my night time skin care routine

 

I’m in my late 20’s… it is sad but it is true…

I have always tried to take relatively good care of my skin, however up until recently I have kept it pretty simple and basic. That was until I started to realize the fine lines under my eyes were only getting worse and it was probably about time I did something about it.

So lets talk about my skin type…

-combination/oily

-large pores

-fine lines under my eyes

-very uneven and red

-beginning signs of aging

These are the products I have been using for the last several months and I have noticed a genuine improvement in my skin overall.

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Step 1: Wash

Skin + Pharmacy Advanced Anti-Aging Therapy Hydrating Cleanser 

This cleanser has hyaluronic acid, olive oil and vitamins A, C and E

It promises to moisturize and nourish skin, help to protect it from free radicals as well as remove dirt and impurities.

This product is thick and creamy and leaves the skin feeling hydrated and plump and I really enjoy it.

Tool: Ulta Dual Action Cleansing Brush 

Now I realize there are several options when it comes to cleansing brushes, lots of brands produce them now and I’m sure there is one even better than this one however for the price I have been very impressed! I feel like my skin is getting cleaner than ever before, it is gentle, affordable and gets the job done!

Step 2: Eye Cream

ANDALOU NATURALS coconut water eye lift cream

This product promises to hydrate, brighten and smooth with the help of coconut water and vitamin C. It is vegan, gluten-free and cruelty free as well and non GMO certified and 98% naturally derived. This eye cream is light weight while still packing a hydration punch. It absorbs quickly, has a smooth creamy feel and does not leave the skin sticky. It has been a definite game changer for my under eye fine lines.

Step 3: Serum

ANDALOU NATURALS turmeric + c enlighten serum

This serum is my absolute favorite part of my routine! Daily use will help you to achieve lighter, tighter, brighter looking skin and an over all luminous complexion. This serum like the eye cream is vegan, cruelty free, gluten-free, non GMO and 99% naturally derived. It is thin and light weight, absorbs very quickly and comfortably and the best part is it smells like oranges! This serum has helped reduce the redness and unevenness that my skin has.

Step 4: Moisturizer 

ANDALOU NATURALS resveratrol q10 night repair cream 

This night cream is a dream! It is super hydrating without feeling heavy or greasy on the skin. It has a subtle scent of coco which I love and it sinks into my skin very quickly and comfortably. Being that I have combination skin moisturizers can sometimes be too much but this products formula is just right! This moisturizer claims to uplift tone and texture as well as provide velvety soft skin with the appearance of fewer fine lines and wrinkles, and I can most certainly attest to that! 

Some tips!

-Make sure you are using products that are natural! Made with good quality ingredients… remember these products are being absorbed through our skin 🙂

-When applying eye cream use your ring finger and gently pat in the product. Avoid harsh rubbing or pulling in this delicate area!

-When it comes to your serum apply in an upwards motion and gently pat the skin to help with absorption. 

 

I hope you found this helpful and you try out some of these products for yourself!

Thank you for reading!

xoxo Erin 

*disclaimer some product descriptions came from brand website

 

 

Married life, advise

Advise topic: Fighting in your relationship

 

I’d like to first start by saying that just because you and your spouse fight does not mean that you are 

A. Not compatible

B. Not happy (or can’t find happiness)

C. Not right for each other

D. In a bad relationship

If you have read any of my previous blogs then you would know that I have been  with my wife for over 7 years… which means we have had ALOT of fights… we’re talking tons of fights! Some of them were over small things and some of them were much bigger. Some made us question things and others lead us to really learn not only about each other but about ourselves and grow from it.

I am happy to report that we have worked very hard to get to a place where our fighting is truly at an all time low. Now that doesn’t mean that we don’t still have disagreements because we totally do. However we do our best to resolve our issues using some tools that we have learned along the way. And I’m happy to be sharing these tips with you!

