Weekend Wrap Up [Date ideas]

It’s officially my last day of being 28 – and it’s been a damn good year (and weekend). Friday, I spent the morning with my adorable niece and nephew. Damon and I went to Discovery Place Kids.

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And then I got to see my sweet niece who was super smiley and happy. She loves giggling at her big brother and she kept pushing up like she was getting ready to crawl. Won’t be long now!

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They are seriously cute together. He loves her so much!

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We had the most delicious shrimp tacos for dinner and stayed in instead of battling the cold outside. No time for pictures because they were so delicious I practically swallowed them whole and proceeded to talk about them for the rest of the weekend  (in my true OCD form). On Saturday, we had the most exciting morning ever: WE BOOKED OUR EUROTRIP! Here we come London, Paris and Ireland!

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Since it was my birthday weekend, the hubs agreed to go to Sephora with me so I could replenish my make-up collection. I was set on only purchasing natural items that were paraben free and not tested on animals. There were only THREE brands that lived up to that. Isn’t that crazy?

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First of all, I ordered this lavender Stress Less oil from Organic Bath Co. last week and I’m loving it. As far as the make up goes, I went with the Tarte Amazonian Clay Tinted Moisturizer. I don’t need a whole lot of coverage (or like it) but I do love that this has SPF in it. A little of this goes a long way too, so it will last for a while. They were actually out of the color I needed, so I got a sample and they ordered one for me. I got a shipping notification today! So fast! I also went with the Tarte Pressed Powder. It’s not for coverage as much as it is to set the foundation. I also got the Tarte Amazonian Clay concealer and I already love it! Sadly, I couldn’t find a mascara that I liked so I floated over to the Benefit Cosmetics section and picked up “They’re Real.” It indicates they do not test on animals (and below is an excerpt from their website) but PETA says they do. And because of that “…except where required by law” part, they do. And I won’t be buying their items any longer.

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As I was checking out, I saw the Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo. Since I’m getting ready to travel again, I grabbed a sample for $12. It’s AMAZING. I used it today and felt great. I didn’t purchase the NARS lipsticks, those were a gift for my birthday. I was curious when I got home to see if they tested on animals. Their site says they do not, but other things I read indicated that their parent company does and therefore, any money spent on NARS supports the parent company and animal testing, so there’s another one to mark off the list. Josie Maran is a natural brand that doesn’t test on animals, but I didn’t find anything that I wanted in that section. Slowly but surely I’m making progress on changing over to paraben free and items that aren’t tested on animals. I have a battle with myself over being wasteful and throwing out things I already have and wanting to use items that aren’t tested on animals/paraben free. My conclusion is that I will replace when I’m done using what I already have. Here are some other products I like if you’re interested in switching over too!

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This morning after trying out a new church, we separated restaurants we want to go to into two jars: Weeknight and Weekend. We put the more expensive/farther away restaurants into the weekend jar. This will not only help us eliminate the dreadful “where do you want to go for dinner?” question, but also give us the chance to try some places that we put off in lieu of going to our usual spots. I’m excited to try this out and see how many new spots we can taste together! [Jars are from Beach Blues and the color scheme is “Aruba”]. There’s a 3rd jar that I’ve labeled “Be Spontaneous” and will put ideas in for things we can do together such as hiking, biking, golfing, tennis, running, kayaking, rafting, go to the movies, a day trip to Charleston, a day trip to the beach, a day trip to the mountains, a brewery tour, etc. Again, I’m excited to see how it plays out!

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My boys have been extra cuddly since they got home from their week at Grandma and Grandpa’s. I think they missed us (or they’re using me as an excuse to be on the couch). Either way, I don’t mind. They’re my favorite cuddle buddies!

Appreciation

Each year, I come up with a word that I’m going to focus on for the year. Patience was one of my harder words because I’m a very impatient person (admitting it is the first step!). This year, I chose ‘Appreciation.’ I once read that telling people “you’re welcome” when they say “thank you” has a totally different impact than if you were to say “no problem”, “sure thing” or “anytime.” So I want people to feel that. I want people to know how much I appreciate what they do – big or small. I want my husband to know how much I appreciate him. I want my co-workers to feel that. My goal to this point as been to tell people every chance I get how much I appreciate what they’re doing, and to definitely say it at least once a day. So far, so good. Only 352 days to go!
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I also decided to try this savings plan this year. I don’t have something specific in mind for it, but maybe I’ll put it towards a new car in a few years or towards a spontaneous trip (the hubs is not big on my spontaneous trip ideas, but if there’s random cash available, who can argue with that?). We’ve always talked about going to Red Rocks to see one of our favorite bands play.

