End of Summer Favorites

I rounded up my favorite things lately to share with you guys. I do have a few things that I don’t like, as well.

We’ll start with these Pilot Frixion Ballpoint Gel Pens. I’ve been using these to write in my Gentle Feast planner as well as take notes in my textbooks. I just like the way they write. Sometimes on glossy paper, they do act a little funny and they will smear if you don’t let them dry. But overall, I’ve been reaching for these pens the most. The “eraser” on the top is the perfect size. (If you buy these pens, to use, you click the pen clip down.)

These Pilot Frixion Fineliners, on the other hand, fall into the dislike category. They do this weird disappearing thing on glossy paper. They don’t completely disappear, but they don’t look like they’re staying, either. They work well on Bible paper, so I’ve been taking them to church on Sunday to take sermon notes in my She Reads Truth Bible, but that seems to be their only use. The “eraser” part is also really large and clunky to work with.

This is a regular favorite– Zum Mist. I absolutely love this stuff. I swear I’m going to branch out beyond the patchouli scent one day, but every time I try, I end up rebuying patchouli because I love it so much. I came really close to buying the sea salt scent this time, but they were out. This is an essential oil spray. It doesn’t leave oil or color stains on clothes or fabric. You can spray it on anything. I usually spray it on my person. It is strong enough to notice, but never overpowering. This is also a great option for tweens and teens instead of their body spray. (Whoever made Axe body spray hates mothers.) This stuff is all natural, and your kids can spray as much as they want without knocking you down when they walk by. I get lots of compliments on this scent.

Another Zum product that I have been loving is this Dragon’s Blood Zum Rub. It is very oily and thick, but it is magic on rough hands. I’ve been having issues with really dry, cracked cuticles and fingertips, and this stuff is just magic. It smells nice, and it makes my hands look soft and pretty again in no time. It is very similar to the Badger Balm Healing Hand, but I like the Zum formula a little more. The Badger Balm can be a little bit gritty feeling as you’re rubbing it in.

Nubian Heritage soap is the stuff dreams are made of. I absolutely love this one. The Patchouli and Buriti scent is so perfect. It does leave your skin smelling like patchouli but not quite as much as a Zum Bar— much more subtle than that. I have tried a few of the other scents, and while they are lovely, I apparently have very strong postive feelings toward patchouli. It is just my happy scent. I also really like the Nubian Heritage deodorant. It isn’t my all-time favorite natural deodorant, but it is really nice. The smell is perfect. It is my go-to pick when I don’t have time to wait for my favorite to ship and need to run to Sprouts to pick something up.

Since we’re talking about deodorant, I posted on the Facebook page about this one. This ZionHealth ClayDry deodorant is the best natural deodorant I have ever tried. And I have tried A LOT of them. I’m currently using the Palo Santo scent (not this one), I really love it. The ClayDry is a bit firm, but if you have trouble with it, hit it with the blow dryer or warm it under your arm and it’ll spread better. This stuff not only smells awesome, but it also leaves you feeling great and fresh for a VERY long time. I do not order this from Amazon; no, I usually order from Adamaminerals.com. They send great coupons and have excellent customer service.

I’ve been wearing this lip gloss pretty much every day. It is the Dominique Cosmetics Lemonade lip gloss in the color Peach Tea. It is just the perfect color, and the gloss is shiny and moistuizing but not tacky or stringy. It is a gloss, so it isn’t super long-wearing and does need reapplication, but the light color makes it so that you can apply it quickly like chapstick without needing a mirror.

On to the two makeup products I very much dislike. This Becca Hydramist powder is the worst powder I have ever used. I usually love Becca products, so I was so confused to find that I hated this one. I was trying to upgrade my Coty Airspun powder. (Turns out, Coty Airspun is just the best loose powder, even though it is super cheap.) This powder feels wet when you put it on. It also doesn’t dry smoothly on my skin. It bunches up and has patchy spots. It is so weird. It is cooling, but it looks awful. I tried to bake the under eyes with it, which was a nightmare. I tried just using it as a finshing powder, but that worked out horribly, as well. It is just not a good formula at all.

