Monday, August 20, 2018

4 Recent Book Reviews

Super late to the party on this guys, but did you know you can check out audiobooks from your local library through an app on your phone?! I had heard of this service before, but I could never get it to work. I was inspired to check again when my to-read list got longer and I didn't want to continue with my audible subscription. I'm so glad I did, because the app Overdrive has gotten a total makeover, and they've rolled out a new app called Libby where you can read ebooks and listen to audiobooks for free! All you need is a library card. It's just like your library and sometimes books are checked out and you have to get on the waitlist. I'm also not ashamed that I'm using my 4 year old nephew's library card because I can't find mine! Theren't aren't late fees because the book simply disappears when your time is up. 

I have a feeling that I will have more books that ever to review for you!
For now here are 4 books that I've read recently, and if I think you should read them:

Rating: 2 Stars
From Goodreads: Marie-Laure lives in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where her father works. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, Werner Pfennig, an orphan, grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find that brings them news and stories from places they have never seen or imagined. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments and is enlisted to use his talent to track down the resistance. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.

I mentioned how difficult this book was for me in my August goal post. I started it right after The Nightingale, and I thought that I couldn't get into it because it was another heavy book. I gave it my best shot, and I just disliked this book.

The two stories were painfully slow, and I felt like when they finally converged maybe the book would get going. Nope. It was a slow build up to nothing. I suppose it's more realistic of a story that way, but I felt very let down. I really don't see what everyone else did in this book. 

Rating: 4 Stars
From Goodreads: The success stories speak for themselves in this book from money maestro Dave Ramsey. Instead of promising the normal dose of quick fixes, Ramsey offers a bold, no-nonsense approach to money matters, providing not only the how-to but also a grounded and uplifting hope for getting out of debt and achieving total financial health.

Ramsey debunks the many myths of money (exposing the dangers of cash advance, rent-to-own, debt consolidation) and attacks the illusions and downright deceptions of the American dream, which encourages nothing but overspending and massive amounts of debt. "Don't even consider keeping up with the Joneses," Ramsey declares in his typically candid style. "They're broke!"

The Total Money Makeover isn't theory. It works every single time. It works because it is simple. It works because it gets to the heart of the money problems: you.

I've been researching different ways of budgeting, and Dave Ramsey is a big name in finances. Lots of people swear by his methods! This was an interesting book. What I didn't like was the for the first few chapters I felt like I was at a sales pitch. I kept thinking, "Dude, I already bought your book, just tell me what you have to say already." There are some really inspiring stories, and very practical tips in this book and I intend on employing several. If you listen to the audiobook, be prepared to be yelled at a lot. 

An American Marriage
Rating: 3 Stars
From Goodreads: Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.

This book had a big buzz because it was Oprah's book club recommendation. Overall this was a super interesting premise, and I really sympathized with Roy in being the wrong place at the wrong time. The letters he and Celestial exchanged while in prison were my favorite part of the book and they were written so well. I could really see the change in their relationship as time went on. My problem with this story is that I had a hard time connecting with these characters, and I have a really hard time reading about messed up marriages. Fair warning, there are some racey bits in this book.

Rating: 3.5 Stars
From Goodreads: Single mum Robin Wilde adores her six-year-old daughter and loves her job as a makeup artist's assistant. She has a wonderful best friend and an auntie who is bonkers, yes, but loves her to the moon and back. 
But Robin has a secret. Behind the mask she carefully applies everyday, things just feel ... grey. And lonely. She struggles to fit in with the school mum crew. Online dating is totally despair-inducing, and she worries every day about raising her little girl with self-confidence, courage and joy.
What Robin longs for is someone (over the age of six) to share with - someone who's always on her team. 
After 4 years (2 months, and 15 days!) of single-mum-dom, it's time for Robin Wilde to Change. Her. Life. 
Exciting new opportunities are about to come Robin's way ... Perhaps a man, perhaps the chance of a lifetime ...
What will Robin do with the possibilities she creates for herself? And what potential will she unlock if she takes the leap?

I watch the Louise Pentland from time to time on Youtube, and when I saw she had written a book I was curious! This is definitely a quick book to read on a beach that will read like a romantic comedy. I really wish I had read this without the image of Louise in my head. I know she isn't the main character but I couldn't help but picture her. 

