Ipsy. Birchbox. Sephora Play.

Which one!?

This one is going to rely entirely on you all to let me know which subscription is best because I haven’t used any of the three and would love some advice to get started!

Although I don’t wear a whole lot of makeup, I love experimenting with new lipsticks, moisturizers, and all the face masks and anti-aging products I can find. So I guess I’m also curious as to what kinds of samples these subscriptions have. What else typically comes in the monthly packages?

I’ve heard most people either like Ipsy or Birchbox but neither one seems to be a clear winner. And now we have Sephora Play to throw into the mix! I’ve heard great things about it so far and a lot of my friends have tried it, but I wanna know what you all think! I LOVE Sephora, quite possibly more than your average girl, so without knowing much about any of the three, this one might be in the lead. I could seriously buy one of every single item in Sephora. Anyone else guilty of spending their whole paychecks there? Without a doubt one of my guilty pleasures. I went through a phase where my mother actually asked me if I was signed up for a bi-monthly subscription to Sephora because I was getting so. much. stuff. from there.
Do some of you ladies subscribe to more than one? Seriously guys, tell me how it works! Are any of them worth it, or should I just continue buying the random goodies I frequently get from Sephora anyway?
Good customer service? The best samples? Which has the most variety?
Can’t wait to hear from you!
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Pure Barre Addict

On October 24, 2015, I took my first class at my home Pure Barre studio & my life has never been the same. I had taken two classes at a different Pure Barre location & absolutely loved it so when a studio opened up closer to home, I knew I had to start taking more regularly. I have always struggled with my weight, mostly with eating well, so it’s never been super hard for me to go to the gym, but I always get so bored with the same routine in a normal gym. I had been going to a regular gym doing the weight machines & elliptical every single day. I was seeing decent results, I just got so bored so quickly! It made it hard to be willing to get up in the mornings to go, especially when no one was there holding me accountable.

Pure Barre is absolutely everything I had been looking for & so much more. Not just in a work out, but really in every aspect of life. I found a new group of friends who I look forward to seeing every single day, and in those friends, I found the strongest & some of the sweetest women I have ever met. I’ve also found a second home at this studio. You should always sign up for classes, which is really great for me because my instructors know when I’m supposed to be there! That means if I cancel, they’re definitely going to check in on me! They’re never pushy, always the most motivating, & absolutely some of the best women I’ve ever met. I hit my 250th class in November & I could not be more proud of myself. The changes I have seen in every part of myself are phenomenal. I stand taller, my body is leaner, my muscles are stronger, and it’s incredible how much happier I am now that this workout has become part of my lifestyle.

Sometimes it’s hard for women to separate the number on the scale from the way their body looks. I’ve always been one who has needed that smaller number when I step on the scale. Since starting Pure Barre, I’ve only lost about 10 pounds. But my entire body is so much stronger than it’s ever been & I am honestly so amazed with myself every single day. I never in my whole life would ever have imagined I could plank for 30 seconds, much less 90!!

Each class has the same structure but they’re always different. We start with a warmup, move to thigh exercises, then seat work, and finish off with abs & stretching. Each instructor will always keep you guessing with what moves you’ll do next.

The women are so inspirational, so proud of you & of themselves every time they walk through that door that it’s impossible not to come back. I could literally go on for days about my love for this little studio- there really is just absolutely nothing like it!

When you surround yourself with people who want to succeed as much as you do, that’s when you’ll start seeing your results. In a class, the women feed off of the energy of one another. You’re there for your 55 minutes. No one is there to judge how low you sink your seat or how close to the mat you can get your shoulders during abs. Every single woman is there to help herself become better & they’re all there for the encouragement I know I need to get through that final 10 count.

My love for Pure Barre & our little studio is immense. I know anyone who takes Pure Barre knows exactly how I feel.

 

Have you tried Pure Barre?

What’s your favorite work out?

What about hot yoga? I would love to get into it so any feedback you have for me is much appreciated! There are so many options out there & I know there are some I’d love to try with you all!

