5 Ways to Brighten Up & Streamline Your Morning

Going back to work after a long weekend, or any weekend, is always rough.  Sometimes even getting up to go to work on a Thursday is difficult!  I find as the weather gets more cold I get more unmotivated to wake up as soon as my alarm goes off to get my day started.  5 more minutes, please?!?!
However, over the years I’ve learned to…

Make your morning a personalized experience not a robot routine, you’ll be more productive, and overall a happier person.  

& here are 5 easy ways you can accomplish that… 

Wake up, the first time your alarm goes off, & drink a large glass of lemon water.
This is a great way to jumpstart yourself for the day ahead.  Lemon wakes up your immune system and the vitamin C within lemons helps to manage stress.  Did you know that?!  I feel like many people know how lemons detoxify, helps to flush our our systems, fights blemishes, and debloats, so why wouldn’t we wake up and drink a glass of this every morning??  It takes about 30 seconds to prep, and then drink it while you continue to get ready.  Too easy.
Stretch
You can literally do this in the bathroom while brushing your teeth.  Or while doing your skincare & makeup routine…it’s that easy.  Wake up your nervous system, stretch your legs, do a few forward folds to wake up your spine.  Get your body moving in a gentle way & set your posture up for success. 
Anything you can pre-prep, do it.
Nobody wants to have to do little chores in the AM before heading off to work.  I always have an idea of what I want to wear the night before, and any lunch/ breakfast items I want are ready to go in their containers.  Sunday, or on this Columbus Day weekend Monday, I’ll have my coffee pot set to the timer, so I don’t need to worry about taking time to prep that.  I also make sure my bag is packed and ready to go, so I can just grab it and leave.
Do something you love, that doesn’t take up much time.
For me this is catching up on my favorite YouTubers while I do my makeup each morning.  The videos are never long so I don’t need to worry about running out of time, and it gives me a chance to do something I really enjoy, while I’m getting ready for the morning.  You can also read a chapter of a book while you eat breakfast, or listen to an audiobook while getting ready.  Easy little things that will make you relaxed, but don’t take up too much time.

Eat breakfast at home, not during your commute.
I used to grab my breakfast and eat it in the car on the way to work…or not eat it at all.  Not smart, and always made me feel discombobulated.  All of my breakfast choices are quick and simple…Greek yogurt with berries, a waffle, a piece of toast, Cheerios.  I can sit for 5- 10 minutes, watch the start of Good Morning America, and then I can leave with my coffee.  Eating breakfast helps with concentration, which as a teacher I obviously need all of the time.  There’s no point in not eating at 7am only to be dying of hunger and restless at 10am. 
These 5 little morning hacks seem so easy, yet most people don’t do them.  Buy some lemons, have your lunch prepped, do a forward fold, watch a YouTube beauty guru, and enjoy a bowl of Cheerios all before you leave for work in the AM.  It’s not that difficult, and it’s definitely worth it, trust me.

XO.
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Stay Pampered with Groupon

[Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.  All opinions are my own.] 
Everyone knows I love a good Groupon, and living in the D.C. area makes it super easy to find some awesome deals on beauty, fitness, and wellness services such as pedicures, massages, fitness classes, and even, can you believe this…deals on Lasik eye surgery in your area!
I love getting massages and facials, but we all know they tend to be on the pricey side.  Why don’t you branch out and try a new place through Groupon?  Just in my area alone there are hundreds of deals on beauty and hair services, some saving $50 off the regular price of the services.  $50, that’s huge!! 

Having the Groupon app on my phone makes it even easier when I’m out and about to look up deals in the area that I’m in.  It doesn’t matter where you are, guaranteed you’ll be able to find something up your alley through the Groupon Local Deals.  
Not that you’d need more of an incentive, but Groupon is also super generous when it comes to coupon codes to use, I always make sure to open my emails from them to see if I can use any local deal promo codes, and then I buy a few at once…it seriously does not get any better than that.  Also, if you’re unsure about a place, check out the reviews that other Groupon-ers leave about the quality of the service and establishment.  I know I can be little unsure when trying new places, especially when it comes to beauty, hair, or wellness, so I always check out the reviews section before making a purchase, just to be on the safe side!
If you aren’t already signed up for Groupon, you can do so here!  Def check out the Beauty & Spas and Health & Fitness categories for some hot local deals on services you probably already love, and a few you’ve been wanting to try.  I’ve been using Groupon since it started, back when I was in college, I’m a huge fan and I love how it has grown in options and reliability over the years.
Also, make sure you follow Groupon on both Twitter and Facebook, so you’re always in the know!
[Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.  All opinions are my own.] 
XO.
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August Inspiration

