In the mix of this everlasting journey called life, so many parts of our lives can fall out of place as we are climbing to reach our fullest potential. One life component that people often… More
Tea has always been my thing. And during the Christmas season at Starbucks I always looked forward to their Caramel Brulee Frappuccino. Besides that frap, I barely drank coffee. But as of this year, I am like coffee queen. I have at least one coffee a day. While at work, I would bring black or green tea, hot or cold, and after work I would have coffee.
And while I love pulling up to Starbucks drive through, it is quite costly. No lie, I still go there at least twice a week because I be out and about so I quench my thirst with coffee, but now I try my hardest to always make my caffeine beverages at home. Here are my favorites to make at home.
In the morning, I enjoy consuming a hot cup of coffee. My favorite ones are of course Starbucks Veranda Blend Light Blond Roast- this is a light coffee, Starbucks Cinnamon Dolce- this one is like a mild roast, and because I am a NOLA girl I love my Cafe Du Monde coffee au lait- so I have the Cafe Du Monde coffee as well- this one is also a medium roast.
Throughout the day, I like to have iced coffee. For this, I love love love Starbucks Unsweetened Blonde Roast Iced Coffee. If you like a light tasting coffee this one is perfect!
I never drink my coffee black. Tea, that is no problem, but with coffee it is not happening. Rarely do I add light cream, when I do that is at Starbucks, but for the most part I always add heavy whipping cream- at home a lot, and two stevia sugars. When, I am treating myself I will add caramel syrup, sugar free vanilla, or the sugar free cinnamon dolce syrup. At home, I pretty much add the same things to my coffee and tea. But again, when I am treating myself I will add sugar free salted caramel syrup or the sugar free hazelnut syrup by Torani, or Starbucks sugar free vanilla syrup. I do not use these very often, like rarely. I used to though. But now ,I am trying to lay off the chemical sugars and aspartame and all that jazz, so I go with stevia. I also like to add ground cinnamon and 100% cocoa powder to my coffee. This really helps since I am trying to get away from sugar. The goal is sugarless coffee. I have already gone from classic and cane syrup to sugar free syrups to 4 stevia sugars to 2. I am on my way!
I have several different stevia sugars at home, but my favorite one is the same one that is served at Starbucks, Whole Earth Sugar. I like it because it is grainy like real sugar, not a powder like other stevia sweeteners.
Everything I have shared can be found at your local grocery store.
And for those that are sugar and carb conscious, the heavy whipping cream, coffee, and Whole Earth Sugar are all low-carb, so pour up, Jewels!
Summer begets the sweetest times for teachers. Oh Summer, how I love thee! It has been half a year since I have blogged, but I have thought about blogging every day. Just so little time to do anything other than be a teacher during the school year. There is a huge difference in being a high school teacher and an elementary school teacher. Will provide those details later. As always there is so much to share, but for now lets get down to it. Candles. Oh, MY, Gosh!!! My latest obsession besides a few others things, including raising the sweetest baby girl on earth. ANYWAYS…
If you are anything like me, you enjoy being welcomed by the pleasant smell of something warm and delightful when you enter your front door. I literally have tried everything out there to make my home smell pleasant: plug-ins, room sprays, Renuzit gel fresheners, Febreeze small spaces, multiple sent sachets from Kirklands, and everything in between. Now, the Renuzit air fresheners and Febreeze small spaces do work. However, after three days the smell is not as strong. And my home just does not smell like the Kirkland’s store.
All of this is not to say that candles are the best answer to your home smelling whimsically. Because they too can become ineffective. Here is how candles are the answer to your home smelling pleasant prayers.
Depending on how large your home is one to three candles can do the trick. A while ago, I discovered the magic of candles. I have not always been on this hype. So one day while preparing breakfast, I burned my new candle from Bath and Body Works. On the way out to run errands, I blew out my candle and went on my way. Upon return, instantly when I opened the door, the warmth and smell of the candle hit me. Pure BLISS! In this moment, I knew I had mastered a way to come home to a wonderful smelling home.
