Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Halloween Festivities

Hey guys! It is almost Halloween and if you are like me you are frantically thinking about how there are still so many festive things you want to do before this holiday is gone but you have no idea what to do or where to start. Well, this blog post is for you! Today I am going to share three fun and easy Halloween activities you can do either by yourself, with a significant other, or with all of your friends! The more the merrier!

Festive Halloween Baking

So, there are a few things that I always have on my Halloween festivities to-do list and the first one is festive baking! Now, if you are anything like me you LOVE the idea of baking from scratch but really... who has the time for that! So for this my bestie and I just used a festive boxed cake mix and spent our QT (quality time) on the decorating!

The first thing we did was spent an ungodly amount of time at Target trying to choose the best possible cake and frosting combination as well as decorations! I must say that they have a lot to choose from this year! Below is a picture of everything we chose.

We went for the Halloween funfetti cake mix and whipped frosting! We also got trick or treat cupcake cases, ghost shaped marshmallows, Halloween shaped sprinkles, and green glitter! You can choose whichever decorations you want but we wanted to keep it simple but cute.

With any festive baking extravaganza you also want to have something else planned during the duration of the baking and cooling of your cake mix so we chose to open a few adult cocktails and watching The Nightmare Before Christmas which is one of my favorite Halloween films!

After our movie was over and all of the cakes were out of the oven and cooled, we decorated! Here are some of our finished products!

It was super simple but also fun and a great way to have a fun and memorable night during the Halloween season!

Bonfire Night

Another fun and festive way to get yourself geared up into the Halloween spirit is to have a bonfire! All you need is an open space of dirt, preferably not around foliage, some logs, and a match or two!
This is a great idea because you can invite friends over to enjoy the delicious cupcakes you have already made (see previous) and gather around a warm fire on a chilly night and tell spooky stories! (Anyone else remember the show Are You Afraid of the Dark?) 

Some of my friends and I got together one night and decided to do just this and we had a blast!  You can bring your leftover ghost marshmallows and roast them on the fire and just enjoy each others company while also enjoying the outdoors! I know I need more time outside in some fresh air so this is a great way to accomplish that! Here are some of the pictures from the night we had our bonfire.

 Again, this is something that doesn't take a whole lot of effort but it is something that is very fun and a memory you will be able to laugh about for a long time to come! Just make sure someone puts out the fire at the end of the night!

Carving Pumpkins

Now possibly the most festive activity that I like to do during the Halloween season is carve pumpkins! I have already been able to enjoy it twice this year which has made this season the best! {The first pumpkin carving I did was with my bestie Daniel and we also filmed it for his YouTube channel so feel free to hop on over and watch us carve those pumpkins here:}This is something that is even more enjoyable with friends! All you need to do it grab some pumpkins and get some carving tools and go to it! (side note: I would definitely also grab some pumpkin carving stencils from somewhere because then you can really impress people with your designs if you aren't as artistically inclined!)

When we all got together to carve pumpkins it was also to celebrate our friend MK's  24th birthday so her apartment was decked out in the cutest decorations which is something else you can do to add to the Halloween feeling! Here are a few pictures of the decorations.

All of our designs were different but I think that the fun is all in the time spent together creating pumpkin masterpieces! (Even if your pumpkin doesn't turn out quite the way you wanted!) Here are some of the pictures of the process as well as our finished pumpkins!

All of these activities can be done in one night or each on their own! Whatever you choose to do to celebrate just remember to have fun! I hope this inspires you to grab a bunch of friends and make the most of the last days of October and Halloween!

If you do choose to do any of these activities let me know in the comments below! I hope you all have a spooky and fun Halloween!

xoxo Jess 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween

Disney during the fall time... literally the most wonderful thing imaginable!

So I went to Disney for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party this past Sunday and I wanted to make a post about my experience! (PS Daniel also uploaded a vlog from this day if you would like to see more of what we got up to! )

So, to start off with, I think one of the best parts was seeing everyone dressed in costumes. My friend Daniel and I decided to do a more low key option, which I think was a great choice, but there were many people there who were FULL out and I loved it! Sometimes I would think people were in line to meet a character when actually it was just someone else visiting the park, the costumes were THAT good!
Here is a picture of Daniel and I in our costumes in front of Cinderella's castle! He was Cruella and I was Minnie Mouse.

We really lucked out on Sunday because it was raining the entire time we were driving there and when we made it to Magic Kingdom it stopped raining and the weather was amazing the entire rest of the time. I highly recommend going to this event if you can because it is absolutely amazing and well worth the money.