Tip #1: Don’t sweat the small stuff

I unfortunately am not particularly known for following this tip… I am a drama queen by nature. And because of that I would constantly find myself causing or starting unnecessary fights. It took time but I slowly started to realize after many fights and many talks after fights that it was time for me to look at myself and see that I was being very sensitive and overly emotional and figure out that I needed to work on that. Now to clarify if your partner is deliberately doing things to hurt you (emotionally, physically, mentally or otherwise) this is NOT  the small stuff and you have every right to remove yourself from that situation. What I’m referring to is your partner playfully joking with you, someone forgetting to text when arrived at a destination, not being able to get off of work to attend an event… things that perhaps warrant a conversation but not a blowout fight. 

Tip #2: Pick your battles

So this tip correlates with tip #1. What I mean by “pick your battles” is this… being in a relationship is NOT easy all of the time. Fusing two individuals lives can be a very difficult thing. And there will be things that you don’t agree on, and that is OK! However I have learned that there are things worth fighting for and then there are things we just need to get over. A great example of this would be if your partner has a hobby or a piece of furniture or a friend that you really, really don’t like, but makes your loved one very happy. You need to decide if arguing over this person place or thing is really worth potentially causing problems in your relationship. I get it… sometimes we just want to be in control… of everything… but I think its important to stop and think to ourselves is there a way for us to make it so that we can both be happy? Can we decide that the recliner that I think is an eye sore goes in the “man cave”, or that your only going to play video games until our show comes on so we can have time together, or you can hang out with that friend who I find really annoying but understand that I just don’t want to tag along. What I’m getting at here is not every disagreement has to be a fight… I’m also not telling you what you should and should not fight about. But consider this next time you find yourself disagreeing with your partner… do I want to fight over this or can we come to a compromise?

Tip #3: Communication

Now I do realize this is an obvious one… but I do think it’s also an easy one to mess up. I think a lot of times communication issues are the biggest issues in relationships but also some of the easiest to fix! What is important however to remember is that we are not mind-readers… if you feel some type of way it is important to share that. Don’t assume that just because you think one way your partner is going to automatically feel the same way. Be open with one another, say what you mean and do it in a way where both people feel heard, understood and respected. This was not always easy in my relationship but over time we have learned that if one of us feels hurt or misunderstood or disrespected by the other we address it. We make time for healthy, honest conversations and we apologize if we have hurt the other. If this is something you’re struggling with in your relationship try finding a designated time during your day when you can touch base with each other (my wife and I do this right before bed, we call it “pillow talk” lol) that way you know if there is something you want to get off your chest you have a safe time and space to do so. 

 

Relationships are not always easy but they are so so worth it, if you can find a partner in this life to bring you joy, comfort, support and love! I hope these tips for how to help end unnecessary fighting in your relationship help you! Thank you for reading!

 

xoxo Erin 

 

Happy Pride Month!

Being that today is the first day of pride month, I wanted to share some of my favorite memories of my love and I over the last 7 1/2 years.

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never never never be afraid to be who you are

everybody deserves love

you are worth it

do not be ashamed

it gets better

you are not alone

I am so very proud of my love story and you should be too!

Happy pride month!

xoxo Erin

 

 

my love hate relationship with the ketogenic diet

preface: I am NOT a doctor, dietitian, trainer or heath coach. I am simply someone who struggles with weight and has tried a lot of “diets”, this is my experience and should not be interpreted as fact or typical.

what is keto?

put simply this is a style of eating where you are eating very high fat and very low carb with a moderate about of protein.

 

so ill start with my introduction to the ketogenic lifestyle (it truly shouldn’t be referred to as a diet)

while struggling to lose weight and get in shape for my wedding my wife discovered a friend of ours had transitioned to a ketogenic style of eating and she looked amazing! we reached out to her to see how she was obtaining these fantastic results and she clued us in. high fat low carb… basically the opposite of anything I had every known or learned about healthy eating. 

so with what we had learned from our friend and some research of our own we embarked on our ketogenic journey.

we bought oils and cheeses and butter and veggies and bacon (for Megan not for me) and ketone test strips and we started “tracking our macros” and before you knew it we were in full-blown keto flu.

soooo what is “keto flu” 

what we didn’t really know back then was that when you stop feeding your body carbs and sugar as its main source of energy and switch it to fat as its main source of energy things can get a little wonky for a while. you can suffer from headaches , stomach upset, lethargy, sleeplessness, moodiness and so on and so on. so for the first week or so (could be more time could be less depending on your body) we were kind of feeling like garbage. 

