June Favorites

June is over. Actually, we are almost halfway through July! I’m going to join the rest of the world (again) by saying that I am in shock how quickly 2014 is going. Life, won’t you slow down already?

Book

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards

I was able to read three books in June. My favorite of the three was The Memory Keeper’s Daughter. This book surprised me – I didn’t expect to love it. The reviews were not above average, and the plot sounded interesting but not fantastic. I honestly just picked it out because it was the first book that came to mind to qualify for one of the categories in the summer reading challenge I’m doing. But I loved it! Edwards has a beautiful writing style. I found myself absorbed in the story and reading hundreds of pages at a time without putting it down. While the ending wasn’t what I was hoping for, it does wrap up nicely. I highly recommend you add this to your summer reading list.

Music

OneRepublic

Yes, I know OneRepublic has been popular for years. But before this summer, I never really liked many of their songs I heard on the radio. Then my co-workers invited me to join them at the OneRepublic concert, and that changed it all for me! I can’t stop listening to their newest album Native. I love the song “I Lived” – Ryan Tedder (lead singer of the band) wrote this song for his four-year-old son; it’s all about living life to the fullest, and I find it very inspiring.

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Food

Skinny Cow Snickerdoodle Cookies

I don’t have a picture of these because I made myself stop buying them to prevent devouring them everyday, but click the link to take a look. Basically, a Snickerdoodle Skinny Cow is an ice cream sandwich with cinnamon ice cream between two oatmeal cookies. And somehow, this magical little dessert is only 140 calories! It’s pretty fantastic – especially for summertime!

Beauty/Skincare

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Stila In The Light Eyeshadow Palette

For my birthday, I received some spending money from family members. Thanks to their generosity, I was able to buy this palette and the Lush Ocean Salt Scrub (see below). I had been eyeing this palette for a while, and I’m so glad I got it! I wore it throughout all of June, and I think I’ll be constantly wearing it year-round. I’ll admit, I’ve only really used the lighter colors, but I’m hoping to become a little more adventurous by trying out some looks with the darker colors for special occasions soon.

Lush Ocean Salt Face & Body Scrub

I had heard so many great things about this scrub before buying it. Now that I have it, I wish I could continually repurchase it! It smells AMAZING – lime and coconut and vanilla and all the best summer scents in one. The lady in the store told me it was “like a margarita for your body”, and she was right! The sea salt provides a really good scrub for your face and your body. My skin feels so soft after using it. My only complaint is that you have to use a lot of product to scrub your whole body since the sea salt dissolves so quickly. This means if you use it regularly, it won’t last long. I have been using it about twice a week for one month, and my 8.8oz container is nearly empty. I don’t think I will repurchase for now because of the price – $36! While I definitely loved using it this month, I just can’t justify paying that much for a product that only lasts a month or two. I do plan to treat myself to it occasionally in the future though!

Tech

Starbucks App

I have been using the Starbucks app for a while. I love how easy the app is to use. You just open it up, shake your phone, and the bar code pops up. Every Starbucks I have ever been too will now accept payment with this app. At first, I was worried that the automatic re-fill feature would encourage me to buy too much Starbucks, but I have figured out the perfect system to make it work in my favor. Since I’m a Starbucks gold member, I get every 12th drink free. Since I love their Blonde Roast regular coffee, I almost always order that so that I’m not spending $4-6 every time I go. Even though this is a much cheaper purchase than most of their drinks, it still counts as one of the twelve stars toward a free drink on my app. With my husband and I sharing the same account, we get free drinks fairly often, so it’s fun to treat ourselves to some of the more exciting cappuccinos, frappuccinos, and lattes with those free drinks that we earn.

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Blog

Siddathornton

I’ve been a fan of Lauren’s blog for a while now. She took somewhat of a break from blogging for a bit, but then she recently came back in full force by blogging every single day in June. Now she has released her new posting schedule, and I’m excited to see that she plans to continue blogging regularly! She has a gift for making the simple things in life seem magical. I also think that she and I have very similar interests which naturally makes me more interested in what she has to say. I’ve been linking up with her all year with The Sunday Currently link-up that she hosts, and I have found many of my other favorite bloggers through the link-up. You should definitely hop on over and click through some of her posts here!

What did you enjoy in June?

Click here to see all of my past favorites posts!

 

May Favorites

It’s time for another round of favorites! I have some good ones for May. It was a fun month of trying new things!

Book

Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way by Shauna Niequist

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May was a great month of reading for me! I read three very good books that were each very different from each other. So, needless to say, it was hard to pick my favorite. Bittersweet ended up being my pick just because I felt it was the most “life-changing”. Each chapter is an independent story or essay, and it’s a quick read. Shauna discusses friendship, loves, loss, food, sadness, the home, etc. If you have never read any of Shauna’s books, I highly recommend you pick up this one or Bread & Wine!

