Friday Favorites: Sunscreen and Sunless Tanner

Summer is right around the corner. My kids have two weeks left of school and many others are already out for summer vacation.  With summer vacation comes time at the pool, the beach, and lots of other outdoor fun. Time outside means exposure to the sun and its harmful rays. If you know me, you know that I am a fanatic about sunscreen. I am a very “moley” person. I have moles everywhere and lots of them. I have had the unfortunate pleasure of having multiple moles that have had to be removed for being severely atypical. That is super close to cancer. Because of this, I am a crazy person when it comes to sun exposure.  I lather myself and everyone in my family with sunscreen multiple times when we are out in the sun.  I even wear hats when I am in the sun for prolonged periods of time. I also wear sunscreen on my face every single day whether I am going to be out in the sun or not.  Everyone needs to wear sunscreen, but the key is reapplying it.  You can’t just put it on once and expect it to work all day long. I personally reapply every hour. My philosophy is better safe than sorry!  I also would never recommend a spray sunscreen.  You can never get good coverage with a spray. I guarantee that you will miss spots and then you will have a weird tan.  

I have tried multiple brands of sunscreen over the years.  Most sunscreens are thick, difficult to rub in, smell bad, and leave you feeling sticky.  It has taken years to find a sunscreen that I really love, but I finally found it a couple of years ago.  I promise you that I am not saying this just because I am a consultant.  It really is that good!  My favorite sunscreen is Rodan + Fields Essentials Sunscreen SPF 30.  I am not kidding you when I say that it is the best sunscreen that I have ever used.  It is thin, smells good, and doesn’t leave a sticky feeling on your skin.  I would even go as far as saying it leaves your skin feeling cool and refreshed, not sticky and gross. It applies evenly and it actually works.  I am obsessed with this sunscreen.  I will forever use it as long as I am going out in the sun. I think I probably have about 5 bottles of it in my house right now because I don’t want to run out!  I love it! R+F also has a Lip Shield that protects your lips from the sun. It smells like lemons! I am not especially attached to the lip shield, but I think it is important to remember to protect your lips with some form of SPF made for lips.

Now, you may be thinking that my crazy obsession with sunscreen leaves me pasty white all the time, and you would be correct.  I am paler than pale for the majority of the year.  I will say that I still get a golden complexion in the summer without getting burned using the R+F sunscreen. I prefer not to get even that from the sun though because I am so afraid of the sun’s rays.  Anyway, I have a solution for the pasty white skin too. I do not, and will not, ever recommend a tanning bed because I believe it is just as bad as regular sun exposure if not worse.  I also personally won’t do a spray tan.  I don’t have anything against them, but I just know that it is not for me.  I will tell you that I have tried a million sunless tanners.  I can’t stand 90% of them because of the smell.  I have mentioned before that smells trigger my migraines, and most sunless tanners have triggered them with their strong smells.  Let’s not even mention all the ones I have tried over the years that leave streaks or turn you orange.  There is another win with Rodan + Fields!  Their Essentials Foaming Sunless Tanner is the best one I have ever tried.  It does have a smell to it, but it isn’t super strong and to me smells more citrus than chemical and does not trigger migraines for me.  It is easy to apply and does not leave streaks.  It also has never turned me orange.  It works great. Whenever I have applied it, I get people commenting on my nice tan. They often ask if I have been to the beach. It gives you an even, glowing complexion, and you start to have that warm glow within an hour of application.  It does not leave a sticky feel either, and it lasts for about a week.  You can control how dark you want to be as well by applying one or two layers. It truly is the best and I use it year round.  I’m obsessed! 

In summary, avoid exposure to the sun as much as possible. Protect your skin and lips by using sunscreen whenever you are outside. Reapply often.  Find safer ways to get that sun-kissed glow without exposure to the sun’s harmful rays, and enjoy your summer without a painful sunburn!

Anchored and Protected,

Friday Favorites: Summer Capsule 2019

Many of you know that I recently joined a company called Trades of Hope, and I am super passionate about their mission.  TOH’s mission is to empower women out of sweatshops, slums, abuse, human trafficking, and extreme poverty all across the world by providing them with a sustainable business.  We employ artisans from 17 different countries including the US to create beautiful handmade, ethically sourced jewelry, bags, home décor and more.  We market and sell the gorgeous pieces that these women create so that they can in turn provide for their families.  I am so passionate about helping these women fight injustice. I truly feel like this is what God has been calling me to do.  We work to give back to these women by providing them with things like baby chicks, fruit trees, water wheels, education, and more so that they can rise up out of the dire situations they have been living in and ultimately change their lives and that of their families and communities.  TOH just released a summer capsule collection, and I wanted to share with you my three favorite pieces from that collection because they are not only gorgeous, but the stories behind them are truly touching.  Purchasing any of these products directly impacts women around the world.  

