The Monthly Tea — July 2020

I have seen people on Twitter talking about how August equals fall, cooler weather, and pumpkin decor. Well, in the south that is definitely not true! It just keeps getting hotter here and I can’t even imagine shopping for a sweater right now 🙅🏼‍♀️

The turn of the month does mean something over here at Choose Joy though! It’s time for another edition of the “The Monthly Tea.” So grab a glass of tea (or cup if hot is more your style) and let’s get started!

Products I Am Loving & Loathing

  • In case you couldn’t tell, I am a fair-skinned gal and while I love spending my entire day on the beach, my skin does not. I am also not interested in aging my skin any faster or having that worn-in vintage leather look with premature wrinkles. Instead, I self-tan! Self-tanner has come a long way from that orange glow streaky look. Bondi Sands gives you the perfect golden brown color and the application is effortless. Take my word for it and order a bottle today. You will be amazed.
  • I don’t self tan my face, so I have to make sure my make-up matches up with the rest of my body 🤪 I use this bronzer for a warm glow. When I’m going for a lazy but pulled-together look, I also use it as eyeshadow and give it a quick swipe it in the crease to pull the look together.
  • I think I’ve mentioned this before, but podcasts are one of the best things on earth 🙌 . I either listen to sermons or true crime, there really is no in-between lol! After receiving a recommendation for Wine & Crime, I was initially thinking, I am not sure I am going to like this. I could tell by the description it was much different than my normal Criminology or Dateline episodes. But I was dead wrong! These gals are hilarious and they cover crimes weekly based on topics while also recommending some really great wines. 10/10 would recommend.
  • While I do love listening to a good pod, I also enjoy sitting down with an old fashioned hardback book! Right now I am reading The Wife Between Us and my lord! I made it all the way through part one thinking I knew what was going on and then I flipped the page and I was mind-blown! 🤯

What’s In My Cart Right Now

  • Oversized Studded Sunglasses. Hello Louis dupe 😎
  • Velvet Hangers. I have to swap all the hangers in my closet over to velvet, I just haven’t committed the time to it. P.S. these often go on sale, add them to your Honey droplist so you will get an alert when they do!
  • Gold Silverware Set. I have these already, but another set would be nice to cut back on how often I wash dishes! Great quality and make you feel fancy when eating! 💅🏼

Going Green Necessities

  • This month I decided to try a new non-toxic all-purpose cleaner from Better Life. So far it works great and smells amazing. If you normally have a sensitivity or dislike the smell of “natural” cleaners, this one is very light and won’t overwhelm you. It’s also on sale right now!
  • Having a night routine is very critical to how well I sleep! I was using Bath&Body Works sleep spray, but we all know their ingredients aren’t the best! I made the swap to this relaxing spray and I look forward to spritzing it on my pillow at night because it calms my mind and helps me fall asleep faster.

In true “tea” fashion, I want to take a moment to talk about our ~feelings~. Life is pretty hard right now for everyone. Really difficult for others. Everything is uncertain and a lot of us are faced with doubt, weariness, and fear. So I want to leave you with two Bible verses that I have been praying over and believing in. John 12:26 and Mark 10:50. Read over these words and cast aside these unhealthy mindsets. May you be consumed with His love and unexpected blessings. There will be favor everywhere you go and if you have been waiting on a break-through, even for a prolonged period of time, don’t give up. Before you even see the manifestation of your prayers and answers, begin to walk toward the life you’ve been believing for!

I am believing in blessings for you as well! Can’t wait to chat again soon, but in the meantime, choose joy.

The Monthly Tea — June 2020

Whew, honeyyyy. I know you have already asked yourself this, but how are we already halfway through the year?! It really seems like yesterday was the beginning of quarantine and we all thought it wouldn’t last that long. 2020 has really been putting us through it!

Today kicks off a new series on the blog called “The Monthly Tea.” This will be a round-up/recap/rundown where I take a second to share about what’s going on in my life, reviews of products I did or did not like, and other info from the past month I want to chat about! So grab your favorite glass of tea — sweet, unsweet, hot, or iced (I prefer mine to be diabetes sweet) — and catch up with me. 🥤

Products I Am Loving & Loathing

  • If you follow me on Instagram, you have seen this hat. I purchased it for the beach, but I have worn it so much more than I anticipated! It is seriously that good! It is outside of my normal style comfort zone, but I wish I had discovered it sooner. Very affordable and UPF50+. A win-win! (It’s $10 off today, so run over to Amazon & add it to your cart!)
  • At-home manicures are becoming the new normal for a lot of people! I have always been more into doing my nails at home versus spending a ton of time at the nail salon. The Essie Gel Couture line is a gel mani without the trouble of the light and it only takes two steps! Plus to remove, it only takes the swipe of nail polish remover and doesn’t ruin your nails the way salon gel polish does. I think I am going to pick up the color “Sunset Soiree” next! 💅
  • I ordered this cover-up via Prime before my recent beach trip because I desperately needed a new one. I was very excited to find a simple and chic look, but it didn’t come in time. Once I tried it on, I was honestly glad it didn’t! It just didn’t do anything amazing for me and is sheerer than I wanted. However, I did find this replacement one on accident and I am so glad I did! It says in-store availability only, so if you can’t make it to your nearest Walmart, I am linking this one as an alternative.
  • Last, but certainly might be my favorite are these raffia sandals. You seriously can’t beat this deal for such a trendy summer shoe! Plus, they’re less than $20 today! 👡

