Black Friday Traditions

Black Friday is next week and I’m really excited for that day. I’m not excited because of shopping and sales, but because of a Black Friday tradition my family and I have done for probably close to 15 years. Each Black Friday morning, we sleep in a little bit, throw on comfy clothes, and then meet up at Utica Square in Tulsa for coffee and shopping. Utica Square is located in mid-town Tulsa, OK and it’s such a gem to the community. The Square is an outdoor shopping center that houses stores like Madewell, Gap, Loft, Ann Taylor, Pottery Barn, Anthropologie, Banana Republic, Bath & Body Works, Kendra Scott, Starbucks, etc. It is so beautiful there around the fall and the holidays! On Thanksgiving night, the Square has the tradition of gathering people there to watch as they turn on the Christmas lights–that is such a fun event to go to also. Utica Square just holds a special place in my heart because of the memories, it’s a great place to take a walk, it’s where I take the majority of my blog photos, and because it always makes me so excited for the holidays.

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Maybe I’ll see you there on Black Friday! What are some of your Black Friday traditions?

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How to Enjoy the Holidays: Savoring vs. Stressing

I can definitely tell that the holiday season is upon us. How do I know that? Because I feel like people are already going crazy. I went to run some basic errands over the weekend and happened to be in the vicinity of a shopping center–it was already packed and people were driving around like crazy people! So to that I say–“everyone can we please just calm down.” The holidays are one of my favorite times of the year and I really want to enjoy them instead of dreading them. I have some tips to share with you today about how to savor the holidays and not stress over them. These tips are just as much for me as they are for you and I hope they help in some way.

Make your plans early

Have a general idea of where you’re going to be spending the holidays and who you will be spending them with. I know this one of probably a no-brainer but I think having a plan early helps so that you’re not trying to figure it out last-minute.

Make this the year you get all your shopping done early

I think last year was the first year in a while that I had my Christmas shopping done before the week of Christmas. This year I have set a goal to have all my shopping done by December 1st–that way I can just enjoy the rest of the month and be prepared.

Watch all of the holiday movies

One tradition that I have, with my mom, is to watch all of the Christmas movies available. This means Hallmark, ABC Family, old classics, etc.–we watch them all, even if they’re dorky. I think this is a fun tradition to have and it’s something that I enjoy during the holidays.

Enjoy the company of others

I love doing festive things with people during the holiday seasons! If you do too–go ice skating, drive around and look at Christmas lights, have a “Friends-giving,” have a holiday movie night, bake together or make Christmas cookies, dress up fancy and go see the ballet, etc. There are so many things you can do this time of year to enjoy the company of others around you.

Reflect on what the holidays are all about

I think that this point gets missed a lot because of the crazy and business of the holidays. But seriously, take some time to reflect. As much as we tend to think this, the holidays are not about us. Be thankful for so many things in your life and count your blessings. Reflect on the meaning of Christmas and savor the truth of Christ’s birth. I think this tip might be the most important thing to take to heart during the holidays–I know I’m going to try to be better at it this year.

I’m really looking forward to the next few weeks and months of celebration and I hope you are too!

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Comfy Clothes I’ve Been Wearing Lately

I’m not going to lie–I can’t seem to get off the struggle bus this week. TGIF, though! Since October and the Daylight Savings change, I’ve been in hibernation mode and just way too lazy to do anything super productive–hence why this post is coming out later than usual, haha! Although I really do love this weather and this side of Daylight Savings, I know I’m already (possibly) in trouble with my motivation level for the next several months. But then again, down time is always good and I think I’ve read three entire books this week! I’ve also been living in basically the same rotation of clothes lately and I’m going to share those with you today. Some I purchased fairly recently, so if you’re needing any of these clothes for the next few months–I’ll link where you can purchase them. Some of the photos I post on my Instagram (@lovefromamyblog) are definitely a little more put together than these– but this post gives you a little dose of reality behind the scenes.

Mossimo Sherpa Vest

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I mean, doesn’t this just look super warm? This vest is from Target and you can still purchase it here and in stores. I even wore this for Halloween to make a last-minute Beanie Baby costume!

RD Style Tunic Sweater

This sweater is so soft and comfortable and goes with so many things. I’ve been wearing this with skinny jeans and moto leggings. A similar one can be found here.

Joe Fresh Open Long Cardigan

This is another item that goes with basically anything–jeans, leggings, dresses, etc. It’s super soft and has velvety/felt texture. Plus, you can’t have enough black (as you’ll probably see from the majority of the remaining items in this post). A similar one can be found here.