The inspiration for this summer capsule collection is the beautiful, unpretentious wildflower. Wildflowers are vibrant and gorgeous. They can survive and grow in the harshest of environments just like many of our artisans.  Our artisans have faced adversity, yet they have grown despite their challenges. This collection showcases pops of color and the vibrancy of the wildflower.  Altogether, nine new products were released, but I want to highlight my three favorite ones.

Maya Wallet-Guatemala

Guatemala has the highest poverty rate in Latin America.  Nearly half of the children there under the age of five are chronically malnourished, which is one of the highest malnutrition rates in the world. Many of the women in Guatemala are uneducated.  TOH’s partnership with the artisans there has empowered them to rise up out of poverty. These women are given the opportunity to attend school and learn basic principals that will help them move ahead in life, become self-reliant, and financially independent.  The Maya Wallet is just one of many products that TOH carries from Guatemala.  It is absolutely gorgeous. Each one is as unique as the artisan that creates it as they come in a variety of colors, patterns, and motifs.  Our artisans in Guatemala use fabric from their traditional blouses called hupil to make these wallets and then line them with beautiful denim. Each wallet is then trimmed in genuine leather. How gorgeous are these colors? I love the fact that you wait in anticipation of what yours will look like! So pretty!

Catalina Necklace-India

India holds the largest number of poor people in the world, many of which live in rural areas. Twenty-two percent of the population lives below the poverty line. Women and children in India are often vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.  Many are forced to sell their bodies or work in sweatshops to support their families. While India has made great strides in reducing poverty, it is still painfully high. Through TOH’s partnership with several artisan groups in India, women are given a chance to work from home while they take care of their families. These artisan groups are now able to provide education for their children and support their families. The Catalina Necklace is one of the new pieces from the artisan group in India. It is made from sterling silver, reconstituted turquoise stone and sillimanite. It is so dainty and just beautiful.

Limitless Earrings-Haiti

Did you know that in Haiti, many women are forced to leave their children at orphanages just because they cannot feed them? This is the case for the majority of the 500,000 orphans Haiti. A young couple that traveled to Haiti to adopt learned that most of the orphans had mothers that really wanted them but that couldn’t care for them. They were so moved by this that they decided to create the “Unorphanage.” This group now employs hundreds of women and allows them to make an income and keep their children! One of these women, named Gina, is now able to give her daughter the life she never thought she could. Her daughter, Christnelle plays in the onsite daycare while Gina creates beautiful products like these earrings.  She is no longer is forced to feed her daughter cookies made from clay just to fill her belly. These Limitless Earrings are made from upcycled aluminum and are hand cut and hammered into these modern shapes by our artisans in Haiti. They are super lightweight and are a gorgeous statement piece. 

I hope that you are able to see the beauty in these pieces and the incredible stories behind them. Each of our artisans is a true inspiration of perseverance and how you can change a life with determination.  To check out the entire summer capsule, you can preview it here.  If you are interested in learning more about the mission of Trades of Hope or want to hear more stories of our artisans, you can request to join my Facebook group, Anchored Hope.

Anchored in Hope,

Book Club: Normal People

I cannot believe that April is almost over.  This year is totally flying by.  The end of the month means I’m giving you my take on this month’s book club book, Normal People(Amazon) by Sally Rooney and telling you what my next pick is for May. I have to say that I was slightly disappointed with Normal People.  I wouldn’t say that the book was awful because it did hold my attention for the most part. However, I didn’t think there was enough plot development for me, and I thought it was a little choppy the way it jumped ahead months at a time.  I just felt like there were things that were left out that I as the reader wanted to know. This book came with high praise and tons of buzz about it, so I was expecting more.  It just didn’t excite me enough, I guess.  Had I not picked it as our book club book to review, I may not have finished reading it.  I don’t know why really. I just didn’t love it. I would be very interested to hear what you all think if you read along with me.  

This story was about two people that met as kids, Connell and Marianne.  Both came from very different backgrounds.  In fact, the two met because Connell’s mother (a struggling teen mom) was the housekeeper for Marianne’s family.  Connell was the popular football player while Marianne was the lonely, girl who kept to herself with secrets of a tumultuous family life. They pretended not to know each other for all of their high school years while they had a secret romance behind closed doors.  Their roles sort of reversed when they ended up at the same college.  Marianne became the boisterous, popular girl while Connell became a quiet reserved guy. They develop this weird connection to each other over the years as their relationship continued off and on throughout their lives.  There was a lot of turmoil within each of them individually that seemed to really affect their relationship as well. Even though they both dated other people, they just couldn’t seem to resist this hold they had on each other.  There relationship was very strange and, at times, unhealthy.  There was a lot of psychological things that both of them needed to work through, and I am not sure that they ever fully dealt with all of it in the end. Again, I didn’t love this book.  It is hard to put into words why I didn’t like it, but I just didn’t. Let me know what you thoughts, though!