A few things about the event itself: You don't have to buy a park pass for the day if you are just going to the event then you only need to purchase a ticket to the event which saved me a ton of money honestly. Also, unless you pay for the event you have to leave the park by 7 p.m. which is when the event "starts" however, they will let you in the park early so we ended up arriving around 5:30 and were allowed in.

One of the best parts about this event is the park decorations. There are pumpkins everywhere and the cast members all have halloween themed outfits on as well. It made it a completely new experience for me. This was my third time at Disney this year and it felt like my first all over again because everything was so different! Even down to the music! Throughout the park they played Halloween themed Disney music and it added to the feel of the event and it was so much fun to have the villains get their moment to shine.
This is an example of the types of pumpkins they had EVERYWHERE around the park! I thought it was so cute!

The biggest part about this event is definitely the different fireworks and shows and parades! They had a "Boo to You" Parade which featured normal Disney characters decked out in costumes as well as featuring the villains and also Haunted Mansion ghosts. The parade was not very well lit however because of the nature of it and so I didn't get to take really good quality pictures of it. However, I did get a few pictures of the Castle during HalloWishes and the new Hocus Pocus Villains Spelltacular show! I have to say the Hocus Pocus show and Hallowishes were absolutely more than I could have imagined! Disney did such a great job with both of these and I was over the moon the entire time I was watching them! They also have trick or treat stations all around the park and you receive a "goody bag" when you get into the park to collect the candy. You can go through the lines as many times as you want and you can fill up as many bags of candy as your heart desires!

This is a picture of the castle during Hallowishes! It was amazing and they not only had fireworks but they also displayed images on the castle during this show which were little ghosts and pumpkins.

This is a picture during the Hocus Pocus Villains Spelltacular, The Sanderson Sisters were wonderful and of course they included hightlights from the movie within this show and it also featured a gang of villains to help them with their potion.

Something else that is noteworthy is the timing of everything. When you go, there is only one showing of Hallowishes, however there are two showings of the Hocus Pocus show and also the Boo to You parade so Daniel and I chose to see the later showings of both to go on rides during the others and there were NO LINES. For Big Thunder Mountain it was a 5 minute wait but honestly the 5 minutes was how long it took to walk up the big hill to the ride. We rode that twice in a row and the second time there were only two carts for the whole ride filled. We also got to meet Elsa and Anna and the wait for that was only 20 minutes. It was amazing because not only are you getting to experience Disney during a fun time of year but you also get short wait times and you get to ride more rides than you would on a normal day!

If you want to meet villains however I do suggest you go talk to a cast member and find out where they are going to be because the lines for special characters, such as Cruella, are longer. When we met Cruella we waited about 45 minutes which wasn't too bad but the lines for Jack and Sally and the seven dwarfs were longer.

This is me meeting Cruella and Daniel and I meeting Elsa! They were both really great and Cruella was so much fun!

Overall it was a wonderful experience and I definitely want to go back every year during this time to experience the magic during Halloween.

Have you ever been to Disney during Halloween?! Leave me comments and let me know!

xoxo Jess

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The first week of fall

Can you believe we are already celebrating the first week of fall? It feels like 2015 just started! Maybe it is because I have been wishing for this time of year to come around again. Fall is my favorite season and I don't care if it makes me #basic. Since it is the first week of fall I thought I would make a little post about some of my favorite things about fall as well as some new things I want to try and do this fall! Get ready for lots of references to warmth and coziness!

The first thing I love about this time of year is of course the weather! I hate the hot months of summer mainly because I live in the southern part of the US and the humidity is literally unbearable most days of the year. In the fall the humidity lifts and you get a crisp fresh temperature that won't make you sweat after five minutes of being outside. It also makes me want to be outside more because I don't have to worry about feeling gross from the humidity and heat.

Along with the weather comes the clothes. because it is cooler outside I can start to wear some of my favorite types of clothes which are (in no particular order) boots, scarves, sweaters, sweatshirts, cardigans, fuzzy socks, long sleeves, and vests. Fall makes for better fashion at least for me because I can layer more things and enjoy wearing them without worrying about getting too hot and stuffy in them. I also like the darker, richer colors that are associated with fall such as deep maroons and burgundy shades as well as rich dark orange and golds.

