Getting Personal #87: September Goals Recap

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Image Credit: Kara Cozier

September was a mix of busy and relaxed! It’s finally starting to feel like fall!!

Here’s the link to my September Goals post:

Ready?

Here we go!


  1. Celebrate seven years together with Al! — Accomplished!
  2. Enjoy Savy’s bachelorette weekend! — Accomplished!
  3. Make / purchase several photo canvases. — Did not accomplish.
  4. Make a series of home improvement blog posts. — Semi-Achieved.
  5. Write at least 300 new words for my 2012 NaNoWriMo attempt. — Accomplished!
  6. Move my bookcase from my parents’ house to ours. — Did not accomplish.
  7. Inventory my entire personal library. — Did not accomplish.
  8. Make and start using homemade deodorant. — Accomplished!
  9. Start using my Savvy Minerals makeup. — Accomplished!

Here’s the breakdown:

Celebrate seven years together with Al! — Accomplished!

Enjoy Savy’s bachelorette weekend! — Accomplished!

Make / purchase several photo canvases. — Did not accomplish.

  • I spent way too much money on other things this month.

Make a series of home improvement blog posts. — Semi-Achieved.

Write at least 300 new words for my 2012 NaNoWriMo attempt. — Accomplished!

  • With the journal I wrote about in my recent Writing Prompt post, it was an excellent motivator!
  • I wrote approximately 554 words!
  • Current word count: 11,216 words.

Move my bookcase from my parents’ house to ours. — Did not accomplish.

  • Argh. A few missed opportunities to make this happen. Soon!

Inventory my entire personal library. — Did not accomplish.

  • This goes hand-in-hand with my bookcase. Soon!

Make and start using homemade deodorant. — Accomplished!

Start using my Savvy Minerals makeup. — Accomplished!

  • See the Getting Personal post, above, for more information!

Final Thoughts:

  • I was able to put Accomplished next to five out of nine goals! Woohoo!
  • The one goal that was Semi-Achieved: I’m happy with this one. More to come!
  • The three goals that I did not accomplish: Like last month, most of these involve time. I’ll keep chipping away at them until they happen!

What about you? Did you have any goals for the month of September?

Come back tomorrow to see my October Goals!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #86: My Skin & Makeup Routines (Part 3)

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Image Credit: Pinterest

I’m trying some new things, so I figured it was time to write another Skin & Makeup Routine post!

Here are the links to my original posts:


Skin

I just finished my bottle of Rose Jam shower gel last week. I think it lasted roughly seven months. It smells amazing. I’m planning to buy another bottle during my next trip to the store.

Here’s a few of the new things I bought during my last trip to LUSH – My annual birthday trip!

Ultrabland is one of the best makeup removers that I’ve ever used. I bought a second, bigger pot of it during my last trip to the store!

I haven’t tried Cup O’Coffee yet – I want to try it this weekend. For best results, you’re supposed to leave it on your skin for at least 15 minutes before rinsing it off. It smells heavenly! I’m also excited to try The Olive Branch, once I finish my bottle of Dirty Springwash.

This is two parts of my daily moisturizing routine – I use the Enchanted Eye Cream right under my eyes. Less baggy and diminished purple! I doubt I will use anything else other than Enzymion – It feels so smooth, and it’s really helped me control oil, and my breakouts.

Ocean Salt (left) and Dirty Springwash.

Ocean Salt smells like the beach and limes. I need to go back to LUSH soon – I’m almost out of it! And Dirty Springwash smells so fresh and minty!

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Left to right: My bigger pot of Ultrabland, Plum Rain shower gel, and my second bottle of The Olive Branch (I accidentally bought two!)

My LUSH wish list:


Makeup

When I started getting into Young Living Essential Oils earlier this year, I began to realize that makeup is full of terrible chemicals, and a lot of toxins. Yuck!

I decided to take the plunge and look into the Savvy Minerals by Young Living makeup.

Over the last few months, I’ve been stockpiling. I bought the Essential Brush Set, as well as two shades of the eyeshadow – “Spoiled” and “Best Kept Secret.” Turns out, I accidentally ordered two sets of these eyeshadows!

Next month’s Essential Rewards order will have the eyeliner, and blush. I’m also looking forward to when they release mascara!