Robin is a frustrating person, but likeable nonetheless. I did not appreciate all the F words, but I think that's a British thing?? And a few extra descriptions of behavior I didn't care to read about. Overall this is a cute story that has good reminders that a little confidence goes a long way and that no one is perfect despite appearances. 

I will say this is supposed to be the first in a series, but I don't feel compelled to pick up the next one.

Leave a comment below with your book recommendations! Are you familiar with the Overdrive app? How often do you check out books at the library? Are there any books out there that you didn't like but everyone else seemed to?
This post contains affiliate links!

Monday, August 13, 2018

DIY Powdered Laundry Detergent Recipe

DIY Powdered Laundry Detergent Recipe

I first shared this recipe almost 5 years ago when I first started blogging, on a different blog. I had to go back through the archives to find it and that was a blast from the past! It's really cool to see how much my blogging style has changed. 

Anyway! This summer I really started reexamining our budget and looking for ways to cut back here and there. It dawned on me that I used to make my own laundry soap years ago and I can't believe I stopped. I think it was a combination of convenience and missing a stronger scent in my laundry. (I've fixed that though!) 

I whipped up a fresh batch, and thought I'd share the recipe with you today. It's really simple to do and I've been loving my updated recipe. I'm also loving the savings! For the past year or so I've consistently bought Method's Ginger Mango liquid detergent. It's $14.99 on Grove and each bottle does 66 loads, which lasts me about 6 weeks. (11 loads a week! I was thinking that sounds kinda high, but we do at least 4 loads of clothes, we change our sheets once a week so that's 2-3 loads of linens, and towels, throw blankets, dog beds, cleaning adds up!) 

This DIY powdered detergent cost me $26.73 and it will last me over a year! I was able to find all of my ingredients at Walmart, but I will link some sources as well. Amazon's prices on this stuff is crazy, so definitely shop local first! 

DIY Powder Laundry Detergent Recipe

Here is what you do:
Mix the following together:
1 4 lb box Borax ($4.47 at my Walmart)
1 3.7 lb box Washing Soda  ($3.97 at my Walmart)
2 bars Fels-Naptha or Zote Soap, grated (I bought already grated Zote from my Walmart for $2.38)
1 3 lb tub Oxiclean (Optional) ($6.92 from my Walmart)
Scent Booster (Optional) ($8.99 from my Publix)
Use 1-2 tablespoons per load!
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DIY Powder Laundry Detergent Recipe

I ended up using the same Method scent in this recipe and it was the perfect compromise! It still smells great, but it's much more affordable.

A few tips:
- I suggest mixing the ingredients in a trash bag, shaking well to combine and then pouring it into your desired container. 
- Alternatively you can layer the ingredients and mix as you go. 
- I bought a glass container similar to this one at Walmart. I believe it was $17. 
- I have a HE high capacity washer without an agitator. I use 2 tablespoons per load because I can fit a lot in one load. For smaller loads of just a few things I use 1 tablespoon. If you have a smaller capacity washer 1 tablespoon should suffice. 
- Keep in mind that the Oxiclean is optional. The rest of the ingredients will still get your clothes clean, but I like the boost in whitening. 
- The scent is also optional. Without it, your clothes will just smell clean. Not including the scent will make this ideal for people with fragrance sensitivity. 

Okay, guys, leave me a comment below! Are you going to try it out?! Have you made your own detergent? Leave any tips you have! How do you feel about doing laundry? Is it your favorite or least favorite chore?

Monday, August 6, 2018

Ways We've Been Saving Money

Admittedly, my husband Blake has been handling our budget and bills for the majority of our marriage. It kind of started out that way because I moved into his home and I had almost zero bills to add to the pile. (Live at home as long as you can kids!) Recently, though, I've involved myself. For multiple reasons really, but mainly because I realized that I'm in a position to help take some things off of his plate and I create half the expenses-so I should be a little more proactive in our finances. 

We've got some big goals coming up! For example, our ten year wedding anniversary is in the beginning of 2020 and I'd really like to take a big trip, possibly overseas. And a few house projects are always on the list too. 

