Summer ’17 Goals

 

As a certified homebody, I usually spend most of my summer either at work or snuggled up in bed with a fan (or two) pointed directly in my face. This year, that simply won’t do. I want to have a ~*~*summer to remember~*~* and spend at least 60% of my free time doing something worthwhile. I’ve compiled a list of goals, some small and inconsequential, and some grand and life changing. 

 


 

Donate or sell all unwanted belongings

As I was moving into my apartment, I began to realize that I have far too many clothes, accessories, knick knacks and cosmetics. And now that I share a home with someone, it doesn’t seem fair to crowd our closets with items that will never see the light of day. I’m planning to create a capsule wardrobe this fall, so I’ve been slowly clearing out my wardrobe. I’ll be listing many of these items on Poshmark, so keep an eye out for a link to come!

Keep a budget and save $500

I’m not good with money. I used to be a lot worse, so I’m incredibly proud of the progress I’ve made in the past few months, but it’s time to really push myself. I want to budget every single dollar of my paycheck, so no money is wasted, and save somewhere between $200-$500. I don’t want to aim too high, but I also did once save $1000 in a month, so I have faith in my abilities to overcome my spending habit once and for all.

Find a neroli scented perfume

Neroli is my favorite fragrance of all time. It comes from the bitter orange tree, and is zesty, invigorating and joy-inducing (literally–neroli is known as a natural serotonin booster). Neroli oil is the perpetual bridesmaid of the perfume industry; you’ll often find it in a long list of ingredients, but rarely is it the star of the show. I have a few leads on brands that carry a neroli-focused fragrance, and hope to make a purchase by the end of the season.

Take a day trip

I’m keeping this vague, because the destination doesn’t really matter to me. As long as my boyfriend is with me and the sun is shining, I’ll go anywhere.

Make a major aesthetic change

I often feel like one of the few millennials that hasn’t dramatically altered their appearance. I’ve never dyed my hair, never pierced anything (I had my ears pierced as a baby, but since I didn’t consent to that and never wear earrings, it doesn’t count) and have never gotten a tattoo. For years I’ve wanted a bumblebee tattoo or a nose piercing, and I’m hoping this is the summer that it finally happens.

Book a treatment at the LUSH Spa

I cannot let another summer pass without booking myself a spa treatment. Plus, it’s a perfect excuse to spend a day or two in New York!

Create morning and night rituals to look forward to

There is only one thing that always puts me to sleep: my boyfriend, already asleep next to me. I never thought I’d say this, but his snores lull me to the soundest sleep I’ve ever experienced. On weekends though, he typically works till 1-2 AM, whereas I typically work early in the morning and should be asleep long before he comes home. I never am, and I think building really strong bedtime and morning routines will help to break that pattern, or at least make it more manageable. Fingers crossed!

Switch to sustainable food and drink ware

Goodbye, plastic straws, fast food soda cups or styrofoam containers. Hello, stainless steel straws, reusable tumblers and sustainable food storage containers.

Go to more events in Providence

As I mentioned above, I’m very much a homebody. This means that I will skip most, if not all, exciting local events. Not anymore, though! My goal is to accept every invitation I can, and surprise myself with how social I can be. Outdoor movie screenings, concerts and farmer’s markets, look out; I’m coming for ya!

See 5+ movies

I’ve seen two just in this past week, so I may be able to pull this off! At the top of my must see list? Baby Driver, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Band Aid, Landline, Dunkirk, and Ingrid Goes West.

Take the bus to and/or from work

I’m a frequent Uber-user, but need to make the switch to public transportation. If I bus at least one way a day, it’ll mean more money saved and a lessened environmental impact–a win, win!

 


 

What are your goals this month?!

