Hot Girl Summer

Does everyone feel it’s too soon to browse pre-fall outfits or is it just me?! Walked in one of my favorite boutiques over the weekend and it was FULL of fall sweaters and I thought whew, I can’t even think about buying these right now! Even the lightweight ones aren’t wearable until Octoberish here in Alabama!

Since this hot and heavy weather seems to be sticking around a bit longer, I thought I would talk about some of my favorite makeup products that stay put for 12+ hours during a full day of activities!

#1 Elf Poreless Putty Primer | First of all, ELF has come a long way since it’s original days as a cheap, low quality makeup brand! I have many things I love from this brand, but this one is my latest fave. Feels light on the skin and creates a great smooth canvas!

#2 Makeup Revolution Full Coverage Foundation | Oil-free yet creamy and comfortable formula that dries down to a long-lasting, demi-matte finish. Totally full coverage and doesn’t settle into fine lines!

#3 NYX Born to Glow Liquid Illuminator | Even in this extremely hot summer, this stuff gives a luminous and healthy goddess glow. I promise it won’t make you look a sweaty mess. Also looks great under makeup or alone!

#4 Smashbox Spotlight Palette | An easy-to-use, 3-well highlighter palette that spotlights your favorite features, adds dimension and gives you a buildable glow. This palette is my FAVE for traveling because it has 3 different levels of highlight perfect for daytime and going out wear.

#5 Laura Mercier Undereye Brightening Powder | A transparent, weightless powder to set under-eye concealer, brighten dark circles, and diminish the look of fine lines. Need I say more?

#6 Essence Lash Princess Mascara | My lashes look like falsies when I wear this and it is typically less than $5!

#7 NYX Matte Finish Setting Spray | I purchase this stuff over and over again! Every time I stray from it, I come right back. It will lock your makeup in place for hours. Even in this terrible heat!

#8 MegaLast Liquid Catsuit Matte Lipstick | I love a good lipstick. One that stays all day, has high color pigmentation, and is under $10 seems like it would be too good to be true. But this one is it! This stuff does NOT budge. Like at all or all day. You can purchase online for swing by your local Walgreens to find it in stores.

#9 Countercontrol Matte Effect Gel Cream | This stuff provides all the hydration and no shine. Plus it’s a safer beauty product and doesn’t contain anything that you don’t need to put on your skin and in your bloodstream. I am trying to transition to cleaner living. It’s hard, but this brand makes it a little easier!

I hope these product recommendations work for you. Give them a try and let me know if you’re going to make them a part of your daily rotation to beat that dreaded makeup melting off in the heat look!

High High Hopes

If you didn’t know already, I love a solid black outfit. One that can be worn to work, dinner with the girls, or just on a casual shopping day. I typically don’t think I look great in a peplum style top, but this one from Rent the Runway, is super comfortable and flattering. Seriously – the fabric is stretchy but sucks you ALL in! It is great for every day wear and can be easily dressed up.

This week I ventured out to the this civil rights mural depicting Bloody Sunday and the civil rights marches in Selma beginning at the corner of Lee and Montgomery Streets. (Mural painted by Sunny Paulk.)

Sometimes in my day-to-day life in Montgomery, I forget how rich the history is running through these streets. I will run out to grab lunch and see tourists walking around downtown and I am instantly reminded of the stories and places that gave rise to a movement and created change.

Standing in front of this mural, I couldn’t help but think how great change can come from peace and hope and that the world still needs a lot of people bringing about peace and equality for all. I am inspired by the stories of those who came before me and the courage and sacrifices of each of them.

This theme of hope is rampant in our lives daily. We constantly speak in what I call “hope language”:

  • I hope I am healed.
  • I hope she isn’t mad at me.
  • I hope my prayers are answered.
  • I hope I can pay my bills this month.

The issue isn’t whether you hope, but what holds your hope. Remember these things as your attach your security, your sense of peace and rest to something every day.

