In Shower Self Care

The world has been on a self-care craze lately.  Bath bombs, rose water, and masks are like the new silly bandz. Rightfully so, the world is super stressful nowadays which is only compounded by the constant connection we all have with one another through the internet. Theoretically, I was all for self-care. Online, I praised my friends for making time for the self and treating themselves. However, I didn’t do the same: I ate plenty (and still do) junk food, slacked off my skincare, and generally did not make myself a priority. I used to think girls spending time on themselves is a waste and that their time could be spent better by doing literally anything else. Now, I’m still not one for makeup, but a little material self-care is definitely something I’m trying to do more.

A couple of nights ago, my mom and I got into an argument. Instead of it dissolving into a screaming match as it so often does, I excused myself and took a shower. Standing in the shower, I realized I should use this time to pamper myself. Here’s a quick list of the products I used plus some products I wish I owned. 

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rose water | face mask| body brush | shampoo & conditioner | face scrub | exfoliation set  | body wash 


Exfoliation Set (similar)

 This includes a pumice, exfoliation gloves, and facial sponges. (Mine has a pumice, a exfoliation glove, and a body brush).

Facial Scrub: St. Ives Blackhead Clearing Green Tea Scrub

This scrub just feels really nice. I’m a big fan. Also, it’s smell is clean and relaxing without being overpowering.

Rose Water: PearlEssence Rose Water (with Witch Hazel)

I love this stuff! I use it basically every day. Toner is such a great thing to hand on-hand. It’s just refreshing, and makes your face feel clean. 

Body Wash: Dove Deep Moisture Body Wash

This is a great body wash. I also really like the bar soap version (what I currently use). Bar soap is also far better for the environment than the plastic bottles that traditional body wash comes in. 

Shampoo & Conditioner: Pantene Pro-V

I don’t really think this shampoo and conditioner is really anything special. However, it gets the job done and well. It’s not too harsh and smells good. I wouldn’t call it super moisturizing, but it definitely doesn’t feel like it’s stripping my hair of its oils. 


I took out a small set of bathing supplies I had bought at TJ Maxx for $3. I exfoliated my skin, did a face scrub, and washed my hair – all in the shower! After my self-care shower, I felt so much better and was able to resolve the conflict with my mom right after. Now, I barely remember what we were arguing about in the first place!

Seriously, self-care is so important. Caring for yourself is the first step to caring for other people. I encourage you, to take an extra ten minutes to do a face scrub or exfoliate in the shower. It’s so nice to feel fresh and new after a long day.

Take a shower! You’ll feel better afterwards!

Sincerely,

Marie

Current Coveting No. 2

blog post 6.27.2020 currently coveting no.2

shirt | sandals | headband | earrings | shorts | bracelets | belt | nail polish

Shirt

First, let’s talk about this shirt! It’s $16! And I found it on Amazon, of all places! While, I”m not thrilled by the prospect of giving Jeff Bezos more money, it’s hard to beat the convenience of Amazon.

I love Kate from Lonestar Southern! She’s always raving about Mi Golondrina, but let’s be real – most of us don’t have Mi Golondrina money. This way you can achieve the look for *substantially* less.

Bracelets

This is a Victoria Emerson bracelet. These “bracelets” are actually one big bracelet. I love to stack bracelets. I though this was a fun way to do that! Also, chunky bracelets are a great way to get out of picking out other accessories. For me, the less decisions, the better.

Hoops

I actually saw Dorothy from Prep in Your Step wear these earrings! I think they are such a simple and classic taste on hoop earrings. Most of the time, I’m not super big on big earrings, but I think I would try these!

Nail Polish

I actually had this nail polish during February Break when I was touring colleges. I got my nails done at this nail shop next door to my hotel. This color, titled “Getting Nadi on My Honeymoon” (I’m NOT even making this up). Anyways, it’s a great alternative to my favorite nail polish color Essie’s “muchi muchi”.

Urgh! I miss going to the nail salon so much. I rarely go because it’s so expensive, but gosh I miss it so much! I think I’m going to dedicate this summer to learning how to paint my nails. For me, my non-dominant hand looks fine…  but my dominant hand looks like it attend the school of hard knocks.