My pick for next month’s book is one that I have heard great things about from friends who have read it, and the reviews are very good.  It is also a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick and a #1 New York Times Bestseller.  My next selection is Where the Crawdads Sing (Amazon) by Delia Owens. Here is what Apple Books had to say about this book,

“Abandoned by anyone who should care, Kya lives deep in the swampy North Carolina lowlands. She understands the creatures that live there and waits for someone to understand her—but the locals in town call her Marsh Girl. Delia Owens’ enchanting mystery follows Kya’s exhilarating and terrifying first steps into the outer world, and the murderous betrayal that happens when she lets two young men get close to her. Thanks to Owens’ lyrical prose, we could hear the rustling of the cypress leaves and were pulled headfirst into her complex, emotional story.”

Will you come along this journey with me this month? Happy reading!

Anchored in a Good Book,

Friday Favorites: Top 5

Today I am sharing my top 5 favorite things right now.  These things are things that I am loving, and I think you will love them too. Some are new and some are trusty old favorites.

1. Thirty-One Large Utility Totes

I have been a long time fan of Thirty-one bags.  I have a ton of their Large Utility Totes because they are so useful.  I use them all the time.  The reason that I am loving them right now, though, is because they came in so handy with the move.  I would fill them up, take them to the new house, unload the stuff inside to its proper location, and then head back to the rental for another load.  If you don’t have one (or more) of these, you are missing out.  They are great for the beach, for corralling things in the back of your car, traveling, grocery shopping, and so many more things.  

2. Essie Nail Polish-Play Date

I picked up this beautiful nail polish at Target a couple of weeks ago.  I thought it would be the perfect color for spring, and I was right. It is so pretty on.  I don’t have a pic to show you what it looks like on me because I had to take it off.  Thanks to all of the moving, I have destroyed my nails.  I have broken every single one of them down as far as they can go without loosing the whole nail.  Needless to say, they are certainly not picture worthy at the moment.  I cannot wait until they grow back out and I can use this color again.  I think purple may have become my new favorite color.  I am all about purple these days. 

3. Worthy Shirt by Joyfully Rooted

With Easter just a couple of days away, I am reminded that I am worthy enough for God to send his son to die for me.  Today I am wearing two things that I love that are great reminders of that for me. The first is a shirt I purchased a few months ago from Etsy that simple says “Worthy” on it with a reference to Ephesians 4:1.  I love this shirt so much. I love it not only because of the message but because it is super soft and comfy and the word is in one of my new favorite colors, rose gold. 

4. Worthy Necklace

The second thing that I am wearing today that reminds me that I am worthy and that pairs so perfectly with my shirt is my Worthy Necklace from Trades of Hope that is also rose gold.  How pretty is it? I love it so much. It is so dainty and cute! 

5. Closet America

Since we officially moved into our new house on Monday, I have been working on getting my new closet just how I want it.  I am so in love with the design and all of the elements I was able to add to get the dream closet that I have always wanted.  I am so grateful that I came across Closet America at a home show a few months ago.  I know I have said it before, but they were amazing to work with from the designer to the installers.  I am in love with my closet! 

Well, that’s a wrap on my top 5 for this week! What are you loving right now?

Anchored,

Book Club: Girl, Stop Apologizing

If you have been holding your breath to hear my thoughts on Rachel Hollis’s latest book, Girl, Stop Apologizing (Amazon), here is comes.  Just kidding! I doubt any of you noticed that I missed writing my review last week.  Anyway, this book was highly anticipated by thousands of her followers and me.  I could not wait to get my hands on this book.  Let me tell you, it did not disappoint.  She had just as many amazing nuggets inside this book as Girl, Wash Your Face (Amazon) did.  If you didn’t read Girl, Stop Apologizing along with me last month, I highly recommend it.  The premise behind this book is Rachel Hollis giving you her “shame free plan for embracing and achieving your goals. “ If you are stuck in what direction you wanted for your life or are at a crossroads, this book will give you the motivation to figure out what you want your future to look like and give you practical advice on how to get there. This book is broken up into three sections. I will go through each of those three sections and tell you which chapter was the most meaningful for me.  