I like the packaging – It’s very fancy, and perfect for gifts. But, I wish they wouldn’t do the paper confetti! It gets EVERYWHERE!

I love the Brush Set!

My Savvy Minerals wish list:


Deodorant

Making this change was set in motion within the last month. I already knew many deodorants and antiperspirants have a laundry list of chemicals, but most of them are truly awful!

My Young Living consultant, April, recently posted a recipe for homemade deodorant.

She wrote:

“What’s cooking? Homemade deodorant! Did you know that many store bought deodorants contain chemicals like

⚠️ aluminum- linked to Alzheimer’s and an increased risk of breast and prostate cancer

⚠️ parabens- can disrupt hormones and has been linked to breast and prostate cancer

⚠️ triclosan- this ingredient is sketchy enough that it has to be removed from hand soap by this fall because the safety of it is in question. But it is still in many deodorants!

⚠️ propylene glycol- can cause damage to the central nervous system, heart and liver

⚠️ fragrance- a catch all term that covers hundreds of “trade secret” ingredients. May cause skin irritation, allergies, respiratory issues, etc

Guess what? My deodorant doesn’t contain any of those chemicals and it is super cheap to make. Not only that, but it really works! It took less than 5 minutes to make- so easy!

I’ll post the recipe in the comments. Do you make your own deodorant?”

Homemade Deodorant Recipe

2 Tbs baking soda
2 Tbs arrowroot powder
3 Tbs organic coconut oil
5-10 drops Purification essential oil
5-10 drops Lavender essential oil

Directions:

Combine 1 Tbs baking soda and 1 Tbs arrowroot powder. Add coconut oil and stir. Depending on how warm it is in your house, the coconut oil may be in a solid or liquid form. Coconut oil is a solid below 76 degrees. If it is in solid form, warm it slightly (just until it liquefies) for easier mixing. Add desired amount of essential oils and stir. I chose Purification because it is great at getting rid of odors and Lavender because it is good for your skin. Add 1 Tbs of baking soda and 1 Tbs of arrowroot powder, stir well and transfer to storage container. To use, dip your finger into the deodorant and then apply a dime-sized amount under each arm.

My ingredients! I had everything at home, except for the arrowroot powder (That’s the small baggie). Luckily, there’s an awesome store in Chesapeake called Sage Organics. They sell many items in bulk, and you can measure out how much you want on your own.

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My results! It took less than five minutes to make. I used a sterilized Tupperware container. The main thing was melting the coconut oil, but that only took 30 seconds in the microwave. It smells amazing!

I want to try this Deodorant Spray next!


Hair

I also just started using Young Living’s shampoo and conditioner. Traditional shampoos and conditioners have many of the same chemicals and nasty stuff! Plus, my hair was getting really greasy and gross recently. I don’t have time for that!

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I just started using the Lavender Mint this week. It smells AMAZING! Plus, the mint feels really good on my scalp.

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I have the Copaiba Vanilla waiting the wings. It also smells really good!


What about you?

Do you have a certain skin routine? What about makeup?

Have you tried any homemade recipes related to skin or makeup?

Check back in a few months – I’ll likely have another update post to share!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Book Review #47: “Growing Up with Aloha: A Nanea Classic 1”

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Image Credit: American Girl

As soon as American Girl announced Nanea as their newest BeForever Historical Character, I knew I wanted to read her books!

These books are relatively quick reads for me, but since I love historical fiction, I try really hard to pay attention to all the details!

Nanea’s story begins in 1941, on the island of Oahu, in Hawaii. Her given name is Alice Nanea, and the author packs a variety of Hawaiian words into the story. She’s the baby of the family, with an older brother, David, and an older sister, Mary Lou. Her mother is a Hawaiian native, while her father is from Oregon, from the mainland. I had to remind myself that Hawaii wasn’t a state yet!

Nanea enjoys spending time with her friends, Lily and Donna. They like shave ice on the beach, learning and performing hula, and school.

As the story progresses, we learn that Nanea’s father is a welder for one of the shipyards. Pearl Harbor is bustling with activity, especially as World War II has ramped up over the last several years. However, many on the island go about their daily business, welcoming tourists and taking care of their families.