What’s In My Cart Right Now

  • No Touch Tool. Not much explanation needed here other than germs are literally everywhere and we all need one of these! 😷
  • 3-in-1 Home Air Purifier. I live in an older home where the dust collects in corners faster than you can clean it. Plus with Finn shedding everywhere, I think it is time I add one to my bedroom!
  • This tee and this dress from Z Clothing. This boutique is owned by a fellow Alabama gal and I can’t wait to support her business!
  • New slippers. Mine have been chewed on quite a few times by a sweet little pup so I think it’s time I pick up a replacement. 🐶

Going Green Necessities

Because of my health condition and the desire to improve my overall well-being, over the last two years, I have slowly started making the transitioning to a cleaner, greener, and more non-toxic lifestyle. It is a switch that can not be done overnight. After reading about all the chemicals and harmful ingredients in products we use every day, you will be tempted to throw it all away at once. But the best way to do it is to start with small changes, like swapping dryer sheets for wool dryer balls. Read more about switching over on my favorite blog by Amanda Scott. Two products I purchased recently include:

  • Reusable makeup remover pads. These are just like the cotton rounds for removing your makeup, but reusable and more earth friendly! Just toss them in the washing machine when you’re done and they’re ready to be used again.
  • Paperless paper towels. These super absorbent cloth towels are perfect for replacing you paper towel habit! I still use traditional ole’ paper towels for big messes and whatnot. But these are perfect for using as a cloth napkin, to wipe up a quick spill, and can even be used to make a mask during the pandemic because the fabric is so breathable. These are great quality and the seller had super fast shipping. I will definitely be purchasing more of these!

I know this post is getting mighty long, but I thought I would mention a few other noteworthy things from the month of June before I go! Last month I had my post-op appointment from my surgery in May. It was a lot of information to take in, but I was able to hear about all of the endometriosis my doctor found and removed which was a huge relief! Because my illness is not physically seen, you would be shocked at how many people brush it off. And honestly, it has made me doubt myself in the past. Like, am I making all this up? Is it all in my head?? Am I actually insane?! So hearing that my doctor did physically see what has been causing me so much pain was the affirmation I needed. Even though my body is continuing to heal and I am learning more about navigating another condition they discovered, it was a moment of happiness for me. On top of that, I got to introduce Tom (the cute boy in this picture) to my favorite place ever — Florida beaches! We had a wonderful time and I am hoping I can convince him to go back sooner rather than later. 🌴

Now that I’ve spilled, I want to hear more about you! Share some happiness during these dark times and tell me what the best part of June was in your world!

 I am wishing you a week filled with joy and peace. I am off to refill my tea glass!

you grow girl

Shortly after moving into my childhood home (my parent’s old house) that I have started calling the “boho blue bungalow,” I decided I wanted to embrace more of the “plant lady” aesthetic. I had a few house plants already that were doing well and when quarantine started I needed a new hobby, so I thought I would add to my collection!

Now that I have a screened-in porch, I wanted to transform it into a lush oasis area where I could sit and relax. Although I am not quite done yet, I LOVE what I have thus far! Almost all of these plants are air-purifying plants, which NASA studied and revealed they are effective at removing chemicals from the air like formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene, xylene, toluene, and ammonia.

The first step was finding these amazing rattan chairs. I had been eyeing some for so long on the internet, but since they typically go for around $1k per chair, I had decided to settle for something else. But then one day after I had given up on stalking the Facebook marketplace, these babies appeared. The owner wanted $300 for the set and I almost fainted!! I messaged her right away and picked them up a few days later. They are so classic and surprisingly so comfy! After that, the vision for the rest of the area fell into place. Like I said, I am still working on completing the remainder of the porch and will definitely update y’all when I do!

I love to wake up and bring my coffee out here while I watch my sweet pup, Finn play (he decided he wanted to make his blog debut this week) before I get started on my work day. I also look forward to coming out in the evenings when the string lights add a little ambience and watch the lightning bugs buzzing around my backyard while I read a few chapters of my current book.

I love houseplants for so many reasons. They’re an inexpensive, pretty way to add vibrancy and life to any space. They are cheerful and brighten up any living area and they can make a room feel more “finished” than it had before. Plants can also be useful for cooking and medicine (peep my aloe plant)! Even if you have a not-so-green thumb, there are plenty of no-fuss houseplants that can work for you! The Boston fern pictured above is so low-maintenance and she loves the shade, so if you are new to the plant scene, I highly recommend giving those a try. I have also been trying my hand at in-ground plants outside and a small container herb garden that I will show you all in the coming weeks.

I never understood how rewarding planting and gardening could be. It is absolutely amazing the sense of peace and joy my little outdoor space gives me. It has also taught me a lot about patience and given me the opportunity to devote my time to something meaningful instead of scrolling on social media in all of my free time.

If you are interested in adding some greenery to your space, I highly recommend devoting some time to researching on the internet. You will learn so much and find plants you didn’t even know existed! I had no plant knowledge until I started this project a few months ago and thankfully Google could provide me with free info! There are also some really innovative companies that deliver plants to your door and they will curate collections based on your wants/needs! You can see some of those here. Just a quick note that not all plants are safe for your furry friends! Please make sure you don’t put any plants within their reach that could be toxic to them.

I hope you enjoyed this post, I can’t wait to share more of my home projects with you!


Outfit details – Lounge pants/joggers, Aerie Henley tank, Wireless bralette

To read more of my recent posts, click here.

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!