  • Your hope is in something – What are you placing your hope in right now?
  • Hope is a lifestyle – You always live your hope in some way, it isn’t just something you do with your mind.
  • Most of our hopes disappoint us – When our hopes disappoint us, it is a sign we’ve put our hopes in the wrong thing.
  • There are only two places to look for hope –You rest your hope in the hands of the Creator or look to the world for hope.
  • Hope in God is sure hope – Hope placed in God is well placed and will never disappoint.

I hope this blog post inspires you as enter into a new week. Let me know you keep your hope well placed by commenting below!

Prevail

prevail [ pri-veyl ] – prove more powerful than opposing forces; be victorious.

This week I am talking about another one of my favorite spots –– Prevail Union –– Located on the first floor of a building from 1898, which was home to the S. H. Kress & Co. department store, Prevail is a craft coffee shop focusing on delivering fresh roasted coffee and unique drinks while in a comfortable, cozy environment.  Hip and industrial, it resembles a coffee shop that one typically wouldn’t expect to find in downtown Montgomery.

I’ve been going to Prevail since my first day of work in Montgomery. Back then, it was located in a smaller spot at a nearby building. I fell in love with the honey vanilla iced latte and the homey environment where I could cross things off my to-do list.

Prevail sends a subtle, yet consistent message which constantly reminds us that alone, we may endure, but together we prevail.

No no matter what your situation in this season, if life is hard, love harder, be slow to anger and quick to forgive, and you will prevail. It may not be today. It may not be tomorrow, but you will win! 

Recent Posts:

Look Again.

DRESS: Blue Door Boutique; SHOES: Target (I have the higher heel version, but mine are equally as comfy to work all day in!)
HANDBAG: Louis Vuitton “Sac Plat” (This bag was investment piece for me, but it is the perfect every day work bag and is different than the normal Neverfull style!)

Even though I live in a small town, I have the privilege of working five days a week in Montgomery. So I can do all the shopping and eating I need to do that one normally couldn’t do during the week in Greenville. I unfortunately can’t get everything I need from Walmart and Taco Bell – I know some of you can relate!

When I started working in Montgomery, my foodie senses were tingling. So many new things to try! If I was stranded on a deserted island with only a few things left for the remainder of time, I could probably live off of good burgers. Thankfully for me, right around the corner from my office is one of the best burger spots around, Hamburger King.

So why am I going on and on about a burger spot, you may ask? Well I had my wisdom teeth extracted yesterday and this was my “last supper,” before the surgery. Boy did I pick a good one!

Hamburger King, which opened in 1970 is a tiny, hole in the wall spot with a few counter stools and some tables for four. It’s something you might pass by and think isn’t worth your time. Look again. If you’re into dive spots with no frills, this is the spot for you. The first time I tried it, I was HOOKED. It’s the kind of burger that makes a little mess while you eat. So be sure to go with someone you aren’t embarrassed to eat in front of 🙂

Just a friendly reminder, they only sell chips. No fries. But I find a good bag of salty Lay’s always hits the spot with one of these burgers. Also, make sure you have cash on hand. There is an ATM inside, but sometimes it’s down and I would HATE for you to miss out on the chance to eat here. The ONLY downside to this spot is the lack of pickles. I love pickles on my burger. But it’s so good that I can get over it!

I’ve been eating fairly healthy and sticking to my yoga routine when possible, so this was a fantastic cheat meal right before being stuck at home eating ice cream and soup!

To wrap this rambling post up, I wanted to say I have been very nervous about jumping back in to blogging and creating my own stationery line! Sometimes I think, my content isn’t special and the market is oversaturated with photos of girls in new clothes! Or I get worried people will make fun of me! But I realized the one thing I have that no one else has is ME! My voice, my mind, my story. So I am going to write and live out my vision and goals only as I can.

I hope if you have dreams and visions for your life, no matter what they are, you are inspired to live them out with no fear of failing. At first glance, it may appear too hard. Look again. Always look again.

Let me know what dreams you’re chasing after these last six months of 2019!

To The Girls…

 

As I write this, I sit in awe of what is going on in the world around us. Women everywhere are being told they don’t matter. How they feel, does not matter. Your body does not matter. Their basic human rights, do not matter.

