Planner Love

It’s weird to know that I have graduated from college and will not be returning to school. I was always so

excited to start school, my favorite thing being school supplies. My grandma always sent us money for

school things and Mom always wanted us to get what we wanted. I would look for the coolest school

supplies and be so excited to use them.

My most important item was my planner. As long as I had gotten ‘that’ planner, everything else was

going to be ok. I’ve used the Target hardcover planners for a several years, and I just love the layout. It’s

convenient, has plenty of space to write assignments, and looked super chic. My senior year, I caved and

got a Kate Spade planner. I loved the cover design (books! Lol) and how ‘adult’ it looked. But it did not

have a monthly spread in a convenient place. I like having an overview of the month in the middle of the

weekly calendar. The Kate Spade one just had a week to week layout.

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This year, though I am not in school, I bought a Lilly Pulitzer planner. I went with the smaller size so that

it conveniently fits in my bag. I don’t write assignments in it, but I do write appoints, events, important

dates, etc. on the days. I also use it as a ‘one line’ journal. I am a total journal writer, but some small

insignificant things that I don’t put in my journal goes on my planner. I but down when I finish a book,

what I ate for lunch, movie dates with Rose (follow her blog her), when I wear a really cool outfit, etc. It

gives me a tiny snap shot of my day that I can go back and see what I did on that specific day.

So far, I am really loving my Lilly planner. It has the layout that I prefer, as well as a bit of sophistication

for an older me. It keeps me organized and focused on my priorities.

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Book Club! (For Real)

At the beginning of summer, I thought it would be cool to join a real book club. I never really thought of doing one before and I thought that book clubs just did not exist anymore. I Googled book clubs in my area, and low and behold, there was a book club! I was so so excited! I immediately went out and bought the first book and read it in only a few days. After discussion, everyone goes out to a restaurant to eat and continue talk on books (my kind of dinner).

This particular book club has been going on for (wait for it. . . ) 11-12 years. YEARS. And I think to myself, ‘Why have I not heard about this? I could have been doing this for my whole college career!!’ I’ve really been missing out. This club is independent from my local library, but they still use the meeting rooms. I arrived early, and was literally bouncing on the inside (‘I’m in a book club!!!’). The first book was The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawking. It was published this year, so many people were interested in the book. We sat in a circle and went around, introducing ourselves and giving our opinion of the book. Since there were so many of us, we took up the whole hour going around. There were discussions that popped up as the opinions continued. It was a lively discussion all around. Before I knew it, the hour was up and it was time for dinner. Not many people came to dinner, but the conversation was all about books (I was in heaven!).

The next month, there was less people, but conversation was still good. The organizer of the book club brings discussion questions. When the discussion lulled, the organizer would ask a question that she got off the internet.

The books are chosen 6 months at a time. Recommendations are made every 6 months and we vote on what books we want to read. It’s quite simple. If the book is being made into a movie close to the time we read the book, we will all go to the movies.

So one question is probably ‘Why join a book club?’ I joined because I wanted to meet people who loved books as much as I do. The discussions about symbolisms in books that we’ve read has really fascinated me. I read for pleasure and enjoyment, sometimes for enhancing myself intellectually, but most of the time I do not see the connections or symbolisms. Why did the author have the mentally handicapped Frederick draw spirals all day in All the Light We Cannot See? Every word of an author means something, and without book club, I never would have realized that.

Another reason I joined book club is to branch out my reading genre. We read The Lady in Gold and it was not a book that I would have just picked up off the shelf. It’s a nonfiction book about stolen art from the Austrians in WWII. The cover wasn’t really appealing nor the summary. But I enjoyed the book and it encouraged me to read more nonfiction. I’m having discussions and reading books that I never thought I would do.

Book club has been a great thing for me. I only wish that it was more than once a month.

Goodreads

At the beginning of the summer, I really started exploring the website Goodreads. I had joined a few years ago, but didn’t really get into it (like Pinterest), but now that I’ve explored the site I cannot live without it.

Goodreads is a site for people who love books! And that is perfect for me. All the books I’ve ever read are on there and I can add it to my profile, rate it, write reviews, note if you own the book, etc. It’s a way that I can keep track of all that I’ve read. And my friends can see the books too and add the books if they want to read.