I also love all of the fall scents that places such as Bath and Body Works and Yankee Candles produces. The fall scents are always my favorite because they make me feel all warm and cozy! Some of my favorite fall scents are Leaves, Pumpkin Pie, Vanilla Cedarwood, Crisp Apple, and generally anything with that spice fragrance! Even just the burning of candles is something that I love about fall. When the weather starts to drop I just feel like having a candle lit in every room of the house because it adds to the cozy feeling.

The scenery in the fall is also one of my favorite things. Yes I think the flowers blooming in the spring are beautiful but something much more breathtaking to me has always been the changing of the leaves from summer to fall. I love watching everything go from a bright green to beautiful shades of yellow and red and seeing all the leaves fall. There is just something about it that has always given me the warm fuzzies getting to watch the amazing things nature can do.

One of the biggest things I want to do this fall is go apple picking. I have been researching places near my area to try and find somewhere that does it and the one place (which was 4 hours north) doesn't actually let you pick them anymore. So it is definitely at the top of my list to find somewhere and go and pick some fresh apples. Not only for the experience and the fun of it but also.. umm duh fresh apples you picked yourself.. can you even imagine how amazing they would taste fresh off the tree?!

Another big thing that I wanted to do (which I AM going to do next weekend) is go to Disney during the fall! Combine the happiest place on earth with my favorite season??? I might just explode from excitement! One of my best friends, Daniel, and I are going next weekend and I have never been during the fall to experience Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween so I can't wait to see all of the Disney villains and interact with them as well as see the park decked out for the season!

Something a little less extravagant but also something fun is carving pumpkins. It is something I love doing during the fall and also something that I always want to do every year so I guess it counts as a little bit of both! I love going to a pumpkin patch and picking out a pumpkin and then bringing it home and carving it with friends and family! Last year Daniel and I carved pumpkins over Skype but we still had the best time! I definitely think it is something that should be on everyone's fall to-do list!

Of course I can't make a post about fall without mentioning the holidays that occur during the season! I LOVED Halloween when I was younger. I have always hated scary movies but the dressing up and getting to be one of your favorite characters for a night has always been one of my favorite parts about Halloween. Trick or Treating was something that I loved when I was younger and I love being on the other side of it now and getting to see all of the children in my neighborhood get all excited and dressed up! Thanksgiving is the other holiday that occurs during the fall season and it is something I have always looked forward to because it is a day I get to spend with my family and we get to eat all of the best foods :)

There are just not enough wonderful things to say about this time of the year. The world around you is changing season and you get to witness it and this time of year brings the best holidays to have fun with friends and family!

What is one of your favorite things about fall and what is one thing you can't wait to do this fall season? I can't wait to hear! Leave a comment and let me know! I'm going to go order myself a PSL and wait for the leaves to start changing.

xoxo Jess

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

My favorite books to cozy up with

Who doesn't love this time of year? When the leaves are changing and instead of spending time basking in the sun people have a longing to curl up by the fire with a good book. Fall is one of my favorite times of year for this very reason. So in this post I am going to let you in on a few of my all time favorite books and book series that I enjoy curling up with.

The first book series is one I happened upon by chance, and yes it may seem juvenile but I have really enjoyed reading them.
The Selection Series

This book series by Kiera Cass is set in a post-apocalyptic world after a third world war when the idea of the United States is a thing of the forgotten past and the US territory is ruled by a monarchy. It follows the story of the royal prince having to find a bride via The Selection. In these books the people are separated into numbers based on their economic standing, Ones being royalty and on down. What makes these books so interesting is the different dynamic twists and turns and I found myself laughing and crying all throughout. Kiera did a wonderful job painting this world she created. The most current book, The Heir, follows the story of the offspring of the prince and his chosen bride from the first three. There is one last book set to be released next year in 2016. I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of the final book of the series!  

Following the same type of novel which is set in another post-apocalyptic world.

The Jewel Series

This is the first book in the series by Amy Ewing and the second has recently been released (The White Rose) and I haven't read it yet but rest assured I will be purchasing it soon to find out what happens! This book, as stated on the authors website, is a mix between The Selection Series and A Handmaiden's Tale. It follows the story of Violet who has to be a surrogate to a royal family because in this post- apocalyptic world the royals cannot have babies anymore because of so much inbreeding so they find other girls who can, but with a twist. I won't give away what the twist is but it has a sort of "magic" involved and if that is up your alley you would love this series!

The next set of books is one I believe many people would already be familiar with.

