The Perfect Beach Weekend

 

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Hello, everybody! Is anyone else as excited for spring as I am? Unfortunately, here in Oregon the sun is on a major hiatus. Nevertheless, last weekend I had the nicest rainy beach getaway. Yes, it was pouring pretty much the whole time, and no there was no sunbathing, but that’s the Oregon coast for you! There was however, delicious saltwater taffy, barking sea lions, fish and chips, and a cozy, creaky, A-frame house with a stellar ocean view. There was also a plethora of great ciders, a classic diner brunch, and even a major Grocery Outlet haul.

Scroll on down to see all the photos I snapped while away at the beach! I can’t wait to get back to the surf, sand, and (soon!) sun.

 

 

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Where is your happy place? Let me know in the comments!

xoxo,

❤ Taylor ❤

 

February Boxycharm | 2017

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Hello, everybody! Today I’m talking about everything I got in my Boxycharm this month. Boxycharm was particularly generous this month–like, really generous– and I couldn’t be happier with what I got. Read on for more details about my February box!

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Makeup Geek Eyeshadow Pan in Crème Brulee & Bitten: I have wanted to get my hands on these very popular eyeshadows ever since I first heard KathleenLights talk about them. They are so pigmented and so easy to blend. And even better–they are affordable. There are so many colors to choose from on their website. Both of the shadows I received have a matte finish, but I would love to try out their shimmer shades as well. I couldn’t recommend these more!

Z Palette: I have always wanted a Z Palette, and let me tell you, I was very excited to see that Boxycharm teamed up with the company for this month’s box. Unfortunately, after the boxes were sent out this month, there was a bit of a controversy with Z Palette. Since then Boxycharm and Makeup Geek have released statements saying they do not stand by Z Palette, and neither do I. All I will say is that customer service is so important to me, and I choose not to support any brand that mistreats its customers.

Omnia by Royal & Langnickel Detail and Shader Brushes: I’ve talked about this brand before on my blog, and you know how I love it! I couldn’t believe Boxycharm added two brushes to the box this month. I really like the shader brush for packing shadow on my lids and the detail brush is perfect for the lower lash line and smudging out eyeliner. Plus, who can resist the metallic handles? Love.

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Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Exfoliator: I have seen this scrub reviewed so many times on YouTube, but I didn’t think I would ever get to try it myself. I will start by saying that this is a very expensive scrub. Is it worth it? Yes. It is amazing. My skin feels baby soft whenever I use this and it has such a lovely lemon scent. I do think there are scrubs out there that are just as great and that don’t cost $80 though. But for now…I’ll just be over here exfoliating my face until this tube runs out.

Juice Beauty Organic Reflecting Gloss in Fig: I have received samples from this company in the past, but never from their makeup line. I really enjoy their face wash, and was expecting to really love this lipgloss. I wore this out on Valentine’s Day, and I’m pretty sure I took it of before I even went into the restaurant. The color is beautiful, and it has a great shine, but I could not get past the smell and the texture. I don’t like a sticky lipgloss, but I do prefer a crème finish, and this felt like water on the lips–not to mention the gritty texture the glitter gave it. I know some people who would really enjoy the lipgloss’s citrusy scent, but I’m very sensitive to smell and it was all I could smell..and taste. I won’t be repurchasing.

What did you get in your Boxycharm this month? Let me know in the comments!

xoxo,

❤ Taylor ❤

Let’s Talk About Fitness

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Hello, everybody! Today I thought I would talk to you a little about my fitness journey and how I stay on track. I started making changes to my diet and exercising in March 2015. I had always been active in sports growing up, and used the gym in college, but that first year after I graduated, I noticed I was gaining weight rapidly. Now, I’ll admit I’m a bit vain, and I started this journey with the hopes of looking really good. However, along the way I’ve realized it’s about so much more. It sounds cheesy, I know, but fitness changes you on the inside too. You feel better, you have more energy, sleep better–it’s all connected. I’ve learned some things along the way that I wanted to share with you, so grab a cuppa, because it’s a bit of a long one! Read on for more details on how to stay fit, healthy, and happy!

