You guys know I love subscription boxes. Since gift giving is one of my favorite love languages, it’s super fun giving myself a little present every month. Something New Bridal Box recently sent me one of their boxes to review and oh my gosh, they’ve got me hooked. This is the only subscription box that I’ve ever received and decided to keep every single thing for myself because I’m actually going to use it all.
This is what the box looks like when you receive it:
First, I unwrapped the travel mug that says, “Miss Mrs.” on the front. I’ve been drinking a lot of coffee and tea lately, so this is going to be a really nice addition to my wedding planning supplies. I love how bright and girly it is, and despite having a kind of rubbery lid, it doesn’t spill when you use it.
The next thing that caught my eye was a little white goody bag with a silk ribbon around it. I was excited to find a compact mirror by Pink Confetti Boutique that said, “bride” on the front. I’m a huge fan of the watercolor pattern that’s been making its way around the bridal circuit lately, and I am going to pack this in my little touch up bag for the day of the wedding. The boutique also included a 25% off coupon code, so I checked out their site and there are a lot of fun things for both bridesmaids and brides.
Third, I found a delicate sterling silver “Mrs” necklace in the box. It’s funny, but this is the first time I’ve really thought of myself as being a “Mrs.” I have thought about the last name change and everything, but I haven’t spent very much time thinking about the title change away from “Miss.” This little necklace made me feel giddy, and I am waiting to wear it until I have officially become a “Mrs” this fall.
Last, but certainly not least, I felt something thick and heavy wrapped in pink tissue paper underneath all my other goodies. I was so excited to find a “fiancée” sweatshirt at the bottom! It’s thicker than a shirt, but thinner than a normal sweatshirt, so I’m super excited to wear it throughout the summer. The only downside is that it’s a little big on me (It’s a size medium), however when you sign up for a subscription you can actually put in whatever size you are so it will be accurate when you receive your box. Since this was a sponsored post, I didn’t give my size, but I’d rather have this be a little on the bigger side anyway. I can’t wait to wear this over to the fiancée’s house later today to see what he thinks!
Overall, I highly recommend Something New Bridal Box. They have incredible customer service and replied to my emailed questions within the hour, and the shipping was faster than I expected. I loved every single product, and feel like it is a decent price for everything they included in the box ($44.95, but if you use my coupon code you can get 10% off that, and the price goes down more the more boxes you commit to when you subscribe!). I highly recommend purchasing a subscription for yourself or an engaged friend. It would make a wonderful gift at an engagement party as the packaging is beautiful so it’s already wrapped, and the gifts inside are high quality and super-fun for any girl who is getting excited for her wedding.
Want to try SNBB for yourself or to give to a friend? Use the code KRISTALAUREN10 to get 10% off your first purchase.
I hate rainy days. They make my head hurt, body ache, and they are only soothing if it’s warm outside.
I love this blog, though. It’s so good for my heart and I’m always happy to share my feelings with everyone because I know I’m a super-average twentysomething who can relate to Taylor Swift just as much as the next girl. Today is a Call it What You Wantkind of day — partly because it’s her newest song, and partly because I have been feeling particularly brave about writing lately. It will take a little bit of time to share some of the things I’ve been working on lately because the gnarly pain in my arms seems to have come back for a sudden vengeance, however I am trying my hardest to use the dictation software that frustrates me to no end.
One of my favorite quotes of all time is by Hemmingway,
“There is nothing to writing. All you have to do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
As an ENFP this is a really easy task for me. I don’t have the best memory when it comes to numbers, dates, or names, but if you ask me how I felt at any given event I can recall it in such vivid detail. If I think about the day Robert left to go overseas enough, my heart will hurt and remember the empty ache that took resudence in my body while he was gone. I remember small details from birthdays and how I felt on each of them, how much joy I felt running around New York City with my mom while I lived there and she visited me, and I can clearly recall the warmth that filled my heart when I realized I loved Robert. I can easily remember how I’ve felt in every stage of our relationship, even if I can’t recall how many dates we went on our first couple of months together.
Having strong feelings can be a nuisance sometimes, however I think they help me connect to others so much more beautifully than if I didn’t feel deeply. Even if I haven’t been in the exact same situation as another human, my heart can connect to theirs and sing the same melody until they feel less alone. And that, my friends, is the reason I want to keep being so open in this space and why I have to keep writing.
I wanted to do a fun, light post about a few of my favorite things for fall. I have a lot of new segments coming up this month, so please keep coming back to my little space on the internet if you want to keep walking in this journey of life with me. These are five of my favorite cruelty-free beauty finds:
1. Jane Iredale Blush I mentioned recently that I’m obsessed with Jane Iredale makeup. Not only is it cruelty free, but it’s super light and feels good on your skin! My new favorite purchase is their blush. I wear the “flawless” shade, and I like it because it has a little bit of a brown undertone, which makes me feel like I’m wearing a tiny bit of bronzer.