I was really excited about this Wander Beauty Glow Ahead Illuminating Face Oil. It is more of a serum-feeling primer, which is why I was excited about it. I’ve been looking for a glowy primer, but this isn’t it. It isn’t terrible. It doesn’t do awful things to my skin, but it really just doesn’t do anything at all. It looks pretty and shimmery in my hand, but on my face it looks like nothing. It looks just like any other serum. If you’re looking for a glowy primer, skip this one and try the Becca First Light Primer. It actually makes you glow.

I bought this book quite a while ago but just got around to reading it. Our ladies book club read it, and I’m really glad I finally read it. It wasn’t at all what I was expecting; it was so much better. I did not anticipate being so deeply moved by this book. I figured it would just be encouragement to read the Bible daily. Yes, it was that, but it gave so much more depth to holding tight to God through Scripture. This is one of those life-changing reads. It deals a great deal with grief and loss, and I didn’t know how much I needed that right now. I highly-recommend this book. I know I’m always recommending the She Reads Truth stuff. It is just all so worth checking out.

For The Children’s Sake is another book I’ve been planning to read for a long time and just got around to. We have been moving toward a Charlotte Mason approach from The Well-Trained Mind classical approach for the last few years, but this year we made the leap into a fully-Charlotte Mason curriculum. I felt like I needed more of an understanding of the methods as I began that endeavor. I’ve listened to podcasts and taken some online classes, but this book is just so much more. It feels a little dated, but there are some really great things all homeschool parents need to hear in this book. I’m really glad I read it. This is one I would say is a must-read for homeschool moms.

A book I greatly disliked was Defiant Joy. I was sweetly sent an advanced reading copy of this book; unfortunately, I just didn’t like it. It is so shallow. There is this push to put out Christian Living books, particularly for women, and so many of them simply lack substance. Many of them aren’t even Christian. I felt like she was saying the same things over and over, spreading too wide of a net, and not diving deeply into the subject at all. There were a handful of inspirational quotes for your Instagram wall but nothing truly noteworthy about the book.

I know I posted this in my Homeschool Resources post, but it is definitely worth repeating. These digital cards from Twig and Moth are just the most beautiful little things. You purchase the digital files and then print and cut them yourself. I print them on cardstock, and they turn out beautifully. I’m not kidding; I fully plan on giving some printed card sets as gifts this year— they are so lovely. I use these with our nature study. I print each kid their own card set. They love them. Each card has a beautiful watercolor illustration and an explanation with it. We used the Seeds and Seedlings last week and are breaking out the Minibeasts this week.

These are all my favorites and not favorites for right now.

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My Favorite Things in October

favorite-things-october

I had a surprisingly difficult time choosing my favorite things this month. It was hard because I couldn’t list something like a feeling. (That walking through the grass that is smattered with leaves in the fall while you are alone is one of my favorite feelings. It reminds me of college, because I walked to class across campus and rarely used the side walks.) I also had my share of things that just were not my favorite. Some, I thought were sure to be on the list and then they just weren’t.

  1. Pressing Pause by Karen Ehman and Ruth Schwenk

 

pause

This book is lovely. It is a hardcover devotional book for moms. It is really geared toward moms with kids at home. It just takes a few minutes a day to read through each devotion and Scripture. They even include a prayer each day. No mom brain excuses for not getting your devotions done. There is also space to journal your thoughts to a few questions each day. I skip the journaling part, since I am usually feeding a baby while I do this devotion. I just think about the questions instead. This book is beautiful and would make a lovely gift. I’ve included this book in my Favorite Things Giveaway. It is just that good.

2. Majestic Bible Tabs

bible-tabs

I took on the task of adding Bible tabs to each of my kids’ Bibles. For homeschooling, we have pew Bibles, so everyone’s is the exact same. But for personal use, my kids who can read have their own Bible. They were talking about how it sometimes takes them a long time in church to find the passage and they can’t follow along because by the time they find it, Daddy is halfway through reading it. So, I bought tabs for each of their Bibles and put them in for them. I got the boys the rainbow kid version and Imo got the purple princess version. The majestic tabs come with a template, so you can easily line each tab up and not have to guess and they all end up pretty much even. The kids love them. They work really well. It did take me a few hours to tab all three Bibles, but the result is lasting and awesome. Now they can look up verses more quickly so they can follow along.

