Round-up: January 2017


      “Again I reply to the triple winds / running chromatic fifths of derision / outside my window: / Play louder.” – William Carlos Williams

This month was one for the books!  In the history of monthly round-ups, this is the very first month that have completed all of the items on my wish list!  So often these to-do lists end up as a monthly suggestion list.  And while I don’t entirely mind suggestions, there is something so rewarding about actually finishing a list from start to finish.  It’s the little things in life. 🙂  This is what I did for January 2017:

  1. Write the first chapter of my new book.  I’m about to start chapter three.
  2. Begin reading a romance novel.  Read “A Family for Christmas” by Dana Corbit and Irene Brand.
  3. Do crafts with my baby.  She made her first watercolor masterpiece.  So adorable!  Must be framed.
  4. Try to find and bake a good table-bread recipe.  Same recipe, better technique.  Not perfect, but better.
  5. Go dress shopping.  Any excuse to go shopping is a good one…
  6. Begin diffusing essential oils.  We primarily used Lavender and Sweet Orange Oil…sometimes together!
  7. Reorganize the pantries and strategize grocery shopping.  Did it.  Wasted less and spent less.
  8. Try out 2 new hairstyles.  I tried the “Pebbles” pony and also basic twin braids.   Not a huge fan of either.
  9. Make an ear warmer for my baby.  Matches mine! Why does it take me so long to do something like this?
  10. Waste less time scrolling through instagram!  It’s an ongoing resolution, but I did it this month, kinda.

If you read my original monthly post for January 2017, you may have seen that I’ve started a new tradition for the year.  I’m taking a focus keyword at the beginning of the month and trying to embrace it for the next 30 days.  It’s kind of like having an emotional theme for every month.  In January, the focus theme was joy.  I chose it because I thought it was a good virtue to combat anxiety and ingratitude.  Looking back, I think joy chose me this month.  More specifically, I think God granted me so many joys this month.

The best part about joy is that it’s not just an experience, it’s also a feeling.  It lasts beyond the experiences that occur in the moment.  While I do love experiences, I think I love feelings even more.  I like things that I can keep forever.  I started doing some new things this month and I really enjoyed them a lot.  We took up cooking with my baby, and loved watching her explore.  Starting the first chapter of a new novel felt like starting a new chapter in my life too.  Writing is really good for me, and I enjoyed it this month.  I day dreamed a lot the past 30 days, and that in itself was a source of joy.  My biggest source of joy is always God and my family.  A hefty dose of that made this month of January 2017 truly great, and truly joyful.

I hope you’ll come back in the next day or two to see my post for what I hope February will hold!  Leave a comment below if you have any January moments to share.  Thanks for visiting!

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Glam Bag Unboxing: January 2017


This time, I really hit the jackpot! If you read my previous Ipsy unboxing, you might remember I thought the December 2016 glam bag was the best edition yet. But then I got this one.  And now I might have to name the January 2017 glam bag as the winner of all glam bags.  It’s a big statement.  Especially since the theme isn’t particularly special– Metropolis.  Makeup translation of Metropolis = Lifetsyle vibes = makeup.  I wasn’t particularly moved by the “Uber makeup tutorials” inspo and “taxi cabs & lip balm” vibes.  But that’s water under the Brookyln Bridge once I opened the little netted pouch and looked at what was inside.  Miracles.


theBalm Cosmetics Contour Bahama Mama

Any Ipsy bag that starts out with a contour product is a really good thing.  And any Ipsy bag that starts out with a product from theBalm is an even better thing!  So a theBalm contour product is really the perfect kick-off product. I really love the creaminess, and longevity of their powders/eyeshadows/etc. and am in need of a new contour since my baby smashed my go-to bronzer a few weeks ago.  My only complaint about these products is the tiny pan and window. I would rather a very shallow and wide pan, especially for a product like contour that involves a large brush.


naked cosmetics mica pigment – Desert Sunset #02

I love me a good pigment pot! But one this color especially speaks to me.  In case you missed it, I love the L’Oreal Infallible eyeshadows, which are very similar to mica pigments. I can see this shade easily working for a new year glam look, or a bronzed glow vibe in the summer. Really glad I got this!


