19 Women Who Inspired Me in 2019

19 Women Who Inspired Me in 2019

Now that I am on my third year of writing this post (2017 |2018), I can honestly say I look forward to it every year. Looking back on the strong women who have inspired me each year is now an exciting annual tradition for me, and I am starting to see my year reflected in the women I chose. 2019 was a year full of medical difficulties for me. This list is comprised primarily of musicians and actresses because I turned to their art for solace when I needed it. However, I still made room for a politician, a pundit, an author, a yogi, and several women who do a little bit of everything. So, without further ado, here are nineteen women who inspired me in 2019…

  1. Taylor Swift

Taylor

What can I say for Taylor? Yes, she came back this year with a super successful album. She was named Artist of the Decade at the American Music Awards. She was named Woman of the Decade by Billboard. She got three Grammy nominations. That is all the Taylor Swift I have come to love, and that is also none of it. The Taylor I have come to love is the one who interacts with her fans on Tumblr and jokes in interviews about them dragging (aka roasting) her on there. It’s the one who handpicks fans to meet at special events. It’s the one who reminds her fans that what’s happening in the political environment is important for them to understand and takes on the most powerful men in the music industry. It’s the Taylor who jokes about being a cat lady and about being dressed like Paddington bear. It’s the Taylor who has had my back since I was eight, the one who taught me to “step into the daylight and let it go” and that “you are what you love.”

“I’m intimidated by the fear of being average.”

  1. Brie Larson

Brie

Brie Larson was in two little movies ya’ll might have heard of this year – Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame. She plays the titular Captain Marvel, and she does a magnificent job at it. I had very high expectations for this movie, and I was satisfied with it overall. But what truly impressed me the most was Brie. Not just her acting and portrayal of the character, but the way she became an ambassador for the character. It was so clear to me that she knew what Captain Marvel meant to girls everywhere – especially little girls – and she did not take that lightly. Hearing her talk about her character and how important it was to her made the movie so much more meaningful to me.

“It’s very scary to allow the world to see you.”

  1. Maren Morris

59th Annual Grammy Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 12 Feb 2017

I’ve been a fan of Maren’s since the release of her debut single “My Church” (which is actually one of my favorite songs of all time). In 2019 she released her second album, GIRL, and I was blown away. (More on that in this post.) As the title suggests, this record was very much about empowerment. (Just a few lyrics to show you what I mean: “I don’t wanna wear your crown / There’s enough to go around;” “Sometimes the truth don’t always come out nice / Just gonna do me and you don’t have to listen”) This album became a musically defining part of my year, and supporting Maren on her journey with it (all the way to a CMA Album of the Year win) couldn’t have made me prouder.

“A really big thing I’ve learned – and I think it’s so liberating – is when you realize no one knows what they’re doing.”

  1. Kelly Clarkson

Kelly

In 2019, I had the pleasure (I might even go so far as to say the honor) of seeing original American Idol, multi-Grammy winner, and new talk show host Kelly Clarkson live. Forget present-day me. Nine-year-old me, who knew every word to “Breakaway” and “Since U Been Gone,” was shaking. In preparing for the concert, I listened to Kelly even more than usual, and there is one thing I learned: Kelly Clarkson is a boss. She knows who she is. She knows she’s special. She’s not afraid to tell you that (in a totally non-egotistical way). Now multiply that by one million and you have her live show. She owns the stage. She rocks every song. She makes you cry with “Piece by Piece” and dance with “Stronger.” She is a total queen in every sense of the word, and I will never forget seeing her on that stage.

“I’ve just never cared what people think. It’s more if I’m happy and I’m confident and I’m feeling good. That’s always been my thing.”

  1. Adriene Mishler

Adriene

Adriene is the creator of Yoga with Adriene, which has become a bit of a phenomenon, with almost 6 million YouTube subscribers. I’ve been watching (and doing) Adriene’s videos for a few years now, but 2019 is the year I really go into it. The ease of being able to do yoga in the living room in my pajamas when I don’t feel like leaving the house is perfect for me, and I’m pretty sure I’ve done her Yoga for Migraines video approximately 62 times. Aside from being a fantastic yogi, Adriene is a great person with a lovely personality who encourages her viewers to find a sense of community amongst each other. She may just be on your screen, but you know she’s there for you.

“Your yoga mat has your back, and so do I.”

  1. Sabrina Carpenter

Sabrina

I just missed Sabrina Carpenter’s Disney days, but I wasn’t so old that I didn’t know who she was. I became a big fan of her music in 2018 when she released Singular Act I, but when she dropped Act II in 2019, I was in full-on stan mode. She used this album as an opportunity to open up about her struggle with anxiety on songs like “In My Bed” (“Little things become everything / When you wouldn’t think that they would”) and “Exhale” (“Can I exhale for a minute? / Can I get this out in the open? / Can I sit down for a second? / Can I breathe?”) To top it all off, following Sabrina on social media makes it pretty clear that she has an amazing connection with her fans. I would know – I’m one of them.