There are all kinds of lists on the site that you can rate books. There is a list for top Young Adult books, lists for Historical Fiction, any list you can think of. Most of the books that I have added to my ‘To-Read’ virtual shelf have been from lists. The site also makes recommendations based on what you’ve read, want you want to read, and what you are currently reading. You can also keep track of your page numbers in books you are currently reading.

My favorite thing about the site is the yearly challenge. You set your goal, and it keeps track of how many you read in the whole year. My goal was a modest 50, I wasn’t sure how busy I would be with this new chapter in my life, so I kept it low. I have read 45 of 50 books so far. And I’m positive I will meet my goal.

So go check out Goodreads and see if it enhances your reading experience.

New Life, New Title

I have now graduated from college. COLLEGE. Hello???? College!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That’s it, I’m done. No homework, no studying, no exams. But then comes working everyday of your life with no big summer break, plus the school loans that need to be paid off. Yay.

But it’s a whole new stage in my life. I’m working (which has ore to do with organization of people than human resources) and I have a pretty decent paycheck. I cannot complain. Is it what I wanted to do? No. But it’s not forever. I mean hey, my dream job is one where I can read books all day and still have a bit of a life. That would be absolutely perfect! But I haven’t had much time finding that dream job.

I am a Mary Kay Consultant and I’m a Young Living Essential Oils distributor. I haven’t done much with either of them, but if anyone is interested in any products please let me know. 🙂

Now let’s take care of the elephant in the room. I’ve changed my whole blog title. I chose Reality Check out of the blue. I could not think of a title that I wanted to use that spoke to me or anything that allowed me to be really flexible with writing whatever I wanted. Now that I no longer have endless reading assignments, I’ve been reading constantly in my free time. It’s like I’m trying to catch up on the 4 years that I lost while in college. Books are my passion. I buy them everywhere. I love spending time in the library. I love going on book sites and looking for my next book to read. It’s part of who I am and I want to take this blog in that direction.

Hope you enjoy it and find it fun!

Coloring Books for Adults? Heck Yes!

I stumbled upon [another] Buzz Feed article this week. It was entitled ’17 Hobbies to try if you Suck at Hobbies.’ It caught my eye and had to read what they recommended. I’m not really one to have a hobby. If you count reading books, then yes I have an overly obsessive hobby. Some of these suggestions were fantastic!

The biggest thing in this article that I loved was the adult coloring book. Johanna Basford has created a coloring book for adults!!!!!! The article is here for views and information and inspiration for her books. I fell in love with them. When I was a kid I loved to draw. I really wanted to be fantastic at art and be this super chic artist. Well that didn’t happen. I’m bad at drawing. I see some of my art major friends and they draw these beautiful, intricate doodles and I’m over here drawing circle flowers and spirals.

Johanna’s designs are the most beautiful and awesome thing ever 🙂 I cannot wait til I can get my book and start filling these beautiful pictures with color 🙂

Handbags, Handbags, and OH! Handbags!

If anyone knows me, they will know that I love love love love love handbags!!! My top cabinet of my closet in my dorm room is stuffed full of my handbags. I never know which ones I will need/want so I keep a ton here. At home my entire upper shelf of my closet is full of handbags. I know that I will always have one that matches.

I will do a “What’s in my bag” post sometime soon. I can tell you this, I keep a ton of stuff in my bag. I’ve always loved big bags and totes. Lately though I’ve been working on trying get all my essentials into a small crossbody. But sometimes all my essentials for that day just doesn’t fit. My usual essential for a bag size is that it has to fit at least on book in it. I always have a book with me somewhere. This post here has a category of books I want to read this year. (If you keep checking back on it, you can see what I’m reading!) Whenever my wonderful boyfriend (he got me five, yes FIVE bags for our one year anniversary. He’s a keeper!!!) gets me a bag, he always knows to make sure that a book can fit inside.

I’m really am starting to like the smaller bags though. Much easier to carry. I came across this article today on Buzz Feed. It made me really think about what I carry in my bag and how often I should clean it out. Will I completely forget the awesomeness of a large bag? No. Will I clean my bag out more often? Oh Yes!

Let’s Talk: Skin Care

Remember that time I told you there was coming a post about resume tips? Well it’s coming. I’m gaining more information every week as I continue interning this semester.

But let’s talk about something we all need to do: skin care.

Disclaimer: Everyone’s skin is different. These products work for me, but they may not work as well for you.

My story is long and has an ok happy ending. I started getting acne when I was in junior high. Not too bad, but noticeable. I started wearing makeup and I looked ok. But other girls noticed and I got teased a lot (but not just because of my skin). I hated junior high and the time I spent there. I was the quiet girl who preferred books over athletics and socialization.