Manna Kadar Cosmetics blush Paradise

I was in desperate need of a new blush. This one looks like it has slightly orange tinge in person, but once it’s applied it’s actually very pinky and rosy.  It claims to have a shimmery (but not glittery) effect.  At first I didn’t think I liked that quality in blushes.  But this product has reversed my thoughts on that, just like the DS Cosmetics highlighter did.  I will say this product is *extremely* pigmented, so a little goes a very long rosy way.  My only complaint about it is that the compact is incredibly hard to open–I split my nail trying to get it open! *ugh*  The fact that it comes from a Parisian designer made up for that little mishap.  I love french beauty!


ciate London geology top coat

If I had gotten nothing else in my glam bag, this product alone would have been worth the $10 subscription cost. This retails at $17, and I have been so close to buying a gel topcoat every time I walk past a shelf of polishes. The at-home gel manicure trend has been going strong for a few years now, but I was never inclined to buy the little UV finishing light.  I also didn’t want to use a two-step polish bc I had colors in my own nail polish collection I really wanted to use.  Now that this product has tumbled into my life, I can finally fulfill my mani dreams with favorite colors from my stash!


Rimmel London Lip Conditioning Balm by Kate Moss – 01 Clear

I don’t normal do this, but I saved the best for last in this unboxing.  I was SO incredibly excited to get this! It’s not everyday that I get to carry around a beautiful lipstick case, since I hate wearing lipstick.  I love lip balms, but their packaging is just never that cute.  Total chapstick vibes.  ENTER: Kate Moss Lip Balm.  I die.  This is so incredibly soft, beautiful, luxurious, and moisturizing.  Last unboxing, I said that the Hanalei Lip Treatment was my favorite lip conditioner I have ever tried.  Well, this beauty is by far my favorite lip balm.  Ever.  With those two products, I will never need to try another lip product!

Thank you for stopping by and looking at these products with me!  If you are an Ipsy subscriber, what did you get in your January 2017 glam bag?  If you’re not, but would like to become one, just follow this link.  Doing so will not give me any monetary gains, thought it will credit my account with a few bonus points to spend on more makeup.  Thanks for reading!

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3 Surprise Realities About the Army Life

3 surprise realities about the army life


I am an Army brat.  I have experienced the joys of adventuring across the country as a kid, and the fears of falling asleep with my dad fighting on the other side of the globe.  Every time someone asks where I’m from, I have to do the whole awkward explanation, “well, you see, I lived a lot of places…” at which point their eyes glaze over and they wish they hadn’t asked me.  Long story short, when my husband enlisted, I thought I knew everything.

Of course, I didn’t.
And I still don’t.

There are some things that will never change about the Army, whether you’re a dependent spouse or a dependent child. Parades, formal balls, big neighborhoods full of kids: some things never go out of style.  But there are some things (most things) that are drastically different, depending on your relation to your sponsor.  There are many facets of military life that I had to rediscover when I made the flex from Army brat to Army spouse.  (In case anyone is wondering, being an Army spouse is better!)  I wish someone would have helped me edit my picture of the Army life by telling me these three realities:

1. Expect Delays.

The Army is famous for it’s “hurry up and wait” policy. As a kid, I do remember gaps of time between my dad’s assignments, as well as cushions of time off between our moves. But those were pleasant delays. As a new Army wife, I experienced very quickly the other kind of delays.  The kind of delays where your soldier finishes training, but has to stay on site to await his order. And he is told his orders will be ready within two weeks. But they are not. And so you are living states apart, just waiting. You get the point. It is agonizing, aggravating, and completely unavoidable. My advice: talk, talk, talk through everything. Sometimes, the delay is frustrating but you KNOW it’s going to end (like he WILL get orders eventually). Other times, the delay may be months long (due to injury, or a hold up with getting a clearance) and you have to consider new options (like moving to where he is).

2. Your paycheck is flexible.

While it’s true that anybody can google how much base pay your spouse is earning through the military, those numbers aren’t quite as set-in-stone as I originally thought. Yes, there is a consistent base pay that will not change under any circumstances. But there are many factors that go into the bonuses and deductions you will see on your LES. For instance, jump pay (for Airborne soldiers) is an add-on, however if his jump status becomes inactive, so will the bonus. Similarly, you should be receiving a BAS (food allowance) monthly, but if he is scheduled to eat at the facility on post while training, you won’t be receiving that BAS anymore. The good news: flexibility goes both ways! You can make more money than you initially expected, depending on what your soldier is and isn’t eligible for. For instance, if you live off-post, expect a BAH (housing allowance)! You can certainly rely on a steady influx of base pay, but pay attention to your LES each time your soldier begins or ends a training period or school, because things might change monetarily for you.

3. Being a soldier can get expensive.

Or in other words, his wardrobe might cost just as much as yours!  While it is true that soldiers are initially issued the basic clothing necessities when they arrive at Basic Training, that’s definitely not all they will need for their careers.  It’s not costly at all to switch patches and ranks as your solider earns promotions and enters various units.  But the daily wear and tear on the uniforms adds up over time.  There is the costs of dry cleaning and sewing, as well as boot/dress shoe polishing.  Sometimes the uniforms need to be replaced, and other times they need to be adjusted depending on the unit.  Do. not. get. me. started. on. packing. lists.   If your soldier attends a camp or training program, he will have to purchase hundereds of dollars worth of equipment.  He will need duplicates, he will need necessities, he will need duplicate necessities.  Everything!  And yes, occasionally your soldier will receive a clothing allowance, intended to help offset the cost.  But it is extremely infrequent, and does not at all add up to the amount that he spends on his uniforms yearly.