 

xo,

Heddy

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Things to Be Happy About, April 2017

Listening to lush lfieRecords Before Bed

This is a tradition that Matt and I have upheld almost every night since we started dating. A few nights ago we fell asleep listening to Marty Robbins, and it was the most peaceful sleep I’ve had in a while. Living on a busy street means there are a ton of late night distractions keeping us up, but the records help to lull us to sleep easily. Plus, there’s nothing better than having a soundtrack to your nightly snuggles.

Natch Beaut

If you know me, you know I love a good podcast. This one, which is only three episodes deep, is hosted by comedy icon Jackie Johnson, and is ALL about vegan/cruelty-free skincare, makeup, haircare, and more. It feels like a podcast made for me, and I refresh my podcast feed pretty much nonstop on Fridays, waiting for it to post.

“Japanese Denim” – Daniel Caesar

I don’t remember how I came across this song, but it’s stunning. Listening to this while writing has helped to spike creativity, and inspired me to create a playlist of similarly inspiring songs. Here’s a link to his soundcloud page!

Bralettes

I work a lot. There is no greater torture than working an 8.5 hour shift in an underwire bra. Though I am a bustier woman, I have zero qualms about having minimal breast support if it means I can be comfortable all day. There’s no shame in my game, y’all. Bralettes are a national treasure, and I firmly believe anyone with breasts should at least give them a shot.

LUSH Scrubee Body Butter

mothersdayEvery now and then, LUSH comes out with something that blows my mind. I had heard rumors about this product for months before it finally arrived, but my expectations seemed to have been a little too low. Scrubee is a stunning body butter shaped like a bee (my fave). It has alternating stripes of moisturizing cocoa and shea butters and exfoliating coconut shell and ground almonds, which make for super softened skin. I bought 5, which may not be enough.

Creating & Free Time

I’m leaving my job of two years in a few weeks (surprise!) and will only have one job now. I’m so excited! It’s been a while since I’ve had a significant amount of free time, meaning it’s been a while since I’ve been able to give any attention to my creative output. Now that I have the time, I’m so excited to delve back in to writing, painting and weaving, and find new activities to keep me entertained. If you have any ideas of things I should do, places I should go, movies I should watch, books I should read, etc., PLEASE share them!

Poofy Hair

For most of my life, I’ve hated my hair. It’s red, thick, super wavy, and impossible to tame. I’ve been borderline self-conscious of it, until recently. My friend Kat gave me an amazing haircut in November, and since then my hair has been so good. I’m low maintenance about haircare, and rarely use styling tools or products, but my natural look has been making me so happy.

Shampoo Bars

SOLIDS ARE BETTER. Shampoo bars are probably my favorite LUSH innovation, for a number of reasons. For those who don’t know, LUSH has a range of shampoo bars for every haircare concern, from oily or dry to flaky scalp or lack of volume. They are the same amount of shampoo as three 8 ounce bottles of shampoo and last about 80-100 washes, so they are incredibly cost-effective and fantastic for travel. I’ve tried four so far, and my current favorite is Lullaby, a lovely blend of lavender, oat milk and neroli oil. I highly recommend checking them out, and grabbing a conditioner bar, too!

“Hippy grandma” Style

A few weeks ago, my manager told me my sense of style was that of a “hippy grandma.” While some may find that offensive, I couldn’t agree more! My wardrobe is ever evolving, and most of my pieces take on a new life every few months, but there’s a clear running theme. I wear a lot of florals, embroidery, denim, loose fitting trousers and leather boots. Alternately, I wear modest black tops, well fitting pants, cardigans and flats pretty often too. Personal style is a fascinating subject, and I like to make my own rules.

Glossier Haul + Review!

glossier

I’ve been a fan of Glossier since shortly after they launched, but it’s been quite some time since I’ve ordered any goodies (especially since for the past 10 months I’ve used LUSH skincare exclusively). My first order, over two years ago, was placed back when Glossier only sold 5 products, but I lived for them–and those incredibly useful pink pouches. 

I placed a little order last week to try out some of their new offerings, and figured I’d share my experience with each of them, and maybe inspire you to order some treats for yourself! 

