Not Your Average Valentine’s Day Movies

Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope you have a wonderful day and that you know how much you are loved! Today’s post is a fun one and great if you plan to stay at home tonight. Sometimes there’s nothing more relaxing than having a movie night at home. When I think about Valentine’s Day movies, I automatically think chick-flicks. However, there are a few movies I really like that aren’t necessarily chick-flicks but are still pretty funny and revolve around the “love” theme. If you are looking for some not so typical movie suggestions, these are for you!

Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

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I bet you didn’t see this one coming, haha! I can’t believe this movie came out 14 years ago! This movie is so funny, so quotable, and I think this will be a classic for years to come. Napoleon Dynamite is about an awkward teen, Napoleon, his crazy family, steak, tots, and puffy sleeves. Plus, you can’t forget the Kip and LaFawnduh story line–they’re basically soul mates.

Austenland (2013)

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Jane Austen fans, unite! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched this movie and it still makes me laugh. Austenland is about a modern-day Pride and Prejudice obsessed woman, named Jane, who risks her savings and goes to a Jane Austen theme park for a week to live in the role of a Jane Austen-based character. There are some great one-liners in this movie. Such a funny one to watch!

On the Line (2001)

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Nothing like a good ol’ throwback to the early 2000s! One the Line is a movie about Ad Man Kevin and how he meets the girl of his dreams on the El Train in Chicago–but doesn’t get her name and number. The movie continues with his journey to find this dream girl with the help of his interesting roommates. Plus, if you don’t remember music by Mandy Moore, *NSYNC (or “in stink” as it’s goofed in the movie, lolz), or BBMak–this will take you back for sure!

She’s the Man (2006)

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When her soccer team is cut from her high school, teen Viola dresses up as her twin brother in order to play soccer on his team at his separate school. How long can she pull off the role of being disguised as her brother though? And who loves Amanda Bynes movies?? This movie is super funny and a great comedy to watch on Valentine’s Day!

We Bought A Zoo (2011)

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Widowder Benjamin Mee and his two children move to the country and buy a zoo as a way of healing and coping with life after losing their wife/mother to cancer. I think this is such a sweet movie because it deals with issues like grief, loss, parenthood, and trying to feel love again. Although this movie might be on the heavier side to watch on Valentine’s Day, I still think it’s a good one!

Happy watching!

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A Weekend in Napa & Sonoma

Hi everyone! I hope you are having a great day and an awesome start to your week, so far. Mondays can be intimidating sometimes, but I hope you can find some things to make you smile and enjoy today.

This blog post is the second part recap of my recent trip to California. If you didn’t read the last post, I went to California for a long weekend with my cousin, Grace. We spent a day or so in the LA/San Francisco area and then rented a car to spend two days in the Napa/Sonoma area.

Napa, California


After the “workday,” we were so lucky to have a private tour of The French Laundry‘s kitchen in Yountville, CA–which isn’t too far from Napa. The French Laundry is a Thomas Keller restaurant and he is a big name in the culinary world, and also in the gluten-free culinary world. Thomas Keller was the first to create a “cup-for-cup” gluten-free flour and many other brands later followed suit. My cousin had some connections to the restaurant and so we were both a little giddy when we heard we could take a tour. Below are some photos from around the kitchen, wine cellar, and private dining room–how gorgeous!

The French Laundry 6640 Washington St, Yountville, CA 94599

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After the tour, we walked down the street to another Thomas Keller restaurant, Ad Hoc, and had dinner there.

Ad Hoc 6476 Washington St, Yountville, CA 94599

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Ad Hoc was such a fun treat because it was a five-course meal served family-style. The menu changes every day and the staff is very educated about/conscious of dietary needs/restrictions. Since my cousin and I have to eat gluten-free, we asked about substations for a few things on the menu and the waiter immediately told us how our meal would be modified for a gluten-free diet. I managed to get photo of the salad and dessert, and forgot the other three courses because we were too busy eating. The starter was a warm potato salad and–OMG–Grace and I have been talking about that salad for a week. IT. WAS. AMAZING. We finished off dinner with a lemon custard that was also so delicious!

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A favorite quote:
-“It’s lemon so it should be a light dessert.” 
-“I’m more concerned about the cream base that’s mixed in with the lemon.”

After dinner, we went back to where we were staying and prepared to spend the next day in Sonoma.