“We all have stories for a reason, and if we keep them to ourselves, I don’t feel they would help anybody.”

  1. Lauren Conrad

Lauren

Lauren Conrad basically runs an empire at this point. She has a successful lifestyle website, a podcast, an insanely popular fashion label sold at Kohl’s, works with female-run fair trade brand The Little Market…the list goes on. To me, Lauren is an incredible example of a successful businesswoman doing things on her own terms. She dabbles in everything she’s interested in, and she does it all well. She also does it all while being a mom. She just had her second son this year. She’s come a long way from her reality TV days and is showing women everywhere just how much they can do in the process.

“Go with your gut, but use your head.”

  1. Ciara

Ciara

I was a little too young for Ciara’s original golden era, but I’m very glad she has returned in full force. Her music, her charity work, and her devotion to her family have all inspired me greatly in the past year. But my favorite thing might have been her challenge to women to “Level Up” and not settle, based on her song by the same name (which I listen to entirely too much). Ciara is truly multi-talented and gifted, not just as an artist, but as a human.

“Education is everything – education is your power, education is your way in life for whatever you want to do.”

  1. Mandy Moore

Mandy

Mandy Moore is, of course, the star of the greatest television show of all-time, This Is Us. 2019 was a big year for her in ways other than playing the fabulous Rebecca Pearson. She opened up about her marriage with her abusive ex-husband Ryan Adams in a New York Times story that shook the music industry. It was through this that fans discovered why Mandy’s music career fell off the map right at its peak. But, after her triumphant acting comeback, Mandy released new music and announced plans for a new album and tour. I think she might be even more inspiring than Rebecca Pearson.

“Hope is the most exciting thing there is in life.”

  1. Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen

Ellen is just awesome. She’s my favorite, period. But in 2019, to prove how incredible she really is, she sat next to former president George W. Bush at a baseball game. After incurring a fair bit of backlash for this (how dare she sit next to another human being?!), she addressed the issue on her show, saying that she and 43 are actually friends. She then took it a step further and said what everyone needs to hear: we don’t have to agree with everyone on every single thing to get along with them and even be friends with them. Isn’t that the point, after all? I think we should all be a little more like Ellen.

“When you take risks you learn that there will be times when you succeed and there will be times when you fail, and both are equally important.”

  1. Lauren Alaina

Lauren A

Lauren is a country musician who I’ve been a fan of for years now, but in 2019 she garnered extra attention for her time as a contestant on Dancing With the Stars. On the show, she opened up about everything from weight to insecurities to everything her family gave up to help her find success. Perhaps the most inspiring part of her time on the show was a contemporary dance choreographed to her newly released song “The Other Side.” The song was written about her stepfather who passed away prematurely from cancer. According to Lauren, soon before his passing, he opened his eyes and described heaven to his gathered family. The song is stunning, as was the dance. In that moment, Lauren reminded us all of what is really important.

“The first thing I do every day when I wake up is thank God for letting me make it through the night and giving me another day of life – just because sometimes I wake up, and I cannot believe I’m doing what I’m doing. I just thank Him. I don’t know how I deserve it, but it’s completely because of Him.”

  1. Reese Witherspoon

Reese

Aside from Reese being the quintessential modern southern woman – and basically perfect in general – she stood up for women in a big way in 2019. She started producing projects based off of her book club picks that primarily involve women. She also starred in Apple TV’s The Morning Show, and I think we all know about that by now. I have always loved Reese and how genuine and humble she seems. Seeing her use her influence to help women in her industry and do even more to tell women’s stories made me admire her even more.

“I encourage women to step up. Don’t wait for somebody to ask you.”

  1. Kelsea Ballerini

Kelsey Ballerini

Remember that Kelly Clarkson concert I talked about? Well, Kelsea Ballerini opened for her. I love Kelsea Ballerini – I have ever since I first heard her very first song. So, when I finally saw her live, I cried…through her first four songs. Someone sitting near me even commented on what a big fan of hers I seemed to be. It was embarrassing and liberating all at once. Aside from the fact that I just adore Kelsea and her music and who she is as a person, she exuded girl power at that show. Seeing “Miss Me More” performed in-person is a whole different experience. To top it off, Kelsea began releasing music from her forthcoming third album at the end of 2019. The lead single, “homecoming queen?,” is quite literally everything I ever needed to hear and has become the official theme song for my life.

“The greatest gift I’ve been given is being naïve, because I don’t know what I can’t do. And when you don’t know what you can’t do, you think you can do everything.”