The Divergent Series

This book series by Veronica Roth is also set in a post-apocalyptic world in which your talents choose which area of the economy you end up in. I won't delve too deeply into these because I am sure everyone has heard of them but I will say that if you have only seen the movies you really should read the books because they go in a little different of a way from the movies and also, you get so much more description and plot when you read the books versus watching the movies.

Moving away from post-apocalyptic books I am moving into more historical books. These however do not have a series but they are all from the same author and so I am going to lump them together. 

Phillipa Gregory Books 

I have read all of these plus a few others of hers and I have loved the way she writes and the style and accuracy of her writing. The ones which circulate King Henry are some of my personal favorites and she definitely does her research in regards to historical accuracy and then adds in her own personal touches as an author as to why these people's stories have ended up they way they have. If you enjoy historical fiction you would love her novels and I suggest you take time to delve into these books. One of my personal favorites that I always like to re-read is The Other Boleyn Girl. It is a huge novel with almost 600 pages yet I always manage to fly through it because the story captures me into it every time.

I hope this list of a few of my favorite reads inspires you to pick up a good book this fall and get lost in another world. Let me know what some of your favorite books or book series are in the comments below!

xoxo Jess

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Mid Year Resolutions

Okay, so.... many of us set New Years resolutions and then about half way through the year we forget about them so I have decided to give myself a refresher of sorts and set some mid-year resolutions!

In the beginning of the year I feel like there is so much pressure from everyone to set high goals for yourself and then the goals never really come to fruition because the goal isn't very specific. For example, many people just use the "I want to get healthier" resolution or "I want to find myself" resolution which are both really generic and that is why I think that most people don't follow through.

I am giving myself some realistic and specific goals that I want to achieve before my 26th birthday which will be in January of 2016. So here we go:

1. I want to get back into healthy eating and exercising. I mean really focus on becoming the girl I was a few months ago. Because of finishing graduate school and being in and out of community theater shows I have really let myself fall off of the healthy trail and I can tell a huge difference in just the way I am from day to day.

2. To go along with number 1. I want to set an actual goal to lose at least 30 pounds by January. (which I think is very doable and healthy and not drastic like some people saying they want to lose 10 pounds in a week.) Losing 10 pounds may happen on certain weeks but that is not something that can be kept up easily so I want to do it in a healthy and stable way that way I can maintain my progress.

3. Once I reach my 30 pounds I don't want to stop until I feel happy with myself and my body. I don't want a number to determine my happiness so whenever I feel most comfortable and beautiful in my own skin then that is when I will stop losing and start the track to maintaining. I am not saying this is going to happen in even 6 months to a year but the time will pass anyway and I owe it to myself to be the happiest  and healthiest version of me I can be.

4. I want to get a tattoo. I have pretty much decided what I want and where and I have decided that my bestie Daniel and I will be getting them over winter break this year. Getting a tattoo is something I have wanted to do for a while and especially after my dad passed away in 2013. I wanted to get something that symbolized him and reminded me of the love he had for me and I think I have found the perfect thing, so be looking out for a post about that in a few months! *eek!*

5. I want to do something drastic to my hair. I have done some very drastic things this past year and everything I have done I have loved and so now I want to become more adventurous. This past year I have dyed my hair red from being a natural blonde and I had straight across bangs. Both of which I loved but now I want to do something daring and exciting! Again, there will be pictures and a post all about it when it happens! I can't wait!

6 Most of all I want to continue my journey to figuring out who I am and what I want out of life. This may seem a little like the generic "I want to find myself" resolution but what I mean by this is figure out what career path I want to go into, find a job within that career path, and most of all figure out what I want out of my life. I think doing something like a vision board with stuff on it for this one would be awesome. And when I do it I will definitely make a post so you all can see it!

I just feel like now is the perfect  time to experiment and have fun figuring out what I want because I am now out of school and have the rest of my adult life in front of me!

What are some mid year resolutions you want to set for yourself? Let me know in the comments!

xoxo Jess

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Ways to combat a sleepless night

Do you ever have those days where no matter how much sleep you get you still wake up feeling exhausted? More times than not that is how I have been waking up every morning. Blame it on my on-the-go schedule where I work all day and go straight to rehearsal at night and do it all over again. I love being able to keep busy but it does start to affect things like the brightness of my skin or the bags that grow larger under my eyes. So because of this recent battle with fatigue I have created some ways to combat that tired look and feeling in a way that makes people think I got 8 hours of sleep instead of my usual 5!

