Life Lately: An Update in the Midst of Busy

Happy last day of August!

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{All photos of random things we’ve been up to in the past two weeks}

I don’t know about you, but tomorrow officially begins fall in my house. It’s my favorite month of the year – and not just because it’s my birthday month. I’m turning 34 on the 30th, which is so exciting! It’s also the beginning of college football season (Go Gators!) and it’s only a week until New York Fashion Week.

September is a busy month for us, and I love it. We have zero plans this weekend but to lay low, watch some Gator football, and have some sweet time with our kids. And visit with some family that’s in town for the weekend, which is always fun. The past few weeks have been hectic, which is why the blog has been a little crazy.

That said – I’m just going to share a life update with you guys rather than a useful blog post you can do anything with. At the risk of sounding like I’m impressed with myself, we do a pretty good job of keeping our house, our kids, and our business in order – but sometimes life gets a little out-of-control all at once. It’s especially problematic when one or more of us gets sick, because it takes a while to bounce back from that. When all six of us are sick at once – Oh. My. Bear with me as I try to keep up-to-date with the blog and with the crazy hectic life I have at the moment.

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The Week From Hell

Last week….oh, last week. I’m not a complainer, but I am absolutely glad weeks like last week are few and far between. We’re fortunate, and I’m not complaining. But I will share.

Monday – forgot to pick the kids up from school because I was an entire HOUR off in my brain. That was panicky. Cue the mom guilt. My husband panicked when he realized they’d been out of school for 25 minutes and I wasn’t there! Thankfully some mom friends kept them entertained. Perks of being a PTA board member, I guess. Anyway, I felt horrible about that.

Tuesday – Picked the kids up on time (Go me), blew tire. Well, the rubber started coming off of the back passenger tire in my 18-month-old Denali as I drove to pick the twins up from school. Apparently, you should look at your tires (and my car dealership should be VERY ashamed of themselves, because they did not tell me I needed new tires when I was in there for an oil change in June!).

Wednesday – Got new tires. Really noticed a huge change in the way the SUV drives. Huh. I should pay more attention.

Thursday – Woke up to lots of kids with runny noses, and a husband with a runny nose. And me with a runny nose.

Friday – Posted my fourth blog in one week only to realize that NONE OF MY BLOG POSTS were showing up. It took me three days and 4 people at WordPress to figure that one out.

Saturday – Busy day. Lots of plans. Wake up to four kids unable to swallow anything. All crying and whiny. Doctor instead of fun. Doctors save we have lots and lots and lots and lots of tonsillitis.

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A New Week

Thankfully everyone is feeling so much better this week, back at school, we are all on the mend, and it’s been a good week. But it’s a busy week. I have my regular clients to handle each day (which, in case I’ve never mentioned it before, means I have 10,000 to 15,000 word per day to write for them Monday-Friday) as well as a few new clients, a blog post to write and edit and submit for a collaboration I’m doing with Smile Brilliant – get excited about that one!

And I have one week until NYFW. That means planning on house sitters, and kids’ schedules, and our schedules. I have so many runway shows, presentations, and collections, and events to attend in NYC next week I don’t think I’ll have time to breathe. None of my outfits have arrived yet, and I haven’t even started packing.

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But – it’ll all get done. I’m just swimming through this week trying to get as much rest as possible to get better, trying to work ahead as much as possible to clear my schedule for NYC, and trying to enjoy my babies being healthy again.

Oh – and our oldest daughter began tap, ballet, and hip-hop dance classes three weeks ago. She also began an advanced tumbling class with her best friend at her new dance studio – and they are LOVING it. They are currently working on their aerials and their front handsprings – and watching them is amazing. Though there is a part of me that thinks they like the fact that they are always on television in the waiting room where parents sit to watch them perform more than anything – they have superstar status! These classes mean adding even more to our schedule, but she loves it and we love that she loves it – so we do it.

Now, if only my sweet husband would start to feel better…

On that note, I do have some very exciting blog posts coming up in the next few weeks. I have some travel advice, the most amazing collab with Smile Brilliant, a full NYC recap, Fashion Week recaps, and so many other fun stuff.

