This past weekend was Jordan’s bachelorette party, and as much as I would love to give you tips on throwing one, it’s not exactly appropriate for all ages. So instead, I’m going to give you a tour of my and Stan’s very first garden!
We have had a ton of cucumbers. So many, they’re dripping over the sides of the wall Stan built!
I picked six just yesterday. We have two varieties: Tendergreen Cucumbers (the larger, skinny ones) and Organic Burpee Pickling Cucumbers (the short fat ones).
The tomatoes have almost completely taken over the garden. For a while, Stan was trimming the tops daily, then he finally gave up after they busted through the netting and broke the plastic tubing. CRAZY.
They, too, are growing over the sides of the wall. We’re also growing two varieties of tomatoes: Abe Lincoln Heirloom and Burpee Baby tomatoes.
Thankfully, I love tomatoes. I’ll eat them like apples. Or as sauce. Or in salads. Or on sandwiches. I hope they ripen soon!
At the very end, we’re growing cantaloupes and two types of watermelon: Charleston Grey and Sugar Baby.
Isn’t the wall beautiful? Stan spent a lot of time on it (I won’t take any of the credit). No sign of any cantaloupes yet, but we do have a few watermelons growing:
This is the biggest watermelon we have yet. I think it’s a Sugar Baby. After taking this photo, I backed up and narrowly avoided this dude jumping on my face:
Stick bug, maybe? Imagine that thing jumping on my head. I would have screamed like a crazy person!
That’s it for the garden tour! We’ve only been able to eat the cucumbers so far, but it’s a surreal experience eating something we’ve grown from a seed. I can’t wait for tomatoes!
I have a tendency to book jump. At any given time, I could be reading five or so books in various genres. Since tomorrow is National Book Lover’s Day, I thought I’d share with you a few of my recent favorites and current reads:
We Are Water by Wally Lamb: I have a special love for Wally Lamb because of shared personal experiences and will read everything he writes, so naturally I picked up his latest novel. I just started it, so I am only about 45 pages in. However, his very deep character development (which is so typically Wally) has already engrossed me and I hate putting the book down to go to bed, or eat, or work, or any of those annoying must-do’s that keep me from reading.
Make Me by Rhiannon Holte: I’ll admit it. I still read a ton of young adult literature. I’ve shared my love for The Hunger Games, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and as with Wally Lamb, I’ll read everything by YA writers Francesca Lia Block and Ellen Wittlinger. Make Me is a wonderfully fresh young adult novel about a former child actress on the cusp of adulthood, determined to make her comeback after falling into the pit of drugs and alcohol. Like so many young celebrities, she takes some pretty drastic measures. She and a friend (the author, Rhiannon) create a website where her fans can suggest and vote on ways to “make Anya over.” Pretty quickly, it turns into a battle between Anya’s true and loyal fans versus the seedy underbelly of the Internet. It’s unlike any novel I’ve read and I am proud to be helping the author promote it.
I Spy DIY Style by Jenni Radosevich: Do you read the blog I Spy DIY? Like me, Jenni shares a love for DIY and unique fashion. While working at InStyle magazine, she developed a monthly do-it-yourself fashion column which eventually turned into her blog and this book! The book is filled with fantastic fashion tutorials for things you’ll actually wear. The tutorials range in skill level, from needing to know how to glue to sewing and using a grommet tool. It’s a great book to keep on hand for inspiration.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: I listened to the audiobook twice during my Road Trip; first on Day 7 as I drove down the Pacific Coast Highway and again on my last day, driving home. Then when I got home, I immediately demanded that Stan and I see the movie that weekend, which we did. The movie was cute, true to the book, but you’ve got to read the book. As I mentioned during my road trip, I was bawling my eyes out listening to the audiobook, narrated spectacularly by Kate Rudd. It’s a beautiful story about star-crossed young love and courage in the face of cancer. Unlike Nicholas Sparks’ A Walk to Remember, John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars is very real, raw, and does not shy away from the harsh reality and unglamorous side effects of imminent death. Having watched my Nana suffer from and eventually succumb to lung cancer when I was 11, I am all too familiar with the feelings of pain, empathy, and unconditional love that come with it. All I can do is thank John Green for really getting it and helping others to understand.
Eat Pretty by Jolene Hart: As a certified beauty and health coach, Jolene Hart knows beauty from an inside-out perspective. That is: outer beauty is more dependent on what we put into our bodies than what we slather on our skin. She dives into the right (and wrong!) foods to eat for skin cell renewal and repair, healthy and shiny hair, better sleep, a healthy metabolism, and more. The book also provides a list of where to get a healthy dose of carbs, fats, and proteins, and what to avoid. She even has chapters on what to eat during each season of the year, based on what is in season and of course shares a few healthy recipes. This is not a DIY beauty book, it’s more of a healthy lifestyle guide. And let me just say: I need to eat more fruits and veggies. Good thing we’re growing some!