A special contest is being held, and Nanea and her friends are excited to enter. The prize is a brand-new Schwinn bike! They have to meet four criteria. The deadline to enter is December 15th.

Then, on December 7th, everything changes. Pearl Harbor is attacked by the Japanese. Nanea’s father has to work around the clock, and her brother and sister volunteer their time and effort in the community. Nanea feels like the baby again, wanting to help, but being too young. Everyone is scared as martial law is declared, blackouts begin, and schools are closed.

Christmas doesn’t feel very festive, but the family celebrates anyway. They rekindle the Hawaiian spirit of “ohana” and “aloha.”

This story wraps up around January 1942. Just as things begin to look normal again, Nanea and her friends learn that one of them may have to leave because of the Army’s orders. Nanea wants to help her friends, but she’s not sure how!

Overall, I dug deep into Nanea’s story. I found myself dreaming about the story and picturing certain scenes every night when I went to bed. I really want to visit Hawaii now!

I really appreciate the attention to historical accuracy, while making it relevant to the main audience. Nanea may be the baby, but she’s starting to grow up. And, I learned a few new things along the way!

I’m already thirteen chapters into Volume 2 – Look for that review soon!

5 out of 5 stars.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Prompt #77: “52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge” (Week 39)

Week #39: Your Heritage.

This post took some thought, and some research. On the outside, I’m an ordinary white woman.

But, my history / ancestry lays throughout Europe. My maiden name, Stricker, is descended from the German language. I’m fairly certain my dad’s family came from Europe. Grandpa Stricker was in the Navy for several years, and my dad was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Shortly thereafter, his family – Grandpa, Grandma, Auntie Marn, Aunt Nancy, and Dad – moved to St. Petersburg, Florida.

My mom’s paternal grandparents emigrated from the Ukraine, and my grandfather was raised Jewish in New York City. After starting college in Ohio and meeting my Grandma Grace, Grandpa Madan was in the Army during World War II. After the war ended, he got out of the Army, and they also settled in Florida, near Miami. My grandpa’s sister, Aunt Marilyn, lives in Boca Raton. Her daughter, Sherri, lives in Manhattan.

Besides the evident European ancestry, religion is a big part of my family history. My Grandpa Madan was raised Jewish. My mom was raised in the United Church of Christ. My Uncle Richard considered going into seminary. My dad’s family includes Methodists and Lutherans. I was raised in the United Methodist Church. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to attend services among several denominations – Lutheran, Catholic, Baptist, Russian Orthodox, Congregational, Presbyterian, and United Methodist, to name a few.

Writing this post has inspired me to learn even more about my family, their experiences, and their history. I want to learn as much as I can, and document everything along the way.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #59: “Once Teased For Her Love Of Bugs, 8-Year-Old Co-Authors Scientific Paper”

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Sophia Spencer and Morgan Jackson co-wrote a scientific paper on Twitter, entomology and women in science, after a tweet about Sophia’s love for bugs went viral. Image Credit: Nicole Spencer

I stumbled upon this NPR piece last week, and thought it was awesome!

Here’s the link to the original article:


It’s such a shame that bullying is still so prevalent in our society. However, this story shows that something good can come out of it!

I’m in awe of Sophia Spencer. At 8-years-old, she already doing amazing things! She loves bugs, and she’s a co-author of a scientific paper. Wow!!

I felt tears in my eyes as I read this quote from her:

“‘Before … I really thought loving bugs wasn’t the best hobby,” Sophia told NPR. “But after I realized bugs are for girls I thought to myself, ‘Well, I think I should start loving bugs again, because just because people say they’re weird and gross doesn’t mean I shouldn’t like them.’ ”

How many kids — How many adults — can say that?

I’ll admit, I wasn’t a big fan of math or science as a kid. I was a bit more interested in science, mainly because of The Magic School Bus and Bill Nye The Science Guy.

Sophia’s passion will carry her far in life. She’s already changed the world of Morgan Jackson, and all the entomologists who responded to her mother’s pleas for support and encouragement!

As I was reading the article, I couldn’t help but think of two of my friends – Melissa and Brittany – who are both passionate about science, physics, STEM, etc., and how they’re changing the world in their own ways. Brittany has two adorable girls, and I love how she is teaching them about science (among other things) every single day!