But mostly I’m just excited to spend a long weekend away with my husband. I kind of like him, you know, and I enjoy spending some quality time with him without the kids from time to time. It’s nice. *insert all the heart eyes and smiley faces here, please*

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A Moment of Realization

Here’s the thing. Life is good, and we enjoy it. It’s easy to get swept up when everything inconvenient and annoying happens at once, but at the end of the day our problems are quite small. We try to focus on the good. The extra cuddles we get when the kids are sick. The extra time we had at home this week when we weren’t feeling good and we were cancelling plans all over the place.

The fact that most things are just an inconvenience and not real-life problems is something to be thankful for on its own.

How has life been for you lately?

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Simple Tips for Shopping the Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale

{The Marlowes: Short Sleeve and Boatneck}

You guys…it’s finally here. The Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale runs from Monday, August 28 until Wednesday, August 30th. Three days of one of my favorite sales of the year.

No – my absolute favorite sale of the year. With that I mind and only the weekend to prepare, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite tips….and a few of my favorite dresses you can get for next to nothing.

Anyone who knows me knows I have a closet filled with LP, and I’m not ashamed. I love it, it’s such good quality. It doesn’t matter how many times I wash things, they always look spectacular – and it’s always chic. I don’t know if y’all know this or not, but being a mother to four small kids is not an easy task. It means I have approximately half a second to think of me.

And LP is my go-to. The bold colors are flattering, and they hide dirty little fingerprints and stains that typically end up all over me if the kids have any say in life. The cuts are super flattering, the fit is always perfect, and how easy is it to get dressed in the morning when all you have to do is choose which dress to wear? A whole outfit in one place? Yes, please!

That said, it’s time you get to know how the sale works, what to do, and what advice I have after shopping the sales twice yearly.

{The Essie and the Amina – my two favorite dresses ever}

First – you can find LP on sale other times, but not through LP. I find dresses on sale all the time at Nordstrom, Dillards, and just about any LP-authorized boutique in any beach community. All. The. Time.

Second – you must know the rules.

Third – you must be ready ahead of time.

Here we go.

Know the Rules

Ladies – there are rules. Here they are.

  1. You can add all you want to your cart, but that does not reserve the item.
  2. You cannot log into the website until the sale opens at 8 am.
  3. You better be at your computer ready to login when 8 am rolls around.
  4. Expect to wait.
  5. Don’t panic.
  6. Check back regularly, because new styles are added throughout the sale.

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I know you already have an LP account online, right? If you don’t, do this now. You need to have your address and other personal information already stored to save you time and provide you with a better chance of seeing the items in your cart still available when you check out. If you aren’t comfortable saving your credit card option, you can always check out with Paypal – which means you can pay with your bank account or debit card through Paypal on the LP site with the click of a button. It’s so easy, and it’s much safer.

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Prepare to Wait

And don’t panic. Here’s the deal – sometimes I’ve waited over an hour – DO NOT REFRESH – to get into the sale on the first morning, and it’s totally fine. I’ve never had anything in my cart sell out before I can check out. Most everything is in my size by the time I get in, and it’s been a seamless process.

Even better, there are new styles added regularly throughout the three days the party lasts. This means what you love might not be on sale right away, but it might show up before the sale ends. There’s no need to panic – even if there is a long wait. I promise it goes by so much faster than you imagine.

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What to Buy

Whatever you want. However, I would really use this opportunity to buy some of the more expensive items you’ve been eyeing. This allows you even more savings, but there is NO reason not to buy the inexpensive dresses, shorts, and tops for even less. Savings are savings, my friend. I also think the sale is a great time to purchase accessories, since no one wants to pay full price for accessories, right? I also love buying my kids’ stuff during the sale. They are huge LP fans – my oldest daughter only wants to wear LP half the time – and I love buying it at the sales since they grow so fast and it’s so not an investment piece for kids who can only wear these items for a short period.

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You feel the anticipation, and that’s all right. But remember not to panic. You’ll get what you want. You’ll save money. You’ll shop more than once over the course of the sale…even if you make a serious promise to yourself that you will only shop once.