Anyways, what are y’all doing this summer? Any big plans?

Sincerely,

Marie

Preparing for Summer: What I’m Buying

Summer is upon us! Can I get an amen?!? After surviving this brutally cold New England winter with a saddening lack of snow, we are finally on the other side!

As with any cause for celebration, I decided to celebrate via a little online shopping. Not really, I just had worn out or lost my usual summer essentials. Nonetheless, I went shopping! Kind of.

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shorts | curl cream | dress | sandals | pearlsfoot mask | shirt | sneakers | socks

Demin shorts

A couple of week ago, I was OBSESSED with the Agolde Parker Vintage Cutoff Shorts. Amanda John from Strawberry Chic and so many other bloggers were RAVING about these shorts! The only catch is that they $132! I was so torn, but ultimately I couldn’t justify spending that much on shorts when I don’t even spend that much on a full pair of jeans! But I love these target shorts that I got, and they’re only $18. (So of course, I bought 2!) They’re comfortable, feel like real denim, and have the slightest bit of give. They are totally comparable to my Levi’s 501 jean shorts that I also love.

Curl Cream

This is my holy grail hair product. I use this straight out of the shower as a defining curl cream. I love this cream so much! I cannot say enough good things about it! I wouldn’t, however, use this cream as your primary moisturizer, but it’s great as a curl definer/styler.

Dress

I asked for this dress from Christmas and got it! Thanks Nana if you’re reading this! This dress is so cute, light, and airy. I think this dress is just adorable. It isn’t lined, so make sure you wear neutral colored underwear underneath!

Sandals

My Birkenstocks!!! I actually bought these at the end of last summer, but these shoes are the backbone of my summer wardrobe. I LIVE in these shoes. In fact, as I’m writing this blog post, I’m wearing my Birkenstocks. I’ve also had the Arizona (the classic two strap, Jesus sandal) birks before, and I loved those too. I feel like this style is more flattering, but I love and highly recommend both!

Pearls

I wear these every day. All the seasons. If fact, I’m known on my local speech and debate circuit for my pearls.

Foot mask

I haven’t actually tried these yet, but I’m excited! I’ve been wearing my birks so much that my feet are drying out. (Gross. I know!) I’m hoping these masks will help remedy the problem.

Sneakers

Again, this was a gift I received for Christmas, but I LOVE these shoes. They’re the perfect outing shoe. When I was still in school, I wore these nearly every day! They’re comfortable, well-made, and stylish! And they’re $35! You really can’t get a better shoe for even double the price.

Socks

I bought these socks to go with the sneakers mentioned above. Nothing ruins an outfit like wearing ugly socks with cute sneakers. I prefer to keep my socks out of sight. These are perfectly satisfactory socks. The best part about them is their price. At Old Navy, for example, they’ll charge you $8 for 3 pairs of socks. These socks cost $16 for 12 pairs of socks! I have found that these socks are just as good quality as the ones from Old Navy. Definitely check these out!

Wishing you a summer filled with sunshine and smiles!

Sincerely,

Marie

Quarantine Essentials: Clothing Edition

Since I don’t have go to school, I’ve been wearing a lot of the same things. Also, I’ve been spending a lot of time at my desk, so comfort is pretty important for me. Let’s be real: comfort is always really important to me. I thought I’d share with you all what I’ve been reaching for most often. 

 

Blog Post 4-11-20 Quarantine essentials clothing edition

fleece | shorts | jeans | leggings | shirt | hair ties | socks

Columbia Fleece Jacket

I’ve had this fleece for years maybe for 4 years. Honestly, I’ve had it for so long, so it just an integral piece of my wardrobe. I generally prefer pullover hoodies. But when I’m sitting at my desk, it’s such a pain to pull my sweatshirt over my head – so thank you zippers!

Nike Tempo Running Shorts

I got my first pair of these in 2016 just in time for summer. Since then, I have worn these shorts year-around. I wear them in the winter when I go to sleep, when I work out, when I lounge around the house, all the time everywhere! Everyone should own a pair of these shorts!

