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
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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