August is such a weird month for me, I do love the summer (hello, I’m a summer baby!) but that awkward moment between the end of summer, starting a new school year welcoming in a new group of kids, and soon to be beginning of fall, can cause a slightly anxious feeling.  As a teacher August is kinda like January, it’s a new school year, new classroom organization & management ideas are blooming in my brain, oh, and of course, I’m going to make major life changes.  But, at the end of the day, it’s still that awkward space between….the end of summer, starting a new school year welcoming in a new group of kids, and soon to be beginning of fall. 
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SO, to combat this awkward moment for me, I went through Pinterest and grabbed some pins that perked me up, inspired me, and brightened up my day.  Pinterest just has a way of doing that to you…ya know?!
I’m ready for a new month, a new school year, and so much more headed my way!
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XO.
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Save Some $$$ with Groupon Coupons

Okay so, here is a HUGE secret…teachers don’t really make a lot of money.  Are you completely shocked and surprised?!  It’s true, the profession of teaching children is not paired with a salary that exactly matches the job.  So, in an effort to save money but still have, and do, anything I want (in moderation of course) I’m really big on coupons and deals.  I’ve been a Groupon customer for years, living in D.C. I’ve had the opportunity to experience new restaurants and city events with Groupon, and the deals have always been awesome.  When I found out about Groupon Coupons I just about lost my mind in excitement & here’s why…

Not only does Groupon Coupons compile current promos and coupon codes for some of my favorite stores such as World Market, Kohl’s, Nordstrom, and Target, but they also have their own exclusive coupon codes that you can use while shopping online at these big name stores.  Case in point, Forever 21 had an exclusive $10 off code just for Groupon Coupons users on Mother’s Day!
Browsing the coupons by store is the easiest way for me to see what Groupon Coupons is offering at a particular moment.  Just click on a store and all of the promotions and/or promo codes for that store are listed with a clear description of what the promo is.  

You also have the option to view shopping categories, instead of viewing the Groupon Coupons by store, to see what deals they’re currently offering.
I’m very impressed with the assortment of options that Groupon Coupons lays out, and it’s so user friendly to navigate, which I appreciate!  As an avid Groupon-er I highly suggest checking out Groupon Coupons, you might just find the perfect promo code for something you’re looking for!!  Make sure you follow Groupon on both Twitter and Facebook too, you never know when they might have additional special offers!

[Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.  All opinions are my own.]
XO.
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Happy Friday!

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Currently Loving…
The Now Effect by Dr. Elisha Goldstein, it’s a book about centered around increasing mindfulness, focus, and positivity.  I love reading books like this, but so often I feel like there’s never time!  I’m making this a priority. 
+ Real Housewives of New York City, I love Bethenny so much & I understand and 100%  relate to her brutal honesty and blunt realness.  
+ This incredible Rose Sangria recipe from my favorite How Sweet Eats, it looks so gorgeous, I want to make it ASAP!! 
+ That, as of today, there are only 28 school days left in this year.  I love teaching, but I also love the summer so…I’m excited to say the least. 
& here are some pictures from the past couple of weeks, just because…


Doing work is so much easier on a Tuesday evening at Bayou Bakery on Capitol Hill 
Some recent dinners.  Homemade pan-fried chicken.  & I’ve just created a new tradition in my apartment, Surf & Turf Sundays. 

 This past week was Teacher Appreciation Week, and I love how my home is now filled with gorgeous flowers and some new plants!  

A Leo picture because…mostly all of my iPhone pictures are Leo pictures.
XO.
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My Favorite Beauty YouTube Gurus

I wish I had the time, editing knowledge, and speaking skills necessary to branch into YouTube videos.  I could certainly work on the knowledge and speaking skills part of the equation, but as far as time goes, as long as I’m teaching I’m not sure YouTube is really a viable option.
Over the years I’ve added quite a few beauty vloggers to my YouTube subscription list.  It’s been awesome to watch them grow their mini empires over the years, and I love how these women still maintain great personal relationships with their subscribers.  All the YouTubers I follow give something different to the notion of beauty vlogging, and as a young professional woman myself I think it is awesome to see how they have evolved over the years into the powerful people they are today- especially since it’s been through doing something they truly love.

I first discovered Casey Holmes, and loved how easily I could relate to her on every level.  I love her haul videos, and I’ve purchased many products she’s suggested.  Just like her I have rosacea, so I’m always interested in her skincare and foundation routines to manage and treat it.  Despite her rising fame she has stayed so down to earth, and I love following along with her tutorials, hauls, and girl talk videos.
  
Next up is Jaclyn Hill, who truly has taken over YouTube and is now taking over Becca Cosmetics as well with her Champagne Pop Highlighter.  Jaclyn has an awesome life story, and I love watching her Snapchats, she truly takes her fan into her life.  I love her home, her decor is seriously the cutest, and her constant puppy Snapchats are too relatable for me.  But seriously, her ability to maintain a normal lifestyle, given her rise in fame, is something I really admire.