I’m including a set of tabs in my Favorite Things Giveaway basket!

3. Casemate Pocket Journals

Walmart carries these little 2 pack pocket journals and they are awesome. They are cheap. ($1.88 for a 2 pack) They are cute. (I love the periwinkle and pink pack.) They have satin bookmarks built in. Each journal has 80 lined pages. These are perfect for taking sermon notes, jotting yourself quick reminders, or whatever. I love them. I’m including a pack in my giveaway basket!

4. Recollections Divider Tabs

I get these at Michaels and they are really nice and super handy. Just a simple sticker that you put on a page to make it have a tab. They come in a rainbow of colors. I love using them in my Bible to mark things that are important. They are pretty permanent, so don’t use them for temporary page saving. They are great for journaling, bullet journaling, planning, organizing, etc. I’m including a pack of these in my giveaway basket!

5. Treat Yo Self Mug

treat-yo-self

I got this massive cup at Walmart for $2.88. It has provided so much amusement. Seriously. I put my coffee in this cup (or my Pumpkin Spice and Chill cup) every single day and it gets a little smile and laugh every single time. I just love it. I love the font choice, the color, the saying, the size. It is my little happy in every morning. I’m including one in my favorite things basket!

6. Glitter Nail Polish Technique

Just watch this video on YouTube. It shows you how to apply glitter nail polish so it looks stunning. And it works! I saw the video, had to try it. Imo and I were pretty impressed. Even super cheap polish looks high end with this technique. (Which was great because who spends good money on Halloween nail polish?)

7. Glitter Washi Tape

washi

I know I have already confessed this obsession many times, but it just has not ceased. Sure, glitter washi is a little thicker than regular washi and when you put it on every single page of your planner it will bulk up, but it is worth it. This month, I used it to disappear some mistakes I made in my planner. Next month, I’ll use it to fancy up my birth certificate. Just kidding. Maybe. I don’t know what it is about me and glitter all the sudden. I’m just into it like a 10 year old. I’m including some glitter washi tape in My Favorite Things basket. (And if you click on that link and think, but do I NEED 6 rolls of gold glitter washi tape, the answer is yes, yes you definitely do. But you can buy single rolls at Walmart.)

8. Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bombay India Ink

This is a little bit of a weird one. I have been getting into hand lettering. It is so much fun and it is relaxing.

signI made this canvas at a local art place. (Project Studio, which is an amazing place, if you’re in the area.)  This along with the above linked book kind of got me started. However, at home, I wasn’t very happy with how my letters turned out with acrylic paint. I had to really water it down to get it to the consistency I wanted. Enter India Ink. The perfect consistency for hand lettering with a paint brush. You can add water or not. Either way, it is wonderfully smooth and perfect for this use. They also make a pretty big assortment of colors. Of course, black is my go to, but I am trying to branch out.

9. Spry Gum

This is weird, I know. But this has been a staple for me. For some reason, my teeth clenching has returned, so gum is a must. But I don’t want sugar gum. But I don’t want aspartame gum either. Spry is sweetened entirely with xylitol, which is good for your teeth. Boom! I’m really loving the spearmint flavor right now. And yes, I buy the big jars of it. I need it. Green Tea was my go to flavor, but I am apparently switching it up this month.

10. Kate Spade Live Colorfully Perfume

This is another weird one coming from me. I am not a perfume person. I never have been. I like smelling nice. But perfume has just never really been my thing. But this perfume, it makes me feel like a grown up. I feel together. I feel beautiful. It smells adult, but not too adult. I just love it. And I have enjoyed wearing it. Probably freaked some people out that I suddenly smelled like a grown woman. Such is life.

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My Favorite Things Giveaway

favorite-things-giveaway

This month, I am going to be putting together a basket of some of my favorite things! The basket contents will be a surprise. But you could win it! I’m really excited about this! Get excited with me!

So, how do you enter? Easy. Comment here. It is that simple! Entries will close at midnight on October 31st, 2016 EST. I will literally be putting your names in a basket and pulling out a name.

