat you to something special. And when they plan the whole thing?  *swoon*

The Monday Motivator | On Valentine's Day

February 11, 2019

| Photo by Hilltop Photo Co. |
The Monday Motivator is a series meant to motivate, encourage, inspire and provide advice on real life stuff.*

It's officially the week of Valentine's Day. I have realized that there are two types of people when it comes to this holiday: people who love it and people who hate it. 

I always liked V-Day growing up because it was fun to write your name on paper cards to your classmates and I always came home to some fuzzy animal plush from my mom. It's not until you get older that things start to get more serious. And to be honest, I hate that. 

Winter Stylebook | Galentine's Day

February 7, 2019


It's almost time to celebrate with your lady gang- Galentine's Day is next Wednesday! If you're thinking, "what the heck is Galentine's Day?", I actually wrote an entire post about it last year and it is still one of my favorites to date. Read it here.

Have you seen a lot of Galentine's party ideas on Pinterest lately? I have and I'm OBSESSED. I can't wait until I have my own place and can host a party of my own!

The Monday Motivator | Beauty in Simplicity

February 4, 2019

Alright y'all, let me be honest with you: I have a lot of stuff.

I like stuff. I like clothes and accessories (obviously). I like knick-knacks. I like picture frames and candles, books and fake flowers, throw pillows and old figurines. I LOVE my record collection, and how my vintage barrel chair's color pops next to my shabby wood bird desk. I find a lot of joy in my things.

The FF Reads | January Books

January 31, 2019

I'm kicking off the year strong with my resolution to read more and have already finished TWO books during the month of January! WAHOO!

As I mentioned in my New Year's resolutions post, I am not committing to a set number of books for the year because I don't want to feel discouraged if I fall behind. But so far, I'm feeling dedicated to the goal and am truly enjoying spending more time reading! I even created a Goodreads account because I love watching my progress and feeling encouraged by other readers.

The Monday Motivator | To-do Lists

January 28, 2019

The Monday Motivator is a series meant to motivate, encourage, inspire and provide advice on real life stuff.*

How do you start your Mondays?

I'm guessing it kicks off with an early alarm for work, your normal "get ready" routine, and hopefully time for a cup of coffee or whatever else wakes you up for the day. (And if reading the latest Monday Motivator is in there somewhere, I'm so happy to be a part of it!)

I am a VERY routine person. The start of my Mondays looks the same as the start of my Tuesdays through Fridays. Except you know how most people are a little groggier on Monday mornings? That's  me on a Tuesday morning. On Mondays, I feel anxious to get started, so I have a little more energy. (Until 5 o'clock at night hits and it all catches up to me!)

Motivational Workout Wear

January 24, 2019

The start of a new year usually means new fitness goals for many of us. I'm not sure what it is that makes people hit the gym starting January 1st; maybe it's that clean slate/fresh start mentality. Or maybe it's all those Christmas cookies.

I am NOT a fitness junkie by any stretch. You're lucky if you catch your girl going for a walk or doing some yoga. I start the year with a few goals and eventually fall of the bandwagon because I get too busy, and working out falls to the bottom of my list of priorities. And the gloominess of winter does NOT help keep me motivated. Relatable, right?

My Favorite Winter Gear

January 18, 2019

If you're caught up on this week's Monday Motivator, you read about how I think buying some new winter gear can help the season feel a little less gloomy. Similar to cute workout clothes encouraging you to hit the gym, cute winter clothes can get you excited for the cold!

For today's post, I'm rounding up my favorite winter items I've picked up this season. Some are very affordable and others are investments. If you live in an area where the winter weather is inevitable year after year, sometimes making an investment in your cold-weather gear is a good idea.

The Monday Motivator | Beating the Winter Blues

January 14, 2019

The Monday Motivator is a series meant to motivate, encourage, inspire and provide advice on real life stuff.*

It's January 14th, which means we're getting deeper into the heart of winter and all that comes along with it- colder temps and plenty of snow. Along with that, you may be seeing consistent gloomy days, as well as dark evenings.

As long as you're stocked up on hot cocoa and wear plenty of layers, you may think, "there's nothing I can't handle!" But not all of us are as keen to facing winter head-on.

My Winter Skincare Routine

January 10, 2019

Hello lovelies! I've come down with ANOTHER cold, and although it's wearing me out, I wasn't going to let it stop me from spending time with you this week!

You may remember my skincare routine post from last April- in fact, it was one of my most popular posts! Since my readers seemed to find it so beneficial, I've decided to put together my WINTER skincare routine.

As I've mentioned in the past, my skin is very dry and very sensitive. This means I have to change up my routine a bit during the winter months because my skin dries out from the cold and needs a lot more attention. I've thrown a few new products into my routine recently and have been loving the results, so I wanted to share my routine AND the products with you. If your skin is looking dry and tired from the harsh cold, you may want to change it up as well!

The Monday Motivator | On Dusting Yourself Off

January 7, 2019

The Monday Motivator is a series meant to motivate, encourage, inspire and provide advice on real life stuff.*

"Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick and pull yourself together." -Elizabeth Taylor

This is one of my favorite quotes. Mostly because it's a beautiful reminder that we can overcome anything, but bright lipstick and a margarita can help.

Today's Monday Motivator is about dusting yourself off. I felt inspired to write this one after something that happened to me on New Year's Day, actually. As I stood in the mirror with tear-filled eyes, I whispered "you're fine, you're fine, you're fine." I pulled myself back together, and although I laid low for the rest of the day, I got over it.

Farewell, 2018

January 1, 2019

It's here, it's here! It's officially 2019!

Although I don't have many complaints for 2018, it just feels like a new year is coming at the perfect time. I'm ready for a clean slate and a fresh start! How about you?

As always, I am doing my annual new year reflection on the blog; checking in on 2018's resolutions and writing new resolutions for 2019! Let's do it.
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