  1. Allie Beth Stuckey

Allie

Allie is a conservative political commentator and the host of her own podcast, Relatable. It was through her podcast that I really connected with her. By mixing her thoughts on what is happening in the world of politics with scripture-based episodes on theology, Allie has created a unique niche within the ever-growing world of podcasts and made a listener out of someone who tends to be pretty podcast-adverse. She is also not afraid to stand up for what she believes in, particularly going toe-to-toe with celebrities on Twitter when it comes to rights for the unborn. Allie is a conservative woman who I have truly come to admire.

“You can’t be a defender of human rights and a defender of murdering humans at the same time. You get to pick one.”

  1. Sister Reyna I. Aburto

Reyna

Sister Aburto serves as the second counselor in the general Relief Society presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She gave a talk at the General Women’s Session of the Church’s October 2019 General Conference that, in my opinion, changed everything. The talk, titled “Thru Cloud and Sunshine, Lord, Abide with Me!” addressed the subject of mental health. I have been open about my mental health struggles, but I feel that the topic is honestly quite rarely spoken of mainly because no one seems to know how to address it. But Sister Aburto addressed it head on, sharing stories of those she knew who had dealt with depression and anxiety, including her father, who committed suicide. She promised us that we can find peace in Christ, but we should seek medical help if we need it. Her talk set off shock waves on social media where everyone seemed grateful to finally hear this much-needed message. For me, it was a moment of feeling completely seen and understood. I am so grateful that Sister Aburto used this opportunity to share this message with us.

“If you are constantly surrounded by a ‘mist of darkness,’ turn to Heavenly Father. Nothing that you have experienced can change the eternal truth that you are His child and that He loves you.”

  1. Tulsi Gabbard

Tulsi

Tulsi Gabbard is a US Representative for Hawaii and is currently running for president. While all of this is a big deal in and of itself, what has inspired me most about her is her willingness to fight for what’s right, even if it means going against her party. When Hillary Clinton attacked her, she fought back. When she realized the Democratic Party was isolating some voters, she spoke out against it. She saw the things that shouldn’t have been happening, and she tried to do something about them. That is why I love Tulsi.

“I believe we can make progress on bringing true equality and fairness back to our government if we continue to work together and make our voices heard.”

  1. Rebecca Ross

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Rebecca Ross is an author – one of my favorites, actually. She is the author of The Queen’s Rising duology, which is basically my two favorite books ever. The second book, The Queen’s Resistance, released in 2019 and it was an event for me. I had to re-read the first book. I had to go buy it the day it released. I had to have a photoshoot in the middle of Barnes & Noble. Why do I love this duology so much? It’s about a fantasy world that is ruled by queens – the next female in the bloodline – and the fight to ensure that it stays that way. There is so much feminism. There is so little toxic masculinity. It’s simply perfect. To top it off, Rebecca’s writing style is absolutely stunning and something I could only hope to reach one day.

“That is a true gift, to help others see the world in a different way.”

  1. & 19. Idina Menzel & Kristen Bell

"Frozen 2" Photo Call - , Toronto, Canada - 04 Nov 2019

They really are a packaged deal, aren’t they? Story time: The first non-medical outing I had after I was in the hospital in October/November was going to see Frozen 2. And I cried profusely. I saw so much of my own journey in Elsa’s. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t incredibly moved by Anna’s too. I love these two ladies and the life they have given to these characters over the years. They have created some of my favorite films, my favorite songs, my favorite moments. Idina and Kristen will always be Elsa and Anna to me, and for that I am grateful.

“You can’t get it right all the time, but you can try your best. If you’ve done that, all that’s left is to accept your shortcomings and have the courage to try to overcome them.” – Idina

“I’m not going to become anybody I don’t want to become.” – Kristen

 

{ quotes via Goodreads | IMDb | Brainy Quote| Huffington Post | Brainy Quote| Quote Catalog | Brainy Quote |Brainy Quote | Goodreads | Brainy Quote | She Knows | Brainy Quote | Twitter | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints | Brainy Quote | Goodreads | Inspiring Quotes | Brainy Quote }
{ images via E! News/Kevin Winter/Getty Images for dcp | Billboard/Jesse Grant/ Getty Images for Disney | Variety/Jim Smeal/Rex/Shutterstock | Parade/Jared Siskin/Getty Images for Warner Music Group | Austin Chronicle/Todd V. Wolfson | PopSugar/Getty/Theo Wargo | Who What Wear/Lauren Conrad | Fader/Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images | Glamour/Getty Images | Today/Walt Disney Television/Getty | Billboard/John Shearer/Getty Images for ACM | Parade/Getty Images | WWD/Lexie Moreland | @conservmillen on Twitter | Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints | Axios/Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images | Rebecca Ross | Variety/Arthur Mola/Invision/AP/Shutters }
Spring & Summer 2019 Favorites

Spring & Summer 2019 Favorites

Now that fall is officially upon us (although the weather seems somewhat confused about that), I thought it was time to share my favorite things from spring and summer. These are all things that I’ve been loving the past few months. Let me know what some of your recent favorites are in the comments!

endgame

Movies & TV //

Avengers: Endgame – I loved this movie so much that I dedicated an entire blog post to it. I have been a Marvel fan for years now, and this was the perfect way to end a saga. Plus it offered the greatest theater experience I’ve ever had. Crying and cheering is way more fun when you do it as a group.