however that did subside (thank goodness) and we were well on our way!

the pounds starting falling off, we were sleeping better, we had fabulous mental clarity, our skin looked wonderful, we had flat stomachs, no bloating, the positives when on and on… and that lasted for about 3 months.

at around the 3 month mark while I was looking and feeling fabulous my bachelorette party rolled around. and there was no way I was going away with my besties for 2 nights and not going to eat and drink and do whatever I wanted… so I decided to “cheat” on my “diet”. which was great for 2 days but it really threw me off the wagon. back to bloating, stress, feeling sick, ect. as much as I tried I really couldn’t commit to the style of eating as I originally had, plus the damn keto flu was back! 

now is probably a good time to give you a little insight on myself as an eater generally speaking…

• I am a vegetarian and have been for about 15 years,

• I am the pickiest eater and prior to starting keto basically survived off of processed carbohydrates.

• I have a HUGE sweet tooth. 

• I can not and will not eat something if I am not really craving it

• I suffer from terrible bloating and have an extremely sensitive stomach

so basically I am SUPER difficult

all of these things did not make keto any easier for me. after a while I got board of the same recipes, I did not have a lot of luck when I would switch up my meals and I eventually found myself living off of string cheese and Atkins bars which is super unhealthy. 

now don’t get me wrong I am NOT saying keto is a bad diet plan or an unrealistic way to eat

however for me not eating meat made this extremely difficult especially because dairy is very inflammatory and not really a food group that your entire diet should be based off. the more research I did the more I found that the recommended way of eating was highly  based on animal protein including bone broth and organ meats, things I am just not willing to eat as a vegetarian

why keto works for my wife and may work for you

Megan is basically the opposite of me when it comes to food and eating. if you tell Megan if she ate worms everyday for a year it would make her feel and look great she would do it! She isn’t picky she isn’t fussy she is able to detach emotion from food and look at it solely as fuel (unlike myself). Megan eats organic heathy fats, greens, low carb veggies and meat. She sources her meats in a way that she believes to be responsible and humane and does not eat low quality foods. 

what I’ve learned

there have been a lot of great take aways for me even if as a whole this style of eating is not for me. one thing I definitely did not put enough focus on is how bad processed carbohydrates are for our bodies. how they turn into sugar while being digested and are gravely detrimental to our heath. I learned that I was simply eating too much sugar and again I didn’t really even realise it. while I definitely am not following a keto diet I have greatly lowered my carb intake and tried to limit it to mostly whole food carbohydrates. heath and wellness are a lifelong journey and I believe it is super important to always do your research and really do what works best for you and makes you feel your best!

I really hope you enjoyed learning about my personal journey with the ketogenic lifestyle!

thank you so much for reading 🙂

xoxo Erin

 

Wedding Day Wins!

So if you have read any of my previous posts you will know I am a newlywed. I got married January 28, 2018 after a 19 month engagement. I planned my wedding from beginning to end with the gracious help of my wife, my family and my bridesmaids. So being that I survived and had what was in my opinion the best wedding ever!!! I’d like to share some things that really elevated my day and made it that much more amazing!

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DON’T GO TO YOUR COCKTAIL HOUR

So Megan and I were insistent on going to our cocktail hour! The venue where we had our reception had the most amazing cocktail hour spread! Four stations that we hand chose, passed hors d’oeuvres, cheese and meats and fruits and veggies anything you could imagine! We told our photographer that it was super important to us (and because we had an AMAZING photographer) he made it happen. We finished our photos in time and we walked our newly wedded behinds into the gorgeous cocktail hour room… for about 5 minutes! We quickly realized that everyone wanted to talk to us (which in retrospect seems pretty obvious but we did not think about that ahead of time) and it was so overwhelming!!! We retreated to our bridal suite and boy am I glad we did! Our AMAZING bridal attendant brought tons and tons of foods into the suite where we were able to relax regroup and get ready for our party!! I highly, highly recommend spending your cocktail hour with your partner it may be some of the only time you get together all night!