As a young adult, I sit and think about how I would have viewed all that is happening if I was still a young girl.

There are little girls watching the news alongside their parents in the family room. Little girls who hear a clip on the radio on the way to school. Little girls who overhear adults talking at soccer practice. Little girls who are confused and curious. After all, don’t we teach them that their bodies are precious and belong to only them from a very young age?

So what kind of message are we sending when we say you don’t matter? The decisions regarding your body are to be made by others and outside of your control.

Are we creating strong, empowered, independent, confident women when they aren’t even in control of the choices they make? Or are we creating women who will have self- esteem issues, low self-confidence, and self-hatred?

The right for women to be able to make their own decisions and control their own life paths is what is at stake. The ability of women to be accepted for who they are and plan their lives the way they want to plan their lives. Their dignity respected, their autonomy respected, their ability to make decisions for themselves about what they’re going to do but their bodies and with their futures and with their lives, and that is what is at stake and that is what was being affirmed.

This isn’t political, it’s fundamental to your dignity, to be able to decide to make decisions for yourself.

So to the little girls like me circa many years ago, who may be sitting around hearing what others are saying. Who are scolded and chastised for asking questions. Who are taught that talking about your body and the things it can do is taboo. This is for you. I hope you listen to the little voice in your head and if you can’t speak out on it now, I hope it grows into a loud and powerful roar that enables you to speak up on anything you believe in.

 

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two months

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Abnormal, painful, heavy and/or irregular menstruation.

Intense abdominal pain and cramping outside of period.

Fatigue, bloating, nausea.

These are the vague symptoms you will find if you Google endometriosis.

Endometriosis occurs when the endometrium tissue lining the uterus is found around the organs, pelvis and other areas of the body instead of being shed during monthly menses. This causes scar tissue, chronic debilitating pain, mood swings, anxiety, depression, infertility, body image issues just to name a few symptoms.  No one brings up night sweats, blood clots, or nausea. How about chest pain, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat and dizziness. I bet you didn’t know that knee pain, back pain, certain food intolerances, and vitamin deficiencies are also associated with endometriosis.

Many women (including myself) suffer in silence and the usual timeframe for diagnosis is 10 years, as it is difficult to detect. Endometriosis is incurable. 

No one tells you how it happens, about the days you will cry because you are in intense pain or how many times you will have to call in “sick” to work with no real explanation of what the heck is going on with you. I am constantly faced with physical pains that I can’t control even with the strongest painkillers.

I can date my symptoms back ten years ago.  I was only thirteen and had to make an appointment with a gynecologist. While I won’t mention this well-known doctor’s name, she brushed it off saying, “It was just a part of becoming a woman.”‘ Uh, yikes ok. 

So I went on accepting this as my truth. Accepting the days of sitting in class pretending I felt okay that extended well into my working years. Calling in sick makes me feel guilty because my boss or co-workers don’t always understand what I’m going through and I often think I’m letting them down.

As the years went by, sometimes I would mention it here and there to doctors and they would act nonchalant as if living with this pain and discomfort was something I could get by with.

The final straw was when my previous doctor told me I was ovulating and it would pass. When I insisted differently, she suggested we change my birth control. Not only would this wreak hormonal havoc on my body, but I also knew it wasn’t the answer. So I stood up for myself. I said no.

I kicked her to the curb and demanded she refer me elsewhere.

I couldn’t do it anymore.

So after countless dollars spent on wasted doctor’s appointments, I saw a leading physician specializing in endometriosis. She suggested I have a laparoscopic procedure because she was sure I had endo.

I was overwhelmed. After I stopped ugly crying, I realized I was relieved. Finally. Vindication. Confirmation. I am believed.

I told a select few people.

What will you do? Make sure you do it. Are you going to do it? I don’t think you’ll do it. Please do it. Have you tried yoga? Have you considered meditation? Have you tried not eating dairy? How about nutrition? Medication is bad for the body and you’re an addict. All those chemicals. You can’t take that. What are you going to take instead? Can you have babies? Are you infertile? You should have a baby. You should start having babies. Why aren’t you having babies? Are you better? We can’t wait for you to feel better —to get back to normal.