Toy Story 4 – This movie was simply perfect. I’ve never been the biggest fan of the Toy Story franchise, but this one definitely held up to the standards I have for Pixar. It was an incredibly emotional, poignant film with the perfect amount of nostalgia for those who have grown up with these movies.

Master Chef – I ended up seeing one of the early episodes from this season pretty randomly, and I was hooked. I’m not a huge fan of cooking shows, but I loved the competition aspect and seeing the rational, normal side of Gordon Ramsey. I will definitely be watching again next season.

Beauty //

Catrice Fresh it Up Primer – I cannot say enough good things about this primer. It is perfect if you have dry skin, or if you just want a little extra hydration. I really feel like this pairs well with any foundation, and the price can’t be beat.

Colourpop Luxe Lipsticks – These are some of my favorite products from one of my favorite brands. I’m so happy that Colourpop made “regular” lipsticks, and so happy that they stand up to the amazing quality customers have come to expect from them. My personal favorite shade is “Lay Over.”

Yes To Face Masks – I am very picky about face masks, but this brand has never let me down. Not only do they not irritate my skin, but I feel like they actually help clear up acne. There’s such a huge variety that you can find one for any skin need.

Books //

Lovely War by Julie Berry – When I read the synopsis of this book, it sounded like it was written for me. World War I historical fiction mixed with Greek mythology? Um, yes, please! I adored this book and the sweet story it told. Definitely a standout amidst the young adult fiction constantly being released.

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles – I guess you could say I’ve been in the mood for historical fiction recently. This book had such a unique story – a man sentenced to house arrest inside a grand hotel after the Russian Revolution. The lovely writing was just a bonus.

Scriptures & Quotes //

“The most ordinary mortal bodies are housed by spectacular souls.” – Julie Berry

“And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” – Acts 1:7

“Step into the daylight and let it go.” – Taylor Swift

“And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.” – John 21:25

Songs //

  • “ME!” by Taylor Swift ft. Brendon Urie
  • “If I Can’t Have You” by Shawn Mendes
  • “Sucker” by Jonas Brothers
  • “First Aid Kit” by Maddie Pope
  • “The Bones” by Maren Morris
  • “Miss Me More” by Kelsea Ballerini
  • “Look What God Gave Her” by Thomas Rhett
  • “Fighting For Me” by Riley Clemmons
  • “Rainbow” by Kacey Musgraves
  • “Greater Than All My Regrets” by Tenth Avenue North
  • “Broken & Beautiful” by Kelly Clarkson
  • “Lover” by Taylor Swift
  • “Exhale” by Sabrina Carpenter
  • “Say It” by Maggie Rogers
  • “What If I Never Get Over You” by Lady Antebellum
My Winter 2019 Favorites

My Winter 2019 Favorites

winter favs.jpg

It’s that time again. Winter is an undeniably long season, but most recently it was not a good one for me. So, I feel like this list is a bit shorter than usual. Regardless, here are a few of my favorite things from winter 2019…

Movies & TV //

Mary Poppins Returns – “Now my heart is so light / That I think I just might / Start feeding the birds / And go fly a kite!” This movie was simply magical. It filled me with joy, made me cry, and made me want to start singing along during my first watch. Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda were perfectly cast. I cannot recommend this enough.

Captain Marvel – O Captain! My Captain! Marvel really can’t stop being the best, can they? They had a lot to live up to with their first female-led film, and they did a fantastic job. Brie Larson was the perfect Captain Marvel, and I can’t wait to see how she fits into the rest of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe). This was girl power that wasn’t over-the -top and annoying, and just a really fun story. Also, young Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is kind of the best.

Lost – One day I was just scrolling through Hulu, looking for something new to watch, and I thought, “Why not watch this weird sci-fi show about plane crash survivors?” Even though this show can get a little far out sometimes, it had me hooked from the very first episode. There are so many twists and turns that leave you shocked and wondering if you’ll ever know the truth, and just enough flashbacks to get you invested in the characters’ stories. I may be fifteen years late, but I’m glad I’m finally giving this a try.