Maintaining a budget is incredibly challenging, and actually a little complicated. It seems like there are always things coming up, like repairs or parties that take a chunk out of your extra cash. Although our budget is still a work in progress, I thought I'd share a few things we have been doing to save a little extra lately.

10 Easy Ways to SAVE MONEY // Pugs & Pearls Blog

Meal Planning
As much as I love to cook, eating out is still a huge set back in our monthly budget. While it's inevitable that sometimes we will need to grab lunch out or won't have time to make dinner, we've ramped up our meal planning! I shared a few tips for meal planning a few months ago, but I have been experimenting with a new system. 

Sometimes it's really hard to be creative when it comes to picking out meals for the week! We decided to make a huge list of our favorite meals and create a meal plan for 30 days. It was very easy to name 20 meals that we knew and loved, and then it took a little brainstorming to come up with additional meals. We divided up that list into 4 weeks and made sure we weren't having the same genre of food multiple nights per week. I plan on leftovers at least one night, which also gives us some flexibility if we want to do a date night or go out with friends. To make it even easier on us, we made up grocery lists for each week. This has been such a huge stress reliever and there are no "what's for dinner?" questions. 

10 Easy Ways to SAVE MONEY // Pugs & Pearls Blog

Shopping at Walmart
Gah, I have a love/hate relationship with Walmart. Their prices are so much better than Publix. For example, a can of black beans at our Publix is something like 89 cents, but at walmart it's 50 cents. Obviously, a difference of 30 cents isn't going to move mountains, but that savings across the board has saved us quite a bit of money over time. 

I've learned to go late at night, or early on Sunday mornings and not a soul is in there. It's really the people that normally lurk in Walmarts that drive me crazy, so if I can go at a slower time, I'm happy! 

Overall, I've tried to just be more diligent at the grocery store. Sticking to my list, paying attention to sales, and not buying single serve items has helped me shave $30-40 off each grocery trip for the past month. 

*I also found that Brandless was a really great way to shop for grocery basics! I shared what we ordered from them recently, and we found that most everything was really great quality and only $3!

I started using Ibotta last year, I think, and I would save a dollar here and there. I started seriously using it a few months ago and I have noticed a huge increase in my cash back! Ibotta is an app that allows you to find rebates on things you are already buying. You just select your store, and unlock offers that that store carries. When you shop, you upload a copy of your receipt and get cash back on those items. You can cash out at $20. Using Ibotta at Walmart is SO easy! All you have to do is scan the QR code at the bottom of your receipt. It's painless! 

You can also get a certain percent cash back on several online stores. If I buy anything through Groupon or Poshmark, I always shop with Ibotta and get a little bit back from those purchases. My mom even let me scan her World Market receipt when she stocked up on wine, and at the time they were offering 4% cash back on any in-store purchase. Thanks momma! 

Ebates has been around for years, but I only signed up recently. I don't know why, because it's SO useful! I installed the chrome extension, and Ebates lets me know when there is a cash back rebate on any website. I've ordered a few things recently from Etsy, Ebags and Hobby Lobby and there were rebates for those sites. EASY MONEY! This was stuff I was already going to buy, so it's really nice to get rewarded for things like that. 

From what I understand, they send out a check each quarter with all of your rebates. I've already gotten a check! 

Unsubscribing From Emails
I sort of started this last year, mainly to get rid of clutter in my inbox. One side effect of that being I am not being tempted with sales for my favorite stores! If I was notified everytime J Crew Factory was having a sale I would literally be broke. Instead, I only shop when I need something, and if they are having a sale, great. 

Sort of along these lines, I'm not clicking on other blogger's posts regarding sales or wishlists. I find it too tempting to look at and all too easy to click over to store's websites. 

Not Buying A New Car
This has been truly challenging! Blake and I both currently own both of our vehicles. Blake has had his Civic since 2005. It's still in immaculate condition, just a little older. As much as he would love a new car, we are really trying to be content with what we have. He drives his car to work and back, and we use my CRV for everything else. It's really saving us a large monthly bill by sticking with what we have. Contentment is not commonplace and we are really going against the grain. 

Making Reusable Swaps
One day, I'd love to say that we are a 'Zero Waste' family. It's been really bothering me lately with how 'throw away' our culture has become. Not only does it make me feel good to produce less waste, but swapping items out for their reusable counterparts has saved us money. For example, I no longer use ziplock bags. We swapped them for these reusable bags from Grove. Instead of dryer sheets, I use these wool dryer balls with a few drops of essential oils (See photo below). I also traded out our swiffer mop pads and dusting pads for these microfiber ones on Etsy. (Please note that those are 100% made in China and not a homemade item. They are great though.) Using my water bottles, insulated cups and reusable straws as often as possible helps me avoid buying drinks when I'm out and about. 

10 Easy Ways to SAVE MONEY // Pugs & Pearls Blog          10 Easy Ways to SAVE MONEY // Pugs & Pearls Blog

Acknowledging My Purchases
I've got a nifty little budget recording dashboard for the back of my planner, and it has forced me to acknowledge what I'm spending money on. It's easy to say you are only going to spend $100 on eating out in a month-but to see what it actually totals up to has kept me on track. It's also satisfying to see those totals decreasing month to month as I try to make changes. 

10 Easy Ways to SAVE MONEY // Pugs & Pearls Blog

Diligent Coupon Searching
Finding a coupon is sort of an obvious way to save money, but I thought I'd mention it anyway. It's always good to do a quick search for a coupon. You never know what's available! Last week, when I went into Michael's, I quickly checked their website and found a 40% off coupon that my purchase qualified for. One other suggestion: Etsy sellers almost always have an Instagram account for their shop and more times than not they include a coupon code in their bio. It takes just a minute, but it can save you a couple of bucks! 

Revisiting DIY Cleaners
One thing I've realized as I've compiled this list, is that most of these strategies are things I used to do, but just slipped out of the habit of. Making my own DIY cleaners is one of those things. At one point, all of my household cleaners were homemade (except for Clorox). Whether it was boredom or something else, I started buying a few cleaners again. In an effort to simplify and tighten my budget, I've revisited my DIY cleaners. One thing became very evident-I don't even need that many cleaners to begin with! A lot of jobs can be done with the same cleaners and the ingredients cost pennies.

10 Easy Ways to SAVE MONEY // Pugs & Pearls Blog

I've got a brand new recipe for an all-purpose Thieves cleaner which I am currently testing. Spoiler alert: I really love it already! I plan to dedicate an entire post to that recipe soon. I'm hoping to diminish my cleaning supply stash and not replace those items. Additionally, once I run out of my laundry detergent, I will be doing a DIY batch again. Last time I made our own laundry detergent it lasted well over a year!

Bonus: Do Things Yourself
Obviously, sometimes you need professional help. And then there are other times you can get away with doing things yourself. Whether that's home repairs, yard work, or chores around the house. I can think of two big examples that we've employed this strategy.

One is with my blog! There are beautiful, custom and expensive blog designs out there. Trust me, there have been many times when I've been tempted to hire out a redesign of my blog since I started in 2014! Instead I've tried to keep it simple with using a free platform, and choosing a highly customizable template from Etsy. Canva has been a huge resource for me in designing graphics and my logo. If something doesn't look quite right or I want to do further customization usually a quick search or Youtube video can help me figure it out on my own. 

Another example, is grooming my pugs! Bathing three dogs is probably the last thing I feel like doing, but it's too easy not to do it myself. When we only had Delly, we would take her in to get her nails trimmed each month. It cost about $15 to do it at our vet. Now that we have 3 dogs, we started trimming their nails ourselves, saving $45 a month. We use these clippers. Trimming their nails is an olympic event, but saving that money is definitely worth it. Vet bills are annoying enough! 

Leave me some feedback below! Who handles the budgeting in your family? Is it a team effort? What are your favorite suggestions for saving money? Let me know if any of these ideas inspired you!
This blog post contains affiliate and referral links! Thank you for your support!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

August Goals

July Report
Choose a new Bible reading schedule and start it. Check! I decided on a chronological schedule. I think this will be really cool, especially when I get to reading about David's activities, and then flipping over to the Psalms where he writes his feelings about those different situations. 

I am using this schedule, but tailored it to me. That schedule is meant to be done in a year, which is not something I'm planning on doing. In the past when I tried to read the Bible in a year, I was flying through things just to get it done. I wrote down a copy of the order in the back of my planner and I'm highlighting them as I go. 

Run 25 miles this month. Check! I think. I did a bad job of recording this, but I'm fairly confident I did it. This was the first month I've done Orangetheory and there is a ton of running in those classes as well, so I think I'm covered.

Sell bag of gently used clothing. Working on it! I took a large box of clothing to Sandy's in Gainesville-which is my favorite consignment shop! They took pretty much everything. I listed the rest of the clothes on Poshmark, and I gave some things away. You can check out my closet here, and if you are a new member you can use my invite code: KESWOOLSEY to get a $5 coupon to use. Be careful! Poshmark is addictive. 

Start recording gratitude list. Check! I love this so much, and I'm so glad I started doing it. I just write a few words or a short sentence about something good that happened that day or something I'm feeling particularly grateful for.

Call Mindy. Check! I spent a solid two hours on the phone with her earlier in the month. I ended up calling her on my way home and she was at a cleaning job so I talked to her on speaker phone. She had to mute the phone while she vacuumed, but I kept talking, haha. That's exactly what I meant about being busy-we had to literally make it happen! But it was such a refreshing conversation and we always end up building each other up. Friendships in different time zones are so hard! I miss her so much. 

Not a bad July! I really loved sharing these goals because it made me feel like I really had to get this list done. 

August Goals
Drink More Water. The amount of water I actually drink is probably shameful. I do drink a lot of unsweetened tea, which makes me feel like at least I'm hydrating a little bit. My goal for this month is just to increase my daily water intake. I doubt it'll be my full 8 glasses, but I have got to improve on this! One way I plan on doing this is by only ordering water at restaurants. 

Make DIY Laundry Detergent. I've been working on our budget a lot in the last month, and I'm looking for ways to cut back here and there. I used to faithfully make our own laundry detergent, but I got out of the habit. It worked well, and it lasted for well over a year! I'm currently using up the last of my Method detergent-which is about $12.99 with my Grove shipment. Making my own detergent will save us well over $100 a year. Look for the recipe coming soon!

Trim Bushes. Our yard is currently a jungle. Not only are we having to cut the grass every week right now, but our hedges are growing at an astonishing rate! I've got a request in with a friend of ours to have them removed permanently, but he has a lot of work. In the meantime, our hedge trimmer motor broke-and we have been having an interesting time with the warranty. Somehow someway, I'm going to get those things taken care of this month. 

Finish All The Light We Cannot See. Have you ever read a book that everyone else liked, but you just cannot get into? That's me with All The Light We Cannot See. I started it right after The Nightingale, so I thought it was just too heavy of a book after that. I put it down for a while, and then tried to get into it again. It's not working. But, it kills me to have paid for a book that I didn't give my all and finish. I am determined to get this book read in August! (Follow me on Goodreads!)

Add An Additional Day of Exercise. I'm loving Orangetheory right now! My membership has me at 2 classes per week, and I would really like to add an additional day of something else besides running. (It's just too hot to run. The Florida humidity will slow you down like no other.) 

Leave a comment below with what you are going to work on in August! How'd you do with your goals in July? Let me know if you have any good tips for drinking more water! I'd also love to know how often you give up on a book, or if you make yourself finish it.

Monday, July 23, 2018

My Ideal Evening with VIIcode Skincare

Thank you so much to VIIcode for sponsoring this post! As always, all opinions are unbiased.

I truly believe that how you start your morning can set the tone for the rest of the day, and I also think that how you spend your evening can totally affect the following day! When I have a really productive and relaxing evening, I sleep better and I always wake up feeling good. It doesn't always happen, but if I spend my evening like this I am one happy girl! 

Evening Walk
If I haven't gotten my 10,000 steps in already, this is a great time to get some more! I absolutely love walking with my husband, Blake in the evenings. We live in a really good neighborhood for walking and we can almost always walk for two miles together. If he is getting home later from work, or just isn't up for it, I will take the pugs for a quick walk around the block. Being pugs, they don't have a whole lot of stamina. Carrying one of them home isn't unheard of!

 Let's be real though, I spend most of the time untangling their leashes!

Cooking Dinner
I'm a big meal planner, and that really helps us after a long day at work! Cooking dinner may be my favorite part of the evening. Most of the time we turn on some 80's music and cook together. It's the perfect time to unwind and catch up. Fun fact: we almost always sit at the table to eat dinner. It's a tradition I'm very proud of, and one of the reasons we had a strong family growing up. 

It's pasta night! Pasta is something we do at least once a week. It ticks all the boxes: it's easy, cheap and delicious. (Here is my homemade pasta sauce recipe!)

15 Minute Clean Up
So, we don't have a dishwasher. #oldhouseprobs! I don't mind hand washing too much though. It's just the two of us, and if we have a bigger group I will use paper plates. Another reason I don't mind doing the dishes is because we take turns. When it's my night I put on a Youtube video and get washing. (I've really been loving Disney vlogs lately, because we haven't been in so long!) 

Whoever isn't washing spends 10-15 minutes cleaning up around the house. Things like sweeping, wiping down counters, straightening up the living room and taking out the trash. There is nothing better than waking up the next day to a clean house and empty sink. 

Family Worship
We do some kind of study together 3 nights a week, but I'd do a little something as a family every night if we could swing it. We do a rotation of something different each time, but my current favorite project is a Bible timeline! It's going to take us forever to finish it, but it's been so interesting! We are kind of winging it as we go, but I can highly recommend the program Aeon timeline since we've had a good experience with it.

Couch Time
Ahhh, finally sitting down! I really enjoy unwinding on the couch with the pugs! They know the drill, and as soon as I sit down they get comfy right next to me. We spend a few hours each evening watching Netflix or reading. I've been SO addicted to my color by number app! It's so relaxing. I also like to set up my diffuser with lavender and cedarwood essential oils in the evening. 

Evening Skincare
As I start to get heavy eyelids, I have to force myself to get up and off the couch or else I will end up there for the night! A big goal of mine is to do a little skin care every night. After changing into my pjs, I remove my make up and wash my face. I also apply my DIY eyelash serum

My perfect evening also includes some pampering! I'm so happy to be partnering with VIIcode skincare today to share their amazing overnight oxygen eye masks! These masks are so unique. I've never seen an eye mask that you can wear overnight. These feature a cool gel that is instantly refreshing. You just peel, stick and go to sleep! 

My eyes are the tell tale sign of my overall rest. I get the worst dark circles under my eyes and my eyes can get really puffy. Getting to bed early is obviously important, but these oxygen masks are an excellent secret to looking well rested and awake! Just taking a few minutes to spend time on myself makes me feel so good and can really affect my mood for the next day! Waking up with clear and healthy skin is the best.

In fact, this whole routine can impact the following day! Getting a little exercise, eating a home cooked meal, and tidying up in the evenings are all great ways to pay your future self! You know I'm all about doing something today that you'll thank yourself for tomorrow!

Leave a comment below telling me your key components to an ideal evening! How often do you get to cook at home? Who does the dishes in your family? And what is your evening skincare routine like!? Have you ever used an eye mask?
Thank you so much to VIIcode for sponsoring this post! As always, all opinions are unbiased.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

DIY Eyelash Serum with Essential Oils

DIY Eyelash Serum Using Essential Oils // Pugs & Pearls Blog

As someone who is now in my late twenties, I'm probably getting to an age where wearing less makeup isn't going to work. Despite that, I've really been trying to minimize my makeup routine. It saves time, but the real reason is because I don't want to be startled at my makeup-less face when I pass a mirror anymore. I want to recognize myself! 

It took about a month, but I got comfortable with only wearing eyeliner and mascara most days. There are still occasions that call for a fuller face, and I'm totally cool with that. My goal has simply been to feel more comfortable with my actual face!

Skincare is a huge part of this. I'm still using and loving my DIY skincare routine. It's much easier to wear less makeup if you feel like you don't need to cover anything up.

I've even been able to forgo the eyeliner several times, but the one thing I just can't leave out is mascara! My hair is a dark blonde, which means my eyelashes are super light. They are probably average length, but you just can't see them! 

There are so many serums and eyelash lengtheners out there, and I was ready to buy one that came highly recommended. It just felt super wrong to spend over $100 on something like that though. Before I spent the money, I thought I'd try a DIY instead. I've had such good success with making my own cosmetics and cleaners in the past-so why not?! 

DIY Eyelash Serum Using Essential Oils // Pugs & Pearls Blog

DIY Eyelash Serum Using Essential Oils // Pugs & Pearls Blog

Here's the recipe!
5 drops Lavender Essential Oil
5 drops Cedarwood Essential Oil
5 drops Rosemary Essential Oil
Jojoba Oil 
Add the essential oil to an empty mascara tube, and fill to the top with jojoba oil. Apply to your clean eyelashes before you go to sleep to promote eyelash growth!

Discus! Leave a comment below if you have any suggestions for eyelash growth! How often do you go fresh faced without makeup? What's the one product you always have on your face? Do you like making your own beauty products too?

Affiliate Links Present!

Monday, July 16, 2018

Currently Loving - Summer 2018

Wifi Password Printable
This printable just went up in my Etsy shop! I've had this sign in my living room for a little while now, and I still love looking at it! It works great in a frame with a wet erase chalk marker. Perfect for a guest room too!

Now Nature's Shield Essential Oil
This is Now's version of Thieves, which is an excellent oil blend for boosting immunity! Lots of people use it to clean and ward off sickness. I have actually had 2 bad reactions to Thieves - so even though I had been wanting to add it into cleaning products but I was afraid. 

Recently, I went into our local health food store, and the clerk was diffusing this blend and it smelled SO good. I walked around the store for a long time and never felt any of my previous symptoms. (Twice in the past my throat started closing up around Thieves.) It's a blend, so it may just be that other brands are stronger or have more of whatever ingredient I had a reaction to. (My suspicion is clove.) 

Anyway, loving this! It smells great and I can't wait to add into DIY cleaning products

Faux Philodendron
We visited a friend in St Augustine a few months ago, and she had the most gorgeous table arrangement of philodendron leaves. They were from her yard, and she said they would last for a really long time in a vase. I was so inspired! The look was so Florida. Well, I don't have any of these in my yard, so I went with a fake one.

It was a risk because there weren't any reviews on Amazon for it, but it's perfect. Super realistic looking, and it's going to last forever! (When I bought it, it was $10 cheaper.)

Perfect Baby Shower Gift
I 100% believe in registries, but I couldn't pass up this Honest Co gift set. (Link is for all of their gift sets, I got the $39.99 one) It's a GREAT price, and I think it's the perfect gift for a shower. Inside are full size products and a bunch of diapers. The crate it comes it is reusable too. So much so that I didn't have to wrap it, I just stuck a gift label on it. I really think I will grab one of these for every shower in the future! 

It seems to sell out very quickly, but if you put it in your cart or wish list you will get a notification when it's restocked. Scoop it up quickly! 

Personalized Note Cards
I go through SO many note cards. I love Rifle Paper Company note cards the most, but my recent favorites have been from Erin Condren! The paper quality is awesome, and customizing the prints and your name is really cool. 

In fact, instead of monogramming my name on one set I had them inscribed with Happy Anniversary! Which is one of the main occasions I send out cards. I could never find a pack of anniversary cards before-usually just the single cards in the Hallmark section. This is the PERFECT solution for that. Love them!! 

For a $10 EC gift certificate, create an account with my link!

Chill Pill Roll On
Again, while in our health food store, I saw this essential oil roll on called Chill Pill. I had a DIY version of a calming roller, but the roller ball leaked a lot so I never felt comfortable taking it with me. This was so inexpensive, and it contains a few oils I don't have-so I thought I'd try it out. 

I love it. I find it so grounding to use, and that is perfect for so many occasions! I get anxious more than I care to admit, and this helps take the edge off. It smells mostly of lavender, but a bit minty too. 

I also picked up this waterless car diffuser, which I love as well! It's such a nice way to have a scent in your car that doesn't smell like chemicals. 

Leave a comment below with what you are current loving! See past month's favorites here
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