Red, White, and Blue 🇺🇸❤️💙

Happy Independence Day! Today I’m sharing one of my new favorite outfits which incorporates a couple of classic summer pieces that will keep you cool and comfy during those warm summer months. Down here in Florida, there’s no shortage of heat!

(Yes, I know the photography isn’t perfect. But hey…being perfect is boring and yet I’m still getting the point across. 😊

P.S. This is not a sponsored post. Just providing honest feedback.)

I picked up this Ralph Lauren polo shirt (100% cotton) when I was in Washington D.C. at a T.J Maxx. The blue is vibrant and versatile; I’ve paired this with dress pants, jeans, shorts…and it looks fantastic in and out of an office. Also, having multiple buttons gives me the option of being more or less conservative depending on the setting. (I am wearing a Medium. If you have broad shoulders, size up.)

I was in the market for new khaki shorts, and this pair of Vineyard Vines shorts is one of the coziest pairs I own. The 3 1/2″ inseam gives me the right amount of coverage so I don’t get dreaded thigh chafing. What impressed me the most was how well they fit in the waist. They don’t cut into you giving that “muffin top” feel, and there is a bit of stretch.

Now, I hate shorts shopping. I feel like nothing ever fits correctly and I leave perturbed. I went to try this particular article on, taking both a 4 and a 6. (I hover around 28 or 29 inches in the waist, but every store everywhere has their own definition of what sizing means to them.) I found that I was swimming in the 6, and the 4 was a drastically better fit.

For makeup, I went with this red lipstick (applied lightly…I prefer a gloss), and a light coating of this mascara by Guerlain.

What you don’t see in this shot are my shoes! I found the cutest pair of red gingham sandals at Abercrombie and Fitch a couple weeks ago. I very much prefer shoes that encase my feet and have ankle support, as I tend to fall out of shoes quite easily (especially heels). These are comfortable enough so I can go short distances and not tear holes in my feet. (No traipsing around a theme park in these babies!)


Have a safe and happy holiday! 🇺🇸💙❤️🦅

Bringing Home the Burberry

Note from Christina: This is not a partnership, and I’m not being paid. All opinions are my own.


 

I stumbled across the Burberry Eau de Parfum at a Nordstrom Rack when I was window shopping in DC back in July. I fell in love with the warm notes of the fragrance and dreamed of one day owning a bottle of it.

I finally got my chance a couple weeks ago while mozying around a Nordstrom Rack here in Orlando. There was one box left, and I jumped on the opportunity to bring home the Burberry! Luxury items rarely find their way into my hands, so I felt this was a special treat to start 2018 with.

This fragrance is warm and musky with hints of sandalwood, amber, and cedarwood, topped with fruity notes of peach and apricot. It’s not overpowering and rather cozy, which makes it a great accent for a romantic night out!

Pictured above is the 30mL/1oz. bottle, and it retails for $30.

Florida Life Update

So here we are, halfway through August and closing in on the final months of 2017. I’ve been down here in Florida for a little over a month, and I will be perfectly honest: it’s been difficult, and embarrassing. You would think that by the age of 30, I’d have my shit figured out. Alas, here I sit, still unemployed and getting rejections or silence from 98% of the places I’ve applied. (I’ve had one interview for a restaurant, but it was kind of sketchy. I still have to wait “a week or two” to even get a reply, so I’m not optimistic.) 

With my lack of income and current unemployment being the largest percentage of my stress, my depression has also resurged. The clear lack of communication coupled with the sheer stupidity of the “submit resume/retype everything in the resume in this database” method of applying for jobs results in these thoughts being implanted in my mind that I am apparently unworthy of being employed despite having a Masters and transferrable skills to fill almost any position. Some days it is very hard to justify getting out of bed, much less leave where I’m currently staying just to take a walk and get some fresh air. My enthusiasm for things that typically make me happy has waned. I haven’t had a solid workout in months, and I have had to defer Chicago until 2018. I am still on track for Marine Corps in late October, and with two months to go, I could make a comeback. But again, not being employed makes things nervewracking…what if they don’t give me those days off for a race I’ve planned for months? Not being 100% certain that I will end up racing deters me from even training, with the thoughts of, “Why bother training if I won’t be able to run?” constantly screaming in my head.

*sigh*

Even though “Struggle Bus” is the title of this chapter, and despite the ongoing depression, there have been some highlights:


-“A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life.” -Coco Chanel

I finally got my hair cut! The last time I had my hair touched was in Fall 2015, so this was long overdue. I don’t mind having long hair, but once it hits a certain length, it just gets annoying to deal with.

And I got side bangs as an even bigger change! Haven’t had those since the fifth grade.


