Successful New Year’s Resolutions Start NOW

It’s officially MID-December. Holiday parties and gatherings are underway! We are out shopping like there’s no tomorrow and we are scurrying like little elves to get everything done in time for Christmas. What most of us are NOT thinking about is kicking off the New Year! It doesn’t seem like it’s that time yet, but 2019 is creeping up on us quicker than we ever realize! promises

How many times have you set your expectations for the New Year only to let yourself down just a few days or a few weeks in? Most of us see the New Year as a clean slate to achieve all that we set out to do! This year the most important habit we can kick is the habit most of us have where we don’t keep our promises to ourselves. In the book Girl Wash Your Face Rachel Hollis really opened my eyes to the concept that breaking promises to ourselves even if they’re small, sets us up for failure. When we break promises to ourselves it’s setting up a pattern in our brain where we are unwittingly training ourselves to quit before we even start. Your brain has a tendency to default to trained habits so if you’ve gotten into the habit of quitting your brain will want to default to that. The good news is, you can break that habit.

There are so many ways you can start setting yourself up for success with your New Year’s Resolutions NOW! Another thing I learned from Girl Wash Your Face (click the image above to purchase) is that it’s easier to add a new habit than to take one away. When I read that, I realized that this concept is true and that the reason most of us are failing to achieve our goals is because we are taking on these huge changes all at once and it’s simply not sustainable for most people! Of course, some of you are very strong willed and can do this, but most people will quit and get overwhelmed. So I came up with a foolproof strategy to achieve all my goals this year and I’m going to share that with you! No matter what your goals are for 2019, it’s time to jump start them NOW start ADDING habits today that will assist you in achieving your goals and then on January 1st you can start taking the bad habits away! So for example, if your goal is to be healthier this year, start drinking more water this week, next week start exercising and then when you start the healthy eating when the New Year begins, you won’t be trying to tackle everything all at once. If your goal is to be more organized, start pinning your organization ideas and maybe begin purchasing the things you’ll need to achieve that goal. That way, when 2019 comes you’ll have a game plan and all the tools you need to get organized immediately. If your goal is to start a blog, start researching the things you need to do to be successful, purchase your domain, you get the idea! Winning comes  with preparation so if you start setting yourself up for success now you will greatly increase your chances of achieving all that you set out to do.  

One of the best ways to get into the right mindset to achieve your goals is to start reading motivational books. I personally don’t have the time to sit down and read but Audible has completely changed my life. It has given me the ability to read over 40 books this year will multi-tasking. I am so thankful for this super affordable alternative to traditional reading. Honestly, I spend less on my Audible subscription than I would pay for all the books I read. If you want to kick start your year, take advantage of the great deal above by clicking the banner to receive your first 2 books free! 

What I Spent My 20% Off Ulta Coupon On…

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They say it’s the most wonderful time of the year! With all the wonderful sales on the shopping scene, I tend to agree. Although I know I should be shopping for everyone else during the month of December, when I receive an Ulta or Sephora coupon ALL BETS ARE OFF! As a self proclaimed makeup addict, I can’t help but take advantage of a good coupon. When I read the fine print on the Ulta coupon that came in the mail and saw that there were almost no restrictions, I got in the car and headed off to Ulta immediately. 

When I walked in without a game plan, I knew I was in trouble. After all, even a coupon is no excuse to spend all your money on things you don’t necessarily need so I did what any responsible adult would do and I went straight to the affordable section. When I say affordable, I’m referring to the non-luxury section of the store that I used avoid like the plague. With brands like NYX and Morphe stepping up their game I knew I could find some quality products over there! When it was all said and done with my coupon I spent UNDER $80 on all these goodies! If you want to see all my great finds, keep reading. 

 Ever since I realized that the Morphe X Jaclyn Hill Palette and Vault Collection were my eye shadow ride or die palettes, I’ve been dying to buy more Morphe shadows. I know they’re not the same formula, but with Jaclyn’s collections being so amazing I was really curious on what else the brand had to offer. I was looking through the palettes and this beauty definitely caught my eye! The Fall Into Frost Palette has a gorgeous variety of perfect fall and winter shades and it is a beautiful mix of mattes and shimmers. I used it for the first time today and I have to say, it lived up to all my expectations. 