Normal is now tiredness. Exhaustion. It’s being slow. It’s feeling slow. Withdrawn. Feeling sick. I am sick. Always keeping it secret. F. Feeling small. Thinking about it. Thinking about pain. Always thinking about my body. Your body. Assessing every twinge, every tug, every pull, every ache. Waiting. Holding your breath and counting. Waiting for it to stop. To get worse. To come back again.

Two months ago today, I was first diagnosed and had a laparoscopy. My endo is so severe it caused organs to shift and tilt.

I am now faced with the harsh truth that the physical pain is paired with the emotional pain of the possibility of not being able to carry a child, my first surgery will probably not be my last and I am on a medication that has kicked my body into early menopause.

While the road ahead is difficult, I know had I not been an advocate for myself while sitting in a small cold exam room with nothing but a gown the quality of a cheap paper towel, I would still be suffering in silence.

Fortunately, I have learned the capacity of my strength and fortitude due to this disease.

If you’re a woman suffering from chronic, mystery pain that doctors are just shrugging their shoulders at, I hope you are inspired to be an advocate for yourself as well.

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Coffee Break Thoughts from the Airport

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My job can be a little exhausting. Okay, sometimes a lot. We are a dedicated nonprofit with a small staff. I’m actually doing two jobs within the organization right now during a transition period.

Through my job, I am tasked with traveling sometimes. There are one-day trips to exhibit and then there are week-long trips for conferences. I have essentially traveled three weeks of the past month. I haven’t been home much and as I sit here in the airport waiting on a flight that won’t get me home until 11:30 tonight (then I have to drive an hour home), I think how fortunate I am to be able to travel alone.

I’m not sure if you’ve had the opportunity to travel alone, but let me tell ya… it makes for some serious self-reflection/processing time. As I walked every inch of the city of Louisville (and visited the underground speakeasy you see above) with no one but me, myself and I, I had the sweet, rare opportunity to really process where I was at and how I was doing in terms of life in general. I was challenged and reminded and affirmed of His love for me and plan for my life all at the same time.

I am exhausted and looking forward to some time at home for a long weekend before I fly out again two weeks from now. But I’m so thankful to have had that time to step away and be alone. I know the craziness of the holidays is soon upon us, but if you have the chance to carve out some alone time for yourself, whether it be a couple of hours or a whole weekend, I can’t encourage it enough! It was pretty transformative for me.

I am so overwhelmed and I am so thankful.

So here’s my question for you, friends, how are you doing, doing. Are you giving yourself the rest you need? Are you giving yourself the grace you deserve? I haven’t been.

There will be a million things telling you that you’re not doing enough or being enough or accomplishing enough. But you have one friend right here today telling you this simple truth… you already are. You Are. Enough.

If you’re like me and have a hard time believing that to be true of yourself, my challenge to you today is to pause. Give yourself the rest you don’t think you have time for because I guarantee you that you do.  There will always be a million excuses not to, but you know what I can promise? Life will go on. And you? You will be so much better off for it.

Go buy that Starbucks holiday drink and go on a walk around the prettiest neighborhood you can find. Or curl up on the couch and put on a Hallmark movie… and instead of checking your email inbox and finding other ways to do a million things at once, just watch. Light your favorite candle, put on your favorite worship song and spend thirty minutes journaling and pouring your heart out to the Lord. Replace one of the “to do list” things you feel like you have to do with something that brings you rest.

I know I know.. it goes against everything our millennial-multitasking minds tell us to do, and that’s the beauty of it.

Let’s fill this season with a bit more rest, ok?  That’s how I intend to round out the remainder of the year.

So before I step off my soapbox, let me just say one last thing. It is good to trust in the Lord. He is faithful, and He is the best author. Trust Him with your story, friend. In the valleys, remember there are so many pages you haven’t lived through yet, and remember that His love, which is so far greater than any love we’ll ever find here on this earth, will lead you through each one.

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