New Years resolutions and I do not mix. While it can be fun to think of things you’d like to accomplish in the next year, it takes away from reflecting on all the things that you have to be grateful for. Here are some of my favorite things from 2017!
Favorite Podcast: My podcast obsession only got deeper this year with the discovery of The Love Bomb by Nico Tortorella. He did his final episode a couple of months ago, but there are so many great ones you can go listen to. He talks all about love and relationships of all kinds (gay, straight, trans, monogamous, polyamorous, etc.). It’s super interesting and enlightening.
Favorite Book: You know a book is good when it makes you cry. I read all the time, but my fave from this year was The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon. It follows the story of two teenagers who have absolutely nothing in common, but end up meeting and falling in love – all in the same day. If you’ve ever experienced falling in love in an insanely short amount of time, this one will hit home for you. The writing style is very unique too. It switches between Natasha’s view, Daniel’s view, and the Universe. It’s amazing and will give you all the feels!
Favorite Movie: Beauty and the Beast, of course! The remake was everything I wanted and more. I got to see it with my mom, one of my best friends, and my god daughter, which made it that much more special!
Favorite TV Show: This is Us. It’s not even a contest. This is the literal best thing on TV! If you haven’t seen it yet, binge it immediately.
So what do you do for a living?
I do proposal writing for a local government contractor!
Cool! So what does that entail?
Uh…well it’s kind of hard to explain…
This is usually how every conversation I have about my job starts out. I’m pretty sure that even my friends, family, and husband have no idea WTF my job actually consists of on a daily basis. In fact, I’d say most of the people outside of the business development department at my company don’t really know either. And I totally get it! I had no idea about proposal writing or the world of government contracting until I worked here either. It’s not a writing job that gets talked about very often. Let’s be real, it doesn’t sound as impressive as saying you’re an author (which I also am!), but proposal writing is a reliable and financially rewarding career path – which is something many writing jobs can’t claim. Writing majors get flack for not picking something that’s stable (insert eye rolls here), but proposal writing is one huge area that IS.
There are all kinds of contractors that need solid proposal writers on their team. In my case, I work for a government contractor that specializes in training development, information technology, equipment repair/maintenance, and professional support services. The first thing I was worried about when I interviewed here was if I had to have specialized knowledge in these areas or at least be familiar with government processes. Luckily, it wasn’t necessary! That won’t be the case with every company, but it’s worth applying for these types of jobs even if you don’t have the exact experience. As long as you’re a strong writer with a willingness to learn, you’ll do just fine!
So, what do I do all day?
How are we already in the final month of 2017?! This year has flown by, especially these last couple of months. Worsham and I are closing on our first home later this month! If you’d have asked us this time last year if we were going to buy a house anytime soon, the answer would have been “hell nah.” But after a few insane events at our apartment this year (such as witnessing our neighbor’s literally insane girlfriend off of her meds at 3 a.m. on Halloween), we decided it was time. We’re so excited to finally have our own place together, and one that needs no updating and has a storm shelter at that!
Anyways, the end of the year always gets me thinking about my fave skincare and beauty products! You may have read about some of these on here before, but there are some new gems on here as well. Enjoy!
Cleanser: CeraVe Foaming Cleanser
This is a more recent purchase of mine, but I’m loving it! I’ve been a fan of their PM moisturizer for a while now and this cleanser doesn’t disappoint. It’s simple, gentle, and has helped my face to get less oily throughout the day.
Moisturizer/Makeup Remover/Oil/Bath Bomb/Everything: Kopari Coconut Melt
THIS! Kopari’s Coconut Melt is probably my favorite discovery of this year. You can use it for literally everything and the jar lasts forever! It’s worth the higher price tag. I use it to take off my mascara, in my bath as a bath melt, as a scalp treatment, as face lotion, as body lotion, on cat scratches, as lip balm – you get the idea. It’s good for everything.
Acne Treatment: Rodan & Fields Unblemish Dual Intensive Acne Treatment
This stuff just can’t be beat! This is the power player of the entire Unblemish line. If you can only afford one item, get this one. I can’t stop buying it despite the price tag and the fact that you don’t really get that much product. It’s still worth it! Bye, pimples!
Face Mask: Herbivore Botanicals Blue Tansy Mask
I wanted to branch out from my usual masks designed just for acne, so I snatched this up at Sephora a while back! It does help with breakouts, but also exfoliates and helps fight signs of aging. Also it’s 100% organic and the jar will last for the rest of time. You barely need to use any product! My face is so soft after I use it.