Music

Crowder

Have any of you heard of The David Crowder Band? They were a Christian band that led worship at a church in Waco where I went to college. They were fairly well-known, and many of their songs are sung in churches all over the nation. This is my favorite song of theirs. Well, the band broke up fairly recently, and the lead singer David Crowder formed another band called Crowder. The new band recently released their first album called Neon Steeple, and I have been listening to it non-stop!

Food

Bistrotters

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Usually I list things like snacks that can be bought at the grocery store or drinks that can be purchased at Starbucks in this section, but, for this month, I had to choose Bistrotters. Bistrotters is an adorable little French restaurant where we had our anniversary dinner in Paris. It was the perfect choice. I’ll be writing more about this restaurant in one of my trip re-cap posts (in the near future), but the food was fantastic, the waiters were so nice and passionate about their food and their restaurant, and the ambience was very romantic. If you have plans to go to Paris, PLEASE make a reservation at Bistrotters.

Beauty

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Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil

I decided to give a new eyeliner a try last month because I started having trouble applying my usual Revlon ColorStay Eyeliner for some reason. I picked up this Urban Decay eye pencil at Sephora. This was such a great purchase! Just like all of the reviews say, this pencil is very easy to apply because it is creamy and easy to control when applying. I rarely ever have to smudge around the line or correct anything with a cotton ball, but when I do, it’s a very easy fix because it is easy to wipe away for about 30 seconds after application, but after that, it sticks and won’t budge for the rest of the day (hence the 24/7).

Milani Dolce Pink Baked Powder Blush

This blush is beautiful. It is a simple, everyday blush that I have been wearing daily to work. It also looks great for special occasions when you build it up into a bolder color.

Tech

CityMaps2Go App

I used this app both to help plan our trip to Europe and to navigate us places while there. In the app, you can download any city map of your choice, pin places you plan to go, make lists (I used this feature to list the places we were planning to go each day), and navigate from your phone without data or wifi. We didn’t have cell phone service at all while in Europe, so this was the perfect choice for us. I highly recommend this even if you will have cell service when traveling because the pinning and list feature is so useful!

Blog

C’est Christine

Another travel blogger! I have been running into the coolest travel blogs lately, and this is one of them. Christine is such an interesting person. She lives in NYC, teaches yoga, and travels the world. She has a goal to celebrate each birthday in a different country. She is currently celebrating 26 in Turkey!

What did you enjoy in May?

Click here to see my past favorites posts!

April Favorites

Today is my official first day of our vacation, and we are hopefully wandering around London when this post goes up. While I’m away, I’ll still have posts going up on my usual posting days, but I will not be doing my usual link-ups (The Sunday Currently and Weekly Wishes). Follow me around London and Paris via Instagram if you are interested. My Instagram account is emily_abernathy.

Since I’m scrambling to pack, and this is the final blog post I have to write before we leave, this favorites post is going to be a bit short this month. I’ll be sure to have lots of favorites next month!

TV

Mad Men

It’s back with it’s final season! This show is very well-made and historically accurate, so I feel like I’m somewhat being educated about America in the 60s while watching it.

Music

Ed Sheeran

I’ve been on a big Ed Sheeran kick lately. His Pandora station is always a great mix of music that I enjoy both working to and winding down at night to.

Body Care

Victoria Secret Sparkling Citrus Lemon Escape Lotion and Tangerine & Passion Flower Body Wash

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Both of these were impulse buys when I was at the mall in mid-April. I had heard the lotion mentioned on a blog, and I just thought that the body wash sounded really nice. Both smell divine, but the lemon lotion (described as lemon sugar and coconut) is my favorite. They are both perfect spring and summer scents.

Beauty

Milani Clear Brow Shaping Gel & Anastasia Brow Whiz in Soft Brown

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For the longest time, if you asked me what my least favorite physical feature was, I would tell you my eyebrows. They have been unruly and patchy my whole life, and I always hated how they looked in pictures. I finally found the combination that keeps them (mostly) from curling into a crazy mess and fills them in without looking too obvious. The eyebrow gel can be found at most drugstores (if they sell Milani) for a decent price, but the Brow Whiz is a bit pricey. Hopefully, it will last awhile!

Blog

Treasure Tromp

Treasure Tromp is a fairly recent find of mine, and I cannot get enough of it! She writes about many things, but the posts of hers I love the most are about books and travel. In fact, pretty much any blog that focuses on books and travel is going to get my attention because those are my favorite things. Check out her Travel page, and spend some time exploring her fun blog!

