I have struggled with acne my whole life. I continue to try different ways to battle it. I believe a lot of my issues are hormonal, and some have gotten better since my doctor identified my hypothyroidism, but that hasn’t solved everything. I still get minor breakouts, but now they’re pretty isolated to my monthly cycle.
I’m not normally one to be influenced by “influencers” on Instagram, but there are a few I trust and respect. Jenna Rammell (@jennaskitchen on Instagram) is one of those people. She shared a product called “PMD Clean” with a 40% discount using her code, which made it really reasonable for me to purchase. She swears by it and it helped her with a difficult skin condition. Here’s what it looks like:
According to the website, it is a “smart facial cleansing device.” It has four different vibration settings, the front has soft bristles (to cleanse), the back has smooth ridges (to massage in serums). It is designed to provide a deep clean while lifting, firming, and toning facial skin/muscles. Which, even though I don’t want to admit it, I need. I don’t ever want to go the Botox route, so I was intrigued by the more natural way to take care of my skin. My favorite part (though I have many) about this product is that it is odor-resistant, antibacterial, hypoallergenic, and waterproof! I like the fact that bacteria doesn’t nestle itself into the device…spin brushes and washrags and OUR HANDS can harbor bacteria…which is really gross when you think about it.
I feel like I just walked out of a spa every morning and every night. It’s therapeutic, it forces me to slow down, and the vibrations are relaxing. I stick to my skincare routine now because I want to use the PMD!
Using it is simple and gentle. Splash your face, put your cleanser on, set a vibration mode and wet the PMD, scrub in circular motions with the bristle side, splash to rinse. I then do a toner followed by a serum. To apply the serum I rub it around my face and massage it in with the ridged side of the PMD. My skin always feels SO clean.
Right now I can only afford basic skincare items (think WalMart level quality) but I hope to upgrade eventually. I think higher quality products paired with the PMD will be extra effective.
There is also a PMD Microdermabrasion tool I recently purchased (because there was another really good sale). This tool takes my routine to the next level. According to the website, "It combines Patented Spinning Disc technology with Perfectly Calibrated Vacuum Suction to leave skin looking fresh and radiant. Weekly treatments reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, blemishes and enlarged pores." I am definitely starting to notice big changes with the addition of this tool. It's very easy to use and I'm done in minutes. This is kind of gross - but I love seeing how much dead skin gets buffed/vacuumed by it!
I’ve noticed the acne I do get disappears faster. It’s still a little too early to tell if these items are firming my skin, but I do feel like they have given me a bit of a glow. And I feel better about myself. Even though they haven’t completely “fixed” everything, just knowing that I’m taking the time to care for my skin in this way, and taking time for myself, makes me feel good.
PMD Beauty has sales all the time, so if you want to treat yo'self when it comes to your skincare routine - I highly recommend this company!
The show may have given me a complex, but I’d watch it all over again!
I’m way behind in watching the series Dexter. We haven’t had cable in years, so it wasn’t until the show popped up as an option on Netflix that I even remembered it was a thing. I had heard it was good. I tried starting it a couple of times but was scared I’d get scared (which happened). I couldn’t stomach the violence. Then finally it took. I tell you what, Michael C. Hall just has the gift of reeling you right in. (I was a huge fan of his before watching Dexter because of the show Six Feet Under on HBO if you remember that.)
If you don’t know what this show is about – it is centered on a vigilante serial killer named Dexter. His father, a cop, knew at a very young age that Dexter had psychopathic tendencies, and in order to help him have the most normal life possible, developed a “code” for him to live by. That code includes only killing people who deserve it. An eye for an eye basically.
Dexter himself is in law enforcement as a renowned blood spatter analyst with the Miami Metro Homicide Department. This gives him an upper hand in a lot of ways. He can get inside details on people who are on his radar. He can either place or remove people from the radar of Miami Metro. And if needed, he can tamper with evidence to change the outcome of a case.
As the seasons progress, Dexter gets closer and closer to being able to have a truly “normal” life with a family and routine and all of the things we often take for granted. When things get really good, I found myself yelling at him to just stop while he was ahead! But, sadly, that never happens. But there wouldn’t be a show if he lived responsibly now would there?
I, and I assume others who watched, got really attached to Dexter and also to his sister, Debra. Weird fact that I found out while researching them – the actors who play these characters were actually married to each other in real life for a period of time! Anyway – the cast is great and the show introduces new characters each season depending on the main plot. One of the hardest episodes for me to watch (I was sobbing in the middle of the night by myself in the dark) is when Dexter’s wife passes away (I won’t say how). The other was the very end of the final episode of the series. The closing scenes focused on Dexter’s and Deb’s relationship. It’s brutal.