When I got into high school (and changed states and schools) my acne got really bad. Not cystic acne or anything, just the normal acne all over my face. I was so embarrassed. I never went anywhere without makeup. Even for a simple, short trip to Walmart where people wear the most ridiculous things— I wore makeup. I wanted to cover up all the imperfections.

When I turned 16, i didn’t get a car (Virginia has complicated driving rules) but I did get a trip to the Clinique makeup counter. The lady did my makeup and we bought several items she used. (Yay for the freebie sample bags!!!) My parents insisted that I choose the skin care products. I was too interested in the eyeliner, compact, and eye shadows. But I did get their cleanser, toner, and moisturizer. I used them for a while and it seemed to be ok.

But my skin continued to be bad, and sometimes even worse. My mom found a dermatologist for me and started regular appointments. We did creams and oral medication, but it either didn’t work or did work work but acne came back.

Finally, the ‘most extreme’ last resort was Accutane. It’s an oral medication that is said to be ‘the cure for acne.’ Let me explain about this medication. It’s an oral medication that can only be prescribed in by your doctor. The biggest thing about Accutane is that you cannot get pregnant. It can cause major birth defects. You must have 2 negative pregnancy tests before you begin taking it. They hand you this book that you have to read and in the back are member cards that you must present whenever you pick up the medication. Accutane dries out your sick. It stops the glands from producing oil and it results in dry skin and chapped lips (thank the Lord for lip balm during this time!!). It also dehydrates your body, so drinking water is important. Every month, I had to get blood tests done. It was a pregnancy test, liver check, and cholesterol check. All these were required by law. After the results were submitted, I had to go online and answer questions before I could pick up my prescription. And of course, present the card when we picked it up. So much to do. And I did this three times. Yep. THREE. TIMES. My acne just kept coming back. It’s still here, just not as bad as it once was, thanks to Accutane. So it did help me. But right now, there is nothing the doctors can do. They told me the only thing they can do is to put me back on it, but I don’t want to risk damage to my body.

So now I use various different products that I will share right now.

*Optional

I do not really use this often. I love the Neutrogena naturals products because they work great on my skin without drying it out. This formula has a makeup remover in it, so when I want to take my makeup off during the day I use this. It great! Takes my makeup off so easily!!

Cleanser

I have been using Neutrogena naturals acne cream wash for a long while. Its smooth and so gentle on my skin. And it does not dry it out like other cleansers do. I use it with my Clarisonic and my skin gets super super clean. And it helps fight my acne.

Toner

I don’t know if I should call this my ‘holy grail’ or not. This is Neutrogena’s rapid clear toner. I put some of this on a cotton pad and wipe on my face. I really think this is the big game changer in my routine. It fights acne and clogged pores and really helps keep my skin clean.

Acne Treatment

This little guy is fantastic! It’s Neutrogena naturals acne spot treatment. I take a tiny bit of this and put it on my problem areas (my cheeks and sometimes my chin). Again, I love the naturals products because they do not dry or damage my skin.

Moisturizer

I have two different ones.

Clinique’s dramatically different moisturizing gel is my favorite moisturizer. The gel is oil free and truly moisturizes my skin. I wear this under my makeup or by itself if I don’t plan on going out anywhere.

I use Pond’s dry skin cream at night. It’s a heavier moisturizer. When I started using it, I cold definitely tell a difference in my skin.

Let’s just park here for a moment. Washing your face 5 times a day will only make your skin worse. It encourages your skin to produce more oil because you are constantly stripping the natural oils away.

And moisturizers DO NOT make your skin oily. Pick one that is oil free and use it. Moisturizers help keep your skin from absorbing makeup and keeps the skin looking young and fresh. They also help treatment gels to soak into your skin better. Moisturizing is not the devil, it’s an angel.

Eye Cream

I read an article that women should start using eye cream and anti-aging moisturizers at the age of 22 to keep from aging quickly. I currently use Clinique’s repairwear laser focus. But I only use a sample bottle I got as a freebie, not the large size (quite expensive). I switched for a little bit, trying a different one out and could tell a difference. This product is far superior.

So that is all my skin care products. Hope you enjoyed this post and maybe you will find something that will work for you.

(Disclaimer: everyone’s skin is different. These products work great for me, but they may not work great for you.)