Here’s a photo of me wearing these shorts!

Lucky Brand Jeans

So… what had happened was – I bought these jeans from Marshalls this fall when I supposed to be shopping for pants to wear to the State Democratic Convention. Don’t worry: I didn’t wear jeans to the state convention. Anyway, I think these are the same jeans I have. Also, these jeans are currently on sale for $29!

7/8 Leggings

Fun fact: I bought these and then lost the package. And then I found it like 6 months later. But when I found them, I really liked them! Right now, Amazon is engaging in some price gauging – the leggings are about $3 more than what I bought them for.

Sonoma V-Neck T-Shirt

I have this shirt in two colors, and I love it! I’ve worn it straight for an undisclosed, embarrassingly long period of time. Overall, I just really like this shirt!

Socks

I love socks! I hate having crusty feet, (Gross! I know!) and I found that wearing socks helps prevent that. Socks for the win! Note: I don’t actually have these socks, but they look pretty similar to the ones I got from Costco last fall. Also, they have about 550 5-star reviews, so I think they’re probably fine.

Happy Lounging!

Sincerely,

Marie

Quarantine Essentials: Snack Edition

Spending loads more time at home, has some benefits: more time exercise, spending extended periods of time with your family (it’s debatable to whether that’s a benefit or not), and much more time to spend snacking.

I have embraced this additional snacking time. Here’s what I’ve been snacking on!

Blog Post 4-11-20 Quarantine essentials home edition terra chips | unsalted almonds | strawberry jam | parm crisps | goldfish

Terra Chips

My friend, Alexa, introduced me to Terra Chips this year in our biology class. We often had bio right before lunch, so it was basically snack time. One time she shared her Terra Chips with me, and I’ve loved them ever since. Controversial opinion: I think the parsnip and sweet potato chips are better than the blue ones.

Almonds

Almonds are such a good study snack. They are great for long lasting energy and are a source of protein and healthy fat. I like to pour a small bowl of goldfish and almonds when studying.

Bonne Maman Strawberry Preserves

I love this stuff! I will never buy any other strawberry jam for as long as I will. One of my favorite snacks is toast with butter and strawberry jam. Also, one of my go-to meals is a PB+J, so this is an essential in my household. My dad exclusively eats this jam.

Honeycrisp Apples

Unfortunately, these are out of season, but when I get some, I eat so many of these. They are great by themselves or with peanut butter.

Parm Crisps

I actually discovered this in April when they showed up in my family’s Instacart order. These are fantastic! I tend to eat them straight out the bag, but you could also use them to top salads and soups.  The only ingredient in this chips is parmesan which goes to use that this isn’t a highly processed snack (like goldfish), so this is really the best you can get from chips.

Dark Cherries

Dark cherries and a lack of school are the two single best things about summer. I used to live in Seattle, and although the cherries shipped to New England can’t possibly compare to those of Washington, the ones here are pretty good too.

Raspberries

These were my childhood favorite snacks, and they are still my favorite. I love raspberries so much! Sometimes when I’m feel particularly indulgent (which is basically all the time) I add a dollop of Nutella on top of my raspberries.

Happy Snacking!

Sincerely,

Marie

Book Review: Where’d You Go, Bernadatte by Maria Semple

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Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Rating: ★★★★★ (4.5 stars/5 stars)

I LOVED THIS BOOK! The book is mostly a collection of letters plus some narration of the days leading up to and after Bernadette Fox disappears. The parts of the book that are Bernadette’s letters are straight up, laugh-out-loud, downright HILARIOUS. These were some of my favorite parts of the book

Sometimes these cars have Idaho plates. And I think, What the hell is a car from Idaho doing here? Then I remember, That’s right, we neighbor Idaho. I’ve moved to a state that neighbors Idaho. And any life that might still be left in me kind of goes poof.

My daughter did an art project called a “step book,” which started with the universe, then opened up to the solar system, then the Earth, then the United States, then Washington State, then Seattle—and I honestly thought, What does Washington State have to do with her? And I remember, that’s right, we live here. Poof.