Like I said, I’ve been wanting to try more Morphe products! The 8S Stellar Impact Highlighter Palette caught my attention immediately! I swathed that first blue shade (ultraviolet) shade in the store, after seeing the blinding shine and pigmentation I immediately had to add this to the bag. All the shades are very wearable. At first I thought the bluish shades would be way too much, but it actually looks amazing on! I can’t wait to try every shade! 

I’ve used so many beauty sponges! I thought I found my holy grail with the orange real techniques sponge. For the price and quality I believed it could not be beat. Although I must say, after trying the Morphe Beauty Sponge I’m fairly certain I’ve found my new favorite. What sets this particular sponge apart for me is the density! What I mean by that is it’s much heavier than any other beauty sponge and it packs on product like no other! I’ve only used it once for a regular foundation and concealer application today but I suspect the sharp edges are going to be great for highlighting and contouring… which is actually what the sponge was designed for. 

I wrote an entire blog about how much I love this foundation and all the reasons why a while ago so if you want to read that, click here. If you’ve read that, you probably know why I needed to repurchase this when I had the chance. 

NYX Liquid Suede lip sticks were my gateway into the affordable makeup world. They perform ALMOST as well as the Jeffree Star Cosmetics Liquid Lip Sticks. Although nothing can beat Jeffree, these are a close second. I love the consistency and the staying power of these lipsticks. They’re also not drying like some matte lipsticks can be. I grabbed the shade Brooklyn Thorn because although the photo does a poor job at capturing it, it’s a beautiful deep mauve with a subtle purple undertone. I’ve been looking for a shade like this for the colder months and this one was just what I was looking for at an unbeatable price. 

The last item I purchased was Worth The Hype Mascara by NYX. Honestly this was a disappointment because it didn’t meet any of my expectations I would have in a mascara. Although, I’d rather try a flop when I have a coupon than pay full price! So no harm no foul.  

Day 8 of Blogmas 2018

Chic & Unique Christmas Decor From Etsy!

Have you ever noticed that most of your friends have such similar holiday decor? Everyone seems to buy their decorations from all the same stores. I want my home to look chic and unique around the holidays! I think I finally cracked the code though! One of the best ways to make your home stand out at Christmas time is to buy some of your key pieces from Etsy! I found some great decor to help you get some great ideas. Some of them might even be able to be inspire you if you’re inclined in the DIY department. So without further ado, here are 7 amazing items that are sure to give your home the unique flair you are looking for this holiday season. 

 These Seashell Christmas trees are such a cute touch and are sure to give you tons of inspiration for an entire beach themed Christmas. The chances of other friends or family members adopting this unique holiday theme are slim to none! Your decor will definitely be a conversation starter. If you live somewhere cold, it’s also bound to make you feel a little bit warmer this Christmas. 

This AMAZING and unique MAP garland! Can you imagine how special this would look on a Christmas tree?! It’s perfect for a travel obsessed person, couple or family. I know that if I walked in and saw this strung across someone’s home I would think it was such a cool idea and I’d definitely want to talk about it. 

This adorable shadow box with Christmas music and decor! I’m imagining this gorgeous piece sitting on a piano! I think that would be such a beautiful touch for a music lover. I’m also picturing some beautiful paper garland with musical notes and snowflakes to go with the winter musical holiday scene! 

 Something that actually looks vintage to compliment your already vintage decor in the best possible way, like this Retro Wooden Santa! If you are trying to create a more 1950s vibe, this sign can go outside on the porch or be propped up against a wall to completely create that effect inside or outside of your home. 

Have you ever seen a Christmas trees covered in gorgeous orange monarch butterflies? I haven’t and most of your friends probably haven’t either. This is another great way to tie summer into your Christmas decor. I love the uniqueness of this beautiful idea. I guarantee everyone who visits will agree.   

A snarky sign mixed with holiday cheer! If you like a little bit of humor with your decor this sign is sure to give you the little laugh you’re looking for. People will probably be dying to know where one can make such a purchase. This is a very unique and interesting piece of decor. 

Isn’t this copper wire fairy light garland SO interesting? I can think of so many interesting places to put this in a home! Above a fireplace I bet it would give such a modern twist to any traditional holiday decorations you already have! 

I hope you enjoyed some of these Chic and Unique Etsy finds! If you look hard enough you may even be able to some more things to add to this list. 

5 Great Gifts For Dad

Dad’s, Grandpas and Uncles can be some of the hardest people to shop for. Here is a list of 5 gifts that most of the dad’s out there are sure to enjoy! Hopefully this gift guide will give you ideas that will confirm your spot in the family as the favorite! All the product photos below are amazon links so for specific names and more details that I haven’t included, just click the photos! 