Excuses To Let Go Of

In this section, Rachel goes through 9 different excuses that many of us tell ourselves and that prevent us from succeeding and reaching our goals.  The excuse that I identified with the most was “I’m Not Enough to Succeed.” I have written about this several times before. I tend to think that I am not good enough all the time.  I will start this negative self-talk where I talk myself out of things. I start doubting myself.  Rachel talks about how we subconsciously think that we are going to fail at something before we even get started.  I know that I do this a lot.  I don’t even begin to try something new because I have already convinced myself that I am not good enough.   Other times I will decide that I am going full force on a goal, but then I hit roadblocks and my forward progress comes to a halt.  The self-doubt enters again.  I start thinking that all of these obstacles are signs that I am not good enough and that I should just give up. She talks about how we need to get over this self-doubt and push forward.  Instead of giving up right away, you have to realize that although you haven’t met your goal yet, it doesn’t mean that you never will.  Rachel says that it is the YET that matters. She says, “You are enough. Today. As you are.  Stop beating yourself for being on the beginning side of yet, no matter what age you are. Yet is your potential. Yetis a promise. Yet is what keeps you moving. Yet is a gift, and you are enough to get to the other side of it.” Over that past year, I have begun to believe that.  I am beginning to realize that I am enough and I am worthy of pursuing my dreams and goals for my life.  I haven’t reached them YET, but I WILL! I just have to be patient, give it time, and keep plowing through the obstacles.  

Behaviors to Adopt

This is the section that really applies to my current situation in life.  I have made the decision to go for my goals and dreams, but now I am trying to figure out how to get there.  I have to have a plan.  Our behaviors are how we live our lives day to day.  The things that we do daily as part of our routine are the things that are going to keep us pushing forward.  These behaviors should become habits and things that are just natural for us. In this section Rachel gives us 7 behaviors that she believes we should adopt in order to get us to our goals.  There were actually two chapters in this section that really spoke to me.  The first was “Ask for Help.” I have always struggled with this.  I have always taken on everything myself and done it all alone.  Even when I was teaching, I had a hard time letting things go for my assistants to do or for others to help me with.  I wanted it done the right way, and I felt like only I could do that.  There have been so many times in my life when I have needed help, but I didn’t ask for it. I thought it would make me look like a failure.  Rachel says to allow yourself to admit that you are drowning.  There have been so many times in my life where I have felt that I was barely keeping my head above the water because I was trying to project my weird version of perfection.  Rachel encourages you to ask for help because it truly takes a village to get through life. She says that you will burn out if you keep trying to do it all on your own and that is exactly what happened to me with teaching.  Her advice is, “Stop pretending. Stop faking it. Stop taking it all on alone and then later feeling bitter about it. Stop wasting your time on activities you hate as penance for the time you want for yourself. “

The other skill in this section of the book that really spoke to me was “Learn to Say No.” This is one of my biggest flaws.  I cannot say no.  It kind of ties in with the behavior of asking for help.  I can’t say no. I take on more than I can handle all the time because I cannot tell people no. Then I refuse to ask for help when I am drowning.  When someone asks you to do something, Rachel recommends that you respond right away, be polite but honest, and be firm.  She says, “You have made the commitment to you and your goals, and it’s important that you stick to your guns. Learn to say no and to say no effectively.” 

Skills to Acquire

To wrap up the book, Rachel gives you 6 skills to acquire to help you reach your goals. The one that I most identified with is “Confidence.” I don’t know if you see a pattern here or not, but the whole feeling of not being good enough goes hand in hand with confidence.  I am not confident in my abilities.  I don’t trust myself enough to reach my goals. If you are always doubting yourself and feeling like you aren’t good enough, you never will succeed.  There are three things that Rachel recommends as ways to help you develop confidence in your self. The first is how you look. She says, “Confidence comes from you liking the way you look, not from you looking any certain way.” I always say that when you look good you feel good.  This is exactly why I get up and shower every single day.  I put on make up and do my hair on put on clothes that make me feel good.  The second way to gain confidence is in how you act.  You have to act like you are confident even when you don’t feel confident. She says, “You can make yourself feel anything you put your mind to as long as you back it up with action.” The third way to develop confidence is with who you hang out with.  I think this is so true.  We adapt and change who we are based on who we hang out with.  If you are around people that are always negative, then you are going to become a negative person too.  The same is true that if you hang out with people who exude confidence, you will start to feel that way too. Rachel says, “Be mindful of the people you hang out with, the words you use, and the way you present yourself to the world around you. Pay attention to the times or the circumstances that make you feel the most self-assured, and then work to cultivate more opportunities like those.” 

There really is so much more to gain from this book to help you become the best version of yourself, someone that goes for her goals with all she’s got and never gives up until she reaches them. Again, I highly recommend this book for any woman.  It really makes you think about your life and how you approach things.  It inspires me to keep pushing to become who God meant for me to be.  

Now, on to our book for April. For this month, I have chosen the book Normal People (Amazon) by Sally Rooney.  Check out what Apple Books had to say about this book.