It’s funny because Bernadette hates living in Seattle, but I actually lived in Seattle and loved it! But then again, I was like 3, so… Anyways, her rants are just the best. I really loved her comments on seasickness.

Do you get seasick? People who don’t get seasick have no idea what it’s like. It’s not just nausea. It’s nausea plus losing the will to live.

This bit is so accurate! I get terrible motion sickness. Once I took a cruise from the Boston Harbor (which smells DISGUSTING in case you were wondering) to Bermuda. The first 2-3 days on the cruise, we travelled from Boston to Bermuda against the current. Those might have been the worst 3 days of my life! I was so sick and practically bedridden!  There wasn’t enough Dramamine in the world to help me.  I mean, totally not a real problem, but it felt pretty dire to me.

Seriously, though, this novel is an absolutely delightful read! There were some really interesting twists and turns: some of which I anticipated and some that I did not (which makes all the more fun!)

This book also jumps back in time to show more about how Bernadette Fox came to be where she is currently, and I have to say – she’s got a damn good backstory.

Also, I found out that Where’d You Go, Bernadette was turned into a movie! Here’s the link to the trailer! I’ll definitely watch the movie next!

Sincerely,

Marie

Book Review: The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer

The Female Persuasion

The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer

Rating: ★★★★☆

I really enjoyed this book! It was a fun read – I just genuinely enjoyed this book. I’d recommend it. It didn’t blow by socks off like Circe by Madeline Miller, and I don’t think it’ll stick with me as much as Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld has.

A couple of things I really enjoyed about this book:

  1. It features a number of different narrators. The book revolves around the protagonist, Greer, who idolizes the second wave feminist (think Gloria Steinem), Faith Frank. I’m not a supperr huge fan of switching narrators especially when I feel it gets in the way of the plot progressing, but Wolitzer is masterful in (mostly) further through narration changes rather than in spite of narration changes.
  2. The story jumps around in time. I love to see how certain situations unfold in the book with the additional knowledge of how the past has shaped the events of the present. For example, it is revealed that one of Faith’s dear friends had an illegal abortion that nearly killed her. This near death experience of her best friend serves as the impetus for Faith’s transformation into the feminist firebrand she is presented as in the book.
  3. There is some serious characterization happening! For Faith especially, her story often jumps back in time to present her as a more whole and well rounded character. Wolitzer’s characterization of Faith is just phenomenal. It reminds me a lot of the characterization of Marilyn in Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You in that both authors rely heavily on flashbacks to the past to develop the characters.
  4. An imperfect protagonist. Greer at times is deeply unlikeable, but her insights are interesting and her flaws show her humanity. Although she often got on my nerves, I still felt myself rooting for her to succeed.
  5. Third person narration – when describing the setting, the author often used third person narration. This was one of my favorite parts of the book. Here are some gems:

Faith, who approved of Greer. The approval was as soft as velvet, and the desire for that approval was, also like velvet, a little vulgar.

Having power meant that the world was like a pasture with the gate left open, and that there was nothing stopping you, and you could run and run.

The audience was well-dressed; it was a sea of soft pastel and the occasional basic black, because even though this was California, New York roots ran deep.

Everyone here knew that shriek, which signaled the happiness of women spending time together.

Her résumé was peppered with acronyms, the names of NGOs with which she’d consulted. All those capital letters, when looked at on one sheet of paper, had the effect of a firewall, or a code that could only be broken by someone much smarter than you.

Final Impressions

This book didn’t feel like pure fluff like summer beach reads such as those by Madeline Wickham/Sophie Kinsela. This book falls neatly into the middle: a book that feels “literary” in that it has something to say but also is approachable. I liked that. Ultimately, I’d recommend this book to a friend – that’s all that really matters.

Sincerely,

Marie

Battle of the Books: The Bullet Journal Method vs. Dot Journaling

Recently, I got into bullet journaling. In quarantine and remote learning, I quickly learned that my beloved Lilly Pultizer Agenda just wasn’t what I needed. I need a place where I could keep all of my tasks and random thoughts. Basically, a place to brain dump.