For being a serial killer, there’s just something about Dexter that I fell in love with. He was trying to navigate being a good human like we all are – just on a different plane than most of us are familiar with. And because he’s killing “bad guys” and technically doing good, the vibe of the show is a lot different than one that focuses on a serial killer just killing for the sport of it.
Overall, this series gets a 10/10 in my book. Lots of action and cliffhangers that make it very binge worthy. I’m actually glad I got to watch it on Netflix so I didn’t have to wait for the next episode! People obviously get killed but most of the time the scenes aren’t terribly gory. I will warn you – you may start to look at people around you differently. I’m talking specifically about strangers. There was a period of time (and still a little bit now) that I thought everyone was a serial killer and everyone I loved was going to die at the hand of a serial killer in a totally bizarre way. Including myself! But I’m here to write a review about Dexter – so far, so good!
We all have our guilty pleasures, right? Well, mine is Jeffree Star. I’m somewhat obsessed with him (along with millions of others). He’s a YouTube personality, best known for his work in the beauty, modeling, and song worlds. He’s become such a public figure and mogul that he has his own make-up and merch line!
What makes me an odd, and maybe surprising, fan of Jeffree’s is the fact that I am not that into make-up. I don’t wear much. I don’t watch tutorials. I don’t pay attention to the latest trends. But, I like Jeffree. He makes me happy! The way he presents himself, his life, and his reviews are thoughtful and entertaining. You don’t have to be a make-up lover to love him. My favorite parts about him are that he is completely over-the-top in everything he does and has such a good heart.
You can tell very quickly that because of his hard work, we has gotten pretty darn RICH! Lambos, Gucci, Birkin…he has the best of the best. I am normally disgusted by this type of behavior and “reckless spending,” but for some reason the way Jeffree presents it is different. He’s not rubbing his wealth in anyone’s face. He works hard and plays hard and is SO generous to those around him. He pays it forward tenfold. You can tell giving back to his fans and those he trusts is truly what brings him the most joy.
In getting to know Jeffree, I’ve also gotten to know about another YouTube personality named Shane Dawson. Side Note: I am probably SO behind in discovering these guys because they’ve been around forever, but oh well, I’m a 34 year-old woman! Jeffree and Shane have such a beautiful friendship with each other. I’ve watched their relationship and bond grow stronger through their videos and it is heartwarming. They bring a lot to each other’s’ lives.
The reason I mention Shane is because he filmed a YouTube series following Jeffree and himself as he becomes curious about the beauty industry. Both want to expose some beauty world secrets (Shane is really into conspiracy theories) as they work to develop a special line of make-up and merch for Shane (which is ultimately Jeffree’s way to support Shane. Another Side Note: I’ve been keeping up with the success of Shane’s merch, which just launched in October, and he SOLD OUT on the first day.
Below is a link to the kick-off video in their series about the beauty industry. If you need something to make you laugh, I recommend looking these two up on YouTube and diving into their work. I dare you to not let them win your heart!
I’ve been on a Zoey Deutch kick lately (she is just the cutest) and ran across a 2017 movie she was in called The Year of Spectacular Men. I was charmed.
After looking into the movie and cast a little further after watching it, I learned that Zoey’s mom is Lea Thompson, who acted as her mom in the movie as well as directed it. The lead was Madelyn Deutch, Lea’s daughter and Zoey’s sister! A family affair. I thought they looked alike!
Anyway, the movie is about Madelyn (Izzy) who is kind of a train wreck. She’s just trying to find her way, figuring things out through a series of mostly failures. Especially with men. Your heart really starts to go out to her because she has such a good heart and intentions. Her mother and sister play a big part in helping her navigate her troubles, providing a really strong base of love and support. Their side stories also add some humor to the movie.
It’s a very relatable movie. All of us have felt “lost” at one point or another in our lives, and although it’s difficult in the moment, we start to find our stride. It takes a little longer for some more than others to find that stride, but they get there. I know most of the best personal growth I’ve experienced came from long stretches of really ugly, confusing, wild times in my life. Everyone finds their peace in their own way. The ending was really thoughtful and one of my favorite parts.
I watched this movie and the movie suggested below on Netflix! Hope you enjoy.
If you end up really liking Zoey, another movie that I watched and loved is Flower.
I thought I’d branch out a little bit from what I normally share on this page and talk about something else I enjoy – sweet treats!