“Irish author Sally Rooney’s second novel is a sharply observed story about growing up and learning to love. Connell is a popular kid from the wrong side of the tracks, while Marianne is a rich, slightly awkward school outcast. From their respective childhoods in rural west Ireland to their college years in Dublin, Marianne and Connell struggle to square their shared intelligence and passion with the calcified gender and class politics that define so much of their lives. Normal People is both a timeless love story and a resonant cautionary tale. Rooney’s characters feel poignantly, painfully real—we wished her book were twice as long.”

I hope you will read along with me.  Let me know your thoughts on Girl, Stop Apologizing, too! 

Anchored in a Good Book,

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Friday Favorites: Top 5

It is time for another top 5.  Today I am going to share with you 5 quick things that I am loving right now. 

1. App: Pixel Art

I have actually been loving this App for a while.  I don’t know why, but it is soothing for me to color on this app.  It is totally like a kid’s color by number, but I am obsessed with it. It is like a time to calm my brain as I am doing something mindless.  I’ve been using it a lot this week as the hits keep coming. It is a great way to distract me.

2. Pureology Hydrate Shampoo and Conditioner

I love these two products.  I have been using this shampoo and conditioner (Amazon) for years. Yes, they are on the pricier side, but I believe they are both well worth the money. Plus, you really don’t need a lot of either product to get your desired results so it will last you a while.  My hair can get dry and start to feel like straw, but these two products keep it hydrated, shiny, and soft. I love the cool, tingling feeling you get from the conditioner on your scalp. It has sort of a peppermint smell to it that is great too! I LOVE this duo!

3. Song: “Beautiful Crazy” by Luke Combs

I am a long time country music fan, and I have become a fan of newcomer Luke Combs.  I have loved every song he has put out. Currently I am in love with his latest song.  It is a song that gets stuck in my head that I don’t mind being stuck with.   Maybe it’s because I identify with it.  I think my husband thinks I am crazy all the time, so I hope that my crazy is beautiful to him.  Haha! Wishful thinking, right?

4. Posture Corrector

I have been looking at this posture corrector on Amazon for over a year.  I have always had hunched over shoulders.  My mom and my grandmother used to (still do) always tell me to stand up straight.  Anyway, I had my eye on this contraption for a while.  I thought that it might help with my back pain.  Then I found out that a friend uses one to help with her migraines. You all know that I suffer from migraines as well.  That was the tipping point for me and convinced me that it was time to pull the trigger and buy it.  There are many different ones on Amazon.  This is the one I chose.  I really do think it is helping with my back.  The jury is still out on if it is helping my migraines or not. I don’t think I have been using it long enough to determine that, yet.  It recommends that you ease in to it and only wear it a little each day at first.  I am slowly building up to longer periods. So far, I am loving it.

5. Trading Spaces

Back in the 90’s the pioneer for home-remodeling shows was the show Trading Spaces on TLC. I was obsessed with the show back then and was dying to be on it.  My sister and I tried to convince my mom to apply to be on it. In the show two sets of neighbors switch houses for 2 days and redecorate one room in each other’s house.  It is all completely a surprise and the big reveal was always exciting waiting to see what the couple’s reaction would be to seeing their new room.  Sometimes they totally love it and sometimes they totally hate it and it is very clear.  Anyway, I was so excited when TLC announced the reboot of the show with many of the original cast members last year.  The second season of the reboot began last week.  I really love this show.  Yes, it is a bit corny now, but I love it anyway.

That’s a wrap on my top 5 this week!

Anchored,

Friday Favorites: Mascara

I have been on the hunt to find the perfect mascara for years.  I have had a few that I liked okay that I would use for a while, and then I would decided that I really don’t like it all that much and try another one.  I have used a wide variety of brands in a wide price range including Clinique, Maybelline, Mary Kay, Bare Minerals, Younique, and many more. There was nothing major wrong with any of those brands. It is really all about personal preference and what look you are going for.  For me, the wand matters and the clumpiness (I just made up that word) is a big factor for me.  That includes clumping on the wand and clumping on my lashes when I apply it. When I started using Rodan + Fields’ Lash Boost and my lashes started to look fuller and longer, I realized my current mascara just wasn’t doing if for me anymore so I was on the hunt for a better mascara.  I guess that I should mention that I have deep set eyes so sometimes it is hard to really see my lashes without a good mascara.  It’s just the way my eyes are built.  On top of that, I wear glasses all day, every day, which also distracts from my lashes.  I really need a mascara that is going to make my lashes look longer and fuller.

After getting feedback from several people, I started using Roller Lash by Benefit (Ulta) a couple of years ago.  It is said to be “super-curling and lifting” by the maker.  I don’t know so much about curling part, but I do feel like it lifted my lashes and helped them to stand out better. I would say that it is a pretty decent mascara, and I was happy with it for a long time.  I really feel like it makes my lashes appear longer. The one thing I don’t care for is that it doesn’t really give my lashes a fuller look.   I do really like the thin applicator and the way that it glides on so easily. It has very short bristles, and that style works really well for me and is the kind I prefer. I have never had this brand clump on the applicator or on my lashes.    I would recommend it to anyone because it is a solid choice, and I really have no major complaints about it other than the fullness factor.