What did you enjoy in April?

Click here to see my past favorites posts!

March Favorites

Book

Frommer’s Paris day by day & Frommer’s London day by day

I didn’t purchase these books, but my husband and I spent quite a lot of time reading through them at Barnes & Noble and getting ideas for our Europe trip in May! We really liked the simplicity of the book and how it gives ideas for different self-guided walks throughout they city (including a royal walk in London and a Hemingway walk in Paris).

TV

Grey’s Anatomy

I just love this show. No, it may not be as good as it used to be, but it definitely still keeps my attention, and I look forward to watching it each week as I have time.

Music

Dave Barnes

Dave Barnes has been a favorite artist of mine for a long time. I love his song Until You (check it out!). I listened to his new album (Golden Days) a lot throughout the month of March, and it definitely helped me stay cheery during a very busy month for work. Daniel and I are actually going to his concert in DC tomorrow night at the Hamilton! I am so looking forward to it!

Food/Drink/Snack

Starbucks Vanilla Macchiato

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Now I know Starbucks probably was making this long before they started heavily marketing it, but I didn’t even think about ordering this drink until I saw their advertisements. I enjoy vanilla lattes, and I really like a caramel or hazelnut macchiato, but I LOVE their vanilla macchiato! I ordered quite a few during March, and I actually picked one up today.

Sabra Roasted Pine Nut Hummus

Lately I’ve been taking pretty much the exact same lunch to work every single day, but one thing that does change from week to week is the flavor of hummus that I get to go with my crackers. In March I discovered this Pine Nut Hummus, and it is just so good! It’s probably my favorite hummus flavor I’ve ever tried.

Body Care

Victoria Secret Warm & Cozy Body Spray

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This stuff smells so good! The bottle says the scent is toasted vanilla and peony, and I think that description is really accurate. It came in a small travel-sized bottle, so I’ll be taking it with me on my trip in May.

Beauty

No. 7 Lift & Luminate Night Cream & Eye Cream

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I found these products at Target when I was shopping around for some skincare items. I figured it was time for me to start moisturizing my skin or get into some sort of a skin care routine. I’m so glad I picked these up! I can definitely tell a difference on in my skin – it’s clearer, and I don’t get as many dry patches as I used to. The picture actually shows the Restore & Renew night cream (rather than the Lift & Luminate). I ran out of my first container of the L&L, so I decided to try the R&R version. I definitely prefer the Life & Luminate because my skin feels much more oily in the morning after applying the Restore & Renew. I’ll be switching back after I finish this one.

Blog

True Colours

I love this blog! Casey writes all about travel. She and her husband take so many trips throughout the year – I’m always inspired to plan my next trip when I read her posts. Her husband takes beautiful pictures on all of  their trips, and she offers tons of recommendations for destinations all over the world. I based our New England trip last fall off of her trip to New England. We went to southern Maine, Rhode Island, and Boston all in one trip, and I would not have ever thought to combine these destinations into one trip if I hadn’t read her post. I’m also planning to go to several restaurants and sites in London and Paris based off of her blog posts. If you want trip ideas or just want to travel vicariously through Casey’s blog, go check it out!

What did you enjoy in March?

Click here to see my past favorites posts!

February Favorites

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Book

Daily Rituals: How Artists Work  by Mason Currey

This is a book I pick up every now and then to read a quick excerpt here and there.  I’ve really enjoyed it this month!

Exercise

The Seven Minute Workout app

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I was living out of a hotel for two weeks in February working very late nights. This app helped me keep up a regular workout right in my hotel room. All I needed was a chair. While searching for the link to the app, I found this New York Times article that discusses the scientific benefits of this exact workout! Pretty neat.

TV

Friday Night Lights

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My husband and I have been watching Friday Night Lights on Netflix since last summer. We are about to wrap up the final season. I absolutely love this show!  I have made a connection with almost all the characters, and it reminds us of growing up in small town Texas.

Music

Come to Me by the Goo Goo Dolls Pandora Station

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This station has a good mix of Top 40 and new artists with a similar sound to the Goo Goo Dolls.

Food/Drink/Snack

Starbucks Blonde Roast Via Instant Coffee

I never thought I’d enjoy instant coffee, but my husband surprised me with a care package while I was away on business, and these Starbucks Via packets were included. The coffee provided at the office I was working out of was not good at all, so I started drinking this every day. I would not say this beats my normal coffee from home or freshly brewed at Starbucks, but I was pleasantly surprised at how good this tasted!

Body Care

Lush Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter

I have been applying this stuff to my cuticles most nights before bed. It smells so good, and I can really see a difference in my normally very dry cuticles.