Calvin Klein Joggers

These sweatpants have been so warm because they have a fleece lining inside. I bought these last year at Sam’s Club when there was a Calvin Klein shipment (and they weren’t so expensive). A similar pair can be found here.

Green Tea Clothing Sweatshirt

I have had this sweatshirt for a while but still wear it regularly. Any sweatshirt when it’s cold is great, though. I will probably be living in this for a while.

Gilligan O’Malley Pajama Pants

These are my favorite pair of pajama pants at the moment, and you can purchase them here. I bought these at Target several months ago and they’re still in stock. These are lightweight, flowy, and just great for wearing around the house.

Mossimo Boyfriend Cardigan

I love cardigans because you can wear them with just about everything. This one from Target is stretchy and super comfortable. This cardigan was in store a few years ago but they always have very similar ones in stock.

Philosophy Sweater

I have  had this sweater for a while but it’s just one of my favorite things to throw on. I bought it in an XXL because it’s so comfy! I can’t seem to find a similar one to link but you can’t go wrong with any over-sized, black and white print, or soft-textured sweater.

Stay warm and cozy this weekend!

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A Day Off in the Life ft. ArtNaturals| AD

It’s November! Ahh I can’t believe it! Some of the busy but exciting holidays are coming up and I can’t wait. Because there are often weeks of going non-stop during the holiday months, I try as often as I can to just have a day set aside for rest and relaxation. Today I’m partnering with ArtNaturals to talk about self-care and how I like to spend my day off. In this post I’ll tell you about some of their products and how I like to use these products in my day off routine.

Sleep

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I’ve written posts before about the importance of rest but I can’t reiterate how important rest and sleep are to the body. I typically get anywhere from 5-6 hours of sleep a night during the work week, so on my days off—I like to sleep as long as my body will let me.

Coffee

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Coffee is definitely my love language. It’s part of my morning routine, it wakes me up, and it’s just like drinking a hug in a mug. Even on days when I don’t have to be super awake—I still like to indulge in drinking some hot coffee.

Skincare

On my days off, I typically won’t wear makeup because I have to wear it all week and usually for long hours. I like to give my skin a break and really take care of it on days that I can. I have been using ArtNaturals serums for a while now and have been using these three products on my skin in the morning and at night.

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Vitamin C Serum

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Vitamin C serums are good for brightening and evening out skin tone. I have mentioned before that I used to have really bad cystic acne and it left me with a lot of scarring. This Vitamin C serum has made such a difference and has helped to make my skin look a little more healed. I will use this serum in the morning after I have rinsed my face and patted it dry. I use about 2 droppers of this product, which is 5-10 drops, and I press it into my face–instead of rubbing it all over. A little bit of a warning–Vitamin C can make your skin a little more sensitive to UV rays, so make sure that you apply an SPF over it of a foundation that has SPF as an ingredient.

Hyaluronic Acid Serum

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Hyaluronic Acid is another serum that I LOVE to help restore my skin’s moisture. After using so many harsh acne products throughout the years, I used to think my skin would never feel hydrated again. Hyaluronic Acid helps to lock in hydration and it can be applied before other moisturizing products–making them doubly effective. I will use this serum in the morning, about 5-10 drops, and apply it over the Vitamin C serum, once it has dried. My skin has a little more natural glow after using this product too!

Retinol Serum

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Retinol products are something that my skin loves! Retinol serums have anti-aging properties and are collagen boosting. I noticed that the amount of acne spots were drastically different once I started incorporating a Retinol serum into my skin care. I will apply this ONLY at night though, once my skin has been cleansed, because it makes your skin SUPER sensitive to UV rays and the potential for your skin burning is greater. I use about 5-10 drops of this serum as well. Retinol is also beneficial to improving skin texture, correcting pigmentation issues, and erasing fine lines.

Candles

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On days when I want to relax, I like to use candles to create a peaceful environment. There’s something calming about the flickering light and the aroma that candles can disperse. I have been using the ArtNaturals candles lately and each one has such a unique, subtle fragrance. These candles are soy wax based and contain essential oils. Soy wax candles burn longer and cleaner than regular paraffin-based candles, which I love because then I can use them longer.  If you are in the market for some new candles, these are delightful! I will do my best to describe how each of these smell, but honestly–they all have such a unique fragrance.