Puerto Rico

For Christmas 2012, instead of our typical holiday celebration, I went to San Juan, Puerto Rico with my family. When we take trips, relaxation is definitely expected (& always much needed!) but we’re always sure to do a lot adventuring throughout the trip, too. Zip-lining through the Puerto Rican jungle is a memory I can’t imagine forgetting anytime soon. My sister, dad, & I went on a five-hour zip-lining excursion & saw some of the most beautiful scenery you could imagine. Although we didn’t see any mongoose, the different kinds of birds were very cool. From the mountains, to literally zipping through the jungle, it was truly an indescribable feeling.

zip line

We love to hike & find the path less traveled no matter where we go, & being in Puerto Rico was no different.

San Juan was the first trip we had taken as a family that included so much history, rather than just beautiful sand & long hikes to the most secluded beaches. We stayed right on the beach, just outside of Old San Juan. Below are a few pictures taken in Old San Juan, including the San Juan Cemetery. Even though winter there isn’t what we think of it as in Louisville, it still came with some cloudy skies & a whole lot of wind! Even still, it really was so beautiful.

I know better than to believe you’re totally & completely interested in every single city I’ve visited & every single thing we’ve experienced in each place.

Do you like to travel? What is the best vacation you’ve ever taken?

Or maybe you’ve found an awesome area that is your own little getaway close to home. I want to know about it!

Bucket List!

It’s no secret that I LOVE to travel. I truly want to go everywhere. To every single country on Earth if I could. To be real though, there are a few places that I would definitely say I have to go before I die. I still haven’t figured out if I’m a mountains or beach kind of girl because when I visited Denver in May 2016, I was instantly in love. Before that, however, I was all about walking down the beach and spending my vacations lounging in the sand. The culture of each city in each country around the world is the most intriguing thing to me. To visit these places would be a dream come true. So here is my ultimate bucket list!

  1. Italy. All of it.

I truly am obsessed with the Italian culture. Everything about it is just absolutely beautiful. The scenery, the food, the people, the art- literally all of it. Ever since I read Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert for the first time, I’ve had visions of myself living in a tiny apartment for a month at a time in each of the cities I want to visit most. I have yet to travel abroad completely solo, but I know it would be so liberating & I will most definitely visit this country on my own. The Amalfi Coast, Rome, The Vatican City, Sicily, Venice, Naples. All of them. Giada de Laurentis is one of the most beautiful women and the fact that she’s from Italy makes me love it so much more. I love watching her show and watching her put her own spin on all of her Italian favorites.

I took a seven week beginners Italian for travelers language course where I was the youngest in the class by at least 25 years. I didn’t feel awkward or intimidated for even a second. It was so beautiful to hear the instructor speak & to teach us not just about the language, but about her experience living in the country I want to visit most. I’ve had many friends travel to Italy & their reports definitely confirm the beauty that I believe lives there. I would love to take an Italian cooking class that would allow me to learn even more about the flavors and country specialties! Is there a better way to experience a culture than by eating all the food? I seriously doubt it. And I definitely will make it a priority to visit wineries along the way! Prosecco is my drink of choice!

How many of you guys have been to Italy? Where did you go? Who did you travel with? What some things I have to see when I finally decide to make it there? All advice & recommendations are appreciated!

  1. Cape Town, South Africa.

Cage diving with the great white sharks is probably the number one thing on my bucket list of life. I am the girl who has watched Shark Week on the Discovery Channel since I was in 4th grade. Every single year, my best friend and I would rush home from school, turn on Discovery Channel, and call one another to talk about the show of the afternoon & night. Our fascination with all sharks is likely strange to some, but for many years I thought I wanted to become a marine biologist when I grew up! I mean really, a lot of me still really wants to be!

Great white sharks are known to breach in Cape Town more than any other place in the world. While cage diving here is my top reason for wanting to visit, I’m also so intrigued by the South African culture. Every country has it’s own story- of the people, the language, the food. I sincerely want to experience it all.

Has anyone been cage diving?