Tip #1
This is something I've done since I had the option but it is still the most important to me and that is shower in the morning. I know many people battle over whether it is better to shower at night or in the morning but from experience I can tell you that for someone who doesn't get much sleep that hot shower in the morning does wonders to get me alert and not groggy. Not only does it wake my body up but it also leaves me feeling refreshed and ready for the day! So those of you who are nay-sayers just give it a go for a week and see if it makes a difference in how awake you feel in the morning! 

Tip #2
Another great way to wake up your skin and also your senses is a face wash. You can use any face wash that you like or even opt for the "lazy" way and use a face wipe but by putting that cold cleanser on your face it helps to make you more bright eyed and luminous and makes your skin less splotchy and dim. This also gives you a clean surface to apply your normal daily makeup routine.

Tip #3
If you wake up later than planned (the snooze button does happen to the best of us) then the first defense to looking tired is concealer. This little bottle is a miracle worker on those nasty under eye bags and are also great to use as a highlighter on the top of your cheek bone to give you a luminous look. Pick a concealer than is a little lighter than your skin tone and it will not only cover dark under eye circles but also make you look more awake.

Tip #4
When I wake up in the morning my eyes always feel tired. Recently after my last trip to the eye doctor I was diagnosed with chronic dry eye. When I wake up my eyes feel dry. Like they need a huge glass of water so the way I do this is by using eye drops made for dry eye. Even if you don't have chronic dry eye using eye drops in the morning is a great way to hydrate those tired eyes and make you feel rested.

Tip #5
To wake up those now hydrated and concealed eyes the finishing touch is mascara. I don't know what it is about a little mascara but by using it to enhance, darken, and lengthen your eye lashes it opens up your eyes and makes you look more awake. Thank you to whomever created this wonderful miracle product. My favorite mascara at the moment is Benefit's Roller Lash. It really sticks to my lashes and make them curl without having to use my eye lash curler.

Tip #6
The last tip I have for making you look more awake after a night of little sleep is blush. This may seem a little weird but it honestly is something that will not only brighten your face but also enhance your cheek bones and facial features. By applying a little bit of blush to the apples of your cheeks and sweeping it up to your temples it can brighten even the most tired face.

These tips are just a few of the ways I have been finding successful in making me feel and look more awake on most mornings because we all know none of us gets enough sleep at night.

If you have any tips you use in the mornings to help make yourself look and feel more awake leave them in the comments below!

xoxo Jess

Monday, July 6, 2015

Things you should know if you are friends with an emotional person

I thought I would write a post from the perspective of someone who is an emotional person. This coming from one of the most emotional people (me). If you know someone who is an emotional person and you yourself are not one then it may be difficult for you to understand why we are the way we are. I know from personal experience with people in my life who are not as driven by their emotions that they don't really understand how my emotions pretty much direct my life. So today I thought I would give some insight into the mind of an emotional person.

I wanted to write this because I just finished watching Thumbelina, one of my favorite childhood movies, and I was so emotional that I cried at the end of it for a good solid 5 minutes. I have always been this way as far as I can remember. My emotions are very strong and when I feel something I feel it deeply which brings me to my first point.

Emotional people wear their emotions on their sleeves.
This may seem very obvious but it is a very important thing to remember if you know someone who is an emotional person. Whenever I am sad I can feel it in my bones, and the same goes for happiness, love, worry, fear, etc. When you are someone who has a high emotional state you exude those emotions. Being a naturally emotional person I feel it is why so many people are drawn to me in either a work or school environment or in a social environment. When I am feeling any emotion I feel that those around me can easily pick up on whatever it is and it makes it easier for people to understand or gauge how I will respond to them.

Emotional people are also more emotionally reactive to those around them.
When your friend is telling you about a horrible break up they have had or just pouring their guts out to you you feel those emotions with them. You have sympathy for that friend because you feel those emotions with them. There is also a flip side to this. If something happens and it could have a negative outcome, you feel very emotional about that as well. I, for one, know that when I have been put in bad situations with friends such as fights or disagreements I will go home and cry my eyes out because I am upset about being at odds with a friend. When you are an emotional person things like that rock your boat and can cause you to feel very strongly about the discord in your life.

