Weekend Link Love

It's here!  Fall is definitely in the air.  With a busy few weekends ahead of us, I'm quite excited to do a whole lot of NOTHING this weekend.  No plans, no schedules, no agenda.  Doesn't that sound lovely?  Enjoy your weekend!

+ Paint dipped furniture

+ It's not too early to plan for Christmas, right?  Count down to Christmas activities!

+ Pumpkin monkey bread with salted maple glaze - yum!

+ Cross stitched pumpkins, perfect for fall

+ Creative centerpieces for holiday decorating

+ Your own wedding app, sooo cool!

+ Healthy dinner option - quinoa sliders, my sister would love these!

+ Felt bookends

+ Jack-o-lantern stuffed peppers

+ River rock boot trays, for collecting snow, so clever!


Paraben Free Skin Care

Forgive me if this post gets a little "preachy," but I thought this information was too critical to not pass on.  Do you know what parabens are?  I hate to admit, but I wasn't very knowledgable on the subject...  I recognized this word from the ingredient list of many of the bottles in my shower, but I assumed it was just another ingredient in the mix and nothing more.  However, when a friend told me that doctors found traces of parabens in the tumor they removed from her breast cancer surgery, I was utterly shocked.  That reality check was all I needed to get myself in the know..and NOW!

When I googled "paraben definition," three separate definitions all looked almost identical to this: "paraben: an antifungal ingredient commonly used as preservatives in skin care products that is linked to hormonal changes in the body as well as an increased risk of breast cancer."

What?!  And to think I've been blindly putting these parabens into my body.  Uh-uh, not anymore!  This was the kick in the pants I needed to revamp my skincare for a paraben-free regiment.  

If this post is at all is intriguing, inspiring, or a skin care game-changer for you, I suggest you start here: The Cosmetic Database.  This database lists the stats on most brands of makeup, shampoo, toothpaste, and skincare products.  Use to find out what's really natural, paraben free, which brands have higher risk factors, the list goes on.  But, beware - this is a major time suck, I spent a good hour and a half scouring this website before I managed to pull myself away.

From this website, I discovered Yes To brand.  This brand uses natural ingredients and is entirely paraben free.  I originally bought the Yes to Cucumber face wipes and Yes to Tomatoes clear skin moisturizer on Amazon, but last week I discovered Target is now carrying the brand, hooray!  Products are affordable, with fresh scents, and leave your skin feeling healthy and clean.  

Here's another perspective on the paraben free trend via real simple.  While I'd like to eventually try and go all natural, it's been pricy to make the switch.  As of now, my game plan has been to try and cut out the amount of paraben products I use, see what new products I like, and keep up the momentum. 
Have you found any must-try paraben free products you'd like to share?



Sorry for the lack of recent blog posts...  

With a new school year kicking off, teaching a new grade level, and juggling my personal life, blogging has unfortunately drawn the short straw.  I'm hoping to jump start my posting in the upcoming weeks, so if you're still out there...thanks for staying with me!


Weeknight Baking: Nutella Stuffed Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies

Thursday night, I had a long to-do list, a stack of papers to grade, in addition to laundry, on top of a handful of other tasks, but I dropped them all when I saw this recipe on Cup of Jo, nutella-stuffed sea salt chocolate chip cookies.   Holy cow, can you say DELICIOUS!?!  

Right there and then, I made an executive decision to ditch everything else on my list, and begin baking  straightaway.  I made a mess of my kitchen, and waited eagerly for the timer to ding to signal the completion of my cookie dream turned reality.  Mmmmm!  And you know what, as I was eating one of these delicious cookies, those tasks on my to do list just didn't seem that important any more.  

I guess this just goes to show the healing, stress-relieving, all-encompassing power of a good cookie.

Downton Abbey

Season 3...who's excited??
I am!!

Netflix Addiction

About a year and a half ago, my husband and I made the executive decision to end our cable service.  In lieu of our $100+ a month on cables, we invested in a Roku, a device that enables streaming on your TV.  Instead of our usual channels, we actually found MORE channels at our disposable, which wasn't in our original "watch less TV" plan.  

Now all of a sudden, entire series were available to us immediately, one episode flowing easily and effortlessly into the next.  I attribute the beginning of our Netflix-streaming spiral to Friday Night Lights.  It all started with Tim Riggins...  Having heard the hype about this beloved cult series, my husband and I shrugged, figuring, "it's an episode, who knows, we may like it."  Well, one episode turned into two, three...and then suddenly we found ourselves choking up at the series finale....five seasons later.. Um, yeah, so much for watching less TV!

Now, my latest past time is reliving my late 90's high school-era TV series by revisiting old favorites, Felicity and Dawson's Creek.  Right now I'm knee-deep in the Dawson/Joey/Jen/Pacey drama, laughing at their fashion mishaps, and enjoying reliving a similar high school experience before texting, twitter, facebook, and the like.  

But still, I must warn you...Netflix is dangerous!  Worth it - but dangerous.  Use at your own risk, be prepared to indulge in a series, or two...

A Musical Weekend

Whew!  We just arrived home after a whirlwind wedding weekend in California.  In two days we flew to Los Angeles, drove north three and a half hours, celebrated a rehearsal dinner + wedding with family, drove back to LA to fly out of LAX and just returned home...(and the weekend after the first day of school, no less!  Needless to say, I'm a wee bit tired.  

On Sunday, my cousin Michael married his fiance Tamara at Santa Margarita Ranch, just outside San Luis Obispo, California.  The venue was beautiful, a restored barn tempered with twinkly lights, a novelty train ride, and one stunning shabby chic barn bursting with rustic charm.   While the temperatures were scorching (105 degrees at one point), it was a lovely, heartfelt ceremony and a lively, musical reception.  My cousin is a musician, and his band, The Leftover Cuties played (you may remember their song from this commercial that played during the Olympics).  Since most of Michael & Tamara's friends are also musically inclined, there were many impromptu songs where people just pulled out instruments and chimed in, contributing to the entertainment of the evening.  It was quite the event!

Pictures to follow, bed time now...

Back in the Saddle Again

I made it through the first day of first grade!  Hallelujah!  And after just one day...I'm beat!  I've met my students and families, and everything went according to plan, which is always a relief.   It's so nice to finally have little faces to go with the names I've been looking at, alphabetizing, and making labels for all week.  Looking forward to a great rest of the week!

But tonight, as I attempt to unwind and relax after a chaotic first day back (the first day back is ALWAYS chaotic, ask any teacher!), I'm pretty stoked to recline on the couch, indulge in some Chinese takeout, and go to bed early.   What a wild and crazy life I lead. ;)


Quote of the Week

"The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires."
-William Arthur Ward