  1. The Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia.

When I visited Australia in 2011 on a study abroad trip, it was a short four days & we stayed mostly in Sydney. Sydney is absolutely incredible! Unfortunately there wasn’t time to make the trip up to The Great Barrier Reef for snorkeling excursions, though. I’m honestly worried about the bleaching of the coral & the condition of the marine wildlife in the Reef in the meantime because I don’t know when I’ll be able to make it back! I think I’m really just waiting for the right time to travel to the area because I think I might just stay. It goes back to my love for marine life & wanting to help the environment in all the ways that I possibly can. I fully realize one person can’t stop the bleaching, but I know there are so many people who are passionate about the beauty that is being destroyed every single day.

Each time I see the news, I hear more about how a majority of the Reef is dead and will never recover. I’m afraid I may have missed my chance to see one of the most beautiful sights on Earth.

  1. Paris, France.

Is there really anyone that doesn’t want to go to Paris? Doubtful. At least I really hope not. The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the language, the food, the shopping. Plus, it’s the most romantic place a girl could think of!

I definitely want to hear all about any trips to Paris you’ve taken. When did you visit and how long do you recommend to go?

  1. Napa Valley, California.

Where would be better for this wine loving girl than to visit America’s Wine Country? My goal is to spend a week there visiting several wineries each day and getting to experience the best wines California has to offer. I’m also a lover of beautiful scenery so I can’t even imagine how much I would enjoy seeing the miles and miles of grapes.

How fun would it be to take a girls trip? Definitely going to put this one on the top of the list!

Favorite kinds of wine? Where should we stay and which wineries are an absolute must to visit?

It’s definitely obvious I don’t know as much about the last two as I do about the first three places I listed. I guess that means there’s that much more to discover and experience in those places? It also means I’m so open to all of the advice and recommendations you all have for me! I would really appreciate any help I can get!

Here Goes Nothing!

October 19, 2016. The day all my plans changed. I was in a second degree accelerated BSN nursing program & it was the end of the third session. The program started in May 2016 & was set to be one year long since all the students admitted had bachelor’s degrees in other areas. The first & second sessions flew by & I was enjoying them a decent amount but the minute the third session started, I began hating every moment. I’m not one of those people who has always known what I wanted to be when I grow up & I definitely never saw myself as a nurse. One day last year I was bored with my current job, scrambling for a major change & applying for the program seemed like a good idea. Long story short, I didn’t see myself as a nurse anymore. I was dreading class & clinicals every day & even having nightmares about pulling into the parking lot of my university. The session came to an end, I hadn’t done as well in one of the classes as I should have & that’s where my nursing school journey ended.

Sometimes it takes longer than it should to realize you’re in the wrong profession/program so I’m just thankful I realized nursing isn’t where I belong before I put anymore time and money into it than I already had. I’m not the kind of person who can settle for anything, so I knew right away that I had to launch this blog I’d been talking about for years. I knew I wanted to work somewhere where I was making a difference in the lives’ of everyone around me, while also looking forward to going to work each day. There are too many opportunities out there to be miserable! There are so many new opportunities every day that are the perfect fit for someone like me & I really am excited to finally find my calling.

I came across a quote a few years back by Earl Nightingale that I can’t get out of my head, especially through this time of trying to find myself: “Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish. The time will pass anyway.” It speaks volumes to me. No matter how old you are, what your current career may be, you should always follow your dream. It’s never too late to change a life you’re not absolutely in love with.

So here I am: 26 years old, wine drinking, Louisville, Kentucky living, and ready to take on the world in a career that I love! I just started working a seasonal sales position at Williams Sonoma & even though it’s temporary & part time, I absolutely love it! There’s an aspect of design when preparing the displays but I also get to work with the public, which is what I love most. I already love to cook, but let me tell you, this place is inspiring me to make EVERYTHING!

So from here on out, I’ll be sharing some of my amazing travel memories & explorations. I’ve recently made the switch to eating (mostly) clean foods so I’ll also be incorporating some of my favorite new recipes & some of my best workouts! My goal is help each of you live your best life and my hope is that I can provide some lifestyle tips, recipes, & maybe even that boost of encouragement you need to move forward with your dreams!