2. Klorane Dry Shampoo Oh my gosh. This is the best dry shampoo I’ve ever used. Not only does it smell incredible, but it also doesn’t leave white powder streaks in my hair when I use it. I’ve tried a lot of different brands with my Birchbox subscription, but this is by far my favorite!
3. Rodan + Fields Lash Boost Yes, this is a shameless plug for my business… But the reason I became a consultant for R+F is because I am obsessed with their products, so this wouldn’t be a complete list without my favorite fun beauty buy! My lashes have become incredibly long and full (check out the way they were before I started using this product), and I couldn’t be happier with my results. I have like, six other products I’d love to ramble about, but one of the funnest ones is the Lash Boost. People are always asking what kind of mascara I use now, and it’s crazy, but it doesn’t even matter. They look great no matter what type I put on — or even if I decide to go makeup-free.
Shoot me a message on Facebook if you want to hear more about it and get a 60 day risk-free trial!
4. Pure Cosmetics Nude Collection Eyeshadow This is such a beautiful eyeshadow palette. It reminds me of a matte Urban Decay Naked palette. I — like every other girl in the world — mainly just use a couple of their colors, but they offer great options for a nice, clean everyday look.
5. Adesse New York Nail Polish I love my new cruelty-free nail polish. Everything on this list was cruelty free, as I am obsessed with little furry critters. This is such a beautiful color for fall, and it goes on smoothly and stays longer than most that I’ve used.
Tell me, what are some of your favorite products for fall? I am so excited that it’s October, and am trying to enjoy the fashion and weather while it’s still nice and crisp out. Sound off in the comments; I always love new beauty finds!
How many times have you heard someone utter the words, “I can’t wait until tomorrow,” “I can’t wait until Friday,” or “I hate Mondays?” I find myself saying this on days I feel sick, lonely, or even just bored.
Somehow the future is always more bright, beautiful, and easier than today. Nobody warned us that there would still be trials, loss, and unplanned twists and turns where you least expect them. That being said, why do we still always hope for tomorrow to come, even when we have so many blessings today? I think a big part of it has to do with boredom. It’s hard to sit still and have a mundane schedule and so much easier to “live for today” when today is exciting and great.
Getting sick with POTS really opened my eyes to the harder parts of life. One of the most difficult lessons I’ve learned is that the future isn’t promised, and some dreams may never come true. You know what else I learned from these lessons, though? That this is all okay! I learned that you have the opportunity to grow and learn from trials, and that you can always handle so much more than you realize. I learned that sometimes the hardest thing you have to go through can turn into the biggest blessing you’ve ever had, and that God’s plan for you is even better than what you have planned for yourself. Finally, I learned that sometimes all you can do is take life one day at a time, and focusing too much on the future can actually be harmful when you are dealing with a particularly difficult trial.
Instead, on the harder days I try my best to list my blessings. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve surely seen my “Five Blessings” posts. This was the most recent one:
Instead of having the mindset that life is going to be better tomorrow, count the blessings you have today. Don’t get me wrong; it can be really hard sometimes, but if you can find even just one thing to be grateful for, life quickly feels a little bit easier. Sometimes you need to just take baby steps, even if it’s just counting your blessings — one day at a time.
Update: Still trying to change my domain to KristaLauren.com, but it’s taking forever because I need technical help and it hasn’t been the biggest priority on my list. Keep in mind this site will be changing, though!
It’s been awhile since I’ve written little product reviews, so I figured it was about time I did a post about some of my favorite things for summertime. Since I have POTS and really need to focus on health and hydration, this is going to be all about healthy living this summer. Let me know in the comments if you have a great recommendation of things for me to try while it’s still hot out!
1. nuun Tablets
nuun tablets are my favorite thing to keep me hydrated when it’s hot out — and really throughout the year. I have a terribly off electrolyte and sodium balance in my body, so these little tablets are perfect to put in my Smart Water to keep me feeling good. My favorite flavor is watermelon, but I also like the lemon lime or strawberry lemonade nuuns!
2. Mission Towel
My mission towel has kept me from fainting a good handful of times. My body overheats really easily, which causes my heart to race and blood pressure to drop way too dramatically. This is a huge nuisance, so anytime I go someplace outdoors I take my towel in my purse and just add water to activate the cooling cloth. I put it on my neck to lower my body temperature, and it really does work wonders. I think even just normal people who hate the heat or athletes would really benefit from having one of these!
3. Cotton Candy Grapes
CC grapes are literally my favorite summer snack. I could eat an entire box of these in one sitting if they weren’t so filling! (Note: I’ve never known grapes to be a filling food, which just shows how much I must eat at snacktime.) Please, if you’ve never tried these, go to the store and get them before they’re out of season. They aren’t genetically modified; I don’t know how they get the grapes to taste like this, but it’s wild!