Beauty //

Bath & Body Works In The Stars lotion – I promise I am not sponsored by Bath & Body Works. (But I am open to that…) I mean, how can I not try a lot of their products when they have the best coupons ever? Anyways, this scent has become my new favorite from B&BW. It’s warm and felt perfect for the colder months, but I have no doubt that I’ll continue using it in the spring. It also lasts longer than any of their other scents. If you weren’t convinced that I love this, I’ve already used half of the bottle, and I can pretty much never get through those things.

Maybelline Shine Compulsion lipsticks – These are lipsticks with a glossy finish (as the name suggests). While I may still be holding on tight to my matte lip products, I do really like these. The formula is great, and I feel like they have pretty good staying power for a shine finish. My personal favorite shade is “Baddest Beige.”

Makeup Revolution Conceal & Define Concealer – This isn’t my favorite concealer ever, but it’s definitely a good one (and I’m very picky). The formula is nice, the shade range is pretty good, and I love the applicator. I really love all of these emerging drugstore brands that aren’t some of the “big names” – they’re releasing some good stuff.

Books //

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Screenplay by J.K. Rowling – This is the script of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which means it’s basically like reading a play. I’m not the biggest fan of reading plays because I really like details, so I was a bit hesitant about reading this. But I really loved it! The story is so lovely that it makes up for anything the book may have been missing. If you enjoyed the movie, I’d definitely recommend this.

Sisters First by Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush – I love the Bush twins and I’ve wanted to pick up this book since it was first released. It did not disappoint. The stories Jenna and Barbara told about their family, their upbringing, and their father and grandfather’s presidencies were entertaining and endearing. I enjoyed getting to know more about both of them and getting a behind-the-scenes look at their lives.

Quotes & Scriptures //

“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” – Lamentations 3:22-23

“Be gentle with yourself. You’re doing the best you can.” – Unknown

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding.” – Proverbs 3:5

“Without your past, you could never have arrived – so wondrously and brutally, by design or some violent, exquisite happenstance…here.” – Taylor Swift

Songs //

  • “Light On” by Maggie Rogers
  • “Kingdom” by Carrie Underwood
  • “Rich (Radio Edit)” by Maren Morris
  • “Invisible Ink (Rebecca’s Demo)” by Mandy Moore
  • “Die From A Broken Heart” by Maddie & Tae
  • “Dancing With Our Hands Tied” by Taylor Swift
  • “Last Night’s Mascara” by Brynn Cartelli
  • “One Man Band” by Old Dominion
  • “The Cure” by Little Mix
  • “Defender” by Francesca Battistelli ft. Steffany Gretzinger
  • “Make It Sweet” by Old Dominion
  • “Bridges” by Johnnyswim
Summer & Fall 2018 Favorites

Summer & Fall 2018 Favorites

I do love a good favorites post. And, technically, we haven’t actually entered winter yet (according to the calendar, not the weather). But still, we’re in a bit of a time crunch, so here is a combination of some of my favorite things from both summer and fall. What were your favorite things? Let me know in the comments!

mamma mia hwga

Movies & TV //

A Quiet Place – Um, stop everything and go watch this movie. John Krasinski is my actual hero and favorite person ever; his acting was, of course, spot-on, but his directorial skills are amazing. This story was fantastic, and I loved the disability representation. This was a special kind of scary in a world that has turned to chainsaws and zombies and whatever else they put in those weird modern horror movies.

I Can Only Imagine – I finally saw it! And it was just as good as I expected. This movie tells the story of Bart Millard, the lead singer of Christian band Mercy Me, and how his life led to him writing the group’s huge first single, “I Can Only Imagine.” It is heartbreaking, and inspiring, and not at all what I expected Bart’s life to be like. But maybe that’s why he’s so amazing.

Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again – “You are the dancing queen, young and sweet, only seventeen!” Picture these lyrics being sung while Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgard ride up on a boat while reenacting that “king of the world” scene from Titanic. Is it even necessary for me to say anything else? All joking aside, this movie was even better than the first, and the addition of Lily James was absolutely perfect.

New Amsterdam – This! Show! It follows Max Goodwin, the new medical director of a hospital whose mission is to treat everyone who comes through its doors, regardless of their ability to pay or whether or not they are insured. It also focuses on the head of each hospital department. There are plenty of nice side stories happening between the characters, but the real power of this show comes from its ability to make you question everything you know about the healthcare system, and to challenge one issue in particular – should healthcare be considered a right?

The Office – I did it, ya’ll. After all, “’You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. – Wayne Gretzky’ – Michael Scott,” and I had missed my shot of watching this series long enough. Admittedly, I didn’t watch every single episode, as some of them were a bit too edgy for me, but this was simply hilarious. I certainly did not expect to get so caught up in these character’s stories, but I did. I never would’ve thought that I would like this show…”Oh, how the turn tables.”