That’s a lie, and you don’t want to be a liar.

Happy shopping, friends! What do you have your eye on during this sale?

The One Classic Staple Dress Your Closet Needs for Under $100

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{Dress: Essie by Lilly Pulitzer | Lipstick: Mod Pop by Clinique | Earrings: Sugarfix by Bauble Bar for Target | Sunglasses: Rayban | Bracelet: Chatelaine by David Yurman 

Friday, Friday, Friday…

What kind of plans do you have this weekend? Ours is – as usual – busy. One day we will have a weekend that entails doing absolutely nothing, and I’m going to love every second of that! It’s a fun-filled weekend, but I could really use some down time. Maybe next weekend…wait, no. Maybe the weekend after. But probably not.

Anyway, it’s Friday, and that’s a celebration day in our house because we don’t have to pack any lunches for anyone for two solid days! Trust me, four lunch boxes for four kids who all like different food – omg.

I’d love to say Fridays are relaxed days, but this time of year they’re not. That means rushing out the door every morning to take four kids to school, run errands, come back home and get into my office to catch up on deadlines and client requests, head to yoga, back to school to pick everyone up, and then it’s time to take the kids out for Friday Fun night.

And that means I have zero time to focus on what to wear…which is why I am completely, 100% obsessed with the Essie.

  • It’s sleeveless – perfect for the hot Florida weather
  • It’s a classic cut – flattering on all body types
  • It’s always chic
  • You can dress it up for Sunday Brunch or lunch with the girls or down for running errands with the family 

Lilly Pulitzer knows how to make sure we busy ladies have a summer staple (and in Florida, it’s always summer) we can turn to when we have little time but need to look chic and put together. And, we all know that email is going to show up any time in the next week or two letting us know it’s time for the After Party Sale. Half-price LP? Sign me up!

If you need a chic staple that allows you to look pulled-together, stylish, and appropriate no matter what you’re doing, this versatile piece is worth the investment. And it’s only $98  – and you can’t beat a staple for under $100!

(photos by Lilly Pulitzer)

With so many colors and options to choose from, the biggest problem in your life is figuring out how to dress it up or down – but I’ve got you covered.

Casual: Sandals or espadrilles, fun earrings, and an oversized handbag

Chic: Wedges, simple jewelry, and a structured tote

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Voila – you look amazing, and it took you all of 30 seconds.

Happy weekending, friends!

It’s All in the Details: One Dress You Can Wear Several Ways

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It’s all in the details.

I’ve said it before – I love classic pieces. 85% of my closet is staples and classic pieces that never go out of style, and about a quarter of those have a little bit of a twist because I love details. A classic wrap dress with fun pockets and a military-style neckline. Wide-leg trousers with fun back pocket details. A classic top with unexpected sleeves.

I do, from time to time, fall for trends. Right now I’m loving the bell sleeves – and I’m loving classic pieces with bell sleeves. I’m also loving the tee shirt dress. It’s simple, it’s classic, and you can’t go wrong.

I’m also loving neutrals right now, and when I found this gray Topshop dress at Nordstrom recently, I didn’t hesitate to bring it home. It’s got a classic neckline and fun sleeves perfect for fall in Florida (do you hear me laughing at that oxymoron?). What makes it extra fun, though, is the side-tie detail. It’s a little classic and a little badass.

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{Booties: Michael Kors old | Bracelet: Tiffany & Co. | Sunglasses: Ray Ban}

And it’s perfect when I indulge a little too much and want to hide it!

I don’t hesitate to buy something when I know I can wear it a half-dozen ways depending on my mood.

With booties on a cool fall day.

With wedges when the weather starts to warm up

With Millers in the summer.

With rainboots in the spring.

With ballet flats through the airport or to take my kids to school.

One dress – endless wears. And for only $45. Is it possible to find a better buy? (The correct answer is no).

What have you found recently you know you can wear a million ways and never on repeat?

Maxi Madness

{Dress | Shoes similar here | Sunglasses | Clutch similar here }

Who doesn’t love a good maxi dress? I love them, but I go through phases. It seems that it’s always the beginning of spring and the end of summer. Almost like it’s my way of telling winter and summer it’s time to go. Leave, winter…I’m ready for dresses and sunshine. Leave, summer…I actually hate you with all your heat and humidity and sweat.