4. Rodan + Fields Foaming Sunless Tan
The products that initially drew me to Rodan + Fields were the Unblemish regimen and the Lash Boost, but I quickly discovered that their sunless tanner is incredible. I’ve never been someone who likes to sit out in the sun, but I love the way my skin looks with a nice brown glow. I had trouble finding a self tanner that wouldn’t streak or make my skin look orange (I’m looking at you, Tan Towel!), but somehow the foam makes it a lot easier to get full coverage and make the bottle last well into the summer. It was funny the first time I tried it because it was right after my beach trip, and Robert told me my tan looked really nice. I proceeded to lecture him about how I don’t get a really dark real tan, since I am careful to keep my skin protected from UV rays.
But not just any Greek yogurt — Maple Hill Creamery Greek yogurt! The cows are 100% grass-fed, and appear to live a pretty good life in their family-owned farms in New York. I am all about treating animals well, plus this yogurt is easily the best I’ve ever had. I got on the Greek yogurt bandwagon pretty early on, back when I was in high school and it was just becoming a popular thing. I’ve tried a lot of different types, and this is by far my favorite.
BONUS: Root Beer Floats
This was the float that started it all. I went to a Bachelorette party last month and one of the bars we ended up at had root beer floats. While everyone else got a nice glass of wine, I decided to go ahead and treat myself to an ice cold float. I’m not much of a soda drinker (And I know I promised this post would be healthy — which is why this is a bonus item!), but this is easily my new favorite splurge.
Here is something written by my lovely mother about getting diagnosed with skin cancer. I wanted to share her post because I think it’s really important for people to know more about the dangers of the sun. I hear so many of my friends say they are going to the pool to “tan,” and I understand wanting to have nice color, but it can come at a very high price. I’ll do another post soon about a few of my favorite products (self tanner, bronzer, vitamin D tablets, clothing items, and a few other things) that keep you healthy and make you feel like you have a nice, summery glow. Without further ado, though, here is my mom’s message about skin cancer.
One of the biggest fears most people have when getting a diagnosis from the doctor is hearing the “C” word, and in March that’s exactly what my dermatologist told me I had.
As a child I spent most of my summer days in our backyard pool or at the beach. My mother always insisted I wear a t-shirt over my swimsuit since I was fair-skinned, and thankfully she always kept me in a sun hat. As I got older I admired my sister and friends who could get a deep, golden tan, which is when I started using concoctions like baby oil mixed with iodine to attract as much sun as possible. My best friend and I would sit out in the midday sun when the rays were their brightest in hopes of looking like the model on the Coppertone ad.
As a young adult, I discovered that nearly anyone could get a “healthy” looking tan by going to the tanning booths that were popular in the early 80’s. It seemed like they were everywhere, and everyone was doing it. Looking back I am so happy that I only purchased one package, as I hated the strange smell and the claustrophobic feeling they gave. The beach was still my favorite place, so whenever I had an opportunity to travel I chose somewhere with lots of sun and sand.
I have always been interested in health and wellness, which is why I decided to become an esthetician many years ago. By then I knew that any kind of tan is considered sun damage. I did whatever I could to avoid having sun on my face and always used a good amount of sunscreen. My kids who were avid swimmers never left the house without being slathered with sunscreen and an SPF shirt. I lovingly nagged all of my clients about the danger of too much sun exposure and my “platform” was reinforced when a sweet young man treated his mom to a relaxing facial with me. He had driven her straight from the hospital. To my horror, when she removed her hat she had a giant scar from one side of her scalp to the other and had received the diagnosis of terminal melanoma. Her sweet son was treating her to something he hoped would make her feel better. That poor lady and her son will be forever ingrained in my mind, so you can see why this has always been one of my most important platforms when educating my clients.
This leads me to my doctor’s appointment this past March. I have always been diligent at getting my annual skin cancer screenings. It’s never fun sitting in the paper gown knowing that someone will be scanning every part of you from head to toe, but the alternative of not being checked could always be worse than the embarrassment, so I bit the bullet and went into the office. “No changes, you look fine,” the doctor said. I showed him a very tiny dry patch of skin just below my throat that I had been concerned about. “Oh that’s nothing,” he assured me, so I left feeling confident and proud of myself for being able to cross the annual appointment off my “to-do” list. A couple months later I accompanied my daughter to the same dermatologist for one of her appointments. Before the doctor left the room I asked him if he would mind taking a look at that tiny patch of dry skin again that he had dismissed as normal before, and told him I had tried exfoliating it but that it kept coming back. Again, he took a look with his doppler glasses and said casually, “Nothing!” I felt relief, because in the back of my mind I kept thinking of that poor lady and her sweet son who had visited my esthetics office some years back.