Being nonchalant about an emotional persons feelings is something to avoid.
I know that as someone who may not be an extremely emotional person it may be annoying at times or you may feel that the emotional person is overreacting but what you have to remember is that the reaction they are giving is due to the fact that they feel so deeply (see the first point). I have had friends who are not very outwardly emotional like myself and they would roll their eyes at me getting my feelings hurt over something or wouldn't understand why I was crying about something but I can tell you as someone who is an emotional person that is not the way to handle it. I understand that people can't ever see eye to eye on everything but advice from someone who is an emotional person is to be understanding. Even if you don't get why I'm upset or you think it is something trivial, by making that opinion known it is making it worse for my emotional state. The best thing to do is to acknowledge the emotional break down and to then help them to move on to thinking about something else.

The final point I have is that not all emotional people are easy to see.
Because of the fact that showing emotions is looked down on in a lot of social and professional situations you may be friends with someone who is an emotional person and not know it because they are good at hiding their emotions. This point is really valid for anyone you have in your life but it is this: empathy. Whenever you meet someone you never know what may be going on with them in their personal life that they may not share with you (even if you are very best friends). I know that when I am having a very sad day I don't always want to share that with my friends because of the fear of either being judged or not being understood. Just remember to always try and be empathetic to those around you. Think of a time you were having a bad day and try and remember that someone else could be having that bad day too.

It is important to understand highly emotional people and to know that we may cry at any remotely sad or happy part of a book, movie, life event, etc. That is how we are built. Emotional people can feel emotions highly which also means they can love deeper and have a bigger emotional attachment to the people in their lives, including you.

Do you think you are an emotional person? What is something else that you think people should know about an emotional person? Let me know in the comments!

xoxo Jess

Friday, July 3, 2015

The importance of thoughtfulness

One compliment I like to receive is when someone tells me I'm thoughtful. Why you may ask? Well, because this one little word is jam packed with meaning.The idea of being thoughtful is by being able to be perceptive with the people you are close to and act on it. For example, it is thoughtful of someone to perceive that you are having a bad day and giving you a little pick me up such as a nice card or your favorite candy bar to make you feel better.

So how can you become more thoughtful to the people who are in your life?

First pay attention when people are talking to you. Actively listen to the conversations you are having because it is the best way to learn small things about people such as their favorite things or types of activities as well as things that they may hate. It is easy to remember if your best friend hates seafood if the first time you throw out a seafood restaurant as a meal option they say they hate it. Log that into important things to remember for the future so that if you are out with other people who suggest it you can politely let them know your best friend hates seafood so another restaurant will need to be chosen.

Paying attention is more than just about food preference too. If you pay attention to how people talk about certain other people or places just by the way they inflect their words and their facial expressions you can start to see how they feel about those things. This is important because you can gauge a situation and mood of this person in the future to be able to know if they may need a pick me up or if they are uncomfortable in a given situation.

Now that you have logged in a few important facts it is also a good idea to write it down somewhere. I am a fan of journals so I have one specifically for this to make sure that I don't forget the little things which can make someones day if you show them you remember. I have things such as important dates and some of their favorite and least favorite things. Having a lot of friends this can be challenging stuff to remember that is why I find this helpful. For important dates I also have them saved in my phone with reminders so that when the date is coming up I remember and can plan accordingly.

So after you know these things what can you do with the information? Well, it depends on how well you know them and also the type of relationship you have with them and the type of person you are. For me, I know that things such as little 'pick me up' gifts or cards with a sweet message will always be the things to cheer me up or make my day however one of my friends may like being given a cupcake in their favorite flavor or being brought their favorite Starbucks drink when they are at work or just a text letting them know you care. It is important to know what things work for what people.

Just a small gesture goes a long way to most people and being thoughtful is something that I feel more people need to understand. It doesn't take a big gesture to show someone you care or that you are thinking of them. It really is as easy as getting a card and writing a note or remembering their favorite chocolate is mint chocolate and picking them up a little bar to give to them. Being thoughtful is just that, taking the time to think about how you could make someone else's day by putting them first. I always feel the best about myself when I do something for someone else and it is an easy way to pay it forward to your friends and show them that you not only pay attention to them and their lives but you also care about them and your relationship with them.

I challenge you to try and think of a thoughtful gesture for someone you know who may be having a tough week or day.

What is a small gesture that would make you smile if you were having a bad day? Let me know in the comments!

xoxo Jess

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Where's the coffee?

I am NOT a morning person. By any stretch of the word. I would much rather stay awake until 3 a.m. to accomplish everything I need to than wake up at even 9 a.m. every day. I think we have all felt that before in our lives and especially those of you who can relate to not being a morning person. However, recently I have challenged myself to wake up earlier and try to become more of a morning person.