A month or so ago, a friend mentioned a different mascara to me.  It is one that has actually been on my list for a while as one to try, but I was in no hurry to purchase it because I was happy with the Roller Lash. Anyway, she convinced me to give it a try.  Now, let me first say that my friend has amazing natural lashes that I have always been envious of, so I knew that the mascara wasn’t going to perform for me as well as it does for her.  I was willing to give it a try, though.  I hopped over to Ulta that same day and purchased Too Faced Better Than Sex (Ulta) mascara. Yes, I wish it had a different name, but it is what it is.  When I first opened it up, I could already tell that I wasn’t going to love the applicator.  It is big and bushy.  It has thick, long bristles and I typically avoid that kind of wand.  I was set on giving it a solid try, though.  I must say, that although I am still not crazy about the wand, I really like this mascara.  Not only does it give me the length, but it also gives my lashes a thicker appearance.  I have only been using it for about a month, but so far I am fairly pleased with it. I have this feeling that it could get clumpy, but I am hopeful that it won’t.  The jury is still out on that.

 I tried to do a side-by-side comparison for you, but it is really hard to photograph my eyes myself, and it just doesn’t translate as well to the picture as it does in real life.  However, I think that you can still tell the difference. You can see that the side with the Too Faced mascara is definitely more prominent than the side with the Benefit mascara. While both mascara’s are very different, I would recommend both of them to you as good options for mascara. If you take a look at the two pictures at the beginning of this post where I am wearing the Too Faced mascara in one picture and the Benefit mascara in the other, you can see that they both are good mascaras separately.  It is only when you put them side by side with one on each eye that you can really see the difference. Again, it is totally a matter of preference. I am not sure which one I will choose to go with for the long hall because I love them both for different reasons. I love the Benefit Roller Lash because of its applicator and easiness to apply, and I love the Too Faced Better than Sex for the fullness and length it gives my lashes. I also feel like the Benefit mascara gives you a more natural look than the Too Faced mascara. I’m not sure if that matters to me, though. It is really hard to decide which is my absolute favorite. I like them both! You just have to choose the one that works best for you because they are both great options!

Anchored,

Friday Favorites: NKOTB

Cardboard cutout at Six Flags

I was totally going to write about mascara as one of my favorite things today, but then my favorite boy band was on Good Morning America AND Live with Kelly and Ryan this morning so I decided to switch it up. First, this is going to age me a lot. Second, it’s going to make some of you laugh really hard.  I have been in love with New Kids on the Block since I was a young girl.  That’s right! I was obsessed back then, and I am still obsessed as an adult.  You better believe that I had my DVR set to record both shows this morning so I wouldn’t miss it. As a kid I had all the posters on the walls in my rooms that I ripped out of all of the teen magazines, the huge buttons, the cassette tapes, and even the dolls (I still have a Joey doll in the box around here somewhere)! Jordan Knight was my favorite! I had a huge crush on him, and Joey McIntire was a close second.  I was totally the typical kid that was head over heels in love with the boy band.  I had every album they made including the Christmas one. I knew every word to every song (still do), and I was totally smitten.  I went to my first NKOTB concert when I was 11 years old and although we had terrible seats, I loved every second of it.  We had our binoculars trying to get some kind of glimpse of them from way up high in the stands.  I went with my childhood best friend, and I will always remember it.  

My love for NKOTB was renewed back in 2009 when my very best teacher friends actually became my forever friends as we bonded over New Kids. We heard about them coming back out on tour, and we knew that we had to go.  It was confirmed when we heard they would be coming to our area.  One of us was sitting at the computer waiting to grab tickets the minute they went on sale.  We managed to grab the absolute best seats.  We were on the 5th row!!! We were so excited that we had a countdown to the concert on the back of the door to one of our classrooms.  It was insane, but it was like we were kids again! The night of the concert came, and we had gotten ourselves old school shirts that matched. We were bouncing off the walls because we were so excited. The concert was at an outdoor amphitheater, and it just so happened that night was rainy and stormy.  We got to the concert and it was pouring, but we didn’t care. We were going to go no matter what. We were just praying that it wouldn’t get canceled due to the weather.  We got to the amphitheater early and were sitting in my car in the parking lot as sirens were going off for a severe tornado WARNING! It was scary! We were scoping out a nearby ditch that we could run jump in if we spotted a tornado.  We were laughing and practically crying at the same time, and it is a memory that I will never forget.  We finally got the all-clear message from the radio and the word that concert was still on.  We went in, got soaked, sang “Step by Step” on the news, and had the time of our lives. We all screamed and sang our hearts out until none of us had a voice.  It was the best time ever! 