About three months passed and I went to my family doctor for my annual checkup. During the exam, I showed her the tiny patch below my throat and she said she wanted me to see the dermatologist she refers to, so I went to see him that Thursday. I showed him the dry patch and he biopsied it right then and there in the office. He told me if it was positive, someone would call me within 3 business days. Tuesday rolled around and no call. Great, I thought! I’m in the clear. Another week passed, then another. Several weeks later the phone rang. “I’m calling to tell you that your biopsy was positive for cancer,” I heard on the other end of my phone. Wait, didn’t they say they would call within three days? Now my mind was racing back to months before when I had first asked my dermatologist about the cancer I now realized had taken residence in my body! When I asked the bearer of my news why she didn’t call me sooner she simply said, “Ma’am, we have a stack of calls to make every day.” I asked her what my next step was and she said the doctor would do the surgery to remove an inch around the area. My first concern was getting these rogue cells the heck out of my body, but realizing this scar was going to be significant and unable to hide above any neckline outside of a turtleneck I said I would get back to her to make the appointment — I wanted to check with a skin surgeon I knew of who was also a plastic surgeon. Then she informed me that by law I needed to let her know within a few weeks that this procedure had been completed. Why then did it take the dermatologists’ staff three weeks to let me know I had cancer in the first place?!
Due to the busy demands of the doctor, yet another three weeks passed before I was able to reluctantly go in for the surgery. The surgeon performed what they call MOHS surgery, which is a procedure in which they take as little tissue as possible and test it for cancer cells right away. They continue to take more if necessary until it is all gone. I was so thankful that it only took one “pass” until I was told they had gotten it all. They stitched me up, put dressing on the wound, and told me they expected to see me again as most people who have these types of carcinoma become “repeat customers.” That was the last thing I wanted to hear.
Shortly after the procedure I was talking with my friend and described my cancer patch to her. She grew quiet and said she had the same kind of thing just above her eyebrow. “I’m sure you are just overly-concerned because of what I just went through,” I reassured her, but knew there was always a chance, so suggested to get it checked — just in case. She phoned me a couple of weeks later to let me know that her doctor had found bad cells!
My platform for maintaining healthy skin now feels even more important and I am asking you to thoroughly check yourself. Get on the phone and make that yearly dermatological appointment to get yourself checked head to toe. A good exam includes the doctor checking your scalp, behind your ears, between your toes and even inside your mouth. If you have a strange feeling about a mole or a freckle or a dry patch of skin that just won’t go away, get to the doctor as soon as possible. If you feel that someone might not be right about your diagnoses, it never hurts to get a second opinion. Early detection is your best friend.
My scar is healing well. A couple of weeks ago I knew that my incision was healed enough to use my needling roller to smooth out the scar. I honestly can’t believe how much that has helped! I’m guessing there will always be a small scar but I will wear it proudly as a reminder for myself and others to take precautions when outdoors, and to always get your annual dermatological skin screening.
Seeing women supporting women is one of my favorite things in the world.
Something that has made my heart so incredibly full has been all the incredible support I have gotten from friends and family since announcing my new business with Rodan + Fields. I haven’t been able to work since I got sick with POTS right after graduating college, so having a job is a really exciting thing for me. I’m stoked to have something really productive and fun to do with my time, and I want to use this business to change the world. I know how ridiculous that may sound, but as someone who as suffered with pretty bad acne for years I know just how great it is when you are able to stop focusing on that and feeling confident in your own skin. Clearing my skin might not have changed the world at all, but it changed my world and the way I looked at myself.
The greatest joy my heart feels is when I’m able to help someone feel confident, strong, and like they are a really valuable human being. One of my superpowers is seeing the beauty and strength in others, and I want everyone I meet to know that they have something beautifully unique to offer the world. I do think that each person on this earth can add some sort of value that others cannot, and people often fail to see just how amazing their potential is.
Now that I have a job that is all about lifting others up I am so excited to see what the future has in store for me and my friends. All are welcome on my team, and I want to create a special little nook of women to cheer each other on, support one another, and be there for each other. I like to think of Rodan + Fields as my own personal team of friends who are there for fellowship and to help make the world a better place by helping one person at a time. I want to build people’s confidence by giving them beautiful skin, but even more than that I want to help people build opportunities that will make their lives better.
I still think my purpose God gave me in the world is to be a cheerleader to everyone I form a bond with. I have a heart that loves to see others succeed, and even though my life changed drastically and I haven’t been able to pursue my own dreams of becoming a journalist, I have been so happy seeing my friends chase and surpass their own dreams. For as long as I live I know my heart is going to keep beating fast for others, and no matter how hard things may get I will always get joy from watching people figure out why they are so important to the world.
If you’re interested in hearing more about joining my team shoot me a message on Facebook or email me at Krista.firstname.lastname@example.org. All are welcome, and I am excited to be able to spoil and lift up all of my business partners as we go on this journey together.