I had dabbled bullet journalling earlier. In October 2018, I bought a superrr dot grid journal from Walmart on a whim. I *hated* how my spreads looked. I was so frustrated that they didn’t look like the picture prefect spreads I saw on tumblr and pinterest. Long story short, I quit.

I’ve been using my bullet journal (bujo) off and on since then, mostly as a collection of to-do lists. Little did I know that that’s exactly how you’re “supposed” to use a bullet journal. Anyway, since quarantine, I re-entered the world of bullet journaling, and in true Marie fashion, I turned to books to help guide me.

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The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll

The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Ryder Carroll is the creator of the bullet journal method. He started this whole trend. He is to bullet journaling what Kim Kardashian is to naked bathroom selfies. Essentially, he need a framework to organize his life that was simple, effective, and ultimately analog. Working in tech, he needed a break from screens (as many of us do) and choose to pick the mode of pen and paper.

That’s all great, but you know what’s not great? This book. Urgh! This book was great, until I was on like page 250 with what felt like no end in sight. Allow me to number my thoughts so this some incomprehensible rant.

Number One

This book is so dang self congratulatory. He spends a solid fifth of this book raving about how amazing the bullet journal system is. He also goes on these pseudo-intellectuctual tangents about matters about philosophy for example. That particular tangent felt completely out of pocket because isn’t this a book about bullet journaling?

Number Two

For a book about bullet journaling, this books talks surprising little about bullet journalling. The second fifth of the book is consumed by Ryder’s absolutely random life stories. If I wanted a memoir, I would’ve bought one. The third fifth of the book is stories of people who had wonderful, life-changing experiences with their bullet journal. Like, great, bullet journals are amazing – we have established that. Now, will you finally tell me how to make and use one???

Number Three

This isn’t necessarily a complaint, but the advice in this book is just fine. It’s really not anything special. It’s perfectly satisfactory. If I was rating this book solely on the advice given in book, I’d give it a solid 3 stars.

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Dot Journaling: A Practical Guide by Rachel Wilkerson Miller

Dot Journaling: A Practical Guide by Rachel Wilkerson Miller

Rating:★★★★☆

I liked this book! I really enjoyed it. Compared to Carroll’s book, this book is fun, interesting, and concise: three adjectives you could not use to describe Carroll’s book. I enjoyed this book for three main reasons:

Number One

Rachel Wilkerson Miller is seriously funny. There were moments while was reading this book where I had real laughs out loud. In this except, Rachel talks about a list she started called “Wins” in which she writes things that went well.

“As you may recall, 2016 was a garbage year (although calling it that honestly feels a bit unfair to garbage), so I did except to find [many wins]. But I ended up filling four pages with all the good things that happened to me in 2016″ (Wilkerson Miller 152).

Number Two

This was a quick read that taught me everything I needed to know. I feel that productivity books, in particular, ought to be as concise as possible. Why delay the positive gains from reading said productivity book because it takes you a month to get through it?

Number Three

Practical Examples. For every major idea introduced in the book, there are also accompanying pictures to show you how to do it. I wouldn’t consider myself a visual learner, but seeing examples was incredibly helpful in deciding how I wanted to organize my bujo. Additionally, Rachel also shows multiple ways of accomplishing the same spread (ex. 5 different ways to do a habit tracker).

Final Thoughts

Obviously Dot Journaling: A Practical Guide by Rachel Wilkerson Miller wins! I just really enjoyed this book. It’s 172 pages compared to Carroll’s 320 pages. This is pretty trivial considering the whole point of a bullet journal, but Wilkerson Miller’s graphics are just so much more visually appealing.

Originally, I was skeptical of Dot Journaling: A Practical Guide. I thought “If I’m gonna try bullet journaling, I should go straight to the horse’s mouth”. I was wrong. Ryder Carrol’s book is truly a waste of money. That should be your big takeaway from this post. If you want to learn bullet journaling for Ryder, himself, check out his youtube channel. I do think his youtube videos are helpful. He comes across far more approachable and humble on his youtube videos than he does in the book.