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Oh, who am I kidding? We don’t have winter or fall around here. It’s always summer all the time. But, that means it’s always perfect weather for a maxi dress, and I shared a few of my favorites this week on Instagram. Sadly, my very favorite is no longer in stock. I bought it from Nordstrom last summer and unlike a few of the pieces they bring back year after year, this one didn’t make the cut.

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{similar dresses here here and here }

The other I found online at Forever 21 after I saw another blogger wearing it! it was only $19, which means it’s officially my new favorite.

As summer turns into fall for so many people (People I don’t want to hate but kind of do when I see you talking about cool weather and fall stuff…because I’m sure you’re lovely, but I’m bitter and mean when I’m sweaty), it’s perfect maxi weather. With wedges for fun, a blazer if it’s cool, and even some booties if you love to be a little edgy.

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Healthy 5-Minute Edamame Recipe Perfect for Snacking or as A Side Dish

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Better late than never, right? I promised this recipe post two days ago, but I’m slacking this week. Seriously, back to school is amazing, but being part of the PTA for the first time is really a learning curve for me. I didn’t realize how many man hours it takes. I’m enjoying it – I like doing things that aid in the education for my children…and I really like being near them – but I’m also learning to cope with another obligation.

So far it’s meant working earlier in the mornings, later in the evenings, and readjusting my schedule as needed, but it’s been good. And that’s why the blog is taking a back seat these days. Time, baby…it’s of the essence right now.

In an effort to be quite transparent, I am not a good cook. My husband is a good cook. He keeps us alive, but I can do a few simple things. One thing I do really well is eat healthy. I can pick a good, healthy receipt and pin it like no one’s business for my husband to later recreate.

And I can make a really killer edamame dish.

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What You Need

1 package whole edamame pods

EVOO

A Ziploc bag

¼ cup plain Panko bread crumbs

¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

1 clove garlic

Your favorite wine

I promise this is so easy it’s not even funny.

The Steps

Pour a glass of wine into the appropriate wine glass. Lift it with one hand, and sip. Repeat as needed.

Put your edamame in a Ziploc bag and add just a drop of water. Now close the bag 95% leaving 5% of the bag unsealed. Put it in the microwave for 2 minutes. Remove it, and set it to the side.

Cut your garlic into small pieces. Put it in a pan, add a few drizzles of olive oil. Don’t coat the pan, but don’t be too conservative with it. Let the garlic simmer just a bit – JUST A BIT. When it burns, it’s disgusting and you’ll want to start all over.

Sip your wine.

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When the garlic is simmering just a bit, add the edamame to the pan and mix it all together. Turn down the heat from medium to simmer and let it sit for a minute or two.

Transfer your edamame into a bowl, add your parmesan and your Panko, mix it together – and serve – and sip some more wine.

I told you it’s easy.

Sip.

And amazing.

And you’re welcome.

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Back to Basics: 3 Classic White Shirts That Are Anything but Basic

Happy Monday! There’s a saying about how if you love Mondays, you’re doing life right.

I don’t know about all that…but I do love a Monday this time of year. The kids are back in school, and that means I have 6 – SIX – uninterrupted hours to work without anyone bickering, asking for a snack every 7 seconds because they are starving, and I’m able to meet all my deadlines, get ahead, and really be able to put work away when it’s time to get the kids so I can focus on my family at the end of the day.

I like that a lot.

But I digress….you guys know I’m a huge fan of a basic piece. I love the basics. My style really focuses on the basic because I love timeless, classic pieces that never go out of style – and I really love when I find a timeless classic with a twist.

When I think of basics, one of the first things that come to mind is the classic white shirt. I love a white tee with a blazer and ballet flats for a little edge. I love a white tunic with heels and a clutch. And I really love a white button down that’s just a little bit more fun than your average white button down.