-Chris and I had date night a couple weeks ago at the Leu Gardens. They had an outdoor movie theatre so we settled in to watch La La Land. We got there relatively early, and I immediately saw why: there were SO many people picnicking on the lawn prior to the show! It was a very fun way to bring the community out for an evening. I’d definitely go again!

The gardens themselves are beautiful, and definitely worth getting lost in for a couple of hours.


-I’ve been to Universal a couple of times, and to City Walk a couple times for food; it’s been a nice distraction from my personal life, and what’s been going on in the world. (It helps to have connections for tickets.) If you ever have to ask someone why they are always going to Disney or Universal or whatever theme park, they will probably respond with this. It is a happy place for many of us, a land of hyperreality where we can use our imaginations and get away for a little while.


-Even though there is only one season in Florida, that’s not stopping the local craft stores from bringing out the autumn decor a month and change early! When I was in grad school, I would go to the nearest Michaels and spend hours in there just looking at all the pretty things and imagining what my house will look like…if I ever get to buy one…


-It is also the most wonderful time of the year: back to school season! I get the biggest rush when I step into a store and see all the new supplies lining the shelves and smell freshly sharpened pencils and a box of Crayolas. I’ve been out of academia (unfortunately) for two years now, but the excitement is still there. I have to really resist buying a new notebook and a fresh pack of pens. I have also been tinkering around with ideas for a college lifestyle series, so that may pan out in the future after I finish with the Studies in Wanderlust series.

I was in Walmart, browsing the cosmetics aisle as usual, when I found this collaborative display between Crayola and Sally Hansen!

The colors are vibrant and will take you right back to your childhood! I personally like the Carnation Pink the best.

You can also check out the entire collection on Sally Hansen’s website.


So there’s an update for now. Hopefully things will start to turn around by the time I write another Weekly Review for you all. Enjoy your weekend! xoxo

Beauty in the Outdoors

I’ve been living in the woods since May, and I finally got to move from Maine to New Hampshire this week.

When I say living in the woods, I’m talking legitimate ‘camping in a tent and surviving in the wilderness at a whitewater rafting resort’ living where you shower twice a week (if you’re lucky) and wear the same shirt for days on end because you’re working so much and can’t do laundry. It can take a toll on you mentally and physically, for sure. (Sleeping on an air mattress every night really messes up your back, and getting dressed every morning hunched over since the tent isn’t tall enough for you to stand upright in was a pain in the butt.)

Here are the things that made my woodsy experience a little easier, and some key items that helped me stay semi-clean and put-together in such an environment.

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. Check them out below!

SLEEP: First and foremost, I really learned the value of sleep this summer. I had no problem staying in on a Saturday night when the bar and restaurant were hopping with people and live music to catch up on some shut-eye. (There was one night that I crashed at 5PM and woke up at 6AM the next day.) If you know you’re running on fumes, push the FOMO feelings aside and cuddle up with your favorite stuffed lobster and polka dot pillows. It was a satisfying feeling when most of the staff came in hungover beyond belief the next morning and I was there, chipper and energetic at 7AM opening up the gift shop, totally sober.


(Inside of the tent.)


Face lotion and witch hazel. Always make sure your lotion has SPF in it! (This is the CVS version of Cera-Ve, and comes with AM and PM versions. Great when they’re used together!) Also, witch hazel is perfect for just about anything, and is so cheap! It’s perfect from anything from toning your face, to diminishing the swelling of bug bites, and patching up your face when you trip and smash it into a bridge. True story.


Jergens Ultra-Healing Lotion: Being a dishwasher twice a week took a toll on my hands. This lotion was perfect for restoring my skin and its moisture balance. Also great for soft, silky feet in the morning!


Good ol’ H20: Water was my drink this summer. I never was very far from my water bottle(s) or a source of fresh water. I figured that a combination of lots of water and Maine mountain air helped to clear up my skin. (It was riddled with acne and yuckies from grad school.)


Outside of the tent during teardown mode.


St. Ives, Caress, and Dove: I didn’t run around with overly-scented items. The bugs would’ve been on me like flies on poo. The St. Ives scrub also doubled as a mask, and was great for getting a soft, clean feel after a day of being in the sun and running around. I had the Dove Shea Butter deodorant since school and came in handy to smell fresh, while the Caress Vanilla and Sandalwood body wash provided a nice scent transition from summer to fall.


Coppertone Clearly Sheer SPF 30: I discovered this sunscreen at the Princess Half expo this year (hooray free samples). This sunscreen was light, airy, had great coverage, and was non-messy as an aerosol.


Burt’s Bees Lip Balm: I’ve been through so many brands of lip balm, but I keep going back to the Burt’s Bees brand. It’s light on my lips and has a subtle flavor. The vanilla was my go-to this summer, but I also enjoy the mango-flavored balm, too!


Take note that I don’t have any makeup reviews in this post. I’ve been makeup-free all summer!

What products did you use in your beauty routines this summer?