SUPER BOUNCE SERUM: I’m majorly obsessed with serums and facial oils, and I’ve tried many, but Super Bounce is the most vastly different. Because my skin is so sensitive, a lot of things can cause it to become irritated and tight. Super Bounce softened the tightness. I also have a fondness for wearing very minimal makeup (full brows, mascara, a nude lip and a touch of highlighter) with a dewy face, which Super Bounce is ideal for. Full disclosure: I didn’t intend to purchase this particular serum. I had been a bit more interested in Super Pure, for it’s redness reducing and purifying properties, but I’m really glad I ended up with this one–plus now I have an excuse to place another order!

MEGA GREENS GALAXY PACK: When I received my order, my face was starting to break out for the first time in many months. For that reason, I decided to slather this all over my face that night. As the container recommended, I applied a thick layer to cleansed, moist skin and planned to leave it for the full 20 minutes. There are two things I’m 100% sure of about my skin, and I didn’t factor either of those in that night.

  1. My skin becomes red, hot and itchy (the title of my memoir, btw) even with the most soothing masks.
  2. Clay-based masks are my skin’s greatest enemy.

So, naturally, that happened almost immediately and very badly. I rinsed it off within 3 minutes, and applied the Moisturizing Moon mask–the cooling effect was euphoric. Mega Greens Galaxy pack left an angry, red tint to my skin where it was applied, but once both masks were off my skin did feel soft, purified and nourished. Part of me thinks this might be a one-off reaction, so I’ll be trying this one again and keeping my hopes high.

**As a note, there are 2 masks that do not irritate my skin, and they are Mask of Magnaminty and Cup O’ Coffee from LUSH. If your skin is sensitive but likes exfoliation of varying intensity, check ‘em out**

MOISTURIZING MOON MASK: Following my less than ideal experience with the Mega Greens Galaxy pack, this one blew my mind. It instantly soothed my skin, and was a runnier, soft texture. In writing this review, I looked at the ingredients list for both masks and see that I’m much more familiar with ingredients listed for this mask than Mega Greens: almond oil, honey, aloe, and licorice root and lemon extracts, all of which I know work well with my skin. I’m interested to see how this one feels without any precursor, but as a follow up to a more intensely detoxifying mask it was an absolute delight.

GENERATION G LIP COLOR (“LIKE” AND “JAM”): I’ve been eyeing these for a long time. I love all lip colors, but most lipsticks look best on me long after they were initially applied. Something about the worn, blotted look suits me–maybe because my makeup looks are always more low key. “Like” is described as a ‘light powdery pink,’ which against my skin looked like a perfect mix between blush and mauve. It’s so natural and beautiful, perfect for a casual look. “Jam” is a ‘deep berry magenta,’ and of course more pigmented, but still has a relaxed vibe. I’ve tried several different berry lips and this one has been the most complimentary to my day-to-day look. The formulas for both are fantastic and super lightweight.

So, all this being said, I’m incredibly pleased with my purchases (even Mega Greens) and will be getting more in the near future! Here’s what’s on my list: 

  • Boy Brow in Blonde
  • Super Pure
  • Generation G in Crush 
  • Haloscope in Quartz

Home(ish) Tour

**So, before I delve into things, I should note that I live in a massive house with my boyfriend and two other people. However, given that we have an entire floor to ourselves, and I haven’t taken it upon myself to decorate the other two floors, I’m sticking with our primary living space. Enjoy!**

Up two spiral staircases is our space. The entryway is fairly minimal, but makes me feel warm. At the top of the stairs, you’ll first see a greeting from our little sunshine dude. Then to the right are hooks that I originally intended to use for our keys, but instead it’s becoming a convenient place to keep my accessories organized.