I feel compelled to share about my most recent dessert of choice because it’s SO GOOD. And it’s made in Iowa, an extra perk.
Over the Fourth of July weekend we had a yummy lunch with my mother-in-law. For dessert she had two options - cheesecake and ice cream sandwiches. I normally would go for the cheesecake (because, cheesecake), but I chose the ice cream sandwich to try something new. Now I can never eat a regular, rock solid ice cream sandwich ever again.
Let me introduce you to Thelma’s Handmade Ice Cream Sandwiches based out of Des Moines. According to their website, “Each of our signature treats is handmade for peak deliciousness.” And that’s the truth!
My favorite right now is the sugar cookie with strawberry ice cream sandwich. Both the cookies and the ice cream are somehow soft, which only science can explain. You can tell it’s handmade – it doesn’t have a “processed” taste to it and it literally feels like you’re eating something your grandma just handed you fresh from the kitchen.
TRY THESE! So good. Get your fill while the weather is still warm.
My husband is opening my eyes (and ears) to podcasts more and more as time goes on. I don't default to podcasts. I'm more of a book and TV series kind of girl. But I'm starting to come around!
On our recent trip to see the Rolling Stones in Chicago (I'll post about it soon - Bucket List item checked off for sure!) we bounced around looking for the right podcast, as usual. We landed on The Two Princes. Going from the thumbnail artwork, I was skeptical. As you can see, it is cartoonish, so I thought we were getting ourselves into a children's story. Not the case at all!
This charming podcast is full of adventure and surprise, so I won't give too much away. I was hooked from the start. Two princes from rival kingdoms meet by chance in the enchanted woods. One prince chooses to stay "undercover" once he finds out who the other man is, the second prince. During their time together in the woods, the two develop a bond, new emotions surface, and a special friendship forms. That's all I'll say!
You'll probably recognize some of the voices. One of our favorite young actors, Noah Galvin, voices one of the princes. So that made us like it even more.
The storyline is strong and full of fantasy. I'm normally not into that, but really did enjoy this podcast. We finished the entire thing before reaching Chicago, so if you have time to binge a podcast, this would definitely be a good choice.
I hope you enjoy it! My heart was smiling by the end. I hope yours is, too.
I always enjoy trying out different types of annual plants in my planters that surround our house. I am big on perennials, but annuals give me a chance to change up the exterior of our home each year with new pops of color.
I inadvertently chose red, white, and blue for my large pots. I must have been feeling patriotic that day! I tried to keep the color combinations classic this year – red, white, blue, yellow. I’m normally all over the board, choosing whatever I like, but I tried to be a little more coordinated this year.
I wanted to share more information about one of the plants I bought to add a pop of red. I got the basic impatiens and petunias, of course, but in addition, I tried out a plant that is new to garden centers this year – Berried Treasure® Red (Strawberry Fragaria ananassa). It is a plant that produces rich red flowers along with edible strawberries!
In our community, we have a large Burmese population. They have huge gardens overflowing with produce. I noticed some have produce growing right outside their front doors – like cucumbers and other vine vegetables. This concept stuck with me, and I am always thinking how I might do that at our house. I feel like planting Berried Treasure was a baby step in the right direction.
I planted them in mid-May (I planted super late this year because of unpredictable weather in Iowa) and they have established themselves well. They are already quite full and producing up to 4 ripe, delicious berries (in total from all 4 plants I have) daily so far. I have them on the east and south sides of our house. East side is part sun, south side is full sun. They’re doing well in both settings. They seem pretty heat tolerant, they haven’t required a ton of water.
They are graded “Valedictorian” for being both ornamental and having tasty fruit. It is a continuous, long bloomer and doesn’t need to be deadheaded. It also attracts bees! They last from spring into fall, which is always appealing.
I highly recommend this plant if you are looking for a high performing plant with rich color and/or if you are a strawberry lover. I eat the berries while I’m deadheading my petunias…so they don’t last long. Happy summer!
OK, this one may seem like it’s out of left field, but I really enjoyed watching the show “Lunatics” on Netflix. It is a “mockumentary” following the “peculiar lives” of six characters, all played by Chris Lilley.
When they say peculiar lives, they mean it. The characters are so bizarre they’re endearing. They each make you laugh and cringe simultaneously. As the episodes progress, you really start to understand and empathize with them to a certain extent. I will even go as far as to say that you begin to see yourself and others you know in the characters, even though they are seemingly one of a kind.
My personal favorite character was Becky. An abnormally tall college girl with a heart of pure gold. She’s a DIY girl, so I related with her on that level. I fell for her immediately and her story was especially hard to watch, but thankfully ended positively!