An Outdoor Surveillance Camera like a Nest Cam!  I don’t know about your dad, but mine LOVES to know what’s going on outside. A camera like this will allow him to see what’s going on 24/7 from the convenience of his smart phone.  Plus, if he’s a practical man, word on the street is these cameras can actually lower homeowners insurance in a lot of areas! 

A Drone. My dad is a pretty much just an overgrown child. If your dad is retired like mine, and looking for a new hobby, learning to fly a drone will probably be perfect for him! The nice thing about these, is there’s a huge price range available so chances are you can find one in your budget. 

A Smart Watch. My dad has ALWAYS worn a watch. If yours has too, it might be a good time to upgrade him to an awesome Smart Watch like the Samsung Galaxy watch shown above. 

A Wireless Weather Station. This is another gift with the ability to sync to your dad’s smart devices! This is a great way for your dad to track the weather at home no matter where he is! Who wouldn’t want to nerd out over this sophisticated setup? 

A Telescope! This one may seem odd, but this is a gift that no one else has probably thought of. What better way to pass the time than to look at the stars! 

I hope this list was helpful and that it gave you some great ideas of things you can give your dad this holiday season! If you liked more than one idea save one for his birthday. 

Day 6 Of Blogmas 2018

Creative White Elephant Gift Ideas

Many different groups choose to do some variation of White Elephant around the holidays. I’ve also heard this game called Dirty Santa or Yankee Swap. Chances are if you’re attending holiday gatherings this year, you’re bound to find yourself in a situation where you’re playing a version of this game. 

If you’ve never played this game before, you probably have no idea what I’m talking about so I’ll quickly give you an overview of what this is all about. Usually each player or participant is asked to bring a wrapped gift to contribute to a pool of gifts that will be used to play the game. Usually all players will sit around a table or in a circle where the gift pool can easily be seen by all. Each player will draw a number which will determine the order that the players take their turns. The player who goes first will choose a gift and open it. Each player following will have the option to open a wrapped gift or steal a gift that has already been opened! In the event that a player has their gift stolen, they will then have the option to open a new gift or steal from another player. Some groups will have rules against stealing the same gift multiple times within a turn. As I mentioned earlier, there are many different variations of this game!  The host of your particular gathering will definitely give you the official rules of their version of the game. 

White Elephant gifts always come with a price you are asked to aim for. It’s usually between $10-$20 funny, weird and unique gifts are usually the biggest hit so below I’ve listed 5 great ideas at 3 different price points to help you get specific ideas, or draw inspiration. All the images are Amazon links so be sure to click them for more information on the brand, exact price, exact item name, and other details I may not have included. 

(Around) $10 Ideas 

Red Wine Stain Remover! This is a gift that will probably get a little chuckle especially since chances are someone will be drinking wine while this game is being played. I think this is a perfect White Elephant gift because it’s both functional and kind of funny. 

A Funny Throw Pillow. First of all, this will probably throw people off when it’s wrapped because the size and weight and also, home items like throw pillows with a hilarious phrase on them are an interesting touch to a household. An item like this will definitely be a hit! Of course, depending on the crowd you’ll be with you could always just get a regular decorative throw pillow! 

An Adult Coloring Book. Adult coloring books are still all the rage. They’re great for calming anxiety and killing time! Of course you could just pick up any old coloring book, but a funny one like The People Of Walmart Adult Coloring Book is sure to get the attention of the group and make everyone laugh. 

A Nerf Gun. When it comes to White Elephant, I think the most random and unexpected gifts always end up being the most fought over! A Nerf Gun is such a weird unexpected gift and if there are men playing, they will be stealing this EVERY TURN.  

Novelty Band-aids!  There are a lot of great novelty band-aids like these bacon bandages above! One of the best things about a gift like this, is even though it’s funny it is still useful. Besides, the next time you see a friend or family member wearing a bacon band-aid you’re sure to get a good laugh. 

(Around) $15 Ideas

A Novelty Clock. I think a novelty clock is a really funny White Elephant gift because people don’t really use wall clocks anymore but they can still be a really interesting conversation starter at the office or really anywhere it’s displayed. I love the Melting Clock pictured above. If there are any art lovers in the group they will definitely get a kick out of this nod to Salvador Dali. 