Top row left to right:

Sapphire: Balance the Mind.  I think this one might be my favorite because Sapphire is my birthstone. This scent has notes of spices and it’s the perfect one for the changing fall weather.

Citrine: Energize Your Life. This candle has a light citrus fragrance and makes a room smell very fresh.

Diamond: Inspire the Senses. This is probably my second favorite scent of the collection. This fragrance is very sweet but not overpowering. I even feel more inspired when this candle is burning.

Bottom row left to right:

Rosaline: Revive Your Shine. This fragrance is also a sweet one and has notes of warmth. This would be the perfect one to light if you’re just snuggling up with a book or watching a movie.

Garnet: Share Your Passion. This candle is a little more robust, in a subtle way, and contains a muskier scent.

Jade: Uplift Your Spirit. This scent is also a very clean and smells like it may have marine notes. This one is definitely in my top three.

I hope you have a relaxing day off soon and that you enjoy the rest of November. Thank you to ArtNaturals for partnering with my on this blog post! Go check out the ArtNaturals website if you are interested in ordering some of these products yourself—artnaturals.com

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October Favorites

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It’s the end of the month and time for my October Favorites! I have a little bit of entertainment, music, hair care, skin care, and food items to share with you this month. So without delay, here they are!

Parks and Recreation

I had seen only a few episodes of Season 1 before, but it didn’t have the same charm that The Office had and so I never got hooked on this show. A friend of mine told me the other day though that Season 2 was way better, so I decided to give it another try. Season 2 is so much better and you can definitely sense The Office-ishness of the show again. Super funny if you’re needing something to watch.

The Good Doctor

I like to watch medical shows and I have really enjoyed this new show on ABC. The Good Doctor is about a young surgeon prodigy who has Autism and his integration into his residency program. The first couple of episodes were tear-jerkers, but a really good show over all.

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The Brilliance Radio on Pandora

I really like listening to worship music during my morning commute–it really helps me set my mind for the day and have some time with God. I have been enjoying this playlist so much because it includes artists like The Brilliance, Ellie Holcomb, Josh Garrels, Bethel Music, Hillsong, and so many others. I sometimes have a hard time listening to Christian music on the radio because I find it to be loud, distracting, and (to be honest) not very worshipful. I don’t mean that about every Christian music artist or song, but some days I feel that way. This playlist has been a great fit for me and has amazing music.

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Nutpods Creamer

I tried Nutpods once during a Whole30 stint and loved it! I was so excited when I found a 4-pack at the store the other day and I’ve been using it in my coffee since. This creamer is the Original unsweetened flavor but also comes in unsweetened Hazelnut, unsweetened French Vanilla, and I think even Pumpkin Spice for a limited time. The consistency of Nutpods is very similar to half & half and it doesn’t taste too strongly of either almond or coconut milk.

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Not Your Mother’s Blonde Moment Treatment Shampoo

I had my hair bleached a few months ago and so I have had to incorporate a purple shampoo into my hair care–to help take out brassy tones and remove build up. I have liked using this purple shampoo because it is affordable, compared to some others, and it also refreshes the color of my hair. I only wash my hair a few times a week and I’ll use this shampoo every other wash.

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Kiehl’s Cilantro & Orange Pollutant Defending Masque

One of my cousins, recently, gave me a bunch of beauty products to try out and this mask (or masque) was one of them. This is a really thick product that can be used as a treatment mask or as an overnight mask. I used this during a couple of weeks of stress breakouts and it helped to clear up my skin really fast, without drying it out.

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03 Soothe and Cool Post-Training Massage Oil

I have been running a lot more than usual and so I have been a lot more sore than usual. I have been using this massage oil a lot and it has also helped with aching and soreness. I like that this oil is all-natural and I don’t have to worry about what’s going on my sensitive skin. The cooling effect is very gentle and comfortable to wear on your skin. Plus the smell is amazing, so I think that helps to feel a little more relaxed also. I have been using this massage oil on my ankles, legs, and knees after I get out of the shower.

Down Comforter

As soon as it turned to fall, I started to chronically feel cold. I hate it when you’re, also, trying to go to bed but you’re just too cold to sleep! I have had the same down comforter for a while but I’ve really been appreciating it in the last few weeks. I think I bought mine at Ross or TJMaxx a few years ago, during a sale, and it’s been one of the best purchases. If you want to feel cozy and sleep like a baby–get a down comforter.

What have you been enjoying during October?

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