The Verdict: If you’re going to buy a book on bullet journaling, byDot Journaling: A Practical Guide by Rachel Wilkerson Miller. But you really don’t need a book – Ryder’s youtube videos will be more than enough for a beginner. However, Rachel’s book is a delightful read and has new and interesting ideas and spreads.

Links to buy (Amazon):

The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll

Dot Journaling: A Practical Guide by Rachel Wilkerson Miller

Happy journaling!

Sincerely,

Marie

Book Review: Make Trouble by Cecile Richards

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Make Trouble: Standing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding the Courage to Lead by Cecile Richards

Rating: ★★★★☆

Some Background

I had never heard of Cecile Richards until April 28, 2020. I was watching a virtual livestreamed interview of Stacey Abrams, the former gubernatorial candidate for governor in Georgia. Her ultra-corrupt Republican opponent, Brain Kemp, stole the election by voter suppression. It was shameful! This fact was kindly pointed out by Cecile Richards during the interview.

As soon as Richards called this out, I was like “Who is this older Southern white lady who is totally hip to the goings-ons?!?” Turns out it was Cecile Richards, daughter of Ann Richards, the late governor of Texas (my home state!). I was sold on this lady. When I saw she had written a memoir, I checked it out as an audiobook from my local library using the Libby App. (Bonus the book is narrated by Cecile, herself!) 

It should also be noted that my mom was a huge fan of Ann Richards. As a young girl growing up in Texas, she looked up to Ann Richards. I remember watching a PBS documentary with my mom about Ann Richards and being just as enamored by this powerful woman as my mom was!

My Thoughts

I loved this book! It was so inspiring and down right interesting! It was a riveting ride (mostly) from start to finish! At times it felt a bit boring, repetitive, and cliché, but that’s typical of memoirs. Still, I didn’t find that it really impacted my enjoyment of the book too much. I highly recommend. Also there is a young readers edition for all the future reproductive health activists in your life! Linked here. There were some real gems in this book:

“If you’re not scaring yourself, you’re probably not doing enough.”

“It shouldn’t be up to women to dismantle the patriarchy, but we can’t sit around and hope someone else does it either. Feminist is not a passive label; it means speaking out and standing up for women everywhere, and also for yourself. One woman calling out an injustice is powerful enough; when we raise our voices together, we can shake the status quo to its foundation.”

“There is a takeaway here for aspiring hell-raisers: We get only what we’re willing to fight for—nothing more and, I hope, nothing less.”

“This is your life. It is the only one you get, so no excuses and no do-overs. If you make a mistake or fail at something, you learn from it, you get over it, and you move on. Your job is to be the very best person you can be, and to never settle for anything less.”

Firstly, as a Texan, I was so proud to listen to the story of a great Texan!

I just really enjoyed hearing some old stories from a different perspective. For example, the story of Wendy Davis’s filibuster to stop a bill restricting women’s right to abortion in Texas. I remember Wendy Davis from when I was a kid; my grandfather always talked about how he believed she should be governor “instead of that clown Rick Perry”. My sentiments, exactly. I also watched pieces of her filibuster in the Netflix documentary, Reversing Roe. Still, I was moved to tears, listening to Richards describe the experience having been there!

This book is also a great resource for learning more about the struggle for safe and legal abortion access in the US. This is so so incredibly important. I learned a lot about what other women in different states have to endure to access adequate reproductive healthcare. It made me want to go punch Mitch McConnell in the face, but then again, it really doesn’t take much for me to feel that way…

Towards the end of the book, Richards begins recounting the final years of her time as president of Planed Parenthood. Of course, much of this time was consumed by campaigning for Hilary Clinton. This whole part of the book, I held back tears. I was completely swept away by the hope I had felt at the time. I was also reminded of how spectacularly my dreams came crashing down. This was one of the most heartfelt, visceral, and gut-wrenching parts of the book, but it totally made me want to get outside and go canvass and door knock for my candidates! So, I emailed a campaign I had worked with in the fall, and I’ll be working with them this summer!

If nothing else, this book is a call to action – and a damn good one at that!

Sincerely,

Marie

P.S.: Be strong and kick some serious ass!