Funny Socks! Socks are something functional that everyone needs. Most people wouldn’t purchase a pair of socks like the Bob Ross ones pictured above, but they’ll definitely wear them or re-gift them to someone else who will. This is a gift that’s sure to get a laugh. 

A hilarious Welcome Mat that everyone can relate to. This is another gift that I love just because of how random it is. I know if I saw somebody open this at White Elephant  I’d probably steal it and proudly display it in my home. 

A 60 Pack of AA Batteries! First of all, no one could ever have too many batteries. You’re probably thinking this is the most boring gift on the list. Don’t worry! All you have to do to make this one funny is create a label that says “Gift Not Included” then you have a joke and the most functional White Elephant Gift of all time. 

Desktop Corn Hole/ Bean Bags set! I actually can’t even explain how fun this game is. One of my cousins brought it to our family Thanksgiving last year and it actually lead to our entire family having a tournament across the dinning room table. Ever since then I thought it would make a genius White Elephant gift! 

(Around) $20 Ideas 

Big Fuzzy Slippers! Honestly, the more outrageous the better. These obnoxious pink bear paw slippers above are so perfect. Of course there is always the issue of people having different sizes but luckily people do have the ability to steal, trade or re-gift. I think part of the fun is the possibility of 6 foot tall grown man opening these. 

A Game. The idea of having a game as a White Elephant gift is brilliant because it keeps the party going, especially if it’s a unique game most of the players have never played before. Relative Insanity pictured above is a perfect game if the majority of your group is family. It was created by Comedian Jeff Foxworthy and has been featured on several talk shows. 

A Grilled Cheese Toaster. Yes, you read that correctly. This is a toaster specifically designed to make grilled cheese sandwiches. It has baskets to safely and easily cook 2 grilled cheese sandwiches at once. So this is another odd yet useful White Elephant Gift. 

The Huggle Hoodie. This is pretty much a snuggie on steroids. Why would you not want to pretty much live in a blanket? I still don’t own one of these but I’ve wanted one since I spotted it on a friend over the summer. You better believe if I saw this at a White Elephant I would be ready to fight for it. If you don’t like this idea, really any of it’s “As Seen on TV” family members would be good choices. 

This Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker. This is seriously my favorite thing on the list. It’s random enough to be a perfect White Elephant gift but there’s actually a good chance the recipient will actually enjoy it and use it. 

 I hope this list gave you a lot of good ideas! My goal when choosing a White Elephant gift is to pick out things that are fun, interesting and people will actually like, or that they will have potential to re-gift to someone else. I hate to get things that will just end up in the trash when spring cleaning rolls around. I also recommend wrapping the gift as beautifully as you possibly can. I like to try to make my gift the most aesthetically pleasing and I’m always hoping to have my gift picked first.  

Day 5 of Blogmas 2018

Morning Rush Must Haves

Today was going to be the day I started getting up earlier… spoiler alert! That, it was not. You see, I’ve been reading the “The Miracle Morning for Entrepreneurs” by Hal Elrod and Cameron Herold. Basically, they break down the morning routine of the most successful people in the world. Of course, this would mean waking up quite a bit earlier. I’m going to try again tomorrow. If you’re not an entrepreneur, there are actually several versions of this book so there’s definitely one out there for you. I think once I get on track with this, my life and business will improve dramatically! So, if you’d like to follow my journey with this book, read my full review of it and see how I apply these principles let me know and I’ll do another post about those topics specifically. But back to today! Today was one of those mornings where I decided that an extra 15 more minutes in bed was more valuable than the 15 minutes I could’ve spent in the shower, styling my hair, or applying my makeup to perfection. Tired me should NOT be given the power to make that choice.

took 10 minutes to get from out of bed to out the door the day I took this photo

Have you been in that situation before? I know it wasn’t the first time for me and it certainly won’t be the last. So luckily for both of us I’ve got this situation completely figured out! So, without further delay, here’s the list of my Top 5 Morning Rush Must Haves!

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• Moisturizer with SPF
SPF is SO important. We can’t afford to skip out on this EVER! We also shouldn’t skip moisturizer either so, if you don’t have time for much at least do this!

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• Tarte Shape Tape Concealer
Even if you don’t have time to do a full makeup look this is the quickest and easiest way to look alive as they say. What I mean by that is putting a little bit of this on your under-eyes will immediately erase dark circles and make you look a lot less tired.