The thing about a white shirt is you can pair it with anything and everything without much thought or effort, and you can dress it up or down depending on your mood. I love when things are so versatile. Now that we’re working our way out of summer and into fall (I laugh every single time I write that. I’m from Florida. We’re transitioning from summer to still summer to that other summer to more summer), it’s time to figure out how to take your favorite white shirt and make it a little more than basic with jeans and the right accessories.

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(Jeans: Rag and Bone | Top: Stem {old – similar here and here }| Espadrilles: Tory Burch | Bag: Kate Spade | Sunglasses: Gucci {old – similar here} | Lipstick: Topshop “Fast Lane” )

The Basic White Tee

I love a white tee. Fitted, loose, a little bit on the tunic-y side. A basic white tee is a staple you must have in your closet. The key is to find one that’s not made cheaply so it’s not see through – and so it withstands numerous washes. My favorite way to pair a white tee like this one is with fun shoes and a bag for a pop of color. I also love it with a blazer to make it chic. Every woman needs at least three quality white tees in her closet.

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(Jeans, Sunglasses, and Lipstick Linked above | Shirt: BP  | Shoes: Christian Louboutin “So Kate”) 

The White Button Up

A white button up should be your number one go-to best friend. And this one is everything. I love it because it’s your basic white button up with a little flair thanks to these great bell sleeves. Wear it with a pencil skirt to a meeting, with jeans and heels for a fun night out with the girls, or with a pair of ballet flats and a floppy hat to the airport.

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(Jeans and Lipstick linked above | Sunglasses: YSL old – similar here | Shirt: Lush | Shoes: Christian Louboutin | Belt: Gucci {old – similar here} | Hat: Rag & Bone )

The White Tunic

With jeans and cognac ballet flats, you look perfectly polished. With this floppy black hat and matching Louboutins, the look goes from basic to beyond – perfect for a chic date night, an evening of cocktails, or a casual event – though I’d go with a much darker wash if you’re doing jeans at any casual event.

You cannot go wrong with any of the most classic basics, especially when it’s a white tee. What’s your favorite go-to basic you can’t live without?

The Casual LBD: The Perfect Way to Transition from Summer to Fall ( Or to Other Summer in Florida, anyway)

lbd

You guys, today is the first day of back to school for our kids – and we are celebrating! Okay, so we took them to school, walked them to class, and ordered our favorite biscuits and gravy to go so we could come home and sit at our desks and eat them.

But it’s quiet. We are both sitting at our desks working in the silence. No one wants a snack. No one wants to scream at anyone else. No one is bickering. No one is complaining about Google Home playing Frank Sinatra radio.

It’s a good day.

And it’s also the first official day of fall in my book. Since we’re Floridians and that season doesn’t exist, it starts for me officially officially on September 1, but unofficially on the first day of school. Which means it’s time to transition the summer wardrobe into a fall wardrobe. Basically, it’s time to add a little black to the mix.

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So before I finish up a few deadlines and head off to yoga, I wanted to share with you one of my favorite ways to go from summer to faux fall in Florida – with the basic back tee shirt dress. It’s everything – and this one is from TJ Maxx ($9.99, seriously). I love the tick neck detail, and I’ve linked to a few of my other favorite casual LBDs to transition.

Wear them with flats, add a pair of wedges, some booties, or some riding boots and a scarf to give them a little edge. And know that if you have the kind of weather that allows you to wear boots and a scarf with your casual LBD without dying of heat stroke – I kind of hate you a little.

A lot.

And not kind of.

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This casual LBD is one of my favorites. It’s easy to wear both casually as well as a little dressed up (and it’s only $68!)

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This casual LBD is perfect for casual outings and having a little fun.

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This casual LBD has the most fun flutter sleeves if you want something a little extra.

(Photos by Nordstrom)

 

 

Last Day of the #Nsale & A Few Favorites You Don’t Want to Miss

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{Tunic: Lush here | Leggings: BP here | Shoes: Christian Louboutin So Kate here | Bag: Prada here | Earrings: Sugarfix by Bauble Bar here | Glasses: Yves Saint Laurent (Old) similar here}

Happy Sunday, darlings!