Sonoma, California


 

Sunflower Cafe 421 1st St W, Sonoma, CA 95476

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The next morning, we slept in late and then went to get some brunch at the Sunflower Cafe. I got some coffee and an eggs benedict-ish dish on gluten-free bread. This meal was definitely a little heavy, considering how much I ate the night before, but it was still good.

After brunch we walked around Sonoma with our to-go coffees and went to the original Williams-Sonoma store. The decor inside was so clean, classic, and super inspirational for future decorating.

Williams-Sonoma 605 Broadway, Sonoma, CA 95476

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After walking around some more, we went back to our lodging and rested for a while before going to a wine tasting later that day. Traveling around California in such a short amount of time made us tired, haha!

Benzinger Family Winery 1883 London Ranch Rd, Glen Ellen, CA 95442

Our wine tasting was at the Benzinger Winery because they also offer a tour of the property and a little bit of education. Our tour was $30 each and I think that’s such a good price for what the tour was and the scenery! The weather was perfect that afternoon and it was so peaceful.

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After the wine tasting, we went to have a light dinner before going back to our lodging for an early night. We were going to be traveling home the next day and wanted to make sure we got all the rest we could before another busy work week.

The Girl & The Fig 110 W Spain St, Sonoma, CA 95476

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We ate so much good food on this trip! California is definitely the place to go if you are a foodie. We went to The Girl & The Fig and split a cheese and charcuterie board and it was so yummy! They also have gluten-free crackers that they brought with our food, instead of the bread that was on the menu.

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The next morning we packed up and headed back to San Francisco to catch our flights home. On the way out of Sonoma, we stopped at The Fremont Diner for breakfast.

The Fremont Diner 2698 Fremont Dr, Sonoma, CA 95476

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I ordered some bacon, eggs, and avocado and it was a great last meal in California! This cafe was so cute inside too and they served coffee out of teal thermos (Thermoses? Thermosi?).

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Our trip to California was so relaxing, even though it was a busy weekend, and I’m really thankful for the time I had with my cousin to enjoy traveling and to catch up on life. Love you Grace–thanks for asking me to go with you!

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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.

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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.

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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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5 Tips to Make Yourself Feel Better

Life is a constant ebb and flow of highs and lows, victories and losses, good days and bad days. Sometimes you just go through a difficult season of life or a series of difficult times. I’ve dealt with some rough days off and on for the last couple of weeks but, thankfully, I know myself and I know what I need to help myself cope. Today I’m going to share with you my 5 tips for how to make yourself feel better when you’ve had a bad day. If you have had a rough time, I hope you have much better days ahead! Let me know if I can pray for you, I would love to do that.

1. Take a step back from the situation. Sometimes you just need to physically remove yourself from whatever you are dealing with. I’m not saying that you should just run away or leave, but take a step back for a short time. Maybe go outside, go for a walk, go get a coffee, go some place that makes you happy. Take a breather and then come back to deal with the situation. As much as I would love to just run away, from something that’s stressful, in the real world you just can’t do that.

2. Talk to someone you trust. This is SO important. I’m so thankful that I have the parents, siblings, friends, and coworkers that I do because I know I can talk to them about anything and everything. Even though your person may not know exactly how to relate to your situation, or not completely understand what you’re going through, they might be able to offer valuable advice from their life experience or just offer much-needed support. Talk to someone, don’t keep it all bottled up.

3. Get your rest. Sometimes the body needs relaxation and sleep and you may feel so much better after a rest period. When you’re tired, everything can seem so much worse in your head and your perspective can be altered from seeing what’s going on and what’s really important. Nighttime can also make everything seem WAY worse than it actually is and so don’t dwell on your day or situation while you’re trying to go to bed. Get your rest and start over the next day.

4. Make some comfort food. While food isn’t something that should be abused as a coping mechanism, sometimes there’s just nothing better than mac & cheese and/or chicken noodle soup. I tried a new recipe for “Chicken Zoodle Soup” the other day and it was really yummy. I’ll link the recipe here. I find cooking to also be very therapeutic.


5. Meditate on scripture. I know that I can always turn to the Bible and the Lord for my peace and strength during hard times. I love to read the Psalms when I need peace because God says so many times that He is a refuge, He gives strength, He wants His children to come to Him at anytime, and He is praised for all He has done and will do.

What are some things that make you feel better after a bad day?

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