The key to this for me was my mindset. In the past when my alarm has gone off in the morning I have grumbled and hit the snooze button five times before dragging myself out of bed. This would subsequently cause a chain of reactions of 1. me waking up later than I wanted and thus in a rush 2. no time to be able to relax and fully wake up 3. stressed out about no time to properly go through my morning routine and 4. just have general stress about starting the day.

This nasty habit developed when I started college because I didn't have early classes so I fell into this stay up late and sleep until the last possible moment routine. In my experience it has not been a very productive or enjoyable routine to have. 

So how have I began my journey to try and turn this around? By simply giving myself a chance to be a morning person. I don't know that I will ever be as productive in the morning as I am at night however I do think that I can change the way I begin my days. 

The first step in doing this is waking up with a positive mind. When my alarm goes off I am trying to say one thing that I am excited for that day instead of grumbling about having to wake up at whatever God-awful hour it may be. For example if I have plans for the day I think about those plans and how excited I am about them.

The second step is to just get moving. I have read countless articles online that stress getting out of bed after your first alarm goes off because snoozing your alarm makes you more tired. To do this I just reason with myself. You all know you have those talks with yourself in the mornings that go a little like "You know you can totally lay here for 10 more minutes you know it is going to make you feel great" and then 10 minutes goes by and you feel like its only been 30 seconds. I have started telling myself the truth that 10 extra minutes laying here is not going to make me want to get out of bed more or feel more awake. 

The third step is to have a routine. I know this should probably be the first step for most people but for me just getting out of the bed on time and without snoozing deserves an Olympic gold metal. I think it is important to know how long you take to do things without rushing yourself. This is where your routine will come in handy. For instance, I know that I want to take my shower first before I do anything else because a warm shower helps me wake up my body and mind more and gives me time while in the shower to focus on becoming more alert. My routine in the mornings is normally a 8ish minute shower (depending on how long it takes me to wake up), 15 minutes to dry and style my hair, 15-20 minutes to do my makeup and get dressed, and I like to give myself at least 30 minutes to be able to eat breakfast and relax before I have to head out the door.

These little steps have helped me in just the little amount of time I have implemented them and it has helped me become a more joyful person in the mornings. I may still be grumpy when I wake up but by the time I need to leave my house I am excited for the day ahead, I'm in a relaxed mood because I didn't have to rush to get ready, and I am ready to tackle the day!

I hope these little tips can help those of you who may also not be morning people to at least start your day off on a better foot even if you still give side eye to those perky morning people!

Let me know if there is anything you do to help you be positive in the mornings!

xoxo Jess

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

huge life moments

Have you ever been through something that you thought would never end? I just recently finished my Masters degree and subsequently my thesis for my degree and it was by far one of the toughest experiences of my life. So many ups and downs happened during the past two years but also a lot of stress these past couple of months and now that it is over I can't shake that stressful feeling.

Have you ever had that feeling? I think anyone who has gone through something very stressful like this can relate. I am under this constant feeling of having a huge deadline that I need to complete work for but there isn't anything I have to complete. It is like a phantom feeling. Very weird experience.

Because of this I am now at a huge junction of my life. I have finished school and now have to decide where I want to live and what I want to try and do with my professional and personal life. The world is literally wide open to me and it is a very freeing but terrifying feeling.

I have so many things I want to accomplish in my lifetime and it is hard to figure out what the first step on this journey should be. I know at some point everyone has or will have this moment but I don't want to just sit back and stay in my comfort zone the rest of my life. I want to get out and see the world  and make mistakes and enjoy the rest of my twenties and my life.

What is something you want to see yourself doing in the next five years?

-xoxo Jess

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Bath and Body Works haul

So I recently had to have a little sneaky peak into Bath and Body Works and I may have gotten a lot more than I intended to! I feel when I go in there they have so many lovely smelling things I just can't help myself!

So here is a list of everything I picked up and what I think about it!

First thing I picked up was a three wick candle. I wanted it in a smaller version but the saleswoman told me it only came in three wick and it smelled so amazing I decided to buy it.
I don't know if other people do this but as soon as I walk into B&BW I have a look at all of the candles and I have to smell all of them! This one I fell in love with! It has a light scent that is fresh and has a hint of sweet that comes from a mixture of flowers and fruits. I really love fruit scents and it is a smell that I could see myself using when I am taking a nice bubble bath!