Since then, we have seen them in concert 2 more times, once with The Backstreet Boys and once with TLC and Nelly.  That last one began with one of my friends leaping over chairs to touch Donnie Wahlberg as he walked on stage near us. I swear I have never laughed as hard as I do when we are all together at a concert. We actually already have tickets to see them again in June of this year, and I CANNOT wait! The concerts now aren’t as much about NKOTB as they are about our friendship and just feeling young and excited again.  I think I will forever be in love with New Kids on the Block, and my friends and I will continue to go see them in concert as long as they keep having them.  One of these days we might just end up on one of their cruises. You never know! I think we would all die if we got that close to them.  LOL! I think that every generation has their own boy band, but I am not sure that there are any that have the following and loyalty as NKOTB does. They are just the best and by far my all time favorite! 

This post is dedicated to my favorite Blockhead Sisters! You know who you are!

Anchored and a Blockhead for Life,

Friday Favorites: Trades of Hope

Well, due to unforeseen circumstances I am late getting this post started today.  Better late than never, right? Anyway, today I wanted to share with you something that I am very passionate about and that is probably the number one favorite thing in my life right now.  At the end of January I made the decision to join a company called Trades of Hope.  I have shown you pieces from there before, but I was not really a part of it then. Other than maybe seeing me mention it here, most of you have likely never heard of Trades of Hope.  I had never heard of it until a few months ago. I was actually introduced to it by a friend.  The more I learned about the company, the more I fell in love, and the more it pulled at my heartstrings.  I know you are questioning how a direct sales company could really pull at my heartstrings, and I will tell you that it is because this company is changing the world.  Two women and their two daughters started this company several years ago.  They have a belief that every woman should have the opportunity to change her life, and I completely agree. Because of this, they had an idea to empower women across the globe out of sweatshops, slums, sex trafficking and extreme poverty by creating jobs and a sustainable business.  Around 70% of people living in poverty around the world are women.  The men in their lives and countries treat many of them poorly.  In some countries, they are treated as second-class citizens. Some are even sold as bond slaves in order to pay their family’s debts.  Statistically, we have learned that empowering women has a rippling effect on not only her family, but also her community.  A woman will typically invest her money, use it to feed and clothe her family, send her children to school, and use it to help her community. The founders of Trades of Hope (TOH) made it their mission to empower these women out of poverty through job creation and education. Trades of Hope now partners with women all over the world (in 17 countries, including the US) to help them market and sell their beautiful handmade products which include jewelry, scarves, bags, and home décor.

Here are just a few of the things that these women face daily:

*Women in Haiti are forced to give their children to orphanages not because they don’t want them, but because they are not able to feed them. 

*Women in Pakistan are treated like second-class citizens and are often sold as bond slaves to pay their family debts. Just this week I was able to sit in on a live video chat with the leaders of the artisan group there along with two of the artisans. Just hearing the horrible things that they face and the danger they are in daily just because they are women blew me away and totally broke my heart.  However, this artisan group is now providing these women with a safe space to work and an education so that they can better their lives and that of their children. 

*Many women have to sell their bodies on the street in order to feed their children. 

*Some of these women are forced to work 16 hours a day and are forced to leave their young children home alone. 

*Women in Costa Rica are struggling to raise their families in a gang and drug infected area.

*Women in Cambodia are often the victims of acid attacks, which are used as a form of punishment typically passed out by an authority figure who feels disrespected. One of those women named Ya had this to say about her opportunity to partner with TOH:

“I am gradually trying to rebuild my life and to make a future for myself, but the only thing that gives me the courage to do that is that I know that I am not alone and that I may be able to do something to help others. I am starting this small business to make goods by hand so that other women in my condition, many of whom are left to raise their children on their own, can have the chance to earn their own living in safety and some measure of self-respect.”

If you have never watched or heard of the film, Poverty, Inc. (available on Amazon Prime Video), I highly encourage you to watch it. You can see the trailer below. It talks about how we always see these countries in desperate situations and people in poverty and our first instinct is to offer charity.  We send money; we send clothes; we send food and water. All of that is great, but it doesn’t fix the underlying problem of why these people are poor in the first place. These people don’t want our charity. They want a way to help themselves. They want an opportunity to be able to provide for their families themselves. They want a sustainable income. This is where Trades of Hope comes into play.  By giving these women small business loans, giving them opportunities for education, and by teaching them a skill, these women are able to get themselves out of dangerous and dire situations.  These women, our artisan partners, are able to create the most amazing pieces that my fellow Compassionate Entrepreneurs and I are able to see to all of you through fair trade.  Our artisans are paid 3-6 times more than they would be paid in their countries. We pay them 100% of their asking price up front. 