Beauty //

Olay Shea Butter Foaming Whip Body Wash – “Wow, this product is so unique and innovative! I love it!” – Me, an intellectual; “We’ve done this already.” – Every other drugstore brand in existence

L’Oreal x Camila Cabello Havana Collection eyeshadow in “Oh Na Na” – I’m not a huge fan of most of L’Oreal’s products (sorry!), but Camila Cabello is my most favorite ever, so of course I had to buy this overpriced single eyeshadow. But I love it! It’s such an interesting combination of bronze and gold, and has unbelievable pigmentation. If you can still find this collection somewhere, BUY IT.

Colourpop Super Shock Highlighter in “Lunch Money” – I’m not used to using highlighters in any form other than powder, so I was a bit unsure of this one from Colourpop – their Super Shock formula is almost indescribable, like an almost-cream-to-powder finish. But, I had used their Super Shock eyeshadows before, so I thought I could handle it. It turns out I really love this highlighter! I use a stipple brush to apply it for more control, and I always put it under any setting powder (or it’ll look weird). Overall, Colourpop is a super dependable brand.

queen's rising

Books //

The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca RossAll. The. Heart. Eyes. This is my favorite book of 2018. In a world that’s inundated with young adult fantasy books, I truly felt like this story, told not from the perspective of the queen, but of an acquaintance who comes to be a great friend, was unique, and so beautifully told. I cannot wait to read more in this world.

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black – I have never read a book in the fae (aka faerie, aka fairy) world before. It turns out they aren’t all pixie dust. They can actually be quite ruthless. But, that’s what makes them fun, right? And, as Holly Black is apparently the “queen of fae,” I guess I chose the right place to start.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson – When I was in high school, I took a Gothic literature elective, and it had quite an effect on me. I’ve never read a Gothic novel written so recently, though (the 1960s). This book is fantastic. I cannot recommend it enough. I’m also ecstatic about the upcoming movie, especially since it seems so similar to the book.

Quotes & Scriptures //

“A pretty sight, a lady with a book.” – Shirley Jackson

“Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” – Jude 1:24-25

“As long as God gave her the gift of today, she would cherish it.” – Karen Kingsbury

Songs //

  • “You Say” by Lauren Daigle
  • “Worth It” by Danielle Bradberry
  • “Back to You” by Selena Gomez
  • “All The Ways” by Meghan Trainor
  • “Forever on Your Side” by Needtobreathe ft. Johnnyswim
  • “Move You” By Kelly Clarkson
  • “Love Wins” by Carrie Underwood
  • “Love Anyway” by Tenth Avenue North
  • “Sue Me” by Sabrina Carpenter
  • “Make Him Wait” by Abby Anderson
  • “Shallow” by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper
  • “This Feeling” by The Chainsmokers ft. Kelsea Ballerini
  • “I Have a Dream” by Lily James
Spring 2018 Favorites

Spring 2018 Favorites

spring 2018 faves

Yes, you read the title of this post right. This is my spring favorites post. I know it’s a little  late for that, but as you can tell from my last post, I was kind of busy at the beginning of the summer. And because I have this strange love for favorites posts (and I already had it outlined), I decided to go ahead and write it. After all, since I started with these favorites posts, I’ve never missed one. So, read it or not; it’s up to you.

Movies & TV //

Avengers: Infinity War – I feel so confused about this movie. Like, I didn’t love it, okay? I’ll admit it. It wasn’t my most favorite movie ever, or even my most favorite Marvel movie ever, which I was kind of expecting. That being said, I went into this movie ignoring the fact that it was somewhat of a two-parter. And, regardless of how much I liked it, it completely destroyed my heart. So, yes, I believe it belongs on this list.

Forever My Girl – This was so. Cute. Yes, it was very cheesy and kind of felt like a Hallmark movie at times, but it was heartwarming and taught such a good lesson about the importance of love and family. I absolutely adored this.

Same Kind of Different as Me – First and foremost, I will see any movie with the highly underrated John Voight in it. But beyond that, this movie was fantastic. It tells the true story of a woman who volunteers regularly at a homeless shelter. When trying to mend their marriage, her husband begins coming with her. Over time, their entire family befriends one homeless man in particular. Going beyond that description would spoil what happens, but this is definitely something that will make you think, and remind you that there is no difference between you and me and that homeless person on the street corner.

The Royal Wedding – Yes. I am including this. I have no shame. Prince Harry is my favorite royal (don’t tell the others), and if he wouldn’t marry me, then I’m glad he married Meghan Markle. She is simply fantastic, and I loved the combination of traditional British and American themes in their wedding ceremony. Also, she looked fabulous.