The next thing I got I was probably the MOST excited for! I always miss the time of year when they bring out my favorite scent so when I saw it sitting there I was elated! My absolute favorite spring/summer scent is Oceanside! I grabbed about 6 of the wall flowers in that scent so that I know I will have enough to last a while! I also grabbed a room spray of it (for my room and car, its the best to give a little spritz to make it smell like heaven!).
This is such a fresh and summery scent. It reminds me of the beach and can make any room smell amazing! I am one of those people who love to have specific scents for specific rooms but this is really one that could go for any room!  This also has fruity notes but this one is mixed with a bit of a fresh linen type smell so it just makes a room smell clean!

The next thing I bought were some of the newer scents they just rolled out for spring/summer and they are a part of their new Hawaii themed collection. I did the buy two get one free deal because I wanted to be able to try a few different ones and because I thought they all smelled amazing (If you saw my shower you would know I LOVE to have a variety!)

The first one I bought in a shower gel and it is the Waikiki Beach Coconut scent! It smells like sunscreen and coconut. It makes me think of a relaxing day on the beach! Not to mention the packaging is such a fun and bright color it makes me ready for summer!On the B&BW webpage these are the scent notes it has listed:
  • Top Notes: Fresh Bamboo, Coral Berry
  • Mid Notes: Pink Passionflower, Hawaiian Frangipani, Coconut Jasmine, Saltwater Breeze
  • Dry Notes: Beach Coconut, Sun-bleached Woods, Forest Sandalwood

The second one I bought was Maui Mango Surf! I also bought this one in a shower gel and when I smelled it I just knew I had to have it! It has that same beach smell (can you spot a theme?). On the B&BW webpage these are the scent notes it has listed:
  • Top Notes: Ruby Mango, Polynesian Tangerine, Guava Nectar, White Pineapple
  • Mid Notes: Mango Mai Tai, Sun-bleached Driftwood, Coral Hibiscus, Hawaiian Lily, Pacific Blue Accord
  • Dry Notes: Island Sandalwood, Skin Musk, Lanai Ylang

The last one I bought was Oahu Coconut Sunset! This was also purchased as a shower gel because who can't have enough shower gels right? This one smells exactly like a very yummy coconut beach spray on sunscreen! I just love it and when I use it in the shower I can pretend I am about to go sunbathing!
On the B&BW webpage these are the scent notes it has listed: 

  • Top Notes: Birds of Paradise, Coconut Blossom, Sparkling Bergamot
  • Mid Notes: Seductive Tuberose, Tiger Lily, Hawaiian Monoi
  • Dry Notes: Sensual Labdanum, Molten Amber, Cream Suede Accord

The last few things I picked up were just some good ole fresh linens scentportables for my car! I also got a new holder for the scentportables and it is SO summery and I love it!

I have gone into B&BW a lot recently because their summer scents are my favorite even in the summer!

What have you bought recently? Have you gone on a B&BW splurge like me? Let me know in the comments!


Friday, March 13, 2015


So we all have huge goals we want to achieve but I believe that by setting smaller weekly goals as stepping blocks we can better achieve our bigger goals!

Today I am going to give you some of my current daily/weekly goals.

The first is more sleep. This is probably the hardest goal I have daily and weekly because of my hectic schedule and just the fact that I am a night owl type person. I have been reading so many articles online about the benefits of becoming a morning person and I wish desperately that I were so that I could enjoy waking up in the mornings instead of dreading it! I found this cute little infograhpic online on tips to getting up earlier. I find the culprit to my lack of sleep is getting home late and then wanting to relax and ending up staying awake until 2 a.m. I have made it my new  top goal to get into bed earlier so that I don't have a problem waking up early in the morning!

The second is drink more water. Now, I know, many people say they need to do this but I have committed to cutting out everything but water right now and therefore I need to be drinking more of it! I feel that setting a goal of at least 8 glasses a day to start off with is a good way to train my body to wanting to take in more water in a day! What are ways you have found to incorporate more water into your day?

The last goal for this week is to focus on the important stuff. What I mean by this is not letting the little distractions in life get to me and make me lose my focus for the week. Too often I get caught up in small little things that then overtake my entire mind frame and then put me in a bad mood, or stress me out. I want to focus instead this week on my future and where I see myself and stop letting those little stumbling blocks get in my way.

What are some goals you are going to set for yourself this week? Let me know in the comments!

xoxo Jess