Before I start in, there’s something you should know about me. I don’t like to sweat. I don’t like dirt, mud, or pain. Let’s just say nature and I haven’t always been on speaking terms. And we are still figuring things out if I’m being honest. I’ve really pushed myself outside of my comfort zone these last 2 years. Because that’s where all the magic happens, right? The best advice I can give someone who is just beginning their own fitness journey is to start walking. Put on your sneaker, pop in your headphones, and start heading in any direction. Find what motivates you. I know I’m willing to walk four miles if it means there’s a cup of hot chocolate or a nice smoothie cart waiting for me at the other end. Put one foot in front of the other and just start moving. I lost 20 pounds just by eating better and walking two miles every night. It’s so easy to do, it requires no equipment, and you can bring a buddy.

If you’re looking for something you can do in your house, try YouTube. Sure you can go to the gym, but if there isn’t one close to you or you can’t afford it, there are hundreds of thousands of free videos at your fingertips. Lately, I have been addicted to Blogilates. It’s like having your own personal pilates trainer. There are monthly work out calendars you can download and each day a new workout playlist is added to the channel. Plus, Cassie has the most bubbly personality, and also really great clean eating recipes. Seriously, go check it out. You will be sweating and shaking, but it’s so worth it! If you’re more into the yoga scene, try Yoga with Adriene. She has a huge YouTube following and is fantastic. She also does 30 yoga challenges that will increase your flexibility and strength. Go check out her channel!

At the end of the day, you are your only motivator. Do I want to work out everyday? Of course not! We all have days when we would rather be couch potatoes. But every excuse we make sets our progress back that much further. And I don’t know about you, but I want to look and feel great this summer–and every season.

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When it comes to food, my advice is very simple: eat as clean as possible. Processed food is just that–processed. It’s full of chemicals and preservatives, and I promise you that your bag of Cheetos’s was not plucked from the dirt. There are some many different ways to eat clean, and it can all get a bit confusing if you don’t have the right information. Paleo, gluten free, vegan, organic–we see and hear these words every day, but what do they really mean? The best thing you can do for yourself is to be informed. Get to know what works best for you. I personally have decided to cut meat out of my diet, but that doesn’t mean that will work for you. Typically, I eat a vegan diet during the week (with the occasional exception of fish), and will eat vegetarian maybe once or twice a week. I start my day with a smoothie bowl–which is actually the highlight of my day..is that sad? Nah, it’s a really good bowl. For lunch I eat leftovers from the night before or I will eat tuna from time to time. For a snack I love a honeycrisp apple with peanut butter. Nothing beats it. For dinner I love cooking with my Thug Kitchen cookbooks. They are so funny and full of delicious vegan recipes. I’m addicted.

Eating right is about holding yourself accountable. Do I indulge? Duh. But in moderation! If you’ve been craving ice cream for a week, don’t deprive yourself. You only have this one life, so enjoy it. I used to obsessively count calories and beat myself up over every little slip up. It’s just not worth it. If you go out for dinner and have a few drinks and some fries, who cares? In fact, letting yourself have one meal a week where you stop worrying is so exciting. Seriously, try it out. You’ve earned it.

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The last thing I wanted to talk about is where you buy your food. The biggest complaint I hear from people when it comes to buying quality food is that it’s too expensive. Yes, organic produce and snacks can sometimes cost more than conventional foods. But not always. I typically do all my shopping at Trader Joe’s and pick up specialty items from Whole Foods and Fred Meyer’s.

I will admit that some quality items do cost a pretty penny. To me, it’s worth it. However, if you’re looking for a bargain, try Grocery Outlet. I know what you’re thinking, but honestly, every item in the picture above was purchased there. You can get quality organic snacks for $1. Check the expiration dates, and if you’re not familiar with a brand, just Google it! Usually brands will tell you on their website which stores their product is sold in. If you see a store you recognize and trust and you understand all the ingredients on the package, you’re good to go. Their selection is always changing, so it can be hit or miss, but give it a try. I honestly love the thrill of the find!

I hope these tips were helpful to anyone just starting their fitness journey. Or maybe a helpful reminder for anyone who has fallen off theirs–I’ve been there! If this is something you’d like me to blog about more often, let me know in the comments! And please share your fitness stories with me! I’d love to hear them!

xoxo,

❤ Taylor ❤

February Ipsy Bag | 2017

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Hello, everybody! Today I’m talking about everything I got in my Ipsy bag this month. These are honestly my favorite posts to do because, who doesn’t love getting to experiment with new makeup? There really is something for everyone inside. Read on for more details!