Now, I have been on a buying candles maniac spree since Thanksgiving of last year. My best friend always talks about the candles at Bath and Body Works, and when I go to her home it always smells yummy. So she told me when they had their next sale, and I have been hooked ever since. I have never purchased their candles full price. I always buy them with a coupon or when they have a sale. Because of this,
I buy quite a few each time I go. Moreover, these candles make the perfect gift. Like literally everytime I buy them, I always end up giving one or two to my mom; she too loves candles, just not as crazy as I do.
By no means am I saying throw away your Yankee candles, but they have nothing on the candles at Bath and Body Works. As I have mentioned, the smell is so loud the aroma of one candle spreads throughout my home. And after blowing them out, if you leave the top off for the wax to cool, when you return home you will still be able to smell them.
I have tons of the Bath and Body Works candles. I have to buy multiples of the ones I love because often times the scents are seasonal, like many of their other well loved items. Such as the yummy scent Blueberry Sugar which came out last Christmas. During the after Christmas sale I bought five more. It smells scrumptious! It is available on Amazon for ridiculously high prices, so hopefully it comes out again this Christmas.
What I have enjoyed doing is buying the scents for the different seasons, so during Christmas time I had Tis the Season– smells like Christmas, Cinnamon Caramel Swirl– which I still burn now, it goes well when I making pancakes, and Blueberry Sugar– this one I burn all the time. These candles truly brought in the Christmas spirit.
After Christmas, I fell in love with several scents that I buy frequently so I can have them on hand in case they ever stop selling them: Watermelon Lemonade, which I bought the other day at the end of their Semi-Annual Sale, Georgia Peach, Peach Bellini, and Strawberry Mimosa.
I love the candle Sweet Summer Days, perfect scent reminder of the beach. Smells like summer!
I enjoy the aroma of burning candles in different rooms of my home. It makes my home feel warm and homely.
Like I said before, the candles work so well for me because I burn them often. But, another home fragrance essential you may want to keep on hand that works well is the Bath and Body Works concentrated room sprays. When the mist comes out it is quite dry; hence, not creating a slippery mess on the floor. PERFECTION! I love these. I spray them when necessary, the candles are good on their own. I use the spray especially for my living room because I do not burn any candles in their due to my little one.
If you’re just as candle obsessed please share your favorite candles.
To sweet smelling yummy homes Jewels!
Everyone always has such wonderful things to say about it. Meal prepping saves you time; meal prepping helps you save money; meal prepping keeps you on track with your dietary plan; etc. So meal prepping receives such high praise. And I am sure it is all that and a bag of chips, but I lack time to do such meal prepping. But, I thought what the heck, let’s try this!
Yesterday evening, I decided I would give it a try since school was canceled for today due to inclement winter weather conditions. I had nothing to lose, especially not time. It took me about three hours to prep. Within that time, I managed to cook three meals, prepare four salads, and snacks. I do feel a weight lifted off my shoulders, in the since that I will not have to cook when I come home from work, which does save time and energy.
After this first week goes by, I’ll be sure to share how meal prepping actually worked out for me. I’m sure my family will enjoy not having to wait for dinner to be ready, and the snacks are already bagged, ready for consumption. The biggest plus for me is not having to wash dishes. Yes!!! Those dishes are a pain.
If you all have tried meal prepping, please share tips on how to save time and what works best for you. I am really excited about continuing to prepare meals in this manner.
Bon appetit, Jewels! 😉
Happy New Year! We are well into two weeks of 2018! Hopefully, you are keeping up with your new year resolutions or even trying to *wink wink.
I have always wanted to live a healthy lifestyle- key word, wanted. But it got real for me and became a necessary change, when I discovered I was going to be a mom. I knew then, I had to change my diet to one more suitable to raising a healthy baby. Then, when she arrived I knew then as well I would have to continue eating well for her, as she was getting all of her supplements from me as I was nursing her. However, now it is totally different. I must have a healthy lifestyle just to keep up with my busy bee.
