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I’ve had this huge canvas under my bed for about three years now. For those three years, I have had the intention of painting something, but never could quite gather up the effort to actually do so. And also, if I’m being honest, I simply didn’t know where to start or what to paint. I was terribly intimidated of throwing some paint on this huge, perfectly white, spotless canvas. What if I made a mistake, or decided against the color palette that I had chosen? It’s not as though you can command-z a stroke of paint; you need to accept what you have and make due with it moving forward. At the risk of being too introspective, this anxiety over making an indelible mark on the canvas is probably related to my tendencies toward perfectionism in life at large.

Despite all of that, I finally decided that enough is enough, and set to painting something this weekend. I’m not sure what exactly I was going for other than the abstract, but I do think it has a slight ikat vibe to it. The canvas went through several iterations, and multiple layers of color. I am actually quite pleased with how it turned out, particularly with the way the colors blended together by using watered down acrylic paint on the last few layers. I had so much fun, I may find myself buying another canvas – and I won’t wait another three years to paint it this time around.

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It is August. IT IS ALREADY AUGUST. Like the rest of this year, time has seemingly flown by this summer. Living in Seattle, one of the best parts about summer is all the light. It doesn’t get dark until after 9pm (earlier in the season, it would still be dusky at nearly 10!), so there is a lot of time available for doing things outdoors. After a busy few weekends, I now have more free time to do more with my weekend. Here’s what I’d like to accomplish over the next few weeks –

  1. Climb every mountain – Well, not every mountain. But I do want to have a “the hills are alive with the sound of music” moment before the gloom sets in. I’ve been in dire need of some time off the grid lately. It is so hard to narrow down exactly where to go, though. I have gone back to favorite trails multiple times, but for some reason haven’t explored new ones as often as I’d like. In the next two months, I’d like to add Lake 22, Snow Lake, Diablo Lake, and Blanca Lake to my “have hiked” list. I may need to hit the treadmill on high incline to prepare though…
  2. Go on a boat – I need to appreciate that I live by the water a bit more often. In my two years since moving from Austin, I haven’t spent very much time out on the sound or on the lake, and that really needs to change. Ferries do not count in accomplishing this goal.
  3. Go wine tasting (again) – I really just want to sip wines in the sunshine. That’s all.
  4. Spend all day outside – This is pretty self explanatory. I want to spend a whole day outside, and not come in until the street lights turn on. Too often I tell myself that I need to clean or “get my life in order” on the weekends. This usually ends with me doing 1.5 loads of laundry and watching about 4.5 hours to television. Not so productive… I need to channel my inner child, ditch being productive and just enjoy the day as much as possible, doing whatever I’d like.

Is there anything I’ve missed?

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Every summer I fall back in love with reading. I remember the thrill and excitement of turning a summer reading list into a big, fresh stack of unread books, and then devouring them one by one. I never failed to be an overachiever where the summer reading list was concerned. Read five books before the first day of school? Pshhh – I’ll read twenty. I’d like to take this moment to thank my parents for enabling my voracious reading habit as a child – it couldn’t have been cheap. I am so thankful for my love of reading today.

 

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After a particularly stressful couple of months with work, there’s nothing quite like taking a bit of a mental summer vacation by picking up a book. Here are a few of the books that I’ve enjoyed so far this summer…

 

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Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson details Lawson’s battle with mental illness. For such a serious topic, Lawson does a brilliant job of making her own unique experience relatable through humor.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah After having a sample of this on my kindle for months, I finally decided that nearly 26,000 positive reviews should not be ignored. I subsequently could not put this down. The Nightingale tells a fictional story of two sisters in Nazi occupied France throughout WWII, and how they coped with and fought against the destruction of their home, family, friends and livelihoods. I enjoyed the suspense that was built by a very character driven plot – you very quickly find yourself rooting for sisters Vianne and Isabelle and I felt for them even long after turning the final page.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr Upon completing The Nightingale, I couldn’t quite leave France. Another very highly rated bestseller happened to share a similar setting, so I picked up All the Light we Cannot See. I am still in the middle of reading this one, as I ended up putting it down for some lighter reading material, but cannot wait to pick it back up.

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld As mentioned above, I eventually realized that I needed a bit of a lighter read after having WWII based novels in my hands and on my mind for a while. I was immediately drawn to Eligible because it combined two of my favorite things – Pride and Prejudice and a spoof of The Bachelor. For any fans of the original Pride and Prejudice or retellings like The Lizzie Bennet Diaries should happily flip through the pages of this adaptation. While not my #1 favorite (I’ve read a fair few), I did find Eligible to be a page turner as I eagerly wanted to see how each situation in the original was translated to modern day. Definitely a fun beach read.

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A few months ago I stopped into Nordstrom to pick up a few samples of the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation. I love that there is a counter just a few blocks away from home, allowing me to delight in trying all the latest products from one of my absolute favorite makeup artists. My wallet, however, maybe doesn’t delight in this fact as much as I do.

While getting color matched – I am currently a 4 – the lady helping me casually mentioned that Charlotte Tilbury herself would be coming to the Seattle Nordstrom that coming week! I’m positive that my friend thought I had won the lottery, as I was maybe a little bit too excited at this news. I quickly made an appointment to have my makeup done, and to meet Charlotte at her personal appearance.

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I stopped in early for a makeover appointment, and had my makeup done loosely in the style of “The Ingenue” but with a few changes to better reflect my personal style – a bit more depth in color for the eyeshadow and black eyeliner on my tight-line to better blend in my lashes (one of my favorite tricks for creating a natural false lash look).

