Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Beach Themed Wish List

Until this year, going to the beach was something that I could not do very often due to my geographical location. Now that I moved closer to the coast, I've been able to take advantage of my proximity to the beach and have spent some relaxing days at the shore. Since I've been going to the beach more often, I'd like to start investing in some items that will make my frequent trips to the beach even better!

1) Bathing Beauty One-Piece Swimsuit in Emerald from ModCloth-

Bathing Beauty One-piece Swimsuit in Emerald

Truthfully, for the amount of time I spend at the beach and going to swimming pools, it's kind of embarrassing to admit that I only have ONE bathing suit. I can't say that I enjoy shopping for bathing suits at all, and being tall and busty has always given me issues when I try to find a flattering swimsuit. Also, I don't feel comfortable in a two piece, so that automatically narrows down what is available even further. Last year, I searched online for a bathing suit and found that ModCloth had a decent selection of one-piece swimsuits that were actually pretty adorable. After reading the positive reviews from others that said things like, "I haven't felt this good in a bathing suit in years," I decided to go ahead and order the Fruity Suity One-Piece Swimsuit and hope for the best even though I thought I might end up returning it. Once I tried it on, I knew it was a keeper! It was the most flattering swimsuit I had bought in ages and it definitely gave me enough coverage in all areas. I've worn that swimsuit so many times now and want to add another piece by the same designer to my summer wardrobe.

Fruity Suity One-Piece
2) Straw Beach Bag-

Lauren Ralph Lauren Portland Beach Tote
I have been using my teaching tote bag to carry all of my beach stuff in, and it's not really ideal to have to keep dumping one out for the other when school is in session.  Plus, some of the kids' papers got a little sandy, ha ha. I would like to have a bag that I only use for the beach. That way, if there is an impromptu meeting at the beach, I can just grab my bag and go because everything will be ready. The straw beach bag I really want is this Lauren Ralph Lauren Portland Beach Tote from Macy's. It looks roomy and gives off that summer/beachy vibe, but unfortunately at the current price of $147.99, it is a bit over my budget right now.  I will probably end up going for this INC International Concepts Beach Tote instead.  It's still cute and made of straw and is way cheaper at $34.99.

INC International Concepts Beach Tote

3) Face Sunscreen-

Currently, I just have a bottle of Water Babies sunscreen that I use on my whole body and face. I want to switch to a different brand because for me it does not rub in easily and which leaves my face looking as white as a ghost. I also can't stand that greasy feeling, so buying some sunscreen made specifically for faces is going to save me a lot of grief. The one I'm the most interested in right now is Clinique's Sun SPF 50 Face Cream because I trust the brand and other reviewers said that it felt "lightweight" and that it did not clog their pores.

Clinique Sun SPF 50 Face Cream
4) Deluxe 4 Position Aluminum Canopy Beach Chair from Beachmall.com

4 Position Canopy Beach Chair

I am not someone who can lay out on the beach in direct sunlight all day. I get way too burnt and one day last year, I was not careful and got sun poisoning. After that, my friends bought a beach umbrella (they also suffered), but I'd rather have this chair! It still offers shade, and I don't have to set it up or anything. Also, I love that it has a towel rack on the back, a cup holder, AND a pouch to store books.

5) Tinny Retro Cooler

Tinny Retro Cooler
I don't own a cooler of my own and each time I go to the beach, I just ask my friends if I can cram stuff into their coolers. Since I'm sure that they are getting sick of me doing that, it's about time to get a cooler of my own. Plus, this way I can have something to use if I make a solo trip to the beach. This cooler appeals to me because of its fun design! 

6) Martha Stewart Collection Beach Blanket

Martha Stewart Collection Beach Blanket
I prefer laying out on a beach blanket as opposed to a towel because I like to sprawl out.  This Martha Stewart one is one sale right now for $19.99 and can easily fold up into a square so that it's easy to carry.  The bright colors just scream summer to me.

What items do you need to pick up for the beach?