I am not going to go into detail, just yet as to my dietary meal plan, but I must share one aspect of my diet that I love and look forward to.
Never have I ever been into ginger. Sure, I have heard of it. But, I didn’t need that, so I thought. Now, I love it! I still haven’t tried eating it. That day will come. If you have yet to make your own cup of morning sunshine, not orange juice but rather ginger tea, you must try! It is so easy to make and very enjoyable.
I am such a Starbucks junkie. I used to get tea from Starbucks every morning. I love Starbucks so much that my students for my birthday and Christmas gave me tons of Starbucks gift cards because they know I come in with a venti tea every morning. I may treat myself once in a while with Starbucks, but for now my new go to tea is Ginger tea.
This tea is completely homemade. This recipe has been around forever, but it took 2018 for me to actually try. Better late than never, right?
- 8-10 oz of water
- half a ginger (depends on your preference)
- juice of half a lemon
- tablespoon of honey
- Clean your ginger well.
- Cut half a ginger root (depends on how strong of taste you want, I use a small ginger and cut half of it).
- Thinly slice the ginger. I cut mine like thin chips.
- Boil 8-10 oz of water and place the sliced ginger in the water.
- Once the water reaches boiling point, allow your ginger and water to boil for about 4-6 minutes.
- Strain the water into a mug, add lemon, honey, and stir.
You can definitely add more to this tea to make it more flavorful and to suit your taste buds. I enjoy it this way, plus it is easy to make quickly in the morning.
There are health benefits to ginger, lemon, and honey. To find out more, use one of the greatest gifts ever, GOOGLE! You’ll find out much more than I can ever tell you. Just know that you’ll thank me later. This tea is a keeper. As I discover more delicious and healthy alternatives to substitute my food habits, I will share them!
Hope to hear from those of you that try Ginger Tea!
I also have been adding different fruits and veggies to my water, and this has been a great way to get my daughter to drink more water, too!
Happy New Year, Jewels! More Ginger Tea, Please!
It amazes me how fast this year has came and gone! We are literally down to the last few minutes of 2017. I am always excited about the new year, but for some reason I am even more excited about the year 2018. Cannot wait to see what this year brings for me and my family and friends.
So before we dive into 2018. I have to share my top 12 of 2017. The list is very random.
The baby store. I never thought I would spend so much time in this store. I always thought I would buy the really cute outfits you see kids in online, but with so many fraudulent websites I hardly would buy from them. Carter’s is my go to store for my daughter. I am always able to walk out with a bag full of stuff.
While compiling this list, I was trying to think of where I shopped the most this year, for my self. Literally, no where special because I spent so much of this year shopping for my sweetheart. Like every week or so, I was coming home with outfits for her from Carter’s. This is not to say there aren’t any credible online stores that I bought from, which I did and will blog about later, but if you are anything like me, I really like the satisfaction of going into a store and getting what I need right then and there. And for that I love Carter’s.
Of course I shop with the other popular children’s stores like Janie and Jack, Gymboree, Crazy 8, and Children’s Place just to name a few, but Carter’s is my favorite. Prices never disappoint and it is so easy for me to rack up points, use their rewards system, coupons, and sales. Just love it!
As you can see in this picture, they always have a sale!
#11 Sephora Retractable Waterproof Eyeliner
This is an item that I have to get from Sephora, for obvious reasons. Later in the list you’ll understand what I mean by this. Anyway, out of my years of using eyeliner, which has been a decade plus, this is the best eyeliner I have used. It last for several hours, and the product itself last several months. I have only tried it in Class Black. However, I am sure all the colors are just as pigmented and smooth. I use it mostly for my water line, but the few times I used on my top lid, it just about as good as my Kat Von D liquid liner. Best of all, this product is only $12.
#10 NARS Radiance Primer SPF 35
If you are looking for a primer that really preps your skin for make up and protects, this one is for you. I have tried so many primers, they all fail except for this one. I am in the process of trying two new ones, which I will share more about later. But for now, this year, this one was my favorite! It lasted for several months. Just a tiny dab goes a long ways. You will not be disappointed if you try this primer. I have combination skin, and it worked really well for me. This product is about $36 and can be found at Sephora, Ulta, and some department stores.
#9 Baby’s R Us
As you can tell, I am a mommy, first Carter’s now Baby’s R Us. I love this store! Ever since I found out I was expecting, I find some reason to visit this store, at least once a month. I don’t shop here for my daughter’s everyday essentials (diapers, wipes, toiletries, and the like), but shoes, toys, car seats, stroller, books, you get the idea. One reason I prefer Baby’s R Us over Target or Wal-Mart for those items is because they have a rewards system, so basically every visit I get to use my rewards on my purchase, plus the coupons that come in the mail. Those are the perks of shopping at Baby’s R Us.
Told you the list was random. I take-out with this restaurant at least once a week, max four times. Ever since I have changed the way I eat, I love going to Chipotle for their salad! The way I get it depends on how many carbs I have had, so mostly the lettuce at the bottom of the salad, chicken, pico de gallo, cheese, and two vinagarettes. I CANNOT eat it without the vinaigrette. When I eat it with carbs, it is pretty much the same except I add brown rice, pinto beans, and steak instead of chicken, yummy!!! So yeah, that is all for this one. Chipotle is my favorite fast food place and most dined this year.
#7 MAC Pro Longwear Concealer
For the longest time I would wear regular foundation as coverage on my face. I decided to try concealer just for my t-zone and that was not enough for me, the rest of my face felt naked. So I blended the concealer all over, and this became my everyday do. I love it! All I do is moisturize, prime, and blend the concealer onto my face with Real Techniques beauty blender. I no longer use a brush for my foundation or highlighter. I guess I could have added the Real Techniques beauty blender to my list of 2017 favorites, but now you know. This concealer can be found at the MAC store or other department stores that sell MAC products for about $23.
#6 Bath and Body Works Candles (Blueberry Sugar)
Yes, we all love Bath and Body Works 3 wick candles, but when I tell you I fell in love, I FELL IN LOVE with Blueberry Sugar. It smells so scrumptious! Absolutely my favorite candle. It just sucks that it is seasonal; hopefully, it will come out again during the 2018 holiday season. When I am looking to relax and let loose, this is the first candle I light. Like all other 3 wick candles, this one is $24.50. But… what I love about Bath and Body Works is all the coupons they mail you and store deals. So if you watch patiently, you can end up getting 2 or 3 candles around that price.
#5 MAC In Extreme Dimension Lash Mascara Black
I have tried many mascaras over the years. This is one of my favorites. Honestly, if you know how to use the wand that comes with mascara, in my opinion, pretty much any mascara can do the job. I like this one for the small bristles and how well they comb out my lashes. This product can be found at the MAC store and other department stores that offer MAC products for about $23.
#4 Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette
This palette is every bit of amazing. I love the warm tones and pigments. The colors are perfect for make-up lovers of all shades. The colors are warm and toasty and as always with Urban Decay, the names are unique. I have been using the palette, in some way, every time I wear eye shadow. This is a great palette to have in your collection. The only color I wish it had was black. The shades go from light beige to chocolate. Some are kind of like persimmon. The palette is made up of mostly mattes and a few are shimmery. This palette can be found at Ulta, Sephora, and other department stores that sell makeup. It is about $54.
Kind of silly to just list Ulta, but here is why. I used to love going to Sephora, I guess because there is some kind of hype around going to Sephora. However, Ulta is better for our dollars. Sephora only gives you mini products that you may not like for the money you spend with them. I used to think oh that’s cool. Um no. Maybe because I am a wife and mother now, I need all my bucks to be used as wisely as possible. One of my best friends helped me to see the light. She had over $200 in points to use towards her purchase. This means, that she had so many points from shopping at Ulta, that she was able to use $200 on her purchase. We went shopping together one day, and her total was $221 and some change. She only spent $21. Like OMG. Why have I been wasting my time with Sephora. So Sephora, you have been good, but Ulta is way better. From now on, I will only go to Sephora for their eye liner and my birthday gift ;). Ulta gets all of my business now. Ulta has everything Sephora does and the service is just as great! You’re welcome for opening your eyes too! 🙂
#2 Grad School
So a year goes by fast, as we all know. It took me three years to go back to school and start my graduate degree. I’ll share more about why so long later. But…I have completed one year! I am so proud of myself. It was not easy, especially with working full time and a family, yet it worked out! I am thrilled to begin my second year and to continue giving it my best shot. I strongly suggest to anyone who is thinking about going back to school to do it! Stop wasting time. Don’t settle! This is your year to get out of your comfort zone. Our comfort zone gets us no where. It may hurt, it won’t feel good, and you’ll lose sleep, but I promise it will be worth it.
This is the photo I used January 2017 for my profile pic for grad school.
My life has been altered in such a way, and sometimes I wake up wondering how did I ever get here? And is this awesome little girl really for me? I am so blessed. I have a beautiful baby girl, she smiles all throughout the day, even when she wakes up, every single time. She makes me stronger. She makes me reach for the stars. And as I am sure you know, she is so spoiled and well loved. Together, we have conquered one year. It was full of adventures, as I do my best to expose her to as much fun and learning as possible, and I am so excited as we embark on this year’s journey. To be a mother is a blessing, and I am blessed with the cutest, smartest, brightest little angel. She makes my husband’s and I world a lot more joyful. Never a dull moment with her. She is our peace in this mad world.
She is going to be just like her mamma and be a musician. She loves music!
I really hope this list helps you guys, especially the ones on here concerning skin care, home fragrance, and reaching for your goals. This is one year for the books, as every year should be. Even in those years that may not have fully blossomed, you still learn something to help make the upcoming year even more brighter. As you travel through this upcoming year, remember you are special, you are somebody, and you matter.
Stay blessed and encouraged Jewels, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! #2018
For some reason, we can have all the warning signs. You may even experience some symptoms of anxiety, like a sour stomach or goose bumps on your arms. And yet you move ahead in the wrong direction knowing it is no good for you. This can be related to a job, a relationship, buying the right car, placing your child in the right school, the list can go on forever, the point is I have learned to not settle.
It can be difficult to decide if you are settling or making the appropriate choice. But I promise that every time something felt wrong about the choice I was about to make, I had those awful feelings and tons of doubt. My mind was unease about the entire situation. That is when I knew I could not go through with what my heart wanted because my mind was being more conscious of what I was getting myself in to.
Now, I am not perfect and neither have I been the best decision maker all my life. This is a daily process, as we humans make choices every second of our day. But some choices require more thought as in buying a car versus do I want expresso in my chai latte or not. Some decisions require more thought than others as you see.
I have made poor choices. Prior to making those choices I did feel a bit jumpy about them, but because I think I know everything that is best for me, I went forward in the wrong direction knowing it was not the best choice. The result of such actions has not left me dead, heart broken- OF COURSE, but you move on, there is life after a breakup. The point that you broke up means God was looking out for you saying there is someone far greater I have for you in your future; but other results have been I am left a little broke because the business plan failed, does this mean you never try at the business again? No indeed, you have a better game plan. This may have placed me at a horrible job, yeah I may have cried many drives home and vented to my friends about how much I can’t stand working there, BUT…life goes on, I found something new to venture off into.
The point is we are designed to make choices, all the time. Sometimes, we have warnings that tell us to not go into that direction, but we ignore those red flags, the yield signs- begging us to slow down, the yellow flashing light warning us to please stop ahead. We just drive past those signs and end running off the rail, and because death cannot claim you yet, life has given you plenty more second chances. Each new second is a second chance to get it right. If you can’t get it right with one person, you’ll have tons of new opportunities to get it right with the right person, that deserves your time. If you invest in the wrong business, because you felt it was now or never, or even worse pressured into one, it’s ok don’t settle as a failure, go to the drawing board and try again.
So recently like a week ago, I thought I was moving into a new direction for 2018. I had visited this place numerous times. Then, I brought my family there. They were in love too. Everything was looking good. Finances were straight. Papers were ready to be signed. I was so hyped at the beginning of the week, knowing that by Saturday my little family will be making big moves. Well…Friday evening my gut feeling changed. I became worrisome in the decision I was about to make, and honestly, deep down I always was uncomfortable about it, because I did not like the distance and other factors, but I was willing to SETTLE!!! Friday night all the papers were lined up, and as much as I wanted it, I called it off. I just did not feel good about it anymore. And I have made too many bad choices where I was settling, and this time I was not going to do that to myself. I walked away from what was my “dream house”, but of course, there is a better one than I can even fathom at this time, somewhere in my future. The fact that I wasn’t even upset about not getting the house gives me peace in knowing I made the right decision.
Just think of the possible consequences of signing the contract. I would’ve lost my money I put down had I told the contractors I change my mind, days later. I would’ve hated the distance from work. It just would have been a big mess. It looked good, but it wasn’t best for me. So glad I didn’t settle.
When you don’t settle it may not feel good to walk away at that time, but a few minutes later or hours or days you will have peace about it. And before you know it, you’ll be walking into something better than you even imagined. I may not have my “dream house” at this time, but it is coming.
We deserve far too much to be settlers. We deserve the best. We deserve to be happy. We deserve to live a life that we are proud of. And that begins when we stop settling. Stop thinking you are not good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, educated enough, gifted enough. If you need more education, finish school. If you need more training, get the training. You owe it to yourself, to give yourself the best.
I am not just telling you this, I am talking to myself. We are entering a new year. Forget all the other new year resolutions, if you live to give yourself your best life, then all the other resolutions will fall into place.
Jewels, lets make smart choices and stop settling. We DESERVE THE BEST!
When you open that door, you have entered the world of endless options. There on each shelf of every aisle, lies hundreds of products that promise to be the answer to your dry, oily, or combination skin. Well, really there isn’t any product that is capable of making us unicorns with glowing magical skin. But, one that has satisfied me for the past few months, yes I had it for a few months, is Philosophy’s Purity cleanser and renewed Hope in a jar moisturizer.
I have tried so many drug store brand cleansers, probably all of them, to where I got to a point where I just did not want to use anything else from the drug store. I figured I would pay the extra dollars, more than just a few extra dollars, and try something from Sephora. I love Mary Kay products as well, but this time I just wanted something different. I find myself looking for new products in everything these days. It’s great to try new things!
Anyways…I have enjoyed using Philosophy’s Purity cleanser and renewed Hope in a jar moisturizer.
The cleanser is great for two reasons. One, it removes makeup extremely well, this includes eye makeup. Two, it leaves my skin feeling very clean, brighter, and moist. I am very pleased with this cleanser. I saw results right away, and my face has been clear of breakouts while I have been using the product.
Renewed Hope in a jar is just as great! The texture is light and creamy, not heavy. It leaves my face feeling moisturized. Plus, the moisture last all day!
I use both products twice a day. You only need a dab of moisturizer for the entire face. Just a dime size amount of the cleanser. Because you only need a little bit of product to get a clean and moisturized face, this is why these products lasted for a few months.
I purchased it in the spring of this year, and both products ran out at the same time last week. So that is about seven months of use. I bought the cleanser and the moisturizer along with Philosophy’s microdelivery peel for $70.
I have found this product to be so great that I have bought more. And because I think it is so awesome I bought it for someone as a Christmas gift. So if you are in need of a new cleanser and moisturizer, Philosophy’s Purity and renewed Hope in a jar is a must try!
Glasses up, to beautiful skin Jewels!