 

• Redken Dry Shampoo Powder 02
This is a loose powder dry shampoo that will allow you to refresh yesterday’s style and add volume at the root without giving your hair a gritty feeling. I love that this is a clean feeling option in the dry shampoo world. Check out my products highlight real on my IG to see this product in action HERE

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• A Steamer
Nobody wants to have to go out in wrinkly clothes! If you do not own a steamer you need to click on the link above NOW and order one. Steaming is quicker than ironing and you will be so grateful to own one of these babies when you’re in a hurry! I love the Joy Mangano brand because first of all, did you see the movie about her when Jennifer Lawrence played her? Also why would you not want the option to get your favorite color? Shut up and take my money. 

• A Keurig
This may be a larger item but having the ability to make your own coffee in a small portion is going to be worth the time it saves you from either A. having to make a whole pot or B. having to stop somewhere. So, if you’re a coffee drinker you NEED one of these. Plus think about the adorable coffee nook you can create in your kitchen! 


I hope you don’t find yourself running late but if you do, the items on this list should be there ready to assist you. There are two honorable mentions that didn’t make it on the list though, a little bit of eyeliner and lipstick will definitely help you appear more put together! That’s what I have on in the selfie I posted up at the top. What are your morning rush must haves? Let me know in the comments.

Day 2 of Blogmas

Why Marilyn Monroe Wasn’t Happy

Many of us believe we would be happier if we had more money, more fame, more beauty and more adoration. Icon Marilyn Monroe had all of those things and more. Norma Jeane Baker come into the spotlight under the stage name Marilyn Monroe in the 1950s. During the height of her career, you would probably view her as the ultimate success story. Girl comes from nothing and conquers the world! So how did this seemingly perfect life turn into a tragedy in the blink of an eye? More importantly, what can we learn from this legendary star and apply to our own lives?

Marilyn Monroe didn’t have the easiest childhood. Her father wasn’t in the picture and her mother was not prepared for parenthood financially or emotionally. Monroe was put into foster care shortly after birth and although her mother remained a part of her life her foster parents were the ones raising her. Despite the foster parents wanting to adopt Marilyn, her mother took her back full time when she was about 7. Shortly after, Monroe’s mother suffered a mental breakdown, was diagnosed with schizophrenia and spent the remainder of her life in a revolving door of psychiatric hospitals and care. With her mother once again being in no position to provide care for her, Monroe became a ward of the state and returned to foster care. Unfortunately, this period of her life didn’t provide much positivity or stability. Marylin Monroe found herself hopping from family to family and even spending time in orphanages. During this time, she experienced many horrors such as multiple instances of sexual abuse, molestation and isolation. These unthinkable experiences affected Marilyn deeply and the trauma caused her to become very withdrawn and depressed. To escape this situation and find stability, she chose to get married at the age of 16. This marriage ended up being a loveless one and while it didn’t affect Marilyn negatively, it was short lived.

Marilyn Monroe was very driven to achieve her goals. She broke into the modeling world and then decided to set her sights on acting. Before she knew it, Marilyn was starring in the most popular films and becoming a household name. All of her dreams were coming true! She was considered the “it girl” of the era and in the publics eyes she could do no wrong. Her scandals were even making fame skyrocket to new heights. She was recognized as the top actress, she was certainly one of the highest paid people in Hollywood and she had unmeasurable love and admiration from her massive fan base. Marilyn Monroe was just adding award after award to her growing collection. Despite her growing success Marilyn was still struggling. Her lack of confidence and happiness were still evident in her behavior especially in a working environment. Marilyn was rumored to be very difficult to work with and her perfectionism was making it impossible for her to be satisfied with any project she was involved with. The amount of pressure she was putting on herself eventually lead Monroe to turn to substance abuse. These habits eventually made the problems she was experiencing even worse and lead to addiction issues. As we’ve all seen time and time again, eventually addiction catches up with everyone. Marilyn Monroe was no exception to this and her performances began to suffer as a result. This only added to her substance abuse and eventually she ended up losing her life to her addiction. There is no question that her lethal overdose was intentional because the toxicology report showed that the amount of drugs in her system were several times the fatal dose.