Going in, I thought this show was simply an eccentric comedy, one of a kind itself. But when it came to the end, I was completely shocked to realize all along the show was celebrating differences. Uniqueness. The beauty of being yourself – even if you are marching completely and solely to your own drum. You are special because of it. You are loved because of it. Maybe not by everyone, but by someone, and that’s all that matters.
The series wraps up on a high note, and I never expected this, but I was crying! The message was just so good. So even though it looks and sounds a little whacky, and it certainly is, I recommend this show. It will surely lift your spirits, make you feel good that you aren’t like the characters to start, and then make you feel good that you are indeed at least a little bit like the characters by the end.
Jodi Picoult is officially one of my new favorite authors. I think I'm a little behind in discovering how great she is because she has a huge collection of popular titles, many being New York Times Best Sellers.
A Spark of Light was a joy to read. It is centered around a very controversial topic - abortion. An active shooter holds staff and patients of an abortion clinic hostage in an act of anger, hate, and revenge for his young daughter who recently had an abortion. Throughout the story, you learn about all sides of abortion - those who have them, those who protest against them, the procedures themselves, laws surrounding them. Even though it is a fiction book, it has several non-fiction elements that I enjoyed.
I also liked the structure. The book starts with the drama and suspense surrounding the shooter in the clinic, works its way back hour by hour following each of the characters, and ends back with the shooter in the clinic along with the final outcome for all of the characters. It's really a lovely progression.
At the end of the book, you find out that Jodi did her background research. She followed actual abortion patients and providers and protestors. She witnessed procedures. She learned about the laws. She read the data. Knowing this made me like the book even more because it confirmed for me that although the book is fiction, there were truths throughout. Most of which were heartbreaking and unjust. But truths nonetheless.
No matter what side of the fence you are on, this book humanizes abortion in a really important way. I hope you'll take time to read it in order to understand different perspectives of this touchy topic.
Let me know if you read it and what you think!
Happy New Year! I hope you had a 2018 full of lessons and milestones that helped you grow.
If you're into starting your new year on a positive note, I wanted to share a couple of FREE 30 day programs I'm committing to. The best part (aside from them being free)? They can both be done from the comfort of your home. It felt too good to be true when I discovered that two of my favorite women, Adriene Mishler and Mel Robbins, were releasing programs both starting on January 1, 2019. For me, there's no better way to enter into an improved physical and mental space as I navigate my way through the next year.
Here's a quick rundown of these programs and links to the information you need if you'd like to join in:
Dedicate - A 30 Day Yoga Journey
Adriene Mishler, Yoga with Adriene
There's nothing like 30 days of yoga with Adriene. I've done several of her 30 day programs and although it's tough at times to hop on the mat every single day, the pride and release of emotion you feel on day 30 makes it all worth it. The best thing about this program is that although it is designed to be done every day for 30 days, you can really do it at your own pace. Don't beat yourself up if you get out of sync. Adriene wouldn't want you to feel that way! She wants you to find what feels good.
I like to keep myself accountable by using the calendar she provides. If you sign-up on the Dedicate webpage I linked above, you'll also get daily encouragement emails from Adriene. She's truly one of the best humans. I know you'll fall in love with her. She is the perfect teacher for an at home yoga practice.
All you need for this program is access to YouTube, a yoga mat (or towel, or rug - sometimes I don't use anything!), and some blankets or a pillow.
Mel Robbins, Author of 5 Second Rule
I stumbled upon Mel Robbins on Instagram in 2018 and it was one of the best things that could have happened for me. She is a wonderful, inspirational woman who gives honest, common sense, and science-based advice on how to be a better human. Someone that believes in themselves and their ability to do anything they set their mind to. Someone that controls their mind, not allowing themselves to become a victim of it. And so much more. I absolutely love her.
Joel got me her book 5 Second Rule for my birthday and my mother-in-law got me the journal that helps you apply the teachings from the book to everyday life. I will be reading the book and using the journal throughout Mindset Reset. I've been waiting anxiously to get started!
You don't need the book and journal to take part in Mindset Reset. All you need is, again, access to YouTube, the Mindset Reset guidebook, and a journal. You'll want to sign-up for the program on the website I linked above so you get notified when a new video is up! Make sure to follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter as well. She shares uplifting messages everyday.
If you decide to do either of these programs, let me know! I'd love to keep in touch throughout the 30 days. We could also keep each other accountable! I'm all for that.
Namaste and I wish you the best in 2019!