*This post contains affiliate links for which I will receive a small amount of compensation if you click on the link at no extra cost to you.  All opinions are my own.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Weekending: A Visit With My Sister

As soon as school ended, I knew right away that one of the first things I wanted to do was to drive up to North Carolina to see my sister Denise and my baby niece, Sophia. Since the drive to Denise's place is a little over 6 hours from where I'm at, I only was able to see her one time while school was in. If I had a normal 9-5 job, it would have been feasible to drive to see them over the weekend, but the reality of it was that I spent a great portion of every Sunday lesson planning so it probably wouldn't have been ideal to visit them on a regular weekend.  Denise and I counted down the days until my teaching year wrapped up and then finally I got to see her again last week! 

Already Sophia has grown so much! When I first met her, she was just a newborn, but now she is more mobile and really loves to bounce. She's so funny--she loves wiggle or move her arms constantly. She does like to be held, but there's a catch.  You have to be moving, too or she will get upset. My sis has her work cut out for her because Sophia likes to be on the go.  Sophia also LOVES my sister's dog, Maddie. If she starts to get fussy or cry and Maddie appears, Sophia immediately will start smiling and laughing.  Also, when Denise's husband gets home from work, it's heart-warming to see how much Sophia lights up.  Denise called her a "Daddy's girl." 

Mostly, Denise and I just talked and hung out in her house, but we did go out a little if we could schedule it according to Sophia's nap schedule. Something I had been wanting to try out for awhile was this cake shop in Greenville, North Carolina called Your Perfect Cake. I have a weakness for cake and baked goods, so when I saw that Your Perfect Cake allows you to customize your slice of cake, I knew that I had to try it out! I had actually been bugging Denise about going years ago. First you select the kind of cake you want, and then you can choose the type of filling, icing, and topping you want! I ended up with almond cake with raspberry filling and cream cheese icing with a toffee topping. It was pretty good and the slice of cake was huge! Denise got a peanut butter cupcake, but hers was dry and both of us were not impressed, but we both liked what I got.

Then the two of us went shopping at Ulta, and I asked one of the workers to do my foundation for me because I was looking for something with more coverage than just the L'Oreal BB Cream I usually wear. She recommended bareMinerals Complexion Rescue. I don't think it has super heavy coverage, but it did work better than just the regular BB Cream I usually use and hid more of my flaws. I'm quite pleased with it! Of course, I also splurged on a few more items like this awesome hand cream from Eau des Minimes. Thank goodness there isn't an Ulta super close to me right now or I'd be in big trouble.

After my mini-makeover at Ulta with the bareMinerals Complexion Rescue on
Denise and I also worked out at her gym while her husband babysat. It was cool because there was a women's only workout room, so that's what we used. The main part of the gym was kind of intimidating because almost everyone there was super fit and buff. Good for them, but I would have stuck out like a sore thumb! The fewer people that can see me sweat like a pig, the better thank you very much. 

Oh, and to balance out that cake we ate a really healthy dinner full of shrimp and veggies, prepared by Denise's husband on the grill. 

One day we went walking out on Emerald Isle, but we had to stop because of the heat index being over 100 degrees. Although we wanted to get our exercise in, it just wasn't worth it because it was smoldering and Sophia wasn't exactly loving it either.  We stopped at The Sweet Spot to get some raspberry chocolate chip ice cream, though.  That put us (and Sophia) in a better mood!

Ha ha, it was hard to get a good picture with her because she loves to squirm. :)

The next day, we learned our lesson about trying to do things mid-day in the NC heat and woke up early so that we could go to the blueberry patch and pick some blueberries before it got in the 90's. It was a good decision, and Sophia was pretty relaxed and content! In fact, she fell asleep for part of it. Denise made some delicious Nutella and blueberry crepes for us later. 

We also played badminton, watched The Bachelorette, and one night I baby-sat for Denise so that she could enjoy a much needed date-night out with her husband.  It was the easiest baby-sitting job I ever did because Sophia slept the whole time!

Do you like U-Pick places for fresh fruit in the summer?

**Linking up with B Loved Boston for Weekending

Friday, June 19, 2015

How to be an Annoying Blogger

An annoying blogger:

* Leaves lame comments on others' blogs.  I'm talking about comments that do not make sense or ones that just say, "Great post."  I mean, really why bother?  Other types of comments that bother me are the ones where people shamelessly promote themselves by letting you know about their online shop when it's not exactly related to what you've posted about.  I try to delete these types of comments.