Here are some of the things that I have been able to do through this company already just in my first month of joining. While they may seem small, it really does have a huge impact on these women’s lives. I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone and create a ripple effect by sharing the mission with everyone I know. Together we can make a difference.

  1. Help empower women in India, Uganda, Peru, Asia, Cambodia, Guatemala, Haiti, Pakistan, and Kenya
  2. Plant 4 fruit trees for families in Africa that can be used as food and a source of income
  3. Provide 12 baby chicks whose eggs can soon be used as food and a source of income to a family in Africa
  4. Provide a school uniform for a child in Haiti
Waterfall Necklace made in Uganda

I have been so impressed by this company and its mission.  It truly touches my heart.  If you are interested in learning more about this company or the pieces these artisans create, check it out here. You can also ask to join my Facebook group where I share artisan stories, my favorite pieces, and newly released products. I am sure that I will also be sharing some of the gorgeous handmade products in my future Friday Favorites here because I love them and the stories behind them so much!

Anchored in Hope,

Book Club: Left Neglected

I am sorry that I didn’t get this up yesterday like I said I was going to try to do. My whirlwind travel did not allow me enough time to finish it enough that I felt good about posting, so here it is today. Better late than never, right?

Our February Book Club book was Left Neglected (Amazon) by Lisa Genova. I chose this book because it was by the same author that wrote Still Alice (Amazon), and I really enjoyed that book.  This book did not disappoint either.  I actually found myself relating to the main character a lot. The story centers around a woman named Sarah who is at the top of the world.  She has the job, the family, the house, the nanny, and even the vacation home. Her days were scheduled from the moment she woke up until the moment her head hit the pillow at night and then some. She was practically married to her job and spent the majority of her time on being the best of the best and moving up the corporate ladder.  Everything was great in her mind, until it all came to a crashing halt. One car ride, one attempt to make a call while driving, and a devastating crash that almost killed her left Sarah with a brain injury called Left Neglect.  She suddenly had no awareness of the left side of her body or that left side of the world and her surroundings.  The story follows her journey to overcome her injury, retrain her brain, and to figure out what her new normal would be.  

The beginning of this story made me nod my head yes over and over again.  I was living that life just a few short years ago.  I devoted everything in me to my job and being the absolute best in my field.  I let it control me and everything I did.  I forgot what was important just like Sarah.  She kind of gave me the impression that her view of being perfect was very similar to mine.  Thankfully, it didn’t take a life altering accident for me to realize that way of thinking was skewed.  While my journey to the place I am now was not as tragic as hers,  I found myself seeing similarities in her discovery of who she was, who she had become, and who she really wanted to be.  Here is an excerpt that hit home for me because I had very similar ideas about my life. 

“Ever since business school, I’ve had my head down, barreling a thousand miles an hour, wearing the flesh of each day down to the bone, pointed down one road toward a single goal. A successful life. And not just run-of-the-mill success. The kind of success that my fellow elite classmates would envy, the kind that my professors would cart out to future students as a shining example of achievement, the kind that even the exceptionally prosperous citizens of Welmont would aspire to, the kind that Bob would be proud of. “

Then this realization that was also similar to mine, and I feel like it could have been something that came directly from my mouth not so long ago.  

“And I’m starting to wonder. What else is there? Maybe success can be something else, and maybe there’s another way to get there. Maybe there’s a different road for me with a more reasonable speed limit.”

I highly recommend this book. It is an easy light read and story that could teach us all a thing or two.

I couldn’t be more excited about my pick for March.  It is a book that I have been waiting on for what seems like forever! It is being released in a few short days, and I preordered it months ago.  I am sure you can probably take a good guess as to what it is because I have talked about it many times before.  If you guess that it is by my imaginary BFF, Rachel Hollis, you would be correct! Girl, Stop Apologizing is almost here and I CANNOT WAIT! I hope that you all have already read Girl, Wash Your Face, because it is phenomenal.  I know that this new one is going to be just as great, if not better.  I have already heard excerpts of it from Rachel herself during her live videos every morning on Instagram and Facebook and it’s so good.  The book releases on March 5.  Here is the publisher’s description of the book:

“In Girl, Stop Apologizing, #1 New York Times bestselling author and founder of a multimillion-dollar media company, Rachel Hollis sounds a wake-up call. She knows that many women have been taught to define themselves in light of other people–whether as a wife, mother, daughter, or employee–instead of learning how to own who they are and what they want. With a challenge to women everywhere to stop talking themselves out of their dreams, Hollis identifies the excuses to let go of, the behaviors to adopt, and the skills to acquire on the path to growth, confidence, and believing in yourself.”

Will you join me in reading this book on our way to self discovery? I can’t wait to get started!

Anchored in a Good Book,