My Favorite Albums of 2019

My Favorite Albums of 2019

lover

2019 was rough – I think we’ve established that. But, just like it always has been and always will be, music was there for me when I needed it. This year some absolutely amazing albums came out that I love very much. I could think of no better way to start off the new year than to look back on the albums that defined 2019 for me. Here they are, listed in chronological order of their release.

GIRL by Maren Morris

I remember the first time I listened to “GIRL” (the song, not the album). As Maren sang, “Don’t you hang your head low, don’t you lose your halo,” I was pretty sure she was singing to me. Hearing the album for the first time was no less significant, and I had already developed a special connection to it before I was even halfway through my first listen. Maren’s awareness of the sometimes sexist conditions of the country music industry is clear, but she reminds us all that she’s not just here to “shut up and sing” (her words, not mine). Watching Maren’s success with this album has made me so happy, and my connection to it has reminded me of how I feel about Kacey Musgraves’ Golden Hour, which is undoubtedly one of my favorite albums of the decade. {Favorite Tracks: “The Bones,” “Great Ones,” “Gold Love”}

Moonlight by Johnnyswim

Shockingly, there was a time in my life when I did not listen to the same album on repeat for days on end. So, when I listened to the latest from Johnnyswim three times in a row in one day, I knew it was something special. This album is simply stunning. Johnnyswim’s songwriting abilities are on full display. While the upbeat tracks are fantastic, I absolutely adore the more raw, poignant tracks (“Flowers,” “Long Gone,” “Amanda,” and “Same Old Thing,” just to name a few). I love Johnnyswim and I couldn’t love this era in their career more. {Favorite Tracks: “Souvenir,” “Flowers,” “Amanda”}

Singular Act II by Sabrina Carpenter

I truly love so many different genres of music, but there is something that always draws me back to pop music. Sabrina Carpenter has reached pop perfection in her follow-up to 2018’s Singular Act I. She got very personal on some songs, addressing her own struggles with anxiety (“In My Bed,” “Exhale”), while others exude the girl power and independence she has come to be known for (“Looking At Me,” “Take You Back”). Sabrina has come a long way from her Disney days and has proved in these two short but sweet acts that she is most definitely singular. {Favorite Tracks: “Exhale,” “Tell Em,” “Looking At Me”}

Inspired by True Events by Tori Kelly

Tori Kelly has been one of my favorite artists for…as long as I can remember. Every one of her albums is one of my favorites. I love what she did with Inspired by True Events, telling the raw truth about the past few years of her life, from her marriage to her grandfather’s passing. Interspersed between the songs are audio clips from home videos taken during Tori’s childhood. They make the album even more personal and add another layer to the meaning of the songs. Tori is an incredibly gifted vocalist and songwriter, and I know there is nothing but more good things to come from her. {Favorite Tracks: “Sorry Would Go A Long Way,” “2 Places,” “Your Words”}

Lover by Taylor Swift

Really, did you expect anything else from me? Lover defined my year. I anxiously awaited news for the album and the release of every single and music video. I even woke up from a migraine-induced nap one day to watch one of Taylor’s Instagram lives. I am a Swiftie through and through. I am happy to report that this album did not disappoint at all. It is perhaps Taylor’s most diverse album in terms of sound, and I truly think it has something for everyone. There are deep, emotional tracks like “The Archer” and “Soon You’ll Get Better,” as well as ones you just have to dance to, like “The Man” and “London Boy.” Taylor set out to capture all of the emotions, feelings, and facets of love and I believe that she did that – romantic love, love for friends and family, love for yourself, it’s all here. I couldn’t be prouder to see her “step into the daylight and let it go.” {Favorite Tracks: “Cruel Summer,” “Lover,” “Daylight”}

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

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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

20 Facts for 20 Years

20 Facts for 20 Years

In honor of officially entering my twenties recently (what???), I thought I would share twenty random facts about myself with you all – one for each year. I hope you all enjoy getting to know my strange self better. 😉

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  1. My favorite celebrity couples are Tom Hanks & Rita Wilson and Ryan Reynolds & Blake Lively.
  2. My favorite Taylor Swift song from each album of hers (in chronological order) is “Stay Beautiful,” “White Horse,” “Mine,” “All Too Well,” “Out of the Woods,” and “New Years Day.”
  3. I am somewhat of a quote collector and have a ton of favorites, but one that I always remember is: “The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” – Ayn Rand
  4. I’ve been interested in politics for several years now, but I’ve become very passionate about several social issues within the past year.
  5. My dream job is writing about politics for The Washington Post while doing some political commentary for NBC.
  6. Sometimes I get freaked out watching Gilmore Girls because I literally am Rory Gilmore, so it feels a little bit like I’m watching a TV show about my life.
  7. I read. Every genre (especially fantasy). All the time.
  8. My favorite colors are pink, gold, and mauve.
  9. I might have a slight make-up buying problem. And I strongly believe that you should do your make-up the way that you want and not let anyone else’s thoughts bother you! Wear the bold lip color! (At least that’s what I do.)
  10. My favorite scripture is Romans 1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”
  11. I’d rather write five English essays than do one science lab.
  12. Ronald Reagan is one of my heroes, and is absolutely one of the reasons I have come to love politics and conservatism so much.
  13. I am so grateful that I have such a close relationship with both of my parents, especially my mom (#besties).
  14. I was pretty much born in the wrong era. I love old music (Frank Sinatra is my favorite) and movies. Audrey Hepburn is flawless and I will never not love Sabrina.
  15. I love true crime shows, especially Dateline. Not to brag, but one of their correspondents, Josh Mankiewicz, has replied to my tweets multiple times. And I would like for one of their other correspondents, Keith Morrison, to follow me around and narrate my life.
  16. I was diagnosed with my first chronic illness when I was three years old.
  17. My all-time favorite albums are Rivers in the Wasteland by Needtobreathe, Where I Find You by Kari Jobe, and Red by Taylor Swift.
  18. I love going to concerts. Some of my favorites that I’ve been to are Needtobreathe, Luke Bryan, and Ben Rector. My concert bucketlist includes Rachel Platten, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, and U2 (you gotta aim high).
  19. The first job that I was seriously interested in was being a defense attorney. I think it’s because I used to watch way too many Matlock episodes. I also thought that this would be a very dangerous job, because of those same Matlock episodes.
  20. Although I love politics, I truly believe that art can change more than legislation ever could. We look to music, film, and books for inspiration, not Washington.