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It will be a nice addition to my other savings accounts which will one day go towards things like college tuition for our kids (future children). We actually just had this conversation the other day about how much we would need to save to make sure our kids are stuck with student loans. Student loans are the worst. Speaking of kids, I got to see the most adorable ones (my neice and nephew!) this weekend and this girl was all smiles!

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I’m also continuing my goal this year to use more eco-friendly and non-animal tested products. I got some great suggestions from you guys last time, and I’d love to hear more. As I try new products, I’ll be sure to share my reviews! Have a great 2nd week of January!

 

PS – last day to enter the monogrammed guest book giveaway!

What I’m loving Wednesday!

I am excited to share some products with you today that I am loving right now! And I’m proud to say that none of them are tested on animals – which is something that is near and dear to my heart. But first….

I wanted to share something else that’s near and dear to my heart: THE BIG GIVEAWAY that’s happening RIGHT NOW from which all proceeds go to help women in NC with breast cancer or who are survivors, cross things off of their bucket lists! You have until December 15th to enter (by donating to the GoFundMe) and you’ll be entered to win a variety of prizes such as these items from Carolyn Leona!

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Liz, the owner of Carolyn Leona, donated two fancy dishtowels (valued at $14 each!) and one DARLING pig apron. Now, her pig items have been FLYING out of the shop, so this is a great opportunity for you to win one and make sure you get your hands on it before she sells out again!

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Is that not THE CUTEST? Her aprons are $30 each. If you’re interested in ordering any of her items, she has free shipping through tomorrow with the code “SHIPFREE” at checkout. I am a HUGE fan of her linens and aprons and will definitely be purchasing my own – but YOU can win yours here. And by donating $25, you are entered 3 times to win (which is still less than the cost of the apron or both dish towels!).

Now, for those products I wanted to share with you. Have you ever heard of the Beagle Freedom Project? Their videos make me cry all the time. These poor pups have been caged up since they were born and had products put on their skin and in their eyes and mouths to see what kind of reactions they have to them. What products, you ask? TONS of products that you have in your house and probably use on a daily basis. There’s an app that you can use when shopping to find out if an item is tested on animals – isn’t that handy?

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Image from Beagle Freedom Project website

So, in an effort to not support testing on animals, I’ve been very careful about what products I purchase. I’m proud to say my current toiletries do not fall in the category of being tested on animals.

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First is Dr. Teals: I use the foaming bath and epsom salt (I like the relax and relief kind!) for my post-run or hard workout baths. They have a variety of other products available as well, and other scents.

Next is Organix lotion: I have the coconut milk hibiscus scent and love it. You’ve probably seen their hair products when you’re out shopping, those are good too!

Method is a brand I’ve been seeing pop up in different places, but it’s definitely available for you at your local Target, grocery stores or drug stores. Not only do they have body wash, they have household cleaning products – and all at reasonable prices – including laundry detergent.

Jessica Alba’s brand has been one of my favorites for a long time, but this is the first time I’ve used her hair products. I have the conditioner pictured here and I can’t tell you how much I love the smell! It also does a great job of making my hair silky feeling! Did you know Jessica Alba also helped found the Honest Company and they have a ton of baby products?

Jason is a new one for me. I saw this shampoo and thought I would give it a try (I also tried Aquage but I didn’t love the smell of the shampoo. I do like the volumizing products though!). This particular shampoo boasts that it has biotin and of course, that it doesn’t test on animals. It kind of smells like baby powder to me. I do like the way it works, so I’ll probably continue using it.

Lastly, the Neutrogena Naturals line offers a wide selection of acne treatment, creams, cleansers and scrubs for your face. I am currently using the pore scrub and liking it. It’s just enough scrubbing for my face and doesn’t dry me out.

What are some of your favorite products? I’m currently seeking make up that also isn’t tested on animals (and working on convincing my husband we need to foster one of these beagles!).