Beauty

Lush Tea Tree Toner Water

Can you tell I love Lush? This is another goody I purchased to take with me on my business trip, and I’ve used it ever since. I spray a little on my face both in the morning and at night. It’s very refreshing, and I believe this spray is the reason I didn’t break out the way I ALWAYS do when traveling.

Blog

Words of Williams

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Eric and Kelsey at Words of Williams write about lots of different topics (including posts about their precious daughter Rooney), but the post that originally brought me to their blog was the story of how they became totally debt-free and paid off $39,772 in 23 months. They offer plenty of practical advice on finances and budgeting. Eric even wrote a book that I’d love to read called It’s Your Money – What Will You Do with It?.

What things did you enjoy in February?

Click here to see my January favorites!

January Favorites

Today I’m sharing with you my “favorites” from the month of January. I’m sure my favorites categories will change a little each month, but in general, they will include things like books, food, TV shows, beauty products, and music. I always think it’s fun to see what things people are loving, so I thought I’d share my own.

January Favorites

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Book

{Not pictured because I read it on my Nook.}

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

This is book two of the Divergent series. It kept me wanting to keep reading with every page. I’m really looking forward to reading the third book of the series to see how the author rounds out the story line.

Hobbies

Project Life

Even though I have not gotten very far into this project, I am really enjoying it. It has made me be more intentional about taking pictures and thinking about what I will write on the journal cards of my layout. I plan to finalize my January layout when I return from my business trip toward the end of this month.

TV

Parenthood

This is my favorite show that is currently aired, so it seemed fitting to be my “favorite” for my first favorites post. Most people who know me know that I love this show. My husband also loves this show. It will make you laugh, make you cry, and just make you feel good in general. The story line within each family is so real – they hit many different real-world issues that families and individuals face. If you are looking for a new show, this is the one!

Music

Explosions in the Sky Pandora Station

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Listening to this station makes me ten times more productive.  The music is fantastic but not distracting, so it’s definitely my station of choice at work. I also love it because it reminds me of my second favorite show, Friday Night Lights.

Lifestyle

Erin Condren Life Planner

This planner is beautiful. I love it. The lay-out makes planning easy and fun, and the bright, beautiful colors motivate me to stay organized. Maybe one day I’ll write a review of this planner and describe how I use it.

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Food/Drink/Snack

Bigelow Vanilla Chai Tea

I discovered this tea at my parents’ house over Christmas. It is delicious and just what I want to sip on at the end of most days.

Sour Patch Kids Gum

Daniel and I found this at Target this month. It tastes just like the candy. SO GOOD!

Body Care

St. Ive’s Face Pink Lemon & Mandarin Orange Scrub

I’ve really been enjoying using this every other day or so. It smells really good and leaves my face smelling very clean and soft.

Lucky Goat Lip Balm

I put this stuff on my lips each night before bed. It is different from other lip balms to me because it stays on my lips all night – I can still feel it in the morning! Most other lip balms/ chap sticks don’t stay on my lips for very long – even my beloved original Burt’s Bees. I received this as a gift from my in-laws for Christmas; I’m not sure if it’s available online.

Beauty

Suave Keratin Infusion Dry Shampoo

I only wash my hair about twice a week (it’s really thick), so I have been on the hunt for a good dry shampoo for awhile. So far, this has been the best one I’ve tried! If my hair is starting to look a little greasy, I just spray a little bit of this in my hair, brush it out, and I”m good to go! I have not noticed it leaving any white residue or anything.

Revlon Color Stay Foundation for Combination/Oily Skin

This is a new foundation I’ve tried this month, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how fresh it makes my face look and feel. It lasts all day long like it claims, and I don’t feel like my face gets very oily while I’m wearing it. It also has pretty good coverage.

Nars Dolce Vita Lip Stick

Up until recently, I never wore any lip products other than chap stick, but I decided to try out this one because I thought the color looked nice and could be used for both casual and dressy occasions.

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Blog

Mix and Match Mama

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Shay at Mix and Match Family has been my favorite blogger for quite some time now. She is a mom, Christian, travel agent, world-traveler, cook, and much more. She posts about her everyday life, her travels, her family, and she shares very practical and very interesting tips in her 50 Shades of Shay series. She is also the sister to Sean Lowe who was the star of The Bachelor last season.

Miscellaneous

Instagram

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I know I’m behind the times, but I’m just now really getting into Instagram, and I love it! I love skimming through others’ pictures, and this month I started trying to post one picture everyday of something that makes me smile. More than anything, it has helped me stay positive each day – even the longest and hardest days. You can follow me on Instagram at emily_abernathy.

This ends my first Favorites post! I look for to doing these monthly.