The main wall of the entryway is adorned with some of my favorite belongings–the hand carved mirror and sun, moon and stars wind chime were items I bought years before I even considered moving, and the painted wooden heart was a sweet gift from Matt. Underneath the mirror is a small, gorgeous woven rug for our most worn shoes, and across the way is a fairly large cedar closet that contains most of my clothes and Matt’s work clothes, our shoes, scarves and bags. As you can see, my clothes take up most of the hanging space (and I have more at my parent’s house), so we’ll be ordering a garment rack very soon.

Our living room is to the right. It’s a very simple space that I’m excited to do more with in the future, but for now it’s pretty minimal. Matt’s parents gave us their futon to use as a couch (forever thankful for that) and above it is one of my favorite pieces of art–which I got for around $10 at IKEA when I was 11. Our coffee table has a little shelf underneath, which we’ve put our favorite coffee table books on, and atop it is a large candleholder and a little tray for small miscellaneous things. I didn’t take pictures of Matt’s desk or our TV, but you can probably assume what they look like. There’s also one thing in our living room that I’ve never seen before, and that is a door that leads onto the roof. I’m sure that’ll get some use in the summer months. Above the door is a weird, fuzzy llama head, which I saw at Target a week or two ago and fell in love with. A few days later, Matt sent me back to buy it and he’s become our new best friend.

Our bedroom is next door, and massive. I’ll go section by section:

In one corner, I’ve set up my desk. I covered the few scratches on it with my favorite LUSH knot wrap, and have a bunch of my favorite things sitting on top of it. Above my desk is a beautiful piece of art that Matt and I bought for our apartment. We got it from one of our favorite local businesses here in Providence and it was one of only ______ made. The bluegrass men makes me happy every time I see them.

Across the way is Matt’s record collection, which we (he) attempted to organize before we filled the shelves, but there’s talk of maybe alphabetizing them soon. On top of them are a few special items we’ve collected both together and apart–our favorite record box set (69 Love Songs by the Magnetic Fields), liquor, a painting I made for Matt last Christmas, a knitted cactus he gave me for my birthday, a crate filled with our favorite records, and, of course, the Yellow Submarine LEGO set.

Next to our records is a built in day bed, which we’re using as extra seating and a place to leave our pajamas. There are a couple of built in shelves with scalloped trim, where I’ve placed some candles and all of my packaged LUSH products.

There’s also a built in dresser, which is where I’ve been storing my folded clothes, and on top of which is my makeshift makeup station. It’s a but busy but well organized! To the side is my beloved IKEA cart, which is filled with hair styling tools, naked LUSH products, and tins filled with soaps.

I don’t have much to say about our bed except that it’s very cozy and I’m laying in it as I write this. Next to it is Matt’s dresser, which we’ve tucked into a built in shelving unit  thing. His record player is on top, and on the shelves we’ve put various small things (you may have noticed Matt and I have a lot of knick knacks), and our humidifier.

 

 

6 Tips for Surviving a Trip to IKEA With Your Partner

ikeahaul

My boyfriend and I recently took a trip to New Haven, CT to IKEA. Beforehand, numerous people warned us of the arguments we’d have there. It’s almost an urban legend at this point, with dozens of articles and horror stories about ruined relationships across the web.

Now we’ve only been together for a little over a year, and were buying furniture and various other items for our first apartment together. That it itself sounded like a recipe for disaster. We’re also not prone to arguing–we have some minor spats here and there but we’re very diligent about talking things through, so it’s never progressed further–and were told that IKEA would be the place where we’d have our biggest argument yet.

He’s very level headed, I am sometimes irrational. He has never been to IKEA before, I’ve been countless times. We feared stress, tension, maybe even tears, but magically avoided it all. Here’s how:

Talk home decor

Months before we actually embarked on this trip, we talked home furnishings. The way my home is decorated is INCREDIBLY important to me, and I expected my boyfriend to be indifferent, like most of the men I know. He is not. He cares just as much as I do, but has pretty different taste. Whereas I’ve always been fond of white furniture (probably because I was never allowed to have it as a teen), he is ardently against it and prefers dark wood. I live for marble accents, and the occasional gold, and he finds both tacky. If it weren’t for having these discussions in advance, this would’ve definitely caused some tension. We’ve not only learned each other’s likes and dislikes, but come to terms with them. At first, I would get so angry about these things, like “How dare he have an opinion?!” but now I fully understand and even agree with most of his points, and vice versa. Don’t assume your S/O won’t care. Ask ahead of time and gauge where they’re at. Doing that made this trip so much easier for us–he got his dark furniture, I got my decorative pops of color, and we both left super happy.