Thank you, Sophia, for inspiring me! You’re gonna be a great entomologist someday!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Tag #30: Burn, Rewrite, or Re-Read Book Tag

Ann posts some of the most interesting book tags! Here’s another!

Here’s the link to the original post:


The Rules:

  1. Randomly choose 3 books — I liked Ann’s idea of writing them down and placing them in a cup to randomly draw, so I totally did that. Great idea, Ann!
  2. For each group, decide which book to burn, which one to rewrite, and which to re-read.
  3. Repeat until you complete three rounds. (You can do more than three!)

Round 1

  • Burn: Jake Riley: Irreparably Damaged. I read this book several times in middle school and high school, but I don’t think I’ll read it again. Jake’s character gave me the creeps!
  • Rewrite: The Runaway: A Maryellen Mystery. This was a tough choice. It’s a really good book, but I think I would be a tad more sensitive, given its target audience. Seeing animals in distress is never good, or fun!
  • Re-Read: The Great Gatsby. This is one of my all-time favorite books. I re-read it every year.

Round 2

  • Burn: Ender’s Game. Given the choices, I would reluctantly burn this one. This is one of the few science fiction books that I actually liked!
  • Rewrite: Fire From The Rock. This was a good book (I’m currently researching Sharon M. Draper for an upcoming “Awesome Authors” post), so I wouldn’t change much of the story. Maybe make it a little shorter, but that’s it. I really liked the characters and the structure.
  • Re-Read: To Kill A Mockingbird. Like The Great Gatsby, this is another book that I re-read every year.

Round 3

  • Burn: Paper Towns. Again, this is a reluctant burn. I have enjoyed all of John Green’s books thus far.
  • Rewrite: The Notebook. This was a hard choice. I would make a few edits, but this is one of my all-time favorite books from Nicholas Sparks.
  • Re-Read: Story of a Girl. I read and analyzed this book for my Young Adult Literature class back in 2011, so I would love to read it again.

Round 4

  • Burn: This Is Where It Ends. I would actually be okay with burning this one. I understood the author’s intent, but books about school shootings will always been unsettling to me.
  • Rewrite: Divergent. Out of the entire trilogy, I wouldn’t make a ton of changes. I would be okay with extending Divergent a little longer, and ending with Insurgent. No need for Allegiant!
  • Re-Read: The Pelican Brief. This is one of my favorite John Grisham books. I don’t re-read it every year, but it’s one that will always be on my bookshelf.

I Tag

  • Anyone!

Have you read any of these books?

Would you change any of them?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Book Review #46: “The Journal of Scott Pendleton Collins, a World War II Soldier” 

The Journal of Scott Pendelton Collins

Image Credit: Amazon

Scholastic has published three particular series that I have loved since the sixth grade.

It all started with finding Voyage on the Great Titanic: The Diary of Margaret Ann Brady, R.M.S. Titanic, 1912 in the Western Branch Middle School library. I had never heard of it, or that it was part of a series, but my best friend Melissa immediately recognized it, and recommended I read it. I did, and an obsession was born!

I have a good number of the “Dear America” books in my personal library, and my goal is to eventually own all books in all three series.


When Al and I visited 2nd & Charles in Newport News recently, I found this book on the shelf. I couldn’t pass it up for $3.45, since most of these books retail for at least $10.95, or more.

I don’t remember reading this one as a kid and young adult, but I’m glad I did now.

Summary: A seventeen-year-old soldier from central Virginia records his experiences in a journal as his regiment takes part in the D-Day invasion of Normandy and subsequent battles to liberate France.

Written by Walter Dean Myers, this is a impressive, fictionalized account of what hundreds of thousands of men went through during World War II.

It was also really interesting to realize this character was raised in Roanoke, Virginia, and talked about life in Roanoke and Winchester. It made the story even more real for me, and sobering. It also makes me want to re-read several books by Myers, who has written books about African-American life, as well as the Vietnam War, among other topics.

Reading this book inspired me to re-read the Dear America books that I already have, as well as seek out other My Name is America and The Royal Diaries books that I haven’t read yet.

Although these three series are designed for younger readers, the authors work hard to accurately portray history. Plus, I usually learn something new every time I read or re-read one.

Look for more Book Reviews on these series, coming soon!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth