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
This post does contain affiliate links! Thank you for your support.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Personalized Shampoo with Formulate.co (and GIVEAWAY!)

I have never met anyone with hair like mine. (Well, maybe my sister.) I have dark blonde, shoulder length hair. It's fine textured, but there is a LOT of it! Because my scalp is fairly oily, I wash it every. single. day. And don't hate me, but it dries perfectly straight! Sound like you? I didn't think so. 

That's why the concept behind Formulate really spoke to me. No one has the same head of hair, so we really shouldn't be using the same shampoo! You need a formula that works with your hair texture, length, color and climate! 



Formulate is a BRAND NEW hair care company, that is launching TODAY! I'm so excited to be partnering with them, because I really think this is a brilliant concept. You start by filling out a hair survey, and Formulate asks you 27 questions that help them create a custom shampoo and conditioner formula for your hair. You even get to customize the scent! 

Formulate shampoos and conditioners are paraben, sulfate and cruelty free!

I can't wait to get my personal formulation! I will be checking in after I try it out for a few weeks and I will give a full report. To celebrate Launch Day, Formulate wants to give away a personal hair care system to one of you!


To enter the giveaway, just visit my Formulate profile and hit the giveaway button! Ends July 24th.

On my profile you will also be able to see my personal hair profile, and what scent I chose! This is their launch day, so only a limited number of orders will be taken so they can get everything right. But, if you just can't wait until after the giveaway, I've got several invite codes that I'd love to share! Shoot me an email and I will get one to you. 

Leave a comment below if you've entered the giveaway! I'd love to know what you think of this concept, and what your hair care routine is like! Tell me if you wash your hair everyday or if you don't have to!
This is a sponsored post! As always the content here is my own and personal opinion. 

Friday, July 6, 2018

My First Brandless Haul

Trying Brandless! First Impressions // Pugs & Pearls Blog

Brandless has been ad targeting me hard ever since I watched a Youtube video about it months ago. And then when Blake asked me if I had ever heard of it, I knew I just needed to make an order already! 

Brandless is an online store that has lots of food, beauty products and even knives that are not a specific brand. Because of that there is no "brand tax" and the prices are kept really low. In fact, everything is $3! I was also happy to see that most of the items are organic and cruelty free. 

My biggest question was about quality. Can a generic $3 item really be of good quality? I thought I'd share what I got in my first box and let you know if it's worth it! 

This is what I ordered, for a grand total of $42. 
Trying Brandless! First Impressions // Pugs & Pearls Blog

Exfoliating Facial Scrub
Trying Brandless! First Impressions // Pugs & Pearls Blog
Rating: 5 out of 5 This was a free item! I think I got it because it was my first order. It's a really nice scrub, fairly comparable to Yes to Grapefruit. My face felt really soft after I used it, and it smells good. FYI do not get it in your mouth! Ick. 

Gluten Free Pancake Mix
Trying Brandless! First Impressions // Pugs & Pearls Blog
Rating: 5 out of 5 These made delicious, and very fluffy pancakes! Big plus for being GF. 

3 Pack of Kidney Beans
Trying Brandless! First Impressions // Pugs & Pearls Blog
Rating: 4 out of 5 These are just fine, but I think I can get the store brand for cheaper at my grocery store! 

Toasted Coconut Cookie Thins
Trying Brandless! First Impressions // Pugs & Pearls Blog
Rating: 4 out of 5 These are good, but not extraordinary. 

Organic Yellow Corn Tortilla Chips & Organic Blue Corn Chips
Trying Brandless! First Impressions // Pugs & Pearls Blog
Rating: 5 out of 5 Grouping these together because they are 2 for $3 so I got both colors. Very comparable to the store brand tortilla chips we usually buy.

Grapefruit Facial Cleanser
Trying Brandless! First Impressions // Pugs & Pearls Blog
Rating: 5 out of 5 This is a really good basic. It smells great and it gets the job done. I think this will be a good item to keep in our travel toiletry kit. 

Lemon Verbena Hand Cream
Trying Brandless! First Impressions // Pugs & Pearls Blog
Rating: 5 out of 5 This is a great hand cream that I think will be nice to keep in my purse. It's very hydrating and I like the light lemon verbena scent. 

Organic Maple Syrup
Trying Brandless! First Impressions // Pugs & Pearls Blog
Rating: 5 out of 5 This is tasty, and just the right amount of sweetness. 

Organic Crushed Pepper and Truffle Oil Popcorn
Trying Brandless! First Impressions // Pugs & Pearls Blog
Rating: 5 out of 5 This is a dangerous item to keep in the house...I know I will eat this in one sitting! It's delicious. I get more of a pepper flavor than the truffle oil, but it's still great. 

Organic Penne
Rating: 5 out of 5 I felt like this was a really good price, because you get 2 for $3! Tastes like pasta!

Non-GMO Coconut Lemon Creme Cookies
Trying Brandless! First Impressions // Pugs & Pearls Blog
Rating: 6 out of 5 Coconut isn't my favorite snack, so Blake rated this one. He LOVED them. He said it's like eating a lemon meringue pie in a cookie. These are really creamy, not like an oreo. I might have to hide these from him.

Double Chocolate Cookie Thins
Rating: 5 out of 5 I love these! There are really thin, but the chocolate flavor is really there. I think this would make a perfect snack when you are craving something sweet, but don't want to indulge too much. 

3 Pack Organic Black Beans
Trying Brandless! First Impressions // Pugs & Pearls Blog
Rating: 4 out of 5 Same story with the kidney beans. These are just fine, but I think I can get the store brand for cheaper at my grocery store. 

Sea Salt Kettle Chips
Trying Brandless! First Impressions // Pugs & Pearls Blog
Rating: 5 out of 5 These are really similar to Cape Cod chips, just a little thinner. Not too salty either. 

Organic Cotton Rounds
Trying Brandless! First Impressions // Pugs & Pearls Blog
Rating: 1 out of 5 So, I hate these. I'm not sure if it's just me though - you see I have this horrible thing with cotton balls. Touching them is like nails on a chalkboard for me. I've found that cotton rounds are usually better, because they aren't as texture-y and feel more like fabric. Now that you know the weirdest thing about me, I hope you get a good laugh at the fact that these cannot stay in my house. They are the worst. 

So, what do you think of Brandless? Would you give it a try? My overall impression is that these are great organic 'store brand' products. The quality is definitely there and I thought the prices were more than fair. I really recommend looking at the bundles on the home page! They've got some products already curated for you, like some of their best sellers. I feel like I've only scratched the surface!


Leave a comment below if you've been curious about Brandless too! Have you tried it? Tell me which products you want to order, or your favorites if you already have!
This post contains affiliate links!

Monday, July 2, 2018

July Goals

I'm kicking off this first Monday in July with some organization and goal setting! I've seen this strategy work for so many other people, so I thought I'd try it myself. My new planner has 12 empty boxes that perfectly lend themselves to goal making. I'm going to keep it uncomplicated and low pressure with setting 5 achievable goals for the month.

July Goals // Pugs & Pearls Blog

Here's what I'm planning for July!
Choose a new Bible reading schedule and start it.
I truly believe reading the Bible everyday is the key to everything. While I have been steadfast with some sort of reading or studying each day, I haven't nailed down an organized way to do it. That's not to say I've been haphazard, but I would really like to have a more systematic schedule. In July, I want to pick a new schedule and start it. 

Run 25 miles this month.
I'm not sure if I've mentioned it here yet, but I planning on running a 12k in October! That the longest distance I will ever have done, so I've started training already. I'm using the couch to 10k app for now, even though I'm not technically starting from the couch level. I just love the app and it keeps me on track. (Maybe you can tell I need a system for everything...) My schedule has me running at least 6 miles a week, so I threw in an extra mile for bonus points. I'm working on going faster while I have these short runs. 

Sell bag of gently used clothing.
I cleaned out my closet as part of my 2018 challenge about 2 months ago. I have a big ole trash bag full of clothes (some with tags still on!) that I need to do something with. There is a great consignment shop in Gainesville, called Sandy's, that I was planning on taking it to. Well, in two months I haven't made the trip over. So I figure I need to list these things on Ebay or Poshmark. I love selling clothes that way, but it is a lot of work up front!

Start recording my gratitude list. 
I mentioned in the post about my new planner that I've created a page each month that I can write down something I'm grateful for or a highlight of the day. It started yesterday! I'd really like to make this a daily ritual and get into the habit of writing something down before I go to bed. I think this will be a really cool way to document the year!

Call Mindy.
This is almost sad that I have to write this as a goal! Mindy is my long time bff! We are just about exactly the same age, and we have so much in common. She is one of those lifelong friends that it doesn't matter how often you talk, but you just pick right back up with. She lives in North Dakota right now with her husband and I hardly get to see her. We try to call each other fairly often, but it's been awhile! She is so busy, and so am I. I love that we both understand that too. I've got to block out like 2 hours so that we can catch up!! 

I hope everyone has a productive July! I will update you on my progress when I share my goals for August. Leave a comment below with some of your monthly aspirations! Do you tend to set little goals or are you more of a go big or go home person?