Beauty //

Simple Replenishing Rich Moisturizer – You might have noticed the large amount of skincare products I’ve been listing in my favorites posts recently. While I do just love skincare (I think it’s connected to my makeup obsession…I have problems), the real reason I’ve been trying so many different things is because my skin is mad at me. But, never fear, I think I have finally found a moisturizer that my skin and I can agree upon.

The Body Shop body butter – I thought Bath & Body Works had good body butters; it turns out that they have okay body butters. (Also, if you’re wondering what a body butter actually is, it’s basically a super thick body moisturizer. I guess it does kind of feel like butter, but it’s not slimy and nasty.) You see, I have been deprived of the pleasure of having an actual Body Shop store near me (#smalltownprobs). I could buy Body Shop products from Ulta, but why do that when they’re way cheaper at Marshall’s/TJ Maxx? Anyways, wherever you buy them, these body butters are incredibly moisturizing and amazing, but check out the scent first, because some of them are kind of…not great.

Tarte Maneater Mascara – Yes, I am still using Black Friday deals because I have no concerns about sanitation. In almost every case, I stand by the fact that drugstore mascaras are actually better than high-end options. This mascara isn’t necessarily better than my drugstore favorites, but it’s definitely as good. It can give a nice, fluttery look, or you can build it up for something more dramatic. Cue Hannah Montana singing “Best of Both Worlds.”

CoverGirl Total Tease Mascara – Another fantastic mascara is making the list this time. This one isn’t quite as dramatic, but still really nice. However, please do not let the strange wand throw you off. It looks like some strange sort of toothbrush, but it actually works really well for catching all of your lashes, no matter how short.

Books //

100 Days to Brave by Annie F. Downs – This is a devotional book that I started earlier in the year and finally finished. Normally I’m not into the whole devotional thing, but I really love Annie Downs and how relatable she is. Also I feel like the little tasks for each day were really good. (Like, have you ever written a thesis statement for your life? Well, now I have.)

Alex & Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz – Apparently de la Cruz and her family went to see Hamilton, and her kids asked her about Alexander Hamilton and his wife Elizabeth Schuyler. She did some research to try to answer their questions, but there is very little known about them. So, she did the next best thing: she wrote a historical fiction novel with only the major, verifiable historical facts. The rest was purely fiction. But I hope that maybe, just maybe, it did happen this way.

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys – In my opinion, Sepetys is one of the most prolific young adult historical fiction authors…ever. This novel centers on a group of refugees fleeing East Prussia during World War II. But this isn’t a cute happily ever after story. It is a true testament to what happened to millions, and it is hopelessly painful. But Sepetys is perhaps one of the few authors who could inject such beauty into that pain.

Beautiful Uncertainty by Mandy Hale – Mandy Hale is better known as The Single Woman, which also happens to be the name of her popular blog. And, yes, she does discuss being single in this book. But, more than anything, this book is about waiting. As Mandy recounts a year in her life, she makes it clear that although waiting for anything in life can be difficult, God is with us through every second of it.

Quotes //

“We the survivors are not the true witnesses. The true witnesses, those in possession of the unspeakable truth, are the drowned, the dead, the disappeared.” – Primo Levi

“I am braver than I realize. And I will prove it today.” – Annie F. Downs

“of course i want to be successful / but i don’t crave success for me / i need to gain / enough milk and honey / to help those around / me succeed” – rupi kaur

“You have to allow yourself to be broken sometimes without trying to cover it up, run from it, hide from it, or conceal it from the world. You have to let the pain do its thing. Allow it to wash over you, allow the tears to fall, stop asking, ‘How do I make it stop?’ and start asking, ‘What did this come to teach me?” – Mandy Hale

Songs //

“In My Blood” by Shawn Mendes

“Butterflies” by Kacey Musgraves

“Tequila” by Dan + Shay

“No Excuses” by Meghan Traior

“Who You Say I Am” by Hillsong Worship

“Get Along” by Kenny Chesney

“Cry Pretty” by Carrie Underwood

“Found/Tonight” by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Ben Platt

“Tremble” by Mosaic MSC

“You Make it Easy” by Jason Aldean

“Queens Don’t” by RaeLynn

“I Lived It” by Blake Shelton

“Babe” by Sugarland ft. Taylor Swift

“Broken Prayers” by Riley Clemmons

My Winter Favorites

My Winter Favorites

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{ image via Donna on Unsplash }

It may be a little late to be talking about winter, but spring came very late this year. In fact, I’m fairly certain we’ve only had about two weeks of it. So, late or not, here are some of my favorite things from the months of winter…

Movies & TV //

The Greatest Showman – Oh my goodness. I cannot put my love for this movie into words. It is joy and magic and acceptance and love personified. The story, the cast, the music…everything is simply perfect. If you haven’t seen this yet, you are missing out. Big time.