My next favorite YouTube beauty guru is Jen, of From Head to Toe.  Her favorites videos make my month, and I love her sweet and relaxed demeanor.  I’m also a huge fan of her choice in products, so I’ve purchased a lot of palettes and other skincare products she’s mentioned.  Right now Jen is chronicling her pregnancy journey for her viewers, and it’s been great to see her so happy and still hard at work! 
Lastly, I’m too obsessed with Liz Heart, of Miss Liz Heart.  She’s a relatively new YoutTube face compared to the other three women on my list, but she’s made huge strides in subscribers, and puts out great tutorials, hauls, and lifestyle videos.  I love that I can expect a lifestyle video every Sunday, she incorporates home decor, organization, and cooking elements, all of which I love!  I feel the most connected to Liz (maybe it’s a name thing) since I’ve been following her since the beginning and have seen her create and grow her brand!  I’m looking forward to her continued success, she’s an awesome woman. 
I’m always looking to add new YouTube gurus to my lineup, if you know of any other great people, let me know! 
XO.
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Work Day Must Have Beauty Products

As a teacher I honestly don’t really have time to go to the bathroom during the day, so of course I’m not going to have time to do anything upkeep related.  I don’t wear a lot of makeup so I don’t really need to do much upkeep through the day, but I do need to always have some beauty products on hand just in case.

Work Day Must Haves

I always need my Benefit Erase Paste, first and foremost.  You never know when you’ll need a little concealer, and this concealer has been my favorite for years.  I can rely on this for a quick touch up if I need it through the day.  It stays put, is perfectly creamy and blendable, and gets the job that I need done, done.

Lip balm is something every person needs at all times of the day.  Keeping my lips hydrated is very important to me and I’m always relying on one of my many Burts Bees lip balms to get me through the day.  I have at least 2 in my classroom, one in my bag, another in the car, and a few through my apartment.  I refuse to have parched lips at any point of my life, living without my Burts Bees lip balm just isn’t an option.  Right now Grapefruit is my favorite, but the Pomegranate Oil is runner up!

Since I use a lot of hand santizer & wash my hands multiple times through the day I really rely on a solid hand cream to keep my hands soft and hydrated.  Right now I have a few different samples floating around my work bag.  I’m almost finished up with the Tocca ‘Stella Blood Orange’ Hand Cream.

If I know I’m going out after work, but don’t have time, or energy, to make myself look super glam I rely on by NARS Orgasm Multiple Stick to give me some flush & color in my cheeks and maybe even lips.  & of course, to look more alive I need a reliable mascara and for me that’s Smashbox’s Jet Black Full Exposure Mascara.  It never clumps, I can apply it over to the tiny bit of mascara I already have on, and it gives my lashes perfect volume for happy hour.

Lastly, I need to smell good at all times, it’s a personal rule.  I keep an Elizabeth & James Nirvana Black Rollerball in my bag.  Obviously, it’s easier and smaller to carry then a regular perfume bottle-and the scent, capturing major notes of sandalwood and vanilla, is my absolute favorite.

Tell me some things you just cannot live without at work?! 

XO.
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Bath & Body Works Candle Haul

Confession: I honestly didn’t do any shopping this holiday weekend except for a candle purchase from Bath & Body Works.  I really wanted to do some more shopping but, I’m trying so hard to #budget.

I know it’s only February, but I wanted to start stocking up on some spring scents.  I still have a fair amount of winter candles, but I figured that with the sale price, and my coupon code, now was the time to buy.  Bath & Body Works candles are my favorite, the scent is strong, so I only need one burning in the apartment to have my entire home smell incredible.

Have you purchased any candles recently?  I’d love to know some favorites!!

Bath & Body Works Candle Haul


Mahogany Teakwood | Lemon Mint Tea | Seaside Citrus 

French Lavender  | White Gardenia | Fresh Cut Lilacs

Bath & Body Works currently has all of their candles for $12.50, and I have some coupon codes for you to use as well!  
For $10 off a $30 purchase use code SP168993
& for 20% off your purchase use code F152193

XO.
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Pretty & Chic iPhone Cases

One accessory we can always switch up, but rarely do, are our phone cases.  I own an iPhone, and I’m always using the same case, it’s a super cute Starbucks case as seen below, but I need to switch it up.  There are just too many options not to. 
So, I’ve rounded up some chic cases I’ve come across recently, some are more expensive than others, but if you’re looking to treat yourself with a little something this month, perhaps it’ll be a new iPhone case?
Starbucks Soft Cover Silicone Case, $6.59

Love any of these cases?  I sure do!  If you have one of these, or if you have a favorite one of your own, let me know! 

XO.
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