Want your name in there more than once? Like Notes From The Parsonage on Facebook and comment here that you liked it. Subscribe to my blog and comment here you subscribed. Share this giveaway on your social media and comment here that you shared. Each of those things will get you an extra entry!

I’m really looking forward to sharing my favorite things with you! May the odds be ever in your favor.

** This giveaway is now closed. Like me on Facebook and Subscribe to the blog for future chances to win! **

My Favorite Things- September

I’m a big fan of fall. This time of year, it is just THE BEST! I’m trying to break out the sweaters, but the weather just won’t cooperate. I have a list of things I have LOVED this month.

 

1.   LUSH New! Shampoo bar

I felt like I was the last person on the LUSH train, but apparently, I am wrong about that since when I posted on my Facebook about LUSH, I had a lot of friends who had never even heard about the brand. What? How can this be? I had to drive really far to get to a LUSH location. I saw a few YouTube videos about the LUSH shampoo bars. My hair has been on the thin side since Pip was born. And my usual Nioxin shampoo post baby just wasn’t cutting it. (I don’t know if they changed something, but it has always been a miracle cure and it did absolutely NOTHING this time.) I really wanted to try the NEW! Shampoo bar. (It isn’t a new product, it just makes you have new hair.) I drove the 50 minutes to my closest LUSH. (50 minutes isn’t really that far in Atlanta travel time, but it seemed far because I passed so many places you could buy high end shampoo before getting to the mall with the closest LUSH.) Now, you can buy from LUSH online. I totally should have done that because then you don’t see ALL THE OTHER stuff you just HAVE to buy. (Bath bombs, bubble bars, lotion bars…)

The New! Shampoo bar smells like cinnamon. It is also pretty inexpensive. Considering that I am usually a $50 shampoo person, $12 shampoo ($11.95, to be exact) just seemed too good to be true. I was thinking, I’m going to need one a week! No way will that last. But it did! Y’all, ONE shampoo bar lasted me 2 months! I wash my hair daily! Sometimes I double wash it! And one single bar lasted 2 months! That is like the cost of Pantene or something per month!

As far as how it works, my hair is the prettiest it has been in a LONG time. I just repurchased my second bar because this is MY shampoo now. Now and forever. It is a little on the drying side, so you do really need to use a conditioner along with it. I loved LUSH veganese shampoo. It smelled so nice and just the tiniest amount made my hair so soft and lovely. I’m also really digging the LUSH BIG conditioner bar. It isn’t too much and is a nice, light conditioner that leaves my hair silky without being weighed down at all.

I have tried a couple of the other shampoo bars. Currently, the Pastor is using Karma Komba and I did steal some of it when I ran out of NEW! It smells really nice. And it left my hair feeling wonderful, even when I skipped conditioner. But it isn’t as plumping for my hair. Imo is currently using Lullaby shampoo bar. It is nice and soft, even without conditioner. (She hates conditioner.) But the NEW! Is my favorite!

 

2.   LUSH Dirty Toothy Tabs

 

I know, another LUSH product. I’m not at all getting free stuff from them. Don’t I wish. I didn’t even use a coupon! I saw the toothy tabs and I just had to try them. The concept was unique. And I am always looking for all natural oral products that work. I’ve been pretty disappointed with most natural toothpastes and such. I grabbed a bottle of these and hoped for the best.

 

I’ll just say it. They taste disgusting. I mean, the base is baking soda and cream of tartar and that is pretty much what they taste like. You grab a tab, chomp is up a little and then brush your teeth with it. It foams like crazy. It has a super strong spearmint flavor and that is pretty much what the aftertaste is. Not spearmint gum, but spearmint essential oil. So why are they my favorite if they taste so bad? Because they leave your mouth unbelievably clean and fresh! Your teeth will literally sparkle. It is a clean even better than a fresh from the dentist clean. They are amazing. I plan to try the other flavors soon!