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Royal and Langnickel Moda Fan: One thing you should know about me is that I’m a bit of a brush addict. Did I need another fan brush? No. Of course not. But I really love this brand. The brushes are quality, so soft, and they apply my highlighter seamlessly. Seriously, you need this brush in your life!

NYX Cosmetics Butter Lipstick in Lifeguard: I love NYX cosmetics. I had never tried their bullet lipsticks before, but I really enough their liquid lipsticks. I typically go for an all matte look on the lips, and this definitely has a satin finish, but the color is such a beautiful classic red that I can overlook the finish. After I applied the lipstick, I blotted it quite a bit to make it look much more natural and slightly more matte. I would definitely recommend giving these a try. They are super affordable–under $5–and they are very very comfortable on the lips. Go check them out for yourself!

Bellapierre Volume Lash Waterproof Mascara: I’ve been in the market for a new mascara, and I was really hopeful when I found this in my bag. Unfortunately, it didn’t perform the way I was expecting. I was hoping for a formula that really filled out my lashes and took them to the next level. This formula however, is very wet and hardly showed up on my eyelashes. After about five coats, I gave up and reached for my tried and true Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara. If you love a barely there look, give this a try, but for me, sadly, I won’t be repurchasing.

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Seraphine Botanicals Luminude: I was so excited to find this in my bag this month! I’ve been wanting to try a liquid highlighter for awhile now and this is a very nice one. I will say if you really love to glow, this might not be for you, and if you are very fair the copper undertone may be a bit dark for you. On my skin tone, however, it gives a very natural, lit-from-within glow. And we all love that!

Befine Skincare Gentle Cleanser: I had never heard of this brand before, but I’m really enjoying this cleanser! It has very little scent–a major plus for me–and I feel like it gets my skin really clean without drying it out. If you have sensitive skin I would really recommend giving this a try!

What did you get in your Ipsy bag this month? Let me know in the comments!

xoxo,

❤ Taylor ❤

What I’ve Been Reading | February 2017

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Hello, everybody!

For this month’s book, I thought it would be rather appropriate to choose a book about fate, and of course, love. This, however, is not your typical love story. I absolutely LOVE Nicola Yoon’s books–she is such a talented writer and she puts so much research into each of her books–and The Sun is Also a Star is no exception.

The book follows two characters–Daniel, the son of Korean immigrants and Natasha, whose family has immigrated from Jamaica to the US. The two meet in New York City and spend one day together. Daniel is a poet, and Natasha dreams of being a scientist, and each have their own ideas about love.

I honestly could not put this book down. Yoon draws you in from the first page, and leaves you thinking about the characters long after you close the book. It’s a love story, yes, but also a story about chance and how science plays a part in fate. Go grab a copy and share what you thought in the comments! Happy reading, everyone!

What books are you reading this month? Let me know in the comments!

xoxo,

❤ Taylor ❤

Delicious Vegan Brownies

 

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Hello, everybody! Today I’m sharing a new vegan brownie recipe with you. Recently, I’ve been loving to bake, and my Thug Kitchen cookbooks are chalk-full of delicious dessert recipes. If you haven’t picked one of these hilarious cookbooks up yet, do yourself a favor and get one. I literally use mine everyday. This recipe in particular is an adapted version of the Fudgy-As-F#%* Brownies from Party Grub.These brownies are so so chocolatey. They have a cake like density and taste even better the next day. You could definitely add extra chocolate chips to yours to make them gooey, but I kept mine basic. Read on to learn how I made this tasty treat!

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Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3/4 cup of warm, unsweetened, non-dairy milk (I used almond milk)
  • 2 tbsp of flaxseed meal
  • 1/2 tsp of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cups of semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup of whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350° F and grease an 8×8 pan (I use coconut oil spray from Trader Joes). Make sure to grease the pan really well. You should be able to pop the brownies out easily once they are done baking.