Wonder – I pretty much never use this word, but this movie was a delight. Taking the message of accepting people’s differences and not judging them down to the level of middle schoolers was fantastic. This is one of the few instances when I believe the movie actually was better than the book.

The Resident – If there’s one thing that I obviously needed, it’s another drama to watch. (But, this is a medical drama, and usually I stick to crime, so there’s that!) This new show tells the story of senior resident Dr. Conrad Hawkins, who is assigned to train first-year resident Dr. Devon Pravesh. With the help of surgery resident Dr. Mina Okafor and nurse practitioner Nic Nevin, they basically become hospital vigilantes. Two of the most important physicians at the hospital, as well as the hospital CEO seem to be involved in some shady stuff, and being the awesome people they are, they just aren’t going to stand for it. This show actually takes on a lot of important issues ranging from immigration to medical insurance issues and shows the dark side of hospital administration.

This is Us – I have watched maybe five episodes of this show. I’m not kidding – that’s it. I started with the infamous Super Bowl episode, because everyone was talking about that thing that was going to happen and it was on TV so why not? Now this show is basically my life and I needed season three to start yesterday. Also, JACK PEARSON HOW DARE YOU?

Gilmore Girls – When I picked out a new show to binge-watch, I had no idea that I was picking a show that would become a way of life. I am a Gilmore Girl. I can identify if you are a Gilmore Girl. I am basically Rory, with a little bit of Lorelai and Paris mixed in. In case you couldn’t tell, this show has taken over my life…but I’m happy it has. (Also, just so we’re clear, I’m #TeamJess.)

Beauty //

Mario Badescu Rosewater Facial Spray – Okay, I kind of used to think these sprays were fake news. Like, what do they actually do for your face? While I have not noticed any benefits from all of the vitamins, etc. this supposedly contains, and while I don’t really notice a difference in the way my face looks when I use it without putting any makeup over it, it feels really nice. Mainly, I have come to love using this before doing my makeup. I honestly do feel like it works a bit like a primer and helps keep things from looking too dry.

Milani Make it Last Setting Spray – Setting sprays: another thing that we must question the function of. Do they really work? This one does. I truly do notice a difference in my makeup’s longevity. So, for that, I give it my approval.

Philosophy Fresh Winter Morning shower gel and lotion – I got this as a set at Ulta on Black Friday, and I absolutely love it. I had never previously considered what a winter morning smells like, but I think this is actually it. It’s crisp, it’s snowy, and it’s bright. (How awesome am I at describing scents?!)

Elizabeth & James Nirvana Black perfume – My sister gave this to me for Christmas, and it has become my confidence perfume. (Really. I wear this when I give speeches in my Public Speaking class.) The scent is a bit darker, making it good for the colder months, but I think it’ll work for any time of year. Also, it gives me flashbacks to my Mary Kate and Ashley fangirl days. (Elizabeth & James is their brand.)

Books //

Wonder by R.J. Palacio – As I said above, I liked the movie better. But, this book was still great. I enjoyed the multiple perspectives it was told through, and I found myself loving all of the characters. Plus, I think the book drives home the message of acceptance and love even better than the movie.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle – I read this for the first time for school in fifth grade. I had never read anything remotely science fiction before (those were my Nancy Drew days), so I was hopelessly confused and eventually gave up on trying to understand what was happening at all. Re-reading it now when I’ve got a bit more experience with the genre under my belt, I adored it. The message, the symbolism – it was all so beautiful, and L’Engle’s writing style is nothing short of stunning.

Champion by Marie Lu – This is the conclusion to a dystopian trilogy, and I cried for three days over it. That is not an exaggeration. Dystopian books are, of course, about some sort of power struggle and battle, but this one packed so much emotion in with it. It was absolutely fantastic.

Quotes & Scriptures //

“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” – Ayn Rand

“Your crown has been bought and paid for. Put it on your head and wear it.” – Maya Angelou

“I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.” – Psalm 40:8

Songs //

The Greatest Showman soundtrack

“I Won’t Let Go” by Switchfoot & Lauren Daigle

“The Middle” by Zedd ft. Maren Morris

“Greatest Love Story” by LANCO

“Different” by Micah Tyler

“Woman, Amen” by Dierks Bentley

“Wild Hearts Can’t be Broken” by P!nk

“The Champion” by Carrie Underwood ft. Ludacris

“Broken Prayers” by Riley Clemmons

“Parallel Line” by Keith Urban

“Still the Same” by Sugarland

“Consequences” by Camila Cabello

“You Broke Up with Me” by Walker Hayes

“I Do” by Morgan Evans