 

3.   Nyx Pump It Up Lip Plumper Lip Gloss

 

I have the color Elizabeth and it is the perfect pinky nude color. It isn’t very rich color, just a nice feeling lip gloss that is the perfect color and consistency. I’m a huge lip gloss snob and this stuff is my favorite. You can pick it up at the drugstore. It is so cheap, but so good. I found myself recommending it to a stranger in Sephora! It is good. It has a slightly minty scent/taste and is ever so slightly plumping. Not like, allergic reaction plumping. Just, my lips don’t look old and wrinkly plumping.

 

4.   Nyx Lingerie Lip Gloss

 

I tried so many lip products this month. I was looking for something perfectly matte. This is it. I got the shade, Embellishment, and it is totally a 90s shade! (Which is in right now.) I swear I wore the same shade, only darker, in 9th grade. I love it. I plan to buy more colors in this line. This stuff stays put. Like, even a make-up remover has a very hard time removing it. And it is perfectly matte. I tried several “matte” products this month that didn’t even come close to being matte. My only dislike is the size of the doe foot applicator. It just seems really long, which is a little more difficult for my skinny lips. I picked this up at CVS for under $7. I have spent far more on far inferior products. You need to try this stuff!

 

5.   CVS Nighttime Cleansing Cloths

 

These are lavender and chamomile make up removing cloths. They feel so nice on your skin and they smell so nice! I grabbed the off brand because I needed to replace some expensive ones I had been using until I could get around to getting more. But I am not going back to the others! These are so nice. It is like a small relaxing step before bed.

 

6.   Pumpkin Spice Sandwich Cookies

 

I’m just going to admit it. I love pumpkin spice EVERYTHING. I hit that stuff so hard that come December, I am sick to death of pumpkin. But at the beginning of the pumpkin spice season, I am in love. I found these cookies at both Wal-Mart and Publix. They are the exact same both places. Soft pumpkin spice cookies with a cream cheese icing middle. SO GOOD! I will warn you, if you buy them, you will eat THE ENTIRE PACK, probably instantly.

 

7.   Barre Exercises

 

I was never really into dance. As a kid, I took clogging lessons. That is as much dancing as I did. A new barre gym opening up near me. I considered trying it out, until I saw their prices. No. No. No. Just not at all something I could even think to afford. A week later, I get offered this Gofit Go Barre Ballet Workout Barre set to review. Yes, please! It is kind of inconvenient having the barre hanging around, and I don’t use the DVD at all. I just learned the moves from the book and I do it while I catch up on shows. It is hard in a good way. It isn’t high impact. I am loving it. It is exercise that I actually like. Plus, the home kit is cheaper than one month at the Barre gym. (This is NOT an affiliate link because I received this product to review.)

 

8.   Scotch Expressions Glitter Washi Tape

If you don’t know what washi tape is, I don’t know where you have been. It is cute masking tape, usually thinner. You can use it anywhere. I love using it in my planner to make the weeks look a little happier. I found this glittery Scotch washi tape and it is just, amazing! It makes everything look snazzy. I’m not usually a glitter person, but this has just been my jam lately. I have gone through 7 rolls this month. (Shh! I know. Obsessive.)

 

9.   Blossom Menstrual Cup

 

This is going to be TMI. You may want to skip to #10. You were warned, so no complaining about it now. I bought this cup 6 months ago, expecting the return of my menstrual cycles post baby. (Mine usually return 11-13 months postpartum.) However, my cycles decided to stay away for a little longer so I have just now been able to use this cup! I’m late to the cup bandwagon, as always. I can say, I now know what the hype is about. So much easier. So much more comfortable. So much better. If you haven’t tried a cup yet, try one! I picked this particular one because of price and I was not the least bit disappointed. You can pick the color. Plus it comes with a cute little drawstring pouch for storage. I am now a fan. (This is an affiliate link.)

 

10.                Bluegrass Covers

 

It started with a playlist on Spotify. I absolutely LOVE bluegrass covers of popular songs. And I have to admit, I am loving the covers of rap songs, probably way too much. Taylor Swift covers are also awesome. I’m just going to link some for you to experience this awesomeness. (They are just as inappropriate in bluegrass form, so be aware if you have little ears nearby.)

It’s Getting Hot In Herre

Take On Me

Billie Jean

Shake It Off

Gold Digger