Next, mix the flaxseed meal, apple cider vinegar, and warm milk together. I used a small dish and mixed mine with a fork to keep it from clumping. Put your mixture to the side. Now it’s time to melt some chocolate and oil together. I personally don’t have the patience to do this over the stove, but if you do GREAT. Place your chips and both oils into a glass bowl. I personally put mine in the microwave. If you use this method, make sure to do it slowly. I microwaved for 30 seconds and then stirred until I was happy with the consistency.

img_4978Now is the time to combine all your dry ingredients. I used a medium sized bowl and whisked together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda. Make sure to really get all the lumps out of your mixture. It will be much harder to break apart the cocoa powder lumps once you add your wet ingredients.

Once your chocolate and oil are completely melted together, you can add the sugar and vanilla extract. Combine together and then slowly begin to add your flaxseed mixture–it should begin to thicken up at this stage. Finally, add your dry mixture and combine. It is important that you don’t OVER mix this, as it can change the consistency of the brownies.

Pour the mixture into the pan you greased and make sure it is spread evenly. Bake for 30-40 minutes until it is completely baked through. The time will vary from oven to oven. Once your brownies come out of the oven, let them cool in the pan for 20 minutes. These do have a tendency to get crumbly so you really want them to cool before attempting to remove them from the pan. After 20 minutes, I was able to flip my pan over and the brownies came out in one neat piece. Let this cool on a wire rack for another 20-30 minutes before you cut into them. Willpower, people! Cut them up once cool, and store them in the fridge. Enjoy!

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What’s your favorite treat? Let me know in the comments!

xoxo,

❤ Taylor ❤

Evologie Travel Trio Review

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Hello, everybody! Today I will be reviewing Evologie’s three-step skin care system. After posting my skincare essentials, Evologie was generous enough to send me their full skincare range. This post is not sponsored, and all opinions are my own. Read on to see how Evologie worked for me!

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Evologie claims that their skincare system is proven to hydrate the skin, clear blemishes, and improve the overall look of the skin. It is also supposed to reduce the looks of fine lines and wrinkles, giving the skin a younger look. The brand has a patent-pending complex called YS3, which is meant to give intense hydration and fight blemishes by going deeper into the skin than other products. All of their products are fragrance-free, retinol-free, sulfate-free, paraben-free, and petrolatum-free. The products also don’t contain any benzoyl peroxide or preservatives.

My favorite product in the line is still the Intensive Blemish Serum. I love that it comes with a pump, so you don’t have to worry about it exploding in your bag while traveling. I also LOVE the scent. It claims to be fragrance-free–and the face wash and moisturizer are–but to me the serum has a minty, spa-like scent to it. By no means does the serum shrink my blemishes overnight, but it does take down any redness or irritation that I have. I use it as a spot treatment or all over my face if my breakout is particularly bad. It applies like a very thin gel and dries very quickly without drying my skin out.

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I really enjoyed the Stay Clear Cleanser as well. I appreciate that it is fragrance-free and it didn’t dry my skin out or irritate it. I would say it’s comparable to my favorite cleanser from CeraVe. It suds nicely and left my skin feeling extremely clean afterwards. The only thing I would change about this product is the packaging. It’s the only product in the trio that comes in a squeeze tube instead of with a pump, and I have had a little leak out.

The only product in this line that I wasn’t a fan of was the Stay Clear Cream. I am very picky when it comes to moisturizer, so I wasn’t surprised that I didn’t like this one. In fact, in the last 5+ years, I haven’t really found a lotion that I love more than my CeraVe moisturizer. My biggest problem with this lotion was that it dried sticky on my face and I could feel the product sitting there for over an hour after I applied it, leaving a film on my face. I did moisturize my skin, but I just couldn’t get past the sticky feeling.

Overall, I would say that if you’re looking for a simple skincare system, and you have acne-prone skin, it would be worth giving this a try. I don’t think it made a huge difference for me, but everyone’s skin is different! If I had to recommend just one product from the line, it would obviously be the Intensive Blemish Serum. I’ve been using it for months now and still really love it. The entire Travel Trio retails for $32, which I find to be a little expensive, as you only receive sample sizes, but I have been using mine for about two weeks and still have more than half the product left in each bottle.

Have any of you tried Evologie? Let me know about your experience in the comments!

xoxo,

❤ Taylor ❤