Plan

We figured out when, where and how. My parents, who are big IKEA fans themselves, graciously offered to take us in their pickup truck. They even insisted on going to the larger New Haven location (an hour and a half away) rather than the closer Stoughton, MA store. We went on a weekday after 3pm and luckily there were very few people in the store, helping ease any potential stress.

Have a budget

I’m lucky enough to have received some money from my father as a Christmas present this year, so my goal was to spend no more than what he gave me. I ended up with $120 left over (which I’ll surely spend on our second IKEA visit).

Utilize the Shopping List

IKEA graciously offers this tool, which I found much more convenient than the typical shopping cart option. It allows you to check in-store availability beforehand, and gave me a total for all my items, too. It was super handy, and helped me keep my spending in check. There were a ton of things that I wanted, of course, so I added each and every thing to the Shopping List, and slowly narrowed it down to necessities and a few cute decor items that I couldn’t resist. Once I made it into the store, I checked my list and made sure to find everything on there. Not all of the pieces ended up in my cart (a pair of curtains there didn’t live up to the online-hype and we weren’t 100% sure we would need cutlery or dinner plates) but I was so glad to be fully prepared. One of our main concerns had been that I would get overzealous and spend a bunch (it’s happened many times before), but this helped keep me aware.

Discuss, but don’t overwhelm

Knowing this was my boyfriend’s first time in IKEA, I was prepared for him to be overwhelmed by all of the options and my need for his opinion on things. We had talked about it a lot before, but weren’t quite sure how things wouldn’t shake out IRL. In the store, there ended up being no need for concern. While there was a lot of discussion, it was all light and agreeable. We didn’t push each other in any certain direction, since we already knew each others’ limits. We knew our needs, accepted each other’s wants and left it at that. There’s no need to beat a dead horse.

Remember why you’re there in the first place

You and your partner came to IKEA for a reason. In most cases, it’s to build a future together; to build a home and some reasonably-priced Swedish furniture. The end goal is to spend the rest of your life together in a beautiful home of your own. Don’t let these minor things tear you apart, especially not in the middle of the lighting section of a giant furniture store. Be understanding. If it does feel overwhelming and pressured, step away and take a breath. If you’ve gotten to this point, you most likely know that your partner doesn’t have ill intentions. Trust each other.

I hope these tips help you and yours when you make that first IKEA trip, and let me know how your adventures go! Good luck, friends!

Manifesto for A Happy Life

Aim Hbostonigh + Challenge Yourself
Always create new goals, both long and short term. Challenging yourself, creatively, physically, mentally, etc. is a great way to keep yourself in check. Rather than looking at past mistakes with regret, use them as a tool to improve yourself.

Consume Culture
You don’t have to obsess over celebrities or even pay much attention to the world around you (though I think it’s healthy to keep up with the news). This could be as simple as going to a museum or reading a book. An active mind is a happy mind.

Cultivate Healthy Relationships 
Toxic intrapersonal relationships can have a major effect on happiness. Avoid negative energy and focus on friends and family who positively influence your life. Remember–it’s give and take, so if you’re not putting in the effort, why should they?

Self Care
Make time to be comfortable. If you like routine, create a daily regimen; if you prefer spontaneity, change things up regularly. Treat yourself the way you’d treat your best friend–be sympathetic, understanding and patient.