After the appointment, it was time to line up to meet Charlotte. I was so pleasantly surprised by how lovely she is – she took the time to speak with everyone in line and recommend specific techniques and products from her range. To have an elite makeup artist like her compliment your eye color and lashes was just beyond exciting… Especially considering that earlier that week, Charlotte had been in New York at the Met Gala, doing the makeup of one of my ultimate style icons – Blake Lively.

I ended up purchasing the 5 Minute Face On the Go Palette and received a mini size of the new Legendary Lashes Mascara as a gift. I can say that I love the palette, but can’t quite get on board with the mascara. It has the habit of running down my face and is so strongly perfumed that I can smell my eyelashes for hours after application (which is super bizarre in my opinion). Next time I head to the Charlotte Tilbury counter at Nordstrom, I’ll definitely continue to pick up the ever-trusty Full Fat Mascara instead.

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Do you have any recommendations for new products to try?

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A big hooray for my first monthly favorites post! I feel like every Youtube video or blog post about favorites is required to start off with “How is it _____ (month) already!?”, but really – how is it April already? March was a busy month at work, which made the whole thing go by quickly. In addition to being a busy worker bee, I had my birthday at the beginning of the month, and celebrated for a few weeks with various friends due to travel schedules. I think that celebrating your birthday all month should be a regular thing, and I plan on doing this again next year.

This was also a good month for trying new things. After my trip to Australia in February, and the changing seasons, I found that I needed some new skincare items, as well as some new makeup. Helllllllo sunshine – goodbye vampire skin.

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While this technically became a favorite in February, the Origins Drink Up Intensive Mask (1) has been my trusty skin quencher for everything from a 15 hour trans-Pacific flight to the everyday struggle of not having a flaky face. I bought the travel size prior to flying to Melbourne (literally three hours before my flight – gotta raid the travel section at Sephora for a flight like that), and have loved it ever since. I’m now at the point of squeezing every last drop out of this small tube a whole month and a half later, which is amazing considering that it has been a staple in my skincare rotation. It smells of peaches, and leaves my skin as soft as one, too. At $17 for the small tube, this has been worth every penny.

Dry skin is something that I’ve dealt with forever – so I decided to try using straight up coconut oil as a facial moisturizer a few weeks ago. This was a bad idea. My skin was less dry, but considerably more pimply than before. I usually have very clear skin, so this was devastating. I rekindled my long lost love for my Clarisonic Mia (7) brush in a quest to clear those pores out. I am currently using the Radiance Replacement Brush Head (2), which is a tiny bit softer than the sensitive brush (from what I remember). In addition to some more stringent cleansing, the Kate Somervile EradiKate Acne Treatment (3) has been a huge help. It is just like the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion, but more expensive 🙁 Sometimes the markup is worth it when you need to treat a spot, stat, and you’re already in Sephora. Both of these treatments do a great job of making zits disappear overnight, but do leave you with the vague smell of rotten eggs as sulfur is the main ingredient – again, worth it.

I have been especially loving my Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Palette (4) lately. I received this as a gift at Christmas, but I have really noticed that each of the shades is looking a bit more “loved” this month. If I could douse my whole body in ambient lighting powder, that would be truly great.

For eyes, I have been using the Maybelline Master Precise Skinny Eye Pencil (5) and am so glad to have found it! I loved the Hourglass 1.5 mm Mechanical Gel Liner but found that I went through it too quickly to justify the higher price tag. This is a very close dupe, and while not as creamy, does the trick of getting into the upper lash line/tight-line very well.

I have been on the quest for a cool toned dark brown eyebrow pencil for some time now and am thrilled to have found Charlotte Tilbury’s Brow Lift Pencil in “Cara D”. Like all eyebrow pencils, there is a mechanical pencil on one end – this one is like a wedge marker shape which fits the brows nicely – and a spooli brush on the other end. This product surprised me though. I had no clue that there was a highlighter included in the middle though! I was very pleasantly surprised to find a small highlighter smudger screw out of the middle in a color very similar to Becca’s Champagne Pop (another favorite).

Moving away from beauty – I have found a bra that I never want to part with ever. The Free to Be (wild) Bra from Lululemon (8) is quite possibly the most comfortable bra I have ever had the pleasure of wearing. Yes, it is a sports bra, but it is cute and doesn’t result in uni-boob! I am excited to wear this with tank tops this summer, as it is a great option for when you actually do want your bra straps to show. I have this in both black and white in preparation for all sorts of summer ensembles.

Lastly, this whole post was written while deeply inhaling the scent of a Capri Blue Volcano Candle (9). I have one in my kitchen, another in my bathroom, and a room spray for everywhere in between, so it is safe to say I am obsessed.

I hope you enjoyed reading my very rambly March Favorites! What have you been loving this month? Let me know! 🙂

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During my recent trip to Australia for work, I got to spend a day just bring a tourist. I signed up to go on a tour bus style trip down to the coast to pet koalas and kangaroos, and spy on some fairy penguins as they came in from the sea for the night. I didn’t know that I would be the actual youngest person on the trip, and I didn’t know that we would be stopping at such a beautiful beach.

 

Had I missed the bus, and gotten stuck on Smiths Beach, that would have been just fine by me. I stood with my feet in the warm sand, and started to imagine my new, Aussie beach bum life. I would get a tan again, maybe learn how to surf, and I’d have fab beach waves on a daily basis. It wouldn’t be too bad. Unfortunately, I did get back to the bus on time. But I did find my new “happy place” that I can visit whenever Seattle is feeling a bit too grey and cold. _MG_8568 _MG_8570 _MG_8572 _MG_8575

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