P.S. You’ll notice that many of these links to not go to Amazon, but instead to Better World Books. This is because they have truly amazing charitable efforts such as Book for Book — every time you purchase a book, they donate one to a children’s literacy program. They also donate profits to Books for Africa, Room to Read, the National Center for Family Literacy, and other global literacy non-profits. They reduce landfills by never throwing away a book. They either find it a home or recycle it — to date, they’ve reused or recycled over 190 million pounds of books. AND in addition to free shipping worldwide, you have the option of carbon-balancing your shipment for pennies. So yeah, I kind of love them.
A few months ago I signed up for the personal styling service, Stitch Fix, and I am in love! Every month, they send me five articles of clothing or accessories based on my taste, budget, and lifestyle. Both the tank top and the skinny jeans from this outfit were in one of my “fixes.”
Just as with my For the Makers subscription, I love getting a box delivered to me every month with surprises inside. The stylists at Stitch Fix do their best to match me with quality pieces based on my Style Profile, a short survey about my fashion likes and dislikes, sizing information, etc. They encourage you to link to a Pinterest board that showcases your style to help them better match your Fixes with your personality. After you fill out your Style Profile, it may take a few weeks to get your first Fix to you, but when you receive it you have three days to try on everything and send back (in a pre-paid shipping bag) whatever you don’t like. If you keep everything, you get a 25% discount off of your entire order. If you send back everything, you only pay a $20 styling fee.
I’ve received only a few things I wouldn’t wear. Most of the time, I keep everything in my Fix unless it doesn’t fit. I especially love when they send me something I wouldn’t necessarily have picked out for myself and I end up really liking it. It really is like having your own personal stylist! You can change your frequency to receive them once a month, every 2-3 weeks, or once every two months. Wanna learn more or sign up? Do it.
Side note: you know how my hair is getting really long and I’m finding myself lazily pulling it back into crazy things like “bear ears“? I’m also all about the messy bun.
I don’t wear very much makeup but I always have at least 3 lip products on hand at all times. I’ve usually got two different lip balms and a lipstick or gloss for a little extra color. And you know, it’s not easy finding natural lipsticks and non-petroleum lip glosses. Luckily, I’ve done the research and found a few I really love.
1. Handmade Coco Balm by Poor & Pretty: My 100% natural, vegan-approved lip balm is made with certified organic Cocoa Butter, Coconut Oil, Jojoba Oil, and Candelilla Wax, sweetened with all-natural Stevia extract. (Yes, my Etsy shop is back open! Just Coco Balms & Coco Body Balms for now, but I’ve got some ideas for the holidays, so stay tuned!)
4. Yes to Carrots Lip Butter: This is a great store-bought alternative to Burt’s Bees (which I find dries out my lips even more). They seem to have discontinued the original Carrot lip butter, but you can buy it in Berry, Mint, or Pomegranate from most drugstores or online here.
5. Fairness Gloss by PeaceKeeper Cause-Metics: I love the name of this company, and their commitment to fostering global peace. For example: the proceeds from this lip gloss support equal wage advocacy. The gloss is a lovely neutral color and made with organic castor oil, beeswax, carnauba wax, shea butter, and vitamin E — 75% organic ingredients! It doesn’t get goopy and sticky like petroleum glosses do.
8. Magnolia Lip Gloss by Au Naturale: A very pretty and shimmery pink lip gloss, made with olive, castor, broccoli seed, apricot and more lovely natural oils. This is great on its own or over lipstick.
9. 100% Pure Lip Creme Stick in Perfect Naked Pink: This is slightly darker and peachier than the Aveda lipstick and has more of an opaque matte finish. I love that it’s colored using fruit and vegetable pigments rather than minerals or synthetic dyes.
10. 100% Pure Lip & Cheek Stain in Cherry: I’ve never used a lip stain before, so this was interesting! You have to apply it very quickly or it will be darker on some parts of your lips more than others. It’s a very deep red, so I usually only apply one layer and the color lasts much longer than your average lipstick or gloss.
It really is like staining your lips! On the left, I’m wearing only lip balm, and on the right, I’m using just one layer of 100% Pure’s Lip & Cheek Stain. I finish with lip balm or gloss to give it a little shine. I haven’t tried it on my cheeks yet — I’m afraid I’ll look like a clown! Oh, and it does not taste like cherry, so don’t lick your lips!
What are some of your favorite natural lipsticks, glosses, and balms? Did I miss any that I should absolutely try? Let me know in the comments!
These Roxy sandals are my absolute favorite summer footwear, which is why they’re so well-worn. I bought them years ago, and they’ve lasted longer than any other pair of sandals I own. They’re comfortable and casual, but dressy enough to wear to work and nice events, too. Unfortunately, these aren’t available anymore, but I did find a few more sandals and flats to complement your summer wardrobe.
First, let’s talk about how awesome it is that jelly shoes are back! Yes!!! These are definitely my favorite style icon from the 90s.