How you feel has nothing to do with your circumstances. The reason Marilyn Monroe committed suicide because she never learned to conquer her emotional state. Instead of learning to find happiness within herself, she chose to use drugs to try and change how she was feeling. She had every reason in the world to be happy by most people standards. The amount of money she had would be the equivalent to about $2 billion in this day and age. She was considered by many to be the most beautiful woman in the entire world. She had dedicated fans who viewed her as the perfect woman. She had reached an unmatched level of fame. She had numerous awards validating her success. She lives on as a legend even to this day even though she passed away over 50 years ago. She had to have seen the impact she made not only on her industry but on the world as a whole, yet this is a woman who felt hopeless enough to take her own life. Obviously now that you’ve read about her childhood, you know that that trauma was a factor. As many of us tend to believe, Marilyn probably thought all of these achievements and material items in her life were supposed to bring her joy. She probably believed the money, success and admiration had the ability to erase her broken past. No circumstance you create for yourself will ever have the ability to do that for you. Happiness is a choice. If you aren’t happy with your life as it is in this current moment, I’m not suggesting that you should just accept it and do nothing to change it. What I am suggesting is that you take action immediately to learn to be happy every step of the way and start training your brain to be happy regardless of the circumstances you are in at any given time in your life. Even the world’s most successful people will tell you that life is full of ups and downs, highs and lows. Until you reprogram your brain to be happy during the entire ride, it won’t know how to be happy in even the best of times and Marilyn Monroe is the proof of that.

if you are in need of assistance please click the photo above or call the number provided

**I should mention that I understand how mental illness could have played a role in this situation. With her mother’s diagnoses it is certainly a possibility that Marilyn Monroe was more prone to the same issues. However, dwelling on negative thoughts has been proven to worsen your brain chemistry when these illnesses are present. If you do suffer from mental illness, I encourage you to seek professional help and allow them to help you develop strategies to improve your ability to cope with whatever issues you may be experiencing. If you are predisposed to have negative thoughts, this concept is going to be even more important for you. Please, take care of yourself. The world just wouldn’t be the same without you.

this has been DAY ONE of Blogmas 2018

Leave Rachel Hollis Alone! How “Girl, Wash Your Face” Saved Me

When I say “Girl, Wash Your Face” by Rachel Hollis changed my life, I can tell you I’m not being dramatic. This is a book that came into my life at a very important moment. I’m 27 years old, I’ve been running my own business for almost 2 years and it’s HARD! There have definitely been brief moments where I considered giving up. I think deep down I knew I wouldn’t but when you’re broke, sleep deprived and emotional sometimes even your most precious dreams don’t seem worth it in those painful moments. I spent some of that time feeling sorry for myself but I spent more of that time feeling down on myself. I was overwhelmed and I was doubting myself. I had an inner dialogue trying to convince me that I wasn’t capable and there were new reasons why almost every single day.

I started seeing some people I know posting about “Girl, Wash Your Face” on Facebook and I had no idea what it was about. I had never heard of Rachel Hollis and due to the demographic, who I saw posting about it, and the title, I assumed it was some kind of beauty book! You see, I work in the beauty industry and the peers who happened to be raving about it do too so that’s how the dots were connecting in my head. Since I sometimes get caught up in FOMO (fear of missing out) I felt like I had to read this book so that I would know what everyone was talking about.

click this image to start your free trial

I downloaded the book on Audible. Audible has been such a game changer for me because I love to read! I’ve always loved reading ever since I learned how but one of the challenges I started facing when I opened my business was time management and I was struggling to find time to the things I love to do for myself. Audible was a solution to that problem for me because now I can LISTEN to books which allows me to multitask. I’m able to listen to my books when I’m driving, at the gym, doing dishes or cleaning. This app has helped me to get that missing piece (reading) back. Using the link above, you actually can sign up for Audible and get your first TWO books free. I highly suggest you try it out because with a deal like that, what do you have to lose?

photo via www.thechicsite.com (Rachel Hollis’s blog)

I was immediately pleasantly surprised to find out Rachel Hollis read the audio book HERSELF! This was amazing because it felt like she was speaking directly to me and I could definitely recognize moments throughout the book where she would read certain parts with emphasis where she intended it. I don’t know if an outside reader could’ve possibly gotten Rachel’s points across the way she was able to herself.

photo via www.thechicsite.com (Rachel Hollis’s blog)

The title of this book comes from the idea that times are going to be hard, and it’s okay to cry. It’s even okay to ugly cry! Get at all out but then, you need to wash your face and keep going. This isn’t being said to minimize what you’re going through, it’s being said in the context of not giving up. Giving up is the most detrimental thing to our success because it makes it impossible. However, it’s important to keep this idea in perspective. As the author clearly states, this isn’t directed at someone struggling with depression. Clinical depression is something that is in the chemistry of your brain and your genetic makeup. This is directed at the person who just happens to be going through a tough season or moment in their life. This has nothing to do with lacking compassion and everything to do with encouraging you to keep going.