Treat Your Body Well
Drink a lot of water and eat nutritiously. Obviously there’s nothing wrong with indulging, but bear in mind that food is fuel. Eating primarily sugary, carb-heavy foods is like putting sugar in a gas tank–no bueno. And don’t forget that exercise releases endorphins, and endorphins make you happy!


Project Positivity

Even feigning happiness can improve our mood. In the negative times, seek positive aspects and focus on them. There are many situations where it’ll seem impossible to be positive, and that’s okay. In your daily life, however, it’s always best to be the most positive person in the room.sweetgreen

Express Yourself
Whether you’re creative or not, there are a million ways to express yourself. While creative expression is very important to me, the most important of all expression is open communication. Being honest with a loved one (and yourself) about how you feel can change a dynamic for the better and release tension from within.
Be Unapologetically You
Lastly and most importantly, having a strong idea of who you are (your values, goals, etc.) is incredibly important. Understanding your negatives and positives, constantly working on yourself, but remaining true to who you are–that’s crucial for a happy life.

Bathing is Fundamental

bath-cocktailI never understood the power of a bath until I became a LUSHie. They always seemed too time-consuming to be a part of my oh-so-busy teenage life. My life at 17, which I thought was so hectic and overwhelming, was really quite calm compared to my life now, at 21. I balance two jobs and work between 30-
50 hours most weeks, make time for my family, boyfriend and friends, complete my daily tasks and chores when I have time, and try to save as much money as possible through it all. By the time I get to bed at the end of the day, I’m way overstimulated and my mind is racing–at least 3 times a week I wake my boyfriend up by trying to sell him a moisturizer in my sleep. Baths have become one of my only respites from the beautiful chaos that is my life, and I find myself constantly planning out my next bathing adventure.

While regularly discussing the merits of each bath bomb and bubble
bar with customers may play a role in it, there are a ton of other factors that influenced me to reassess my point of view. I’ve also always been a huge proponent of self care, and to me LUSH is the quintessential “treat yo’ self” company. There’s something to appreciate in every single product LUSH creates; be it the heavenly scents packed in them or the beautiful colors that pour out. But whether or not it puts on a show is secondary to the immediate wave of relaxation one gets when they submerge themselves in the soft, warm water.

golden-wonderI recently took a bath in hopes of reenergizing–as well as to try as many of the new holiday products as possible. The focal points of my bath were Golden Wonder bath bomb and Snowie bubble bar. These are my 2 favorite holiday products by far. Golden Wonder is a super colorful champagne-scented bath bomb, while Snowie is inspired by David Bowie and made with my all time favorite essential oil, neroli oil, a natural seratonin-booster. I consider this the bath time dream team.

When I would attempt to take a bath back in the day, I would get in the tub and not know how to keep myself entertained for an hour or two. Nowadays, I am more than prepared, with a litany of products and reading materials at the side of my tub. The products I used are as follows:

  • Mask of Magnaminty face and body mask – for the ultimate skin detox after a long work week
  • H’Suan Wen Hua hair treatment – for smooth, shiny and strong hair
  • D’Fluff shaving soap – for clean shaven and razor burn-free legs
  • Buffy body butter – for deep fully body exfoliation
  • Bubbly shower gel – for citrus-scented skin
  • Pumice Power foot soap – for bright and soft feet

As you can imagine, this routine kept me busy for a solid 45 minutes. Once all of that was done I alternated between reading my book (Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizgoldenwonder1abeth Gilbert) and singing along to the doo wop playlist I was listening to. The Do Not Disturb setting on my phone was on, and I was at peace.

When I finally emptied the tub and got out, I felt rejuvenated. Every inch of me was relaxed and my soul was happy. I was ready and excited to take on the upcoming work week. What my newfound love of baths has taught me is that many of my problems can be solved
(or momentarily sidelined) by spending time alone, slathered in a variety of products, and thinking pleasant thoughts. LUSH proudly proclaims that “Bathing is fundamental,” and I couldn’t agree more.