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Have A Backup Plan

What I mean by this is be prepared! My wedding day unfortunately started with a rainy morning. Because I got married in the winter we had to do a first look so that we were able to take photos outside and capture the sunlight before my 5 o’clock ceremony.  I had originally planned to have our first look outside at a local park in a gazebo (dreamy I know :)) however that clearly was not going to work in the rain. Luckily I had decided on a back up plan days prior and was able to calmly make a sound decision that morning along with my wife and my photographer. A few days before the wedding my wife and I visited the hotel where we were going to be getting ready at to check out potential first look spots, and we were able to use a beautiful spiral staircase that I absolutely loved. Had we not been prepared who knows if that morning anyone would have known there was this hidden gem for us to use as our backup! 

Book Off Season

Guys… this is HUGE! I could write a post entirely about the perks of having on off-season wedding! But truly this was one of the best decisions I made. Like many couples now days my wife and I paid for our wedding ourselves. This can be a tremendous burden on a couple. Also like many engaged couples Megan and I were renting an apartment, had 2 cars, a pet, student loans the list goes on and on. We had originally hoped to get married in the spring ( I mean who doesn’t love a spring wedding?!) however once we discovered the cost that comes along with a beautiful lush spring wedding we realized that may not be in the cards for us. Growing more and more frustrated we decided to open our minds to a wedding during a less optimal time of year. When we toured the venue we ultimately booked with it had a super romantic feel with stunning Christmas lights strung outside that made the trees sparkle. Megan and I knew that we were willing to compromise the date to be able to afford this magical venue. And omg was it worth it!!! Our catering manager gave us an incredible deal that not only fit in our budget but completely surpassed our expectations! We were able to have add on’s that during peak season would have never been affordable for us. At the end of the day I know it can be difficult to stray from a vision, however I would absolutely suggest at least entertaining the idea of an off-peak season wedding. For me it was the difference between a fairy tale and a huge headache!

Rent A Photo-booth

Alright before you judge me and tell me how “over” this trend is let me explain… Originally I wanted NOTHING to do with a photo-booth, I too thought that it was completely over done and often times cheesy. However both Megan and my mother were super insistent that we have this at the wedding. I did agree to at least look into it and see what it could add to the reception. Megan and I booked our DJ pretty much right after our venue after meeting them at a bridal expo and having a great meeting with them (spoiler alert I was NOT happy with them after the wedding) and this particular DJ company offered several types of photo-booth packages. One of the options was for what they called a “super booth” which was a large screen tv that was completely interactive with lights, music, fans and props. It was a completely new take on a photo-booth and made it much more interesting for me. Well my guests absolutely loved it! The best part is that we got a disk with all of the pictures taken at the booth… omg I have never laughed so hard! It was a fun different element that made my guests happy and really elevated their experience!

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Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff

This is probably some of the most basic advise I could give you but if you take only one thing away from this post let it be this… do not panic! Things WILL go wrong. Hopefully nothing too major but even so do not let circumstances out of your control ruin your wedding day. At the end of the day you can only plan and predict so much, do yourself a huge favor and go with the flow. If it rains go with plan B, if your flowers are ivory instead of white roll with it, if your limo shows up late take a deep breath and remember why you are doing this in the first place. In 20 years you will laugh about those mishaps but you will always regret not letting it go and having the time of your life!

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Hope this helps!

xoxo Erin

 

Easter Prep!

pexels-photo-953075.jpegThis year I am hosting my wife’s family for Easter! This will be my first time hosting a family holiday and so I have been doing quite a bit of planning and prepping so that the day goes off without a hitch! I’m going to share with you my general time line for prepping as well as some details of my Easter plans…

Depending on the size of your party you can of course tailor these plans to work for your event.

two weeks before:

You will want to decide on a theme for your party or event. Picking a theme does not need to be over complicated or fancy however choosing a general idea or theme will help you while making decisions on decor, food, anything you need to rent or buy as well as what you should wear. I’ve decided to make my Easter theme very spring inspired with a large emphasis on flowers.

Once you have your theme chosen you will want to come up with a general idea of how much you want to spend on your event. Again this does not need to be extravagant but it’s always best to know generally how much you want to spend so that you are not going overboard on items that are not necessary.