* Doesn't turn the Captcha off for commenting.  I'm sorry, but the Captcha just sucks.  Sometimes I'm just guessing on which letters I'm supposed to be typing in and end up getting it wrong so I end up just leaving no comment at all. Bloggers who want comments should make commenting as easy as possible for their readers.

* Adds you to a mailing list you didn't sign up for and keeps e-mailing you.  Just because I joined a link up one time a year ago does NOT mean I want to be sent weekly e-mails reminding me about said link up.

* Doesn't follow the rules in a blog group or "cheats." I get that many of us are busy and sometimes people may honestly forget to complete their portion of the daily threads. However, there are totally some people out there that only leave their links for others to comment on, and they do not fulfill the basic requirements of the thread. There are also some bloggers that "like" others' links like they've actually commented/shared posts, when they haven't.  

* Posts exactly the same stuff on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook (and so on) over and over. Okay, this one can be tricky because we all want to promote our posts, but when I see your link three times on my Twitter feed and then see the same pic/link show up multiple times on my Instagram/Facebook feed, it's just too much!

* Doesn't live up to their sponsorship promises. This one is pretty crappy, especially because so many bloggers offer ads and many of them do a great job of promoting others' content.  Wasted money is never good!

* Steals content from other bloggers and acts like it was their own. Thankfully, I have not seen this too much, but to not give credit where it's due is just shady. 

* Is insensitive about touchy subjects like religion, politics, gay rights, etc. I already get overloaded with this from Facebook, thank you very much!  

* Says that their opinions are their own on a sponsored post, but it just feels fake. We've all read some sponsored posts where we think, "Yeah right!!" Readers can tell when bloggers are being disingenuous, and I think that that lowers your credibility overall. I only try to collaborate with companies when it feels right/when I think I will truly like their product.

* Follows you via one form of social media, then you follow them back, only to have them unfollow you within a day. I've experienced this the most on Instagram, honestly. To be fair, it isn't always just other bloggers that do this, but I still feel like saying, "If you don't like my pictures, then don't follow me in the first place!" It's sad that some people just follow a ton of accounts in hopes of getting their own numbers up.  I downloaded Crowdfire to help better manage my Instagram and Twitter accounts, and like it because it lets you know who your new followers/unfollowers are.  I've discovered great new people to follow through this app!

* Constantly brags about their stats.  Everyone knows that putting information out there about your stats is fine on your sponsor page--that makes sense.  When bloggers have to mention over and over how they have SO many views/new followers, well, that just gets real old real fast.

* Bashes other bloggers openly on their blog.  That will make me stop reading a blog pretty quickly!

* Does not have a link to their blog in their Disqus profiles. Sometimes bloggers have left me nice comments, and I want to head over to their blogs and interact with them. I look for the links in their Disqus profiles, but if they are missing them, then I'm unable to return the love!

* Is a no-reply blogger.  I'm sure many of us (myself included) were once guilty of this because we just didn't know any better. This isn't as big of a deal for me now that I use Disqus, but see how it could be frustrating to those who use other commenting systems.

* Has a ridiculous amount of co-hosts or rules to follow just to be able to join a link up.  When I have to follow 3 hosts and 5 co-hosts just to add my post to the link up, eh, I'd rather pass. My favorite link ups are ones that are very simple and straightforward rules or the ones with no rules at all.

* Never responds to comments. I certainly don't expect for everyone to respond to all of my comments all the time, but if I leave several comments and never get a reply back then it kind of bothers me! For me, blogging is a lot about interactions and if it's one-sided, then it is my personal preference to no longer comment on that blog.

* Whines about not getting a lot of comments, pageviews, etc.  Instead of complaining about no one commenting, why not create a reader survey to try to improve your blog?

* Is extremely negative all the time. Yes, as a lifestyle blogger, I totally get wanting to sometimes vent about an issue on here, but when I'm constantly brought down by what a blogger is posting about, it's time to move on!

Are you with me on any of these? What are some of your pet peeves when it comes to blogging?