Image via Audible on my phone

Each chapter of “Girl, Wash Your Face” begins with a lie we tell ourselves with a title to match. Each chapter also ends with ways the author herself overcome the issues surrounding those lies and offers relatable suggestions for you to do the same. In other words, she is identifying problems in your life that you may or may not know you even have and then she’s offering viable solutions. As Hollis explains perfectly, sometimes these lies have been playing so loud in our heads for so long that we don’t even hear them anymore. So, we may no longer even be aware that we are telling ourselves these things. A few of the lies that are addressed are: “Something Else Will Make Me Happy”, “I’ll Start Tomorrow”, “I’m Not Good Enough” and “I’m Better Than You”. As you can imagine, these topics are a wake-up call for sure. I learned more about myself from a complete stranger than I’ve learned from some of the people who have known me my entire life. I honestly feel like this book not only showed me some of my flaws that I wasn’t aware of (in the most loving, encouraging and gentle ways possible) but also gave me the tools I need to address them. This book lead me to a lot of self-discovery and helped me realize things some people have only unlocked about themselves after years of therapy.

image via amazon.com

As anything else that reaches the popularity of this book does, I have seen the author receive some criticism. I don’t believe the criticism has been warranted. I actually find it highly unlikely that most of these criticizers have actually read the book because if they had, they would see the inaccuracies in the things that they’re saying. Rachel Hollis’s opponents refer to her as a privileged, affluent, Christian, white woman who is unrelatable due to the fact that they don’t feel that she’s been through legitimate struggle. First of all, who are we to determine the degree to which another person has struggled? Second of all, if a borderline abusive and traumatic childhood that came to an abrupt end after discovering your sibling’s dead body due to suicide isn’t enough of a hardship for you then maybe infertility, failed adoption attempts or facial paralysis might be. No? Would you feel better if Rachel Hollis wallowed in her sorrows? Would her struggles be valid for you then? I believe the only reason people are so upset with this author is because she has learned to be successful despite her setbacks. A lot of us haven’t and I hadn’t either… until now. No one can force you to reach your full potential, but I know I’m going to everything in my power to reach mine.

The Ultimate Gift Guide for Your Besties ($25 or Under)

The holidays can be so hard because you have so many people to buy for! For most of us, family comes first and then we end up feeling guilty when the funds run out and we’ve purchased nothing for our loyal girl squad. I’ve searched high and low and I think I’ve come up with an amazing list of 10 gifts $25 or under that your Bestie(s) will actually want!

photo via @MorpheBrushes on Instagram
  • One of the MorpheX Jaclyn Hill Vault Collection Pallets. The actual vault retails for $49 and it includes all 4 pallets. However, the pallets retail separately for only $15! These are seriously some of my all-time favorite eye shadows and no matter which color scheme you choose, you really can’t go wrong. They are so AMAZING! Better yet, if you have 4 best friends buy the vault and split up the 4 pallets among them. I guarantee they’ll want to share because each pallet has it’s own unique assortment of colors. I linked the whole vault below, because it’s the best value but you can easily find the individual pallets on the website. Make sure you google coupon codes before you purchase, a lot of YouTubers have them with Morphe. I usually use JACATTACK for 15% off.
  • Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis. I’ve seen this book retail for a lot of different prices! The lowest I’ve seen it was around $10 and the highest I believe was about $16. It’s definitely available for under $20. I know this book has gotten a little bit of backlash but I honestly think some people just didn’t understand it or else just didn’t give it a real chance. Everyone I know who actually read the book LOVED it and I honestly think it should be given as a right of passage to all millennial women. This is a book that I really can’t say enough good things about and if you want my more in depth thoughts click here! I did another post with a full review and all my thoughts.
Image Via Miley Bear Market
  • A Customized Mug! Have an inside joke? Something unique and special to your friendship? A saying that makes you think of your best friend? Why not put it on a mug? We all have seen someone local who has a crafting business whether it’s full time or just something they do on the side. We see their Facebook posts promoting their business and we probably scroll right past. We should consider them when we are looking for holiday gifts because they can usual create something beautiful, customized and amazing with a personal touch that can’t be purchased at a store. Besides, purchasing from them may be helping them provide a better Holiday for their family rather than just putting your dollars into another corporation. However, if you do order from them just be aware, they are humans and won’t be able to compete with Amazon having your item on your door step in two days. They are usually one person and they have to take time to create your custom item. I should also mention, prices may vary depending on the complexity of your request. If you don’t know of any local crafters, I use
    Miley Bear Market! She can be contacted most easily via Facebook. Just tell her Ashley sent you