You will want to make sure you have enough table space for all of your guests to have a seat. You are also going to want to make sure you have enough plates, wine glasses, champagne flutes, soup bowls, serving platters, napkins, etc, etc… if you do not always reach out to family and friends before you go around buying new things just for a party (this is where you can blow your budget if you’re not careful). For example my dinning room table seats 6 normally however i am having 11 guests for Easter so I reached out to my mother in law who had a folding table I can barrow. I am going to arrange it at the end of my table creating a long table with enough room for everyone. 

This is a good time to being menu prepping as well. This will give you some time to reach out to guests and see if there is a dish someone wants to bring to share, if there are any allergy’s, preferences, dietary restrictions etc.

My Easter Menu  

Starters:

Cheese Board including assorted crackers, cheddar, Munster, pepper jack & brie

Traditional anti pasta spread

Homemade bruschetta

Dinner:

I am a vegetarian so my mother in law offered to bring the meat 🙂

Homemade sauce used in a baked ziti with gf pasta

Candied yams (requested by my wife)

Mashed potatoes

Green beans

Deviled eggs (my sister-in-law makes these)

Desert

Chocolate and vanilla cupcakes  with vanilla frosting and an adorable flower design on top made with m&m’s ( i found the inspo for this on pintrest)

Cocktail 🙂

Spiked homemade Arnold Palmer’s

one week before:

At this point you will want to start shopping for any decor needed for your themed tablescape as well as non-perishable food items. I picked up a table-cloth and some beautiful floral cloth napkins that will match my spring theme. My spring centerpiece on my dinning room table is a birch box of blue hydrangea so I will be using that on my Easter table as it fits beautifully with my theme as well. 

Some additional items you will want to make sure you are stocked up on

  • towel paper
  • hand soap
  • air freshener
  • Tylenol
  • bottled water
  • band aids
  • paper towels
  • crafts for children (I picked up adorable Easter themed wooden ornaments that came with a paintbrush and paint for $3 each at the target dollar spot)

three days before:

This is a good point to do a deep clean of your bathroom. Scrub your toilet, shower, pay special attention to the floor around your toilet. Give your medicine cabinet a freshen up. Stock under the sink with items that your guest may need but my not want to ask for (feminine products air freshener, extra toilet paper.) I would also suggest doing a deep clean of whatever room your guests will be spending the most time in. (You will want to go back tot his room the day before your event to freshen up but give yourself a few days before so that you can really get in there and make sure there will be no surprises the day of.)

Finish your grocery shop! Especially if you are hosting a holiday! No one wants to be in the mad rush of the last-minute shoppers.

two days before:

Depending on your menu you may be able to start prepping your food at this point. For example I will be serving a cheese platter, this would be a great time to slice the cheese and store it in Ziploc until I need it. 

This is also a great time to set up any decor as well as set up your tablescape

tidy up around the house!

  • dust and clean all windows and windowsills
  • windex all glass surfaces and mirrors
  • wipe down/vacuum the couch
  • wipe down the garbage
  • wipe down the kitchen appliances

Run through your to do list and make sure you are not missing anything

day before:

Prepare any foods that will last in the fridge over night.

I will be prepping my candied yams as well as my baked ziti up to the point before they go in the oven so they are ready to go when I get back from church on Easter Sunday. I will all so be baking my cupcakes (I wont frost them until Easter morning) I will put my anti pasta platter together and stick it int he fridge. My bruschetta doesn’t hold up well in the fridge so I will be making that fresh Easter morning as well) I will also be brewing my tea for my homemade spiked Arnold Palmers so it is nice and chilled. 

Set your table! Don’t forget sweet personal touches like place cards, I’m using seed packets 🙂

  • vacuum & mop the whole house
  • give the bathroom sink a wipe down
  • wipe down the toilet
  • do a walk through of each room to make sure everything is as you want your guests to see it

day of:

Make sure you leave yourself plenty of time! I know for me church service is at 10 am so I will need to be up early enough to start my pot of sauce before we leave. My plan of course is to have most everything else prepped so that once I am home from church I can just start pop-ing things in the oven and serving the starters!

I hope this was a helpful read and it inspires you to host an event in your home!

Happy Easter!

xoxo Erin

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