I hope everyone is having a gorgeous weekend filled with whatever it is that makes your heart happy. We’ve had a lovely weekend thus far. Friday night was date night with another great couple, yesterday we took our big girls on our annual back-to-school wardrobe shopping trip (do not get me started on our 6-year-old’s choices….she makes me cry silent tears of horror and resignation), and today is bedroom switch day.

Our big girls share what we call the private ‘wing’ in our house. They have a cool pocket door that separates their section of the house from the rest of the first floor so their bedrooms and their bathroom are kind of private. Anyway, they want to switch bedrooms this weekend, so it’s paint (because they both hate the color of the other’s room) and new décor and all that fun stuff…all with a 9-year-old with an upset stomach. That’s not awesome, but they’re still excited about their room switch.

But before we get started on that, I wanted to share with you a gentle reminder it’s the last day of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale if you haven’t done your shopping just yet. I have to be honest when I tell you that most everything I’ve purchased in the past few weeks from Nordstrom wasn’t actually included in the sale….oops.

Anyway, I this amazing Lush Tunic is a MAJOR staple in my closet. I have it in 8 (maybe nine?!) colors. And I’ll share a secret – it’s always on “Sale” for $27. I bought this black one in 2015 just before NYFW and every time a new color is introduced, I order it….for $27.

These faux leather leggings are everything.

So hurry up and shop the last day of the sale. Or don’t. Either way, you’ll still find these great fall pieces tomorrow.

Summer Beauty Round-Up: New Favorites from Sephora

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August has me doing my happy dance (complete with zero rhythm and not a care). August, to me, is the almost-but-not-quite-but-so-close to the beginning of all the best things in life.

  • The kids go back to school next week (Hallelujah!)
  • It’s almost September – my birth month
  • Gator football is just a few weeks away
  • The kids go back to school next week
  • It’s almost fall (is it ironic I love fall the most considering we Floridians haven’t one, ever?)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Beginning September 1st I lovingly decorate our home for fall and begin celebrating the four most spectacular months of the year – the months I live for. The other 8 are basically pointless black holes of time in which there is no pumpkin anything anywhere.

*Shudder*

Anyway, this year is (as always) flying by. And that means I’m checking myself and my goals for the New Year…which is so long ago now! I’m impressed with myself and how well I’ve managed to do the things I said I was going to do this year. Specifically, I’m proud of how well I’ve adapted to trying new things. Going outside my comfort zone, if you will.

As a creature of intense habit – my weekdays are basically Groundhog Day the reality…and I LOVE it – I tend to pick my favorite beauty products and stick with them. Being that I’m turning 34 next month, my skincare needs are changing. And I was forced to adapt.

Do you see how I gave myself credit there for totally going outside my comfort zone and trying new things when in reality I had zero choice because my skin kicked me in the ass and gave me no other option? I’m still taking the credit, mmmkay?

This summer I’ve tried a few new products (note: new to my beauty routine; not new products) and I’ve fallen in love with some, tossed a few others to the side, and let my kids have all the fun in the world with others, and I thought I’d share a few of the new things I tried every time I placed a Sephora order – which, contrary to what my husband believes, is not every other day – and fell in love with this summer in a beauty round-up.

 

1. Boscia Sponge – It’s the perfect daily exfoliant without actually harming my skin and making it seem dry or irritated. I use it with my Clinque Pep Start 2-1 exfoliating cleanser for just a little extra, and it’s perfect!

2. Belif Aqua Bomb – Dry skin is such a summer problem for me, and this is the perfect moisturizer to use overnight. I apply it after my evening shower and my skin is so much smoother and better moisturized immediately.

3. Clinique Pep Start Sampler Kit – I use the regular size at home, but this is the PERFECT travel set! I keep it in my travel bag so my skin is always happy when we aren’t home.

4. Dior Diorshow Maximizer – I’ve been a strict Diorshow mascara user for more than a decade now, but I’d never tried this. Let me just say – LOVE. I love the way my lashes look!

5. IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores – Pores. Yuck. Mine are huge, and this has been a lifesaver this summer as I swear they grow with the humidity!

Do you ladies have any must-have recommendations for me to try before summer is over – or leading into fall?