None of the above “shockers” are a make-or-break deal for me with the Army.  But they definitely took me by surprises, and added some time to my adjustment period from brat to spouse.  If you’re a military spouse (or brat, or both), what took you by surprise when your spouse joined?    Hopefully nothing too bad!  Leave a comment below.  Thanks for stopping by!

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January 2017

January 2017

“January is here, with eyes that keenly glow, / A frost-mailed warrior / striding a shadowy steed of snow.”
– Edgar Fawcett

Happy New Year!  And happy new month.  I love the crisp, clean, open feeling of a new month.  And January has the crispest, cleanest, openest (most open?) feeling of all the months!  As usual, I have a list of things I want to accomplish this month–not to be confused with my new resolutions–and hopefully not to compete with those either!  I really want this month’s to-do list to help kickstart my yearly resolutions, and to shape my year by providing a really good beginning.

In light of that fact, I’m starting a new “thing” with these monthlies.  For the next 12 months, I’m going to choose a focus keyword to try to embrace in my everyday life.  I don’t have each keyword planned out yet, but I’m guessing as the month approaches, I will have a an inspiration for what keyword needs to be focused on (much the same way my monthly to-do tasks evolve).  This month’s is joy.  In a more specific sense, I want to let joy replace other less-desirable emotions in situations that arise.  I think joy can be used to combat anxiety, fear, and definitely ingratitude.  I just really want to make it a part of my January 2017, and hopefully a part of this year!  And I hope to make these other things a part of my January 2017:

  1. Write the first chapter of my new book.
  2. Begin reading a romance novel.
  3. Do crafts with my baby.
  4. Try to find and bake a good table-bread recipe.
  5. Go dress shopping.
  6. Begin diffusing essential oils.
  7. Reorganize the pantries and strategize grocery shopping.
  8. Try out 2 new hairstyles.
  9. Make an ear warmer for my baby.
  10. Waste less time scrolling through instagram!

This list is coming out a few days late, but I am happy to say that I have begun working towards at least two of them already!  I don’t know why, but it’s hard for me to completely accomplish a monthly to-do list…it just hasn’t happened yet!  I started doing these back in April of 2016, so not a full year yet.  Maybe this month will be the month!  What are your monthly goals?  Thanks for stopping by!

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Hello, 2017


hello 2017

Hello, 2017.  Happy New Year’s to all!

It is just one more day in the beautiful world, and yet it feels like a whole new era for me.  Each year feels so incredibly different from the last.  Is that just because I’m in my twenties, or do new years stay as a novelty throughout life?  If you have been my reader for any length of time, you know there is nothing I like more than posting lists.  Which is too bad, because that’s probably the least “informative” post I could publish.  A list about myself.  So helpful.  But if I skipped over writing lists at crucial moments (like the turn of the year), well then I wouldn’t really be spending my blog time the way I want.  And there is no fun in reading (or writing) a forced blog.

I have finally created a list of 4 “major” resolutions that I plan to weave into the next 12 months.  Maybe these won’t surprise you, based on my monthlies and round-ups.  The 4 resolutions aren’t in any particular order, and they are equally important to each other.

1. Write another novel.
2. Editing. Whether the new novel, or 2015’s novel, I need to REALLY edit.
3. Continue to make music a part of my daily life.
4. Pursue my blogging dreams (see Blogiversary post for details).

I know people like to make jokes about resolutions crashing and burning before they even take flight.  In my experience, that hasn’t always been true.  Yes, if I make extremely narrow resolutions, they might not specifically come true.  But for the most part, every year I really feel like I spent the year the way I wanted to.  The more general the resolution, the more naturally it becomes part of my life.  The above resolutions are ones that have been floating in my heart for some time now.  They just kind of rose to the surface as 2016 came to a close and 2017 blossomed into existence.  I feel really confident that these 4 goals can and will be a part of my new year.  I hope you’ll follow me on the journey as I blog about making them a reality.

There are quite a few personal mini-resolutions flowing in my mind, but you will see those pop up appropriately in my monthly posts for 2017. In fact, tune in for next post, my January 2017 to-do monthly!  Leave a comment below if you have any resolutions to share…either major or mini.  I would love to hear.  Thank you for stopping by!

“A new heart for a New Year, always!” – Charles Dickens

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