 

Image Via Bath And Body Works 
  • A candle. Candles are SO underrated. A candle is a gift you may not be super excited when you open, but as soon as you smell it you are in heaven. This is how you can give the gift of relaxation. I wait for the Bath and Body Works Sales on their 3 wick candles and I stock up. Those babies will make the whole house smell glorious for weeks on end… longer if you don’t burn it during every waking hour like I do. Sorry Yankee, Bath and Body Works just beat every brand with their candles. They usually retail for $24.50. PLUS they have a lot of sales this time of year that will for sure bring it below $20. WATCH FOR CANDLE DAY! I don’t know when it will be this year but it’s usually in the beginning of December and 3 Wick Candles go on sale for like $8. I will update this post when I get official word but if you hear before me COMMENT BELOW. I don’t even want to link them because you really need to go smell them in person, but just so you know what I’m talking about, this is them.
    http://www.bathandbodyworks.com/c/home-fragrance/3-wick-candles
  • Okay this one might seem strange but just trust me for a minute! Tyler Glamorous Wash in the scent DIVA! Yes, it’s laundry detergent. Yes, this may seem like a very bizarre gift. Yes, your friend might look at you with a confused look on her face but, when she uses it for the first time she will understand. This stuff might be a little pricey to wash everything in so I use it exclusively for bedding. The aroma is one of the most luxurious things a person can experience and it fills the entire room not only while washing, but it sticks to the fabric of whatever you wash with it for a very long time. I don’t wash my comforter nearly as often as I wash my sheets and I’ll tell you the fragrance lingers for weeks. I guarantee this gift will be a huge hit. It’s currently retailing on Amazon for $25. Click the image above!  
Image Via Fandango
  • A Fandango Gift Card. Or really any movie gift card. Sometimes we can’t justify the expense of going to the movies when we are subscribed to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime but when someone gives you a gift card that gives you the opportunity to enjoy the magic of the big screen. I received a Fandango Gift Card for Christmas last year and it really was a treat to be able to go out and not feel bad for not looking for something I already pay for through streaming.
    https://fandango.wgiftcard.com/responsive/personalize_responsive/chooseDesign/fandango_resp/1
  • A Phone Tripod. This is for your Instagram Obsessed Bestie. Selfies are kind of going away, all the it-girls on IG are taking more modeling type shots to fill their feed. Having a phone tripod will allow them to set a timer and get much more interesting poses. You will be your bestie’s new hero with this gift. I LOVE this Jelly Fish Tripod because it’s not bulky, so portable and easy to set up on the go whether I’m trying to take a group photo, solo pic, quick video or really anything! Click the image above! 
  • A Stick Immersion Blender. This is another one that might seem odd, but your health obsessed friend will love this gift. This thing is so portable and easy to take on the go. It’s going to be perfect for that lunch time smoothie at work, way easier than lugging around a bulky blender. There are a ton of scenarios where this thing comes in handy, don’t believe me? Just Google it. Click the image above. 
Image Via Aldi
  • WINE. Need I say more? This is another underrated gift. When you don’t know what to get someone you can never go wrong with a bottle of wine. AND GUESS WHAT?! Aldi has a surprisingly remarkable selection for unbeatable prices and most of them are in really cute bottles. You’re Welcome.
  • Wireless Bluetooth Headphones. I don’t know about everyone else, but if there’s one thing I can’t seem to keep track of it’s my damn headphones! Having a separate pair for my gym bag and my purse has been kind of a game changer for me and I’d like to have a spare for when one of those two decide to run away from home. I strongly believe you can never have too many pairs of these and they will always come in handy. No one will ever be disappointed to get some new headphones. Click the image above! 

I hope you enjoyed this gift guide and more importantly got lots of gift giving inspiration! I know most of these gifts were more geared towards your female besties. If you want to see a gift guide for male friends, significant others, parents, or anyone else, please leave me a comment down below and let me know. I’d be happy to write up another guide for you.