Beauty Tool: Mount Lai Jade Roller
Jade rollers have been all over the place this year! I decided to cave and see what the craze is about. They’re so popular because of their ability to increase lymphatic drainage and the fact that they just feel good. It’s basically like a massage for your face. It could be all in my head, but I feel like my face looks thinner and my eyes look less puffy when I use it. Plus it’s an ancient Chinese beauty secret, and clearly they know what they’re doing.
Shampoo: Redken All Soft
An oldie but a goodie! This used to be my favorite in high school and I rediscovered its greatness this year. Still magical.
Probiotics: Garden of Life Raw Probiotics Women
Any skincare junkie knows that good skincare actually starts from the inside with a great probiotic. I had a probiotic-related breakdown this summer when my beloved PB8 changed up their formula and made my face explode with acne. I’m still pissed about it. If your face is being a douche and your probiotics have chicory root inulin in them, throw them in the trash immediately. BYE. Luckily, I tried out this gem and love it! It is on the pricier side (like, $50 I think), but well worth it. It has a million different vitamins in it too.
Collagen: Dr. Axe Multi Collagen Capsules
Another amazing find this year! In my quest to destroy cellulite, I came across these bad boys. I can honestly say I’ve seen a difference taking these every day for the past few months. Is my cellulite totally gone? No but it’s definitely improved. It also helps my occasional knee pain and helps keep my face clear. Also, I have to admit – I tried “fascia blasting” earlier this year too and all I ended up with was some bruised apple looking legs. Worsham called me “13 bruises why” for a while! I’m sure it would probably work if you’re consistent about it, but honestly who has time for that? Just take some collagen and be done with it.
One of my favorite places in the world is Eureka Springs, Arkansas. For those of you who are unfamiliar with northwest Arkansas, you’re probably thinking “ew, why?” But Arkansas, and Eureka Springs in particular, is one of the most beautiful places in the country. Eureka Springs is a bit of a tradition for my family. We started going to the 1886 Crescent Hotel for Thanksgiving back when I was 9 and have come back off and on for years. When Worsham and I started thinking about where to spend our first anniversary, Eureka Springs was an easy pick! We’re in the beginning stages of buying our first house so we wanted to go somewhere close (it’s under 3 hours from my mom’s house in Tulsa), affordable, and beautiful. Here are my Eureka faves:
Where to Stay
The coolest part of Eureka, in my opinion, is the Crescent Hotel. It’s a mountaintop hotel and spa with a crazy history. It was built back in the late 1800s as a swanky, invitation-only resort and was one of the most popular destinations of the time. The Crescent also saw its days as “Crescent College” – a girls-only school – during parts of the year. The weirdest part of the Crescent’s past, however, was when Norman Baker (a deluded psychopath “doctor”) bought the building around the Great Depression to open his cancer-curing hospital. He cured no one and many people died under his care, if you can call it that. Given the deaths that occurred during the building’s construction, one of the school girl’s apparent suicides, and all of the people who died in the hospital, the hotel is haunted AF. It’s one of the most haunted hotels in America, in fact. My husband would tell you otherwise, but I’ve had so many weird encounters there over the past 18 years that I have no doubt in my mind that some of the Crescent’s inhabitants never left. It’s a great place to stay if you’re into ghosts or just want to step back in time. The hotel has been preserved very well and looks almost exactly as it did back in 1886. Also, they have a resident cat – Jasper – who I love to see every time we visit. He’ll let guests pet him and even took a walk with me and Worsham one night. It was the cutest thing that’s ever happened.
If you go, I recommend staying in the annex, which is also one of the most haunted parts of the hotel. It’s where they took all the near-death people to hang out until they died so no one would hear them screaming in pain and realize Dr. Baker was a total fraud. It’s also right above the morgue. Yes, there’s still the original morgue down the basement.
Anyway, I’ve stayed in the annex twice now (once during Thanksgiving a few years ago and this past time with Worsham). It’s definitely the nicest area I’ve ever stayed in at the Crescent. It’s spacious yet cozy and his a GIANT jetted bath tub in the middle of the room. That bathtub alone is worth the extra money! Worsham said it’s the first one he’s been able to fit in since he was a kid (he’s 6’3). The bed is super comfy as well.